1 Tuesday, 20th January 1998
2 (8:30 am)
3 (In closed session)
13 Pages 100 to 169 redacted in closed session
4 (10.25 am)
5 (A short break)
6 (11.00 am)
7 (In open session)
8 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask the Registrar to
9 call out the case number?
10 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-13-AT, the
11 Prosecutor versus Dokmanovic.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. May I have the
13 appearances please?
14 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, please, my name is
15 Niemann and I appear with my colleagues, Mr. Williamson,
16 Mr. Waespi, Ms. Sutherland and Mr. Vos for the
17 Prosecution, thank you.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Fila?
19 MR. FILA: Your Honour, I am Tihomir Fila and
20 together with Ms. Lopicic and Mr. Petrovic I am
21 representing the accused.
22 With your permission, your Honour, I have
23 brought the report that you have requested.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We got it and we
25 are grateful to you. 1
2 a witness.
3 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases, I call
4 Mark Crawford Wheeler.
5 (Witness entered court)
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Dr. Wheeler, may I ask you to
7 make the solemn declaration pursuant to rule 90(b)?
8 A. Certainly.
9 MARK CRAWFORD WHEELER (sworn)
10 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask you to state your
12 A. My name is Mark Wheeler.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may sit.
14 Dr. Wheeler, before we start with the
15 examination-in-chief by the Prosecution, may I say that
16 we did receive your written statement which has been
17 read by the court, so this will enable us to be aware
18 of what you stated in that particular document, and
19 therefore, I wonder whether we might try to focus on
20 events -- on the events which occurred in 1991. I do
21 not want, of course, to constrain the Prosecution. The
22 Prosecution may have other questions, but I just wanted
23 to emphasise that the main concern of the court is for
24 events which happened in 1991.
25 The Prosecutor may proceed.
1 Examined by MR. NIEMANN
2 Q. If your Honour pleases. Dr. Wheeler, you are
3 a historian currently employed as Head of Division of
4 Humanities in the School of European and International
5 Studies at the University of Derby?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. You were educated at the University of
8 Michigan in the United States, and then you did a PhD
9 at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom?
10 A. That is also correct.
11 Q. You lectured at the in Yugoslav Studies at
12 the University of Lancaster between 1975 and 1983.
13 A. Yes, indeed.
14 Q. And in 1983 did you move to the School of
15 Slovonic and East European Studies at the University of
16 London, where you taught modern, eastern European,
17 Balkan and Yugoslav history until 1994?
18 A. I did.
19 Q. And has your scholarly research and
20 publications centred on Yugoslavia, especially during
21 the Second World War?
22 A. It has.
23 Q. Were you appointed by the British Cabinet
24 Office to write the official history of the Special
25 Operations Executive in wartime Yugoslavia?
1 A. I was.
2 Q. In 1994 did you become Programme Manager for
3 the Former Yugoslavia with the charity "Help Aid
5 A. That is correct, I did.
6 Q. And in 1996 did you become project director
7 in Sarajevo Institute of War and Peace Reporting?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. In March 1997 did you become Chair of the
10 Media Experts Commission established by the Joint
11 Implementation Committee on Elections in the United
12 Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern
13 Slavonia, Birinja and Western Srem?
14 A. I did.
15 Q. In addition to the three years you spent
16 working in the former Yugoslavia, have you lived and
17 studied in the former Yugoslavia?
18 A. I have indeed.
19 Q. Have you visited one or more of the
20 Yugoslavia Republics at least twice each year since
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you speak the Yugoslavia language?
24 A. I speak Serbo-Croat.
25 Q. Now, is your evidence based upon your
1 personal knowledge and drawn from your own work and
2 that of other recognised scholars in this field?
3 A. I certainly hope so.
4 Q. Have you based your research on conversations
5 with knowledgeable persons and documents made available
6 to you by the Office of the Prosecutor?
7 A. I have.
8 Q. And since 1980 have you published numerous
9 books and articles?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Would you look at the curriculum vitae that
12 is now handed to you and can you confirm that this is
13 your curriculum vitae? (Handed)
14 A. Yes, that is my CV.
15 Q. I tender that, if your Honours please.
16 Might it be marked with the first exhibit
17 number of the Prosecution?
18 Is that acceptable to your Honour? Okay.
19 Dr. Wheeler, having regard to what his Honour
20 said about moving as quickly as possibly we can to the
21 events in 1991, I would just ask you if, briefly, you
22 can tell us, was there any ethnic persecution adopted
23 by the participants in the Second World War in the
24 former Yugoslavia in this particular area?
25 A. Well, there certainly was. It was notable
1 that what took place during the Second World War in
2 Yugoslavia was unique in terms of the scale and the
3 ferocity of the carnage. South Slavs had occasionally
4 fought each other before 1941, but never on the scale
5 that took place in the Second World War.
6 Q. What was the approach of the Yugoslavia
7 Communists to the national question during the Second
8 World War?
9 A. Well, the Yugoslavia Communist Party sought
10 to use the national question as one of the vehicles by
11 which they both pursued a successful resistance policy
12 and ultimately installed themselves in power and, they,
13 contrary to the failures of their rivals and opponents,
14 actually made the national question one of the most
15 successful of the planks that they offered in order to
16 achieve power.
17 Q. Can you describe the nature of the ethnic
18 violence during the Second World War?
19 A. Well, the precipitating event in terms of the
20 violence amongst south Slavs was the German
21 installation in power in Zagreb of the Ustasha
22 terrorist organisation. The Ustasha was a fascist
23 outfit which had been founded in 1929, had been
24 patronised principally by Italy and Hungary before the
25 Second World War, but then was put in power by Hitler,
1 and the Ustashe under Ante Pavelic determined very soon
2 after achieving power in April 1941 that it was going
3 to ethnically purify Croatia, doing so by expelling
4 roughly a third of the Serb or other so-called
5 "Oriental" parts of the population, converting a third
6 of the Serb minority to Roman Catholicism and simply
7 butchering the remaining third, and this actually set
8 in motion what became a rather more widespread series
9 of persecutions and reprisals amongst the south Slav
10 peoples, but the motor force came from the Ustasha
11 policy of genocide in the vastly expanded war-time
12 Croatian state.
13 Q. How did the Communists deal with the legacy
14 of the fracticidal strife?
15 A. Well, after the Second World War the
16 Communist line was that what had happened in terms of
17 internecine strife in the course of the Second World
18 War had really been entirely the fault of the occupying
19 powers, or of their lackeys amongst the old order, the
20 respective bourgeoisies of the Serbs, Croats,
21 Slovenians and so forth, and as a consequence it had
22 nothing to do with them and nothing to do with the new
23 workers' state that was in the process of formation.
24 So, by and large what the Communists did was
25 to try and draw a line under what had happened in the
1 Second World War and caused people, to the maximum
2 possible extent, to forget it.
3 Later on this, of course, would be seen as
4 having been something of a mistake because there was no
5 process of expurgation or reconciliation following the
6 war. There was -- people felt that they somehow were
7 being forced to forgive and forget in a way which left
8 some of their wounds untreated, unbound-up.
9 Q. How did Tito set up his constitutional
10 structure after the Second World War?
11 A. Well, the Yugoslavia Communists had a very
12 definite model in mind, ever since the early years of
13 the 19th century, Stalin, who was supposed to be
14 the great communist expert in national question
15 matters, had decreed that multinational states should
16 be national in form but socialist in content. What
17 this meant in the case of the Yugoslavia Communists
18 coming to power in 1944 was that they had a ready-made
19 model in front of them in the federal structure of the
20 Soviet Union.
21 Of course, in other words, the Republics and
22 autonomous provinces were effectively decorative in
23 function, the party had no intention whatsoever of
24 relinquishing its monopoly of power, but the national
25 particularities, the national sensibilities of the
1 various peoples in Yugoslavia, as had been the case
2 earlier in the Soviet Union, was to be massaged or
3 otherwise propitiated by the manufacture of a spurious
5 Q. How did the federal Yugoslavia structure
6 change over the years from World War II?
7 A. Well, contrary to what either the Yugoslavia
8 Communists, or Stalin for that matter, had envisaged,
9 instead of things working out according to the foremost
10 architectural principle of function following form, in
11 fact in Yugoslavia it worked the other way around and
12 form followed function. That is, the various Republics
13 over the years, contrary to Communist expectations,
14 acquired more and more effective power, more and more
15 autonomy. Their respective republican Communist parties
16 became more and more inclined to look upon the other
17 Communist parties as rivals, and this was a process
18 which effectively began in the early 1960s and was then
19 consummated in the 1974 constitution which in many
20 respects turned the Yugoslav Federation into what
21 amounted to a confederation.
22 Q. Dr. Wheeler, when you are speaking would you
23 kindly speak as slowly as you possibly can because the
24 interpreters have to translate into a number of
25 languages and they have a very difficult task. If you
1 can assist us by speaking slowly, we would be very
3 A. I will try.
4 Q. Dr. Wheeler, you mentioned the 1974
5 constitution. Did this constitution have any effect on
6 the JNA?
7 A. Yes. In the early 1970s the national question
8 and the dangers of the national question had become so
9 manifest that Tito had been up-lodged in the case of
10 the so-called mass "pok" or mass movement in Croatia,
11 to threaten the use of the army to preserve and protect
12 the achievements of socialism, and of course guarantee
13 the Party's monopoly of power and Party's unity.
14 As a result of this experience in 1971/72,
15 the 1974 constitution actually specified that the
16 Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA, besides having the
17 duty of defending the country, had the duty of
18 defending the socio-political order, that is Communist
20 Q. How did the 1974 constitution work in
21 practice, both before and after Tito died?
22 A. Well, before Tito died -- I should say at the
23 outset that one of the purposes of the 1974
24 constitution had been to create a system which would
25 outlast Tito himself. In other words, it was
1 a constitution designed to do away with the need for
2 another Tito. It was designed to cope with the
3 cessation and create a system that would be somehow
4 almost a perpetual-motion machine which would be
5 mutually self-sustaining, mutually-supporting, and it
6 appeared, in fact, while Tito was alive, to work, but
7 that, of course, was precisely the problem. It worked
8 only because Tito was still alive. It worked because he
9 was there to serve as an arbiter, as a final judge in
10 all matters of dispute between the various Republics,
11 between various other economic or social or
12 geographical interest groups, and therefore, the fact
13 that the constitution posed very basic problems was
15 Upon Tito's death, however, these problems
16 all became obvious. The high judge rule that Tito had
17 formerly played was no longer there, of course, the
18 collective presidency that succeeded him almost always
19 proved incapable of coming to any sort of effective
20 consensus, and perhaps in some senses most importantly
21 the good times that had characterised the 1970s in
22 Yugoslavia, ever-rising standards of living,
23 ever-increasing foreign borrowing, these good times
24 came to an end and so the coincidence of Tito no longer
25 being there to play pater familiaris or stern patriarch
1 as required, and then the economy going bad, emphasised
2 the failures of this, or the incapacity of this,
3 constitutional system.
4 Q. Dr. Wheeler, what is the "SJMU memorandum" and
5 what is its significance?
6 A. Well, in 1986 a subcommittee of the Serbian
7 Academy of Sciences and Arts, that is SJMU, produced
8 a draft memorandum effectively describing the state of
9 Serbia. I mean that is the condition of Serbia, within
10 the Yugoslav Federation, and bemoaning the depths to
11 which it had fallen, bemoaning in particular the
12 ever-greater demographic alienation of Kosovo, that is
13 the departure of Serbs and Montenegrins and the
14 ever-expanding Albanian majority, bemoaning the fact in
15 which the economic system in Yugoslavia seemed to work
16 against Serbia.
17 In any case, this memorandum, although
18 existing only in draft form, was published, and in
19 a sense it came a catalyst for demonstrating how much
20 of a sense of angst, disapproval, despair, existed
21 amongst a significant part of the Serbian
22 intelligentsia and therefore potentially amongst the
23 Serbian masses as well, about the way in which
24 Yugoslavia after Tito was moving.
25 This demonstration of a popular mood had
1 a profound effect on the career of one rising
2 "aparatchnik" in the Serbian party, that is Slobodan
3 Milosevic who, although initially condemning the SJMU
4 memorandum did, eventually, saw the way the wind was
5 blowing and used it effectively as a vehicle whereby he
6 came gradually to substitute a Serbian nationalist
7 agenda for the old socialism or communism.
8 Q. To what extent did people see a relevance or
9 legacy of the Second World War in the early 1990s?
10 A. Well, as the Yugoslav Communist system
11 atrophied, as the Cold War ended, and as events in
12 eastern Europe -- elsewhere in eastern Europe showed
13 what the fate of Communist regimes was likely to be,
14 there was a general de-legitimisation or crisis of
15 confidence, crisis of legitimacy for the Communist
16 regime in Yugoslavia. The Serbs in particular had been
17 spending the previous several years attacking the
18 legacy of Tito and Tito himself. In a sense, what this
19 meant was that people were increasingly coming to
20 disbelieve all the old Communist orthodoxies that had
21 prevailed and in this vacuum of belief, nationalism, as
22 I already hinted, was becoming the new faith, but along
23 with it was a desire to take up the national struggle
24 that had prevailed during the Second World War.
25 In other words, the Communists, having spent
1 40 years telling the people of Yugoslavia that the
2 victory of the socialist revolution in the Second World
3 War was the answer to all of their needs, the answer to
4 all of their prayers, if I can even say that, there was
5 this tendency, throughout Yugoslavia, to, in fact,
6 embrace the devil that the Communists had previously
8 In other words, everything that the
9 Communists had said, even though in many cases it was
10 in historical terms true, was disbelieved, and in this
11 climate of Communist failure, change throughout eastern
12 Europe, the rendering of Yugoslavia as a state
13 ever-more insignificant because of the end of the Cold
14 War, people in a sense abandoned their previous beliefs
15 and looked for new ones. Well, nationalism was the new
16 one, and the big nationalist issue, of course, was what
17 had happened or not happened in the Second World War.
18 Q. What brought about the downfall of the
19 Yugoslavia Communist party?
20 A. Well, that also, of course, was tied in with
21 the pattern of events generally in eastern Europe, but
22 in the specific Yugoslav circumstances it all had to do
23 with what had become the principal plank of Milosevic's
24 rise to supremacy in Serbia, which was the so-called
25 "reunification" of Serbia, that is getting rid of the
1 autonomy of the formerly autonomous provinces of Kosovo
2 and Vojvodina and the way in which, in order to appease
3 him, the other republican parties had, during 1988 and
4 1989, effectively conspired to let him get away with
6 What this meant was that an increasingly
7 large number of the populus in the non-Serb-controlled
8 Republics saw what was going on with the giving-way to
9 Milosevic as an indication of their own party's
10 inability to defend their own republican interests.
11 What I am trying to get around to saying, of
12 course, is that in January 1990 at the 14th and last
13 Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, the
14 Slovenes first and then the Croats walked out, in
15 a sense breaking with the Party and therefore
16 destroying the Party, in recognition of their own
17 previous errors in having accommodated Milosevic's
18 drive for the re-unification of Serbia, the fear, of
19 course in the non-Serb republics being that, "Today it
20 is Kosovo and Vojvodina and Montenegro", tomorrow it is
21 going to be us that are going to fall victim to Serb
23 Q. Why did Yugoslavia find itself having
24 multi-party elections in 1990?
25 A. Well, the Communist parties in Slovenia and
1 Croatia, having broken with the Federal Party, needed
2 to achieve for themselves new democratic mandates, and
3 so they embraced multi-party elections, fully
4 expecting, of course, to win them, but in both cases
5 they were mistaken.
6 Q. What was the result of the 1990 elections in
8 A. In Croatia, very much contrary to the
9 expectation of the would-be reformed and re-named
10 League of Communists of Croatia, a new party headed by
11 Franjo Tudjman, that is the Croatian Democratic Union,
12 the HDZ, won the elections, not because it won an
13 overall number of the popular votes but because the
14 "first past the post", electoral system meant that it
15 could win an overwhelming majority of the seats in the
16 "Sabor", the Croatian Parliament, on something like 41
17 or 42 per cent of the votes. This had been a system
18 which the Communists or the former Communists in
19 Croatia had thought would work to their benefit. In
20 fact, it worked to Tudjman's benefit.
21 Q. What was the reaction by the Serbs in Croatia
22 to the Tudjman regime?
23 A. The Serbian reaction in Croatia was one, by
24 and large, of profound alarm. The Serb minority in
25 Croatia, like Serbs in Bosnia or the Serbs in Kosovo,
1 and Vojvodina before that, of course, had been
2 profoundly affected by the whipping-up of hysteria
3 which Milosevic had used in the late 1980s to push
4 through what he liked to call his "anti-bureaucratic
5 revolution", and of course the mass media based in
6 Serbia had helped Milosevic in this regard.
7 In fact, they had been the principal agents
8 of his campaign of radicalising Serbs, getting Serbs
9 terribly excited about what their likely fate would be,
10 making them demand, whether they were in Serbia or
11 elsewhere in Yugoslavia, some sort of effective
12 unification, and so the advent of Tudjman to power,
13 whose campaign rhetoric had been incautious to say the
14 least, convinced a tremendous number of Serbs,
15 especially those Serbs in Croatia who inhabited the
16 rather backward, poverty-stricken rural areas who had
17 been most greatly affected by the Ustasha genocide in
18 the Second World War. This was sufficient to convince
19 them, in fact, that the Ustasha was back in power and
20 that Franjo Tudjman was no more and no better than Ante
21 Pavelic had been in 1941.
22 Q. What policies were being pursued by Slobodan
23 Milosevic concurrent with this?
24 A. Well, of course what Milosevic was busy doing
25 in 1990 and 1991 was seeking to discover how much of
1 the Yugoslav Federation he could come to control, and
2 the Serb minority in Croatia or the Serb minority in
3 Bosnia, or Serbs, wherever they might be, were his
4 vehicles for seeking to expand the realm of his power.
5 At the same time, of course, as it becomes
6 obvious that the game of increasing Serb power would be
7 very more easily pursued if the Slovenes were no longer
8 a part of the picture, Milosevic is dropping hints
9 everywhere that Slovenia's eventual secession would be
10 easily accommodated. At the same time, of course,
11 Milosevic is also seeking to secure his position in
12 what at that stage was still seen as the principal
13 bulwark of the Yugoslav state, and that is the Yugoslav
14 People's Army.
15 Q. And what was the role of the Yugoslav's
16 People's Army at this time?
17 A. Well, when, in the summer of 1990, popular
18 rebellions break out in the Serb uninhabited pale of
19 Croatia, that is areas in northern Dalmatia, Lika,
20 Kordun, when Serb rebellions take place there, local
21 Serb communities erecting barricades, taking over
22 police stations, that sort of thing, the JNA is around,
23 providing weapons, providing advice,
24 providing encouragement.
25 This was, at this point, probably something
1 that did not reflect -- did not necessarily reflect --
2 an overall view of the high command, but it reflected
3 the extent to which there was a growing co-mingling,
4 a growing community of interest between the JNA and the
5 Milosevic regime.
6 Q. Perhaps we might, if we could, have a look at
7 a map on the screen, B2-6, and I have a hard copy of
8 this that I can tender too, if your Honours please. The
9 Defence have been provided with a copy. There is a copy
10 there for your Honours. (Map shown)
11 Dr. Wheeler, do you recognise the map that now
12 appears on the screen in front of you?
13 A. Yes, indeed. That is a map, although the
14 reproduction on the video scene is not very good, which
15 shows the pattern of Serb settlement in the Republic of
16 Croatia. The darker blue indicates areas with Serb
17 majorities, the lighter blue indicates areas where
18 there are large Serbian minorities.
19 Now, that pattern of settlement to some
20 degree corresponds with the boundaries of the old
21 Hapsburg military frontier, something which had been
22 set up by the Hapsburgs, in the 15th and 16th centuries
23 as a bastion of south-east defence against the Turks.
24 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, I tender that, your Honour.
25 A. The significant thing that should be borne in
1 mind, however, about the map, is that the areas of
2 Serbian absolute majorities were very sparsely
3 populated regions, by and large, and so that in
4 a territorial sense, the Serb-inhabited, or Serb
5 majority-inhabited areas of Croatia were large, but in
6 a population sense they were very small. Most Serbs
7 lived in not in those areas but rather in Croatia's big
9 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask the Defence
10 counsel whether he objects to this map being regarded
11 as exhibit number 2, exhibit number 1 being the
12 statement of Dr. Wheeler. Any objection? Sorry, CV.
13 MR. FILA: Your Honour, I have no objections
14 as to the admission of the CV of Mr. Wheeler. I have
15 looked at the maps and they are all authentic and we
16 accept them as such. My expert witness, an historian,
17 will bring his maps. Thank you.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. So we will have
19 this as exhibit number 2.
20 MR. NIEMANN: Dr. Wheeler, you touched upon the
21 attitude of Slobodan Milosevic to cessation by
22 Slovenia. What was his attitude to Croatian cessation?
23 A. Well, that was more complicated, and it
24 probably is safe to say that it evolved with time.
25 Milosevic, I think, can be regarded as having -- well,
1 in political terms, of course, Milosevic is and remains
2 an opportunist of the highest degree, which means that
3 he goes after whatever is possible. There may have been
4 a time in the late 1980s when he thought he could
5 actually Serbianise or exert control over all of the
6 Yugoslav Federation. It became obvious, however, over
7 the months that this was not going to be possible, and
8 he had to accommodate himself to smaller ambitions.
9 In a sense, ridding the Yugoslav Federation
10 of the highly troublesome, because western-orientated,
11 and very self-confident Slovenes, who, of course, did
12 not have any Serbian minority on their territory, was
13 going to make it easier to deal with the remaining
14 Republics where there were large Serbian minorities.
15 The principle which gradually became the dominant one
16 as far as Milosevic was concerned was that it was fine
17 if other Republics wanted to leave Yugoslavia, as long
18 as they did not take any Serbs with them. So, in other
19 words, the areas where Serbs lived must remain inside
21 Milosevic, on the other hand, never imagined
22 until probably late 1991, early 1992, that he was going
23 to have any trouble convincing the Muslims of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina that they should stay inside
25 Yugoslavia. They were rather left out of his
1 calculations until late in the day.
2 Q. In your opinion, what was Milosevic's
3 attitude -- sorry, in your opinion, was Milosevic's
4 attitude compatible with the maintenance of the
5 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a whole?
6 A. No, indeed it was not. Slobodan Milosevic was
7 the first of the secessionists in Yugoslavia. He was
8 the first person, effectively, to embark upon
9 destroying the Yugoslav Federation. What was too clever
10 about his tactics is that he announced possibly, or
11 proclaimed from every possible pulpit that he was the
12 arch defender of Yugoslavia, when in fact ever since
13 embarking on the destruction of Kosovo and Montenegro
14 and Vojvodina in 1988 and 1989 he was the man who was
15 destroying Yugoslavia.
16 Q. What was the progress of Croatian
17 independence during the early part of 1991?
18 A. Well, the Croats proceeded rather haltingly.
19 On the one hand they were vastly aware of the dangers
20 of getting out of step with the Slovenes, the Slovenes
21 having decided in a great national referendum in
22 December of 1990 that they would declare their
23 independence, or rather, as they spoke at the time,
24 "seek disassociation", from Yugoslavia, if the country
25 were not transformed into a loose federation or a loose
1 association of sovereign republics by June of 1991.
2 The Slovenes rather set the agenda thereby
3 for the Croats, and Tudjman, who came to power in
4 April/May 1990 without any effective armed forces, not
5 even with a police force that in fact he could trust to
6 do his bidding, he was obliged to allow the Slovenes to
7 set the pace.
8 The Slovenes, on the other hand, were vastly
9 more prepared for asserting their sovereignty than the
10 Croats were, but the Croats, nonetheless, could not run
11 the risk of being left out on a limb by themselves and
12 therefore subjected, as they thought solely, to the
13 potential opposition of the regime in Belgrade or the
14 JNA. So they marched in step with the Slovenes,
15 although they did not hold their independence
16 referendum until the middle of May 1991; in other
17 words, only just a month before the eventual
18 declaration of independence on 25th June 1991.
19 But it is fair to say that when Croatia
20 declared its independence it did not know how it was
21 going to actually make good on that declaration, unlike
22 the Slovenes.
23 Q. And I assume it is obvious from what you say,
24 but what was the result of the May 1991 referendum on
25 independence, Croatian referendum on independence?
1 A. Yes. The overwhelming majority of those who
2 voted, voted in favour of independence, although again,
3 not all the options were being excluded.
4 The Croats, like the Slovenes before them,
5 certainly continued to see circumstances in which
6 a Yugoslavia reformed to their taste would be one in
7 which it might be advantageous for them to live. This
8 certainly was the tenor of popular opinion, both in
9 Slovenia and Croatia.
10 Now, Tudjman himself personally was always
11 much more of an ardent proponent of fully-fledged
12 independence than many other people and his Party, or
13 for that matter, many other people in Croatia were, but
14 he was prepared to go slowly.
15 Q. When did Milosevic accept that Croatian
16 secession was inevitable and what was his attitude to
18 A. Well, one can cite various points at which
19 Milosevic accepts the notion that the Croats possess
20 the right to secede, to go their own way. He was saying
21 rather frequently that in the early months of 1991, but
22 of course there was always the caveat, there was always
23 the exception. The Croats were free to go, but they
24 were not free to take any Serb-inhabited territory with
25 them, and of course it was up to him, that is Slobodan
1 Milosevic and his loyal Serb followers in Croatia, at
2 that time in Croatia in particular, if we are talking
3 about Croatia in particular, to define what that
4 territory was.
5 Some of it, of course, might be thought, if
6 you think back to that map we looked at before, as
7 being obviously, from an ethnographic point of view,
8 indisputably Serb, but Milosevic and his minions were
9 not, of course, ready just to stop at that. I mean,
10 they wanted more, and one of the most common Serb
11 definitions of what it was they expected to get out of
12 a Croatia that left the Yugoslav Federation was a line
13 from Karlobag on the coast through Ogulin, Karlovac, to
14 Virovitica near the Hungarian frontier. In other
15 words, that would have been an amputation of a huge
16 part of Croatia, much of which, of course, was
17 inhabited by Croats rather than Serbs.
18 MR. NIEMANN: And it perhaps might assist if
19 you could point that out to us on a map as best you
20 can, and if we could have on the computer screen B-1-1,
21 and I have also copies of that which I can make
22 available to your Honours.
23 A. I will try this map.
24 Is the technician capable of pointing out
25 Karlobag? I cannot see it on my map. There is an arrow
1 somewhere there. Oh, I did that myself.
2 Q. Perhaps we have got the arrow. If that could
3 be just zoomed in on?
4 A. Roughly we are talking about this line here.
6 Q. If you could just put your pointer to it,
7 Doctor, I will ask the assistance of the technician and
8 see whether he could mark it for us at that point.
9 A. I cannot even read -- I cannot see the
10 islands, unfortunately, so I cannot actually read. It
11 is opposite the island of Pag, you will see Karlobag.
12 Q. Without necessarily being too precise...
13 A. All right. Without being too precise, if you
14 can see my arrow, here it is.
15 Q. Thank you. And I think you have mentioned the
16 names of the towns which will assist us if we have to
17 go back to look at that.
18 A. That was --
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry to interrupt you. May
20 I ask Mr. Fila whether he would object to this map being
21 tendered as exhibit number 3?
22 MR. FILA: I have objections as to the
23 authenticity of that. That was what Milosevic had
24 said -- I am sorry, Seselj, not Milosevic, but that is
25 something to be discussed later on.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Exhibit 3.
2 A. Yes, I did not actually say that Milosevic
3 had defined this as his ideal, I said it was a common
4 expression, and in these months of early 1991, the
5 Serbian press was full of speculations about the extent
6 of the territory which ought to be carved out of
7 Croatia, and this was one of the more common, if it has
8 to be admitted, extreme versions of what a greater
9 Serbian state in Croatia should encompass.
10 MR. NIEMANN: And are you able to agree with
11 what Mr. Fila said, that it was one of the proponents of
12 this view was, in fact Seselj? I am sorry, did you
13 hear my question?
14 A. You were asking me -- yes, indeed, Seselj was
15 notorious for having propagated the notion that
16 Serbia's borders should coincide with wherever a Serb
17 was buried. This of course gave rise at the time to
18 lots and lots of rather amusing jokes about how great
19 "greater Serbia" should be.
20 Seselj, of course, was also at this time --
21 Seselj was effectively an ally of Milosevic, hoovering
22 up the extreme nationalist Serb vote for his radical
23 party that would have regarded Milosevic as a former
24 Communist, as someone who was an anathema to them. He
25 was a sort of a stalking horse for Milosevic.
1 Q. Turning now to Eastern Slavonia, what impact,
2 if any, did the Second World War have on this region?
3 A. Well, Eastern Slavonia was contained in the
4 Ustashe state, the independent state of Croatia, so
5 therefore Serbs in that part of the world were
6 subjected to many of the same persecutions as took
7 place elsewhere in the independent Croatian state, but
8 it should be said that it was not an area, unlike, for
9 example, parts of north-western Bosnia or Herzegovina
10 which were notorious for containing large numbers
11 either of rabid Croatian nationalists, or, for that
12 matter, extreme Serb nationalists.
13 Given the topography of the region, in other
14 words it being very flat, nor was there an area where
15 there was any significant resistance activity, it was
16 not suited to it, but on the other hand, both Eastern
17 Slavonia and Vojvodina were certainly notable,
18 "granaries", support bases for the partisan movement
19 in the Second World War.
20 Q. Now, following the Second World War, was
21 there a German population resident in this part of
22 Eastern Slavonia and if so, what happened to them?
23 A. Yes. Banat, Backa and Eastern Slavonia had,
24 together, a German minority of some half million
25 persons before the Second World War.
1 At the end of the war that German minority
2 either fled or later was expelled on the same pattern
3 as, of course, happened in large parts elsewhere in
4 eastern Europe, the so-called Sudeten Germans in
6 Q. And after they left, what happened then?
7 A. Well, this was significant because it
8 freed-up large amounts of extremely fertile land and
9 prosperous villages for resettlement by impoverished
10 Yugoslavs from the "dinorek" or so-called passive
11 regions of the country. This meant in the particular
12 instance of Eastern Slavonia that large numbers of
13 Serbs from northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun, came into
14 Eastern Slavonia and large numbers of Croats from
15 Herzegovina came in and these were people who, contrary
16 to the equanimity or almost sort of political passivity
17 which was notable in these sort of "fat" regions of
18 Yugoslavia, these were people who tended towards more
19 political zealotry, and certainly many commentators
20 appear to think that interethnic relations,
21 particularly relations between Serbs and Croats, were
22 adversely affected by the arrival of these "mountain
23 men" and their families after the Second World War.
24 Q. And what is the, or what was the ethnic
25 composition of the Vukovar municipality?
1 A. In the 1991 census, the Vukovar municipality
2 had a population of a little over 84,000. 43.7 per cent
3 of these were Croats, 37.4 per cent were Serbs,
4 7.3 per cent were Yugoslavs by declaration, and the
5 ethnic complexity, continuing ethnic complexity of the
6 region is shown by the fact that the "others" figure is
7 is 11.6 per cent, "others", being Muslims, Hungarians
8 Ruthenes, Slovaks, all manner of people such as had
9 been planted in that part of the world by the Hapsburg
10 monarchy in previous centuries.
11 MR. NIEMANN: I now ask if the map B1-5 could
12 be brought up on the screen, and I also have copies of
13 this map to make available to your Honours, and I seek
14 to tender it as well.
15 Again, it is a map which has been provided to
16 the Defence. Perhaps you might just show it to Mr. Fila,
17 just to confirm that it is the one he has. (Handed)
18 Might it be marked, "Exhibit 4", "P4"?
19 Mr. Fila -- oh, Mr. Fila consents. I tender
20 that, your Honours.
21 Before I do that, just looking at the map
22 that you have now been shown; and which appears, also,
23 on the television screen, can you tell me what that map
25 A. Well, it is a map of Eastern Slavonia, and
1 Western Srem, that part of Croatia. It does not
2 actually show the municipal boundaries which is -- or
3 perhaps it does. I cannot distinguish them, in any
4 case. If the purpose of the question is to ask me to
5 describe the Vukovar municipality, I suppose I could
6 say that it was extremely large in geographical terms.
7 All Yugoslavia municipalities tended to be physically
8 large, even if their populations were not large, and
9 when we talk -- when I mentioned before that Vukovar
10 had a population of 84,000, that was the entire
11 district, which ranged from Ilok which you will see in
12 the far east of the map on the Danube, and the
13 municipality extended virtually to the gates of Osijek
14 in the north-west, so it was a considerable distance,
15 40 or 50 kilometres.
16 Q. Osijek is up to the north of the map?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you have mentioned Ilok and Osijek,
19 Vukovar, of course, being in about the centre as the
21 A. That is right.
22 Q. And how far to the west does the opstina go?
23 A. The Vukovar opstina goes up beyond Trpinja,
24 if we find the main -- it goes just about up to where
25 -- you see on the map the "klisa" is an aerodrome. In
1 fact, that is the border of the municipality. I can now
2 distinguish what it is.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. So it encompasses villages like Trpinja,
6 MR. NIEMANN: And if that has not been
7 tendered, I tender that, your Honour. I tender that
9 JUDGE CASSESE: This one? Yes. There was no
10 objection from Mr. Fila, so it was -- I said probably
11 the microphone was off, exhibit number 4.
12 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honours please.
13 MR. FILA: No objections. We received it
15 MR. NIEMANN: Dr. Wheeler, I think you have
16 touched on this, but I think you said that the Vukovar
17 region was, in the Yugoslav context, considered fairly
18 prosperous. Is that right?
19 A. Yes, it was, although it had suffered
20 tremendously, like all of Yugoslavia had suffered from
21 the economic whirlwind of the 1980s. It was no longer
22 as prosperous as it had been. This, of course, was
23 a political pre-condition for the break-up generally in
24 Yugoslavia. This sense of break-up was all pervading.
25 Q. When did tensions mount in the Vukovar region
1 and did this manifest itself in Borovo Selo?
2 A. Yes, indeed. Tensions rose in the area
3 considerably later than they had elsewhere in the
4 Serbian pail of settlement in Croatia. In other words,
5 it would have been the summer of 1990 when the
6 so-called log revolution took place in Knin, and it was
7 not until late April, beginning of May, that actual,
8 you know, physical violence was given expression --
9 this is 1991, of course, April/May 1991 -- that
10 violence actually came to Eastern Slavonia.
12 Q. Did any paramilitary groups participate in
13 this build-up of violence and tension?
14 A. This was one of the most distinguishing
15 features about what happened in Eastern Slavonia, and
16 that is that a goodly part of the incitement to
17 violence came from outside.
18 In the spring of 1991 Serbia-based
19 paramilitary groups established themselves in various
20 parts of the eastern Slovene area, around Vukovar,
21 and began seeking to incite the local Serb population
22 to put up barricades, seek to defend themselves from
23 the supposedly rampaging hordes of Ustasha who were
24 coming to slit their throats and generally make
1 Q. Were any of these particular paramilitary
2 groups that were there, were any of them capable of
3 being identified?
4 A. Oh yes. In the early days there were several
5 groups which set themselves up on the north western
6 part of the Vukovar municipality, which seemed to have
7 had separate identities but whose names are not
8 subsequently notorious, and I certainly do not recall
9 seeing them named particularly, but the two most
10 latterly prominent paramilitary groups became
11 established in the area, Seselj, Vojislav Seselj who we
12 mentioned before, his so-called "White Eagles",
13 otherwise known as Chetniks, and otherwise consciously
14 embracing the legacy of the Serb guerrillas of the
15 Second World War. His "White Eagles" or Chetniks set
16 themselves up in Borovo Selo, Arkan, that is
17 Raznjatovic's, Arkan's Tigers set themselves up in the
18 Danube-side town of Erdut, and of course it was not, it
19 seems to me, co-incidental that the great outbreak of
20 violence in Eastern Slavonia that took place on 2nd May
21 occurred -- that is in Borovo Selo, occurred in an area
22 where Seselj's White Eagles had established themselves.
23 Q. There was a matter which I am not sure we
24 covered completely. I might just take you back to it
25 for a second, if I can. You mention that Croatia
1 declared independence on 25th June 1991; was this
2 actually implemented at that time?
3 A. Well, that is a highly technical legal
4 question. Retrospectively, of course, it is obvious
5 that it was implemented. At the time, because of the
6 sudden arrival of the European Community Troika, and
7 the subsequent conclusion on one of their later visits
8 of the Brioni Agreement, early in July, the
9 independence declarations of Slovenia and Croatia were
10 put on ice for three months. There was a moratorium,
12 Now, it is a question of argument whether or
13 not their independence, therefore, was effective or
15 Q. I am not asking you to answer the question.
16 It is just the question of whether they were, in fact,
17 independent. I am just asking you what the progress
19 Now, just going back to where we were when
20 you were talking of the paramilitaries being in this
21 part -- active in this part of Eastern Slavonia, what
22 role did the JNA play in this?
23 A. Well, in Eastern Slavonia, the role of the
24 JNA was very much clearer than it had been in other
25 parts of Croatia earlier. The reason I say that is that
1 the excuse or the explanation given for JNA involvement
2 in various outbreaks of unrest in other parts of
3 Croatia earlier had been that it was there to separate
4 the combatants, impose peace, generally be
5 a peace-keeping force. By the spring of 1991, when
6 trouble comes to Eastern Slavonia, this pretence of
7 even-handedness on the part of the JNA had really
8 broken down, and the JNA was interposing itself not in
9 the interests of peace so much as in the interests of
10 the Serbian community in that part of the world.
11 It was certainly becoming the case that the
12 paramilitaries we talked about before were becoming
13 integrated with and totally supported by the JNA, which
14 was a pretty good indication of the extent to which the
15 JNA was abandoning any notion of simply trying to keep
16 the peace.
17 Q. When did the siege of Vukovar commence?
18 A. There are various dates given. Much of
19 Vukovar, the centre city of Vukovar was largely cut off
20 from the rest of Croatia by late July, but the actual
21 big offensive on the city, the Croatian-controlled core
22 of the city, began at the end of August. 25th August is
23 the normal date provided. Some people say 19th August.
24 Q. What was the ultimate goal of the siege?
25 A. Well, the goal of the siege was to take
1 Vukovar. In August the local Serb communities had
2 declared their autonomy, in other words, created the
3 second of the new Serb-ruled mini-states in Croatia,
4 and Vukovar had been designated the capital of that
5 mini-state, so taking the city was necessary for
6 political reasons.
7 Of course, the longer the siege lasted, the
8 more -- in other words, the small band of Croatian
9 defenders resisted the onslaught of the Serb JNA
10 forces, then of course it became a matter of prestige.
11 The city had to be taken because it had been invested.
12 A third reason was, of course, that any
13 further progress into Croatia, in other words any
14 greater territorial expansion, would have to have
15 a secure back, rear, and it was necessary to take
16 Vukovar for sound military reasons as well as the
17 political and prestige reasons I already indicated.
18 Q. What Serbian forces were utilised in the
19 attack on Vukovar?
20 A. A wide range of JNA and paramilitary forces
21 took part in the battle. JNA forces coming --
22 commanded, of course, from Serbia, the overall command
23 was in the hands, ultimately from October, of General
24 Zivota Panic, who was commander of the first military
25 district based in Belgrade, but there were also JNA
1 units from Bosnia, even from Montenegro, involved in
2 the battle. The normal estimate is upwards of 30,000
3 JNA troops and paramilitaries were involved in the
4 siege and destruction of the city.
5 Q. And were there any Territorial Defence units
6 deployed in this attack?
7 A. Yes. One of the reasons why Tudjman in
8 Croatia had found himself in such an embarrassing
9 position from the point of view of actually asserting
10 Croatia's independence from June 1991 is that the
11 Territorial Defence in Croatia had been disarmed by the
12 JNA, in the run-up to the elections in Croatia in 1990.
13 What this meant was that the Croat elements
14 of the Territorial Defence did not have any weapons but
15 the JNA ultimately made sure that the Serb part of the
16 Territorial Defence did, and so, the -- there was
17 a residue of what used to be an old mixed Territorial
18 Defence militia in Eastern Slavonia which had been
19 armed by the JNA. Of course part of the core of the
20 defenders, although they had to get weapons later in
21 from elsewhere, they were also remnants, in some cases,
22 of the old Territorial Defence system.
23 Q. What were the Croatian forces confronting in
24 the Serbian forces in the siege?
25 A. Estimates vary. There were between 1,000 and
1 maybe as many as 1,800 Croatian defenders in Vukovar
2 during the height of the siege. In other words, the
3 ratio of attackers to defenders was hideously
4 unbalanced, something like 15 to 1 against the Croat
6 Q. And was there any particular unit, as such,
7 or identified units of the Croatian forces that
8 participated in defending the city?
9 A. Yes. There were three particular elements.
10 The first was the locally-based agglomeration of
11 Territorial Defence and local police.
12 The second was the newly-created Croatian
13 National Guard, the ZNG, "Zbor Narodne Garde", which
14 had been created in the summer of 1991. It managed to
15 get a few units into Vukovar, and then the third
16 element was the so-called HOS, the Croatian defence
17 forces. They were a Croatian equivalent of the
18 militaries we were talking about before. They were
19 a neofascist paramilitary force which owed its
20 allegiance to Dobroslav Paraga's Party of Right.
21 So the exact numbers are unknown to me,
22 certainly. In other words, the proportions, as between
23 the HOS, that is these paramilitaries, and the
24 locally-based defence forces and the ZNG, which was the
25 creation of a new Croatian army. I am not terribly
1 sure. We know that the HOS forces were the smallest
2 component, but exactly their relationship one to
3 another, I do not know.
4 Q. Was the JNA military campaign or the Serb
5 military campaign in the area at the time limited only
6 to Vukovar, the city of Vukovar, or did it include
7 surrounding towns?
8 A. It certainly did not. It was rather
9 more ambitious than that and this, of course, gave
10 weight to the suggestion that the ambitions of
11 Milosevic and the JNA extended well beyond any areas
12 which had plausible Serb majorities or pluralities.
13 On 25th and 26th August 1991, for example,
14 the JNA and its paramilitary allies over-ran the whole
15 district of Baranja. Baranja was an area that had
16 a very small Serb population, 20, 25 per cent of the
17 population was Serb. The bulk of the population was
18 Croat and Hungarian. Then later on, in the autumn, they
19 moved in on another area with a very small Serb
20 population, which was Ilok, on the Danube. Ilok was
21 a small town, had a Serb population of only 7 per cent
22 or so, overwhelming majority were Croats and a large
23 minority of Slovaks.
24 Both these cases, that is the over-running of
25 Baranja at the end of August and then the taking of
1 Ilok in the middle of October, were notable because of
2 the way in which the JNA itself implemented the policy
3 that would be later called, "ethnic cleansing". In
4 other words, the majority populations were simply got
5 rid of. In the case of Baranja they were allowed to
6 flee or encouraged to flee. In the case of Ilok, which
7 was a small town but crowded with refugees from
8 villages to the south-west of Ilok which had already
9 been cleansed by the JNA, so that this town of
10 something like 9,500 people probably had 12-15,000
11 crowded into it in October of 1991. The JNA simply
12 moved in, issued an ultimatum and ultimately, the -- or
13 largely unarmed Croat majority there, lest they be
14 utterly disarmed and rendered powerless by the JNA,
15 chose to accept the JNA's offer to get out and so they
16 were bussed out by the JNA, which is an interesting
17 example of the army itself manipulating an exercise in
18 large-scale ethnic cleansing.
19 Q. Who ultimately succeeded in the siege of
21 A. Well, of course, the overwhelming force of
22 the JNA was ultimately triumphant, but it can be said
23 quite fairly that the Serbs won the battle but lost the
24 war. The reason being, of course, is that the scenes of
25 the utter and total devastation of Vukovar, the
1 barbarism of it all, combined at the same time with
2 what was happening in Dubrovnik in the southern
3 Adriatic, had the effect of losing the Serbs the
4 propaganda war for the hearts and minds of the outside
5 world, that they had previously been doing rather well
6 in. In other words, Franjo Tudjman's new Croatian
7 regime was very sceptically regarded in large parts of
8 the outside world, but the heroic Croatian defence of
9 Vukovar and the suffering that took place there was
10 going to have the effect of making the Croats look like
11 good guys, and the Serbs like beasts.
12 This, of course, was, in military terms. The
13 Serbs won, but in long-term sense, of course, they lost
14 the propaganda war and then, of course, in 1995 this
15 Serb creation itself, Republika Srpska Krajina, and
16 Milosevic, contrary to what, of course, his role in the
17 creation of this Serb state in Croatia, and Milosevic
18 would not, in 1995, lift a finger to defend these
20 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions, your
22 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask Mr. Fila if he
23 would like to start cross-examination?
24 MR. FILA: If possible I would like to leave
25 it for tomorrow, if not, I am prepared to begin now.
1 We received only half of the translation.
2 I did not have time to advise my client of the contents
3 of the statement. I can, of course, start today, but it
4 would be more preferable for us to begin tomorrow, and
5 in that way, I could advise my client of the statement
6 of the witness.
7 I know I too am in favour of a speedy trial,
8 but we are dealing here with the territory where the
9 accused is coming from.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Well, since we still have
11 almost one hour, we have 57 minutes, because we were
12 expected to stop at quarter past one, I wonder whether
13 you would be so kind as to start now, your
14 cross-examination, for the sake of speeding up the
15 whole trial. Thank you.
16 MR. FILA: Yes, yes. I just wanted to know if
17 it would be possible, but I am ready now.
18 Cross-examined by MR. FILA
19 Q. Mr. Wheeler, in the maps that you have shown
20 us, you have indicated how Serbs moved to the territory
21 of Krajina in the 15th century and earlier. Was there
22 a Croatian state in that territory at that time, or was
23 there another state?
24 A. Well, yes, in theory, there was certainly
25 a Croatian state. After 1102 that Croatian state had
1 come under the Hungarian crown, in an exact
2 relationship which was, of course, endlessly disputed
3 by legal scholars then and subsequently, but yes, there
4 was a Croatian state.
5 Q. But as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us the ratio of the
8 population, the composition of the population at that
9 time, the ratio between Serbs and Croats and what
10 exactly belonged to Croatia? What regions were Croatian
11 regions? Were there some other districts, other regions
12 like Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, or was it all called,
13 "Croatia"? I am referring to the 15th century and
15 A. Well, Croatia at that time was, of course,
16 known as the "Trijun" Kingdom of Croatia, Slovonia and
17 Dalmatia. The coast, much of Dalmatia, of course, was
18 under Venetian rule. The population structure at the
19 time; it was extremely difficult to reconstruct. One of
20 the whole purposes of creating the military frontier
21 from the point of view of the Hapsburgs was to
22 repopulate areas which had been depopulated by virtue
23 of the continuous waging of war between the Hapsburgs
24 and the Ottoman Turks over previous centuries. The idea
25 was to plant a physical barrier of people there, both
1 Croats and Serbs. Serbs coming from the Ottoman empire
2 or from other parts of -- well, from the Ottoman
3 empire, Croats being shipped in and wide numbers of
4 people -- I mean, the variety of people that ended up
5 being quite literally planted there as soldier
6 colonists was extremely great.
7 MR. FILA: Well, this is the first time
8 I hear that there were also Croats there coming from
9 the Ottoman empire.
10 Which Croats came to Vojna Krajina, which
11 Croats were in the area of Vojna Krajina? From which
12 particular region did they come from? I mean, there
13 were not only Serbs?
14 A. Oh no, not obviously Serbs. Croats from civil
15 Croatia and I suspect from Bosnia as well, but I do not
17 Q. You have the right to make assumptions, of
19 After the First World War a state was
20 established. What was the name of that state?
21 A. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was
22 established on 1st December 1918.
23 Q. By the declaration of -- Corfu Declaration?
24 A. The Corfu Declaration was in 1917. That was
25 a statement of the intent, ultimately, to form
1 a Yugoslavia kingdom.
2 Q. Yes, that is right. What were the borders of
3 the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and were
4 they the same as the borders that were established
5 later on in the Tito's Yugoslavia?
6 A. No. The Yugoslav state, the Kingdom of Serbs,
7 Croats and Slovenes came into existence in 1918 without
8 established borders. The borders were not going to
9 finally be established until, in fact, 1921, with the
10 Treaty of Ripolo, which regulated the borders with
11 Italy. The area that we are most concerned with here at
12 this trial, Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem
13 was also an area of dispute. It was only the southern
14 part of Baranja, most of which of course remains in
15 Hungary, was only acquired by the Yugoslav state after
16 what amounted to a considerable military struggle with
17 the Hungarian Bolshevik regime of Belakun at this time.
18 Now, the borders that -- I assume Mr. Fila is
19 asking me about the internal borders. Is that correct?
20 The internal borders established --
21 Q. Yes, internal borders, of course. External
22 borders are a different matter. There were changes
23 and in 1945 there was a considerable change in the
24 territory, in the region of history and so on, but I am
25 here referring to internal borders. I would like to
1 know when they came into existence and how.
2 A. The new Yugoslav state in 1918 was ruled by
3 people who believed that in order to create Yugoslavs
4 out of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the separate
5 national existence of people like Bosnian Muslims or
6 Macedonians or Montenegrins was not recognised at the
7 time, but in order to make Yugoslavs out of Serb,
8 Croats and Slovenes, the state should have the most
9 highly centralised form of government possible. This,
10 after all, at the time, was established good practice
11 in Europe. Regional autonomies, regional devolution
12 were not considered to be good things by progressive
14 The people who put together the new, 1921,
15 Mvitodan Constitution in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats
16 and Slovenes, by and large adopted French precepts, and
17 of course France was a highly centralised state. So the
18 new Yugoslavia was divided --
19 Q. And the national --
20 A. That was the aim. It was not, unfortunately,
21 the reality.
22 Q. When did internal borders come into
23 existence, and I am referring here to the borders of
25 A. The Banovina structure came into existence
1 when King Alexander, in January 1929, established his
2 royal dictatorship and the idea was that the Banovina,
3 or "provinces" would be an appropriate translation in
4 English, that the Banovina would, by -- they were all
5 named after rivers or significant geographical features
6 -- that they would complete the process of effacing,
7 of getting rid of the lingering regional/national
8 identities which the highly centralist royal regime
9 wished to establish and so these Banovina cut across
10 historical boundaries which had come down from the
11 past, so they were an imposition of ideology and what
12 was thought to be sound administrative practice upon
13 geography and history.
14 Q. Was that a wish of King Alexander, was that
15 the idea of creating a Yugoslavia, one nation? Could we
16 put it that way?
17 A. Yes. It certainly was the same of King
18 Alexander Karadjordjevic. The problem, of course, with
19 Alexander's "jugoslavenzvo" Yugoslavism was that it was
20 indistinguishable from his "srpstvo", from his
21 Serbianism; at least that was the problem as far as
22 non-Serbs were concerned.
23 Q. Who represented a minority.
24 Did King Alexander say that the Yugoslav idea
25 would be created, perpetuated through schools and
1 military barracks?
2 A. Yes, indeed, but of course let me take you up
3 on the business of minorities/majorities. All peoples
4 in Yugoslavia after 1918 were minorities. There was
5 never a majority. There was a plurality but never
6 a majority.
7 Q. That is a relative -- yes. Okay. So
8 therefore, could we conclude that the idea of the
9 creation of a Yugoslav nation -- you said that Tito's
10 regime tried to establish that idea, so could we say
11 that that idea actually belonged to King Alexander?
12 A. He was not the progenitor of the notion. The
13 idea of creating a Yugoslav nation was -- but certainly
14 as a ruler, yes, in a sense, you could see a lineal
15 descent, or a connection between the aims of Alexander
16 and the aims of Tito, and that is to put the Yugoslavia
17 state on very firm foundations by enhancing the degree
18 to which the individual peoples embraced a Yugoslav
19 ideology. However, Tito's notion of how one did that
20 was rather different from Alexander's. The King had
21 wished simply to Serbianise the population of
22 Yugoslavia to the maximum possible extent. He was not
23 a brutal man, whereas Tito wished to use socialism,
24 Marxist/Leninist ideology to accomplish the creation of
25 a new Yugoslav man and woman, but at the same time,
1 allowing that person to also be a Serb, a Croat,
2 a Slovene, an Albanian, whatever.
3 Q. Well, one might put it that way.
4 The idea of Yugoslavism, could you tell me,
5 speaking of Tito's Yugoslavia, who declared, which
6 nation declared themselves as Yugoslavs? The reason why
7 I am asking this, and I am here mindful of the court's
8 time, the reason why I am asking you is the difference
9 in the census between 1971 and 1991, because one -- the
10 number of Yugoslavs decreased in the meantime, so could
11 you just explain to us what declared themselves as
12 Yugoslavs in Tito's Yugoslavia?
13 A. There were several reasons why people would
14 opt to declare themselves as Yugoslavs. The common was
15 simply that they were the products of mixed marriages
16 and therefore it was not possible -- it was easier to
17 say you were a Yugoslavian if your mother was a Muslim
18 and your father was a Serb, for example.
19 You mentioned 1971. This is an interesting
20 case. The number of --
21 Q. The census of 1981.
22 A. Well, I believe that 1971 was mentioned as
23 well, because we see an up and down. The 1971 census
24 saw a vast increase in the number of declared Yugoslavs
25 in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of
2 The number of Yugoslavs in the 1981 census
3 was also very healthy because it came immediately after
4 Tito's death and it is extremely difficult now for
5 citizens of the former Yugoslav Republics to remember
6 how they wept and how terrified they were at the time
7 of what was going to happen when Tito died. So then
8 there is a great increase in the number of Yugoslavs.
9 Now, by, of course, the 1991 census, we have
10 had ten years of nationalist euphoria and the number of
11 Yugoslavs goes right down, and this shows the extent to
12 which, besides being a measure of the degree of mixed
13 marriages, declaration as a Yugoslav was also
14 a creature of political circumstance, and ideological
15 conviction, so there were various reasons.
16 (12.30 pm)
17 Q. Could you be more precise as to the idea of
18 Yugoslavism? Was it more acceptable for Serbs? Could it
19 be said that there were more Serbs who declared
20 themselves as Yugoslavs than Croats, or Macedonians,
21 Muslims, for that matter. Except for people coming from
22 mixed marriages. There I completely agree with you.
23 A. Well, I think in statistical terms the number
24 of Yugoslavs was overwhelmingly the result of the mixed
25 marriage phenomenon which itself, of course, was a very
1 healthy indicator of the degree to which the
2 various south Slav peoples actually communicated in the
3 most basic physical sense, but it would be fair to say,
4 I believe, that more Serbs in most parts of the country
5 found it easier to call themselves Yugoslavs by the end
6 of this, the 20th century, than had been the case with
7 other Yugoslav peoples.
8 Now, if we are talking about the time of
9 1918, there were vastly more Croats than Slovenes who
10 believed that they were Yugoslavs than there were
11 Serbs, but by the late 20th century probably more Serbs
12 were willing to embrace the idea of being Yugoslav
13 than, certainly, Croats were.
14 Q. Were there any problems created by other
15 nations who claimed that the idea of Yugoslavism is
16 just another attempt for Serbs to become even more
17 dominant, to become the chief, the principal nation in
18 Yugoslavia, and again I am referring to Tito's
20 A. Yes, indeed. That was certainly the case that
21 there were nationalists in amongst most of the south
22 Slav peoples, who looked upon Yugoslavia as a vehicle
23 for Serb domination.
24 Equally, of course, there were Serbs who
25 looked upon Yugoslavia as a vehicle for Croat
1 domination, given the fact that Tito was a Croat.
2 Q. Yes, but they did not really promote the idea
3 that they should all become Yugoslavs. I mean, Croat
4 nationalists did not claim that they should all become
5 Yugoslavian Slavs. I mean, they insisted on their being
7 A. Indeed.
8 Q. Since it is the wish of the court to speed up
9 the trial, let me be more precise and come to the
10 point. You spoke about Tito's regime. It is another
11 story, but there is a question here that it is quite
12 important. You have talked about the constitution from
13 1974, constitutional law and then the constitution. Let
14 me ask you; have you read the Croatian constitution?
15 I presume you have.
16 A. The 1990 constitution? No, I have not read
18 Q. No, from 1974 when Yugoslavia transformed
19 itself into...
20 A. I have read the federal constitution of 1974.
21 I have not read the Croatian republican constitution
22 which came at the same time, the new one.
23 Q. So you cannot tell us which nations are
24 constitutive nations in Croatian constitution from
1 A. Oh I certainly can, because this was, you
2 know, a very important issue. The Croatian constitution
3 prior to Franjo Tudjman said that Serbs -- Croats,
4 Serbs and all other nations living on the -- and all
5 the Yugoslav nations I guess it was, living on the
6 territory of the Republic of Croatia are constituent
7 peoples of the Republic of Croatia.
8 Q. Does that mean that Serbs had equal rights as
10 A. Yes. Not only did the -- were Serbs
11 considered to be a founding nation of the Republic of
12 Croatia, but the Croatian constitution, before Tudjman,
13 gave equal rights to the Cyrillic alphabet.
14 Q. To both nations?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Okay. You spoke about the referendum
17 organised by Croatia. Did Serbs participate in that
19 A. No, they did not. They boycotted the
21 Q. Did they maybe hold their own referendum in
22 which they decided to remain within Yugoslavia?
23 A. They did indeed. In August of 1990, Serbs in
24 the then Serb-controlled parts held their own
1 Q. And what did they decide on that referendum?
2 A. Well, as you said, Mr. Fila, they decided that
3 they would remain inside Yugoslavia.
4 Q. When did they actually disappear from the
5 Croatian constitution?
6 A. This is a complicated issue, because it
7 became involved with Croatia's desire to get itself
8 recognised abroad, and many changes were made in the
9 Croatian constitution. But certainly the draft
10 constitution which Tudjman proposes in the summer of
11 1990, in other words, soon after coming to power,
12 commits the absolutely astonishing political error of
13 demoting the Serbs from the status of a constituent
14 nation of the Republic of Croatia into a "mere"
15 national minority and this, of course, in Yugoslav
16 parlance, which is highly idiosyncratic in these
17 matters, is a big deal.
18 It would not be regarded as something
19 terribly important in other countries, but given the
20 distinction that prevailed in Yugoslavia between
21 nations and national minorities, the nations were the
22 south Slavs, the national minorities were all non-south
23 Slavs. The relegation to the role of a national
24 minority was, of course, seen by Croatian Serbs as both
25 an insult and potentially a threat.
1 Q. Did they become sort of alive amongst the
2 Serbs? Did their fears become more pronounced and you
3 probably are familiar with the case of Jasenovac.
4 A. Well, indeed. I mean, this is why I referred
5 to the draft constitution promoted by Tudjman in the
6 summer of 1990 as a colossal mistake, from his own
7 point of view, because it played into the hands of the
8 hate propaganda which had been coming out of Belgrade
9 for some time, about Tudjman being another Ante
10 Pavelic, another Ustasha "poglavnik", who was going to
11 put all Serbs back in Jasenovac, or some place like it,
12 so yes, the Serbs felt threatened. There is no doubt
13 about that.
14 Q. You know, you must have read or watched
15 something about Jasenovac. What happened in Jasenovac,
16 during the independent state of Croatia, to Serbs?
17 There were quite a few camps in Eastern Slavonia as
18 well and do you know how many people died, perished?
19 A. The exact number of people who perished at
20 Jasenovac is not known, which has meant that it is
21 subject to endless dispute, most of it motivated by
22 extreme nationalist prejudice, hatred, or triumphalism.
23 I mean, Franjo Tudjman himself is a principal example
24 of the way in which the Croats had played a game of
25 trying to diminish the number of victims at Jasenovac,
1 which, of course, were not only Serbs but also Jews,
2 gypsies and anti-fascist Croats, so somebody like
3 Tudjman himself who, before taking up politics, was
4 a rather second-rate historian, Tudjman tried to push
5 the numbers down, whereas of course Serb propagandists
6 have tried to push the numbers up. Croat numbers go
7 down, in the case of Tudjman, to as few as 30,000.
8 And, of course, Serb numbers go up, in the case of
9 Dedijer, for example, they go up to 700,000 at
10 Jasenovac alone. Since Dedijer's death, propagandists
11 have pushed the number up even further.
12 Q. 700,000, yes.
13 A. A good guess would be that probably something
14 like 60-80,000 people died at Jasenovac. It could not
15 really have been more, because first of all it only
16 operated early in the war, the Germans put an end to
17 a large part -- and it was extremely basic, primitive
18 sort of camp. It was not industrialised death, such as
19 the Germans were capable of.
20 Q. Were there any other camps in that territory
21 where Serbs perished, where Serbs were liquidated, run
22 by the independent state of Croatia, and here I do not
23 mean only Serbs but others as well?
24 A. Yes, there certainly were other such camps.
25 Jasenovac was the most notorious but there were others,
1 especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which, of course --
2 most of which was part of the independent state of
3 Croatia. There were camps in Eastern Slavonia as well.
4 As far as I know, they were not -- they did not operate
5 on the scale as the most notorious ones, but I have to
6 admit that I am ignorant of the --
7 Q. But there were such camps.
8 A. There were such camps.
9 Q. Do you know, by any chance -- you said that
10 there was -- that the fact that Tudjman did not mention
11 Serbs in the constitution, that that affected the
12 Serbs, but on the other hand you also mentioned the
13 SANU Memorandum. You probably know that the Serbian
14 Academy of Sciences and Arts never recognised that
15 memorandum as its own document. Is that true?
16 A. Yes, indeed it is true. The memorandum was
17 only a draft, and the manner by which -- yes, a draft,
18 and the manner by which it was published was highly
19 irregular. It was obviously in the interests of -- yes,
20 it was a stolen copy, but it was in the interests of
21 one of the principal authors to have it published. But
22 it had no official character.
23 Q. And the draft of Franjo Tudjman, deleting the
24 Serbs from the official constitution, was that of an
25 official nature?
1 A. That certainly was, yes.
2 Q. Thank you. I am saying this, I am asking
3 this, because the Defence will propose that you see
4 a tape as to what happened to Serbs, I mean, in
5 Jesenovaz, during the war. Since you know that
6 a referendum was held on the status of Serbs, are you
7 aware of the results of the referendum on the territory
8 of the municipality of the Vukovar? Did they declare
9 themselves in favour of remaining within Yugoslavia, or
11 A. This is a referendum when?
12 Q. The referendum that was held by the Serbs.
13 A. In August of 1990? I do not know what the
14 result in Vukovar itself was. This of course -- as long
15 as we are talking about whether things were official
16 and unofficial, the Serb referendum of August 1990 took
17 place over several days. Only Serbs were allowed to
18 participate and it was highly unofficial. But I do not
19 know the result in Vukovar.
20 Q. If I have understood you correctly, Croats
21 took part in the referendum that was carried out by the
22 Croats, and the referendum that was carried out by the
23 Serbs -- it was Serbs who participated in it, is that
24 right? But the results were different. One was in
25 favour of the independent state of Croatia and the
1 others were in favour of remaining within Yugoslavia.
3 A. It is not really possible to equate the two
4 referenda, although -- I mean, in a legal sense,
5 because the Republic of Croatia had an official
6 referendum on 19th May 1991, regarding independence, in
7 which all citizens of Croatia were eligible to vote.
8 The Serbs had, in the summer of 1990, an unofficial
9 referendum organised by themselves in which only Serbs
10 were allowed to express their feelings about their
11 continuation in the Yugoslav state.
12 Q. But you accept that the Serbs, just like the
13 Croats, were constituent people of the state of
14 Croatia. Then they have the same rights, both one and
15 the other.
16 Now let us move on to Vukovar. We will not
17 agree on this. That is quite obvious.
18 You said that the JNA was arming the Serbs,
19 and the Territorial Defence of the Serbs and the
20 Croatian Territorial Defence was disarmed so Croatia
21 did not have any weapons. Who armed Croatia?
22 A. Well, Croatian forces, Croatian police
23 were -- the police were distrusted by Tudjman when he
24 came to power, and of course Croatia had no armed
25 forces of its own, but certainly from the summer of
1 1990 tremendous efforts were made, particularly by the
2 Croatian Defence Minister, Martin Spegelj, to acquire
3 arms, and the Croatian regime bought arms everywhere it
4 possibly could, and engaged in rather imaginative --
5 Q. Hungary, for instance?
6 A. Yes, mostly in Hungary. There was a lot of
7 arms flowing around in eastern Europe at the time,
8 after the demise of the Warsaw Pact.
9 Q. At that point in time, was Croatia an
10 integral part of the Socialist Federal Republic of
12 A. In the second half of 1990?
13 Q. No, when Croatia started importing arms, when
14 the Spegelj affair broke out and when the trial was
15 held in Zagreb. You remember that, do you not?
16 A. The gun-running was all taking place in the
17 second half of 1990. The film exposing Spegelj was
18 broadcast in January of 1991, so the principal arms
19 activity was taking place, arms import activity was
20 taking place --
21 Q. Before?
22 A. Between June and December 1991.
23 Q. And was Croatia a part of the Yugoslav
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. According to the SFRY constitution which you
2 read, are republics allowed to import and smuggle arms?
3 A. I assume not.
4 Q. Thank you. The last time I asked you about
5 the outcome of the Croatian referendum in Vukovar, we
6 mentioned the Serb referendum, and what about the
7 Croatian referendum in Vukovar? How did it fare? What
8 did the population of Vukovar say in the Croatian
10 A. Again, I do not know the figures for Vukovar.
11 The overall result for Croatia I do not know, but I do
12 not know how the vote went in Vukovar.
13 Given the former Communists, the Party of
14 Democratic Change had won the 1990 elections in
15 Vukovar, I would assume that sentiment in favour of
16 independent Croatia may have been slightly less
17 overwhelming in Vukovar. It was overwhelming once.
18 Q. Now let us move on to the actual situation
19 there. Since you know the history there, whose army
20 was the JNA?
21 A. That is a very good question. By the time --
22 Q. What state?
23 A. Exactly. The Yugoslav army is an army without
24 a state.
25 Q. Yugoslav People's Army. When it was
1 established, whose army was it?
2 A. Well, when it was established it was the army
3 of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. There is no doubt
4 about that. In 1991 the problem is that the army is
5 looking for a new state to serve, because the old one
6 has died.
7 Q. The question remains when it ceased to exist,
8 but at any rate, do you know when the Federal Republic
9 of Yugoslavia was formed? Do you know when it was
10 formally established and when the Federal Republic of
11 Yugoslavia was founded, and I am a citizen of that
12 country, by the way.
13 A. Oh, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was
14 not formally established until the summer of 1992.
15 Q. This Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, did it
16 have an army?
17 A. It does now.
18 Q. The JNA? Is it the JNA?
19 A. No, the JNA no longer exist.
20 Q. Thank you very much. That is what I was
21 interested in.
22 At the point when Vukovar was happening, do
23 you know what the national composition, the ethnic
24 composition of the JNA was in the fighting around
1 A. Approximately, yes. About the time --
2 Q. Percentage-wise -- no, sorry, I interrupted
3 you. Sorry.
4 A. What had happened, of course, is that after
5 the JNA incursion into Slovenia and the general trend
6 of political developments, there was a massive
7 desertion on the part of non-Serbs from the JNA, so
8 that by the time the battles begin around Vukovar, the
9 JNA is overwhelmingly Serb in composition. In other
10 words, Slovenes are not there any more, Croats are not
11 there any more, Macedonians are leaving in large
12 numbers. I assume that there was a large desertion
13 rate amongst "kosovars" as well, so both in terms of
14 the officer core but also amongst the ranks of
15 conscripts. The army had by that time, in other words,
16 by the autumn of 1991, become an almost exclusively
17 Serb force.
18 Q. Have you heard of General Kadijevic?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Where is he from?
21 A. General Kadijevic is a product of a mixed
22 marriage, Serb mother and Croat father, or the other
23 way around. He is from Croatia, in any case.
24 Q. Admiral Brovet? Was he a Serb, perhaps?
25 A. Admiral Brovet is a Slovene.
1 Q. So there were some Slovenes in the JNA,
3 A. Oh --
4 Q. And what was the office that Admiral Brovet
6 A. He was Deputy Chief of Staff, I believe, or
7 Deputy Minister of Defence.
8 Q. If a -- that is right. If a Slovene was the
9 deputy head of general staff, that meant that there
10 were some Slovenes in the army. Were there some Croats,
11 perhaps? Do you want me to give you the names of
13 A. I do not want to argue --
14 Q. Exist even until the present? I am just
16 A. Indeed they do exist. Individuals were
17 confronted with absolutely horrible choices about where
18 their loyalties lay, and obviously in many cases,
19 officers -- especially high ranking officers, because
20 I mean, an awful lot of nonsense has been talked about
21 the extent to which the JNA were sort of dominated. At
22 the highest levels it was extremely multinational,
23 because it operated according to the so-called "kljuc"
24 or the so-called ethnic key, so there was a fair
25 proportion of Slovenes, Croats. Not of Albanians, it
1 has to be said, but of Slovenes and Croats at the very
2 top of the army, and these people whose careers, whose
3 privileges, whose whole ideologies, their whole sense
4 of themselves, was tied up in the army, they were in
5 a horrible position, and many of them chose to remain
6 loyal to their institution.
7 Q. Muslim officers and Macedonian officers and
8 soldiers, were they still there at the time or, to put
9 it better, soldiers from Bosnia-Herzegovina, not to
10 mention them specifically as Muslims or Croats?
11 A. They were ever fewer, because in all
12 Republics, including Serbia, as the war developed, more
13 and more young men were refusing to be conscripted, and
14 if they were in the army they were leaving very fast.
15 One of the reasons why the JNA found it so
16 difficult to take Vukovar, and one of the reasons it
17 pursued the sort of battle it did, seeking to destroy
18 the city with artillery rather than simply overrun it
19 with infantry, was because it was so short of manpower,
20 and so fearful that the manpower it did possess was not
21 loyal, and had suffered with the decline and fall of
22 Yugoslavia itself, a catastrophic fall in morale.
23 Q. At the time of the struggle for Vukovar, was
24 there a presidency of the SFRY, and who was on the
25 presidency if it existed in November 1991?
1 A. In November 1991, the presidency -- the
2 federal presidency effectively ceased to operate when
3 Mesic was not -- did not rotate into the presidential
4 chair on 15th May 1991.
5 Eventually, for reasons to do with the
6 international community's insistence that Brioni, that
7 Mesic, Stipe Mesic, the Croat, should succeed to the
8 presidency. He became nominally the president of the
9 presidency, but he was hardly ever in Belgrade. It
10 would have been extremely unsafe for him to have been
11 in Belgrade. The presidency only existed fictionally,
12 not in reality. So if, effectively, the Yugoslav
13 People's Army was without any titular constitutional
14 command. Mr. Kostic was really running the presidency,
15 regardless of Mesic's supposed chairmanship of the
17 Q. Who was on the presidency? Was Tupurkovski so
18 the fighting for Vukovar started in August onwards. Was
19 there a representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. Yes. There was a representative of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but Tupurkovski, and I assume
22 Bogicevic, all stopped going to presidential meetings
23 in the course of the autumn, just as gradually Ante
24 Markovic abandoned his federal premiership. This was
25 a very, very difficult period and chaotic from the
1 point of view of sort of constitutional niceties.
2 Q. At that time, one can say, then, that Ante
3 Markovic was Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, who was
4 coming and who was not coming, but in nominal terms he
5 was Prime Minister, right? And at that time did Mesic
6 say that he was coming to assume that office so that he
7 would break up Yugoslavia, that he would be the last
8 president of Yugoslavia?
9 A. Stipe Mesic said that, certainly, in his
10 memoirs, and I believe he is quoted to that effect in
11 the press. The only time that Stipe Mesic actually
12 tried during this period to exercise his presidential
13 functions was when he was at the head of an armada of
14 ferries, "trijakde", going down in to try and relieve
15 the siege of Dubrovnik in the autumn of 1991 and he
16 claimed, speaking to Stane Brovet on the telephone,
17 that he was commanding the navy, to let his armada
18 through to relieve Dubrovnik.
19 MR. FILA: When did Croats start leaving their
20 offices in the presidency? Do you know exactly when?
21 Your Honour, all of that will be within the
23 A. They gradually left. I mean, Markovic
24 formally resigned in December. Stipe Mesic did not
25 attend any more presidential meetings after one that
1 I think had to take place in September, but the reason
2 why non-Serbs remained in these federal institutions
3 was largely the insistence of the international
4 community, that they should have some residual,
5 recognised Yugoslav state with which to negotiate. It
6 was, in other words, for international purposes, rather
7 than because the federal institutions were any longer
9 Q. Finally, I will conclude by asking you two
10 more questions.
11 According to the 1974 constitution, was the
12 right of peoples to self-determination formulated or of
13 republics? Peoples or republics? The right to
14 self-determination up to secession, or was it
15 prohibited, this right? Was there a theory that it was
16 taken advantage of once, and that that was it?
17 A. The commonest theory, of course, was that it
18 had been taken advantage of once, that at Jajce in
19 November 29th 1943 it had happened, that that was the
20 exercise of national self-determination. This was the
21 second meeting of the anti-fascist council of national
22 liberation in the Bosnian town of Jajce. Now,
23 according to the letter of 1974 constitution, the
24 prologue or the introduction does repeat the right of
25 peoples, "naroda".
1 Q. Yes. Not Republics.
2 A. The right to self-determination, including
3 and up to secession, belongs to the nations, not to the
4 Republics. This is a very odd -- if I might add, this
5 is very odd, given the fact that the entire purport,
6 the entire thrust of the 1974 constitution, in fact,
7 was to empower Republics rather than peoples or
8 nations, but it happens, in this case, Mr. Fila is
9 correct in his implication.
10 Q. Can we agree that Serbs are a people too and
11 that they had that same right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you. When were republican boundaries
14 first mentioned within the SFRY? Because we stopped
15 when we mentioned Banovina, so let us bring this to
16 a conclusion and then when the republican boundaries
17 were established was there some referenda, or did
18 Communists draw these boundaries at their own
19 discretion? In other words, are these boundaries one of
20 the reasons of this senseless bloodshed that occurred
21 in our country?
22 A. Well, arguments over boundaries have
23 certainly become one of the reasons for the bloodshed
24 that has taken place over the past seven years, but
25 there is a real problem in talking about the republican
2 The problem stems from the fact that in
3 a sense, because, as I indicated before in answer to
4 Mr. Niemann, the Communists did not take the republican
5 system in 1946, 45-46 very seriously. It was a national
6 sentiment, rather than any sort of real national power.
7 In other words, the Communists took very
8 seriously indeed the symbolic importance of boundaries,
9 so the boundaries were almost invariably founded on
10 extremely sound historical or ethnographic bases, so
11 the boundaries of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for example, are
12 the historic boundaries of Bosnia-Herzegovina with, in
13 fact, one unusual exception, and that is that in
14 Turkish times, Bosnia had actually had a tiny outlet on
15 to the Bay of Kotor. They lost that in 1946.
16 Q. They lost Sandjak too.
17 A. Well, the Sandjak was actually in a different
18 category, but there were a series of gains and losses.
19 Croatia, since we are interested in the area around
20 Vukovar, Croatia lost Western Srem. That was given to
21 Serbia both on ethnographic grounds, that the
22 predominant population was Serbian, but it was also
23 sensible on geographic grounds to add it to Vojvodina.
24 So there was a violation of historical precedent there
25 on the basis of ethnography and economic rationality.
1 By the same token, Croatia got Baranja then.
2 Baranja had never been part of Croatia, so as Croatia
3 loses Western Srem, gets Baranja. It had effectively
4 been part of Serbia before.
5 So it is a mixture of historical and
6 ethnographic reasons behind the boundaries. There were
7 lots of fights and discussions -- I should not say,
8 "fights" -- there were lots of arguments and
9 discussions over them. For example, for our purposes
10 today, the most interesting one was over Ilok, and that
11 little salient which Milovan Dilas has insisted in the
12 end that Croatia should get, because there was a big
13 disagreement between the Communist parties of
14 Vojvodina, Srem and Croatia generally about that part
15 of the world, but -- so there were disputes about
17 There were all kinds of proposals for
18 different autonomous areas. Pijade, Mose Pijade, one
19 of the Communist leaders, had seriously suggested in
20 the Second World War that there should be an autonomous
21 Serb area in Croatia, and in fact it was highly likely
22 until very late in the war that Sandjak would have been
23 a republic, because Sandjak had its own anti-fascist
24 council, so these things are all in flux, but they were
25 simultaneously very important and simultaneously
1 insignificant at the time. Insignificant because the
2 Communists were determined that it really would not
3 matter, but important because they were symbolic of the
4 affirmation of the separate Yugoslav nations'
5 identities which the Communists were seeking to
7 But the subsequent 1980s Serb version of
8 reality, that somehow Serbia had been especially
9 penalised, especially victimised, was a gross
11 Q. The point of this question was the following;
12 were these boundaries treated as administrative
13 boundaries or did the people have their democratic say
14 in 1945 and 1946 as to where they would live?
15 For example, if this means anything to you,
16 there was never a boundary drawn between Serbia and
17 Macedonia, and that is why there are problems today,
18 because the parliaments of Serbian Macedonia did not
19 ratify this. But this is a different question
21 So, did the people have a democratic say of
22 their own, where they would live and what side of the
23 border, et cetera, I mean under the Communists?
24 A. No, not precisely.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. It was understood through the "ovnoj" process
2 that they had. I mean, in theory they had, in practice
3 they did not.
4 Q. No. If you recall, half were not in ovnoj.
5 Just a few more questions -- but, well, formally
6 speaking, Serbia, as one of the republics in the SFRY,
7 did it have any jurisdiction under the JNA and the
8 Territorial Defence in Croatia, and Territorial Defence
9 generally speaking? Formally?
10 A. Formally, no.
11 Q. Thank you. And the territory of Serbia, was
12 a decision ever passed to annex any one of these
13 territories of the former Yugoslavia to Serbia?
14 A. No, it was not. They sought to annex
15 themselves to Serbia, but Serbia did not accept.
16 Q. Did any official institution in Serbia,
17 including the president of Serbia, Milosevic,
18 officially ask for this kind of annexation? I am not
19 talking about what was in Milosevic's mind, but
21 A. No, not in the period we are talking about.
22 In fact, the first time that the autonomous region of
23 Knin proclaimed its union with Serbia, Milosevic was
24 widely reported to have been extremely annoyed.
25 Q. Right. There is a large group of questions
1 pertaining to local self-government and I do not think
2 that I have enough time today. I would just confine
3 myself to one further question today.
4 During the so-called "Balvan revolution", the
5 "logs revolution", as it was called colloquially, what
6 was the attitude of the Croat population towards JNA
7 barracks? We are going to discuss this in detail
8 tomorrow because in JNA barracks, you will agree with
9 that, I imagine, members of all nationalities were
10 present, because we only have conscripts, we do not
11 have professional soldiers in the army. Right?
12 So, I am asking you kindly about that, rather
13 I shall be questioning you about that tomorrow, about
14 local self-government. You know, self-management, this
15 wonder conceived by communism, so what the organisation
16 of municipalities was et cetera, et cetera, so it is
17 not related to this trial, but I should mention that
18 I am not a Communist but I had to live in that system.
19 My time is up, right?
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. So we will
21 continue, you will continue with your cross-examination
22 of our expert witness tomorrow morning.
23 Before we adjourn I would like to thank you,
24 Mr. Fila, for being so kind as to comply with my request
25 that we should start today with the cross-examination.
1 I wonder whether I could ask the Prosecutor
2 whether, and how many witnesses he would like to call
3 tomorrow ?
4 MR. NIEMANN: Two more witnesses tomorrow.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: All right.
6 MR. FILA: I am sorry, are those the two
7 people from Ilok? May I just know that?
8 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, both from Ilok, your
10 MR. FILA: Thank you, thank you. Thank you
11 very much. I just want to prepare myself for that.
12 (1.15 pm)
13 (Hearing adjourned)