1 Friday, 24 April 1998.
2 (8.30 a.m.).
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. I ask the
4 Registrar to call out the case number, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-13a-T,
6 Prosecutor versus Dokmanovic.
7 MR. NIEMANN: Good morning, your Honours.
8 My name is Niemann. I appear with my colleagues, Mr.
9 Williamson, Mr. Waespi and Mr. Vos for the Prosecution.
10 MR. FILA: My name is Mr. Toma Fila, I appear
11 with Ms. Lopicic and Mr. Petrovic in the defence of my
12 client, Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic.
13 MILENKO MILINKOVIC (continued).
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Can you hear me,
15 Mr. Dokmanovic? Thank you. Before we proceed, may
16 I draw to your attention a note which I received from
17 the interpreters via the Registrar, where they rightly
18 point out that, whenever a witness is provided with a
19 document and is going to read out a document, the
20 interpreters also need to have a copy of the document.
21 Otherwise, their job becomes too demanding and too
22 difficult. So, could you make an effort, whenever a
23 document is read out by a party or by one of the
24 witnesses, to provide in advance a copy of that
25 document to the interpreters. Thank you so much. Let
1 us continue with the examination of the witness.
2 MR. FILA: Your Honour, Mr. Petrovic will
3 continue, but I have to tell the court about something
4 -- I complained to Mr. Niemann today, too. We as the
5 defence, as you have seen for yourselves, are doing our
6 very best to bring in witnesses. There is some kind of
7 rule in this court that visas are issued to witnesses
8 one day in advance. I spent two or three hours
9 yesterday talking to the Dutch embassy in Belgrade, the
10 secretary and in different ways. They are not working
11 on Monday and today they work only until 2 p.m. And they
12 said that if visa permits are not issued by the
13 Tribunal by 10 o'clock this morning, they are not going
14 to issue visas to these people unless they get these
15 necessary papers. This way we are going to ruin three
16 working days.
17 I do not want to be dramatic -- I want to
18 thank you first and foremost for granting safe conduct
19 to these witnesses, but I do not know what to do.
20 I wish to suggest the following: if these papers are
21 not issued by 10 a.m. this morning, could visas be
22 provided to these people, at Schipol airport? One of
23 the witnesses is supposed to arrive tomorrow and the
24 rest are supposed to arrive on Sunday. Otherwise, I do
25 not know what we are going to do on Monday. What I am
1 trying to say is that the defence is not to be blamed
2 for this.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: I am not very clear about
4 one particular point. You see the visa permits must be
5 issued by the Tribunal -- do you mean requests for
6 visas by the Dutch authorities?
7 MR. FILA: It is not Croat authorities, it is
8 Belgrade Serbia, still, thank God. I did not want to
9 tire you -- the Tribunal requests visas from the Dutch
10 Foreign Ministry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
11 informs the embassy in Belgrade that approval has been
12 given at the request of the Tribunal, that these
13 witnesses be granted visas for the duration of the
14 trial. For example, those people who will be leaving
15 tomorrow have all obtained visas until 30 April, when
16 we are supposed to complete this particular portion of
17 the trial, because we do not know exactly how long it
18 will last, et cetera. So, if the Ministry of Foreign
19 Affairs of the Netherlands, from The Hague, does not
20 send approval to the embassy by 10 a.m. this morning, the
21 embassy is not going to issue visas to these people and
22 that is why I am saying the following: if it is
23 impossible to do this until 10 a.m. today, that they could
24 get visas at Schipol. This is what happened to the
25 witnesses who were coming in when I was denying the
1 legality of Mr. Dokmanovic's arrest, so perhaps we could
2 act in the same way now as we did then. Thank you.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Of course, I did
4 not refer to the Croat authorities -- it was
5 probably an interpretation. I am aware that the visas
6 should be sent to Belgrade -- I know that. I wonder
7 whether the Registrar could give us some explanation.
8 I fully agree with Mr. Fila. I hope that all the
9 necessary measures will be adopted, so that either the
10 -- I assume that the request for visas have been
11 issued by our Tribunal. Our problem is that the Dutch
12 authorities should be asked to act immediately, or at
13 least to provide the visas -- I fully agree with you.
14 I wonder whether the Registrar could give us any
15 information in this respect.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this is
17 usually a task of the Victim and Witness Unit, and we
18 have not heard any problem from them. They have not
19 informed us that there was a problem, so at this moment
20 I cannot say any more than that I can ask the Victim
21 and Witness Unit if they can contact the Ministry of
22 Foreign Affairs.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: I wonder whether you could
24 send a note to the head of the unit to impress upon
25 them the importance of acting as soon as possible, by
1 10 o'clock, or in such a way that they can get visas at the
2 airport. It is crucial, it is very important. I agree
3 with Mr. Fila, we cannot agree to waste three days.
4 Actually, may I take this opportunity to ask you --
5 MR. FILA: Your Honour, Mr. Bos should not
6 think that I hold anything against him. I know you
7 have done your best and this has been sent from here,
8 so the problem is not in the Tribunal really. The
9 problem is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not
10 send the necessary papers or approval to Belgrade. To
11 be quite clear -- I am not holding anything against
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Fila, we are all aware
14 that even here in the Netherlands there is some red
15 tape in the bureaucracy of various ministries, so
16 sometimes things are slow. May I take this opportunity
17 to ask Mr. Fila whether he feels that today we could
18 hear not only Mr. Milinkovic but also the other two
19 witnesses who are scheduled for today?
20 MR. FILA: Yes.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: I hope we can finish,
22 depending on the Prosecutor, of course. Could you then
23 resume your examination? .
24 Examination-in-chief by MR. PETROVIC
1 Q. Yesterday we adjourned at the point when you
2 were explaining how the army attempted to get into
3 Borovo Selo on 2 May. Could you please continue from
4 that point? Why had the army set out at all towards
5 Borovo Selo, with what objective?
6 THE INTERPRETER: The witness's microphone is
7 not switched on.
8 A. I hope I can be heard now. Your Honour, I
9 shall continue. To the best of my recollection, I was
10 saying that the tanks of the Yugoslav People's Army had
11 passed by a place where I was -- this was between
12 Borovo and Borovo Selo. After a call was made from the
13 MUP to tell the people who were blocking the road in'
14 front of the tanks, because the MUP people were
15 surrounded -- the MUP people who had attacked
16 Borovo Selo. After that, I went back to Vukovar.
17 There was quite a bit of commotion there -- many
18 meetings were held. All those who it thought could
19 contribute to the passive indication was assembled
20 there. At one point, I remember Mr. Dzaja phoned me.
21 We were talking about what could be done further, and
22 he asked me whether I would not express my condolences
23 to him, because of the deaths of 19 of his people and
24 I said something to the effect that he had sent them to
25 their death himself, because I had been warning him for
1 days not to resort to force.
2 First they said it was 19 people who were
3 killed and then, afterwards, the official record said
4 12 or 13. Obviously, not all the MUP numbers were
5 reported. I can only suppose why. At any rate, there
6 were several versions that were in circulation. This
7 was a turning point. This attack on Borovo Selo
8 practically meant the beginning of the civil war.
9 Q. Sorry, could you please explain the role of
10 the Yugoslav People's Army in these events in Borovo
11 Selo and immediately afterwards, what was actually the
12 role of the Federal army at that point in time?
13 A. The Yugoslav People's Army was asked to
14 intervene and to prevent the conflict and it intervened
15 only in the following way: they came in APCs to
16 Borovo Selo and evacuated the MUP members who were
17 surrounded. Many of them were surrounded, so it is
18 difficult to imagine what would have happened had the
19 army not come in and evacuated them. Otherwise, during
20 those days, after 2 May, there were many armed
21 conflicts and the army was often invited by the Serbs,
22 but also by the HDZ, or, rather, the police. On
23 several occasions, the police asked the army to
24 intervene when their people were surrounded in various
25 situations. The army -- the Yugoslav People's Army
1 throughout this period until the end of July while
2 I was still in Vukovar -- exclusively intervened in
3 that way. They separated the warring parties in every
4 specific case of excess.
5 Q. Just to clarify who invited the army on
6 2 May, because some of that remained unclear -- as you
7 said yesterday, a phone call was made from the office
8 of the President of the municipality?
9 A. I phoned the army, although many people were
10 accusing Mr. Dokmanovic, that he was the one who had
11 called the army in. First, he was accused by the Serbs
12 because they thought that the army should not be called
13 in, because they thought that if they were already
14 attacking, that there should be no separation between
15 the parties that were fighting, so there were many
16 accusations levelled against Mr. Dokmanovic, but he was
17 not the one who invited the army to intervene -- I did.
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters could not
19 hear the question.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you please repeat the
21 question? I understand the interpreters did not get
22 the question.
23 MR. PETROVIC: Let us summarise events in
24 Borovo Selo. Let us briefly summarise them. How did
25 they end, the events in Borovo Selo?
1 A. The next day, I went to Borovo Selo -- that
2 day it was impossible -- and I tried to reconstruct the
3 sequence of events, so I talked to quite a few
4 witnesses. Among other people, I talked to a lady
5 called Ljubica, who was a clerk at the PTT and the post
6 office was in the same building where the local
7 community offices were, where the fighting actually
8 started. According to the statements of several
9 witnesses, at one point in time, in front of the local
10 community premises where the defence headquarters were,
11 a car that was moving very fast stopped abruptly -- it
12 was an Opel -- and Dzaja, together with a few
13 policemen, jumped out of it and they opened fire on
14 this building where the defence headquarters of Borovo
15 Selo was. They did not know at that time there was
16 no-one in the building -- in front of the building,
17 there was only a man who was a guard. At that point,
18 he was sitting on the steps with his army in his lap,
19 but his army was disassembled. I know this particular
20 detail, because Mr. Podlovzoric and Mr. Dzugic, two of my
21 employees at the post office, they were passing by and
22 they told me about this detail. He was killed on the
23 spot, and some passers-by were wounded.
24 I heard four or five witnesses say the same
25 thing, that for the first five or 10 minutes no-one
1 responded to this fire that was opened by the police.
2 After this car, three more cars stopped -- the two
3 jeeps and the traffic vehicle that I mentioned, in
4 which the ZNG members were, and behind them two buses
5 full of armed ZNG members. They all got out of these
6 vehicles and started firing and I repeat, all the
7 witnesses said that, for the first five or 10 minutes,
8 there was no response from the other side. After five
9 or 10 minutes, however, the other side started shooting
10 back. The Croat policemen got into the local
11 community building -- that is where an outpatient
12 clinic was -- and they held the people who happened to
13 be there as hostages, and also the people who happened
14 to be in a nearby cafe.
15 The people who happened to be in the street
16 then during the fighting, which was getting worse and
17 worse, including Croat policemen, they were getting
18 hit as there was a lot of shooting from the roofs of
19 buildings that were nearby.
20 I saw the buses, which the Croat policemen
21 took to get to Borovo Selo, and I saw a lot of food
22 that was not fully eaten -- pieces of sausage, bread
23 and also cigarettes that were not fully smoked.
24 Obviously, this all came abruptly. Apparently, they
25 were told that they were going out for an exercise --
1 not for an all-out armed attack.
2 So, after a short period of time, these
3 policemen were surrounded. That is why they insisted
4 from the police station that the army should be let
5 in. When the army came in on APCs, although there was
6 still shooting at that time, they got into this zone
7 and they took the surrounded Croat policemen and
8 took them away in these APCs. I mentioned Matkovic,
9 who was head of the special forces of the Croat
10 police. On that occasion, he kissed the officers of
11 the Yugoslav People's Army -- rather, an officer of the
12 Yugoslav People's Army -- and thanked him in this way
13 for saving his life. I heard about it later, both from
14 Matkovic, and from this officer of the Yugoslav
15 People's Army.
16 Q. I suggest the following. I think that we
17 have clarified events in Borovo Selo on 2 May.
18 Immediately after that, in the assembly of the
19 Municipality of Vukovar a meeting was held where some
20 high federal officials were present, too. Could you
21 tell us about this?
22 A. In those days, there was lively political
23 activity going on, because efforts were made to pacify
24 the situation and, among other things, at the
25 initiative of Mr. Dokmanovic, a meeting was convened at
1 his office and high federal officials were invited and
2 high officials of Croatia. Mr. Markovic, the Federal
3 Prime Minister was there, Boljkovac was there and his
4 associates on behalf of the Government of Croatia.
5 Q. What office did they hold then?
6 A. Boljkovac was, if I am not mistaken, Minister
7 of the Interior; Brovet was there from the Yugoslav
8 People's Army -- a general -- I am not sure which one.
9 Q. Brovet was, at that time, Deputy Minister for
10 defence -- Federal Minister for defence?
11 A. So, a delegation was there and the meeting
12 was chaired by Mr. Dokmanovic and efforts were made to
13 see how this situation, which actually meant an
14 outbreak of a civil war, could be overcome.
15 Unfortunately, already at that point, every side had
16 its own view of the problem. The Croat side said
17 that people lost their lives. At one point in time,
18 I said that it was a great pity that so many were
19 killed, but that I cannot help thinking that they were
20 sent to their deaths on purpose, so that this could
21 contribute to the objective of national
22 homogenisation. Mr. Boljkovac did not say anything in
23 response to that. I still think to this day that was
24 the case.
25 Q. At this point, I wish to show you a document,
1 D6, and could you please tell us what kind of document
2 this is (Handed).
3 A. May I speak?
4 Q. Please do.
5 A. This is a document which was produced at the
6 initiative of Mr. Dokmanovic. At that time, the
7 situation was extremely complex, extremely difficult,
8 and it was wished to overcome this situation. This was
9 ethnic tension. Ethnic tensions were on the rise and
10 thus an effort was being made to ease these tensions
11 and to find a peaceful solution. Mr. Dokmanovic gave a
12 proposal and this resolution was sent through the
13 Municipal Assembly to the best of my recollection to
14 the Government of the Republic of Croatia and to
15 Yugoslav institutions.
16 Q. After these events in Borovo Selo, can you
17 tell us whether, in the town of Vukovar, there were
18 cases of pressure brought to bear against the Serbs;
19 were Serbs expelled from the area; did any of them move
21 A. In order to give a more precise answer to
22 this question, I shall only say in a few words what the
23 chronology of these pressures was from the very outset.
24 Q. Could you give us only a few impressive
1 A. Yes, there were quite a few examples of this
2 kind, so I am only going to point out those in which
3 I took part directly, or if I heard about them from the
4 protagonists of the actual events directly. It is very
5 difficult to explain how this happened gradually. Life
6 used to be normal there, but, through constant
7 pressure, a psychosis developed among people. After
8 all, people were used to living together over there.
9 Although this was a multi-ethnic community, there were
10 not only Croats and Serbs living there, but also
11 members of many other nationalities, ethnic groups.
12 But, through the gradual action taken by
13 individuals, this psychosis was gradually created. It
14 is very difficult to explain this in words and it is
15 difficult to grasp, for people who had not lived
16 through it. If I had not lived through it myself,
17 I really could not understand it, either. It started
18 with very small provocations, for example, the monument
19 dedicated to the Partisans near Bobota was first
20 destroyed. This happened some time before the
21 elections. Then other provocations started. There was
22 an inscription in the Cyrillic script on the
23 Municipal Assembly and somebody shot at it during the
24 night and, during another night, somebody had taken it
25 down and nothing happened afterwards. The police did
1 not even carry out an investigation, but even if they
2 did carry out an investigation, they never submitted a
3 report to that effect and no-one was ever punished for
5 These excesses became worse and worse and,
6 during 1991, it is not only buildings that were shot
7 at. I am only going to mention one example -- there
8 were very many. A worker of mine, Ms. Skorupan, had a
9 few bursts of gunfire fired at her house during the
10 night and she told me about it in the morning. After
11 that, some people started shooting from cars that drove
12 through villages with a majority Serb population and,
13 also, cars drove by with Croat chessboard flags and
14 they would make a lot of noise in the process, but
15 then, during May, they also started shooting from these
16 cars, and also some time in April a car that was moving
17 through the village of Brsadin, there were people in
18 this car who started shooting from it and two young men
19 who happened to be in the street were wounded as a
20 result of that. In Borovo Selo, even before 2 May, in
21 the direction of Dalj, two rifle grenades were fired,
22 I think. I am not very good with weapons but I think
23 these were rifle grenades, so all of this together gave
24 rise to tensions. First, people felt uneasy, then this
25 turned into fear and, finally, this also turned into
1 resoluteness on the part of many people that they
2 should oppose this kind of terror.
3 Regularly, both Mr. Dokmanovic and I would go
4 to the very spot where these things would happen and we
5 would try to calm people down, so that the whole
6 situation could become more peaceful and not turn into
7 a civil war after all. This shelling up to 2 May was,
8 for the most part, rifle shooting and hitting of
9 buildings and creating a climate of unrest. This
10 feeling of total uncertainty that your very existence
11 was being threatened and this was a very horrendous
12 feeling, and people began to feel that they had to
13 defend themselves in some way.
14 However, after 2 May, quite openly, attacks
15 were launched both on the Serb property and on Serbs
16 -- attacks were made on Serb lives. Many buildings
17 were rooted from the ground. First of all, these were
18 cafe bars, the Karolina and Sarajka and other cafe
19 bars, there were quite a number of them, but people
20 were being shot at as well. At the beginning of May,
21 in the village of Sotin which is right next to Vukovar,
22 from a moving car there was gunfire, people were shot
23 at and Mr. Nad was killed -- he was a member of the SDS,
24 and the man next to him was wounded.
25 In the village of Brsadin, once again in May,
1 from a silo where the snipers were located of the
2 Ministry of Internal Affairs of Croatia, a young man
3 was killed in the village itself. During those days,
4 my wife was shot at from those same silos. They had
5 gone to collect the workers working in the fields,
6 about one to one and a half kilometres away from the
7 silos, and so quite openly not only was Serb
8 property being threatened, but Serb lives as well.
9 At the same time, the army stepped in exclusively in
10 cases of attacks of these kinds, either where there
11 were conflicting situations where the Serbs were
12 jeopardised or where the Croats were endangered, but,
13 in the second half of May, it became highly -- life in
14 Vukovar became highly uncertain and precarious and many
15 people from Vukovar took their families out of the
16 environs of Vukovar and began to leave. I personally
17 had to move my children in the room facing the street,
18 because there was shooting throughout the night,
19 usually after midnight, and it was not safe to sleep in
20 any of the rooms of our apartment looking out on to the
22 Somewhere around the end of May, the
23 psychosis was such that people began to leave the --
24 Serbs began to leave Vukovar en masse.
25 Q. When did you leave Vukovar and what were the
1 circumstances governing your departure?
2 A. I evacuated my family from Vukovar at the
3 beginning of July. I will tell you about those
4 events. What happened was the following: already, at
5 the end of June, it became very difficult, almost
6 impossible, to continue to live in Vukovar. There were
7 explosions, shelling, shootings, killings, every
8 night, and the people began to leave Vukovar en masse.
9 When the members of the Zenga killed
10 Jakovljevic, nicknamed Rakijica, in his home -- this
11 was somewhere at the end of June -- a few days before
12 that, I met him -- the PTT building and the VELEPROMET
13 department store were close by, so we met at his office
14 -- he was the head for sportswear and he said that he
15 was being threatened by Mercep's people, and that he
16 had to surrender this sports weaponry and he said he
17 would not, but he would surrender it to the army. He
18 was killed at the threshold of his house when the
19 members of the Zenga surrounded his house and they just
20 shot him.
21 This was the reason why we asked that the
22 Government intervene and I asked Mr. Mato Arlovic, who
23 was the deputy from Osijek in the Parliament, to
24 convene a meeting with Sime Dodan. Sime Dodan was the
25 Minister of Internal Affairs. This was his second day
1 in the post and he later called himself the War
2 Minister and, so on 3 July, in the morning,
3 Mr. Bosnjakovic, the deputy from Vukovar and myself,
4 went by car -- I took Rade Gojic -- a relative of mine,
5 who one day previously, somewhere around 4 p.m., for four
6 hours, a group of over 30 members of the Zenga
7 specialist units had maltreated him in his home. They
8 stormed the house at about 4 p.m., they searched for arms
9 and they maltreated them for more than four hours. They
10 found no weaponry and, in a panic, him and his wife
11 came to our house. My wife took the car and fetched
12 them. I took him with me on that particular morning.
13 Let me just say that his house was shot at
14 from somewhere between May and June -- I think it was
15 on 31 May during the night -- from a vehicle which
16 Mr. Gojic was able to identify. Several minutes later
17 they began shooting at his sister's house. He was
18 once again able to identify this vehicle, and it
19 belonged to one of Mercep's close associates.
20 This means that, on the morning of 3 July,
21 via Brsadin, Pazjadin and Bobota, I went in the
22 direction of -- Rade Gojic remained in Bobata -- he was
23 very grateful for having his life saved. In Osijek we
24 picked up Mr. Mato Arlovic, and in Zagreb, in the
25 Parliament, although the meeting was convened for 10,
1 we had to wait a long time and we had occasion to talk
2 to one of Tudjman's associates, councillors, I forget
3 his name, but I remember he was a very reasonable man,
4 one of the rare men who showed a great deal of reason.
5 We told him what was happening and what
6 Mercep was doing in Osijek and Glavas and he was very
7 depressed to hear the news, but the impression I gained
8 was that he was not only depressed because of what he
9 heard, but that he knew something more. Somewhere
10 around 2 or 3 p.m., Mr. Dodan received us, and I let
11 Mr. Bosnjakovic and Mr. Mato Arlovic present the facts so
12 that I would not be said to have been prejudiced.
13 When I felt that they had not presented
14 sufficient arguments to bear out the truth of what was
15 happening in Vukovar and Osijek, I put in a few words
16 myself. The meeting went on for quite some time,
17 because Mr. Dodan was called away to headquarters
18 several times. The Cabinet of the MUP was directly
19 next to the Parliament building.
20 At one point he said quite openly that he
21 knew about them, but that he cannot do anything about
22 the situation, because their conduct would directly
23 lead to civil war. He said that there was no way in
24 which he could get rid of them, except to kill them,
25 and that he was not allowed to do this and to quote
1 him, he said: "Precisely today we were told that
2 unless we fulfil the promises we made -- the pledge
3 that we made, we would receive a bullet ourselves." I
4 must say that, at that particular moment, I did not
5 understand who the "they" were exactly, but I came to
6 realise later on that this referred to the people who
7 brought them to power.
8 He also told me that nobody could guarantee
9 my own personal safety in Croatia, and I was resigned
10 and depressed and left his office, his Cabinet, in that
11 manner, and downstairs in the hallway I saw
12 Mr. Degoricija and, instead of a greeting, he just said
13 to me, "Milinkovic, we were very naive, both of us."
14 Q. When did you finally leave Vukovar?
15 A. May I finish what I was saying? It was only
16 at that point that I fully realised who the individuals
17 were who had brought them to power. After that, I
18 returned to Vukovar and, two or three days later,
19 I took my family away -- it was some time around the
20 beginning of July, I came back once at the end of the
21 July to Vukovar in a Combi, and that was my last
22 sojourn in Vukovar.
23 Q. Your talk with the investigator for the
24 defence was not your first contact with the Tribunal,
25 was it? Would you tell us about this, please?
1 A. In 1995 -- I contacted the Tribunal at the
2 beginning of 1996 and, in the course of 1996, with
3 Tatjana Termacic, I presented my views and opinions.
4 Mr. Dokmanovic came to me at that time and, together, we
5 had talks with Ms. Tatjana Termacic and decided that
6 both of us would give the Tribunal statements on
7 everything that happened in Vukovar from the
8 pre-electoral activities to the final tragic days and
9 Mr. Dokmanovic decided, with Ms. Termacic, to give this
10 same statement.
11 Q. Thank you, I have no further questions.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Petrovic, would you just help
14 us with this, please? The D6 memorandum you referred
15 to, the resolution on resolving inter-ethnic tensions;
16 it appears that there is no date on the English
17 version, but looking at the back, at least in my copy,
18 it appears that the original seems to be dated
19 23 February. What I was wanting your help on is the
20 date -- is that the date of the resolution?
21 MR. PETROVIC: Yes, 23 February, that is when
22 this resolution was published in the Vukovar gazette,
23 that is to say, the official gazette of the Municipal
24 Assembly of Vukovar, that is 23 February and I imagine
25 that a few days previous to that it was actually passed
1 in the Municipal Assembly of Vukovar.
2 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: February 1991.
4 MR. PETROVIC: Yes, 1991.
5 Cross-examination by MR. WILLIAMSON:
6 Q. Mr. Milinkovic, my name is Clint Williamson, I
7 am one of the attorneys for the Office of the
8 Prosecutor. You indicated a moment ago you had this
9 meeting with Ms. Termacic in the latter part of 1996 and
10 early 1997 in order to give a witness statement;
12 A. In the course of 1996, as far as I recall, it
13 was -- on several occasions, I think it took us five or
14 six days to provide this witness statement, but it was
15 in 1996, before Mr. Dokmanovic was arrested.
16 Q. And was the statement taken down in the
17 Serb language reviewed by you and then signed by
19 A. Yes, it was.
20 Q. At this time, I would like to show you this
21 document, which I am going to mark with the next
22 Prosecutor's exhibit number?
23 THE REGISTRAR: It is 193.
24 MR. WILLIAMSON: Prosecutor's exhibit 193.
1 Q. Would you examine that and tell me if that
2 appears to be your signature on this document?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. And if a copy can be provided to the defence
5 as well? You had a chance to review that statement and
6 you placed your signature on it, indicating that it was
7 correct and truthful?
8 A. Yes, the document was drawn up on several
9 occasions, which can be seen on page number 1 -- we
10 started on 18 October and completed on 13 May 1997.
11 The final document was not printed out and I did not
12 read the printed version, but I did read the previous
14 Q. And you received a copy of that; correct?
15 A. No, Ms. Termacic said that I could not
16 receive a copy of it.
17 Q. I would like to now offer the English
18 translation of this, which is Prosecutor's Exhibit 193
19 A. (Handed).
20 The statement that you gave to the defence on
21 24 February 1998, and which has been tendered as a
22 defence exhibit, I believe it is number 31, if you can
23 help me with that.
24 THE REGISTRAR: It is D30.
25 MR. WILLIAMSON: The statement that you gave
1 to the defence is very similar to the statement that
2 you gave to the Office of the Prosecutor in 1996. In
3 fact, with the exception of two brief paragraphs, the
4 defence statement appears to track portions of the
5 earlier statement verbatim; would that be correct?
6 A. If there is one truth, then it is difficult
7 to have two testimonies.
8 Q. But, to the point where every word is exact
9 for seven pages?
10 A. In the course of our work on making this
11 statement, from 18 October to 13 May 1997, which means
12 on several occasions this statement was drawn up on a
13 series of occasions, I had a copy of the material as it
14 stood until that particular point, and when we drew up
15 the statement, part of the material was used in
16 continuing my statement.
17 Q. But the defence statement, however, omits
18 significant portions --
19 A. And giving this statement.
20 Q. Okay --
21 A. There was not enough time -- at least, I did
22 not have enough time to give a complete statement
23 straight away, because this was done over a period of
24 several days and, to repeat something -- giving
25 something to the Tribunal once again, I did not want to
2 Q. So did you provide the materials that you had
3 received already from the Office of the Prosecutor to
4 the defence -- there is nothing wrong with that -- I am
5 just asking if that is what happened?
6 A. Only the separate papers -- I did not have
7 time to give the complete version, so I gave separate
8 papers. The making of the statement lasted a long
9 time, so I did not want to run the risk of entering
10 into repetition.
11 Q. Very well, your Honours. At this point
12 I would just point out that, on the Prosecutor's
13 exhibit 193A, the English translation of this, we have
14 indicated where the defence statement tracks the
15 Prosecutor's statement by the addition of black lines.
16 I am sure you have already had a chance to read through
17 the defence exhibit, so these portions are duplicative
18 and it is only those portions not included with the
19 black lines that do not appear in the defence
21 Mr. Milinkovic, you speak of various
22 provocations by the Croat side at places at Plitvice
23 and Borovo Selo, but I believe yesterday you said the
24 final crux, as you described it, in terms of
25 deterioration of the situation was the adoption of the
1 Croat constitution in December 1990; is that
3 A. It is my deep conviction that the consequence
4 -- that is to say, everything that happened was a
5 consequence of the strategic goal of the HDZ to realise
6 the function of statehood at all cost and actions of
7 this kind by the HDZ, and as it represented the
8 Croat authorities, then via it, all the consequences
9 were the result of that strategic decision. I said
10 that there were several key turning points, because of
11 which the Serbs in Croatia lost their trust in the
12 Croat authorities. It started de facto from the
13 petty provocations, via the Plitvice events and the
14 turning point was the civil war in Borovo Selo, but I
15 also said that the Croat authorities showed more
16 tolerance and more time -- had it had more time and
17 understanding and had it shown more tolerance, it would
18 have had the Serbs as loyal citizens of Croatia -- had
19 it done so.
20 Q. Plitvice occurred at the end of March 1991 --
21 I believe 31 March 1991 -- and Borovo Selo happened on
22 2 May 1991; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Let me ask you, have you ever heard of events
25 which occurred in the Knin area in August 1990 which
1 were referred to as the "log revolution"?
2 A. Yes, I have. I did not have any direct
3 contacts with those people, but several talks with
4 representatives from that region. I know that they set
5 up barriers along the roads, having been provoked by
6 the decisions made by the Croat authorities, but
7 what actually took place, I do not really know. I only
8 presented some of the data of the events that I either
9 took part in personally, referring to the Vukovar area,
10 or where I had received information from the actual
11 protagonists in the events themselves.
12 Q. But do you know enough about this to say if
13 this was a situation where the Serbs had blocked off
14 roads in the Krajina area and were not allowing Croats
15 to pass?
16 A. I know that the roads were blocked, but I do
17 not know the true reason as to why this happened. I do
18 not believe that somebody would just block off roads
19 for no special reason, but I do know what it was like
20 in the municipality of Vukovar, and that quite
21 definitely it was not the Serbs that rebelled and they
22 did not resort to armed rebellion through a whim of
23 theirs; it was a necessary act to protect themselves
24 from the organised terror that was directed towards
1 Q. Let me just ask you one other question in
2 relation to this in Knin. Do you know enough about the
3 region to tell me if the road that passes through Knin
4 is the main route from Zagreb to the coast -- to Split,
5 the second largest city in Croatia?
6 A. I think that I said a moment ago -- my
7 testimony is restricted exclusively to the Vukovar
8 municipality, where I myself was personally involved
9 and where I had quite clear-cut data -- exact data. In
10 answer to your question, I can say I think it is the
11 main road, but it is not the only road.
12 Q. So blocking this route between Zagreb and
13 Split, the second largest city in Croatia, would have a
14 significant impact on the Croat economy, would it
16 A. If you say so -- I take that to be correct.
17 The question is what the causes and what the effect is.
18 MR. PETROVIC: I apologise. Would the
19 Prosecutor stick to the testimony of Mr. Milinkovic? The
20 events in and around Knin is not something he has
21 personal knowledge of, but something he learned from
22 the papers.
23 MR. WILLIAMSON: If I might respond to this,
24 the witness testified about Plitvice which is also in
25 the area of Knin, and obviously he has exhibited some
1 knowledge of that. He is putting forward assertions
2 these were provocations started by the Croat side
3 and that these started in March and May 1991. I am
4 merely challenging these assertions and this is the
5 purpose of cross-examination, to test what this witness
6 is saying.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, you are right. On the
8 other hand, the witness has repeatedly stated that he
9 has no personal knowledge and no personal information
10 of what happened in Krajina. I wonder whether you
11 could move on to other questions.
12 MR. WILLIAMSON: Very well, I will move on.
13 Q. Let me ask this -- August of 1990 was four
14 months before the adoption of the Croat
15 constitution, was it not -- in December 1990? It was a
16 good seven or eight months before Plitvice and
17 Borovo Selo?
18 A. And what was your question?
19 Q. August of 1990 is four months before December
20 of 1990; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And seven or eight months before March and
23 May of 1991, when Plitvice and Borovo Selo occurred?
24 A. And the question?
25 Q. That was the question, is it not before
1 that? I believe you have answered the question. In
2 relation to Plitvice, you expressed an opinion
3 yesterday that this was an intentional provocation by
4 the Croats and you have repeated that assertion today;
6 A. I expressed the view that before every
7 meeting of the SABOR Croat Parliament, an excessive
8 situation took place and it is difficult to believe
9 they took place just by chance prior to a parliamentary
10 meeting. I had the opinion that this was done
11 consciously, that these excessive situations were
12 consciously created so that the Parliament could then
13 discuss the issue and blame it on the Serbs and this
14 could then serve the purposes of national
15 homogenisation. You must bear in mind one fact after
16 the multi-Party elections in Croatia, many Croats were
17 not in favour of the extremist policy waged by the
18 HDZ. The HDZ was fully aware of this quite obviously,
19 and to achieve its strategic goal and to win over most
20 of the population, in my view, he wanted to use these
21 excessive situations and to blame the Serbs, to create
22 the view, with the people, that it was the Serbs who
23 were responsible for the situation and then to win over
24 those Croats who were not quite convinced -- who were
25 not convinced at the beginning, to win them over for
1 their strategic goals.
2 Q. The whole incident came about in Plitvice
3 when the Croats established a police station there;
4 is that correct?
5 A. I have this information from the newspapers
6 alone and it is difficult for me and neither do I wish
7 to speak about something which I do not have tested
8 data and facts for.
9 Q. You say you know absolutely nothing about the
10 facts of what happened at Plitvice, but you have formed
11 a conclusion that this was a provocation by the Croats
12 and that you were asserting that to the court; correct?
13 A. I maintain that this was part of the overall
14 provocations which were created. After these events I
15 asked that, as soon as possible, the perpetrators be
16 brought to justice, if they were responsible, if they
17 were guilty, that they should answer for their acts.
18 I have always advocated the fact that the instruments
19 of the State must be implemented equally on a footing
20 of equality to all citizens.
21 Q. But you have no knowledge of the facts as to
22 how this occurred?
23 A. I only know the last part, that Mr. Savic told
24 me about, after he was released from prison, some 10
25 days after he had been arrested, several interventions
1 were made on his behalf and he was brought in black and
2 blue -- obviously, he had really been beaten up, and he
3 said that, as one of the protagonists, that he and
4 Hadzic were asleep at the hotel when the conflict broke
5 out and they did not have any weapons and they were not
6 informed what was going on, so I know about this from
7 what Mr. Savic had said and he said that they had not
8 caused this intervention in any way, because they were
9 spending the night at the hotel in Plitvice.
10 Q. Mr. Savic is a Serb that you talked to and, as
11 you said, was one of the protagonists and this is your
12 sole basis of information, that is, his version of
14 A. The information that carried more weight, to
15 my mind, were those that I had witnessed myself and
16 experienced myself and those that I got from people who
17 were direct participants in the events concerned, and I
18 believe Mr. Savic to be a reasonable man and therefore
19 I took this to be true.
20 Q. You indicated after Plitvice the Serbs
21 erected barricades on roads coming into and out of
22 their villages in the Vukovar municipality; correct?
23 A. Correct. This happened in Borovo Selo, but
24 it is also true that this happened when a group of
25 policemen, in the village itself, provoked a group of
1 young men -- I do not know, perhaps the young men had
2 incited this in another way -- I do not know, but the
3 police patrol asked for reinforcement from Vukovar. A
4 few police cars came after that. According to the
5 stories of the witnesses, the participants in the
6 events, there was some quarrelling, even skirmishes,
7 but then, when weapons were drawn, the local people
8 disarmed the police, so you never really know what came
9 first -- the provocation or response to a provocation
10 -- although I always advocated the following, that
11 provocation should not be responded to by another
12 provocation, but I always advocated democratic methods.
13 Q. Was not this an illegal act of putting up
14 barricades around villages and blocking roads?
15 A. At any rate, this was an illegal act, but do
16 you think that it was a legal act to shoot in that same
17 village? On the other side, towards Dalj, to use
18 explosives, to shoot at buildings and that is exactly
19 what happened before that. The barricades were a
20 consequence of that event.
21 Q. And the barricades around the Croat areas
22 went up only after the Serbs had erected barricades in
23 their villages; correct?
24 A. In some villages of the Vukovar municipality
25 -- I cannot say about others -- like in Berak, the
1 barricades were erected along parallel lines, around
2 the Serb and Croat villages. It is difficult to say
3 which came first and which came afterwards, but the
4 fact remains that this psychosis of insecurity and
5 safety was systematically being created and this was
6 initiated by the representatives of the HDZ.
7 Q. I call your attention to the statement you
8 gave to the Prosecutor -- I am not sure of the page in
9 the Serb version. In the English version it appears
10 on page 21 paragraph 3, and to quote this, it says:
11 "The incident in Plitvice caused a
12 spontaneous reaction and people organised themselves
13 and set up village guards and road blocks in Serb
14 villages. The road blocks usually consisted of
15 agricultural machines. The road blocks then started
16 appearing in the Croat villages and then in the town
18 Would that be accurate?
19 A. That is just about right. The barricades
20 first appeared in Borovo Selo, but practically on the
21 next day in other villages -- in Croat villages, too.
22 But I said that that barricade was a consequence of
23 these two events -- police provocations in the village
24 and shooting with explosives at buildings in the
25 village. It was exceptionally difficult to explain to
1 people that the fact that their buildings were being
2 shot at and that they were being provoked, was of a
3 peaceful nature and it is difficult for people who
4 advocate such solutions to enjoy any kind of authority
5 among these people. That is why Mr. Dokmanovic and
6 I had long lost our authority among the Serbs and we
7 were practically considered to be traitors among the
8 Serbs, because we were in favour of peaceful solutions
9 and we wanted to do everything possible in order to
10 avoid the outbreak of a civil war.
11 Q. Let us move to Borovo Selo, which you
12 discussed in some detail. You say the police chief in
13 Vukovar told you that two of his men were missing in
14 Borovo Selo, and is it not true that two Croat
15 policemen were being held by the Serbs in Borovo Selo?
16 A. Mr. Dzaja told me that these were two
17 policemen of his, and it turned out that these
18 policemen were actually from the Osijek police
19 station. Borovo Selo is under the jurisdiction of the
20 Vukovar police station, or the
21 Vinkovski-Vukovar-Zupanja police station at that point,
22 so the question was why these policemen were there
23 anyway? According to the information that I received
24 subsequently, according to one piece of information,
25 rather, there were three of these policemen. They
1 drove in a car through Borovo Selo, so there were not
2 any barricades then, because they came from the
3 direction of Dalj. On several occasions we managed to
4 reach agreement to have the barricades removed, but, as
5 I said yesterday, usually only a day later another
6 provocation would follow, just as what happened in
7 Borovo Selo and these policemen wanted to take down the
8 Serb flag or the Yugoslav flag -- I am not too sure any
9 more -- which was on the outskirts of the village, and
10 then there was shooting again and then these two
11 policemen were caught -- I think they were also wounded
12 -- and then they were taken to a hospital somewhere to
13 Serbia, I believe -- I cannot remember, I am not too
15 Q. You indicated that Borovo Selo is in the
16 Vukovar police jurisdiction. The town of Dalj is in the
17 Osijek police jurisdiction, is it not -- it is in the
18 Osijek municipality?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. So, if policemen were going from Dalj to
21 Vukovar, they would pass through Borovo Selo; correct
22 -- on the most direct route?
23 A. I do not wish to give information here which
24 I cannot corroborate and for which I do not have proof,
25 but it was said that they were sent to start
1 provocations and that this was at the orders of
2 Mr. Glavas, but what I am saying here now is only what I
3 heard from others.
4 Q. I am asking you a very simple question -- the
5 most direct route from Dalj to Vukovar passes through
6 Borovo Selo; correct?
7 A. Correct, correct.
8 Q. And do you think it is unreasonable for a
9 police force to try to mount an operation to rescue two
10 wounded officers who were being held captive?
11 A. It is very difficult to understand, from this
12 time distance and also from this particular context,
13 the psychosis that was created there and then. I
14 witnessed peaceful citizens, because most of the
15 citizens on the territory of the municipality of
16 Vukovar, both Serbs and Croats were peaceful citizens,
17 turn into people who were resolute to defend their own
18 lives and the lives of their families. For days I had
19 been warning Mr. Dzaja and Mr. Matkovic and Mr. Sredoselac
20 that by no means should any resort to force be made,
21 and if you recall, I said yesterday that, although
22 I had by then fully lost all credibility among citizens
23 of Serb ethnic origin, I offered to go there myself and
24 to see what was going on. Political means of resolving
25 something are always preferable to resorting to force.
1 As far as I know, on that very same day, these two men
2 were returned.
3 Q. After the police officers were killed on
4 2 May?
5 A. I received information that they were
6 released the very same day, but I do not know.
7 Q. As I understand your testimony from
8 yesterday, and again today, you stated that the
9 Croat police more or less attacked Borovo Selo and
10 that the villagers were caught by surprise; correct?
11 A. The attack on Borovo Selo was carried out
12 from several directions by the police headquarters for
13 Vinkovski, Vukovar and Zupanja under the command of
14 Mr. Dzaja and I said that, from what I could see, from
15 an Opel vehicle -- it was the Opel vehicle in which
16 Bosnjak was that did this, and two other jeeps and two
17 other buses and I also heard there was another vehicle
18 which had been lost along the way, so there were quite
19 a few policemen involved -- we can assess that at this
20 point -- and, from the direction of Dalj, Borovo Selo
21 was attacked from the Osijek police station and this
22 was under the command of Mr. Kir, who was later killed.
23 It was being said in the SABOR, the Croat
24 Parliament, that his death was actually a result of his
25 opposition to that kind of attack, and, also, he was
1 not to be blamed that yet another attack was launched
2 from the same site and that is why the village
3 organised its defence. How many people took part in
4 this? I do not know. According to various
5 information, there were even more policemen on that
6 side and, according to many witness statements -- I do
7 not have any personal knowledge of this -- many more
8 people were killed there. But Croatia was not prepared
9 to make this public.
10 However, in the Croat Parliament we heard
11 that Minister Babac, Minister of the Judiciary, had
12 some of his favourite people killed there, because they
13 were called Babac's favourites, because it was alleged
14 that he had released people from prison and allowed
15 them to take part in such attacks. I have no personal
16 knowledge of this, but this is what was being said at
17 that time.
18 Q. And so it is your contention that this was
19 the local people of Borovo Selo who organised their
20 defence in the face of this attack; correct?
21 A. I personally cannot assert who all the
22 participants were. I would come to Borovo Selo. I
23 knew quite a few of them, but I saw at least five or
24 six people whom I did not know. I do not know who they
25 were. I just know they were not from the village.
1 However, it is impossible that it was only someone else
2 who took part in this defence -- according to the
3 information I received while collecting witness
4 statements a few days after this event, the defence was
5 predominantly organised by the villagers themselves.
6 Q. Do you know anything about Serb paramilitary
7 groups from Serbia being involved in the defence of
8 Borovo Selo?
9 A. I said a few minutes ago that I saw five or
10 six people, and I would come often to Borovo Selo --
11 five or six people I did not know -- so I thought they
12 were volunteers or someone else, but I really do not
13 know exactly who they were.
14 Q. Do you know who Vojislav Seselj is?
15 A. I know who he is.
16 Q. And he was not from Borovo Selo, was he?
17 A. He was not from Borovo Selo.
18 Q. In fact, he is from Belgrade, is he not -- or
19 he lives in Belgrade now?
20 A. I do not know where he was born but now he
21 does live in Belgrade.
22 Q. And at the time in 1991, he was living in
23 Belgrade, was not he?
24 A. I do not know that.
25 Q. Mr. Seselj led a paramilitary group that
1 called themselves the "Chetniks", did he not?
2 A. This name "Chetniks" is derived from
3 history. It was the Croat media that first called
4 them Chetniks, so then people got used to using that
5 word, but it is my profound conviction that there were
6 not very many such people. There were very few of
7 them. As I said in Borovo Selo, I only saw five or six
8 people who came from somewhere else. It is impossible
9 that so many of them managed to hide, that I could not
10 see them. I was there almost every day.
11 Q. But in relation to Mr. Seselj, he referred to
12 himself as a Chetnik Duke, did he not, or a vojvodno?
13 A. That is his right, I do not want to enter
14 into that.
15 Q. At this time, I would like to show a brief
16 video clip. It is taken from Radio Television
17 Belgrade. It is on "The Death of Yugoslavia". If it
18 can start please?
19 JUDGE MAY: What is the date?
20 MR. WILLIAMSON: This is in relation to
21 Borovo Selo -- I am not sure exactly.
22 (Videotape played).
23 MR. WILLIAMSON: And then there is one other
24 clip which comes right after this, if that can be shown
25 as well.
1 MR. FILA: Please, let us take note of the
2 fact that these are video clips made in Belgrade --
3 I think we will agree on that, that this was shot in
5 MR. WILLIAMSON: That is correct, the
6 speaking part there was shot in Belgrade and the -- it
7 is the continuation of the interview with Mr. Seselj.
8 We have tried as much as possible to take out the
9 commentary which is provided. There is one brief part
10 of commentary in this as well. If this can start --
11 this is in Borovo Selo itself, the Serbs in the Vukovar
12 suburb seized two Croat policemen. The Croats hit
13 back. Two buses of heavily armed Croat police drove
14 confidently into the Serb strong hold, straight into an
16 MR. WILLIAMSON: Mr. Milinkovic, you have
17 heard the comments of Mr. Seselj here, and he seems to
18 have a lot of knowledge about what happened at
19 Borovo Selo. Does that indicate that the Croats, to
20 you, seemed to be launching some kind of a surprise
21 attack, driving right down the main street?
22 A. What certain politicians resort to for the
23 sake of their political marketing is something
24 that I do not wish to comment upon. What Mr. Zezey said
25 is really his problem, but, in my statement,
1 I mentioned the statements of people who were on the
2 spot at that particular point in time. I said what
3 Ms. Ljubica said, who was an employee of the post
4 office. At that point, she was in this building -- it
5 is the same building. I mentioned what she said and at
6 least another four or five witnesses, whom I heard a
7 day later, that is to say, while their impressions were
8 still very fresh. They all said that the Opel that
9 Mr. Bosnjak raced out of was the first vehicle to come
10 to an abrupt halt and, without any warning, from that
11 vehicle, they started shooting at this building. This
12 guard on the steps of that building was killed.
13 I heard that he was not from Borovo Selo, that is true.
14 But, also, all the witnesses agree on the
15 following: for the first five or 10 minutes, nobody
16 else had shot and no-one else had responded with
18 MR. WILLIAMSON: These witnesses that you are
19 all referring to were Serbs who lived in Borovo Selo;
21 A. Well, one of the witnesses is unfortunately
22 deceased -- Mr. Zugec -- he was a Croat by nationality
23 and, two minutes before that event, he went by this
24 guard, because, in the yard of that building we had a
25 telephone exchange and he was a technician who worked
1 at the telephone exchange, and only two minutes before
2 this event he went by and he told me about it; that is
3 to say, that both Serbs and Croats told me about it --
4 Mr. Zugec -- although I had personally intervened with
5 Mr. Sredoselac that they should be released, but as he
6 was getting out of Borovo Selo, he was beaten up by
7 Croat policemen and they would not even let him show
8 his documents to prove that he was a Croat. He was
9 beaten up because he wore a beard.
10 Q. Would it not have been illegal for armed
11 paramilitary groups from the Republic of Serbia to be
12 operating on the territory of the Republic of Croatia?
13 A. Absolutely illegal, but do you think that it
14 is legal to shoot at people from a vehicle that is
15 moving through the village? I told you that had a
16 happened in the village of Brsadin. This happened
17 before Borovo Selo -- two accidental passers-by were
18 wounded. In Borovo Selo, also before 2 May, when I
19 managed -- both Mr. Soskocanin and Mr. Sredoselac, to
20 have them meet in Borovo Selo itself and when we agreed
21 to have the road blocks removed and in the morning,
22 traffic was resumed and on the very next day, people
23 start shooting from a police vehicle at buildings in
24 that village.
25 I heard from Mr. Sredoselac that these were
1 not his people, but they were wearing uniforms, so who
2 were these people?
3 Q. Did not the legitimate police authorities of
4 the Republic of Croatia have the right to try to
5 enforce the law?
6 A. If you call the law driving through the
7 village and firing at buildings and everything around,
8 I do not think that I can agree with you.
9 Q. So it is your contention that these were just
10 all one-sided incidents -- that the Croat police
11 were going around terrorising Serb citizens in Vukovar
12 everywhere, that none of this was caused by the Serbs
13 at all, this is just a one-sided affair from the
15 A. I am deeply convinced that, had there not
16 been provocation on the part of the Croat
17 authorities, had there been the necessary respect shown
18 for the Serbs as citizens of Croatia, in a relatively
19 short period of time Croatia, as a State, would have
20 Serbs in Croatia as its loyal citizens. I say this
21 with full conviction for the area in which I lived.
22 I am quite certain that the beginning of the excesses
23 did not come from the Serb side -- it is not my
24 intention to defend anybody who is guilty, but I have
25 seen so many events, I took part in so many events that
1 I can say fully responsibly that, in that region, the
2 excesses did not start from the Serbs and that is why I
3 maintain, and this was the general conviction, that an
4 answer to all these excessive situations and, later on,
5 firing and killing, the answer was not an armed
6 struggle but was a necessary act of self protection
7 against organised terrorism or terror. This is borne
8 out by all the facts that I have at my disposal.
9 Q. Just one more question, your Honour, and then
10 perhaps we can take the break.
11 Would you characterise Mr. Zezey's
12 paramilitary soldiers that were apparently running
13 around the area, as moderates?
14 A. Of course not, and I am not talking about
15 them. They are just a appendage of the climate that
16 had been created. Had there not been the climate
17 created by the Croat authorities, there would be no
18 scope for the activities of these individuals who had
19 appeared -- they would have nothing to do there.
20 The question is of cause and effect, what the
21 cause and effect is.
22 Q. I think we can agree there were not a lot of
23 Croats in Mr. Zezey's forces, can we not?
24 A. I suppose you are right. I never talked to
1 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, I think this
2 would be a good time for a recess.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Do you need more time?
4 MR. WILLIAMSON: I will need some additional
5 time, yes.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: We will stand in recess for
7 20 minutes.
8 (10.00 a.m.).
9 (A short adjournment).
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Before you start,
11 Mr. Williamson, may I ask the witness to try to be more
12 concise in his answers -- to make an effort, if you can,
13 try to be more concise.
14 MR. WILLIAMSON: I think we need to correct
15 one housekeeping matter. I spoke with Mr. Bos during
16 the break. Apparently, we gave duplicative exhibit
17 numbers to the witness statement that I provided.
18 Rather than exhibit 193, that should actually be 194
19 and 194A, so I believe that clears it up, does it not,
20 Mr. Bos?
21 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, yes,
22 Mr. Williamson.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask you whether you
24 could enquire about the dates of the tapes we saw this
1 MR. WILLIAMSON: Very well.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: It would be very important
3 for us to know the dates, when they were shot.
4 MR. WILLIAMSON: I am not sure exactly.
5 I can try to determine this. These came from
6 "The Death of Yugoslavia" series. We can see if we
7 can make that determination.
8 MR. FILA: I think that the Prosecution will
9 agree -- at least I suppose it will -- I am not sure
10 whether this is a good thing for me, in my favour, as
11 the defence counsel, but I think it would be a good
12 idea if you saw the whole tape, because it was neither
13 filmed by the Prosecution nor by us, or Croats or Serbs
14 but the English, the British, and if you agree, I think
15 that it would be a good idea to show the whole tape.
16 It is not a long one.
17 JUDGE MAY: How long is it, the whole tape?
18 If it was a series --
19 MR. WILLIAMSON: If I may respond to that?
20 There were five programmes, which were each one hour in
21 length. The first three deal largely with the build-up
22 to the conflict and the conflict in Croatia, and the
23 final two deal largely with Bosnia, so it would be
24 approximately three hours in length, the portions that
25 would be pertinent to this case.
1 MR. FILA: We do not have to see them here
2 and now. You can see them later, segment by segment,
3 or what is interesting for you. I think that it would
4 be of use to you and I think that Prosecutor Williamson
5 would agree that it would be beneficial for you to see
6 it. We do not have to see it all together here in the
8 JUDGE CASSESE: I think we should see them
9 here in court, at least the relevant parts.
10 Judge Mumba would like to ask a question.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: My worry is that that is a
12 BBC videotape -- it is a media tape -- it is by
13 journalists who put it together, to put up their story
14 to show the world, is it not? It is totally different
15 from say the Prosecution preparing their case. This is
16 the problem. That is why we wanted the dates and also
17 to be able to say whether or not this tape was shot
18 during the incidents, or whether it is an edited one.
19 Do you see the difference?
20 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, ma'am, entirely. This
21 would be the only concern that we would have about the
22 about showing these programmes. There are a number of
23 interviews which take place, which are shown on the
24 programme, which I think would be extremely helpful to
25 the court. It is individuals who were in positions of
1 authority speaking about what they did and what
2 motivated them to do things, but I think your concern,
3 Judge Mumba, is the fact of the commentary that goes
4 with this, and how things are edited. So, it is
5 perhaps a little bit tricky. There is certainly a lot
6 of material on there that would be worthwhile and would
7 help perhaps to clarify some of the issues before the
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Very well.
10 MR. WILLIAMSON: Mr. Milinkovic, you testified
11 earlier about what the role of the JNA was in May at
12 Borovo Selo, and you said that you could only say what
13 the role of the JNA was up until you left Vukovar,
14 which was some time in July; correct?
15 A. My complete testimony refers to the period up
16 to the end of July, when I was in Vukovar for the last
17 time, and when we mention the JNA, I speak about the
18 JNA up to the end of July. Until that time, according
19 to my knowledge, the army did not intervene in any
20 other fashion than to separate the two conflicting
21 sides -- although the army was shot at in Ilok in July
22 -- it was shot at from the Croat armed forces, and
23 I personally experienced an event at the end of May
24 when the representatives of the federal SUP had a
25 delegation to study the causes of the conflict and to
1 calm them down -- they invited me to the garrison for
2 talks to give my opinions. This talk was a rather
3 lengthy one and around the garrison there were
4 observers from the HDZ looking to see who was entering
5 the garrison. We completed these discussions somewhere
6 around midnight. The streets were completely empty.
7 My house is the other side of town. In front of me
8 there was a military jeep with an officer and two
9 soldiers. Somewhere around the market place, which is
10 in the centre of the town, I was passed by a Combi, and
11 I saw the silhouettes of people in that vehicle and
12 I thought there were some poles. When the doors opened
13 and when these poles were targeted towards the jeep,
14 the military vehicle, I realised that they were rifles,
15 so I started to go faster, I put on my lights so
16 that I could throw a light on to the vehicle between
17 the jeep and my own car, and they did not open fire.
18 But they did open the doors, the side doors, to shoot
19 at the military vehicle. Because I had my head lights
20 on them, they failed to do so.
21 As we turned towards the Municipal Assembly
22 building, I was stopped by uniformed civilians -- they
23 were some kind of HDZ guard. They saw my parliamentary
24 ID and let me through, but, as they saw that I had come
25 to a stop, the military vehicle had come to a stop,
1 whereas the Combi passed by and no shooting occurred on
2 that particular occasion, but I was the direct witness
3 and I believed that had I not shot my headlights at
4 them, they would have opened fire on the army. They
5 passed by immediately, because the HDZ patrol near the
6 municipal building let them pass through, whereas they
7 detained me.
8 Q. But my question, Mr. Milinkovic, was that you
9 were not able to say what the army did after July;
11 A. Correct. I want only to speak of events
12 where I was a witness myself.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, thank you -- try to
14 give short answers, please.
15 MR. WILLIAMSON: Mr. Milinkovic, you indicated
16 in your statement to the Prosecutor, to Ms. Termacic,
17 which has been marked as exhibit 194, on page 24,
18 paragraph 1, that, when the HDZ heard that Slavko
19 Dokmanovic had become a member of the Serb National
20 Council, the open attacks against him became more
21 intense. Do you know when he joined this organisation?
22 A. I just heard about this. I do not know
23 exactly what period this was. It was in 1991, but I am
24 not quite sure.
25 Q. You are not aware of exactly at what point he
1 had joined the organisation?
2 A. I do not know.
3 Q. But the period that you are talking about
4 there, when you make that statement, this is around the
5 time of the Borovo Selo incident, is it not? I am
6 sorry, I know you do not have the statement in front of
7 you and my references are in the English version rather
8 than on the Serb version. You mentioned the date
9 April 1991 in that same paragraph. You said:
10 "When the HDZ heard that Slavko Dokmanovic
11 had become a member of the Serb National Council,
12 the open attacks against him became more intense and
13 the intention was to have him replaced. When the
14 Municipal Assembly gave him a vote of confidence and
15 the HDZ realised they could do nothing that way, in
16 April 1991, the HDZ Assemblyman Fekete submitted a
17 request at a Municipal Assembly session for the
18 Municipal Assembly to be dissolved."
19 So this would have been prior to April 1991
20 when he joined the organisation and these threats
22 A. I do not know exactly what character the
23 Serb National Council had, but I suppose it was in
24 that period. As far as I recall, I think it was.
25 Q. You mention in the next paragraph,
1 paragraph 2 on page 24 of the English version:
2 "The Serb National Council was a body that
3 was meant to represent Serb national interests and
4 protect Serb human rights."
5 Is that correct?
6 A. As far as I know, yes, that is correct.
7 Q. Did you consider this to be a moderate group?
8 A. According to the information that I had,
9 I think that at least what they said and their
10 activities within that time were moderate.
11 Q. I would like to show you a book, which I am
12 going to mark for identification as Prosecutor's
13 exhibit 196. I am afraid I have only one copy of this
14 book, but I would just ask, if you could look at this,
15 and if you can read out the title of this book,
16 please. (Handed).
17 Can you read the title of this book, please?
18 A. "The Serb National Council for Slovenia,
19 Baranja and Western Srem", Ilija Petrovic.
20 Q. On the back of the book, there appears a
21 brief bibliography of the author -- if you could read
22 that out. As you read, I know there is a tendency to
23 go more quickly, but could you read it more slowly so
24 that the interpreters can keep up?
25 A. "Notes on the author: Ilija Petrovic was born
1 on 6 September 1938 in Podgorica. He went to primary
2 school at (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE), gymnasium and
3 the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad. He is one of
4 the protagonists and collaborators of Novi Sad
5 (INAUDIBLE) in 1986 to 1990. He is the ideological
6 creator of the National Council of Slavonia, Baranja
7 and Western Srem and is the responsible editor of the
8 gazette Srpska (INAUDIBLE) of Slavonia, Baranja and
9 Western Srem in 1991. He lives in Novi Sad and works
10 in an enterprise as an employee."
11 Q. I would like to call your attention to
12 page 175 of the book. There is a copy of a document
13 under the number 2. I have had prepared a copy of this
14 document along with an English translation -- I will
15 mark this as Prosecutor's exhibit 197 for the original
16 Serb version and Prosecutor's exhibit 197A as the
17 English translation. (Handed).
18 I would ask you, if you could, to read out
19 the introductory paragraph of this document, which
20 appears on the first page, directly under the number 2?
21 A. I am sorry, do you mean this page?
22 Q. That is correct, directly under the number 2,
23 the Serb version. Perhaps it would be helpful for
24 him to have the book to read from. It may be clearer
25 than reading from the copies?
1 A. I can read it out. If this relates to the
3 "The HDZ sells weapons to the Croats and the
5 Do you have that text in mind?
6 Q. I believe it is directly under the number 2,
7 at the bottom of the page there is a number 2, and then
8 directly under that there is a statement. I know the 2
9 is a little difficult to see, because it was
10 highlighted. Again, perhaps it would be helpful if the
11 witness had the book from which to read?
12 A. "To all the information media in Yugoslavia:
13 Representatives of the Serb people in Slavonia,
14 Baranja and Western Srem elected today the Serb
15 National Council for this part of the present Republic
16 of Croatia. For the Secretary-General of the Serb
17 National Society, which will in the future represent
18 the interests of the Serb people, who have lived in
19 this region for centuries, Ilija Kovacevic was elected,
20 a prominent fighter for Serb national rights. He is
21 a Serb from Croatia."
22 Q. Now, Mr. Milinkovic, if you could go to the
23 following page, and under the caption "The Serb
24 National Council for Slavonia, Baranja and Western
25 Srem" there are numbered paragraphs. If you can read
1 paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, please?
2 A. "1. Does not accept the solution whereby, the
3 present republics of Croatia and Slovenia without the
4 consent of the Serb people of Slavonia, Baranja and
5 Western Srem are withdrawing their territories from the
6 State of Yugoslavia.
7 "2. As the only legitimate organ of the
8 Serb people of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem,
9 it will represent the interests of these people in all
10 negotiations on the future of Yugoslavia and the future
11 of the Serb people in the present Republic of
13 "3. It orders all Serbs holding any position
14 or public office at any level from the local communes
15 to the republic and federation, except those in the
16 Croat SABOR Parliament, to remain in office and
17 consistently in all those positions, represent the
18 interests of the Serb people.
19 "4. Calls on its Croat brothers to fulfil
20 the most sacred of all human duties and bring all their
21 extremists imbued with anti-Serb sentiment to a
22 recognition of rights, recalling that all the wars
23 fought so far are over and hoping that, in this way, an
24 end will be put to the several centuries of genocide
25 against Serbs in Croatia and to the irrational hatred
1 of the Croat national fighters, for everything
2 Serb. Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem have been
3 Serb land since ancient times and the members of the
4 other peoples whose fate it was to live alongside the
5 Serbs in this land are requested and expected not to do
6 to the Serb people anything that they would not want
7 the Serbs to do to them. The Serb national entity
8 is permanently rooted in these regions, in the same way
9 that the Serb soul is indestructible. It is not
10 good that pressures, overt or covert, auger Serb
11 casualties, nor does the Serb people in Croatia need
12 to build upon such victims a new Kosovo temple of its
13 rebirth -- Christmas 1991."
14 Q. This would be referring to the Orthodox
15 Christmas, would it not, which is in January 1991?
16 A. Probably -- if it is 1991, yes.
17 Q. Now, I would call your attention to page 179
18 of the book, and direct your attention to the document
19 which appears under the number 5. When is this
20 document dated?
21 A. If this relates to item 5, 3 February 1991.
22 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honours, I have had
23 prepared a copy of this document, again along with an
24 English translation. I will mark them as Prosecutor's
25 exhibit 198 for the original Serb version and
1 Prosecutor's exhibit 198A for the English translation.
3 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I did not understand -- do you
4 wish me to read it out?
5 Q. Just a moment, I would like copies to go to
6 the court, first. Now I would ask you, if you would,
7 to read out where it starts "The Serb National
8 Council Regional Board for Slavonia, Baranja and
9 Western Srem proposes" and there are several numbered
10 paragraphs, if you could read all these paragraphs,
11 please, starting with number 1?
12 A. "1. That all contested and uncontested
13 regions in the territory of the present Republic of
14 Croatia be defined.
15 "1.1. The uncontested regions are those
16 where Croat statehood was established back in the
17 Middle Ages and where the Serb population has never
18 constituted a majority.
19 "1.2. The contested regions, at this time,
20 are those regions which have been inhabited by the
21 Serb population since ancient times and over which,
22 as a result of the military power of the Austrian
23 empire, the authority of the Croat SABOR Parliament
24 occasionally and gradually extended, so that, today,
25 with the help of the AVNOJ principles, the Republic of
1 Croatia has been established as the successor State of
2 the independent State of Croatia. According to this
3 view, in addition to Kninska Krajina and the Serb
4 municipalities in Lika, Banja, and Kordun as well as
5 other possible territories relevant to the delineation
6 of borders, the contested territories include Baranja,
7 Western Srem, (from the Ilok-Lovas-Jamena line to the
8 Cepin-Trnjani line) and Slavonia from Cepin-Trnjani
9 line and to the Ilova river and a point 10 kilometres
10 west of Virovitica.
11 "2. The legal system of the present Republic
12 of Croatia and the authority of the Croat SABOR are
13 to be suspended in all the contested regions and they
14 should be placed instead under the direct jurisdiction
15 of the presidency of the SFRY and the federal SUP.
16 This jurisdiction would be in effect until precise
17 criteria for the delineation of borders between the
18 Serb and Croat peoples are determined, including
19 the voluntary relocation of all interested Serbs,
20 Croats and members of the different national minorities
21 inhabiting these regions, across the line which would
22 be established as the future border between the
23 Croat nation State and Yugoslavia. Any other
24 interested citizens currently residing east or west of
25 the border of the contested territories as outlined
1 here may avail themselves of the right to voluntary
3 Q. I would ask you to turn to page 183, where
4 there is a copy of a document under the number 10.
5 Again, I have prepared a copy of this document which I
6 will mark as Prosecutor's exhibit 199. I must
7 apologise, however, since this is a somewhat lengthier
8 document, the English translation has not yet been
9 completed, but, as soon as it is, I will supplement the
10 record with that document and we will mark it as
11 Prosecutor's exhibit 199A. That should be later today
12 or Monday, at the latest.
13 A. Point 10?
14 Q. I would just ask you to read out from the top
15 of the page on the second page, I believe, through
16 paragraph 5, the second page, I think, if you can turn
17 the page, and there are some numbers, if you can read
18 from the beginning and the numbered paragraphs 1
19 through 5 and then paragraph 10?
20 A. Paragraph 1:
21 "The Serb people in Slavonia, Baranja and
22 Western Srem is an indivisible part of the sovereign
23 Serb people living in Yugoslavia. Therefore, the
24 territory which it populates, they enjoy the sovereign
25 rights of the Serb people.
1 "2. The realisation of the sovereign rights
2 of the Serb people in Slavonia, Baranja and Western
3 Srem is expressed in sovereign autonomy, which
4 understands the supreme legislative, executive and
5 legal powers in autonomy. It is the matter of autonomy
6 in the sense of this declaration -- this includes
7 language, the upbringing of children and the youth,
8 education, religion, health protection, the protection
9 of the environment, nature and cultural monuments, the
10 creation, that is, that the national heritage be
11 protected, protection of law and order, as well as
12 other things directly connected to these which are
13 determined by the Statute on autonomy, or by an
14 autonomous decree.
15 "4. In order to implement sovereign autonomy
16 of the Serb people in Slavonia, Baranja and Western
17 Srem, the Statute on autonomy establishes its organs
18 and organisations. It is the rights of the organs of
19 autonomy to prescribe and collect taxes necessary to
20 perform its activities in all matters of autonomy and
21 that, via its organisations and enterprises, deal with
22 corresponding necessary economic activities.
23 "5. In keeping with the Statute governing
24 autonomy, the organs of autonomy shall cooperate with
25 other parts of the Serb people in Yugoslavia, its
1 representatives, its political and other organisations
2 and institutions, and, in that sense, can, in matters
3 of autonomy, conclude separate agreements."
4 Q. If you would go to paragraph 10, please, and
5 just read that, and the date that this was adopted?
6 A. "Sovereign Serb autonomy of Slavonia,
7 Baranja and Western Srem exists and acts within the
8 frameworks of the President Republic of Croatia only on
9 condition that Yugoslavia exists as a Federal State.
10 If a Yugoslavia of this kind ceases to exist, or it
11 becomes transformed into a conglomeration of
12 independent States, this autonomy will continue to
13 exist as part of the matrix State of the Serb
15 The date of Simun Mirotocivi, 1991.
16 Q. Do you know what that date is, I believe that
17 is a Saint's day, is it?
18 A. I do not know -- maybe it is -- I do not
20 Q. And the matrix State of the Serb people is
21 Serbia, is it not?
22 A. The Serbs in Croatia considered it to be
23 Yugoslavia as a whole.
24 Q. At this point, I would ask you to turn to
25 page 194 and direct your attention to the document
1 which appears under the number 23, and if you can, say
2 what the date is of this document?
3 A. Number 23 -- there is no date there under
4 number 23.
5 Q. There is not a date --
6 A. Yes, there is, up on the top -- it is
7 26 February 1991 -- in Osijek, 26 February 1991.
8 Q. Your Honours, I have a copy of this document
9 in Serb and English. I will mark the Serb
10 version as Prosecutor's exhibit 200 and the English
11 version as Prosecutor's exhibit 200A. (Handed).
12 I would ask you to read out this document in
13 its entirety, please?
14 A. "Proceeding from the declaration on sovereign
15 autonomy of the Serb people of Slavonia, Baranja and
16 Western Srem in Osijek adopted on 26 February 1991, the
17 Serb National Council for Slavonia, Baranja and Western
18 Srem, at its session held on the holiday of Cvijeta on
19 31 March 1991, adopts a decision to annex Slavonia,
20 Baranja and Western Srem, excluding areas which are
21 part of the Serb autonomous district of Krajina to
22 the autonomous province of Vojvodina, namely the
23 Republic of Serbia. The council requests of the
24 President of the Assembly of the autonomous province of
25 Vojvodina and the National Assembly of Serbia to call
1 early sessions of the assemblies to make the following
2 decisions: to join Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem
3 to the autonomous province of Voyvodina, namely the
4 Republic of Serbia, and to establish temporary organs
5 of executive and judicial authority in the conjoined
7 For the Serb National Council, Ilija
9 Q. Finally, I would ask you to turn to the end
10 of the book, immediately after page 163, and to examine
11 the map that appears on that page, and at this time,
12 I would distribute copies of this, which is marked as
13 Prosecutor's exhibit 201. (Handed).
14 Looking at this map, it encompasses a region
15 which includes the municipalities of Osijek and
16 Vinkovski, does it not?
17 A. Part of the municipality of Vinkovski, as far
18 as I can see -- the municipality of Vukovar, and I am
19 not sure how big the area of the municipality of
20 Vinkovski is, so I do not know if it is the whole area
21 or part of it. I think that it was not the whole of
22 the area of Osijek, and the municipality of Vukovar in
23 its entirety.
24 Q. At this time, I would ask that the witness be
25 shown defence exhibit 19, please, and 19A being the
1 English translation.
2 Do you have this in front of you now,
3 Mr. Milinkovic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. If you could look at the various regions,
6 which are indicated as being part of this Serb
7 district, which appear under article 11, it indicates
8 the registered municipal land areas of number 1;
9 Vukovar, number 2; Beli Manastir, number 3; Vinkovski,
10 number 4; Dalj and number 5; Osijek, does it not?
11 A. That is right.
12 Q. Under the section for Osijek, it includes the
13 city of Osijek, does it not?
14 A. It says "Osijek" in the text.
15 Q. And, under the section for Vinkovski,
16 number 3, that listing, it also includes the city of
17 Vinkovski, does it not?
18 A. Osijek, after point 5, it says "Osijek,
19 temporary seat in tenure".
20 Q. It has a number of municipalities, which
21 includes the number of towns or cities, which also
22 includes the city of Osijek, is that not correct?
23 A. Yes, it says so, yes.
24 Q. And under the provision for Vinkovski,
25 paragraph 3, it also includes the city of Vinkovski,
1 does it not?
2 A. It says Vinkovski -- it says so.
3 Q. And do you happen to know if Osijek and
4 Vinkovski have a majority Serb population?
5 A. As far as I know, in Vinkovski, there was a
6 relatively small percentage of Serb population in the
7 town itself -- in Osijek, perhaps it was one quarter of
8 the population, but I am not too sure.
9 Q. But, it would be fair to say that there was a
10 substantial majority of Croats in both those areas,
11 would it not?
12 A. That is right.
13 Q. Mr. Milinkovic, going back through all these
14 documents that you looked at in the book, all of these
15 items were dated on or before 31 March 1991, were they
17 A. I did not see the date for this last one.
18 Q. With the exception of this last one, which
19 is --
20 A. I imagine it is so -- this is December 1991,
21 the last one, if I am not mistaken, that is what it
22 says here.
23 Q. That is correct. The other documents that
24 you read from the book, however, all dated; the first
25 one from January 1991, then 3 February 1991,
1 26 February 1991, and the last one, 31 March 1991;
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. So all of those pronouncements by this
5 Serb National Council, which says that it is the
6 legitimate voice of the Serb people, were enacted prior
7 to the events at Plitvice, or at the latest on the same
8 day at Plitvice; correct?
9 A. Some of them obviously before that, but some
10 of these documents also came later.
11 Q. If Plitvice occurred on 31 March and the last
12 of those documents was dated that date, then they all
13 occurred prior to, or on the same date, as Plitvice;
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. And would it be fair to say that a
17 declaration to the effect that a region of Croat
18 territory was being annexed to the Republic of Serbia
19 is a provocation to the Croat authorities?
20 A. In my opinion, in the same way this is a
21 provocation as the proclamation of independence within
22 Yugoslavia is.
23 Q. But that occurred three months after that,
24 did it not, on 25 June 1991?
25 A. That is right, but, after Croatia had
1 separated itself from Yugoslavia -- the proclamation of
2 independence from Yugoslavia.
3 Q. Can you understand why the Croat
4 authorities might seek to remove from office someone
5 who has joined an organisation that declares a region
6 of Croatia belongs to another State, declares that
7 Croat law does not apply and advocates a relocation
8 of populations across redrawn borders?
9 A. If you have Mr. Dokmanovic in mind, I never
10 heard him state anything of that nature. He has not
11 told me that personally, and he has never said anything
12 of that sort in public, to the best of my knowledge.
13 Q. Your Honours, I have no further questions.
14 I would tender all of these exhibits. This would be
15 194 through, I believe, to 201. Thank you.
16 MR. FILA: If the book is admitted into
17 evidence, can we have it submitted in its entirety?
18 I will ask the witness to read from page 40 of that
19 book. Could you please read from page 40 -- if the
20 defence has no objections? Article 64 of this book --
21 it is not fair to make partial presentations before the
22 court. It is fair to show the book itself. In this
23 book, it says that Slavko Dokmanovic is not a member of
24 the Serb National Council. Could you please read
25 page 64, this part.
1 MR. WILLIAMSON: We certainly have no
2 objection to him reading it and no-one has attempted to
3 stop him from putting in anything else. There was one
4 additional exhibit that I wished to present in
5 conjunction with this. There is a summary in English
6 of the Serb National Council, which I have also
7 copied. I would offer that as exhibit 202, which gives
8 an overall summary of this organisation.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: It is a summary by whom?
10 MR. WILLIAMSON: By the author -- it appears
11 in the book itself. It is in English. I would present
12 that at this time.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: The whole book is an
14 exhibit, and has been tendered in evidence.
15 MR. WILLIAMSON: Very well then. It is up to
16 your Honours, if you would like this or not.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, we do. I was just
18 asking, in addition to the various parts, whether the
19 whole book has been tendered.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 196 is the book.
21 Re-examination by MR. PETROVIC.
22 Q. Could you please read from page 40, this is
23 Prosecutor's exhibit 196, footnote 64, if I am not
25 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask you to read
1 slowly? Thank you.
2 A. :
3 "Slavko Dokmanovic, Trpinja, 1949, an
4 engineer of agriculture until the war for the
5 independence of Krajina, he was President of the
6 municipality of Vukovar. It is mostly thanks to his
7 inability that the Assembly of the Municipality of
8 Vukovar, although having a Serb majority, allowed the
9 Secretariat of the Interior in Vukovar to be dissolved,
10 which allowed the Ustasha police headquarters in
11 Vinkovski to take care of the Serb population. In the
12 Serb National Council of Knin, he was a member, but he
13 withdrew from there. In the Government of Slavonia,
14 Baranja and Western Srem, he was Minister of
15 Agriculture. He is the director of the renewed Vukovar
16 Vinarija within the agricultural combine. Since the
17 end of June 1994, he has again become President of the
18 Municipality of Vukovar."
19 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us something about
20 the legitimacy of the Serb National Council? Was this a
21 body that was elected at certain elections, which was a
22 representative body, which represents the population of
23 that territory or not. What do you know about this?
24 A. To the best of my knowledge, the body of the
25 Serb National Council was established in Knin somewhat
1 earlier and, as far as I can recollect, that is why
2 Mr. Dokmanovic's resignation was asked for by the HDZ,
3 and, to the best of my knowledge, it was supposed to
4 protect the interests of the Serb population in Croatia
5 -- only protect their interests. It had no other
6 significance as far as I know.
7 Q. So, they were not chosen at elections and it
8 does not legitimately represent the Serb will in
9 Croatia anyway?
10 A. I am not sure whether or not there were any
11 elections; I just know that it was supposed to protect
12 the imperilled interests of the Serb people in Croatia.
13 Q. Who comprised this Serb National Council?
14 Are you sure about this and, if you are so sure, how do
15 you know that Slavko Dokmanovic was a member?
16 A. I had no opportunity of seeing any proof
17 demonstrating that Slavko Dokmanovic was a member of
18 the Serb National Council in Knin. I just remember
19 that the deputies of the HDZ in the Municipal Assembly
20 were saying so, and that is why they asked for a vote
21 of confidence for Slavko Dokmanovic, but as far as
22 Slavonia, Baranja and Zapadni Srem, I did not speak
23 about this at all in my statement and, as far as I can
24 remember, Mr. Dokmanovic did not really take part in
25 this at all, because what was mentioned a few minutes
1 ago was a different Serb National Council and that is
2 the Serb National Council for Slavonia, Baranja and
3 Zapadni Srem.
4 Q. You read a few minutes ago the declaration of
5 the will of the people of the Serb District of
6 Slavonia, Baranje and Zapadni Srem at the request of
7 the Prosecutor and this was Prosecutor's exhibit 199 in
8 its Serb version. Could the witness be shown this
9 document once again? In the footnote it says: "who
10 signed this declaration?". Do you know who signed this
11 declaration, so this is page 185, footnote 16 of the
12 Serb version -- do you know who signed this? What we
13 are primarily interested in is whether you know that
14 Slavko Dokmanovic signed this?
15 A. Sorry, I did not understand this.
16 Q. This is page 185, and there is a footnote,
17 number 16 down there, which is linked to the text of
18 the declaration.
19 A. The declaration was signed by 16 [sic]
20 persons, 10 from the founding meeting and seven new
21 ones. I do not know who signed this, but, to the best
22 of my knowledge, Mr. Dokmanovic was not a member of that
23 National Council -- all the documents that were
24 presented by the Prosecutor pertained exclusively to
25 the National Council of Slavonia, Baranja and Zapadni
2 Q. So there were two National Councils?
3 A. Yes, there were two National Councils, and
4 the author of this book, on page 40, mentions
5 specifically that Mr. Dokmanovic was not a member of
6 that National Council, but that he joined the National
7 Council of Knin. It was established somewhat earlier
8 and not a single piece of evidence is related to that
9 National Council.
10 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, I would object
11 to that. I think he has mis-characterised it unless
12 there was a mis-translation earlier. I do not think
13 there was a statement that he did not belong to the
14 council for Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem. What
15 it said was that he was a member of the council in
16 Knin. I would ask that the witness reread that
17 section, or at least point out exactly where it states
18 that he was not a member of the council for Slavonia
19 Baranja and Western Srem, as he has just asserted.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you please read again
21 the relevant section?
22 MR. PETROVIC: Page 40, footnote 64?
23 A. Again:
24 "Slavko Dokmanovic, Trpinja 1949, engineer of
25 agriculture. Until the war for the independence of
1 Krajina, he was President of the Vukovar municipality.
2 It is mostly thanks to his inability that the Assembly
3 of the Municipality of Vukovar, although enjoying a
4 Serb majority population, allowed the Secretariat of
5 the Interior to be dissolved in Vukovar. In this way,
6 the Ustasha Croat police from Vinkovski was allowed to
7 take care of the Serb population in Vukovar. In the
8 Serb National Council of Knin he was a member but he
9 withdrew from there. In the Government of Slavonia,
10 Baranja and Zapadni Srem, he was Minister of
11 Agriculture . He is a director of Vukovar Vinarija
12 which was renewed --"
13 Q. So, can we thus conclude that this footnote
14 is actually a CV of Slavko Dokmanovic, because
15 obviously, that is how he was first mentioned in this
16 book -- this is a CV of Slavko Dokmanovic, that is,
17 that if he were a member of another National Council,
18 obviously this would have been mentioned; they would
19 not have only referred to as the Serb National
20 Council in Knin?
21 A. I think so, because this is a footnote
22 provided by the author of this book, because, had
23 Mr. Dokmanovic been a member of the National Council for
24 Slavonia, Baranja and Zapadni Srem, this certainly
25 would have been highlighted in this book.
1 Q. Do you know any other document which would
2 link Slavko Dokmanovic with the National Council of
3 Slavonia, Baranje and Zapadni Srem?
4 A. I said a few minutes ago that I am not aware
5 of any document of this kind, and I am sure that
6 Mr. Dokmanovic never even mentioned to me, on any
7 occasion, the Serb National Council of Slavonia,
8 Baranja and Zapadni Srem because to the best of my
9 knowledge, in that period, he no longer enjoyed any
10 confidence among the Serbs of that part of Slavonia,
11 Baranja and Zapadni Srem. In that period, he lost all
12 credibility among all the Serbs, just as I lost it, and
13 many others who advocated a different cause.
14 Q. Why? What happened; could you tell me why?
15 A. Because we were advocating a peaceful
16 solution, to resolve the conflict by peaceful means,
17 not by an armed conflict and because we were accused,
18 Mr. Dokmanovic, I, and other people, of insufficiently
19 being engaged in the protection of the rights and
20 interests of Serbs in that part of Slavonia, Baranja
21 and Zapadni Srem.
22 Q. You mentioned Mr. Boro Savic -- we are going
23 back to a different subject -- Mr. Borov Savic in
24 connection to the incident in Plitvice. Who is Mr. Boro
25 Savic and where is he from?
1 A. Borov Savic lived in Vukovar, and I think he
2 still lives in Vukovar. I got to know him better only
3 after he returned from Plitvice upon his arrest, and he
4 told me that he and Hadzic were coming back from Knin
5 from some kind of meeting, that they were staying at
6 the hotel in Plitvice and that during the night, there
7 was shooting and they were arrested there.
8 Q. I also wish to go back to the question of
9 Borovo Selo -- the persons who obstructed the passage
10 of the military column that tried to get in, they were
11 also armed. Were these official formations, was this
12 the police, or were these armed civilians who were
13 preventing the army from passing through -- who are
14 these armed civilians, where were they, and tell us
15 about this?
16 A. On 2 May, when, from the office of
17 Mr. Dokmanovic, I took the official car of the President
18 of the Municipality and Mr. Modalek was in the car with
19 me and I went to see why the army was not coming to
20 separate these people, and I got to the exit out of
21 Vukovar towards Osijek where the tanks were lined up
22 and several hundred civilians -- there were children
23 there, too, so they were all there -- some of them were
24 armed and were wearing uniforms, but also there were
25 some people who were wearing civilian clothes and who
1 had weapons, and I think that these could not have been
2 regular forces of the police, but these had to be armed
3 civilians -- probably paramilitary formations of the
5 Q. Thank you, no further questions.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: I wanted to know about the
8 author of the book -- is he alive?
9 MR. WILLIAMSON: I do not know, your Honour.
10 I have no information on this person.
11 MR. FILA: Can I help you? He will be one of
12 the witnesses on the video link -- no, he is alive and
13 lives in Novi Sad -- Koncarevic will be on the video
14 link -- I mixed that up. He is alive, yes. The
15 videotape, your Honours, that I gave as supporting
16 material -- let me remind you -- one of the witnesses
17 in the indictment said that Slavko Dokmanovic was
18 criticised for being on television in Novi Sad.
19 I think Mr. Williamson will recall this -- for having
20 taken part in a television programme in Novi Sad.
21 I have the tape, I will let you look at it and that is
22 the Ilija Petrovic in question.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: I have a couple of
24 questions. You insisted on a particular point, even a
25 few minutes ago, namely that both you and Mr. Dokmanovic
1 were moderates, among the Serbs. You just spoke of
2 loss of credibility among the Serbs, because of your
3 peaceful attitude. At one point, according to you,
4 both you and Mr. Dokmanovic were regarded as traitors by
5 some Serbs, I imagine extremists. We saw a document
6 where mention is made of a CV, Mr. Dokmanovic's CV, of
7 his inability in the Assembly, which means that it is a
8 document which is rather critical of Mr. Dokmanovic.
9 However, how do you explain that around
10 probably July, August -- I do not know the exact date
11 -- Mr. Dokmanovic, in spite of this loss of
12 credibility, became a Minister of Agriculture of the
13 Government of the Serb district of Slavonia, Baranja
14 and Srem -- he became an authority of a Government
15 controlling that particular area of Croatia?
16 A. I do not know the circumstances. Let me
17 repeat that I was in Vukovar only until the end of
18 July. I did not go to Vukovar after that date, so that
19 I do not know the circumstances under which this
20 happened, but I think it was considerably later.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: But I would imagine that the
22 Government presided over by Goran Hadzic would not have
23 appointed a traitor as a member of this particular
24 Government, so you do not know any explanation of how
25 to reconcile two seemingly contradictory facts?
1 A. As I was not present in Vukovar, I was not in
2 contact with the people -- I was near Belgrade where I
3 live today and perform my duties -- so that I have no
4 information which would be relevant, that is to say, on
5 the basis of which Mr. Dokmanovic was included in the
6 Government, but I am sure that, in the period when
7 I was there, both he and I had a lot of unpleasantness
8 from the Serbs there, who called us quite publicly
10 Q. You mentioned a few minutes ago some
11 uniformed civilians who, according to you, were members
12 of the HDZ, and you also previously had mentioned those
13 uniformed civilians when you were talking of that
14 episode of the Combi where you found yourself in a
15 particular situation. Could you give us a description
16 of these uniformed civilians. Were they wearing
17 military uniforms? What sort of uniforms were they
18 wearing -- were they wearing insignia?
19 A. Many of them had some camouflage uniforms,
20 very often incomplete, only parts of uniforms but, as a
21 rule, they were, as I say, just parts of uniforms.
22 They were either camouflage uniforms and often weapons
23 were seen in the hands of people who were in civilian
24 clothing and were together with these partially
25 uniformed individuals.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: But you inferred from their
2 wearing some sort of camouflage uniform, the fact that
3 they were members of paramilitary units -- of Croat
4 paramilitary units; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, it is correct, because, in addition to
6 the members of the Croat police forces wearing
7 regular uniforms on the barricades and particularly in
8 the case of Borovo Selo, there were individuals, a
9 significant number of individuals, with long weaponry,
10 wearing partial uniforms, usually camouflage uniforms,
11 and a lot of people were in civilian clothing, but they
12 were together, with the Police Forces of Croatia, on
13 the basis of which I concluded that it was a question
14 of paramilitary formations. Otherwise, when Mr. Mercep
15 took over the National defence, was in fact in command
16 -- I personally saw that, even before that, that is to
17 say, before 2 May, Mr. Sredoselac who was the commander
18 of the police station at Vukovar, was criticised as
19 being just a youth in his police station, whereas
20 formation-wise, Mr. Mercep should have had no links at
21 all with the police, because he was head of a political
22 Party. On the basis of this, I gained the impression
23 that in fact it was he who commanded the police station
24 and not Mr. Sredoselac, the official commander. I had
25 occasion to convince myself of this on several
1 occasions and Mr. Sredoselac acknowledged he was not in
2 control of his men.
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Now we are talking of the
4 Croats. The normal perception of a person,
5 particularly a political leader, or somebody involved
6 in politics or in the public administration, the normal
7 perception, to see him wearing a uniform -- a military
8 uniform, a camouflage uniform, would give rise to the
9 assumption, to the man in the street, as it were, that
10 he was a member of a paramilitary unit?
11 A. Well I knew the uniforms of the regular
12 police force of Croatia. I was acquainted with those
13 uniforms, and all the people who were with them at the
14 barricades or at positions of this kind, usually
15 barricades, that I passed through wearing other
16 uniforms or civilians with long weaponry could only be
17 treated in this way.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: One last and very minor
19 question: you said yesterday that before May you had
20 the opportunity to go to Trpinja by car and fetch
21 Mr. Dokmanovic, to take him to Vukovar, because of the
22 possibility or fear of incidents and so on.
23 I understand this happened quite a few times and this
24 was intended to protect Mr. Dokmanovic. How far is
25 Trpinja from Vukovar in terms of kilometres?
1 A. About 10 kilometres.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: So normally, how long would
3 it take you to go by car from Trpinja to Vukovar, as a
4 rule of thumb?
5 A. About 10 to 15 minutes.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. No further
7 questions? There is no objection to the witness being
8 released? Thank you so much, Mr. Milinkovic, for coming
9 here to give evidence. You may now be released.
10 A. Thank you, your Honours.
11 (The witness withdrew).
12 JUDGE CASSESE: I think we can start with
13 our next witness. I am happy to see that Mr. Fila and
14 I have a special way of communicating by gestures. We
15 come from the same area of the Mediterranean, you are
16 of Greek origin, I think?
17 MR. FILA: Yes.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: It is a very quick way of
19 communicating -- but not improper, because it is in
20 open court, so everybody can watch us. I hope we can
21 finish by 1.15 with both witnesses, assuming the
22 Prosecutor does not have too many questions.
23 MR. PETROVIC: I fear not. We shall try of
24 course, but I fear that we will not succeed.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: It goes without saying that
1 we do not intend to compress or curtail the rights of
2 the defence. This would be clear.
3 MR. PETROVIC: We do not expect long
4 testimonies from these witnesses, but after all we do
5 only half an hour and a half at our disposal.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: I was raising this issue,
7 because in reading yesterday the written statements of
8 the two witnesses, I realised that they are very short,
9 so I was wondering whether the oral testimony could be
10 short as well.
11 Good morning Mr. Vracaric, may I ask you to
12 make the sworn declaration?
13 ZDRAVKO VRACARIC:
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that
15 I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
16 the truth.
17 Examination-in-chief by MR. PETROVIC.
18 Q. Mr. Vracaric, did you, on 11 September 1997,
19 talk to lawyer Ore, the investigating individual?
20 A. Yes, I did, in Vukovar, and made a statement
21 to what he asked me.
22 Q. I would like you to take a look at the
23 document and tell us whether that is the statement that
24 you gave to Mr. Oro? (Handed). The statement by
25 Mr. Vracaric, in Serb, I tender as D30 and D30A.
1 A. Yes, that is my statement and that is my
3 Q. Where were you born, what are you by
4 profession and your place of employment?
5 A. I was born in Trpinja on 29 March 1948. That
6 is where I lived until the third grade primary school
7 and then I went to Vukovar, all my antecedents were
8 born in Trpinja. I moved to Vukovar where I completed
9 gymnasium and later I went to the Faculty of Political
10 Science, the group for sociology, and I am by
11 profession a Professor of Sociology. My last
12 employment was in a private enterprise for the training
13 of drivers. It was called the (INAUDIBLE) Test,
15 Q. Since when have you known Slavko Dokmanovic?
16 A. We are from the same village. I have known
17 Slavko personally. Our families knew each personally.
18 I am one year older than Mr. Dokmanovic. We went to the
19 same primary school. Later on, we went to the same
20 secondary school. As I interrupted my studies for one
21 year, we were in the same form in the gymnasium.
22 Q. Were you a member of any political Party?
23 A. From 1968, in the final year of gymnasium, I
24 became a member of the League of Communists of
25 Yugoslavia and I was a member of the League until the
1 dissolution of the League of Communists. After that,
2 I was not a member of any political Party. However,
3 when the multi-party system in the Republic of Croatia
4 started up, I found myself, as an option, in the
5 SDP Party, but I was never a member of the Party.
6 Q. Did you ever hold a membership card?
7 A. No, never. I never had a membership card
8 and, like most of the Serbs, the large majority, like
9 Mr. Dokmanovic as well, we never had a membership card.
10 Q. Did you take part in the first multi-Party
11 elections for the Municipal Assembly for Vukovar?
12 A. Yes, I did and I found myself to be on the
13 list for the Associated Labour Council Chamber, and all
14 the citizens of Vukovar who knew me and knew the nature
15 of the work I did as the owner of a driving school,
16 I was accepted.
17 Q. When did you have contact for the first time
18 with the Croat Democratic Union or any of its
19 members, or attended one of its meetings and your
21 A. I lived in the part of Vukovar which was
22 called Mitnica, and that was the local community called
23 Vladimir Nazor. Quite by chance, I had my first
24 concrete meeting with the HDZ there, that is to say, my
25 colleague, Gordana Gojic, she was in the same local
1 community -- we were both activists there -- informed
2 me one day that there would be a meeting of some kind
3 without any invitations, and that none of the Serbs had
4 been invited to the meeting, and it would be a good
5 idea, she said, to go and see what it was going to be
6 about, because allegedly the HDZ would be having a
7 founding meeting for the Vladimir Nazor local community
8 and that is what happened. We went to the hall, there
9 were quite a lot of people there, we came on time, we
10 took our places and three of us there were there
11 Gordana Gojic, myself, and a retired worker of the SUP
12 at the time, Mr. Zezey -- I forget his first name. The
13 hall was filled by our neighbours -- all of them were
14 well-known to us. There were lots of people who had
15 never been active in manifestations of this kind
16 before. Then, a team of individuals arrived, some 15
17 of them, perhaps a little more, they entered the hall,
18 when the hall was already full. Mr. Tomislav Mercep was
19 among them, Mr. Gazo was there, Sabljic and others.
20 Some people said there were a lot of people from
21 Vinkovski and Osijek. They were allegedly activists of
22 the HDZ. Mr. Seremet, I believe, chaired the meeting --
23 I do not know his first name, but he is also from our
24 local community. Mr. Mercep on the occasion held a
25 fiery speech -- fairly well prepared, I would say --
1 and that was the first time I actually saw
2 Mr. Tomislav Mercep, although I knew his brother, Simun,
3 from earlier on. I knew him as a huntsman and as a dog
4 lover, and the speech held by Mr. Mercep was a political
5 speech -- a political campaign -- membership in the
6 HDZ, what the Croats should do, their tasks, how to
7 make the organisation a more massive organisation, that
8 this was the one true Party for the first time where a
9 Croat could find himself, and what I always recall, and
10 which worried me a little on the occasion was something
11 he said -- he said a sentence to the following effect:
12 "Finally, there will be a redistribution of property.
13 The Serbs will no longer enjoy the large houses and
14 property they own now -- there will be a redistribution
15 of work posts. Croats will not be citizens of the
16 second order any more. Of course, there are places for
17 the Serbs, too, for those who remain. There are enough
18 shovels for those who remain and there will be enough
19 work for everybody" and there was an applause after
20 that, and then they moved towards electing the
21 activists who the organising born, Mr. Anto Beljo became
22 a member, Colak, my neighbour, Daljic, Istuk Seremet
23 himself and many others, I do not recall exactly who.
24 Somebody happened to mention on the occasion that there
25 were those sitting there who should not be there --
1 they probably had us in mind. But we were told that it
2 did not matter that we were there, and that we would be
3 able to leave the meeting quite safely. That is what
4 happened. In the evening hours, the three of us safely
5 left the meeting. That was my first contact with the
6 HDZ and it was in March -- mid March I should say --
7 I think I was almost certain that it was 12 March 1990.
8 Q. Briefly, how did the first multi-party
9 elections for the Croat SABOR --
10 A. I followed the elections in Vukovar, that is
11 to say, the local elections, but the mass media wrote
12 about this and spoke about this and I was able to see
13 the elections there. We hoped that the situation would
14 be more favourable for the SDP but, quite obviously,
15 through the electoral system and the other available
16 media, we know what happened -- in the Republic of
17 Croatia, the HDZ was victorious, whereas in Vukovar,
18 the situation was quite different.
19 Q. What was the pre-election campaign like in
20 Vukovar and the situation in the town in general?
21 A. Well, it was very lively. Two parties were
22 present on the political scene -- the HDZ as an
23 exclusively National Party full of burgeoning efforts
24 and exclusive nature -- all their meetings were very
25 loud with a lot of flags, a lot of various insignias,
1 the checker board, the Croat insignia, and they were
2 mass meetings, and many people were present. You could
3 see that there were a lot of financial resources
4 invested, that the media paid a great deal of attention
5 -- there were a lot of slogans, posters and so on and
6 so forth, and Vukovar was well covered. On the other
7 hand, the SDP based its campaign on the fact that it
8 was not a nationalistic Party, that there was enough
9 room for everybody in the Party and it advocated
10 something that we found favourable as Serbs, that is
11 cohabitation -- not brotherhood and unity perhaps, but
12 cohabitation, that we could live alongside each other,
13 work alongside each other peacefully and that there was
14 room for everybody in the Party.
15 I was in Vukovar at one promotion meeting for
16 the -- in the centre of town, which rallied a lot of
17 people and just like all our meetings of that kind, it
18 evolved peacefully. As I say, these were two
19 opposites. Perhaps it was interesting to see those
20 opposites at the time, but it did herald a complex and
21 difficult situation, which was to ensue, because the
22 meetings of this kind, from the HDZ meetings of this
23 kind, one could always feel endeavours to ensure a
24 better morrow only for the members of one nation.
25 Q. What was the conclusion of the elections for
1 the Municipal Assembly of Vukovar at those first
2 multi-Party elections and at a local level?
3 A. They finished as we foresaw, that is to say,
4 the SDP won. Two-thirds or more of the members of the
5 Municipal Assembly of Vukovar were from the SDP's list;
6 the HDZ, led my Mercep, won, in our assessment, a
7 maximum of the votes that they could have won under
8 those circumstances -- it is quite obvious that they
9 were not very satisfied, but that was the outcome of
10 the elections.
11 With the number of votes we gained, we were
13 Q. How was the Municipal Assembly of Vukovar
14 constituted after the elections?
15 A. The municipality was constituted according to
16 the Rules of Procedure and just as other assemblies
17 were constituted.
18 Q. You were elected a Deputy of the Municipal
19 Assembly of Vukovar; is that right?
20 A. Yes, for the Chamber of Associated Labour.
21 The Assembly was constituted and we immediately took up
22 our seats -- the HDZ was to the left of us and we, as
23 the vast majority, were on the other side. Immediately
24 after the beginning, one could see that the HDZ wished
25 to obstruct the meeting -- they reacted very loudly and
1 always under Mr. Mercep's command. If Mr. Mercep got up
2 and asked people to leave the hall, the others got up,
3 too. If he said that they should remain, they
4 remained. But, nonetheless, we succeeded in
5 harmonising our views as to basic issues.
6 Q. And Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic was elected
7 President of the Municipal Assembly?
8 A. There were two candidates for the President
9 of the Assembly. I did not actually take part in the
10 consultations -- inter-Party negotiations -- like most
11 of the deputies I was faced with an alternative --
12 either Slavko Dokmanovic or Ms. Bojana Peter. It was
13 quite normal that all of us from the SDP, and
14 especially all the Serbs, to vote for Slavko Dokmanovic
15 for the following reasons: first of all, Mr. Dokmanovic
16 was a highly educated individual. He was a prosperous
17 individual. He was a stable personality, a man with
18 broad views, and a very moderate option, which
19 corresponded to our needs, which suited us. He was a
20 moderate, as I say -- always in favour of cohabitation,
21 of the fact that we should all stay in the area, and
22 somebody who wanted everybody to do their job.
23 Q. In Vukovar at the time, the first problems
24 arose between the Croats and the Serbs with regard to
25 nationality. What did the Deputy President of the
1 Municipal Assembly try to do to overcome tensions as
2 far as possible?
3 A. Although we had the vast majority in the
4 Municipal Assembly, and percentage-wise the HDZ as a
5 Party had a fewer seats in the bodies, commissions and
6 so on, Slavko Dokmanovic insisted that we try and
7 dovetail this with the HDZ members, and that we should
8 agree to give them more seats, so that the climate of
9 work and tolerance would prevail and that is what
10 happened. They got more seats than they would
11 objectively merit according to the percentages.
12 Mr. Matovic was elected deputy --
13 Vice-President -- they were given seats in the
14 commissions, and everything was done to work on the
15 basis of a dialogue. Mr. Dokmanovic advocated that, but
16 so did I as well as Mr. Maksim Vojnovic and others. We
17 tried to do everything in our power to condemn excess
19 There was understanding on both sides,
20 Marin Vidic Bili was very tolerant, for example. He
21 was along the same lines as we were ourselves very
22 often. When I talked to many of the HDZ deputies at
23 the beginning, they also condemned individual excessive
24 conduct, but the next day this excessive conduct would
25 continue, so it is one thing what was being said and
1 another thing what was being done.
2 Slavko Dokmanovic, at the clubs of deputies
3 of the SDP, always advocated one and the same thing --
4 let us seek compromise, let us be tolerant, let us be
5 patient, do not answer provocations, do not let
6 ourselves, as the majority Party, be responsible for
7 any serious incident. Those were always the
8 suggestions he made.
9 Q. You mentioned Tomislav Mercep on several
10 occasions. Can you tell us something about his role in
11 Vukovar in that period in greater detail?
12 A. Apart from seeing him for the first time in
13 the local community of Vladimir Nazor, we got to know
14 each other better when we began working in the
15 Municipal Assembly of Vukovar. It so happened that the
16 offices of my enterprise and the offices of the HDZ,
17 Mercep's Party, were right next to one another -- we
18 were only separated by a wall. That is how we saw each
19 other work -- outside the Assembly. Very often,
20 Mr. Mercep would come to see me. I always had good
21 whiskey to offer him, because after all, that is the
22 kind of job I had -- we were supposed to be good hosts
23 to all our clients, and I would also come to see him
24 and he respected me for at least three reasons, I
25 believe; first of all, I was a personal friend for
1 several years of Mr. Slavko Degoricija, who already, at
2 that stage, was Assistant Minister of the Interior of
3 the Republic of Croatia. Secondly, Mercep's wife
4 attended this driving school that I worked in, and
5 under certain privileged conditions so to speak -- she
6 did not have to wait in line, she could choose the
7 driving instructor she wanted, et cetera. It was only
8 natural -- we were neighbours, you know. Thirdly, he
9 respected me as a business person, because I had a very
10 successful enterprise, and, when journalists would come
11 to see him -- different kinds of journalists, he would
12 introduce me as a Serb who is successful and who is not
13 hindered in any way in his business.
14 Very soon, Mercep became popular among the
15 members of the HDZ. He had an exceptional energy --
16 physically and mentally he was quite fit and also he
17 was very ambitious. From morning until night, people
18 came to his office and went out of it and, as I said,
19 his office was right next door to mine.
20 Knowing the setting there, these were people
21 who were really anonymous, who were on the margins of
22 social life there, but that is where he felt fine -- he
23 was popular among them. He was liked by them and it
24 became obvious that it was not only that he held the
25 baton of a conductor in the Assembly but, as time went
1 by, he held the baton of a conductor over other
2 structures, too -- in the police, in the civilian life,
3 he was at the centre of everything.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Do you mind if we now have a
5 recess? I would propose only 10 minutes -- is that
6 alright? I hope the interpreters do not mind -- you do
7 mind -- 15 minutes then.
8 (11.55 a.m.).
9 (A short break).
11 JUDGE CASSESE: At 1.30 we have a meeting
12 with the President and the other presiding judges of
13 the various Chambers to agree upon a court schedule for
14 the next few months. This also relates to our trial.
15 I wonder whether we could be as expeditious as
16 possible, in particular, the witness could give us
17 short answers. Let us make an effort.
18 MR. PETROVIC: We shall certainly try to make
19 the questions as concise as possible and to make the
20 witness's answers as short as possible.
21 Q. Please, very briefly, I wish to recall an
22 interesting episode with Slavko Degoricija, your
23 personal acquaintance with him, and is there anything
24 interesting to mention in that respect?
25 A. I said already --
1 Q. But please be brief?
2 A. -- that we had been friends for a long time.
3 Slavko Dokmanovic knew from me that I was friends with
4 Mr. Degoricija. At one point in time he said, "Why
5 don't you ask your friend to come and go hunting with
6 us here in Trpinja, so that he can see what kind of
7 people we are like, so we could socialise a bit."
8 I told Mr. Degoricija about this and, although he was a
9 passionate huntsman, he could not make it, because he
10 had a very busy schedule.
11 Q. Do you know anything about the armament of
12 the members of the HDZ in Vukovar?
13 A. I do not know how, when, and in what way,
14 people were armed, but in the early spring, some time
15 around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I came to my
16 offices, because a new driving course was supposed to
17 begin. I saw quite a few people in front of the office
18 of the HDZ. I went to see Mercep before this was to
19 begin. I entered the door. The room was full. I was
20 surprised. On the right-hand side by the wall there
21 were a few civilians -- they were sitting on the floor,
22 actually -- and they had automatic rifles, and those
23 small green-grey bags. I was really surprised. Until
24 then, I had never seen armed persons in the offices of
25 the HDZ. The next day I saw Mr. Mercep and I said,
1 "What was all that about? What do you need all this
2 for, Mercep?" He said, "Don't be surprised by this.
3 That's the way it is. Is somebody bothering you; is
4 somebody threatening you? Has somebody done anything
5 to you?" I said "no", he said, "Mind your own
6 business. We are going to attain our objectives and we
7 believe all is fair in that respect and even Croats who
8 oppose us will be removed", and I did not comment on
9 that any further.
10 Q. Sorry, do you know any specific cases of
11 pressure against Serbs who lived in Vukovar -- was
12 there any destruction of their property; were they
13 expelled from work; did they have to move out?
14 A. I did not go into individual specific cases,
15 because, as each day went by, something new happened.
16 It was even unusual if nothing happened. People
17 started moving out en masse, particularly after
18 Borovo Selo. I know only one specific case because it
19 is a friend of mine who was concerned in it -- he is
20 deceased now -- it is Mr. Jovo Jakoljevic his nickname
21 was Rakijica -- he was a passionate huntsman like me.
22 I would often come to see him. He was running a
23 state-owned shop of hunting arms and, in 1991, I
24 stopped by his shop to see him and he complained to me
25 that Mercep and his people were threatening him, and
1 that he was supposed to hand over these hunting arms to
2 them, especially carbines, but he said he would not do
3 it. I said, "Jovan, aren't you frightened?. It's your
4 life that's at stake. Why don't you give it to
5 them?". He said, "No, I don't really want to do that.
6 I'm going to give it to the military barracks." I think
7 some time in June, Jovan was tragically killed. I do
8 not know specifically how he was killed or who killed
10 Q. When was this last meeting of the Vukovar
11 Municipal Assembly scheduled for?
12 A. Until April all of this went by some how, but
13 then in May, I think around 17 May, a meeting was
14 scheduled. We came in front of the Assembly. There was
15 a biggish group there already of members and supporters
16 of the HDZ and they did not let us go into the Assembly
17 building. It is interesting that, from the first time
18 it was constituted, there was always some kind of a
19 pressure group there -- 10, 20 to 30 people -- they
20 were always in front of the Assembly. They were not
21 members of the Assembly, but they were there, either by
22 accident or at someone's invitation -- they were this
23 unpleasant pressure group outside the building.
24 Q. Can we say that that day, when this last
25 attempt was made to have a meeting of the
1 Municipal Assembly held -- was that the last day when
2 this Assembly actually functioned?
3 A. After that, I never even received an
4 invitation for an Assembly meeting, and the Assembly
5 was not functioning to the best of my knowledge.
6 Q. Until when did Mr. Dokmanovic perform the
7 duties of President of the Municipal Assembly?
8 A. Already after the events of May in
9 Borovo Selo, his position was seriously shaken and with
10 a great degree of caution, he would come from time to
11 time to the best of my recollection, Mr. Milinkovic
12 would bring him in and after that he could not really
13 come to the municipality any more. He would often
14 complain to me and to Mr. Maksim Vojnovic. We would sit
15 there together at the SDK. He would complain he was
16 receiving threats and he would say his life was in
17 danger. We said, come on man, do not come, because
18 your life is more important.
19 Q. When was the Assembly of the municipality of
20 Vukovar dissolved?
21 A. To the best of my knowledge, at the beginning
22 of July, a decree was issued by the Government and the
23 Assembly was dissolved. Although I never received an
24 official document saying so, it was a load off my chest
25 that this had happened, because Mr. Vojnovic told me on
1 the phone that the Assembly was no longer in existence,
2 so it suited me.
3 Q. When did you leave Vukovar and on what
5 A. I left Vukovar on 31 August 1991. I was
6 taken out of Vukovar by a Croat, Ivan Matic, who was
7 best man at my wedding. He had a former pupil, who was
8 a member of the National Guards Corps, the ZNG, and his
9 pupil took me, my wife, and the wife of my best man,
10 and a certain Dorde, who was a butcher -- he took us
11 out of Vukovar and we passed by many ZNG posts, but
12 really no-one stopped us and this ZNG, this friend of
13 my best friend -- I think his last name was Milas--
14 mill as, he took us out.
15 Q. A few minutes ago you mentioned that you knew
16 in person Marin Vidic Bili. Could the witness please
17 be shown D8, exhibit D8 -- could you please look at
18 this document and could you please say what kind of
19 document this is?
20 A. Yes, I know this document. I have it at home
21 until the present day. The document was given to me by
22 Mr. Marin Vidic Bili -- perhaps a day or two after this
23 document -- after this date which is on the document,
24 he came to my home, he, my wife and I sat on the
25 terrace and we had some ice-cream and we discussed the
1 situation. Bili was always the representative of a
2 moderate option and we had a lot in common. We became
3 friends when the Assembly was constituted, and I even
4 as a personal favour to him, organised a driver's
5 course in Lovas, in his native town. He came to see me
6 that day and he complained about everything that was
7 happening in Vukovar. He also noticed that a lot of
8 Serbs were moving out of Vukovar, Serbs were moving out
9 in all sorts of ways -- some of them bribed HDZ people,
10 some took advantage of their friendships, but everyone
11 tried to escape as best they could.
12 He told me then, Bili told me then, that
13 certain extremist groups got out of control, that
14 everyone was doing what he wanted to do and that he was
15 afraid that he would be held accountable, because of
16 that, as the representative, and he said, "This is my
17 last attempt" and he gave me this document "to prevent
18 the chaos that may ensue if this is not stopped." He
19 said "Zdravko, tell the Serbs not to move out, tell the
20 Serbs you know not to move out. I am giving this to
21 you, you are a prominent person. Show this to them,"
22 although he personally did not believe that anything
23 would improve.
24 Q. Do you know whether Slavko Dokmanovic was in
25 Vukovar during war operations?
1 A. Slavko Dokmanovic did not stay in Vukovar
2 during the war operations, just as I was not in Vukovar
3 during the war operations. May I just say the
4 following? After the Borovo events, Slavko was
5 labelled a traitor. He was accused of having informed
6 the army that came in and saved the members of the
7 MUP. He was also accused of having handed over Vukovar
8 to the HDZ, an extremist HDZ. He knew that messages
9 were coming in from so-called headquarters all over
10 Vukovar -- various villages, Negoslavci, even all the
11 way to Sid. It was said he did not dare come back to
12 Vukovar and he should not dare come back to Vukovar.
13 He came to see me in Ilok -- on 14 November 1991, I
14 started working as the director of Agrokomerc in Ilok.
15 Q. Sorry, may I show you a document at this
16 point -- could I ask you kindly to show the witness
17 this document? (Handed). It is dated 13 November
18 1991. He could perhaps tell us what this is about?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D32.
20 MR. PETROVIC: There is a translation into
21 the English language on the back, so 32A is the
22 translation, and I tender this as evidence of the
24 A. Yes, sorry, just a minute.
25 MR. NIEMANN: Might I see a copy of it?
1 THE WITNESS: Yes, this is a document
2 showing that the military command of Ilok has appointed
3 me director of Agrokomerc in Ilok and on the 14th
4 already I started working there in order to start
5 production again, so that this would allow the city to
6 function, because this included the bakery and other
7 important points.
8 MR. PETROVIC: Could you please continue
9 about this visit of Slavko Dokmanovic and your place in
11 A. I had not seen Slavko Dokmanovic for a long
12 time. He came to see me between 14 and 18 November. I
13 remember it was morning. We said hello to each other.
14 He told me why he had basically come. He said that he
15 came in order to see whether Agrokomerc, as an
16 enterprise could finance the overhaul which was in
17 Backa Palanka in Napredak. I cannot even remember what
18 the bill or how much money was involved. I said,
19 "Slavko, I would be happy to do it, but we've just
20 started working again and we don't have any money. If
21 I can help you some other time, I would be happy to do
22 so." We then talked a little bit and we complained to
23 each other, and since we both had the labels we had, we
24 did not dare go to Vukovar and we both, indeed, wanted
25 to know what the situation was like there and what it
1 was like, and it was even more difficult for him,
2 because the accusations levelled against him were even
3 graver -- people said he was a traitor, that he was a
4 traitor, and this went from mouth to mouth. He really
5 took it very hard. He asked me whether I knew some of
6 these people in these different headquarters, did
7 I know someone who could make it possible for him to go
8 up there? I said; Slavko, I do not know them
9 personally but I do not dare go myself, so I cannot do
10 anything for you, either. We parted and after that we
11 did not see each other for a long time.
12 Q. Since the military command even appointed
13 directors of companies on the territory of the
14 municipality of Vukovar, can we conclude that this
15 entire territory was under military administration at
16 that time?
17 A. Yes. This was a model that was unique to
18 this entire area and this military command lasted
19 longer, like in Ilok, and elsewhere, not that long, but
20 it was the same model.
21 Q. Who governed Ilok after the war operations?
22 A. Also the military command from Vukovar.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the defence attorney
24 please speak slower?
25 MR. PETROVIC: Briefly, how was
1 Slavko Dokmanovic appointed Minister of Agriculture in
2 the Government of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem?
3 A. I was not there at that election, but there
4 were not very many eligible people around then. There
5 were people who were all over, so he had training in
6 agriculture, he was an agronomist, and he was really an
7 expert in agricultural production, so he could have
8 re-established this kind of production.
9 Q. Thank you, no further questions.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Niemann?
11 Cross-examination by MR. NIEMANN.
12 Q. Mr. Vracaric, can you tell me, from the time
13 that you left Vukovar -- which I think you said was in
14 August -- until the date that you were appointed to
15 this position in November 1991, where were you and what
16 were you doing?
17 A. At that time, I was in Backa Palanka as a
18 refugee. I was staying with friends, and I had sent my
19 children there already in June 1991.
20 Q. And Backa Palanka is in Serbia, is it not?
21 A. Yes, it is, near Novi Sad.
22 Q. And were there many Serb refugees there
23 who had left Vukovar during that time?
24 A. In Backa Palanka, as in other towns along the
25 Danube, there were truly quite a few refugees.
1 Q. And when did you actually go to Ilok?
2 A. I came to Ilok some time before 1 November.
3 I started coming to Ilok then, because the army allowed
4 people to enter Ilok then and then I would go back to
5 Backa Palanka -- I would commute. I definitely moved
6 to Ilok the day I was appointed.
7 Q. When you got to Ilok, did you find
8 accommodation suitable for you to live in when you
9 arrived there?
10 A. The military command allow me to use a house
11 on a temporary basis -- the house of a certain Mr. Vlado
12 Zec, who had left Ilok in a convoy in October, together
13 with the other inhabitants of Ilok .
14 Q. This gentleman that occupied this house, was
15 he Croatian -- was he a Croat?
16 A. Yes, Mr. Zec was a Croat and we met
18 Q. By the time that you reached Ilok, most of
19 the Croats had left, had they, or the vast majority of
20 them had left?
21 A. Yes, the vast majority of Croats had left
22 Ilok -- almost all the Slovaks had remained and a part
23 of the Croats.
24 Q. In the position that you had as Director of
25 the company of Agrokomerc, if I have that correctly,
1 what was the functions and duties that you performed?
2 A. My duties were, first and foremost, to resume
3 production, because there was agricultural production
4 there and also bread was baked and supplies were
5 provided to the city and there was a metal production,
6 too, so this was my primary duty and, secondly, I was
7 supposed to get all the right people who would be in
8 charge of this production.
9 Q. It was under military command -- was this
10 company under military command?
11 A. All companies were under this command, and,
12 during those first few days we would even submit
13 reports to the military command.
14 Q. Did you wear a camouflage uniform when you
15 were working for this company?
16 A. I never wore a camouflage uniform. The first
17 day I reported in for work, I wore a suit and a tie
18 and, later, this was given a negative connotation
19 because most people moved around in military uniforms.
20 Q. When you said, "Most people moved around in
21 military uniforms," were the people that were moving
22 around in military uniforms -- were they all parts of
23 the former JNA, or did people wear military uniforms,
24 because it gave a favourable impression?
25 A. Most people belonged to the JNA, or were
1 reservists, and there were others, also, who wore at
2 least part of a uniform, because this left a certain
4 Q. In fact, it was quite popular for people to
5 wear uniforms that appeared of a military nature --
6 they may not have necessarily been of any particular
7 unit or formally part of the army, but it was quite
8 popular, was it not, during that time?
9 A. It was not compulsory to wear a uniform and
10 there were different uniforms.
11 Q. Of course. When you were in Backa Palanka,
12 what were the conditions there like in terms of living
13 conditions -- can you describe the conditions that you
14 were living under?
15 A. There were many refugees -- Svetozar Jovic
16 and later Stanko Jovic were the friends that I was
17 staying with, and I lived under proper conditions --
18 these were wonderful people, because they really made
19 me and my family feel at home, we practically did not
20 pay for any of the expenses incurred except for what we
21 spent on ourselves for personal things. In Palanka
22 itself, there were truly very many people, like in Sid
23 and all these other places -- some of them had a very
24 hard life and others were better off depending on when
25 they had come and with what.
1 Q. There is no question that conditions would
2 have been tough for people who were there at that time,
3 but apart from the inconvenience of having to be
4 crowded in refugee circumstances, all the facilities
5 were functioning, though, were they not, such as the
6 electricity, water supply and things of that nature --
7 they were still functioning?
8 A. It was still functioning for those people who
9 were staying with relatives and friends in privately
10 owned houses. Others, who were staying at collective
11 centres, had a tougher time. Of course, it is an
12 automatic thing that life is more difficult under such
13 circumstances, but it was not that people came of their
14 own free will; it was a difficult situation as it was.
15 Q. You mentioned how you used to know Mr. Mercep
16 and, as time progressed, he appeared to change. That
17 was during the course of primarily 1991, was it, that
18 this change occurred in Mr. Mercep that you were able to
20 A. Mr. Mercep always had strong political
21 ambitions. He always aspired to be a leader and, as
22 time went by, he became increasingly impatient and
23 increasingly aggressive. What I noticed about him was
24 the following: he had bad people around him -- people
25 of a suspicious status, people who were criminals, like
1 Marko Obasic, the Dosen brothers and the like. I told
2 him once, I said, "Tomica, can't you choose some better
3 people to be around you? Why do you let these people
4 come and stay with you?". He said, "These people suit
5 me fine; they have nothing to lose."
6 Q. I think that is true, is it not, of other
7 people in the HDZ -- they went from being moderate and
8 reasonable and fair, from your point of view, to a
9 point of being much more extreme?
10 A. It depends on the individual concerned.
11 I mentioned, for example, Marin Vidic Bili -- he never
12 changed into an extremist. As this euphoria grew, many
13 of the moderates moved towards the extreme.
14 Q. I think one of the reasons you have just
15 mentioned a minute ago was the people he associated
16 with, but you would agree with me, would you not, that
17 a lot of these changes from people being moderate and
18 having good and harmonious relations, to taking extreme
19 positions -- much of that was brought about by the
20 circumstances that were transpiring during the course
21 of 1991 -- that is a fair statement, is it not?
22 A. I do not know what circumstances you have in
23 mind. On our part, as Serbs, and members of the SDP
24 club, we always sent positive signals and, as time went
25 by, more and more negative signals were being sent to
1 us. If these are the circumstances that you are
2 referring to, that is it.
3 Q. You say in your statement that you knew
4 Mr. Dokmanovic, and that you used to have meetings on
5 the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
6 and I presume from your statement you meant meetings
7 during the course of the battle in Vukovar; is that
9 A. We talked to each other once or twice on the
10 phone and once I met him when wheat was being purchased
11 -- all of that was before the battle of Vukovar.
12 Actually, could you please be more specific in terms of
13 the date, because the battle of Vukovar did not take
14 one day only, to the best of my knowledge?
15 Q. No. Unfortunately, I am just relying on your
16 statement and there is nothing specific about it
17 there. It simply says in the last sentence:
18 "We used to meet during the period in the
19 territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
20 I know that he never stayed in Vukovar during the war."
21 It is only me assuming that you are talking
22 about the time when he left and you had left Vukovar --
23 that is all I was asking you about?
24 A. Yes. This was the period before the real war
25 operations in Vukovar. This was August/September -- I
1 got out on 31 August, so it is that period --
3 Q. What was the nature of the meetings -- was
4 this the Government of the Serb district of
5 Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem -- is that when you
6 met with him -- when the Government was meeting -- is
7 that what you are referring to?
8 A. No, no. We would meet as friends, who talked
9 on the phone -- let us get together -- et cetera.
10 Q. I see, fair enough. You mentioned also in
11 your evidence that Mr. Dokmanovic approached you about a
12 truck. Do you know what the truck was to be used for
13 -- did he say?
14 A. Mr. Dokmanovic was in charge of agriculture in
15 Erdut, and he told me that it was a truck that was to
16 be used for wheat or rape seed or something and that it
17 broke down, and that they needed to have it repaired.
18 Q. After the war, that is, during the month of
19 December 1991, did you ever have occasion to go to
20 Sremska Mitrovica by any chance?
21 A. To Sremska Mitrovica in December -- no, not
22 on business, nor do I know anyone there -- no.
23 Q. Do you know a person with the same surname as
24 yours, but with the first name Zeljko?
25 A. That is a person who has the same surname as
1 I do -- I think he had a car wash at the point where
2 people entered Vukovar, on the right-hand side, before
3 the war. We have the same surname, but we are not
5 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions, your
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Petrovic?
8 Re-examination by MR. PETROVIC.
9 Q. Just a brief clarification. You were
10 discussing the conditions under which refugees lived in
11 Backa Palanka, which is on the territory of the
12 Republic of Serbia. What were the conditions in the
13 villages around Vukovar in that area, from the point of
14 view of utilities, water, electricity and all the other
16 A. I left Vukovar, and I told you when, for as
17 long as I could talk to my parents, who were in Vukovar
18 -- in Vukovar it was worse and worse -- without
19 electricity, without water -- as long as I could talk
20 to my parents on the phone, they kept begging me to try
21 to get them out of there, but I was not in a position
22 to do so any more -- I know that the situation was bad
23 in Vukovar itself. I did not go to the villages in the
24 Vukovar municipality. Just like Dokmanovic, I was not
25 too popular, so I could not really move around these
1 villages and see what the conditions were like there,
2 but it is true that people came en masse even from
3 these homogenous villages that were Serb,
5 MR. PETROVIC: Thank you, no further
7 JUDGE CASSESE: I have only one question.
8 If I understood you correctly, you said that you were,
9 between September and October 1991, in Backa Palanka,
10 and then, as from 1 November or early November onwards
11 in Ilok; is that correct?
12 A. I would come to Ilok in those days, because
13 it was possible to get into Ilok -- I would come in and
14 go out, go back to Backa Palanka and on 14 November
15 I started working there, and that is when I worked in
16 this house of Vlado Zec.
17 Q. I did not understand quite well whether, in
18 this particular period September and November 1991, you
19 actually met Mr. Dokmanovic, or only spoke with him on
20 the phone -- I think you said that you phoned each
21 other and then you also met as friends?
22 A. We talked to each other on the phone twice
23 and once we met as friends, briefly, in Bac -- it was a
24 very brief meeting -- we talked to each other, we
25 complained to each other, and then we parted.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: When did this meeting take
2 place -- this meeting in Bac, roughly speaking?
3 A. In Bac, I think we met some time in September
4 -- mid September -- the end of September -- I really
5 cannot recall -- I cannot be sure on that.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Do you remember how
7 Mr. Dokmanovic was dressed? Was he wearing a suit?
8 A. Just like I was dressed -- in jeans and a
9 sweater with -- civilian clothes just like I was
11 JUDGE CASSESE: No further questions.
12 I assume there is no objection to the witness being
13 released? Thank you so much for coming. You may now
14 be released. We still have half an hour. We should
15 start with the next witness.
16 (The witness withdrew).
17 MR. PETROVIC: The next witness is
18 Mr. Kresojevic -- I think he will be very brief.
19 MR. NIEMANN: Might we get an indication
20 from the defence which witnesses they are calling next
21 week and in what order? I think things have changed a
22 little bit.
23 MR. PETROVIC: If we get through the
24 testimony of Mr. Kresojevic today, and it is not left
25 over for next week, the first witness will be an expert
1 witness,(redacted). After him, we expect
2 (redacted)Ljubomar Novakovic and
3 Dragutin Antic.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: What about
6 MR. PETROVIC: Yes, we expect him, too.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: It will be six.
8 MR. PETROVIC: Five -- Antic will not be
9 coming -- let me repeat, Bulajic, Antic, Novakovic (redacted)
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Novakovic is not coming?
12 MR. PETROVIC: Yes, he is, Novakovic --
13 again, Bulajic first; Antic; Novakovic (redacted)
14 (redacted)-- the order is not the same order as you
15 have on the list, but those are the names of the
16 witnesses who shall be coming.
17 RADIVOJE KRESOJEVIC.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you please make the
19 solemn declaration?
20 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare I will
21 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
23 Examination-in-chief by MR. PETROVIC:
24 Q. Mr. Kresojevic, just briefly, where did you go
25 to school, what qualifications do you have, and your
1 place of work?
2 A. Primary school, I completed in my native
3 village of Bobota, secondary school in Vukovar, I went
4 to the higher agricultural school in Vinkovski and
5 afterwards did my military service in the JNA. On
6 1 July 1979 I started working in the Vukovar Vupik
7 Cooperation in Bobota.
8 Q. When did you first get to know
9 Slavko Dokmanovic?
10 A. I met Slavko Dokmanovic in the 1970s, at
11 football matches between my village of Bobota and his
12 native village of Trpinja.
13 Q. You were elected a deputy for the Municipal
14 Assembly at the multi-Party elections. Could you tell
15 us of the constitution of the Municipal Assembly of
16 Vukovar and the election of President?
17 A. At the first multi-Party elections in the
18 Republic of Croatia, the Serb people did not have
19 their National Party -- the only option at the time was
20 the SDP, that is to say, the former Party of the League
21 of Communists of Yugoslavia.
22 Q. How was the Municipal Assembly constituted
23 after the local elections?
24 A. The Municipal Assembly, after the elections,
25 and the SDP/SKH was victorious, in such a way as the
1 committee of the SKH and SDP, together with the
2 deputies elected in the Assembly, put forward
3 Slavko Dokmanovic for President of the Municipal
4 Assembly of Vukovar.
5 Q. And how did the Municipal Assembly of Vukovar
6 function in those first months?
7 A. Well, the work of the Municipal Assembly was
8 correct -- the professional services, which
9 Mr. Dokmanovic led, prepared all the joint sessions of
10 all three Chambers of the Municipal Assembly. The
11 material, the documents for the Municipal Assembly was
12 given to us 10 to 15 days earlier, with an agenda so
13 that I think that everything evolved according to the
14 Rules of Procedure.
15 Q. How do you assess the work of
16 Slavko Dokmanovic as the President of the Municipal
17 Assembly of Vukovar?
18 A. Slavko Dokmanovic as President of the
19 Municipal Assembly of Vukovar demonstrated a
20 considerable tolerance, peace loving qualities,
21 patience in solving very important and burning issues
22 of the kind that came up before the Assembly, and in
23 the region of the municipality of Vukovar, especially
24 as the members of the HDZ were not pleased to see the
25 victory of the SDP Party and could not accept this
1 peacefully, and organised excessive situations so as to
2 upset the work of the Municipal Assembly.
3 Q. How did some circles among the Serb
4 population react to this conciliatory policy waged by
5 the President of the Municipal Assembly at the time?
6 A. Well, the Serb population did not like the
7 conduct of the President and its own deputies
8 representing them in the Municipal Assembly, because
9 apparent authority at this level was shared with the
10 HDZ. They even received more positions of leadership
11 than would other be accorded them on the basis of their
12 electoral results, so they were bitter. At one
13 particular moment, we experienced the fact that our
14 compatriots told us that we were waging a policy which
15 was geared towards turning over power to the HDZ
17 Q. When did the Municipal Assembly cease to
18 perform its functions in practice?
19 A. On 17 May 1991, an Assembly meeting was
21 Q. Why was it not held?
22 A. It was not held because the extremists, the
23 activists and deputies of the HDZ, even stopped the
24 members from coming even by resorting to arms, so they
25 were not able to come to this regularly convened
1 Municipal Assembly meeting.
2 Q. Were the deputies searched upon entry into
3 the building of the Municipal Assembly?
4 A. Well, there was a group of people, some 500
5 of them had collected in front of the building and,
6 when I came, they used insulting language -- insults
7 were hurled at the Serb people. We did not allow
8 ourselves to be searched and, quite simply, myself,
9 together with Mr. Juros Ivan, who was a SABOR deputy, we
10 went in the direction of the courtyard of Vupik from
11 Vukovar, took an official vehicle and returned to
13 Q. After 17 May 1991 did you return to Vukovar?
14 A. After 17 May 1991 I did not return to
15 Vukovar, because barricades were erected at the
16 cafe bar Cirih at the entry to Vukovar and I did not
17 allow myself or my family to go to Vukovar.
18 Q. Who held the barricades at the Cirih cafe
20 A. It was held by the HDZ members.
21 Q. In the villages around Vukovar, what were the
22 conditions of living -- was there any water,
23 electricity and so forth?
24 A. In the villages -- Vukovar and its environs,
25 at that time, in the Socialist Republic of Croatia,
1 were highly developed -- it was an environment in which
2 a lot was being done, and the results of that work
3 going on were the material goods that the individual
4 households had, so that, in a way, people had some
5 reserves, and they did not have any problems with
6 maintaining the livelihood of their families.
7 Q. Did they have electricity in that time?
8 A. Yes, during that time they did have
9 electricity, but later on there was no electricity.
10 Q. When did the Municipal Assembly formally
11 cease to function?
12 A. As a deputy, I did not receive any official
13 information that the Assembly had ceased to work, but,
14 through the media, I learned that the Government of the
15 Republic of Croatia had replaced Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic
16 and that Mr. Vidic had been appointed and that the
17 Assembly had dismantled.
18 Q. When was this?
19 A. At the beginning of July.
20 Q. After the war activities in Vukovar, was
21 there any civilian authority on the territory of the
23 A. Civilian power and authority did not exist --
24 there was military rule, together with a crisis
25 headquarters in the local communities, and, if you
1 wanted to go from the area of the municipality, you
2 would have to get a permit to do so in the
3 headquarters, and then you would go to the headquarters
4 in Vukovar to be able to move into the Federal Republic
5 of Yugoslavia. There were watch points as well,
6 checkpoints, and several military commands.
7 Q. When did the first organs of civilian power
8 -- when were they formed?
9 A. Somewhere in December, the beginning of
10 December, I think, because of the burgeoning problems,
11 which the armed conflicts brought with them and in
12 Vukovar an Executive Council was set up, led by
13 Mr. Rajko Bibic and seven of his associates for the
14 individual departments.
15 Q. When was Slavko Dokmanovic elected President
16 of the Municipal Assembly for the second time?
17 A. After the first elections which took place in
18 our area -- there are elections in the Serb Krajina
19 region -- political life had been revived, so that, at
20 that particular time, there were a number of parties
21 and different options -- parties that had their
22 programmes in the pre-election campaign. You had the
23 Serb Democratic Party, the Serb Radical Party and
24 the Serb Party of Socialists.
25 Q. Thank you. Would you just tell us finally
1 whether on 8 January (INAUDIBLE) you had talks with
2 Miroslav Vasic, the investigator, and whether you made
3 a statement?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is this the statement? I tender it in the
6 Serb original and the English translation. I have
7 no further questions, thank you.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Document D33, English
9 translation D33A. (Handed).
10 Cross-examination by MR. WAESPI:
11 THE WITNESS: Yes, it is.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Petrovic, are you
13 tendering this in evidence?
14 MR. PETROVIC: Yes, I am tendering it in
15 evidence -- D33 and 33A.
16 MR. WAESPI: No objection.
17 Q. Good morning, or rather, good afternoon,
18 Mr. Kresojevic. I am Stefan Waespi appearing for the
19 Prosecution in this case and I have a number of
20 questions to you. Can you tell the court, please,
21 where you were living exactly in the summer or fall of
22 1991 -- in a village, in a town?
23 A. I lived in Bobota, in my native village. On
24 15 November 1991, I went to Belgrade to have an
25 operation -- I returned from the operation somewhere at
1 the end of November.
2 Q. So, besides about these maybe two weeks in
3 November 1991, you were always living in the village of
4 Bobota, is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And this village is about 10 kilometres
7 north-west of Vukovar, of the city of Vukovar; is that
8 also a fair statement?
9 A. Whether it is 10 or 15, but around there --
10 10 to 15, yes.
11 Q. And one of the neighbouring villages in fact
12 is the village of Trpinja -- is that also correct?
13 A. Yes, it is.
14 Q. You said in your testimony that electricity
15 functioned normally throughout a certain time and you
16 said it went away or it was cut off. Can you specify a
17 date when that happened?
18 A. I cannot give you an exact date, but it was
19 somewhere in August -- some time in August.
20 Q. And for how long was it like this -- what
21 could you tell us -- was it only a brief interruption
22 or was it going on without electricity for months?
23 A. Yes, several months, approximately.
24 Q. Was it reinstalled in the same year in 1991,
25 or only in the following year? If you are not sure, it
1 has been seven years or more -- it was just sort of
2 several months you said it was cut off, at least, the
3 electricity, that is what you are saying, but you do
4 not really know exactly when it was cut off and when it
5 was resumed -- is that your testimony?
6 A. I cannot tell you exactly when it was
7 reinstalled -- I do not recall the exact date.
8 Q. That is fine. How about water and other
9 utilities -- people survived -- you survived,
10 fortunately, but there was some water, obviously, for
11 the population -- at least you can only testify for
12 your village, in the village of Bobota, is that
13 correct, that there was water?
14 A. The waterworks in Bobota is based on
15 electricity, so when there is no electricity, there is
16 no water, either. For the village's needs, we were
17 given aggregates, which was switched on, and they
18 worked for three to four hours a day, which meant that
19 the population had enough water during that time.
20 Q. So, what you are saying is that, even the
21 cut-off of the normal supply, the daily pre-war supply
22 of electricity, there were instances where you really
23 had electricity -- of course, for the purposes only for
24 emergency situations or needs like getting the water
25 pumps to work -- is that fair?
1 A. There was no electricity, no light, but, as I
2 say, the waterworks did function through an aggregate
3 which allowed enough supplies of water for the
5 Q. Thank you. You said that you knew
6 Mr. Dokmanovic through sport in the 1970s and I think
7 you mentioned, also, that you were playing football
8 with each other or against each other; is that correct?
9 A. Opposite teams, yes.
10 Q. How many times did you meet Mr. Dokmanovic in
11 those days before the end of the war in Vukovar --
12 before the final days of November 1991?
13 A. I left Bobota, as I said, some time around
14 15 November. Before that, we met on several occasions,
15 but always -- as I was the leader of the cooperation
16 department in Bobota, and an agricultural engineer,
17 Mr. Dokmanovic, was an agronomist, an agricultural
18 expert as well, so we met in that capacity, and to
19 discuss the wheat harvest, soya, sunflower harvest,
20 maze and so on and so forth -- because our region is a
21 farming region.
22 Q. And these several occasions you were meeting
23 Mr. Dokmanovic, do you remember what he was wearing -- a
24 uniform or civilian clothes?
25 A. I remember that, as we followed the work of
1 the combine harvesters and the machines, we sometimes
2 used track suits or sports footwear -- we did not -- we
3 were not in any military formations, so we did not have
4 any uniforms.
5 Q. How about yourself -- you also switched
6 between civilian clothes and uniforms in these times?
7 A. As I say, we did not belong to any military
8 formations and, because of the situation that we
9 experienced after the work of the Municipal Assembly,
10 we were given the assignments of working in the field
11 of agriculture and not any military jobs, because they
12 had proclaimed us traitors.
13 Q. Was that reflected in the way you were
14 dressed, given assignments of working in the field of
16 A. Yes, our working uniform, that is, the usual
17 type of clothing for the heads of departments -- no
18 military uniform -- it was a normal civilian type of
19 uniform that we used when we went to work.
20 Q. Thank you. After the war, or after the end
21 of the battle of Vukovar, did you see Mr. Dokmanovic
22 again -- perhaps when you returned from hospital in
24 A. When I returned from the hospital in
25 Belgrade, I spent some time, that is to say, I did not
1 have any duties to perform, even professionally, within
2 my profession, that is to say, agriculture. It was
3 only in spring or in the summer, actually, when I took
4 up my duties in the cooperative once again, and I met
5 Mr. Dokmanovic on several occasions as the Minister of
6 Agriculture, or the man responsible for agricultural
7 problems in the area that we covered.
8 Q. You mentioned that incident -- I think it was
9 on 17 May 1991, when you and other members of the
10 Assembly were not allowed to enter the building. Do
11 you think it is correct to say that you should not wear
12 any weapons inside a parliamentary building -- would
13 you agree with me on that point?
14 A. The deputies did not have to, nor did they
15 have any need to, wear any weapons. I did not have any
16 -- I never had occasion to fear anyone, because I
17 lived in my native village, and my native town, so to
18 speak, where I knew many people and I never felt -- I
19 still did not feel the need to wear any weapons, for
20 the simple reason that the police -- to give the police
21 at the time an argument against us, that is to say,
22 deputies who did not agree with policy, so I never saw
23 any of the SDP members carrying any weapons to an
24 assembly meeting.
25 Q. But, since there was some tension -- you have
1 described in your testimony -- in those months, it is
2 probably quite prudent of any formations or police to
3 make sure that none of the politicians who would go to
4 a meeting would be armed -- would you agree with that?
5 I am not suggesting that you were armed, but just to
6 make sure that nobody would enter that building with
7 any arms -- would you agree with that?
8 A. The building of the Municipal Assembly and in
9 front of the building, on that particular day, 17 May,
10 members and sympathisers of the HDZ were seen with
11 pistols, that is to say, with weapons. I, as a man who
12 never thought of taking part in the war -- I am opposed
13 to any kind of weaponry.
14 Q. I completely agree with you. I am just
15 making the statement that it would be reasonable that
16 Assembly members of any type of Party -- I am not
17 saying which ones -- that they are searched in the
18 times you have just described before they enter the
19 parliamentary building. I am suggesting, or I wonder
20 whether you would agree with me to say that it was
21 correct that these people are searched before they
22 enter the building, or would you say that it is
23 unreasonable to search the members of the Parliament
24 before they enter the building?
25 A. I perhaps came a little later -- perhaps I
1 came to the Municipal Assembly building later, when
2 this mass of people had already gathered. I was not
3 searched and I would not allow them to search me,
4 because I saw that they were prohibiting entry into the
5 building, so I just turned around and went back to
6 where I came from.
7 Q. I have no further questions.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: No re-examination.
9 MR. PETROVIC: No.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: I have no questions.
11 I assume there is no objection to the witness being
12 released? Thank you for coming here to give evidence.
13 You may now be released.
14 (The witness withdrew).
15 JUDGE CASSESE: We stand adjourned and we
16 start again on Monday, at 8.30 sharp.
17 (At 1.16 p.m. the matter adjourned
18 until Monday, 27 April 1998, at 8.30 a.m.)