1 Thursday, 3 July 2014
2 [Defence Opening Statement]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
8 Before we start the proceedings, is there any particular reason
9 why I find -- found this on my desk? No. Okay.
10 Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour.
12 This is the case IT-04-75-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
14 May we have the appearances, please, starting with the
16 MR. STRINGER: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. For
17 the Prosecution, Douglas Stringer, Sarah Clanton, legal intern
18 Ana Kostic, and case manager Thomas Laugel.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
20 Mr. Zivanovic for the Defence.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Defence of
22 Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell, with
23 Ms. Negosava Smiljanic, case manager, and Ms. Liane Aronchick, legal
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
1 Mr. Stringer, I have been told that you have a matter to raise?
2 MR. STRINGER: Yes Mr. President. There are a couple. We had
3 been asked to give the Prosecution response on a couple of the motions
4 filed by the Defence in the last couple of days related to adding
5 exhibits to their 65 ter list, and I wanted to just briefly tell the
6 Chamber what our position is on that.
7 We sent an e-mail to the Chamber's legal officer last evening
8 with regard to the first motion. The first motion relates to 49 or so
9 proposed Defence exhibits --
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer, if you don't mind, I have a few
11 things to say before we start --
12 MR. STRINGER: Oh.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- and rulings to make, and during that
14 explanation, I will ask you to give your position on the different
15 motions that are pending.
16 MR. STRINGER: Very well, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Is that okay?
18 MR. STRINGER: Apologies.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Just one moment, please. There's a small problem
22 with -- technical problem with ... okay. It's solved.
23 Before the Defence commences its case, the Chamber has a few
24 preliminary matters to address.
25 On the 23rd of May, 2014, the Defence filed the corrigendum and
1 addendum to Rule 65 ter filings, whereby it seeks, inter alia, leave to
2 add 47 documents to its exhibit list. The Defence submits that the
3 documents were inadvertently omitted from this exhibit list when it was
4 originally filed on 13 May 2014 and that the documents have been
5 disclosed to the Prosecution.
6 The Prosecution did not make any submissions on the Defence's
8 The Chamber is satisfied that, taking into account the specific
9 circumstances of case, the fact that the error by the Defence was
10 corrected within ten days of the submission of its Rule 65 ter filings
11 and the lack of opposition to the request from the Prosecution, that it
12 is in the interests of justice to add the proposed documents.
13 The Defence request is hereby granted.
14 On the 1st of July, the Defence filed a motion to amend its
15 Rule 65 ter exhibit list with the addition of 214 documents. Of these,
16 it clarified, 49 documents are intended for use with Mr. Hadzic during
17 his testimony and, hence, requested that they be dealt with on an
18 expedited basis.
19 The Prosecution indicated that it would respond orally this
20 morning in court.
21 Mr. Stringer.
22 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 As to the 49, we sent a spreadsheet to the Chamber's legal
24 officer last evening, setting out our position in respect of all of the
25 ones that we have translations for. And largely not objecting but there
1 are some objections there.
2 There are 26 -- there were 26 documents for which we did not have
3 the translation. We -- a few -- some number of translations has now been
4 released by the Defence, I saw, yesterday afternoon. As to the
5 remainder, those 26 for which we did not initially have translations and
6 as far as I know we still don't have translations for all of them, we
7 would like to have the opportunity obviously to review those and to
8 inform the Chamber of our position on that Monday morning.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Stringer.
10 The Chamber will issue its decision -- sorry.
11 Mr. Zivanovic, you wanted to reply?
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: We have the pending request for translation of
13 these documents, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
15 The Chamber will issue its decision in due course.
16 On the 2nd of July, the Defence filed another motion for the
17 amendment of its exhibit list, seeking the addition of a video
18 documentary entitled: "Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War," which it intends
19 to rely on during its opening statement. The Prosecution was notified of
20 the Defence's intention to introduce the video along with a copy of the
21 same on 14 May. The Prosecution indicated it would also be able to
22 respond orally to this motion in court today.
23 Mr. Stringer, are you able to do so now?
24 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Mr. President.
25 No objection to the exhibit being added to the Defence 65 ter
1 list. I think the number is 1D03612. However, we would indeed object to
2 its admission if indeed it's the Defence intention to tender the video
3 during the course of or following the opening statement, and of course, I
4 don't know whether that's their intention or not.
5 In any event, Mr. President, we have reviewed the video. We have
6 some objections to it. It contains narrative statements of unidentified
7 people who are giving their description of historical events, many of
8 which fall outside the scope of this case and which could be classified
9 as tu quoque, going back to the World War II events. Some of it as well
10 relating to the events at Srebrenica. Some -- and I think some viewers
11 could view that as Srebrenica denial, in fact, in this video, but in any
12 event bears no relation to this case.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer --
14 MR. STRINGER: And so I -- sorry, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Sorry, but for the moment we're only discussing
16 addition to the 65 ter list, not admission as evidence, of course.
17 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Your Honour, I understand that.
18 I just simply wanted to flag this because I'm not going to object
19 during the opening because I don't want to interrupt my learned friend's
20 submissions or his opening statement; however, we have reservations about
21 its appropriateness for use in the opening which we leave to the Chamber.
22 That's all I wanted to say.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
24 Mr. Zivanovic.
25 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Oh, yeah, okay. Your Honours, we'll restrict the
1 play of this video just to Croatia, to -- to the part related to Croatia
2 events. It is the first 47 minutes, not the whole video.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
4 The Chamber considers that the Defence has failed to demonstrate
5 due diligence in seeking to add this video to its 65 ter list. However,
6 the Chamber notes that the video is an open-source documentary and that
7 the Prosecution was notified of the Defence's intention to rely upon it
8 on 14 May. The Chamber accordingly will allow its addition to the
9 Rule 65 ter exhibit list in the interests of justice.
10 The Chamber will now move to commencing the Defence phase of the
12 At the Pre-Defence Conference, the Defence requested 30 to
13 45 minutes for Mr. Hadzic to make a statement, pursuant to Rule 84 bis,
14 immediately following the Defence's opening statement and confirmed that
15 Mr. Hadzic will then also testify for 30 hours as a witness in his own
16 Defence, pursuant to Rule 85(C).
17 The Chamber grants Mr. Hadzic leave to make a statement pursuant
18 to Rule 84 bis for a maximum of 45 minutes.
19 Mr. Hadzic, your statement should be restricted to matters
20 relevant to the case and bear in mind the dignity of these proceedings,
21 as well as the protection afforded to others by the Tribunal.
22 Mr. Hadzic, you have asked to exercise your right to testify in
23 your own Defence, during which time you will be sworn in as a witness.
24 You are at liberty to decline to do at any time before that.
25 Do you confirm that you still wish to testify?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I confirm that I will testify in my
2 own Defence.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Hadzic.
4 The Chamber will now state the order of these proceedings.
5 The Defence will make its opening statement, following which
6 Mr. Hadzic will make his statement pursuant to Rule 84 bis. Upon
7 conclusion of the statement, Mr. Hadzic will be sworn in as a witness and
8 testify in-chief for 30 hours, as requested by the Defence.
9 The Prosecution will then conduct its cross-examination, and the
10 Defence will have an opportunity to conduct a re-direct following that.
11 The Judges may ask questions at any stage of these proceedings and will
12 allow parties an opportunity to clarify or contextualise any issue
13 arising from such questions.
14 Mr. Zivanovic, you have the floor for your opening statement.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
16 The Defence will bring evidence to show that Goran Hadzic is
17 neither individually responsible nor responsible as a superior for the
18 Prosecution's allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes
19 committed in Croatia between 25th of June, 1991, and the end of 1993.
20 Neither is Mr. Hadzic responsible for the permanent removal of Croat and
21 other non-Serbs population from a large part of the territory of
22 Republic of Croatia through the commission of crimes in violation of
23 Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute.
24 The Defence will present evidence that no joint criminal
25 enterprise existed between Mr. Hadzic and individuals listed in
1 paragraph 10 of the Prosecution's indictment. Mr. Hadzic entered into no
2 agreement with them, and Mr. Hadzic did not possess the intent to
3 permanently remove the non-Serb population from the territory of SBWS or
4 the RSK. Indeed, he did not commit any crime alleged in the indictment
5 and deserves acquittal on all counts.
6 The Defence has already challenged the evidence of some
7 Prosecution witnesses in its cross-examination. Your Honours will now
8 soon hear direct evidence that they lied to the Court in the relevant
9 parts of their testimony. The most drastic cases of dishonesty which the
10 Defence will rebut are GH30, GH03, GH07, GH10, GH116, GH044, GH15, GH16,
11 GH23, GH24, GH26, GH124, GH135, GH154, GH102, GH027, GH110, and GH28.
12 We shall also prove that some documents admitted into evidence
13 are false. From the first day of trial, in its opening statement,
14 Prosecution attempted to present Mr. Hadzic as a violent man with the
15 sinister plan to harm non-Serbs. As Your Honours get to know him
16 personally in the coming weeks, Your Honours will see that he is in fact
17 an ordinary man who loves his family. A former warehouse worker from a
18 small village in Slavonia called Pacetin, which in 1991 had less than a
19 thousand inhabitants. He was a man concerned about direction of his
20 country's rapidly changing politics and who joined a local party and was
21 propelled to his position by a series of events out of his control. And
22 that would change his life forever. Your Honours well know about his
23 arrest in Plitvice on 31st of March, 1991, and how those events put him
24 in the nation's spot light in ways he could not predict. Indeed, the
25 Defence will present evidence that Mr. Hadzic was often so out of his
1 league, he was rarely privy to sensitive and confidential information.
2 Even an ordinary man like Mr. Hadzic could see the writing on the
3 wall as Yugoslavia began to crumble. Like many Serbs in Croatia, he felt
4 frustrated, powerless, and indeed scared when he witnessed increasing
5 violence directed at his fellow Serbs, discrimination against them in
6 their workplaces, and harassment, and terror. The rising tensions in the
7 early 1990s displayed in media and around the country reminded him of his
8 grandfather, who in World War II was murdered by members of the Fascist
9 regime. His own father was a partisan who fought in the war.
10 His memory was like that of the memories of so many Croatian
11 Serbs, many of which had close relatives who suffered in decades past.
12 These were not memories easily forgotten or dismissed by people, but
13 Mr. Hadzic had no place to escape. Everything he had was in Pacetin.
14 His home, his land, his job, his memories. He could not accept a future
15 where he and his family would live in fear. He took action. He would
16 learn later, sadly, that the destiny of the Serb people in the SBWS not
17 to remain in Yugoslavia was already sealed. At the time they still held
18 on to hope that they could fight and sacrifice to preserve the status
20 In 1990, Mr. Hadzic joined a political party and got involved in
21 the politics of his village. He hoped to change the system from within,
22 legally and peacefully. The Defence will bring witnesses who, as members
23 of government, saw first-hand that Mr. Hadzic sought political comprise
24 through negotiations. They will discuss how he became a member of the
25 multi-ethnic SDP party, led by Croat politician Ivica Racan, in part
1 because their political platform sought to keep Croatia within
2 Yugoslavia. Mr. Hadzic entered into politics for that very reason: To
3 preserve the status quo so that he and his family would be safe. When
4 the SDP leadership abandoned its pro-Yugoslav policy, however, Mr. Hadzic
5 could no longer support them. He joined the SDS, the only political
6 party that remained which adopted the platform of preserving Yugoslavia
7 and indeed the only political party in Croatia that would protect the
8 rights of Serbs and Croats alike.
9 The Defence will prove that Mr. Hadzic did his best to avoid the
10 war and to maintain a working and functional relationship with the
11 Croatian government.
12 Your Honours will hear evidence from Mr. Hadzic himself and other
13 witnesses about when Mr. Hadzic met with the late president of Croatia,
14 Franjo Tudjman, and his other communication and negotiations with members
15 of the government of Croatia such as Josip Boljkovac and
16 Slavko Degoricija. Your Honours will note that his efforts at
17 communications and negotiations continued even after his arrest at
18 Plitvice, even after he had been beaten by Croatian police in detention,
19 even after he, of all people, may have had reason to change his approach.
20 And yet he remained on the path of peaceful resolution. This path was
21 only blockaded when Croatia declared its independence.
22 Your Honours heard in the Prosecution's opening statement a
23 one-sided understanding of the breakup of Yugoslavia. That opening
24 statement skipped over crucial historical background and context of the
25 events described in the indictment. Your Honours will therefore hear a
1 number of witnesses who worked in the government ministry as well as a
2 historian, a legal expert, and a demographer who will offer that context.
3 In short, Your Honours, if you place yourselves in the shoes of the
4 leaders of the former Yugoslavia in 1991, your understanding of the
5 events would be that Croatia had seceded from the state and began an
6 armed insurgency against the prevailing state and its army.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We do not have a text of
8 the statement that's being read out.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Importantly, the Prosecution's opening statement
10 neglected --
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic --
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: The interpreters note that they do not have a
14 copy --
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- of your opening statement.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Unfortunately, I didn't provide it. That's
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Could someone of your team correct that?
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Maybe we should make some pause and do it.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay.
22 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer, the Registrar suggests that your
24 case manager send it to her and then it will be forwarded to the booth.
25 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, okay.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Thanks.
2 [Defence counsel confer]
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: I think an attachment to the -- to an e-mail
4 would be easier. Okay.
5 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay, okay. The statement will be copied in a
7 few minutes and then distributed to the interpreters. In the meantime,
8 Mr. Zivanovic, you may continue, let's say, slowly, so that the
9 interpreters have no problem with following what you are saying. Thank
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry.
12 I repeat the last sentence. Your Honours will therefore hear a
13 number of witnesses who worked in the government ministry as well as a
14 historian, a legal expert, and a demographer who will offer that context.
15 In short, Your Honours, if you place yourselves in the shoes of the
16 leaders of the former Yugoslavia in 1991, your understanding of the
17 events would be that Croatia had seceded from the state and began an
18 armed insurgency against the prevailing state and its army.
19 Importantly, the Prosecution's opening statement neglected a
20 crucial distinction between Yugoslavia and Croatia in 1991. While in
21 1991 Yugoslavia was an internationally recognised state, a member of the
22 United Nations, and otherwise a subject of international law, Croatia was
23 just a territory in Yugoslavia. A territory's unilateral proclamation of
24 the independence, whether based in a referendum or not, whether deriving
25 from a decision of its Assembly on 25th of June, 1991, does not make it
1 an independent state just like that. Of course, it could certainly be
2 the first step towards independence but not the final one, and it
3 certainly would not take immediate effect either locally or under
4 international law.
5 Indeed, as Your Honours will see in the video we will show you,
6 analysts had predicted that Croatia's attempt to secede from Yugoslavia
7 would likely end in violence. Yugoslavia meanwhile saw the referendum,
8 the Assembly decision, and the events that ensued as an act of secession
9 in contravention of her constitution. From that point of view, such an
10 act was an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the
11 country as a whole. The federal authorities including the JNA, the
12 authorities of the federal units, other local authorities, and all
13 citizens still, regardless of the upheaval, had the constitutional
14 obligation to defend the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. Therefore,
15 the engagement of the JNA from the very onset of the conflict was the
16 legitimate act of the state in protection of its territorial integrity.
17 The Defence will demonstrate that the JNA was present in the
18 parts of Croatia during the whole 1991 and first half of 1992 in order to
19 carry out its duties under law and in an effort to preserve a rapidly
20 dissolving state. By virtue of JNA's presence in the areas designated as
21 SAO Krajina, SAO Western Slavonia, and SBWS, later known as RSK, during
22 the armed conflict, signified that the military was in total control of
23 the territory, its material resources, and its manpower. That authority
24 would persist completely for all the events on the territory held by the
25 JNA's units until its withdrawal in June 1992.
1 The Defence will provide the Chamber with a number of military
2 orders, judicial acts of the military courts and their security organs
3 which will definitely prove the JNA's ongoing de facto authority in the
4 region. Your Honours have already seen a high-ranking JNA officer,
5 General Zivota Panic, unabashedly claiming command over the volunteer
6 units of Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan, and Vojislav Seselj. The
7 Prosecution's case and indictment glossed over Panic's incriminating
8 admissions and indeed avoided mention of all military men in the region
9 who were actively commanding all units and exercising authority through
10 1991 and 1992.
11 Those military men that the Chamber did hear conveniently shifted
12 their responsibility to the local Serbs from Croatia. The Prosecution
13 also neglected that the proclaimed independence of Croatia, whether that
14 alone created a new independent state or not, was not just a political
15 act. The Defence will demonstrate that as a result of the Serb
16 population's vote which declared to remain in Yugoslavia, the Serbs were
17 exposed to a series of organised and systematic violence in order to
18 neutralize or at least minimise their opposition.
19 The elimination of Serbs from the Croatian constitution in 1990s
20 was followed with massive dismissal of the Serbs from the Croatia state
21 administration, primarily from the police, thus depriving Serbs of the
22 protection of the state. Serbs felt intimidated as public rallies widely
23 promoted through media broadcast anti-Serb speeches, and symbols, emblems
24 and songs from the independent state of Croatia which was deliberately
25 reminiscent of the fascist regime under the patronage of Nazi Germany.
1 Their use of these symbols reminded Serbs of the horrors that
2 their parents and grandparents suffered during the time, simply because
3 they were not Croatian or Catholics. Following these intimidating
4 rallies came blasting, shooting, arson, and destruction of Serb property.
5 Physical violence flourished, resulting in the disappearance, injuries,
6 and killings of Serbs. It considerably reduced the presence and the
7 political influence of Serbs in Croatia on the upcoming events.
8 The Defence will demonstrate that by 14 July 1991 that strategy
9 brought 11.867 refugees to Serbia. In the next six weeks, the number
10 increased to 77.000. Contrary to evidence brought by the -- sorry.
11 These refugees originated from Croatia because the war in Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina had not yet begun. The most significant number of them
13 arrived in Vukovar and the territory SBWS due to inadequate protection
14 from violent attacks.
15 In conditions of anarchy, violence, and chaos, only the federal
16 authority had the power to prevent massive attacks and protect its
17 citizens. The JNA was only federal force present in Croatia. Croatian
18 forces therefore carried out a different attack strategy. They
19 neutralised the JNA by encircling the commands, units, premises, and
20 military personnel. The JNA's communication and supplies were cut off.
21 The Croatian forces' efforts were indeed effective, as some of these
22 units surrendered. Others resisted. These attacks were illegal, and the
23 JNA the right and duty both to resist and fight the attackers.
24 The Defence will offer evidence which will truly and accurately
25 present the events described in paragraphs 24 to 38 of the indictment.
1 Therefore, the attacks on the JNA and its subordinate units in Croatia in
2 1990 and 1991 was an armed insurgency on the territory of an
3 internationally recognised state. The military of the state, including
4 all her authorities and citizens, had both legal and legitimate right to
5 respond to those attacks with force.
6 That response, legitimate in the eyes of both military commanders
7 and civilian leaders at the time, negates the Prosecution's position that
8 the goal was to force the permanent removal of Croats and other
9 non-Serbs. Your Honours will hear from Mr. Hadzic himself that he was
10 not aware of any authority from the territory of the former Yugoslavia
11 which stood behind such a policy.
12 Your Honours will hear from the leaders of disparate factions
13 that took advantage -- sorry.
14 Mr. Hadzic, in his capacity as president of SBWS government and
15 president of -- president, did not support or assist position that would
16 intentionally target non-Serbs. In any event, crimes were happening
17 everywhere, against anyone, regardless of ethnicity, in a way that the
18 government could not fully control despite its best efforts.
19 The Prosecution presumes that the instant in which a government
20 is formed, it will immediately have all the resources, manpower, laws,
21 and basic institutions necessary to make it legitimate, functioning, and
22 capable of restoring peace and order. This proposition is naive and
23 unrealistic. The supposition is similar to expecting government of Iraq
24 to be perfectly functioning the day after Saddam Hussein was toppled.
25 The reality was that Mr. Hadzic's newborn government lacked the most
1 basic resources, including telephones, typewriters and paper, let alone
2 manpower, training, and supplies.
3 The local civilian police were hobbled in the face of total
4 chaos, conflict, and war. Your Honours will see that, in spite of that,
5 Mr. Hadzic's government undertook trial numerous criminal investigations,
6 generating many police and judicial documents which were brought against
7 Serbs for crimes committed against Croats and other non-Serbs. These
8 documents will definitely show that Mr. Hadzic and his government
9 endeavoured to enforce the law and punish the perpetrators of crimes,
10 regardless of the ethnicity of the victim, as best they could, in a very,
11 very bad situation. This evidence will directly undermine that the
12 Prosecution's bold assertion that in the face of secession, dissolution
13 of the state, armed conflict, and ensuing anarchy, Mr. Hadzic must have
14 intended for neighbours to commit crimes against their neighbours as part
15 of a broader plan.
16 The Defence will show the Chamber a video entitled: "Yugoslavia:
17 The Avoidable War." The video is in English with B/C/S subtitles.
18 Unfortunately, we do not have a transcript at this time. This video
19 contains the recollection of many international statesmen, scholars and
20 journalists who participated and followed the events in the former
21 Yugoslavia and Croatia and produced a recollection to the relevant
22 events. We will play it for 47 minutes.
23 [Video-clip played]
24 "Night after night, television brought images of death and
25 suffering from the war that engulfed Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995.
1 When the fighting stopped, NATO countries, particularly the United
2 States, eagerly claimed credit for ending the war. The lesson learned,
3 many said, was that there should be early intervention in ethnic
4 conflicts, and preferably by NATO. But did the West prematurely take
5 credit for ending a war it had helped create? Did misguided Western
6 intervention actually transform a small brush fire in the Balkans into a
7 major civil war.
8 "I think that what the international community on the whole, the
9 Europeans and the Americans and the United Nations have done, on the
10 whole made it sure there was going to be a conflict.
11 "The intelligence community was unanimous in saying that if we go
12 ahead and recognise Bosnia, it will blow up.
13 "Because there was no agreed branches and because everybody was
14 armed, if you ruptured the old Yugoslavia by unilaterally declaring
15 independence, in fact seceding, it was a war of secession, once you
16 decided to secede, you had no hope that it could be done peacefully
17 "Early 1990 had brought a brief moment of hope and optimism to
18 Europe as the Berlin Wall crumbled and the Cold War ground to a halt. A
19 new united Germany stood poised to unite the rest of Europe through its
20 leadership of the European community, a friendly but powerful rival to
21 the United States. But the promise of European unity was short-lived.
22 Just two years later, much of Yugoslavia was in flames. A small war in
23 the Slovenian Republic led to larger, more bloody conflicts in Croatia
24 and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Moreover, European nations, the United States,
25 and Middle Eastern states were backing different factions in these
1 outbreaks of civil war.
2 "Publicly, Western diplomats blamed irresponsible ethnic leaders
3 of the different Yugoslav republics for the bloodshed, including
4 Milan Kucan of Slovenia, Franjo Tudjman of Croatia, and especially
5 Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. There was certainly no innocence among the
6 warring parties.
7 "Privately, however, European community envoy Lord Carrington and
8 UN mediator Cyrus Vance were furious at Germany's foreign minister,
9 Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Vance would later call the conflict
10 Mr. Genscher's war because of Germany's push to recognise separatists in
11 Slovenia and Croatia.
12 "Vance argued that recognition would take away the diplomatic
13 leverage that he had to try to bring the conflict in Croatia to an end
14 and could possibly result in Bosnia blowing up.
15 "The former German foreign minister claimed that his government
16 did not support the breakup of Yugoslavia until fighting began.
17 "We held a strong position for the unity of Yugoslavia, as I
18 said, but we saw that the will to keep it together vanished more and more
19 under the pressure of military events.
20 "In fact, however, since the 1960s, Germany's intelligence arm,
21 the BND, was deeply involved in the training of Croatian separatists led
22 by the pro-Nazi Ustashi who fled to Germany after World War II and
23 participated in a number of terrorist actions against embassies and the
24 government of Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito.
25 "In the early 1960s, the BND decided to cooperate fully with the
1 Ustasha. This became plain to see after the so-called Croat Spring in
2 the beginning of the 1970s. After Tito's death, they accelerated their
3 efforts, together with the Ustasha, in order to disintegrate Yugoslavia
4 into several smaller states.
5 "Germany's crucial role in supporting Croatian separatists is
6 confirmed by Anton Duhacek, the former director of Yugoslav
7 counterintelligence, who was himself a Croat.
8 "The Germans wanted an absolute and complete subordination of
9 Croatian intelligence that would carry out all that the Germans wanted,
10 and the Germans promised that this would be in the interest of the future
11 independent, free Croatia.
12 "On the surface, Yugoslavia seemed better off than its East
13 European neighbours in the 1970s and 1980s. The US considered its
14 independent communist leader, Josip Broz Tito, an asset in the Cold War
15 with Moscow. Yugoslavia's economy was propped up with Western loans even
16 after Tito's death in 1980. The carefully staged 1984 Olympics in
17 Sarajevo offered the world the impression of a peaceful multi-ethnic
18 country working together. Veteran observers, however, could see trouble
19 below the surface.
20 "I think the first hint I got of violent breakup was when I made
21 a tour of all of the republics in 1983 and I heard a lot of, sort of,
22 separatist sentiments in several of the republics, especially Slovenia
23 and Croatia but not only, and some very threatening remarks were made in
24 the course of my conversations about what we would do to them and so on.
25 "By themselves, neither Slovenia nor Croatia had the diplomatic
1 or military power to actually separate, to challenge Yugoslavia's federal
2 army, which was the fourth largest in Europe. But Germany provided not
3 only diplomatic support but also weapons, even after an international
4 arms embargo
5 "And I wrote a story about it which was called: 'The blockade's
6 a joke.' And so I went and started checking the ports, like Split and
7 the ports along the Dalmatian coast, and as best I could checking the
8 stuff that was coming across the borders and there was no limitation.
9 "We saw a Croatian MiG-21 shot down in the Krajina which the
10 Croatians said came from former Yugoslavia air force stocks. In fact, it
11 was clearly from Eastern German air force stocks and had the East German
12 radar warning receivers on board. So we know that these weapons are
13 coming from the former East German stocks, and that they are, if you
14 like, slightly disguised in the sense that it looked like Western German
15 weapons. They are coming from West Germany, obviously with the West
16 German government's blessing. There can no other way in which heavy
17 weapons can be supplied like this.
18 "While separatist forces were being armed, Germany was at the
19 same time warning the Yugoslav government of Ante Markovic not to use
20 force against separatists. Ante Markovic, who was himself a Croatian,
21 presided over a divided government which was unable to stand up to German
22 pressure or rally his government for the challenges ahead.
23 "He never lined up, you know, coalition support. He always flew
24 solo. So, you know, he could be welcomed in the White House and was but
25 didn't have any backing at home. So in that sense he was a real failure
1 and a disastrous one in that he preserved the fiction that Yugoslavia was
2 holding together.
3 "The Yugoslav federal army, which held the country together, now
4 became a target for those who wanted to break it apart. At a Croatian
5 separatist rally in Split in May of 1991, demonstrators strangled the
6 young soldier of the federal army and then tossed his dead body onto the
7 street. This and similar events seemed to bear out predictions by the US
8 Central Intelligence Agency.
9 "The CIA said, in 1990, October, that Yugoslavia faced breakup,
10 probably violent, as early as six months from the time of the report and
11 nobody paid any attention to it in the higher echelons of government.
12 "By June of 1991, however, US Secretary of State James Baker
13 decided to make one attempt to prevent a disaster. He flew to Belgrade,
14 the capital of Yugoslavia, to confront leaders of six republics.
15 "And he said, 'Don't any of you take steps that are not agreed on
16 by the others.'
17 "However, Milan Kucan and Franjo Tudjman, leaders of the
18 Slovenian and Croatian republics, were confident that they could ignore
19 the US Secretary of State. They declared their independence just days
20 later on June 25th. Because they could count on the support of German
21 Foreign Minister Genscher and Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock.
22 "The cycle of violence which would destroy Yugoslavia began when
23 Slovene President Milan Kucan ordered his troops to seize customs posts
24 on Yugoslav borders with Austria and Italy and the Slovene capital of
25 Ljubljana. Yugoslav flags were taken down and replaced with Slovenian
2 "And Slovenes thought they had a right to take down those flags,
3 the end of an internationally recognised [indiscernible], and I don't
4 think that the -- for a moment Belgrade expected there would be violent
6 "To avoid violence, Yugoslav army general Andrija Raseta had
7 phoned Milan Kucan privately to let him know that many Yugoslav army
8 troops responding to this challenge of federal authority were not even
9 carrying live ammunition.
10 "But in fact, the Slovenes had prepared themselves. They were
11 getting a lot of encouragement from across the way, from Vienna and from
12 the Germans too, and they foresaw that they could make a very big
13 international case by having what they called a war of independence. It
14 was nothing of the sort.
15 "German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher flew to the
16 Austrian border with Yugoslavia to join President Kucan and warn the
17 federal army against efforts to maintain control of federal borders.
18 Kucan ordered his forces to fire on Yugoslav army troops, including those
19 who carried no live ammunition. Faced with international opposition led
20 by Germany, Yugoslav President Markovic ordered the federal army to
21 withdraw from Slovenia without a serious attempt to counter separatist
23 "Slovene leaders conducted a masterful public relations effort.
24 Foreign reporters were kept occupied in an underground press centre with
25 briefings that suggested that Slovene forces had defeated the fourth
1 largest army in Europe. Journalists in the press centre routinely
2 reported as news fanciful briefings from Slovene officials on various
3 battles including some that had never happened.
4 "What was going on in Slovenia, where the Slovenians declared
5 independence and set up customs posts on the road, tended to be seen and
6 portrayed on television as the -- the Yugoslav army acting aggressively
7 against Slovenia as opposed to the Slovenians declaring independence
8 "The manipulation of the foreign press corps set the tone for new
9 wars of secession in Croatia and Bosnia. Repeatedly, the JNA was
10 described as an occupying force dominated by Serbs. The reality was
11 different, however. The army's Chief of Staff, Veljko Kadijevic, was
12 half Croatian, half Serb. Air force chief Zvonko Jurjevic was Croatian,
13 and the commander of the navy, Stane Brovet, was Slovenian.
14 "The federal army had held Yugoslavia together under Tito without
15 creating any protests about human rights. Tito insisted on an ethnic
16 balance, and in the localities it was composed of the people of that
17 area. It was absurd to call it an army of occupation. And we should
18 have - we the West - should have recognised that until there was an
19 agreed arrangement for a dissolution of a state which had been Yugoslavia
20 and which might take years or decades would perhaps be impossible. Until
21 then, it had to be recognised these were the internationally recognised
23 "If German and Austrian leaders still believed that Slovenia and
24 Croatia could be separated from Yugoslavia without a wider war, the
25 Americans strongly believed otherwise.
1 "Because we said if Yugoslavia does not break up peacefully,
2 there's going to be one hell of a civil war. It nevertheless broke up
3 non-peacefully. It broke up through the unilateral declaration of
4 independence by Slovenia and Croatia and the seizing by these two
5 countries, republics, of their border posts, which was an act of force
6 and which was an act that was in violation of the Helsinki principles.
7 But the European powers and the United States ultimately recognised
8 Slovenia and then Croatia and then Bosnia as independent countries as
9 member -- and admitted them to the United Nations. The real problem was
10 that there was a unilateral declaration of independence and a use of
11 force to gain that independence rather than a peaceful negotiation of
12 independence, which is the way it should have happened.
13 "While most of Europe, including England, France and Russia,
14 opposed the breakup of Yugoslavia, only the Americans were strong enough
15 to oppose Germany. In a decision that would have far-reaching
16 consequences, however, the Americans decided to back away from this
17 challenge. George Kenney, who would later resign in protest over policy,
18 was running the US State Department's Yugoslavia desk at the time
19 "Our marching orders were to keep the US out to -- to -- to avoid
20 taking any responsible for a solution to the conflict. The analysts
21 could see that the problem would get a lot worse. They also saw that the
22 Europeans weren't going to be able to handle it.
23 "Historically, the United States had supported a multi-ethnic
24 Yugoslavia over a 70-year period, to stabilize the region and serve as a
25 barrier to German expansion. In reality, Yugoslavia, a union of
1 South Slavic peoples, would never have come together in 1918 without
2 American support from US President Woodrow Wilson.
3 "For centuries, the region had been colonised by Austro-Hungary
4 and the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The Austrians, under the Hapsburg
5 monarchy, used a policy of divide and rule to maintain control, keeping
6 the Slovenes, Croatians, Serbs, and Muslims at each other's throats,
7 instead of uniting them in their common interests
8 "The Hapsburg Empire kept going and held down large parts of what
9 we tend to call Yugoslavia, and there was no possibility of a Slav
10 get-together until after the First World War when the Austro-Hungarian
11 Empire collapsed and the peoples came together and decided to unite.
12 "With American support, Yugoslavia was founded in 1918 and
13 survived German attempts to divide it up during World War II. When
14 Yugoslavia's communist leader Josip Broz Tito broke away from the
15 Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc in 1948, the US stepped in with
16 military assistance as well as international loans to prop up a buffer
17 state between the West and the communist-dominated Warsaw Pact. As the
18 Cold War came to an end, however, Washington declared a new world order
19 which emphasised economic competition rather than anti-Communism.
20 "So once that containment of the Soviet Union began to disappear
21 as a need with the decline in -- after mid-1980s, Gorbachev's economic
22 reforms, the NATO Warsaw Pact, talks about reducing arms and force
23 build-up, all of that led to Yugoslavia being essentially irrelevant in
24 its defence posture. And by early 1989, the Americans were really quite
25 explicit. The ambassador -- new ambassador to Yugoslavia from the
1 United States informed the Yugoslav government that the Yugoslav
2 position was no longer needed, that it was no longer -- Yugoslavia was no
3 longer strategically important to the United States and Western defence.
4 "Yugoslavia had become expendable. International loans were
5 called in, causing triple-digit inflation. The federal government was
6 forced to require austerity measure from the different republics,
7 "Particularly those requirements led Slovenia as a republic and
8 eventually other republics to rebel against what was being called
9 economic reform in the constitutional level.
10 "Any American efforts to preserve Yugoslavia would also put
11 Washington on a collision course with Germany, when German leaders were
12 enjoying their first taste of real political power since World War II.
13 Moreover, US President George Bush had declared a special relationship
14 with Germany, the kind America used to have with England.
15 "The United States thought that Germany would have to be largely
16 responsible for the incorporation of Eastern Europe and Central Europe
17 into the West because Germany was -- had a national interest, it was its
18 neighbour, its periphery, and it was financially the most powerful
19 country in Europe and had the resources to do it.
20 "In the post-Cold War period, Germany wanted once again - the
21 evidence is very clear - to recolonize Yugoslavia, to recolonize the
22 Balkans. The United States tied itself to German policy through its need
23 of German power and influence in stabilising Eastern Europe, Western
24 Europe, through the exercise of dominion via the European community, now
25 the European Union, and potentially eventually in the former lands -- in
1 the lands of the former Soviet Union. The problem was that there was one
2 very important country standing in the way of this and that was
4 "While citizens of Croatia were initially divided over whether to
5 remain in Yugoslavia, the separatists were led by the most extreme
6 elements, remnants of the pro-Nazi Ustashi. As the New York Times
7 columnist A.M. Rosenthal would write: In World War II, Hitler had no
8 executioners more willing, no ally more passionate than the fascists of
9 Croatia. They are returning from 50 years ago from what should have been
10 grave, the defeat of Nazi Germany.
11 "Adolf Hitler considered Yugoslavia to be an artificial creation
12 of the hated Versailles Treaty which ended World War I. To break it up,
13 he set up a puppet state and enlarged Croatia, which also included
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina. As its leader, he appointed the fanatical Croat
15 Ustashi Ante Pavelic. Pavelic had helped plot the assassination of
16 King Alexander, Yugoslavia's first constitutional monarch, in Marseille,
17 France, in 1934.
18 "And it was the Germans, the German Nazis who picked out this
19 dreadful Ustashi leader who had made quite clear that he favoured
20 Hitler's solution to be applied, which Hitler's final solution to the
21 Jews he wanted to applied to the Serbs and he made no secret of it.
22 "Simon Wiesenthal, who tracked Ustashi fugitives for decades
23 along with other Nazi war criminals, told an interviewer: 'I must admit,
24 I am obsessed by the criminal character of the independent state of
25 Croatia. Even the Germans were appalled by the crimes committed in it.'
1 "How many men, women, and children died there? Hitler's special
2 envoy to the Balkans, Hermann Neubacher wrote: Leaders of the Ustashi
3 boast that they have slaughtered 1 million Orthodox Serbs. On the basis
4 of official German reports, I estimate the number to be three-quarters of
5 a million.
6 "Most of these Serbian civilians perished in the notorious
7 Croatian death camp Jasenovac, which straddled the Sava River between
8 Croatia and Bosnia. The extermination of Serbs, Jews, and gypsies in
9 Sarajevo was the task of top Muslim leaders who, with few expectations,
10 collaborated with Hitler and the Croatians.
11 "There was in occupied Bosnian, also under German patronage, a
12 strong Muslim wing which was very anti-Western. It was represented
13 internationally by the mufti of Jerusalem. You heard of his viciously
14 anti-Western views, and he was brought to Sarajevo and mobbed by
15 enthusiastic crowds.
16 "After the war ended, Croatia and Bosnia were never de-Nazified.
17 Not only were there no apologies to the Serbs, Jews, and gypsies, but
18 attitudes remained frozen under the surface of Tito's official policy of
19 socialist fraternity amongst the peoples.
20 "Following the death of Yugoslavia's long-time leader Tito in
21 1980, right-wing emigre organisations took out an advertisement on the
22 opinion page of the New York Times, stating that Yugoslavia would not
23 survive and offering a map which included all of Bosnia as part of
24 Croatia. It was a map nearly identical to the Nazi-created independent
25 state of Croatia. By 1990, as Communism was collapsing in Eastern
1 Europe, Croatia separatists pinned their hopes on a former communist
2 general named Franjo Tudjman, who had been jailed for excessive
3 nationalism by Tito in the 1970s.
4 "You know, I met him very soon after he came out of the communist
5 jail, while Tito was still alive. He had then championed the racialist
6 national -- form of nationalism. And when he came out of prison, instead
7 of doing what you would think a dissident would do and say to hell with
8 the communists, he said, oh, well, it was nothing do with the regime,
9 it's those horrible Serbs who were repressing us and the Serbs are
10 responsible for everything, and the Serbs are guilty, and the Serbs had
11 done it all.
12 "Tudjman received important help from outside of Croatia in his
13 rise to power.
14 "The German secret service was enormously active in Croatia and
15 in all of Yugoslavia trying, in the 1980s, to build bridges between what
16 were called the national communists, Stipe Mesic, Franjo Tudjman, in
17 Yugoslavia, and the Ustasha revanchist organisations which lived in the
18 diaspora of Croatia, that is to say, all of the people of weight and
19 influence who had fled the former Nazi puppet state in 1945.
20 "Tudjman found it useful to come to terms with them and because
21 he was running on this xenophobic platform, there was really no
22 difficulty about it. What was difficult was when he was trying to sell
23 his cause in the West and he managed to partly because he had a very good
24 lobby, very effective and much more effective than the Serbian lobby, and
25 partly because he covered up his intentions.
1 "Tudjman often embarrassed his most important supporters such as
2 German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. For instance, Tudjman had written a book
3 minimizing the crimes of the Ustasha and claiming that the Holocaust was
4 greatly exaggerated. Thank god my wife is neither a Serb nor a Jew, he
5 told one interviewer. For the national flag, Tudjman chose a replica of
6 the chequerboard emblem that flew over the Croatian death camps of
7 World War II, where Serbs, Jews and gypsies were exterminated.
8 "Tudjman's anti-Semitic views were covered beneath rhetoric
9 acceptable to the West. With the help of Ruder and Finn, a high-powered
10 American public relations firm, the New York Times found space for
11 General Tudjman's new and misleading image on its opinion page. In the
12 article, Tudjman promised that there would be no purges against the
13 Serbian population in Croatia if it separated from Yugoslavia.
14 "Tudjman declared that Croatia was for the Croats, that was his
15 slogan, a racialist slogan. Croatia for the Croats, with the implication
16 people who weren't Croats, and there was a very substantial Serb and
17 Yugoslav mixed variety, didn't feel that had any -- they were in fact
18 second-class citizens and he recognised them as such.
19 "A full six months before fighting broke out, Serbs were purged
20 from positions in government, news organisations, and the police. Their
21 homes were dynamited in cities such as Zagreb, Zadar, and Dubrovnik. For
22 the first time since World War II, Serbs in eastern Croatia began to flee
23 across the Danube river.
24 "The Serbs working in Croatian cities were required to sign
25 loyalty oaths. Those who did not sign were fired; those who did sign
1 were fired later. Serb homes, apartments, and businesses were attacked.
2 "[No interpretation].
3 "Any doubt that Tudjman himself issued orders for the expulsion
4 of Serbs in Croatia was removed by Tomislav Mercep, a senior member of
5 Tudjman's ruling party, the HDZ. Mercep would later be identified by
6 Croatian police reports as one of two Croatian leaders who directed death
7 squads that murdered hundreds of Serbian civilians in Eastern Slavonia,
8 around Vukovar and Osijek, in the fall of 1991. He received little press
9 coverage in the West but Mercep was in many ways the spark is that set
10 the fire of war in Slovenia, a disputed region of Croatia where the
11 Yugoslav war began.
12 "Mercep's co-leader of the Croatian death squads was Branimir
13 Glavas of Osijek. Unlike more discreet members of the ruling HDZ party,
14 Glavas made no secret of his identification with the World War II
15 Croatian Ustashi, as he welcomed returning Croatian prisoners of war.
16 "While some French intellectuals were hailing Croatia as part of
17 the new Europe, old and familiar forces were at work. Osijek became a
18 magnet for neo-fascist groups fighting with Glavas. They included
19 British skinheads, German and Austrian neo-fascists, and followers of the
20 French extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen.
21 "[No interpretation].
22 "The United States, which soon adopted Germany's approach to the
23 Balkans, ignored recent history and offered a simple explanation for the
24 fighting which broke out in the predominantly Serbian region of Croatia
25 which was known as the Krajina. Assistant Secretary of State
1 Richard Holbrooke, who spent the early years of the Yugoslav war as the
2 American ambassador to Germany, represented what became the official
3 American view.
4 "The Serbs started this war, the Serbs are the original cause of
5 the war.
6 "Those who tried to prevent the war saw it differently.
7 "The Serbs in -- in Croatia and indeed outside Croatia had a very
8 vivid memory of what happened in 1941, 1942, when Hitler declared Croatia
9 as an independent puppet state, if you like. And the horrors that went
10 on there and the murders of the Serbs were still very -- I mean, a very
11 large number of Serbs were murdered at that time. I mean, hundreds of
12 thousands. And I think it was very understandable that when Croatia
13 declared its independence and promulgated a new constitution without any
14 safe-guard for the 600.000 Serbs who still lived in Croatia, that the --
15 the Serbs were very perturbed about this.
16 "From the beginning, the Serbs were blamed and they were partly
17 blamed out of ignorance because nobody bothered to look back at the
18 history, to put it within its historical context, and to see why the
19 Serbs who lived in Krajina and the Serbs who lived in the area of what's
20 called Bosnia and Herzegovina, why because of their historical
21 experiences were so hostile to being under Zagreb or under Muslim
22 Sarajevo rule.
23 "In World War II, Serbs offered the first serious resistance to
24 Nazi Germany on the mainland of Europe. Later in the war, the Serbian
25 royalists, sometimes known as the Chetniks, organised the largest rescue
1 of downed American pilots behind enemy lines. But US relations with the
2 Serbs deteriorated greatly by 1989, symbolised by the stormy relationship
3 between Slobodan Milosevic, the new leader of Yugoslavia, and
4 Warren Zimmermann, the new US ambassador to Yugoslavia.
5 "I think Warren came out of Vienna from his last post as an
6 ambassador dealing mainly with human rights and his first action as
7 ambassador was to go to Kosovo and embrace the Kosovo separatist leaders.
8 And this automatically offended the relatively new Serbian leadership
9 under Slobodan Milosevic.
10 "By the late 1980s, ethnic unrest in Kosovo had already set the
11 stage for the breakup of Yugoslavia. For Serbs who first inhabited the
12 area in the 7th century A.D., Kosovo was the cradle of their
13 civilisation, their Jerusalem, and home to their most revered
15 "A bit of history, unfortunately, is required here. The
16 Albanians pushed Serbs out in the 19th century. The Serbs starting
17 pushing Albanians out around 1904. The Albanians surged back in
18 World War II under Italian protection and pushed Serbs out.
19 "When the war ended, however, Marsal Tito decided to keep the
20 Serbian refugees from returning to their homes in Kosovo. As a result
21 Serbs lost their majority in the province.
22 "Tito is very guilty of that particular drama of Kosovo. He made
23 it much harder to solve that, almost impossible.
24 "To keep a restive Albanian population within the Yugoslav
25 Federation, Tito's 1964 constitution gave Kosovo autonomy as a province
1 of Serbia. However, the autonomy was badly abused by Tito's Albanian
2 communist cadres who permitted a campaign of violence to drive out the
3 remaining Serbian population.
4 "Life was made extremely difficult for the Serb minority, and it
5 was here that the Kosovars began to push to have a pure, all Albanian,
6 meaning racially pure, Kosovo in the areas where there were very few
7 Serbs anyhow, they were pushing them out, and the Serbs used the word
8 that it was ethnic cleansing and that's what it was.
9 "Homes of Serbs were appropriated by Albanians.
10 Orthodox Christian cemeteries and monasteries were desecrated. By the
11 late 1980s, the Serbian population of Kosovo had gone from 50 per cent at
12 the start of World War II to just 10 per cent.
13 "At this time, Slobodan Milosevic emerged as the voice of Serbian
14 discontent over Kosovo. Seeking to consolidate his political base in his
15 own republic, Milosevic also spoke for Serbian minorities living in
16 Croatia and Bosnia who feared the emergence of hostile separatist
17 regimes. A lifelong political opportunist, Milosevic was willing to
18 provide limited military support to the Serbs of the Krajina as long as
19 it suited his own agenda. The Serbian leader's manoeuvres, however,
20 deepened the chaos that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia.
21 "I think he is enormously to blame for his treatment of Western
22 powers. From the beginning of 1991, he regarded them as the enemy and he
23 would not talk to them.
24 "While Serbia's president shunned meetings with the American
25 ambassador, separatist leaders were receiving a sympathetic ear from
1 Warren Zimmermann, the American ambassador and his boss, Assistant
2 Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, largely ignored the provocations
3 of separatists in Slovenia and Croatia who were backed by Germany and
4 focused solely on the Serbs.
5 "The two of them adopted a stance that was, from day one, blaming
6 the Serbs for just about everything. Serbs were the target of all of the
7 actions of the United States of America from the beginning.
8 "So did American news organisations whose foreign correspondents
9 relied heavily on the US embassy for their reporting. Yet the obsessive
10 focus of the press with Milosevic served to divert attention from the
11 role of Western powers in making an avoidable war inevitable. While some
12 Western leaders called Milosevic an architect of the conflict, the first
13 shots of the war had been fired by armed separatists in Slovenia and
14 Croatia, strongly supported by Germany.
15 "In hope of heading off disaster, the European community
16 organised a constitutional conference in 1991, led by respected British
17 diplomat Lord Peter Carrington, to find a compromise between those who
18 wanted to separate from Yugoslavia and those who wished to keep it
19 together. The problem was that administrative borders or internal
20 frontiers devised by Tito in 1943 left one-third of the Serbian
21 population out of Serbia, mostly in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
22 "These frontiers were drawn in a very secretive and very -- in my
23 view, very irresponsible way by Tito's inner cabinet while the war was
24 still going on and they were never subject to a public debate or
25 discussion. They were never endorsed.
1 "The idea of giving each republic substantial economic and
2 political autonomy meant that each was a kind of hierarchy of the party,
3 and then there was -- in order to keep the country together you had to
4 balance these political leaders, and Tito was very skilful in playing one
5 off against the other or in some cases of playing them against their
6 population. It was the substitute for democracy in the way that we know
7 it, but it was also considered by many of his supporters throughout the
8 population as necessary because, to their view, democracy led to national
9 or, as we call them, ethnic parties, and that would then breakup the
10 country and lead to civil war again.
11 "As Yugoslavia slid towards civil war in 1991, two referendums
12 were held on the same day in Croatia. Croatians voted overwhelmingly to
13 separate from Yugoslavia, whilst ethnic Serbs, particularly those from
14 Krajina region, voted by a similar margin to remain within Yugoslavia. A
15 compromise favoured by European community negotiators would have
16 permitted Croatia to leave the Yugoslav federation but would have
17 permitted the regions where Serbs formed the majority to remain in
18 Yugoslavia or to gain substantial autonomy. Serbs who lived in an
19 independent Croatia would be guaranteed full citizenship and human rights
21 "In the capital city of Zagreb, Croatian President Tudjman seemed
22 reluctantly prepared to accept this compromise which would have prevented
23 a major military conflict. Germany, however, announced they would
24 recognise both Slovenia and Croatia within Tito's administrative borders
25 before the end of 1991. There would be no compromise.
1 "The Serbs were bitter that the first act of a newly united
2 Germany would be to divide the Serbs of Yugoslavia into at least three
3 separate countries. A crucial opportunity to divide Yugoslavia by
4 peaceful means was now threatened by Germany's action.
5 "It broke up because [indiscernible] because once you go, two out
6 of the six republics declare independence, that those two had no further
7 influence from constitutional [indiscernible]. You had to ask the other
8 republics whether they wanted their independence, which meant you had to
9 ask Bosnia, and it was perfectly plain that Bosnia -- that there was
10 going to be a civil war in Bosnia if you did do that.
11 "UN Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar sent a strong letter to
12 German leaders, warning that recognition would be a disaster. Germany
13 and Austria's own ambassadors in Belgrade privately warned against
14 recognition of Croatia.
15 "The Germans risked being isolated, but the pressure from the --
16 from Kohl's party and from the huge lobby of -- Croat lobby in the
17 southern parts of Germany and Bavaria particularly, were such that it was
18 difficult for Genscher to go on postponing the support.
19 "By the time the war started, the German public had already been
20 prepared by the repeated attacks on the Serbs in an influential German
21 newspaper in Frankfurt. The strident commentary of Johann Georg
22 Reissmueller, which favoured Croatia and reviled the Serbs, any Serbs,
23 all Serbs, reminded Peter Hanke [phoen] of the way Nazi propaganda
24 minister Joseph Goebbels once characterised the Jewish race.
25 "It was the German press in a form par excellence of the
1 right-wing of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and its journalists that
2 fundamentally influenced German policy.
3 "German support for Croatian separatists received an unusual
4 tribute, a musical thank-you on Croatian state television.
5 "Serbian television broadcast Croatia's musical thank-you
6 interspersed with World War II footage of cheering Croatian crowds in
7 Zagreb welcoming Hitler's troops.
8 "All sides used propaganda, but Serbian propaganda was aimed at
9 the Serbian population to bolster Milosevic's power base. By contrast,
10 Croatian propaganda was designed to win international support. With the
11 help of public relations firm Ruder and Finn, Croatia successfully used
12 the media to manipulate a larger audience, particularly Germany and US,
13 to gain support for its separatist agenda. This was particularly evident
14 in the reporting of the war around the resort town of Dubrovnik, a
15 favourite vacation spot for German tourists.
16 "Working through its Washington PR firm, the Croatian government
17 managed to convince much of the world that Dubrovnik was being destroyed
18 by the Serbs in unprovoked attacks which lasted for months during the
19 fall of 1991.
20 "The public has been led to believe that the federal army attack
21 on Dubrovnik was not precipitated by anything but sheer malice. However,
22 on August 25th, 1991, Croatian forces attacked a base in the Bay of
23 Kotor, around the Bay of Kotor, and they were repulsed with heavy losses.
24 "Yugoslavia troops based in Montenegro then fought their way up
25 the coast, confronting Croatian forces near Dubrovnik.
1 "Targets outside the old city were hit consisting mostly of
2 hotels which had been taken over as barracks and spotter points by
3 Croatian forces who also put refugees in the lower storeys of their own
4 barracks and spotter facilities.
5 "It was obvious that the Croats were using the old town as a
6 defensive wall. They were firing from behind hospitals. They had a
7 mortar position next to our hotel. The final straw for me was when there
8 was this incredible bombardment in our hotel basement. Bang bang bang
9 bang bang. The worst we had ever heard. And I was furious. And every
10 one else was panicking. And I said to the manager who was down there
11 with us, I said: I wish you would tell that chap with the heavy
12 machine-gun in the floor above to stop firing at the Serbs because
13 they're going to fire back.
14 "Contrary to news reports, there was little damage to the
15 historic old city.
16 "Yes, it has been reported some 15.000 shells rained on the old
17 city of Dubrovnik. I counted 15 mortar hits on the main street. The
18 Yugoslav federal army could have destroyed the old city of Dubrovnik in
19 two hours. It is not destroyed.
20 "Washington Post reporter Peter Maz [phoen], who visited the old
21 city several months after the fighting stopped, found Dubrovnik in what
22 he described as nearly pristine condition.
23 "There are many people who go to these scenes of mayhem and
24 adventure who don't know where they are, who don't know the languages,
25 cannot really communicate with the people and who take press handouts
1 from the local authorities. So there is certainly an orchestrated effort
2 on the part of the Croatian and the Slovenian, Austrian and German media
3 to portray the Serbs as a bunch of howling Byzantine, uncivilized
5 "The facts on the ground, however, mattered little after first
6 impressions had been made. Rather than admit that they had made a
7 mistake, influential columnists on both sides of the Atlantic continued
8 to write that Dubrovnik had been destroyed. Public opinion was tilted
9 against the Serbs and towards Croatia's political goal - recognition as
10 an independent state. These impressions helped strengthen Germany's
11 resolve to lead a reluctant European community to recognise the
12 separatist republics and thereby dismantle Yugoslavia.
13 "To overcome British opposition to recognising Croatia, German
14 Prime Minister Helmut Kohl offered British leader John Major a deal which
15 left Britain free to disregard or opt out of the social provisions of the
16 1991 treaty creating a unified Europe which was being hotly debated in
17 the British Parliament. This helped John Major politically at home, but
18 Bosnia would pay a high price.
19 "The French, who needed German help to stabilise France's
20 currency, also dropped their opposition to recognising the separatist
22 "The United States, the only power strong enough to oppose
23 Germany, began to waiver. Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence
24 Eagleburger, who had once served as US ambassador to Yugoslavia and spoke
25 Serbo-Croat, knew well the dangers of a wider war if recognition were
1 extended before a settlement had been reached between the different
2 ethnic groups.
3 "I think the major lesson here is when you get involved in
4 something like this with a thousand years of history underlying it all,
5 you need to understand that once the dam breaks, the viciousness can be
6 pretty awful, on all sides.
7 "In the end, here also, peace would be sacrificed for domestic
8 politics. There was an American election coming up.
9 "When we finally went ahead and recognised, one of the reasons we
10 did so was because it had become a major domestic political issue for us
11 here. We have particularly a large Croatian-American community and
12 Mr. Bush lost most of them in the election that he lost because they were
13 unhappy with our having delayed as long as we did in recognising Croatia.
14 "While German actions were encouraged the armed secession of
15 Slovenia and Croatia, it was US diplomacy, particularly through
16 Ambassador Warren Zimmermann, which helped light the spark for a war in
17 Bosnia-Herz" --
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Your Honours, I see the clock and it might be
20 time for the break.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: How long is your video going on?
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It's finished.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: It's finished now.
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It's finished now.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay.
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes.
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: We'll take the break. We'll be back at - let's
3 see - 11.10.
4 Court adjourned.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.40 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 11.15 a.m.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, please continue.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Mr. Hadzic not have the authority as president of the SBWS
10 government to nominate or dismiss any minister. Rather, the president,
11 the SBWS government, and its ministers were responsible to the Assembly
12 that elected them.
13 Your Honours will hear testimony from one of those ministers,
14 Stevo Bogic, who will tell you that the so-called Serbian national
15 security guarding in the government's premises in Erdut was not and never
16 was subordinate to Mr. Hadzic.
17 Your Honours will hear evidence that Mr. Hadzic's close relations
18 with the Croatian government caused many locals and Yugoslav officials to
19 distrust him. Indeed, even Arkan, whom the Prosecution has repeatedly
20 attempted to show as associate of Mr. Hadzic, had his own ulterior
21 motives to monitor Hadzic and possibly interfere with his interactions
22 with Croatian authorities. The Defence will present the evidence, for
23 instance, showing that Arkan sought to impose himself and the members of
24 his unit on Mr. Hadzic as security details; Mr. Hadzic, however, kindly
25 but persistently refused.
1 The Defence will present evidence that until 25th of February,
2 Mr. Hadzic was not superior to any part of the Serb forces listed in the
3 paragraph 11 of the indictment.
4 Our witnesses will show, as some Prosecution witnesses have
5 implied that the notion that Mr. Hadzic could order JNA personnel, either
6 from regular or reserve units, was laughable, if not unrealistic. Nor
7 did his position afford him the authority to control the police or the
8 TO units in the RSK, let alone in Serbia. Nor would his position afford
9 him even the remotest authority to command volunteers, such as
10 Serbian Volunteer Guard, from Serbian Radical Party, White Eagles,
11 Dusan Silni, Skorpions, or the others.
12 Defence will produce evidence on Mr. Hadzic's legal and de facto
13 power regarding the armed forces of the RSK. Your Honours will hear that
14 Mr. Hadzic had never been informed by the JNA or any other authority
15 about the crimes allegedly committed by these units. In addition,
16 neither Mr. Hadzic nor his government and judiciary was in charge to
17 investigate and process the crimes committed in the area of
18 responsibility of the JNA.
19 In addition, the Defence will also present evidence demonstrating
20 that Mr. Hadzic had no either legal or factual control over the detention
21 and prison facilities as described in the paragraphs 40 to 41 of the
22 indictment. He was not able to influence on the condition of the
23 detention or prison facilities, either in Serbia or in SBWS and RSK.
24 Mr. Hadzic did not participate in deportation or forcible removal
25 of Croats and other non-Serbs as described in paragraphs 44 and 45 of the
1 indictment. He was not aware of such policy being formulated or
2 practiced by state organs of SBWS, RSK, Serbia, or Yugoslavia. As
3 Your Honours will hear from Mr. Hadzic and witnesses who were in the RSK
4 police and judicial organs, Mr. Hadzic forwarded all complaints from
5 international representatives to the competent police or judicial organs
6 of RSK and got assurance that it will be taken in the proper procedure.
7 The Prosecution has attempted to argue that the government's
8 efforts to respond to the massive influx of Serbian refugees from
9 Western Slavonia by accommodating them in abandoned residences was part
10 of an anti-Croat government policy. That argument is completely divorced
11 from reality.
12 What was the reality? Simply this: People were scared, villages
13 had been attacked, rumours ran wild in the media and the towns, and they
14 left. Your Honours have heard evidence from Prosecution witnesses who
15 described their departures from their hometowns. Your Honours will hear
16 evidence from Defence witnesses - like Amanda Celar - who also escaped in
17 the night. This was happening to Croats and Serbs alike. The entire
18 country was in upheaval and homes were abandoned.
19 The newborn government, barely able to function as it was, now
20 had to deal with a massive influx of people from other parts of Croatia
21 into their jurisdiction. The only short-term solution that the
22 government could offer these newly arrived refugees was what it had to
23 offer: The houses left behind. This was not, nor was it intended to be,
24 permanent. This was not, nor was it intended, to favour Serbs or any
25 ethnicity. The government was dealing with the reality on the ground and
1 in the front lines. None of this amounted to some broader plan to
2 permanently remove non-Serbs from the region.
3 Indeed, both Prosecution and Defence witnesses alike will tell
4 you that the measure was not permanent. Many people ultimately returned
5 to their homes after the war. Indeed, the houses that had been
6 temporarily occupied were better maintained when their owners returned
7 than those houses which were left abandoned. In other words, the
8 government took the best, short-term option available to it to
9 accommodate the displaced, and when it did -- sorry. And when it did so,
10 the outcome was better than if they had done nothing at all.
11 These refugees would ultimately be ordered by the JNA itself to
12 leave those accommodations later.
13 Your Honours, it concluded my opening statement. Thank you.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
15 Mr. Hadzic, you have the floor for your 84 bis statement.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to greet you and,
17 first of all, to thank you for allowing me to address you. From the
18 beginning of the trial, I have only been listening and I had no
19 opportunity to comment or to say anything. I suppose you know that is
20 not easy, especially when hearing things that are not consistent with
21 either my memory or the truth. Of course, I will tell you all about it
22 in my testimony that is to follow.
23 There are two main reasons why I decided to use my right to
24 address you personally. The first reason is very important to me and I
25 will tell you about it immediately, whereas the second one, I will
1 explain it later. It's not important. If the situation not so tragic, I
2 would say it was ridiculous.
3 First of all, I wish to express my regret for all the victims
4 that suffered in this war. I don't wish and I don't have the right to
5 single out anyone in particular because they're all just victims. There
6 are victims on all sides to the conflict, and I regret them equally. I
7 will explain why I think so.
8 From my birth in 1958, I lived in the Pacetin village, the
9 municipality of Vukovar. From September 1997 to date, I was unable to
10 return there. The first written trace of my village dates back to the
11 13th century, more precisely 1275. From that date until now, it has been
12 a village with an overwhelming Serb majority, over 50 per cent. Only in
13 the last century, the municipality in which Pacetin lies changed names
14 ten times, although the village remained in the same place
15 geographically. In the beginning of the 20th century, it was part of the
16 Austro-Hungarian Empire, and towards the end of that century, as well as
17 today, it was in Croatia. It had never been in Serbia although it should
18 have been because it was populated by Serbs. In four different versions
19 that state was called Yugoslavia.
20 Many inhabitants of Pacetin lost their lives in the
21 Second World War. Some were active fighters against fascism and some
22 were civilian victims of fascist terror. Not then, in 1941, or later in
23 1991, nobody left to wage war from Pacetin. The war found us all in our
24 homes. Due to the tragic experiences we had from the Second World War,
25 nobody wished a new one, and of course neither did I. Not a single war
1 has been our choice. But since I am on trial today, I will not say
2 "our," I will say "my."
3 I was no hero or volunteer. I never had the dilemma whether I
4 should run away as a deserter. In keeping with my constitutional
5 obligations, I remained there to defend the constitutional order of the
6 only legal state that existed then, the Socialist Federal Republic of
7 Yugoslavia. I did everything I did as Goran Hadzic, son of Branko. I
8 had no nickname or secret name. My motto was: Wars begin with
9 negotiations and end in negotiations. It's better to negotiate for years
10 than to wage war for one day. That is still my opinion today.
11 I had the usual fear of war, like most people, but my fear was
12 double because I had friends and family on both sides, especially since
13 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem is a relatively small area and we all
14 know each other. In my fifth and sixth year of primary school, I ended
15 up in the neighbouring Croatian village, Nustar. In the seventh year, I
16 was in Borovo Naselje, which is a mixed population, whereas Nustar is a
17 purely Croatian village. I finished high school in Vinkovci, a town with
18 an overwhelming Croatian majority. Later, I studied at university in
19 Osijek, which is a majority Croat town. I served my military service in
20 Zagreb, and until 1991, I often travelled to Zagreb for different
22 I was active in different sports. Mostly football and karate. I
23 was a member of the stamp collecting society of Vukovar. I was employed
24 in the company called Vupik in Vukovar. All these things I listed, my
25 schooling, sports, stamp collecting, my job, everything was in the
1 Republic of Croatia.
2 I had many friends among all ethnic communities, but mostly Serbs
3 and Croats. That is why my fear of war was at least double than the
4 fears of those who were mobilised into a war a thousand kilometres away.
5 In this war, I personally knew many of the participants on both sides.
6 That's the reason why I never rejected any peace agreement. As one
7 Prosecution witness, GH115, said, Your Excellencies, I was a positive
8 exception among all Krajina politicians, a person who was prepared to
9 talk even about the most sensitive subjects. Considering -- concerning
10 my influence on military and political issues, I will testify in due
12 Now I wish to emphasise that this influence was very small. I
13 had almost none, despite my high political position. I read somewhere
14 that one of the most important rules in history, when history covers an
15 event, it has to take into account the time and the circumstances when
16 the event happened. The same applies to the science of law. I am not a
17 robot who could weigh every word he pronounces, nor am I a great mind or
18 legal expert so as to be able to know at any given moment whether the
19 information I have at my disposal is 100 per cent accurate, or whether my
20 words could be misinterpreted before some court in the distant future.
21 It must be taken into account, in particular, that I gave my
22 statements during war events. I wish to emphasise that I never said or
23 did anything with ill intent. I don't wish to defend myself here. I
24 wish to testify, to help you gain a realistic picture of the events that
25 unfolded in the 1990s.
1 There is a question to which I cannot find an answer although I
2 have been thinking about it for the past ten years. In the past
3 150 years, in every generation of my family there was only one male
4 child. My great grandfather Ilija, my grandfather Sreto, my father
5 Branko, myself, and my son, Srecko.
6 In the Second World War, Ustashas slit the throat of my
7 grandfather and set our house on fire. My father ran away to join the
8 partisan troops when he was 18. The same army that killed my grandfather
9 arrested my mother, who was then a teenager. She was not yet married to
10 my father, and they took her to the Ustasha camp Tenje. That label was
11 actually written on the camp. It's not my comment. It was called
12 "Ustasha camp," that was the inscription on the gate. After the war,
13 they moved her to Baden-Baden and later to Bielefeld, where the end of
14 World War II found her. She returned home, walking along the railway
15 lines from Vienna to Ljubljana.
16 I was arrested and savagely beaten in 1971 by the regular police
17 force of the Republic of Croatia. Most of these people are still
18 employed in the same police force. That last event is a minor thing, of
19 course, and I don't want to lend it any excessive importance because it's
20 about myself, but I need it to raise a question to which there is no
21 answer. What had my family done wrong to anybody, from 1943 to the
22 31st of March, 1991? How did we provoke this tragedy that befell us?
23 Your Honours, could we, at this moment, please move briefly into
24 private session.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Private session, please.
1 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have been charged with very
20 serious crimes. It is for this Court to have the last say in this
21 matter. I've already said that the first and real reason for addressing
22 you is my wish to express my regret for all the victims.
23 Now I want to say what the other reason is. If I were not in
24 such a difficult situation, I could smile, like most of my friends, who
25 followed the opening statement of the distinguished Prosecutor. He said,
1 among the other sins attributed to me, that I destroyed mosques and
2 churches. Of course, I did not destroy churches, and this Court is going
3 to rule about that. But how could I destroy mosques when not a single
4 one existed in Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem or later on in the
5 Republic of the Serb Krajina?
6 I do not have the same kind of resources like the distinguished
7 Prosecution, but as soon as I returned to the UNDU, I learned from the
8 Croatian detainees how many mosques existed during the war in the
9 Republic of Croatia and where there were. I found out that there was a
10 mosque in Zagreb, that there was one in the village of Gunja,
11 municipality of Zupanje, and that in Rijeka, a mosque was being
12 constructed. It was only then that I really got scared and realised the
13 extent of the problem I was facing. Is it possible that no one from this
14 expensive and serious institution as the Office of the Prosecutor is
15 could not have checked their assertions by making a single phone call? I
16 was astounded I even thought that I was a victim of conspiracy. Now, if
17 they did not check something that can be checked so easily, what else
18 will I be up against?
19 Then there was Witness GH169, (redacted)
23 (redacted). Then I
24 realised that it was not a conspiracy at all or a conspiracy theory, that
25 this was only natural, although it is not natural, that this is some kind
1 of customary practice.
2 As for all the things that were said against me, there is also
3 this thesis that before my arrest, I was co-operative and reasonable,
4 which is true. And after I was beaten up and tortured, I became an
5 extremist. That is not correct. I can understand that everybody is
6 applying their own logic, and how a particular person would behave in a
7 similar situation, but that is not my line of thinking. I'm sure that
8 this event in Plitvice was the result of a strange set of circumstances
9 and that it was a tragic mistake.
10 After leaving prison I did not change my political views.
11 Everything was the same. Except for the fact that my health was
12 impaired. I continued to communicate with the Croatian authorities as if
13 nothing had happened. I communicated with Mr. Degoricija almost every
14 day. In mid-April, as a matter of fact, I went to Zagreb to meet with
15 Boljkovac, minister of police, and his assistant minister, Degoricija.
16 After meeting with them in the MUP, I had a meeting with the republican
17 prosecutor in Zrinjevac in Zagreb. Once the war started, it impossible
18 to communicate any further.
19 Your Honours, I'm an innocent victim and I fell victim by
20 mistake. Why would I get any satisfaction for -- by taking revenge on
21 innocent people just because they're not of the same ethnicity as I am?
22 A few days getting out of Croatian prison, on 12th of April,
23 1991, I had a meeting at the American embassy in Belgrade. I was
24 received by His Excellency Warren Zimmermann, together with
25 Veljko Dzakula and Ilija Sasic. Ambassador Zimmermann clearly presented
1 a position to us, a position of his government, inter alia, that they
2 support a single Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and that they
3 would not recognise or support the possible secession of any republic.
4 My future conduct was based on this position presented by Mr. Zimmermann
5 and I continued advocating the survival of the common state.
6 In the beginning of autumn 1991, intensive contact started with
7 the representatives of the European community and, after that, with the
8 representatives of the United Nations. All of them - and I'm referring
9 to these representatives - went to Belgrade first. They met with Serbian
10 officials and the officials of the SFRY. After that, meetings were
11 scheduled for me through the secretary of President Milosevic. These
12 meetings were held in Belgrade, either in the Presidency of Serbia or in
13 the residences of the government of Serbia. For example, as for meetings
14 in The Hague and Paris, we went there on the plane of the government as
15 agreed upon by Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Henry Wijnands. Perhaps the -- the
16 meetings with representatives of the United Nations, Mr. Goulding and
17 Mr. Cyrus Vance, are an even better example for this. I met with them in
18 the Presidency of Serbia, in the same building where the office of
19 Slobodan Milosevic was. The Vance Plan was signed by official Belgrade
20 on our behalf. As for that plan, it directed us to Belgrade, because
21 Serbia was supposed to be one of the guarantors of the implementation of
22 this plan. This was a peace plan of the United Nations.
23 The same organisation established a court and this court has
24 indicted me for contacts with Belgrade, Slobodan Milosevic above all.
25 And they are the ones who asked me to go and meet with Milosevic. I did
1 not have any secret contacts. I did everything in public.
2 As for all my meetings, both with the representatives of the
3 international community and with the representatives of the federal
4 state, the Republic of Serbia and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, I
5 informed the members of the government about all of that regularly.
6 I would like to take this special occasion that you have given to
7 me to give a comment with regard to something that the distinguished
8 Prosecutor said in response to the 98 bis submissions. Inter alia, he
9 said that the fact that Goran Hadzic accepted the Vance Plan, and that is
10 a peace plan, stands, but he says that this -- he did it out of his own
12 Every day through the media one can hear that certain states or
13 certain peoples do something that is in their interest. The latest
14 example are the developments in the Ukraine. Both parties there speak of
15 their own interests, but there is a third party and a fourth party that
16 has appeared there defending their own interests. Amazingly enough,
17 there is even -- there are even threats to use weapons if all of that
18 does not work. I don't think that is illegal. I'm not trying to say
19 whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Whereas it is held against
20 me that I accepted this peace plan in my own interest. In whose interest
21 was I supposed to accept this peace plan? I think that this kind of
22 thinking would have surprised evening George Orwell if he were alive.
23 Quod licet lovi, non licet bovi, a ox cannot do what Jupiter can do. I
24 do not divide peoples and nations into oxen and gods. All are the same
25 as far as I'm concerned.
1 I'm grateful to them for having brought in GH28 as a witness, and
2 through that person I found out that the state of which I'm a citizen
3 established a military commission for co-operation with the Tribunal.
4 Co-ordination, I'd like to point that out. I was shocked by this
5 revelation. My citizen makes a distinction between it's important and
6 unimportant citizens, first-class citizens, second-class citizens. An
7 official commission is concealing evidence, co-ordinating false
8 testimony, threatening witnesses and persuading them to give false
9 testimony. In some previous proceedings and trials, the Prosecution
10 called this its right name. In this case they behaved differently and
11 they are supporting a thesis against which they were in the first place.
12 We all had the opportunity of hearing part of the transcript from another
13 case and the Prosecutor asked the Defence counsel whether he really
14 believed that this government, meaning the government of the SAO
15 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem had any kind of influence. Clearly
16 alluding to the belief of the Prosecution that the government did not
17 have any power.
18 Now this same institution is actually supporting the Defence from
19 the Vukovar trial, as if this were a football game. So tactics are
20 changed from one game to another. All the witnesses gave a solemn
21 declaration stating that they would tell the truth and nothing but the
22 truth. For the Prosecution it goes without saying that the truth is
23 their only vehicle and that everything is being done in the interest of
24 justice. There cannot be two truths with regard to the same thing that
1 Believe it or not, in the Dokmanovic case, the Prosecution had a
2 third thesis as well. Or, rather, that was their first case and that was
3 different from the other two cases. Different from this case, namely,
4 and the Mrksic, Radic, Sljivancanin case.
5 In some hypothetical situation, had I had the opportunity to
6 influence military operations, there are three villages that are the very
7 last anywhere in the world and those -- the very last ones that I would
8 attack. That is Tordinci, Nustar, Marinci, my neighbouring villages.
9 I'm sure that everyone who knows me at least a little bit knows why that
10 is the case. Unfortunately, these villages suffered a great deal.
11 According to the information that I have available, the only
12 successful or the -- one of the most successful missions of the UN is the
13 reintegration of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem into Croatia. This
14 was carried out by Jacques Klein, an American general. Without any false
15 modesty, I wish to point out that this success could not have been
16 achieved and not to such an extent without the contribution made by my
17 associates and myself.
18 We established the civilian authorities and the police and we
19 stayed with the people all the way up until 1996, as opposed to the
20 well-known things that happened in the Western Krajinas. The people in
21 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem had a choice to leave or to stay.
22 Unfortunately, in other parts of Croatia, Serbs did not have that choice.
23 They had to leave. As for what happened in 1991, all the way up until
24 1993, I was accused of all of that in 2003, 11 years after the Tribunal
25 was established. I am a layperson, legally speaking, so I have no
1 explanation. If all of that is correct, everything that the
2 distinguished Prosecutor has said about me, how come it was made possible
3 for me to live freely for 11 years? Is somebody supposed to be held
4 accountable for that?
5 Now there is another question. If the Prosecution needed
6 11 years to issue an indictment against me, how is it possible that I
7 could have found out during two years of war about war crimes and how
8 could I have organised prosecutions, and it is a well-known thing that I
9 did not interfere in the work of the judiciary.
10 If the allegations taped in the indictment are correct, that I
11 ordered the destruction of Croatian towns and villages, expelled Croats
12 from their homes, ordered and organised the killing of civilians and
13 detainees, how is it possible that my parents stayed on in Croatia and
14 lived in Croatia for nine years after reintegration, and my sister and
15 children visited them every weekend regularly?
16 And, finally, if anything is correct in this indictment against
17 me, how is it possible, if my conscience is not clear, that my wife and
18 daughter live in Croatia to this day.
19 Thank you, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Hadzic.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, will you call your first witness.
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, Your Honours. Our first witness is
24 Goran Hadzic.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
1 Mr. Hadzic, would you please take the stand.
2 [The witness takes the stand]
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Hadzic, could I ask you to state your name
4 and date of birth for the record, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Goran Hadzic. I was
6 born on the 7th of September, 1958.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
8 Mr. Hadzic, as any witness, you are about to read the solemn
9 declaration, by which witnesses commit themselves to tell the truth. I
10 need to point out to you as well that the solemn declaration that you are
11 about to make does expose you to the penalty of perjury, should you give
12 misleading or untruthful evidence to this Tribunal.
13 Could I ask you to read the solemn declaration now.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
15 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 WITNESS: GORAN HADZIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. You may be seated.
19 Mr. Zivanovic, your witness.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Hadzic, I'm not going to introduce myself to
23 you, and you have already stated your name and surname and your date of
24 birth. So my first question will be: Where were you born?
25 A. I was born in Vinkovci in the Republic of Croatia.
1 Q. Where did you live after you were born?
2 A. In the village of Pacetin, which is about 10 kilometres away from
4 Q. Tell me, please, irrespective of the fact that you've already
5 said that in your statement, something about your educational background.
6 A. I attended grammar school in Vinkovci and I studied economics in
7 Osijek. I did not graduate. I only graduated later in Novi Sad, not in
9 Q. Were you employed? If yes, where were you employed?
10 A. I started working in 1983 in Vupik in Vukovar, which is an
11 agricultural company. I worked in my own village, Pacetin.
12 Q. Who did you live with in Pacetin?
13 A. I lived in my parents' house. My father, my mother, and my
14 sister lived there. Then I got married, and I had two children.
15 Q. Before 1991, what was the ethnic structure of the population of
17 A. Pacetin was a Serbian village, which means there was a majority
18 Serbian population. I had the opportunity to look at a census from 1990
19 which shows that 1100 people lived in Pacetin. There were
20 100 Orthodox Roma, and a thousand Orthodox Serbs, which means that the
21 village was 100 per cent Serb. Later on, there were migrations of
22 people. Some Croats came to work in Pacetin, so the ethnic composition
23 changed a little but not by more than 5 or 6 per cent all together.
24 Q. Can you please tell us something about the interethnic relations
25 in Pacetin before the war, that is.
1 A. In Pacetin, the relations were always the same, before the war
2 and after the war. There were no conflicts based on ethnicity.
3 Q. Could you please tell us about your family's views or your
4 parents' views and attitude towards various ethnicities. Can you
5 describe the spirit in which you were brought up with regard to the
6 attitude towards other ethnic groups?
7 A. My parents were members of the League of Communists. My
8 mother -- my father was an anti-fascist during the war which means that I
9 was brought up in a Yugoslav spirit. As a child, I didn't even know
10 whether somebody was a Croat, a Serb, or a Hungarian. It didn't matter
11 to me. In my house I never heard a reference to ethnicity and they did
12 not discuss the topic at all.
13 Q. When you say that you did not hear anything of that kind, what do
14 you mean?
15 A. I apologise, I was not clear enough. I did not hear anything
16 about ethnicity, about somebody being referred to as a Serb or a
17 Hungarian or a Croat. There were no comments to that effect. I was
18 brought up to consider every human being a human being, and that was the
19 extent of it, nothing else.
20 Q. Can you tell me when did you become aware of ethnic differences
21 that existed either in Pacetin or in the general area?
22 A. Since I went to the elementary school in Pacetin for four years,
23 Pacetin is a small village so the -- that there were no eight grades.
24 Our school was a branch school of the larger school in Nustar which is a
25 Croatian village. Before the age of 10 or 11 I did not have any
1 information whatsoever that would make me think of ethnic differences.
2 When I first arrived Nustar, I encountered some differences for the first
3 time but that was because children in Nustar went to church and we
4 didn't. Their parents were smarter, in a way, if I may put it that way.
5 They were not communists and they brought up their children in a better
6 way, in the way that I bring up my children now. They went to church.
7 And that's when I noticed some differences between us, but I did not pay
8 much attention to all that.
9 Q. And later on, what happened?
10 A. When I completed elementary school, I enrolled in grammar school
11 in Vinkovci. Vinkovci had a Croatian majority. There were about 90
12 per cent Croats and about 10 per cent Serbs and that was also the ratio
13 in the grammar school. By then I already became aware of ethnic
14 differences but I did not have any problems with Croats or vice versa. I
15 believe that I had more friends among Croats than among Serbs. I'm
16 talking about my grammar school time.
17 Q. I'm now going to show you a map.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we have 1D443, please.
19 Q. [Interpretation] Please look at the map. Can you see the village
20 of Pacetin there?
21 A. Yes, I can.
22 Q. Can you mark it for us, please.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. Can you also see Nustar in this map, the village of Nustar?
25 A. Can you scroll up a little, please.
1 Q. In other words, you can't see it?
2 And what about Borovo Naselje; can you see that? Or, rather,
3 Vinkovci, not Borovo Naselje. Vinkovci.
4 A. No, I can't see Vinkovci. If you can't see Nustar, you can't see
5 Vinkovci because they're very close, the two.
6 Q. And now Borovo Naselje; can you see that?
7 A. Borovo Naselje is close to Vukovar. You actually can't see the
8 word spelled out but the streets marked in yellow, all that is
9 Borovo Naselje. For example, Trpinska Cesta.
10 Q. Can you put a circle around all that. Put an A next to the
11 village of Pacetin; and then when you make the second circle, can you put
12 a letter B next to that?
13 A. [Marks]
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would tender this document, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D106, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to called up 1D442 now.
19 [In English] Thank you.
20 Q. [Interpretation] The village of Pacetin is already marked here
21 with the letter A. Can you confirm, looking from this perspective, that
22 this, indeed, is the village of Pacetin?
23 A. Yes, I can confirm that.
24 Q. Can you see Nustar here?
25 A. Yes, I can.
1 Q. Can you mark ...
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. And put a letter B next to that.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. Can you see Vinkovci on this map?
6 A. Again, the image should be scrolled up just a little because
7 Vinkovci is south of Nustar.
8 Q. We don't have to do that.
9 A. They are very close to each other. Vinkovci is only about
10 5 kilometres away from Nustar.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would tender this document too, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Sorry, Mr. Zivanovic?
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would tender this document as well.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D107.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thanks.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Hadzic, while you resided in Pacetin, in
19 addition to your regular work, did you have any hobbies? What were your
20 pastimes, what did you do in your leisure time?
21 A. Cynology was my great love. I trained dogs. I raised dogs. And
22 also I played football in Pacetin. And then in the grammar school, I
23 started training karate. I continued in Vukovar and in Osijek. And then
24 I was a junior football coach for two years, and then for the next
25 two years I was the coach for the first team, for the main team.
1 Q. Could you please tell us whether you had any contacts with people
2 of other ethnicities, Croats or other ethnic groups, as part of your
3 pastime activities?
4 A. Approximately 50 per cent of my contacts were with Serbs and
5 50 per cent with Croats. When it comes to dog raising, most of my
6 friends were Croats.
7 Q. What was your relationship --
8 A. We were on friendly terms. I never had any conflicts with
9 anybody. I've never had, up to this day, any conflict with anybody.
10 Q. Mr. Hadzic, let me now ask you this: How long have you sported a
11 beard? When did you start growing a beard?
12 A. After the democratic changes I was a member of the SDP, which was
13 Racan's party. In the second round of elections, when the HDZ won the
14 elections, in protest I started -- I stopped shaving my beard. So that
15 was in 1992 [as interpreted], in the month of May. But only in the
16 summer of 1990 that beard became a visible feature on my face. Before
17 that, it was not very prominent.
18 Q. I have some photos of yours here. So could you tell us at least
19 approximately when these photos date back to.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see, please, 1D397.
21 [Defence counsel confer]
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, we -- I'll repeat the question due to the
23 transcript error.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Please repeat the date and the year. Could you
25 repeat the year. When did you start growing a beard?
1 A. I started growing a beard on the 6th of May, 1990.
2 Q. Look at the photo, please. Who are you with?
3 A. My daughter and my son.
4 Q. Can you tell us at least approximately when was this photo taken?
5 A. There's no date, but let me tell you when my children were born
6 so we can draw our own conclusions. My daughter was born in 1983. And
7 my son was born in 1987. I can see a candle. That was my son's first
8 birthday, which means that this photo was taken on the 8th of October,
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, shall we continue this after the
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Oh, yes, Your Honour. Sorry.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
14 Court adjourned.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.48 p.m.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Hadzic, please continue.
18 Oh, just one moment, Mr. Hadzic. There is a short oral ruling.
19 On the 1st of July, the Defence filed a motion to amend its Rule
20 65 ter exhibit list with the addition of 214 documents. Of these, a
21 total of 47 documents are intended for use with Mr. Hadzic during his
22 testimony, and the Defence requests that these documents be dealt with on
23 an expedited basis. The Prosecution responded in relation to these
24 47 documents via an e-mail on the 2nd of July and through oral
25 submissions on the 3rd of July, today.
1 These 47 documents include: Ten documents which were disclosed
2 by the Prosecution to the Defence on the 2nd of June, 2014; 32 documents
3 which were provided to the Defence by Serbia on 3 January 2014; and five
4 documents which the Defence labels as "other relevant documents."
5 The Chamber notes that as of the 2nd of July, 2014, an English
6 translation was not available to the Chamber in e-court for 26 of these
8 After considering the submissions of the parties, the Chamber is
9 satisfied that, taking into account the specific circumstances of this
10 case, good cause has been shown for amending the Defence's exhibit list
11 to include the ten documents disclosed by the Prosecution on the
12 2nd of June, 2014, for which an English translation has now been provided
13 in e-court.
14 The Chamber notes that the bulk of the 32 documents from Serbia
15 are untranslated and the Prosecution objects to the addition of the
16 others. The Chamber will consider the addition of these documents after
17 all the translations have been provided and it has received a full
18 response from the Prosecution.
19 The Chamber considers that the Defence has not demonstrated due
20 diligence in adding the five documents labelled as "other relevant
21 documents" to its Rule 65 ter exhibit list. However, with the exception
22 of 1D03571, the documents were originally disclosed by the Prosecution
23 and therefore have been in its possession.
24 The Chamber accordingly will allow the addition of 1D03567,
25 1D03568, 1D03610, and 1D03611 to the Defence's Rule 65 ter exhibit list
1 in the interests of justice.
2 The Chamber will issue a decision on the addition of 1D03571 in
3 due course.
4 Mr. Zivanovic, please continue.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Your Honours, I will tender the document 1D397.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D108, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thanks.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see the document 1398 -- no, sorry, 398,
12 Q. [Interpretation] Can you see the photo?
13 A. Yes, I can.
14 Q. Was that photo taken on the same occasion as the previous one?
15 A. Yes. The occasion was the same, so the day was the same.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would tender this document too, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D109.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thanks.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Hadzic, in your binder, immediately at the
22 beginning, there are two photos, 399 and 400. I'm going to show them to
23 you, but before that, could you please tell me whether you possibly think
24 that they should be shown to the public or are there any reasons for
25 those photos not to be shown? Because I'm going to ask you about the
1 names of the persons depicted.
2 A. There's no reason not to show the photos.
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see 1D399, please.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Do you perhaps remember when this photo was
6 A. I don't remember the exact date. I believe that it was taken in
8 Q. It's a wedding photo. Certain people got married. Could you
9 please tell us their names.
10 A. This is the wedding of my friend Zoran Ovsic from Dalj.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would tender this document too.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer.
13 MR. STRINGER: Objection on relevancy grounds. Without more
14 foundation, Mr. President, I don't know that this Mr. Ovsic bears any
15 connection with the case. It's a wedding photo.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Through these details we'll find the exact date
18 of his marriage. It was only purpose why I put this question.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: The previous photos with his one-year-old son
20 were from -- from which year?
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: For his first birthday. He answered this. As
22 far as I --
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yeah, he answered, he answered the question, but
24 I don't have it in mind.
25 What was the date of the first anniversary of your son,
1 Mr. Hadzic?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 8 October 1988.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Thank you.
4 Okay. So this -- okay. Please continue, Mr. Zivanovic. The
5 objection is overruled.
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, is it tendered?
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yeah. I thought you were -- you were -- you're
8 not going any further into this photograph and the exact date of it?
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I'll not. I'll try to find the exact date of
10 their marriage and ...
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Admitted and marked.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D110, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: And please have a look at photos 1D400.
15 Q. [Interpretation] When was this photo taken; can you tell us,
17 A. Well, when I look at my daughter, I would say that it was taken
18 sometime in 1986 or 1987, in the summer of that year.
19 Q. [In English] Thank you. [Interpretation] And now can you please
20 look at 1D401. That's another photo.
21 A. Of course.
22 Q. Can you tell us when this photo was taken?
23 A. I believe it was sometime in 1985.
24 Q. Thank you. Mr. Hadzic, when you spoke about your hobbies and
25 when you mentioned dog breeding and sports, tell me, have you ever had an
1 interest in poetry?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Did you write poems?
4 A. No, I did not.
5 Q. Did you love to read poetry, attend recitals, readings of poetry?
6 A. Well, that's different. I used to read poetry with my girlfriend
7 but never with a male friend. Maybe I read poems to my girlfriend when I
8 was in high school and I attended one reading of poetry with a friend of
9 mine, Branko Kovacevic, but that was before the war. He was a writer.
10 Q. Was he an author?
11 A. He was a poet, amateur, and he published a collection of poems.
12 The promotion was in Vukovar. The presentation of that book was in
14 Q. Mr. Hadzic, can you tell us when you became involved in politics?
15 A. Until the outbreak of the war, I was never seriously politically
16 involved. All my activities were at the level of my village and my local
17 commune. Not even at the municipal level in Vukovar. My first position
18 was as president of the SDS in the municipality of Vukovar. That was the
19 first relatively high position for me, and before that, I was a secretary
20 of the youth organisation of the League of Communists in my village. I
21 was a deputy in the Municipal Assembly of Vukovar. That was my first
22 real political position, a deputy for the SDP party.
23 Q. When did you become a member of the League of Communists?
24 A. As soon as it was possible by the rules, when I turned 18. I was
25 then in my third year of university [as interpreted].
1 Q. Can you tell us what was the platform of that party regarding the
2 national issue in Yugoslavia?
3 A. The position of that party was that all nationalities and
4 nations, as has been stressed many times, were equal.
5 Q. What was the position of that party toward the preservation of
6 Yugoslavia and the very existence of Yugoslavia?
7 A. Well, at that time, until Mr. Racan changed his position, there
8 was no other option, except united Yugoslavia.
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Zivanovic, I just want a
10 question to clear something up.
11 Line 14, page 63, is it correctly written: When the witness
12 turned 18, he was in his third year of university?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's a mistake.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
15 Q. [Interpretation] I will repeat the question just in case.
16 I asked you when you became a member of the League of Communists
17 of Yugoslavia.
18 A. My answer was when it became technically possible, that is to
19 say, when I turned 18 and I was in my third year of high school in
20 Vinkovci. Third year of high school, not university.
21 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Did there come a time when that party changed
24 its name?
25 A. It renamed itself from the League of Communists of Croatia into
1 the Party of Democratic Change, SDP.
2 Q. Did you remain in the party after it changed its name?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. What was the ethnic structure, the ethnic composition, of that
6 A. You mean in the whole of Croatia or in Vukovar municipality?
7 Q. To the best of your knowledge, you can tell us about the whole of
8 Croatia and the municipality of Vukovar.
9 A. At the level of Croatia, it was majority Croat, because Croats
10 were in the majority; whereas in the municipality of Vukovar, I would say
11 it was half/half. Perhaps there was a larger number of Serbs, not by
12 much, but I'm not quite sure.
13 Q. When the party changed its name, was it before the multi-party
14 system was introduced or on the eve of multi-party elections?
15 A. Since I am testifying under oath, I must stress I'm not
16 100 per cent sure. I will tell you my opinion. I believe it was during
17 the transformation, before the multi-party elections, when different
18 parties were created in Croatia, including the HDZ, the Croatian
19 Democratic Union. It became a little bit passe for the party to call
20 itself League of Communists, so they changed their name.
21 Q. Tell us, please, in those multi-party elections, did you
22 participate in any way?
23 A. Yes, I took part to the utmost of my ability. I invested all of
24 my time and effort to help SDP win.
25 Q. Would you remind us of the year.
1 A. 1989/1990. In fact, it was early 1990 because the second round
2 of elections was in May 1990, so the first round must have been six weeks
3 earlier, April 1990.
4 Q. You said it a moment ago but I will still repeat the question.
5 Were you elected to some position in those multi-party elections?
6 A. In my local commune, I was elected on the SDP ticket as deputy to
7 the Municipal Assembly of Vukovar.
8 Q. And how did the party fare at the elections?
9 A. At the republic level, it lost because most Croats voted for the
10 Croatian Democratic Union; but in areas where Serbs were the majority, it
11 won, as it did in Vukovar.
12 Q. When you say you were elected to the Municipal Assembly in
13 Vukovar, can you tell us whom did you represent there? Which parts of
14 the municipality of Vukovar.
15 A. I represented my village, Pacetin. It was they who elected me.
16 Q. Until what time did you remain a member of the SDP party?
17 A. Until June 1990.
18 Q. Was there any event that made you leave the SDP?
19 A. There were constitutional changes to the constitution of the
20 Republic of Croatia and Vukovar was required to accept these changes.
21 Together with some other deputies, I advocated a rejection of these
22 constitutional amendments because the new constitution of Croatia
23 envisaged an independent Croatia, separate from Yugoslavia. I did not
24 have specific reasons to fear this option, but I felt it was not a good
25 thing. So I addressed the Assembly and said that our mandate was to
1 represent citizens of a united Yugoslavia and nobody had the right to
2 interfere with that mandate. And a large part of the population of
3 Vukovar voted for staying within Yugoslavia, so without changing their
4 mandate, without a right from their -- without the acceptance of the
5 citizens they couldn't do it.
6 Q. Could you please speak more slowly.
7 A. It was resolved by a compromise. The municipality of Vukovar
8 proposed amendments to the constitution, which were crucial, essential,
9 but nobody paid attention. When the vote came, I was one of the few who
10 voted against, and all the media reports said that Vukovar accepted the
11 constitutional changes. Nobody mentioned that Vukovar actually voted for
12 amendments to the new republic of Croatia constitution. And I continued
13 advocating remaining in Yugoslavia, which we were all citizens.
14 Q. At that time, alongside SDP, was there any other political party
15 in Croatia that worked for Croatia to remain within Yugoslavia?
16 A. There was a small party that nurtured its own legacy of the
17 so-called Socialist Alliance of Working People. There was a gentleman
18 called Mazar who headed that party, but they had no serious political
19 weight and they disappeared from the political arena very quickly.
20 Q. When did you find out that there was a Serbian Democratic Party
21 in Croatia?
22 A. Now I know that it was established in February 1990, but I didn't
23 find that out immediately. I learned perhaps in March or in April, from
24 media reports.
25 Q. What did you hear about the party? What did you learn about that
1 party from media reports?
2 A. Well, I cannot tell you very precisely. You can tell from the
3 name that it was a Serbian party, that it was from Knin, and we learned
4 that it was in favour of a united SFRY, that is to say, for Croatia to
5 remain within united Yugoslavia. That was roughly what I knew about
7 But in my mind, that option was closer to the right, whereas I
8 was closer to the centre or perhaps leaning a bit to the left; because
9 the HDZ was extreme right, and the SDS was leaning to the left, and
10 perhaps just because this "Serbian" in the name, it seemed to me that it
11 was leaning to the left. But I knew that the extreme right in Croatia
12 was represented by the HDZ.
13 Q. When you talk about left and right, you mean political
15 A. Yes. But I'm telling that is what I thought about the SDS at
16 that time. All I knew, in fact, was that it was Serbian. And later on,
17 I realised they were a centre party.
18 Q. When was the first time you heard and learned more about what
19 happened in the Second World War to your parents and other people? When
20 did you get a more detailed explanation?
21 A. In my family home, there was no talk about it. It was just
22 one -- once mentioned that our house was burned down during the war.
23 That's because our father at some point wanted a bank loan to restore the
24 house and when he was refused, he said: Our house was burned down in the
25 war and we can't even get a bank loan for it. I learned mostly from
1 other people, from general conversations. I didn't find anything out
2 from my parents.
3 Q. At that time, was any distinction made - and what kind of
4 distinction - between Croats on one hand and Ustashas on the other? Was
5 there a distinction, how was the word "Ustasha" used, if at all, in your
7 A. It was -- those were two totally different things. Ustashas
8 fought together with Hitler, and we, both Serbs and Croats, fought
9 against them. And when I grew up and at our gatherings, there was talk
10 about Ustasha emigres who must not return to Croatia, people who blew up
11 cinemas and railway stations. In my mind, those were -- that was such a
12 small fraction of the Croatian people, one in a few thousand. But then
13 the political situation changed, and those people who supported these
14 emigres started calling themselves Ustashas. But still, there were not a
15 large number of them. That's what they called themselves. I repeat:
16 They were not ashamed of it. They were even proud of it.
17 Q. To the best of your knowledge -- we're actually talking precisely
18 about that now, this very small group that called themselves Ustashas.
19 To the best of your knowledge, what was their attitude towards the Serbs?
20 A. Well, I heard of that saying that the position of the Serbs -- of
21 the Ustashas was that one-third of the Serbs should be killed, another
22 third should be christened, and a third should be expelled. I heard that
23 while I was still in politics. So they were intolerant of the Serbs to a
24 maximum, and they were very, very strongly in favour of an independent
25 Croatia. Perhaps that was their dominant characteristic.
1 Q. Can you tell me generally what was the position of the Serbs in
2 your own setting about this proclamation of Croatian independence and
4 A. First of all, we did not believe that this option would work
5 because it wasn't the policy of the Croatian people. When we wondered
6 about whether this option was at all possible, we were afraid of it.
7 This happened at -- in the late 1980s. There were many people who were
8 direct participants in what happened from 1941 to 1945 that were still
9 around at that time.
10 Q. Can you tell me what it was that people were afraid of?
11 A. Well, when people would talk about the war, a war is a war.
12 People don't have to be afraid of a war in every situation but they were
13 afraid of these crimes that were committed. For instance, my father told
14 me that during the Second World War, a group of Germans,
15 company-strength, logistics, they lost their way and they were in Pacetin
16 and they stayed there for about two months, and he said: Had things
17 stayed that way throughout the war, nobody would have left. The Ustashas
18 didn't dare enter Pacetin because the Germans were there and nothing ever
19 happened, but then as soon as the Germans left, then the Ustashas came
20 back and bad things happened.
21 Q. Did you have a special reason to be afraid from the proclamation
22 of an independent Croatia, at that time?
23 A. Well, first of all, I did not believe that that could have been
24 proclaimed, but I did have reasons. How could I stay in that state? I
25 did not see my future there at all. I did not know that all of these
1 things that have happened, entering the European Union, having democracy,
2 et cetera, I had no way of knowing that that would happen, but it was
3 very hard to understand what was going on. I was afraid and I think that
4 my fear was justified. The people that we called Ustashas, while we were
5 there, ten years before the war, they appeared in Croatia and they were
6 the loudest at the rallies of certain Croatian parties. They said that
7 they would make their objectives come true, and that was a very painful
8 thing for us.
9 Q. When you say that that was very painful for you, you say "for
10 us," that's what you said. Those are your words. Who do you mean by
11 that, "us"?
12 A. I meant Serbs primarily but also quite a few Croats who had these
13 anti-fascist traditions, because my friends, other people I knew who were
14 Croat, were strongly opposed to that policy.
15 Q. Tell me, at the time of this election campaign, before the
16 multi-party elections and generally at the time, what was the atmosphere
17 like in Croatia in general? Or, rather, actually, what were interethnic
18 relations like?
19 A. Well, then they started deteriorating. There was this euphoria
20 of these pro-Croatian parties, there were several of them, but it was the
21 HDZ that was dominant at the time. That's when these rallies started.
22 And it wasn't only rallies for the sake of rallies. They even organised
23 people who travelled to these rallies. There were columns of 100,
24 200 cars. They carried flags. They organised celebrations. Oxen were
25 roasted, and all sorts of things were being said. I have to clear on
1 this. I met some people later and some people I met here, they were not
2 the same, not all of them were the same. There were some normal people,
3 some good people, but what we heard was the worst kind of information
4 that one could hear.
5 Q. Can you tell us in greater detail what were some of the things
6 that could be heard at such gatherings or in such situations which caused
7 the most concern on your part and the people who were close to you?
8 A. Well, the best-known slogan was: Croatia to Croats, also, there
9 have been enough Serb officials in Croatia and the Croats were just
10 working, which was not true. It wasn't only Serbs who were the directors
11 or managers. Also they were saying that Serbs could only work with
12 shovels, meaning that they would not be in managerial positions any
13 longer. Also there were some messages that had to do with specific
14 things related to liquidations, and we heard what was said by the TO and
15 also arming Spegelj, et cetera, but all of this was before the arming.
16 Q. Can you tell us what the situation was in terms of protection,
17 police protection, protection by those organs which are, in a way,
18 duty-bound to protect the population from any kind of harassment?
19 A. For example, in the municipality of Vukovar, in the police
20 station, there were about 60 policemen, who were among the best in the
21 former Yugoslavia, upholding law and order. There were no problems
22 whatsoever. After these pro-Croatian parties won, then hundreds of
23 people came there. They got jobs in the police. I heard 500, but a
24 policeman who testified here said that there were 700 of them in Vukovar.
25 I find that incredible but apparently it's true. These are people who
1 were not professional policemen. They were of different backgrounds and
2 quite a few of them criminal records too. They were immediately given
3 automatic weapons. Up until 1990, actually, I had never seen a policeman
4 with long-barrelled weapons. I always saw policemen in uniform with
5 pistols only. And all of a sudden, they started moving about in
6 camouflage uniforms and there were so many of them, and this caused a
7 great deal of anxiety. And it wasn't only me, but many other people I
8 talked to.
9 Q. Tell me, was there any physical threat to citizens of Serb
11 A. There were a lot of such threats. I was president of the SDS for
12 the municipality of Vukovar and people had no one to complain to and then
13 they came to me and complained, and I couldn't really do anything. But I
14 heard that Serb houses and businesses were destroyed, were -- had
15 hand-grenades thrown on them. Many cars were destroyed. Also from cars
16 they would attack these Serb businesses and homes.
17 Q. I would just like to ask you something. Do speak slowly when you
18 answer. We have a bit of a problem with following all of this.
19 A. This has not been finished in the translation. I said:
20 Unfortunately, even from police cars, this kind of thing -- well, I
21 perhaps do not see this translation. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The pace is too fast.
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Yes, that has been left out, but the
25 interpreters have told you just now that you do need to speak more
2 A. I do apologise.
3 Q. When you say that in your capacity as president of the SDS of
4 Vukovar that people turned to you, can you explain why they turned to
5 you, why they turned to you as president of a branch of a political
7 A. I can explain. It was because we, in Vukovar, within our
8 political work in the municipality of Vukovar, we had inter-party
9 meetings, so all the parties that had their own members in the Assembly
10 of the municipalities met once a week and tried to resolve problems. It
11 was actually the HDZ and the SDS that really handled all of this,
12 Mr. Tomislav Mercep and I. People could follow this in the media. So
13 then people came to me and they complained, and they asked me to exert my
14 own influence at these meetings so that this kind of thing wouldn't
15 happen to them.
16 Q. Did they ever tell you about asking the police for protection,
17 the law enforcement?
18 A. Well, they went to the police but there were no results. And I
19 went to the police at least once a week, and I complained because of
20 these problems.
21 As for these people that I talked to, I saw that they were
22 honourable and that they were well-intentioned. However, most of these
23 other policemen did this on their own. Because the people I talked to
24 were pre-war policemen.
25 Q. Let us try to explain this a bit, this last sentence of yours.
1 Actually, the last answer you provided.
2 You said that you went to talk to the police, policemen, about
3 once a week, and that most of these other policemen did that on their
5 Can you explain this just a bit? Who was it that you contacted
6 and who did things on their own?
7 A. Well, yes, it's unclear the way I put it, yes. Although it was a
8 bit unclear to me at the time too. I talked to official -- officials at
9 the police station in Vukovar. Some of them had been newly appointed and
10 others were from the old system. However, for the sake of the truth, I
11 have to admit that these were not bad people, ill-intentioned, the people
12 I talked to. So my conclusion was that they did not have any control
13 over those people who were creating problems and that they were not in a
14 position to solve these crimes. Because this was some kind of a secret
15 policy, if you will, clandestine.
16 Q. Can you tell me - can you tell us - when did you become a member
17 of the SDS? When did you join the SDS?
18 A. Well, I joined at the end of May 1990.
19 Q. How did that happen?
20 A. Well, when the HDZ won, as I've already said, on the 6th of May,
21 1990, I, like most of my friends who were ethnic Serbs, realised that we
22 had no one to represent us before the Croatian authorities and that the
23 interests of the Serb people are not being put into the background but
24 even further away than that. And then a friend gave me the programme of
25 the Serb Democratic Party and I saw that there were some positions there
1 that I agreed with. The main thing was that they were in favour of
2 Yugoslavia and also the rights of the Serbs within Croatia because, at
3 that time, within Croatia, Serbs did not have any rights whatsoever, in
4 the sense in which minority peoples have in other states or as Serbs have
5 in Croatia now although they are a minority.
6 Perhaps it is important for me to point out now that I, as a Serb
7 from Pacetin, I always felt that Croatia was my country. That is
8 interesting and that is true. And it with pride that I felt that way. I
9 mean, I have nothing against Croats. I still have many Croat friends,
10 say, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and now they have more of a right to
11 Croatia than I do; whereas Croatia has been my homeland and the homeland
12 of my family for over 300 years. Croatia used to be the homeland of both
13 us and the Croats. When the conflict started, the Croats wore badges
14 saying: "Croatia is my homeland." And a relative of mine made a similar
15 badge but without Croatian symbols and said: "Croatia is my homeland
16 too." And that was the truth. Now, unfortunately, Croatia is no longer
17 my homeland.
18 Q. When you joined the Serb Democratic Party --
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Counsel Zivanovic, excuse me. I
20 would like to go back to the question of political parties.
21 Witness, correct me if I'm wrong, in -- during the elections, if
22 I understood you well, there were two principal, or two most powerful
23 political parties that ran in Vukovar. There was the HDZ, the Croatian
24 Democratic Union, and there was also the Serbian Democratic Party.
25 If I understood you properly, the Croatian Democratic Union was
1 in favour of the independence of Croatia, whereas the Serbian Democratic
2 Party worked towards keeping Serbia and Croatia in the Yugoslav
4 If I understood you properly, the Serbs who wanted to stay in an
5 independent Croatia didn't have any other choice but to join and become
6 members of the HDZ, which means the party which was known as the Croatian
7 Democratic Union; whereas the Croats who wanted a Croatia as a member of
8 the Federation of Yugoslavia did not have another choice but to join the
9 Serbian Democratic Party.
10 Did I understand you properly? Were there only two -- the two
11 parties that I mentioned, or were there any other possibilities?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You didn't understand me properly,
13 but it must be my mistake. Probably I didn't explain things too well.
14 During the elections in Vukovar, there was no Serbian party
15 because the Serbian party of Vukovar was established only after the
16 elections. The main parties that ran in Vukovar was the
17 Croatian Democratic Union - you understood that properly - and the SDP,
18 the Party of Democratic Changes. It was the successor of the League of
19 Communists of Croatia. It was also a Croatian party. Most of its
20 members were Serbs but also Croats who were in favour of staying in
22 When the Croatian constitution changed, most of our members,
23 members of the SDP joined the HDZ and opted for an independent state of
24 Croatia, which is why I felt cheated and betrayed and that's why we
25 established the Municipal Board of the Serbian Democratic Party of
1 Vukovar. When Croats were with us, we did not need a Serbian party. I
2 personally would not have established it. There was no need for it.
3 When it comes to the Serbian Democratic Party, it ran during the
4 elections in Knin, in that part of Croatia, not in Eastern Slavonia.
5 Have I been of any assistance? Did you understand me better now?
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Now it's
8 So the Serbian Democratic Party was born after the constitution
9 was changed in Croatia, and actually made Croatia into an independent
10 state. Is that it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not after. It was in parallel.
12 After Croatian nationalists won the elections, there was a new
13 constitution and that happened after that.
14 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Microphone not activated].
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Microphone, please.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Oh. Sorry.
18 Q. [Interpretation] In order to clarify things a little bit more,
19 could you please tell us when was the Serbian Democratic Party
20 established in Croatia?
21 A. It was in February 1990 in Knin.
22 Q. And what about its board in Vukovar, when was that established?
23 A. On the 10th of June, 1990, in Vukovar.
24 Q. In the municipality of Vukovar, did the Serbian Democratic Party
25 run in the local elections in Vukovar?
1 A. No, because it had not been established yet.
2 Q. Did that party participate in the republican election which
3 covered the entire state of Croatia in 1990?
4 A. Yes, it did, but only in the western part of Croatia around Knin.
5 It did not participate in Vukovar, Osijek, or Vinkovci. It did not have
6 its candidates. It did not participate in the elections.
7 Q. Do you remember whether the Serbian Democratic Party in Knin -
8 the one that you have just mentioned - win a certain number of seats in
9 the Croatian parliament?
10 A. Yes, it did. I believe a total of five or perhaps six. I think
11 it was five.
12 Q. And in the municipal elections in Vukovar, which two parties were
13 the main runners or competitors, as it were, in 1990?
14 A. There was the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Union, and the SDP,
15 the Party of Democratic Changes, headed by Ivica Racan. The HDZ's leader
16 was Franjo Tudjman.
17 Q. Just one more question. Can you just briefly tell us who
18 Ivica Racan was?
19 A. Ivica Racan is a late Croatian politician. He headed the
20 Croatian League of Communists at the moment when democratic changes in
21 Croatia were taking place.
22 Q. Was he also the president of the SDP, i.e., the Party for
23 Democratic Changes?
24 A. Yes. The Croatian League of Communists simply changed its name
25 and became the SDP.
1 Q. Can you tell us whether the SDS, the Serbian Democratic Party,
2 established some other branches, save for the one in Vukovar? And I'm
3 talking about Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem when I ask you this.
4 A. It did establish branches in all the municipalities in Slavonia,
5 Baranja, and Western Srem. In Osijek, Vinkovci, Beli Manastir, and
6 obviously in Vukovar.
7 Q. How did it happen that you were later elected as the president of
8 the branch office the SDS in Vukovar?
9 A. It was quite unexpected. I had really worked hard, but at that
10 time, my educational level was low, my employment record was not that
11 impressive, so I didn't really believe that I would be elected by the
12 people. However, as a result of all those activities and seriousness in
13 my work, I was put forth as a candidate, and that's how things happened.
14 We are in open session. I don't want to talk about my competitors who
15 ran against me, and, in any case, that has nothing whatsoever to do with
17 Q. While you were a deputy in the municipality of Vukovar, you had
18 some meetings - you said it yourself - with the political representatives
19 of the HDZ, and you mentioned Tomislav Mercep. Could you please tell us
20 what the purpose of those meetings was? Why were they needed?
21 A. The main reason, the only reason, was to reduce tensions, to calm
22 the situation down, because the situation was getting out of hand
24 Let me just explain for the Trial Chamber. It's very difficult
25 to understand. Try to imagine a situation where villages are mixed and
1 in many of those villages, half of the villagers are Serbs, the other
2 half are Croats, and they hold opposing views. And then they go into the
3 same bars and they start duelling verbally and all of a sudden all hell
4 breaks loose. And it's all about ethnicity, about ethnic issues, and so
5 on and so forth.
6 Q. What was the result of those meetings between you,
7 representatives of the SDS on the one hand, and the HDZ on the other?
8 A. I must admit that at first I co-operated with Mercep quite well.
9 However, later, as the tendency was more obvious and it became more and
10 more clear that Croatia wanted to leave Yugoslavia, our friendship kind
11 of broke. We could not speak at the same level when problems were
12 compounded. And those meetings were also attended by representatives of
13 the Croatian Assembly. One of them was Mr. Degoricija. He came to
14 Vukovar often. He was the president of the parliamentary commission for
15 co-operation with municipalities. I believe that that was his position
16 in the Croatian parliament.
17 Q. I'm now going to show you a document that you may remember. It
18 was shown already during the trial. It's P61.50.
19 Do you remember this document?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Tell me, please, do you recognise your signature on this
23 A. Yes, I recognise my signature and my handwriting. Everything
24 that is handwritten was written by me. The document is in the Latin
25 script, and my signature is in the Cyrillic script.
1 Q. Do you remember whether you have seen the stamp before and the
2 date? You can see the stamp at the bottom of the document, don't you?
3 Do you remember who stamped the document? Did you go somewhere and hand
4 the document to somebody?
5 A. Yes. In our official capacity, we went to the municipality of
6 Vukovar, which was still in the Republic of Croatia, and we handed the
7 document over to the Croatian officials. This is an official Croatian
8 stamp. Nothing irregular about that stamp at all.
9 Q. Could you please read the date on the stamp, i.e., the date that
10 you entered yourself?
11 A. It's the same date, the 14th of August, 1990, and it is also on
12 that same day that this document was received by the recipient.
13 Q. And now can you please look at the top part of the document,
14 where it says: "Narodne Novine," the "Official Gazette." At the very
15 top of the page.
16 A. Yes, I can see that.
17 Q. It says here "Official Gazette." I suppose that this was an
18 Official Gazette of Croatia at the time?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you please look at the date on the left-hand side of the
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can you please explain the discrepancy, how come that a document
24 which was handed on the 14 of August, 1990, and received on that same
25 date actually came from the Official Gazette which was published on the
1 25th of June, 1990?
2 A. It's really hard to explain. It's almost impossible. I suppose
3 I don't have the right to say that here, but I really -- I don't have an
5 Q. Before the trial, did you see this in the Official Gazette?
6 A. No.
7 Q. In other words, you saw it the first time when it was shown to
8 you here in the courtroom?
9 A. Yes. Never before.
10 Q. And now could you please tell me, at the time when you were a
11 deputy in the municipality of Vukovar, who was its president? Who had
12 been elected as its president?
13 A. Slavko Dokmanovic.
14 Q. Was Slavko Dokmanovic a member of the SDS?
15 A. No, he was not. Not at that time. He probably became a member
16 in 1995, not earlier than that. But I really can't remember.
17 Q. When he was elected as the president of the Municipal Assembly of
18 Vukovar was Dokmanovic a member of any political party at all?
19 A. Yes. He was a member of the same party as me, the SDP.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I see, Your Honours, that we have just one minute
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: If this is an appropriate time, Mr. Zivanovic --
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
25 Mr. Hadzic, this is the end of today's hearing. You know that
1 you're still under oath. You know that that means -- from experience
2 here in the courtroom, you certainly know that that means that you cannot
3 talk about your testimony to anybody, and we laid out the possibilities
4 of having contact with your counsel in a decision that has been -- has
5 been filed by now.
6 So we will see you again tomorrow at 9.00. Thank you.
7 Court adjourned.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.00 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Friday, the 4th day of July,
11 2014, at 9.00 a.m.