1 Monday, 7 July 2014
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
8 Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
10 IT-04-75-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. May we have the appearances, please,
12 starting with the Prosecution.
13 MR. STRINGER: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.
14 For the Prosecution, Douglas Stringer, Sarah Clanton,
15 legal intern Mirko Roguljic, and case manager Thomas Laugel.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
17 Mr. Zivanovic, for the Defence.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Defence of
19 Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell, with case manager
20 Negosava Smiljanic, and intern Milan Jovancevic. Thank you.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. We have a short oral ruling.
22 On the 3rd of July, 2014, the Defence request to replace
23 translation of D00021 was filed. The Defence requests that the current
24 English translation of D21 be replaced with a corrected version provided
25 by CLSS.
1 Is the Prosecution in a position to make submissions in this
3 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, I'm 95 per cent sure that there's no
4 objection to that but I just -- if I could take one moment to
5 double-check to make sure that I've got the same document in mind that
6 the Chamber does.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: One moment or after the first break, what --
8 MR. STRINGER: Well, the first break. Yes, sir.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Thanks.
10 Good morning, Mr. Hadzic. I remind you that you're still under
12 Mr. Zivanovic, please proceed.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 WITNESS: GORAN HADZIC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examination by Mr. Zivanovic: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Hadzic, first of all, I wanted to put some
18 questions to you about the Serbian National Council that was mentioned
19 several times here. So can you tell us when this Serbian National
20 Council was established in the first place, to the best of your
22 A. In Croatia, the Serbian National Council was established in 1990
23 in Srb. I mean for all of Croatia, that all-Croatian one. But the
24 regional one was established on the 7th of January, 1991. That's the one
25 that is discussed the most over here.
1 Q. Can you tell me what the reason was for establishing the regional
2 Serbian National Council, that is to say, for Slavonia, Baranja, and
3 Western Srem?
4 A. The Serb people expressed their views through the Serb Democratic
5 Party. Most of the people who worked with me and also Koncarevic and
6 Petrovic thought that some super-party body should be established
7 consisting of people who are not members of the SDS but who are Serbs who
8 live in the territory of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem.
9 Q. So what was the function of this Serbian National Council
10 supposed to be?
11 A. To express the will of the Serb -- of the people living there,
12 primarily the Serb people.
13 Q. At the time when the Serbian National Council was established, do
14 you remember whether the Croatian authorities had already started the
15 arming that had to do with members of the HDZ?
16 A. I think that even before the Serbian National Council was
17 established, that is to say, before the new year, in autumn and winter of
18 1990, we had a lot of information about the arming of Croats. Actually,
19 their Serb neighbours saw them being armed with long-barrelled weapons,
20 and this caused panic among the Serb people, so we had information about
21 the Croats arming themselves. When I say "Croats," I mean members of the
22 HDZ because this was arming along party lines.
23 Q. Did you have -- or, rather, did you have any direct or indirect
24 knowledge about the arming that was taking place?
25 A. Well, basically I had direct information, almost 99 per cent. I
1 did not see that, but people who came to see me had seen that personally.
2 And I personally saw people in the street, reserve policemen, with
3 weapons. There were that's well-known incidents around Osijek, in bars.
4 When one of Vladimir Glavas's men quarrelled with people because of music
5 in a tavern, then they'd go home and they'd get more people with
6 automatic weapons, and that was a terrible thing, that people could
7 resort to automatic weapons because of some kind of quarrel in a tavern.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see, please, P1762.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Do we have a problem, Mr. Zivanovic?
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I don't know. It is P1762.
11 Q. [Interpretation] You had an opportunity to read this document.
12 So, tell me: When you spoke about the establishment of this main Serbian
13 National Council in 1990, is this a piece of news that was carried with
14 regard to its establishment?
15 A. Well, that is that news or, rather, the decision of the SNS to
16 declare a referendum. I mean, the one established in Srb. And I was not
17 a member of that. There were almost 100.000 Serbs there, I think.
18 Q. Could you please tell me whether there was any link and, if so,
19 what was that link like, between the Serb National Council that was
20 established in Knin, the one that we're talking about now, and the
21 regional council that was established for Slavonia, Baranja, and
22 Western Srem?
23 A. There was no practical link. In a way, there was a formal link,
24 although all of that was within Croatia. These were two completely
25 independent councils.
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Your Honours, I would tender this document into
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
4 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, sorry, it -- it's already admitted.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Indeed, Mr. Zivanovic. Thank you.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. The Serb National Council, on the 26th of February, 1991, passed
10 a declaration on sovereign autonomy of the Serb people of Slavonia,
11 Baranja, and Western Srem. Do you remember that?
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see, please, P81.50.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I remember that declaration,
14 but I was made aware of it later. In February, I didn't really attach
15 any importance to it. I didn't even know what it represented, and I did
16 not take part in it.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. When you say that you did not take part in it, does that mean
19 that you did not draft this declaration?
20 A. It means that, but it also means that I don't know who wrote it.
21 To this day, I don't know who wrote it. Because they had not consulted
23 Q. Sometime after the establishment of the Serb National Council, do
24 you remember that an order was made by the Presidency of the SFRY to
25 disband all armed formations that were not within the single armed forces
1 of the SFRY?
2 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see, please, 1D2186.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember, yes. That was carried
4 by all the media.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Do you remember whether this order was carried out in Croatia?
7 Do you remember whether, after that, some formations were disarmed,
8 formations of the HDZ and other formations, that were not established in
9 accordance with these requirements from the order of the Presidency of
10 the SFRY?
11 A. Well, of course not. Of course, it wasn't carried out in
12 Croatia. This order, in a way, just quieted people a bit and we relaxed
13 a bit, and we thought that the federal state would resolve problems
14 through its own instruments. However, it was not resolved, and according
15 to the information I have, no attempt was even made.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would tender this document into evidence,
17 Your Honours.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D112, Your Honours.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. During the first two days of your testimony, you mentioned twice,
22 or, rather, even more than that, you mentioned that you were shocked by
23 the film that you saw on television. In it, the then-minister of defence
24 of Croatia, Martin Spegelj, spoke about the arming of the HDZ and their
25 supporters and the possible killing of their opponents.
1 I would just like us to take a look at a few excerpts from this
3 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It is P1200. We shall see portion from
4 41 second, to 1 minute and 20 seconds. In B/C/S -- in English
5 transcript, this text is on the page 1.
6 [Video-clip played]
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. First of all, tell me whether this video is what you spoke about
9 when you testified about the fear that it caused among other Serbs,
10 yourself included, after having seen it on television?
11 A. Yes, that is that video.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: I didn't hear any translation of what was said.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It -- this video is admitted into evidence and
16 there is a transcript in English. It is P1200.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We did not have that
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: We can replay it, it is very short.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Let's do that, yes.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We do not have the
23 translation; hence, we are not in a position to interpret. Thank you.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Do we had it on the screen now? Yeah.
25 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
1 [Video-clip played]
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, I suggest that you provide this
3 transcript to the interpreters and that we play the video again after the
4 break. Because this doesn't work. We can't follow the testimony without
5 knowing what has been said.
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: That's okay, Your Honour. We'll do it.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thanks.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. We will show the video later and then I will put you -- my
10 questions related to the video.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we now see 1D2189, please.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, it would be helpful that you
13 mention the tab number of the documents you are asking on the screen.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: There is no -- there is no date in this
15 particular document, but in the next -- in the text on next page -- on
16 this page, on the right side of the page, it is March.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. --
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: March 1991.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Sorry, Mr. Zivanovic. It's not the date I'm
20 asking for. It's the tab number of your document list.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Tab number ...
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yeah. Your document list has -- let's see. The
23 first column of your document list gives tabs numbers.
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, yes, I know.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Oh, you don't have them on the document you have
1 there. Because the -- I don't know whether it was the previous one or
2 the one before, I couldn't find with the -- with the 65 ter number. So
3 it would be helpful to have the tab numbers.
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: We'll get back to this document later. Sorry.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: No, go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. But next
6 document, if you could, please add the tab number as well so that we can
7 check. Thanks.
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Can you see the text? Do you remember this appeal by the
10 then-president of the municipality, Slavko Dokmanovic, that appeal was
11 read on Radio Vukovar?
12 A. I remember. I did not listen to it on Radio Vukovar but then it
13 was published in a newspaper.
14 Q. What prompted this appeal, what kind of a situation?
15 A. The news on the arming of the HDZ caused panic among the Serbian
16 population. People were in panic, and they started sending their wives
17 and children to Serbia in an unorganised manner, spontaneously, because
18 they were afraid that the Croats would attack the Serbian villages where
19 they lived.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Your Honour, tab number is 1022.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would tender this document into evidence,
23 Your Honours.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D113, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
2 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Hadzic, you mentioned that after you were released from
4 prison, after the developments in Plitvice, you visited the American
5 ambassador in Belgrade, Mr. Zimmermann. Do you remember when that
7 A. I remember that event very clearly. I knew even before I saw
8 this document that it was in mid-April but now I see that it was on the
9 12th of April. I remember that event very well. Although I do have a
10 bit of amnesia for everything that happened a month after my arrest, but
11 that was the biggest thing that could ever happen to me, meeting with the
12 American ambassador in Belgrade.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see 1D2181. It is tab 1410. May we see
14 the second page of this document, please.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Under 3, somewhere in the middle of the
16 document, it says that at the request of the president of the
17 Serbian Democratic Party, Dr. Raskovic, the ambassador and the political
18 advisor received you on the 12th of April and that Ilija Sasic and
19 Veljko Dzakula accompanied you. Do you remember that the two of them
20 were also present at that meeting?
21 A. Yes, I remember that there were the three of us.
22 Q. And now you can see what problems you presented to the
23 ambassador, a description of the situation in your region. It says here,
24 amongst other things, that almost all ethnic Serbs have been fired from
25 official jobs, especially in the courts, prosecutor's offices, and the
1 police. Is it true that you presented that situation to the ambassador?
2 A. Yes, we said that, and it was a fact. I have to emphasise that
3 Sasic and Dzakula had been well prepared for that meeting, and they had
4 checked everything. I arrived there after that incident. I thought I
5 was there as a case in point, as a person who had been a victim of the
6 situation. So they were talking much more than I did.
7 Q. It also says here that a condition on landing a job at the
8 Croatian police was not only the ethnic affiliation to the Croatian
9 people but also the membership in the HDZ. Is this a true reflection of
10 what was going on in Croatia at the time?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. It says here as well that a majority of the Serbian teachers were
13 fired and that the curricula concerning Serbian history and culture had
14 been changed or altered. Did you also say that to the ambassador?
15 A. Yes, that's what they said, because that's how things were.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we now go to page 4.
17 Q. In the paragraph preceding bullet point 4, it says that all three
18 of you said that the beatings of Serbs by the Croatian police or
19 civilians and other physical abuse was becoming a daily matter. And also
20 that barricades and armed patrols on both sides had become the norm.
21 Did you, indeed, say that to the American ambassador at the time?
22 A. Yes, we said that. Unfortunately, it was the truth.
23 Q. Since you do not have the Serbian translation of this document,
24 I'm going to read paragraph 4 to you, which speaks about you precisely.
25 It says here:
1 [In English] "Goran Hadzic is one of the SDP leaders detained by
2 the Croatian police at Plitvice on March 31st. He was obviously still
3 very badly shaken by the arrest and by what he described as a severe
4 beating he received from the police. Hadzic insisted that the SDP
5 leaders who met at Plitvice were not discussing a revolt against Croatia
6 or any kind of armed action or uprising. On the contrary, he said, the
7 people in the meeting were moderates who were discussing ways in which to
8 establish some kind of constructive dialogue with the Croatian
9 authorities. With considerable bitterness he added that if the police
10 had microphones in the room, they would know that -- this."
11 [Interpretation] Tell me, please, does this truly reflect your
12 own situation and what you said at the time?
13 A. Yes, this is 100 per cent as I said it.
14 Q. And now I'm going to ask you to look at paragraph 5, which reads:
15 [In English] "The SDP leaders indicated that they and Serbs in
16 eastern Croatia do not entirely share the views of Milan Babic and his
17 Knin Serbs in the so-called Serbian Autonomous Province of Krajina. The
18 Slavonia/Baranja Serbs, they said, have not joined the Krajina Serbs in
19 seceding from Croatia and do not see secession as the only desirable or
20 acceptable solution. They stated several times that they are prepared to
21 continue to live in Croatia, but only a democratic Croatia within a
22 Yugoslav Federation. It is only such structure, they said, which can
23 guarantee them protection and respect for their national rights."
24 [Interpretation] Did you discuss this? Do you remember? Was it
25 said that you did not share the views of Babic and his people from Knin?
1 A. Yes, that was said at the meeting, and this only confirmed the
2 situation that it was. It was a matter of general knowledge that we were
3 not in agreement with Babic, but when I look at the English translation,
4 I can see the SDP, but it is the SDS. There is the SDP party, but this
5 party is not the SDP but the SDS, Serbian Democratic Party. So there is
6 a -- a mistake in the English version of the text.
7 Q. Yes, this is the English abbreviation for the SDS because the
8 words "stranka" which means "party" in English, starts with a P?
9 A. Yes. But I know that there was a party in Croatia known as the
10 SDP. So I just wanted to make sure that the difference is noted.
11 Q. Further on it says:
12 [In English] "They specifically mentioned the Yugoslav People's
13 Army, JNA, as an institution which protected their rights, but they added
14 that they have been disappointed with the JNA's action recently,
15 particularly in Pakrac and Plitvice. The army, they said, should act
16 quickly to prevent interethnic violence and confrontation in the first
17 place, and not simply step in when the victims have already fallen.
18 Because of what they perceive as the JNA's tardy and inadequate response
19 [sic] to the Pakrac and Plitvice situation, Serbs, they said, are
20 increasingly relying on themselves for self-defence."
21 [Interpretation] Tell me, please, when it comes to your
22 protection by the JNA, did you also present that to the ambassador?
23 A. Yes, this is what we said at the time. This reflected the
24 situation as it was on the ground.
25 Q. I would like to ... you see towards the end of this last
1 paragraph, page 5, we see:
2 [In English] "When asked whether they are satisfied with the
3 support they are getting from Belgrade and Serbia, President Milosevic,
4 the SDP leaders were surprisingly non-committal. They stressed that they
5 do not take orders or instructions from Belgrade and they clearly implied
6 that Babic and the Krajina Serbs do and also indicated some fear that
7 their interests would be sold out in a Milosevic/Tudjman deal.
8 Regardless of what the two republic presidents agree on, they said, they
9 act in response to their conditions locally and will defend their own
11 [Interpretation] Tell me, do you remember whether this was said
12 at the meeting?
13 A. Yes, I remember. We said it that way, and that was the truth.
14 Q. Can you tell me, since I can't see it in this report, what did
15 the American ambassador tell you, or maybe his advisor who accompanied
17 A. Perhaps I should first tell you the reason why we went there,
18 from my perspective. To present the problem - that was the first
19 reason - and the second reason was to gain some knowledge to arrive at a
20 proposal for a solution. Then, as now, I believed we had come to the
21 highest possible level, considering the territory we came from. The
22 embassy of the largest and most powerful state in the world, and in fact
23 we were seeking the ambassador's opinion. He said, and to us this gave
24 some satisfaction and provided us with some guide-lines in what to do in
25 the future, that his government would not support any separatist
1 republics, or recognise them, and that they would be supporting a united
2 SFRY. To me, that was the key thing. That's what I remember from the
3 whole meeting.
4 Q. Was this encouraging news, not only to you but also to the people
5 from your area to whom you conveyed it?
6 A. Of course. I couldn't wait to go back and tell everybody.
7 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would tender this document, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
9 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D114, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Hadzic, when you said this news was very encouraging to you,
13 these words of the American ambassador, tell me, did you hear any other
14 similar statements to the effect that other countries, too, would support
15 a united SFRY?
16 A. As far as I remember, it was not the only statement of that kind.
17 It was the position of, I would say, the majority of the member states of
18 the then-European Union and the United Nations, but I remember
19 specifically the Italian Prime Minister De Michelis, who said it in so
20 many that words, and it was widely publicised.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we have 1D915. It is tab 808.
22 [Defence counsel confer]
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. I see in this text that he also talked about the right to
25 self-determination. Have you read this? Maybe it's too small to read
1 from the screen, but I have a hard copy with larger print.
2 A. Yes, I've read it, that he supports the rights of people to
3 self-determination, and he says specifically "including the Serbian
5 Q. How did you understand this statement he made? How did you
6 understand his position?
7 A. I can speak in my own name and in the name of people to whom I
8 personally talked. I understood that as them supporting our position.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Your Honours, I would tender this document into
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
12 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D115, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Last time we left off on the subject of your meetings with
16 Boljkovac and Degoricija after the events at Plitvice, sometime in
17 April 1991. You said he travelled to Vukovar very often. That's on
18 pages 94 to 99 of the transcript.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see, please, 1D2192. 2192, sorry. 1D.
20 Q. [Interpretation] You can see the text published in the newspaper
21 of the Vukovar municipality. Can you tell us, was this one of the
22 meetings that you mentioned as having been designed as a way to defuse
23 the situation in Vukovar municipality?
24 A. Yes, it's one of these meetings. We had meetings of that kind
25 every week and even more often. This one was just at a higher level
1 because Boljkovac came along with Degoricija. Before that, Degoricija
2 came alone, before the situation got more complicated. I remember that
3 meeting. I was one of the participants.
4 Q. Can you tell us what was discussed at the meeting? Were there
5 any specific conclusions? Was something specific done?
6 A. As this newspaper story says, the purpose of the meeting was to
7 diffuse tensions, as we called it at the time. There were no
8 particularly conclusions except that Mr. Boljkovac and Mr. Degoricija
9 gave verbal promises that the situation would calm down there so there
10 was no reason for concern, but obviously these were just words, and the
11 Serbs were not happy. And in a way, despite these guarantees, they were
12 wondering why we are not happy, and I remember there were some problems
13 about that.
14 There was Rade Leskovac as well, from Vera village, at that
15 meeting. That was the first time I met him. He made a very unusual
16 digression and made a comment - I don't know if I mentioned this before -
17 he said it would be unusual for one person to walk naked around town, but
18 if you see 1.000 of them doing that, then you should wonder what the
19 reason is. In the same way, you should not be surprised that we Serbs
20 are afraid.
21 Q. It says in the text that before coming to this meeting,
22 Degoricija and Boljkovac had a meeting with Radmilo Bogdanovic in
23 Backa Palanka. Tell me, were there any direct meetings between the
24 highest leaders of Serbia, on one hand, and Croatia on the other? Were
25 there any media reports about that?
1 A. Yes, there were. And that's how we learned about these meetings.
2 I don't think Boljkovac ever told us at that meeting that he seen
3 Radmilo Bogdanovic. I think I read it in the newspaper. But I'm not
4 100 per cent sure.
5 Q. When you were released from prison after Plitvice - I believe it
6 was on the 3rd of April - and when you came back to Slavonia, Baranja,
7 and Western Srem, you saw the barricades. What happened later with these
8 barricades? Did they remain standing or were there any changes?
9 A. After Boro Savic and I came back from Plitvice, there was no
10 longer any reason to keep the barricades. They had been set up because
11 we were arrested, and they were removed after we were released. That was
12 the condition for their removal. And Degoricija demanded when releasing
13 me from prison that the barricades be removed, and I succeeded in having
14 them removed. I mean, all of us succeeded. I believe Veljko Dzakula
15 also came one evening to Borovo Selo. But as soon as we removed the
16 barricades, there was some provocation from the Croatian side, and then
17 they are set up again.
18 Q. So what was your role in all of that? Did you influence people -
19 and in what way - to have the barricades removed?
20 A. I was wholeheartedly trying to have the barricades removed. I
21 had no question in my mind it should be done, and most of the people I
22 knew shared the same view. Nobody enjoyed sleeping at the barricades and
23 keeping them at any cost. In my understanding, barricades were a type of
24 defence, and if it turns out there's nothing to fear, then barricades are
25 not needed.
1 I trusted Mr. Degoricija and Boljkovac, of course, and I thought
2 there was nothing to fear, and the barricades should be removed. I
3 didn't have any special authority so that people should listen to me, but
4 most people thought the same way I did.
5 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we have D5. It is tab 1223.
6 Q. [Interpretation] I will show you a couple of passages from the
7 book of Josip Boljkovac that was published much later in 2009. He is
8 reminiscing about these events and the time when he was the minister of
9 the interior of Croatia.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see B/C/S page 5. It is English page 26.
11 It seems it is ... we should go to B/C/S -- B/C/S chapter 47. Sorry, I
12 have wrong page here.
13 Q. [Interpretation] Can you see this, this page?
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we go to next page in B/C/S, please. And
15 next one. That's it. And just to find it in English, it might be 27.
16 Maybe 28. 29, please. 30, if we can. Yeah, that's here. Sorry.
17 Q. [Interpretation] What you will see here is that the provocations
18 that were characteristic of Serb extremists in the area of the Krajina
19 municipalities, it says then were matched by what happened in Slovenia
20 and often there were incidents on the ground, and, according to the
21 information I had then, were mostly provoked by the Croatian side.
22 Tell me, please, this information, does it correspond to the
23 knowledge that you had at the time?
24 A. Yes, 100 per cent. When the Croatian minister admitted that they
25 had provoked -- well, they say it was mostly the Croatian side that was
1 actually provoking, doing the provoking, but he didn't want to be too
2 harsh by saying it was 100 per cent.
3 Q. Can you now take a look at the next paragraph that has to do with
4 things that happened in the second half of March 1991.
5 A. He made a mistake there.
6 Q. I see that you know what incident this is about, so can you tell
7 us what it was that had actually happened and when. If you say that he
8 made a mistake, tell us what the mistake is?
9 A. It was mid-April. He got the wrong month.
10 As I've already said, when Boro and I returned from Plitvice,
11 both Boro and I and the entire leadership of the SDS advocated the
12 removal of the barricades, and barricades were removed everywhere.
13 Traffic was normalised throughout Eastern Slavonia and Baranja. However,
14 obviously this did not suit someone in Zagreb. And in mid-April, I think
15 in the second half of April, somebody fired three shells at Borovo Selo.
16 When I say "somebody," well, I, at the time, did not know who it was.
17 That's why I'm saying "somebody." It's only now from this book that I
18 see who it was that had fired that. And I remember that event very well
19 because I barely survived.
20 I advocated the removal of barricades. I went all over the
21 village. I was telling people in the street that there was no problem
22 whatsoever, that I reached an agreement with the Croatian authorities,
23 and they started shooting at the village then. And then this woman in
24 front of whose house that shell fell, I really don't know how I managed
25 to get away then without being lynched by the people there. As she said,
1 the shell fell where she had been standing with her two children, and
2 then she entered the house, and then the shell fell right there on that
3 path where they had been standing five minutes before that. And now I'm
4 thinking about this. These children, had they been killed then, then the
5 people would have killed me. I would have had no way of surviving, and I
6 was the one who was in favour of the removal of barricades.
7 Q. In this text, he identified people who did that, and he said what
8 his source of this information was. In your assessment, this source that
9 provided this information that is noted here, was this a reliable source?
10 A. I have to take a look at this first to see what his source is.
11 Yes, yes, 100 per cent reliable source because I personally knew
12 Mr. Kir, and he was along the same lines as the leadership of Slavonia,
13 Baranja, and Western Srem. However, his fate was worse than mine. They
14 just beat me up, but they killed him.
15 Q. When you say that he was on the same positions, can you define
16 this a bit? Can you tell us in what way? He was not a member of the
18 A. I do apologise. Well, we were not of the same ethnicity, so, in
19 a way, we were on two sides ethnically, but our position was the same in
20 view of resolving the problem. We wanted to have problems resolved by
21 way of negotiations. I don't know. I don't want to say anything that
22 would not be right, but Mr. Kir probably was one of the most sincere
23 Croats I knew, and he really wanted to resolve problems by peaceful
24 means. I'm not saying that there weren't other sincere people there at
25 the time, but Mr. Kir figured prominently in that respect. In his heart
1 and soul.
2 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see, please, 1D271.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Tab number, please.
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry. It is tab 738.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Hadzic, can you tell us whether you know who compiled this
8 document, this text?
9 A. Well, the title shows that this is a document of the joint
10 council of municipalities from Vukovar, Croatia.
11 Q. So I see that this was compiled considerably after the war.
12 A. Yes, 2001. So this institution is a Serb institution but within
13 the Croatian state. So it's a Croatian institution and the members are
15 Q. If you take a look at page 3 or, rather, page 2 of this document.
16 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. Before counsel
17 continues, I'd like to object to this procedure. This document is not in
18 evidence as far as I know. It is some sort of compilation prepared by
19 Serbs in Croatia who we don't know. Whether it is purporting to be in
20 the nature of some expert report or some historical summary from a point
21 of view that was prepared some ten years after the conflict. But, in any
22 event, I think to put the document in front of the witness, not knowing
23 anything about it and simply to have the witness hold forth, if you will,
24 as to his views and comments on it is not appropriate. Let counsel ask
25 the witness a question, and let the witness answer. But the document
1 itself is not appropriate to use as some springboard for the client --
2 for the witness to say yes or no, I agree with this or not.
3 So we object to the procedure on those grounds.
4 Thank you, Mr. President.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, do you have a reply to the
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Your Honour, I shall put to the witness some
9 questions related to this document and then show him it.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Let's first hear the questions, then.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Hadzic, do you know that sometime at the end of March 1991,
13 in Bogdanovci, the first public lineup of armed Croatian civilians took
15 MR. STRINGER: I object to the leading question, Mr. President.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I'll rephrase it.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Do you know, Mr. Hadzic, that at any point in
18 time, in any place, Croats were lined up, armed Croats?
19 A. Yes, I know about that.
20 Q. Can you tell us something about what you know.
21 A. Well, the first I learned of this was from my associates, that
22 this happened in Bogdanovci. This is a village near Vukovar, but from my
23 village, there are three or four villages before you reach Bogdanovci.
24 It caused anxiety. That's why I found out about that.
25 Q. Was this perhaps portrayed in the media?
1 A. I don't remember that this was portrayed in the media.
2 Q. And do you know whether, at that time, sometime in the summer of
3 1991, were there any armed actions?
4 A. From the Croatian side?
5 Q. Yes, yes.
6 A. Well, not only the summer, but it started from Plitvice, the
7 spring. In fact, the end of the winter. And then there was Borovo Selo.
8 And then -- and then later on, it escalated to the blockade of the
9 barracks in Vukovar. That was the summer of 1991.
10 Q. Do you know of any cases of attacks against citizens of Serb
11 ethnicity before the conflict broke out? So can you remember some names?
12 A. This is a generally known thing. How do I put this? Well, it's
13 not hundreds and hundreds, but there were tens and tens of such cases.
14 Also, some of my acquaintances and even some of my friends were attacked.
15 They were attacked -- it was mostly houses of prominent Serbs that were
17 Q. Can we hear their names perhaps? If necessary, if I think that
18 that is more convenient, we could move into private session. Tell us.
19 A. Well, I don't know. One name is that of a person who testified
20 here and I'm not sure that this person had protective measures. So
21 perhaps it would be fairer if we were to move into private session.
22 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we move to the private session, please.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Private session.
24 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
25 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Could you please look at 1D271.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. On page 5, can you see --
4 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, it is page 4. Page 4.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Do you see some of the names that --
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, that's -- that's the document
7 Mr. Stringer objected to; is that right?
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I understood that I have to put further question
9 and then to -- to show to the witness the document.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Well, if there's no objection anymore from
11 Mr. Stringer.
12 MR. STRINGER: Well, the objection stands. Mr. Hadzic has
13 clearly got his own independent recollection of these events. He is
14 recalling names, dates, places in some detail, so again it's unclear why
15 we need to look at a document written by people for whom -- who we don't
16 know about. There's still no foundation for the document itself.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Because Mr. Hadzic could explain, to see these
19 events, these names, and other details, and to let us know if he knows
20 anything about it, and he could confirm whether these details or these
21 data are correct.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Then we are back to the first objection -- to
23 Mr. Stringer's first objection, Mr. Zivanovic. I'm afraid I have to
24 sustain his objection.
25 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Okay.
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Hadzic, do you remember whether, on the
2 1st of May, 1991, there were some incidents in Slavonia, Baranja, and
3 Western Srem?
4 A. Yes, I remember that well.
5 Q. Can you explain.
6 A. I personally participated in calming the situation down after the
8 In Brsadin, which is the neighbouring village, a villager was
9 killed. He was a Serb. It was a custom in the region to mark the
10 1st of May as the Labour Day. We would get up very early in the morning
11 and rally on that day, to celebrate. It was a custom that had been
12 introduced already during the Communist reign. A citizen, whose family
13 name was Inic, got up. He walked through the village to the neighbouring
14 forest with a state flag in his hands. His neighbour, a Croat, called
15 Gelencir, for no reason at all, killed him just because he was carrying a
16 Yugoslav flag. There had not been a previous history of quarrels or
17 arguments. They were on good terms before that incident.
18 The story continues. I can tell you what happened next and how
19 the day ended. Since this was a neighbouring village, I learnt what had
20 happened. The population of Brsadin were mostly Serbs, 90 per cent of
21 them were Serbs. They tried to lynch the Croat. That would have been
22 not only illegal but totally insane. Milenko Milinkovic was from Brsadin
23 and he was a deputy in the Croatian Parliament. He hailed from Brsadin
24 and had come home for the weekend. Together with me and some other
25 people he prevented that lynching. We called the police from Vinkovci
1 and those people from Brsadin handed over Gelencir to the Vinkovci
3 The story continues. I heard that a couple of years ago as I was
4 watching the Croatian television programme. Gelencir's son or daughter,
5 I forget, was a guest on one of the TV shows. She said that he had died
6 but he was never put on trial, and ever since he has been hailed as a
7 hero in Croatia and nobody has posed any problems to the family. This
8 means that justice in that case has never been done.
9 Can I say something about the institution which is mentioned in
10 here? Although the Trial Chamber has rejected document, I don't want to
11 go into that. The institution in question was given to the Serbian
12 people by the European Agreement. It's an institution of the Croatian
13 state. Their letter is not a letter without an address. They are the
14 officials of the Croatian state, and their address, the address of the
15 common council of municipalities, has a full title. They are Serbs who
16 live in Croatia. They are citizens as all the other citizens of Croatia,
17 with equal rights. They were already discriminated once and I don't
18 think that they should be discriminated by anybody, albeit unintentional.
19 Those were not Serbs who supported me. Those were Serbs who supported
20 the Croatian government and the Croatian administration. They lived in
21 Croatia, and this was printed and released by the Croatian state.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: This was totally unnecessary, Mr. Hadzic.
23 Mr. Zivanovic, would this be an appropriate moment?
24 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes. Yes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
1 Court adjourned.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer.
5 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Mr. President. To inform the Chamber, the
6 Prosecution has no objection to the Defence motion on substituting the
7 translation for D21.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
9 The Trial Chamber instructs the Registry to replace the English
10 translation of D21 with the corrected transcription now available in
12 Mr. Zivanovic, please proceed.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Hadzic, could you now tell us, please, what
15 you know about the incident in Borovo Selo on the 2nd of May, 1991.
16 A. My knowledge is almost first-hand, but it is certainly
17 second-hand because I was not a participant in the event. I spent a lot
18 of time in Borovo Selo during the war and after the war until the
19 reintegration in 1997. I spoke to a number of the villagers and they
20 told me what had happened. However, I will tell you what my direct
21 knowledge is because this is relevant.
22 Since I was one of the participants in the talks with the
23 Croatian side, on the 2nd of May, 1991, I was at home in the morning. It
24 was a bank holiday, or perhaps it was a Sunday; I don't know.
25 Slavko Degoricija called me on the phone around half past 9.00 or 10.00,
1 or thereabouts. The conversation was informal, almost friendly, I would
2 say. He asked me to try and talk to Vukasin Soskocanin because he knew
3 about our relationship with the aim of removing the barricades in
4 Borovo Selo. They had been re-erected by Susak, Vukojevic, and Glavas
5 after the August incident, as we have just explained.
6 Q. Just a moment. I apologise. Could you please repeat the names
7 of the people. Just one name has been recorded and that is the name of
9 A. Gojko Susak, who was the defence minister at the time in Croatia.
10 Vice Vukojevic, who was the assistant minister for the police. And
11 Branimir Glavas. They were the ones who organised the attack.
12 Josip Reihl-Kir was also with them, but he didn't know what was going on.
13 He only brought them to the place.
14 MR. STRINGER: Apologies to counsel. There was one name that I
15 think I was hoping to hear - it might have also been missed - which was
16 the name that Mr. Degoricija asked Mr. Hadzic to contact someone about
17 removing the barricades. And I don't know that that name appeared
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Would you please repeat the name who was supposed to remove the
21 barricades at Mr. Degoricija's request.
22 A. Yes. Degoricija asked me to talk to Vukasin Soskocanin, Vukasin.
23 At that time he was the commander of Borovo Selo, the commander of the
24 defence of Borovo Selo, better say.
25 I called Vukasin and I told him what I thought, but Vukasin knew
1 that already. I told him that I was against the barricades. However,
2 after the incident that I had with the population of Borovo Selo, when I
3 advocated the removal of the barricades and Susak opened fire at
4 Borovo Selo, and when people in Borovo Selo attacked me, I couldn't share
5 my position with Vukasin. I just told him what Degoricija's request was.
6 Vukasin and Degoricija knew each other personally, obviously.
7 I knew that there was a problem in Borovo Selo and that people
8 had already had enough of the barricades. Borovo had nearly
9 10.000 inhabitants, and I believe that about 800 of them were also
10 employees of the Borovo factory. They didn't have any arable land, they
11 didn't have any other source of income. Their only source of income was
12 the salary that they received from the Borovo factory. A majority of
13 them put a pressure on the village staff to remove the barricades because
14 they wanted to go to the factory to get their monies and to avoid being
15 fired. From this perspective now, I can see that Croatia could hardly
16 wait to be put in a position to fire them.
17 Vukasin told me to call Degoricija and to tell him that he as
18 well could not wait for the barricades to be removed and that they would
19 be removed straight away. I called Degoricija and told him that. He
20 thanked me. The conversation was rather polite. He wanted us to see
21 each other some time soon, and so on and so forth.
22 After a while, I drove my daughter to see a doctor at the
23 Vukovar Hospital, along with my wife. In the village, we picked up
24 another two women who were going to Vukovar, to give them a lift. One of
25 them was employed at the agricultural pharmacy in the village, and the
1 other was my daughter's teacher living in Vukovar. At the entrance to
2 Vukovar, near Suma Djergaj, we were stopped by a police patrol. That
3 seemed very unusual to me because there were over 20 policemen in that
4 patrol wearing camouflage uniforms. They asked to see my ID and other
5 documents that I didn't have on me. That policeman then approached his
6 boss and said there was a problem. The other one approached us, looked
7 into my car and recognised my wife. They had been classmates in Nustar.
8 They even shared the same desk. And without even looking at me, he said:
9 Zivka is here. You can let them through. No problem. She's a friend of
11 Q. Excuse me for stopping you here. Could you just explain why you
12 had no ID on you?
13 A. My documents and money and everything had been taken away at
14 Plitvice. I was robbed. Degoricija had promised that they would be
15 returned so I did not apply for new documents. I explained that
16 yesterday. I went to Zagreb and they did not return my documents, and
17 they didn't say anything definitive so I was still hoping that they would
18 find my documents. I was not hoping to get the pistol and the money
20 Q. Okay. Continue.
21 A. I was planning to go to the Secretariat of the Interior just
22 after the holidays and apply for new documents.
23 When they let us through, it was a couple of hundred metres
24 before the junction where you go left to Vukovar and to the right for
25 Borovo Naselje. The other way around: Vukovar is to the right, and
1 Borovo Naselje to the left. [In English] Yes. [Interpretation] And I
2 saw a motorcade of police cars passing by in great haste. I had to stop
3 and let them pass. I didn't suspect anything. I thought there had been
4 an accident or something.
5 At the hospital, my wife and daughter got out. Perhaps it's
6 interesting to note that they were going to see Dr. Vesna Bosanac. She
7 was the attending physician for my children. And I continued to the
8 centre of the city to drop off these two ladies.
9 On my way back, I was recognised by a former classmate at the
10 market-place, Branko Ponjevic [phoen]. Ponjevic, Ponjevic. P as Paris.
11 He suddenly made a U-turn on the road, with the tires squealing, and
12 shouted at the top of his voice, almost crying: They had attacked
13 Borovo Selo, curse their mothers. My children are just now in
14 Borovo Selo spending the weekend at their grandparents. Branko was a
15 traffic policeman in Vukovar before the war.
16 I got into my car quickly and went to the municipal building in
17 Vukovar to see Slavko Dokmanovic, president of the municipality.
18 However, Slavko was not there. There was only his secretary, and she was
19 in tears. She told me that Slavko had gone to the barracks to see the
20 commander of the barracks. I understood only then that I could get in
21 trouble again the way I had at Plitvice, especially since I no longer had
22 any documents.
23 I drove quickly to the hospital where my family was already
24 waiting outside because they had heard what had happened, and the police
25 was already surrounding the hospital; the Croatian police, I mean. I
1 went to hide at my relatives who lived close to the hospital, and I
2 stayed there for five or six days until I camouflaged myself. That means
3 shaving off my beard, putting on a cap, and crossing the Danube in a
5 On the Serbian side of the Danube, there were already a lot of
6 cars, the cars belonging to local residents of the places alongside Dunav
7 who volunteered to give a ride to the refugees and take them to Serbia.
8 We were taken across by one resident of Backa Novo Selo, I believe, whose
9 name was Sead. His nickname was Sejo. He was a Muslim. I became
10 friends with him, you can say. We met quite a few times after the war.
11 I crossed the Danube from Borovo Selo by boat, and then went by boat back
12 again to get my son, who was four years old. He had stayed in Pacetin.
13 And my then-wife and daughter were taken to Kljajicevo village as
15 At that time, the telephones were still working so I was able to
16 get a call through to Pacetin, and somebody brought my sister, Goranka,
17 and my son to Borovo Selo. And then I took them to Kljajicevo to join my
18 wife and daughter.
19 That's what happened to me from the 7th of May onwards. I was a
20 direct participant in these events, and my knowledge about the events of
21 the 2nd May that are 99 per cent accurate are briefly as follows.
22 Very soon after my conversation with Degoricija, perhaps just an
23 hour or 90 minutes later, around half past 11.00, the barricades were
24 removed. And then around noon, or perhaps 12.15, the Croatian police
25 entered Borovo Selo from the side of Borovo Naselje with two or three
1 vehicles and two or three buses -- and two buses. I -- those were the
2 vehicles I had seen at that junction when I was taking a turn to Vukovar.
3 As soon as they came in, they fell to the ground at the canal and started
4 shooting. In the centre, they killed a guard who stood outside the local
5 commune building. His last name was Milic and he was a volunteer. He
6 was just sitting there, unarmed. His rifle was lying on the ground
7 50 metres away from him. And they wounded another local resident. That
8 rifle was about 10 metres away from the guard, not 50. And they were
9 shouting at Vukasin Soskocanin that he should surrender, and then they
10 ran into the building of the local commune. But there was no one up
11 there on the first floor.
12 The leader of that group was called Stipo Bosnjak. He entered
13 the building, and on the ground floor there was an outpatient clinic or
14 an infirmary. It was full of people, mostly children. When I say
15 "people," I mean women, women and children. And he took a child and used
16 it as a life shield. It was perhaps 30 minutes into their raid. During
17 those first 30 minutes, nobody responded to their fire. Nobody returned
18 fire because nobody was expecting that attack.
19 Later on, the clashes got worse and, according to official data,
20 12 Croatian policemen were killed and one Serb, this man Milic, and more
21 Serbs were wounded.
22 That group that was coming to Borovo Selo from Osijek was not
23 very well synchronised and they were late, so that people from that part
24 of Borovo Selo hearing the shooting put up the barricades again and
25 didn't let them in. Then the Yugoslav People's Army arrived and escorted
1 safely all the Croatian policemen out.
2 This is what I know, briefly, although I've heard many more
3 details. Perhaps it's interesting to note that at the outskirts of the
4 village, Croatian policemen entered a cafe that was located in a
5 basement. The cafe was called San Marino. And there, they took about
6 20 young people hostages, young girls and boys. Some friends of mine
7 were there as well and later on we called him "Hostage," in jest.
8 Well, that would be it, briefly. However, the Croatian media
9 tried to portray this as an ambush. Since I was a direct participant in
10 the talks with Degoricija, I can say here before you with 100 per cent
11 certainty that it was not an ambush. This very fact that I went to
12 hospital with my child, that the infirmary in Borovo Selo was full of
13 children, and that the cafe was full of young people, all of that shows
14 that there was no ambush there whatever. Also, later on, some say that
15 the fire was returned by the locals of Borovo Selo 30 minutes later, on
16 hour and a half later.
17 And now these stories that some people have been telling, people
18 from Serbia, leaders, saying that their volunteers took part in this,
19 this was exaggerated. Because there was this group of volunteers of the
20 Serb Radical Party in Borovo Selo - there were very few of them,
21 actually, there weren't more than six of them then, on the 2nd of May -
22 when the barricades were removed around 11.00, they returned their
23 weapons and they planned to cross the Danube. So, at first, they could
24 not even respond to gun-fire. But I found out about all of that later.
25 Q. Mr. Hadzic, you said that at the end of this conflict the JNA
1 entered Borovo Selo. Tell us, to the best of your knowledge, did the JNA
2 withdraw after that from Borovo Selo or did they stay there?
3 A. Well, to the best of my knowledge and on the basis of fact -- of
4 factual evidence, they stayed there.
5 Q. Could you explain the following to us now. Since you went to
6 Serbia with your family and you told us that you first stayed in the
7 village of Kljajicevo, where did you go after that? How long did your
8 family stay in Kljajicevo and where did they stay after that?
9 A. They stayed in Kljajicevo very briefly. I mean, I cannot say
10 exactly right now. And they were transferred as refugees to stay with a
11 family in Backa Palanka. Since I could not get my car across the Danube,
12 we had a problem, a transportation problem. When I borrow somebody's
13 car, then I cannot really drive because I did not have any documents.
14 Not only documents for driving but also documents for identification.
15 When we arrived Backa Palanka, I tried to get some documents at
16 the Backa Palanka SUP. However, they could not give me any. They told
17 me to wait until the situation was normalised with Vukovar or otherwise I
18 would have to take a driving test again. That was insane for me to pay
19 for all of that. I could not go to driving school again and pay for that
20 and the exam.
21 Then I tried to find some connections, trying to sidestep all of
22 this --
23 Q. Another thing: Can you tell us how long you stayed in
24 Backa Palanka with your family? Tell us whether you changed your place
25 of residence.
1 A. Yes, I apologise. I haven't given a full answer about that.
2 Well, towards the end of August, or almost the beginning of
3 September, we went to Novi Sad. It was an apartment for refugees. It
4 was not a very good apartment but at least we were on our own. It was a
5 room -- it was an apartment consisting of one room and another smaller
6 room. And also the roof was flat and it was leaking, but that was better
7 than nothing.
8 I know that my daughter started school, second grade it was.
9 That was in Novi Sad. So, on the 10th of September, we were in Novi Sad.
10 Q. Who was staying in this apartment that consisted of one room and
11 another smaller room, as you said?
12 A. My wife, two children, I, and my sister.
13 Q. Could you please tell us how it was that you found out about the
14 death of Vukasin Soskocanin.
15 A. It was by chance that I was on the Danube on the 15th of May. As
16 I said a moment ago, when I went to the police station in Backa Palanka
17 to get documents, that was technically impossible. I was trying to find
18 some connections. I even went to see the president of the municipality,
19 Ljubo Novakovic, and he said that he couldn't do anything. I knew the
20 police commander. I think his last name was Cavka and his first name was
21 Lazar, Lazo. He couldn't do anything either. And then I bumped in
22 Lazo Sarac who worked for state security of Serbia in Backa Palanka.
23 That's what I learned. I indicated what my problem was to everyone, and
24 I said that I had to go to Pacetin to see what the situation was. I
25 didn't know what was going on in my village. Then Lazo said that he was
1 planning -- well, you see, we saw each other on the 14th and he was
2 planning to go to Borovo Selo on the following day and he could help me
3 get across. We could go together because I could not find that place
4 where the boat would cross the river. That was quite complicated. I
5 wasn't a local person there.
6 Q. I do apologise to you now. I see that you mentioned some names
7 here. I planned for us to do that in private session. My only question
8 to you was whether you were on the Danube when you learned -- actually
9 how was it that you learned about Soskocanin's death?
10 A. I do apologise. I thought that I was supposed to explain how it
11 was that I got there. Yes, I was on the Danube. Perhaps I arrived an
12 hour or two -- well, all of this was a bit -- a bit confusing for me.
13 Perhaps an hour or two after he drowned.
14 Q. Can you tell us what it was that you heard then? What was this
15 information that you had about that, about how Vukasin Soskocanin lost
16 his life?
17 A. I heard about that from the horse's mouth. I came across all
18 these people who were on the Danube when all of that had happened. And
19 later on, I talked to the people who were on the same boat with Vukasin
20 who survived. There was even an elderly woman there who had originally
21 hailed from Pacetin and who married in Borovo Selo, so I talked to her
22 too. There were six of them on that boat: Vukasin, his two friends or
23 escorts or perhaps friends, then that woman, and then the man who was in
24 charge of the boat, and then these two other people from Borovo Selo.
25 A Bulgarian ship came along, as these people who lived by the
1 Danube say and they are more familiar with the river than I am. This was
2 a very heavy ship, and it's not like a normal ship. It creates a
3 different kind of waves. They were perhaps 50 metres to 100 metres from
4 the place that they had set out to -- or, rather, where they had started
5 from, and they were about 20 metres away from the bank of the river, but
6 the bank is different there. I mean, there's no shallow water. You get
7 into deep water immediately.
8 When the first wave hit them, the boat was still on the surface.
9 There was water in the boat but it hadn't sunk completely. Vukasin got
10 up and he said to them: Don't be scared. Everything is going to be
11 fine. And then the second wave sank the boat. These people jumped to
12 the right, towards the bank, whereas Vukasin went left, towards the
13 centre of the river. The woman, she was hanging onto the fuel reservoir.
14 Later on, they managed to get her out. She had passed out, but she was
15 still clinging to that fuel reservoir.
16 Q. You heard a version here, I mean, the one that was given by
17 Borivoje Savic, that, in actual fact, it was some people who were divers
18 and who had turned this boat over. Did you hear of that version from
19 anyone else?
20 A. Some leaders of opposition parties in Serbia were saying that
21 too. That was the thesis of Milan Paroski. One cannot say that that is
22 insane. It is 100 times crazier than insane.
23 Q. Tell me, please, do you know what kind of relationship
24 Borivoje Savic had with Soskocanin?
25 A. Well, they knew each other, but Vukasin simply could not stand
1 him, could not stand the sight of him.
2 Q. Do you know, for example, what Savic said? That's in his
3 statement, P50, paragraph 73. That he gave Soskocanin a particular
4 assignment to set up a group of 200 men to provide protection for members
5 of the party.
6 A. That's crazy. That is totally fabricated. It's a lie. Members
7 of the party providing security for other members of the party? I mean,
8 that is a totally insane idea. Well, Vukasin would never take any orders
9 from Boro Savic. Vukasin was president of the local board of Borovo, and
10 Boro Savic and I were not members of that board. We had nothing to do
11 with that.
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we move to the -- to the private session,
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Private session, please.
15 [Private session]
11 Pages 9473-9500 redacted. Private session.
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. If you would please look at this document and tell us if this is
13 the decision adopted at the Assembly session on 25 June 1991.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Please look at Article 1. Does it faithfully reflect what the
16 Assembly decided; namely, that the people from Slavonia, Baranja, and
17 Western Srem should remain within a single country along with the other
18 parts populated by Serbs who wish the same thing?
19 A. Yes. And that is in keeping with what we have discussed today
20 and the stance of Mr. De Michelis.
21 Q. Do you recall if that Assembly session decided anything as to
22 what the Serbian National Council should do in future? Did you get any
23 tasks from the Assembly?
24 A. If I remember well, we were to monitor every step taken by
25 Croatia. If the Croatia should continue to separate itself from
1 Yugoslavia, within our mandate and as decided by the referendum, we
2 should separate from Croatia, to remain within Yugoslavia. That's why
3 the Assembly gave the mandate to the Serbian National Council to monitor
4 these developments and to form a government that would eventually
5 become -- to form a body that would eventually become the government.
6 Q. Can you recall if you personally received an assignment from that
7 Assembly? Were you entrusted with anything?
8 A. Yes, I was to be the prime minister designate of that future
10 Q. In your understanding, what exactly were you supposed to do?
11 What were your duties?
12 A. From this perspective, I could perhaps be able to explain it, but
13 then, on the 25th of June, 1991, I was not quite sure what to expect and
14 what my duties would be. We knew that we were to form an executive body
15 that would represent those people who wished to remain in Yugoslavia.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Mr. President, I think it's appropriate time for
17 the break.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Zivanovic.
19 Mr. Hadzic, we adjourn for the day. You're still under oath, and
20 you know what that means: You can't talk to anybody about your
21 testimony. Thank you.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.59 p.m.,
24 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 8th day of July,
25 2014, at 9.00 a.m.