1 Thursday, 2 March 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: A few things before I let Mr. Milovancevic continue
7 with his cross-examination. On the housekeeping side, we are being
8 offered, if we so wish, to sit tomorrow in the morning instead of in the
9 afternoon, and also on the 6th. If people would like to have an early day
10 being Friday, then we can sit in the morning tomorrow, and we can also sit
11 in the morning on the 6th.
12 Any comment, Mr. Whiting?
13 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, both of those dates are fine with the
14 Prosecution -- or both of those changes would be fine with the
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a morning session
18 tomorrow would considerably upset our rhythm of work that we envisaged.
19 If it is not an absolute necessity, I would kindly ask Your Honour to keep
20 the original schedule, that is that we sit tomorrow afternoon.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: What about on the 6th?
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Oh, that's next week. That's
23 fine, Your Honour. As far as that day is concerned, no problem.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I would imagine that other participants in the
25 proceedings would also be comfortable with the change on the 6th. I'm
1 talking mainly the interpreters and the other people. Would that be okay?
2 If we sit tomorrow in the afternoon to accommodate Mr. Milovancevic, but
3 in the morning on the 6th. Is that okay? Okay. I got a nod from the
4 booth. We shall then sit, as scheduled, in the afternoon tomorrow and in
5 the morning on the 6th. Okay. Thank you very much.
6 There is an oral order or decision that we would like to make.
7 This is a decision on the Prosecution's motion for testimony to be heard
8 via videolink conference -- or video-conference link. I don't know.
9 The Chamber is seized of the Prosecution's motion for testimony to
10 be heard via video-conference link filed confidentially on the 3rd of
11 February, 2006, in which the Prosecution requests that the testimony of
12 protected witness MM-022, Witness MM-023, and Witness MM-040 be received
13 via video-conference link pursuant to Rule 71 bis of the Rules of
14 Procedure and Evidence due to the ill health of the witnesses. The
15 Defence did not file a response to the motion.
16 On the 23rd of February, 2006, the Prosecution confidentially
17 filed a notice of filing of medical information which contained medical
18 certificates on the health condition of the witnesses. The Trial Chamber
19 considers that the testimony of the witnesses concerns their involvement
20 in specific incidents alleged in the indictment and therefore is
21 sufficiently important to make it unfair to proceed without it. The Trial
22 Chamber further considers that in light of the information provided in the
23 medical certificates, the witnesses are unable to come to the Tribunal to
24 testify in person.
25 The Trial Chamber finds that it is in the interests of justice
1 that the witnesses testify via video-conference link and hereby orders
2 that their testimony be given by means of video-conference link between
3 Zagreb and the assigned courtroom at the seat of the Tribunal in The Hague
4 in the week of 20th March 2006.
5 The Trial Chamber further orders that the locations and exact
6 dates of the video-conference link be determined after consultation among
7 the parties, the Registry, and the Trial Chamber, taking into
8 consideration in particular the health condition of the witnesses and the
9 possibility to hear them in or around Zagreb. The Trial Chamber directs
10 the Registrar to take all necessary measures in order to set up the
11 video-conference link, including having regard to the protective measures
12 for witness MM-022.
13 Thank you. That is the end of the order.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic. Before you start,
15 Mr. Milovancevic, I think I must remind Mr. Babic. Once again, Mr. Babic,
16 you have taken -- make a declaration at the beginning of your testimony.
17 You are still bound by that declaration. Thank you.
18 Mr. Milovancevic.
19 WITNESS: MILAN BABIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Milovancevic: [Continued]
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Babic.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. We are going to continue your cross-examination today. As before,
1 can we please go along with what the interpreters have asked us to do,
2 that is to pause between question and answer so that there would be ample
3 time to have everything interpreted.
4 Last time, towards the end of your cross-examination, we spoke
5 about the referendum on the sovereignty and autonomy of the Serb people in
6 Croatia. That was in August, September 1990. And then we talked about
7 the implementation of that decision, the adoption of the statute of the
8 SAO Krajina in December 1990. Do you recall that, Mr. Babic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. At this moment I would like to go back to something that you
11 referred to in your testimony, namely your meeting with Mr. Martic in July
12 1990, on the occasion of the protests of the policemen from Knin. During
13 your testimony, did you mention the petition that a group of policemen
14 from Knin sent to the Federal Secretariat of the Interior, the secretary
15 of the federal ministry in Belgrade, Petar Gracanin?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Am I interpreting your statement correctly if I say that in that
18 petition they expressed their opposition to the introduction of new Croat
19 symbols in the police, that is to say new uniforms, a new name for their
20 service, "redarstvenik," and also new emblems like the chessboard flag?
21 A. That's the way I remember that petition, yes.
22 Q. Do you know how many policemen signed this petition? Do you have
23 any tentative figures, at least?
24 A. I think it was the majority of the police station in Knin.
25 Q. You said that in July 1990 a meeting was held in Knin between the
1 MUP of Croatia and the Knin police station. The aim of this meeting was
2 for the policemen who signed the petition to turn obedient.
3 A. Well, roughly what was said was, as presented by the members of
4 the MUP, the police should do their job and not interfere in political
5 matters. That is how they tried to get the conduct of the police in Knin
6 in order, rather, the signatories of the petition. Petar Jurica; I've
7 just remembered the name. I think that was the representative of the MUP
8 from Zagreb.
9 Q. Can you tell us where this meeting was held?
10 A. At the police station in Knin.
11 Q. You said that you were also present at that meeting. Why were you
13 A. They called me because I was president of the Knin municipality,
14 so I attended the meeting. Somebody called me. I don't know who it was.
15 Q. You said that at that meeting the policemen presented their
16 reasons why they signed the petition, and the delegation from Zagreb
17 presented their reasons, and basically everybody stuck to their original
18 positions. Is that true?
19 A. Well, that's what I said a few moments ago, what the delegation of
20 the MUP of Croatia asked for, and the policemen, on the other hand,
21 expressed yet again what the petition contained.
22 Q. In these talks, did the policemen give their reasons why they were
23 opposed to the introduction of these changes in the police, why they were
24 opposed to the new uniforms, the new emblems, and the new name?
25 A. I've already said that I cannot remember all the details, but I
1 remember the general positions.
2 Q. The new emblems, the new insignia for the police, did they make
3 the police in Knin think of something? Were they reminiscent of something
5 A. Well, symbols, uniforms, and the name of the police was
6 reminiscent of, as they explained it - especially the name of the police;
7 it is "redarstvenik" - it was all reminiscent of the police of the
8 Independent State of Croatia.
9 Q. Was that a name that was used during the Second World War, that is
10 to say the Ustasha government in the Independent State of Croatia?
11 A. That's the name of -- that was the name of the police of that
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Milovancevic please slow down. Thank
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Did this somehow coincide with the changes in the constitution of
17 Croatia that were referred to?
18 A. Well, it happened in that period, yes, yes, after the Presidency
19 of Croatia had this initiative to change the constitution.
20 Q. Can we just remind everyone yet again what these changes were:
21 That Serbs would no longer be a nation according to the Croatian
22 constitution; that there would be a Croatisation, as you said; there would
23 be a Croat emblem, Croat insignia, the Serbian language was being
24 abolished, and regionalisation was being done away with.
25 A. Yes. Those are the changes concerned. Yes, those were the
1 changes involved.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. You said that at one point there were quite
3 a few people in front of the Knin police station. Do you remember how
4 many there were, a lot, a little?
5 A. There were masses there. The street was blocked? They heard that
6 there were some members of special forces nearby. Why were they there?
7 What were they supposed to achieve through their presence in front of the
8 police station?
9 A. To give support to the police, to the policemen there.
10 Q. In what sense? Were the policemen in danger due to the presence
11 of the members of the special units?
12 A. Well, they wanted to express their solidarity with the demands of
13 the policemen. I think that that was the main motive for this rally. And
14 then information was received that there were members of special units in
15 the vicinity.
16 Q. You said, Mr. Babic, that Martic was present at that meeting too,
17 that the discussions of the Knin policemen were more or less the same, and
18 that at one point you addressed the people gathered there, asking them to
19 go home.
20 A. Yes. That was towards the end, because the meeting did not yield
21 any results. The delegation of the Croatian MUP got upset and a way had
22 to be found for them to leave. It wasn't easy for them to get out, and
23 that is why people were supposed to leave, so that they could leave the
24 police station. That was why I said what I said.
25 Q. Did the people actually leave when you spoke to them or did they
1 stay there?
2 A. Well, a few people spoke. I did. Other people did. People were
3 still sticking around. It was all very slow and then, as far as I was
4 told later, the delegation of the MUP of Croatia managed to leave through
5 a back door.
6 Q. Do you remember whether the accused Martic spoke at that time, but
7 you remember that he gave some statements to the press, whereas now you
8 say that this delegation left. Who saw the delegation off? Was it the
9 policemen from the Knin police station that provided safe passage for
11 A. I don't know. I just heard that policemen, probably, got them out
12 of the station through some back door. That is what I recall.
13 Q. When you mentioned Milan Martic's words, namely that as long as he
14 is alive the Croatian chequerboard flag would not be on the fort of Knin,
15 does that have anything to do with the departure of these guests from the
16 Knin police station?
17 A. No. As far as I can remember, it has a general meaning in view of
18 all these events that were taking place. This had to do with the protest,
19 the petition, the visit of the delegation, everything that happened in the
20 conflicts between the MUP of Croatia and the Knin police station.
21 Q. You explained that the Knin fort has a symbolic meaning, that this
22 is an old fortress which is in the centre of town, that it constituted a
23 strong -- an old military stronghold. It has to do with history and the
24 past of the Serbs in the area and their fight against the Turks. Is that
25 true, Mr. Babic?
1 A. Yes. That's what I said.
2 Q. Is the statement of Milan Martic that as long as he is alive the
3 Croatian chequerboard will not be flying at the Knin fort, did that
4 express his opposition that a symbol from the Independent State of Croatia
5 in which Serbs were victims should not be in a place which is holy in the
6 history of the Serbs?
7 A. Well, it was the Croatian state. The chequerboard represented the
8 Croatian state, the new Croatian authorities; that was the symbol of the
10 Q. You said that on the 10th of August, 1990, briefly after the
11 delegation from Zagreb came to the Split police station, you met with
12 Milan Martic, that you were close to each other, and that Milan Martic
13 came in a uniform to warn you that you were not safe. Is this correct,
14 Mr. Babic?
15 A. Yes, but I think this was the 9th of August, actually.
16 Q. And what did you do after this warning by Milan Martic?
17 A. He arranged with his friend and associate Pepin Cupkovic for me to
18 be urgently moved with my family to another building on the outskirts of
19 Knin where we would spend the night. I was so disturbed by this that I
20 accepted that proposal as something quite logical.
21 Q. And was Mr. Martic disturbed? Was he convincing when he conveyed
22 this warning to you?
23 A. Like I said, he was calm. He appeared to be calm, and calmly he
24 said, "Everything is all right, but they're coming at us." His behaviour
25 and his calmness was not quite in sync with what he was telling us and
1 with what he was suggesting, for us to move, but he seemed calm and
3 Q. And why did you move? Was it because you felt insecure, you and
4 your family?
5 A. He said, "They're coming at us," and he said that my security was
6 under threat and that's why he said that I should move.
7 Q. Did he tell you who was coming at us, who was threatening your
9 A. The Croatian specials, the Croatian special police.
10 Q. You said that the next day David Rastovic, the vice-president of
11 the Serbian National Council, and Bogoljub Popovic, vice-president of the
12 SDS, told you that you should go to Milosevic to seek protection. Is that
13 how it was?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Who were you supposed to seek protection for, Mr. Babic?
16 A. For the Serbs in Knin and in Krajina and in Croatia.
17 Q. Who was threatening the Serbs in Knin, Krajina, and Croatia,
18 according to the information that you had? Who were they supposed to be
19 protected from?
20 A. Well, there were two things, as I said. The Serbian National
21 Council was scheduled -- after the Assembly in Srb, they decided to hold a
22 referendum on Serbian autonomy. This was one event at that time to which
23 the Croatian government responded that the referendum was illegal. The
24 second problem which cropped up was the one created by the police officers
25 in the police station by entering into conflict with the Croatian MUP. So
1 there were two issues, open issues, or two conflicts on the scene. One
2 was political, one relating to the referendum; and the second one, as the
3 Croatian government was explaining it, was the uprising of the police in
4 Knin. This is what was causing a possible intervention of the Croatian
5 government and making them resolve issues by force, making the police
6 officers behave by force and also to prevent the referendum from taking
7 place by force.
8 Q. This possible forceful intervention by the Croatian government,
9 was that the reason why you went to see Mr. Milosevic, the then president
10 of Serbia? You mentioned that he was at Kupari together with the
11 president of the Presidency, Jovic, and you also said the federal minister
12 for national defence was there, General Kadijevic. Was that how it was?
13 A. I said that there were these two problems and we needed to seek
14 protection from Milosevic in this matter. That was what was suggested to
15 me and that was what I accepted.
16 Q. Can we say that you also thought the same as those people who
17 suggested that, that there was a danger of an intervention by the Croatian
19 A. Well, I accepted to relocate and to move to a different apartment,
20 so that meant that I was upset myself, and I accepted the proposal because
21 I believe that there was a realistic threat against us.
22 Q. You said that you sent a message via Mr. Vucetic to President
23 Milosevic where you were seeking a meeting and whereby you were seeking
24 protection and that Mr. Milosevic responded in turn that you should
25 address the president of the Presidency, Mr. Jovic. Is that correct?
1 A. Well, that was a sort of indirect conversation. It wasn't just an
2 exchange of messages. Bogoljub Popovic and myself explained the problem
3 to Vucetic, and he presented the problem to Milosevic, and he said all
4 three of them were there, meaning Milosevic, Kadijevic, and Jovic [sic].
5 And as far as I understood, they discussed that question or, rather, the
6 things that we talked about, and their response was that we should ask to
7 be received by Jovic in Belgrade so that we could explain the matter to
9 Q. And that is what you did. So on the 13th of August, 1990, you
10 were, at your request, received by the president of the Presidency of
11 Yugoslavia, Mr. Jovic, in Belgrade; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. You said that that was when you discussed the political situation
14 in Croatia, the constitutional changes made by the new Croatian
15 authorities, also that you discussed that the Serbs in Croatia were
16 planning a referendum and that the others discussed the threat of armed
17 intervention by MUP of Croatia; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, I did say that. The gist of what I talked about dealt with
19 the political issues and that the other two more -- focused more on the
20 security issues.
21 Q. You explained that Mr. Jovic, as president of the Presidency, in
22 response to the information from you, stated that a draft law was being
23 prepared on self-determination for the Assembly of Yugoslavia, that he
24 supported your political struggle, and that the JNA, as a federal armed
25 force, would be the guarantor for your political struggle, and it will be
1 an instrument of support for your political struggle; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You said that after your conversation with Mr. Jovic on the 13th
4 of August, 1990, you went to see the federal secretary for internal
5 affairs, Petar Gracanin, and that he suggested that the referendum that
6 you mentioned of the Serbs be held in accordance with the constitution of
7 Yugoslavia and the constitution of Croatia. Is that correct, Mr. Babic?
8 A. This was not in the office of Mr. Gracanin. This was in the
9 office of Mr. Jovic. This was one of the people from Jovic's cabinet who
10 told us to which constitutional article we should refer to. We should use
11 the constitutional article on self-determination, or determination, for
12 the referendum. So this was before Gracanin -- before the meeting with
14 Q. You also said that you went to meet with Petar Gracanin to inform
15 him about the situation and that you heard that after that, at a press
16 conference, he stated that he had told you that you should erect
17 barricades, but that was not actually like that, that he did not mention
18 that in the conversation with you.
19 A. I said that he gave that statement to the press, but I also said
20 that I do not recall whether he told us that at the time or not. I don't
21 remember it. Perhaps he did say that when he received a delegation of the
22 police officers from Knin. This is what I said. I don't remember.
23 Q. After the talks in Belgrade with the president of the Presidency
24 in Yugoslavia, you returned to Krajina, and you said that on the 16th of
25 August, 1990, there was a meeting at Dvor Na Uni where the Serbian
1 National Council set the date for a referendum on autonomy by the Serbian
2 people and that there was a meeting scheduled for that day; is that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You mentioned that the statement by the Serbian National Council
6 on the referendum in August and September 1990 met with the opposition of
7 the Croatian authorities and they announced that they would prevent that
8 by force, and in connection with that you discussed several events in Knin
9 on the 17th of August. Is that correct, Mr. Babic?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. You said that in your office, as the president of the municipality
12 of Knin, on the 17th of August in the morning you received a telex from
13 the president of the Obrovac municipality that Croatian special forces
14 were attacking Obrovac and the region of Knin and they were also setting
15 up barricades; is that correct?
16 A. I said that I received a telex from Sergej Veselinovic in which he
17 said that the Croatian special forces were crossing Mount Velebit towards
18 Obrovac, that they were erecting barricades at Obrovac, whereas the
19 information that Croatian armoured vehicles were entering Knin, this
20 information I received from Dusan Orlovic.
21 Q. Do you know whether the Croatian special forces arrived at Obrovac
22 and if they tried to disarm the police station and the people who were
23 assembled there prevented that on the 17th of August, 1990?
24 A. What I know is that during those few days there was a
25 concentration of weapons of the police reserve forces in one place.
1 That's how the Croatian authorities termed that. I think that that
2 happened on that day. I'm not sure. It could have happened on another
4 Q. There are witnesses who did say that this was on that day when the
5 gentleman you mentioned informed you about the events in Obrovac. Do you
6 know what happened on that day on the 17th day of August in Benkovac? Did
7 the special forces confiscate weapons in Benkovac? In Obrovac they tried
8 and they didn't succeed. Did they succeed in Benkovac?
9 A. Let me repeat this once again: Whether on that day or on those
10 days --
11 MR. WHITING: Can I just object? I object to the form of the
12 question which is, "There are witnesses that did say ..." I would object
13 to vague references to other witnesses who have said something.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I was wondering, which witnesses are you referring
15 to? Is there a witness who has testified on this point, and who is it?
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. What I wanted
17 to say was that there are witnesses who talk about that, but that will be
18 a topic for another time. What I wanted to do now was just ask Mr. Babic
19 whether he knew, as the president of the Serbian National Council and as
20 president of the Knin municipality, that on the 17th of August Croatian
21 special forces confiscated weapons from the reserve police in Benkovac.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said what I knew.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry. Who are these witnesses? That's my
24 question, Mr. Milovancevic.
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, these are
1 witnesses who live in Krajina and who will be testifying before the
2 Tribunal when the Defence feels that the time is appropriate for the
3 presentation of such evidence. I'm thinking of people from that area,
4 people who are near Benkovac, Knin, and Obrovac. I'm thinking of the
5 population of that territory. But right now I don't think that it is
6 necessary to mention their names. If the Chamber believes that this
7 question is not precise enough or that it should be reformulated, then I
8 will do so.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Perhaps you would reformulate it along the
10 following lines: That the Defence is going to lead evidence to the effect
11 that the Defence has witnesses. You see, when you -- the way you
12 formulated it earlier, it gave the impression that those witnesses you're
13 referring to have already testified. Thank you.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Mr. Babic, the Defence has a witness who spoke about the fact that
16 the Croatian police, on the 17th of August, tried to confiscate weapons
17 from Obrovac and that the people assembled there prevented that while the
18 Croatian police confiscated weapons from the reserve forces in Benkovac.
19 You said that you didn't have any knowledge about that; is that correct?
20 A. I said that I did have some information about the events that took
21 place. I said that I wasn't sure whether it was exactly on the 17th or
22 around that time, but there was a decision by the Croatian government and
23 the MUP for the weapons of the police reserve forces, which happened to be
24 in the police stations, should be collected and placed in other locations.
25 So that was the reason why the Croatian MUP confiscated the weapons and
1 moved them to different locations, which I -- I don't know what they were.
2 So we are talking about the same event, but I don't know whether the event
3 actually took place on the 17th in Benkovac. However, I do know about
4 such events.
5 Q. In order to clarify the situation, on that day you mentioned a
6 specific date, the 17th of August, 1990, when you received a telex from
7 Obrovac and when Dusan Orlovic came and said that armoured vehicles were
8 entering Knin. So in that time frame and in that context you are talking
9 about the seizure of weapons from the police stations in that area by
10 Croatian special forces?
11 A. Yes, I'm talking about that time period, except the term used by
12 the Serbs was "seizure" and the term used by the Croatia was "confiscation
13 of weapons." So I hope now that that is clear.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I take the time during this little pause to say
15 can we increase those little pauses in between your speeches, because I
16 think we're going a little too fast.
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. You said that on at that day, on the 17th of August, on the eve of
19 the referendum, Dusan Orlovic, who worked with Martic, came to see you and
20 that he was very agitated and he said that Croatian APCs were entering
21 Knin. That is his sentence that you quoted. And due to his anxiety, you
22 believed that. You ordered a state of alert and then went to the village
23 of Strmica. Who did you go with, and who was it that you ordered to be on
24 -- in a state of alert?
25 A. Well, I told one of the officials to turn on the sirens in the
1 municipality, and I went with a driver to Strmica. One of the drivers. I
2 can't remember which one.
3 Q. You also explained that on that occasion the situation that you
4 described in Knin was such that a state of war was proclaimed, that this
5 happened at the height of the tourist season, and that this echoed
6 throughout Yugoslavia at the time. Is that right, Mr. Babic?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You explained that after a while you came to Golubic and you saw
9 Martic and Orlovic there and that they said to you that there were no
10 Croatian specialists there and that weapons were being handed out.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You also said that on that day, the 17th of August, helicopters
13 with Croatian specialists that were flying to Knin were stopped by the JNA
14 or, rather, the Yugoslav air force; is that right?
15 A. I read that information in the newspapers a few days after that.
16 On that day, I did not have that particular information. No one told me
17 about that.
18 Q. You explained that on that occasion after the state of war was
19 proclaimed weapons were being handed out to the reserve force. Is that
20 not an obligation of the police in a situation when a state of war or a
21 state of emergency is declared, that they call up the reserve force, hand
22 out weapons, and provide security for all vital installations?
23 A. Weapons were handed out before the news on the state of war had
24 arrived. Weapons had already been taken from the station before I arrived
25 in Strmica.
1 Q. How come you know that?
2 A. I was told. It was loaded onto trucks. It had already been
3 loaded that day.
4 Q. You mentioned that in Golubic a staff for roadblocks had been
5 established and that this was on the basis of a decision by the Main Board
6 of the SDS. Is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can you tell us whether you were present at the meeting where this
9 decision to establish a staff on roadblocks was established?
10 A. It was the day after the 17th. It was on the 18th. I came to the
11 meeting when the discussion about this started, but I went to another
12 meeting, to Knin, so I was not there until the end of the meeting, and
13 when I was there, when I learned about it, this staff had already been
14 established, when I had learned of its existence.
15 Q. Did that decision make Mr. Martic the head of this project for
16 barricades or, rather, the staff for barricades, roadblocks?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you tell us what the roadblocks consisted of and where they
19 were placed, in which directions, which routes, and what was their
21 A. The roadblocks were placed around villages and Serb settlements in
22 general, regardless of whether the village was on the outskirts of the
23 municipality of Knin or some other Serb municipality or right in the
24 middle of the municipality. So there were roadblocks everywhere on the
25 roads: Between villages and the town of Knin, between one village and
1 another village, between Serb villages and neighbouring Croat villages; So
2 in different places.
3 Q. You haven't answered my question: What did the roadblocks consist
4 of? What were they made of?
5 A. There were different ones. In some places they were real
6 barriers, made of logs. That is why it was called the log revolution.
7 And in other places these were piles of stones, and somewhere it wouldn't
8 be anything but a bench on the road or some other symbolic obstacle.
9 Q. Is it correct that the roadblocks were placed at all the roads
10 that led to Serb settlements and that they were supposed to prevent
11 uninvited persons from coming in or, rather, members of Croat special
13 A. Yes. As far as a particular position is concerned, they were also
14 supposed to prevent incursions by policemen and taking police stations.
15 That is why the police did this. Or to have the referendum held, which is
16 what people in villages did, as well as the SDS. So for the most part
17 they were placed in order to prevent forceful takeovers of the police and
18 the police station in Knin by the Croatian MUP. That was the police
19 reason. And the reason of the SDS was the fact that the referendum was
20 being organised.
21 Q. Can we say, quite briefly, that these -- when we say, quite
22 briefly, that these roadblocks were used for self-defence exclusively?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You explained that after the 17th of August, 1990, you came to
25 Golubic, and that is a settlement near Knin, and you concluded that that
1 was a military camp. That's what you called it, because there was an
2 armed man guarding it. Is that right, Mr. Babic?
3 A. That was a military camp not because there was one man there but
4 because there were quite a few people there with weapons. The entire camp
5 or part of the camp, as far as I could see, had a wire around it. It was
6 far away from the centre. Say near the lake there was a barrier where the
7 settlement was entered. So the entire settlement had become a military
8 camp, in a word.
9 Q. Did all of this happen at the time when the Croatian special
10 police was gathering weapons in the Krajina and in police stations, the
11 way you described it? Was that that period?
12 A. It's after that.
13 Q. You said that when Golubic became a camp that you suggested to
14 Mr. Raskovic, president of the SDS, to have that camp in Golubic disbanded
15 and that you think that it compromises the policy of the SDS, and that is
16 indeed the kind of decision that was passed, and the camp was disbanded.
17 Is that right, Mr. Babic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You also said that Mr. Martic honoured that decision because he
20 left the centre in Golubic. Or, rather, the way you described it was that
21 he went to another place but the staff in Golubic was disbanded. So that
22 decision was carried through. Is that right, Mr. Babic?
23 A. No. I said that for a while the staff remained there. They did
24 not want to honour the decision.
25 A. And that went on for a while until someone - I don't know whose
1 good idea this was - someone thought of calling these people and giving
2 them some alleged information to the effect that the camp would be bombed,
3 and that is why Martic and the other people moved from the settlement
4 first to the outskirts and then to a completely different village. Martic
5 did not honour the decision on disbanding the staff.
6 Q. In response -- in response to questions put by the Prosecutor, you
7 said that after the decision to disband the camp that Martic first moved
8 to a trailer.
9 A. Yes, after a while, but then I described what it was like. I
10 described the time frame. Yes, a trailer on the outskirts of Golubic and
11 then to the village of Oton, yes.
12 Q. In relation to these events that had to do with the referendum,
13 the 19th of August until the 2nd of September, 1990 - that's the time
14 frame - you mentioned a meeting on the 10th of September, 1990, and
15 negotiations with the parliament of Croatia and the MUP of Croatia in
16 order to see a calming down of the situation. Do you remember that,
17 Mr. Babic?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. Can you tell us whether the referendum from the 19th of August
20 until the 2nd of September was held at all and did the Serb people vote in
21 favour of sovereignty of their own people within Croatia with an
22 overwhelming majority?
23 A. The question was whether they were in favour of autonomy, and the
24 question was answered by a yes; yes, they were in favour of autonomy.
25 Q. You said that on the 10th of September, 1990, at the invitation of
1 Jerko Vukas, who is a member of the HDZ, by the way, president of the
2 municipality of Sinj, and you went to a meeting in order to resolve
3 municipal problems; is that right?
4 A. No. I said that we resolved those questions earlier, Jerko Vukas
5 and I, because we were presidents of neighbouring municipalities and
6 because barricades that were between our municipalities, that had been
7 placed by the Serbs, caused inter-municipal problems. So we resolved
8 these problems. And then there was another question, since we had already
9 been in contact, at Vukas's proposal and initiative, that I should meet
10 with the other representatives of the Serbs from the area, with the
11 representatives of the parliament and government. That was after the
12 resolving of inter-municipal problems.
13 Q. So at the initiative of Jerko Vukas, you agreed to go to attend a
14 meeting with the representatives of the Croatian government and
15 parliament, and you say that you saw Slavko Degoricija, president of one
16 of the Chambers in parliament, and also the minister of the interior,
17 Boljkovac. Is that right, Mr. Babic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Who else attended the meeting with you, that is to say on your
20 side, on the Serb side?
21 A. My proposal was or, rather, my request was the delegation -- that
22 everyone should be accepted as the representatives of the Serb Council.
23 Dusan Vjestica, Rastovic, and there were also officials from Donja Lapac
24 municipality. However, since the delegation from Zagreb did not want to
25 talk us to us in that capacity, then we agreed that we should be
1 representatives of Serb municipalities. So these people, in addition to
2 Vjestica, there was Rastovic who was president -- and then there was the
3 president of the Executive Council of Lapac and the secretary of the
4 municipality of Donja Lapac, Djukic, and I cannot remember the name of the
6 Q. You had a meeting scheduled about political talks. Did you have a
7 meeting of the Serb National Council? You were practically Prime
8 Minister. You were president of the Executive Council. Did you have a
9 meeting and did you say we are going to have meeting, I'm going to have a
10 meeting, I'm going to have political talks with the top echelons of the
11 Croatian government and the police? Yes or no.
12 A. Academician Raskovic and others were informed, and we did have a
13 meeting of the Serb National Council in Srb right after these talks in
14 Lapac. It's same municipality. And I informed Academician Raskovic, and
15 the other members of the Serb National Council about these talks and then
16 there was a discussion about the agreement that we had reached. There
17 were those who were opposed to this but Academician Raskovic supported the
18 agreement and we accepted the results of the agreement by a majority.
19 Q. Do you have any minutes from that meeting? Was this an official
20 meeting of the Serb National Council or were these your internal
21 discussions, discussions amongst yourselves?
22 A. I do not have any minutes. I think that minutes were kept, but --
23 I think that there were minutes, but I don't have them. The minutes did
24 exist, or, rather, I don't know where they are now. That would be an
25 accurate answer.
1 Q. The press release of the 10th of September on the talks with the
2 delegation of Croatia, who signed it and who wrote it, actually?
3 A. The press release? Well, the participants in the talks.
4 Q. What participants in the talks, Mr. Babic?
5 A. Degoricija, Boljkovac, Pecerski, I, Rastovic, Vjestica; there were
6 several signatories. Roughly, it was both an agreement and a press
8 Q. You as president of the Serb National Council are conducting
9 political talks with the delegation of Croatia, and together with the
10 delegation of Croatia you are giving a press release and the Croats are
11 not; is that correct?
12 A. I said the delegation from Zagreb did not accept us in the
13 capacity of representatives of the Serb National Council, and we
14 represented the Serb municipalities. I was the representative of the
15 municipality of Knin at that meeting, as agreed.
16 Q. And who was it that you agreed with to change your status from
17 president of the Serb National Council to president of the municipality
18 and to have talks in that capacity?
19 A. I did not change my status. I was president of the municipality
20 of Knin, and it was in that capacity that I was a member of the Serb
21 National Council, precisely because I was president of the Knin
22 municipality. As president of the municipality, I was elected to the Serb
23 National Council. If you're asking me why I accepted the proposal and the
24 request of the delegation from Zagreb to the effect that they want to talk
25 to me only in the capacity of a representative of the municipalities, all
1 of us as representatives of the municipalities, my answer can be because I
2 wanted us to succeed, but my capacity and the capacity of all other
3 negotiators was a valid and legitimate one by way of the elections. So in
4 response to your question who authorised me, I was authorised through the
5 elections when I was elected president of the municipality of Knin.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters could not hear
7 Mr. Milovancevic's question. He overlapped.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The weapons that were seized or,
9 rather, that were taken from the police stations and that were
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: For the record, please, Mr. Milovancevic, the
12 interpreter indicated that she hadn't heard your question because you
13 overlapped. What was the question? And the answer to that question which
14 is not recorded here is, "The weapons that were seized or, rather, that
15 were taken from the police stations and that were distributed." What was
16 the question to that answer?
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This
18 happened unwittingly.
19 Q. Mr. Babic, you said that in this status that you had, your
20 agreement with Mr. Boljkovac and Mr. Degoricija was to return the weapons
21 of the reserve force that the Serb police had distributed, but where? In
22 which places? Where was this distributed? And then that a secretariat
23 would be established by the Croatian government. Can you explain this to
25 A. The weapons were taken in Knin and Donja Lapac, and perhaps some
1 other municipalities. I wasn't sure at the time, but we were there at the
2 negotiations, the representatives of the municipalities of Knin and Lapac,
3 so we were in a position to talk about that.
4 Q. Did you agree with the Croatian government for it to return the
5 weapons it had taken from the Serbian police stations or the police
6 stations in the Serbian territories?
7 A. Well, I told you what it was all about. The police stations were
8 part of the Croatian Ministry of Internal Affairs. The weapons of the
9 reserve police forces were in the warehouses of the police stations. For
10 certain reasons known to them, the government of Croatia decided, and it
11 announced its reasons why, it wished for the weapons, the weapons of the
12 Ministry of Internal Affairs, to take the weapons from the police stations
13 and to place them at a different location. I can assume what their
14 reasons were. They had an uprising in Knin. They had a police station
15 that wanted to leave the system. This was in relation to Knin. I am not
16 specifically sure about the situation in other municipalities. It was
17 about taking weapons -- well, it wasn't about taking weapons from Serbian
18 territory. It was taking weapons from police stations which had refused
19 to be obedient to them any longer, and these were police stations in
20 Obrovac and Donja Lapac. I think that was the gist of your question.
21 Q. Yes. You've answered sufficiently, Mr. Babic.
22 A. Well, excuse me. I've just remembered you asked me whether the --
23 whether Croatia returned some of the weapons to the Serb municipalities
24 and so on. But in my previous answer, I explained how I understood the
25 whole conflict to be between the police stations in Knin and Lapac and the
1 Croatian police.
2 Q. Can we say that in these conditions of the absence of trust on the
3 part of the Serbian population towards the Croatian side and the changes
4 in the constitution and the fact that they declared the referendum illegal
5 and also at their attempts to disarm the police stations, in these
6 conditions you, as the president of the municipality, were trying to agree
7 to a restoration of the police stations under the authority of the
8 Croatian authorities? And this wasn't a decision of any official body,
9 this was something that you did on your own initiative.
10 A. One thing happened first, and that was that the Serbs were the
11 first to take up arms. That is a fact. The second fact is that not Serbs
12 but the police in Knin, Lapac, and other municipalities, Serb
13 municipalities. Secondly, these police stations were part of the Croatian
14 Ministry for Internal Affairs, and we were an integral part of the
15 Republic of Croatia and we were conducting legitimate political
16 discussions, debates, even disputes in order to seek a political solution
17 for Croatia's future. We participated in the political process as
18 legitimately elected representatives from municipalities, from the local
19 authorities, together with the people from the Croatian Assembly and the
20 Croatian authorities. So it was quite normal for us to seek a solution
21 for the crisis which was escalating and which was threatening to escalate
22 even more. This was something that was quite normal and natural.
23 Q. You said that there were different views when you discussed this
24 with Mr. Raskovic. Did he support you? You also explained that in Knin
25 that evening when you issued the statement some people disagreed with your
1 decision and they called you a traitor. Is that correct?
2 A. Jovo Raskovic supported me, as the majority at the meeting of the
3 Serbian National Council did. Jovo Raskovic at the time literally said
4 shedding of blood was not something that suited us or the Croatian
5 government. It was something that suited a third side, and it was implied
6 that this third side was in Belgrade, and he told me, he explained what it
7 was all about. And it was about the fact that somebody wanted unrest and
8 disorder in Croatia and wanted to provoke an intervention by the JNA and
9 to introduce military rule. That was the information about the possible
10 development of events in Croatia. Myself and Raskovic agreed about this
11 possible development of the situation, and that was our position.
12 Q. Mr. Babic, any normal person would be against such a development,
13 but you say that a third entity had an interest there and you say --
14 MR. WHITING: Objection, Your Honour. I'm going to object to that
15 question. It's just that "any normal person." I don't know what's
16 talking about, and I object to it. It's argumentative and improper.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Rather suggestive of abnormality on the person
18 addressed, Mr. Milovancevic. Any response?
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. Mr. Babic
20 said he and Jovo Raskovic were against bloodshed and I confirmed that as a
21 Defence counsel and said any normal man would be against bloodshed, and
22 then I proceeded with my question. I can leave out the beginning of the
23 sentence. If it's creating any kind of problem, I will just leave it out
24 so that we avoid any kind of confusion. I do not want to be seen to
25 address the witness in any -- in this manner, and I regret if it's taken
1 in that way.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: You phrase the question without the initial part.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You said that Mr. Raskovic said that this suited a third party,
5 and you also said that you believed that was someone in Belgrade. This is
6 what you believe; is that correct?
7 A. He explained what that would mean, and that's why I felt that that
8 third party would be in Belgrade. He explained that somebody wanted
9 bloodshed in order that the JNA would intervene and that military rule
10 would be introduced in Krajina.
11 Q. Mr. Babic, I asked you so that was your conclusion that this was
12 referring to Belgrade as an explanation for all of this.
13 A. Yes, that is correct. He told me exactly who would be carrying
14 out the intervention.
15 Q. Mr. Babic, have you heard of General Spegelj? You've already
16 talked about that a number of times. I think that you did. Did you hear
17 about his statement in October 1990, that each officer in Virovitica is
18 covered by five armed men and that the principle of action would be you
19 would approach them, fire into their belly, and nobody would be able to
20 reach the barracks alive. This will not be a war, Mr. Spegelj said, this
21 will be a civil war. There will be no mercy for women and children, the
22 apartments would simply be shelled. Are you aware of this statement by
23 Mr. Spegelj in October 1990?
24 A. First of all, Martin Spegelj was the minister of defence in the
25 government of the Republic of Croatia, and these words of his were played
1 with film footage broadcast by Television Belgrade sometime in January, in
2 late January 1991. I don't recall about the October time period.
3 Q. Later, we will come back to this speech by Mr. Spegelj from
4 October 1990 - I will show you a document - but now we're following the
5 time frame that we started with. You said that the reaction to
6 negotiations with the Croatian government was the opposition of certain
7 people in Knin through the National Resistance Council, which issued
8 bombastic statements, blew up the shops and apartments of Croats and
9 Albanians with the aim of causing an intervention by the JNA in order for
10 a state of emergency to be introduced and in order to remove the Croatian
11 government and introduce military rule. Is that what you said, Mr. Babic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You also explained that this was the policy of the president of
14 Serbia, Milosevic, and Mr. Jovic, as the president of the Presidency of
15 Yugoslavia; to occupy territories and to annex that area to the new
16 Serbian state. Is that correct, Mr. Babic?
17 A. To set up a de facto situation, as Mr. Milosevic termed it, and to
18 set up a territory where Serbs from Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina, and Serbia would all live.
20 Q. Mr. Babic, you said that this National Resistance Council emerged
21 after September 1990, after negotiations with Croatian government
22 representatives. And you also said that you saw Mr. Jovic, the president
23 of the Presidency of Yugoslavia on the 30th of August, 1990, and that he
24 told you that he was in favour of political negotiations for the respect
25 of the constitution of Croatia and Yugoslavia, and he even brought a
1 person who explained to you how you could carry out the referendum. Is
2 that correct, Mr. Babic?
3 A. First of all, as far as respect for the constitution of
4 Yugoslavia, both Jovic and Milosevic were in favour of a firm federation,
5 and they were in favour of the constitution, and they wanted to pass a law
6 through the Assembly of Yugoslavia on the self-determination of people.
7 What was your third remark?
8 Q. Could you please tell me what this right to the self-determination
9 of people meant, which was supposed to be proposed or brought before the
10 Assembly of Yugoslavia.
11 A. What they publicly stated was a little bit different from what was
12 de facto carried out in the field. Publicly it was planned to implement
13 self-determination. Borisav Jovic explained, maybe on the 10th of
14 September or around that time, he explained that on television. There
15 would be a vote by the peoples of Yugoslavia regardless of the republican
16 borders. So there was a possibility in that proposal, that was their
17 position as well as their political goal which they were implementing
18 later, that regardless of republican borders, a new state would be created
19 out of the Serbs who lived in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.
20 Q. You said that you saw Mr. Jovic on the 13th of August, 1990, and
21 that you met Mr. Milosevic for the first time in October 1990; is that
23 A. I said that I had indirect talks with Mr. Milosevic on the 10th of
24 August for the first time, and the first time that I met him face-to-face
25 was in October.
1 Q. So on what basis do you claim that the National Resistance Council
2 was blowing up apartments, issuing bombastic statements, and causing
3 unrest based on the instructions of Milosevic and Jovic and without you
4 having seen Milosevic until October 1990?
5 A. I said that I had information that unrest in Croatia and the
6 causing of bloodshed was something that suited those in Belgrade, the
7 third party, and that the JNA would carry out an intervention and set up
8 military rule in Croatia. After that information and after what
9 Mr. Martic and his people's police and armed people refused to return
10 their weapons but escalated the conflict, then after Borislav Mikelic in
11 Banija carried out similar things and caused an uprising and stepped up or
12 escalated the situation, all I said was that this was the reason for these
13 acts, so that the JNA would intervene and that military rule would be
14 introduced in Croatia. That was the initial phase. It was a combination
15 of Milosevic, Kadijevic. Up until March 1991 there were these attempts to
16 introduce military rule in Croatia in different ways. That was just the
18 Q. Other than Mr. Raskovic, for whom you said he gave you such
19 information about the intentions of Belgrade, did anyone else provide such
20 information to you about the intentions of Belgrade? Who else other than
21 him told you about these intentions?
22 A. I've already said that I heard that in January. That was the next
23 information that I received from Mile Grbic, from Bosanski Novi, who told
24 me that the military was preparing something in Zagreb, some sort of coup
25 d'etat, and that it would be a good idea to ask about this in Belgrade.
1 After that, the people in Belgrade also told me, a man -- I think
2 his name is Kalicanin, he was an officer in the information service of the
3 JNA, that was approximately the name of his service. So this Kalicanin
4 said that the JNA, the army, was preparing a coup d'etat in Croatia, that
5 everyone would be replaced, including the government in Zagreb, even the
6 presidents of the municipalities.
7 After this information, Milosevic called me to his office and he
8 told me that they -- or the JNA will be arresting Croatian ministers, that
9 I was in danger, that I should not return to Knin but that I should live
10 in Belgrade and that he would offer me protection. And he gave me public
11 security service and state security service protection, and I stayed under
12 his protection for 10 or 15 days, knowing or believing him that I was in
13 danger because the army was about to arrest Croatian ministers and carry
14 out a coup d'etat in Croatia.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Court adjourned. We will come back at
17 --- Recess taken at 3.33 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Babic, we mentioned the Council for People's Resistance. Do
22 you know its full name? Is its full name the Council of People's
23 Resistance Against the Oppression of the Serbian People?
24 A. Yes, I think I did mention the full name once.
25 Q. You said that the composition of the council was never publicly
1 announced, but you heard that some people were there, members of it Jovo
2 Vitas, Neso Maric, and that Milan Martic was in it as well. How do you
3 know? Were you a member of the council?
4 A. No, I wasn't.
5 Q. How do you know who was a member if you weren't among them?
6 A. First of all, I saw those people. Secondly, I was told that they
7 were issuing or taking announcements or statements on behalf of the
8 council to Radio Knin. I would see them in front of the police station,
9 and these were people who were around Milan Martic, who communicated with
10 him. This was the group of people around him. They publicly declared
11 themselves to be the Council of National Resistance. They never stated
12 what the structure was within the body. I don't know whether it was just
13 a public name or what -- if it was just another term for the people's
14 police, as Martic described it.
15 Q. Did you ever write the announcements of the council that were read
16 out on the radio?
17 A. No.
18 Q. You said that you used to see Jovo Vitas carrying the statements
19 or the press releases, but that is also a person whom you claim threatened
20 to kill you; is that correct?
21 A. He would take the announcements of the council to Radio Knin, yes,
22 and he did make threats against me, yes.
23 Q. How can you know that he took these statements when you were on
24 bad terms with those people? How did you know what he was carrying?
25 A. I was told. Dusan Orlovic and Nebojsa Mandinic also took those
1 announcements by the People's Resistance Council to Radio Knin.
2 Q. Did you ever go and visit the Knin police station or any other
3 police station?
4 A. I did go to visit the Knin police station on a couple of occasions
5 in my life; first when I was getting my personal ID card, and then later
6 at this meeting in July that I talked about. I was there in April 1991, I
7 think, when the press conferences began at the Secretariat for Internal
8 Affairs, just to see what was going on there.
9 Q. Do you know the kind of weapons that a regular police station
10 would have?
11 A. From what I heard, I think Jovo Mitrovic was in charge of weapons
12 there. He was some sort of person in charge of the storeroom. I had
13 information about that. They had pistols, and they also had
14 long-barrelled weapons. They had regular service pistols and
15 long-barrelled weapons for emergency situations. That's what I know.
16 Q. Do you know that none of the police stations, by establishment or
17 by legal regulations, has dynamite on its premises?
18 A. I don't know what one -- a police station would have. What I said
19 was that I saw Vitas bringing things out of the police station, and it was
20 said that this was dynamite. I don't know whether this was something that
21 a police station is supposed to have under the regulations or whether this
22 was some sort of extraordinary situation. I don't know.
23 Q. Where were you watching from, and what did you see Jovo Vitas
24 carrying that you took to be dynamite?
25 A. He was taking out some packages and placing them in his car, and I
1 said, What is this? and somebody said, Jovo Vitas is carrying dynamite.
2 Some of the people who were there told me that.
3 Q. Mr. Babic, you told us that the intentions of the president of the
4 Presidency of Yugoslavia, Borisav Jovic, and the president of Serbia,
5 Milosevic, were to secretly cleanse some areas of Croatia and annex them
6 to the territory of Yugoslavia, contrary to what was stated at certain
7 meetings. And you also explained that you heard this from the late Jovan
8 Raskovic, Professor Academician Jovan Raskovic. Or based -- actually, you
9 came to that conclusion based on what he told you.
10 A. Well, you brought out a number of assertions now.
11 Q. Well, let me put the question to you. I'm sorry to interrupt. Is
12 it correct that from conversations with a person you reached the
13 conclusion about what the intentions of the Yugoslav political leadership
14 were, and you concluded from a cafe owner in someplace in Banija that the
15 Yugoslav political leadership was planning a coup d'etat and to replace
16 the Croatian leadership? You heard that from a cafe owner. And you also
17 heard from somebody that allegedly dynamite was being carried out from a
18 Knin police station. You also said that you heard a number of other
19 things from some other people. Do you know anything based on your own
20 personal knowledge?
21 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, excuse me. This has now become about
22 an eight-part question, and I would object on that basis. It's completely
23 confusing. It's stitching together all sorts of different pieces. I
24 think it's also mischaracterising the evidence that the witness has given,
25 which has been a recurrent problem today.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I'll rephrase the question,
3 Your Honour. I'm going to put a very specific question, by your leave.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: You have the leave if only you will put one
5 question at a time.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Babic, your information about this, about the Yugoslav top
8 leaders planning a military coup in Croatia and arrests in Croatia, did it
9 come from a tavern owner in some small place in Croatia?
10 A. No.
11 Q. On the basis of this information, and you did say that you heard
12 from a tavern owner that arrests were being prepared in Croatia, was it on
13 the basis of that that you went to Belgrade in January 1991?
14 A. I'm telling you no, and I keep saying no and -- could you please
15 put the question again.
16 Q. Who is Mile Grbic? Can you tell us that?
17 A. I mentioned him in a series of events and contacts in terms of how
18 I got information from President Milosevic about what was being prepared
19 in Croatia. If you wish to hear more from me now in terms of what I know
20 about Mile Grbic, then I can tell you, in addition to what I've already
21 said, and that is that he is a man who had some contacts with General
22 Andrija Raseta, one of the commanders of the Zagreb army district, and
23 that he said to me that the army was preparing something in Belgrade and
24 that it would be a good thing for me to ask around Belgrade to see what
25 this was all about. So in connection with that statement of mine, you
1 asked me now who Mile Grbic was. He's a man from Bosanski Novi where
2 indeed he did have a tavern, and he had good connections with the army in
3 the Zagreb army district and with Jovica Stanisic.
4 Q. We have heard just now that you found out from a tavern owner that
5 there would be a coup d'etat. Was that materialised as well as the arrest
6 of the leadership of Croatia?
7 A. It's not that I heard about a coup d'etat that would take place
8 from a tavern owner, but I heard that he had information that the army in
9 Croatia was getting ready for something and that it would be a good thing
10 for me to get information what was in the making and what was being
11 prepared in Belgrade. So my information in terms of what was being
12 prepared for Croatia were from Belgrade. I told you. I mentioned two
13 names to you. One of the two names is Slobodan Milosevic.
14 Q. Mr. Babic, you say that in January you went to Belgrade, January
15 1991, after you talked to Mile Grbic. Isn't that right?
16 A. My trip to Belgrade after talking to Mile Grbic was not fully part
17 of the sequence of events that I was talking about. It was one of the
18 meetings. Mile Grbic sent me to ask around, to ask an officer from the
19 military counter-intelligence service.
20 Since you're asking me about Mile Grbic, he sent me to a
21 particular man - I've forgotten the name of the officer in the meantime -
22 to ask him what was going on in the military in Zagreb. Since this man
23 did not give me an answer, he kept asking me about what was going on in
24 the SDS, so this -- it's not that I got any information on the basis of
25 these instructions from Mile Grbic. I got information based on other
1 instructions from Boro Rasula, a friend of mine, a political scientist,
2 later an advisor, a man who held high office in Belgrade and with good
3 connections in Belgrade. He linked me up with Mr. Kalicanin, who was an
4 officer from the information service of the JNA, who explained to me what
5 it was that the army was preparing, and that was my next information,
6 irrespective of this Grbic.
7 And independently from this other information was the information
8 about Milosevic, that they would arrest Croatian ministers. So they are
9 going to remove the government or remove ministers, the way I understood
10 the question.
11 Q. So what did Mr. Milosevic say to you? Who is going to arrest
12 Croatian ministers, he or somebody else?
13 A. The JNA.
14 Q. Have you heard of an order of the Presidency of Yugoslavia from
15 January 1991 that all weapons taken from the reserve force should be
16 brought back and that the police should be brought into its regular
18 A. This order had to do with paramilitaries in general and all
19 illegal weapons.
20 Q. Did the Serbs from Krajina -- the Serbs from Knin specifically,
21 that's what you could know about, did they return their weapons?
22 A. Well, they did partly. I don't know exactly what the quantity
23 involved was.
24 Q. In that period, did the Croatian government increase its police
25 force several times, their "redarstvenici" as they called them?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did the Croatian government act in accordance with the order of
3 the Presidency of Yugoslavia that all these extra policemen be disarmed
4 and that they return their weapons?
5 A. I haven't got any precise information. The promise given was that
6 Croatia would honour its commitment, and now the extent to which they did
7 is something that I'm not aware of.
8 Q. Do you know about the statement made by the Croatian government
9 that they would not disarm their police on the orders of the Yugoslav
11 A. I don't know exactly what the response of the Croatian government
12 was, as I've already said. I think that some kind of agreement was
13 reached between Mesic and Borisav Jovic. I think that they talked along
14 those lines, that something would happen. As I said, I don't know
15 exactly. I don't know exactly.
16 Q. You mentioned the conflict in Pakrac on the 1st and 2nd of March,
17 1991, in which the special police of Croatia intervened and when fire was
18 first opened at the army. Do you know that on the occasion of that
19 incident the Federal Secretariat of National Defence proposed to the
20 Presidency of Yugoslavia that a state of emergency be imposed?
21 A. Whether that was a pretext or not, I don't know, but a proposal to
22 impose a state of emergency was sometime around mid-March. There was a
23 discussion about that. Now, whether Pakrac was the reason for this or the
24 pretext for this or something else, I don't know, but in my assessment it
25 was a plan that had been prepared --
1 Q. I beg your pardon. I did not ask you about your assessments. I
2 just asked you about what you heard and what you did not hear.
3 A. Well, no. It wasn't about Pakrac. I don't have information that
4 this was due to Pakrac.
5 Q. Thank you. On that occasion did the Presidency of Yugoslavia
6 indeed impose a state of emergency?
7 A. What occasion?
8 Q. In connection with the proposal made by the Federal Secretariat
9 for National Defence in mid-March 1991? Did the Presidency of Yugoslavia
10 introduce a state of emergency?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Mr. Babic, the Croatian government refused to carry out a decision
13 of the Presidency of Yugoslavia to return the weapons of the reserve force
14 of the police. The Presidency of Yugoslavia refused the proposal of the
15 Federal Secretariat for National Defence to introduce a state of emergency
16 or martial law, and the story that you heard from this tavern owner about
17 the disbanding of these forces and the return of weapons, that didn't
18 really happen, Mr. Babic, right?
19 A. I did not hear this story about the Croatian government from a
20 tavern owner.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting.
22 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, again and again today I have -- I'm
23 keeping a running list here, and I'm up to seven or eight. Defence
24 counsel has mischaracterised what the witness has said either today or in
25 his prior testimony. He will say, well, you testified this, and it's not
1 quite exactly right. I can go through all the instances that have
2 occurred today, but I don't think the Court needs to hear that. But it's
3 just occurred again. The witness did not say anything about the Croatian
4 government refused to carry out a decision of the Presidency of Yugoslavia
5 to return the weapons of the reserve forces of the police, and this tavern
6 owner issue has been repeatedly addressed by the witness, and he has
7 explained again and again what happened, and again Mr. Milovancevic is
8 mischaracterising what the witness is saying.
9 I would ask that if -- if the Defence counsel insists on
10 characterising what the witness has said either today or in prior -- in
11 his prior testimony, that he provide us, as is often done, with a
12 reference, because I've been furiously looking through here, the prior
13 transcripts, trying to match it up, and it doesn't match it up, and it
14 would make it easier to follow if there was a reference. If he's not able
15 to do that, I would ask that he simply put questions to the witness in
16 whatever form he wants that's proper but not that he try to characterise
17 what the witness has said beforehand because he continually makes mistakes
18 in this regard.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, any response to that?
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, of course the
21 Defence is not going to put questions that suit the Prosecutor. It's
22 precisely questions that do not suit the Prosecutor that the Defence is
23 going to put. What I'm trying to check is whether this witness is telling
24 the truth when he is under oath, whether he's telling the Court the truth,
25 and now we have reached a situation where I am trying to get an
1 explanation from the witness. I'm not trying to put words into his mouth.
2 I'm not trying say that he said something he did not say. I'm just
3 pointing out things that are illogical that make his testimony totally
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, you say that you are not putting
6 words into the mouth of the witness. The objection is precisely that,
7 that you keep characterising his evidence and mischaracterising it, for
8 that matter. You are perfectly entitled to put questions. You are not
9 entitled to mischaracterise or embellish the evidence of the witness.
10 A very recent example is the last time the witness answered you.
11 He said very emphatically, "I have not said to you that I heard about this
12 information from the owner of the tavern," which is proof, if you are
13 listening to what I'm saying.
14 Mr. Milovancevic, it would be appreciated if you -- I'm talking.
15 It would be appreciated if, when I'm talking, you want to listen to your
16 co-counsel, you ask that I stop.
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you. Now, indeed that objection is
19 upheld, and I'm asking you once again don't misquote the witness. Put
20 your questions to him. If you have to quote the witness or you have to
21 refer to what the witness said, give us a reference. You may proceed.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Babic, you said that you went in January 1991, that you went
24 to Belgrade and that then you were provided with security because you were
25 told that you were in danger. Who was it that endangered you and what
1 kind of security detail did you get?
2 A. I was called to Milosevic's office, and Milosevic said to me that
3 Croatian ministers would be arrested, that the JNA would arrest Croatian
4 ministers, and that I was in danger in Knin. I was endangered by the
5 Croatian government because they were expecting resistance and that that
6 is why I have to stay in Belgrade under his protection.
7 He sent me to the Ministry of the Interior or, as it was then
8 called, the secretariat. He sent me to see Radmilo Bogdanovic so that he
9 would provide this protection for me. Before that, he asked me where I
10 lived or, rather, he offered me to stay at the residence of the government
11 of Serbia in the so-called Boticeva villa. Since I said to him that I'm
12 staying with relatives, then he said that I should tell Radmilo Bogdanovic
13 that and that I should stay in Belgrade under the protection of the
14 Ministry of the Interior of Serbia until he told me that I could leave
16 After that meeting I had with him, I went to Bogdanovic's office.
17 He asked where I was staying, and he provided protection from the public
18 security, that is to say the police, the Belgrade police. He also sent me
19 - Bogdanovic did - to Jovica Stanisic, one of the state security
20 officials of Serbia. And Jovica Stanisic provided me with security or,
21 rather, an escort from the state security. These were civilian -- these
22 were people in civilian clothing who would follow me in a car wherever I
23 went anywhere around Belgrade. So they followed me all the time; when I
24 was staying at home and when I was moving about town.
25 Q. Did that mean, Mr. Babic, that that police that protected you
1 protected you from danger that was coming to you from the Croatian side?
2 A. That's what Milosevic explained to me.
3 Q. You explained that after about 20 days you received information
4 that people were saying in Knin that you left the -- that you left Knin
5 for the third time, that the population was on their own, and that it
6 would be time for you to return.
7 A. I did not say -- well, yes. I said that people were talking
8 around town in Knin that I had fled.
9 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I'm just wondering if we could have the
10 reference from counsel. He said, "You explained ..." If he could give us
11 a reference where that is in the testimony. I'm not disputing that that's
12 what he said in this instance. I don't -- it's just easier to follow if
13 we could have the reference.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. Martic -- or,
16 rather, Mr. Babic explained that when he received information from
17 Mr. Martic, he first left Knin on the 10th of August, 1990, then the
18 second time on the 18th of August, 1990, and then in January 1991, every
19 time fleeing from the Croatian authorities because he was in danger. I
20 just put all of this together, all this information that Mr. Babic
21 presented here when replying to the Prosecutor's question.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's not true that I said that.
23 It's not true that I said that I was fleeing from --
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I please talk. Sorry, Mr. Babic. I'm sorry.
25 Counsel is still talking to me.
1 Mr. Milovancevic, the request to you is very simple. It is not
2 disputed that the witness may have said what you say he said. You are
3 just being asked to give a reference. Please give a reference.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please, Your
5 Honours. Just a moment.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: You might perhaps want to check on the transcript
7 of the 17th of February, 2006, at T1522 to 23. Did you hear that,
8 Mr. Milovancevic?
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I have heard
10 you. Just one moment, please.
11 Your Honour, 1522, line 22, it says: "At one moment I decided to
12 go back to Knin because there were rumours to the effect that I had fled."
13 As for that part of the text, I interpreted it to the witness. I was
14 speaking freely, without putting anything to the witness that he had not
16 MR. WHITING: Well, Your Honour, this is precisely the problem,
17 that the counsel is so-called interpreting what the witness has said. And
18 in that last little speech that the witness tried to respond to where he
19 said the witness -- Mr. Babic explained that when he received -- that each
20 time when he left Knin - it's about to disappear from my screen - on the
21 10th of August, 1990, 18th of August, he was fleeing the Croatian
22 authorities because he was in danger. That on no interpretation is what
23 the witness has said, and -- and it is for this reason that I would ask
24 from now on if the -- if counsel is going to try to interpret or try to
25 quote what the witness is saying or has testified to, that he in the
1 question provide a reference so that it can be checked. Otherwise, that
2 he find a different way to put the questions to the witness.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we just check this. Mr. Babic, is it correct
4 that you left Knin three times for Belgrade and each time you were accused
5 of fleeing?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Now you may proceed and ask questions,
8 Mr. Milovancevic. We've asked the question without referring to the
9 evidence of the witness.
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Babic, you've said that in January or late January, about 20
12 days of staying in Belgrade, you came back to Knin because of rumours that
13 you had left Knin. Is this correct?
14 A. I returned because Radmilo Bogdanovic told me to return to my
15 people. Along with that I also mentioned that there were rumours in Knin
16 that I had fled. I wasn't there for a long time. I returned because
17 Radmilo Bogdanovic permitted me to return or, rather, Milosevic, because I
18 assume that Radmilo Bogdanovic had Milosevic's permission, because
19 Milosevic told me I mustn't leave Belgrade, that I shouldn't leave
20 Belgrade until he allowed me to do so. I said that I was constantly
21 surrounded by Serbian police.
22 Q. And did you return to Knin after that, Mr. Babic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. We talked about the events of the 17th of August, 1990. Do you
25 know anything about the 21st of August, 1990, when the Croatian forces
1 approached Knin from two sides? Do you know anything about that?
2 A. Yes. I'm not quite sure about the date, but it's approximately
3 around that time, yes.
4 Q. Can you tell us what you know, please.
5 A. The Croatian police, from the direction of Sibenik and from the
6 direction of Split, a few days after the 17th of August, set out towards
7 Knin. They were stopped at the barricades at Klanac between Drnis and
8 Knin, and at the barricades at Civljani between Knin and Sinj. These are
9 the incidents that I know about, and I think from your question these are
10 probably the incidents that you mean.
11 Q. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Babic. After the referendum on the autonomy
12 of the Serbian people, which was held on the 19th of September, 1990,
13 until the 2nd of September, 1990, the SAO Krajina was declared. Could you
14 please tell us what this decision was linked with. Was it linked with any
15 kind of Croatian decision?
16 A. The first declaration of the SAO Krajina, almost a month after the
17 referendum -- the referendum results were proclaimed on the 30th of
18 September and that's when autonomy was proclaimed. Nothing was done to
19 institutionalise this decision until the new change of the Croatian
20 constitution. In the autumn, in October, November and December, there was
21 a public discussion about the adoption of a new constitution for the
22 Republic of Croatia. One of the proposals for new constitutional norms
23 was to form an autonomous district according to the Croatian model. The
24 new constitution, the new draft constitution of Croatia, provided for the
25 creation of a -- of regions, so-called "zupanjas." And as part of that
1 discussion I suggested that one zupanja, one district, be called Serbian
2 Autonomous Region, or Zupanja Krajina.
3 Since Vladimir Seks, the president of the Assembly commission
4 already rejected this proposal with derision, the proposal was made in the
5 form of a draft for the statute of the Krajina. So it was quite specific.
6 And since the proposal was rejected already during the debate, the Serbian
7 National Council made a draft proposal of the statute to the Association
8 of Municipalities of Northern Dalmatia and Lika so that that association
9 of municipalities, which to date existed as a region, would be constituted
10 in a new way as the Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, which was
11 actually something that was implemented on the 21st of December. This was
12 two or three days before the adoption of the new Croatian constitution.
13 And this was done for a sort of legalistic reason, in order to maintain
14 this association of municipalities before the change of the Croat
15 constitution went into effect.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Could we say that the creation of the SAO
17 Krajina as an autonomous region within Croatia was the response of the
18 Serbian people to the changes in the Croatian constitution?
19 A. Not just a response. It was something that was the preservation
20 of -- it was an achievement, and the achievement was the association of
21 municipalities as a self-governing regional body. So it was a form of a
22 response to that.
23 Q. Were Serbs ejected from the constitution of December 1990? Was
24 regionalisation banned, and was the Serbian language banned, and were new
25 symbols introduced?
1 A. Well, we cannot speak about them being ejected from the new
2 constitution. We could say that they were ejected from the old
3 constitution, because in the old one there was the possibility of
4 regionalisation. In the old constitution this was something that was
5 provided for.
6 Q. According to the statute of the SAO Krajina from December 1990,
7 the SAO Krajina had an Executive Council. Is that correct, Mr. Babic?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Were you the president of the Executive Council, Mr. Babic?
10 A. It was called the Provisional Executive Council, and I was the
11 president of that Provisional Executive Council of the SAO Krajina dating
12 from December 1990 until the end of April 1991.
13 Q. This Provisional Executive Council of SAO Krajina, on the 4th of
14 January, 1991, did it make a decision, adopt a decision on the formation
15 of the Secretariat for Internal Affairs of SAO Krajina?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. On the same date when the decision was adopted to create the
18 secretariat of SAO Krajina, was Milan Martic appointed the secretary of
19 the SUP Krajina?
20 A. Yes. He was elected to the post.
21 Q. We saw that decision as evidence under Rule 65 ter. It's Exhibit
22 46. It's -- these are the minutes of the 4th of January of the session of
23 the Executive Council, which noted that the decision was adopted
24 unanimously and that the proposal that Martic be appointed as secretary of
25 the SUP was also adopted unanimously. Is that correct, Mr. Babic?
1 A. The decision was adopted unanimously, and the proposal was made by
2 Rastovic, as far as I can recall.
3 Q. You explained that as the president of the Provisional Executive
4 Council, you voted for this decision because the majority was in favour
5 and because it was profitable for you. That is what you said. Is that
6 correct, Mr. Babic?
7 A. I said it wasn't wise or profitable for me to oppose the decision
8 because I did not have a counter-proposal, and the candidate was very well
9 -- a very well-known public figure. So my opposition, without a better
10 candidate at that point in time, would not suit me politically. That is
11 what I wish to say.
12 Q. Exhibit 183 of the Prosecution showed the Chamber the telex
13 message that the Executive Board of the SAO Krajina sent on the 5th of
14 January, 1991, to the federal bodies, the republican bodies, about the
15 establishment of the Secretariat for Internal Affairs of the SAO Krajina.
16 Are you familiar with such a decision?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is it true or is it correct that this message was sent to the
19 Presidency of Yugoslavia, to the federal SUP, to the Ministries of the
20 Internal Affairs of Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well
21 as to the political administrations or, actually, to certain police
22 administrations in Croatia? Do you recall that, Mr. Babic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you recall that you explained that on the 19th of January,
25 1991, after the SUP was established, a regulation was adopted about the
1 internal organisation and the operation of the SAO Krajina SUP? This was
2 done by the Executive Council.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. That was Exhibit 646 under the 65 ter list, and it was introduced
5 into evidence as Exhibit 184. You explained that this organisation was in
6 force until the 1st of August, 1991, when the decision was adopted to
7 implement the Law on Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Under Exhibit 185, a document was introduced from the 65 ter
11 exhibit list under number 1849. That was the Law on Internal Affairs from
12 July 1991, in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, and the
13 decision on its implementations on the territory of Krajina. We talked
14 about that a little bit earlier. This is not in dispute; is that correct,
15 Mr. Babic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You explained that on the 1st of August, 1991, a decision was
18 adopted on the implementation of a whole series of Serbian regulations on
19 the territory of the SAO Krajina. Is that correct, Mr. Babic?
20 A. Not a whole series, but that day what was adopted was the decision
21 to implement the Law on Defence and the decision to abolish the state
22 security service in the territory of the SAO Krajina.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. You explained that on the 29th of August --
24 of May, 1991, in Krajina, Mr. Martic was elected as Defence Minister.
25 This is 65 ter Exhibit number 79. Do you remember that?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. You explained that on the 29th of May, 1991, the government of the
3 SAO Krajina was formed, that you became the president or the Prime
4 Minister of that government, and that the -- instead of the Secretariat,
5 the Ministry of Internal Affairs was introduced, as well as other
6 ministries. Is this correct, Mr. Babic?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You explained that Mr. Martic carried out the offices of the
9 Defence Minister for only two or three days. That is how long he remained
10 at that post, and formally until the 27th of June, 1991. Is that correct,
11 Mr. Babic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. The reason why you proposed Mr. Martic as minister of defence was
14 that you wanted to weaken his power, because he was controlling the MUP,
15 the special forces, and he was neglecting public law and order. Is that
16 correct, Mr. Babic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You also explained that Mr. Martic was appointed minister of
19 defence on the 29th of May, 1991, by the Assembly at the proposal of the
20 government. Is this correct?
21 A. It was at my proposal, at my initiative. The government was just
22 being constituted at the time.
23 Q. You explained that the SAO Krajina Assembly on the 27th of June,
24 1991 - this is 65 ter Exhibit number 34 - adopted a decision on the
25 election of Milan Martic as minister of MUP and that Martic remained at
1 that post until early 1994. Is this correct?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. You also explained that from the 27th of June, 1991, you were
4 carrying out the duties of defence minister instead of Martic. Is this
5 correct, Mr. Babic?
6 A. Not instead of Martic, but since that ministry post was not
7 filled, I, as president of the government, was performing the duties of
8 defence minister until the election of a new minister.
9 Q. Can you explain to us why the decision was adopted to apply the
10 Law of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia on the territory of
11 Krajina? What was the practical reason for this?
12 A. Mr. Martic was the one who proposed the adoption of such a law.
13 Q. Do you know, Mr. Babic, that the government of the Republic of
14 Croatia, on the 21st of February, 1991, adopted a decision on the
15 cessation of the laws of the Republic of Yugoslavia on the territory of
16 the Republic of Croatia?
17 A. The decision to leave Yugoslavia was adopted, but I don't know
18 whether it was at that point all the laws of Yugoslavia ceased to be in
19 effect, because Croatia adopted its declaration of independence in June
20 1991. So between that -- those two dates there was a sort of situation in
21 force in accordance with that declaration.
22 Q. Do you know that the SAO Krajina, in late February 1991, adopted a
23 decision to leave Croatia because Croatia had adopted a decision to leave
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just a second. Can I hear the question again?
2 You're saying: "Do you know that the SAO Krajina, in late February 1991,
3 adopted a decision to leave Croatia because Croatia had adopted a decision
4 to leave Yugoslavia." Is that what you said? To leave Croatia or to
5 leave Yugoslavia?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. It was a
7 decision -- I asked the witness if he knew about the decision of the SAO
8 Krajina to leave Croatia, because in late February Croatia adopted a
9 decision to leave Yugoslavia. And it also adopted a decision whereby the
10 laws of Yugoslavia would cease to be in effect in the territory of
11 Croatia. This is what I meant.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Babic, did you explain that in December 1991, in Krajina, you
14 adopted your own law on the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and that you did
15 that upon the recommendation of President Milosevic, the President of
16 Serbia, so that the open links with Serbia would not be so evident?
17 A. I think I said two things. I think these were two separate
18 questions. In December, yes, the law was adopted on -- the Law on
19 Internal Affairs of SAO Krajina was adopted, while -- if I remember
20 correctly, I think that was maybe a question relating to Milosevic's
21 suggestion to adopt laws in SAO Krajina by copying the laws of the
22 Republic of Serbia instead of directly implementing the laws of Serbia so
23 this direct link would not be so evident.
24 And this question and answer relating to the Ministry for Internal
25 Affairs is one thing, but this suggestion from Milosevic dated from an
1 earlier time, from early summer when we began to implement Serbian laws in
2 the territory of Krajina. And this also included the Law on the Ministry
3 of Internal Affairs. But there were other laws as well. So this
4 recommendation of his was one of a general nature.
5 Q. Can you tell us exactly what the wording of his recommendation was
6 so that we can distinguish between what your understanding is and what he
7 actually said. Do you understand me?
8 A. He said that we should not promulgate the laws of Serbia but that
9 we should simply copy them and then carry them out. It boils down to the
10 same thing, but you don't see the direct link with Serbia that way.
11 Q. At that time, had Croatia already reached its own decision on
12 federal regulations becoming null and void in its territory?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In relation to this recommendation of Mr. Milosevic that you
15 referred to, you said that the public strategy was to preserve a strong
16 federation - that is what was advocated publicly - and that the secret
17 strategy was the establishment of paramilitaries in Croatia, the provoking
18 of incidents and provoking an intervention by the JNA so that these new
19 territories could be annexed easily. Is that the way you meant it? I
20 think I've roughly managed to summarise your words.
21 A. Well, that would be a summary of the political objective that
22 Milosevic advocated from the summer of 1990 until the end of 1991.
23 Q. Were you a witness in the trial of the accused Mr. Milosevic, and
24 did he deny that claim, and did he put questions to you to that effect?
25 A. I was a witness. The testimony went on for a long time. What's
1 your specific question that I'm supposed to answer?
2 Q. That will do, Mr. Babic. You said that somehow parallel to
3 Martic's appointment as minister of national defence you passed a law on
4 abolishing the state security service in the territory of the Krajina. Do
5 you remember that, Mr. Babic?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. Did you mention the decision dated the 1st of August, 1991? That
8 is Prosecution Exhibit 187, document 106 from the 65 ter list of
9 documents. So it was published in the Official Gazette, and in paragraph
10 2 it says that the government should present a proposal to establish a
11 governmental agency for national security. Is that right, Mr. Babic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. According to the arrangements at that time, did the Secretariat of
14 the Interior have two services, the public security service and the state
15 security service? So it was under the Ministry of the Interior until
16 then. Is that right, Mr. Babic?
17 A. If you're talking about the Ministry of the Interior of the SAO
18 Krajina, then the answer is yes.
19 Q. Am I right when I say that, according to this decision of yours to
20 abolish state security, and the decision is dated the 1st of August, 1991,
21 the objective was to adopt a European solution, to have a government
22 agency for national security independent of the Ministry of the Interior?
23 A. The objective was to take power away from the state security
24 service, and it consisted of the state security service of Serbia and the
25 state security service of the SAO Krajina, and that is why the decision
1 says that the state security service is abolished in the territory of the
2 SAO Krajina. That's the wording, not abolishing the state security in the
3 Secretariat or, rather, the Ministry of the Interior of the SAO Krajina.
4 So the objective was to free the Ministry of the Interior of the DB of
5 Serbia, the state security of Serbia, and the state security of Krajina in
6 a way to have Martic placed under the control of the government.
7 Q. If I am right -- am I right if I say, Mr. Babic, that you passed
8 this decision with that objective in mind on the 1st of August, 1991?
9 That was when the decision was reached; is that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you state that after the events in Plitvice in April 1991 you
12 sought technical and other professional assistance from the Ministry of
13 the Interior of Serbia?
14 A. Yes. I sent a letter. Well, to remind Milosevic of his promise
15 given in March, that is to say to carry through the previously made
17 Q. What was the essence of this request from April? What kind of
18 assistance did you need? What kind of assistance and what for?
19 A. I already said what Milosevic had promised. Two things.
20 Q. Mr. Babic, sorry. I didn't ask you that. I asked you something
22 A. I'm answering your question.
23 Q. What was your objective? Tell us that first, and then you can
24 tell us what it was that Milosevic said to you.
25 A. I said that in April I sent a letter in order to remind Milosevic
1 of the promise made, to have this promise carried out. I wanted to say
2 what the promise was, I wanted to say what the message from this letter
4 Q. Please go ahead.
5 A. The point of what Milosevic promised was that he would give
6 professional assistance to organise the Secretariat of the Interior of the
7 SAO Krajina, and he said that he would arm the Krajina or, rather, that
8 the arming of Krajina had already started.
9 Q. Can you tell us when it was that you were in Belgrade as a
10 representative of the Knin authorities after January 1991? When in March
11 and April 1991?
12 A. I went several times.
13 Q. On these occasions did you ask the Republic of Serbia for
14 protection from what the Croatian authorities were doing?
15 A. Well, in March a question was put to Milosevic how he intends to
16 protect us under these new circumstances when the Presidency did not pass
17 a decision on the engagement of the JNA. That was the reason for putting
18 that question. So an answer to your question is along those lines.
19 Q. So is it correct that you were concerned or perhaps even afraid
20 due to the decision of the Presidency not to introduce martial law? You
21 took this as a warning; am I mistaken or not?
22 A. Milosevic's next political objective was for the Serbs of Croatia
23 to have the right to remain in Yugoslavia. So we passed this decision on
24 disassociation from Croatia and practically we severed all communications
25 and ties with Croatia in terms of seeking any kind of solution. Milosevic
1 had already brought us into that situation. And after that the question
2 was who would protect us then when we were in that position politically,
3 because, as we had already seen what the situation was, his guarantee that
4 it would be the JNA that would protect us was no good.
5 Q. You said to us during the course of this day that in August 1991
6 you addressed Jovic and then later on in 1990 Milosevic for the first time
7 and that you had meetings, and that you told them about your fears from
8 the Croatian authorities, that you sought the support of federal
9 authorities. Is that right, Mr. Babic?
10 A. Well, meetings were held when Milosevic would send a message for
11 us to come. I went, Academician Raskovic went, other people went with me,
12 or he'd ask us to make a public request to him to have him receive us, as
13 was the case in January, and then we would go to see him.
14 Regardless of what we talked about, he always presented it as the
15 Serbs coming due to their fears, seeking protection, that's how it was
16 portrayed by his side most of the time.
17 Q. Can you tell us what happened in Pakrac on the 1st and 2nd of
18 March, 1991?
19 A. I've already mentioned that, what I heard from the media. I can
20 repeat that.
21 Q. No, thank you, Mr. Babic. We've already heard that. Thank you.
22 So you don't know anything specifically. You have no direct knowledge as
23 to what happened there, only what you heard and read.
24 A. And what Milosevic said to me about that, that I should not worry
25 about what was going on, that I should go to Knin in peace.
1 Q. Witness Dzakula appeared before this Court, who is from the area
2 and who explained that on that day the Croatian special police intervened
3 and that there was an armed conflict and the JNA intervened and that the
4 Croatian special police first opened gunfire at the JNA on that occasion.
5 Have you heard about that?
6 A. Only from the media. That's what I said, that I heard that the
7 situation there was very dramatic, and that Bosanac got killed, and that
8 turned out to be false. Well, that's what I knew.
9 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, if I might raise an issue here that's
10 come up, and there's a bit of a cultural difference here perhaps. In my
11 practice, in my -- back home, it's not proper to put to a witness what
12 another witness has said, either in testimony or in a witness statement.
13 The fact that is contained in the witness statement or in the testimony
14 can be put to the witness but not in that form. That is: Witness X
15 testified this way, what do you say about that? That's my practice, that
16 it's -- that that is not permissible.
17 I know that in this building it's gone both ways. It's --
18 sometimes that's permitted and in other cases it's not permitted. I think
19 there are very good reasons not to do that, because I think in -- the
20 witness should be testifying from his or her own knowledge even if
21 confronted with facts and confronted on cross-examination with leading
22 questions, that's fine, but should not be -- for me, I think that it can
23 be -- it can be improperly influential or distracting or a problem if the
24 witness is confronted with the fact that another witness said this or --
25 that is just my view of the matter and perhaps the Court could give us
1 some guidance on that, what its view is on whether these sorts of
2 questions are proper or not. I don't think that -- in my view, it doesn't
3 add anything to the question, and it's -- it's possibly distracting or in
4 some cases it might influence a witness improperly. Because it's a
5 natural reaction when you're testifying, when you hear somebody else said
6 something, it can be -- I think it can be unduly influential. I'm not
7 saying it's -- that's the case here, I'm not saying that's what happened,
8 I just thought it was an appropriate time to raise it because I'm aware
9 that this is an issue in the building and I thought perhaps the Court
10 could give us some guidance on that.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you have any authority on -- or a basis for this
12 -- for raising the issue? What is the authority for that?
13 MR. WHITING: I'm just relying on my -- on practice in my national
14 jurisdiction, which I don't have an authority at hand for that. And I'm
15 also aware that in -- in the last trial that I did, in the Limaj trial, it
16 was -- it kind of went both ways. There were some counsel that thought it
17 was okay to do that and it was done sometimes. There were other counsel
18 who did not think that that was a proper way to ask questions. And I know
19 that in other cases -- I believe in the Brdjanin case those sorts of
20 questions were not permitted; that you could not say that, "This witness
21 said this, what do you say about that?"
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Your first address has now disappeared from my
23 screen. I wanted to quote it to you because I actually don't understand
24 what you are saying, but let me try and paraphrase you. I thought you
25 said -- I cannot -- you said that the fact that the statement was made or
1 the testimony was given can be put to the witness but not in that form.
2 Not in which form?
3 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry, I should have been more clear. What I
4 meant is that in my practice it's okay to say -- it's okay to put the
5 question in this form: "Isn't it a fact that Croatian police officers
6 fired first on that occasion?" That question would be permissible. It
7 would not be permissible to say: "Witness X testified here ..." or
8 "Witness X said in a statement that Croatian police officers fired first
9 on that occasion. What do you say about that?" Or "Isn't that true? "
10 So the fact that it's been testified to or that it's in the
11 statement can be put to the witness in a leading form or a non-leading
12 form. That is perfectly proper, I think. But to add to that that a
13 witness has testified to that, whether the witness is identified or not,
14 that -- that, I think, is improper. I don't think it adds anything, and I
15 think it's improper. That's my view.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. I'm still struggling to find the impropriety
17 of the question, because -- I'm trying to find out what would be wrong to
18 say, "Somebody said this, do you have any comment?" And your comment
19 could be, "I agree with somebody," or "I disagree," or "I have no
20 knowledge." I'm not sure how you say it influences improperly --
21 MR. WHITING: Well, I --
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: -- the witness on the stand.
23 MR. WHITING: The rationale in the practice where I come from for
24 not allowing that sort of question is that -- is that it -- is that it --
25 it adds a certain weight to the question that may have some effect on the
1 witness. And again, I'm not saying that that's the case here. I'm not
2 particularly concerned about that. But in -- with respect to other
3 witnesses, if they hear, oh, well, another witness has said that, or
4 several other witnesses have said that, that could -- I think that's --
5 the rationale is that that's distracting, that it could have undue
6 influence on the witness.
7 I'm only putting to you the practice that I'm used to. And I
8 don't particularly see what it adds to the question to say that another
9 witness has testified to this. If you're putting -- the important thing
10 is to put the fact to the witness and get the witness's testimony. To say
11 that another witness has testified to this or will testify to this, which
12 of course is -- adds the element of speculation, I don't think that adds
13 anything to the question.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours. I would just
16 like to respond briefly, Your Honours. My question referred to the
17 statement of a very influential political figure from Pakrac. The witness
18 who is here knows that person very well. He knows his political role, and
19 he's informed about it. It was my intention to present to the witness the
20 contents and the seriousness of the information that a certain witness -
21 and in this case it was this specific witness - but I don't see what the
22 difference in cultural terms that the Prosecution mentioned could be the
23 reason not to put a question like this.
24 What we're talking about here is whether something is
25 well-grounded or not, whether something is permissible and whether it's in
1 accordance with the practice before this Tribunal or before other
2 institutions. A question put in this way, to me, absolutely seems to be
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't understand that last sentence. To be
5 unacceptable or acceptable?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] The objection unacceptable,
7 Your Honour, because cultural milieu differences cannot be the grounds to
8 put impermissible questions. I am putting a legal question or a proper
9 question or not, but the way the Prosecutor is presenting the matter I
10 think is groundless and it's not really serious.
11 I would also like to draw your attention, Your Honours, to the
12 fact that perhaps this is a good moment to go on a break, if I am not
13 mistaken. I am watching the clock.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are right. Let's do so and maybe let's deal
15 with this objection when we come back. We will reconvene at quarter to
16 six. Court adjourned.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.16 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 5.46 p.m.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting, we have had opportunity to look at the
20 transcript, and the transcript says -- it doesn't say, can you comment on
21 this. It says, have you heard of this. Would that make it still
23 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, no. I mean, the answer to your
24 question is yes. I'm sorry. I don't think that that -- that phrase --
25 phrasing necessarily makes a difference. The objection is rooted in the
1 fact that the witness is being confronted with the statement or testimony
2 of another witness. And if I could just add briefly two points. I know
3 -- I know I wasn't invited to do so by the Chamber but if I could just
4 briefly add two points because I had an opportunity, over the break, to
5 reflect a little further bit on this.
6 The first point is that an additional reason that this practice is
7 followed in my jurisdiction - that is you're not allowed to confront with
8 the testimony of another witness in that way - is that it invites
9 witnesses to comment on the credibility of other witnesses, which is --
10 which invades, in a sense, the province of the Court. That is up to the
11 Court to decide credibility issues, and therefore that's another reason
12 that it's considered improper.
13 The other point that I would make is there may be on this issue a
14 distinction between confronting a witness with the testimony of a witness
15 who has actually testified in the trial, who has come here and testified
16 and has been cross-examined, testified under oath, and confronting a
17 witness with a witness statement or a declaration that has been made to
18 one of the parties but who has not come and testified at the trial. That
19 may be another distinction that the Court may wish to entertain, and it
20 may be -- it may be proper to confront with witnesses who have testified
21 at the trial but not in the case of witnesses who have made statements but
22 who have not testified. And that's -- that distinction would be based on
23 a different reason than what I have articulated as a basis for the
24 objection, but I just throw it out there as something that the Court may
25 want to consider.
1 Finally, I would just say that I didn't really raise this as an
2 objection in this particular instance because, as I said, I'm not
3 particularly concerned with this witness. I raised it because it occurred
4 once or twice today and I just wanted to get clear for the benefit of us,
5 Defence, and the Court what the practice would be in this trial so that we
6 could be consistent and that if it's going to be one way, we'll do it that
7 way; if it's going to be the other way, we'll do it that way, but just to
8 get guidance from the Court on that issue. It's in that spirit that I
9 have raised the issue.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: I understand you, Mr. Whiting. First of all, the
11 witness -- the person who is supposed to have made the statement is a
12 witness who has testified in this court. Okay. And the question is put
13 clearly: "Witness Dzakula appeared before this Court, who is from this
14 area and who explained that on that day ..." and then it goes on. Have
15 you heard about that?
16 There are two distinctions here. One, it's a witness that has
17 testified here, and you say if that is the case, you would concede. Two,
18 the question is not can you comment on that and therefore inviting the
19 witness to comment on the credibility of other witnesses. The question
20 is, have you heard of the statement that Mr. Dzakula has said to have
21 made? Either he has or he has not. And he answered very clearly: From
22 the media, yes. There is no invitation to comment on -- on the
23 credibility of the witness.
24 MR. WHITING: Well, Your Honour, I don't know how far the Court
25 wants to take this, but I think oftentimes that question, however it's
1 phrased, inevitably leads to the witness to -- because -- because the
2 witness has been confronted with this other person, inevitably leads the
3 witness to say, "Well, that witness is not telling the truth," or "That
4 witness is a liar," or whatever. So even though the question is not put
5 necessarily in that specific way, that's where we end up.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm afraid the witness must answer the question as
7 put to him. And if, if there should arise a situation where the witness
8 is invited to comment, let's deal with it at that stage, but at this stage
9 I don't think that the Bench sees a basis for the objection.
10 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Objection overruled. Mr. Milovancevic, you may
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. We stopped at Pakrac, Mr. Babic, so it is not in dispute that this
15 was an event in early May 1991, and this was an armed conflict. Is this
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You also mentioned that in mid-March 1991, the Presidency of
19 Yugoslavia did not impose a state of emergency. Is that correct,
20 Mr. Babic?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Are you aware that the Federal Secretariat for National Defence
23 made a proposal for the imposition of a state of emergency with the
24 explanation that the civil war in Yugoslavia had already started?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You mentioned the events near the Plitvice lake on the 31st of
2 March, 1991, when there was a clash between the Croatian police and the
3 Serbian police officers. Do you know whether this event occurred on some
4 sort of holiday?
5 A. I think that it was Easter. I don't know according to which
6 calendar, the new one or the old one or according to both calendars.
7 Q. In relation to the events at Plitvice lakes, did you confirm that
8 the JNA intervened there also and separated the sides to the conflict?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know that the main SDS board immediately before the
11 incident at the Plitvice lakes took the position to negotiate with the
12 Croatian government?
13 A. I don't know exactly what the conclusion was. I didn't attend
14 that meeting. If you're thinking of the meeting at Obrovac, which was
15 also attended by -- no. No, I didn't attend that meeting.
16 I was thinking. I remember that after that meeting Goran Hadzic
17 was at Plitvice and he was arrested by the Croatian police. That's the
18 only thing that I remember in relation to that meeting.
19 Q. We heard the testimony of a witness here about that, so I'm not
20 going to put that specific question to you. But I will ask you if you
21 know whether with the mediation and engagement of the Serbian side and the
22 SDS Goran Hadzic was released from prison but that he was severely beaten,
24 A. Yes. I don't know exactly who mediated, but I know that there was
25 some mediation there.
1 Q. Do you know that in relation to these negotiations to release
2 Goran Hadzic the Serb side, as an act of goodwill, adopted the decision to
3 remove the barricades at Borovo Selo before the conflict on the 2nd of
4 May, 1991?
5 A. I don't know about that.
6 Q. You said that on the 1st of April, 1991, the SAO Krajina
7 government adopted a number of decisions. Could you please remind us,
8 which were the decisions adopted on the 1st of April, 1991, relating to
9 the events at Plitvice lakes?
10 A. The decision to join SAO Krajina to Serbia. That was one of the
11 decisions. The second decision was sent to the federal organs regarding
12 the engagement of the JNA searching or sweeping the terrain and also the
13 activities of the Red Cross to find the missing, and so on and so forth.
14 Q. Thank you very much. The second decision of the 1st of April, did
15 you request the help and protection of the federal organs in relation to
16 the activities of the -- or the actions of the Croatian authorities?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did the Executive Council of the SAO Krajina have constitutional
19 and legal authority to make the decision to join the territory or a part
20 of the territory to the Republic of Serbia?
21 A. That was a political provocation. As to if it had the
22 constitutional right to do that or not is something that can be discussed,
23 but this was a political provocation in relation to Serbia.
24 Q. Do you know how Serbia acted to this decision?
25 A. I know how Slobodan Milosevic reacted.
1 Q. Mr. Babic, I asked you if you knew what the reaction of the
2 Republic of Serbia was. My question was quite specific. We will come to
3 Slobodan Milosevic. Now I'm asking you about Serbia.
4 A. Well, tell me who you were thinking of when you say "Serbia."
5 Q. Do you know that the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on the 2nd
6 of April adopted a decision supporting the political struggle of the
7 Serbian people in Krajina but did not accept the decision -- that was the
8 gist of the decision, but did not accept the decision on joining Serbia,
9 which you described as a political provocation?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You said that in response to your requests for technical
12 assistance to the Krajina SUP, the MUP of Serbia sent some people and that
13 you saw them at the Golubic centre. Is that correct, Mr. Babic?
14 A. I spoke about how I expected something else. These were expert
15 cadres for the Secretariat for Internal Affairs and not what happened at
16 Golubic. What happened at Golubic was something different from what I
17 expected to be in the form of technical assistance.
18 Q. Could you please tell us, what kind of technical cadre and what
19 kind of technical assistance did you expect from the MUP of Serbia?
20 A. We expected specialist cadres who were legal experts and criminal
21 law experts who would organise the work in the ministry, in the Krajina.
22 Q. And did you make an oral or written request in this sense to the
23 MUP of Serbia?
24 A. Well, it was the request that you cited and I said that this was
25 the result of the promise by Milosevic that he would provide help in
1 cadres for the secretariat in the way that I requested it from him and in
2 the way that I explained it to him. That was the sort of assistance in
3 staff that we were talking about.
4 Q. Did you state that in April you went to the Golubic centre and you
5 saw that special police forces were being trained?
6 A. I saw this training in May. In April I saw Milan Martic. There
7 was no training. It was only Martic there, Captain Dragan, and some other
8 people. The centre was not providing training at that time.
9 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Babic. I made a mistake. You corrected
10 me. Yes, that is exactly what you said. Thank you.
11 So in May you went to Golubic, and you said that you saw Nikola
12 Amanovic there; is that correct? He was handling all the files.
13 A. Yes, the administration, the files. That's correct.
14 Q. Did you explain that these were groups of people who were arriving
15 from different municipalities in Krajina, who had specialist training, and
16 this was something that was shown to you at that time, and also that these
17 people were undergoing ideological training?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you explain that this ideological training was explained to
20 you in such a way that the people who were attending this special course
21 for the police were trained not to act in accordance with instructions by
22 the parties but only to adhere to the interest of the state, that their
23 actions should be guided by the interests of the state?
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. Do you know that in the month of May, 1991, two referendums were
1 held; and can you tell us briefly what they were?
2 A. In the month of May, a referendum was held in Croatia and another
3 referendum was held in the SAO Krajina about the status, the state status
4 of Croatia; i.e., the Krajina.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see document
6 number 62 from the 65 ter documents on our monitors. This is a decision
7 to appoint a central commission for carrying out the referendum.
8 Q. Before the document appears on the monitor, Mr. Babic, I'm going
9 to put a question to you. Do you remember that the Assembly of the SAO
10 Krajina, at its first session held on the 30th of April, 1991, passed a
11 decision on the appointment of central commission? It's on the monitor
12 right now.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. That is the "Central Commission for carrying out the referendum in
15 the territory of the SAO Krajina for annexing SAO Krajina to the Republic
16 of Serbia and to have Krajina remain in Yugoslavia with Serbia,
17 Montenegro, and others who wish to preserve Yugoslavia." Was that the
18 name of the commission, Mr. Babic?
19 A. Yes. This is the corrected name of the commission.
20 Q. Above this text where it says "Decision," is it stated on the
21 basis of what this decision is being passed, and does that say that it's
22 being passed, this decision, on the basis of the law on referendum and
23 other forms of personal expressions of views and the decision on
24 organising a referendum for the annexation of the SAO Krajina to the
25 Republic of Serbia?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Am I wrong if I state that the first decision of the referendum of
3 the Serbs in Krajina was the decision to annex the SAO Krajina to the
4 Republic of Serbia and that this decision in effect modified that
6 A. Yes. Or, rather, as for the referendum question itself, it was
7 changed ultimately, the question itself.
8 Q. If I'm -- am I right if I state that the first question was
9 supposed to be as follows: "Are you in favour of the annexation of the
10 SAO Krajina to the Republic of Serbia on the 30th of April?" Do you agree
11 that you -- it should read as follows: "Are you in favour of the
12 annexation of the SAO Krajina to the Republic of Serbia and that Krajina
13 remains in Yugoslavia together with Serbia, Montenegro, and others who
14 wish to preserve Yugoslavia?"
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have another
17 document displayed on the monitor. The number is 958, 958 from the 65 ter
18 list of documents.
19 Q. Before this document appears on our monitors, Mr. Babic, I'm going
20 to tell you that this is a record dated the 8th of May, 1991, from the
21 regional meeting of the SDS held that day in Smrtici. Do you recall the
22 content of this document now that you've heard its name?
23 A. Well, later I heard about some meeting, but it was later. I don't
24 know where from.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we see the rest of the
2 text? Can we see paragraph under I? Can we see that on the monitor,
3 please. That's fine. Thank you.
4 Q. What does this paragraph I one say, that this meeting in Smrtici
5 was opened by Dzakula, that he gave the floor to Dusan Ecimovic who said
6 that they were in Belgrade and saw Raskovic and Milosevic with Dusan
7 Pekic. They attended a meeting with the opposition that was outside the
8 parliament, and as far as talks with Milosevic were concerned, Milosevic
9 was angry at the Krajina because it reached decisions without consulting
10 him. So he suggests that if a referendum is indeed held on the 12th of
11 May, then the ballot has to read as follows: "For remaining in
12 Yugoslavia, not Serbia." Is that what it says here?
13 A. Yes, but that's not a document from the organisation where I was,
14 but, yes, that is what is written here.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, before we forget, are these two
16 documents that you've just referred to, are they already exhibited?
17 [Defence counsel confer]
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the first document
19 has already been exhibited, whereas the other one is one that I will
20 tender. I would like to have it admitted as a Defence exhibit. Or do you
21 think I should tender it straight away? I thought that I should put the
22 contents to the witness first, but then I can tender it straight away. So
23 this is a record of the meeting held in Smrtici. Could it please be a
24 Defence exhibit?
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, you say the first one was already tendered.
1 It's already an exhibit. I'm being advised it is not an exhibit yet, the
2 first one, Mr. Milovancevic.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, then my
4 information is wrong. So the first document, the decision of the
5 appointment of the Central Commission, could that please be exhibited as a
6 Defence exhibit. I do thank you for your assistance and for having
7 cautioned me.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: You're welcome. Okay. That document, what was it,
9 the decision on the referendum, it's admitted into evidence. May it
10 please be given an exhibit number.
11 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit number 234, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. And now this one that's on
13 the screen, Mr. Milovancevic, are you also tendering that one?
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, please.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Then it will be admitted into evidence and may it
16 please be given an exhibit number.
17 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit number 235, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. You may proceed,
19 Mr. Milovancevic.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we have II on the ELMO.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please speak into the microphone.
22 The interpreters could not hear the ERN number. But anyway, the page
23 is II.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you hear that, Mr. Milovancevic? Please speak
25 into the microphone because the interpreters could not hear some of the
1 statements you made.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 So could we please have page 2, and could we see the very
4 beginning of page 2.
5 Q. Mr. Babic, here we have paragraph II stating that Dzakula is
6 presenting the conversation with Sloba. His basic request is that we no
7 longer clash with the MUP but that we leave them clash with the army and
8 that the army can deal with the NDH without any problems.
9 And the last paragraph under number II says: "At the same time,
10 he supported direct talks with the leadership, at least to see what they
12 Is that what this paragraph number II says, Mr. Dzakula [sic]?
13 A. You've probably confused me with Dzakula, but --
14 Q. I am sorry, Mr. Babic. It was a slip of the tongue. I am sorry.
15 A. I haven't got it on the screen now, what you've been reading.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could you please show the top
17 of page 2 again. Can we see it on the monitors? Yes, that's right, so we
18 see number II, what is written under number II.
19 Q. Is the text that I referred to just now actually written in
20 paragraph II?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] III. Could we have the rest of
23 the text on the monitor. So could the III be sort of around the middle of
24 the screen.
25 Q. It says: "The referendum on the 19th of May, 1991, should be
1 boycotted, and as for the one on the 12th of May, 1991, only Pakrac and
3 Is that what is written here in that sentence, Mr. Babic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. This referendum on the 19th of May, 1991, is that the referendum
6 that was scheduled by the Croatian leadership for the independence of
7 Croatia, and the other one is the Serb referendum that you talked about?
8 A. Yes. The first one is the Croatian one, the second one is the
9 Serb one.
10 Q. Underneath this sentence comes the next paragraph: "I propose
11 that attempts be made to talk to Knin and Babic so that the referendum of
12 the 12th of May, 1991, be postponed due to the political situation,
13 because some are voting one way, others another way, and third ones in yet
14 another way which is the worst of all." After two omitted sentences, the
15 conclusion is: "However, there are still many remaining ambiguities.
16 What happens if Knin continues to support the wording that reads as 'for
17 Serbia' and the rest 'for Yugoslavia'? Then there's quite a bit of
18 disagreement remaining. After that, Sasic explained very extensively and
19 in professional terms why my proposal to do one's best to postpone the
20 referendum -- or, rather, I stand corrected. As for my proposal to make
21 an attempt to postpone the referendum because it has no legal grounds,
22 most of the Serbs would remain outside the Krajina, and this would mean a
23 knife in the back of Serbia."
24 Is that the text contained in paragraph III, Mr. Babic?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The participants in this meeting held in Smrtici on the 8th of
2 May, are they talking about the referendum and how the referendum question
3 should read? So what should be the referendum question for the Serbs?
4 Are they voting in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia or being annexed to
5 Serbia? Is that the dilemma that's referred to?
6 A. This is the first time I'm reading this, and on the basis of these
7 few sentences I can sort of make assumptions, but it's clear to me that
8 they're talking about the referendum and the formulation of the referendum
9 question and the initiative about the referendum question in Knin and some
10 other initiative that others have. If I have managed to understand what
11 this means. This is a regional SDS committee from Slavonia, not from
13 Q. At the very outset, at the very beginning of this document, what
14 did the participants in the meeting state; that the President of Serbia,
15 Milosevic, is in favour of the following referendum question: Are you in
16 favour of remaining in Yugoslavia? rather than it being phrased as: Are
17 you in favour of being annexed to Serbia?
18 A. I'm sorry, what is your question, whether that's written in this
19 text or what?
20 Q. Yes, yes.
21 A. I don't see the text now.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see the very
23 beginning of the text, page 1. Could we see the top of page 1 on the
24 monitor. Could we have it up just a little bit so that we can see the
25 first paragraph of the text. That's right. That's right.
1 Q. In this second paragraph, is it being stated that according to
2 Milosevic the ballot should read "in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia,"
3 not "in favour of being annexed to Serbia"?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. Was the referendum held in the Krajina on the 12th of May, 1991,
6 Mr. Babic?
7 A. Yes. In the SAO Krajina, as well as in Pakrac, the referendum
8 commission or committee did not accept the referendum in Pakrac as a
9 referendum. It wasn't implemented by the municipality, so it was just
10 understood to be an expression of the views of the population, whereas the
11 referendum in the Krajina was held on the basis of the law in force.
12 Q. And the referendum question at the referendum, did it state: "Are
13 you in favour of annexing the Krajina to Serbia or in favour of staying
14 within Yugoslavia for those who wished to preserve it?" We've seen that
15 earlier in this document.
16 A. Yes. It's a slightly abbreviated version of what you just said.
17 Q. Does that mean that the Krajina leadership did not act in
18 accordance with the proposal of President Milosevic for the question to
19 be, "Are you in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia?" but formulated this
20 broader question?
21 A. This question was done after Milosevic's intervention. The first
22 question was, "Are you in favour of joining the SAO Krajina to Serbia?"
23 After Milosevic's intervention, the question was broadened in this way.
24 Q. Mr. Babic, we've seen the appointment or the decision of the
25 Central Commission for the implementation of the referendum, and this was
1 adopted on the 30th of April, 1991. This meeting in Smrtici was held on
2 the 8th of May, 1991, thus eight days after that, and the participants at
3 the meeting claim that Milosevic wanted them to have the question state:
4 "Are you in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia?" and not the way it was
5 formulated here. Can you explain that?
6 A. Well, as I said, I don't know exactly what they talked about and
7 discussed with Milosevic over there in Slavonia. I already talked about
8 what I know about Milosevic's position. He was strongly against declaring
9 the annexation of Krajina to Serbia, and he even threatened me, in a way,
10 that this must not be done in that way and that the link with Serbia must
11 not be presented in that way, but it had to be presented as whether there
12 was a wish to remain within Yugoslavia. Why I presented it that way was
13 to provoke him to explain precisely to the public what his actual position
14 was, because like I say, he stated one thing in public and did something
15 else in secret. So the reason why I did that was to force him to come out
16 publicly and state whether Krajina should remain within Croatia and seek a
17 solution within Croatia or whether the Krajina should be with Serbia and
18 the others who wished to remain in Yugoslavia. I wanted him to explain
19 that to the public because he was explaining to me that Krajina or the
20 territories inhabited by Serbs need to remain together with Serbia,
21 Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in Yugoslavia, while at the same
22 time he was negotiating with Tudjman to give Krajina and a part of Bosnia
23 to Croatia.
24 So after all this that I learned after the meeting with Milosevic
25 and after the meetings with Tudjman at Karadjordjevic, there was this
1 political provocation to make him come out specifically with his position
2 before the Serbian public.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. I understand. And was a referendum held in
4 Croatia on the 19th of May, 1991, and what was its result?
5 A. Croatia mostly came out in favour of an independent Croatia.
6 Q. And the leadership of Croatia and Slovenia, did they on the 25th
7 of June, 1991, adopt a decision on the secession from Yugoslavia?
8 A. I think that that was called the declaration on independence.
9 Something like that, yes.
10 Q. Can we say that the declarations of independence were acts of
11 secession on the part of those two republics from the Federal Republic of
13 A. Secession or disassociation, depending on who interpreted it in
14 which way.
15 Q. Do you know that the Federal Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia,
16 at the request of the Federal Executive Council, declared these acts by
17 Slovenia and Croatia as unconstitutional?
18 A. Yes. I don't know the details, but I know that there was an
19 intervention in that sense.
20 Q. Do you know that that decision by the Constitutional Court of
21 Yugoslavia on the non-constitutionality of the secession acts was
22 delivered to the European authorities and Lord Carrington?
23 A. No, I don't know that.
24 Q. Are you aware, Mr. Babic, that -- do you know, Mr. Babic, who was
25 in the Presidency in Yugoslavia in May and June 1991? Let me put the
1 specific question to you. From Slovenia it was Drnovsek, from Serbia
2 Jovic, from Croatia Mesic, from Macedonia Vasil Tupurkovski, from Serbia
3 and Montenegro it was Bogic Bogicevic, and from Montenegro it was Branko
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I interrupt? Mr. Milovancevic has been
6 speaking from the point when he said -- okay. The problem has been
7 solved. Thank you.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. The representatives that I mentioned, were they in the Presidency
10 of Yugoslavia in May, June, and July 1991?
11 A. I'm not sure when Branko Kostic joined that body. Probably in
12 May. There was a change after March.
13 Q. Is it correct that at the time the president of the Federal
14 Executive Council was Ante Markovic from -- from Croatia?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Are you aware that the federal secretary for national defence,
17 Veljko Kadijevic, was also a cadre from Croatia?
18 A. Yes. Or, rather, I know that he was born in Imotski. He's a Serb
19 from Croatia.
20 Q. Do you know who the federal secretary for foreign affairs in the
21 government of Ante Markovic was?
22 A. Loncar.
23 Q. Was that Budimir Loncar?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Cadre from Croatia who was the federal secretary for foreign
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Was Zdravko Mustac head of the state security service? He was
4 also from Croatia; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Are you familiar with the problem relating to the election of
7 Stipe Mesic as the president of the Presidency of Yugoslavia in May and
8 June 1991?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is it true that, after the dictate of the European Union, and
11 three ministers - Van den Broek and two other ministers from the European
12 Union - Stjepan Mesic was elected as the president of the Presidency of
13 Yugoslavia, so the president of the state, at the point in time when
14 Croatia, which he represented, had already proclaimed its secession?
15 A. There was mediation in two matters. You used the term "dictate,"
16 but as far as I know, there was mediation for Mesic to take over the post
17 of president of Presidency, which he had a right to by rote, and for
18 Croatia and Slovenia to postpone the implementation of their independence
19 for a term of three months and to use that period of time for negotiations
20 to resolve the crisis.
21 Q. Am I right, Mr. Babic, when I say that these are two different
22 things? One matter is the election of Mesic as the head of state, and he
23 was elected after certain problems, whereas a completely different problem
24 is the mediation of the European Community in the resolution of the
25 Yugoslav crisis. There was the Brioni memorandum of the 7th of July,
2 A. Well, I'm saying that this was resolved at the same time, because
3 the crisis relating to the election of Mesic started in May and then in
4 June and July this was being resolved with the assistance of European
6 Q. Did the federal government, headed by Ante Markovic -- and I'm
7 mentioning it as an important fact that he is a cadre from Croatia only
8 because of this ethnic representation. It's a material fact at the
9 moment. Are you familiar with the fact that the federal government sent
10 2.000 soldiers to Slovenia after Slovenia declared its secession and after
11 it occupied the state borders with Yugoslavia in early July 1991?
12 A. I cannot say whether this was in early July, but the JNA did
13 intervene in Slovenia in order to take back the state borders, yes.
14 Q. Mr. Babic, when we continue your cross-examination, we're going to
15 show you a document demonstrating that this was a decision adopted by the
16 government. So I don't want to spend too much time on that right now.
17 Do you know that there was an attack in Slovenia by the Slovenian
18 Territorial Defence, practically the new Slovenian army, on the JNA and
19 that JNA soldiers were disarmed and cruelly killed?
20 A. I know that there was a brief war in Slovenia.
21 Q. Do you know about the decision by the Presidency of Yugoslavia
22 that the JNA temporarily withdraws from Slovenia until a peaceful
23 settlement of the Yugoslav political crisis?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Earlier we mentioned the mediation of the European Community. So
1 again I am asking you, is it true that, thanks to the mediation of the
2 European Community, an agreement was reached between Yugoslavia and all
3 the participants from the Yugoslav entity and members of the European
4 Community that the decisions of Slovenia and Croatia on independence and
5 secession be postponed for a period of three months?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Are you aware and did you take part in negotiations on the
8 resolution of the conflict in Yugoslavia? Because after Slovenia there
9 was also a conflict in Croatia. Did you take part in negotiations on a
10 cease-fire in Croatia and the concluding of a political agreement?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please look on the
13 screen at a 65 ter exhibit, document 1226. This is a letter of the SAO
14 Krajina government of the 5th of September, 1991, sent to the Peace
15 Conference on Yugoslavia in The Hague.
16 Q. Before the letter is on the screen now, could you please look at
17 the letterhead. Is this a letter sent by the government to the Peace
18 Conference on Yugoslavia, and does it say in the left corner that the
19 letter was drafted on the 5th of September, 1991, that it was addressed to
20 the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia, and then these letters in the upper
21 right corner -- could we please scroll down a little bit -- scroll up --
22 that it was sent to the members of the -- could you please scroll up.
23 That the text is sent to members of the Presidency of Yugoslavia cabinets.
24 A. Yes, that is what it states.
25 Q. Could you please turn to page 7 of this document, where we can see
1 the signature and the stamp of the person who signed this document. Is
2 this a stamp of the Krajina government? And next to the stamp does it not
3 state "President of the SAO Krajina government, Dr. Milan Babic," and is
4 that your signature?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Could you please turn to the next page, page 8 of this document.
7 Does it not state here that this document was delivered to the United
8 Nations, under 1, to the Council of Ministers of the European Union; under
9 2, 3 to the parliament of the European Community; under 4, to the High
10 Commission of the OSCE; 5, to the Presidency of the SFRY; 6, to the
11 Federal Executive Council; 7, to the National Assembly of the Republic of
12 Serbia; 8, to the president of the Republic of Serbia; and 9, to the
13 government of the Republic of Serbia? Is this what it states on page 8,
14 Mr. Babic?
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. Could you --
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this
18 document as a Defence exhibit, and could the document be given an exhibit
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence and may it
21 please --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: I beg your pardon. The document is admitted into
24 evidence, and may it please be given an exhibit number.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit number 236, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Babic, the first paragraph on page 1 of this document -- and
4 could we please have the page 1 on the monitor now. And can we look at
5 the first paragraph under the heading. Does it not state that: "The
6 government of the Serbian autonomous region of Krajina, at a meeting held
7 on the 5th of September, 1991, considered the declaration on Yugoslavia
8 adopted at an extraordinary ministerial meeting on European political
9 cooperation in Brussels on the 27th of August, 1991, agreement on
10 cease-fire and memorandum on an observer mission, and that in relation to
11 those three documents takes the following position." Does that not --
12 does this first paragraph not state what I have just said?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. And does it not state in paragraph 2 that: "The Serbian people of
15 SAO Krajina, who comprise the historical and ethnic territory of the
16 Serbian people through their legal and legitimate institutions and organs,
17 from the very beginning of their struggle for freedom and national and
18 human dignity, who were attacked by the Croatian neo-fascist authorities,
19 used the basic democratic means, a referendum, using their right to
20 self-determination, the Serbian people irrevocably decided not to live in
21 any Croatian state." Does that not -- does not the first paragraph --
22 this paragraph state what I have just read, Mr. Babic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And the last sentence of the second paragraph, the very end, does
25 it not state as follows: "The Serbian people of the Krajina have decided
1 to build their sovereignty into a state in which other parts of the
2 Serbian people in the Balkans will also live"?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Could you please look at page 2, and could we have paragraph 1
5 displayed. What does this first paragraph say? Does say that: "All our
6 democratic decisions that were derived from the democratic will of the
7 Serb people of Krajina were denied by the Croatian neo-fascist authorities
8 with arguments of violence and arms, and that unfortunately some members
9 of the European Community at first gave tacit support and later on even
10 open support to the Croatian neo-fascist regime." Is that what it says,
11 Mr. Babic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is that a text that you compiled, together with the government?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. On page 2, does it say -- on this page 2, that is, which says 829,
16 actually, on the top of the page, doesn't it say in the second paragraph
17 that: "The Croatian neo-fascist authorities are in certain ways identical
18 to the previous communist totalitarianism, and by destroying Yugoslavia,
19 they wanted to force us to reconcile ourselves with terror"?
20 And then the next sentence -- or, rather, in the next sentence you
21 say: "In such circumstances, the denial of our referendums, our equal
22 right, we did not have any other choice but to respond to arms by arms.
23 The new Croatia attacked with arms our right and our decisions with the
24 intention of forcing by way of aggression the Serb people to live in
25 independent neo-fascist Croat state, a state which is so reminiscent of
1 that genocidal time from 1941 to 1945." Is that what is written in the
2 second paragraph, Mr. Babic?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you say in the third paragraph that the European Community --
5 actually, I'm omitting a longish sentence. I'm just going to point out
6 the gist of it.
7 Declarations on Yugoslavia denying the Serb people right to
8 self-determination. In the declaration on Yugoslavia, it is stated that
9 the member countries of the European Community, "wish to remind those who
10 are responsible for violence to their -- of their decision never to
11 recognise changes of borders that were not achieved through peaceful means
12 and by way of agreement."
13 On page 3, after this, do you, as the government of Krajina, draw
14 the attention of the European Community to the fact that these are no
15 state borders? Is that what is written in that text, Mr. Babic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. On page 3, in paragraph 3, you say that it is stated in the
18 declaration that: "The absolutely wrong policy of Serb irregular
19 formations that try to resolve problems that are anticipated by military
20 means, and also, the government of the SAO Krajina does not accept this
21 qualification for the following reasons:
22 "1. Serb armed forces in the SAO Krajina, which consist of the
23 police of the Krajina and the Territorial Defence of Krajina, are
24 absolutely legal formations and are part of the single system of defence
25 in Yugoslavia."
1 Is that what is stated in paragraph 1, Mr. Babic?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In paragraph 2, it says that: "The Serb armed forces do not have
4 any policy of their own but, rather, they function within the framework of
5 and according to the programme of the policy of the government of the SAO
6 Krajina and other institutions and organs of the SAO Krajina. The
7 government of the SAO Krajina uses its armed forces only for the defence
8 of its territory and its borders."
9 Is that what is written at the end of page 3, Mr. Babic?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. On page 4, under number 3, you say, around the middle of the
12 paragraph: "The Serb people decided by way of a plebiscite to live in the
13 same state with other Serbs in the territory of Yugoslavia. It is another
14 question altogether that these decisions are being challenged by way of
15 armed aggression, which was -- which was totally unprovoked and totally
16 unjustified and was carried out by Croatian neo-fascist authorities. The
17 assessment presented in the declaration that some elements of the JNA are
18 rendering active support to the Serb side do not correspond to the truth.
19 The truth is that the JNA takes active part in keeping the conflicting
20 sides apart, and that in this role that it plays it is regularly attacked
21 by the Croatian aggressors and is therefore compelled to defend itself."
22 Is that what is written on this page number 4, Mr. Babic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In the one but last paragraph on this page number 4, do you not
25 say: "Furthermore, the decisive position taken by the European Community
1 not to recognise any changes of borders by force constitutes major support
2 for us in a situation when the newly established border between the SAO
3 Krajina and the Republic of Croatia, a border established by a plebiscite,
4 was attacked by the fascist Croatia."
5 And further on, in the last paragraph, you say that: "The
6 government of Krajina does not agree with the name used for part of
7 Yugoslavia's state territory in these two documents that were being
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Three documents.
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. And then the text continues on page 5: "Namely, what was called
12 the Socialist Republic of Croatia is today the Serb Autonomous Region of
13 Krajina as an independent political subject, and other Serb autonomous
14 regions and the Republic of Croatia." Is that what is written here,
15 Mr. Babic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Further on on page 5, under 832 - those are the last three digits
18 - it says that: "The government supports the cease-fire in terms of all
19 the provisions of that agreement, and the territory where the fighting is
20 taking place is being called the Republic of Croatia."
21 And at the end of this second paragraph on page 5, you say that:
22 "The government of the SAO Krajina supports the cease-fire agreement
23 because on its part it used fire and armed struggle only for the purposes
24 of defence from Croatian aggression. And secondly, it believes in
25 principle that all questions can and must be resolved by peaceful means
1 only and democratic methods."
2 In the next paragraph, number 3, you say: "Therefore, the
3 government of the SAO Krajina requests that the government of the SAO
4 Krajina be given the status of a host as was the case elsewhere in
5 Yugoslavia, and that the government of the SAO Krajina warns all relevant
6 factors that it is the only one to authorise monitor missions to stay in
7 its territory." Is that what is written here, Mr. Babic?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. At the end of this page 5, do you not say at the end, the last
10 sentence, does it not read that: "The government of the SAO Krajina does
11 not accept an insulting, an untenable treatment of the Serbian people as a
12 national minority, which is what part of the European Community favours,
13 as well as the neo-fascist Croat authorities supported by Vatican"? Is
14 that what is written in the -- in this last sentence on page 5, Mr. Babic?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Does it not say on page 6, in paragraph three from the top, that
17 the government of SAO Krajina of course has nothing against the peace
18 conference, but what it does not agree with is that the SAO Krajina is not
19 being included in the -- or is not participating in the peace conference?
20 And then in the last paragraph on page 6 you say that: "The government of
21 the SAO Krajina, in relation to the position of the European Community,
22 warns that -- excuse me, that the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia should
23 not include the legal and legitimate organs of the SAO Krajina, warns both
24 the European Community as well as the entire international community, or
25 the international public, about the possible implications of such a
1 position, because no decision by the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia will
2 be binding on SAO Krajina unless it, too, does not fully participate in
3 that conference."
4 Is this what it states on page 6, Mr. Babic?
5 A. Yes, it does state that, but nobody actually took that into
7 Q. Unfortunately, they did not. Let's move to page 7. At the top of
8 the page, does it not state: "Since this question -- since we consider
9 this question as important for our peace as well as for peace in
10 Yugoslavia and Europe, we warn the responsible factors in Europe and in
11 Yugoslavia to take into account this elementary political and legal fact
12 in their concepts on the essential resolution of the Yugoslav state and
13 political crisis and in halting the armed conflicts."
14 Further on, in paragraph 2 on page 7, you say that: "The
15 government of the SAO Krajina does not have the mandate of the Serbian
16 people of SAO Krajina to make any kind of concessions to the detriment of
17 the people who have given it their trust and confidence, and that is why
18 we demand all the relevant factors in the process of deciding on peace in
19 Yugoslavia to prevent violence over the Serb people of SAO Krajina being
20 implemented by fascist Croatian authorities be substituted for another
21 kind of violence which would then eradicate or erase the democratically
22 expressed will of the Serbian people and thereby its right to
24 And your last sentence states: "For Serbian people to be free it
25 means to be sovereign, and to be sovereign it means to exist in the form
1 of one's own democratic state."
2 Is this what it states at the end of this text on page 7, and did
3 you, as the president of the government, sign this text, Mr. Babic?
4 A. Yes, I did sign it.
5 Q. Was this text sent to the United Nations and to all of these
6 institutions, the Ministerial Council of the European Community, the
7 parliament, and the High Commissioner of the OSCE? You did hand this text
8 to all of these institutions?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Babic, can you explain to us what is the truth now: What you
11 wrote then in such detail on these seven pages, what you signed and sent
12 to all the international institutions, or what you are telling us now over
13 these past two days, which is completely opposite to what you have stated
14 in this text?
15 A. Well, this document is evidently full of very bombastic vocabulary
16 terms. It's a politically powerful or politically charged text in which
17 the international community is being asked to recognise the legitimacy of
18 the government. This is being requested of the European Community, which
19 was in the process of resolving the Yugoslav crisis. This was sent a
20 little bit before the arrival of Mr. Henri Wijnaendts and before the
21 preparations for negotiations, but this was not fruitful. So this
22 vocabulary was adopted to the given situation, and it is a little bit over
23 the top.
24 So the response to your question is that this is over the top.
25 Q. Mr. Babic, I was asking you whether if it is true what you wrote
1 to the United Nations, to the Council of Ministers of the European Union,
2 to the parliament of the European Community, to the OSCE High Commission,
3 or whether what you are telling us today in your testimony is true, and
4 which is completely opposite. So what is true; what you said then or what
5 you are saying now?
6 A. I'm telling you about this text. The text is exaggerated.
7 Q. Mr. Babic, these organs of the international community which you
8 addressed here, did they have any reason to believe you and did they
9 believe you?
10 A. No, they didn't believe me then because the situation was
12 Q. We just have one minute left. You were free, at liberty then.
13 You were a president -- the president of the government. You were the
14 minister of defence at that time. At that time you were the president of
15 the municipality of Knin. You were a member of the SDS Main Board at that
16 time. At that time you were a collocutor of international observers.
17 Were you deceiving them at that time or today, as a person who is in
18 prison, you are deceiving this Trial Chamber? What is true? You are
19 telling two truths, Mr. Babic. You refuse to answer my question. I asked
20 you is it true what is written here in the text or is it true what you are
21 telling us here now?
22 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, if I may object to the form of the
23 question. The document is quite lengthy and it contains a number of
24 assertions which Mr. Milovancevic took a lot of time to go through. It
25 seems to me that asking then at the end is this true in the broad, global,
1 general sense is not particularly fruitful. If perhaps counsel were to
2 address specifics in the document, specific assertions, the witness could
3 address them more fruitfully [Realtime transcript read "truthfully"]
4 rather than repeating this question again and again, which the witness has
5 tried to answer.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I suggest that we
8 finish our work today, because we are running out of time, and I would
9 like to tell the -- my friend from the Prosecution that tomorrow I'm going
10 to deal with each single point from his objection, and I plan to cover
11 each one of the points that he raised today. Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: That would be very helpful, Mr. Milovancevic.
13 Mr. Milovancevic, seeing that you have read this whole document into the
14 record, I assume you're not asking for the document to be admitted into
15 evidence. Or what do you want us to do with this document?
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you for
17 reminding me of that. I would like to tender this document as a Defence
18 exhibit. I was reading out the text in order to save time so that I would
19 not have the witness read the document. It was important for me that the
20 witness confirms the authenticity of each paragraph. But from what I hear
21 from my colleagues from the Defence, this document is already admitted
22 into evidence.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sure, but in the interests of brevity and
24 expediency, reading the document when you are going to ask that it be
25 admitted into evidence is not saving time, it is actually wasting time,
1 Mr. Milovancevic. If you are going to tender it, you can put your
2 questions on the document as it is because we can all read it. May I
3 suggest that in the future let's try and save time. If you are going to
4 tender the document, tender it and ask your questions. If you want to
5 read it, read it and let somebody who is going to be writing the judgement
6 not have the burden of reading the document in the record and as an
8 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know we're overtime, just
9 there is a correction I need to make on the transcript. On page 97, at
10 line 24, it has me saying that the witness -- for the witness to address
11 them more truthfully. I said more fruitfully.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed, I did hear you say "fruitfully." May the
13 record show that the word "truthfully" should read "fruitfully."
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just one
15 sentence. This situation will not occur very often during
16 cross-examination. This is a very specific and extremely important
17 document, so the Defence felt that it was in its interest that the Trial
18 Chamber goes through each paragraph of the document together with the
19 witness. Thank you very much.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic. The observation of
21 the Chamber is that in fact this was not an exceptional situation. It has
22 been happening quite often, and again in the interests of expediency, you
23 are requested to please try and help save time.
24 Court stands adjourned to tomorrow at quarter past two in the
25 afternoon in the same court. Court adjourned.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.06 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Friday, the 3rd day
3 of March, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.