1 Friday, 3 March 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Babic, as always, I remind you that you are
7 bound by the declaration you made at the beginning of your testimony to
8 give the truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the truth. Thank
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
11 WITNESS: MILAN BABIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Milovancevic: [Continued]
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Babic.
17 A. Good afternoon.
18 Q. I will begin, as usual, with a request, which actually pertains
19 also to me, and that is that we need to pay attention and make pauses
20 between question and answer so that the interpreters could do their job
22 At the very beginning of the cross-examination, Mr. Babic, we
23 mentioned the founding of the Croatian Democratic Community at the
24 beginning of 1989 in Croatia. Was that the time that this happened?
25 A. I don't know exactly when it was but it was established before the
1 law on parties was adopted, I think, so it was sometime in 1989. I don't
2 know exactly when.
3 Q. We also mentioned the HDZ Assembly held at the Lisinski hall on
4 the 24th of February 1990, when the introductory speech was given by
5 Mr. Tudjman, stating the party's programme. Do you remember that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. We also mentioned a sentence from Mr. Tudjman's speech on that day
8 in February 1990, which stated - I'm paraphrasing - the independent
9 Republic of Croatia was not only a quisling creation and a fascist crime
10 but it was also an expression of the historical aspirations of the
11 Croatian people. Do you recall that sentence, Mr. Babic?
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 Q. Are you aware that the HDZ Assembly sent an appeal -- or the
14 actual party, the HDZ party, appealed to the citizens of Croatia on the
15 eve of the first multi-party elections in April 1990, in which it called
16 every citizen to vote for a sovereign and independent Croatia, within its
17 natural borders, which more or less encompassed also parts of
19 A. I know that during the election campaign, the HDZ favoured an
20 independent Republic of Croatia.
21 Q. You mentioned that along with that position, about the need to
22 create an independent sovereign Republic of or state of Croatia which up
23 until then was part of the Yugoslav federation, so along with that
24 programme, there was also -- there were also steps taken to change the
25 Croatian constitution and thereby change the position of the Serbian
1 people in Croatia.
2 A. No. One thing was the election campaign. The elections or the
3 second round of elections was completed in late May, or rather, the second
4 round was held on the 8th and the elections were completed by the end of
5 May, while the initiative to change the constitution was made after the
6 new Croatian Assembly was constituted, and this was sometime in late June
7 or early July.
8 Q. In order to avoid any misunderstandings, which year are we talking
9 about? We are talking about April, May, June; which year was that?
10 A. We are talking about 1990.
11 Q. We've already talked to the proposed amendments to the then
12 Croatian constitution and we also talked about -- or you talked about how
13 representatives of the Serb people in Croatia objected to these amendments
14 and ultimately rejected them at the Srb Sabor; is this correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The Assembly in Srb was held on the 25th of July 1990; is that
17 correct, Mr. Babic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. We also mentioned that the Assembly in Srb was proclaimed as an
20 Assembly of the Serbian people and Croatia -- and that's where the Serbian
21 National Council was also formed as a representative body of the Serbian
22 people in Croatia; is that correct, Mr. Babic?
23 A. Yes, it is.
24 Q. We also talked about how the Serbian National Council, as the
25 executive body of the Serb Assembly, scheduled a referendum of the Serbian
1 people in Croatia on autonomy from the 19th of August until the 2nd of
2 September 1990. Is this correct, Mr. Babic?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. We also talked about how the Croatian Assembly declared as illegal
5 that referendum of the Serbian people in Croatia and that as of the 18th
6 of August onwards, it sent special Croatian police units to confiscate
7 weapons at the police stations in the territory of the Krajina; is this
8 correct, Mr. Babic?
9 MR. WHITING: I think it misstates the testimony.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic? Maybe before I ask you to say
11 something, Mr. Milovancevic, Mr. Whiting, can you indicate in what respect
12 is the testimony being misstated?
13 MR. WHITING: Yes, certainly, Your Honour. I didn't understand --
14 I mean, the Defence counsel has said we talked about but -- which makes
15 his formulations a little ambiguous but I didn't understand Mr. Babic to
16 testify that from the 18th of August onwards, special Croatian police
17 units were sent to confiscate weapons at the police stations in the
18 territory of Krajina. The testimony is a little more complex than that.
19 And I don't think that that summary is accurate. Perhaps if Defence
20 counsel has a reference, we could check it, and I could be -- I could
21 stand corrected but I think it's more complicated than that; that there
22 was -- I think the testimony is that there was information about special
23 police units being sent, that information turned out not to be true,
24 separately there was an effort on the part of the Croatian government to
25 centralise weapons that were being held, and I think confiscate weapons is
1 perhaps not the right term. So I think two different things are being
2 conflated here and an inaccurate term is being used. That's my
3 recollection of the testimony, but I can stand corrected if there is a
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is
7 yesterday's transcript, line 22, where Mr. Babic, in response to my
8 question -- well, I can formulate the question differently.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Line 22 of what page of yesterday's testimony,
10 Mr. Milovancevic?
11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] It's page 15, Your Honour, line
12 22. Pages 15 and 16 on the -- on page 16, the number on the upper right
13 corner is number 16, line 22. That's the part of the testimony that I was
14 thinking of. It's at the very bottom of the transcript.
15 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry, is it page 15 or page 16, line 22?
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] It's page 16. Page 16.
17 MR. WHITING: I think it's clear in that answer that there are two
18 different events that are being talked about. One is about information
19 having to do with special police units being sent, and this is a separate
20 issue that's being talked about with weapons being confiscated not by
21 special police units, and the witness was careful to say they should be
22 centralised rather than confiscation, so I think it is different from what
23 -- how counsel represented it.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't
25 understand what the problem is. If I understood the witness in a way that
1 differs from what he actually said, then the witness can explain that.
2 The witness is here. I'm just presenting to him, based on what he said
3 yesterday, the question, and I think it's quite specific and precise and
4 brief, and he can always respond.
5 I also need to note that we are wasting time, in a way, with these
6 objections by the Prosecutor, and then also the Prosecutor is presenting
7 the answer before the witness has had a chance to answer. So in a way the
8 Prosecutor is suggesting the answer to the witness.
9 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I would suggest that I've been very
10 restrained in my objections, and the problem from the point of view of the
11 Prosecution, is that it is improper for Defence counsel to mischaracterise
12 what the witness has said either in earlier answers in cross-examination
13 or in his direct testimony. That's simply improper. If he wants to put
14 the question a different way, if he wants to go over the testimony again
15 and again, the same questions, he can do that, but he has an obligation to
16 put -- to characterise the witness's prior testimony accurately.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Whiting.
18 Mr. Milovancevic, so that we can make progress, we are going to
19 deal with these issues one by one, okay? The first is the objection that
20 you are misquoting the evidence, and if you want to raise an objection
21 that the Prosecution is wasting time, do so after we've dealt with this
22 one, okay?
23 Now, I have no way of seeing both of these transcripts
24 simultaneously. Let me see if I can. It's disappeared on the other
25 screen. But certainly, as I remember what you said now, Mr. Milovancevic,
1 what I read at the bottom of page 16 is not verbatim with what you have
2 said. There is -- well, there is a -- the word "confiscate" is used there
3 but it's used in a question, as I see it, and not in an answer, so I would
4 request you to read the answer as you got it at page 16: "I said that I
5 did have some information about the events that took place. I said that I
6 wasn't sure whether it was exactly on the 17th or around that time, but
7 there was a decision by the Croatian government and the MUP for the
8 weapons of the police reserve forces, which happened to be in the police
9 stations, should be collected and placed in other locations. So that was
10 the reason why the Croatian MUP confiscated the weapons and moved them to
11 different locations, which I don't know what they were."
12 The word is used in an explanatory form. Is that all right?
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you read the text
14 from the transcript. I was not making any kind of assertion of my own. I
15 simply asked the witness whether that was the gist of his answer from
16 yesterday or not. And whether he can help us with that and give us an
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: The objection was basically that in giving him the
19 gist, you misrepresented. You may proceed [Microphone not activated].
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Better still, ask questions rather than repeat his
22 evidence to him, because there is this problem of misquoting it or not
23 misquoting it. Just ask questions.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Mr. Babic, yesterday you mentioned the Balvan revolution, the log
3 revolution. And you mentioned the action by the Croatian police relating
4 to the seizure of weapons, as you said confiscation of weapons, and my
5 question is: This confiscation of weapons by the Croatian SUP, does that
6 have anything to do with the referendum of the Serbian people in Krajina
7 that was scheduled?
8 A. I think that I was quite specific about that, that there were two
9 problems which were being resolved. One of them was the political issue
10 of organising the referendum, which the Croatian government described as
11 illegal. Then this referendum was changed as an expression of views
12 instead of a referendum, and it was included in the constitutional norms.
13 That was one problem.
14 The second problem was the fact that some police stations refused
15 obedience in some municipalities in Knin. That was the second problem.
16 The third problem, whether it's distinct or it had something to do
17 with the refusal of obedience of the police officer was the storing of
18 weapons of the reserve police forces to other locations.
19 So I think that I responded to each one of these matters and
20 explained them in detail.
21 Q. Can you tell us, please, whether the MUP of Croatia stored weapons
22 in special warehouses only on the territories of the Serb territory
23 municipalities or all over?
24 A. The explanation that was given by the MUP of Croatia was that it
25 related to the whole of Croatia. However, this was seen in Serb
1 municipalities as a problem which was a problem of those municipalities
2 alone or, rather, the police in those particular municipalities.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. I thought that the MUP of Croatia wanted to place that under their
5 control at locations that were accessible to them.
6 Q. You mentioned a public announcement or statement that you issued
7 after a meeting with the delegation of the Croatian parliament,
8 Mr. Degoricija and a delegation of the MUP of Croatia, Mr. Boljkovac on
9 the one hand and you and other Serb representatives on the other. And you
10 said that you issued a statement on the 10th of September 1990 about that;
11 isn't that right, Mr. Babic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In that statement, do you establish the starting points for
14 calming the situation and dealing with the tensions and along with
15 agreement that all problems be settled with the institutions concerned,
16 both political and socio-economical ones and that political issues be
17 settled by interparty agreement? Do you remember a text to that effect?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. Did it also say in that statement that in order to implement the
20 agreement, that both sides wished to return the weapons to the reserve
21 forces, to their primary state, and that the ultimatum for the return of
22 weapons be deferred and that the Croatian ministry should launch the
23 initiative in the Croatian parliament to have the SUP returned to Knin?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you also say that the Serbs refused to return the weapons and
1 that that's why the agreement fell through?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did the Croatian parliament move an initiative and decide to set
4 up the SUP in Knin as had been agreed?
5 A. As far as I know, I think that there was a letter to that effect
6 by Pecerski, who was a MUP official who attended the meeting and that an
7 initiative along those lines was in fact made.
8 Q. When and who from the MUP Sabor or MUP of Croatia established that
9 the agreement with respect to the return of weapons fell through, since a
10 deadline had not been set, that this was a process, in fact?
11 A. Well, I said that after that, there was an escalation of tensions
12 and provocations and general unrest, so that in fact the crisis was caused
13 -- I meant Boro Mikelic, the popular militia, and so on. The tensions
14 had escalated to such an extent that the federal organs had to involve
15 themselves in solving the crisis. Vasil Tupurkovski, a member of the
16 Yugoslav state Presidency arrived, for instance, as did the
17 representatives of the federal organs, and as I said, after that, the
18 crisis escalated. It came to a head.
19 Q. The agreement that you mentioned was on the 9th or 10th of
20 September 1990, was it not, Mr. Babic?
21 A. I think it was on the 10th.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: May we show on the overhead projector 65 ter
23 Exhibit number 43.
24 Unless I'm much mistaken, Your Honour, that should be a transcript
25 of a cassette of an intercept of Mr. Spegelj, and the transcript of that
1 intercepted conversation exists in English. It is the one Mr. Spegelj had
2 with the minister of the interior of Croatia, Josip Boljkovac, on the 14th
3 of October, the 19th of October, and the 16th of December 1990. And that
4 transcript or, rather, the sound track was heard in the well-known film
5 about General Spegelj. I have the transcript under number 43, Exhibit
6 number 43, on the list of -- 65 ter list of Prosecution exhibits.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Somebody is trying to check that for us.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Before, in order to save time,
9 Your Honour, the transcript appears on our monitors, I'd like to ask
10 Mr. Babic the following:
11 Q. Does he remember the film about General Spegelj?
12 A. Yes, I do. It was from January 1991.
13 Q. Do you remember that in the film, excerpts were shown of
14 intercepted conversations linked to the plans of Mr. Spegelj, General
15 Spegelj, and the import of weapons? And do you remember a specific
16 sentence uttered by Mr. Spegelj, and in the transcript it says that that
17 was uttered on the 14th of October 1990: "At the critical moment, find
18 two or three men who will come to the most dangerous parts -- they should
19 be eliminated physically. He sent someone to the flat, he appears at the
20 door, bang, bang, bang, and he goes down the stairs, he goes to the next
21 flat, then you deal with the next person, and so on. The most dangerous
22 people must be killed on their thresholds regardless of the women and
24 Do you remember that kind of sentence, that portion?
25 A. I remember that and that we were shown a picture of Spegelj
1 talking to someone, some people. It was filmed in a room of some kind,
2 and also he talked to Boljkovac in a car. And you could understand some
3 of the things he said and other things appeared as the transcript
4 underneath the image is shown.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. I hope that we'll find the exhibit in
6 question but what I'm putting to you now is a translation of the
7 participants in the talk, Mr. Spegelj and Mr. Boljkovac. On that same
8 day, according to the transcript given us by the Prosecution, on the 14th
9 of October 1990, Spegelj, while talking -- or rather, while talking he
10 says the following: "That will be war. It will be a civil war in which
11 there will be no mercy shown to anyone, either towards the women or to the
12 children. In the family flats, quite simply hand grenades." Do you
13 remember a text like that? I don't wish to repeat it word by word, but do
14 you remember the general contents of the footage shown?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. On the 19th of October 1990, according to the transcript, which
17 was compiled on the basis of the conversation intercepted, Spegelj says:
18 "There is nothing here for the army. It will be completely destroyed.
19 Five men are covering each of the -- each office in Virovitica. They will
20 be massacred already at their homes." Then there is an interruption in
21 the sentence and he goes on to say, "None of them will be allowed to reach
22 the barracks. On the street --
23 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry to interrupt, I just ask, could we know
24 what page of the transcript counsel is reading from? I'm just -- it's a
25 -- I just want to find it.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this transcript
3 has been provided to us in English, as I say, within the 65 ter exhibits,
4 Exhibit 43, two pages long, the 14th of October and the 19th of October,
5 and December. Those are the dates and pages. And the 14th of October
6 conversation is on the second page. So it's just two pages of that
7 transcript, page 1 and page 2. What I read from, that last sentence, in
8 Virovitica, about five-to-one officer, that nobody must be allowed to
9 reach the barracks, that's on page 1 towards the bottom.
10 MR. WHITING: I have 65 ter Exhibit 43 up and it's a 22-page
11 document and it doesn't correspond to what counsel is talking about. I
12 don't know where the problem is.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: We have a problem, Mr. Milovancevic. It looks like
14 we are not looking at the same document.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please, Your
17 [Defence counsel confer]
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there are two
19 documents with the contents of the film and the intercept between
20 Mr. Spegelj and Mr. Boljkovac. One document is a complete one and in its
21 entirety it has 23 pages, and then on those 23 pages or within those pages
22 you'll find the dates that I mentioned. However, when I say number 43,
23 that's the document number and document we received from the Prosecution
24 pursuant to the 65 ter list, and that exhibit, of those 23 pages, has just
25 these two pages with the four dates. So the document that I read from
1 contains just those four dates and four sentences.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me stop you at that point, Mr. Milovancevic.
3 The fact of the matter is on the screen we've got a 22-page document.
4 You're talking of a two-page document. Maybe before you can proceed you
5 should try to make sure that we have the same document. If the two-page
6 document is a summary of the 22-page document, let us have the two-page
7 document on the screen. Then when we talk of pages we know we are on the
8 same page, indeed. But as it is now, I'm also having a document with 22
9 pages. Let's sort that out first. Court officials, are you able to help
11 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm advised, Mr. Milovancevic, that the Court
13 officials only have the 22-page document and not the two-page document.
14 You will have to use the 22-page document so that we are all on a
15 wavelength. If you can find that and refer us to that one.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the first
17 conversation, which relates to the 14th of October 1990, in which Spegelj
18 and Boljkovac are talking, is to be found on pages 22 and 23.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated] -- and 23.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your
21 permission, to avoid wasting time, I can continue examining the witness,
22 continue with my cross-examination, and in the meantime, we'll find the
23 exact dates and the exact pages which will make it easier for us to
24 identify it and to have the same documents in front of us, but I would
25 like to ask him a few more questions related to the documents and then we
1 can go back to the documents themselves or, rather, the transcripts and
2 the individual dates, if you agree.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: The problem is that the Prosecution has asked you
4 to give them a reference of exactly where you are because, when you were
5 asking your questions, they didn't know what you were talking about. They
6 were looking at a 22-page document, you were looking at a two-page
7 document. I suggest that we get the correct pages, that is at page 22 --
8 I'm waiting for the document to come on the screen. You can go on page 22
9 and you can ask the questions.
10 Can we get the document on the screen? Right. We are on page 22
11 of the document, Mr. Milovancevic. You may proceed.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, on page 22 and
13 23 --
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't have 23, Mr. Milovancevic. I have only 22.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Page 22, at the bottom of that
16 page, we have a sentence which reads -- the last sentence: "Listen, if
17 the need arises in a crucial moment, find two or three men to get rid of
18 the most dangerous ones."
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm with you.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] The conversation of the 19th of
21 October 1990, which I mentioned, and which I put to the witness, is to be
22 found on page 18. Can we take a look at page 18 now, please? Page 18.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: We are with you now.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, let's look at
25 the text. The last words of Martin Spegelj, there is a text underneath
1 those words, and you can stop here. Here, Martin Spegelj is talking on
2 the 19th of October 1990, and he says, Mr. Babic: "There is nothing for
3 the army there. It will be defeated badly." A few lines below that,
4 Martin Spegelj again says: "Every officer is covered with five men in
5 Virovitica and they are all going to be executed while still at their
6 homes." And this is the text that I put to you, Mr. Babic. This is on
7 page 18.
8 On page 13, there is another part of the intercept recorded on the
9 16th of December. Can we have that on the screen, please? Page 13.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are done with page 18? You're not asking any
11 questions on page 18?
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we have page 13? Can you
15 scroll up until we see the date, the date is 16th December 1990. Very
16 well. Stop. Scroll down, please. Scroll down. Just a little. That's
17 okay now.
18 On this page, Mr. Boljkovac, the minister of the interior of
19 Croatia, says as follows: "We are going to use all means. We are going
20 to use weapons and the Serbs in Croatia will never be what they have been
21 so far. Their supremacy is history. Their Knin is not going to be Knin
22 any more. We will take over Knin. Knin is going to disappear."
23 Q. Do you remember this part of the conversation in the film
24 featuring Martin Spegelj which was recorded in January 1991, Mr. Babic?
25 A. Yes. I do remember. This was rather intimidating, very scary for
1 all of us, and this is one part of that film from January 1990.
2 Q. In the transcript and in the film, you could see what the plans of
3 the Croatian leadership was, the leadership of the police and the state
4 already in October 1990. Was that immediately after your meeting with
5 Boljkovac and Degoricija, Mr. Babic?
6 A. What is the question? Was that recorded? Was there a
8 Q. I'm asking you whether this conversation in October 1990 took
9 place immediately after the conversation that you had with them in
11 A. I don't know when the conversation took place. It was shown in
12 January 1991 and our conversation took place on the 10th of September, and
13 what you're quoting here is indeed October and November. It took place in
14 October and November.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Did you also state that after the
16 conversation that took place in September, and once the preparations for
17 the changes of the Croatian constitution went on, did you personally
18 propose to the parliament to have SAO Krajina as a county and that was
20 A. Yes. I wanted SAO Krajina to be given the status of a county, and
21 it was refused.
22 Q. Is it true that on 19 September -- December 1990, there was the
23 proclamation of SAO Krajina?
24 A. It was on the 21st of December.
25 Q. I apologise. 21st of December 1990. We mean 1990, the two of us.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. According to the provisions of the Statute, was SAO Krajina an
3 autonomous region within the Republic of Croatia?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Who is General Spegelj? Can you tell us? Just briefly. Do you
6 know anything about his position before this conversation and after this
8 A. In January, and probably even earlier, I don't know as of when, he
9 was the minister of defence in the government of Croatia. Earlier on he
10 was a JNA general.
11 Q. Is Mr. Boljkovac the minister of the interior with whom you had a
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. It was in September 1990?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. This film, was it shown in January 1991 and he spoke about --
17 Spegelj spoke about illegal import of weapons into Croatia, and is that
18 why it was so sensational?
19 A. Yes, about the illegal import of arms and threats.
20 Q. Did you state that the Presidency of Yugoslavia in mid-January
21 1991 made a decision that all the surplus of illegally seized weapons
22 should be returned and that the reserve police should be disbanded?
23 A. I believe that on the 9th of January the Presidency made the
24 decision that the reserve police force should be reduced to the regular
25 strength, and that all the paramilitary formations should be disbanded.
1 That was the decision.
2 Q. Is it true that in March 1991, there were first armed conflicts in
3 Pakrac between the special police force of Croatia and the Serb police in
5 A. There was a conflict, yes. I don't know who the participants in
6 the conflict were. I only know what I read in the press.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. That will do.
8 Are you aware of the fact although you stated that yesterday that
9 the proposal of the Federal Secretariat for National Defence in mid-March
10 1999 [as interpreted] was to introduce martial law but that it was denied
11 at the Presidency meeting?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In connection with that, did you mention the session of the
14 Presidency of Yugoslavia which took place on the 12th, 14th and 15th of
15 March? This was a dramatic session at which this decision was not passed.
16 Is that the event that we are talking about?
17 A. Yes. This session took place at the headquarters of the Main
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. After that, there was another conflict in
20 Plitvice on the 31st of March 1991; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is it true that both in Pakrac and in Plitvice, pursuant to the
23 decision of the Presidency of Yugoslavia, the JNA intervened and separated
24 the two parties to the conflict?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Yesterday we mentioned the events in Borovo Selo on the 2nd of May
2 1991. You said that you don't know any details. I'm asking you now
3 whether you have any general information as to the fact that the JNA
4 intervened there in order to separate the parties to the conflict.
5 A. I believe that you mentioned Borovo Selo in the context of
6 removing barricades at the beginning of April 1991, that you didn't
7 mention the 2nd of May. According to my information, and I do have some
8 information, on the events that took place on the 2nd of May. And
9 yesterday your question was about what happened there in April and about
10 the barricades, if I understood your question well.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. On the 2nd of May, was there an armed
12 conflict in Borovo Selo?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you know who the parties to that conflict were?
15 A. On the one side there was the Croatian police and on the other
16 side the -- the local Serbs, Seselj's Chetniks, and Frenki's men.
17 Q. Did you go to Borovo Selo on the 2nd of May 1991?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did the JNA intervene in Borovo Selo and did they prevent further
20 conflicts and casualties?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you speak with Mr. Dzakula about the events in Borovo Selo?
23 He is a native of that area.
24 A. Dzakula is not a native of Borovo Selo but of Pakrac.
25 Q. I meant the general region of Slavonia.
1 A. I spoke to the people from Eastern Slavonia about this incident
2 later on, but not with Dzakula.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Are you familiar with the speech of General
4 Tudjman in Trogir at the beginning of May 1991?
5 A. I remember a speech. I believe that this took place after the
6 events in Split, or about those events at the beginning of May.
7 Q. According to the chronology that I'm aware of, first Mr. Tudjman
8 spoke in Trogir and after that, there was a large scale protest of
9 citizens in Split and the strangling of the soldier Sasko Gesovski. Do
10 you remember that image from the TV?
11 A. Yes. That is something that was broadcast rather often.
12 Q. Can you briefly tell us what happened in Split. What do you know
13 about the incident in Split?
14 A. I can tell you what I heard and saw in the media, and I don't know
15 exactly what happened because I don't have any precise information, save
16 for what was broadcast on TV and what was written in the media. There was
17 an attack. I don't know who attacked whom; the Croatian citizens, the
18 members of the HDZ attacked the command of the JNA there. This is where
19 the conflict took place. One soldier got killed and the one who was
20 strangled, he wasn't killed. He didn't die. But the image was rather
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Under such circumstances, on the 12th and
23 on the 19th of May, something happened. What happened on the 12th and
24 what happened on the 19th of May 1991?
25 A. On the 19th of May, after this incident, Croats mostly voted for
1 the independence of Croatia, and on the 12th of May, Serbs in the SAO
2 Krajina staged their referendum and they voted for staying with Serbia,
3 Montenegro, and other republics that wanted to preserve Yugoslavia as a
5 Q. What happened after that in June, on the 25th of June 1991?
6 A. The Croatian parliament proclaimed the independence of Croatia.
7 Q. On the same day, did Slovenia pass an identical decision? The
8 Republic of Slovenia, that is.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You mentioned the fact that the Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia
11 proclaimed such decisions against the constitution.
12 A. Yes, or something to that effect.
13 Q. After a very short armed conflict in Slovenia, where units of the
14 JNA that had been dispatched by the federal government in order to restore
15 the constitutional order of Yugoslavia, those units were attacked and
16 there was a decision on the temporary withdrawal of the JNA from Slovenia;
17 isn't that right, Mr. Babic?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. There is another thing that happened in July. That was the Brioni
20 memorandum or the moratorium on the decisions of Slovenia and Croatia on
21 secession; is that correct, Mr. Babic?
22 A. When you say "moratorium," you're talking about the decision to
23 defer the implementation of those decisions, the decisions on the
24 independence of Croatia and Slovenia, by three months. In other words,
25 there would have been a deferral of three months to those decisions.
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. From the first multi-party elections in
2 April 1991, in Croatia, until the decision made by Croatia to secede from
3 Yugoslavia on the 25th of June 1991, can you tell us what the position of
4 the Serbs as citizens of Croatia was? Were there any changes there? I
5 don't know whether I was clear enough. I'm talking about the attitude
6 towards the Serbs, the way they were treated, the conditions of life, the
7 way they were treated at work, and so on and so forth.
8 A. There were several stages in the development of those
9 relationships. In different parts of Croatia, the situation differed. At
10 the beginning, until January and February, the situation was that I
11 approached the Commission of -- for Human Rights in Geneva and I spoke
12 about the violation of the rights of Serbs until then. Serbs were being
13 fired from their jobs, especially from the state-held positions.
14 Q. Mr. Babic, you said February, but you didn't mention the year.
15 When was that?
16 A. It was in 1991. That was one situation. Generally speaking, that
17 is. After that, we already spoke about incidents in some parts of
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Can you tell us about people being fired
20 from work? Who fired whom and in what services and institutions?
21 A. According to the information I had, there were some companies that
22 were closed, and then the workers were taken back again, but Serbs were
23 not. What was specific, though, was the dismissal of Serbs from public
24 institutions, especially from government institutions and from the police.
25 I think that the position of the Croatian government was quite precise;
1 that there were too many Serbs in the staff of those institutions in
2 relation to the overall population. That was a characteristic occurrence.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. This policy of dismissal of Serbs, was that
4 implemented in relation to Serbs only because of their ethnicity? Did you
5 speak about that in Geneva?
6 A. Well, that was -- I just felt that that was a violation of the
7 Serbs' basic human rights, or civil rights, because they were Serbs.
8 Q. Do you remember in that period President Tudjman's statement, as
9 president of the HDZ and the president of Croatia, that he was happy that
10 his wife was not Jewish or Serbian?
11 A. Yes. This was quoted, this was something that was frequently
12 cited as his statement.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I think I made a mistake. It's
15 still too early for the break. We still have 15 minutes to go. I
16 apologise, Your Honours. I just thought that it was already time for the
18 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Just before you go on, is the witness aware of
19 what nationality the wife actually was? Or what ethnic group she belonged
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Tudjman's wife?
22 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Indeed.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it was generally known, at
24 least based on the media information, that she was Croatian, but I never
25 met her.
1 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Along with the problems of the Serbs because they were being
4 dismissed from their jobs, were there any issues relating to some
5 statements of loyalty?
6 A. The statements of loyalty, that was something that started in the
7 spring, in March and April of 1991, through the trade unions.
8 Q. Can you please tell us, Mr. Babic, what the gist of that request
9 was, and how did the Serbs understand that?
10 A. Well, the gist was for them to accept Croatia as their state.
11 That's what it was about. The entire time that Croatia was disassociating
12 itself from Yugoslavia, Krajina was disassociating itself from Croatia.
13 Q. And how did the Serb population understand such a request by the
14 new Croatian authorities?
15 A. As pressure.
16 Q. Besides the pressure that the Serb population in Croatia was
17 exposed to, could you please tell us what the position of the Yugoslav
18 People's Army in Croatia was. What was the position of the JNA and its
19 members there?
20 A. Well, I can tell you what the general position was of the Croatian
21 government. I think that I mentioned once that the position was that the
22 Yugoslav People's Army should not interfere in the resolution of the
23 Yugoslav crisis. That was the position of the Croatian government. When
24 the Yugoslav People's Army did participate in this resolution, then the
25 Croatian government began to blockade the JNA facilities in order to keep
1 the army inside these facilities so that it would not be engaged in the
2 political settling of accounts. Finally, in late August, there was open
3 warfare between the JNA, and the JNA began offensive operations against
5 Q. And how were the JNA facilities in Croatia blockaded?
6 A. Well, I can talk about that based on what I read or heard in the
7 media. These were blockades consisting of citizens, police, the guards,
8 and so on. Barricades were erected using cars on the exits to these
9 buildings or facilities. Later this escalated in summer or early in the
10 fall, when water and electricity were cut off, and then it ultimately led
11 to warfare.
12 Q. Do you know what happened with the JNA columns that were with
13 drawing from Slovenia through Croatian territory?
14 A. I think that the JNA was withdrawing from Slovenia using trains
15 and also moving along coastal roads. One of these trains was captured,
16 but I'm not quite sure exactly what happened. I heard that it had been
17 captured and held in Croatia but I don't know exactly what happened.
18 Q. Do you know who captured this column with weapons? Were these
19 Croatian authorities or someone else?
20 A. It was the Croatian authorities.
21 Q. Do you know anything about explosions which were occurring
22 throughout Dalmatia and in other places where Serb-owned facilities were
23 blown up? This was in 1991.
24 A. Yes. In 1991, I think in May or around that time, May 1991, there
25 were two incidents where buildings were demolished. In Zadar, the HDZ, or
1 Croats, I don't know who, destroyed Serbian facilities. The second
2 incident was in Knin, where the Serbs were demolishing buildings belonging
3 to Croats.
4 Q. Do you know that international institutions mentioned the figure
5 of 10.000 blown-up Serb houses and businesses in that period?
6 A. I don't know the exact figure but what I said actually gives an
7 illustration of that time period.
8 Q. Did you hear anything about disappearances of ethnic Serbs from
9 their apartments while they were on their way back home from work or
10 disappearing from the streets or being taken in without warrants?
11 A. Well, the press wrote about the case of the Zec family in Zagreb.
12 Q. What happened with the Zec family in Zagreb, and when was this,
13 Mr. Babic?
14 A. Well, I couldn't tell you precisely when, but it was during the
15 conflict. It was probably in 1991. There were articles in the press
16 about how the Serb family Zec was taken from its apartment and killed.
17 Q. Could you please tell us who was killed of that family?
18 A. Well, no, I really couldn't tell you anything specifically.
19 Q. Did you hear that there was a child, a girl, 12 or 13 years old
20 from the Zec family who was raped and then killed?
21 A. I don't know specifically. All I remember is that there were
22 articles about the Zec family.
23 Q. Do you know anything about whether the perpetrators were found and
24 punished? Do you know what happened to them?
25 A. Based on what I heard later, somebody was charged for that, but I
1 don't know if they were ever arrested. I know the trial wasn't ever
2 finished. Maybe they escaped. Something like that.
3 Q. Did you hear information that this -- in this incident people from
4 Mr. Tudjman's security actually were involved in the incident?
5 A. No, I don't have information about that.
6 Q. Can you please tell us what happened on the Korani bridge. This
7 is something that is quite known to you, probably. When did this happen?
8 A. In 1991, it was in any case before wide-scale combat began, a
9 group of reservists on their way to the barracks in Karlovac or Logoriste,
10 I don't know exactly, was intercepted by the Croatian police or guards,
11 and I think that they were all killed, or the majority of them were killed
12 at the Korani bridge or in Karlovci -- Karlovac.
13 Q. Did you hear about -- anything about them being tortured before
14 they were killed, that this was a pretty brutal murder and that some of
15 them jumped off the bridge in order to survive?
16 A. I think that I read the account of one survivor, who did describe
17 the event in those terms.
18 Q. Did you hear anything about the disappearances of people in Sisak
19 from the summer of 1991? And did you hear anything about the number of
20 these people?
21 A. I don't know whether it was Sisak. There is a Serbian village
22 called Kinjacka near Sisak. Several Serb civilians were killed there by
23 the Croatian armed forces, or formations.
24 Q. In the period of 1991, does the name Pakracka Poljana mean
25 anything to you, or the facilities there? Do you know anything about
2 A. According to information, the Croatian police, most probably, and
3 Mercep is being mentioned as the executioner of Serbs from that area, I
4 think that even The Hague Tribunal investigated this incident, according
5 to some information.
6 Q. Did this involve the arrest of ethnic Serbs just because they were
7 Serbs, without any court order or warrant, their being taken to specially
8 prepared camps where they were severely beaten, tortured, and then finally
9 liquidated and that the figure is several hundred such people?
10 A. Yes, that's what the information was but I don't know anything
11 specifically. I don't know whether the investigation was completed about
12 these events. There was information later that the bodies were relocated
13 somewhere in Lika but I don't know anything other than what I read from
14 the press.
15 Q. Did you hear of the hijacking or kidnapping and killing of a group
16 of Serbs from Gospic; and do you know approximately when this happened in
18 A. Yes. In the summer of 1991, a group of Serb civilians was taken
19 from Gospic and they were killed near Gospic.
20 Q. Were these judges, prosecutors, police officers, respected Serb
21 figures who were killed in a brutal way? The exhumations later indicated
22 that they had sustained quite serious injuries?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 Q. Do you know that besides the bodies that were found, the bodies of
25 Serb victims, there was also a figure of 125 Serbs who had been kidnapped
1 from Gospic and no traces -- there were no traces of them later once --
2 after they disappeared?
3 A. Yes. This figure was mentioned.
4 Q. Did you hear anything about who the perpetrators of all of these
5 crimes that we mentioned so far were?
6 A. Members of the Croatian police and army.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps this would
8 be a good time for a break.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: We will take a break and come back at 4.00. Court
11 --- Recess taken at 3.31 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.01 p.m.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. We mentioned some events from 1991, Mr. Babic. Now, do you know
16 anything about the suffering of or, rather, the destruction of the Serb
17 villages Bestrma and Cakale in Banija in August 1991, some sort of
18 execution expedition which passed by that way?
19 A. I mentioned the area of Kinjacka. I don't know whether that's
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. We mentioned the import of weapons, illegal
22 import of weapons, into Croatia, and this subject was dealt with in the
23 film about Martin Spegelj. We also mentioned a Presidency decision by
24 which all the weapon surpluses should be collected together. Do you
25 happen to know when the Croatian National Guards Corps, the ZNG in
1 abbreviation, came to be formed?
2 A. Yes, I do know about the creation of the Croatian National Guards
3 Corps. I don't think I can give you a very precise date when it was
4 established but it was spring of 1991 certainly, perhaps by, say, May or
5 June. I think that's when the Croatian National Guards Corps was
7 Q. Do you remember a review of the units that was held at the
8 football stadium, I think, at the Maksimir football stadium, I think, in
9 Zagreb, in May, 1991, May or June?
10 A. Well, I said that that was roughly the time when they were
11 established, or when they appeared in public.
12 Q. The Croatian National Guards Corps, did that mean the beginning of
13 a new Croatian army? Were those the seeds of a new Croatian army?
14 A. I think officially it was defined as a police force of the
15 Ministry of Defence, but actually it was the Croatian army.
16 Q. Did this take place in 1991, at the time when Yugoslavia was a
17 single state, when it had a single armed force, one Territorial Defence,
18 when the Yugoslav constitution was in force and the federal laws and when
19 the establishment of formations of that kind was not legally possible?
20 MR. WHITING: Objection, Your Honour. Well, I withdraw the
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: I have a question, Mr. Milovancevic. You say, Did
23 this take place in 1991? What took place in 1991? The full question is:
24 "Did this take place in 1991, at a time when Yugoslavia was a single
25 state, when it had a single armed force, one Territorial Defence, when the
1 Yugoslavia constitution was in force and the federal laws and when the
2 establishment of formations of that kind was not legally possible."
3 What --
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand your
5 question, Your Honour. Thank you for asking that question. I cut the
6 question in half.
7 Q. The creation of the new Croatian armed forces and units, did that
8 happen when the federal constitution on the territory of Yugoslavia was
9 still in force?
10 A. Absolutely. That was at the time when Croatia had proclaimed that
11 it would settle what it owed to Yugoslavia and proclaim its independence.
12 Q. This separation, was it a unilateral act on the part of Croatia?
13 A. Well, I'll have to give you a longer answer in order to be able to
14 ask your question -- answer your question about this disassociation. The
15 declaration on disassociation was a document that Croatia proclaimed on, I
16 think it was the 20th of February, on the disassociation of Croatia, and
17 this was a conditional disassociation, that is to say separation from
18 Yugoslavia as a condition. And after the referendum, Croatia, in the
19 referendum of May 1991, proclaimed its independence. However, how did
20 this referendum come about? And this is the answer to your question
21 whether it was unilateral. The referendum came about on the basis of an
22 agreement between the presidents of the republics of Yugoslavia who had
23 taken part in settling and resolving the crises, that is to say
24 referendums were held both in Croatia and in Krajina, and they were the
25 product of an agreement between the presidents of the republics of
1 Yugoslavia so that it was, as I say, a product or the result, shall I say,
2 of an agreement as to how the crisis should be solved on the territory of
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. I understand what you're saying.
5 The Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia, at the request of the
6 federal government in mid-1991, all the decisions of Croatia and Slovenia
7 linked to secession, did it proclaim them unconstitutional?
8 A. Yes, something along those lines, I've already said, roughly
9 speaking, that would be it.
10 Q. We also mentioned the situation when the European Community became
11 involved in settling the Yugoslav crisis and the Brioni memorandum of the
12 7th and 8th of July 1991. And I think you said that the memorandum
13 provided for a three-month pause during which time the republics of
14 Slovenia and Croatia would not go ahead with their decision to secede. Is
15 that right, Mr. Babic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did the agreement also provide for the fact that other steps would
18 also be taken which would lead to a political settlement?
19 A. Yes. The substance of it was to find a political solution to the
20 crisis, generally speaking.
21 Q. Now, this three-month deadline, that is to say the 7th and 8th of
22 1991, or rather that it expired on the 8th of October 1991, would that be
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you know that the Croatian armed formations in the course of
1 September 1991 took up a series of very large barracks, amongst other
2 places in Slavonia, in Bjelovar, in Virovitica, for example, as well as
3 Varazdin and other places? Did you hear about that happening?
4 A. Well, yes, I think that Tudjman himself made statements to that
5 effect at the time, when he said that the Knin Corps still remained out of
6 control, of all the other corps in Croatia, at that time or somewhat
8 Q. So when the Croatian leadership pledged to the European Community
9 that it would stop and not go ahead with its decision for a certain period
10 of time, it went ahead and took over the corps?
11 A. Well, the real war against the JNA began -- or with the JNA, began
12 in August, and up until then, as I've already said, there was a blockade
13 of the various facilities.
14 Q. Do you know anything about the suffering of the population of
15 Western Slavonia during the operations of the Croatian armed forces that
16 took place in October, November and December 1991 and the cleansing of 192
17 Serb settlements?
18 A. Yes, I do know about those events, with the proviso that the
19 events were a little more complicated, I seem to remember.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] May we have a document placed
22 on the monitor. It is 1D0019, a Defence document. The document is the
23 book by Dr. Zdravko Tomac. "Behind Closed Doors" is the title. Before we
24 see the document on our monitors, I should like to ask that 65 ter Exhibit
25 43 be tendered into evidence. It is the intercept on 22 pages.
1 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I don't have an objection with the
2 understanding that there were only very small portions of those 22 pages
3 that were talked about, and were discussed by the witness. There are only
4 -- my recollection is of the 22 pages, only two or three pages, so I have
5 no objection to the exhibit going in with the understanding that it is for
6 the purpose of those portions that were discussed by the witness and not
7 the other portions of the document which relate to other matters -- well,
8 relate to other intercepts or other things, I don't know.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Whiting. The document will be
10 admitted into evidence. May it please be given an exhibit number.
11 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit number 237, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
13 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Babic, do you know that on the 3rd or 4th of August 1991, in
16 Croatia, after the elections, the first government of democratic unity was
17 formed? That's what it was called.
18 A. Well, yes, roughly at that time. I don't know the exact date, but
20 Q. Do you know that Dr. Zdravko Tomac was one of the vice-presidents
21 of that government, or vice-premier; the Prime Minister was Dr. Greguric.
22 Am I right?
23 A. Well, I'm not sure about Tomac but I do know that he was one of
24 the officials. What his post actually was, or his title, I'm not quite
1 Q. Now, if we can have the monitor -- the document placed on the
2 monitor, on the overhead projector by Dr. Tomac, "Behind Closed Doors" is
3 the title, I would like us to turn to page 55 in the Serbian version and
4 it is 1D00-0153 is the number of it. Otherwise, it is page 3 of the
5 English translation.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Am I the only one who is lost? I seem to be
7 having --
8 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Before the document appears on the monitor, Mr. Babic, not to
11 waste time, I'm going to ask you a few questions. Did the Yugoslav
12 People's Army, as the federal armed force in the entire post-war period
13 from 1945, that is, until 1991, exist, with all its garrisons, all its
14 units and facilities, throughout the territory of Yugoslavia?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. What about the distribution of the garrisons, the warehouses and
17 outposts of the JNA? Was that something that was structured on the basis
18 of federal provisions for the whole of Yugoslavia?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Pursuant to the Yugoslav constitution, did the Yugoslav state
21 Presidency, as a collective president, or rather was it the Supreme
22 Commander of the armed forces in peacetime and the Supreme Command with
23 the federal secretary of national defence as a staff of the Supreme
24 Command in wartime?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And the Yugoslav People's Army as a federal armed force, did it
2 have a highly developed system of education and training for officers,
3 training them for their own requirements; and those military schools and
4 academies, did they exist both in Belgrade and Zagreb and Split and other
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. As for the enrolment of candidates for officers, was that allowed
8 to everybody regardless of their affiliation; religious or ethnic, that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Are you aware of the fact that the JNA, as the federal armed
12 force, was considered and behaved as the guardsman of fraternity and unity
13 of all peoples, regardless of their national, ethnic, or religious
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did the leaderships of Croatia, Slovenia in 1991, before and after
17 the decision on secession, invited members of the Croatian people and the
18 Slovenian people not to serve in the JNA? Do you know anything about
20 A. What you're talking about is something that was quite well known.
21 And there were two processes. One process was of officers leaving the JNA
22 and joining the national armies, and the second process was replacement of
23 Serbian and -- staff by the Slovenian and Croatian staff. That is another
24 part of the process.
25 Q. Do you know that in addition to the army General Kadijevic, a
1 number of key positions in the JNA was reserved for members of all the
2 Yugoslav peoples; the Macedonians, the Slovenes, the Croats?
3 MR. WHITING: Excuse me, could we know what time period we are
4 talking about here? Because I think that's important.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. The period in question is when the crisis in Yugoslavia escalated.
7 That is May 1991.
8 A. Yes. Up until May, there was the so-called ethnic distribution in
9 the JNA and the staff was employed according to the ethnic structure;
10 i.e., the ethnic structure amongst the general population of Yugoslavia,
11 more or less so.
12 Q. You have said that pursuant to the decision of the Yugoslav top
13 leadership, first there was a blockade of JNA barracks and then those
14 barracks were attacked; is that correct?
15 A. Yes. I spoke about the evolvement of conflict with the JNA.
16 Q. Are you aware of the fact that that -- during the Brioni
17 moratorium, during the period between the 8th of July and the 8th of
18 October, when all the processes were supposed to be frozen, there was an
19 attack on a number of barracks and a lot of military equipment was
20 captured by the Croatian armed forces?
21 A. During that period of time there were two distinct periods. The
22 first one ends with the end of August. At that time, the JNA was in a way
23 passive, so to say, and played a role of a body that separated the party
24 to the conflict; and after the end of August, it became an active
25 participant in the conflict that you've mentioned.
1 Q. Just for the clarity, you mentioned the month of August. What
3 A. 1991.
4 Q. Since the document that we asked for did not appear on the
5 monitor, in order not to waste too much time, I would now like to have the
6 following document on the screen: 65 ter Exhibit number 1227.
7 And before the document appears on the screen, I'm going to tell
8 you, Mr. Babic, that this is a report or an order of the command of the
9 1st Military District, dated 19 December 1991.
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] My associates are telling me
11 that the previous document has just appeared on the screen. I would like
12 to go back to that document, if I may. Can we discuss Mr. Tomac's book?
13 If I'm allowed to do so, I would like to go back to the document, which is
14 now on the screen.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: You would be allowed to do that, Mr. Milovancevic,
16 if we can get it on our screen as well. We still have the spiral thing.
17 Okay. We now have it in --
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Babic, we will have on our screen page 3 of the English
20 version and this is the translation of page 55 of the original of Mr.
21 Tomac's book, and the marking is 1D00-0153. Can we have that page on the
22 screen, please. Can we have the page in question on the screen, please?
23 If we can get the page, then I would like to proceed. If not, I will
24 proceed with another document.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated]. We have a B/C/S copy
1 on the screen, on our screen. Is it possible to get an English
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] On the screen we now have page
4 55 of Mr. Tomac's book. The page is in B/C/S, and for the Trial Chamber
5 it would be good if we could have page 3 of the English translation of
6 that same text. If possible. If not, then we can maybe -- I believe that
7 we have the English version on the screen, and the page is number 3. On
8 page number 3 of the translation of Mr. Tomac's book, at the very top,
9 there is a passage in B/C/S.
10 Q. Mr. Babic, could you please turn to that passage 3 that will be
11 shown to you, and the -- can you scroll up the B/C/S text to show passage
12 number 3? Thank you. That's it.
13 Mr. Tomac, on this page, page 55 of the B/C/S version of his book,
14 which is page 3 in English, says: "That is why in our strategy it was
15 very important to precisely establish the rules of behaviour towards the
16 Yugoslav People's Army, how to act to neutralise it and for it to become a
17 purely Serbian, Montenegrin army as late as possible."
18 I am reading just part of the text, which is a lengthy one.
19 Mr. Babic, did I read the text correctly?
20 A. Yes, you did. I can see that in front of me.
21 Q. And now, can we have on the screen page 56 of this book. Again it
22 is on page 3 of the English translation. This is 1D00-0154.
23 Do you see the text on page 54, where Mr. -- 56, where Mr. Tomac
24 says: "The following stage, in order to win the international support and
25 to prevent the JNA from getting involved in the war against Slovenia and
1 Croatia was to advocate the confederal option and accepting a long-term
2 negotiation, although it was well known that the negotiations would
3 eventually fall through"? Can you see that text on the screen, Mr. Babic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In this text, does Mr. Tomac, as a Vice-Prime Minister of the
6 Croatian government, talks about the negotiations that were staged just to
7 buy time, although it was well known that the negotiations would
8 eventually fall through? Is that the meaning of this passage?
9 A. Yes. This is what he means, more or less.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. And now can we have on the screen page
11 number 81 in B/C/S. This is 1D00-0178. The English translation is still
12 on page 3 of the translation.
13 On this page, Mr. Babic, it says somewhere in the middle of the
14 text: "On the 4th of August, 1991, the parliament was given to know the
15 new government, the government of democratic unity, in the following
16 composition: Dr. Franjo Greguric, Prime Minister; Dr. Mato Granic,
17 Dr. Milan Ramljak, Dr. Zdravko Tomac, vice-presidents.
18 Mr. Tomac, who was the -- one of the vice-presidents of the
19 government, is the author of this book. Does it say in this passage that
20 Mr. Tomac was indeed a Vice-Prime Minister?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we have page 84 on the
23 screen, the middle of that page in B/C/S. This is page 1D00-0181. And
24 the translation of this page is on page 3 of the English version.
25 THE INTERPRETER: May it be noted that the interpreters do not
1 have the English version on their screens.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is it possible to get an English version for the
3 interpreters on their screens?
4 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, we have this problem as well. The
5 interpreters have only the monitor, the Court monitor, which has the B/C/S
6 version. They do not have the separate monitor which has the English
7 version. If Defence counsel has a hard copy - that's what we did - that
8 could be provided to the interpreters and it would be of assistance to
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are the interpreters not able to interpret what
11 they see in B/C/S?
12 MR. WHITING: I think that just presents a difficulty for them.
13 I'll let them speak for themselves, but my understanding is that trying to
14 do that kind of interpretation is difficult and what they prefer to have
15 is the text that's already been interpreted so that they have that to
16 assist them.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Whiting. If you're able to help the
18 interpreters with a hard copy, Mr. Milovancevic, are you able to do that?
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour I have just one
20 copy. I did not expect this problem. Otherwise, I would be only glad to
21 give a copy to the interpreters because it is in our best interests for
22 this to be as expeditious as possible, although the passages are very
23 brief, the ones that we are going to use, so if the interpreters would be
24 so kind as to interpret from the B/C/S that they have on the monitors.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: All right. Then may we ask, then, the interpreters
1 to be so kind as to try and interpret from the B/C/S that they have on
2 their monitors.
3 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. We have come to page 83. I believe that I have given you the
6 number in B/C/S, and on the screen we have page 84. Can we scroll back to
7 page 83, please. On page 83, somewhere in the middle of the first
8 passage, Mr. Tomac says, "Because of the Brioni moratorium, Croatia could
9 not pass a law on national defence."
10 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Could you go a little slower because of the
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I
13 shall repeat.
14 Q. "Due to the Brioni moratorium, Croatia could not pass a law on
15 national defence. It could not organise its own military. That is why we
16 were forced until the moment the Brioni moratorium expired, to look for
17 solutions out of the institutions in order to organise our defence. That
18 is why the Croatian military was being created within the Ministry of the
19 Interior and the police."
20 Is this what it says in this text, Mr. Babic?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is this in keeping with the information that you are aware of, you
23 have spoken about that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can we see page 84 on the screen now, the middle of the page, the
1 marking is 1D00-0181, and in the English it's still on page 3. In the
2 middle of the paragraph that's marked with number 2, on page 84 of the
3 B/C/S version, Mr. Tomac says: "War was never declared and proclaimed in
4 Croatia. We could not declare it and proclaim it. We waged war against
5 the federal state, whose laws we formally had to implement, so that we had
6 to seek ways how not to implement them, how to gradually dismantle them
7 and practically in an illegal way how to create our own state, until the
8 expiration of the Brioni moratorium in the beginning of October."
9 Is that the text on page 84, Mr. Babic?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. Could we now look at page 85 on the monitor, in the B/C/S.
12 Marking is 1D00-01812, and it's is it still on page 2 -- on page 3 of the
13 English translation. In this text, Mr. Babic, Mr. Tomac explained how
14 this was done during the Brioni moratorium, and he says -- it's at the top
15 of the page, page 85: "That is why we had to act in three ways: A,
16 create certain institutions, parallel with state organs (regional Crisis
17 Staffs as a concentration of civilian and military power in wartime
18 conditions, organising the defence within the Ministry of Internal Affairs
19 and the police and not the Ministry of Defence).
20 "B, certain defence tasks were to be implemented outside of the
21 state institutions, which could not be trusted because of the infiltration
22 of those who were waging war against us. Thus, some important tasks were
23 implemented through the ruling party and trust worthy, reliable people,
24 (the procurement and distribution of weapons and ammunition, organising
25 special purpose production, and so on).
1 "C, prepare all laws and organisation for the day when the
2 moratorium would be abolished on the implementation of the decision on the
3 declaration of an independent and sovereign Croatian state."
4 Is this what the text states on this page, Mr. Babic?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Does this text confirm that the military power of the new Croatian
7 state was formed within the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the police in
8 the described manner?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In this paragraph, under A, does Mr. Tomac say that certain
11 institutions were in this way formed parallel with the state institutions
12 or state organs?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Does the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Tomac, say that certain
15 defence tasks and certain important tasks were implemented through the
16 ruling party and trustworthy people?
17 A. Yes. That's what it says.
18 Q. What was the ruling party in Croatia at the time, Mr. Babic?
19 A. The HDZ.
20 Q. So Mr. Tomac here, as the vice -- as the Deputy Prime Minister,
21 does he say that the procurement and distribution of weapons and
22 ammunition was carried out through the HDZ as well as the organising of
23 production for special purposes?
24 A. Is that -- yes, that's what it states here.
25 Q. We will still stay on page 85. This is still page 3 of the
1 English translation -- actually, now it's page 4 of the English
2 translation, excuse me. In the last paragraph on page 85, Mr. Tomac
3 states: "Since the government could not be explicitly a war government,
4 we had to be a bit devious so the inner cabinet of the government and the
5 ministers of the most important ministries were declared as the Crisis
6 Staff of the republic. In that way, the government really did take over
7 the functions which a wartime government has, but it did that under the
8 name of Crisis Staff."
9 At the end of this paragraph on page 85, Mr. Tomac says:
10 "Supreme staff was formed comprising soldiers, professionals, while the
11 Crisis Staff or, rather, the government and the executive councils, as the
12 legal and legitimate organs of the state, took over all the logistics and
13 other assignments which a state must carry out during war so that the army
14 could function."
15 Is that what it states here on page 85, Mr. Babic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you know whether there was a Crisis Staff at the republic level
18 in Croatia as well as other Crisis Staffs?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could we now look at page 86 on the monitor. In the B/C/S it's
21 marked 1D00-0183, and it's on page 4 of the English translation. On page
22 86, Mr. Babic, Mr. Tomac explains -- Mr. Tomac is the Deputy Prime
23 Minister of the Croatian government: "As part of that concept, we knew
24 that it was of crucial importance for our defence to engage Croat soldiers
25 and officers from the Yugoslav People's Army, as well as to find a means
1 of having them cross over to our side. In this way, three objectives were
2 being met."
3 A. I'm sorry, but I don't think that that's the text that I'm seeing.
4 Q. I think we see the text now. Can you see it now, Mr. Babic? It's
5 chapter 2, paragraph 2.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Please, let us know if the text doesn't appear on time so that we
8 could intervene.
9 So Mr. Tomac says: "That is how three objectives were achieved.
10 First, we got professional officers, which we were short of. Second, we
11 considerably weakened and destroyed from the inside the Yugoslav People's
12 Army. Third, we created the possibility for numerous paramilitary armed
13 formations of patriots throughout Croatia link up into a united or unified
14 Croatian army under the single -- under single command. Much wisdom,
15 tact, negotiations, secret meetings were needed to get 17.000 officers to
16 cross over to our side."
17 At the end of this paragraph, Mr. Tomac says: "The arrival of
18 numerous generals, admirals, colonels and other officers to our ranks was
19 a decisive turn in the war, because they knew all the failings of the JNA
20 as well as their plans, and were able to prepare the best response to the
22 Does that appear on page 86, Mr. Babic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Are you aware that many Croatian officers, en masse, crossed to
25 the side of the new Croatian state?
1 A. Well, I've already said that I knew about that. I don't know
2 exactly how many of them did that. Also, the Serbian side tried to bring
3 Serb cadres over. I've already talked about what I knew about this
5 Q. Could we look at page 87 in the B/C/S on the monitor now, where
6 Mr. Tomac explains how the officers crossed to their side. Page 87 is
7 marked 1D00-0184. In the English, it's at the bottom of page 4.
8 Mr. Tomac, on page 87, states: "In the implementation of the
9 mentioned strategy, we acted on several levels and used different methods.
10 We made timely decisions whereby all the status rights were guaranteed to
11 the officers of the so-called JNA, who crossed to our side (ranks,
12 salaries, apartments.) We exerted pressure through well-done propaganda.
13 We did not just inform about these appeals. Through certain secret
14 channels and people who worked on important people from the so-called JNA,
15 we acted both individually and ex-institutionally. All in all, we managed
16 to win over to our side very quickly practically all of the Croats. With
17 that, our army grew considerably stronger and the so-called JNA was
18 destroyed from the inside."
19 Is that what it states here, Mr. Babic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Could we look at page 91 on the screen, which is marked
22 1D00-0188. This is a text that is at the bottom, actually, of page 4 in
23 English, and the top of page 5 of the English translation.
24 On page 91, in the middle of the page, just below -- under
25 paragraph 1, begins the text that I'm about to read to you now, Mr. Babic,
1 and it states as follows: "The turnaround in the war occurred precisely
2 at the moment when we began to deal with the Yugoslav People's Army on the
3 entire territory of Croatia like the enemy with whom we were waging war
4 and when we began to behave in relation to it in that way on our entire
6 And now we continue on page 5 in the English translation: "This
7 beginning of the turnaround also occurred in Slavonski Brod when trains
8 which were transporting weapons from Slovenia were very successfully
9 attacked and when we acquired the first tanks, mortars, and the first
10 anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. Still, the turnaround was in the
11 decision to block the barracks and, in preparation of attacks against
12 those barracks and weapons, warehouses which we felt could provide a
13 turnaround in the war, if we managed to seize them. Capturing the
14 barracks gave new impetus to us and changed the ratio of forces in
15 weaponry in our favour. This also helped in the army's decision to
16 withdraw from Croatia. The decision to block barracks on the entire
17 territory of Croatia was reached at a meeting of the Crisis Staff of the
18 Republic of Croatia at the proposal of President Greguric, with the prior
19 agreement of President Tudjman."
20 Is this what it states on page 91, Mr. Babic?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, the attack on the trains transporting weapons to Slavonia, is
23 that what you were talking about during your testimony, Mr. Babic? Do you
24 know about that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did we also mention taking over barracks, large barracks in
2 Slavonia in September?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now may we have page 102 of the B/C/S placed on the monitor. And
5 it is 1D00-198, which is the top of page 5 of the English version. May we
6 scroll down, please. Down the page.
7 Now, on page 102, Mr. Tomac says the following: "When already
8 from the 23rd to the 26th of September I found myself in Rome at a meeting
9 of the federal council of the Transnational Radical Party, at which there
10 were representatives from the parliaments of 40 countries, and where for
11 the first time abroad a resolution was brought completely to the advantage
12 of Croatia, I endeavoured to find an opportune moment and have talks in
13 the Vatican as well, because I thought that the Vatican diplomacy was one
14 of the most important in the world."
15 Is that what it says on page 102, Mr. Babic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, on the next page, 103, and the B/C/S is 1D00-0199, and it's
18 also on page 5 of the English translation, and it says the following in
19 the middle of the paragraph -- it's a long paragraph: "Archbishop Touran
20 and his associates received us very warmly. I asked the support of the
21 Vatican in our definite decision that on the 7th of October we should not
22 extend the moratorium on the application of the declaration of
23 independence and sovereignty of Croatia as an independent state."
24 Is that what it says in the text, Mr. Babic?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. May we now have page 104 displayed, please. And we are still on
2 page 5 of the English.
3 At the very top, it says the following: "What I was promised I
4 was very satisfied with. It was stated that the Vatican was doing
5 everything through its secret diplomacy, both in the east and the west, to
6 stop the war and that a number of states would recognise Slovenia and
7 Croatia simultaneously, and the other republics which so desire. It was
8 even promised, which later came to pass, that the Vatican, both as a
9 state, would make a precedent and would be among the first group of
10 countries to recognise Slovenia and Croatia."
11 Is that what it says on that page?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you know whether the Vatican was indeed amongst the first
14 countries to recognise Croatia's independence in January 1992?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you know whether the Vatican, by recognising on the 13th of
17 January 1992 these states was the first country, the first state, to
18 recognise Croatia?
19 A. I think the first state was in fact Germany.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Now may we have page 110 displayed on the
21 monitor. It is 1D00-0206 of the B/C/S. And in English, it is at the
22 bottom of page 5 and the top of page 6.
23 On page 110, in the middle, Mr. Tomac says as follows: "At a
24 closed session with the presidents of the Crisis Staffs, we analysed in
25 detail how to implement the blockade of the barracks. We decided how we
1 were going to, in our joint actions, de-structure the ranks of the JNA. I
2 demanded that the question of responsibility be decided once and for all
3 of all those who remained in the JNA. Now, when Croatia is formally being
4 constituted as an independent state, anybody who remains in the occupying
5 army, although does not personally take part in military operations and
6 crimes, does bear the moral and political responsibility. I also demanded
7 that through all possible channels, every man amongst the soldiers and
8 officers be reached who were neutral until now and who could join our
9 side, to be told quite openly that we can no longer guarantee their safety
10 or the safety of their families if they stay on the side of the occupier,
11 and that they will be treated as enemies regardless of their personal
13 And at the end of that paragraph, Mr. Tomac said: "This certainly
14 didn't refer to those who, in agreement with us, remained in the barracks
15 and in their places so that should a conflict break out and the need to
16 take over the barracks, that they could work from inside."
17 Is that what it says on page 110, Mr. Babic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, do you know about the blockade of the barracks in Sibenik in
20 1991, the second half of 1991, that particular incident?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And do you know that the commander of the barracks, I think his
23 name was Lakic, a lieutenant colonel of the JNA, that his wife was brought
24 in front of the barracks and she was told to call her husband, Commander
25 Lakic, to hand over the barracks, and she shouted out to him, "Don't
1 surrender, because these people are Ustashas," and then she was killed
2 before his very eyes?
3 A. Well, I heard about that event but I don't know the details of it.
4 Q. Do you know that Lieutenant Colonel Lakic's wife was an ethnic
6 A. No, I don't know that.
7 Q. May we have page 114 displayed on the monitor now, please. And
8 that is document 1D00-0210, which is page 6 of the English.
9 On page 114, Mr. Tomac writes about how the consul of the United
10 States of America -- or rather that he explained to him the fact that we
11 did not attack some barracks and come by weapons and ammunition, had we
12 not come by that, everything would have been over.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, is what you say also in the
14 English translation?
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just a moment for
16 me to check that out.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please.
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] It would seem that I have made
19 a mistake, Your Honour --
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated]
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] -- in the page numbers. The
22 sentence I just read out is to be found -- well, it would appear that it
23 is 114 but in fact it's page 115 that that is on, where it says: "I
24 explained to him the fact that had we not come by ammunition in some of
25 the barracks, everything would have been over." So it's actually page
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... go to 114,
3 you'll get to 115 when the time comes. Go to 114, which is where you
4 referred us to.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Babic, at the bottom of page 114, in the B/C/S version, is
7 that what it says, in the penultimate line? Is this what it says: "I
8 explained the fact that to him that had we not attacked certain barracks
9 and come by arms and ammunition, everything would already have been
10 finished, over"? Thank you, Mr. Babic.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: We don't have that on our screen, Mr. Milovancevic,
12 at page 114.
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the English
14 translation, underneath page 114, where Greguric, the Prime Minister, is
15 mentioned, you have page 115, and by mistake, this text has been attached
16 to page 115, whereas it is in fact at the bottom of page 114. There has
17 been a mix-up there. I don't know whether you're able to see that. But
18 if we continued along the page --
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I see that, Mr. Milovancevic, but then you should
20 have said that, that we should -- we should disregard page 115 and what is
21 said there as page 115 is part of 114. We have only one sentence under
22 page 114. That's all we have.
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes. It's
24 precisely as you've just described it but I didn't notice that until you
25 drew my attention to it. I wasn't aware of this misunderstanding but I
1 have realised that that is so once you have pointed it out to me. So
2 please bear with me. I would have done that beforehand had I noticed the
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: We will bear with you, Mr. Milovancevic.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps this would be a good
6 time for a break, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: It would be. It will give you the time also to
8 sort out your exhibit. Thank you very much. Court adjourned. We'll come
9 back at quarter to six.
10 --- Recess taken at 5.16 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 5.45 p.m.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Whiting?
13 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour. Just briefly for witness
14 planning purposes, I'm wondering -- and I told Defence counsel that I
15 would raise this point. I'm wondering if for witness planning purposes we
16 could get an indication from Defence counsel if they still plan to finish
17 their cross-examination of the witness no later than Tuesday, as they had
18 earlier indicated.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, are you able to answer that?
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We have
21 planned to finish our cross-examination of this witness on Tuesday.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
23 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we see on the screen page
25 220 of Mr. Tomac's book. The marking is 1D00-0297, and this text is on
1 page 7 of the English translation.
2 Q. Before we start reading the text, Mr. Babic, you have mentioned
3 the Rijeka Corps of the JNA. Do you know that General Cad was the
4 commander of the Rijeka Corps?
5 A. I don't remember.
6 Q. On page 220, it reads -- actually, the text speaks about the
7 Rijeka negotiators and it follows the course of the negotiations. It says
8 here: "Three to five times a day and during the night for over two
9 months, they were trying to persuade General Cad and his associates. In
10 cooperation with the psychiatric service of the main medical staff, a
11 psychological and psychiatric profile was made of the commander of the
12 13th Corps. We also got hold of General Cad's son and included him, and
13 many other family members and friends of the key men of the 13th Corps who
14 constantly exerted pressure."
15 Can you see this text on page 220, Mr. Babic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. This pressure on JNA officers, was it exerted by the new Croatian
18 authorities in the course of 1991 in order for them to surrender JNA units
19 to the Croatian authorities? Is that something you're familiar with?
20 A. I can't give you any details of that. I can just tell you
21 something in very general terms along the lines of what I have already
22 told you about the blockade of the barracks.
23 Q. Thank you very much. Can we now have page 229 of the book on the
24 screen. The marking is 1D00-0306. The translation is on page 8.
25 On page 229 in the first paragraph, on the top, the penultimate
1 sentence, Mr. Tomac, the Vice-Prime Minister of the Croatian government,
2 says: "During the three-month siege of Vukovar, all members of the
3 government were at their disposal at any time, day or night. The men in
4 Vukovar could call us any night, even at 3.00 in the morning, if
5 necessary. Most telephone calls were made by Marin Vidic, Bili, and
6 Dr. Bosanac."
7 The next paragraph on page 229 says the following. "In the
8 government we tried to visit the places where the situation was the worst.
9 Because of that, and because of the fact that I was in charge of a large
10 part of Slavonia in the Crisis Staff, and since the situation there was
11 the most difficult, it was only logical that I was the one who went to
12 Slavonski Brod and Slavonia most often."
13 At the end of that paragraph, there is a sentence which reads:
14 "The battle for Slavonia was the most decisive battle in the fight for
15 Croatia. Our enemy suffered a decisive defeat in Slavonia. There were
16 several decisive battles in that struggle. During the three-month siege
17 of Vukovar, the sole force of the elite JNA units was crushed and the
18 planned offensive was stopped, and the goal of the offensive was to
19 conquer whole Slavonia."
20 Is this what it reads on this page, Mr. Babic?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Are you aware of the fact that there was a long battle being
23 conducted in Vukovar?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can we have page 417 on the screen. And that is the last page
1 from the book that we are going to put to the witness. And the marking is
2 1D00-0392, and this is the last passage on page 8 of the translation.
3 On page 417, at the very top of it, Mr. Tomac, Vice-Prime Minister
4 of the Croatian government, says: "I again remember the planned coup
5 d'etat on 25th January 1991, the film about Spegelj, and everything that
6 had happened at the time which merits a separate chapter. Greguric and
7 Spegelj had a very strong bond and a very friendly connection. They were
8 the main people who obtained the first weapons at a time when it meant
9 risking their lives."
10 Do you see this text on page 417, Mr. Babic?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. In this text, Mr. Tomac mentions Mr. Greguric and Mr. Spegelj.
13 Can you please tell us, who was Mr. Greguric and who was Mr. Spegelj at
14 the time?
15 A. In January 1991, you mean?
16 Q. Yes. And before that, and after that. In general terms, if you
17 can just briefly tell us who they are.
18 A. Spegelj was the minister of defence in the government of Croatia
19 at the time. And Greguric, I don't know what he did in January, but he
20 was Prime Minister as of the autumn.
21 Q. So Mr. Greguric was the Prime Minister of the Croatian government,
22 the government of democratic unity?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In this book, Mr. Tomac speaks about the government of Croatia,
25 which tricked everybody by changing the name of the government into the
1 Crisis Staff and thus playing with the Brioni moratorium; isn't that the
2 fact, Mr. Babic?
3 A. If you're referring to the passages that you read out from the
4 book, then I would say yes.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know
7 whether I have moved for this book to be introduced as a Defence exhibit.
8 If I haven't, I would like to do it now.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Whiting.
10 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I would just like to make two points
11 about this exhibit. First, I would forecast that we will argue that it
12 has extremely limited value. Obviously this person has not come and
13 testified. Basically what the Defence counsel has done has -- is read --
14 brought this -- the portions of the book and elicited very little comment
15 from the witness who is actually here, so the part that -- to the extent
16 that there is material here that's beyond what the witness has commented
17 on, I would -- I'm just going to argue that it has very little value.
18 This witness has not come here to testify or be cross-examined.
19 The second point, Your Honour, is that these are very limited
20 excerpts from a 589-page book. We have not had an opportunity, obviously,
21 to review the entire book. We will endeavour to do so and it may come --
22 it may be that we will seek the admission of larger portions in order to
23 give context and completeness to the very limited sentences that are
24 excerpted. There are several sentences from each page, and so I just
25 forecast that we may do that.
1 Given those qualifications, I have no objection to it being
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting, that's your right, at the end of the
4 trial, when you argue, to argue the relevance of the document. It is your
5 right when you re-examine, or at any other stage, to seek the greater part
6 of the book and put it into evidence if you so wish.
7 Mr. Milovancevic, the Chamber wants to repeat what it said to you
8 yesterday. The Chamber said to you yesterday, what is the point of
9 reading through a whole document, getting it on the transcript, and then
10 asking for it to be admitted as an exhibit? Why must it be read twice
11 over? We are burdening the record unnecessarily. What is it that this
12 exhibit is going to tell us which you have not already read?
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I appreciate your
14 words, and I believe that you're right. As Defence counsel, I can move
15 for the admission of those pages that have been presented to the witness
16 before the Trial Chamber. I used the principle of work that the Trial
17 Chamber adopted when it came to the book written by General Kadijevic, and
18 I thought it would be necessary to admit into evidence the entire book in
19 order to be -- to enable the Prosecution to use the entire text, but if
20 you believe that only the excerpts that we have read out should be
21 admitted, I am prepared to move for that. I didn't want to complicate our
22 lives any further, and I thought that my proposal for admission would be
23 the simplest thing to do.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, I appreciate what you say. I
25 don't entirely agree with you. It was made quite clear yesterday that
1 there is no purpose whatsoever in reading a whole document and then asking
2 for the document to be admitted into evidence. It may very well be that
3 there is a case for admitting it into evidence this time because there are
4 parts that you have not read and it is important that the Prosecution gets
5 an opportunity to read the entire document. But that said, and bearing in
6 mind the comment from the Chamber yesterday, the Chamber does not
7 understand why you still did today what you were warned against yesterday.
8 All you could have done is you could have shown the witness this document,
9 and asked that it be tendered into evidence, then ask him the question,
10 the one or two questions that you asked him to comment about the contents
11 and just refer to those parts. You haven't asked this witness extensively
12 about this -- about the passages that you read. All you asked him to do
13 is, Do you agree that that's what's written? And he says yes because
14 that's what he reads there. We all see that that's what's written. We
15 spent the whole of this last session going through this document and this
16 is valuable time that we could have used doing other things.
17 I want to suggest to you that please try to focus on the case.
18 This document doesn't say anything about the period of the indictment. So
19 it is very difficult -- the last point here, the very last point, talks
20 about the 25th of January 1991, which is outside the period of the
21 indictment. It does not help us just to read through the document and
22 then ask at the end that it be admitted into evidence. You could admit it
23 and you could have asked the witness to comment on those one or two points
24 that you asked him to comment on. I hope that this does not recur.
25 The document is admitted in its entirety into evidence. May it
1 please be given an exhibit number.
2 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit number 238, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
4 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic. You may proceed.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your leave, I
6 would like to provide you with an explanation. I propose for this exhibit
7 to be admitted and I have not finished the examination of the witness
8 about the circumstances that are described in the book. That may be my
9 mistake. That's one part of the explanation. The second part of the
10 explanation is that I asked for the admission of the entire document as a
11 matter of principle, to avoid any objections on the part of the
12 Prosecution that we are using only excerpts. In any case, I will adhere
13 to the instructions that you have provided me with, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic. The document in its
15 entirety has already been admitted into evidence. It is now an exhibit.
16 And if the Court -- the Chamber has asked you to proceed, and by saying
17 "Proceed," you are most welcome to ask this witness any further questions
18 from the document, if you want to do so. That explanation really doesn't
19 explain anything. Thank you very much.
20 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Babic, in this book, the Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia
23 writes about the activities of the Croatian government. The first
24 Croatian government of democratic unity in the period from the 4th of
25 August 1991 onwards. I put several questions to you regarding the
1 relationship of the new Croatian authorities, or the attitude of the new
2 Croatian authorities towards the JNA. Do you know that a large number of
3 Croatian officers left the JNA even though they were under oath and they
4 crossed over to the side of the new Croatian authorities?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. These officers, just like all the other officers of any ethnicity,
7 took an oath in the JNA that they would preserve the territorial integrity
8 and the sovereignty of Yugoslavia?
9 A. Well, yes, I assume that they did. That was the practice.
10 Q. I don't know whether I was specific enough. Did the officers,
11 when they took their duties, when they entered the military academy, did
12 they take such an oath?
13 A. Yes, they did, just like any soldier would do.
14 Q. The mentioned Croatian officers who crossed to the Croatian side
15 in the process of secession, were they released from that oath that they
16 gave to the JNA before they crossed over to the other side?
17 A. Well, you're asking me about details. I don't know any details
18 about this. I heard many stories about that but I cannot really say right
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Do you have information that in a certain
21 number of barracks, there were activities from the inside by officers -
22 for example, ethnic Croatians and Slovenians - that they betrayed their
23 colleagues in the barracks and that they were working for the other side?
24 A. I don't know anything about that.
25 Q. Did the Deputy Prime Minister of the Croatian government,
1 Mr. Tomac, say in this book that the new Croatian authorities asked all
2 the Croatian officers to leave the JNA except for those that it left so
3 that they could work on the inside for the Croatian government?
4 A. I didn't read that book. I don't know anything about it other
5 than what you cited here, so I can just repeat what you read out here and
6 what I saw on screen.
7 Q. Do you know whether the Croatian armed forces used weapons which
8 they confiscated in the attacked and seized barracks and weapons depots in
9 the course of 1990 and 1991?
10 A. I assume that they did. Why would they take them otherwise?
11 Q. You, as the president of the Krajina government, did you feel the
12 effects of those weapons in the territory of Krajina? Were you under fire
13 in that period? Are you aware of the armed conflicts with the Croatian
14 armed forces?
15 A. Yes, I know about the armed conflicts.
16 Q. You said that the Croatian leadership first adopted the decision
17 to blockade the barracks and after that decided that the barracks should
18 be attacked. Do you know about that and do you know if the JNA barracks
19 were attacked in the first half of 1991?
20 A. I don't know exactly when the barracks were attacked, but I told
21 you what I knew about the three stages of the barracks blockade.
22 Q. Are you aware that because conflicts broke out in the autumn of
23 1991, several attempts were made to achieve a cease-fire and that there
24 were a total of 14 cease-fires which the JNA, as the regular armed force,
25 concluded with the Croatian side?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Are you aware that in Geneva on the 23rd of November 1991, headed
3 by Special UN Envoy Mr. Vance, an agreement was reached on a cease-fire on
4 the 23rd of November 1991? Do you know that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Was this agreement signed by the president of Croatia,
7 Mr. Tudjman; the president of Serbia, Mr. Milosevic; federal secretary for
8 national defence, General Kadijevic, who also participated in the
9 negotiations under the mediation of Mr. Vance? This is the agreement that
10 we are talking about, isn't it, Mr. Babic?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. Was the purpose -- or let me rephrase the question, excuse me,
13 Mr. Babic. Are you aware whether these cease-fire agreements provided the
14 possibility that the encircled JNA units pull out with their equipment and
15 personnel from these besieged barracks?
16 A. This is one of the final cease-fire agreements on the pullout of
17 the JNA units from Croatia, which was supposed to take place within the
18 whole framework of the implementation of the Vance-Owen plan.
19 Q. Are you aware that in September, October, November and December,
20 very serious fighting was waged between JNA units and Croatian armed
21 forces comprised by the ZNG and the Croatian MUP?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Could we now please show on the monitor Prosecution document from
24 the 65 ter list number 1227. This document in front of you states, in
25 the upper left-hand corner, Military District Command, it was dated the
1 19th of September 1991, and underneath that, it says: "A directive
2 excerpt of the commander of the 1st Military District for the operation in
3 Slavonia." Is that what it states here, Mr. Babic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Under section 1, paramilitary formations of Croatia -- well,
6 perhaps we should look at the document -- the end of the document first to
7 see who signed the document. Could we show the last page of the document
8 on the monitor; it's marked 007692383.
9 In the lower right-hand corner, you can see the name of the
10 commander. Could you please read the name of the commander who drafted
11 this directive.
12 A. It states here, Commander Colonel General Nikola Uzelac.
13 Actually, somebody signed it on his behalf.
14 Q. Next to this signature, is there a stamp there as well as an
15 indication that somebody had signed this document for him?
16 A. Yes. That is correct.
17 Q. Thank you. Could we go back to page 1 of this directive now,
19 On page 1, before it appears on the monitor, Mr. Babic, under
20 section 1, or paragraph 1, headed, "Paramilitary formations of Croatia,"
21 it states: "In the zone of the 1st Military District, it is estimated
22 that the paramilitary formations of the Republic of Croatia number between
23 45 to 50.000 armed people -- men, of which 28 to 32.000 are located in
24 Eastern Slavonia. The main forces are grouped in Osijek, Vukovar, and
25 Vinkovci, a settlement in the immediate vicinity of these towns and around
1 the roads there as well as in the area of Western Slavonia broader sector
2 of Okucani, Pakrac, Slavonski Brod."
3 It further states that: "The forces in Eastern Slavonia are
4 deployed as follows:
5 "A: ZNG numbering from 12.000 to 14.000, in brigades Vukovar,
6 Osijek, Vinkovci and probably Djakovo.
7 "B: MUP forces numbering from 10 to 11.000, grouped in three
8 police units, Osijek, Vukovar, Vinkovci, with about 12 police stations.
9 And then the Vinkovci forces in the local communes there. In Western
10 Slavonia --"
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please slow down and could we
12 have the text in B/C/S on the screen. Thank you very much.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you hear that? You're being asked to slow down,
14 Mr. Milovancevic, because you're moving too fast for the interpreters.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I will try to pay attention to
16 that, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I only see up to paragraph B on my
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we now scroll this first
21 page on the monitor. This is fine, thank you.
22 Q. Mr. Babic, can you see the whole page now?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I'm sorry, I wonder if, before we read
25 this entire document, maybe we could have some foundational questions
1 about whether the witness knows anything about this, because this is
2 outside the area that he was responsible for at that time period. This is
3 Slavonia and he was responsible for the Krajina. So I wonder if, before
4 we get too far afield on this, whether maybe we could find out if the
5 witness will even be able to talk about this.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am showing the
8 witness this document in order to put questions to him relating to
9 specific facts. In 1991, the witness was the president of the SAO Krajina
10 government, defence minister, commander of the Territorial Defence, and
11 claiming that he had no idea what was going on in a part of the Krajina
12 territory for me is not acceptable because it cannot be right. The
13 witness will respond whether he knows anything about this or not.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: The issue that is being raised is for you just to
15 lay a foundation for the document, and find out from the witness whether
16 he does know anything about the document for the simple reason that this
17 document deals with an area which was outside his area of jurisdiction at
18 the time. And laying that kind of foundation is a simple thing. You can
19 ask two, three, perhaps at most five questions to lay that kind of
20 foundation. You don't need to go too far.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will
22 do that.
23 Q. Mr. Babic, are you familiar with General Nikola Uzelac?
24 A. There were two generals with that last name. One of them was the
25 commander of the Banja Luka Corps and one was commander of the Zagreb
2 Q. Do you know anything about the fact that the 5th Banja Luka Corps
3 was carrying out operations in Western Slavonia under the command of
4 General Uzelac?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And these operations, did they encompass the places that are
7 mentioned in this directive; Okucani, Pakrac, and the Novska sector?
8 A. I don't know precisely, but it was that general area, yes.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. You said that Croatia, during the secession
10 period, was creating its armed forces within the framework of the police;
11 is that correct, Mr. Babic?
12 A. I said that as far as I can recall, the National Guards Corps was
13 formed within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
14 Q. And do you know whether the National Guards Corps, the ZNG, in
15 1991, acted with -- within brigade formations? Did you hear if the ZNG
16 had brigades as part of its composition?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you hear about the Osijek, Vukovar and Vinkovci police
19 administrations? Did you hear that they existed as such?
20 A. I assume that they did exist because these are major centres and
21 there were police administrations, so-called police administrations in
22 major administrative centres, and these were major centres so I assume
23 they existed in these towns, but I don't know that specifically.
24 Q. Do you know anything about the arming of the Croatian Democratic
25 Community, the ruling party in Croatia, in the spring and -- in the summer
1 and autumn of 1991?
2 A. Well, what appeared in the Serbian media and what was shown in the
3 footage shown in January 1991. From there.
4 Q. Earlier, I showed you excerpts from the book of the Deputy Prime
5 Minister of the Croatian government, Dr. Zdravko Tomac, stating that in
6 the conditions of the Brioni moratorium, and the obligation of Croatia to
7 respect the moratorium, arming was carried out within the party framework.
8 Does that correspond to the information that you have?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know if, in -- if there were conflicts between the Croatian
11 newly established forces and the regular JNA forces in that area in 1991?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you know that these were quite heavy combat operations and
14 conflicts and that there were victims or casualties on both sides?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you know that in those armed conflicts, it was the Serb
17 settlements inhabited by Serbs that suffered throughout Slavonia?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Do you know that in October, November and December, 1991, tens of
20 thousands of refugees from Slavonia sought refuge by crossing into Bosnia,
21 going into Banja Luka and other places in the face of the Croatian army
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know a fax sent by the Yugoslav government to the United
25 Nations about the fact that in those operations in Western Slavonia by the
1 Croatian army, that many Serbian villages were destroyed, houses
2 destroyed, and the population expelled?
3 A. I don't remember the document but I do remember the circumstances.
4 Q. Did you hear complaints made by the JNA to the effect that the
5 Croatian armed formations used every truce and cease-fire to reorganise
6 themselves, to recoup and attack the JNA again?
7 A. Where and when?
8 Q. I mean the period from the beginning of September 1991 to the end
9 of 1991, during which time as many as 14 truces were agreed.
10 A. As far as I remember, in the Krajina area, the SAO Krajina, the
11 JNA was mostly on the offensive. In Western Slavonia, sometime from
12 November and December, the JNA was withdrawing. So that was the balance
13 of power.
14 Q. Do you know about a memorandum of an agreement concluded between
15 the JNA and the Croatian armed forces with the mediation of the European
16 Community in the person of Ambassador Dirk Jan van Houten? I think that
17 was his name, unless I'm mistaken. That was the 8th of October 1991.
18 A. I don't remember that specifically.
19 Q. May we display on the monitor now, please, a document -- I don't
20 know whether it's already been tendered. Is it already an exhibit?
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before I go ahead,
22 I'd like to tender the previous document, the directive dated September
23 that we discussed earlier on.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought you were still laying a foundation for
25 it, because you picked up an objection while you were asking questions on
1 this document that's on the screen right now. Are you done with it?
2 Thank you very much.
3 Well, the document is admitted into evidence. May it please be
4 given an exhibit number.
5 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I'm not sure what the basis is for
6 admitting this document into evidence. There has been no discussion about
7 the document except that the -- except the identification of the person
8 who signed the document. But as far as the contents of the document,
9 unless I missed something, I don't think there was any discussion about
10 the contents -- the actual contents of the document, any verification by
11 the witness of the contents, or the circumstances, or anything in the
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, Mr. Whiting, I think the Chamber has just
14 decided to go along with the guidelines that it gave on admission of
15 documents at the beginning. It will look at the probative value of the
16 document at the time of assessing the evidence.
17 MR. WHITING: I understand.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit number 239, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
21 Mr. Milovancevic, you wanted to put a document on the screen?
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you, Your Honour. I
23 was going to ask that document -- Prosecution document from the 65 ter
24 list number 2 be put on our screens.
25 Q. It is, Mr. Babic, a memorandum of the agreement signed in Zagreb
1 on the 8th of October 1991 by General Andrija Raseta, president of the
2 Secretariat for National Defence, and Stjepan Adamic, deputy defence
3 minister of Croatia, and Colonel Imre Agotic, member of the Supreme Staff
4 of the Croatian army under the auspices of the European Community.
5 Might this document be shown on the screens.
6 In order to make the best use of our time, Mr. Babic -- ah, the
7 document has appeared on our screens. It's a memorandum of the agreement.
8 And could the second page of this two-page document be shown on the
9 screens. Page 2, please.
10 On page 2, Mr. Babic, it says the following: "That the document
11 was compiled in Zagreb on the 8th of October 1991, the signatories, with
12 their signatures, General Andrija Raseta, Stjepan Adamic, Colonel Imre
13 Agotic, and Ambassador Dirk Jan van Houten.
14 Is that so, Mr. Babic?
15 A. Yes, you can read that there.
16 Q. Now, may we go back to page 1 of the document on the monitor,
18 In point 1, note is taken of the following, that the parties
19 mentioned agreed in the presence of the auspices of the European
20 Community, that they agreed on the following: That a general cease-fire
21 come into force on the territory of Croatia on the 18th of October -- on
22 the 8th of October 1991 at 1800 hours which will be strictly respected by
23 both sides while taking part at the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia.
24 Point 3 says the following: "That the blockades on land and sea
25 imposed by both sides with all their forces along the Adriatic coast and
1 in the hinterland, will be simultaneously disbanded, dismantled with the
2 aim of enabling the free passage of people, foodstuffs and various other
4 The last sentence in this paragraph, point 3, states the
5 following: "The JNA units can leave with their means of transport,
6 technical materiel, untouched weapons, military equipment and other
7 movable military property. "
8 And then point 4 says that: "The blockade of the barracks in
9 Borogaj [phoen], in Zagreb, will be disbanded immediately and that the
10 withdrawal of the troops stationed there would begin immediately and end
11 by 1800 hours on Saturday, the 12th of October 1991."
12 Have you heard about this document? Do you know it, Mr. Babic?
13 A. I don't remember the document specifically, but as I say, there
14 were a number of agreements on a truce and cease-fire and the withdrawal
15 of the JNA from Croatia.
16 Q. So as early on as the 8th of October 1991, the federal authorities
17 and the JNA, as their armed force, drew up an agreement with the
18 government of Croatia by which the surrounded units would withdraw from
19 the territory of Croatia. Isn't that right, Mr. Babic?
20 A. The agreement was on a cease-fire, yes, and the withdrawal, yes,
21 and the agreements were violated the whole time. So what more can I tell
22 you about that? How else can I answer your question?
23 Q. Do you know that by these agreements, it was envisaged that the
24 Croatian side would allow the JNA units under siege to pull out its men
25 and materiel, the equipment it had in the barracks under siege?
1 A. I know of several specific agreements after the fighting that took
2 place, that the Knin Corps discussed, after the Knin Corps actions in
3 Zadar, Sibenik and Sinj, an agreement was reached between the commanders
4 of the corps and the Croatian authorities to lift the siege so that the
5 JNA units could be pulled out along with their equipment and materiel. So
6 I know about those events better than I do the former.
7 Q. Now, do you know whether, along with great -- a great deal of
8 problems and effort, that the agreements were implemented on the ground?
9 Did the units in fact leave Croatia?
10 A. The withdrawal evolved in stages. It lasted for many months and
11 went on until the beginning of 1992.
12 Q. This JNA withdrawal, did it also envisage -- was it also envisaged
13 by the so-called Vance Plan or, rather, the United Nations plan to send
14 peace forces to Yugoslavia at the beginning of 1992?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Is it true and correct that the first foundations for the United
17 Nations peace plan, or the Vance Plan, in Yugoslavia were laid in Geneva
18 on the 23rd of November 1991? And that this was implemented in January,
19 February and the months that followed in 1992?
20 A. The agreement was signed by Milosevic, Tudjman, and Kadijevic
21 through the mediation of Vance on the 23rd of November in Geneva, and the
22 plan was adopted and accepted in the UN Secretary-General's report in
23 February 1992.
24 Q. Mr. Babic, you, as a witness, told us that the real plan of the
25 federal government of Milosevic and the JNA, was to occupy a portion of
1 Croatian territory. Now we see that it was much earlier, if we compare it
2 to the Vance Plan, that the JNA was in fact withdrawing from Croatia and
3 it was doing so under fighting but it was leaving Croatian territory. Do
4 you see any discrepancy between that and your assertions?
5 A. Well, the JNA did withdraw from certain parts of Croatia.
6 However, on the -- it stayed on in the Serb territories. And in
7 territories which were supposed to remain within the new state, right up
8 until the 12th of May 1992.
9 Q. What about the population of SAO Krajina and then Republika Srpska
10 Krajina? Was it physically and biologically jeopardised by the new
11 Croatian authorities and its armed formations in that period? And I'm
12 talking about 1991 and the beginning of 1992 onwards.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: What is meant by "biologically jeopardised,"
14 Mr. Milovancevic?
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Well, I was thinking of the
16 threat of physical destruction, annihilation by the Croatian authorities.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: The physical you have mentioned. I'm asking about
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Well, the explanation I gave
20 should explain what I meant when I said "biological." I meant their
21 survival. So the Serb population in Croatia was threatened with
22 extermination and physical destruction by the Croatian authorities. That
23 was the crux of my question but I can rephrase it so that we do away with
24 any dilemmas, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. You meant extermination. You may
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. As a functionary of the SAO Krajina -- Knin, actually, Republika
4 Srpska Krajina, and as a man who in February 1991 appealed in Geneva to
5 all the relevant organs in the world for protection, for the protection of
6 the lives and rights of people, do you think that the Serbs were
7 jeopardised, were under threat, on the territory of Croatia?
8 A. I've already said -- I've already spoken about the escalation of
9 the conflict. Until February 1992, I said what this related to; violation
10 of human rights, dismissal from jobs, et cetera. I also spoke about the
11 incidents that broke out, the escalation of conflicts and violence in the
12 beginning of the war. Now your question is a very general one.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. That will suffice.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Now, please, may we have -- or,
15 rather, the document that was on the screen, the memorandum of the
16 agreement between the JNA and the Croatian side through the mediation of
17 the European Community, may this be admitted into evidence as a Defence
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence as a Defence
20 exhibit. May it please be given an exhibit number.
21 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit number 240, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Now, may we display on the monitor a Prosecution document from the
25 65 ter list, Exhibit number 1272, please. It is a bulletin, bulletin
1 number 110 of the Federal Secretariat of National Defence, dated December
3 Q. Before this document appears -- ah, here we have it on our
4 screens. Mr. Babic, do you know that the Federal Secretariat for National
5 Defence during 1991 issued bulletins of this kind, that is to say
6 periodical reports to inform the public and, of course, the officer cadre
7 of the JNA?
8 A. I haven't read them. I do know that bulletins of this kind were
9 published, or announcements. Whether they were called bulletins or
10 whatever, I don't know. Probably they were, probably they were referred
11 to as bulletins.
12 Q. May we have page 1 of the document displayed, the bulletin number
13 110. There are several pages to that document but I'd like to have the
14 page 1 displayed. And on this first page, Mr. Babic, you can see that it
15 says the number of the bulletin, which is 110, that it was published in
16 Belgrade on 3rd of December 1991 --
17 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry to interrupt. I wonder if Defence counsel
18 has a translation of the document in English.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you have an English translation,
20 Mr. Milovancevic?
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have a slight
22 problem. I didn't know that the document was not translated, although it
23 is a 65 ter exhibit. I believe that there was a translation. This may be
24 my mistake. Can it be marked for identification and we will subsequently
25 deliver its translation, if the Trial Chamber thinks that this might be
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before we decide on that, Mr. Whiting,
3 apparently this is a Prosecution document. You can enlighten us on
4 whether there is an English translation of the document or not.
5 MR. WHITING: Well, we don't have -- we don't seem to have an
6 English one in the e-court system. I've asked our case manager to search
7 the broader system to see if a translation has been done of the document.
8 Perhaps this could be put aside until Monday to see if we have a
9 translation. It's going to be awkward to try to use this document in
10 court without a translation.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you agreeable to that, Mr. Milovancevic? To
12 delay dealing with this document until there is an English translation?
13 Are you --
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I believe
15 that everybody will be better off; the Trial Chamber, the Prosecution, and
16 also we will be better off if we have an English translation.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic. Then the
18 B/C/S document will be marked for identification. May it please be given
19 an exhibit number.
20 THE REGISTRAR: That will be marked for identification number 241,
21 Your Honours.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
23 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. In this document, which would have appeared on the screen in
1 English, a violation of peace -- cease-fire is described. Do you know any
2 detail about whether after the Geneva agreement on the 23rd November 1991,
3 there was indeed a cease-fire or not?
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, maybe we didn't understand each
5 other. I asked you, and I thought you agreed, whether you would be
6 prepared to defer dealing with this document until we have the English
7 translation. And I thought you said yes.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I am going
9 to do exactly that.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. I just -- I was surprised you were
11 still dealing with it now. You may proceed.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Babic, you've told us that you know that on the 23rd November
14 1991, an agreement was signed laying the foundation of the so-called Vance
15 Plan. This was a cease-fire agreement and laying a foundation for the
16 peacekeeping operation of the United Nations in Yugoslavia; is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Do you know if that cease-fire agreement that was signed in Geneva
20 on the 23rd November 1991, was it honoured? Was it implemented? Or did
21 the fierce fighting continue even after that?
22 A. I can't be sure of that. I know that both sides accused each
23 other of cease-fire violations. I believe that the fighting in Western
24 Slavonia lasted longer.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Do you know if, in addition to the fighting
1 in Western Slavonia, in the second half of 1991, in October, and
2 especially after the 23rd of November 1991, there was fighting elsewhere,
3 in other regions of the former Yugoslavia?
4 A. I can't be sure of that. There was fighting from Vukovar down to
5 Dubrovnik, as far as I know.
6 Q. Do you know anything about what happened to the 9th Knin Corps at
7 the time? Was that corps engaged in an operation of some sort, deblocking
8 the barracks? Were there any fights?
9 A. The Knin Corps was engaged in several operations for deblocking
10 the barracks. This was in Sinj, in Sibenik, in Zadar, and also there was
11 something in Lika.
12 Q. Mr. Babic, you have also mentioned the armed conflict that took
13 place in the village called Kijevo. This happened on the 25th and 26th of
14 August 1991; is that correct, Mr. Babic?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you know whether there were armed Croatian units in Kijevo?
17 A. I know that there was a police station there of the Croatian MUP.
18 Q. Do you know, how many armed men did this police station have on
19 its strength?
20 A. I don't remember.
21 Q. Do you know how many Croatian policemen were arrested by the JNA
22 during that operation on the 26th of August 1991?
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. If I told you that there were 52 prisoners in Kijevo, or 62, would
25 that mean anything to you?
1 A. I wouldn't know anything about that, or I don't remember. It
2 wouldn't mean anything. I can believe you if you say that that was the
4 Q. Do you have any information about an armed conflict in Kijevo?
5 Was there one or wasn't there?
6 A. There was.
7 Q. Do you know that the European Community; i.e., Lord Carrington,
8 intervened with the Yugoslav authorities about the fighting in Kijevo on
9 account of the destruction of religious buildings?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know whether the church in the village of Kijevo was indeed
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you know who inflicted that damage?
15 A. As far as I've heard, the church was shelled from tanks, at the
16 beginning of the attack on Kijevo, and later on it was blown up.
17 Q. You say as far as you've heard. When did you hear, who did you
18 hear it from?
19 A. I heard it from some people who were members of the JNA. They
20 told me that at the beginning of the attack on Kijevo, there was tank fire
21 opened on the church in Kijevo and every hit, every hit was applauded and
22 later on I heard that it was destroyed, the church. I don't know how many
23 days later I heard that.
24 Q. Do you know whether, in the Kijevo church, there were armed
25 members of Croatian units and whether they opened fire from the church
2 A. I wouldn't know. I don't know those details.
3 Q. Do you know that a film was made, a TV film was made, about the
4 situation in Kijevo, after the armed conflict, and this film features the
5 church and the surrounding houses that were damaged?
6 A. I only remember one clip from Kijevo and I've already spoken about
7 that here. I saw it on Belgrade TV, and there was something about the
8 flag being taken down by Martic, and some statements by the reservists.
9 That's what I remember.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.
11 Can we have on the monitor 65 ter Exhibit number 245. And before
12 we actually see the document, on the document let me tell you, Mr. Babic,
13 that this is a letter issued by the SAO Krajina SUP from Knin to the
14 Presidency of Yugoslavia, the federal Presidency, and the Ministry of the
15 Interior of Croatia in Zagreb. You can see this letter on the screen now.
16 Can we scroll down in order to see the entire text on the monitor. As far
17 as I can tell, this is not the document that I looked for. Let me see if
18 I gave you the right number. I asked for the document number 244. This
19 is a different document.
20 Mr. Babic, my question was not relative to the document you can
21 see in front of you at the moment. And before we resolve the -- this
22 issue, can you please tell us, Mr. Babic, whether you heard of the letter
23 that the -- that Milan Martic sent on the 3rd of March 1995, to the
24 Presidency of Yugoslavia, the federal SUP, and the Ministry of the
25 Interior of Croatia relative to the situation in Kijevo.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. This document has already been admitted into evidence. In this
3 document, Mr. Babic, as the secretary of the SUP, did he inform the
4 Presidency in Belgrade, the federal SUP and the MUP in Zagreb, that there
5 were blockades in Kijevo, that the locals were blocking the passage
6 through the village, they were preventing people from exercising their
7 official tasks and that the SUP got in touch with the police
8 administration in Sibenik in view of some negotiations about Kijevo? Do
9 you remember that?
10 A. Yes, I do remember these events, and I've already told you that.
11 And I've also told you that there were barricades around Kijevo for a long
12 time. Those had been put up by the Serbs from local -- from surrounding
13 villages and at one point the villagers of Kijevo responded in a similar
14 way, and this was my comment to your question.
15 Q. Do you know that Mr. Martic, as the secretary of the Knin SUP,
16 sent a similar letter again on the 25th of April 1991, and he pointed to
17 the problem of Kijevo and he said that the locals of Kijevo are being --
18 were being used as the scapegoats by the Croatian police? In that letter,
19 he offered the delegation of Kijevo a political solution to all the
20 problems. Are you aware of that letter? That letter was presented to you
21 by the Prosecution.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Is it true, Mr. Babic, that the barricades erected by the locals
24 was one problem and that a second problem was the existence of the
25 Croatian police station which numbered a lot of armed members of the
1 Croatian MUP?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know
4 whether this is a good time to end for today. It is 7.00. I believe that
5 the moment is good.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: It is indeed a good time, Mr. Milovancevic. The
7 matter will stand adjourned to Monday, the 6th of March, at 9.00 in the
8 morning, in Courtroom II.
9 Court adjourned.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Monday, the 6th day of March,
12 2006, at 9.00 a.m.