1 Friday, 18 August 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning, Mr. Licina. I believe you already
7 know it by now but that notwithstanding it's still my duty to remind you
8 once again that you are still bound by the oath -- beg your pardon, the
9 declaration you made at the beginning to tell the truth, the whole truth,
10 and nothing else but the truth. Thank you very much.
11 WITNESS: RATKO LICINA [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, you did indicate yesterday that
14 you have no questions for the witness. Is that still your position?
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] That's precisely it.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Black.
17 MR. BLACK: Good morning, Your Honour. Thank you. I know the
18 witness has to catch a plane so I'll try to be very brief.
19 Further cross-examination by Mr. Black:
20 Q. Mr. Licina, just a couple of questions arising from the questions
21 that were asked of you yesterday by His Honour Judge Moloto and His Honour
22 Judge Hoepfel. You were asked about your view that the Serb nation within
23 Croatia had a right to self-determination.
24 Do you remember that topic?
25 A. I remember.
1 Q. When you say that the Serb nation has a right to
2 self-determination, you're talking about Serbs as an ethnic group, right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And the same is true for Croats, it's the Croats as an ethnic
5 group that you say you also recognise their right to self-determination?
6 You nodded. I think you have to say yes, if you heard the question.
7 A. I'm just waiting for the interpretation to finish. Yes.
8 Q. So my question for you is: What -- under your view of things,
9 what happens to the Croats who live in Serb areas of Croatia, such as in
10 parts of the Krajina?
11 A. As for Croats in Krajina, in fact, Krajina had 88 per cent of Serb
12 population. Our intention was that in case of dissolution, in case of
13 secession, both people should have a public vote and Croatia as such
14 should be re-composed. But that was all up -- subject to negotiations.
15 Croats would in that case have all their civic rights within Serbian
17 Q. But wasn't that the case of Serbs in Croatia, that they had all
18 their civic rights, those -- all civic rights were guaranteed?
19 A. Which Serbs in Croatia do you mean? You mean all of them or
20 generally or do you mean those that would remain as a minority?
21 Q. Both. Under the 1990 constitution, the new constitution, all the
22 rights of minorities were guaranteed, right?
23 A. Those are two different concepts. Croatia was not defined in
24 terms of constitution as a state of citizens so it was -- it was a matter
25 of concept, of design.
1 Q. I guess my point is --
2 A. It was defined as an ethnic state.
3 Q. My point is, under your view, Croats living in the Krajina, they
4 would have no other way to exercise their right to self-determination.
5 They would just simply be guaranteed ordinary civic rights. That's what
6 you're saying would happen to the Croats in Krajina and what I'm putting
7 to you is, that's the same situation as the Serbs in Croatia, right? You
8 were guaranteed your civic rights.
9 A. Croatia as one of the republics was created by agreement of two
10 peoples, the Croatian and the Serbian people. Both peoples had confirmed
11 their wish to live within that state. If the status of that state was
12 about to change, then both peoples should have been asked for their
13 agreement, whereas in reality what occurred is that one people, one of the
14 two peoples, was reduced to the status of national minority. If it had
15 been a state of citizens, a civic state, if that was what Croatia had
16 been, then your question would make sense but otherwise, no.
17 Serbia, for instance, has a formulation in its constitution that
18 Serbia is a state of the citizens of Serbia. That is what is written in
19 the Serbian constitution now, and that was the case even before, in fact,
20 from 1990 onwards.
21 Q. And that's also what the Croatian constitution says, right? It
22 says it's a state of the Croat people and then all the other citizens of
23 Croatia. Isn't that right?
24 A. No. What is written is that it is a state of the Croat people.
25 That is the essential difference. The essential difference is that the
1 Croatia is a state of the Croat people. If Croatia were a state of the
2 citizens of Croatia, that would have been different.
3 Q. I don't want to ask too many more questions about this because I
4 think we go around in circles but isn't it right that as soon as you focus
5 on ethnic groups as the holders of this right of self-determination, that
6 inevitably leads to ethnic separation, that the Croats, Croatians going
7 to -- Croats go to Croatia, the Serbs come into SAO Krajina, then the
8 Croat communities within Serb Krajina have to form their own views; it's
9 just this spiral of ethnic separation; isn't that right?
10 A. No. It's not an ethnic separation. That state had been created
11 in the first place by agreement of two peoples and that was the original
12 formulation in the constitution, that it was a state of two peoples.
13 Nowadays, it's only a state of the Croats.
14 Q. Right. But once the Croatian republic separated from Yugoslavia,
15 Yugoslavia dissolved, and once that happened then you're saying that the
16 ethnic Serbs in Krajina had this right of self-determination so they could
17 separate themselves from Croatia. And I'm saying that once you go down
18 that path, it's just an inevitable path of ethnic separation, isn't it?
19 A. In that case, the dissolution of Yugoslavia, too, leads to ethnic
20 separation. It's exactly the same concept. Why, then, did we have to
21 break up Yugoslavia?
22 Q. Are you familiar with the Badinter Commission, which operated at
23 the beginning of 1992? Are you familiar with that name?
24 A. Yes. Yes, I know that.
25 Q. Do you know that in January of 1992, the Badinter Commission
1 concluded that Serbs in Croatia were entitled to protection of every
2 minority right under international law?
3 A. I heard about that but I don't think it is fair. I don't think
4 it's correct. I cannot go any more deeply into this subject because I'm
5 not an expert, but Serbs considered the decision of the Badinter
6 Commission very detrimental and very wrong.
7 Q. And that was probably also because the Badinter Commission went a
8 little further and said that the right to self-determination could not
9 include a right to change borders or frontiers. Did you also hear about
11 A. With that decision, the Badinter Commission started to interfere
12 with the law as it was written then. The law of Yugoslavia at the time
13 spoke of the sovereignty of peoples, not republics, and that is the
14 essence of the conflict within Yugoslavia.
15 MR. BLACK: Thanks for your patience, Mr. Licina. No more
16 questions, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Black.
18 Mr. Licina, this brings us to the end of your testimony. We thank
19 you very much for coming to testify at the Tribunal notwithstanding what I
20 believe should be a very busy schedule. You are now excused. You may
21 stand down. Once again, thank you very much for coming to testify.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I just ask your
23 permission to say hello to Mr. Martic, if that's not a problem? I haven't
24 seen him for a long time.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: The problem is you can't say it now in court unless
1 you're prepared to wait and see him after court, during the break. But
2 right now it's not going to be possible. Thank you very much.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can wait until the first break, if
4 I have your permission.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Right. You don't have my permission. You'll have
6 to ask from security [Realtime transcript read in error, "skut"]. If they
7 agree, that will be fine. I don't have the power to give you that
8 authority. Okay. Thank you very much.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: I see they say the transcript shows that I said he
12 will have to ask from skut. I said he will have to ask from security.
13 Okay. Mr. Milovancevic?
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. May I
15 ask that the next Defence witness be brought into the courtroom? I don't
16 know if I can pronounce his name right now or is what I have already said
17 sufficient? Because of the protective measures. I have no experience.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: What you have already said is sufficient,
19 Mr. Milovancevic. Don't mention his name, precisely for that reason. I
20 guess the person who brings the witness knows who to bring without the
21 name having to be announced.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session?
24 I'm aware that when the witness came in we were already in private
25 session but we are back in open session.
1 May we move into private session?
2 [Private session]
11 Pages 6711-6712 redacted. Private session.
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
19 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Q. In the town where you used to work and live, what was the ethnic
22 structure of the population, without mentioning the name place, and what
23 was your situation at work in that sense?
24 A. In the town where I started working in the service for internal
25 affairs, it's a town of about 250.000, the population being mainly mixed,
1 with just a slight majority of ethnic Croats, but there was also a large
2 number of Serbs, Muslims and others.
3 The town was culturally and industrially developed, it had its own
4 university, various industries, including the military industry, a lot of
5 military personnel, and at my workplace, Serbs and Croats were half/half,
6 and there were some employees of Muslim faith and Muslim ethnicity.
7 The atmosphere was harmonious in the town in general, without any
8 major incidents, or major conflicts, along ethnic lines, because at that
9 time we had a legal system and services that combatted all such incidents
10 and penalised them very harshly with 30 days' imprisonment. As for
11 relations within the police, relations were harmonious, nobody insulted
12 anybody. There were no ethnic slurs. And that was most strictly
13 prohibited. Sometimes in town, there occurred incidents, especially when
14 football and basketball teams from Belgrade and Serbia would come to
15 visit, (redacted)
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Witness, you said that there were incidents when the clubs would
8 meet. Such incidents are common throughout Europe. You said that they
9 were severely punished here. Why was that?
10 A. This was severely punished because at the time it was known and it
11 was assumed that the small incidents, which were of an ethnic cause, could
12 cause further conflicts among citizens, not just between the police and
13 not just between the police and citizens but could cause mutual conflicts
14 among citizens of different ethnic groups, that's why such rigorous
15 punishment was applied.
16 Q. Regarding what you said about these sports events, did anyone,
17 fans, come from outside to the place where you worked and what happened on
18 such occasions?
19 A. Many fans would come with the particular club, for example fans
20 would come from Belgrade, if the club was from Belgrade. These would be
21 also the matches would be attended by ethnic Serbs from different towns in
22 Croatia, towns around Sibenik and in other places, fans originating from
23 Serbia, who rooted for those clubs. Then they would experience different
24 unpleasant things at the stadium, the police would prevent such excesses
25 at the stadium but on their way to the stadium and from the stadium, most
1 often they used trains to get there, that's when incidents would occur.
2 They would be attacked in trains, the trains would be stoned, things would
3 be broken, insults hurled. This was specific particularly for the region
4 of Zagora. I don't want to mention the specific locations but there were
5 specific locations where the trains carrying the fans from Belgrade would
6 be stoned.
7 Q. You said that this was rigorously punished and prevented so that
8 such incidents would not turn into larger clashes. As for maintaining
9 public peace and order, was that something that was also under control?
10 A. Yes. The situation was under control because the police forces
11 were united regardless of whether they were Serbs or Croats. All of us
12 had the same criteria towards all the fans regardless of whether they came
13 from Serbia or if they were local fans, so we did keep the situation
14 totally under control and such incidents were on a minor scale compared to
15 what happened later. These incidents at that time were negligible.
16 Q. Thank you very much. At the beginning we told the Trial Chamber,
17 but I would like you to tell us what ethnic group you belong to.
18 A. I am an ethnic Serb.
19 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us how many years you worked in this town
20 where you actually first got your employment?
21 A. I spent 11 years working in that town, from 1979 to 1990, July
23 Q. And you worked throughout that whole period there, am I right?
24 A. Yes. I was employed at the SUP throughout that whole period.
25 That's where I worked.
1 Q. Were there any occasions in that period when due to the nature of
2 your job you would go to some other territory or area in Yugoslavia?
3 A. Yes. There were special situations when you would go to another
4 town or another republic in order to help the police forces in that area.
5 This usually had to do with some major sports events, the Olympic Games,
6 the university sports games, other competitions that I specifically did
7 not go to but my colleagues went. My absences from the town where I
8 worked were mostly related to trips to the region of Kosovo and Metohija
9 in 1982. That's when there were major demonstrations by Albanian
10 demonstrators and irredentists and this mapped mostly in Pristina,
11 Podujevo, and Suva Reka. By a decision of the federal government and the
12 presidency police forces from all republics were engaged and provinces of
13 the then Yugoslavia and they all made up one unit and they all went to the
14 Kosovo and Metohija area in order to maintain public order and prevent
15 demonstrations, destruction, and violent secession, which is what the
16 Albanians at the time were seeking. They were seeking Kosovo to become a
17 republic. In 1981, a number of people went from my town where I was
18 employed. I went in 1982, in April. I was deployed or my unit was
19 deployed in the region of Glogovac, Srbica municipalities near Pristina,
20 in Kosovo. We stayed there for a month and a half. During that time we
21 didn't have any contacts with separatists and everything proceeded without
22 any incidents.
23 Q. Thank you very much. You said that you worked for 11 years in the
24 town where you first began to work and you worked at the Secretariat for
25 internal affairs in that town. You also explained that the situation was
1 peaceful and under control and that public order was maintained. Until
2 the end of your employment or stay in that town, did the situation remain
3 unchanged or did anything change?
4 A. The situation as I described it before remained the same until
5 1990, early 1990, which had to do with the emergence of multi-party
6 activities in Yugoslavia, or rather in Croatia, when the situation
8 Q. In 1990, were there any elections held in the Republic of Croatia
9 which was then the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia, if you recall that?
10 A. In 1990 the first multi-party elections were held in Croatia.
11 They were held in April and early May. The preparations of the elections
12 and the pre-election rallies changed the situation to a large degree in
13 the state in the republic and in the town where I lived, the situation
14 changed for the worse.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I request -- I know the interpreters have not
16 complained but I hear that the witness begins to answer while you are
17 still asking your question. If you could try to make sure that you and
18 the witness give pauses in between questions.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I failed to warn
20 the witness to make these pauses, so thank you for your intervention.
21 Q. Sir, because we understand each other and the interpreting service
22 is obliged to interpret my question and your answer, could you please
23 pause between the question and before you begin answering so that we do
24 not overlap and so that everything could be interpreted, thank you.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
1 Mr. Milovancevic. You also forget.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Q. You said that these pre-election rallies in early 1990, before the
4 elections, led to a change in the situation in your town and other places
5 and throughout the Republic of Croatia. Can you tell us briefly what
6 these changes entailed, how was this manifested? How did you find out
7 about these things?
8 A. I found out about that because I am -- I participated directly in
9 those events. The events were obvious because all the parties that were
10 founded were for the most part nationalist parties and their rallies
11 were -- had a sort of nationalist tone. All of them propagated being
12 freed or liberated from something. So these parties and primarily I'm
13 talking about the Croatian Democratic Union and there was the federal
14 government in Belgrade, actually the attitude of the HDZ was that the
15 federal government in Belgrade was taking all the money from all the
16 republics, particularly tourist revenues from Croatia and that everyone in
17 the other republics was living on the money from Croatia and they promised
18 that if we got an independent state, no one would be able to live at the
19 expense of Croatian citizens. They always used the word Croats, not
20 citizens. We Serbs and others in these talks were not even mentioned in a
21 good light because when there was such talk, it was always "we Croats,"
22 they never addressed the citizens of Croatia, "Croats and others." Such
23 rallies irritated the others, and Croats themselves to a certain extent
24 who were not all in favour of them because they knew what this would lead
25 to because many people still remembered the Second World War, the
1 fratricidal war in which Serbs and Croats waged civil war.
2 Q. You said that these election rallies were a place where it was
3 said that Croatia was being exploited by the rest of Yugoslavia. That's
4 how I understood what you said. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Do you
5 have information if something like this is true or not, if it's correct or
7 A. What you said is correct, that it was the slogan of these election
8 rally speakers. What I can say is that there is no basis for believing
9 that something like that is true because at that time the Prime Minister
10 or the federal government president was Ante Markovic, a Croat, and before
11 that, former presidents of the federal government for the most part were
12 also Croats. I can just mention Mikelic, Mijlka Plenans [phoen], before
13 that, the late Dzemal Bijedic, who was a Muslim. I don't recall any Serb
14 before that being Prime Minister. I don't recall anything like that, so I
15 think that they, as Prime Ministers and members of the government, there
16 were ministers from various republics, would not permit any kind of
17 inequality, would not allow their country to be robbed and money to go to
18 other places without any need for something like that.
19 Q. Thank you. So in relation to your answer, so what is your
20 opinion, why was this being stated in the election rallies? What was the
21 objective of such speeches?
22 A. In my opinion, the objective was to awaken nationalist feelings
23 amongst the voters, amongst the citizens of Croatia, Croats, to secure
24 their votes and also to win power, in order to implement ideas that they
25 had conceived at that time. So the idea was to secure legitimacy, to win
1 power in elections and the easiest way to do that was to touch upon
2 nationalist feelings by saying that Croats for a thousand years waited to
3 get their own state.
4 Q. So in relation to that, can you tell us, if you know, who at that
5 time was at the head of the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia, Croats or
6 someone else, Croatian leadership or a different leadership?
7 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry, in reference to that question, I'm not
8 sure right now what time we are talking about. "At that time" if we could
9 have clarification on that.
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I thank my learned friend.
11 Perhaps I was a little bit imprecise. We are talking about early 1990 and
12 the election campaign prior to the first multi-party elections in April
13 and May 1990. So when I said "at that time," what I meant was early 1990.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] It was inadvertent and I thank
7 my learned friend from the Prosecution.
8 Q. Sir, can you give us a brief answer, please?
9 A. At the time all the responsible posts in the Republic of Croatia
10 were held for the most part by Croats, and there was a number of Serbs.
11 Vilim Mulc, a Croat, at the time was head of the republican MUP -- the
12 member of the Croatian -- the Croatian member of the federal Presidency
13 was Stipe Suvar. All the main posts were held by Croats. And in these
14 election rallies, they were described as communists and servants of
16 Q. These election rallies, was there any talk about the national
17 question in any way?
18 A. It was discussed in the sense that it was always stressed that
19 there were many policemen, Serbs, in the police forces, and that there
20 will have to be a reorganisation of the police itself in order to balance
21 out these percentages, in order to have the percentages correspond to the
22 population percentages. So the percentages in the police would have to
23 correspond to the actual percentages amongst the population.
24 Q. And what was the response to such a topic? How was that
25 received? Talk about the number of employees of an ethnic group other
1 than one's own ethnic group, these kind of comparisons? How was this
2 received in the public, in the press, and in communication amongst people,
3 if you can tell us?
4 A. After living together in peace for a long time, frequent reference
5 to such topics and the offering of various solutions caused confusion and
6 anxiety among citizens, including members of the police force, not only
7 Serbs who were already beginning to see that something nasty was going to
8 happen, but also Croats, who were mostly pro-Yugoslav and they realised
9 they would have to be apologetic before the new authorities as regards
10 their prior record in the service, and they were already beginning to
11 grumble. New iconography already appeared, new flags, without the
12 five-pointed star and with the Croatian chequerboard instead, which the
13 Croats called the old, ancient, historic coat of arms of the Croats.
14 However, such flags caused anxiety among the Serbs because it was the same
15 as the flag of the Independent State of Croatia from the times of the
16 Second World War when Croatia was an ally of Hitler's.
17 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Might I ask a question whilst you're on this
18 area, if you don't mind.
19 Mr. Witness, at the time, you have mentioned the fact that there
20 were many Serb policemen in the police force. Was there at the time or
21 were there more Serb policemen than Croat policemen, or policemen of other
22 ethnic groups? What was the sort of balance, in terms of percentages? I
23 would just like to find out because you've said that there was a lot of
24 concern about that. So I'd like to find out at this stage. Thank you.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, I don't know exactly.
1 I don't have data about the whole territory of Croatia but it is certain
2 that there were more Croats, not many more, though. As for the profession
3 of policemen, that particular profession was far from being a privilege at
4 that time, in that system. It was mainly a profession chosen by poor
5 people and their careers depended mainly on their training and personal
6 capabilities. To be a policeman was not a very attractive job. On the
7 contrary, policemen were the subject of jokes and even slurs among the
8 citizenry and we often experienced problems because of our profession.
9 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I think I did not put my question clear enough.
10 Or I have misunderstood your evidence. I understood you to be saying that
11 there was concern expressed by Croats within the framework of the
12 political system at the time, or certainly the rallies and the parties, to
13 the effect that there were many Serb policemen in the police force. So
14 what I'm trying to discover from you is were there greater numbers of Serb
15 policemen in the force than Croats or policemen of other ethnic groups?
16 And if you could give an idea what -- how it panned out in terms of the
17 numbers of the respective ethnic groups, particularly with reference to
18 the number of Serbs as against, say, Croats. That specifically. And you
19 could keep it short and just say because it could be dealt with fairly
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, from what I know, at that
22 time, it is certain that there were more Croats on the police force, but
23 they did not outnumber Serbs by that much. However, yes, there were more
24 Croats than others, Serbs, Muslims, and others.
25 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: So it's the fact that there were so many Serbs
1 in the force in proportion to the number of Serbs in the population as
2 against Serb policemen actually outnumbering Croat policemen, then? From
3 what I understand. Thank you very much.
4 Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
5 Mr. Milovancevic? Thank you.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
7 Q. Within the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia at
8 the time, I am picking up on the question asked of you by Honourable Judge
9 Nosworthy, there were policemen belonging to various ethnic groups; is
10 that correct, Witness?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. A relatively high percentage of policemen of Serb ethnicity, you
13 would explain in which way? I just want us to come back to this issue
14 once again.
15 A. This high percentage of Serb policemen in the MUP of Croatia is
16 explained by the fact that as I said, the profession of policeman was not
17 an attractive one at the time in the Republic of Croatia because it didn't
18 bring any benefits or privileges, any high earnings. On the contrary, it
19 was a profession of poor people who had family or other background in
20 uniformed professions. Also, it was historically an area of Krajina's
21 border military areas where the population was mostly poor people who
22 traditionally went to work in the army, whereas Croats were oriented
23 towards the coast and tourism where they could get in one month the annual
24 salary of a policeman. But I can tell you that most of the senior
25 personnel on the police force were Croats.
1 Q. For instance, if one found a job in the Ministry of the Interior
2 of the Republic of Croatia, wherever he was stationed, he or she were
3 stationed, were there any requirements to be fulfilled?
4 A. At that time, there were certain requirements that every candidate
5 had to meet in order to be admitted into the ministry or, rather, the
6 republican Secretariat of the Interior of Croatia, as it was called.
7 There were two ways in which one could become an employee of the Ministry
8 of the Interior, either through regular training, that is four years of
9 secondary schooling in Zagreb, in a specialised high school, and also
10 higher schools such as the two year higher school in Zagreb, or by getting
11 extra training, which means after the secondary school and after doing
12 one's military service, there was a training centre with a one-year course
13 in Fazane, near Pula. That was another way because the graduates of that
14 school would become policemen. In addition to that, there were a few
15 other are requirements for a prospective employee. One was called moral
16 and political suitability, meaning that a candidate did not come from a
17 family bent on subversive activities in the past, that nobody served in
18 enemy formations in the past war, that the person and nobody in their
19 family was a member of the quisling, Ustasha units, et cetera.
20 The candidate had to be physically fit and in good health, and
21 that they had no record of a social behaviour or mental illness. There
22 was vetting conducted in one's place of residence and employment to check
23 that the person had no criminal record, no prior convictions, no record of
24 misdemeanours, violations of public law and order, asocial behaviour, et
1 Q. Thank you, Witness. You gave us a very extensive answer on the
2 subject, but my question was directed at something specific.
3 Citizenship, did the candidate have to have a particular citizenship and
4 if so, which?
5 A. At that time, in the Republic of Croatia, anybody was allowed to
6 apply as long as they had the citizenship of the SFRY, SFR Yugoslavia,
7 that is. A candidate could come from Macedonia or any other republic.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, that last statement does explain my
9 question. I was going to ask, could anybody come from anywhere in
10 Yugoslavia. You didn't have to be from Croatia.
11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Just another brief question that I omitted to ask you before. Who
13 decided on applications to the Ministry of the Interior, applications for
15 A. That decision was made by a commission set up at the headquarters
16 in Zagreb.
17 Q. Was it then the Ministry of the Interior of Croatia?
18 A. Yes. Decisions on employment were made in Zagreb and employment
19 contracts were made in Zagreb, whereupon successful applicants were
20 assigned all over the republic, but not to their hometown. It was a rule
21 that nobody was assigned to their hometown. Of course, there were certain
23 Q. Thank you. We are talking about year 1990 still, about election
24 rallies. Can you tell us, what was the outcome of the first multi-party
25 elections in 1990, if you know, and did it reflect in any way on the work
1 of the Ministry of the Interior of Croatia?
2 A. The outcome of the first multi-party elections in Croatia in 1990
3 was the victory of the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, and its coming into
4 power had a negative impact on the state, on the republic. I will
5 explain. At that time, the party had not yet started specific activities
6 to take over power, but the citizenry was already unsettled. There was
7 discontent among the people because they were afraid for their future, and
8 afraid because of all the things they had seen at election rallies, and I
9 have forgotten to mention before that in March 1990, there was a major
10 incident in a place called Benkovac in Dalmatia. It was a rally of the
11 Croatian Democratic Union, and the then president of the party, who later
12 became president of the republic, held a speech during which there was an
13 attempt to attack him as he was speaking at the rostrum, and this resulted
14 in a conflict between the Croats and the Serbs who were standing by and
15 following this rally, and there ensued a general brawl. I watched that on
16 television the next day.
17 The MUP of Croatia issued a report saying that ballistic experts
18 confirmed that the plastic pistol with which a Serb had attempted to kill
19 Mr. Tudjman could not have fired any real bullets. However, this caused
20 major disorder in Benkovac and supporters of the HDZ used this incident to
21 claim at future rallies that Serbs were jeopardising the democratic future
22 of Croatia and trying to prevent free speech, and that was repeated later
23 when three MPs of Croat ethnicity were killed. Such claims were always
24 greeted with ovation and applause, and this was used to inflame the
1 I remember another rally that was held in Split on the coast,
2 because I was in that town at the time, and there were columns of vehicles
3 returning from that rally, and as they passed by the police station, they
4 honked, made various provocations and waved the flags that had not yet
5 been allowed at that time, and that was a violation of the regulations,
6 and they also put stickers on surrounding vehicles, stickers with the
7 chequerboard sign. And all this caused great anxiety among a certain
8 group of the population that feared a repetition of all the things that
9 had already lapped to them between 1941 and 1945.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: I see in the translation that there is an
11 abbreviation, there is a reference to three MPs of Croat ethnicity. What
12 does MP mean in this context?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Member of parliament, deputy to the Croat
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, interpreter.
16 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic. Just wanted to be sure. I
17 suspected that was the case.
18 THE FRENCH INTERPRETER: The interpreter from the French booth
19 would like to say it's not --
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... an assassination attempt
22 against Mr. Tudjman --
23 THE FRENCH INTERPRETER: [Previous translation continues] ...
24 Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... something that happened in
2 1929, so could you just very briefly so that we don't waste too much time,
3 can you please tell us what happened in 1929 so that there is no confusion
5 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I'm sorry, first of all, I think there
6 was an attempt at an intervention from the French booth. They were trying
7 to tell us something, but secondly, as a result of that, I missed the
8 first part of that question and from what I could catch it sounded awfully
9 leading but I can't be terribly sure but I missed the question. I wonder
10 if we could find out what it was that was coming from the French booth and
11 then maybe he could ask the question again.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Before you proceed, Mr. Milovancevic, I
13 also heard something from the French booth. Could the French booth please
14 say what it wanted to say? The interpreters need the --
15 THE INTERPRETER: The French booth said that it was on the
16 transcript Croatian assembly. It's not Croatian assembly in 1929 because
17 it was the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The three MPs who have been killed
18 haven't been killed in the Croatian assembly but in the assembly of
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much for that, Mr. Interpreter, but
21 unfortunately we've got to go by what the witness says and -- but we are
22 grateful for what you have just said. Thank you so much.
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, wait a minute. Did this witness say anything
25 about 1929?
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. He mentioned
2 1929 and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and I think that that part is not in
3 the transcript, but perhaps we can deal with that after the break so what
4 I have told you now I'm going to use to reformulate the question to the
5 witness and I think then there will be also it will shall much clearer to
6 my learned friend Mr. Whiting.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Do you want to reformulate it
8 now or do you want to reformulate it after the break?
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I think we can do that after
10 the break, Your Honour, because it's time for the break.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... we will take a
12 break and come back at quarter to 11.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.16 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 10.48 a.m.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Sir --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me just remind you, Mr. Milovancevic, we are in
19 open session, just to remind you that we are in open session.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Sir, in the transcript, I think it was a little bit unclear what
22 you said, the translation was a little bit unclear. So could you please
23 tell us again what happened with this killing of three Members of
24 Parliament? You mentioned that event. I don't want to mention anything,
25 the year. When you were talking about the events in the assembly of
1 Yugoslavia and the possible assassination against Mr. Tudjman, do you
2 remember that part?
3 A. Yes, yes. I wanted to mention that -- I'm not a historian but I
4 know that this happened in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians in
5 1928 or 1929 in the parliament of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, a member of
6 parliament of Serb ethnicity, after he was insulted by a Croatian member
7 of parliament, took out his pistol and shot at Croat deputies and he
8 killed two or three Members of Parliament of Croat ethnicity. That event
9 happened then. After these incidents in Benkovac in 1990, the leadership
10 of the HDZ used that to compare these two incidents, saying that back
11 then, they were victims of Serbs and in that way presenting themselves as
12 victims now, they were gaining points and favour amongst their own voters.
13 This is what I wanted to say.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: I have a problem. I hear more the witness than the
16 interpreter on my headphone, and the witness comes much louder than the
17 interpreter. I can't even hear what the interpreter is saying. I don't
18 know whether it's just my headphone or --
19 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Judge?
21 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I have a question about these two incidents which
22 you're saying happened. Which two incidents do you mean? The one is what
23 you talked about in 1928 or 1929, and the other one, please, was which?
24 Which one? The other one was the -- in modern times, you mean? The toy
25 pistol or plastic pistol being used against President Tudjman? Can you
1 clarify that? Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The second incident occurred in
3 1990, in March, during the election rallies. This is the second incident,
4 with the plastic pistol. This was in 1990. But at subsequent rallies,
5 they linked this incident with the other one, making it seem as if the
6 intention was to destroy the Croatian leadership and in that way,
7 presenting themselves as victims, they gained more popularity and more
8 points amongst their own voters.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] May I continue, Your Honours?
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic. Thank you very
11 much for the indulgence.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Sir, who was the Minister of Internal Affairs of Croatia up until
14 the multi-party elections that took place in April and May 1990?
15 A. The republican SUP minister before the elections was Vilim Mulc.
16 Q. After the HDZ victory in these first multi-party elections in
17 1990, who became the Minister of the Croatian SUP?
18 A. The new first SUP minister in the Croatian government after the
19 multi-party election was a Croat, Josip Boljkovac. He's the one who
20 replaced Vilim Mulc.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm going to put
23 a few questions now that could possibly identify the witness. These
24 questions relate to his activities or movements within the service. So I
25 would like to request that we move into private session, please.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic. May the
2 Chamber please move into private session.
3 [Private session]
11 Pages 6735-6738 redacted. Private session.
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
5 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. At the time when you assumed your new post, can you please tell us
8 what the structure of the Knin public security station was? How many
9 employees, how many staff did it have?
10 A. At that time, the Knin public security station had between 95 and
11 100 staff. This is the total number of staff. Of that, 70 of them were
12 police officers, inspectors, and others, while the rest, about 30 of them,
13 was technical staff, administrative staff, and the support services.
14 Q. Thank you very much. Witness, can you tell us what the situation
15 was in terms of the work atmosphere at the police station, the
16 interpersonal relations?
17 A. Already at the time when I arrived in mid-July, there were
18 already, how shall I put it, certain tensions and a certain turmoil at the
19 station, and that was because already in early July 1990, 54 or 55 staff
20 members of the Knin SUP had signed a petition addressed to the republican
21 MUP, the federal Ministry of the Interior and some other institutions,
22 stating that they would not accept to wear the chequerboard emblem on
23 their caps and that they would not be called by the new Croatian term for
24 policemen, redarstvenik, and that they would not accept the new Croatian
25 term for the police station, which was postojna, all because these terms
1 associated in their minds with the terminology of the NDH, the Independent
2 State of Croatia of the Second World War.
3 Q. What was the ethnic structure of the public security station in
4 Knin at the time?
5 A. Out of the total of 100 or so employees, around 10, including
6 policemen, inspectors and support staff, were Croats, and I think there
7 were two Muslims. The rest were Serbs.
8 Q. Can you tell us who were the signatories of that petition that you
9 just mentioned, in terms of their ethnicity, I mean, if you know?
10 A. I believe all the signatories of that petition were Serbs.
11 Q. When you say Serbs, you mean policemen, employees of the public
12 security station in Knin?
13 A. Yes. I mean policemen and other employees of the station. I
14 don't mean citizens at large.
15 Q. Did all the employees sign the petition? Did all Serb employees
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: He said 54 or 55 staff members of the Knin SUP had
18 signed the petition so it couldn't be all. Did you hear that,
19 Mr. Milovancevic? If you look at page 36, line 14, the witness said 54 or
20 55 staff members of the Knin SUP had signed the petition. So it cannot be
21 all of them. The majority of them definitely.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] That is clear, Your Honour.
23 Let me move on.
24 Q. Did that petition have any impact on the atmosphere and the
25 situation at the police station and did any proceedings take place?
1 A. Not everybody signed the petition, and I should add something that
2 is important to this case. There was a leaflet, a flyer circulating
3 around the town naming eight Serb employees of that police station who had
4 not signed the petition. So in addition to the signatories, who were 54
5 or 55, there were eight who did not sign and those eight were officers. I
6 don't know if there were more Serbs in the station but if you add the 55
7 who signed and eight who did not, I don't know if that gives us a total of
8 all the Serbs who were employed. I don't know because I wasn't there, and
9 I didn't particularly pay attention to that later. So I cannot tell you
10 the total number of Serb employees.
11 Q. Who was the commander of the public security station in Knin at
12 the time?
13 A. At that time, the commander of the police station was Ivan Brzoja,
14 a Croat.
15 Q. After you took up your new post at this police station, did you
16 proceed to establish contact with higher authorities and agencies within
17 the Ministry of the Interior of Croatia?
18 A. I was in daily contact with them by telephone, telex, and we sent
19 reports daily to the higher command in Sibenik covering all activities
20 that had taken place on our territory in the past 24 hours. In addition
21 to that, at least once a week, I would go to attend meetings in Sibenik
22 where senior staff meetings of the Sibenik SUP took place, and I belonged
23 to that SUP organisationally.
24 Q. Was such conduct on your part in keeping with the regular practice
25 or did it divert from that practice in any way?
1 A. That was the prevailing practice that had become customary over
2 the years, and it was typical.
3 Q. At the time when you assumed your new post in Knin, in mid-July
4 1990, the elections were over. Who was in charge of the municipal
5 authorities in Knin at the time?
6 A. It was the Serbian Democratic Party that had won the elections in
7 Knin, and at that time Milan Babic was president of the municipality and
8 the president of the executive council was Veljko Popovic.
9 Q. When you transferred from your prior workplace to Knin, did you
10 have a meeting with Mr. Babic? Did you meet him? Can you tell us
11 something about that?
12 A. It is customary for representatives of the municipal authorities
13 and members of the public security station to cooperate. Their jobs
14 require it. And they monitored each other's activities. Of course,
15 everybody worked within their field of expertise but there were some
16 points of contact between our respective lines of work and we would meet
17 occasionally to sum up the situation and make proposals. However, my
18 meeting with Mr. Babic and Mr. Veljko Popovic did not take place
19 immediately but 10 or 12 days after I first arrived.
20 Q. Can you tell us what was discussed at that meeting?
21 A. If I can recall it now, it was the usual, the security situation
22 in the territory of the municipality, and since it was summertime, traffic
23 jams were usual for that season in that town, and we must have discussed
24 how to improve the traffic situation, and to keep the station working
25 regularly in its domain.
1 Q. What you just told us, does that fit within the regular scheme of
2 communication between the public security station and the municipal
4 A. Yes. I think that is part of the regular and normal communication
5 between those two agencies.
6 Q. Thank you. Regarding that petition that you mentioned a moment
7 ago, what was your attitude to your staff? Did you know any of them from
8 before, and what approach did you take when you came?
16 [Private session]
11 Pages 6745-6747 redacted. Private session.
12 [Open session]
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Witness, I will say something to you before we proceed. I don't
15 know whether you're aware of this. When the transcript is redacted, we
16 are only trying to prevent your being identified, but the text is still in
17 the transcript. So please don't worry about this. Everything you say is
18 part of your testimony before the Tribunal. Do you understand? Thank
19 you. May I proceed, Your Honours?
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Save to explain that what happens when a redaction
21 takes place is that what -- that part is not published to the outside
22 world. That's the only difference. Am I right?
23 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 Q. Witness, what was your attitude toward those policemen who signed
1 the petition and those who didn't?
2 A. I can say that my attitude toward those who signed the petition
3 was identical as my attitude to those who didn't sign it. This means that
4 they continued to do the tasks and assignments that were intended for them
5 and for the positions they were filling. I made no distinction between
6 them. Nor did I observe any of them asking for privileges, nor would I
7 have granted any privileges to anyone.
8 Q. When you were giving them their work assignments, did you treat
9 them all the same, those who signed and those who didn't sign the
11 A. The duty roster and the work schedule for the policemen working on
12 the beat was drawn up by the police station commander or his deputy,
13 whereas the work schedule of inspectors and detectives was done by their
14 immediate superior, the superior of the crime department. I never drew up
15 such rosters myself, except if there was an important task in hand, as an
17 Q. Well, can you give us an example of such an exception, such an
18 important task?
19 A. Well, I can say that I recall two instances from that time period.
20 In one instance, policemen had -- and inspectors had to be assigned to go
21 and secure the rally in Srb on the 25th of July 1990. I myself drew up
22 the list of those who were assigned to go and assist the Donji Lapac and
23 Gracac police force in securing that rally.
24 Another instance, the second one, was when the police had to help
25 carry out a task when construction workers in the road construction
1 company, Sibenik, had to remove some road signs, the Knin board, and I
2 sent a team consisting of four policemen who had signed the petition and
3 four who hadn't.
4 Q. Before I ask you about these particular events, can you tell us
5 what your impression is as to how the staff of Knin police station carried
6 out their duties, with respect to the existing legislation and rules and
7 regulations on the work of the police station?
8 A. Evaluating the way they carried out their assignments, I can say
9 that they did so very well. They were very successful in maintaining
10 public law and order, and in detecting and solving crimes.
11 Q. You mentioned securing the rally in Srb. Can you tell us when
12 this happened and how many policemen were sent to assist in securing the
14 A. The rally in Srb was held, as far as I can recall, on the 25th of
15 July 1990. On that occasion, the chiefs of the police station in Donji
16 Lapac, to which Srb belonged, assessed the rally as a high-risk event
17 because of the number of participants and because of the prevailing
18 situation in the area at the time. The rally was evaluated as a high-risk
19 event and because there were to be very many participants and the police
20 station had few policemen, they asked for reinforcements from neighbouring
21 public security stations. I received an order therefore to participate
22 with a certain number of men, I think 10 to 15 authorised police officers,
23 and to send them from the Knin public security station to Srb to help
24 secure the rally. This was all done within the Sibenik SUP organisation.
25 I provided some 15 employees who participated in preparing the securing of
1 the rally. This means the following. I designated those 15 policemen and
2 inspectors, and in the early morning, a bus arrived in front of the police
3 station with policemen from Sibenik and Drnis who were also on their way
4 to help secure the rally. The officers from Knin got on to the bus and
5 left to carry out their task. Later on, I heard that they hadn't been
6 deployed in Srb itself but that they were in Gracac police station on
8 Q. You have given a very detailed description of the way this
9 assignment was carried out. Can you tell us briefly what the task of the
10 police at that rally was? Why did the police go there to secure the
11 rally? What did that involve?
12 A. Well, the police always went to rallies in order to maintain
13 public law and order and to prevent any disorder organised by individuals
14 or happening spontaneously.
15 Q. Thank you. At this rally in Srb, were there any incidents? Did
16 the police intervene?
17 A. As far as I know, the police did not need to intervene.
18 Q. When you arrived in the Knin public security station, was
19 Mr. Martic employed there?
20 A. Yes. Mr. Martic was employed in that police station.
21 Q. And what was his post?
22 A. Well, he was an operative in crime prevention. He was an
23 inspector, a police officer.
24 Q. Did Mr. Martic participate in the rally in Srb?
25 A. As far as I know, he didn't, because he was designated to help
1 secure the rally, by me. The entire group, not just he, was on standby in
2 the Gracac public security station.
3 Q. I'll just put one more question about the rally in Srb. Do you
4 know what the topic of the rally in Srb was, what it was about?
5 A. I was never involved in politics, either then or now, but as far
6 as I can recall, a declaration on the sovereignty of the Serb people in
7 Croatia was adopted and the Serb National Council was elected.
8 Q. Thank you. Witness, you mentioned the situation where you sent a
9 mixed team, so to say, a team consisting of those who signed the petition
10 and those who didn't. It concerned the removal of some sign-posts. Can
11 you describe in greater detail what kind of sign-posts were being removed,
12 who ordered their removal, and how this intervention ended?
13 A. Each town or settlement had sign-posts at its entrance bearing the
14 name of the place, informing the travellers what town or place they were
15 entering. So at Knin at four exits and entrances to the town there were
16 sign-posts with the name Knin. They were in the Cyrillic script. In the
17 Socialist Republic of Croatia, Croatia at the time, the law on script and
18 language was still in force in which Cyrillic was equal to the Latin
19 script. So the sign-posts were in the Cyrillic script. The day before,
20 the secretary of the Sibenik SUP, Ante Bujas called me and informed me
21 that Marko Slavica would come to see me. He was the director of the road
22 maintenance company of Sibenik, who were also responsible for the roads in
23 the Knin sector, that he wanted to discuss something with me, and that I
24 should offer him help if he needed in order for him to carry out the
25 assignment that he was going to be carrying out.
1 The next day, this gentleman, Mr. Slavica came to my office, I
2 knew him from before, and he told me that as the director of the road
3 maintenance company was given an order from Zagreb -- I think it was the
4 transport ministry -- that he received an order from them to remove the
5 sign-posts for Knin in the Cyrillic language that were placed at these
6 four entrances and exits to the town, and that other than his workers who
7 were going to remove these sign-posts, he needed police presence who would
8 protect the workers in the event that they were attacked or anything like
9 that. We agreed then that the next day at 8.00 we would carry out this
10 action, his workers should come to the police station with foremen and
11 that I would provide an adequate number of officers, police officers, so
12 that they could then proceed to carry out their task.
13 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me whether you fulfilled this
14 agreement? Did these SUP workers go with these other workers who were
15 supposed it remove these sign-posts, and if so, what happened?
16 A. That day, I allocated eight policemen from the Knin public
17 security station to help in the implementation of that task. I
18 deliberately assigned four workers who signed this petition and four
19 workers who did not sign this petition for this particular job. I did
20 this deliberately so that nobody could say that I was protecting a
21 particular group, those who signed or those who did not sign. So I
22 allocated that there should be pairs going on the assignment, one person
23 who had signed and the other one who had not signed. My staff didn't even
24 know what assignment it was until I told them in the morning, together
25 with the workers of this road maintenance company. I told them what the
1 assignment was and that their task was only to protect the other workers
2 from the road maintenance company to prevent them from getting injured or
3 hurt in there should be any attacks when the sign-posts were being
4 removed. Soon, one patrol and then another patrol informed me that in
5 places where they had arrived, the workers had started to take down the
6 sign-posts, to dig them up, and that a large number of citizens had begun
7 to gather, that they objected to what the workers were doing, they were
8 insulting them, threatening them, so they sought my instructions. I
9 didn't want to make this decision alone so I consulted with secretary
10 Bujas. I told him what the problem was. I told him what it could further
11 cause and he told me to stop the implementation of this task. At one of
12 the places where the task was being carried out, a TV crew appeared and
13 they filmed the entire event. I think that it was a TV crew from Belgrade
14 television. They were making some sort of programme in Knin at the time.
15 They also wanted interview with me but I refused that because I was not
16 authorised to give interviews without prior consent of my superiors.
22 Q. Thank you. Did you hear of a decision to organise a referendum in
23 August 1990?
24 A. Yes. I heard of a decision to have a referendum or to conduct a
25 referendum, and I was actually at the time living in that area, so that I
1 know what this is all about.
2 Q. The referendum was scheduled for late August 1990. Were there any
3 problems in relation to that, that had to do with the work of the public
4 security station in Knin?
5 A. I actually we very briefly discussed the referendum at a very
6 short meeting with my colleagues in Sibenik, when it was stated that the
7 police in Knin should not get involved too much, in view of the fact that
8 the situation was very complicated, that it should not undertake actions
9 or measures in relation to the referendum, but the bodies in other
10 municipalities were told that if they should find some voting leaflets or
11 something, should then question the person where they found this material.
12 Q. Did you have problems in your work that had anything to do with
13 the referendum?
14 A. As for the referendum itself, nothing of that reflected on our
15 work, the referendum itself. But shortly before the referendum was held,
16 a few days before, the security situation in Knin deteriorated, in Knin
17 and its environs.
18 Q. In what sense did the situation deteriorate?
19 A. Well, what happened was that on the 17th of August 1990, weapons
20 were seized from the Knin public security station belonging to the reserve
21 police forces of the Knin station. So that incident, as a consequence,
22 led to changes in the security situation and reflected on the referendum
23 itself and on the general situation in Knin and in a number of other
24 municipalities. You could even say that it had an effect on the situation
25 in the republic and the state.
1 Q. Sir, when you say that the weapons were seized from the Knin
2 public security station, could you please tell us what these weapons were?
3 A. The public security station in Knin, just like all the other
4 stations, municipal stations, on the territory of the Republic of Croatia,
5 as well as on the territory of Yugoslavia, were actually weapons of the
6 police reserve forces. These were long-barrelled weapons, guns, I mean
7 rifles, pistols, fewer pistols, and they were there in case of immediate
8 threat of war or immediate danger. The reserve police would be called in
9 and these weapons would be issued to them so that they would be able to
10 carry out their tasks. Besides these weapons, the station also had trophy
11 hunting weapons which were confiscated from citizens by police officers if
12 there were some violations involving those hunting weapons. These weapons
13 were kept at the police stations.
14 Q. Talking about the reserve forces' weapons, was that ever a topic
15 of conversation between you and your superiors?
16 A. The first time these weapons were discussed was on the 16th of
17 August 1990. In the evening, approximately at 9.00 or 10.00 p.m. in the
18 village of Velim near Stankovci in the house of a colleague of mine, Zoran
19 Perica, who at the time was the chief of the Drnis police station --
18 [Private session]
1 [Open session]
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that now
3 would be a good time to go on our break. Thank you.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We will take a break, come
5 back at half past 12.00.
6 Court adjourned.
7 --- Recess taken at 12.03 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic?
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Before the break, sir, you mentioned weapons of the reserve
12 forces of the police at the public security station in Knin. Can you
13 please tell us who called you to that meeting, where was it held, and who
14 attended it?
15 A. I was summoned to the meeting by the SUP secretary, Ante Bujas.
16 He happened to be in Zagreb and he scheduled the meeting at about 9.00
17 p.m. or 10.00 p.m. in the Velim village near Stankovci, in Velim in the
18 house of the Drnis public security station chief, the meeting was attended
19 by the secretary and the chief of the Sibenik SUP and that is where we met
20 and that is where we held the meeting.
21 Q. Could you please repeat the date that the meeting was held in you
22 mentioned it before the break. I think you said that it was in the
23 evening and you mentioned the date.
24 A. It was on the 16th of August, the 16th of August.
25 Q. Which year?
1 A. 1990. We are talking about 1990 throughout.
2 Q. Thank you. What was agreed at that meeting, if anything was
4 A. The secretary spoke very briefly and he said the decision had been
5 made that weapons from the reserve force in Knin and Sibenik public
6 security stations would be withdrawn because the new recruits needed it.
7 Q. That's what the head of SUP Sibenik told you?
8 A. Yes, the secretary of the Secretariat.
9 Q. Did he tell you how and when to do this?
10 A. That evening, we made a plan how to carry this out. We agreed
11 that we would do it with the assistance of several of the employees who
12 had not signed that petition back then, and that it should be done that
13 night, namely weapons from the depot would be taken and loaded on to a
14 vehicle and then one patrol from Sibenik would arrive and pose as traffic
15 police. In fact, they would be there to secure that shipment of weapons
16 if anyone tried to intercept the vehicle on the road.
17 Q. Can you tell us why it was ordered to do this by night? Was it
19 A. It was said that it's necessary to do that by night so that people
20 wouldn't know about it because if people in Knin found out, they would
21 certainly gather and prevent it, and that is because when the petitions
22 of -- when the petition was signed by that staff in Knin, and when the
23 senior officers from Sibenik came to discuss this petition and see what
24 happened in that case, even then a large number of citizens gathered
25 around the police station and there was some kind of protest meeting. So
1 anticipating that again there could be a rally, a protest rally, it was
2 decided to do that by night. Drnis was a municipality in which the
3 population was mixed, half/half. It was decided that it could maybe be
4 done in the morning on the 17th of August.
5 Q. Did you act upon this order of your seniors? Did you proceed with
6 that assignment to withdraw the weapons from the depot?
7 A. Yes. I tried. I went to Sibenik with my colleague, Mr. Perica,
8 to make -- to discuss the details of the plan, to discuss code words,
9 communications, the patrol that would come to secure the shipment, et
10 cetera. So I set out to Knin. And on my way, I informed one of the staff
11 members of the Knin police station who hadn't signed the petition that he
12 should wait for me at the petrol station at a certain designated time, I
13 think it was 1.00 a.m., about one kilometre from Knin, and at that
14 designated time we met up at the petrol station and I told him what had
15 been agreed and what our assignment was, and if we needed more people to
16 help us, we should go and inform them.
17 Q. Can you tell us the name of that staff member of the Knin public
18 security station, if you remember?
19 A. I remember. He was an inspector, Rajko Junar [phoen].
20 Q. You said you met up around 1.00 a.m. at the petrol station in
21 Knin, and did you indeed go to the police station to withdraw the weapons?
22 A. We didn't because while presenting the assignment and discussing
23 the details, this officer got scared, he placed his hands on his head, he
24 said, "There is no way we can carry it out."
25 Q. What happened then?
1 A. We got into my car, my civilian car, passenger car. We passed by
2 the police station and there was a low wall outside, and there were a
3 couple of citizens, in fact quite a few citizens outside, and there were
4 many in the streets. So it was our assessment that it was impossible to
5 perform that mission without anybody noticing. We would certainly be
6 found out.
7 Q. So did you give up? Was it your own decision to give up?
8 A. No. I went to a business company, I called the secretary, Bujas,
9 from their telephone, and described to him the situation as it was, and I
10 told him it was impossible to perform the assignment and he told me to
11 wait, to hold, and when he picked up again he told me he had consulted
12 with the senior officers in Zagreb and that their decision was to give up
13 the whole mission.
14 Q. Did you go home after that?
15 A. No, I didn't because at that time, I didn't have an apartment in
16 Knin. I would spend the nights at various friends. My own home was 50
17 kilometres away from Knin. I went to my office and got to sleep there. I
18 decided to wait for dawn there because it made no sense to go home and
19 then back. So I spent the night at the office.
20 Q. It was already after midnight, it was already the 17th of August
21 1990. Since that date is very well known in our parts, can you tell us
22 what happened around the public security station?
23 A. Sometime after 2.00 a.m. - I hadn't managed to go to sleep yet - I
24 heard a lot of noise and commotion around the police station. I went down
25 to the ground floor where the duty officer's office was. There were
1 several officers and some citizens there. In fact, it was quite a crowd.
2 And I was informed that weapons were removed from the police station in
3 Obrovac and a similar attempt was made in Benkovac, also at the public
4 security station. A lot of people had gathered and the attempt to remove
5 the weapons was abolished, was renounced. But the citizens already had a
6 hunch that a similar attempt would be made in Knin and there was a lot of
7 speculation going on. They asked me who was going to come, who had the
8 authorisation, I told hem -- I tried to call them down, I told them that
9 nothing would happen. I did not reveal to them that I was in fact
10 entrusted with removing the weapons, that it was my assignment. I told
11 them to go home and to calm down.
12 Since the situation was very tense and there was a lot of work to
13 do, and I had no appropriate dwelling in Knin, I went back to the office
14 and nothing more happened until the morning.
15 Q. Did something happen the next morning?
16 A. The next day, on the 17th of August, in the morning hours,
17 clusters of people gathered all about town, they discussed the removal of
18 weapons in Obrovac, in Benkovac, and they were wondering how come nothing
19 happened in Knin, and everybody commented and interpreted it as attempts
20 to disarm the people like it was done back in 1941 when weapons were
21 seized from all Serbs to prevent possible insurgencies.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's request could counsel turn off
23 the microphone because we hear the shuffling of papers more than
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may proceed with the witness.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. So the next morning, around 10.00 you went to Sibenik. You mean
3 SUP Sibenik. Did you go there, was it your own decision to go there or
4 was it your --
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, where did he say he was going to Sibenik the
6 following morning? You asked him, did something happen the next morning,
7 and then he says, the next on the 17th of August in the morning lots of
8 people gathered all over our town, they discussed the removal of weapons
9 in Obrovac and Benkovac and they were wondering how come nothing happened
10 in Knin. And everybody commented and interpreted it as an attempt to
11 disarm the people like it was done back in 1941 when weapons were seized
12 from all Serbs to prevent possible insurgencies.
13 He doesn't even say anything about Sibenik. I know that the
14 interpreter intervened at that stage but on the record, there is nothing
15 about Sibenik.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I did not turn off
17 my microphone and probably that paper that was shuffling was my paper and
18 I'll take better care of it in the future.
19 I just asked the witness a question that did relate to his prior
20 answer. Let me just ask him now if he had mentioned Sibenik in relation
21 to that morning of the 17th of August 1990.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 17th of August 1990, sometime
23 around 10 or maybe 11.00, I went to Sibenik, and when I speak about these
24 towns, I always mean the police institutions there. So I didn't think it
25 was necessary to always specify that it was SUP Sibenik that I went to. I
1 did go there and I was indeed invited by my superiors, probably to explain
2 why the mission wasn't carried out, why it failed, and I had some car
3 trouble on the road. My car stopped and wouldn't budge any more. So
4 somehow I managed to reach the police station in Drnis, from where I
5 called Sibenik. Or maybe -- yes, yes, now I remember. Somebody from
6 Sibenik came to Drnis, the assistant chief, and we discussed the event and
7 he then suggested a new plan, namely that they would send from SUP Sibenik
8 to the police security station in Knin some car mechanics, two or three of
9 them, but only one of them would actually know what needed to be done, and
10 his task and mine was to get a police van, normally used for
11 transportation of prisoners, and bring it to the garage purportedly for
12 repairs. From that garage there was a subterranean corridor leading to
13 the arms depot. And that car mechanic was supposed to break the door with
14 me, go in with me, remove the weapons, load them into that special police
15 van, and under the pretext that he was going to try out the car after
16 repair, he was going to take it to Sibenik.
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Witness, you were an employee there. You had a job in the police
19 station in Knin. Now, another policeman sent from the Sibenik SUP was
20 coming to your turf, so to speak. Why would you have to break the door to
21 the arms depot?
22 A. As I said before, when we had that plan to do it by night, we were
23 aware all the time that the removal of weapons would be very badly
24 received in town and in the whole municipality. It would lead the people
25 to gather in a protest rally, and God knows what that could turn into.
1 Therefore, instructions were given to do it in secret and the consequences
2 that might ensue did not in my opinion interest anyone very much.
3 Q. Excuse me, Your Honours, did I interrupt?
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I was going to ask if I could interrupt. But you
5 had -- now you've asked the question. You go ahead with your question.
6 Okay. Maybe for us to understand this whole discussion, are you able to
7 tell us why it was decided that you must remove these weapons? Why were
8 these weapons supposed to be removed?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I tried to explain before, at
10 that meeting in Velim on the 16th of August, I was informed that those
11 weapons were needed to arm new members of the Ministry of the Interior of
12 the Republic of Croatia, that new personnel was admitted into the service
13 but had no weapons and they had to be given weapons that normally were
14 stored for the reserve force in various depots of various police stations.
15 Such weapons were in storage also, among other places, in the public
16 security station in --
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: And where was this new personnel supposed to be
18 receiving these weapons from you? Where were they stationed, these new
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that meeting held on the 16th of
21 August, we were not told where these new personnel members were, and I was
22 not told in what other places in Croatia weapons were to be taken from
23 police stations. I didn't know that they were be taken from Obrovac,
24 Benkovac and Knin, but one can conclude from everything that weapons were
25 taken from towns with a majority-Serb population.
1 As for the new employees for whom the weapons were intended, what
2 I can say is that the first time I heard about new employees in the police
3 station was in August 1990 at a senior staff meeting in the Sibenik SUP,
4 to which I belonged, when a new senior staff member turned up from Zagreb,
5 his name was Generalija I had never heard of him before, and during this
6 meeting, he said that he had brought a group of newly recruited policemen
7 to Sibenik. He said that they had been accommodated in the Sibenik old
8 people's home, that they were unemployed or rather they were not given
9 anything to do and that they were causing disorder, that they were
10 fighting, gambling, and he asked the senior staff members for assistance
11 in doing something about this situation.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: I think that answer is fine. Thank you very much.
13 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: If I might -- now that Judge Moloto has asked
14 questions on this area I had a couple of questions myself marked down.
15 Mr. Witness, where would new recruits normally have got weapons from?
16 From which source would weapons normally come from for new recruits?
17 That's one of the things I want to know from you.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I entered employment in the
19 Split SUP, I was issued with a short-barrel, a pistol, and a long barrel,
20 a rifle, in the Split police station. Each police station had its own
21 small depot where weapons were kept and which were issued to their
22 employees. The rule was that inspectors always carried pistols with them.
23 They could either take them home or leave them in their lockers in the
24 police station. Rifles could not be taken out of the police station.
25 They always had to be kept in the police station, and they could be taken
1 out only during annual target practice, for cleaning, or with special
2 permission when going on a high-risk assignment where such weapons might
3 be used. Each police station had its depot and issued weapons to its
4 employees. The largest MUP depot was in Zagreb, in the headquarters where
5 there were large quantities of weapons used to arm new recruits. I do not
6 know whether many more employees were recruited at one time more than were
7 weapons available to arm them.
8 This was a month in which a new generation of policemen graduating
9 from school had already been admitted into the police force armed and sent
10 off to their duties. The conclusion one can reach is that the Ministry of
11 the Interior was withdrawing weapons from those police stations where
12 there was a majority Serb population. I have to repeat that this is a
13 conclusion I drew. I never saw any documents officially issued to this
15 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Is there any particular reason why you believe
16 this other than the historic reason that you've given us?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I couldn't say I had any
18 evidence to support this, especially not written evidence but I consider
19 that there was no need to employ these new recruits. The security
20 situation had not deteriorated in the republic to an extent that would
21 require the employment of new policemen. Some policemen were pensioned
22 off so that new job vacancies came into existence but in my view, this was
23 not quite logical.
24 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much.
25 Continue, Mr. Milovancevic.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
2 Q. Your last reply concerned the van coming to the Knin security
3 station. Do you remember this, witness?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Excuse me. You explained that you and another man designated by
6 the Sibenik SUP arrived in order to remove these weapons secretly,
7 covertly, so as not to cause a public outcry. Did you finish this task?
8 Did you complete it?
9 A. No. We did not, because, once again, when the mechanics arrived
10 in the workshop and started fixing the vehicle, there were a few policemen
11 passing by and some citizens passing through the courtyard. This man, the
12 mechanic, given the task of removing those weapons, together with me,
13 became frightened and he said he couldn't do it. He asked me to telephone
14 Secretariat Bujas and I let him do that. We again went to a company,
15 because I didn't want to make the phone call from the public security
16 station since I wasn't certain of all these lines and whether someone
17 could hear or not, so we went to a company, called, the secretary
18 explained the situation to him, and then again he agreed to abandon the
19 task and to have the mechanics return to the base in Sibenik without
20 having completed their task.
21 Q. And did this actually happen as it was agreed?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And what happened next on the 17th of August? You say it was
24 around 1200 hours. After the mechanics left without having done that job,
25 what happened next?
1 A. Well, I don't know. In front of the station, groups of people
2 began to gather. They were commenting on the removal of weapons, saying
3 that special police units were on their way to Knin to remove weapons from
4 Knin, as the weapons hadn't been removed. People started to assemble and
5 at one point the alarm was sounded in town. The siren began to sound.
6 People were arriving in front of the police station from all directions.
7 Suddenly, there were several thousand people gathered in front of the
8 police station. They were shouting, they entered the police station. I
9 informed Sibenik from my office about what was happening. I said the
10 situation was deteriorating. I reported all the facts. They called the
11 Zagreb MUP, the headquarters. Several members of the police who were
12 former chiefs and who lived in Knin arrived in my office. They had
13 previously been chiefs of police and they spoke to the people in Zagreb
14 and Sibenik on the phone because they knew them better. I had only
15 arrived in Knin about a month before and I didn't know many people. So
16 the former chiefs who were not retired were in a better position to
17 provide details about the situation. The situation became so serious
18 people were yelling that they wanted the police to give them weapons so
19 that they could go and meet the MUP forces who were about to attack the
20 police station and set up a new order. That's what people were saying.
21 Well, of course I refused to give them weapons. I wasn't authorised to
22 issue weapons to the people, and there was no need to do that.
23 Q. What happened to the weapons on that day?
24 A. At around 1500 hours, people entered the station, a large crowd of
25 citizens. There were some six to eight policemen in the station. The
1 others were either off duty or on the ground carrying out assignments.
2 There were never more than that number of policemen in the station itself
3 because it was never necessary. So the station was crowded with citizens.
4 They went downstairs, they broke down the door of the room where the
5 weapons were kept, they carried the weapons out into a small orange van.
6 The make was TAM, so it was locally referred to as a Tamic and they drove
7 off these weapons. I watched this from my window. The situation was very
8 chaotic. Nobody obeyed any orders. I did not know the people who were
9 doing this. I didn't know the civilians who were taking these weapons
10 away. My phones kept ringing. People from Zagreb and from Sibenik asking
11 for information and asking me what I could do to stop this happening, and
12 I said, "Well, there was nothing I could do." I didn't have enough men.
13 The situation was a completely new one. It was unprecedented.
14 Q. Witness, you said that there were some seven or eight police
15 employees besides you in the station. Were you armed? Did you have the
16 weapons that belonged to you according to the establishment?
17 A. Well, yes, of course we had our short barrels, our pistols, but
18 nobody issued an order to shoot at the people, nor would I have ordered my
19 men to shoot citizens for breaking into the police station because I felt
20 the situation could be resolved subsequently, that the weapons could later
21 be found if there was political will to do so, that this could be resolved
22 politically, not through bloodshed, which would then be something that
23 could not be repaired or made good afterwards.
24 Q. So you say a crowd of people broke into the police station, took
25 away the weapons, and what happened next in Knin? Please just give us
1 the main points.
2 A. People were carrying rifles and carbines around town, even trophy
3 weapons from World War II, ancient rifles. People were rushing around
4 carrying these weapons. There was a general chaos. Everybody was talking
5 about some kind of attack, about helicopters on their way to Knin to put
6 down the situation. At around 5.00 p.m. Radio Knin broadcast the news and
7 the news reader said that weapons had been confiscated or taken from the
8 police station, that unknown perpetrators had taken weapons, that people
9 were self-organising. Milan Babic, the president of the municipality, as
10 the news reader said, had declared a state of war in the municipality.
11 This was a situation that was completely new to us. None of us policemen
12 had ever experienced anything like this, nor had we been trained how to
13 behave in such a situation. I couldn't ask for instructions from Zagreb
14 any more.
15 Q. In this general situation of chaos, was there any shooting?
16 A. Well, there was some shooting into the air. Nobody knew who was
17 shooting at whom but no one was injured. People were shooting into the
18 air. Rumours spread that special purpose MUP policemen were on their way
19 to Knin with APCs and that at Cupkovica Most, Cupkovica bridge, they had
20 clashed with the population.
21 Q. As we have no idea where this place is, can you tell us how far it
22 is from Knin and what your reaction was to this information?
23 A. Well, in my estimation, as I'm not very familiar with that
24 municipality, I didn't work in it long, I think it's about 15 kilometres
25 away from Knin along the railway tracks. There is a local road running
1 parallel with the railway tracks. The place is called Cupkovica most.
2 When I heard this information, I got into a car with Nikola Rastovic, a
3 police inspector, and my intention was to go there and see what was
4 happening. I felt that this was my duty because I didn't have sufficient
5 number of men to send out patrols to keep me informed. I didn't have the
6 patience to wait for that to be organised, I decided to go out on to the
7 ground myself and to see if there was anything I could do to help. The
8 two of us set out together.
9 In town we found a man whom he knew from before, who also wanted
10 to go there. So we asked him to join us and the three of us set out in
11 that direction and wherever we passed through, people were at the
12 entrances to their villages erecting barricades, using old tires, using
13 tractors, so that we had to zig-zag through these roadblocks. We would
14 stop and ask what was going on and they would say well the MUP special
15 purpose policemen are coming to disarm Knin, to disarm our police. They
16 were very mistrustful towards me because they didn't know me well and they
17 had heard the rumours from before so they pointed their weapons at me and
18 then my colleague, the inspector, would get out of the car to explain and
19 we planned to get through several such check-points, manned by local
21 We arrived at Cupkovica most and there we found a small group of
22 people were hunting weapons. In a conversation with them, I tried to find
23 out what was happening, where these MUP policemen were, where the wounded
24 were and they said they hadn't seen anyone but they had fired shots into
25 the air because they had heard that MUP policemen were arriving and in
1 order to frighten them and prevent them from going any further, they had
2 fired shots in the air to deter their arrival. I then decided that there
3 was, in fact, no incident, that these were all just rumours, that this had
4 all been made up. So I used my radio to inform Knin, Zagreb, and Sibenik
5 that there was no incident, that there were no injured, no one had been
6 killed, there were just armed people standing guard. And then I went back
7 to Knin and got to the police station.
8 Q. Thank you. You mentioned these barriers on the road and the
9 civilians, citizens that put them up and you mentioned the weapons. How
10 many citizens were there and what was the -- what were the weapons?
11 Let's clarify that, Witness.
12 A. Passing through those settlements and through those barricades, I
13 saw groups of some ten people, somewhere there were more, somewhere there
14 were fewer, but mostly it was about ten adult men in the groups. Going
15 through the village I didn't really see children. I didn't -- I think
16 that had I gone -- I think I was going through some kind of regular hours
17 when it would have been normal to meet women, children, others, but it
18 wasn't like that. It was changed. There were mostly men with weapons,
19 mostly they had hunting rifles, maybe there was the odd pistol or so. But
20 I didn't see any modern weapon such as automatic weapons or anything like
21 that. It was mostly old weapons.
22 Q. You say that you passed through a number of these obstacles on the
23 road and you mentioned that you stopped also. Did you talk to those
24 people and what was your impression based on those conversations? Were
25 those people, upset? How did they seem to you?
1 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I'm sorry, that question would have
2 been fine if it had stopped with the first question but then the
3 subsequent questions made it into a long leading question. Basically it
4 gave him the answer to the question there.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I withdraw the question,
7 Your Honour, in order to avoid any misunderstanding. The Prosecutor is
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Ask the next question.
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation].
11 Q. During those few days you were in Knin, that's what I understood
12 from your answers, is that true, witness?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So you travelled through that region, you went, moved around Knin
15 and to maces around Knin. Is that correct?
16 A. Yes, yes. I did. I travelled through the municipality and I
17 moved around in the town. That's correct.
18 Q. Before this day that you are describing, were there any obstacles
19 or barriers erected?
20 A. No. These barriers were not there before. Nobody encountered
21 anything like that before. With this event, the barriers cropped up, they
22 appeared, they knocked down timber and used that to erect the barriers as
23 the days went by the barriers became bulkier and there were more people
24 each day appearing at those barricades, both in the night and during the
25 day. It was non-stop.
1 Q. That first day when you were moving towards Cupkovica bridge where
2 you said that there was shooting and where they pointed weapons at you,
3 those people that were at the barriers, what was their mood like?
4 A. The weapons were pointed at me because I was moving in an official
5 vehicle that was blue and it had the police licence plates. It actually
6 was a civilian vehicle, a Fiat Regatta, but it had police licence plates.
7 It wasn't a regular police vehicle with markings "police" on the whole
8 vehicle. This one only had the police licence plates. People didn't know
9 me that much. I had just come to Knin, and this stopover on the road was
10 very short too. My objective was to reach Cupkovica bridge and not to
11 explain anything or to talk with these people, to see what sort of weapons
12 they had. My objective was just to get to the bridge. As for their
13 appearance and behaviour, what I can say is that you could see fear and
14 concern in their eyes. This is what I noticed, that they were really
15 frightened and that this was the main motive why they came to these
16 barricades that they had erected. They appeared to be people who were
17 afraid, afraid for their lives, for the lives of their relatives, their
18 household members, and I assume that that was the reason for those
19 barricades. There was no shooting. There was no other stopping.
20 Q. You described that compared to other situations, when you would
21 have women and children along the side of the road in the village or
22 walking around, and this time there weren't any women and children. How
23 do you explain that?
24 A. Well, I explain that by again saying that the entire population
25 appeared to be frightened in those settlements. The rule at that time was
1 that in the afternoon, when it got a little bit cooler, when the sun
2 wasn't so hot, the elderly would come in front of their houses, into the
3 yards, and sit in the shade. But at that time, I didn't see them. They
4 probably stayed in their houses. There were no children playing. There
5 was nobody going around about their business. It was a bit tense.
6 Everyone was looking as if they were tense and afraid for their lives.
7 That's why it was foreign me to get to the bridge and see what the
8 situation there was.
9 Q. After you called the Zagreb SUP from Cupkovica Most and said that
10 there had been no incident there, what did you do? Where did you go?
11 A. I didn't call Zagreb from there because it wasn't even possible to
12 do that with the equipment that we had at that time. I actually called
13 Knin. I called my station and told the duty operations officer to inform
14 Sibenik and Zagreb, the duty officers in the MUP there, that nothing had
15 happened, and I also told the duty officer that whenever anyone called
16 because there were a lot of calls from the town itself and from other
17 towns he was to say that there had been no clash and that there were no
18 MUP people to be seen. I told him to take steps to calm the situation
19 down. After that, I drove with my people, with this inspector and this
20 civilian, back to Knin because I had a lot to do, to report back, I had to
21 send written dispatches to Sibenik to Zagreb, to organise the service, to
22 wait for instructions and many other things. So I went back to the
24 Q. And all of this happened on the 17th of August 1990, am I correct,
1 A. Yes, yes. That's the day.
2 Q. And what were the developments after that day?
3 A. After that day, I once again travelled to Sibenik to report on the
4 situation, and I sought a way to resolve this situation, what we were to
5 do in order to reduce tensions because such a situation could lead to an
6 outbreak of conflict, to shooting, to dead, to wounded, to consequences
7 that could not be put right again, to damage that could not be mended. So
8 that is why I went to a meeting there also to report to the secretary and
9 the -- report to the senior officers meetings.
10 Q. And then what happened after the 17th of August? Did you go and
11 see what the situation was?
12 A. I didn't go to the barricades because there were no directives
13 from Sibenik for the police to go to the barriers, unless there was an
14 incident, that this would be resolved in a different way. I did have to
15 pass through barricades on my way to Sibenik and I saw that they were more
16 firm, they were more dug in, they were larger and then you could even see
17 some military weapons. It wasn't that frequent but you could see the odd
18 army rifle, semi-automatic, and other weapons amongst the people at the
19 barricades, that they did have such weapons. I didn't stay long at the
20 barricades. They didn't know me. I, of course, introduced myself and --
21 of course, had I introduced myself maybe they wouldn't have believed me.
22 Q. Were there any policemen at those barricades, any officials from
23 the Knin public security station? I'm thinking of the day of the 18th.
3 (redacted) This went on for quite a while. The
4 barricades were also under the monitoring of the intelligence services of
5 the Republic of Croatia and the federal such organs and I was never told
6 that there were any policemen at these barricades because I assume that
7 the people in Sibenik knew what was going on and I assumed that the police
8 officers kept their distance from these barricades and had nothing to do
9 with them unless there was an incident or somebody reported that there had
10 been some harassment there or anything like that.
11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at the beginning
12 of this answer by the witness, I think that the witness said what his post
13 was. Perhaps that sentence would need to be redacted.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: May page 74, line 21 to 24 -- well, to 25, the end
15 of that sentence, may that please be deleted?
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Whiting is on his feet,
5 Mr. Milovancevic.
6 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry to interrupt, Your Honour. I think the
7 last question -- I believe it misstated the evidence. Counsel said that
8 "the police staff of the Knin public security station did not take part
9 in the activities of the barricades because that's what the orders were."
10 And I don't believe that it's the testimony of the witness, unless I
11 missed that. I did -- of course, he has testified that the police did not
12 take part in the operation of the barricades but I don't believe he
13 testified that it was because that's what the orders were.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps it would
16 be the best thing for the witness to -- I'm just responding to the
17 objection by the Prosecutor. I understood it. The witness explained that
18 the public security station staff where he was did not take part and were
19 not at these barricades and that's how it was for as long as he was at the
20 post that he was at. He also explained what the Sibenik position was on
21 that, the SUP Sibenik public security station.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... they just
23 didn't take part but he has never told us about orders.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] It's possible that I
25 misunderstood the witness, but the sentence that the witness said, and I
1 just want to explain my position. He said that from the point of view of
2 the person at a certain post at that security station. He said that for
3 as long as I was there, things like that did not happen. This is why I
4 put the question in the way that I did. Nothing more than that.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me tell you what this witness said. This is
6 starting at line 21 of page 74. "The 17th, in the afternoon, when the
7 barricades started cropping up and on the 18th and not during the entire
10 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Could we move into private session, please?
12 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Whiting.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are in open session again.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Sir, can you please tell us whether you reported your superiors
23 about the situation?
24 A. I would report to my superiors every day and along with that I
25 informed Sibenik as well as the MUP administration in Zagreb about all the
1 events that were taking place at that time, as well as all the events that
2 took place later in that area.
3 Q. When you say that you informed the SUP in Sibenik and the Ministry
4 of Interior in Zagreb about all events, does that include the barricade
5 situation? Did you inform them about that as well?
6 A. As regards the barricade situation, we informed them as to the
7 total number of barricades which we, as the police, were able to register.
8 It was our task to register the barricades and the complaints of
9 particular citizens who may have complained that they were mistreated at
10 these barricades or that something happened to them there.
11 Q. Do you remember how many of these barricades there were, Witness?
12 A. I didn't visit them all. They were on different roads leading in
13 different directions. However, to the best of my knowledge, they were
14 erected on all the main roads leading to and from Knin. The barricades
15 were also erected in small villages and hamlets in the interior where
16 people set up check-points on their own initiative, although they had no
17 borders with Croatia villages or the Croatian population and although
18 there was no possibility of MUP units passing through. People would
19 simply set up a check-point, man it, then abandon it, but they were
20 constantly there on these main roads leading towards Vrlika and Sinj and
21 then on the road leading to Drnis-Knin, Drnis-Oklaj, on the road to
22 Kistanje, Knin-Kistanje, also the Knin-Gracac road, the Knin-Strmica road,
23 leading in the direction of Grahovo, all the main communications leading
24 to and from Knin.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: The question simply was are you able to estimate
1 how many there were of these barricades? Can you just give us a number,
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, seven or eight main
4 barricades, those on the main roads.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: And how many minor?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's all relative. Whatever
7 I say, I can't be sure of the number.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: The minor ones would have been many more, I'm sure
9 there would have been many more minor roads than main roads. I'm not
10 quite sure what you mean by that gesture. It doesn't get on to the record
11 so you've got to say something verbally so that it goes on to the record.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I too assume there were many more
13 minor ones but I didn't see them. I assume there were more, yes.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Witness, please tell us whether you informed the Ministry of the
17 Interior of Croatia about everything you have just told us and whether you
18 received any reply from them.
19 A. As I've already said, we informed both the SUP in Sibenik and the
20 MUP in Zagreb about the situation on a daily basis. We reported more
21 frequently if something happened. We would report any incidents straight
22 away. In September, I think, we were given instructions to do everything
23 possible to reduce the tensions at these barricades because at that time
24 there was a large sports event being held in Split, the European swimming
25 championships. These were being held in Split in September 1990, and
1 Croatia as the host country did not wish these barricades and tensions to
2 spread because this would have affected Croatia's popularity. Therefore,
3 the order was not to take any measures, to let the situation calm down by
4 itself, and we had to get involved only in cases of major incidents.
5 Q. Well, were there any incidents at the barricades and what was your
6 response? Can you tell us something about this?
7 A. To the best of my recollection, there were some incidents at the
8 barricades. One of the major ones was when a patrol of the public
9 security station from Drnis in which there were three policemen who were
10 all inexperienced because they were new to the station, were on patrol in
11 their area, and they approached a barricade at rather high speed, and this
12 barricade was on the Knin-Oklaj road, after the village of Vrbnik.
13 Somebody fired a shot from the barricade and when the policemen saw that
14 they had come too close, they tried to turn the vehicle and turn back but
15 somebody fired a shot and wounded one of the policemen. The others ran
16 out of the car and took shelter in some nearby houses. A police patrol
17 arrived from Knin, found them, and brought them to the Knin hospital where
18 they were given medical assistance. The injured policeman was
19 hospitalised in Knin and the other two, who had not been injured, were
20 taken back to the barricade and then back to Drnis.
21 I saw them in the hospital. I was there while the injured one was
22 being given assistance. And while this was going on, some citizens broke
23 the windows of their vehicle and took the automatic rifles that were in
24 their vehicle.
25 Q. Was this an official police vehicle?
1 A. Yes. It was marked with the word "Milicija." It was an official
2 vehicle and they were official weapons.
3 Q. We spoke about the events on the 17th and the 18th of August 1990
4 in Knin. In this period, was there anything happening in the Drnis police
6 A. I can't remember the precise date. I know it was a few days after
7 these events in Knin. It might have been in late August, around the 25th
8 of August, as far as I can remember. And at that time, there was a
9 rebellion in the police station in Drnis. In the evening, an order was
10 issued that the entire active-duty police force should assemble and the
11 reserve policemen were called to the station. At that meeting, the
12 secretary of the SUP, Bujas, addressed the policemen and issued the order
13 that all telephones be plugged out in the station, and he said that a
14 decision had been reached that the civilians on the barricade on the
15 Drnis-Knin road should be disarmed. This was near the village of Tepljuh.
16 At that point, as I heard, because I was not a participant in these
17 events, the police rebelled. They said they were not ready to carry out
18 this task. They said that quite a large number of people could be killed
19 or injured. They suggested that this action be postponed, that it be
20 carried out in daytime, and they felt the situation could be resolved in a
21 different way. There was an exchange of words. Orders were issued.
22 Orders were refused. At one point, all the policemen put down their
23 weapons on the table and said they were not going to go into action.
24 Q. As we are coming towards the end of today's session, just one more
25 brief question for today. What was the ethnicity of those policemen in
2 A. As in all police stations all over Croatia, the ethnicity was
3 mixed. In Drnis, there were Croats, Serbs and Muslims in the public
4 security station, as well as those who declared themselves to be
5 Yugoslavs. It was mixed.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think we've
7 already overstepped our time by two or three minutes. Thank you.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: We have indeed. We'll take an adjournment and come
9 back on Monday at quarter past 2.00 in the afternoon, the same court.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: We'll come back at quarter past 2.00 on Monday, in
12 the same court.
13 Court adjourned.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Monday, the 21st day of August,
16 2006, at 2.15 p.m.