1 Thursday, 18 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
6 Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I wish to
8 address the court before we get on with evidence. At the very end of
9 trial yesterday, the last page, 132, I think there is an error in the
10 transcript. We didn't react in a timely manner. We must have been too
11 tired to do so. I'm just waiting for the updated version of the last
12 page, and the last of the transcript to be listened to. 132 of the draft
13 transcript, line 18, the interpretation says, "The order was loud and
14 clear, both for Vezmarevic and for Major Karanfilov." We in the courtroom
15 heard this, "The order was loud and clear, issued by both Vukosavljevic
16 and Karanfilov. That was what we heard and we believe this to be very
17 important. I advised Mr. Moore of this, and I think he even agreed with
18 me and confirmed that this was indeed what he heard too. That's one
20 And another thing, I'm speaking for all three teams. We received
21 a letter from the OTP yesterday about their obligation to inform us of any
22 future witnesses. This has been a relatively smooth exercise so far, and
23 we would normally be given a schedule for the next 15 days. But the OTP
24 informed us that they were in no position to tell us which witnesses would
25 be coming over the next two weeks except for next Monday. After that we
1 would probably be hearing witness Strinovic. They have lists of witnesses
2 to come over the next weeks, but they can't say for certain. I'm sorry
3 that Mr. Moore is not around. Mr. Weiner, whom I would like to wish a
4 warm welcome could the courtroom is probably not in a position to provide
5 these answers.
6 What we really want to know as we've already pointed out, when OTP
7 military experts are here to testify, we need at least a 15-day advance
8 notice. We would like to have our experts present during those hearings
9 and, as you know, we need to provide visas for them and there is a special
10 procedure that we need to follow. It is for this reason that we would
11 like the OTP to please give us advance notice of any experts coming here
12 to testify. That's all I wish to say. Thank you very much.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner, indeed, welcome. Are you in a position
14 to deal, first, with the matter of the transcript? I would expect not.
15 MR. WEINER: No, I think I will have to look into both matters at
16 the break, Your Honour, or sometime during the day.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Now, with the matter, the second
18 matter, the arrival of expert witnesses, it will indeed be important that
19 some better indication is possible than merely an identification -- here
20 is the answer to your need.
21 Mr. Moore, welcome. Two matters have been raised by Mr. Lukic.
22 The first is an error in the transcript, which he believes you recognised
23 when it was discussed late yesterday, the naming of a person who gave an
24 order. Vezmarevic appears in the transcript; Vukosavljevic, it is said,
25 was said in court. I don't know whether you are in a position to agree
1 with that.
2 MR. MOORE: Dealing with the first point, I do agree with my
3 learned friend that it was not Vezmarevic. From memory, it was
4 Vukosavljevic and Karanfilov.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 MR. MOORE: That's certainly my recollection, but obviously it's
7 subject to checking the accurate transcript.
8 JUDGE PARKER: The second point is the forthcoming Prosecution
10 MR. MOORE: Yes, I know about that problem as well.
11 JUDGE PARKER: And a concern that there needs to be time to enable
12 the Defence to get their experts here to hear the evidence of yours.
13 MR. MOORE: Yes.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Now, they say at the moment you are not in the
15 position to give an indication when yours are arriving. Can you assist
17 MR. MOORE: Yes, I can. Clearly it depends on the length of time
18 that what I will call lay witnesses will take. The two military experts
19 that we will be calling will be Theunens, who is what I will call in-house
20 and readily available, and Major General Pringle. Major General Pringle
21 was, from memory, targeted for the 5th to the 9th of June, inclusive. He
22 has got professional difficulties in relation to that. So -- and I wanted
23 to finish the case with him, for various reasons. He would be able to do
24 the week after that. So the way that the matters stand, we had hoped that
25 we would be finished, as I said, within the first week of June, with our
1 timetable. We have some outstanding witness difficulties. They should be
2 resolved, I hope.
3 Next week will be Strinovic and Grujic [Realtime transcript read
4 in error, "Vujic"] after the video testimony on the Monday. That has --
5 that date has been broken, I think, three or four time, through no fault
6 of OTP. So next week, should -- well, certainly Strinovic next week and
7 that will take, I hope, for three days.
8 May I just clarify one small matter? I've just had a message
9 passed to me and I just would like to clarify one point.
10 [Prosecution counsel confer]
11 MR. MOORE: It will be Strinovic next week, Grujic has got
12 certainly difficulties. It may well be that there can be element of
13 accommodation in relation to that.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Sorry, the -- is it Grujic or Vujic.
15 MR. MOORE: It's Grujic.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Each appear in the transcript.
17 MR. MOORE: It's Grujic.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 MR. MOORE: So it will be -- the witness giving video evidence
20 next Monday, Monday, part of Tuesday, it should then be Mr. Strinovic --
21 Mr. Smith is dealing with this area. That will be Tuesday, and part of
22 Wednesday morning, I would have thought. And the, I would hope conclusion
23 of cross-examination by Thursday, Friday. I don't know the extent of the
24 cross-examination on that.
25 May I just set Grujic to the side for a moment, because one is
1 trying to fit him in, because of his professional obligations. We had
2 hoped for the two of them to come together. There is an application for
3 two witnesses whose names escape me. They relate to the blue folder.
4 That is the material that was sent to Zagreb from the Vukovar Hospital, as
5 we submit, and that was to do with the creation of the documentation. My
6 learned friends wanted, and indeed I think the Court and all wanted to
7 find out the source material on that. There are two witnesses on that.
8 We don't know if my learned friends require those witnesses, or if they
9 now accept the content of those statements as being accurate and
10 justifying the document. So we don't know what the situation is on that.
11 They've only received the statement, and I don't expect that they will
12 have an answer immediately for that. Those two witnesses are a variable
13 on time that I am not able to assist the Court on. If we were calling
14 them in chief, I would like to think we could do it almost in a quasi-89
15 (F) format to target them on specific topics but there must be, I would
16 have thought, three days' evidence there. But as I say, it may well be
17 now that the Defence, having seen the documentation, will agree to the
18 document going in.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Next week then, if I understand you, there's the
20 videolink for two and a bit days.
21 MR. MOORE: Yes. Perhaps not quite as much as that, but
22 approximately two days.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Okay. And then?
24 MR. MOORE: Strinovic.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Will continue and clearly finish the week.
1 MR. MOORE: I would have thought, yes.
2 JUDGE PARKER: The week following that, the 22nd. Sorry, the week
3 following that. Yes.
4 MR. MOORE: I had a heart attack, almost. The week following that
5 there are civilian witnesses. There is Hartman, who has to give evidence,
6 and there are two other witnesses to deal with other matters and I don't
7 wish to go into the details of that. I can't honestly put hand on heart
8 and say exactly who they are and what they deal with, but I certainly had
9 discussions about it. That should see that week out.
10 And then you go into the military witnesses and the difficulty
11 with Pringle.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Theunens, how long are you seeing there?
13 MR. MOORE: I will be dealing with Theunens, and that would be --
14 I want to deal with it in the following way, if there is no objection,
15 that I will put in the report, the expert's report, I will use the e-court
16 to deal with the documentation. I would have thought, in chief, I would
17 hope I would finish Theunens within a day, but can I please not be held to
18 that, because when it comes to documentation and military language it's
19 not always easy to estimate. But Theunens is a fairly substantial witness
20 and goes in, in significant detail. I would have thought myself that
21 Theunens will be, if there is military experts for the Defence, I would
22 have thought myself that you must be looking at three days'
23 cross-examination. Perhaps two, three, something like that.
24 And Pringle, again, I will deal with Pringle. Again, in chief I
25 would anticipate that a day in chief will not be far away on the estimate.
1 Again, cross-examination with experts advising, I'm not able to assist,
2 but again, I would have thought it will be analogous in time to the
3 Theunens situation.
4 JUDGE PARKER: So we would either lose two to three days in the
5 week of the 5th and the 9th, or there will be the two additional
6 witnesses, should you be granted leave and should the Defence wish them
8 MR. MOORE: There are other witnesses, but they're small
9 witnesses, if I may use that phrase, where I'm trying to move them into
10 spaces so that I don't lose any time. I am trying to keep the military
11 witnesses to specific times so that we know exactly the timetable for the
12 Defence experts. I would have thought myself that if one is looking the
13 week commencing the 5th, if it is the week commencing the 5th, that will
14 be when the military witnesses will commence.
15 JUDGE PARKER: And Pringle, you're suggesting, the week following.
16 MR. MOORE: Yes, I'm afraid so.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Which may be commencing the 12th.
18 MR. MOORE: Yes.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Each of us is without calendar.
20 MR. MOORE: Yes. So those are the time estimates.
21 JUDGE PARKER: And that would be then the last witness of your
23 MR. MOORE: If there is one other -- there may be one other
24 witness, but it is a very short witness, but it will be finishing very,
25 very soon, within one or two days after Pringle. I'm not saying
2 JUDGE PARKER: Both Defence counsel and the Chamber would
3 appreciate greater clarity, as some of these imponderables become clearer.
4 MR. MOORE: Yes. No, it is our intention to do that. But we are
5 waiting for phone calls, trying to get people in on timetables, and it's
6 not always easy to get definite answers from people.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
8 Mr. Lukic, that has given you more to go on for your experts, if
9 it is Monday the 5th or whichever the date is, of June. That week and the
10 week following seems to be the dates for your experts.
11 Now, Mr. Moore mentioned a motion which has arrived for two
12 additional witnesses. Could we indicate that we would want the Defence
13 response by next Monday on that. That's a shortened time to respond, but
14 it's a relatively straightforward issue.
15 Thank you very much for your assistance.
16 Is it time for your debut, Mr. Weiner?
17 MR. WEINER: I believe so.
18 JUDGE PARKER: We will get you a witness, with any luck.
19 MR. WEINER: While the witness is on the way, Your Honour, this
20 expert witness, Mark Wheeler, his testimony was accepted or admitted
21 pursuant to your decision of 21 October 2005. This is a 92 bis of a 94
22 bis expert testimony. His expert report. So it will be a very short or
23 brief examination-in-chief, since his testimony is in and his report is
24 admissable, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Exhibit 391; is that correct?
1 MR. WEINER: Yes.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
3 MR. WEINER: The report and CV, however, are not in, Your Honour.
4 His report and CV have not been admitted. His prior testimony has.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Would you please read aloud the
10 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
11 whole truth and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
13 Yes, Mr. Weiner.
14 WITNESS: MARK CRAWFORD WHEELER
15 Examination by Mr. Weiner:
16 MR. WEINER:
17 Q. Good morning, doctor, could you state your name for the record?
18 A. My name is Mark Crawford Wheeler.
19 Q. And could you tell us where you live?
20 A. I live in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 Q. And where do you work?
22 A. I work in the office of the High Representative as a political
23 adviser although actually paid by the Organisation for Security and
24 Cooperation in Europe.
25 Q. And how long have you been living in Bosnia?
1 A. I've been living in Bosnia on this occasion since April 2001. I
2 was there in the tail -- at the tail-end of the war as well.
3 Q. Could you tell us what years you lived in Bosnia prior to this
4 period of 2001?
5 A. Well, during the war I lived in Croatia in the latter part of
6 1994, in Central Bosnia in late 1995, in Sarajevo in 1996 and early 1997,
7 and then again in Croatia, Vukovar, in fact, in spring of 1997.
8 Q. Now, sir, or doctor, did you ever serve as an academic historian?
9 A. Yes, I worked as a historian of Southeastern Europe and Eastern
10 Europe generally, modern history of that part of the world in the
11 universities of Lancaster, London, and Derby between 1994 -- excuse me,
12 1975 and 1994, and then again, 1997, 2001.
13 Q. Now, could you tell us what your highest degree is?
14 A. I hold a Ph.D. in history from the university of Cambridge.
15 Q. And what was the subject of your thesis?
16 A. It was on British foreign policy towards in Yugoslavia in the
17 Second World War and particularly the British decision to abandon Draza
18 Mihajlovic and support Josip Broz Tito and his Partisans.
19 Q. Now, sir, have you ever published any books, papers, or articles
20 on the former Yugoslavia?
21 A. Yes, quite a few and they are in my CV, I believe.
22 MR. WEINER: Could the witness be shown ERN number
23 0600-1130-0600-1136? Which is also tab number 1.
24 JUDGE PARKER: There is an alert on the transcript, doctor, that
25 your speech tends to be a little fast.
1 THE WITNESS: I see that now.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
3 THE WITNESS: My students always complained of that as well.
4 JUDGE PARKER: If you could just slow it down to the pace of my
5 mind, that would be very good. Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: I don't think I can comment on that without risking
8 MR. WEINER:
9 Q. Doctor, do you recognise the document on the screen?
10 A. I certainly do.
11 Q. Could the registrar just move through the pages? Thank you,
12 Mr. Registrar.
13 Doctor, what is that document?
14 A. That is my curriculum vitae.
15 Q. And who prepared that?
16 A. I did.
17 Q. And is that the most recent version?
18 A. It is the most recent version that I sent to this court, yes.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. WEINER: We would like to offer that, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this CV will become Exhibit Number
24 MR. WEINER:
25 Q. Now, Doctor, have you testified previous live before the ICTY?
1 A. Yes, I testified in the case against Slavko Dokmanovic as an
2 expert witness in January, 1998.
3 Q. And did you prepare a report for that testimony?
4 A. I did, indeed.
5 Q. And when was that prepared?
6 A. I wrote it at the end of December 1997, early January 1998.
7 MR. WEINER: Can the witness be shown tab 2, which is English
8 0210-9652- 0210-9682, please.
9 Q. Doctor, are you able to recognise the document on the screen?
10 A. I can, indeed, yes. It is the report I prepared.
11 Q. Now, it's approximately eight years since you prepared the report.
12 Do you still stand by the opinions and informations contained in that
14 A. By and large, yes. I don't see any reason to have too many second
15 thoughts about the contents of the report. Certainly I would stand by the
16 major argument. We can -- of course, now with the benefit of both
17 hindsight and the huge amount of research that has been done on the wars
18 in the former Yugoslavia, there are many things that could be amended,
19 updated, more nuanced approaches introduced, but by and large I think the
20 report stands the test of time.
21 Q. Now, Doctor, there are no footnotes in that report. Could you
22 tell us what the source of the information was that you used to develop
24 A. Well, much of the historical background simply reflects the fact
25 that I had been active in researching and teaching the history of the
1 former Yugoslavia since the early 1970s. The specifics regarding the
2 coming of the war of the 1990s and the specifics regarding events in
3 Eastern Slavonia came from journalistic accounts that had been published
4 at time. The secondary literature that was already available that
5 incorporated an awful lot of memoir literature, and in some cases that had
6 been provided to me by the Prosecution to help me prepare that report.
7 But the bulk of it of course, relates to historical background which was
8 well-known to me.
9 Q. The Prosecution would like to offer that document at this time.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 447 Your Honours.
12 MR. WEINER:
13 Q. Doctor, would I like to discuss with you just one issue, and then
14 we'll turn you over to the Defence for cross-examination. Just spend a
15 few minutes on one issue. In your report, and in your previous testimony
16 which has been admitted, there is discussion concerning military activity
17 which occurred in Eastern Slavonia. We'll start off with Eastern
18 Slavonia, between August 1st, actually from mid-July 1991 through November
19 21st, 1991. Could you tell us about that, please?
20 A. Well, I tried in my report to put the coming of the war to Eastern
21 Slavonia in the context of how it had spread in Croatia generally.
22 Particularly of course after the short, sharp war in Slovenia. So the
23 major -- the major fighting in Eastern Slavonia comes after the 27th of
24 June, 1991. Although it has to be said there were provocation and
25 incidents and even some killings going on in the region of Eastern
1 Slavonia from May, 1991. But the real escalation of the war starts after
2 the end of the war in Slovenia, so we're talking about from July 1991.
3 And at that point of course we get major engagement by the Yugoslav
4 People's Army, the JNA, not just as had been in the early stages in much
5 of Croatia where it sought to interpose itself between alarmed and
6 rebelling Serbs and the authorities, the police authorities of the new
7 Tudjman government. But it also started now taking an active hand in
8 conquering territory from July.
9 Q. And could you just tell us about the engagement in certain
10 villages of the military actions in certain villages between that time
11 period, mid-July through November 21st?
12 A. Well, as I already indicate you had, the JNA was seeking to occupy
13 territory, and that meant of course investing and taking villages. It was
14 doing so of course in alliance with the remnants of the old Territorial
15 Defence structure that had gone over to the Serb side, as well as various
16 paramilitary formations, both locally generated, but the most notorious of
17 which of course were sent in from Serbia itself, with a connivance of one
18 or another political party or security structure or the Serbian Interior
19 Ministry of the MUP to do this kind of activity. And what was notable
20 about what last happening in Eastern Slavonia was the intermingling, the
21 commingling, the joint effort on the part of both these paramilitary
22 forces on the one hand and the JNA on the other.
23 Q. Now, you mentioned Eastern Slavonia. It's neighbour, Western
24 Slavonia, was there any military activity occurring during that same time
25 period; mid-July through November 21st, 1991?
1 A. Yes, indeed. The -- it was in August I believe of 1991 that the
2 local Serb rebels, the militia, I guess it would be fair to call them,
3 helped by the Banja Luka Corps of the JNA, seized the crucial
4 communications centre of Okucani in Western Slavonia which had the effect
5 of breaking the road, motorway, and rail -- main-line rail links between
6 the capital, Zagreb, and Eastern Slavonia. And as a consequence the --
7 the stage appeared to be being set for a larger Serb-led conquest of
8 Croatia. But the interesting thing that happened in, in Eastern
9 Slavonia -- excuse me, in Western Slavonia, is that by the end of November
10 the territory that the Serbs had been carving out for themselves was
11 significantly reduced. In fact the territory all the way from the border
12 with Bosnia-Herzegovina up to Veravidica [phoen] was halved in size as the
13 Serbs withdrew under some Croatian pressure from the area between
14 Veraidica down to Daruvar and then to Pakrac. And Pakrac became
15 effectively the northern limit of Serb-controlled territory in Western
16 Slavonia. And this is historically significant, I think, in retrospect,
17 because it marked the end of wider Serb ambitions for carving out even
18 more territory in Croatia.
19 Q. And we've talked about two areas in Croatia. Was there any other
20 military activity in Croatia, outside of western and Eastern Slavonia
21 during that period, mid-July, 1991 through November 21st, 1991?
22 A. Yes, of course there was. And the most notorious as far as the
23 international public was concerned was the artillery offensive, naval
24 offensive directed against Dubrovnik in the southern Adriatic, and that of
25 course occupied the world's television screens at that time. Foreigners,
1 of course, all knew about Dubrovnik. Many hundreds and hundreds of
2 thousands of them thousands, perhaps millions had been tourists there. So
3 this brought the war home to people abroad in a way that hadn't been the
4 case during the previous couple of months of the siege of Vukovar, for
5 example. Dubrovnik became an international scandal and there was much
6 breast-beating. The military significance of the shelling of Dubrovnik
7 was really pretty marginal. One would have thought it was much more
8 politically significant. It was meant to do two things. It was meant to
9 punish the Zagreb regime, but it was also meant to implicate the
10 Montenegrins who had previously held aloof from the war in the struggle by
11 giving them something to do. But at the same time, of courses, the
12 campaign was going on from the bases of Serb control in Northern Dalmatia,
13 Dalmatinska Zagora, through Lika, and Kordun into Baranja. So more
14 territory was also being taken at that time, across the southern flank of
15 Croatia, you know, the-- south of Zagreb.
16 Q. May the witness be shown Exhibit 312, please?
17 A. If I might correct myself, I said "Baranja." I meant Banja,
18 through Lika and Kordun into Banja. Baranja had, of course, itself been
19 an area which the JNA had seized in August, I think it was, 1991. Baranja
20 being the Croatian part of Baranja, since the district is split with
22 MR. WEINER: We have copies of the exhibit for the judges and
23 counsel, if they would like.
24 Q. Doctor, did you have any knowledge as to the information contained
25 in this exhibit?
1 A. Not specifically. It's not a document that I saw before
2 yesterday. But it strikes me as an accurate summary of the way in which
3 the JNA and the paramilitaries worked together in order to intimidate
4 villagers, make as many as possible flee, to then occupy the territory,
5 and generally carry out what would later become known as ethnic cleansing.
6 Q. And finally, Doctor, is this consistent with your opinion and your
7 report that you filed?
8 A. Yes, it is. If I might just add. The exact scenario might vary
9 occasionally from place to place, but this is an accurate summary in which
10 the way in which region by region, village by village, town by town
11 conquests took place.
12 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
13 MR. WEINER: No further questions, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Weiner.
15 Mr. Domazet.
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Domazet:
18 Q. Good morning, professor. My name is Vladimir Domazet, I am one of
19 the counsel appearing for Mr. Mrksic, and on behalf of Mr. Mrksic's
20 defence I will put some questions to you.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the defence teams have
22 attempted to expedite and facilitate these proceedings by dividing among
23 themselves the topics for cross-examination. I hope that the Defence
24 teams will not overlap in their questions or that they will do so very
25 little. I will put questions about one segment of what Mr. Wheeler
1 presented in his oral testimony and his written report dated January 1998,
2 and used in the Dokmanovic case.
3 Q. Professor, from your CV and your previous experience and current
4 work, it's evident that your experience is truly impressive, as is your
5 persistence, because, as I see, you have mastered the language, which is
6 not easy, but which is certainly of assistance to you and has been in your
7 work to date. I assume that you are able to use your knowledge of the
8 language to contact and interview not only your colleagues and statesmen,
9 but, so to say, the common people, the local population throughout this
10 period, and that this is one of your sources of knowledge on the basis of
11 which you wrote your report. Am I right in thinking this?
12 A. In part, yes, Mr. Domazet. The mere fact that I lived in Vukovar
13 for admittedly a short period in the spring of 1997 and was able to talk
14 to quite a lot of people, including, it has to be said, one of my
15 colleagues at the time, Drago Hedl who has subsequently of course revealed
16 receive through Feral tribune and international publications about what
17 happened in Eastern Slavonia in 1991 and 1992. I did learn quite a bit
18 from both -- with people whom I lived in Vukovar, for example, as well as
19 some of my UN colleagues at the time.
20 Q. Thank you, Professor. This certainly refers to the period you
21 spent in Vukovar. It seems, however, that you spent most of your time on
22 the territory of the countries of the former Yugoslavia in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or rather the Federation; is that correct?
24 A. Well, given the fact that I've now lived consistently in Sarajevo
25 since 2001, in chronological terms you're right. But my earlier academic
1 existence, I was -- actually spent much more time in Belgrade where I was
2 a post-graduate student back in 1972 and 1973. During the latter stages
3 of the war I was actually -- the latter stage of the war of 1990s, I was
4 actually based in -- in Western Slavonia, Nova Gradiska, so I actually saw
5 the fall of Western Slavonia on the 1st of May, 1995, during operation
6 Blesak. So I have some experience other than just in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. Yes, certainly this is what I wanted to ask, because this is not
8 evident from your CV, that you spent time in Serbia.
9 My question is, how much time did you spend in Serbia and how
10 useful was this in your research and in your reaching the conclusions that
11 you did in your reports?
12 A. Well, it was in Serbia where I lived in the summer of 1970 and
13 then again during 1972 and 1973 when I was doing research for my doctoral
14 thesis that I actually learned the language, the language that we used to
15 call Srpsko-Hrvatski. For the purposes, however, of the report I prepared
16 in the case of Slavko Dokmanovic, other than the fact that living there,
17 living in the former Yugoslavia previously helps one understand the basic
18 set of circumstances, this residence in Serbia long before had not any
19 particular relevance to my report in the Dokmanovic case. In fact, during
20 a large part of the war I was persona non grata and unable to get a visa
21 to go to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, although I did actually visit
22 Belgrade for a couple of weeks in the summer of 1997, when I could get a
24 Q. If I understand you correctly, Professor, your visit to Serbia was
25 almost 20 years before the relevant events. At the relevant time,
1 unfortunately for the reasons you have adduced, you did not have an
2 opportunity to see that side at close range. You mentioned that you were
3 persona non-grata at the time. Was this an official evaluation, and can
4 you tell us at least in your opinion why this happened? I think it might
5 be important for us to find out.
6 A. I'm not sure that anyone knows very often whether such a status is
7 official or not. I was simply told on many occasions in 1992, 1993, by
8 the then Yugoslav embassy in London that I would not receive a visa. But
9 when you say, of course, that I -- my actual long period of residence in
10 Serbia was, you know, long before the events of the early 1990s, you are,
11 of course, correct. But as an academic interested in the history of
12 Southeastern Europe and Yugoslavia in particular, I suspect not a single
13 year went by between the early 1970s and the early 1990s that I was not at
14 least once in that year in Belgrade, or someplace else in Serbia.
15 Q. Thank you, sir. Now I will go into your report as it relates to
16 the beginning of 1998. And I will deal more with the historical part, the
17 constitution will be dealt with by my colleague.
18 So I will ask you first of all about some statistical data you
19 dealt with, which is available to everyone. If I'm correct, according to
20 you, in 1991 when you speak of the ethnic breakdown about 60.000 --
21 THE INTERPRETER: 600.000, interpreter's correction --
22 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] -- Serbs lived in Croatian. But in
23 your view most of these did not live in the rural areas, and you go on to
24 list areas of Northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun, Banja, which, if you agree,
25 are geographically contiguous, and you mention east and west Slavonia,
1 Baranja and western Srem, which are at the far east end of Croatia and are
2 also contiguous areas. Have I interpreted your report correctly in this
4 A. Yes, you have indeed.
5 Q. When you deal with northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun, and Banja, you
6 did not include these rural areas by chance, I mean you did not say that
7 they were rural areas by chance. These were predominantly rural areas
8 inhabited by Serbs, in some cases a majority of Serbs. I think we can
9 agree with that.
10 A. Yes, and I called them rural areas because of course they are very
11 sparsely populated and they are indeed rural, mountainous, extremely
12 beautiful parts of the world.
13 Q. Yes, I agree. And as regards the territory, it was not
14 insignificant territory, it was a considerable amount of territory, but
15 sparsely populated; is that correct?
16 A. That is indeed correct.
17 Q. Although you say, and this is quite correct, that it was a smaller
18 number of the population who inhabited those areas, and they really are
19 beautiful areas, all the same we used to refer to these as passive areas,
20 meaning poor areas. Is this, in your view, one of the reasons why people,
21 especially younger people, left to go to larger towns all over Yugoslavia
22 and also Croatia, which is why many Serbs lived in the larger towns in
24 A. Of course it is. The people from the so-called passive areas or
25 the so-called dinaric regions after the Second World War when
1 industrialisation and urbanisation took place on a large scale, were
2 notable for their movements into the cities or into richer agricultural
3 areas, for example Eastern Slavonia or Vojvodina. So-called colonists.
4 Q. Thank you. It is probably for this reason that the information
5 you give, i.e., that over 50.000 Serbs lived in Zagreb at the time, and
6 I'm referring to the census of 1991, while at the same time in the
7 territories you call the rebel republic of Srpska Krajina, there were
8 about 200.000. This is not a lot in territorial terms, but it is a
9 significant number of Serbs in that area, would you agree? And did you
10 get this figure by looking at the territory or in some other way?
11 A. Mr. Domazet, given the lapse of time, I don't actually now
12 remember where I got that figure. What I do remember, however, because I
13 then worked for a non-governmental organisation, which had many projects
14 for which I was responsible in Western Slavonia, in Daruvar, Pakrac,
15 Okucani, that I formed the very definite opinion that there were far fewer
16 people living, at that point, this is in 1994, 1995, in Republika Srpska
17 Krajina than the authorities of that rebel republic actually alleged. One
18 of the effects of the wartime privations, one of the kind of would-be
19 state that Republika Srpska Krajina was, was to encourage a continuing
20 outflow of the populous, and so my own suspicion is that the population of
21 Republika Srpska Krajina, apart from Eastern Slavonia, was very much less
22 than we thought at the time. And the estimate of 200.000, I'm not
23 terribly sure, as I said, where I got that. But that may even be an
24 exaggeration. During the war, Republika Srpska Krajina was haemorrhaging
25 people, most of whom were heading for Serb-controlled parts of Bosnia or,
1 more especially, for Serbia itself. On the other hand, of course, a good
2 many Serbs remained in big cities in Croatia; Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka.
3 Q. Thank you, sir. Based on what you indicate, and I'm referring to
4 the status it cans, and of course we're talking about 1991. It appears
5 that about one-third of all the Serbs lived outside the borders of the
6 Republic of Serbia. Would that seem to be an accurate assessment, sir?
7 A. Oh, yes.
8 Q. In your report, you say that this is an oft-stated fact to explain
9 why they, the Serbs, I presume, more than all the others were never
10 willing to give up Yugoslavia. Do you remember that particular
11 explanation? Can you please comment on that?
12 A. Yes, indeed. You're right. The standard supposition, both among
13 foreigners who studied Southeastern Europe and of course among many
14 Yugoslavs themselves, was that the Serbs needed Yugoslavia vastly more
15 than any other of the south Slav peoples. They needed it because only by
16 having a Yugoslavia, could all Serbs live in the same state. And the
17 supposition, therefore, was that any regime in Belgrade would work very
18 hard to maintain Yugoslavia. The point of my argument in the report, of
19 course, is that when Milosevic comes along, that old historical wisdom is
20 no longer valid.
21 Q. Thank you. I would leave Milosevic aside, at least for the time
22 being. In your report you talk about what could have been problems,
23 potential problems, or what could have drawn this community closer
24 together, or what could have led it to a crisis instead. You spoke about
25 language, you spoke about religion. As far as language was concerned, I
1 think I entirely agree with what you state in your report. Your
2 assessment of what went on in those years particularly, and bearing in
3 mind your explanation today that in the 1970s you spent a great deal of
4 time in Yugoslavia, particularly in Serbia. I am sure you do remember the
5 language problems that occurred at the time. It was raised at first as a
6 scientific issue and constituted a new battle-ground, as it were, between
7 linguists in Croatia on the one hand and Serbia on the other. Would I be
8 right in saying that, sir? Do you agree that this language issue,
9 although you don't necessarily view that as anything crucial, was no major
10 issue? If we forget about Slovenia and Macedonia for a moment, that was
11 not a major problem because the languages were similar and could be used
12 in communication smoothly, but do you agree that this constituted a point
13 of departure for this sort of crisis, especially in the 1970s and onwards?
14 A. Yes, indeed. You're correct. Fighting over language, or I should
15 say arguing over language was one of the ways in which the re-emergeance
16 of the national question in socialist Yugoslavia was given, quite
17 literally, expression. The breakdown of the so-called Novi Sad agreement
18 of 1954, for example, which the Croats renounced, I think it was, at
19 beginning of 1970s, as you suggest.
20 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Professor. Furthermore, it is a fact that
21 two different scripts were used, the Latin script and the Cyrillic script,
22 which only proved to be an additional source of trouble in purely ethnic
23 terms, since one or the other was predominantly used by the different
24 groups. Would you agree with me that the two different scripts, although
25 they were defined as equal in some of the republican constitutions,
1 particularly the Croatian constitutions, were not quite equal after all
2 and that this may have proved to be an additional source of inter-ethnic
3 strife or conflict. Would you agree with me?
4 A. Yes, I would. Particularly because, as far as Serbs were
5 concerned, not just in Croatia, or just in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also in
6 Serbia itself, there was concern that the Latin alphabet was achieving
7 primacy over the Cyrillic in too many popular publications, and scientific
8 publications as well.
9 Q. The Latin alphabet was officially used in the JNA throughout its
10 existence; do you agree with me?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. As for religion, which is another topic that you
13 tackled, I think your assessments are quite fair. You may, although, have
14 omitted to consider this: A significant portion of the population at the
15 time were atheists, people who wanted nothing to do with religion, for the
16 most part, no doubt, on account of their commitment to communism, the
17 official ideology at the time. You must be familiar with this phenomenon,
19 A. You are correct to suggest that an awfully large portion of the
20 population all over the former Yugoslavia were not practicing, whether it
21 be practicing Roman Catholics, Muslims, or Orthodox. But they were all
22 conscious in virtually every case of what their religious heritage was. I
23 don't think it would therefore be fair to say that there was a large body
24 of atheists, there were a large bodies of people who were entirely
25 secular, but they knew what their religious origins were and saw the
1 connection between their religious heritage and national identity, even if
2 they were not practicing. And people who were not practicing formally
3 nonetheless would take part in the principal festivals, you know
4 non-practicing Muslims always celebrated Bajram. Non-practicing Serbs
5 celebrated their family slava, non-practicing Catholics, Croats, certainly
6 celebrated Christmas. But, of course, everybody celebrated Christmas.
7 Q. Yes. I tend to agree with you. I particularly agree that some
8 areas to a larger extent, perhaps, than some others areas to a lesser
9 extent did celebrate religious holidays, but you probably know that some
10 were trying to keep their religious convictions well concealed, or
11 celebrated in secrecy, since religious holidays at the time did not
12 coincide with state or official bank holidays, if you like.
13 A. You're right. There -- but of course this need to dissemble about
14 one's religious belief lessened over time. It was no longer a big problem
15 after the early 1960s, certainly. And in any case the problem only arose
16 only for card-carrying members of the League of Communists. They were the
17 ones who might have felt it necessary to pretend that they were not
18 religious believers. Ordinary people had no such problem.
19 Q. Yes, perhaps, Mr. Wheeler, perhaps. But there were a lot of those
20 extraordinary people, if I may call them that, who weren't ordinary
21 people, those people were afraid, they didn't dare go to church or
22 anything because of the official positions that they held at the time.
23 I would like to wrap this up though, there's something else you
24 say in your report, something that you obviously studied. Do you believe
25 this to be typical? Do you perhaps believe this to be unique? What am I
1 talking? At the time when you spent time in Yugoslavia, the Muslims, and
2 this was a religious descriptor at the time, at one point became a nation,
3 if you like. An individual nation and the descriptor used was still the
4 same. I suppose you would agree with me that this was not entirely usual
5 or habitual to combine national identity with religious identity to quite
6 this extent. Would that strike a chord with you, sir?
7 A. You're correct, Mr. Domazet that this was a strange phenomenon as
8 using a religious designation as a -- simultaneously as a national
9 designation. And it's one of the reasons why I think Muslims by 1993
10 decided that they must revive the term Bosnjak from Habsburg times to
11 describe themselves, so that they had a national designation which was not
12 exclusively religious.
13 Q. Yes. That is perfectly accurate, Professor. But a lot of time
14 went by before this term, the term Bosniak, really started being used, and
15 it began to be used in Serbia around Novi Pazar and this had nothing do
16 with Bosnia itself because some people actually believed the term Bosniak
17 to be related to Bosnia, exclusively, which of course is erroneous.
18 Thank you, Professor, I would now like to move on to the
19 historical framework or context which I believe to have a great bearing on
20 the events in the former Yugoslavia. I will first try to deal with what
21 you called yourself have called the first Yugoslavia, the state that was
22 established after World War II.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, after World War I.
24 Q. I would like to go through some facts -- I said World War I, there
25 may have been an error in the interpretation.
1 Is it true that Serbia or the Kingdom of Serbia at the time in
2 World War I sided with the allies, Great Britain, France and all the other
3 countries fighting against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
4 A. Yes, indeed, the Kingdom of Serbia was the original allied power.
5 Q. Of course we should not forget Montenegro. I do not want to lead
6 to other rifts, especially not between our own Defence teams, since some
7 us are actually Montenegrins. They also sided with the allied powers, and
8 I suppose we can agree that the cause that led to the outbreak of war was
9 the assassination in Sarajevo, right?
10 A. Yes, the assassination in Sarajevo in 20th of June 1914 provided
11 the occasion for the war indeed.
12 Q. And this was the reason that the war broke out in purely practical
13 terms in Serbian territory, the Austro-Hungarian army attacked Serbia
14 sometime in the summer of 1914. Is that right, sir?
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. I hope we agree that at the time the present territory of
17 Slovenia, Croatia and even Bosnia and Herzegovina to a large extent
18 belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I am sure you are aware of the
19 fact that soldiers mobilised from those areas were always members of the
20 Austro-Hungarian army at the time, Slovenes, Croats, perhaps I should not
21 use the term Bosniaks, but anyway people who lived in the area. Would
22 that be a fair assessment, sir?
23 A. Yes, that's a perfectly fair assessment. And it's why, of course,
24 the First World War was also, as far as the south Slav peoples were
25 concerned, a form of civil war. Because, given the large volunteer
1 regiments of Croats and Slovenes that joined the Serbian forces after the
2 period on Corfu and fought on the Salonika front, you therefore had Serbs,
3 Croats, and Slovenes fighting for a Serbia, a future south Slav state, as
4 well as Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and Bosnjaks fighting in the ranks of the
5 Habsburg armed forces.
6 Q. By all means, sir. I'm not trying to say that those who fought
7 with the allied powers most of them at least wanted to achieve that, but
8 they were citizens of that state, they were military conscripts. It was
9 their duty to sign up. A lot of those people surrendered or changed sides
10 and sided after a while with the Serbian army; I'm sure you are aware of
11 that group as well. What you have referred to, the volunteers, yes, that
12 may well be an historical fact, but this also includes families who lived
13 on other continents outside of Slovenia or Croatia. There were people who
14 lived in other continents who arrived at this point in time in Europe to
15 join the army. Would I be correct in stating that?
16 A. You are correct.
17 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Professor. Are you familiar with the fact
18 that much later, the great Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito also fought as
19 a non-commissioned officer with the Austro-Hungarian army along the Serb
20 front. He was later moved to the Russian front where he was eventually
21 wounded and captured. Are you familiar with this information, sir?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Finally, this war that broke out midway through 1914, is it true
24 that this small state of Serbia, together with Montenegro, put up
25 resistance almost up until the end of 1915, when it was forced to withdraw
1 to leave these areas and across Albania to withdraw to Corfu and Greece
2 since Bulgaria had by this time entered the war from the right flank which
3 had, up to this point in time, been neutral, which further aggravated
4 Serbia's position. Is that right, sir?
5 A. You are correct, yes.
6 Q. You will probably agree that, following this, Greece and Corfu
7 were places that not only the soldiers, but also the leaders in exile
8 started to gather and the same thing applied to many Croats and Slovenes
9 who shared this Slavic idea of unification. Even before the war was over
10 and negotiations had started to promote this idea. Would that seem to be
11 a correct assessment, sir?
12 A. That is indeed the case, yes. And, in fact, the defeat of Serbia
13 and the exile of the Serbian government to Corfu facilitated this process
14 of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes from the Habsburg monarchy, the
15 so-called south Slav committee, getting together with the Pasic government
16 in Serbia at the time and coming up with, ultimately in 1917, the Corfu
17 declaration looking for the creation of a common south Slav state.
18 Q. Certainly, Professor. You're talking about the Corfu declaration,
19 no doubt, that is how we refer to it, which provided foundation for the
20 so-called first Yugoslavia.
21 You are an historian who dealt with all these things, and this is
22 something that in Serbia, of all places, perhaps you had occasion to hear
23 during your time there. I am talking about the misgivings about many of
24 the Croatian and Slovene leaders who advocated that sort of state. They
25 may have done this for purely tactical reasons, since up to this point in
1 time they had never had a state of their own. They were, in fact, on the
2 losing side in that war because they had sided with the Austro-Hungarian
3 Empire and refused to side with Serbia and Montenegro in order it create a
4 state. This also applies to the territorial aspect of the situation. We
5 have Italy, who decided at one point to side with the allies and asked for
6 Dalmatia in return. Perhaps you could comment on that, sir.
7 A. Well, before the First World War, there were many more Croats who
8 were vastly more interested or very interested in creating a common south
9 Slav state than there were Serbs, and as the war proceeded it became an
10 urgent necessity for both Croats and Slovenes because the integrity of
11 their national territory was threatened by the secret treaty of London and
12 the promises that had been made to the Italians, and so they indeed needed
13 very quickly to get in bed with Serbia, to get -- to be able to switch
14 from the losing side of the war to the winning side of the war, as you
15 indicated. But, of course, as you have also -- as we've -- as we have
16 already mentioned this morning, there were large numbers of Serbs in these
17 Habsburg territories that were desperately looking for a national solution
18 for themselves, given the fact that in October of 1918 the Habsburg
19 monarchy fell apart. There was revolutionary threats in Hungary,
20 virtually everybody's territory west of the river Drina was under
21 tremendous threat under some rapacious neighbour. So Yugoslavia, the
22 creation of the Yugoslav state became an urgent necessity for those people
23 who had formerly lived under the Habsburg monarchy, yes.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness kindly slow down for the
25 benefit of the record. Thank you.
1 THE WITNESS: I will try.
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Thank you. We have some minutes to go before the break. I will
4 try to finish this set of questions. But most of all I would like to
5 thank you for your comment and your elucidations, Professor.
6 Can we agree that even at the time there were those in Serbia who
7 advocated the creation of a Serbian state. At the time, since Serbia was
8 on the winning side, this state would have included areas with Serbian
9 population from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire which would have
10 roughly corresponded with the borders what is now termed Greater Serbia.
11 Greater or smaller, at any rate, it certainly would have been greater than
12 it ended up in 1918, would it not?
13 A. Yes indeed. There is no doubt there were very many people in the
14 Serbian government, including Nikola Pasic himself, who were interested in
15 incorporating largely Serb-inhabited territories in southern Hungary, in
16 Eastern Slavonia, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and, of course, in Montenegro as
17 well, than they were interested in the idea that Croatian intellectuals
18 had propagated since the 1830s about a common south Slav home.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you believe that in view of the circumstances that
20 prevailed at the time it would have been possible not to create this
21 greater state of Serbs, Slovenes, and Croats but a somewhat smaller state
22 that would have nonetheless been bigger in terms of size than the previous
23 Kingdom, the Serbian Kingdom, including Eastern Slavonia, the parts of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and probably some other areas too?
25 A. It would have been possible, but it would have flown in the face
1 of the trends, of course, taking place at the end of the war. Because
2 after all, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes is formed after
3 a series of genuine acts of self-determination on the part of the peoples
4 of the Habsburg monarchy. Their conventions held in Ljubljana, Zagreb,
5 Sarajevo where people voted, actually, to join with Serbia. It would have
6 been very strange for Serbia to have said no. And, of course, Prince
7 Aleksandar, later King Aleksandar, did indeed say yes. It was of a piece,
8 of course, of what was going on throughout the former Habsburg monarchy.
9 This was -- after all, think of the way in which the Czechoslovak state
10 has been formed at the same time, or for that matter the very large
11 republic of Poland.
12 Q. I agree entirely with you, sir. I agree there was a majority in
13 Serbia advocating this idea of a union. The same probably applied to
14 Croatia and the Corfu declaration was eventually implemented.
15 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I have just finished one set of my
16 questions, and Your Honours, I believe this is a convenient time for us to
17 take our first break.
18 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at 20 past.
19 --- Recess taken at 11.00
20 --- On resuming at 11.23 a.m.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet.
22 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Wheeler, we'll take this up where we left
24 off. When answering my last question as to whether, regardless of the
25 general tendency and desire on the part of the Serbs, and most Serb
1 statesmen, to create a common state encompassing the Croats, Slovenes, and
2 other south Slavs in this territory, we agreed that Serbia as the country
3 on the winning side of this war, could have resolved this issue in a
4 different way by including those Serbs who had lived beyond its borders up
5 to that point, but, in fact, what they did was to create a common state.
6 However, as you yourself observed, from the very beginning of the
7 functioning of the state then called the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and
8 Slovenes, problems began to arise, there was obstruction, and in
9 particular this was done by Croatian representatives. In your report I
10 think you adduced us some of the reasons; centralism, the dynasty, and the
12 My question is the following: You probably meant that the
13 Karadjordjevic dynasty, the Serb dynasty was at the head of the state, the
14 capital was in Belgrade, but my question is: Wasn't that something that
15 had been agreed on, on Corfu, and later on, and that this was never
16 actually an issue that was not agreed upon until the point of unification?
17 A. Mr. Domazet, you are again correct. The trouble was that once
18 there were democratic elections in the new Yugoslav Kingdom in 1920 the
19 people who had agreed the basis of unification were no longer the people
20 who had the confidence of the masses. And we saw the rise of the Croatian
21 Peasant Party in particular, which wanted effectively a renegotiation of
22 the terms on which the peoples of the new Yugoslav state were coming
23 together. There was also, of course, a radicalisation in the new country
24 generally when lots of people voted for the communists.
25 So the pact made in the extraordinary circumstances of war was
1 something that a good many people in the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats,
2 and Slovenes waned to renegotiate, revisit. And certainly Stjepan Radic,
3 the founder and leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, or Croatian People's
4 Republican Peasant Party, as it styled itself occasionally at the time,
5 certainly took the position that the basis for the unification should be
6 reconsidered and they certainly also dissented from the so-called Vidovdan
7 1921 constitution which provided for a highly centralised state. This was
8 a problem for Croats in particular, because they did not feel that they
9 would be protected in the same way that Slovenes would, for example, by
10 having a separate language. They would be much more under the thumb of a
11 centralising minded government in Belgrade than Slovenia would, for
12 example. It has to be said also that the Serbs of Croatia and of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina very much wanted a highly-centralised state. They
14 thought that would be something that would protect them. They also tended
15 to be in the form of people like Svetozar Pribicevic, ardent believers ion
16 the idea of almost forcefully making Yugoslavs out of Serbs, Croats, and
17 Slovenes. Of course at the time nobody considered Montenegrin or
18 Macedonians or, for that matter, Bosnian Muslims to be anything than
19 either Serbs or Croats.
20 Q. Thank you. Mr. Wheeler, in your report you put forward the idea
21 that this was an attempt to find a viable political formula which would
22 make it possible to express, recognise, adapt, and accept the situation
23 that several closely-connected south Slav nations inhabited the same or
24 adjacent territories. Do you recall that sentence from your statement?
25 And, as you said, many of the proponents and protagonists of Yugoslav
1 union in 1918 believed they were forging a nation as well as a state, and
2 that a common Yugoslav identity would, with careful nurturing, emerge to
3 subsume the separate, tribal, as you say, identities. Do you have any
4 comment on this?
5 A. No, I think that I certainly recall what I wrote, and I continue
6 to agree with what I wrote then.
7 If you want me to expand on it, I could simply say that this was a
8 very common notion at time in east central Europe. Tomas Masaryk, the
9 founder president of Czechoslovakia believed too that he was creating a
10 new Czechoslovakia nation. The winners in the First World War all
11 believed, if we're talking about Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, they
12 were in the position to -- on what they saw as the west European model of
13 the 19th century, to create a common nation. After all, France was the
14 example they usually had in mind, whereby France, at the beginning of 19th
15 century was itself a highly multi-national state with people speaking a
16 variety of different languages but France had become a highly centralised
17 state, a progressive state, and people in east central Europe wished to
18 imitate the French example and make national and state boundaries
19 coincide. For those countries which inherited very large national
20 minorities, this was always going to be a very big problem, but in the
21 case of countries like Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, the close affinity
22 of the individual nations meant that it didn't really seem impossible in
23 the circumstances of 1918, that the 19th century West European experience
24 could be replicated and a state could also become a single nation.
25 Q. Thank you. From your CV I see that you are a citizen of the U.S.,
1 and you yourself know what happened in the U.S., where there were many
2 nations but a single national identity emerged. Unfortunately in this
3 case it did not happen.
4 My question is as follows: This idea of a Yugoslav identity,
5 would you agree with me that it was not an idea that aimed at creating
6 Serbs out of all the other Slavs, but an effort to create a new Yugoslav
7 nation out of all -- all the nations there, including the Serbs, Croats,
8 and Slovenes?
9 A. Certainly those Serbs, Croats and Slovenes who believed
10 passionately in a Yugoslav state also tended in the early 20th century to
11 believe passionately in creating a new Yugoslav national identity which
12 would take the best from the pre-existing nations or tribes. The trouble
13 was that far too many Serbs believed that a Yugoslav national identity
14 should effectively be a Serb national identity and wished to Serbianise,
15 if I can put it that way, their new fellow citizens in the new Yugoslav
16 state, which of course then gave rise to the national question, which as
17 far as most Serbs were concerned, was simply the Croat question in the
18 inter-war years. Because the Croats, having invented the idea of a
19 Yugoslav state, were the ones who believed that a Yugoslav state could
20 only endure and prosper if it were a genuinely collective enterprise and
21 not some form of Serbian domination.
22 Q. I don't know if I understood you properly. At that time do you
23 feel that the Croats were more in favour of this idea than the Serbs,
24 whereas I think it was just the opposite. Perhaps it was a romantic idea
25 at the time, this idea of creating Yugoslavs rather than an attempt to
1 Serbianise all others.
2 A. You are right. It certainly was a romantic idea, it was an idea
3 of romantic intellectuals. But there was more of those romantic
4 intellectuals amongst the Croats. The trouble, of course, as I indicated
5 in the previous reply was that the -- the Yugoslav idea was something
6 which many intellectuals amongst all of the south Slav peoples had in
7 common. Unfortunately when democracy was let lose in 1920s with elections
8 which saw vastly more people with the right to vote than had ever been the
9 case before, the big political parties that emerged from this first free
10 elections tended to have different ideas. In other words, the masses,
11 whether we're talk about the mass of Croat peasants or the mass of Serbian
12 peasants or the mass of Slovene peasants, hadn't been consulted. And
13 that's when the trouble arose, when they started getting the vote and
14 started wanting parties to advocate their interests.
15 Q. I can agree with you there. It's well known how people can be
16 manipulated, especially people desirous of prosperity who had just emerged
17 from a very difficult war. However, let me ask you what you meant when,
18 in your report, you said that you thought this did not happen because of
19 numerous national dissatisfactions, as you say, which had existed in the
20 Habsburg and Ottoman Empires. That is national discontents which troubled
21 the Habsburg and Ottoman predecessors. Why do you mention the Ottoman
22 predecessors in light of the fact that Serbia had long since liberated
23 itself from its Ottoman rulers and had been independent quite a long time
24 before the First World War? That's why I fail to understand why you
25 mention Ottoman predecessors when referring to national discontents.
1 A. Oh, very simple because, of course, technically the Ottoman Empire
2 up until 1908 had been the owner of Bosnia-Herzegovina, up until the
3 Balkan Wars it had also held all of Macedonia and Kosovo, Kosovo-Metohija.
4 So in other words the Ottoman inheritance was one that might have been
5 fairly distance for narrow Serbia, but it was highly relevant in
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Kosovo.
7 The Habsburg inheritance of course, was more recent. But what I
8 was trying to explain in that passage was that Yugoslavia became a form of
9 multi-national empire, just as the Ottoman Empire had been a vast
10 multi-national empire, and the Habsburg monarchy had been a vast
11 multi-national empire. It's simply that states like the Kingdom of the
12 Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, and the vastly expanded Romania, and the new
13 Czechoslovak state, they all inherited the fundamental multi-national
14 problems or problems of having a multi-national population that their
15 predecessors had had. They were only slightly smaller multi-national
16 Empires than the Habsburgs or the Ottomans had ruled.
17 Q. Thank you. And when the Kingdom was created, I mentioned before
18 the break, and I hope you will agree, that there were huge problems with
19 establishing the borders of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes,
20 especially the western border, primarily with respect to Dalmatia, which
21 was claimed by Italy, you mentioned the secret treaty, also parts of
22 Koruska [phoen] and Slovene territory around lakes Bled and Bohinj, which
23 ultimately was included in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.
24 Would you agree?
25 A. Yes. And as we've already discussed, the chaotic wartime
1 situation in 1918 meant that the new Kingdom proclaimed on the 1st of
2 December, didn't indeed have formal borders. There was still a communist
3 revolution going on in Hungary, so there could be no borders established
4 with Hungary until 1921. It took plebiscites in southern Corinthia and
5 southern Stiria [phoen] to establish the borders with the new Republic of
6 Austria, plebiscites which were managed by the new League of Nations, and
7 of course, the western frontiers with Italy around Trieste and Istria, the
8 loss of Istria, in fact, Italy, and Dalmatia, these were not settled until
9 the treaty of Rapallo in 1924. So the state had these border problems
10 which was one of the principal reasons why Slovenes and Croats in
11 particular were in the circumstances of 1918, as I said before, desperate
12 to cling to the victorious Serbian Kingdom and to get the victorious
13 Serbian army into the territories as quickly as possible to save them from
14 either the Hungarian Bolshevik revolution or from the Italian
16 Q. Thank you for these explanations. I fully agree. Now, I would
17 like your opinion as to whether had the Kingdom of Croats, Slovenes and
18 Serbs not been established, would Dalmatia have become Italian territory
19 rather than Croatian territory, if you research this issue, but I believe
20 you have because the issue of Dalmatia was a very important one after
21 World War I.
22 A. It's highly unlikely that Italy would have acquired very much of
23 Dalmatia, largely because the so-called big three, that is Lloyd George,
24 Woodrow Wilson, and Clemenceau -- Georges Clemenceau were determined not
25 to give Italy as much as it was demanding. So, in fact, the new Yugoslav
1 state had some friends at the Paris peace conference. The fact that the
2 Italians ended up getting as much as they did, in other words a saliert
3 [phoen] around Zadar and kept all of Istria was a result that Woodrow
4 Wilson felt compelled to give some concessions to the Italians, but there
5 was no readiness not to give the Italians everything they demanded.
6 Q. Yes. But my question was, had the Yugoslav state not been
7 created, and it was formed by Serbia as the victorious country which asked
8 for Croatia and Slovenia, parts of Slovenia, had not this been done, would
9 not Italy have found it much easier to achieve its goals and get Dalmatia,
10 and I believe that they did manage that in 1941.?
11 A. You are completely correct, Mr. Domazet, had there been no
12 Yugoslav state, had the Slovenes and Croats not allied themselves with the
13 Serbian army and of course, had not the Habsburg monarchy fell away and
14 fall apart in the chaotic way it did, then the Italians would indeed have
15 scored much larger gains.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Wheeler. We will now move on to another topic.
17 You discussed the first Yugoslavia, which actually received its name a
18 little later, but when speaking about centralism, I wish to ask you about
19 decentralization. How was that state decentralized. I'm referring to the
21 A. The banovinas were created as a result of King Aleksandar's
22 proclamation of a dictatorship in January of 1929, the Sestojanuarska
23 Diktatura. He then went on to rearrange, during the year of 1929, the
24 territorial structure of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes,
25 creating a series of provinces or banovina, which were meant to be shorn
1 or have their historical national -- historical national territorial
2 arrangements got rid of. The banovina were intended in other words to
3 make people forget that they lived in a historic region called Slavonia or
4 Central Croatia or Dalmatia or Montenegro or Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
5 banovina were arranged in the interests of administrative efficiency, but
6 also in the interests of getting rid of the loyalties that people might
7 have had to particular historical territories. And finally at the end of
8 1929 Aleksandar moved -- King Aleksandar took the final step and changed
9 the name of the country to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
10 Q. Was it precisely for this reason that the names of the banovinas
11 were for the most part, if I'm correct, the names of rivers. The Sava,
12 Danube, Moravska, Vrbaska banovina, and so on? Is that correct?
13 A. That is indeed the case, yes, as well as in the case of -- there
14 was a Primorska as well. And the idea was to create provinces which would
15 be efficient for administration, which would, as I said, get rid of the
16 notion that these Yugoslav tribes were still terribly important, and would
17 make it easier for a highly centralised regime to govern the country.
18 Q. Yes. Maybe this was the beginning of regionalism, which is still
19 topical in present-day Europe, but apparently it was an unsuccessful
20 attempt, because according to you, the banovinas were a failure, or am I
21 wrong? Would you please comment on this?
22 A. The banovinas were certainly a failure. And they were -- they
23 were transparently designed in the way in which the borders were drawn, to
24 create as many banovina as possible in which Serbs would form the
25 majority, and as few as possible in which Croats in particular or Bosnian
1 Muslims would form the majority. And that's why I refer to them as being
2 an attempt to make centralism more efficient, rather than any real sort of
3 regionalisation. The original territorial structure of the Kingdom of
4 Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes had indeed recognised these traditional
5 historical units in terms of the way in which the country was set up,
6 where the introduction of the banovina in 1929 was meant to get rid of the
7 salience or the importance of these old historical territorial units.
8 Q. Can we agree that for example the Drina banovina encompassed
9 inhabitants from both banks of the river Drina, from present day Serbia
10 and present day Bosnia and Herzegovina to a more or less equal extent?
11 A. Yes, indeed. And of course very many banovina also
12 incorporated -- many banovina which had Croatian majorities also
13 incorporated large parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or for that matter large
14 parts of Srem or Srijem. But the general effect of the borders of the
15 banovina was to create more territorial units in which Serbs would be the
17 Q. Well, as you believe this, my question is, what kind of real
18 authority did the banovinas have, how important was it who would be living
19 on a certain territory and who important was it for the authorities in
20 that area, did the banovinas have any legislative powers, can you clarify?
21 A. You make a very valid point, Mr. Domazet. The banovinas were for
22 administrative efficiency only, they were not possessed with any
23 legislative powers. They had really very little significance until such
24 time as, after King Aleksandar's assassination, there were negotiations on
25 what became known as the Cvetkovic-Macek Sporazum, the Cvetkovic-Macek
1 agreement which led to a merger of Croatian banovinas and created a very
2 large Croatian-occupied area, which would have power devolved to it from
3 the centre, it would have home rule. At that point the banovinas became
4 crucially important because they were actually going to have some real
5 authority that mattered to one of the principal nations living in
6 Yugoslavia, in this case the Croats. Many Serbs, of course, at the time
7 after the 1939 Sporazum wanted their own sort of banovina. Everybody
8 wanted to have a banovina at that point, but of course the Second World
9 War intervened.
10 Q. We'll come to this issue which is of great interest to me, your
11 standpoint on the creation of the Croatian banovina, but as we're now
12 talking about the organisation of the state, at the local level were there
13 municipalities, Opstina and Srezeri [phoen] as a higher level territorial
14 unit encompassing more than one municipality?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. The parliamentary crisis we mentioned, and the
17 pressure of Croatian parties in particular led just before the outbreak of
18 World War II to the creation of a large banovina, much larger than
19 previously, which was even named the Croatian banovina, unlike the
20 previous banovina names which were named after rivers or the sea. Now a
21 Croatian banovina was established with borders going all the way up to
22 Belgrade itself, if I'm not wrong. Could you explain under what
23 circumstances this occurred, and how it affected relations at the time and
24 later on?
25 A. This was an -- the creation of the large Croatian banovina in 1939
1 was an attempt on the part of Prince Regent Paul Karadjordjevic to get rid
2 of, to pacify, the greatest domestic Yugoslav problem of the day which was
3 the Croat question. And he decided to make a separate piece with the
4 largest Croatian party, the Croatian peasant party, in order to -- I don't
5 want to put it -- maybe I will. I'll put it very cynically. He wanted to
6 buy Croatian loyalty in view of the very, very stormy weather ahead, with
7 Hitler obviously making demands all over the place. He wanted to put
8 Yugoslavia on very much firmer foundations by ensuring the loyalty of the
9 bulk of Croats to the Yugoslav state, as the Second World War drew near.
10 What was also said at the time, of course, was that the Croatian banovina
11 was only going to be the first of a series of such devolutions of powers
12 to national historical units inside Yugoslavia, but of course it didn't
13 happen, the war came first.
14 Q. Yes. But can we agree that this was a considerable concession to
15 Croatia, or to the Croatian parties, advocating the creation of the
16 Croatian banovina under that very name, and including the territory that
17 was created?
18 A. Indeed, it was a considerable concession. And one that Franjo
19 Tudjman later on would talk about endlessly, whenever he wanted to talk
20 about the territory in Bosnia-Herzegovina that he thought should belong to
21 Croatia, or, for that matter, Srijem.
22 Q. Yes. That's what some of my questions are about. The creation of
23 the Croatian banovina, did after all cause a lot of problems later on.
24 Another question about this, since first and foremost we are focusing on
25 Vukovar and the surrounding area. The banovina before the creation of the
1 Croatian banovina, Vukovar and its surroundings, which banovina did that
2 area belong to?
3 A. Oh, gosh. This is the kind of question that not any longer being
4 a professional teaching historian makes it difficult for me. I think it
5 was dravska [phoen], but I could be wrong.
6 Q. Very well. Let's not dwell on that. I'll move on to a different
7 topic, the beginning of World War II. In Yugoslavia the war broke out in
8 1941, later than in some other parts of Europe, in fact. I think you have
9 spent a lot of time studying these subjects and you are perfectly familiar
10 with the circumstances under which back in 1941 the government that you
11 yourself described as the Cvetkovic-Marcek government made a pact on the
12 25th of March. In Yugoslavia's later history there were many different
13 interpretations, some of them quite one-sided, I believe. Your
14 assessment, as an historian, the Yugoslav government, the Cvetkovic-Marcek
15 government and the Count Pavle who in some way replaced King Aleksandar as
16 the head of state, were they pro-German, of a pro-German orientation?
17 Were they indeed in favour of a pact like that, or did they have different
18 views, but were simply left without a choice at the time? Left without a
19 better alternative. What is your assessment of March 1941?
20 A. My personal view is that Prince Paul and his government had no
21 alternative but to sign the tripartite fact. They had negotiated
22 strenuously to make that pact as inoffensive as possible. But they, of
23 course, offended Serb national feeling in particular by doing so, and
24 found themselves two days later, turned out of office when the March 27th
25 coup d'etat took place and the young King Peter was proclaimed to be of
1 change and a military-led government under Dusan Simic was set up. Of
2 course, the immediate effect of the Martski Prevat [phoen] was, in fact,
3 to cause Hitler to repent that he had given a good deal, of course no deal
4 with Hitler was ever a deal you could believe would stay valid, but caused
5 him in his fury immediately to invade and destroy Yugoslavia. Prince Paul
6 and the Cvetkovic government had thought they could at least purchase some
7 time but signing the tripartite pact. They knew in their heart of hearts
8 they would be on the allied side, but those who disagreed with them,
9 especially in the Yugoslav army and air force, were subjected to
10 considerable British secret service pressure, they were impressed by the
11 heroic resistance which the Greeks were putting up at the time and felt
12 that they knew better. But my own view is that it might have indeed been
13 better for all of the peoples of Yugoslavia had the war not come as
14 immediately as it did to Yugoslavia.
15 Q. I believe I entirely agree with you on this. About this pact, can
16 we agree that although I entirely agree, that it violated the Serbs'
17 national pride, and this applied to others in what was then Yugoslavia, I
18 suppose, since this was after all a pact made with a power that was hard
19 to resist. But this did not constitute an act of occupation of the
20 country as it was. This would have been something different. Troops
21 would have been passing through, but the neutrality would have been
22 preserved. Would I be right in claiming that, sir?
23 A. No. And the reason is that one of the concessions which the then
24 Yugoslav foreign minister Cinkar Markovic got from Ribbentrop was a pledge
25 in the pact -- well, rather it was a secret side agreement to the pact by
1 which the Germans and the Italians guaranteed that there would be no
2 requests for troop transports through Yugoslavia. And the problem here
3 was that the Yugoslav government was fearful that the Germans, the
4 Italians, would use Yugoslav territory to launch a new offensive on
5 Greece. Now, the trouble with this pledge not to demand troop transports
6 was that nobody believed it, and certainly the people who carried out the
7 coup d'etat didn't believe it. The British didn't believe, the Greeks
8 didn't believe, and so therefore, although formally there was a pledge,
9 there was some reason to believe it would be only a matter of time,
10 indeed, before Hitler demanded to send his armies through Yugoslav
11 territory to attack the British who, of course, had set themselves up at
12 the time in Greece to help Greece. This was all terribly important to the
13 Germans because the British were in Greece, and that's why Yugoslavia ran
14 out of time in maintaining its neutrality, because Mussolini was losing
15 the war to the Greeks and Hitler had to come to Mussolini's rescue in
16 Greece, and that meant that countries like Yugoslavia simply had no time.
17 They were going to be forced to abandon their neutrality one way or the
18 other, either because they decided to side with the British and
19 precipitate an immediate German-Italian attack, or because they decided to
20 try to propitiate or make concessions to the Germans and would cause the
21 British to wish -- to force them into the war, which is of course what
23 Q. Very well. All the more so if you what you say is indeed true.
24 If we look at pact again or the agreement, what was it that was so
25 humiliating for the country, what was it that caused all the unrest and
1 eventually the coup d'etat that you have referred to?
2 A. What was so humiliating and so infuriating was that there was a
3 pact at all. A very large portion of the especially Serb officer corps
4 and various Serb nationalist sources and various Serb intellectuals and
5 lots of people that the British were supporting not just in Serbia, but
6 also, it has to be said, in Slovenia where there was tremendous opposition
7 to the pact, these people were simply kind of having any kind of alliance
8 with Germany.
9 Q. Thank you. Your explanation is crystal clear. As an historian,
10 do you know that prior to the signing of the pact, and you yourself said
11 that you believed that the government did not do this willingly, had they
12 previously tried to secure help from the allied powers, just in case they
13 were made to sign the pact and just in case they were forced to go to war
14 with Germany? And wasn't it, in fact, the case that despite their best
15 intentions they said there was nothing that they could do for Yugoslavia,
16 even if an attack was launched?
17 A. You are right. Correct. The British offered lots of
18 encouragement, but they couldn't offer anything else.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, could Mr. Domazet be asked to
20 speak into the microphone. Thank you.
21 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 Q. If I'm not mistaken, there were some official statements made by
23 the British leaders and statesmen encouraging the Serbs, invoking their
24 history, and their former alliance, encouraging them to resist Germany and
25 resist the pact itself. However, two days later, as you have just said,
1 there was a coup d'etat. Their coup d'etat was preceded by rallies
2 organised by people who didn't like the pact, to put it in quite simple
3 terms. But much in history as we know it indicates that the British
4 intelligence services and the British secret services had a significant
5 role to play in this situation. They wooed those officers who were
6 willing to resist Germany, who believed this to have constituted a
7 humiliation for an act like that to be made and that this led to the coup
8 that eventually occurred on the 27th of March. Would I be right in
9 stating that, sir?
10 A. You are indeed. Although of course historians still debate the
11 exact degree to which the British were deeply involved in the coup, my own
12 view, having researched these matters, is the British desperately wanted
13 to produce a coup, were trying very hard to produce a coup, but didn't
14 actually know the right people who could do the coup. And so they were
15 very happy when the coup take place, but their contacts were rather
16 peripheral. They were not deeply involved with Brigadier Boro Mirkovic,
17 for examples, the man who actually carried it out. That was a surprise to
18 them. But they did certainly help create an atmosphere in which army and
19 air force officers moved to overthrow Prince Paul.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet, could you move the microphone closer
21 to you?
22 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation].
25 Q. You mentioned Mirkovic. I have studied this, and there is much to
1 indicate that he was one of the officers courted and eventually won over,
2 so to speak, by the English, the British services, in order to achieve
3 what all of the allies at the time were really interested in, not just the
4 British. You don't seem to have that information, or perhaps for some
5 reason this information has remained secret.
6 A. Well, actually, in this case the -- nothing remains secret
7 anymore, but that doesn't mean that there aren't still puzzles. The
8 British air attache, or really only the deputy air attache in Belgrade in
9 1941 claimed that he had been in close contact with Mirkovic and knew all
10 about the plot. But the air attache was not himself part of the British
11 intelligence services. It was called at that time section D, which was a
12 part of the secret intelligence service. So there is still some
14 Because the coup was seen not just by anti-axis Yugoslavs as a
15 great heroic event, but it also was between by the British secret services
16 as something that they could do amazingly effective things. Everyone
17 wanted to believe that the British had been more deeply involved than was
18 probably the case. I mean, they did help, there is no doubt about that,
19 they helped as I said, encourage this to happen. But I think it would be
20 a mistake nowadays to say that they pulled the strings. I think we now
21 know, thanks to the researches of people like Jozo Tomasevic, that it
22 was -- Mirkovic did it himself.
23 Q. Yes. I entirely agree that this would never have been possible
24 had the mood that prevailed among the top-level officers in the army at
25 the time been such that it was possible for a foreign service to bring
1 this sort of thing about. The pact was declared null and void, and as
2 early as the 6th of April Yugoslavia was subjected to air strikes and it
3 was also attacked on the ground with no declarations of war preceding
4 these acts. Would that seem to be a fair assessment, sir?
5 A. Yes, it certainly is. But the pact was declared null and void by
6 Hitler, and not by the new Simovic government, because once Simovic put
7 his government together, he appreciated the enormity of the danger that
8 faced Yugoslavia, in the same way that Prince Paul and Cinkar Markovic and
9 Cvetkovic had seen it and desperately tried to reassure Berlin or to use
10 Mussolini to reassure Berlin that even the new revolutionary government
11 would respect the pact. Because they realised that the country's military
12 situation would be utterly and totally hopeless, as indeed it proved when
13 the Luftwaffe bombed Belgrade on the 6th of April and German troops
14 streamed in from Bulgaria which was where the war was lost.
15 Q. Yes. I entirely agree. My question may have been a little
16 imprecise. It is true that the new government tried to drag things out
17 and to appease, as it were, the axis powers, Hitler specifically. It
18 failed, however, and Yugoslavia was attacked on the 6th of April. You
19 said this yourself, I wanted to ask the same thing about Bulgaria The
20 Germans had some of their troops in Bulgaria at the time already, although
21 as you have suggested, they were interested in a corridor through
22 Yugoslavia as well, but it's true that they had troops on that side, at
23 that end, as it were, and much as was the case previously, during World
24 War I, Yugoslavia was yet again attacked from Bulgaria, as it were, from
25 that side, that's where the attack eventually came from. Isn't that
1 right, sir?
2 A. That is indeed right, yes.
3 Q. Would you agree, sir, you've probably studied this too, what were
4 the slogans, the most important slogans used in Belgrade and the other
5 cities at the time, this is in reference to Serbia first and foremost, I'm
6 not sure about other parts of Yugoslavia, but you may know something about
7 that. The two rallying cries, if you like, were, "a war is better than a
8 pact," "better a grave than being a slave." These were the two prevailing
9 slogans at the time, the battle cries, if you like. Do you remember that?
10 A. Yes, indeed. They were.
11 Q. Yugoslavia won the war eventually. Even historians seem to
12 believe that even Germany, and they were obviously entertaining secret
13 plans to attack Russia, would not have attacked Yugoslavia at the time if
14 Hitler had not been particularly enraged by what had occurred. It was on
15 the 6th of April, much earlier than the -- [indiscernible] than Russia
16 that Yugoslavia was attacked is that correct, sirs?
17 A. Yes, and the two are completely linked. Hitler had to eliminate
18 the trouble he had on his southeastern flank because of the coup in
19 Yugoslavia and the presence of British forces in Greece. He had to get
20 rid of that problem in Greece and Yugoslavia before he could safely attack
21 Russian, which he had already planned to do the. And the fact that there
22 were British forces based in Greece was the -- was a real threat to
23 Hitler, because they could use their air power to attack the Romanian
24 airfields -- the Romanian oil fields, and Romanian oil was absolutely
25 central to the German war machine. So it would not have been safe for the
1 Germans to attack the Soviet Union in June 1941, if they didn't eliminate
2 the problem represented by an uncertain Yugoslavia and a defiant Greece
4 Q. Just to remind ourselves, I believe we can agree on this, there
5 was an agreement at the time, a pact between the Axis powers and the
6 Soviet Union that there would be no mutual attacks. This was an
7 unofficial plan. Officially, what was there was an agreement to avoid any
8 mutual attacks. There was some sort of a formal agreement between these
9 countries right?
10 A. Indeed. It was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that made the Second
11 World War possible, and the German invasion of Poland.
12 Q. Thank you. The war itself lasted only a brief while. The
13 Yugoslav army capitulated in no time at all. My question: Is it true
14 that even then there had been ethnic divisions leading to a break-up that
15 some of the territory was not even being properly defended, that the real
16 fighting was conducted in some parts of Serbia, the Yugoslav army made
17 headway into the Albanian territory, they had even entered territory,
18 territory belonging to another country, but because of the odds they were
19 facing they were soon forced to capitulate. Would that be a fair
21 A. By and large, yes. The reason why the Yugoslav army sought to
22 penetrate Albanian territory was to secure there, as Churchill was
23 encouraging them to do, the supposedly vast stores of armourments that the
24 Italians had. Since the British couldn't offer the Yugoslavs anything and
25 the Americans could only offer money, in the short term, the question of
1 armourments was crucial. But also of course there was the notion of
2 repeating what had happened in 1915, with the government going into exile
3 from some place like Albania or Corfu off the coast of Albania. So, yes.
4 And you're also right to suggest that there was a massive disaffection in
5 certain parts of Yugoslavia when the Germans arrived. This, however was
6 not militarily significant because the battle had already been lost by the
7 initial German incursion across the border from Bulgaria, which had
8 destroyed any possibility of the Yugoslav army retreating any large
9 numbers into Greece and joining with the British and the Greeks there. So
10 the war was lost and, knowing that the war was lost, it happens to be the
11 case that, you know, the Germans were rather welcomed when they paraded
12 into Zagreb several days later. The war was lost even before it began, of
13 course, in any sort of real historical terms. It was a contest of
14 completely and utterly unequal forces.
15 Q. By all means. That is precisely what I think too. It wasn't an
16 equal contest. But we have seen footage of the German army's entry, both
17 into Zagreb and Belgrade, and I think those were two contrasting images
18 and the contrast seemed pretty stark. Therefore, my question, is it true
19 that the German army, the occupying army, was met with a great deal of
20 enthusiasm in Zagreb according to the accounts of some historians, the
21 only place they received a warmer welcome was, in fact, in Linz, Austria?
22 A. I don't know about the comparison with Linz but the German forces
23 were received well in Zagreb. The reason being of course is that the --
24 Hitler it taken the calculated decision that the Croats would be rewarded
25 and Serbs would be punished and the Croat's reward would be the creation
1 of the Independent State of Croatia, and therefore winning Croatian
2 support, making the Croats into an ally was something that Hitler was
3 determined to do, because he was equally determined that, as an Austrian,
4 and an Austrian who supposedly blamed Serbs for the break up of the
5 Habsburg monarchy, had never forgiven them for 1914, that whether
6 Yugoslavia would be destroyed as an idea utterly and totally. And so
7 therefore the principal beneficiary of the Third Reich on the territory of
8 the former Yugoslavia was meant to be the Croats, who were rewarded with
9 this very large Croatian state, including all of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
10 but, of course, as you will recall from my report this Croatian state
11 supposedly independent Croatian state, was compromised at the outset by
12 virtue of the fact that Hitler's Italian allies insisted on incorporating
13 Dalmatia, which was really rather more dear to most Croats, something that
14 was more important to them, than were bits and pieces of Central Bosnia.
15 I don't think a lot of Croats were terribly excited by incorporating Foca,
16 for example, Eastern Bosnia, Visegrad in the new Croatian state.
17 So Hitler's attempt to appeal to the Croats was rather disabled at
18 the very beginning by virtue of the territorial arrangements that he
19 insisted upon, but even more of course by the fact that he had trusted the
20 government of Croatia to an out and out gangster and criminal, Ante
22 Q. Can we agree that what happened marked the death of the Yugoslav
23 idea, at least as far as the Slovenes and Croats were concerned, it spelt
24 a defeat for Yugoslavia and the ideas promoted back in 1918, jointly
25 promoted by the statesmen at that time?
1 A. That is exactly what Hitler intended, that the Yugoslav idea
2 should be destroyed for all time. But in that respect, as in so many
3 others, Hitler proved utterly and totally wrong. The Yugoslav idea was
4 reborn in the course of the resistance struggle led by the communists.
5 And it was reborn in a new way whereby the Communists fought both for the
6 recreation of Yugoslavia, but also for the recognition of the individual
7 south Slav nations' proper place in that new Yugoslavia. At least that
8 is, of course, the theory. What they were fighting for, of course, was
9 total Communist power. But they made a very, very good use of the
10 Yugoslav idea and caused the Yugoslav idea to have another 50-some years
11 of life, and of course it's not impossible that it will come alive again,
12 although utterly dead now.
13 Q. Can we agree when you refer to the Communists at the time, that
14 they raised their voice only after the attack on the Soviet Union. This
15 was in June, I think.
16 A. By and large, yes.
17 Q. And another thing, would I be right in saying that after the
18 capitulation of the Yugoslav army, the officers of that army and the men
19 were taken to imprisonment, mostly in Germany, but only those who were of
20 Serb nationality, not officers and soldiers from Croatia, Slovenia, and
21 some other areas?
22 A. You are correct, Mr. Domazet, it was Serb officers who in
23 particular who were sent to prisoner of war camps, at least those Serb
24 officers who hadn't managed to escape surrender or capture.
25 Q. You have already mentioned this, but let's remember that Serbia
1 had the status of an occupied country, fully under German command. The
2 Independent State of Croatia was established, which encompassed Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina but not Dalmatia which was occupied by Italy, and the
4 Independent State of Croatia stretched as far as Zemun in the east. Am I
6 A. You are indeed.
7 Q. Did this circumstance cause a migration of the population or what
8 is called ethnic cleansing in territories where Serbs had lived, did they
9 move towards Serbia, even though it was occupied from the territories of
10 the Independent State of Croatia?
11 A. They did indeed. They did not only move, many were killed and
12 others forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism. The ideology of the
13 Ustasha state was that Croats had to become a convincing majority in this
14 expanded Croatian state, and that could only happen if roughly one-third
15 of the Serbs were got rid of by forcing them out, one-third were got rid
16 of by murder, mass murder, and one-third were got rid of by forcibly
17 conversions to Roman Catholicism that is that they would be made Croats,
18 made into Croats, that the Bosnian -- excuse me, the Croatian Ustasha
19 state could also only have a majority if it changed the national ideology
20 of Bosnian Muslims. They had to be convinced that they were in fact
21 Croats of Islamic faith, this was a huge effort which, of course,
22 thankfully, the Ustasha regime was not capable of implementing in full,
23 although, of course, the extent to which it did implement it was ghastly
24 as it was.
25 Q. Thank you for your replies, Dr. Wheeler.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe it is time
2 for our break.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Domazet. May the Chamber point out
4 that we have gone for a session and a half now, and have reached roughly
5 1942. We would be very grateful if we could reach 1991 much more quickly.
6 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 1.34 p.m.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Domazet.
9 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Wheeler, you probably remember, we last
11 discussed your explanations about what happened after the creation of the
12 Independent State of Croatia, and its policies as far as Serbs were
13 concerned, you defined it by referring to one-third, the second-third and
14 the third-third. One-third were supposed to be murdered, another third
15 were supposed to be expelled, and the third-third were supposed to be
16 converted. Did that plan come to anything in the end, or was it for the
17 most part implemented eventually?
18 A. It was implemented to a horrifying degree, but that doesn't mean
19 that it was implemented in full, in part because the Germans, aghast and I
20 should say the Germans and the Italians, aghast at the chaos which it
21 proposed, the way in which it served to stimulate armed resistance, and
22 thereby to remove any benefit to the Axis occupying regime from actually
23 possessing this territory, the Germans and the Italians by and large
24 started putting a stop to it in 1942. A stop to it in 1942, I said.
25 Q. Yes. But based also on information which you discuss in your
1 report, your findings seem to indicate that about 344.000 Serbs were
2 killed in the Independent State of Croatia during the war. Would that
3 seem to be correct, because that follows from your report, sir?
4 A. Yes, I was -- I was citing the historical research in the 1980s of
5 Bogoljub Kocovic. In the 1980s, as I indicated in the report, both a
6 Croatian statistician and a Serbian statistician came up with roughly the
7 same figures which I think are extremely well grounded and had the effect
8 of course of contradicting what an awful lot of the post-Second World War
9 mythology about absolute and relative losses amongst the various south
10 Slav and non-south Slav citizens of the Yugoslav state had been. The
11 figure of 340-some thousand Serbs who were killed or lost their lives in
12 the Ustasha state, however, can't necessarily be put down to Ustasha
13 policies. It would have been for a variety of reasons, and of course some
14 of those deaths might have occurred -- I was going to say outside the
15 bounds of the Croatian state, in the sense that that was territory not
16 necessarily under Croatian control.
17 Q. Indeed. At any rate though, these figures are impressive. They
18 are large-scale figures. When discussing the estimated total of victims
19 throughout Yugoslavia, you probably refer to that figure of about 700.000
20 [as interpreted], which would roughly amount to 10 per cent of the pre-war
21 population of Yugoslavia. I suppose that was what you had in mind. A
22 correction for the transcript. I said 1.700.000.
23 A. The figure of 1.700.000 which was the conventional figure for the
24 wartime death toll was a figure that the new Communist regime put together
25 in 1946 in order to justify their reparations claims on the defeated Axis
1 states. It was not an exercise in serious statistical or demographic or
2 historic research. It was a guess based on a need to come up with a
3 figure immediately. The subsequent serious research, which I cited in my
4 report, pushed that figure down to just over one million persons. We are,
5 of course, seeing ago similar phenomenon going on today in relation to the
6 death toll in the wars of the 1990s. Vastly inflated figures were cited
7 immediately after the 1991, 1995 wars, which for example said that the
8 death toll in Bosnia and Herzegovina was something like 250.000 or at
9 least 200.000. We now know because of serious research which has been
10 done, that the death toll is probably more like 100.000. Now, these are
11 still huge and scarifying figures but they put the previous guesses and
12 estimates into some sort of perspective.
13 Q. Indeed. You describe this in report too. That's a fact, but it's
14 also a fact that you agree with the assessments that the Serbs who lost
15 their lives in the Independent State of Croatia, that their numbers
16 roughly amounted to this figure. As far as the total was concerned, the
17 total of the Serbs who lost their lives according to Kocovic, which is
18 also the figure you cite, 487.000. Most of the Serbs did come to grief in
19 the territory of the Independent State of Croatia, that seems to follow
20 from these facts which would roughly amount to almost two-thirds [as
22 A. Indeed. Yes, indeed.
23 Q. For the transcript, I said about three-fourths, not two-thirds.
24 At any rate, it's easy to do one's own math, if you use the one and the
25 other figure, 487.000, and 334.000. When we talk about the Serbs killed
1 in the Independent State of Croatia, would I be right in stating this. If
2 one of the ways to do this was to kill civilians and throw them into pits
3 and we all know that there were lots of those in those areas, pits,
4 grottos, and these traces remained in a way. Another method was to use
5 camps such as those at Jasenovac, Gradiska, and others. Does your
6 information seem to corroborate this, sir?
7 A. Yes, indeed. There was of course also in the early days even much
8 more horrifically brutal killings of Serb villagers herded into churches
9 and burned alive. The same sorts of things, of course, that happened in
10 the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, although not to Serbs.
11 Q. Thank you. We have just mentioned Jasenovac. It was the briefest
12 possible reference. As you have indicated, this caused a lot of debate in
13 post-war Yugoslavia in terms of how many people were killed there. I
14 would not like to go further into this, but you did say yourself that
15 there were attempts on the Croatian side to reduce this figure, they were
16 talking about 40.000 people killed in Jasenovac. On the other hand, a
17 figure that was ascertained was 400.000, I think you yourself referred to
18 between 60.000 and 80.000 people killed in Jasenovac. Isn't that what
19 your report states, sir?
20 A. I believe so. I can't remember exactly. Certainly some estimates
21 were way too low and other estimates were way too high. I think we could
22 take it for granted that the number is between 60 and 100.000. We will,
23 of course, never know completely. The trouble of course with these
24 figures is that they achieve a life of their own. This is -- this is the
25 case in regard to the Second World War and of course it is still the case
1 in regard to the wars of the 1990s. Every year in the spring Republika
2 Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina continues to have a commemoration on that
3 part of the Jasenovac complex which nowadays lies in Republika Srpska, and
4 on each and every one of these years despite historical research, the
5 number that is cited is always 700.000 dead at Jasenovac. Now, serious
6 historians do not believe that it's 700.000 for nearly 20 years but that
7 doesn't mean that an awful lot of people continue to believe these
8 hideously inflated figures.
9 Q. Thank you. You will probably agree though that 100.000 or between
10 60.000 and 100.000 is very high, an astonishingly high figure for a single
11 camp during the war?
12 A. In Southeastern Europe, yes, indeed it is, because camps whether
13 we're talking about the former Yugoslavia or Greece, were not industrial
14 death facilities such as prevailed in other parts of the Third Reich, for
15 example in Poland or Bohemia.
16 Q. Thank you. I asked you about the expulsion or the exodus of Serbs
17 from territory under the Independent State of Croatia, we agreed that this
18 was, in fact, the case and this was part of the state's plan. However,
19 what I want to ask you is this: Are you aware of the fact that there were
20 mass expulsions of Slovenes from Slovenia done by Germans, that these
21 Slovenes were driven to Serbia and that Serbia took in a large number of
22 Slovenes during the war. Some of them later remained in Serbia, most
23 however returned to their home country. Is this a phenomenon that you're
24 familiar are?
25 A. It is indeed. Because that portion of Slovenia, or we could now
1 call Slovenia which was incorporated in the Reich, the Germans had the
2 same plans there for the Slovenes as the Ustasha regime had for most
3 Croats in -- excuse me, Ustasha regime had for Serbs in the Independent
4 State of Croatia. That is, they intended to denationalise them, they
5 intended to get rid of as many as they could and the remainder would be
6 Germanised. But of course the bulk of Slovenia was under Italian
7 occupation, it wasn't actually incorporated into the Third Reich.
8 Q. Yes. We're talking about the area around Maribor, I'm referring
9 to that particular part of Slovenia.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Needless to say, you followed statistical indicators about the
12 population in various areas of Yugoslavia. In particular, you used the
13 1991 census. In this document a parallel is drawn to several earlier
14 census, the first being from 1948 and then all the way up to 1991, which I
15 believe to have been the last census, population census in the former
16 Yugoslavia. This is the situation established after the foundation of the
17 second Yugoslavia or Tito's Yugoslavia for easier reference. Did that in
18 itself change the demographic make-up in relation to what it used to be
19 prior to World War II in areas where there were a lot of Serbs on account
20 of the expulsion and murder of a great number of Serbs, did that
21 contribute to reducing the Serbian population in those particular areas?
22 A. Yes, it did, also of course what contributed was the post-war
23 industrialisation and urbanisation of what I mentioned before. That had
24 the effect also of reducing absolute number, if not the relative number,
25 of Serbs in certain so-called, as you referred to them, passive regions.
1 So yes. And there also was, of course, simply the fact that birth rates
2 developed differently. For a long time after the Second World War, the
3 Bosnian Muslim birth rate was much higher than the Croat or Serb birthrate
4 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, so the Bosnian Muslim share of the population
5 grew. But of course as prosperity became greater in the late 1970s, well
6 then those birth rates pretty much equalled out in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
7 the Muslims were no longer growing faster than Serbs or Croats. Of
8 course, where the -- the one part of the country where the changing
9 demography, the relative demography was most notable were in those parts
10 of Yugoslavia which were inhabited by large numbers of Albanians whose
11 natural increase far outstripped those of the Slavs among whom they lived.
12 Q. Thank you. I am not inclined to dwell on Albanian populated
13 areas. This is a special situation including the prohibitional [as
14 interpreted] then-government from returning to Kosovo. I would now like
15 to shift to Vukovar, which is what we are really interested in. According
16 to post-war statistics which is what you, too, have established, there
17 were large numbers of Serbs living in the area, almost equal to the number
18 of Croats living in the area. My question is: Do you know that up to
19 World War II, the ethnic situation was more or less the same and that the
20 Serbs may even have prevailed, had been the predominant group prior to
21 World War II as opposed to post-World War II. Is this something that
22 you're familiar with?
23 A. I have to admit that I am not.
24 Q. Fine. Secondly, we discussed passive areas. Can we agree that
25 the Vukovar area is among the richest areas, both in terms of the land and
1 in terms of general infrastructure. It always belonged to the richest
2 parts of Yugoslavia, including the town of Vukovar itself. This was not
3 the same situation as that faced by the so-called passive areas, including
4 economic migration. I do not think that that sort of phenomenon could
5 possibly be applied to Vukovar?
6 A. I agree with you. Vukovar was a huge net importer or recipient of
7 people after the Second World War. There were vast tracts of land that
8 had been abandoned by the Germans who used to be a very significant
9 national minority in that part of the world. These Germans left with the
10 Wehrmacht or were expelled afterwards by Tito's regime, and there were
11 therefore large numbers of people from other parts of Yugoslavia, Serbs
12 and Croats, who came in to occupy this land. But there was also large
13 migration from other parts of Yugoslavia because Vukovar, particularly
14 Borovo Selo, became a booming industrial complex after the Second World
15 War. You know, I can't remember the exact figure, but something like
16 30.000 people worked in the Borovo factory itself, the footwear and rubber
17 goods factory. So the demographic composition of Vukovar certainly
18 altered because of its -- because of the -- because of the departure of
19 Germans and the availability of jobs as industrialisation took hold. But
20 as I told you before, I'm not aware of the -- how over the decades the
21 relative proportion of Serbs vis-a-vis Croats changed. I'm afraid I just
22 don't have those figures in my head at the moment.
23 Q. Thank you. Since you don't seem to have those at your fingertips,
24 we won't dwell on that. But the situation was similar, there were even
25 more Serbs than in the period under discussion. However, when you talk
1 about these things, it's true that the Germans were leaving these areas,
2 not only this particular area, but especially Banat. Both Serbs and
3 Croats were brought in from other more passive areas. Do you know that
4 particularly in Eastern Slavonia Croats were brought in from western
5 Herzegovina, which, unlike eastern Herzegovina, is populated by Croats. A
6 lot of people were brought in, even later on a lot of people were brought
7 into Eastern Slavonia. Do you know about that, sir?
8 A. Yes, indeed and one of the things that one would always here in
9 the Vukovar area when I was living there were complaints by the people who
10 had been there a long time about these Iseljenici, these people, these
11 Iseljenici, these new-comers, both old-time Croat and Serb settler --
12 inhabitants complained about the alien attitudes of these people that came
13 from the mountains or from the, you know, snake-infested rock-strewn
14 landscape of Western Herzegovina or Lika or wherever.
15 Q. Yes. I agree. That seems to have been a problem anywhere, where
16 there was a large-scale migration. A lot of time went by though, the
17 second Yugoslavia lasted for a longer time than the first. In the first
18 case it was only 23 years. We have heard a lot of evidence, especially
19 from Croats, natives of the Vukovar area, who told us about relations
20 between Croats and Serbs all the way up until 1989 and 1990 being very
21 good, very fair, very respectful. Is this a conclusion that your research
22 has corroborated?
23 A. Indeed. Whether we're talking about Eastern Slavonia or Western
24 Slavonia, relations amongst Serbs and Croats in both those parts of
25 Croatia were traditionally extremely good.
1 Q. Those were areas, as we agreed a while ago, that were
2 economically more developed than some other parts of Yugoslavia. When
3 you speak about Borovo, would I be right to say that the factory that you
4 have referred to existed before the war? It was the well-known Bata
5 factory, and after the war the existing factory just resumed work as
6 usual, it was a well-known factory in European terms, the Bata factory?
7 A. Yes, indeed, it was, but it grew hugely after the Second World War
8 and became a real kumbanat [phoen] in its own right, instead of just
9 making shoes for the Czech parent company.
10 Q. Thank you. We're still talking about statistics, and the
11 overview you gave us about the number of Serbs. You found that based on
12 the census of 1991 the total population of Serbs on the territory of
13 Croatia amounted to about 12 per cent. Is that correct?
14 A. That's, of course, what the 1991 census says.
15 Q. Yes. In the same report, however, there are other censuses, 1948,
16 1953 and 1961, and also 1971, where this percentage was between 14 and 15
17 per cent, and this was a constant throughout those years. Have you any
18 explanation for this quite significant fall in the percentage of the Serb
19 population in Croatia in 1991 as opposed to the percentage in the other
20 years after the war?
21 A. Well, the easiest explanation for that is that since national
22 identity is matter of choice, each and every one of us can decide that we
23 are French or Russian or Serb or Croat, and no one can say otherwise.
24 Especially, of course, amongst the south Slavs who were ethnically
25 identical, all of them, in other words racially identical, I can only
1 conclude that the -- aside from a long-term economically-induced changes
2 in patterns of residence, which might reduce the number of Serbs in
3 Croatia, the number of people who chose to call themselves Serbs in a
4 census in 1991 could have reflected the rising tension at that time,
5 especially, say, amongst Serbs who had long lived in big Croatian cities
6 and found that it might be safer, more convenient, a good idea,
7 especially, for example, if they were in mixed marriages, to claim to be
8 something other than Serbs. The atmosphere was such, I mean this is why
9 we saw of course the large reduction in the number of people who claimed
10 to be Yugoslavs in 1991, throughout Yugoslavia. It was not a good year in
11 which to be a Yugoslav. In some places it was not a good year to be a
12 Serb, in other places it would have not been a good year to be a Croat.
13 Q. Thank you. I fully agree with your explanation. I would like to
14 go back to something I omitted to ask, so I will go back to that part.
15 And it concerns your expert knowledge about when the new Yugoslavia was
16 formed after 1945 in the then borders it had were the republican borders
17 drawn up according to any special agreement? In other words, how are the
18 so-called republican borders drawn up and did they have any practical
19 significance up to the point when Yugoslavia dissolved?
20 A. In most cases the borders of the new republics of the socialist
21 federation were the historical borders. They were the historical borders
22 of the previous provinces or regions or Kingdoms, whatever they might have
23 been. There were, however, some exceptions and there were of course some
24 big arguments about this. The area that the trial is concerned with was
25 one of those areas where some violations of history were -- the historical
1 borders were agreed, as you well know, I'm sure, the party set up a
2 commission to investigate the area around -- the border of what was going
3 to become the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the Croatian state. So
4 there were some places where territorial changes were made, sometimes for
5 economic reason, sometimes because of the way in which roads and railways
6 went, more often because of national minorities or actually demography of
7 the area. But by and large the borders were the historical borders of the
8 pre-existing parts of the Yugoslav state.
9 That was the case even where one might have thought it was rather
10 strange, for example Bosnia-Herzegovina retained its tiny little stretch
11 of Adriatic coastline at Neum which was a tribute to the former
12 relationship between the Ottoman Empire and the republic of Dubrovnik,
13 that was the border there, to separate Dubrovnik as an Ottoman satellite
14 state from Venice to the north. On the other hand, Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 also lost its tiny little exit to the Bay of Kotor and Herceg Novi. But
16 by and large the borders were the historical border.
17 Q. Yes, you mentioned the example of Bosnia in your report. But
18 referring to this historical circumstances, we agree that in the previous
19 Yugoslavia there were no borders and the banovinas were arranged on a
20 quite different basis and it was not possible then to conclude which parts
21 of the territory belonged to Serbia, Croatia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, so can
22 we agree that there were no such borders and that they were first
23 established in Tito's Yugoslavia?
24 A. No. What Tito's Yugoslavia did is it reinstituted the historical
25 borders that King Aleksandar had sought to get rid of. The -- the -- in
1 its first ten years of existence, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and
2 Slovenes had maintained its recognition of the pre-existing historical
3 borders. Aleksandar tried to get rid of them. Effectively, to put it
4 crudely, Tito put them back.
5 Q. Well, I can partly agree with you when talking about some borders
6 of Serbia before the war, and even Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had been
7 annexed by Austria-Hungary within certain borders, but what were the
8 historical borders of Croatia and when they were they established,
9 especially toward the east. For example, was Baranja ever a part of
11 A. You're right. Baranja was never a part of Croatia. Baranja was
12 simply a southern province of Hungary. But that doesn't mean that Croatia
13 didn't have otherwise, in terms of the borders of Dalmatia, civil Croatia,
14 and much of Slavonia, there were historical borders. But of course as you
15 well know in much of central and eastern Europe, even historical borders
16 are often argued about.
17 Q. In view of the fact that Croatia had, for many years, first been
18 part of the Hungarian Kingdom and then part of the Austro-Hungarian
19 monarchy, when did it have any historical borders as Croatia, rather than
20 as a province of other countries?
21 A. We could play games about this. Obviously there was once, in the
22 10th and 11th century an independent Kingdom of Croatia. It had borders.
23 But the Croatia that we are nowadays thinking about, a modern Croatia, is
24 really the borders that existed for Croatia inside the Habsburg monarchy.
25 Now, of course Croatia's unique -- I shouldn't say unique. Croatia's
1 unfortunate status of course was to have its -- what most Croats and
2 certainly what most Croat legal scholars consider to be its historic
3 borders violated by the way in which the Habsburg monarchy was set up.
4 With Dalmatia belonging to Vienna, to put it crudely, and Istria belonging
5 to various Italian provinces, and Slavonia and civil Croatia belonging of
6 course to Hungary. But that didn't mean that there was not some
7 recognition that there was a historic Croatian state, even if it was
8 subdivided amongst the various parts of the Habsburg monarchy.
9 One of the reasons why Croats were so completely frustrated in the
10 19th century and one of the reasons why their intellectuals gave birth to
11 the Yugoslav idea was precisely this fragmentation of historical Croatia,
12 as they regard it, the historical triune Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia, and
13 Slavonia, by virtue of the vicissitudes of history and the gradual way in
14 which the territory had been -- first of all, lost to the Hungarians and
15 absorbed by the Habsburgs, and then of course conquered in large part by
16 the Turks and then the way in which the tide was pushed back as the
17 Habsburgs pushed the Turks back. So there is this sense of inhabiting a
18 historic part -- historical kingdom in Europe that had been unfairly
19 divided and subdivided and subdivided helped produce both the Yugoslav
20 idea, but it also has to be said, the Croatian variant to fascism.
21 Q. Thank you. You yourself spoke about the fact that the borders of
22 the Croatian Banovina were misused for the purposes of acquiring
23 territory, which objectively did not belong to Croatia. The banovina and
24 the Independent State of Croatia extended as far as Belgrade almost, it
25 extended as far as Zemun, it reached the Sava and Danube rivers. I just
1 wanted us to try to agree that these borders were not evident and fixed
2 and the population of course in those areas was mixed, it was both
3 Croatian and Serbian. Looking at the statistics quoted in your report, we
4 can see, and I hope you will agree, that there are even towns or villages,
5 the population of which was almost 100 per cent Serb, such as Borovo and
6 Trpinje for example. According to the last census, in Borovo there were
7 5.100-and-something Serbs compared to 604 Croats, or for example in
8 Trpinje 1.953 Serbs as opposed to 73 Croats, and of course there were also
9 Croatian places with similar percentages only a few kilometres away.
10 So can we agree that this area was completely mixed and there were
11 other ethnicities there, other nationalities such as Slovaks and
12 Hungarians. But according to what we heard they lived quite well together
13 until these events?
14 A. I agree.
15 Q. I will now move on to the last part of my part of the
16 cross-examination. As I said, my colleagues will deal with other aspects,
17 but they might touch on this because we feel that the situation in Vukovar
18 in 1990 is extremely important, as were the events that occurred there.
19 You mentioned the tensions, the fear that prevailed. Can you
20 expand on this after all these various historical problems we have
21 discussed, was the fear of the Serb population justified as a response to
22 some moves made by the HDZ, Tudjman's party at the time, and I am
23 referring in particular to some things that may not seem so important,
24 such as changes police uniforms, introducing the chequer-board coat of
25 arms which reminded many Serbs of Pavlic's insignia, and some other
1 matters. Can you tell us if the Serb population was afraid? According to
2 you, was that fear justified, whether it justified in being afraid that
3 1941 and the events of that year might be repeated again?
4 A. Fears on the part of Serbs in Tudjman's Croatia were justified.
5 On the one hand they why justified because of the policies which Tudjman
6 had promoted during his election campaign, the changes he made to the
7 Croatian constitution after he won power. These fears were real. And
8 Tudjman incited them. But it also has to be said that in large part these
9 fears were incited by Belgrade. Ever since 1989 the Serbian-controlled
10 media had been working to create fear on the part of Serbs who lived
11 outside Serbia. So we had a wonderfully appropriate kind of synergy, in
12 effect where, as the fears being incited from Belgrade were then further
13 incited by the policies being adopted in Zagreb, and I -- the only thing I
14 say in regard to Eastern Slavonia, is that it took greater effort in that
15 traditionally peaceable part of the world for these fears to come to the
16 surface. It had been much easier in Kninska Krajina and Lika and so forth
17 to inflame Serb fears far earlier. It took a year longer to make Serbs in
18 Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Srem as fearful as their brethren in these
19 so-called passive regions had become by the spring of 1990, for example.
20 So it took a year longer in Eastern Slavonia for the same fear to take
21 hold and for then for the fear to be reciprocated on the part of Croats.
22 There was simply a general rising sense of fear and tension amongst both
23 Serbs and Croats. And if I had been writing this report now, as opposed
24 to at the end of 1997, beginning of 1998, I might have paid more
25 attention, because we now know much more, about for example the activities
1 of Tomislav Mercep in the spring of 1991 in the Vukovar area. And we're
2 about of course to learn more about the activities of Branimir Glavas who
3 is about to be indicted. So we now have with the benefit of hindsight,
4 given what this Court has produced in the intervening years, we can now
5 see more exactly about how these fears in both communities were created
6 intentionally by policy-makers or by in the case of Mercep, a freeboater,
7 what I mean by that is an independent operator. So it's easier now to
8 understand how there could have been a breakdown in trust and zajednicki
9 or neighbourly relations.
10 Q. We have had occasion here to hear some explanations of certain
11 incidents, explosions, fires and such like that took place. But less
12 about killings which sowed additional fear. Do you have any information,
13 any new information concerning the activities of Tomislav Mercep, he was
14 active in Vukovar, and Glavas was active in Osijek, which was nearby. Can
15 you give us any new informing about this now, about their activities and
16 to what extent they could have imperilled the previous good relations
17 between Serbs and Croats in that area?
18 A. I cannot give you any authoritative information because what I
19 know is simply based on reading the press. I referred this morning to the
20 heroic journalistic activity of the Feral Tribune, co-editor and
21 correspondent in Osijek, Drago Hedl. Thanks to Drago I think we now know
22 an awful lot more about the Croatian paramilitary or quasi-governmental
23 forces. Similarly a lot of rather heroic journalists in Belgrade writing
24 for Vranje over the years have investigated things as well. So I think it
25 can certainly be said that we now have a broader understanding or the
1 potential for having a broader understanding about the way in which the
2 war came to Eastern Slavonia.
3 But that doesn't alter the fact that there was a great Serbian
4 project at the heart of the government in Belgrade which used such tactics
5 for its own purposes. That's why I -- early this morning I said that I by
6 and large stood by the thrust of my report, even though there were details
7 that, if I were writing it today, I would write differently.
8 Q. Thank you. Yes, I have heard what you said this morning. My
9 colleague will go further into this area. To avoid repetition we have
10 divided the topics among ourselves. I think you will have an opportunity
11 to explain this further. But now, to conclude my part, you are certainly
12 familiar with what the president of Croatia, Tudjman, was doing at the
13 time to get Croatia internationally recognised. Can you confirm that one
14 of the problems he had just before Vukovar was Gospic and the events that
15 had taken place there in 1991. That is, the murders of Serbian civilians
16 for which the Croatian army or paramilitary had been accused of. There
17 wasn't a real Croatian army at the time. Do you remember what problems he
18 had due to that with the international community?
19 A. Yes. He had the same problems that he had had from the very
20 beginning of the Serb village and town rebellion, you know from the Balvan
21 Revolution on, and that is that the Croats were seen by the international
22 media and therefore foreign government as being very, very ham-fisted and
23 brutal in some of the activities they took. And as a consequence
24 something like Gospic renowned very much to the new Tudjman regime
25 although it must be mentioned now that there have been trials of these
1 people. That is, the Croatian government has since been able to come to
2 terms with some of the crimes that were committed at the time.
3 [Defence counsel confer]
4 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation].
5 Q. Yes, if I understood you correctly, the international community
6 was aware of this and this was one of the obstacles perhaps at the time
7 for the recognition of Croatia.
8 My next question, and my last question, is would you agree with me
9 that what happened in Vukovar, especially the problem that arose because
10 of the tragedy at Ovcara, had a decisive influence on the international
11 recognition of Croatia and that it actually helped Tudjman?
12 A. That is indeed the concluding point I made in my report. And that
13 was that the combination of the brutality of the siege and fall of
14 Vukovar, and the simultaneous omnipresence of pictures, the bombardment of
15 Dubrovnik, had the effect internationally of making Franjo Tudjman and his
16 regime look very good in comparison to the regime in Belgrade and that
17 from the Croatian international -- from the point of view of the Croatian
18 government's international position, the atrocities that attended the fall
19 of Vukovar as well as the crimes against the world, architectural,
20 historical, environment in Dubrovnik were a propaganda God-send, or a
21 God-send in propaganda terms.
22 Q. Thank you. This also refers to the crime at Ovcara, which is the
23 subject of our interest here, isn't it.
24 A. [No audible response]
25 Thank you, Professor. Thank you for your answers.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I have completed my part of the
2 cross-examination, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
4 Mrs. Tapuskovic.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I apologise, the reply to my last
6 yes, indeed, has not entered the transcript. It's missing from the
7 record. Thank you.
8 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
9 Good afternoon, all.
10 Cross-examination by Ms. Tapuskovic:
11 Q. Mr. Wheeler, I am Mira Tapuskovic I am one of the Defence counsel
12 appearing for Mr. Miroslav Radic.
13 In 1998 you testified before this Tribunal in the Dokmanovic case,
14 and the topic of your testimony was the same report we have before us
15 today; is that correct?
16 A. That is indeed correct.
17 Q. In your report, and during your testimony in the Dokmanovic case,
18 you spoke about constitutional issues and the problems faced by Yugoslavia
19 from 1974 until 1991; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, it is.
21 Q. We will deal with these issues today as you touched on it in the
22 Dokmanovic case, but we shall try to avoid repeating what was said in that
23 case. We will only try to expand a little to encompass issues that are of
24 interest to the Defence teams and could be of interest to Their Honours,
25 especially as we have not had constitutional experts testifying in this
2 Would you agree with me that from the time when Yugoslavia was
3 established under this name it had a relatively turbulent constitutional
4 history throughout its existence?
5 A. Yes, it certainly did. As Mr. Domazet said earlier, in citing my
6 views, Yugoslavia needed to make many, many attempts to find a
7 satisfactory constitutional set-up for the multi-national state that it
8 was. And, in fact, from 1921 onwards, there were six constitutions.
9 Q. Thank you. We won't go that far back, so we'll only deal with the
10 constitutional history after World War II. First there was the 1946
11 constitution when the country was called the democratic federative
12 Yugoslavia, is that correct? Please state your reply audibly so that it
13 enters the transcript.
14 A. Yes, indeed of the first constitution, 1946 constitution is a
15 Yugoslav copy of Stalin's 1936 Soviet constitution. The next constitution
16 in 1953 represents the break with Stalin and the beginning of the real
17 Yugoslav experiment in creating a new kind of socialism.
18 Q. At that time the change was changed to Federal People's Republic
19 of Yugoslavia and self-management was introduced?
20 A. It was the beginnings of the experiment of self-management, that
21 didn't come properly until 1963 when the name of course was changed again
22 to the Socijalisticka Federativna Republika Jugoslavija.
23 Q. Would you agree with me that the experiment of introducing
24 self-management on the territory of the former Yugoslavia remained just
25 that, an experiment which did not yield any significant results,
1 especially in the field of the economy?
2 A. In retrospect, we can say that self-management was a delusion. At
3 the time a great many of people found it exciting, potentially full of
4 promise, and a wonderful way of somehow squaring the circle between
5 Soviet-style socialism and western-style capitalism. It -- it in
6 Kardelj's thinking, that's Edvard Kardelj. In his thinking it was a way
7 of reuniting Marxism with Libertarianism. Again, in retrospect, a
8 disaster economically. But it was a rather exciting disaster when people
9 still believed in it. Excuse me, it was a rather exciting experiment when
10 people still believed in it. And a lot of people did, and not just in
11 Yugoslavia. It's very difficult now throughout the former Yugoslavia to
12 cause people to recall how much they used to believe in the old system.
13 Well, there were an awful lot of people in western Europe and the United
14 States who also thought that self-management socialism was potentially a
15 very great thing. It's easy to make fun of it now. In the 1960s and
16 early 1970s, it looked pretty good.
17 Q. I was going to be kinder than you, I was going to call it just an
18 experiment. You have described it in more pejorative terms. After 1963,
19 when a new constitution was passed, and the country was renamed the
20 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, until the next constitution
21 of 1974, there was a period with much constitutional activity. There were
22 about 40 amendments made to the constitution. Is that correct?
23 A. You're right.
24 Q. The amendments of 1971 were especially significant. Would you
25 agree with me on that?
1 A. Remind me what the amendments of 1971 were.
2 Q. The amendments of 1971 gave rise to much outrage among professors
3 at the university in Belgrade who spoke about the status of Serbia within
4 the community and as a response to the protest of the professors at the
5 faculty of law in Belgrade, they were stricken off the list of professors,
6 Vojislav Kostunica was one of them, the present day prime minister. Do
7 you remember that?
8 A. Yes, indeed, ma'am.
9 Q. What about those constitutional amendments, do they coincide in
10 terms of chronology with the emergence of the so-called maspok in Croatia
11 in 1971.
12 A. Yes, they coincide with the emergence of the so-called maspok as
13 well as so-called wanton liberalism. In Marko Nikezic, in the Serbian
14 communist party, and in the Slovene Communist party at the same time.
15 These were years of tremendous ferment, excitement, liberalisation,
16 argument, in very, very many spheres. It's not for nothing either that
17 they were highly, highly creative period in terms of literature and cinema
18 in Yugoslavia. This was an exciting period, and lots of things were being
19 argued about all the time. It was a period in which you could argue about
20 things out in public all the time. And people didn't exactly know where
21 the limits were. What would happen if you said, you know, something too
22 extreme. It was -- it was a time of great ferment and eventually of
23 course would give rise to what you're going to come to next, which is the
24 amalgamation of all these amendments that you talked about in the 1974
25 constitution which was meant to somehow, for all time, sum up this long
1 period of social, political argument, cultural effusion and it has to be
2 said also, the complete rebirth of the national question in Yugoslavia.
3 Q. I don't know if you can agree with me on this, there was a period
4 of rest and peace along the ethnic lines, but then when the maspok
5 movement emerged in Croatia in 1971 there was a reawakening so to speak, a
6 re-opening of the national question throughout the former Yugoslavia?
7 A. Yes, I agree. Although it -- it actually hadn't started in
8 Croatia, it really started with Serb alarm already in 1968 over what was
9 happening in Kosovo. Or even before that, you could say that it started
10 in Slovenia, with great arguments over road-building. From -- from 1963
11 onwards more and more of the republican governments started playing the
12 nationalist card. They started trying to enlist popular support when they
13 wanted to fight their battles in Belgrade over who got what in terms of
14 national expenditure, how investment decisions were made, and so playing
15 to the national constituency, playing to the gallery became more and more
16 of a habit of Yugoslav politicians of all national persuasions. But
17 certainly the maspok was the first instance where a republican communist
18 party itself gave way tremendously to an intellectual and popular
19 sentiment, in this case that Croatia had been unfairly treated for many
21 Q. You will agree with me, won't you, that Croatia's position at the
22 time was that all of Yugoslavia's financial means were flowing down the
23 Danube on to Belgrade, as it were, and after quite a long time this was a
24 renewed attempt to have the state itself decentralised in a way, wasn't
1 A. Yes, indeed.
2 Q. Thank you, sir. Would you agree with me that if we look at all
3 these names, let alone all the later name changes, I mean the names of the
4 country itself, it became Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as of 1992 and
5 now we have the Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Would you agree with me
6 that each of these different names preserved or in some way reflected the
7 socio-political form or structure of the country itself, the Federative
8 Republic of Yugoslavia, the Federative National Republic of Yugoslavia,
9 and the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, all these names in some way
10 reflected the make-up of the country itself, didn't they?
11 A. Yes, up until, of course, now. And there will be another change
12 after Sunday.
13 Q. I would not like to venture into that territory now.
14 Let us please go back to the 1974 constitution. That is what the
15 Defence teams here are really interested in. We believe that this
16 constitution provided a framework for what happened later in the former
17 Yugoslavia. The shape of things that were to come as it were. In the
18 Dokmanovic trial you gave evidence, sir, and you said that you had read
19 the 1974 constitution. Do you remember saying that, don't you?
20 A. I certainly remember saying it, but I -- it's not one of my
21 favourite pieces of bedside reading and I have not gone back to read it
22 since. I think the only time I ever did read it was when it was brand new
23 and exciting and we all thought that it was the way ahead. So sometime
24 after 1974.
25 Q. At any rate, you are an expert in Slavic studies, if I may call
1 you that and you follow closely whatever is going on in the former
2 Yugoslavia I'm sure that you will be perfectly able to provide all the
3 answers that we want. You will agree with me that the 1974 constitution
4 was the longest, the most comprehensive or extensive constitution in the
5 world at the time, probably, and it was marked by lousy legalese, to say
6 the least. It was also described as a constitution that introduced a
7 number of new legal institutes and concepts hitherto unknown in the legal
8 practice of any existing countries or systems. Would you agree with me,
10 A. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Not only did it introduce
11 amazing, crazy terminology, but in the post-socialist Yugoslav republics,
12 we are still having to cope with it. Concepts like social property.
13 Created a legal mess we still live with.
14 Q. Would you agree with me that this constitution, which was passed
15 after a series of amendments, its pre-history, so to speak, was quite
16 stormy, in essence reflected a growing discontent among the peoples and
17 ethnic groups and in the republics of the former Yugoslavia. Furthermore,
18 it reflected their desire to have their relations arranged in a more
19 decentralised way than had up to that point been the case. Would you
20 agree with that assessment, sir?
21 A. Yes, indeed.
22 Q. Regardless of the fact, however, that the constitution had a
23 certain objective, and was meant to lead to decentralisation and as a
24 consequence a greater level of democracy throughout Yugoslavia's society,
25 what it did was bring about a much higher degree of separatism throughout
1 the former Yugoslavia. Would you agree with my assessment that at the
2 time the republics in a way became autarkic economic systems that existed
3 side by side within the country.
4 A. That was certainly the trend at the time but the full extent of
5 that, of course, was only going to become apparent after Tito's death.
6 And it wasn't the 1974 constitution itself, the 1974 constitution gave a
7 legal basis for what had already, from the mid-1960s, been a developing
8 trend of the republics regarding themselves in ever more autarkic terms
9 and battles with one another over investment decisions and effectively a
10 share of the federal budget. So the 1974 constitution didn't stop an
11 already apparent trend, and, in fact, it gave it ever greater weight once
12 Tito was no longer on the scene to settle these battles, to make the
13 decisions. What the 1974 constitution was also supposed to do was to
14 recognise the reality, the reality that had developed since the early
15 1960s of the republics becoming evermore independent-minded, evermore
16 selfish, too, it has to be said. But it was supposed to reconcile this
17 reality with the counter-veiling force of a supposedly forever united
18 League of Communists. So the republics would be more a more autonomous,
19 but Tito hoped, after defeating the maspok and getting rid of
20 Nikezic and purging the Slovene party, Tito hoped that the party would
21 always be united and, of course, that the JNA would always be united. So
22 it would be a balance of forces. That, in any case, was Edvard Kardelj's
24 Q. You say that essentially the constitution merely reflected the
25 reality that had been in existence for some time that carried over as it
1 were from the previous system. Would you agree with me that all the new
2 constitution did was provide a legal framework for something that was
3 already there, objectively speaking. The republics were drifting further
4 and further apart and becoming, to all practical intents, self-governing
5 or autarkic republican economies?
6 A. I agree with you essentially, but what the 1974 constitution also
7 did and I'm surprised you haven't mentioned this already, is it gave
8 effectively gave both Vojvodina and Kosovo republican status. Not
9 formally, but factually. Which of course part of Serbian grievances
10 against the 1974 constitution.
11 Q. That is quite correct, I was about to ask you some questions about
12 that at a later stage. But my idea of this cross-examination was go
13 through the economic background first, since I believe this to have been
14 the source of many other phenomena, and this is normally the case in any
15 country or any state. Not just the former Yugoslavia. I will now pursue
16 a number of questions about the economic situation that was created, a
17 situation that created conditions for economic development in what was
18 then Yugoslavia. We seem to have agreed on the fact that the republican
19 economies became autarkic or self-satisfied, if you like. Can we then
20 agree on this: There was a duplication, perhaps a triplication and their
21 industrial and production capacities. The use that these were put to were
22 miserably negligent, the production was negligent. As a final
23 consequence, this led to a sharp rise in poor development of the
24 republican economies which ultimately contributed to impoverishing the
25 country as a whole?
1 A. Yes. And that fact of course was obscured for a good many years
2 by the results of the first oil crisis which meant that money was washing
3 around the international system and every bank in the world was falling
4 over each other, falling over its other -- every bank was falling over
5 other banks to throw money at the -- at Yugoslavia. In other words,
6 loans. The inefficiencies of the system, the duplication of the
7 competition you talked about, the fact that going back -- there was a -- a
8 strange combination of the way in which the socialist mentality that
9 progress is only mentioned in -- is only -- is only -- excuse me, that
10 progress can only be measured in terms of belching smokestacks, there was
11 a unification of that socialist idea with increasing republican patriotism
12 or republican self-interest which meant that every republic felt it had to
13 have its own steel mill, for example. And this was made possible by
14 virtue of the fact that there was lots and lots of money slashing around
15 in the international system which international bankers were very keen to
16 loan to Yugoslavia, creating of course the basis for the financial crisis
17 in the 1980s. In the 1980s, I said.
18 Q. Very well. Let's not go too far in that direction, and go on
19 talking about economics. Let's go back to the constitution. Do you agree
20 with me that the 1974 constitution regulated that the entire judiciary,
21 the entire legislative power in the country should be devolved to the
22 republics and that only vital legislation, vital for the whole country,
23 should be kept at the state level, the army, the banks system, diplomacy,
24 that sort of thing?
25 A. By and large, yes. The federation legislature, the federation
1 parliament, of course, still had effectively the power to enact what one
2 might call framework legislation, to set the standards that the republics
3 were supposed to obey. But by and large what the 1974 constitution did in
4 practical terms if not in theoretical legal terms was to change the
5 federation of Yugoslavia into a Confederation. There is to be no doubt
6 about that.
7 Q. Thank you. I will now move on to a question that you broached a
8 while ago, the question regarding the status of the autonomous provinces
9 within Serbia itself. When did Serbia for the first time in its modern
10 history come to have, as it were, these autonomous provinces? In 1946 in
11 the aftermath of World War II, the autonomous provinces did not exist?
12 A. Their emergence was gradual. In the immediate aftermath of the
13 Second World War, Vojvodina was an autonomous -- I can't -- was it
14 "pokrajina"? I can't remember the term, but immediately after the war
15 Kosovo had a lesser status, it was an autonomous something, and Vojvodina
16 was a higher status. Later on in the 1960s, both Vojvodina and Kosovo
17 acquired the status of autonomous region. Autonomous province, pokrajina.
18 I think Vojvodina was a pokrajina from the start in 1946. It took longer
19 for that same dignity - I can't remember now the exact year - to be
20 awarded to Kosovo-Metohija which originally had a lesser standing than
21 Vojvodina, if only because, of course, there was a rebellion going there,
22 going on there after the Second World War.
23 Q. We've already concluded that the names were changed quite often,
24 the name of the country, the name of its various institution, ministries,
25 secretariats, it wouldn't be a wise idea to foist too many of these upon
1 the Trial Chamber. Vojvodina was a province, but it was no autonomous
2 province, and that's why I asked my question about when these eventually
3 emerged. Can you either confirm for us, sir, that Serbia only, in the
4 former Yugoslavia, had such administrative units as these autonomous
5 provinces, the autonomous province of Vojvodina and the autonomous
6 province of Kosovo and Metohija. Would you agree with me?
7 A. [Previous translation continues] ... only Serbia was further
8 subdivided along these lines. Although of course there had been plenty of
9 ideas that a similar thing should be done to Croatia. During the war
10 itself and immediately afterward there was talk of an autonomous Serbian
11 province in Croatia. And, of course, the final map of the republics was
12 something that was uncertain of until after the war. The fact that there
13 would be republics, if the country would have a republican -- would --
14 Q. Thank you, sir.
15 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Just to have this on the record,
16 I asked you about Serbia being the only republic within Yugoslavia that
17 had autonomous provinces. You -- you said that you agreed. Can you just
18 repeat that for me for the sake of the record, please.
19 A. Yes, I agree. Only Serbia had autonomous provinces within its
21 Q. Thank you. Let us now please try to explain this phenomenon. You
22 said this yourself a while ago before I actually asked my question. The
23 status of these autonomous provinces that were part of Serbia, and this is
24 something that enemies of the constitution later characterised in the
25 following way: In essence the autonomous provinces, as you yourself
1 stated in the Dokmanovic trial, had nearly all the attributes of a
2 republic. Which means that to all practical intents and purposes, what we
3 had in Yugoslavia were eight separate republics. I'll try to illustrate
4 this by using the example of constitutional amendments. This is probably
5 the best illustration and will be easily comprehended by everyone here,
6 how these amendments were applied in Serbia at the time. You do agree
7 with me that all the republican and provincial constitutions had to be in
8 keeping with the federal constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic
9 of Yugoslavia, right?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. Under the federal constitution amendments could only be introduced
12 having previously obtained consent from the republican assemblies, in
13 exceptional circumstances also that of the province -- provincial
14 assemblies, the assemblies of the autonomous provinces. Do you remember
15 that provision, sir?
16 A. I'm reading the transcript here, because I lost track of the
18 Q. I will repeat my question for you, that's no problem. From my
19 present angle it's very difficult to look at the screen and I should keep
20 pressing away at this button here, to have it on my screen. Not
21 practical, I'm sure you would agree. You say that you have not looked at
22 this constitution for a great many years. Something about the 1974
23 constitution, the federal constitution, do you remember that it envisages
24 amendments to the SFRY constitution only with the previous consent of the
25 republics and [Realtime transcript read in error "in"] autonomous
2 A. Yes, indeed.
3 Q. Do you remember that the Serbian constitution contains provisions
4 that describe the conditions required for any amendments to the
5 constitution, the constitution can only be changed if changes apply to the
6 whole territory of the republic in question, including the autonomous
7 provinces, and amendments can only be made having previously obtained the
8 consent of the assemblies of the autonomous provinces?
9 A. I can't say that I remember this, but I am sure you are absolutely
10 right. I don't remember it from my reading, I've never read the Serbian
11 constitution, but I'm sure you're right.
12 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it's 2.00 -- 3.00,
13 rather. I have just been warned by my colleagues this might be a good
14 time for us to have our afternoon break and then I can resume with my
15 questions after the break.
16 JUDGE PARKER: [Microphone not activated]
17 --- Recess taken at 3.03 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 3.27 p.m.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mrs. Tapuskovic.
20 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would
21 like to say that on page 88 of the transcript, line 16, when republics and
22 autonomous provinces are mentioned, it should say not "in," but "and."
23 Republics and autonomous provinces. Not "in."
24 Q. Mr. Wheeler, let's go back to where we left off before this short
25 break. If I tell you that according to the republican constitution of the
1 then Socialist Republic of Serbia for its constitution to be amended the
2 consent first had to be gained of the assemblies of the autonomous
3 provinces, would you accept this as correct?
4 A. Of course I would. And that's of course why, in 1999 Milosevic
5 had to get the assemblies of Kosovo and Vojvodina to effectively abolish
6 themselves. To accept, in other words, the unification of Serbia.
7 Q. We will come back to 1999 -- or 1989.
8 A. [Previous translation continues] ... yeah.
9 Q. Now, let's talk about the provincial constitutions. According to
10 the provincial constitution of Vojvodina, and that of Kosovo and Metohija,
11 in order for the constitution to be changed there had to be the consent of
12 two-thirds of the deputies in the assembly. Does this mean, Mr. Wheeler,
13 that if the provincial assemblies decided on constitutional amendments the
14 republican assembly did not even have to be informed, let alone ask for
15 its consent, and if the republican assembly wanted to change the
16 constitution, the provincial assemblies could use their veto power and
17 block the constitutional amendments?
18 A. You're correct.
19 Q. Thank you. As a historian, can you now tell me who could find
20 this kind of constitutional situation congenial, who or what forces could
21 find these kind of relations in the Socialist Federative Republic of
22 Yugoslavia to suit their interests?
23 A. Are you referring exclusively to the anomalies of the
24 constitutional situation in Serbia?
25 Q. Well, let's start from Serbia. I will reformulate my question.
1 This kind of constitutional set-up, could it have suited Serbia's
3 A. That is a complicated question. The reason being is that
4 sometimes states or in this case a republic of a federal state, find it
5 useful or necessary to limit their own powers in order to meet the needs
6 of various minorities of one sort or another. In other words, they
7 self-limit their own sovereignty or the portion of sovereignty that they
8 dispose of. The European Union would, of course, be a very good example
9 of this same phenomenon whereby effectively small minorities in the form
10 of small states can say no, and that can limit the ability of a huge
11 majority of, say, big states to do what they want. So in complicated
12 constitutional set-ups, sometimes a small minority can enjoy a hugely
13 disproportionate amount of effective or legal constitutional power. And
14 sometimes those big states or those big complicated constitutional
15 arrangements find it necessary for their own health and potential
16 longevity to limit their powers in that way by making sure that small
17 parts of the state or small parts of the multi-state system have such
18 extraordinary rights.
19 Q. But regardless of whether incorporating such provisions in the
20 highest law of a country is democratic or non-democratic, in any case it
21 leads to paralysis of the constitutional system. Would you agree with me?
22 A. I would. It is an inherently inefficient way of running a
23 government, in any state system. However, of course, as I said, sometimes
24 it's thought to be a price that has to be paid. Just next door to the
25 south of this country we have another complicated state in the form of
1 Belgium, which pays a high price in terms of the need to constantly
2 renegotiate the basis on which its people's co-exist. Today, of course,
3 under the Dayton constitution in Bosnia-Herzegovina we have a similarly
4 complicated and thereby restrictive and often hugely inefficient system of
5 constitutional order. Inefficient constitutional order.
6 Q. I agree with you. Would you agree with the following: Such
7 phenomena in normal stable constitutional systems, where a constitution is
8 amended once every dozen years or once in a century, but in a country that
9 has gone through so many constitutional changes, and where one of the
10 mottos of further development was that development continues, could such a
11 constitutional provision in that situation have been an obstacle to
12 further progress? Would you agree with that?
13 A. A -- complicated constitutional settlements are very often
14 obstacles to progress, but as I said before, they are sometimes the price
15 you pay for maintaining a complicated and especially multi-national state
16 community. Another good example, of course, would be Switzerland which is
17 changing its constitution all the time through popular referenda. Again,
18 different kinds of state communities find different solutions, some of
19 which are not from the outsider's point of view, efficient, but they can
20 on the other hand be considered to be necessary in order it maintain the
21 essential consensus among the people of a -- of a state or in a
22 multi-state system, among the various individual components of that
23 multi-state system they are necessary to maintain the consensus that keeps
24 the system going. And so, yes, Yugoslavia, the federal Yugoslavia paid a
25 very high price, and Serbia as a devolved unit of that federation, which
1 had devolved provinces, also of course pay the price in terms of
3 Q. In any case, none of the other republics within the former
4 Yugoslavia had that problem. Serbia alone had that problem, and it was
5 the most populous republic?
6 A. You are completely correct in formal terms. Although
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a multi-national -- you know, completely
8 multi-national republic in the structure of the former Yugoslavia, of
9 course, also had to engage in informal negotiation over changes. In other
10 words, the national complexity of any country, whether it's -- whether it
11 is accommodated by formal arrangements or informal arrangements still has
12 to be accommodated.
13 Q. But you will agree that regardless of its multi-ethnicity, Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina was sovereign on all of its territory, whereas Serbia was
15 sovereign only over a narrow part of Serbia, leaving out the autonomous
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Thank you, let's move on. This situation lasted for 15 years in
19 Serbia until March 1989 when constitutional amendments were introduced.
20 Do you agree with that?
21 A. Yes, indeed.
22 Q. At that time this step taken by Serbia where you say that it
23 abolished the autonomous provinces, was commented upon, both
24 internationally and by public opinion within the former Yugoslavia, and
25 you termed it an attack on the 1974 constitution when you testified in the
1 Dokmanovic case. It was seen as Serbian hegemony and restoration of a
2 sort of centralism?
3 A. It was seen in retrospect as potentially having that effect. As
4 it happened, the other republics were, in 1989, perfectly happy to allow
5 for Serbia to re-unify itself and not formally, but in effect abolish the
6 autonomy of the autonomous provinces. But afterwards, as I said in both
7 my testimony in the Dokmanovic case and in my report, the League of
8 Communists of both Slovenia and Croatia and later Bosnia and Macedonia,
9 had cause to regret that they had given way, because they began to fear
10 that what had happened to Kosovo and Metohija on the one hand and
11 Vojvodina on the other could happen one day to them, especially after the
12 change of government in Titograd, in Montenegro.
13 Q. If Serbia enacted its constitutional amendments in 1989, and
14 established sovereignty on the entire territory of Serbia, and in
15 practically the same year Slovenia enacted its own amendments to the
16 Slovenian constitution and then issued -- or rather, Croatia issued a
17 declaration with almost the same legal consequences, would you agree with
18 me that this was a trend among the Yugoslav peoples to establish full
19 control over the territory of their own states as far removed as possible
20 from the central government?
21 A. Yes indeed. Both Slovenia and then later Croatia followed the
22 Serbian example and, in fact, in some ways even want farther by declaring
23 the superiority of their own constitutions to that of the federal
24 constitution. But Serbia had led the way.
25 Q. Yes. Someone had to be the first, and the other republics went
1 down the same road almost at the same time. You will, however, agree with
2 me that Serbia established its authority only on its own territory without
3 nulling the federal constitutional provisions, whereas Slovenia enacted
4 legislation to the effect that the federal constitution and laws could
5 apply on the territory of Slovenia only if they did not run counter to the
6 Slovenian constitution and laws. Is that correct?
7 A. That is correct. Although something like a year and a half had
8 elapsed between the reunification of Serbia in early 1989 and the passage
9 of constitutional amendments in Slovenia, which gave the Slovene
10 constitution primacy over the federal constitution. And, of course, in
11 the meantime the republican government in Titograd had been overthrown by
12 people in favour of Milosevic and that meant that effectively Milosevic
13 had four votes in the federation Presidency and the four votes in the
14 federation Presidency, the effect of that had a profound effect in both
15 Zagreb and Ljubljana, as far as alerting them to this supposed new Serbian
16 threat, this hegemonism that you referred to before.
17 Q. Yes, I mentioned [indiscernible] hegemony because the introduction
18 of amendments to the Serbian constitution was characterised as such. Can
19 you tell me whether you recall how the international public and public
20 opinion within the -- within the then Socialist Federative Republic of
21 Yugoslavia described the Slovenian declaration and the practical annulling
22 of the federal constitution? What was said about this move by the
23 Slovenian authorities? Serbia was termed a hegemonistic country.
24 A. Well, we -- we need to make a distinction between how people
25 abroad regarded this and how it was regarded at home in Yugoslavia. There
1 was a considerable degree of informed opinion abroad as there was amongst
2 those people in Yugoslavia who still believed in Yugoslavia to regard what
3 was going on as a -- and what Milosevic in particular was promoting, a
4 degree of recentralisation. There was a tendency both abroad and in
5 Yugoslavia initially to regard this as a necessary thing. As you were
6 implying before in your questions about the complexity of the
7 constitutional arrangements. It was widely believed as the economy
8 deteriorated after Tito's death, and as the -- and as his successors
9 proved completely and utterly incapable of coping with the rampant
10 inflation and economic decline, it was believed that the constitutional
11 structure was unnecessarily, in fact dysfunctionally standing in the way
12 of any sort of improvement. And this -- this inclination to regard a
13 certain measure of recentralisation in Yugoslavia as a good thing was very
14 wide-spread, especially in western capitals. It was also something that
15 quite a lot of people believed in, in Yugoslavia itself, who threw up
16 their hands often and said, This system is crazy. Won't work. We have to
17 have something new. And there was then a period when there was more
18 wide-spread approval for the -- for the changes which Milosevic was
19 believed to stand for when we think back to the anti-bureaucratic
20 revolution and all that, there was a great deal of indulgence shown to
21 that idea, both abroad and in educated circles throughout Yugoslavia.
22 By the time the Slovenes on the other hand declared the
23 superiority of their constitution over that of the federation, the mood
24 had rather changed, I think, abroad, as well as certainly in the Slovene
25 and -- and Croatian communist parties. Because, remember, they walked out
1 of the last federal party congress in January 1990, and it's -- that's
2 kind of the turning point, it seems to me, where people both inside
3 Yugoslavia, who believed that there was some recentralisation necessary
4 and people outside of Yugoslavia who certainly thought that
5 recentralisation would be a good idea to a certain extent, I think that's
6 the point at which they began to have doubts about whether or not
7 Milosevic was a good thing and whether or not he was the potential agent
8 for positive change that had seemed in some places -- at least an idea you
9 could argue in favour of, say in 1988, 1989. But after January 1990, I
10 think that were there was not any particular inclination to condemn the
11 Slovenes for doing what they did, although an awful lot of the
12 international media shared the view coming out of Belgrade that the
13 Slovenes were being typically and totally self-interested, selfish, and
14 you know, looking after themselves.
15 Q. We'll come back to that later. Let's go back now to the 1974
16 constitution, both the federal and the republican constitution. I assume
17 you recall that in the preamble the 1974 constitution gave the peoples of
18 Yugoslavia, not the republics, but the peoples guarantees for their right
19 to self-determination, including the right to secession. Is that correct?
20 A. That is indeed the case.
21 Q. Was it a rule that those nations which were of south Slav origin
22 were elevated to the status of nations, whereas those who were not of
23 south Slav origin were not constituent nations under the constitution,
24 which was valid. Would you agree with that?
25 A. Yes, I -- I agree fully. The distinction between "narod" and
1 "narodnosti" was a very important one in Yugoslav constitutional practice
2 and it had also profound effects.
3 Q. Can we agree then that the right to secession, that is to
4 self-determination, including secession, was also guaranteed in the
5 republican constitutions of all the republics within the socialist
6 federative republic of Yugoslavia?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Thank you. Can you perhaps explain, in scholarly terms, why when
9 Croatia and Slovenia seceded, they used the term "dissociation", rather
10 than using the constitutional terms that is it self-determination,
11 including the right to secession?
12 A. In practical terms the reason why dissociation was used was
13 because even as they declared their independence they weren't necessarily
14 certain, that is the Tudjman or the Kucan regimes, they weren't
15 necessarily certain that it was going to work, that they would be
16 successful. In a sense they were still making a bid for a -- continuing
17 negotiations on a new form of Yugoslavia as an alliance of sovereign
19 To put it in colloquial English terms, they were hedging their
20 bets, they were seeking not to go so far that they would not be able to
21 come back, if somehow they would get a better offer for a new kind of
22 Yugoslavia. And it's for this reason that I put such emphasis in my
23 report that the fact that really marks the final break-up of Yugoslavia is
24 when the fighting starts, when the army moves into Slovenia. Because even
25 those declarations of independence which had been much heralded in the
1 case of Slovenia, rather rushed through in the case of Croatia, were not
2 seen as necessarily final acts, because the -- the endless meetings of the
3 republican leaders had been going on. People found it very difficult to
4 believe that there was life after Yugoslavia, in other words, they --
5 there was profound public scepticism in the early months of 1991 about
6 whether or not this state which had endured for 74 years, would finally
7 break apart. There was a feeling that maybe some last-minute solution
8 would be found. And I think that's why they used the term "dissociation."
9 However, it could be that there was a constitutional legal reason that I
10 haven't thought of.
11 Q. Let's see whether we can unearth that reason. You agreed with me
12 that the constitution of the SFRY envisaged the right to
13 self-determination, including secession and that it guaranteed that right
14 to the nations of Yugoslavia, that this was not a right reserved for the
16 A. Yes, but that's also complicated, as so many things were in
17 Yugoslavia. By virtue of the fact that the republics had come to embody
18 the sovereign rights of the peoples who lived in them. So that meant that
19 Serbia was the sovereign republic of the Serbs, Croatia of the Croats,
20 Slovenia of the Slovenes, Macedonia of the Macedonians, Montenegro of the
21 Montenegrins. It was only in Bosnia-Herzegovina that there was no
22 constituent people. No people of state. Although, of course, in the case
23 of Croatia Serbs and other south Slavs were also constituent peoples
24 before Tudjman changed the constitution. But that didn't alter the fact
25 that in practical terms the Croats were the people of state.
1 Q. You will agree with me that when referenda were held in both
2 Slovenia and Croatia a referendum was held within a republic, and that the
3 right to vote in a referendum belonged to the electorate of that
4 particular republic. Would you agree with me there?
5 A. Of course.
6 Q. At the referenda, both in Croatia and in Slovenia, the population
7 or the electorate voted, and they could be members of different nations or
8 nationalities, but it was not the entire nation that was voting as
9 envisaged by the constitution of the Socialist Federative Republic of
11 A. No, but the republics had become -- the republics had become each
12 of them, other than Bosnia-Herzegovina, associated with one particular
13 nation. So obviously in the referendum regarding Croatian independence,
14 Croats in Serbia or Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not vote in that
15 referendum. Similarly -- but on the other hand, everybody in Croatia,
16 whatever their national identity might be, was entitled to vote. The
17 political problem, of course, arose because of Serbs, having had their own
18 referendum prior to the official Croatian referendum in the spring of
19 1991, did not vote. And of course then the same thing would happen in the
20 case of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 The fact that there were -- that nations, individual south Slav
22 nations were spread across many republics was a complicating factor to
23 this notion that only nations had the right to national
24 self-determination. But another complicating factor, of course, was that
25 the right to national self-determination was a notional right in any case,
1 because communist legal theory held that that right had been exercised for
2 all time in 1943. Or whenever each -- whenever any one of the avnoj
3 [phoen] bodies, zavnobik [phoen] and its Croatian and Serbian, whatever,
4 whenever those bodies had met in 1943 in the case of Croatia and Bosnia,
5 in 1944 in the case of Macedonia, I can't remember about Montenegro, and,
6 in fact, not until 1946, I think, in the case of Serbia. When that --
7 that had been the one -- once and for all time exercise of national
8 self-determination. So we shouldn't get too hung up or pay too much
9 attention to the language in the 1974 constitution because it was in some
10 ways simply paying tribute to the ancestry of an act of
11 self-determination, which, as far as Communists were concerned, had taken
12 place in the past and would never take place again in future.
13 Q. I accept your explanation. Provided that someone from the
14 remaining republics wishes to exercise their rights, then they would try
15 to find a possibility to have the constitution interpreted in a more
16 liberal way. But when Serbia tried to interpret in a more liberal way its
17 own sovereignty in its territory, this was, in fact, disallowed.
18 I read to you the preamble to the SFRY constitution where it
19 states that the nations of the SFRY enjoy the right of self-determination
20 and secession. What I meant is that Croats or Slovenes residing anywhere
21 in the SFRY territory had the right to vote. However, they didn't have
22 the right to vote. Although, in Croatia, as you rightly pointed out, the
23 Serbs did not take part in the referendum. Do you not believe that this
24 application of the constitutional provision envisages the right to
25 self-determination and secession, or rather the terming of any actions
1 taken as disassociation constituted a violation of the then-existing
2 constitution of the SFRY?
3 A. I'm sure that a very sound constitutional legal argument can be
4 made to the effect that it was a violation of the constitution. But an
5 apologist for what the Croats and the Slovenes did, would equally point
6 out, an apologist would say we'll just following in the tracks of out, an
7 apologist would say we'll just following in the tracks of what Milosevic
8 has already done. But these constitutional arguments are in some senses
9 irrelevant because of course the daily development of political life goes
10 its own way regardless of constitutional niceties and in any case the
11 intervention of foreign states made it necessary to hold these referenda
12 in any case. You know of course I'm referring to Badinter Commission and
13 so forth. So real life sometimes gets in the way of constitutional law.
14 And real life always wins.
15 Q. What you have just stated is the position declared by the European
16 Union at the time. They claimed that the real situation, the situation on
17 the ground, was something that had to be accepted, regardless of the fact
18 that in the formal sense of the word, at least, not all the conditions had
19 been met for international recognition. The standards required at the
20 time by international practice, control of territory, effective
21 authorities, and contact or interaction with other countries and states.
22 Do you agree with me?
23 A. I -- I agree with you, yes. They were making it up as they went
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll try to finish
2 my cross-examination of the witness by the end of today.
3 Q. I would like to ask you now a couple of questions about certain
4 legal documents that were created in the republics of the SFRY causing
5 commotion, both domestically and internationally. You referred to some of
6 these in the Dokmanovic trial. What I would like to discuss with you is
7 the issue of the memorandum in Serbia back in 1986, sometimes erroneously
8 referred to as the memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences.
9 You will agree with plea that the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences
10 never acknowledged this document as their own, won't you?
11 A. I will indeed agree with you, yes.
12 Q. You will agree with me that this is -- this is a document which
13 saw the light of day in one way or another, it was stolen at one point and
14 subsequently published. You will agree, won't you?
15 A. Yes, I will.
16 Q. Would you agree with me if I said that a certain number of members
17 of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, if indeed they had authored
18 this document, are not an accurate reflection of Serbia's intelligentsia
19 at the time, as it were?
20 A. The strand of thought represented by the draft memorandum that was
21 stolen and published turned out to be electrifying for many Serbs wherever
22 they were in Yugoslavia. It turned out to be terrifying for many
23 non-Serbs wherever they were in Yugoslavia, and, of course, it was also a
24 matter of considerable shame and regret and disagreement on the part of
25 many Serbs as well. So, yes, the SANU -- the draft SANU -- what's
1 referred to as the SANU memorandum split opinion. A considerable number
2 of people approved of it and found it extremely exciting that the truth
3 was finally will be told about Serbia's diminished position. Other Serb,
4 other Serbs and including intellectuals were alarmed by it. The party, of
5 course, officially, was alarmed by it and denounced it. But it's one of
6 these documents which in retrospect, despite being unofficial, had a
7 profound effect on changing the nature of the political climate and the
8 nature of political debate throughout Yugoslavia.
9 Q. That's all right. Now, I'd like to share with all the other
10 players in this trial what the document was about. Would you agree with
11 me that the author or a group of authors used this document, usually
12 referred to as a memorandum, to present a number of problems and
13 difficulties faced by Serbia at the time or in the immediate past, as well
14 as to predict certain problems that Serbia was likely to be facing in
16 A. Yes, they did.
17 Q. Would you agree with me if I put it to you that this document,
18 despite everything, in no way suggested that the break-up of Yugoslavia
19 was Serbia's only solution?
20 A. No, of course it not -- of course it didn't. The most profound
21 effect it had, however, was in alarming non-Serbs about the way in which a
22 significant portion of Serbian intellectual thought was moving and the
23 extent to which these Serbs were profoundly dissatisfied with the sort of
24 Yugoslavia that had been formally ratified in the 1974 constitution, if
25 not well before.
1 The -- the basic thesis which the memorandum attacked, that a weak
2 Serbia was necessary for a strong Yugoslavia, was revealed, of course, by
3 the reactions, both among Serbs and by non-Serbs, to unfortunately be
5 Q. I don't know if you remember these events from personal experience
6 or based on your research, your research in the history of the Balkans. I
7 do hope that you remember even before the memorandum a Slovene magazine
8 called Nova Revija, a Ljubljana-based magazine, published a platform for
9 an independent Slovenia calling for Slovenia's secession from Yugoslavia
10 in no uncertain terms.
11 A. Yes, indeed, I certainly remember that.
12 Q. Do you agree that this document published by this magazine, the
13 independent Slovenia platform, was not branded as an act of outrageous
14 nationalism or being the Bible of Slovene nationalism, whereas on the
15 other hand the memorandum was certainly branded as a mark of Serbian
16 nationalism and as something showing the way for Serbia's future?
17 A. I disagree with you there. The -- the platform in Nova Revija was
18 certainly characterised both in Yugoslavia and abroad as an exercise in
19 Slovene nationalism. The difference between the reactions, mostly
20 critical at the time -- in retrospect, of course, Slovenes in particular
21 would say that it was a heroic start to an ultimately victorious effort to
22 create an independent Slovene republic, the difference of course is that
23 the Slovenes whether decided to stay in or leave Yugoslavia were not in a
24 position to destroy Yugoslavia, that was a privilege reserved to the Serbs
25 as the largest and most wide-spread of the south Slav peoples. So when
1 the Serbs, whose nationalism is always a particularly sensitive matter for
2 non-Serbs, start evidencing the kinds of grievances and discontents and
3 anger that were given evidence of in the so-called SANU memorandum, it's a
4 more serious matter. It's a more serious matter for the future of
5 Yugoslavia. Because the Serbs are the people at the heart of the state,
6 the idea, the people who have the idea that they've built the state, who
7 can most easily and expeditiously destroy the state.
8 Q. I see, and I'm talking about page 105, line 7, that you stated to
9 get today -- restated something that you wrote in your report already,
10 that the Serbian people had the privilege of destroying the common state,
11 of destroying Yugoslavia. This is page 16 -- or rather page 14 of your
12 report. That is the B/C/S reference. I think the English reference is
13 page 16. You, I believe, use these very words?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Since this is something you've mentioned already, this is the
16 second last sentence of that paragraph. You say, "That privilege was
17 reserved for the Serbs." Both in your report and in your testimony you
18 have confirmed for us that the Serbian people were the most committed of
19 all to a Yugoslav orientation, that they were the most numerous among
20 those advocating the Yugoslav idea, if you like, because they very keenly
21 felt the need to preserve Yugoslavia. Can you then explain, sir, if Serbs
22 had so much at stake in preserving Yugoslavia, and if all these people
23 declaring themselves as Yugoslavs, having so much at stake in preserving
24 Yugoslavia -- or, rather, could we draw a parallel there? You seem to
25 suggest both in your report and on the record today that the privilege was
1 reserved for the Serbs to destroy Yugoslavia. Can you please elaborate on
2 that a little? For me, this appears to be a contradiction in terms. If
3 on the one hand the Serbs were the ethnic group present in all the other
4 territories of the SFRY of the former Yugoslavia, the most spread out, if
5 you like. In essence Serbs were the most numerous group, the most
6 numerous single group, how then can one possibly arrive at this
7 conclusion, the privilege to destroy Yugoslavia was reserved for the
9 A. Well, perhaps I should apologise for quoting myself, but it's a
10 rather good turn of phrase, and by using it I was trying to indicate not
11 something that's a contradiction in terms as you suggested, but rather a
12 paradox. A paradox whereby something that by and large most Serbs for
13 most of the time, and certainly most foreign friends of Yugoslavia had
14 regarded as one of the principal arguments in favour of maintaining a
15 Yugoslav state, and that is that it was a state that allowed all Serbs to
16 live together in one country, that it was paradoxical that those same
17 people who got the most in some ways out of living in Yugoslavia should
18 have been the -- should have been the people who turned on it and
19 initiated a process which led to its violent dissolution. It's a paradox.
20 And a tragic, tragic one.
21 Q. Let us say that we accept this explanation. We don't have that
22 much time left. I would like to deal with something that we have called
23 disassociation or secession in relation to two Yugoslav republics in
24 particular, first Slovenia and then Croatia. This triggered a conflict
25 throughout the former Yugoslavia. You're familiar with the fact that
1 between January 1991 and throughout the summer of 1991, there were all
2 kinds of paramilitary units operating throughout the former Yugoslavia?
3 A. Yes. There certainly were ever more paramilitary units. However,
4 I would take you up on one of the point you made. And that is there was
5 some low-level conflict going on well before Slovenia and Croatia declared
6 their independence. In other words, from the summer of 1990 in Croatia
7 itself there was a localised Serb revolt frequently referred to as the
8 Balvan revolution, the log revolution. So it -- you know before the --
9 Milosevic's -- excuse me. Tudjman's election in itself in April and May
10 1990 was enough to start a process that indeed, as you suggested, became
11 unstoppable after the 25th of June, 1991. But it took it nearly a year
12 for it to happen.
13 Q. I would like to go back to my previous question and we'll come to
14 this eventually as well. I'm sure you know that there were attempts by
15 the federal bodies while the Presidency was still functioning properly and
16 I'm talking about July, 1991, proposals were made to bestow certain powers
17 on the federal bodies to have all the paramilitary units disarmed within a
18 two-week period. This decision was to be signed by the then federal
19 president. This happened to be President Mesic at the time. Are you
20 familiar with the fact that he actually refused to sign that decision, the
21 decision to disarm paramilitary units throughout Yugoslav territory?
22 A. I am aware that that is what has been written. Yes, I am aware of
24 Q. Thank you. Can you explain, sir, how it was that paramilitary
25 units in Croatia got their weapons?
1 A. Are we talking about Croatian paramilitary units or Serbian --
2 Q. The Croatian ones.
3 A. Well, they would have achieved -- they would have acquired weapons
4 via a variety of means. Some weapons from the former teritorijalna
5 odbrana, from the Territorial Defence units fell into their arms, although
6 no where near as much as had been the case in Slovenia. Other arms were
7 being bought on a massive scale insofar as they could be smuggled across
8 the borders, especially from Hungary and of course it was also the case
9 throughout Yugoslavia that people who lived in the countryside tended to
10 have arms. There were an awful lot of arms around, hunting rifles in any
11 case. But prodigious efforts were made after the summer of 1990 in
12 Croatia to set up armed militias and then private entrepreneurs, we
13 mentioned Mercep before, were also setting up their own militias. There
14 was on the other hand, no particular problem in acquiring arms for Serbian
15 paramilitary or Territorial Defence unit organisations because, of course,
16 they had easy access to the Territorial Defence armouries and of course
17 were also armed by the Yugoslav People's Army. The Croats had to struggle
18 very hard and -- to get armourments.
19 Q. I deliberately asked you about the Croatian paramilitary units,
20 because I think you will probably agree with me that up to August, 1991,
21 Croatia did not have its own armed forces with the exception of the
22 police, who also somehow had been successful in obtaining weapons. But
23 there were no official armed forces, to put it that way?
24 A. You're right. In the absence of an army, Tudjman had sought very
25 hard to form what one might call sort of Carabinieri-style of police
1 forces, in other words he would try to use certain units of the police --
2 special police units which had a military style to them and of course the
3 police didn't have any shortage of arms. It's just they didn't have the
4 kind of arms that might be necessary to do serious fighting. They
5 obviously had kind of weaponry that policemen have. And that's why the
6 smuggling operation from Hungary, the various efforts to buy weapons in
7 other countries was so important.
8 Q. While answering the questions put to you by my colleague,
9 Mr. Domazet, my learned friend, you talked about the fear that arose. I'm
10 tying to keep my questions short I only have a couple of minutes to
11 complete my cross-examination. The fear felt by the different ethnic
12 groups because of the developments around them that were felt to be out of
13 control. Would you agree with me that in a situation in which the Serbian
14 people in Croatia are -- were seeing memories of Jasenovac being conjured
15 up, they are seeing Croats arm themselves all around them on a massive
16 scale. As you have just pointed out, they are seeing the status of their
17 own people being reduced from that of a constituent group to that of a
18 national minority, they were seeing their own Cyrillic alphabet being
19 abolished and this was always a hallmark of the Serbs as a nation. Would
20 you agree with me that there is a collective memory of the Serbian people
21 dating back to the aftermath of World War II, this collective memory is
22 now slowly being transformed into collective fear. Fear. Fear of history
23 repeating itself?
24 A. I can agree with you almost completely on that. With the one
25 reservation that a tremendous amount of effort was made by the Belgrade
1 media and latterly by the Zagreb media to create just that sort of fear.
2 That fear was there to be awakened, but it was stimulated artificially.
3 Radio-Television Belgrade broadcast, it seemed, pictures from Jasenovac
4 virtually every day in those months. It was a fear which was stoked, but
5 truly there was an awful lot of material there from the past which
6 justified such fear, as well as, of course, the way in which developments
7 were proceeding at the time.
8 As far as the Cyrillic alphabet is concerned, if I might mention
9 parenthetically, one of the amusing things for me during the time of
10 Republika Srpska Krajina was to visit officials in Knin and Okucani and
11 discover what difficulty they were having using the Cyrillic alphabet on
12 their Cyrillic typewriters, having never before thought that that was
13 necessary to do to be a Serb.
14 Q. My last question for you, sir. In June 1991 Slovenia and Croatia
15 declared independence. Their international recognition was delayed for a
16 variety of reasons. It wasn't before the 15th of January that these two
17 states were recognised by the European Union and it wasn't before June
18 1992 that they became members of the UN. Would you agree with me that
19 regardless of the warnings issued by the Secretary General of the UN not
20 to rush the international recognition of Slovenia and Croatia, Germany
21 decided to grant recognition to both Slovenia and Croatia as early as
23 A. Yes, that's true. The Germans were the most enthusiastic, or
24 along with the Austrians, the most enthusiastic of those people who
25 thought in Europe at the time that early recognition of Croatia would -
1 Slovenia, of course, was already out of the picture - early recognition of
2 Croatia would somehow help to stop the war. Stop the war in Croatia, but
3 stop the war also from spreading to Bosnia-Herzegovina, that Belgrade
4 would take the recognition as a profoundly important development and be
5 frightened off. I mean, the Germans were wrong, but nonetheless the --
6 that was their -- that was their rationale. And the normal way of
7 negotiating inside the European Community, as it still was about to become
8 union, was this if any one country wanted something badly enough, if
9 something was crucial for its own domestic politics, then by and large you
10 could usually get it. And that's why the Germans were able to convince
11 the other European powers to go along with them although, of course, the
12 Germans announced their recognition a month before the other European
13 Union [sic] countries did it.
14 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I have a go at
15 one last question, and this time I mean it. Thank you very much.
16 Q. Do you agree with me, sir, that by granting international
17 recognition to Slovenia and Croatia that this constituted a violation of
18 the 1975 Helsinki Convention guaranteeing the non-viability in Europe, and
19 that this was, in fact, done to legalise the situation on the ground?
20 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
22 MR. WEINER: This witness is a historian. He is here to testify
23 as to the facts, as to the constitution, basically the existence of a
24 constitution and what was in it, as to the actions or the -- the
25 circumstances which arose as a result of a constitution or a law, or a law
1 that was enacted. This, however, goes to the issue of being a
2 constitutional scholar. This is a legal question, and it is outside his
3 level of expertise.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE PARKER: We think, Mr. Weiner, your one objection for the
6 day must succeed.
7 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I thank you very
8 much. I have no further questions.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Ms. Tapuskovic.
10 We will now adjourn and look forward to tomorrow at 9.00 a.m.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.35 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Friday, the 19th day of May,
13 2006, at 9.00 a.m.