1 Friday, 19 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Doctor.
7 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
8 JUDGE PARKER: That affirmation you made at the beginning of your
9 evidence still applies, of course.
10 THE WITNESS: I understand.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic. Ah; Mr. Bulatovic.
12 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning to everyone.
13 WITNESS: MARK CRAWFORD WHEELER [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Bulatovic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Wheeler. My name is Momcilo
17 Bulatovic. I am one of Mr. Sljivancanin's Defence counsel, as you
18 probably know, and I will be asking you a number of questions on behalf of
19 Mr. Sljivancanin's team, questions which I believe to be relevant both in
20 terms of our defence strategy and also in order to understand the totality
21 of your report.
22 First of all, Mr. Wheeler, something you talked about yesterday.
23 What I want to know about is the source of your information, the source of
24 your knowledge that went into the production of your report. You referred
25 to newspaper articles, but I want to know if there was anything else that
1 you used; secondary or primary literature, which authors, and over which
2 period of time exactly.
3 A. Let me start with the final part of your question. I wrote the
4 report in the -- in December, 1997, and at the beginning of January, 1998.
5 It was done rather quickly. There hadn't been that much time before I was
6 asked to serve as an expert witness and needing to produce the report. It
7 was based almost entirely on secondary sources, that is accounts by
8 journalists and the published literature that already existed in book
9 form. Aside from materials which were provided to me by the Prosecution,
10 many of which related to publications in Croatia that had already
11 appeared, memoir literature relating to the siege in Vukovar, I can't
12 remember very many of the names of the authors, I must admit, at this
13 stage, and I was not asked to provide footnotes in the report. Apparently
14 that's not the common practice in courts of law, although of course it
15 would be for any academic paper. And the lapse of time means that it's
16 very difficult for me now to remember where specific facts or allegations
17 that I record in the paper, where exactly they came from. I have to admit
19 Q. Sir, the newspaper articles you used, when were these published;
20 the period relevant for our indictment or later on, given the fact that
21 you drafted and produced your report in 1997 and not earlier?
22 A. Some of the newspaper reports were, of course, contemporary to the
23 events. There was quite a bit of newspaper coverage, of course, of the
24 siege and fall of Vukovar. Others, of course, were retrospective accounts
25 of the events of how the war came to Yugoslavia.
1 Q. If I remember correctly, I heard you say yesterday - and that is
2 part of your report, too - that the public media on both sides, the Croat
3 side and the Serb side, provided, for the most part, biased commentary.
4 Did you perhaps at any point in time have any second thoughts about the
5 information you used and about your sources?
6 A. One always has second thoughts about using journalistic sources as
7 an historian, but if you're trying to write what amounts to contemporary
8 history, journalistic sources, newspaper sources are among the best.
9 As regarding whether or not Serbian and Croatian media in
10 particular were biased or prejudiced, it should be said that the
11 nationalistic fervor and the spreading of fear and hate that I did refer
12 to a couple of times yesterday was not characteristic of the entire media
13 scene either in Zagreb or Belgrade. There were, of course, noble
14 exceptions then, newspapers and radio stations that sought to be fair and
15 honest, but one, of course -- if one were, as I was, living and working
16 abroad, my most regular source of information would have been the foreign
17 press, particularly the press in the United Kingdom. I used to, of course
18 also -- I mean, I used to read things from the former Yugoslavia. I read
19 Vreme regularly, for example.
20 Q. Aside from Vreme, did you consult any other magazines from Serbia,
21 or did you only consult the press from Serbia as far as the Yugoslav
22 Federation at the time was concerned, and was this only based on what you
23 could read in the Vreme magazine?
24 A. I mentioned Vreme because it was the one magazine I subscribed to
25 myself, but of course I would use the -- the BBC's monitoring service to
1 read translations of a wide variety of articles from other Yugoslav
2 publications across the federation.
3 Q. Mr. Wheeler, before you eventually produced this report pursuant
4 to a request from the OTP, and in a hasty fashion, as you have pointed out
5 yourself, did you ever talk directly, did you interview any of those
6 involved in what was going on back in 1990 and 1991? And I mean anyone
7 from the top level leadership down to the grassroots, as it were, be it in
8 Serbia or in Croatia?
9 A. No. Although, because I had lived in Vukovar itself in the spring
10 of 1997, I did meet quite a few of the leaders of the -- the new
11 Samostalna Srpska Demokratska Stranka. But our concern at that point had
12 nothing to do with the origins of the war and everything to do with the
13 forthcoming elections in Croatia in April 1997.
14 Q. Did you ever interview any Croatian citizens or did you perhaps
15 use any sources produced by Croatian statesmen or politicians, such as
16 memoirs, interviews, collections of interviews, that sort of thing?
17 A. Not for this report. Most of the most interesting ones of those
18 appeared later, if we're talking about people like Sarinic and so forth.
19 Those were not available to me at the time. In any case, of course, the
20 thrust of the report had been to sketch in the historical background, not
21 to provide a blow-by-blow, if you will, account of the war in Eastern
22 Slavonia. The bulk of the paper, of course, relates to historical
23 background. Historical background, I said, not local background.
24 Q. You will agree, Mr. Wheeler, that this historical background in
25 the former Yugoslavia was indeed quite a complex one, not to put too fine
1 a point on it, won't you?
2 A. I certainly would.
3 Q. Mr. Wheeler, I read your report, and I came across a number of
4 things that I find particularly interesting and which I would like to ask
5 you to clarify. You speak about King Aleksandar in 1921, when the
6 dictatorship was introduced in a bid to save his empire, and then you say
7 there was a negligible number of Croats to become more important later on
8 who then founded an Ustasha terrorist organisation.
9 Can you explain about this negligible number of Croats and where
10 they came from. We can start with that and then proceed with everything
11 else, please.
12 A. Well, first of all, the King introduced his dictatorship in 1929,
13 which -- not 1921. This led to the formation by Ante Pavelic of his
14 Ustasha movement. He had been a former Member of Parliament. At this
15 beginning, his followers were very, very few, probably no more than a few
16 hundred, and his followers very quickly were harried out of Yugoslavia,
17 and he took up residence as an effective guest of Mussolini in Italy.
18 Later on, his people were trained for the assassination plot on King
19 Aleksandar, that plot that culminated in the successful murder of
20 Aleksandar in Marseilles in October, 1934. Many of these hitmen were not
21 just Croats, of course, they were also Bulgarian VMRO people, Macedonian
22 revolutionary terrorist organisation, and they had been largely trained
23 and supplied with armaments in Hungary. So the plot against Aleksandar
24 exemplified both the enmity or hatred felt towards the Yugoslav Kingdom
25 both by some of its neighbours but also by this minority of radical Croats
1 suffused with fascist sympathies who represented a radical departure from
2 the Starcevic sort of nationalism of the 19th century. They claimed
3 themselves to be followers of the Party of Right of Starcevic, but of
4 course they were extremely radical versions of anything that one might
5 have called Pravastvo, or rightism, in the Croatian political firmament.
6 Q. I did say 1921 -- or, rather, 1929. So that's an error in the
7 transcript. Line 5, page 9, [as interpreted] I think.
8 Sir, I now want to know about this radical organisation, the
9 Ustasha terrorist radical organisation. At which point in time did it
10 acquire any degree of significance in the former Yugoslavia?
11 A. It never had any political significance until Hitler decided to
12 put it in power in April, 1941. Like terrorist organisations anywhere, it
13 was capable of the odd outrage, putting bombs on -- in -- in the
14 lavatories on railway trains, for example. It liked to do that sort of
15 thing. But it took only a very few people to accomplish what, in
16 retrospect, seem like rather naive outrages but were significant for the
17 time. Its political significance depended upon the patronage that it
18 ultimately won from Mussolini and Hitler, most of all Hitler.
19 Q. This is something you mentioned yesterday. If you'd please
20 elaborate. Why did Hitler want to have an Ustasha terrorist organisation
21 like that in power? Why did he want to reward them so richly in a way?
22 Is this about the antagonism between the Germans on the one hand and the
23 Serbs on the other because of what had occurred during World War II? And
24 the perspective that I'm putting this into is the enemies surrounding
25 Serbia itself.
1 A. Well, you of course meant to say World War I, not World War II.
2 Yes. The important point to make is that actually Hitler didn't want to
3 put Pavelic and the Ustasha in power. He would have much preferred to
4 have done a deal with Vlatko Macek and the Croatian Peasant Party. He
5 wanted a secure Croatia, but Macek and the overwhelming majority of the
6 Croatian Peasant Party refused to receive an independent Croatia or a
7 nominally independent Croatia as a gift from Hitler. Strenuous efforts
8 had been made by Axis diplomats to seduce Macek and the Croatian Peasant
9 Party. Although he did leave politics in protest at the Mirkovic-Simovic
10 coup, the Croatian Peasant Party nonetheless remained in government. And
11 it was because the Croatian Peasant Party would not accept the role of
12 being the stooge rulers of Croatia for the axis powers that Hitler had to
13 fall back upon what he had originally seen as Mussolini's protege, that is
14 Pavelic. Pavlovic was the only one, it seemed, to be available to run an
15 axis satellite state of Croatia, and of course it was a decision which,
16 from the axis's own point of view, was a disaster, because instead of
17 ensuring peace, order, and the exploitation of the economic assets and the
18 transport infrastructure, which is what Hitler wanted, instead the advent
19 of Pavelic created exactly what the Germans didn't want, which was huge
20 resistance and chaos and disruption of economic activity.
21 And the transcript says "Pavlovic." It's Pavelic. Pavelic.
22 Q. Mr. Wheeler, between 1934 and 1941, Yugoslavia was ruled by Prince
23 Paul. You say that he made a peace pact, a separate peace pact with the
24 largest Croatian party. What is the largest Croatian party that you have
25 referred to and what sort of a separate peace pact would that be?
1 A. Well, the largest and most significant Croatian party at the was
2 indeed Macek's Croatian Peasant Party, which at that point, of course, had
3 been before the advent of Prince Paul and the doing of the Sporazum deal.
4 Macek had been allied with Pribicevic and the Independent Democratic
5 Party, the party of Serbs of Croatia in the anti-dictatorship pact. But I
6 referred to the Sporazum, the Cvetkovic-Macek Agreement, as a separate
7 piece because it detached Macek's Croatian Peasant Party from the unified
8 pro-democracy bloc that actually united Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in the
9 latter stages of King Aleksandar's dictatorship.
10 Macek agreeing with Prince Paul on a devolved home rule system
11 for Croatia had the effect of weakening tremendously the democratic
12 opposition to the dictatorship across the entire country.
13 Q. Sir, in relation to World War II, Germany's invasion and the
14 carving up of the occupied countries, you say this is something that
15 Hitler came up with with the intention of forever destroying even the very
16 idea of Yugoslavia and in order to introduce an effective system of
17 occupation during World War II. From a purely historical viewpoint, can
18 you explain Hitler's plan to me, please, especially his intention to
19 forever destroy even the very idea of a Yugoslav state. How could he
20 possibly have this implemented? With whose assistance and how far did
21 they eventually get?
22 A. Well, his intention was given effect by the way in which he
23 partitioned the country, giving slices of territory to the Hungarians, the
24 Bulgarians, the phoney, fake Albanian state, which was effectively ruled
25 by the Italians, giving the Italians the Dalmatian coast, creating
1 Montenegro as a supposedly independent kingdom under the house of Savoy,
2 that is the Italian monarchy. The system failed because none of these
3 recipients of Hitler's generosity or largesse, including the Croats with
4 their supposedly independent Croatian state, were happy with the results.
5 Either they wanted much more territory than they got, or, for example, in
6 the case of the Bulgarians being given the right to occupy -- occupy
7 Macedonia, Vardar, Macedonia, they didn't actually get title to it. So
8 they were dissatisfied even though there wasn't necessarily, until late in
9 the war, very much trouble for them in that part of the world. So instead
10 of replacing an orderly occupation regime -- excuse me instead of creating
11 an orderly occupation regime, Hitler found himself presiding over what
12 amounted to a hideously disorderly occupation regime which ended up
13 demanding the presence of vastly more axis troops and also ultimately
14 demanding far more intimate relations with various collaboration forces
15 than Hitler had intended.
16 His animosity towards the idea of a Yugoslav state, towards the
17 idea particularly of a Serb-dominated Yugoslav state does indeed go back,
18 as you rather suggested, to longstanding Germanic animosity towards the
19 Serbs as a dangerous and strong people. And, you know, Hitler had racial
20 notions, a racial ranking of people who were acceptable and not
21 acceptable. In the South Slav context, this meant that he regarded the
22 Slovenes, for example, as genetically sufficiently decent people to be
23 suitable for Germanisation. But for Serbs, as for, for example, Poles or
24 Ukrainians, the only real solution was to make slaves out of them.
25 For Croats, on the other hand, it was rather an embarrassing
1 situation. Obviously the Croats are Slavs but the Ustasha regime had to
2 seek to invent for itself a supposedly Aryan, non-Slav genealogy, racial
3 descent, that is, which of course was ludicrous beyond belief, but in
4 order to fit into Hitler's world view, mad as it was, it was done.
5 Q. Could you please tell me, what sort of an influence did the
6 Catholic church have on all of this?
7 A. Not, it has to be said, a very positive impact upon all of this.
8 This remains, of course, an extremely controversial question historically.
9 The Catholic church traditionally in Croatia and, for that matter, in
10 Slovenia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was leaving aside some of the
11 Franciscans in the northern parts of Bosnia. This Catholic church was
12 traditionally extremely conservative and extremely nationalistic, and a
13 good many Croatian Catholic priests and even a couple of bishops,
14 notoriously the Bishop of Mostar, for example, went over to the Ustasha.
15 Some priests even resigned as priests and became Ustasha gauleiters - I
16 forget the term - and then were leaders of Ustasha bands.
17 The hierarchy of the church, of course, led by Archbishop Alojz
18 Stepinac equivocated. It on the one hand protested regularly, but,
19 unfortunately, privately, to Pavelic and the Ustasha regime about the
20 persecution of non-Croats. But on the other hand it was also rather
21 gratified by the opportunity to increase the size of its flock by virtue
22 of the conversions that took place. Stepinac, was, we understand, unhappy
23 and nervous about forced conversions, but he nonetheless rather liked the
24 idea of creating more Catholics. And history has not treated him very
25 well outside of Croatia, of course, where he has been inappropriately, in
1 my view, promoted to a would-be saint, but history abroad has not been
2 very kind of him, not because he was a bad man but because he was a weak
3 man and failed to rise to the spiritual and moral standard that one might
4 have expected of the leading Roman Catholic prelate in Croatia, or among
5 the Croats. As I said, there were other priests and junior bishops who
6 were very, very much more morally compromised by their wartime behaviour
7 than was Stepinac.
8 Q. You mentioned the conversion of Serbs, Mr. Wheeler. Perhaps do
9 you know the number of Serbs who were converted in this way?
10 A. No, I don't know the number, and I don't know that we do have an
11 exact number. And at the moment, I can't even recall what some of the
12 more significant estimates might have been, but we're certainly talking of
13 something around -- well, at least a hundred thousand, maybe more.
14 Some -- some of these conversions were in fact arranged between
15 Catholic and Orthodox priests simply in order to provide protection for
16 people. Other conversions were actually -- and everybody realised they
17 were fake conversions. They were just designed to save people's lives.
18 But in other places, of course, the conversions were not done in that
19 benign and in fact rather helpful way. But the exact number I don't know.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Wheeler. Again, in your statement or report there
21 is an assertion that the Serbs from the very beginning were separated for
22 deserved punishment. Could you please explain to us, what does that mean
23 "from the beginning," and what would be the "deserved punishment," and
24 why would they be singled out in particular and what would be the reason
25 for that?
1 A. I certainly didn't write that the punishment was deserved. I
2 wrote condign punishment. That means, in English, special punishment,
3 especially harsh punishment. And the Serbs were singled out for that
4 punishment because they were regarded by the Axis powers as the most
5 dangerous people in Yugoslavia, the ones who had committed the insult of
6 the 27th of March coup d'etat, the slap in the face of Hitler, the people
7 who were seen as traditional enemies of the German race, and therefore the
8 people who had to be treated most harshly, not just because the Serbs were
9 thought to be dangerous but also as a lesson to all the other Yugoslav
10 peoples of what the price would be -- what the price was that would have
11 to be paid if you didn't behave, because the word "condign" also implies a
12 useful lesson. The Serbs would be punished in order to keep Slovens,
13 Bosnian Muslims, Croats, Slavs in Macedonia, Serbs would be punished to
14 keep them in line and to remind the others of how well they were having it
15 or how -- I put that badly. To remind the others of how much worse it
16 could be if they followed in the supposedly bad Serbian example of
17 opposing the interests of the Reich.
18 You know, it has to be said as well that Hitler's aim was simply
19 to stoke up as much hatred as possible amongst the South Slav peoples. If
20 you reward some and punish others, the effect, of course, is to make those
21 other -- make those people dislike each other even more. This was part of
22 his aim, as I said, to destroy the idea of a future Yugoslav state.
23 Q. Can I take it, then, Mr. Wheeler, from what you've just said that
24 that's where the roots are of the implementation of a genocidal policy in
25 the spring of 1941, which then prompted the Serbs to a rebellion which
1 began in Eastern Herzegovina? Could you please explain this policy. Who
2 implemented it at the expense of whom?
3 A. The policy is -- was implemented from May, 1941, onwards by the
4 new Ustasha regime. It was their idea, their plan. It was carried out by
5 their bands of cut-throats and by the Ustasha themselves, not by what
6 became the Croatian army, the so-called Domobranci. This provoked, as you
7 suggested, fervent and natural Serb opposition where it was implemented,
8 caused the outbreak of resistance, and as I said yesterday, also
9 eventually produced so much chaos that Hitler himself, far from thinking
10 it was a good idea, tried to get it stopped, although again the -- it's
11 very difficult talking sensibly in some cases about the Axis powers in the
12 Second World War because the policies implemented on the ground by
13 particular German or Italian generals could vary significantly from orders
14 delivered, for example, from either Rome or Berlin. So the specifics --
15 I'm generalising, but I want to issue a health warning, if you will, that
16 sometimes the specifics in given areas, because of individual
17 personalities and the policies they adopted, could vary.
18 So in other words, in some places there might be German units that
19 supported the Ustasha genocide, in other areas there would be German units
20 that opposed it. In most cases the Italians, fortunately for their
21 historical reputation, opposed it.
22 Q. I didn't hear, Mr. Wheeler, who were the victims of genocide of
23 these Ustasha cut-throat groups, or bands, as you described them.
24 A. Well, of course in -- in numerical terms, the Serbs were the
25 largest victims, but the Ustasha was as profoundly anti-Semitic as was
1 Hitler himself and so the Jews of Yugoslavia, particularly the Jews of the
2 Independent State of Croatia, were also targets for liquidation, as, of
3 course, were other "untermenschen" such as Gypsies; Roma. There would
4 have been other targets for the genocide had patriarchal values in
5 south-eastern Europe been such in 1941 that Pavelic, for example, could
6 have conceived of the idea of homosexuality. If he had, they would have
7 also been victims, such people. But Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were the
8 principal opponents -- excuse me, were the principal victims, as of course
9 eventually were anti-fascist Croats, particularly those associated with or
10 in the Communist Party or who joined the Partisan resistance.
11 Q. Would we agree, then, Mr. Wheeler, on the basis of what you have
12 said so far today, that Yugoslavia was something that the Serbs needed,
13 that it was their idea, it was their desire to live in a state that they
14 called Yugoslavia for the reasons you cited, and that in that state
15 Croatia, Slovenia had separatist tendencies because this life together
16 with Serbs, Gypsies, Jews was something that did not suit them?
17 A. No. As I explained yesterday, the original inventors of the
18 Yugoslav idea were Croats. There were also eventually, by the end of the
19 19th century, many ardent Slovenes in favour of the idea of a Yugoslav
20 state, as there were by the end of the 19th century also many Serbian
21 intellectuals in favour of the Yugoslav state.
22 When I said that the Yugoslav state best served the interests of
23 the Serbs, what I meant to convey was the fact that the sort of Yugoslavia
24 that came into existence in 1918 and then under its constitution of 1921
25 tended to pay better attention to or to serve better Serb interests than
1 it was seen by Slovenes or Croats as serving their interests. They didn't
2 feel they had the common state they had wanted. They felt that they had
3 an expanded Serbian state where they -- it would be too strong to say that
4 they felt like they were second-class citizens, but they did feel they had
5 legitimate grievances because the Yugoslavia, the sort of Yugoslavia that
6 they had wanted had not come into existence. And they felt that the Serbs
7 as the people of state who were most numerous, had the longest recent
8 experience of independent political life, were dominating them.
9 This feeling, of course, was vastly more pronounced amongst the
10 Croats during the inter-war period than it was amongst the Slovenes. The
11 remarkable thing about what was going to happen during the 1980 and 1990s
12 was that the Slovenes for the first time would start to believe that they
13 needed a separate existence. They had entertained no such ideas
15 Q. And does that mean, Mr. Wheeler, precisely what I said before,
16 that the idea of breaking up Yugoslavia is not a Serbian idea but a
17 Croatian or a Slovenian idea, idea of those who did not achieve or think
18 they did not manage to achieve the importance and the place they would
19 expect to have by joining a community of the type that Yugoslavia was?
20 A. Well, we run the risk here of joining together the very different
21 inter-war experiences with the experience after Tito's death and the
22 progressive decline of legitimacy and belief in the socialist Yugoslav
23 state. For -- in the case of the socialist Yugoslav state and its decline
24 and dissolution and ultimate resort to warfare, the lead was certainly
25 taken by the Milosevic regime in Belgrade. It was the Milosevic regime in
1 Belgrade which was seen by the other Yugoslav peoples to be trying to
2 change the rules of the federation in a way which would be disadvantageous
3 to them. The Slovenes were the first people to realise the way in which
4 Yugoslavia, the sort of Yugoslavia that Milosevic appeared to want, that
5 this Yugoslavia was not a state in which they wanted to live. The
6 Slovenes, therefore, were the first of the people to -- first of the
7 Yugoslav peoples to decide that they might have to leave. But as I tried
8 to emphasise yesterday, the crisis of 1989, 1990, 1991, which gets more
9 and more tense, didn't then look as if it would inevitably lead to the
10 break-up of Yugoslavia. I tried to make the -- for example, there are --
11 there are lots of public opinion poll evidence showing that in Slovenia,
12 for example, even in the first half of 1991, although the government had
13 actually scheduled an independence declaration on the 25th of June, most
14 people didn't actually think it was going to happen. They thought they
15 were engaged in yet another and more -- and more energetic process of
16 negotiation or of bluffing. So more and more non-Serbs do indeed, in the
17 later 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, consider leaving Yugoslavia, but
18 for most of them their preference is in fact a different sort of
20 Q. Isn't it indicative, Mr. Wheeler -- well, earlier you said that
21 the Slovenians in that first state, in the kingdom, were the first who
22 wanted to leave the kingdom because they did not manage to achieve some of
23 their interests and it didn't suit them. Now, in the case of the
24 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slovenians again were
25 dissatisfied. Does that mean that their participation in a community
1 called Yugoslavia, they were unsatisfied -- dissatisfied with their
2 position there and they kept wanting to leave that community? Yugoslavia
3 was something that did not suit them; they did not manage to fulfil this
4 ambitions, to achieve some of their objectives, some of their desires.
5 What would you say?
6 A. Well, your characterisation of the Slovene position in the late
7 1980s and early 1990s I would agree with, but not your characterisation of
8 Slovene descent in the inter-war years, during the kingdom. The Slovenes
9 by and large did very well out of their position in the Kingdom of
10 Yugoslavia. In the first place, of course, it saved them from either
11 Italian or Austrian or German Imperialism. It saved their territory from
12 being gobbled up by either Italy or Germany or Austria. So Slovenes were
13 relatively content, really, in the inter-war years. They got on with
14 making money, being prosperous, being efficient, being happy. Their
15 language protected them. Their separate language protected them from many
16 of the measures which annoyed Croats who, of course, shared a language
17 with the Serbs.
18 Q. Mr. Wheeler, I'm now going to go back to a topic -- actually, I'm
19 going to move to a topic which touches upon what we talked about already,
20 and that concerns the order of the then state, the Socialist Federal
21 Republic of Yugoslavia and one of its segments. I don't know how much you
22 studied that. We're talking about the armed forces of the SFRY. Do you
23 know what the armed forces of the SFRY consisted of according to the 1974
25 A. Generally, yes, but I do not pretend to be anyone who knows a
1 great deal about the Yugoslav People's Army.
2 Q. Do you know that as part of the armed forces of the SFRY,
3 according to the 1974 constitution, which you say that you've read - and
4 if you recall it, then that's very well - that the Yugoslav People's Army
5 and the Territorial Defence make up the armed forces of the SFRY? Is that
6 something that you are aware of?
7 A. Of course. I'm aware of all the ideas of All People's National
8 Defence and so forth as they became -- as they were propagated in the
9 latter years of Tito's lifetime.
10 Q. During Josip Broz Tito's lifetime, he was the Supreme Commander of
11 the armed forces of that state which was called what it was called; is
12 that correct?
13 A. That is indeed.
14 Q. After he died, do you know who assumed the command and control of
15 the armed forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
16 A. Yes, indeed; the command was shared by the collective Presidency.
17 Q. Can you please tell us, if you know, and you probably know because
18 this was something that you studied, who made up this collective
19 Presidency? How many members did it have, and who was the president
20 during the time relevant for the indictment? Who was the president of
21 that Presidency and how many members did it have?
22 A. It had one member from each of the six republics plus a member
23 from each of Serbia's two autonomous provinces, plus a member who was the
24 -- the Secretary-General of the Communist Party, League of Communists, and
25 there was a military member.
1 Q. During the -- the time relevant for the period of the indictment,
2 do you know who was the chief of the Presidency or the president of the
4 A. The president of the Presidency in the early part of 1991 was
5 Borisav Jovic. He resigned, and then went back. Then after a crisis over
6 whether or not Stipe Mesic should succeed, who was next in line, the
7 candidate from Croatia, Mesic eventually did assume the -- the role of
8 president of the Presidency following European Community intervention in
9 end of June, beginning of July, 1991. So during the period of the siege
10 of Vukovar, the notional president of the Presidency was Stipe Mesic.
11 Q. You're absolutely right, Mr. Wheeler. He was the president of the
12 Presidency from the 30th of June until the 3rd of October, 1991. In the
13 media, and you probably followed the media, a news item was published that
14 Mr. Mesic, after he left the Presidency in the way that he left it - I'm
15 not going to go into that, but if necessary, I will explain it - he said,
16 "I have completed my work. Yugoslavia is no more, and I am going back."
17 Do you remember this, Mr. Wheeler?
18 A. Yes, I do indeed. He even titled his first volume of memoirs,
19 "Kako Smo Srusili Jugoslaviju."
20 Q. I see that you did look at the book by Mr. Mesic, and you are
21 familiar with it. Did you use that book in order to draft your expert
23 A. No. I didn't have a copy of it then.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
25 MR. WEINER: Yes. Sorry, Your Honour, but for the record, could
1 we have the name of the book in English? It was given in B/C/S but it
2 wasn't translated into English.
3 THE WITNESS: It's "How --" "How We Destroyed Yugoslavia,"
4 although the second edition doesn't say "we," I believe. It says "How
5 Yugoslavia Was Destroyed," or "How Yugoslavia Was Destroyed." I can't
6 remember exactly.
7 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Well, the name of the book is really not that important to me, but
9 what is important to me is that you are familiar with the statement by
10 Mr. Mesic and that this is something that is beyond dispute. What I'm
11 interested in is the attitude of Croatia towards that community by the
12 name of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of which he was the
13 president of the Presidency.
14 Mr. Wheeler, do you know what the 1974 constitution, even though
15 perhaps you're not the right person to ask that, but in this entire
16 historical context and following all the events through the constitutional
17 framework and the constitutional solutions, what were the tasks of the
18 armed forces of the SFRY as provided for by the constitution, or if you
19 would like me to remind you what it states in Article 240 of the
20 constitution, perhaps we can deal with that. What it states there is that
21 the armed forces of the SFRY protect the sovereignty, independence,
22 territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and the social order established by
23 this constitution. Do you recall that part of the constitution from 1974
24 as it relates to the armed forces of the SFRY?
25 A. I certainly do, and you will find in my report that I refer
1 explicitly to the obligation of the JNA not only to defend the country but
2 also to defend its social system. That is self-management socialism.
3 Q. What I'm interested in is another obligation of the armed forces,
4 and that is the territorial integrity aspect. Could you please clarify
5 that duty that the armed forces have. What could you say about that as it
6 relates to territorial integrity?
7 A. Any country's armed forces would be charged with defending that
8 state's territorial integrity. In the Yugoslav context, of course, it
9 becomes vastly more problematic when the state is in the process of
10 dissolution and one or another of its component parts is seeking
11 secession. That indeed does put the -- an army, charged with defending
12 the territorial integrity of the country, in a difficult position.
13 Q. Sir, the country was well on its way to disintegration. That much
14 is certain, and there's no need to discuss it. What I want to know is did
15 the armed forces take part in making political decisions or were the armed
16 forces only there to carry out the orders of whoever was in command?
17 During his lifetime, Tito was the Supreme Commander and now it was the
18 Presidency. So did the army have any bearing on political decisions or
19 was it only there to implement whatever decisions were taken at the
20 political level by the political leaders of the country?
21 A. No. The army had, and certainly in these years of crisis, took an
22 increasingly explicit political role. General Kadijevic, the minister of
23 defence, and his successors did take an active part in the politics of the
24 time. And the disarray that prevailed in the collective Presidency meant
25 in fact there was greater scope for the army to play an explicitly
1 political role.
2 Q. Mr. Wheeler, you think the army took an active role in this. The
3 question is why? Was it in order to preserve the Yugoslav community, the
4 SFRY, or to get involved in its break-up? I'm not talking about what
5 happened later. I'm talking about the political decisions and the army's
6 involvement in that. Do you know specifically what the involvement was of
7 Mr. Kadijevic and his successors in terms of Yugoslavia being preserved,
8 Yugoslavia being brought down, and Yugoslavia eventually disappearing from
9 the map?
10 A. General Kadijevic was among those who believed that it was
11 essential to proclaim martial law in order to stop the slide towards
12 dissolution. He tried to get that in early March, I think it was, 1991,
13 through the collective Presidency, was refused, rebuffed in very dramatic
14 scenes which of course we've all actually seen the pictures of, you know,
15 with the pressure being exerted on Bogic Bogicevic, for example, the
16 representative from Bosnia. All very dramatic stuff. But it illustrates
17 the extent to which the army was desperately seeking to save the state
18 which it was pledged to defend, a state which was, despite the army's
19 ethos, purpose of existence, loyalty, a state which was falling apart
20 around the army that existed to defend and protect that state. It was for
21 the top brass, as well as many ordinary officers, I imagine, an
22 incredibly, incredibly difficult period. They're watching a country
23 disintegrate that the army exists to protect.
24 Q. Sir, I entirely agree with you. Do you know whose insignia the
25 JNA men were wearing at the time? Were those Yugoslav insignia or
1 republican insignia?
2 A. They wore Yugoslav insignia.
3 Q. Mr. Wheeler, here we have Mr. Kadijevic. You've mentioned him.
4 Do you know what this person's ethnicity was?
5 A. He was a Serb from Croatia. I believe he was also the product of
6 a mixed marriage. I can't remember which way around it was, though. He
7 considered himself a Serb from Croatia.
8 Q. A Serb from Croatia, you say. The question of his ethnicity. Do
9 you know what the ethnic make-up was of the officers in the JNA?
10 A. That is a difficult question to answer because, off the top of my
11 head, I don't have the figures, but it is a difficult question to answer
12 for other reasons as well because it depends on what part of the officer
13 corps you're talking about. Now, obviously conscripts represented the
14 young men of Yugoslavia in the exact proportion that they actually existed
15 in the country, so it was completely an integrated army.
16 The lower level officer corps tended to be dominated by Serbs and
17 Montenegrins for whom, traditionally, a career in the army was more
18 attractive than it was for other South Slav peoples. At the highest
19 levels, however, the army was also representative of the Yugoslav
20 populations at large. So the proportion of Croatian generals and so forth
21 would have been roughly equivalent to that of Serbs, Montenegrins, Bosnian
22 Muslims, Slovenes, and so forth. The one conspicuous exception at the
23 upper level would have been Albanians. Albanians, there would have been
24 very few senior Albanian officers. But there were some.
25 Part of the reason for the predominance of Serbs and Montenegrins
1 at middle levels in the army was not just, of course, as I referred to
2 before, the tradition of going into the army amongst those peoples being
3 stronger, especially for those young men who came from relatively poor
4 areas, it was also the fact that the army was a vast bureaucracy, much of
5 which was located in Belgrade, and so therefore naturally "cinovnici,"
6 officials, would nonetheless wear a uniform, would have been
7 disproportionately Serb.
8 Q. Mr. Wheeler, yesterday you said something that caught my eye, as
9 it were. You said that back in 1991, it wasn't popular to be
10 pro-Yugoslavia, to be of pro-Yugoslav orientation. Can you please try to
11 elaborate on that. You did explain that to some degree yesterday, but I
12 believe that further elucidations might be required. Who was this in the
13 way of? Which were the bodies that so opposed this pro-Yugoslav
15 A. It's necessary -- it's necessary to bear in mind that a
16 pro-Yugoslav orientation suffered from the general decline which the
17 Yugoslav state economy and political order had suffered after Tito's
18 death. The Yugoslav state was no longer delivering to the bulk -- or
19 excuse me, I shouldn't say the bulk. It was no longer delivering to many
20 of its citizens what a state is obliged to deliver, which is a sense of
21 prosperity, security, a functioning economy, a political order, a
22 political system that people can believe in. In other words, the
23 socialist regime was losing its legitimacy, and since the socialist regime
24 was losing its legitimacy, to a considerable extent the common state
25 represented by that socialist regime was losing legitimacy.
1 When I remarked about it was unpopular to be pro-Yugoslav in 1991,
2 I may have had in mind, however, the way in which the number of people who
3 declared themselves as Yugoslavs - Yugoslavs by national identity - in the
4 1991 census had fallen on what the number had been in 1981, for example,
5 in the immediate aftermath of Tito's death when people were feeling
6 extremely patriotic and very pro-Yugoslav, or had been the case in 1971
7 when, because of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslav
8 patriotism and optimism and excitement were also very, very great.
9 So by 1991 there were fewer people who called themselves Yugoslavs
10 but the Yugoslav state also by 1991 was simply failing and, therefore, it
11 would be natural that fewer people would feel pro-Yugoslav, or at least
12 for the Yugoslavia they had. The point I was trying to emphasise before,
13 of course, was that the -- the notion that there would be no sort of
14 Yugoslavia at all was a notion which was held by not very many people.
15 People just wanted a different sort of Yugoslavia. The trouble, of
16 course, is that the sort of Yugoslavia that Serbs, Croats, Slovenes,
17 Macedonians, Bosniaks, and so forth might have wanted was never the same
18 sort of Yugoslavia. They couldn't agree on the sort of Yugoslavia it
19 should be.
20 Q. Mr. Wheeler, geographically speaking, what about the different
21 popularity rates? Where was this pro-Yugoslav orientation less popular?
22 Was it less popular in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, or in Serbia
23 and Montenegro? Where was it less popular?
24 A. Well, undoubtedly the -- the sort of Yugoslavia that existed in
25 1990 and 1991 was least popular amongst Slovenes and Croats. Macedonians
1 and most people in Bosnia and Herzegovina were desperately keen to keep
2 Yugoslavia together in some new format, and of course the most radical
3 proponents of an entirely sort of new Yugoslavia was the Serbian
4 government and -- Serbian government in Belgrade and its acolytes in
5 Titograd and Novi Sad, or for that matter, Pristina, who were advocating a
6 different sort of Yugoslavia altogether; a highly centralised Yugoslavia.
7 Q. You said a while ago that on the 25th of June Croatia and Slovenia
8 adopted declarations of independence. Do you know what exactly these
9 regulations enshrined? I'm talking about Croatia now. I'm not mentioning
10 Slovenia because that's of no consequence to us right now. What was the
11 Croats' view about their own representatives in terms of their involvement
12 in the work of the federal bodies that still existed?
13 A. Croatian representatives were meant to withdraw.
14 Q. Does that mean that this was another nail in the coffin, even de
15 jure now, of this country that at the time was still called the Socialist
16 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia?
17 A. Yes, it certainly was.
18 Q. Mr. Wheeler, I'm sure you're familiar with this declaration
19 proclaiming a new sovereign and Independent State of Croatia. This was
20 published in their Official Gazette number 31, page 850, and the date is
21 the 25th of June, 1991.
22 The first thing in this declaration is, bearing in mind the -- the
23 long Croatian tradition, it has preserved its awareness of its own
24 statehood. What about the 13 centuries being referred to? 13 centuries
25 of tradition as a separate state. 13 centuries, as we would call that in
1 Serbia. 13 centuries long, not since the 13th century. The claim is
2 being made here that Croats have had 13 centuries of statehood. What
3 about this notion? Because this strikes me as utterly different from
4 something that I heard from you yesterday, sir.
5 A. The invocation in the Croatian Declaration of Independence of 13
6 centuries of Croatian statehood is the sort of mythic mumbo-jumbo that all
7 peoples in Central and Eastern Europe are prone to adopt. That doesn't
8 mean there wasn't a real tradition of Croatian statehood, but the idea
9 that it was relevant tradition to the circumstances of 1991 was, of
10 course, nonsense.
11 The important thing in the context was, of course, that there was
12 a Croatian nation. Croatian states had come and gone, but those Croatian
13 states had not been states of any Croatian nation before the 19th century
14 because there was no Croatian nation. There was no French nation. There
15 was no British nation. There was no Serb nation. The idea that we now
16 have about nations is a 19th century creation. So the relevant thing, of
17 course, is that Croats have been self-conscious of themselves as a nation,
18 as a people, since about the 1830s in any case. That's all the -- that's
19 all the Declaration of Independence really would have needed to refer to,
20 that we Croats and the other people who live amongst us are a nation.
21 The invocation of the long medieval tradition, frequently glorious
22 but even more frequently inglorious and obscure, was utterly unnecessary,
23 but that's the kind of rhetoric that most peoples adopt.
24 Q. It's some sort of political marketing, wouldn't you say?
25 A. Indeed.
1 Q. Thank you. Mr. Wheeler, you said yesterday that Croatia was
2 recognised as an independent stayed by the EU, if I'm not mistaken, in
3 February, 1992. I may be wrong. Please don't hold that against me.
4 A. Yes. It was January.
5 Q. January. That's right. I'm sorry.
6 A. It was the middle of January, and the effect of this was rather
7 spoiled from the point of the -- most of the EU countries' point of view
8 by virtue of the fact the Germans had announced in advance that they would
9 do it on the 15th of January. So in other words, they did it a month
10 early by simply announcing it would happen. And we talked about the
11 reasons why the Germans felt this would be a contribution to a peaceful
12 resolution of the war.
13 Q. Now that you've mentioned this, Mr. Wheeler, the Germans have this
14 idea that this might lead to a peaceful resolution, let me ask you
15 something else: Was this Germany's sole motive or did they also perhaps
16 mean to reward Croatia for any merits that it may have had in World War
17 II, in World War I, or whatever it was in the past? What was it that
18 drove Germany to leave its bloc, as it were, and to rush ahead of everyone
19 else in terms of this premature international recognition and forcing the
20 hand of the international community? We have this idea of peaceful
21 resolution. The war would stop if we granted Croatia recognition. Was
22 this helpful or did it actually contribute to things getting out of hand?
23 A. The Germans were ardently in favour of recognising the reality of
24 Slovenia's and Croatia's independence because, as I said, they thought
25 certainly in the case of Croatia it would contribute to ending the war.
1 But there were other reasons as well. One of those, of course, was that
2 there was tremendous popular sentiment in Germany in favour of recognising
3 Croatia's independence, and this has nothing to do whatsoever with an
4 alliance in the Second World War that most Germans, of course, would have
5 had no memory of, but it had much more to do with the fact that Germany
6 itself had just been a huge beneficiary of the process of national
7 self-determination. What, of course, I'm referring to is the unification
8 of East and West Germany. Since the Germans believed in the principle of
9 national self-determination, they believed that that principle should also
10 apply to Croats and Slovenes.
11 Now, you asked me whether not the recognition, when it came, was
12 responsible. I think it was responsible, or would have been responsible,
13 and it might actually even have been helpful had the international
14 community, including Germany, taken any measures at that time to stop what
15 was then the completely predictable spread of the war into
17 Recognising Croatia was fine, but it was actually an invitation to
18 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, of course, became infinitely the
19 worst of the wars of Yugoslav secession.
20 Q. A while ago there was reference to this collective body that ran
21 the state. Mr. Mesic was helped into his seat by the assistance of the
22 European Union, as it were. Mr. Wheeler, you've just mentioned Germany.
23 Germany is keen to help Croatia gain its independence. It's keen to help
24 Slovenia. They think they are right, and indeed they are helping.
25 Do you know if there were perhaps any other foreign countries,
1 foreign services, if you like, foreign organisations, that facilitated
2 Croatia's leaving the community that at the time was still known as the
3 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia?
4 A. There were other European states that looked benevolently upon the
5 idea of an independent Croatia. Austria was one. I know that there are
6 still an awful lot of people, both in the former Yugoslavia but also
7 abroad, who would like to believe that there were other forces at work,
8 perhaps various intelligence services or the Vatican. I have never seen
9 any evidence to back this up. It's not necessary to invent conspiracies.
10 The situation on the ground was bad enough in its own right to produce the
11 result that it produced.
12 Q. Are you aware of any meetings that took place between Mr. Franjo
13 Tudjman and Mr. Milosevic? You mentioned Bosnia. Any talks they had
14 about the division of Bosnia as one of the ways to prevent the spread of a
15 simmering conflict as something that was already in the air, as it were?
16 A. Very much so. The most famous encounter, of course, between
17 Milosevic and Tudjman took place in Karadjordjevo late in March, 1990.
18 And they did -- excuse me, in 1991. And they did indeed discuss the
19 partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is where we come back to the
20 notion of the significance of the 1939 Banovina. Tudjman himself was
21 wedded to the notion that Croatia should have, in 1991 or 1992, everything
22 that Croatia had had in 1939. Milosevic appears to have led Tudjman to
23 believe that some sort of deal had been struck, but that was almost
24 certainly Tudjman's own fanciful recollections of what he thought he had
1 We don't actually have any stenographic record of what happened
2 and what was said at Karadjordjevo. We only have the recollections of
3 various people who were told immediately after the meeting, usually by
4 Tudjman, I'm not aware that -- I can't remember that Jovic, for example,
5 describes this in his book. So we don't know exactly what was decided
6 there but Tudjman certainly went away believing that he and Milosevic had
7 carved up Bosnia-Herzegovina and thereby created a reason for no more --
8 excuse me, for no more -- for no war to continue or to -- I should say for
9 no war to break out in a serious way in Croatia itself.
10 Tudjman, as a former JNA general, always found it extremely
11 difficult to contemplate a -- a -- any kind of real war with the JNA. He
12 was always looking for means of avoiding overt military confrontations.
13 At least in this phase.
14 Q. You're quite right, Mr. Wheeler. We don't have any records of
15 that. There is an interview by Mr. Stjepan Mesic where he discusses this,
16 but I'm not going into that right now. There was a bit of bad language
17 being exchanged in those interviews, so I suppose we should just leave
18 this for another occasion perhaps.
19 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I have several minutes left to go
20 before the break, Your Honours, and there's another topic that I would
21 like to move onto now, Your Honours, for which reason this might be a
22 convenient time to have an early break.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, Mr. Bulatovic. We will resume in 20
24 minutes' time.
25 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 10.53 a.m.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
3 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. To continue, Mr. Wheeler, we talked about the Yugoslav People's
5 Army insignia, markings, the constitutional role. What I would like to
6 know is the following: You probably followed in the materials that you
7 used and in other ways what the attitude was of Croatia, both the Croatian
8 people and the state representatives towards the Yugoslav People's Army on
9 the territory of the Republic of Croatia. How did they view that Yugoslav
10 People's Army? Was it a favourable view, sympathetic, or was it with
11 antipathy? Could you please tell us.
12 A. The Croatian attitude, both the attitude of the Tudjman government
13 in Zagreb and popular attitude, I would guess became increasingly hostile
14 towards the JNA from 1990 through 1991, obviously hostile by 1991. But
15 there had been in Croatia, as there was in the international media, a
16 tendency to want to believe during 1990 and early in 1991 that the JNA
17 would be even-handed and that when it interposed itself in situations that
18 might have led to armed confrontations, that it would be fair. Experience
19 proved otherwise. In other words, when the -- far from being a settler of
20 local conflicts, in the Knin area and Lika, for example, the army tended
21 to intervene on the side of the Serb residents, and so therefore the
22 expectation on the part of Croat villagers or the government in Zagreb
23 towards the army, that attitude became increasingly hostile.
24 Q. Mr. Wheeler, do you remember the attack on members of the Yugoslav
25 People's Army in Split on the 6th of May, 1991, when a JNA soldier was
1 strangled before TV cameras? This was a Macedonian soldier.
2 A. Yes, I certainly do.
3 Q. Do you recall incidents in front of the military court in Zagreb?
4 Do you remember the blockades of the Bjelovar and Varazdin barracks?
5 Could you explain that phenomenon of, let's say, attacks against the
6 manpower and facilities of the Yugoslav People's Army.
7 A. Yes. The -- Tudjman's decision not to fight the JNA but, rather,
8 to seek to disable it by barricading it in its barracks in those areas
9 actually under the government's control was his principal strategy at this
10 time. It was designed to frustrate JNA military operations but also to --
11 but also to oppose the army in a way that a largely unarmed Croatia, a
12 Croatia without an effective army of its own, could actually accomplish
13 and at the same time win foreign sympathy.
14 Tudjman was, at this point, unlike other members of his government
15 - for example, Martin Spegelj - was very resistant to the idea of any
16 frontal confrontations with the army, and this blockade strategy was what
17 he resorted to instead.
18 Q. Do you know of Franjo Tudjman's call on the 5th of May, 1991, when
19 he called upon the Croatian economy to switch to the manufacture of
20 weapons in order to fight against the Yugoslav People's Army?
21 A. I don't remember that particular summons but I do remember
22 pictures that appeared in the press at the time of rather amusing looking
23 homemade tanks and the like. So there was a general effort, certainly in
24 Croatia, to arm by whatever means possible.
25 Q. Mr. Wheeler, we have a constitutional role. There is a
1 constitution that was still in force. There is also the existence de jure
2 of a state community by the name of Socialist Federal Republic of
3 Yugoslavia. We have an army, we have military facilities on the territory
4 of that community, we have members of the Yugoslav People's Army who live
5 and work in those buildings or facilities. They're strangled in Split,
6 barracks are being blockaded, telephone, water, and electricity are being
7 cut off. There is no food. What is the army supposed to do in such a
8 situation? Does it have a legitimate right to use the power at its
9 disposal to deblock its barracks and to help the members of its units
10 there in a situation when the negotiations are obviously not yielding any
11 results? They're not functioning?
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
13 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, we're now back into an area of
14 constitutional issues or asking for a legal answer: What is the army
15 supposed to do in this type of a situation? And it appears that they're
16 asking whether it's legal bases in this type of a situation. That is not
17 the type of a question for an historian.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
19 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am completely aware
20 of Mr. Wheeler's position, that he's not a constitutional expert, and my
21 questions were not seeking a constitutional or a legal foundation for the
22 army intervention. I'm asking Mr. Wheeler, as an historian who followed
23 all the events, to provide from a historical aspect and from a historical
24 distance an analysis of the events that ensued and to give his opinion and
25 to tell us if he had information or knowledge about the intervention of
1 the army and the reasons for that intervention. I was not asking
2 Mr. Wheeler to provide any answers in relation to constitutional or legal
3 matters. I am asking my question on the basis of Mr. Wheeler having said
4 that he had read the constitution and perhaps then because this is so he
5 can provide answers to the questions that I put.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic, the Chamber feels that your question
7 was somewhat imprecisely seeking to draw on both legal constitutional
8 issues and on, as it were, the merits or options for quasi-political
9 action by a military force in that situation. In either case, it seems
10 beyond the legitimate range of Dr. Wheeler's expertise. So a question of
11 that nature is something you may have to pose to us and leave us to be
12 unguided in an answer at later stage of the trial.
13 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, if I might actually just venture an
14 opinion in this matter myself.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I think not, Doctor.
16 THE WITNESS: You think not. All right.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
18 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Wheeler, we talked about an army by the name of Yugoslav
20 People's Army. What I would like to know now is something about the
21 Croatian army. When was it formed, who made it up, and what sort of
22 information do you have on that topic?
23 A. I don't know very much about the exact process whereby the
24 Croatian army was established. Of course, its first incarnation as the
25 ZNG, Zbor Narodne Garde, that force was formed, I think it was in August
1 of 1991. By the end of 1991, of course, a formal Hrvatska Vojska -
2 Croatian army - was established. So there was a progressive building up
3 of something that could be legitimately called a Croatian army. It was,
4 of course, facilitated by arms smuggling and by desertions of conscripts
5 and officers of Croatian, but also other Yugoslav, citizens from the JNA.
6 At the same time as Tudjman is building up or seeking to create the basis
7 for an army, he's also, of course, created special police units, special
8 forces in the police. That was his first effort. Then the ZNG, the Zbor
9 Narodne Garde, comes next, and finally by the end of 1991, a proper
10 Croatian army. By the end of 1991 a proper Croatian army.
11 Q. The HOS was mentioned. Could you please tell us what HOS is?
12 A. The H-O-S, HOS, was a paramilitary formation notable for its black
13 uniforms which evoked the Ustashi. It was loyal as a unit, supposedly, at
14 any rate, to the Party of Rights, and it was a thorn in Tudjman's side
15 because it was outside his control and seemed to be as eager to persecute
16 people, particularly Serbs, as it was to do any effective defending of an
17 independent Croatian state.
18 Q. These were followers of the Croatian Party of Rights. Is that the
19 party of Mr. Starcevic or is this a radical wing of that party, the way
20 you described it earlier?
21 A. Well, of course, Starcevic had been dead for a century. It was a
22 radical party evoking his supposed legacy and at that point it was led by
23 a man called Paraga [Realtime transcript read in error "Praga"], Dobroslav
25 Q. Just an intervention: On the transcript page 36, line 13, it says
1 "Praga," but his name is Paraga.
2 Mr. Wheeler, I know that Mr. Starcevic is dead and this is the
3 Croatian Party of Rights from 1861. We're talking about Paraga. What I
4 would like to know is whether the secretary of that party was Ante
5 Pavelic, whom we mentioned. Of course this was not in the time of Paraga
6 but from before. We're talking about the original party based on which
7 this party emerged.
8 A. Yes. Ante Pavelic was -- this is complicated in that there were
9 various strands of Pravastvo in Croatia. One of those elements that
10 claimed descent from Starcevic was the party to which Ante Pavelic
11 belonged back in -- this is in the 1920s.
12 Q. Do you have any information -- you already mentioned the way these
13 Croatian formations were armed. One was the illegal purchase of weapons.
14 Do you know who took part in these illegal arms sales? I'm thinking of
15 Hungary, but do you know of any other country or any other channel for the
16 illegal procurement of weapons by the Croatian armed forces?
17 A. The channel that was most often mentioned at the time was
18 certainly the Hungarian one. In the aftermath of the break-up of the
19 Warsaw Pact there was, of course, a huge amount of weaponry sloshing
20 around for purchase all over Eastern Europe, and so it wasn't difficult
21 for the Croatian regime to buy weapons. It was, of course, also aided by
22 the right wing elements in the Croatian diaspora all around the world who
23 contributed money, and presumably we can assume were also themselves
24 sending arms to the embattled homeland.
25 Q. Do you have any information about the Croatian armed forces arming
1 themselves also by taking weapons from blockaded barracks after they were
2 abandoned by members of the JNA, and they were used in order to fight
3 those very same forces of the JNA?
4 A. I have no knowledge of this, but it certainly would stand to
5 reason that they did so. In other words, it would not surprise me at all
6 if any armaments left behind after negotiated withdrawals by JNA forces
7 from various barracks and camps hadn't been immediately taken advantage of
8 by the nascent Croatian forces. It would be sensible for them to have
9 done so.
10 Q. Do you know what happened to the weapons after the withdrawal of
11 the Yugoslav People's Army from Slovenia through Croatia? Do you know
12 that on that occasion, during the attack on a convoy, the Croatian armed
13 forces confiscated 105 rail cars of -- of weapons as well as other
14 equipment, and this was then kept by the Croatian armed forces?
15 A. I do not recollect that specific incident, but as I said in reply
16 to your previous question, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest that
17 they did so. They would have looked upon any such armaments that they
18 could seize from the JNA as armaments which at least in part had been paid
19 for by Croatian taxpayers in previous years, and they would have regarded
20 it as their rightful possessions.
21 This would have been the case, of course, with each and every one
22 of the Yugoslav peoples. For example, we know that the Slovenes were
23 very, very quick off the mark, when they started setting up their armed
24 forces, in seizing all of the weapons that were in the depots of the
25 Territorial Defence.
1 The Croats were very less good at doing this. They had to make up
2 for lost time and find any means they possibly could of acquiring the
3 weaponry they obviously believed they needed.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Pardon. I apologise.
6 Q. Mr. Wheeler, do you know that there was an agreement between
7 Slovenia and Croatia on a joint defence after -- joint defence from the
8 JNA, which was signed in April 1991? Kucan signed this agreement with
9 Tudjman. Are you aware of this agreement?
10 A. Yes. It ended up, of course, being an agreement that neither side
12 Q. And do you know why?
13 A. The short answer would be state interest, and that would be
14 because it would have been impossible and dangerous for Croatia to offer
15 support to Slovenia during the 10-day war at the end of June, beginning of
16 July of 1991, and it would have been dangerous and difficult for Slovenia
17 to have offered support to Croatia thereafter when the locus of the war
18 shifts in July to Croatia.
19 There was no love lost between the two capitals and their
20 governments, although it is often said that the Croats did at least, in
21 late June, 1991, seek to stop some JNA columns crossing from Croatia into
22 Slovenia, although as I understand it, that would have been rather
23 irrelevant anyway since there were plenty of JNA troops already in
25 Q. Mr. Wheeler, the agreement on a joint defence signed between
1 Croatia and Slovenia in April, 1991, and the intervention of the JNA in
2 Slovenia after that, that's when the intervention ensued; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. My question is: If that is so, does that mean that Croatia and
5 Slovenia deliberately prepared this agreement in order to organise in that
6 way and defend themselves from an attack that was already being prepared
7 while we do have an indisputable fact that during that time the Presidency
8 of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was talking and debating,
9 and then after that we have the incidents that took place.
10 So according to you, what would be the motivation for signing such
11 an agreement on a joint defence when there were no attacks that were
12 actually happening? This was in April, 1991. What would be the sense of
14 A. The principal purpose -- and I'm speculating now. The principal
15 purpose would have been simply to deter any such eventual attack. It
16 would have been to deter the JNA by the threat that there might be more
17 significant resistance than might otherwise have been the case. It also
18 would have been a sop or an encouragement to public morale in both
19 Slovenia and Croatia. In other words, it would have served to make people
20 feel better, to feel braver, to feel safer that they had this supposed
21 agreement, an agreement which, as I've already said, was not actually
23 Q. So could you please explain. We have April, 1991. What were the
24 armed forces at the disposal of Slovenia, what were the armed forces at
25 the disposal of Croatia for them to sign an agreement on a joint defence?
1 What would they use to defend themselves, and who would they defend
2 themselves from if this is so? I'm trying to present this picture. They
3 don't have an army. They don't have any weapons. They don't have any
4 armed formations.
5 A. Well, by April, 1991, the Slovenes actually did have the making of
6 an army. As I've explained before, they were very successful in getting
7 to Territorial Odbrana - Territorial Defence - arms depots before the JNA
8 did. The Croats, as you suggest, had nothing. They had a police force in
9 which Tudjman did not really believe, and they were only beginning their
10 efforts to create the nucleus of an armed force. And that's why I was
11 saying that the principal purpose of this agreement would have been its
12 potential deterrent effect and its morale-boosting effect.
13 Q. Mr. Wheeler, I didn't say that the Croats didn't have anything.
14 Quite the contrary. I think that they did have a lot, but it was just
15 presented as them not having much. But in any event, do you know that
16 there was a Presidency session in its full composition, all the members
17 attended which was supposed to attend, and it was held on the 12th of
18 July, 1991, in Belgrade. Do you know that one of the conclusions of that
19 Presidency meeting was to disarm all the paramilitary formations on the
20 territory of Croatia?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know if that was eventually carried out? If not, why not?
23 Who was it that stood in the way of this decision taken by the Supreme
24 Command being implemented?
25 A. The decision was not made in good faith by the principal parties
1 to it. Neither the Serb nor the Croat representative would have intended
2 to carry it out. One would imagine that the representatives from Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina, Macedonia, would have been terribly keen, would have
4 wanted to believe in such a decision, but by July, 1991, neither the Serb
5 nor the Croatian representative would have acted in good faith. It would
6 have been some -- just -- just like the meeting of the Presidency itself
7 at that date, it was something that was done largely for international
8 consumption, particularly consumption by the European Union.
9 Q. You say that there was no good faith on the Croatian side, or the
10 Serbian side, for that matter, for a decision like that. Within the
11 framework that we have been discussing so far, a JNA representative -- we
12 know that a JNA representative advocated the preservation of the common
13 state. Would they have sincerely backed this decision if they had been
14 given a chance to actually have it implemented?
15 A. I cannot and you cannot know for certain, but I would at that
16 stage believe that it would have been highly unlikely that they would have
17 wanted to have that decision implemented on the ground for any Serb
18 paramilitary units. They might have liked to have it implemented for
19 non-Serb paramilitary units.
20 Q. Well, let us go back to something we talked about earlier on. We
21 have the HOS, the paramilitary unit; black shirts, black uniforms, Ustasha
22 insignia, the chequerboard. I don't know if I asked you about that too.
23 We have an historical tradition. We have the genocide at the expense of
24 the Serbs and the Jews. What about the panic in Eastern Slavonia? It
25 might have been fed by the media, but was this in fact justified?
1 A. We talked about this yesterday, and I agree there was a tremendous
2 amount of justified fear amongst both Serb and Croat communities in
3 Eastern Slavonia and also amongst the respective national minorities.
4 Fear was palpable.
5 As regards the HOS, Tudjman, of course, wanted very desperately to
6 get rid of HOS himself. He actually took steps in the summer of 1991 to
7 get rid of Mercep's paramilitaries, although that -- that actually ended
8 up involving promoting Mercep to a position in the Ministry of Interior, I
9 believe. But in any case, undisciplined forces were not something that
10 his government wanted, but I suppose in the early days they were
11 considered useful, but they became counter-productive. And certainly the
12 Ustasha regalia of the HOS was a deep embarrassment to the Tudjman
13 government. On the other hand, you referred to the Sahovnica, the
14 chequerboard symbol of the Croats. I've never understood myself why the
15 appearance of the Sahovnica on the new Croatian flag and the prominence it
16 was given should have offended anybody because, of course, the Sahovnica
17 had been on the coat of arms of the Socialist Republic of Croatia since
18 1946. The fact that it was given increased prominence I suppose was
19 emblematic of the nationalistic tenor of the Tudjman regime, but the
20 Sahovnica itself was not something that ought to have been offensive to
21 Serbs in any respect.
22 Q. Mr. Wheeler, in addition the chequerboard, do you know if the HOS
23 included any other markings or insignia on their uniforms that might have
24 been construed as being linked to the Ustasha movement?
25 A. I think some individuals enjoyed having the U, the Ustasha U, on
1 their uniforms. They were also notable for doing things that the Ustasha
2 hadn't done; they liked to wear lots of rosaries around their necks. But
3 I can't remember anything else.
4 Q. I don't know what rosaries we are talking about. Can you explain
5 that, please.
6 A. Rosary beads, Catholic rosary beads for saying "Hail Mary" prayers
7 with the crucifix of the Bahaman beads around that you number and pass
8 through your fingers. They became ostentatious symbols of the religiosity
9 that accompanied this effusion of Croatian nationalism in these years.
10 And dark glasses. These HOS guys were not a pretty sight.
11 Q. We have the JNA, we have the Territorial Defence. You say
12 Slovenia seized the TO weapons but Croatia didn't. It was late in doing
13 this. So what was done was done. The role of the TO within the system of
14 the armed forces, do you know how that worked, sir?
15 A. It depend -- it depended -- the relationship of the TO to the JNA
16 depended upon whether or not there was a state of war or not. It came
17 under the direct control of the JNA in a time of crisis or war. I can't
18 remember the exact circumstances that were provided for by law. But in
19 time of peace, of course, it was under the control of the respective
20 republican governments. And what was happening with the TO units in these
21 months and years was that they were fracturing, dividing themselves up
22 just, of course, like Yugoslavia itself was.
23 Q. What happens to the TO units that are still in Croatia?
24 A. The TO units in Croat majority areas would have formed, in terms
25 of their manpower, the nucleus for a future Croatian army. But as we've
1 already discussed, they had very little of the original TO weaponry at
2 their disposal since the JNA had been efficient enough to seize most of
3 this weaponry before the Croats themselves had a chance to seize it.
4 Of course, in Serb majority areas, the TO weaponry had all been
5 taken by the local Serb militias. And in mixed areas like Eastern
6 Slavonia, they -- the Territorial Odbrana was divided up into its national
7 components, and I assume the weaponry was as well, although we have reason
8 to believe, I suppose, that most of it went to the Serb part of the former
9 TO organisations.
10 Q. These decisions taken by the TO on separation and singling out, as
11 you've just described, these are entirely illegitimate, aren't they?
12 MR. WEINER: I object, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE PARKER: I think this time, Mr. Weiner, it's Mr. Bulatovic's
14 question can be seen as sufficiently legitimate in view of the opinions
15 being expressed to this point.
16 Carry on, Mr. Bulatovic.
17 THE WITNESS: Shall I answer the question, Mr. Bulatovic?
18 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Yes, if you can.
20 A. Yes. I think it was illegitimate. But as we have already
21 established many times over, an awful lot of illegitimate things were
22 happening in Yugoslavia at this time. Things which from the point of view
23 of the law or the point of view of constitutional niceties, were extremely
24 illegitimate, but they were happening, nonetheless, all over the place.
25 And that's what happens when a country falls apart and certainly when a
1 war begins.
2 Q. Mr. Wheeler, we've heard your evidence. This is something you
3 confirmed and I can't contradict you on this: The JNA was structured in a
4 certain way, its ethnic make-up was what it was, kept all of its insignia
5 and seemed bent on preserving a Yugoslav community. This being the
6 principal notion and the idea behind the JNA, would it not seem as their
7 legitimate right to take action or intervene in a certain area, granted
8 the rights that they enjoyed under the constitution, an area that was
9 still formally and officially part of what was then still called the
10 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia?
11 MR. WEINER: I'd object, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic, you're manoeuvering back around to
13 the same line of questioning, aren't you. I let you go as far as I might
14 with that question a few minutes ago, but now I think you're back onto
15 improper territory.
16 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I accept that, Your Honour. I
17 accept that objection -- or, rather, I accept your guidance about this
19 Q. Mr. Wheeler, just to wrap it up, bearing in mind all these various
20 aspects that we have covered, historical aspects, constitutional aspects,
21 and the very facts themselves, the facts that pertained to this complex
22 multinational community with a lot of different and divergent interests at
23 stake, bearing in mind further the role of the JNA, how it was made up,
24 what its guiding principles were, and all of that; bearing in mind the
25 Presidency of the SFRY which worked in the way that it did, which made
1 decisions in the way that it did; bearing in mind the role of JNA
2 representatives in the work of the Presidency, which is something you have
3 described for us, their role being to preserve Yugoslavia; bearing all
4 that in mind, could the Yugoslav army have been misused to carry out
5 certain assignments that it was given and that the army simply had to
6 carry out under the system that prevailed at the time, these having been
7 assignments given by their commanders?
8 A. Yes, indeed. The Yugoslav People's Army was an army by June,
9 1991, that no longer had a state to fight for, to defend, and to uphold.
10 That state was dying. I would argue, in fact, that by the end of June,
11 1991, that state was dead. Therefore, the JNA was an army without a
13 This is an insight which we owe a long time ago to Milos Vasic,
14 the principal expert on military affairs in Serbia, or for that matter, in
15 the former Yugoslavia. And as an army without a state, it needed to find
16 a new cause, a new master, a new state to serve. And given the fact that
17 it was haemorrhaging in terms of desertions, non-Serbs from its ranks and
18 from its officer corps, it's hardly surprising that that new state it
19 wanted to serve was the variously imagined or configured Greater Serbia
20 that Slobodan Milosevic appeared at that time to favour. In other words,
21 Greater Serbia was the fallback position for the JNA in the absence of a
22 socialist Yugoslav state that it could legitimately defend.
23 That does not alter the fact -- in other words, what I'm trying to
24 say is that the JNA had no place else to go other than to give its loyalty
25 to the Milosevic regime. The odd thing about this, of course, is that we
1 now know the extent to which Milosevic himself never trusted the JNA and
2 subsequently put all his efforts into creating a Serbian -- well, excuse
3 me, a Serbian -- it's -- I'm trying to find the right word. Special
4 forces of the Serbian MUP of the Ministry of the Interior. In other
5 words, he created an alternative army which was uniquely under his control
6 because he never trusted the old Yugoslavia ethos that prevailed at the
7 top of the JNA. The JNA, for him, was always a dubious element, even when
8 it was transformed in 1992 into the Vojska Jugoslavija, the VJ.
9 Q. That is precisely the reason I'm asking. Is it possible, the
10 constellation being what it was, that the army did not suit someone who
11 was in power and that these powers that be may have used the army in order
12 to discredit the army itself and provide a convenient justification for
13 something else that was eventually done?
14 MR. WEINER: I object to that, Your Honour. It's not clear what
15 the question is.
16 THE WITNESS: It actually stems from something I wrote in my
18 JUDGE PARKER: I don't agree, Mr. Weiner.
19 Please go ahead, Doctor.
20 THE WITNESS: Actually, I agree with you, Mr. Bulatovic. I
21 believe that the army was misused and it was intentionally misused, and
22 Milosevic bragged often about it. He told Jovic in spring of 1990, "We
23 will -- we will subvert this army and bend it to our own purposes." And
24 that process continued throughout Milosevic's time in power under whatever
25 -- holding whatever office he supposedly held.
1 So the army was, it seems to me, subverted and traduced and
2 destroyed by the destruction of Yugoslavia.
3 Q. Your Honour, I believe there's an error in the transcript. Page
4 48, line 13. I think this should read 1991 and not 1990, as the
5 transcript reflects.
6 A. I think the error was mine. I probably said 1990. In fact -- no,
7 I'm sure it was spring, 1990, in fact. That's right. Very early, in
8 other words.
9 Q. My apologies, then. It must have been a misinterpretation.
10 Mr. Wheeler, your last answer being what it is about Slobodan
11 Milosevic and that faction of the Serbian leadership through which he
12 allegedly exercised power not believing in the JNA or having misgivings
13 about the JNA, can we agree that in 1991, Slobodan Milosevic and this
14 leadership did not support or indeed back the constitutional position of
15 the JNA as it was simply because it did not fit the bill of the Greater
16 Serbian policies? This is what is usually written about this topic, what
17 is suggested.
18 A. Yes, indeed. I agree completely. And going back to the previous
19 question, of course, it is often argued that one of the principal reasons
20 why the decision was made to send the JNA on a fruitless mission to take
21 control of Slovenia's borders in -- on the 27th of June, 1991, was
22 precisely to discredit that army and leave it with no option but in future
23 to do the bidding of Milosevic. It was to destroy the JNA as a Yugoslav
24 army and, in the process, leave the army with no alternative but loyalty
25 to Milosevic. But as I said before, Milosevic always doubted the loyalty
1 of that army, and its successor.
2 Q. Well, let me ask you this, sir: There is a particular section in
3 your report where you suggest that the JNA occupied some of the territory
4 and carried out acts of ethnic cleansing. Is this language not in fact a
5 little too strong? Based on everything we have heard and the JNA's
6 general orientation being what it was, could not possibly have occupied
7 any territory in their own territory, least of all, then, commit any acts
8 of ethnic cleansing in their territory.
9 A. Here we're into a legal minefield. Was it their own territory in
10 the autumn of 1991? I don't -- I don't think in practical terms it was.
11 Now, the use of the term "ethnic cleansing" may be unfortunate because the
12 term hadn't yet come into common parlance, but operations in Baranja,
13 around Ilok and various other villages surrounding Vukovar, certainly bore
14 the characteristics of what we would later happily -- excuse me, "happily"
15 is the wrong word -- of what we would later commonly call "ethnic
17 The trouble with the idea of this being carried out by the
18 country's own army on its own territory is at the very heart of the
19 problem which the army itself faced, but of course all those with whom it
20 came into contact faced. Whose army was it anyway? Whose country was it
21 anyway? That was, of course, what the war was about.
22 Q. We will agree, though, that these were areas of combat operations,
23 weren't they?
24 A. They were indeed.
25 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wish to thank
1 Mr. Wheeler. I have finished my cross-examination. Thank you.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Bulatovic.
3 Mr. Weiner.
4 MR. WEINER: Just a few questions in redirect, Your Honour.
5 May the witness be shown paragraph 104, which is the section on
6 page 38 from the decision in Prosecutor versus Tadic, which is IT-94-1-T,
7 and it concerns part of the cross-examination by Mr. Sljivancanin's
8 attorney in relation to Mr. Kadijevic, the ethnic make-up of the JNA, and
9 the JNA itself in 1991, and I would just like to show that to the witness.
10 It's on page 38, and it's quoting "My View of the Break-up, An Army
11 Without a State," by General Kadijevic. It begins the last two words down
12 from the third line on the top. Third line from the top, last two words.
13 If you can ...
14 Re-examination by Mr. Weiner:
15 Q. I'll read this to you on page 38.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Slowly, please. Thank you.
17 MR. WEINER: Very slowly.
18 Q. Of the JNA, he writes that: "By 1991, it was no longer an army
19 with a cohesive state to defend; the state which it was its duty to defend
20 was disintegrating and just as its ranks were now substantially filled
21 with ethnic Serbs, so its task in the immediate future would be to regroup
22 its forces and equipment, scattered throughout the former Yugoslavia
23 including the seceding republics, back into what was left of the nation
24 and then to concentrate upon the protection and defence of those ethnic
25 Serbs who in the course of this disintegration found themselves outside of
1 Serbia and Montenegro. This, it was envisioned would lead ultimately to
2 the creation of a new substantially Serb, Yugoslavia, with its core in
3 Serbia and Montenegro but including also parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 and Croatia principally but not exclusively those parts presently having
5 as majority Serb population."
6 Could you comment on that, please?
7 A. It seems to me that's a wholly accurate description of what was
8 happening and what would -- what the regime would seek to put in place.
9 Q. Had the ethnic make-up of the army changed by 1991, and why?
10 A. As I just told Mr. Bulatovic -- or reminded him, rather -- I'm
11 sure he didn't need it, though -- the ethnic composition of the army was
12 changing dramatically in the course of 1991. As I said, it was losing
13 through desertion many of its -- most, in fact, of its non-Serb
14 conscripts. Non-Serb officers were also leaving. And it was also having
15 tremendous difficulties carrying out any conscription, even in Serbia and
16 Montenegro. So it was generally terribly, terribly weakened in terms of
18 Q. On a manpower basis, how did the JNA make up for this loss of --
19 of soldiers through desertion?
20 A. Well, one practical remedy, of course, was to rely increasingly
21 upon so-called volunteers. These were paramilitary formations that were
22 either local to the area of operations involved or which came directly
23 from Serbia, some of which were under the patronage of one or another
24 political party, others might have been creations of the state -- Serbian
25 state security structures. So we had increasing JNA reliance, in its
1 weakened state, upon volunteers, paramilitaries, and, where relevant, the
2 remnants of the old Territorial Defence system.
3 Q. From July of 1991 to the end of November, 1991, in Eastern
4 Slavonia, in Croatia, which includes the Vukovar area, were TO and
5 paramilitary members or soldiers used by the JNA?
6 A. They were certainly used, and they were used for what one might
7 call the dirty work.
8 Q. And what is the dirty work?
9 A. The dirty work was the actual entry into hostile -- or villages or
10 towns that were thought to be hostile and carrying out what, as I said in
11 a previous answer, was later to be called ethnic cleansing. That is
12 committing random or carefully targeted murders, it could be either, but
13 the general purpose of which was to cause the bulk of the alien population
14 to flee, to flee for its lives.
15 Q. And were you aware during the same time period, July through --
16 July 1 through the end of November, or November 22, 1991 - so July 1,
17 1991, through to the end of November, 1991 - in Eastern Slavonia, which
18 includes Vukovar, were you aware or did you learn of Serb TOs and
19 paramilitaries working jointly with the JNA?
20 A. Yes, of course.
21 Q. Now -- now, you were questioned about Croats obtaining weaponry.
22 In that same time period, July through November, the weaponry that the
23 Croats had, was that comparable to the weaponry of the JNA with their TOs
24 and paramilitaries?
25 A. Not at all. The disproportion in the arms and ammunition
1 available to the JNA and the paramilitary forces working with it was --
2 the disproportion was very, very great. In other words, the JNA and its
3 acolytes had vastly far more firepower available to them than did the
4 local Croat defenders or the Croat army that was being created.
5 Q. And were the numbers of forces between the two groups - the Croats
6 on one hand and the JNA, the TOs, and paramilitaries working together -
7 were those numbers of forces capable in that same time period, July
8 through November, 1991?
9 A. Mr. Weiner, are you asking about Vukovar alone? Because, of
10 course, by the late summer of 1991, Vukovar, the heart of the town, is
11 effectively surrounded and besieged, and that meant that there were
12 defenders there, small numbers of them. Estimates usually say there were
13 between 1.000 and 1.500 by, say, late August of 1991. They were tiny in
14 comparison to the forces that were investing Vukovar, the JNA forces, and
15 their various helpmates. But that doesn't mean that in other areas of the
16 battlefield elsewhere in Croatia there might not have been places where
17 the numbers were rather more equal, especially if we were talking about
18 Western Slavonia or Banija where JNA involvement, certainly in Banija, was
19 less common and, therefore, the contention might have been more roughly
20 equivalent bands of fighters. But wherever the JNA was, of course, it had
21 overwhelming numerical and ordnance -- ordnance superiority.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, just one more area. The fact that the JNA has
23 traditionally been an all people's national defence, would that make it
24 not -- would that make it usual or not unusual for the JNA to rely on TO
25 members and paramilitaries and volunteers?
1 A. Well, it's very important to make a distinction between
2 paramilitaries on the one hand and the Territorial Defence on the other.
3 The Territorial Defence was the active reserve of the Yugoslav state. It
4 was a throwback to Partisan doctrine of all people's national defence. It
5 was composed of people who were trained and had exercises regularly and
6 were -- and who were subordinated to the army's command in all situations
7 of emergency.
8 The paramilitaries were a completely new phenomenon and one which
9 was to -- not even to the taste of very many JNA officers who regarded
10 them as a bloodthirsty, drunken, whoring, rape-inclined rabble.
11 Q. However were they still used by the JNA?
12 A. They certainly were. There was no alternative but to use them. So
13 it was felt at the time, anyway. Because the JNA commanders could not
14 trust their own forces at that point to engage in really hard fighting,
15 certainly not street fighting, hand-to hand fighting, house-to-house
16 fighting because of the rampant problems with desertion and very low
17 morale. So the JNA contented itself to use its advantages of massive
18 firepower and, as I said before, let these paramilitary types do the dirty
20 Q. And does that include the area of Eastern Slavonia and Vukovar
21 between July, 1991, and November 22nd -- I'm sorry, November 22nd, 1991?
22 A. It -- it certainly does.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. WEINER: No further questions, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Weiner.
1 Well, Doctor, you'll be pleased to know that's the end of the
2 exercise. The Chamber is grateful for your assistance and for your
3 trouble in attending here. You are, of course, now free to return to your
4 other interests. Thank you indeed.
5 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would like
9 to use this time after the witness has left to say on behalf of all the
10 three Defence teams, to talk about the topic initiated yesterday regarding
11 the testimony of Mr. Kostovic and Mr. Hrabac, whose statements we received
12 and which relate to the documents that Ms. Bosanac brought with her when
13 she testified on the last occasion.
14 As far as the written statements are concerned, the Defence teams
15 have nothing against the Prosecution tendering them, according to Rule
16 89(F), the way they are, but we do believe that there is a need to
17 cross-examine the witness in view of the matters that he's talking about
18 and the information that we were given here, which we believe is relevant
19 in relation to the indictment.
20 I know that you left it to us 'til Monday to provide a written
21 response, but I don't know if you would accept this oral response by the
22 Defence teams, because I believe that we will be more -- contributing to a
23 more efficient proceedings in this way.
24 Today we received another written request from our learned friends
25 to amend the 65 ter list with a new witness. We would like permission to
1 provide our answer to this request in writing, because it does seem to be
2 a continuation of the practice that the Prosecution has already instituted
3 in relation to previous two witnesses, Ms. Hartmann and Mr. Aric.
4 Thank you, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Vasic. With respect to
6 the first two witnesses, as I understand it, you'd be happy for their
7 statements to be tendered, but you would like them for cross-examination.
8 Thank you.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] That is right, Your Honour. If our
10 learned friends want to tender their statements, that is fine, but we do
11 ask for the opportunity to cross-examine them. Thank you.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. It seems, Mr. Weiner, it will be
13 necessary to call those two witnesses. I know Mr. Moore was hoping to
14 avoid that.
15 With respect to the request to amend the 65 ter list, you want to
16 submit written submissions, Mr. Vasic. That can be done by Monday, can
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence could try to
19 do it by Monday, but that might be a considerable effort. We do have an
20 important witness on Monday via video-conference so we would be very
21 grateful to the Trial Chamber if we could have a few more days. Perhaps a
22 day the week after the next to carry this out in view of the fact that we
23 do have an important witness that we need to focus on.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, we feel that, despite the pressures on
25 you, certainly it should be feasible by Wednesday of next week to have
1 your written submissions.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for your
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Now, Mr. Weiner.
5 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour. We have no more witnesses, I've
6 been told.
7 JUDGE PARKER: You mean we're to have an early day today?
8 MR. WEINER: An early day and an early weekend start.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. I would indicate to the parties that it is
10 expected that the Chamber will file this afternoon its decision on the
11 interpretation of the indictment, which will be of relevance to both
13 In the circumstances, then, we will now adjourn.
14 Could I mention one further matter? It seems that the hours we
15 have set in the hope of moving this case along more quickly have proved of
16 some difficulty to a number of affected interests, so that from now on on
17 Mondays we will resume at 12.30 rather than 12.00 to allow a more
18 appropriate timing for lunch before we commence the hearing, because
19 there's no time during the hearing for a full lunch break. And on the
20 other days, we will extend the lunch break by 15 minutes, to an hour and a
21 quarter, because there were difficulties for a number of people with
22 merely an hour.
23 We will now adjourn until Monday at 12.30.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.06 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Monday, the 22nd day of May,
1 2006, at 12.30 p.m.