1 Thursday, 27 April 2006
2 [Accused Praljak Opening Statement]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are now in session. For the
7 sake of the public hearing, I will ask for the appearances. As you know,
8 our hearings are broadcast, plus on internet, and we have people in the
9 public gallery and they may as well know who is going to participate in
10 the hearing.
11 Let's start with the Prosecution.
12 MR. SCOTT: Good afternoon, Your Honour Mr. President, Judges. My
13 name is Kenneth Scott, appearing for the Prosecutor. With me is Mr. Daryl
14 Mundis, also Miguel Longone, Pieter Kruger, and our case manager Skye
15 Winner. Thank you.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Scott. Let's
17 take the usual order, starting with Mr. Karnavas.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Good day, Mr. President, Your Honours. I'm Michael
19 Karnavas for Dr. Prlic. With me is Suzana Tomanovic, who is the
20 co-counsel, and Ms. Vlahovic our legal assistant and case manager.
21 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. My
22 name is Senka Nozica. I appear for Mr. Bruno Stojic. With me are the
23 co-counsel Mr. Peter Murphy and the case manager Mr. Slonje Valent. Thank
25 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
1 Appearing for Slobodan Praljak, Bozidar Kovacic, attorney-at-law, and Nika
2 Pinter, co-counsel. Our case manager today, by Your Honours' leave, is
3 Mr. Zeljko Mikovic, who will be assisting us with the visual presentation
4 accompanying Mr. Praljak's speech.
5 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, good afternoon.
6 Vesna Alaburic appearing for Milivoj Petkovic with our case manager Davor
8 MR. JONJIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
9 Tomislav Jonjic, court-appointed attorney, appearing for Valentin Coric.
10 With me are Ms. Krystyna Grinberg, legal assistant, and Ms. Jurkovic, case
12 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
13 Appearing for Mr. Pusic, Roger Sahota, Fahrudin Ibrisimovic, and legal
14 assistant Nermin Mulalic.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let me greet all the
16 people present today, Thursday. As you know, we're going to have the
17 opening statement by Mr. Praljak. I wanted to tell you that we have -- as
18 you know, we have long hearings. There is one and a half hours before the
19 first break. If you feel unwell, if you want an interruption, please tell
20 me so, so that the person who does not feel well can have a rest, a short
21 rest. So do not hesitate to ask me to adjourn the hearing if you need me
22 to do so.
23 Mr. Praljak, you are going to have the floor. It is customary for
24 the person having the floor to be standing up. If you are tired, you can
25 sit down and continue with your opening statement. Do as you please. If
1 you can remain standing for four hours, do so. Otherwise, you're free to
2 sit down and proceed with the opening statement. Lawyers are used to
3 being on their feet for a long time, but other people who are not lawyers
4 may find it more difficult. So it's up to you.
5 You have the floor.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for Mr. Praljak.
7 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you for your words,
8 Your Honour. I shall sit down only if there are any technical problems.
9 To begin with, I wish to greet Your Honours, all the Defence
10 counsel gathered here, as well as the opposite side, Mr. Scott and his
11 team. Thank you for hearing me today.
12 We have heard Mr. Scott, and when I first appeared before
13 Mr. Antonetti, and I spoke out the following sentence: There is no doubt
14 that Your Honours will reach a just decision if you're presented with the
15 truth. However, the problem of truth in a war is a difficult and complex
16 one. Most often there is a sea of problems arising due to this
17 phenomenon, and the truth is reduced according to the needs of the moment
18 and in order to simplify. Simplification often leads to distortion,
19 especially if many other things are involved in the reduction, if they're
20 not based on the moral imperative of discovering the truth.
21 The Security Council established The Hague Tribunal in order to
22 bring peace to the peoples of the Balkans, as stated by His Honour Judge
23 Antonetti. Peace can obtain only if there is justice. Justice can be
24 achieved only if we have the truth before us. The truth must be founded
25 on facts, not on poor interpretations, not on reduction, not on
1 overlooking important facts. So that using a thousand broken mirrors,
2 extracts out of context, which will lead to a simplification of the highly
3 complex actual situation under conditions when fear, exhaustion,
4 hopelessness reign over people. And just as a conductor conducts a
5 symphonic orchestra, bits can be taken out of the score.
6 Unfortunately, this is what Mr. Scott has done. He has extracted
7 parts of the truth, used quotations out of context, things that are not
8 based in logic in the way he wishes to present. Therefore, I have
9 prepared as briefly as possible but not so briefly as to lose sight of
10 what is essential a presentation showing what happened long before the
11 war, because war, unfortunately, is not the beginning but the climax of a
12 tragedy. It is always the fifth act when death, pain, destruction, rape,
13 and everything else that the civilised world, as Mr. Scott wishes to
14 suggest, has seen in its history more than 10.000 times. After World War
15 II, we have seen it over 300 times, and we still see it on a daily basis
16 today in spite of all the efforts of civilised society to put an end to
17 this. Today, we can list at least 25 serious conflicts for which we do
18 not have a solution.
19 Mr. Mikovic, please show the first slide.
20 In the brief story I will present to you today, I will present you
21 with a brief history of the area settled by the Croats in the Balkans.
22 Please let us see the first slide.
23 Croatia was subject to Venice. It lost its independence in 100 --
24 in 1102. The way Venice reigned over this territory was the way all
25 conquerors reign. They exploited the natural resources, controlled the
1 sea routes, and for centuries thousands of Croats rode the Venetian
2 valleys. Croatia took over some architecture from Venice. Everything
3 else was pain, looting, and destruction. Let's move on.
4 We entered into a personal union with Hungary in 1102. Systematic
5 centralisation, the imposition of the Hungarian language, taking over the
6 legislation, administration, and financial affairs, putting Rijeka and
7 Medjimurje under direct Hungarian control, taking away the cultural and
8 national identity. All this gave rise to the wish for survival, which led
9 to counter-demonstrations, victims, burnings of flags, the attempts of a
10 nation to survive, according to the natural right of every nation, to
11 remain on its territory and live as other civilised nations do. All this
12 ended only after the end of World War I.
13 Please show the next slide.
14 The Turks arrived in this area in 1463, and in 1493, at the Battle
15 of Krbava, the remainder of the Croatian nobility was killed. Therefore,
16 a lot of what we had in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia was lost. Only
17 a small remnant of the Croatian kingdom was left as well as a part of the
18 Dubrovnik Republic. We had battles led by Nikola Subic-Zrinjski, the
19 Frankopan brothers, and it was in 1593 that we first managed to defeat the
20 Turks at the battle near Sisak, which was the beginning of the downfall of
21 the Turkish Empire. I believe everybody in this courtroom knows what the
22 basic elements of the Turkish rule were: Kidnapping boys who were later
23 made into janissaries, the imposition of huge taxes, forcible conversion
24 to another faith. Throughout this history, when we discussed this in cold
25 blood and rationally, we see it differently, but those who have
1 imagination will hear the cries, the pain, the expulsions from homes, and
2 so on.
3 Next slide, please.
4 Fighting to the left and to the right, you can see on the map how
5 Croatia stretched first a little bit to the left, then a little bit to the
6 right. The remainder of the kingdom of Croatia became ever smaller, ever
7 poorer. It was looted more and more. It was not allowed to develop, to
8 develop its civilisation, it's culture, it's national identity. The
9 Austrians carried out centralisation. They killed Zrinjski, they killed
10 Kristof Frankopan, and of course some of these conquerors of Croatia were
11 better than others but this is not to deny the fact that all of them were
12 very bad for Croatia and brought nothing good to it.
13 Napoleon conquered us in 1805. Please let us have the map.
14 Defeating -- this is it.
15 Napoleon came as far as the River Sava near Zagreb, in Samobor,
16 and the French Revolution and what followed after it meant for Europe the
17 taking off of the shackles of the feudal system, but all that happened in
18 Croatia was that we left part -- that we lost parts of Boka Kotorska after
19 the departure of Napoleon, and the Dubrovnik Republic, which had been free
20 for centuries and where part of where the Croatian cultural identity
21 developed, ceased to exist.
22 When I say that there was heavy fighting between the French and
23 the Russians for the island of Hvar which today has conquered the world
24 public with its beauty, we see what the history of small nations is like.
25 For a full 900 years, there was nothing the Croats could do but suffer the
1 rule of whoever came to this area.
2 With the end of World War I -- please let's have the next slide.
3 With the end of World War I, we have the Italians who occupied or had
4 occupied before that a large part of Istria, many of the Dalmatian
5 islands, Zadar, and the rest. And then the Kingdom of Yugoslavia came
6 into the story. The Italians, of course, mounted the first fascist attack
7 on Croatia. Italy expelled over a hundred thousand Croats and Slovenes
8 from the areas it conquered and gained. It closed over 150 Croatian
9 primary and secondary schools. The Croatian language was thrown out of
10 official use, and the Italian language was introduced, and there was a
11 special court for the protection of the state. And from 1927 to 1932, 106
12 Croats from Istria were sentenced to a total of 1.124 years in gaol, and
13 five were sentenced to death. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was created as a
14 result of World War I.
15 Wilson's idea about the right of small nations to
16 self-determination failed, as did many other good intentions concerning
17 the right of nations to independent life, and it failed under the pressure
18 of interests of the great powers. Civilisation was again acting badly as
19 far as Croatia is concerned, because the Serbs were given the war booty.
20 They were presented with Croatia on a silver platter. Their soldiers
21 simply marched through to Croatia, which at the time, and unfortunately,
22 had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was, therefore, now in
23 the possession of the axis powers. In this way, Croatia was again denied
24 its independence. It was simply attached to Serbia as part of its war
25 booty, and there were again expulsions, political trials, the killing of
1 political leaders, for example Stjepan Radic, who was the leader of the
2 Croatian people.
3 Next map, please.
4 On the map we will see now, we shall see what the Kingdom of
5 Serbia was like before World War I and what territory it occupied. Here
6 you see a map of the Kingdom of Serbia and what belonged to the
7 Austro-Hungarian Empire. After that, this entire territory was called the
8 Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, and a little later it was
9 renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, under the domination of the Serbian
11 Wilson's idea of the rights of nations to self-determination thus
12 failed, and Yugoslavia became a country divided into so-called Kotars,
13 administrative units called Kotar. You will see this on the next slide.
14 The territorial organisation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia is shown
15 on this map. It is divided into administrative units called Kotar, or
16 Srez. Istria and the Dalmatian islands were not part of Yugoslavia at the
17 time. They remained part of fascist Italy.
18 The administrative division into territorial units ran against the
19 political, cultural, and ethnic borders of the time. It represents the
20 beginning of the Greater Serbian idea, which developed or had developed in
21 this area from the end of the 19th century.
22 From 1841, there was systematic political terror. The Assembly
23 was dissolved, election results were not recognised, political activity
24 was banned, political parties were prohibited. Systematic political
25 terror was carried out. Every form of dissatisfaction was brutally
1 punished. Over 25 peasants were killed in a rebellion and a hundred
2 wounded. All opposition politicians, and especially politicians of the
3 Croatian Party of Rights, were persecuted by the regime.
4 From 1929 to 1932, there were 152 political trials; 18 death
5 sentences were handed down, four life sentences, 734 accused were
6 sentenced to 2.348 years of imprisonment. In the same period, 52 members
7 of the Croatian Party of Rights were accused, and of these, 43 were
8 sentenced to 289 years of imprisonment, five to death in absentia, two
9 were sentenced for life, and three were hanged. All this shows that the
10 war in the former Yugoslavia did not begin in 1990. It began in 1918. It
11 was a low intensity war.
12 Throughout this time, Yugoslavia was maintained purely through the
13 political terror of the ruling regimes. In this case, the Serbian regime.
14 It survived only through beatings, murders, punishment.
15 Let's move on.
16 There were rebellions, and there was national struggle for
18 When -- when things became impossible, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
19 was reorganised into banovinas, and then we arrived at one of the key
20 concepts used by Mr. Scott here, the banovina. The banovina was not the
21 beginning of the organisation of Yugoslavia into banovinas as presented by
22 you, because it existed previously, and you have before you the banovinas
23 as they can be seen. There were quite a few of these. And they had
24 nothing really to do with the ethnic and the cultural and economic holes
25 that had existed. It was only after the dictatorship from '29 to '31, the
1 dictatorship of King Aleksandar, when all forms of democracy and
2 democratic political life were abolished in Yugoslavia. He announced that
3 the time had come when there must be no mediators between the King and the
4 people. He abolished the Assembly, the parliament. Then, in order to
5 break up the identity of the peoples living in this area in terms of
6 culture, politics, and so on, he created this division.
7 The resistance of the Croatian people, intellectuals, poets, men
8 of letters, peasants, workers, all men who thought in Croatia was
9 enormous. Therefore, there was -- there were assassinations, the
10 assassination of the King in Marseilles, then the pro-Nazi Yugoslav
11 government was established. And because of the growing political
12 instability, negotiations were opened up about solving the Croatian
13 question within Yugoslavia. The Croatian question was no longer bearable
14 even for those holding power in Belgrade who thought they could deal with
15 things much more simply. It was only then that Cvetkovic-Macek agreement
16 was reached. Cvetkovic was the president of the government of Yugoslavia.
17 Macak was the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party and at that point in
18 time the leader of the Croatian people. And Croats were given certain
19 territorial autonomy so that within the framework of Yugoslavia they could
20 develop the potential, all the potential that a nation has the right to
22 Please let's move on.
23 It was at that time -- no, we don't need that slide. We need the
24 Banovina slide, please.
25 It was then that this map of Banovina emerged, which was so
1 disputed and should represent the basics for analysing everything that was
2 done in this war on behalf of the Croats in Mr. Scott's analysis. I
3 previously said to Mr. Scott that nobody in Croatia would have agreed to
4 Banovina for a simple reason, and you can see on this map what we lose in
5 Banovina. In Banovina, we do not have Istria, we do not have Baranja, we
6 do not have Zadar, we don't have Croatian islands. Banovina was a
7 short-lived and only possible solution at the time to avoid civil war in
8 Yugoslavia. It was short-lived, as I said. And the areas marked in black
9 on this map represent the lost territory of Banovina in Croatia as
10 compared to nowadays, and only territories marked in red were supposed to
11 be some kind of a gain of territory debated so hotly in Croatia, for which
12 Croats are accused.
13 I wanted to say to the Trial Chamber something else. Frequently
14 mention Croatian nationalism as a category which, after the Second World
15 War, was ascribed to Croats as almost their genetic code can be explained
16 by one single fact: The moment the Hungarians drew a border towards
17 Croatia, there was no nationalism on their part. Croats went to Budapest.
18 They wanted to be seen there, to walk there. They had friendly sentiments
19 towards those people the minute they stopped being threatened, stopped
20 feeling threatened by those people. Croats went to Vienna after 400 years
21 of Austrian rule without expressing any of their inherent genetic code.
22 They forgot everything that was done to them. Croats continued travelling
23 to Venetia, to Lido. Croats are friendly to Italians coming to Croatia.
24 Among Croatians, any animosity was purely a result of a threat to their
25 existentialism. We have no nationalism with respect to the French, even
1 though Napoleon ruled in our parts. We don't have hatred as part of our
2 genetic code.
3 In the war, everybody committed crimes. Croatian forests were cut
4 down in order to build Amsterdam, and the money did not flow into Croatian
5 treasury. It flew elsewhere. All Croatian Dalmatian forests were cut
6 down, but nothing was built from the proceeds of the sale of timber. No
7 theatres, no libraries, no houses for the people, and that is the main
9 Nationalism is a social phenomenon of fear before extinction.
10 People are afraid that they would be killed. At any moment when we were
11 sure that people would not kill us or steal from us, non-nationalism
12 emerged in Croatia. It only emerged as a result of fear, as a result of
13 illness, and it was only in those moments that they would make an
14 incursion into those states and those developments that later on led to
15 some of the deeds that were done by their political leaders of which we
16 should certainly be ashamed.
17 Next slide, please.
18 Based on those facts and the aspirations of Croatian people to
19 finally create their state, it was an aspiration, a desire, an intention,
20 we or our ancestors entered a Nazi fascist concept, and with the
21 assistance of Berlin and German Nazis, we created an independent State of
22 Croatia. This is a problem which is always difficult to understand in
23 history; namely, how come aspirations, how come desires, once they're
24 crystallised can lead to such disorders? This is a famous question that
25 is put; namely, that all intentions, even good ones, if implemented badly,
1 lead straight to hell.
2 The Independent State of Croatia stretched throughout a rather
3 large territory, but once again it did not cover Istria, it did not
4 include Zadar and the islands.
5 Yes. That's what we need.
6 In the upper portion we see that the Independent State of Croatia
7 led by Pavelic was split into two portions. The upper portion was ruled
8 by Germans, and the lower one was ruled by Italians.
9 It should be noted that the army, Ustashas, which was more or less
10 a political army of the Independent State of Croatia, was not allowed to
11 cross into the part ruled by Italians. There it was mostly the Chetniks
12 led by Djujic who committed plunder, murders, and so on. Those same
13 Chetniks who some historians keep trying to include into the anti-fascist
14 coalition. Unfortunately, this Independent State of Croatia passed
15 certain laws. Very serious crimes were committed. Italian and German
16 formations were dominant at the time. Italy expelled a lot of Croats from
17 the annexed territory of Croatia. A special Italian court, between 1941
18 and 1943, prosecuted over 5.000 people, 500 of whom were sentenced to
19 death. Italians also established a large number of camps, and in the
20 Italian zone Chetniks slit the throats of over 45.000 Croats and Muslim
22 Your Honours, we saw evidence supporting all of this, and this
23 evidence has been translated and will be provided during the trial.
24 Can we see the map, please -- rather, the chart. The map and the
1 On this chart, we can see the locations where camps and executions
2 sites were located, in the lower portion. We can see Rab, Molat, Vodice,
3 Murter, Olib, Zlarin, Lovra [phoen] and Prevlaka. All of these locations
4 were Italian camps, and you can see how many people were killed in them.
5 The Camps ran by Croatian political leaders were located in Jasenovac,
6 Stara Gradiska, Gospic, Pag, and so on. All of this is painful, morbid.
7 Too many people were killed, laid down their lives there, and all of this
8 is a consequence of the events taking place previously in this territory
9 which turned people into insane individuals without legal, political
10 orientation. Those were broken-down people, broken-down individuals,
11 desperate creatures who, under the circumstances, naturally committed
12 serious, grave errors. In Croatia there is not a single person who today
13 is not ashamed of such events.
14 Following that, we have Nedic's Serbia. We can skip over that,
15 and we get to the area under the Partisan control.
16 Further on, please.
17 Prior to that you saw the map of Nedic's Serbia which was a
18 pro-fascist organisation and was among the first to subscribe to the Third
19 Reich. And then following that you see the map entitled "Area Under
20 Partisan Control." You see that it is split into two parts. The lower
21 portion is under control of Italian, the upper under control of Germans,
22 and the area in blue was controlled by Partisan formations.
23 The Croat people in the Second World War split into two parts.
24 Some of them joined the Independent State of Croatia and its army, the
25 Pavelic army. However, a great number of Croats, especially in Dalmatia
1 and northern Croatia, were among the first, among the first people in the
2 world to join the Partisan movement. They established the first Partisan
3 anti-fascist detachment in Europe. It was in Sisak. And out of five
4 corps, which at the end of the war fought in the territory of Yugoslavia,
5 three were under the command of the Supreme Staff of Croatian Partisan
7 The suffering of the people continued. Fortunately, anti-fascism
8 brought two things to Croatian people; rights to existence and, at the
9 anti-fascist Assembly in AVNOJ, we were given a chance to participate in
10 creation of Yugoslavia. On the other hand, the Communist radical minds,
11 which do not differ greatly from Nazi and fascist minds, wanted to take
12 revenge. So after 1945, as victors, they ceased being anti-fascists and
13 became purely communists in the fashion of Stalin, which means that in
14 Bleiburg and on the way of the cross they killed over 200.000 Croats.
15 They change the ownership system, they introduced agrarian reform, and
16 then after the conflict with Stalin, Tito imprisoned about 20.000 of his
17 supporters and non-supporters so that one fascist state was succeeded by
18 another fascist communist state which its brotherhood and unity system,
19 its lack of democracy advanced through political oppression, secret
20 services, murders, imprisonment, political trials, and so on.
21 The economic crisis, which erupted in 1965 when hunger knocked on
22 the doors of Yugoslavia, was resolved by opening up borders. Tito sold
23 over 1 million individuals to the Western countries who needed workers.
24 Unfortunately, he had these souls, and as Max Frisch, a Swiss writer said,
25 "We looked for labourers and we got people." The problem of these two
1 categories is a very serious, a very grave one and burdens Europe nowadays
3 On the way of the cross, over 200.000 Croats were killed. Only in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina the authorities killed 5.900 persons. They convicted
5 341 priests and over 5.000 people. In the conflict with Stalin, 55.663
6 persons suffered because they were suspected of cooperating with common
7 form. 16.000 people were imprisoned. Over a half a million people were
8 affected. Italians were expelled from the country, thrown into pits.
9 Polish population, Polish national minority was also expelled from
10 Yugoslavia, and this was a very sad moment in history. It was also a war,
11 a type of war, but a low-intensity one.
12 Starting in 1945, over half a million of people were expelled.
13 Italian national minority was expelled from Yugoslavia. In Goli Otok camp
14 over 20.000 people were imprisoned, whereas in Croatia from 1945 to 1989,
15 over 30.000 political trials were held. Among Croatian immigration, 77
16 persons were killed, and there were 24 unsuccessful life attempts.
17 This was a dictatorship in the sole and legal meaning of that
18 term. Unfortunately, when a dictator lives for a long time, such as the
19 case with Castro, more or less people get used to the situation as it is.
20 And then in intellectual circles certain positive phenomena emerge. The
21 fact that people flee in boats is forgotten. Unfortunately, at the
22 funeral of this dictator, this dictator who is among the ten greatest
23 criminals in history of civilisation, the civilised Western world sent 120
24 statesmen to his funeral. The information coming from inside was very
25 minimal. There was no interest in what was actually going on. All of
1 this was enveloped in the so-called political interests, and our moral
2 values, our intellectual attempts to understand things weaken every day.
3 We get used to the situation to a greater degree. But if we're sitting
4 somewhere drinking good wine, if we're observing French Imperialists, then
5 everything happening around us seems to interest us less and less.
6 Now we are switching to the table, 1945, 1980. 1980, 1989.
7 From 1980 to 1989, we had Tito's death, the crisis in Kosovo, the
8 intervention of JNA and police. The Congress of the League of Communists
9 was disintegrating because a fascist creation was disintegrating. Serb
10 intellectuals wrote the Memorandum of Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences
11 in 1986. Their political programme, from Moljevic, from Karadzic,
12 Garasanin is something that they continued, considering that every piece
13 of territory inhabited by Serbs is a Serbian piece of territory.
14 On the 8th session, in 1987, Slobodan Milosevic became the boss of
15 Serbia. Serbian attack on Kosovo was a devastating one. The prisons were
16 full of Albanians, including the prisons in Croatia. The constitution of
17 the SFRY was annulled, the autonomous regions voided, and this is how we
18 were entering the new phase. All of the positions had been taken,
19 catastrophe was being prepared. Everybody saw it but refused to see it.
20 Next slide, please.
21 The crisis in Kosovo. The intervention by the JNA and members of
22 SUP coming from all the republics, this is quenched in blood. The miners
23 are on strike, and all this ends up in a bad way.
24 And now I'm going to show you the picture of the Serbian political
25 thought vis-a-vis the area of the former Yugoslavia from Nacertanije and
1 Gracanin. The title of the book is "Serbs Everywhere" and it is by Vuk
2 Stefanovic, Karadzic, Moljevic, and others. Let us please just read this.
3 Can we move on to the next slide, please.
4 This is a map, and it is self-explanatory. In all the Serbian
5 intellectual and political documents, this is exactly what they show as
6 their desire. And let's move on to the next one.
7 The Memorandum of the Serbian Academy, dating from 1986, which is
8 based on the same thoughts. This is the translation. I would kindly ask
9 the gentlemen to read. And this is a long text.
10 Can we move on, please.
11 The constitution of Yugoslavia was annulled. And if we move on,
12 we will see how Yugoslavia was being conquered. There were rallies of
13 people. There was shouting. Kosovo was conquered. The constitution of
14 Yugoslavia was annulled. The autonomous provinces, which had had their
15 own constitutions, now were brought under the control of Serbia, and they
16 ceased existing as integral parts of Yugoslavia.
17 Between 1889 [as interpreted] and 1990, on the 1st of September at
18 the 14th Congress, Yugoslavia was completely dissolved. Yugoslavia could
19 no longer exist. Parties were formed in Croatia. There were elections in
20 Croatia in April and in May of 1990, and people over there elected their
21 representatives in a very peaceful atmosphere. They exercised their free
22 will, and Dr. Franjo Tudjman became not just the president of Croatia,
23 actually he became the president of the Presidency.
24 So, Mr. Scott, would you please correct this imprecision in your
1 And first -- before that, I would like to say that the system of
2 Yugoslavia had two main components. One component was the Yugoslav
3 People's Army, and the second component was the Territorial Defence. And
4 this was a defence system of the former Yugoslavia.
5 The Territorial Defence was linked to the republics, and it was
6 managed and governed by the republican authorities. This was within the
7 framework of the strategy of All People's Defence.
8 When they realised that a strike on Yugoslavia came from east or
9 from west, from the NATO alliance, as the then power wielders thought, the
10 army would not be able to sustain such strikes, and it was expected from
11 the armed people to take over the defence, because nobody was allowed to
12 sign capitulation. Every company, therefore, every institution had in its
13 storerooms the weapons that they had bought with their own money and that
14 they would use for their own defence.
15 In 1990, the Yugoslav People's Army forcibly, without any
16 questions asked and without the right to do so, alleviated from Croatia
17 and from Bosnia-Herzegovina all of the weapons of the Territorial Defence.
18 They stole it from these two republics. Nothing remained. And thus the
19 people were left bare-handed to fight against the force in strength --
20 military force in Europe that would soon show its ugly face and its
22 The strike against Croatia happened on the 17th of August, 1990.
23 On the map you can see that there was a rebellion, and the regular police
24 station was taken. And when the helicopters of the Croatian police wanted
25 to quench the rebellion, when they wanted to send their police officers to
1 prevent the strike against the constitutional order of the state, they
2 were intercepted by the aircraft of the JNA. They forced them to land at
3 the Bihac airport, and that day can be considered the beginning of war in
4 Croatia. Because if somebody uses military force to prevent you from
5 exercising your constitutional rights, then this can be considered
6 aggression, and this is therefore the date when war is considered to start
7 in a state.
8 Thirty-five years ago, as a young student, I bought a book by
9 Werner Heisenberg, a Nobel Prize winner, a physicist, who is an authority
10 in quantum mechanics. The name of the book is "Teil Und Ganz." In that
11 book, which is full of valuable discussions on the theory of motion, and
12 especially in the discussions between the Newton's and Einstein's
13 principles of mechanical causal link that cannot be replaced by any other
14 link and the new science of quantum mechanics which was more based on
15 statistics and is considered to be a statistical variant and distribution
16 of what can bring us closer to the truth and which can be applied to any
17 notion, including the notions at this Tribunal which is whether it is
18 possible to establish direct and clear as well as firm links between the
19 phenomenology of war and those who participated in the war, such as Mr.
20 Scott wants us to understand, those are differential quotations that
21 belong to society. They're non-linear, they're statistical. They're
22 equations which change day in, day out in the turbulences that are not
23 easy to solve. There are not final solutions to these equations, and we
24 have to start from scratch. And when we do that, we end up with two bad
25 solutions. Under such circumstances, there is usually no good solution,
1 and very often you are between a rock and a hard place and you have to
2 choose between the two evils, the one that will end up in less adverse
3 consequences. And this is the main problem. But let's not dwell upon
5 Let me say that in 1933, young Heisenberg was desperate because
6 prosecutions started in Germany. Jews were being expelled from
7 universities, books were torched, and he went to see his older colleague,
8 Professor Planck, also a Nobel Prize winner, a big name, the author of
9 "Planck's Constant Equation," and I'm going to read just one thing that
10 he told him. "You came here to ask me for advice on political issues."
11 This is what Planck said. "But I'm afraid I can't give you any advice. I
12 do not have any hope that the catastrophe that threatens Germany and
13 German universities can still be stopped in any way. Nobody can impact
14 the avalanche that has started moving. And what this avalanche is going
15 to destroy, how many human lives it is going to take, it is the natural
16 laws that have already decided that, although we still don't know it."
17 And I underline the word "natural laws." "The energy of a society at
18 certain moments are natural laws. Hatred, desperation, pain, expulsion,
19 death, a lost hope, lost morale, lost expectations for things from
20 international -- from the international community. Those are all natural
21 laws. And in that whirlwind, the way an individual is going to act is
22 very hard to predict."
23 Then he continues to say: "If you don't resign, if you stay here,
24 your task will be a very different one. You cannot stop this catastrophe.
25 In order to survive, you have to constantly engage in compromise, but
1 you can, you can try, together with others, to create the islands of
2 survival. I believe that all those who can do something, that all those
3 who are able to do something and are not forced to move out because their
4 race does not compel them to do so, they should stay here and prepare the
5 future. This is going to be very difficult, and it is going to be tied
6 with danger. The compromises that you will have to do will be held
7 against you in the future. Maybe you will be punished for them. However,
8 maybe you have to do that. Of course, I cannot hold it against anybody
9 who decides differently. If they -- they don't find the life in Germany
10 worth living, if they cannot support the injustices being done in Germany,
11 that they cannot prevent any of these injustices happening when they
12 decide to leave. However, under such terrible circumstances as prevail
13 today in Germany, one cannot act justly. One cannot act as they should.
14 And irrespective of the decision that you might take, you will be a
15 participant in some sort of justice. Whatever your decision may be, you
16 will be a participant in justice. So at the end of the day, everybody has
17 to look at themselves. It is pointless for anybody to either give or
18 receive advice. Therefore, I can tell you don't hope that anything you
19 might do until the end of the catastrophe may prevent some of the
20 disasters. However, when you take your decision, think of the time that
21 -- that are ahead of us."
22 Ten thousands wars have been recorded in the history of humankind,
23 and an intellectual is always faced with the dilemma whether to escape,
24 whether to flee, or whether to stay. What will be his power of action if
25 he stay? But this is not the matter of his own will or desire but of
2 We did not create evil. We struggled against it. If you
3 struggle, that doesn't mean that you're going to succeed, that you are
4 going to prevail. However, we're going to prove here -- I'm going to
5 prove here, using clear evidence, that day in, day out, we had to make 50
6 or 60 decision a day, that we had people who were killed, who were
7 injured, who were expelled, that our country had been attacked, that an
8 aggression was undertaken against it. It was not a state. It was being
9 created as a state. It changed its political system and all the while it
10 suffered aggression. This is what I'm going to prove with clear evidence.
11 In 1991, some things happened, as you can see them in this slide.
12 And on the map you're going to see the Serbian aggression against Croatia.
13 Pakrac, beginning of March, 1991. Plitvice on the 31st of March, 1991.
14 Borovo Selo on the 2nd of May, 1991. The Yugoslav People's Army attacked
15 Slovenia. The war was very short because Slovenia was not part of the
16 political plans of Serbia to ever become part of Serbia.
17 Again, a map of the general aggression of Serbia, Montenegro and
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina against Croatia. Now, I have to tell you one thing:
19 If Bosnia-Herzegovina is a state in formal and legal terms, then it was an
20 aggressor against Croatia. From the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
21 Croatia was attacked. Throughout the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a
22 formal and legal entity, if this is how we're going to consider it, was an
23 aggressor against Croatia with huge consequences. Two-thirds of the
24 borders near Dubrovnik, near Dalmatia, near Sisak, near Vukovar, at those
25 places Bosnia-Herzegovina attacked Croatia. Of course the part of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina that had been conquered by Serbia. But this today is a
2 state with legal and political continuity. And when stock is going to be
3 taken who owes who and who was aggressor against whom, then Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina has to be considered an aggressor against Croatia.
5 Of course there were attempts to disarm the police. There was a
6 referendum on independence. Here you see the Brioni Declaration. Once
7 that Croatia declared its independence, once its parliament declared
8 Croatia's independence, the Brioni Declaration happened on the 7th of
9 July, 1991. It was demanded from the Croatian president and the Croatian
10 parliament to delay the declaration of Croatian independence by three
11 months. The European Union and the Western states wanted this to be
12 frozen, an application of such a decision, in order to give an opportunity
13 to the negotiators to find a solution over the period of three months, a
14 solution that would not lead to a war. And according to a good old
15 custom, Croatia accepted that. There was no reason not to accept that.
16 On the 7th of July, this is what happened. Three months later, on
17 the last day of this moratorium on the decision on the proclamation of the
18 independence, Serbian army, the Yugoslav People's Army, shelled the seat
19 of the government in Zagreb, Banski Dvori. At that moment, Ante Markovic,
20 the president of the federal government, and Dr. Franjo Tudjman, the
21 president of the Presidency of the Croatian state, were sitting in that
23 Can we see the slide, please. Yes. Leave it there.
24 Three months after this, on the last day, they tried to kill
25 Franjo Tudjman, because the number of agents of the military
1 counter-intelligence service and the secret service of the interior in
2 Croatia was such that they knew where everybody was eating, sleeping,
3 where they moved. But fortunately, one minute before the bombing - and
4 you will see a video of it later - Franjo Tudjman left the room. This was
5 a terrorist action par excellence.
6 In September and November 1992, in Slavonski Brod and the
7 surrounding area 182 persons were killed by shelling and bombing from the
8 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were shelling the town. They were
9 killing the town.
10 I ask, did Alija Izetbegovic ever state his position on this? No.
11 Did he offer Franjo Tudjman a military agreement on common defence? No.
12 If there is no military agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and
13 Croatia, then according to the constitution of Croatia, a Croatian
14 soldier, even under orders, must not cross over to the other side. And
15 the Croatian soldiers who are said to have participated in the war in
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina could not have been issued the order to cross over
17 into the neighbouring territory. They could only have gone of their own
19 Twenty-seven children were killed. Let us see the slide showing
20 these children. Please let's see the slide.
21 This is what created and gave rise to the energy of society, to
22 the emotional tension. It is pictures like these, pictures from Vukovar,
23 pictures from Zadar, pictures from Dubrovnik; imagines of those who had
24 been expelled or killed. These are the images the Croatian people were
25 living with. This is the war as experienced by the Croatian people. And
1 this is what one has to bear in mind when one considers the decisions and
2 the speeches made by a particular politician in a particular time and
4 I was a volunteer in the Posavina area. And even if I had
5 illegally issued an order to someone to go there, he could have refused
6 without any consequences or punishment. Let everybody show me a single
7 Croatian soldier who was punished because he rejected an illegitimate
8 order to cross over to the other side, then we can discuss that. There
9 were those who made use of their right, but it was never legally
10 established that they should go there.
11 Your Honours, if you think it's time for a break. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, you're quite right. It is
13 now 3.30. We're going to have a technical break of 20 minutes, and we
14 shall resume around ten to four.
15 --- Recess taken at 3.30 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 3.56 p.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. Please
18 proceed, Mr. Praljak.
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, learned
20 gentlemen, a correction. At the beginning, I was told that I
21 mispronounced a word. I said French Imperialists. I meant to refer to
22 the French impressionists. This was a slip on my part. So I wish to
23 introduce the correction.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much for this.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour.
1 In the next portion, we shall see some opinions about the
2 beginning of the solution of the crisis and the various standpoints
3 expressed in the international community in various Arbitration
4 Commissions and other bodies about the beginning of the crisis and how it
5 could be solved. For example, the Arbitration Commission was of the
6 opinion that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is now in the
7 process of its disintegration.
8 Next, please.
9 The parliament of the Republic of Croatia issued a declaration
10 about the aggression against the Republic of Croatia.
11 Next, please. Next, please. Next, please.
12 The parliament of the Republic of Croatia reached a decision on
13 the 8th of October, 1991, about severing links. Then the peace conference
14 in Yugoslavia. The opinion of the Arbitration Commission.
15 Next, please.
16 What is the Croatian response? First of all, Croatia formed a
17 large number of peace movements such as the Mother's for Peace. The
18 Croatian Art Forces. These were groups of artists trying to show in every
19 possible way that it is the wish of the Croatian people and it's legally
20 elected leadership to have only a peaceful and dignified separation from
21 the other republics and states, which were, under the constitution, states
22 in the former federation of Yugoslavia. Then there was the Brioni
23 Declaration. Then there was the Sarajevo truce.
24 Next slide, please.
25 The parliament of the Republic of Croatia issued a new conclusion.
1 The same things were constantly repeated. That is, that Croatia would be
2 a democratic state with the highest standards of protection of minority
3 rights known in the European Community.
4 All of these documents are collected in a book. There are 227 of
5 them. Everything that was signed by any institution of the Croatian
6 state, including the president of the state, the parliament, the cabinet.
7 Nowhere ever was a document signed or a word spoken in public or an
8 agreement entered into bringing into question the integrity, the
9 territorial integrity of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are
10 227 documents. These are letters, decisions, peace conferences and so on.
11 Never did any legally elected body of the Croatian state bring into
12 question the survival, existence and territorial integrity of Bosnia and
14 Had -- or, rather, the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina had a
15 problem with its internal organisation because it is inhabited by three
16 sovereign and constituent peoples, and like every sovereign people, each
17 one of these peoples has the right to question the internal organisation
18 of the state and see what rights both as a nation and as individual
19 citizens they will have within that state, this was the basic and only
20 problem and the cause of all the misfortunes after Serbia committed an
21 aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina, setting in motion an
22 unprecedented avalanche of hatred, suffering, and pain.
23 In the Lisbon Declaration on Yugoslavia, issued by the ministers
24 of foreign affairs of the European Community of the 17th of February,
25 1992, it says that the conference supports dialogue, the dialogue of all
1 interested parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a view to a
2 constitutional solution which will have to take into account the
3 legitimate aspirations of all the peoples within the inviolate borders of
4 that republic.
5 The Cutileiro Plan of the 9th of March, 1992, which was the basis
6 for the question posed at the referendum within the framework of the
7 Badinter Commission, which was to issue a legal opinion on whether and how
8 the republics could become states, the following is stated: "Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina would be a state comprising a certain number of constituent
10 units based on national foundations and taking into account the economic,
11 geographic and other criteria. Sovereignty resides in citizens of the
12 Muslim, Croatian, and Serbian peoples and members of other peoples and
13 groups who exercised a sovereignty within the constituent units and organs
14 of the republic. Within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
15 constituent units will be established, the territory of which is defined
16 in part E of this text."
17 Therefore, the idea of national interests and the territorial
18 framework of these national interests was not purely the idea of the
19 Croatian leadership in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was, on the contrary,
20 the standpoint of the international community before the aggression on
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Cutileiro Plan of the 18th of March, 1992,
22 provided for Bosnia and Herzegovina being a state made up of three
23 constituent units based on national principles and taking into account
24 economic, geographic, and other criteria.
25 All these documents are contained in this collection of 227
1 documents in the form of a book. And I will repeat once again that
2 nowhere and never did the institutions of the Republic of Croatia bring
3 into question or challenge the territorial integrity of Bosnia and
5 Please, let's move on.
6 Yugoslavia in 1985, this is the disposition of the armies of the
7 JNA. This is how the JNA territorially divided Yugoslavia. This is a
8 military arrangement.
9 In 1987, as preparation for the aggression against Croatia, there
10 was a reorganisation of the JNA. The JNA established a new territorial
11 division, and as you can see, it corresponds to the notorious Serbian
12 political plan that everything from the Virovitica-Karlovac-Karlobag line
13 should belong to Serbia. This military district with its command in
14 Belgrade was drawn up as the future implementation of political plans.
15 This is how the war was to unfold, not as isolated events here and there
16 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. This war cannot be seen in bits
17 and pieces of that kind. It was an integral war in which two-thirds of
18 Croatia and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina were in line with everything
19 that we have heard about before in Serbian political thought were to
20 become part of Serbia.
21 Let's move on.
22 The operative deployment of forces, they moved some corps towards
23 Serbia. Others they moved towards Bihac. The 13th was moved from Pula to
24 Montenegro, and there was preparations were already underway for an
25 all-out attack on the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Could we have the next slide, please.
2 The national structure of the officers in the army is shown here.
3 It does not correspond by any means to the ethnic make-up of Yugoslavia.
4 Here we can see what the difference is. There are 51 per cent more Serbs
5 in relation to the overall population, 148 per cent more Montenegrins,
6 whereas 5.3 less Croats, 6.6 less Slovenes, 7.8 less Muslims, and so on.
7 There are fewer Albanians and more Yugoslavs.
8 Let's move on. Please, next slide.
9 Unfortunately, we now come to the painful portion of this story,
10 and that is the question: Who was actually truly capable of preventing
11 the war in Yugoslavia? Who had the information about what was going on?
12 I knew it, but my power was not such as to stop a war.
13 When Mr. Baker stated in Belgrade that it was the wish of the
14 United States for Yugoslavia to continue in existence, then it was
15 considered a legitimate right of the Secretary of State of the United
16 States to express political will and desire of its government. However,
17 gentlemen, given everything that was going on prior to that, given what
18 had been prepared, what were the real implications of such words?
19 Somebody has a right to put a red sweater on somebody. However, if you
20 put a red sweater on somebody who is in the middle of a bullfight with
21 nine wild bulls, then the consequences are more than clear.
22 Unfortunately, this is what happened in this situation, whether we
23 recognise it or not, whether it's hard for us to accept it or not. But
24 the facts imply this. Here is green light. Go on.
25 You have no weapons, not even the ones you purchased with your own
1 funds. We want the state to continue in existence, and you have to find
2 the ways.
3 I don't think that Mr. Baker or any of those who supported the
4 continued existence of the state were aware of the implications, were
5 aware of what was going to happen. However, the Serbs interpreted these
6 words in such a way. Therefore, ignorance, unfortunately, led to events
7 that are known to everyone.
8 The next event which borders on any possible and rational
9 understanding is the declaration -- or, rather, Resolution 713 of the
10 Security Council, which introduced embargo on weapons import. As far as
11 I'm aware, all Resolutions of the United Nations speak and confirm the
12 unlimited right of all peoples to defence of their nations. If you leave
13 all peoples without weapons except for Serbs and the war is about to begin
14 or has even begun, what can one expect? What else can you explain other
15 than a massacre inflicted by mad army.
16 This Resolution, this barbarian Resolution would be annulled too
17 late. Later on, they would look elsewhere, turn their head another way.
18 They would allow our ships to pass. They would do, yes, but I think that
19 this Resolution is contrary to any elementary, ethical values. This
20 Resolution is something that I'm unable to explain. And if that is the
21 case, then these important international institutions do not impress me at
23 Next slide, please.
24 On the 20th of March, 1992, the JNA deployed its forces in Bosnia
25 and Herzegovina. These forces were ready. Everything was prepared, and
1 the aggression rushed ahead full speed. You see all the marks indicating
2 what formations were deployed where, how many soldiers, how many tanks.
3 Next slide, please. This slide shows how many volunteers, how
4 many soldiers were at the disposal of this army. We can't go into too
5 many details here. Let us continue.
6 There is a continuous story here about the meeting between
7 President Tudjman and Milosevic in Karadjordjevo. Nobody else was
8 present, however everybody else knows what was discussed there. If you
9 look at the map, if you look at the imperial aspirations of Serbia, then
10 the logical question is this: How was Franjo Tudjman able to discuss with
11 Milosevic the division of Bosnia when Croatia, under his plans, had no
12 border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, because Bosnia and Herzegovina did not
13 exist? So what were they able to discuss then?
14 This goes contrary to any rational logic. This story was
15 invented. It was invented later on within later interpretations of guilt,
16 of shutting your eyes before facts and airing dirty laundry, because steps
17 were not done, steps that civilisation expected them to do. It was
18 possible to stop the war, to prevent the war had they so wanted. They had
19 the power. They had the abilities. They should have put UN peacekeeping
20 forces along borders. They should have used force to make it impossible
21 for things to happen as they did. They should have forced these republics
22 to opt for democracy, which is something that Croatia had already done.
23 They should have forced them to abide by all fundamental human rights.
24 Had they done this, there would have been no victims, no numerous victims.
25 This is a letter sent by -- by President Izetbegovic to President
1 Tudjman speaking about the friendship and friendly sentiments between
2 Croatian and Muslim people and saying, "Do not enter into any agreements
3 with him," meaning Milosevic.
4 Further on, we see the Geneva agreement on the pull-out of the JNA
5 from Croatia. Once again, a situation that has no sense. Most of
6 Croatian territory had already been occupied at this point. There was an
7 aggression against Vukovar. Many cities were devastated. 250.000 people
8 were deported. And what we refer to as the international community forces
9 Franjo Tudjman and the Croatian government to use the weapons of the JNA
10 in the JNA depots in Croatia and to transport it to Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 as though, for God's sake, they had no idea what was going to happen.
12 They had no idea, even though there were previous examples.
13 Naturally, this only filled up the depots of the JNA in Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina and led to all the consequences that shock our conscience.
15 And it is very difficult under the circumstances to pinpoint the guilt.
16 It is especially difficult to establish what right one has to give
17 political speeches and who is responsible for consequences of those
19 Now we have to look at the political climate among Bosnians as it
20 existed before the conflict erupted. Can we see the Islamic Declaration,
21 please. Can we see the political platform, please.
22 We have the Islamic Declaration and then the elections in Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina. The Assembly session was interrupted. People started
24 praying. Then there was a referendum, and so on.
25 This is what Bosnia and Herzegovina looked like. You have the
1 number of inhabitants; so many Muslims, so many Serbs, so many Croats and
2 others, and so on.
3 The next slide, please.
4 Alija Izetbegovic served a nine-year prison sentence as an Islamic
5 fundamentalist in the prison in Yugoslavia, and this is where he wrote his
6 Islamic project known as Islamic Declaration. We translated certain bits
7 of it and I would appeal to Their Honours and everybody else to read them.
8 Further on, please.
9 Two important things: First, prior to first elections in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, this book was published in 200.000 copies as a
11 political blueprint that had to be implemented. There are two essential
12 parts here. Islamic individuals and non-Islamic cannot live together.
13 And if one -- once there are more than 50 per cent of us, we will
14 introduce Islamic laws into Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a man who
15 wrote this in prison, who published it in 200.000 copies. Once this is
16 read by other nations, then it is clear that we cannot agree with this.
17 This causes us to have concerns, fear, and not understand this. It causes
18 us to differ in opinion and to come to different results.
19 Even though initially these differences did not seem to be so
20 great, later on applying the laws of the theory of chaos, once events are
21 reiterated and once they escalate, these differences grow. They grow in
22 size. And at one point in time, without anybody noticing it, we reach
23 what is known as a singular point and everything before us explodes into
24 complete chaos, which is practically beyond control.
25 Next slide, please. Referendum, please.
1 Now we reach the issue of referendum. How is it possible to
2 simultaneously defend the thesis saying that Croatia wants to annex a
3 portion of Bosnian territory, and then at the same time have Croatian
4 people go out to referendum to vote, which was a precondition for the
5 Badinter Commission to give green light to European Community to recognise
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent state. So first of all, let us
7 recognise them, and then later on the rest can be done.
8 This can be done either by idiots or by fools, or this does not
9 fit with the thesis that there is anybody in Croatian leadership who wants
10 to confiscate Bosnian territory. Referendum was the place, was the
11 mechanism for that. Failure to vote in the referendum meant that they
12 could not get 51 per cent of the votes, because Serbs did not want to
13 participate in the referendum. So there was no way for Bosnia to become
14 an independent state.
15 I can tell you this: The grave fate of Croatian people in Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina over the centuries did not create among this nation a
17 sentiment that Bosnia and Herzegovina was their homeland. No. They were
18 forced to live there. The borders were drawn under fire, under the range
19 of Turkish cannons. People were separated by force. This was not the
20 state that could have created among its inhabitants a sense of homeland.
21 Political mentality and pragmatism of Franjo Tudjman was such that
22 he suggested by all possible means to Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina to go
23 to the referendum and to vote for independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 This is why, gentlemen from the Prosecution, the response was far greater
25 on the second day than the first day, because this was an appeal issued by
1 the people. The people cannot be ordered but appeals can be issued to
2 them. Invitations and calls can be issued to them. And this is precisely
3 the reason why the Croat inhabitants in Bosnia and Herzegovina went to the
4 referendum and stated that they considered Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a
6 Can we see the film, please.
7 We're now about to see what the conduct of Croatian citizens in
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina was, as well as in Herzegovina, at the moment when
9 the tanks of Yugoslav People's Army were headed towards Kupresko Polje in
10 order to carry out an attack on Split. We will see what their conduct
11 was. We will see what they said, what they did, and how they greeted
12 Alija Izetbegovic in this entire story, because they had already seen what
13 the tanks meant and what they would do once they're allowed in. They knew
14 that this significantly threatened the entire southern portion of Croatia,
15 from Split further south.
16 Can we see the film.
17 [Videotape played]
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] So they already started
19 shooting in Mostar. Perisic started shelling, Karadzic saying. Karadzic
20 said that there was no way for Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue
21 existing, because Serbs would refuse living in such Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Serbs have entered this state under certain preconditions that were
23 recorded in AVNOJ, and they do not recognise republic borders as future
24 state borders.
25 So throughout Yugoslavia, republic borders were legitimate and
1 were in place. Milosevic says that the compromise solution on federation
2 is unacceptable. By applying the confederation formula, Yugoslavia would
3 disintegrate, and he doesn't want to accept that. This is why we cannot
4 accept that nor we intend to do so.
5 And this is Alija Izetbegovic responding to him on his -- on his
6 behalf and on behalf of the Presidency.
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Mr. Izetbegovic saying: "They're
8 announcing an even bloodier war. Our duty, duty of us, citizens of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, would be to prevent at any cost this bloodshed.
10 However, as you can see not only are we unable to, people much more
11 powerful than us are unable to do that. What we can do is to refuse to
12 participate in it. Thus starting from the sovereignty of the republics,
13 starting from the position of the Presidency by accurately interpreting
14 the will of the majority of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I hereby declare
15 neutrality of Bosnia and Herzegovina at this point in time.
16 Unfortunately, today we live in a time where one needs more courage to
17 participate in peace than to participate in war. I plead with you to
18 summon up enough courage and to refuse to participate in this war. This
19 is not our war."
20 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Isn't this wonderful to
21 listen to somebody saying they want neutrality. However, at this point in
22 time Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina had already been killed, expelled.
23 There was no more neutrality any more. At this point in time when
24 Mr. Izetbegovic speaks of neutrality, he has in mind only Muslims. We
25 Croats do not have neutrality any more. We are threatened. Our existence
1 is threatened. Mr. Izetbegovic said that this was not our war, and this
2 did not refer to us Croats. Everything was already on fire. His people
3 were being killed in Bijeljina and he says this is not our war. He had
4 already seen that on the territory of the state whose legal president he
5 is, so many children have been killed, so many troops sent to war with
6 Croatia, so that this neutrality is nothing but a platitude.
7 Before that - and we are going to show it now - in two places
8 there was aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina; the village of Unista
9 near Knin, and the village of Ravno.
10 Can we see the video clip.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] First we're going to see the
13 tanks in Prolog where they were stopped by the people there themselves.
14 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] The army has to withdraw, but they
15 are not withdrawing. Behind Listica the column starts. Hundreds of
16 vehicles, cars, lorries blocking the road all the way to Prolog. When
17 they return, we go back."
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We want peace.
19 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] The generals want us to defend
20 ourselves. The citizens doubt the good intentions of the army. When
21 asked why they stopped the column, they say, we have a counter-question:
22 Why here? Why the army? The soldier repeats, We are going to Duvno field
23 for regular exercise. The people don't want conflict. They're against
24 it. In the course of the night, we had very good behaviour and no
25 incidents. It's very difficult to estimate the number of people who have
1 gathered here, but their request is what they have in common. From here
2 the army cannot proceed. We want peace."
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] They're singing about love
4 and peace.
5 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] For three days in a row the army
6 and the people are at a stalemate. That is why around 1300 hours
7 Izetbegovic, Tuleban [phoen], Pelivan and Kljuic arrived here, trying to
8 convince the people to let the army go.
9 "You have to trust me because I can't betray you. Even if I
10 wanted to betray you, I spent nine years in prison as a young man and
11 three years as an adult, and I have never betrayed anybody."
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] This is how the Croatian
13 people greeted the tanks.
14 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Thank you very much. Thank you
15 very much. What I'm saying is I can make a mistake, but as a human being
16 I believe that you should let the column go. However, they don't agree
17 for the tank column to go towards Croatia."
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] This is a story about
19 Mr. Izetbegovic having been captured by the JNA at the airport near
20 Sarajevo. The president of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina was
21 arrested by General Kukanjac.
22 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Mr. Izetbegovic, the army can
23 transport you to Sarajevo, can't they?
24 "Izetbegovic: Yes, they might, but they said that they will be
25 attacked. General Djordjevic issued an order to cease fire. He's
1 ordering everybody to cease fire.
2 "Can we speak to the general, Mr. President? Our request is that
3 this --"
4 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] This is General Djordjevic
6 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] -- we want the attacks to stop on
7 our barracks. Secondly, we want our injured to be transported. Thirdly,
8 we -- we have other requests. We are not going to -- towards Sarajevo.
9 We are going towards Lukavica. Mr. Izetbegovic, who is a sensible man,
10 who is here with his daughter in Lagumdzija, is safe. Here, in 15
11 minutes, he will receive medical care. He will be comfortable, and he
12 will lack nothing.
13 "General Djordjevic, you are a soldier. What is the status of
14 Mr. President in your barracks?
15 "He is a person who has to help the army to save lives. I hope
16 you are not going to blackmail us by having captured the president. Call
17 General Kukanjac and you will be clear on everything. There's no fire
18 from Lukavica. Lukavica is under fire. In the hall where I am, there are
19 50 people, half of them from abroad.
20 "Yes, fire is being opened from here, and I am afraid that a third
21 party has gotten involved, the party that wants a conflict to break out
22 between the citizens and the JNA. I believe that those are our
23 paramilitaries from the SDS which are opening fire from Mount Trebevic.
24 They're opening fire on the army.
25 "The TO will cease fire, and after that, we will try and get our
1 soldiers out of the encirclement. Doyle will come and pick you up. Ask
2 the TO to cease fire.
3 "Ganic, you have my full authority to issue orders until I find
4 myself again in the Presidency building. Your orders are my orders too."
5 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: Stop. I would like to comment upon the
6 first clip as well as on the second clip. Do these people that saw in the
7 clip really want a war? Did they display any hatred when they distributed
8 chocolate among the others?
9 And the second comment: The president of Presidency was captured
10 by the JNA but everybody missed one of the fundamental legal issues that
11 can be seen here. Izetbegovic, at the end, says: "Ganic, if I don't come
12 back, you take over and issue orders." Ganic is not the one who should
13 have issued orders instead of him, according to the constitution. It
14 should have been Stjepan Kljuic, a Croat. When the president of a state
15 skips the constitutional procedure and leaves his fellow national, a
16 Muslim, the right to rule and not his rightful successor, Stjepan Kljuic,
17 then this can be considered a pustch in the legal practice. Of course
18 everybody saw that, those who wanted to see that. Later on, this was
19 ignored, this was forgotten because it did not suit anybody.
20 Of course, after having suffered greatly, the Muslims found
21 themselves in the position in which many of the things that they did in a
22 very bad way at the detriment of the Croats were finally forgotten. Not
23 only did Bosnia and Herzegovina launch aggression against Croatia, but
24 also the Muslims in Central Bosnia when they realised that they could not
25 defeat the Serbs, they turned their weapons against the HVO.
1 Let's now move on. Let me just tell you before that, he's going
2 to talk about hatred. Maybe we can fast forward to that bit when he
3 speaks about hatred. Hatred and weapons.
4 Very well.
5 [Videotape played]
6 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Unlawfulness or stupid laws that
7 were inherited from the Bolshevik state. Only naive people can buy that
8 game, that game which is played. And somebody is saying this is no longer
9 the Yugoslav People's Army, this is the Serbian army, but Belgrade has
10 nothing whatsoever to do with it. In our view, the JNA, Belgrade, and
11 Serbia are all responsible for what is being done in Bosnia and
13 "The intention of all this was military cooperation in order to
14 prevent aggression. As you know, this was a simultaneous aggression,
15 first against Croatia and then against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and currently
16 what is under way is aggression against ..."
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] A few months before this was
18 not his war. At the Split agreement, again he was against it. I
19 participated in that. We asked for a military alliance that would have
20 enabled us to work together. We ended up with a contract which did not
21 allow Croatia to participate fully in the creation of joint forces that
22 would counter the aggression.
23 Can we now move on to the Patriotic League, please.
24 On the 17th of April, 1991, before the Croatian Community of
25 Herceg-Bosna was established, the Serbs ceded, separated themselves from
1 all the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They said that this was not
2 their state, that they would not agree to what the others wanted, and they
3 launched the entire aggression.
4 The Muslim and Bosniak response to all that was to establish the
5 so-called Patriotic League. The Patriotic League was established on the
6 17th of April, and it was made up of Muslims only. Its pledge read as
7 follows: "I swear by the Allah Jelleshsnuhu that I shall at all times and
8 in all places defend the interests of the Muslim people." Nobody else was
9 mentioned here. The Patriotic League was established by the creme de la
10 creme of the Muslim people. It is based on the Islamic Declaration. It
11 doesn't mention the multi-ethnic state of all citizens of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina where all people would be equal.
13 Obviously -- can we move on, please.
14 The order of the Main Staff of the Patriotic League reads: "Our
15 forces are organised into the Patriotic League of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
16 formations ranging from a platoon to the brigade, with the strengths of
17 120.000 people. When the fighting starts, we will probably get more
18 people." These are the foundations of the Patriotic League. The
19 president of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Hasan Cengic, one of
20 the key people, Sulejman Vranj, at the same time, simultaneously, they
21 want to advocate the totality of all the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but
22 at the same time, before Herceg-Bosna, before any establishment of the
23 Croatian people that had already seen, was ready and knew what to expect
24 from the Serbs because they had seen in it in Vukovar and elsewhere. This
25 is where the difference is and the foundation of the politics rise from.
1 Now I'm showing you a document written by Mr. Izetbegovic. This
2 is a decision appointing commanders of all the units of the Territorial
3 Defence. On the 27th of May, 1992, the aggression against
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina is in full range, full reign. And he also appointed 39
6 Can we see the table, please.
7 Among the 39 appointed commanders of the Territorial Defence of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, there are 43 Muslims, accounting for 97.73 per cent.
9 There is only one Serb, and there are no Croats at all.
10 Don't you think that these are all starting points that will only
11 widen the gap despite the efforts to reconciliate things? There's not a
12 single Croat here. It was only then that the decision on the
13 establishment of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna was issued in
14 response to what the Serbs had started and the Muslims finished by
15 establishing the Patriotic League. Nobody with any responsibility for his
16 own people within the framework of the existing constitution and rights
17 arising from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia about the right
18 to association that applied not only to municipalities but also to the
19 association of municipalities when it came to defending one's own life,
20 the life of their families, I remind you that on the 10th of April, 1992,
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina stopped existing at any level. There was no
22 electricity. There was no government. There was no police. There was no
23 banks, no bread, no shops, no communication. There was no money, nothing.
24 There was no currency. People were left to their own means.
25 When you have something that we call zero civilisation level, you
1 start creating the so-called embryos, and this is where we encounter one
2 of the fundamental problems of understanding, when we here use the words
3 "government," "army," "general," when we use the words "the Ministry of
4 Justice," then we imply contents that are valid and can be applied in
5 France or the United States of America. You do not take into account the
6 fact that this is just a piece of paper that have proclaimed themselves a
7 government. They did not have a car. They did not have a telephone.
8 These 15 people were just groups of people who were controlling other
9 groups of people who were afraid and those who had seen on television what
10 had happened to their co-nationals in Croatia. This is not government,
11 this is not the army. This is not the Ministry of Justice as we know it.
12 It was only in 1993 in the month of March that the minister of justice got
13 a telephone line in his office.
14 You can desire things, but whether you can do them is a different
16 There a lot of effort was invested in making this embryo grow into
17 something, but there was chaos. Chaos reigned. The number of expelled
18 got bigger, and their problems were so great - and I'm going to show you
19 some data on that - that this went beyond the capabilities of much better
20 organised states than Bosnia was at the time. And if we could say that a
21 40-year-old democracy is a mature democracy, then what we had after five
22 weeks was nothing but an embryo of such democracy.
23 Can we please go on.
24 On the 10th of May, 1991, there was an attack from Knin after the
25 Croatian village of Kijevo had been burnt down and the people killed.
1 There was an attack of -- on Unista, which is on the territory of Bosnia
2 and Herzegovina. In the legal system of any state, the aggression on the
3 territory of that state is a cause of war or a declaration of war, or at
4 least it gives rise to a protest. But not for a single moment did the
5 government in Sarajevo or the president of the Presidency, Alija
6 Izetbegovic, respond to this attack. Why? Because there were no Muslims
8 Let's take a look at Ravno now. On the 15th of September, 1991,
9 and the 16th of September, 1991, the village of Ravno in Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina was razed to the ground. People were killed. After that,
11 Mr. Izetbegovic made the statement we heard: "This is not our war."
12 Gentlemen, it was our war. I don't know whether it was his war,
13 but for the Croats, it was our war, and no one had the right not to do
14 everything in their power to establish an organisation that would prevent
15 such things from happening, or at least to offer resistance, even if it
16 meant getting killed.
17 Let's move on. Let's skip over that.
18 We now have the siege of Sarajevo in April. It was then that the
19 gentlemen in Sarajevo thought the war began. But it didn't begin then.
20 The map of Mostar, which had been occupied by the Serb previously, and the
21 bombing which will be presented to Your Honours through evidence,
22 everything was destroyed, but nobody cared about this.
23 Let's move on. This is the territory occupied by the JNA and the
24 army of Republika Srpska in April and in November. Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 was already occupied. Weapons were being used. Let's see how many
1 refugees, first Muslims and then Croats, arrived from these territories
2 either to what we call the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna -- over
3 30.000 refugees were looked after by this organisation referred to as the
4 HZ HB, because it was well organised. Had it not been organised, it could
5 not distributed food to these people or provided them with accommodation.
6 However, 30.000 people were provided with accommodation on that small
7 territory, among that population which was not very numerous.
8 Let's move on.
9 The occupied part of Eastern Mostar. Let me touch upon Mostar
10 briefly. Zenica and the east part of Mostar were occupied. When the JNA
11 expelled all the Muslims from the eastern part, they were all accommodated
12 in the western part.
13 In June 1992, I led the attack for the liberation of Mostar, and a
14 few days later up to the right bank of the Neretva and beyond. Never did
15 we fail to take care of anybody. Over 20.000 Muslims arrived from that
16 side, and they were all cared for. Far more Muslims than Croats entered
17 flats abandoned by Serbs, JNA officers. A far larger number of Muslims
18 than Serbs moved into empty flats illegally.
19 On the army of BH, or the Muslim side, there was only one
20 battalion with about 150 men. The question we should ponder is how one
21 battalion, without Croatian assistance, could grow into the 4th Corps of
22 the BH army in half of Mostar. Everything they received, food, clothing,
23 weapons, medicines, hospital treatment, everything they had they got from
24 the Croats. But this was just preparation for the next conflict.
25 After this, Travnik, Vares, and Kakanj was occupied by them.
1 Fojnica was occupied. Jablanica, Bugojno were occupied. Konjic. All
2 this was done by the BH army. One town after another were occupied.
3 People were expelled, crimes were committed.
4 Let's move on. Can we see the document on that peace conference,
6 Your Honours, you have before you a document that reads as
7 follows: "Report on the activity of the international conference on the
8 protection of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
9 Of course, as you can see, this conference was held in Zagreb, in
11 The criminal plan of Franjo Tudjman implies that he quite
12 peacefully allows an international conference on the protection of human
13 rights. In this conference, there is no one who is not a Muslim from
14 Qatar, Jordan, Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, and so on and so forth. These
15 were all leaders of Muslim states and organisations, all of them in
17 After that, they went on a visit, but let's skip over all this
18 now. We'll skip over all this for want of time. Let's skip over all
20 Refugees and displaced persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Let's
21 look at the map on the table.
22 These are the routes taken by refugees from Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina. All these routes could go in only one direction, and that
24 was towards Croatia. They arrived in Split. Many of them remained on
25 territory in Herzegovina which had a 90 per cent Croatian majority. And
1 then, via Split, they went all over Croatia.
2 And if we look at the next table -- let's skip over this and just
3 look at the table. Can we see the routes taken by the refugees?
4 I wish to draw your attention to the fact that pink here
5 represents the occupied territories of the Republic of Croatia, and the
6 south-north communication was only through one ferry line. Four hundred
7 thousand displaced persons. Twenty-one thousand arrive in the Republic of
8 Croatia, and they were all looked after.
9 Let's move on. Can we now see the BH plan for the conquest of
10 Central Bosnia?
11 We here deal with Urbicid, and all this information will be
12 provided to Your Honours so that based on all the relevant facts and the
13 inter-connections between those facts Your Honours may reach your own
15 Let's move on.
16 This is the Neretva 93 plan. It's a plan of attack by Muslim
17 forces on the HVO. This plan, as far as I know, has already been seen
18 before this Tribunal. The intention was to reach not only Neum but also
19 Ploca, which is on Croatian territory. This offensive lasted over a month
20 and a half. After Vares was taken and looted, with the cynical thesis
21 that we had abandoned it in order to resettle the population according to
22 the OTP, Kakanj, Bugojno, Fojnica, Jablanica, Konjic - and we will show
23 only parts of these - after 124.000 civilians were --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's apology: 1.124 civilians.
25 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] -- were killed, there were
1 30 people who were massacred. They were bound and massacred.
2 If we look at the quantum mechanics of statistical distribution,
3 if 2 per cent want revenge, it's a law of nature. It's not the will of
4 Slobodan Praljak or the others here as to whether it will happen but only
5 how it can be prevented. When the crime in Uzedol happened, one had to
6 invest enormous energy into explaining to the people that revenge was not
7 permissible, that there are 70 villages all around. How was it possible?
8 What kind of energy would one have had to invest to prevent revenge? But
9 everything that could have been done was done.
10 Let's move on. Let's skip over this. And let us go back now to
11 one more point before the break. Let us look at some crimes committed
12 against the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 These are 22 municipalities in which the Croatian and Muslim
14 population and armies were mixed. Let's leave north-western Bosnia and
15 Bosanska Posavina aside. In Vitez, in Krizancevo Selo. Let's move on.
16 Let's move on. Let's move on. Konjic. Let's move on.
17 The Mujahedin. For every municipality you have this. These are
18 not the final numbers. These are the minimum certain numbers, 1.124
19 people. Of course, the Prosecutor is right, and no one must even think
20 that one evil can justify another. However, evil does produce evil, and I
21 will show you some examples of how this happens everywhere in developed
22 and civilised country. As the Nobel Laureate Planck said, these are the
23 laws of nature, the first law of thermal dynamics; action and reaction.
24 Unfortunately, that is how human beings are constructed. When their pain
25 and their grief overwhelms them and becomes stronger than their morality,
1 people lose control and do evil things. Under such conditions it is
2 immensely difficult to keep this under control. We have hundreds of
3 examples in Iraq and elsewhere, showing what well-organised and
4 well-ordered army is capable of doing. In a terrible situation with a lot
5 of understanding, when people are being killed in Sarajevo, when the
6 international community is still imposing an embargo and yet failing to
7 bomb Serb positions, when they are not responding, he opened the doors to
8 the Mujahedin. They did not arrive as such. They all arrived with IDs
9 belonging to humanitarian organisations. We had to let them through.
10 When we stopped the first convoy that we stopped - and I
11 participated in that - there was an outcry, and afterwards everybody was
12 very surprised. But when someone is being killed as the Muslims were
13 being killed in Sarajevo and elsewhere, had they been offered assistance
14 by the devil, by Hitler, they would not have refused.
15 When they were coming in, saying that they were there to help, of
16 course you accepted their help. People were being killed, and they
17 accepted their help, because later on when they put themselves under the
18 protectorate of the international community, look what happened in
19 Srebrenica. Yes, it was done by the Serbs, but many others are also
20 guilty, because one had to know. One had to know what was likely to
21 happen and what our decision would mean, but nothing was done except to
22 wait and wait and wait.
23 Let's look at the film. Here are their first and last names,
24 their photographs.
25 Let's look at the film.
1 [Videotape played]
2 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] If a Croatian soldier refuses --"
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Let's skip over this. This
4 shows Minister Susak and myself saying publicly on television that
5 Croatian soldiers must not go to Bosnia and Herzegovina even if they are
6 given orders to do so.
7 [Videotape played]
8 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] This is the bombing of
10 [Videotape played]
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] This is their propaganda
12 film showing the enemies of Islam. Let's see who these enemies are.
13 Church dignitaries of one and the other church; Mladic, Cardinal Puljic,
14 the church. Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an enemy, the General Assembly, an
15 officer of the British army, Franjo Tudjman.
16 They're shooting for the glory of Allah. You will also see some
17 shocking images. I'm warning you of that.
18 Mr. Izetbegovic inspects the troops, which only there had over
19 2.500 people.
20 Mujahedin here speak Bosnian language.
21 This is again the inspection of the 4th Brigade from Jablanica.
22 The image is not clear.
23 I'd like to comment on the last image where they asked them, "Who
24 are you fighting for?" and they respond, "For Allah." And they ask them,
25 "Who are you fighting against?" and they say, "Against Wallachs," meaning
1 both Serbs and Croats.
2 So how do you think it was possible to cooperate with this army?
3 Is it possible at all? How did this unfold, all of this together? How
4 much energy one needed to put this under control? However, despite of all
5 of this, the cooperation was never interrupted.
6 I will now ask His Honour Judge Antonetti to have a break now,
7 following which I shall turn to the most important part of my
8 presentation, which is the conduct of the Republic of Croatia. Thank you,
9 Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It is now quarter past five. We
11 shall have a 20-minute break and resume at around twenty minutes to six.
12 --- Recess taken at 5.15 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 5.42 p.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are resuming our hearing now.
15 I shall give the floor to Mr. Praljak, but I should like to remind him of
16 the fact that he has up until 7.00 p.m. today. So please make sure that
17 you finish on time. You have the floor.
18 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I now wish to turn to the
19 conduct of the Republic of Croatia in this entire story.
20 So this is the area where all state structures and establishment
21 institutions have to follow the instructions, orders, and directions given
22 from the Assembly, from the president, and so on.
23 Let us see the film to give us an impression of what it looked
24 like. Petrinja.
25 [Videotape played]
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Slunj. Here in Slunj we can
2 see the tank brigade of the JNA entering the town.
3 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Slunj is finally free. There will
4 be no Ustashas in Slunj ever again. Destroy the church up there. Yeah,
5 destroy it. The Serbian house remained intact. This is the Serbian
7 "When 17 mostly young people were wounded while the army
8 simultaneously shelled the hospital, which was unrecorded since the
9 fascist time. Such brutalities did not occur even during brutal German
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] This is the Osijek hospital.
13 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Once again, a sudden treacherous
14 attack on Zadar. In the morning, it was relatively peaceful. However, in
15 the afternoon, there was very aggressive artillery fire. In our view,
16 this was the fiercest attack so far.
17 "[In English] This was done with bullets [inaudible] Dr. Bulac
18 Branko died."
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We can skip this. This is
20 Banski Dvori, the seat of government. This is the president of the
21 parliament. The seat of Croatian government and the offices of the
24 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] All approaches to Dubrovnik have
25 been closed. The city has no electricity or water supply. The unit
1 controlling the access to Dubrovnik told us --
2 "[In English] Dubrovnik's finest ablaze. But this was just a
3 foretaste of the destruction that was to follow as the federal forces
4 closed in. Tuesday morning and the attack everyone had feared but most
5 secretly believed could never happen. A deliberate and sustained assault
6 on the Old City. This was not a case of shells going astray. It was a
7 calculated decision to irreparably damage a city that is in its entirety a
8 protected monument. When the Serbian led federal forces first laid siege
9 to Dubrovnik six weeks ago, they warned the Croatian garrison surrender or
10 face the consequences. Few people in the world could have realised that
11 this was what they meant by consequences. Paul Davis, ITN, Dubrovnik."
12 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Dubrovnik. Vukovar.
13 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Mr. Vance, we wanted to ask him,
14 however he departed urgently in an armoured personnel carrier."
15 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Vukovar.
16 [Videotape played]
17 "[In English] The problem is the soldiers walking on the street
18 [inaudible]. My colleagues were there. [No interpretation].
19 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] If you're not interested in the
20 fact that my young soldiers aged 18 and 19 are killed, then you're not
21 welcome here.
22 "But you have to worry also about his soldiers that are [inaudible]
23 and it's not your attitude [inaudible]."
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now, let us
25 continue further on. I wish to mention one issue here. The Chetnik
1 gangs were singing the following there: "Slobodan -" meaning Milosevic -
2 "send us meat -- or, rather, send us salad. There will be meat. We will
3 be slitting throats of Croats."
4 It was painful to hear BBC reporters say that Serbs were singing
5 their nationalist songs. This is a painful confrontation with
6 civilisation and ethical values.
7 Now, the conduct of the Republic of Croatia. International
8 community came up with Cutileiro Plan in relation to Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina. In Vance-Owen Plan we also see various provinces. The same
10 applies to Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, and then the Washington Agreement
11 provided some sort of a final solution.
12 I wish to emphasise that each document put on the table by the
13 international community proposed to Croatia as a participant was always
14 signed first by Croatian leadership. Both Croatian leadership from
15 Croatia and Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina, rather, leaders of
16 Herceg-Bosna. We never hesitated to sign anything, just as Franjo Tudjman
17 never hesitated to put his signature on any peace proposal or truce put
18 forward by any international body.
19 Further on, the decision to recognise the Republic of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina. Immediately following the recognition of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina by the international community, the decision was adopted to
22 recognise Bosnia and Herzegovina as an integral state. How can one
23 explain this claim, then, that following the recognition there were
24 territorial pretensions?
25 Croatian Assemblymen waited for months to get on a plane and to go
1 to Sarajevo to take up -- take up office there, the diplomatic office.
2 The letter of President Mr. Franjo Tudjman addressed to
3 Mr. Izetbegovic.
4 Further on, please.
5 We have a document here, instructions to all commanders, stating
6 -- all commanders of Croatian army, stating that not a single commander
7 of Croatian army is allowed to send troops outside the Republic of
8 Croatia. All those who issue such orders will be held responsible. If
9 there are any volunteers in Croatian units who are originally from Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina and they wish to go to the battlefields and defend their
11 homes, then the army commanders may not prevent them from doing that.
12 Yes, I was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I had my family living
13 there, and I had a natural right to go there and defend my homeland. The
14 fact that I was a citizen of Yugoslavia meant that I was also a citizen of
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I was naturally entitled to go there. There
16 are previous documents indicating that there were never more than 700
17 volunteers from Croatia in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 The next fact that is frequently manipulated has to do with how
19 many weapons were provided to Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are over
20 2.000 documents that went through this Tribunal dealing with this.
21 Never, absolutely never was the supply with the weapons of the
22 army of Bosnia and Herzegovina interrupted. Those Mujahedin launching
23 mortar shell, they received those weapons from Croatia. There was not a
24 single occasion when the weapons were delivered to Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 and that they did not go through the territory of Croatia with the
1 approval of Croatia and with the assistance of Croatia. Everything they
2 received they could only receive only through the territory of Croatia.
3 Embargo banned all flights to Bosnia-Herzegovina, and all the roads led
4 through Croatia, through the territory referred to as Herceg-Bosna.
5 In the history of wars, there was not a single similar instance.
6 The commander of the HVO, the post held by me and General Petkovic, had
7 to, wanted to and did let the weapons pass through, the weapons to the
8 country which did what we saw them do. Never in the history of warfare
9 did -- was any commander faced with such a difficult task. You will see
10 over 2.000 documents here, all of them going to show that there was a
11 continuous supply to the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina going through our
12 territory or with the assistance of our army. We helped distribute those
13 weapons using humanitarian aid channels. They would take in Croatia cans,
14 open them up, fill them up with ammunition, and then these cans were then
15 sent to Visoko and other locations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was done
16 continuously, even amidst most intensive fighting.
17 Factory of ammunition -- factories of ammunition did not exist.
18 And were they able -- if they were able indeed to manufacture anything,
19 they needed raw materials, and these raw materials were supplied through
20 the territory of Croatia.
21 You can see a number of documents showing this. On the 7th of
22 April, 1993, you see a document stating that the HVO approved the passage
23 of so many bullets, and quantities of other weapons are indicated as well.
24 This document shows that Rasim Delic, later on commander and later
25 on indictee, playing the same role as we are here, distributes the
1 weapons. At the time, he was in charge of logistics, so he distributes
2 the weapons located in Grude, and he says so many weapons and so many
3 millions of bullets are expected, and all of this is distributed in the
4 following way.
5 Then we turn to the next slide, bases and location in the Republic
6 of Croatia from which weapons were supplied to the army of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina. You see on the map the roads that were used for this supply.
8 During this trial, Your Honours, you will receive a lot of
9 evidence going to prove all of what I'm saying.
10 All right. Let me repeat this in a calmer way. By way of
11 documents and evidence, we will show to you that from all of these
12 locations, continuously, throughout the entire course of war, weapons were
13 sent to the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 We will turn to Bihac particularly. Small planes of ours flew to
15 Bihac, and helicopters carrying blood supplies and all other necessary
16 supplies. Everything they needed came exclusively from the Republic of
17 Croatia. This was done in an organised fashion with the knowledge of the
18 president of the republic, Minister Susak, myself, and everybody else who
19 participated in this actively.
20 Again the same thing, military representative offices of the
21 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Republic of Croatia, Zagreb, Split,
22 and Rijeka. Can we see the document, please? Can we please study this
23 document thoroughly?
24 On the 12th of July, 1993, many crimes had already been committed
25 against Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Still, on the 12th of July, this is
1 what it says: "In order to perform duties from the -- within the purview
2 of the staff of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the territory of
3 the Republic of Croatia hereby we establish representative offices in the
4 Republic of Croatia in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Split," and the names mentioned
5 are all Muslim names; Osmanagic, and so on.
6 When was it that a state in the history of warfare allowed the
7 Main Staff of the army with which it was supposed to wage war which made
8 an attempt to annex part of its territory, allowed the army that it was
9 waging a war against to establish logistics bases, to establish training
10 centres? Members of the BH army came from all over the place, from
11 various countries; from Slovenia, from Germany where they worked, and in
12 Zagreb at Borongaj, on Slume [phoen], Jastobacko [phoen], Plestovica,
13 Kutina, Sisak, Jelnica, Djakovo. They would enter the barracks, and they
14 would be trained to fight. They would be armed there, and they would be
15 escorted to join the BiH army with which we had to wage a war down there
16 with the consequences that we could all witness afterwards.
17 In the Republic of Croatia, units of the BiH army were
18 established. The following units: The 77th Brigade of the BiH army in
19 Rijeka, the Berbir Brigade, the 17th Brigade, the Handzar Brigade. Whole
20 units, brigades, were established and sent to join the BH army from the
21 territory of the Republic of Croatia, with full knowledge of everybody.
22 The Borovic Brigade, here we have names of all the members, which
23 was 870 men strong. They all signed this document. They went to Visoko.
24 They fought around Sarajevo. One part of that brigade went towards
25 Srebrenica. Many of them died there. Some of them returned. They
1 remained as officers of the Croatian army. They were pensioned from the
2 Croatian army. For example, Colonel Porobic, who still resides in Rijeka
3 in Croatia.
4 This is the list of candidates for the training of specials, MUP
5 specials from Sarajevo and other places. 460 of them, and I have not
6 provided all the names, underwent specialist training in the Republic of
7 Croatia. Once they were trained, once they were given weapons, once they
8 were provided with communication means, they were sent to Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina to the Muslim people to the BiH army, to fight against the
10 Serb aggression, because it is true that they were the biggest victims
12 Can we go on, please, we've seen this. Can we see please the
13 document. Can we please study the document that is before us. The
14 Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia. The Presidency of the
15 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina addresses the Ministry of Defence of
16 the Republic of Croatia, saying, "We would kindly ask you to allow for the
17 stay in the Republic of Croatia for the following persons who were members
18 of the anti-aircraft defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina." Follows a list of 22
19 names of pilots who were trained in the Republic of Croatia. They were
20 accommodated there, they were fed there, and after the training they were
21 returned to join the BiH army in order to try and prevent the destiny that
22 awaited them and that would have awaited them if they hadn't been prepared
23 in the way that they were.
24 Next slide shows the situation with refugees. 402.000 refugees
25 were in Croatia in December 1992, and there were 260.000 refugees from the
1 Republic of Croatia. That number never went down below 195.000 refugees
2 and 183 expelled persons.
3 The table shows the refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and
4 expelled persons from Croatia.
5 This Trial Chamber and Prosecution has the means to verify every
6 single piece of information that I'm going to present during this trial.
7 At the beginning of 1996, Bosnia-Herzegovina had 2.960.000
8 inhabitants or one-half of the pre-war figures. 1.500.000 in the
9 Federation and the rest in Republika Srpska. Out of them, 390.000 Croats
10 or 52 per cent of the pre-war number of Croats that lived there before the
11 war were in Bosnia-Herzegovina. 54 per cent were refugees. They were
12 expelled from the Serbian territories. When the army of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina attacked them, again they expelled all the Croats and there
14 are no Croats living there any more.
15 What did we do with the hospitals and how we treated the injured
16 and the wounded? All hospitals treated all the wounded. We did not pay
17 any attention to the ethnic affiliation. Nobody ever asked anybody where
18 they came from. Everybody from Bosnia-Herzegovina was taken care of and
20 These are the hospitals in Croatia. Not all the hospitals. These
21 are only the hospitals that we analysed in Split-Firule, Krizine, Zagreb,
22 Karlovac, Slavonski Brod, Vinkovci, Metkovic, Bosanski Brod and
23 Krapinska-Toplica. Between all them they treated this many Muslim
24 soldiers in 1992 through 1995: Split-Firule, 3.329. Altogether 10.623.
25 We're talking about billions of dollars that were spent for the treatment
1 of these people that were spent by a state that was in the war. One-third
2 of its territory was occupied, its towns had been destroyed. There was no
3 tourism or any other industry. There was an embargo on weapons. Over
4 10.000 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly Muslims, who were
5 treated, who were looked after, who were taken care of, and we have the
6 names of all of these people.
7 What about the education system for the refugees? In 1992, the
8 government of the Republic of Croatia, i.e., the Ministry for Education,
9 passed a decision according to which the children of Muslim refugees in
10 the Republic of Croatia were entitled to education and they should follow
11 the curriculum that would be adapted to their national and cultural
12 requirements. These are the schools in the Republic of Croatia that
13 catered for the Muslims between 1992 and 1994. These children had special
14 education in their own language, in the Bosnian language. Up to four
15 lessons a week these children received to prevent them from losing their
16 national and cultural identity in the Republic of Croatia.
17 Here you can see the syllabus. You can see the cost of that
19 The next slide shows humanitarian aid. All the humanitarian aid
20 came via Croatia. Humanitarian aid in medicine for Muslims. These are
21 the places which received from the hospital in Split medicines and medical
22 supplies throughout the entire war. I'm talking about Srebrenica,
23 Bratunac, and all the other places. Nobody ever asked whether this had to
24 be paid, who had to pay for all of that, who needed that. Everything we
25 had was distributed equally with full heart and without any misgivings.
1 These are the Thank You notes that Muslim doctors sent to the
2 Split hospital. There are over 40 of them, and we're going to show just a
3 few. They're all signed, and you can see the Thank You notes by Muslim
4 doctors, signed by them.
5 Can we see the next one? And the next one. And the next one,
7 These are the Thank You notes.
8 Humanitarian aid between 1992 and 1995 went by different Croatian
9 harbours; Rijeka, Pula, Split, Ploca. Unfortunately, our organisational
10 capabilities were not such that it could provide us with all the
11 documents, so I was only able to analyse the harbour Ploca. Over 580
12 million kilogrammes went via the harbour of Ploca. Both export and
13 import. Exports from Bosnia of timber and the import of all the
14 humanitarian aid. We have documents showing which ships entered the
15 harbour, who the shipping agent was, and so on and so forth. I hope that
16 in the course of this trial I will be able to analyse in the same manner
17 the harbours of Rasa, Pula Rijeka, Split, and Trogir.
18 You will see that the Intersped company of Bosnia-Herzegovina
19 exported beach timber. This was a Bosnian company, and Intersped was
20 exporting from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The diesel fuel was imported and it
21 was distributed equally, and this will be proven by a number of documents.
22 It was distributed in Mostar and elsewhere.
23 One has to note here that everything that came from the Muslim
24 states went only to Muslims. Western aid was distributed equally among
25 all the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 A ship from Turkey brought weapons. We let the weapons through,
2 but we stated that there were weapons in the ship and that those weapons
3 were sent to Bosnia when we were fighting together and Muslims were
4 manning some checkpoints or were standing guard.
5 Between 1992 and 1995 in the territory of the Republic of Croatia,
6 there were 234 foreign organisations for humanitarian aid originating from
7 32 countries, most of them from Muslim countries. In addition to local
8 humanitarian organisations, these organisations were the most important
9 factor for the aid to the Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nobody ever
10 had any problems with these organisations. Everything was open, and they
11 did whatever they could.
12 These are the addresses of all these organisations. You can find
13 the lists of them. We only took one segment.
14 The electric distribution system of Croatia and Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina. My school colleague from grammar school was a Muslim who was
16 in charge of electrical distribution in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He had a
17 degree in electrical engineering, and this is the scheme of electro-power
18 plants in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This system could not function without the
19 links being established with the electrodistribution system of Croatia.
20 We provided them with electricity. They paid some of that but not all.
21 Not for a moment did the Republic of Croatia think of stopping that supply
22 although its system was on its knees. Never did the Republic of Croatia
23 prevent the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croats and Muslims alike,
24 to have electricity. Whatever difficulties there were, they were of
25 technical nature.
1 When there was no electricity in Croatia, then there was no
2 electricity in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nobody had it, neither Croats nor
4 Let's move on. Sport. One of the closest associates of Franjo
5 Tudjman, the former vice-president of the Presidency of Croatia, is a
6 member of the Olympic Committee, and since he had good ties with
7 Mr. Samaranch, he managed to get Croatia enrolled in the Barcelona Olympic
8 Games, although we had not been recognised by the United Nations, which
9 was a precondition for us to participate. However, we did get the right
10 to participate.
11 He made a huge effort in order to get the team of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina to participate in Barcelona. The team of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina prepared itself in Istria at the expense of the
14 Croatian taxpayer. How many of them we had at the time is a different
15 issue. Once they were prepared, they got on a plane together with the
16 Croatian athletes and they participated in Barcelona under a flag that was
17 proclaimed the Bosnian flag which is no longer Bosnian flag. It was a
18 Muslim flag. They participated in a flag featuring lilies. They were
19 represented in a number of athletic disciplines. This is not a final --
20 final piece of information. I still don't have the final information.
21 This is very important. In 1992, when it was still rather
22 peaceful and there was still balance to a certain extent, to the extent
23 possible, however, in 1993, during the Mediterranean Games in France, the
24 war was still raging -- raging, and the Croatian state, despite the
25 situation with the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
1 conflict with the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, again prepared a team. Here
2 there is just one team. In Croatia. They got on a plane, and they sent
3 this team to France to participate in the games under their national flag.
4 Your Honour, here we are facing a legal problem. The
5 Mediterranean Games, unlike the Olympic Games, its participants are
6 Mediterranean countries, and Bosnia-Herzegovina is a Mediterranean country
7 owing to not more than 20 kilometres stretch of the coastal land between
8 two Croatian cities. How is it possible to tell us that we want to
9 confiscate that part of their territory and win it over for ourselves and
10 at the same time we sent them to the Mediterranean Games as a
11 Mediterranean team? Isn't this a legal recognition that this country does
12 have an outlet to the sea, that this outlet to the sea is not in dispute?
13 And all although this stretch of land is inhabited by 97 per cent of the
14 Croatian population, it still is a legal confirmation that we do not have
15 any aspirations to that stretch of land.
16 These are the names of the people in the Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 We now move on to culture. I have not assembled a large volume of
19 documents, but not a single artist from Bosnia and Herzegovina arrived in
20 Zagreb without being looked after. A large number of them were issued
21 with a passport by the Republic of Croatia in order to enable them to go
22 to third countries without any problems and to earn their living.
23 A friend of mine, a Croatian actor, Zlatko Vitez, who at the time
24 was the minister of culture, the minister for culture of the Republic of
25 Croatia, and if necessary he can testify here, can tell you how many
1 people were issued with a passport and were not faced with any problems.
2 Was Franjo Tudjman in charge of Stolac, Gornji Vakuf? That's very
3 questionable. Was he in -- was he ruling over the groups and people
4 there? Franjo Tudjman was -- presided over the organs of government of
5 the Republic of Croatia.
6 Weapons, recognition of the country, training of their men who
7 wanted to fight. Four brigades, the MUP special purpose policemen, the
8 refugees, the wounded, the humanitarian activity, education, culture, and
9 sport, all of this was never brought into question. I assert that never
10 in the history of warfare, and we have made a study of that area, has
11 anything similar ever happened. Never has anybody assisted a people as
12 much as the Croats assisted the Muslims in this war. No one ever
14 If I wanted to be malicious, I could ask how would it be possible
15 for all of this to take place in the US after what al Qaeda did in New
16 York? And yet that's what happened to us. How would it be possible in
17 London after the SS and Wehrmacht aggression to help the German people in
18 the same way as was done here?
19 On the 11th of July, 1993, the Presidency of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina issued a communique after a meeting held in Zagreb. The
21 communique itself is not important, but the Presidency of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina had a session in the city of Zagreb on the 11th of July, 1993.
23 In a country which is now to be declared an aggressor against them? If
24 there was an international conflict, then it was the other way round. It
25 was the aggression of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Croatia.
1 Why has all this happened? It's true that the Muslim people have
2 suffered the most, that the worst crimes were committed against them, that
3 the fate intended for them was the worst fate, that the people had the
4 worst time in Sarajevo, that Gorazde, Srebrenica, and Zepca were
5 overlooked and that silence was kept about them. But we are not to be
6 blamed for that. Don't blame the Republic of Croatia. It was not our
7 fault. Let me say that we did not participate in that.
8 This is not to deny the fact that crimes occurred, that evil
9 things happened, but this is clear evidence of the desires and the wishes.
10 It wasn't just empty words. If we were to tape everything we say in our
11 own homes for three days and then listen to that, we would find things to
12 condemn. But these are facts. These are actions. This cannot be denied.
13 Fifty thousand items of evidence have been handed over for translation
14 here, and if it takes 15 years, let there be the courage to arrive at the
15 truth, and we will arrive at it.
16 We cannot agree to being a collateral victim because the death of
17 a city was permitted, because genocide against a people was permitted.
18 Let me read out something now. Mr. Clinton, the former president
19 of the USA, in April 1992, the European Community accepted -- recognised
20 Bosnia as an independent state for the first time since the 15th century.
21 In the meantime, Serb paramilitary units continued to terrorise the Muslim
22 people and kill the citizens, using the media all this time to convince
23 the local Serbs that they were doing this as defence against the Muslims.
24 On the 27th of April, Milosevic promulgated a new state of
25 Yugoslavia consisting of Serbia and Montenegro. He then put on a show as
1 if he were withdrawing his army from Bosnia while the weapons, the
2 stockpiles, and the Bosnian Serbs were left under the command of Ratko
4 The fighting and the killing continued throughout 1992.
5 The leaders of the European Community were estranged, and the Bush
6 Administration was uncertain as to what to do and unwilling to get
7 involved in new problems in an election year. Thus, they left the problem
8 to be solved by the European Community. Even so, the Bush government
9 interceded with the United Nations to have economic sanctions imposed on
10 Serbia. This was a measure initially opposed by the Secretary-General
11 Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the French and the British, who thought that
12 Milosevic should be given a chance to stop the violence he had started.
13 Finally, sanctions were finally imposed in late May, but to poor
14 effect. The United Nations continued the arms embargo against the Bosnian
15 government which was initially imposed on all of Yugoslavia in late 1991.
16 The problem with the embargo was that the Serbs had enough weapons and
17 ammunition to fight on for years. Therefore, the only consequence of
18 keeping the embargo in place was to make it impossible for the Bosniaks to
19 defend themselves.
20 In the summer of 1992, television and the newspapers revealed the
21 Serbian crimes in Northern Bosnia to Americans and Europeans, and I
22 advocated NATO strikes. Later, when it became clear that the Serbs were
23 carrying out a systematic massacre of the Bosnian Muslims, I proposed that
24 the arms embargo be abolished. Instead of this, the Europeans focused on
25 ending the violence. The British Prime Minister, John Major, intended to
1 get Serbs to stop the siege of Bosnian towns and to put their weapons
2 under UN supervision.
3 The United Nations sent 8.000 soldiers to protect aid convoys. In
4 other words, it's better for you to die with full stomachs than hungry.
5 A little before the elections Lord David Owen, the European
6 negotiator, and Cyrus Vance, the former US Secretary of State, presented a
7 proposal, and so on and so forth. This has to do with cantonal
9 When I became president, the arms embargo and the European support
10 to the Vance-Owen Plan weakened Muslim resistance to the Serbs even though
11 the evidence of their massacres of civilians and human rights violations
12 in prisoner of war camps came to light. In early February, I decided not
13 to support the Vance-Owen Plan, and it fell through. On the 5th, I met
14 with the Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, and I was pleased to
15 hear him say that he also did not like the plan. A few days later we
16 completed a new plan for a Bosnian policy and Warren Christopher stated
17 that the USA wished to negotiate a new agreement and that they were
18 willing to support its implementation and so on.
19 One did not agree to one thing, another did not agree to something
20 else. One person was facing elections, another wanted to support
21 Milosevic, and the massacre went on until Srebrenica. It was not the
22 first or the last time. There are massacres still going on around us; in
23 Africa, in Northern Ireland -- well, in Northern Ireland they finally
24 stopped. In the Basque region in the heart of Europe, in Iraq, in Iran,
25 Afghanistan, in the south of Africa, we have the Tutsis and the Hutus, the
1 Chechens. Our moral fields, our moral values are obviously weak. We get
2 excited when we see it happen, but then we soon forget.
3 Therefore, in order to understand this entire story, apart from
4 the facts and the numbers, it is important to understand what goes beyond
5 the human reason. This is what Aristotle advises us to do. This is what
6 extends our knowledge. We read novels and watch films so that we can live
7 somebody else's life, the life of another character. We live one life in
8 our own cultural environment in our own family and nation. Literature and
9 art enable us to understand and experience the suffering on the Medusa
10 raft, for example. If we are unable to do that, we will not be able to
11 understand what happened there. We will not understand the state of mind.
12 We will not understand what happened to young men who broke down, who had
13 been normal young men. You saw those skinny youths. You saw those people
14 stopping the tanks. These were the people who had to become soldiers
15 overnight. It would have taken ten years to train them as soldiers. They
16 were unable to understand overnight what order and discipline meant. They
17 were not trained to know and understand what they could and couldn't do.
18 When a friend of theirs was killed, or a colleague, some of them
19 lost control. They broke down. And some of them would commit evil deeds.
20 They were unable to give advance notice because they themselves didn't
21 know they would do it. It could not be foreseen to fight against this, to
22 explain. It makes more than issuing orders. It needs a lot of
23 persuasion, a lot of love, a lot of understanding. And there was enough
24 of that. There was a lot of that around.
25 Croatia did nothing bad, according to this data. This country,
1 which had so many refugees. And let me show you now some figures in
3 Can we see these figures, please?
4 I have created a simulated situation. France has 60 million
5 inhabitants. I will round up the numbers. I've put France instead of
6 Croatia here. It doesn't overlap completely, but I think you will
7 understand what I'm trying to say.
8 Let's look at this now. Aggression against France. Let's go on.
9 This is the area of France that's occupied. Let's move on.
10 If we take the proportions, occupied France in Croatia's situation
11 has 4.992.000 people expelled, 4.553.000 refugees. I'm only now
12 simulating. 151.000 have been killed. 351.000 Frenchmen wounded. 10.312
13 unknown persons have been killed. And French defenders, because of a
14 distorted picture about the aggressor and the war and the desire to spread
15 the guilt equally, 20.017 Croatian soldiers were killed. 10.000 mothers
16 are still looking for the bones of their sons around Vukovar.
17 Now let's look at the USA, for example. Imagine the next
18 situation. France received 96.460 wounded from Bosnia and Herzegovina,
19 9.400.000 refugees, and 150.000 were killed.
20 Look at the registered refugees and displaced persons in France by
21 year. Look at the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have
22 transposed the situation. If Bosnia and Herzegovina had the same number
23 of inhabitants as France, and let's say 10.542.000 people were French
24 rather than Croatian in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We shall see what this
25 means, what the number of Croats killed means as against that number in
1 France and the US.
2 Let's look at a comparison with the USA. The USA would have had
3 to receive 24 million displaced persons and 21 million refugees. We would
4 have had 739.000 people killed. Thank God the USA had only 400.000 killed
5 in World War II. However the number that would have been wounded would
6 have been 1.715.000, and the number of suicides among war veterans would
7 have been 97.000.
8 Let's move on. Let's move on. This is what it would look like,
9 more or less. Let's move on.
10 The number of refugees registered in America by year. Let's move
12 Same story. Let's move on.
13 If Bosnia and Herzegovina had had the same number of Americans as
14 there are in America, 51 million Americans would be living in Bosnia.
15 Let's move on.
16 So please look at these figures now. When we have 700.000
17 refugees in Croatia, it's like have 9.5 million in the USA. No, 9 million
18 in France and 46 million in the USA. When we have 11.000 killed in
19 Croatia, this would correspond to 151.000 in France and to 39.000 in the
20 USA. When we have 26.000 wounded in France, it would be 351.000 and 1.715
21 wounded. When in Bosnia and Herzegovina we have 6.5 thousand Croats
22 killed, it would correspond to 545.000 Frenchmen killed or to 2.661.000
23 Americans killed. Those who live in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The number
24 of wounded from Bosnia and Herzegovina we looked after, 10.623 in Croatia,
25 in France would proportionally have been 96.460 people, and in America
2 There is something called social psychology. I will skip over it
3 because we're coming closer to the end of today's hearing and I will turn
4 to something else.
5 I have prepared some information here concerning the power outage
6 in New York. Ten minutes after the power went out, over 2.000 stores,
7 mostly those owned by Jews and white owners, were looted. A lot of people
8 were killed. Thousands of people were arrested after that, and not tried.
9 Let us now compare this to what happened after hurricane Katrina
10 in a country that has the most powerful system to deal with it. When we
11 look at unrest in France when the minister of the interior says a single
12 word that the hooligans object to, we see how many millions of damage
13 occur after that. We see how many people are injured.
14 Can you imagine the situation in which a lot of your territory is
15 occupied, a lot of your towns destroyed? At the same time you're changing
16 your state and your economic system, and you're faced with such
17 difficulties, what do you think? What results can a single person
18 produce, or a government? And these results are impressive.
19 We can now turn to the moral despair at the fact that we can do
20 only so much. And there are also things that were done that we are
21 ashamed of. However, pride and shame have to be distinguished, discerned.
22 As we talk here, every 15 minutes a lot of children die, the same
23 number of children as if a plane with 300 travellers was downed. It is
24 shameful. I am shamed of what was done and committed by Croats, both in
25 collection centres and in certain prisons. However, in none of those
1 instances there was any intention to do that. But in addition to that, we
2 also have a right to pride, because the efforts we invested with all of --
3 supported by all of this evidence and documents show that there was not a
4 single parallel example in the history of warfare.
5 When we take into account the number of UNPA zones under the
6 control of the United Nations, 600 of people were killed in Croatia there.
7 A lot of Serbs as well. And 400 Serbs were killed in revenge. These are
8 terrible numbers. Every life lost is a terrible thing. However, if we
9 remember 2 million of raped women in Germany, German women, these rapes
10 were not committed only by Russians. If we remember, 120.000 raped women
11 only in Berlin. If we also take into account then about 10.000 of them
12 after this committed suicide.
13 If we look at the situation in Iraq, if we take into account that
14 about 2 million of Germans were killed in various collection sites
15 throughout the war -- throughout the world after World War -- the Second
16 World War, should we be ashamed of what happened in Croatia? Yes, we are
17 ashamed of every individual crime. Every perpetrator needs to be
18 prosecuted, but we have to identify these perpetrators. We have to locate
20 The Prosecution here reminded me of the trial which took place
21 before the French Revolution in 1789. While there were many irrational
22 trials of witches, they would put their hands in hot oil, and if these
23 women screamed, then they would be considered guilty, because the devil
24 indicated that they were witches. If they didn't scream, then it was
25 considered that the devil gave them strength to persevere. So either way
1 you looked at it, these women were declared to be witches.
2 And it seems here that the similar thing was done to us. I was
3 supposed to flee from that country. I had to do what many fake
4 intellectuals did to avoid responsibility. I should have fled. I should
5 have found myself a cushy office and then issued statements from there.
6 What did this mean, that we tried to play God? No. We have no attributes
7 of God; however, the energy and the efforts we invested were tremendous.
8 I would now like to show a film depicting my conduct. Not because
9 I want to testify in my own defence, but I simply want to show you what
10 certain situations looked like. Some of this is original footage and some
11 is dramatisation where I hired actors to show you what it looked like in
12 real life out in the field.
13 [Videotape played]
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Humanitarian convoy was
15 stopped in Citluk in Croatia. It was on its way to Mostar. This is out
16 of control. This is beyond control. These are refugees from Central
18 Mate Granic, minister of foreign affairs, he tried to mediate
19 there. He spoke, but they didn't listen to him. You saw Mr. Prlic. He
20 attempted the same. However, words were not enough here.
21 These women had lost their children, their sons. Mate Boban tried
22 to do something to ensure the passage of the convoy.
23 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Two hundred thousand besieged
24 Croats need to receive up after four months food, medical supplies and so
1 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] We had to transport
2 humanitarian aid via helicopters. We had to cooperate with Serbs in
3 Kiseljak in order to ensure survivors. These are the children of
4 refugees. These are not children from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Cedric Tolbert
5 is here. He is another representative of the UN. But you can see that
6 words were not sufficient under these circumstances.
7 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] You have to listen to me. This is
8 not about love. I was given eight trucks here this morning for Croatian
9 people in Vitez. We need to transport this to Croats in Vares. We need
10 to bring in nine bodies of dead people from Mostar. This is not about
11 love. We have to save people up there. What happened, happened. The
12 army will do its job. In order to feed Croats in Vares, in Zepca, in
13 Vitez, we have to let this through. This is out of the question.
14 Gentlemen, soldiers, remove these people here. The convoy needs to pass
16 "Shut up and drive."
17 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I wish to say one thing. If
18 I remember, Mr. Scott, you said that this was a courageous act. No, it
19 was not a courageous act. It was decisive act. One had to show pure
20 force here. These are commanders. A chief of staff must not deal with
21 civilians but that was the only way. There was no other way. One had to
22 come in with full force every time. And I once apologised to the
23 Honourable Chamber for doing so. I never boasted with anything in any
24 interviews that I gave because that is not decent, but now that I am
25 accused, I will remove this ban from myself. The courage, knowledge,
1 energy and the time used.
2 I'm not saying this to praise myself. I'm talking about this
3 project. I don't know whose project it is, but I am dealing with this
4 concept. I have been dealing with this concept for 40 years now. I don't
5 know, whom should I thank for being brave and courageous. I don't know
6 whether my height and stature have something to do with this, but I state
7 to you now that nobody else in Europe in my shoes could have done more
8 than I did.
9 Now, let us play this film further.
10 [Videotape played]
11 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] The International Red Cross
12 had arranged for a meeting to be held in the barracks in Capljina. Some
13 people came to visit their children there, and once they started leaving,
14 the others started shooting. The doctor I'm mentioning here is a Serb.
15 His name is Moro. I started cursing here. I'm cursing here. I'm
16 uttering terrible curses because he was firing from a sniper.
17 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] These women are your mothers and
18 children. Fuck your criminal mother."
19 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Let this be interpreted for
20 you because he was firing at the woman who was carrying a child in her
21 arms. This woman was the wife of a JNA officer. I am standing in the
22 middle of the street in the line of fire of this sniper. The cameraman
23 didn't dare come closer to me. This was authentic footage that was never
24 broadcast in Croatia due to my curses. What else was I supposed to do?
25 How else was I supposed to plead with this man?
1 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] You're a criminal. Fuck your
2 Chetnik mother. You're a shit. These women are mothers and wives."
3 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I was a commander. I had a
4 certain area of responsibility, and I had to do this because otherwise he
5 would have shot at them.
6 The International Red Cross did their work. You can see how far
7 they were from the sniper, because nobody would have taken responsibility
8 for this. Had I not intervened, perhaps today I would have been held
9 responsible for this.
10 Look at the faces of these women. The men you see in a raincoat
11 is a Serb. His son is a Serb, a doctor. The man to the right, the short
12 one, is a Muslim who came to fetch his child.
13 The second time they came, they started shooting ten metres in
14 front of the barracks. I went there to get them, fully upright with all
15 my height of a metre and 90 centimetres, I went there to the entrance to
16 fetch them.
17 I think I abbreviated my presentation as much as I could. I don't
18 want to speak on behalf of the others, but we came to this Court
19 voluntarily, and all we wish is to establish truth based on the facts.
20 Let us see whether this movie footage that all of us played in our heads
21 for hundreds of times and despite of all self-criticism I came to the
22 point where I don't know what would I have done differently under the
23 circumstances. What would you have done differently?
24 To tell you the truth, I myself don't know. It seems to me,
25 despite of all criticism, that I have done everything, absolutely
1 everything. These are just details. We will hear lot more throughout two
3 Petkovic had a pistol stuck in his mouth twice. Croats fired at
4 him. All of these people were imprisoned. There were cases where Croats
5 killed other Croats. We had dead people as a result of that. They fired
6 above our heads. The only thing to do was either to flee or to get
7 immersed into this with full energy, working 18, 20 hours a day,
8 courageously, and see what could be done. We were ashamed of what we were
9 unable to do, but I don't think that I ever attended a meeting or a
10 gathering where with any of the people I met I heard anything that would
11 be against my moral values, and I think that my moral values are fully
12 proper, and I followed them throughout my life.
13 We did not receive any transcript from the Croatian state enabling
14 us to show everything that was said there. And these transcripts have a
15 huge flaw.
16 Tudjman says, for example, erroneously, "Pero Markovic, I know
17 that," and there is no audio record of that to reflect it. I know. I
18 myself know how this was said, how this was uttered, with what
19 connotation. There are quotations taken out of context without showing
20 you the entirety of all the facts. And if we pursue that line of
21 presenting evidence, I am afraid we won't be able to reach the truth.
22 It is my belief that after all of this, after thousands of
23 documents, to speak of a joint criminal enterprise, Your Honours, I think
24 insults elementary logic including legal logic. Such Croatia, such a
25 conduct give no rise for such a conclusion. Whether we personally did
1 everything in our abilities, whether we failed to do something due to our
2 fatigue or the fact that we were overburdened, then yes, that could be
3 investigated. That could be checked, and we stand ready to answer for
4 such omissions. However, yes, it is possible to be guilty. It is human
5 to err, and if that is the case, then we will serve honourably any
6 sentence imposed on us. But I hope that we will have enough power and
7 enough strength and enough courage, enough energy to establish the truth.
8 Thank you for hearing me out. Thank you to everyone in the
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Praljak. You
11 ended your opening statement within the time period that had been allotted
12 to you. Thank you on behalf of the Trial Chamber.
13 This hearing is about to end. As you know, we shall resume the
14 hearings next week. We have a holiday on Monday. Therefore, the next
15 hearing is scheduled on Tuesday starting at 2.15 in the afternoon. Have a
16 good rest until then and get ready for the next hearing. I hope that we
17 shall then have a witness.
18 Can you confirm this? I'm now turning to the Prosecution. He
19 will be present in the courtroom. Fine. You're nodding that it is so.
20 Let's hope that he's going to be here.
21 Thank you. Let us convene again next Tuesday.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 2nd day
24 of May, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.