1 Wednesday, 13 February 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 8.30 a.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you and good morning, Your Honours. This is
8 case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus Vojislav Seselj.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you,
10 registrar. I would like to greet on Wednesday, the 13th of February,
11 2008, the witness representatives of the Prosecution, Mr. Seselj, as well
12 as all the people assisting us in the courtroom. [B/C/S on English
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm not receiving any
15 interpretation, Mr. President. Since you started speaking I've heard
16 nothing. Nothing has been interpreted.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Interpretation. [B/C/S on
18 English channel]
19 So it's working now.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I can hear now, yes.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I was saying that after having
22 greeted all and everyone, we shall resume with the cross-examination, and
23 I indicated yesterday that Mr. Seselj had three hours and eight minutes
24 left if I'm not mistaken.
25 Mr. Seselj, you have the floor.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, first of all, I have
2 to provide you with a short piece of information. Yesterday I talked to
3 Boris Petrov from the secretary, from the registry about financing my
4 defence and he briefly told me that the registry has no intention of
5 financing the Defence comprehensively, but from now on and he said that --
6 expressly that they did not intend to finance the pre-trial stage. And he
7 also said that, in that way, that is how they in fact interpret your
8 ruling and decision. Thank you. That was my duty to tell you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On this matter I would like to
10 remind my colleagues or those people that know about it and those that
11 don't, a long time ago when this case was in the hands of Trial Chamber
12 II, I was a member of this Trial Chamber, you had filed a motion seeking
13 leave for reimbursement of all your expenses involved in the preparation
14 of your defence. If I remember correctly this amounted to several million
15 euros, but I don't have the exact figure at hand. At the time, Trial
16 Chamber II was supposed to hand down a decision on this matter.
17 Personally, this is something I told you at a Pre-Trial Conference, a
18 Status Conference. I had my own personal view on the matter, but I was
19 unable to have my personal view recorded, because in the meantime this
20 case had been referred to Trial Chamber III or I. I don't remember which.
21 Therefore, Trial Chamber II had not responded to your application.
22 In the decision handed down by this Chamber on the preparation of
23 your defence, we did not address this issue. If you now wish this to be
24 applied retroactively, you should then file a motion and ask the registrar
25 to reimburse you all those expenses involved before the decision was taken
1 and the Trial Chamber will then rule on the matter. That is all I can say
2 about this which relates to the retroactive application of our decision.
3 We shall now move on to the cross-examination.
4 WITNESS: WITNESS VS-004 [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Seselj: [Continued]
7 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. VS-004, you gave two statements to The Hague Tribunal, is that
9 right, or have you given more?
10 A. Two.
11 Q. One of them was on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of May, 2002, and
12 the second one was on the 1st and 2nd and 14th of August, 2006; is that
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In 2006 they in fact informed you that your first statement could
16 be used in the trial against me; is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. At the time, you said that you weren't ready to testify in the
19 criminal proceedings against me; is that right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you say that because you considered that there was any -- that
22 I posed any danger to you, that there was a threat from me to you?
23 A. Not from you personally.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Or perhaps from people from the Serbian Radical Party whose
2 president I am or somebody close to me?
3 A. I can't say specifically who I expected unpleasantness from, but
4 since I did experience unpleasantness on the streets of Belgrade
5 previously, I wanted to protect my family from any incidents or any
6 attacks whether through the sympathisers of your -- your party, but as far
7 as you're personally concerned, I didn't say that I would have any
9 Q. In that new statement, you once again spoke about my arrival in
10 Western Slavonia, and you have come to Hague on two occasions since the
11 new year to testify; is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. The first time you did not arrive because some other witnesses
14 took longer with their testimony and now it's your turn finally; is that
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. At the time did the Prosecution hold proofing sessions with you to
18 prepare you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. How long did those proofing sessions last?
21 A. I think they lasted one day.
22 Q. One day upon your first arrival and one day when you arrived the
23 second time or a total of one day?
24 A. A total of one day.
25 Q. Can you calculate this in terms of hours?
1 A. Well, perhaps five or six hours.
2 Q. And what was the purpose of that five- or six-hour interview?
3 A. Well, for me to remember and remind myself of what I said in my
4 statement, to take a look at some documents again, to refresh my memory
5 with respect to the proceedings going on here today, and we went through
6 some of the events that took place on the basis of my statement.
7 Q. Did the representative of the OTP tell you what questions you
8 might expect from me during the cross-examination?
9 A. No, they didn't.
10 Q. You said here that I came to Western Slavonia at the end of
11 October or the beginning of November 1991; is that right?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. Can I remind you and tell you that it was on the 18th of November
14 that I in fact arrived in Banja Luka by a -- and I was flown in there in a
15 JNA helicopter?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you know that with me from Belgrade Ilija Sasic came, your
18 Foreign Minister?
19 A. Ilija Sasic did come together with you but he wasn't Foreign
21 Q. He was a member of the government. I thought he was the Foreign
23 A. Well, that government did not function like a proper government,
24 and Mr. Ilija Sasic was an independent man or somebody whom Veljko Vukelic
25 placed his trust in. He was a lone rider, so to speak.
1 Q. But the very fact that I came in a JNA helicopter testifies to the
2 fact that I didn't come on a private visit; right?
3 A. Well, that's how it would appear, although I don't know what kind
4 of organisation it was.
5 Q. Two officers, two JNA officers, came with me and the helicopter
7 A. Well, if that's how it was, then that's probably right.
8 Q. The day I arrived, I held a rally in the large hall of Borik,
9 called Borik, in Banja Luka. Do you remember that?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. And you attended the meeting, did you?
12 A. Yes, I was there.
13 Q. So you were interested in hearing what I had to say. It had
14 importance to you since you came to the rally from Banja Luka.
15 A. Well, I happened to be in Banja Luka at the time, and I heard
16 about the rally, so I decided to attend.
17 Q. Could you remember some of the positions I put forward at the
18 rally if I remind you of certain fragments of what I said?
19 A. Well, please believe me when I say that I don't remember what you
20 actually said, but you can of course remind me.
21 Q. Well, it's difficult for you to remember after all those years
22 without me reminding you or without the Prosecution reminding you. It's
23 difficult to remember all the details, I'm fully conscious of that, but do
24 you remember that a great part of my speech was focused on saying that a
25 civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina should be avoided?
1 A. Yes, I remember that.
2 Q. Do you also remember that I said that the only chance to preserve
3 peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina was for Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain
4 within the composition of Yugoslavia?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you remember my saying that that was the only chance for both
7 the Serbs and the Croats and the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina to avoid
8 what was happening in Croatia?
9 A. Well, I think you said something along those lines, yes.
10 Q. So although I was belligerent in the areas that there was a war
11 going on, that is to say I wanted victory, but where there wasn't a war
12 going on I wished for peace? Is that the conclusion that you could draw
13 from my speech?
14 A. Yes, you could put it that way.
15 Q. Since I came in a JNA helicopter with Ilija Sasic, I came alone; I
16 had no escort, right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Therefore, I could not have had any export -- escort when I
19 reached Western Slavonia, and in your statement it says that seven or
20 eight persons escorted me. It was only the locals from Western Slavonia
21 that could have escorted me who had greeted me there in the first place.
22 A. Well, you weren't alone. I didn't say that you had escorts in the
23 sense of any officers acting as your escorts. There was other people with
25 Q. Well, if I were going there myself and I've never been to Western
1 Slavonia before I would have lost my way, so somebody had to go with me to
2 show me where to go; am I right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Somebody had to drive me, too, I couldn't go on foot could I?
5 A. That's right. You couldn't.
6 Q. And from Banja Luka on the first day Nikodin Cavic came with me.
7 Did you know him?
8 A. Only by name. I can't remember who the man was exactly.
9 Q. Let me remind you. He was the founder of the Serbian Radical
10 Party in Banja Luka at the time and he organised this particular rally in
11 the Borik hall.
12 A. Yes, I remember now. Nikodin, yes, I remember him.
13 Q. He brought me to Western Slavonia and went back the same day.
14 A. I don't remember that. I don't know that.
15 Q. It says here in your statement in several -- in several places
16 that Veljko Vukelic was the commander of the Territorial Defence of
17 Western Slavonia; right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But then the Prosecution itself cautions you and says that the
20 commander of the Territorial Defence was in fact Colonel Trbojevic and not
21 Veljko Vukelic; right?
22 A. Yes, but at the beginning from August and maybe even before August
23 I'm not quite sure when right up until the end of October and the
24 beginning of November, Mr. Vukelic was the commander of Western Slavonia,
25 and then he withdrew. He knows the reasons for that himself, and that
1 post was taken over by Mr. Jovan Trbojevic when he came from Belgrade and
2 said that he had been sent by the leaders of the JNA.
3 Q. I'd just like to remind you that Jovan Trbojevic arrived in
4 Western Slavonia somewhat earlier not as you said at the end of October;
5 am I right in saying that?
6 A. Well, I don't remember the exact date when Mr. Trbojevic arrived,
7 but I do know that on the 15th of October when the first exodus took place
8 from Grubisno Polje that he was still the commander -- or, rather,
9 Veljko Vukelic was still the commander and that went on for several more
11 Q. Did you say the 15th of August?
12 A. The 15th of October.
13 Q. I see, the 15th of October.
14 A. The 15th of October was when the first exodus from Grubisno Polje
15 took place and at that time the commander was still Veljko Vukelic.
16 Q. Do you know that by law the armed forces of the SFRY were united?
17 A. Yes, I am aware of that.
18 Q. And that the JNA and the Territorial Defence had one General Staff
19 of the armed forces in Belgrade, one body?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Therefore, the fact that you -- the JNA had sent Colonel Trbojevic
22 to be commander of the Territorial Defence is the best proof that the
23 Territorial Defence of Western Slavonia was within the composition of the
24 JNA; right?
25 A. Yes, and I was able to see that later on when the JNA came to the
1 Okucani area. What their communication was before that I don't know.
2 Q. Until the JNA took over the Territorial Defence there were
3 spontaneous forms of organisation on the part of the Serbian population in
4 Western Slavonia; am I right in saying that?
5 A. They were organised by the Territorial Defence and I've already
6 mentioned that with the Secretariat of Defence. I don't know how they
7 were organised or who organised them.
8 Q. Do you know that the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party
9 exclusively arrived in -- arrived in Western Slavonia exclusively through
10 the JNA?
11 A. Well, I heard that from the media. I heard you giving statements
12 that this was a joint action with the JNA, but I don't know how it was
13 specifically organised and who arranged this and in what way.
14 Q. You will remember that at the time Bosnia-Herzegovina was still
15 not at war, but the police forces have already been strengthened and the
16 Territorial Defence and certain paramilitary formations began to appear in
17 different parts; right?
18 A. Yes, I did hear about that from the media.
19 Q. Now, how could the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party be able
20 to pass through Posavina had they not moved in a JNA column?
21 A. Well, probably they needed some sort of escort.
22 Q. In Posavina there were a lot of Muslims and Croats living there.
23 There were municipalities where the Croats were in the majority and other
24 municipalities where the Muslim population was in the majority; right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And if it had not been organised by the JNA, our volunteers had to
2 fight to make their advancement. Am I right?
3 A. Well, I don't know what the circumstances would be. All I can say
4 is that in the JNA of the day which was there and the Banja Luka Corps was
5 there, there were both Muslims and Croats, Croat soldiers there.
6 Q. Do you know that among the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party
7 there were also Muslims and Catholics?
8 A. I heard about that.
9 Q. Have you heard of Radovan Novacic?
10 A. Yes, I have.
11 Q. He was the commander of the volunteers of the Serbian Radical
12 Party in Western Slavonia; isn't that right?
13 A. Yes, I heard something like that, referring to him.
14 Q. Do you know that his father is a Croat and his mother a Serb?
15 A. I don't know that.
16 Q. And if that is true, what I'm saying is correct, does that then
17 mean that we sent a man like that over there not in the desire
18 perpetrating crimes against the Croatian population but quite the
19 opposite, that fighting should be against the enemy and protect the entire
20 civilian population?
21 A. Well, that's how it should have been because the man was from a
22 mixed marriage so one had to take into -- or rather one had to take care
23 of all people of different faith.
24 Q. So he had no reason to hate the Croats and Catholics but he was
25 against those who wished to break up Yugoslavia; isn't that right?
1 A. So while I can't say what he advocated specifically or what he
2 thought, but one might conclude it was as you say.
3 Q. Are you aware that volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party were
4 regularly paid by the JNA?
5 A. I don't know that, but that's what people said.
6 Q. Do you know that the members of the Territorial Defence of Western
7 Slavonia were paid by the JNA?
8 A. Yes. Yes, they were.
9 Q. The salaries were small, but they still meant something; isn't
10 that right?
11 A. Yes. It meant something to people at the time as they had no
12 other source of income.
13 Q. Was the territory of Western Slavonia territorially within the
14 remit of the Banja Luka Corps of the JNA?
15 A. Well, that's what transpired. Some 30 days after the beginning of
16 the war, the Banja Luka Corps moved to Western Slavonia and took the
17 Territorial Defence under its wing.
18 Q. Do you know anything the organisation of the Territorial Defence
19 of the JNA before the war?
20 A. No, I wasn't familiar with that organisation.
21 Q. Did you serve in the army? Did you do a military service?
22 A. Yes, I did.
23 Q. Are you aware that there used to be military districts of the JNA,
24 the Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade district and so on?
25 A. Yes, I know that.
1 Q. And in the late '80s this was reorganised so there were three
2 strategic groups.
3 A. Yes, I remember that too.
4 Q. Do you remember while the Sarajevo army district was still in
5 existence with its headquarters in Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that it
6 also encompassed almost all of Slavonia?
7 A. I don't remember that.
8 Q. Very well. Are you aware that every volunteer of the Serbian
9 Radical Party has had his war service recognised based on his
10 participation in the events in Western Slavonia?
11 A. Well, I can conclude that because the territorials did the same.
12 They also asked to have their service in the war recognised as a length of
13 service for pension purposes.
14 Q. Well, there's a length of service in wartime and length of service
15 in employment.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The former is inscribed in the work booklet and the latter in the
18 military booklet; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Are you aware that all the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party
21 who were wounded in the fighting immediately regulated all their benefits
22 as war invalids, all their entitlements?
23 A. I don't know that specifically but I do know that some who were
24 wounded or became invalids from the Territorial Defence managed to secure
25 their rights, so if the -- if the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party
1 were under JNA command, they would have done the same.
2 Q. Does that mean that they were put on an equal footing with JNA
3 soldiers as regards their entitlements?
4 A. Yes, I think so.
5 Q. Are you aware that when a volunteer of the SRS was killed in
6 Western Slavonia the JNA organised the transport of the body to Serbia to
7 his place of birth and that a military band, the military band of the
8 local garrison would play at the funeral and that salvo would be fired in
9 his honour by the members of the garrison as if an active duty soldier had
10 been killed?
11 A. Well, I didn't see that myself, however, one might conclude that
12 because that's how it happened in the case of the territorials. I
13 attended a few funerals of young men killed around Okucani and they were
14 buried with military honours.
15 Q. You said that some Serbs, along with some Croats, when they heard
16 that Seselj's men had arrived began leaving the area because they were
17 afraid of my men. Can you give me the name of a Serb who was frightened
18 by volunteers of the SRS and left Western Slavonia for that reason?
19 A. I heard that. As regards a name I was told that personally by a
20 man called Luka Krajinovic. Unfortunately he's deceased now. But in
21 answer to your question I can give you a specific name. He told me he was
22 afraid, that he had had an encounter. I don't know what sort of
23 encounter, but that's what I heard from him.
24 Q. As a high-ranking official of the civilian authorities in Western
25 Slavonia, you did not draw distinctions on the ground between volunteers
1 of the SRS and other volunteers; is that correct?
2 A. Well, I was not really an official at the time because it all
3 functioned through Territorial Defence Staffs, but I did have the respect
4 of the local people and some authority among them. However, I didn't have
5 contact with the volunteers. I didn't know who came from where. They
6 didn't confide in me and I didn't ask them any questions. So I thought
7 they were all one and the same.
8 Q. Well, if you did not draw distinctions, how much more difficult
9 was it for ordinary citizens to draw that distinction? Wouldn't you
11 A. Yes, I would agree that ordinary people couldn't really draw these
13 Q. The Hague investigators asked you about General Dusan Pekic. You
14 know who Dusan Pekic is; right?
15 A. Yes, he comes from the Banija area.
16 Q. He's a national hero from World War II, a general of the JNA and
17 he was the president of the veterans association after the war of
18 liberation; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Are you aware that he was one of the officials of the Association
21 of Serbs from Croatia with its headquarters in Belgrade?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Are you aware that the SRS from the very beginning cooperated with
24 that association?
25 A. I heard about that.
1 Q. As you were living in Western Slavonia, are you able to draw a
2 distinction between the activities of volunteers of the SRS in the spring
3 of -- from the spring of 1991 to September 1991 and from September 1991,
4 when the JNA joined in the fighting or not? Can you draw this
6 A. Well, you have now given me specific time periods, but this was
7 all a very short period of time, and right now I wouldn't dare try to draw
8 that kind of distinction. Everything was very chaotic down there. A lot
9 of things happened in a short space of time. So these nuances you are
10 referring to are something that I really cannot talk about right now.
11 Q. In -- do you know that in early February -- in February and March
12 1991, a delegation of prominent Serbs from Eastern Slavonia and Western
13 Srem arrived to see me in Belgrade asking that the Serb Radical Party send
14 volunteers to participate in the defence imperiled Serbian villages in
15 that area?
16 A. I heard something about this from the media.
17 Q. Are you aware that on the 9th of March I visited several Serb
18 villages in Eastern Slavonia which were thought to be the most under
20 A. I don't remember that because on the 9th of March I was in Pakrac
21 engaged in difficult negotiations with representatives of the Croatian
22 authorities so I was unable to follow up other events.
23 Q. Did you hear that right after that we started sending volunteers
24 to Eastern Slavonia, to the villages there and to villages in Western
1 A. I heard that volunteers had arrived there but I can't tell you in
2 what time period.
3 Q. And could you link my statements that I was in command in -- of
4 those volunteers to the period when the JNA was not yet participating in
5 the fighting?
6 A. I think you did make such statements at that time, and the JNA
7 wasn't there at the time.
8 Q. Did you hear me saying that I was the commander after the JNA
9 became involved in the fighting and the volunteers acted exclusively
10 within the organisation of the JNA?
11 A. I don't remember that. I didn't hear that.
12 Q. You didn't hear me representing myself as a commander in public
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 Q. Do you know that some time in early September the General Staff of
16 the armed forces of Yugoslavia issued an edict about the deployment of
17 volunteers in the JNA?
18 A. I don't know that.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you've been asked a
20 series of questions that I find of great importance. Let's try to expand
21 on your answers. Please tell me if you served, if you did your military
22 service in the JNA at the time.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] How long did it last, this
25 military service?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A year, but I had some leave granted
2 as a reward, so I left a bit earlier.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Based on this brief experience
4 of one year in the JNA, do you think that it is possible for there to be a
5 double chain of command in the JNA military chain of command on the one
6 hand and political chain of command on the other hand based on a political
7 party, and this political chain of command would be beside the military
8 chain of command? Would that be possible according to you?
9 A. I think there was one military command. I didn't really
10 understand your question when you say a political party. There was one
11 party at that time.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to be more specific.
13 When you were a soldier of the JNA, were you supposed to obey the orders
14 of the military authority or the orders of a political party that you
15 might be a member of?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, every soldier has to obey the
17 orders issued by his immediate superior. He only listens to the military
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you yourself served in the
20 JNA, were you a member of a political party at the time?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time I was a member of the
22 League of Communists. There was only one political party then.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time you were a member of
24 the League of Communists as part of your military occupation and the
25 military occupation of your fellow soldiers and officers of the JNA, was
1 there a permanent connection with the League of Communists in order to
2 decide what sort of behaviour should be yours, or was the only connection
3 or contact you had with the military chain of command or hierarchy?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had a connection exclusively with
5 the military hierarchy.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please continue the
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, that's precisely why
9 I insist on the distinction between these two periods, the period when the
10 JNA did not participate in the fighting and the period when it did, so
11 that you and your colleagues can understand what this is all about.
12 That's why I'm insisting on it.
13 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Arming was mentioned here, arming of Serb units of the Territorial
15 Defence in Serb area, and you were asked whether General Dusan Pekic
16 participated in the arming of people from Western Slavonia and your
17 response was that you didn't have any information about that, but you did
18 learn from the media that he was involved; is that right?
19 A. Yes, that's what I said.
20 Q. Is it possible that because you didn't understand the question you
21 gave an erroneous answer or because you were under the influence of the
23 A. Well, I answered the question by saying that at the beginning when
24 the arming started I don't know who organised it or how it proceeded.
25 Later on I heard that Mr. Pekic had participated in it. I never attended
1 a meeting where he agreed to do that.
2 Q. The OTP showed you here and probably earlier as well a clip from
3 the BBC broadcast on "The Death of Yugoslavia" where I am attacking
4 Radmilo Bogdanovic, the former minister of police of Serbia, saying that
5 he had given weapons to armed volunteers. Do you remember that?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. Are you aware that that conversation was conducted in 1995?
8 A. No. Believe me, I don't remember that.
9 Q. But if I tell you that and the OTP does have the information when
10 the conversation was conducted, you have no reason to disbelieve me. Do
11 you remember that in 1995 I personally and the entire SRS were involved in
12 a fierce political showdown with Milosevic, Slobodan Milosevic, and his
14 A. Yes, I remember that.
15 Q. In Serbian political life, was it common when there is such a
16 showdown for both sides to launch smokescreens, to introduce confusion
17 into the public mind and say something detrimental to their opponents?
18 A. Yes, that's well-known.
19 Q. You remember that Milosevic's regime also said about me that I was
20 a criminal or an alcoholic. I almost never drink alcohol, but I was
21 publicly accused of being an alcoholic. I couldn't go from one newspaper
22 reader to another explaining I wasn't; is that right? Do you remember
23 those attacks?
24 A. Yes, I do. I'm just waiting for the interpretation to finish
25 before I start replying. Yes, I remember. They were very aggressive
2 Q. At dinner in Zvecevo which you also attended, did I drink any
3 alcohol at all?
4 A. Well, believe me I don't remember. If you say so, I believe you.
5 Q. Well, some people drank and did they joke about me because I
6 wasn't drinking?
7 A. I don't remember. I don't remember.
8 Q. All right. It doesn't matter. You're aware that in those
9 political showdowns on both sides things were launched -- statements were
10 launched which did not fully correspond to the facts?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. I would be falsely accused of something and I would respond
13 imaginatively, launching a series of accusations against the leader of the
15 A. Yes, you were very imaginative.
16 Q. You had some experience with my imagination, didn't you, my
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. But I had a special reason to criticise the Milosevic regime at
20 the time, because they were then conducting a so-called peace-making
21 policy, blockading Republika Srpska, and they started accepting all the
22 so-called Western peace initiatives; is that correct?
23 A. Yes. At that time Mr. Slobodan Milosevic was making efforts to
24 have adopted certain plans that the West demanded of him and you opposed
25 that policy of his at the time.
1 Q. Do you remember that in late 1994, early 1995 for four months I
2 was in Milosevic's prison and then in the summer of 1995, a further two
4 A. I remember you were imprisoned but I don't know exactly for how
5 long. But I know that you spent some time.
6 Q. Well, it's up to me to remember how long. At that time did I then
7 have any reason to spare Milosevic and his regime if I had been repeatedly
8 imprisoned illegally, unlawfully?
9 A. Well, I would say that you had good reason to be angry and to hit
10 back, to lash out the way you did because he kept you in prison.
11 Q. Did I have another reason to put up this smokescreen, that
12 Radmilo Bogdanovic had collected arms for the Territorial Defence and the
13 volunteers in order to cover up who really did it?
14 A. Well, that's possible. You know best the reasons and the causes,
15 but the reason for your imprisonment might be what you said about
16 Mr. Radmilo Bogdanovic.
17 Q. But the reason was to hide from the public that it was actually
18 Zoran Pekic who organised the arming of the Territorial Defence and
20 A. That's possible, too.
21 Q. Of course I didn't mention General Dusan Pekic, but he died two
22 months ago, so he's quite safe. Now nobody can imprison him any longer or
23 do anything else. Do you know he died two months ago?
24 A. No, I haven't heard about that.
25 Q. Do you know it was absolutely the oldest weaponry from the depots
1 of the Territorial Defence? It was scraping the barrel. Thompsons from
2 the Second World War, automatic rifles, Spagin of the Soviet army, M-48s,
3 M-56s. Do you know that?
4 A. Well, I heard people complaining they had received old weapons.
5 Q. Well, it's obvious that through General Pekic we were able to get
6 weaponry from the JNA that the JNA had written off a long time ago.
7 A. I can't say now that it was the only way to get the weapons, but
8 if it was that old, it had probably been written off.
9 Q. But the Territorial Defence and volunteers did get modern weapons,
10 especially the Kalashnikovs and similar, only when the JNA got involved in
11 the armed conflict; is that correct?
12 A. Well, it was noticed later that modern weapons appeared.
13 Q. You mean after August 1991?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So there, too, we see a significant difference between the period
16 of self-organisation of Serbian territorials in Slavonia, the engagement
17 of the Serbian Radical Party in the first period versus the period when
18 the JNA got involved in the combat and when each of my political speeches
19 pointed out that we were all one single army. We were all the JNA.
20 A. Yes. You said that it was a single army. It was all the JNA,
21 that your volunteers were under the command of the JNA. You did make
22 statements of that kind.
23 Q. Are you familiar with a single case in any theatre of war where
24 volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party showed up outside JNA units after
25 the 1st of September, 1991?
1 A. At that time I didn't have insight into the broader region except
2 my part of Western Slavonia, especially during the war. It's difficult
3 even for local people to move around let alone me, an outsider, but I knew
4 about Western Slavonia, and that was true enough there.
5 Q. Did you say to ICTY investigators that I was responsible for the
6 killing of Croat civilians in Vocin?
7 A. I never said you were responsible. I said I had heard that
8 volunteers were involved in that crime.
9 Q. And then ICTY investigators put it in a statement that you signed
10 that you thought I was responsible for the killings in Vocin. That's page
11 5, beginning of paragraph 2. And that the reason why you think so is that
12 it was well known I had come to inspect my units in Vocin. Is that
13 something the investigators and the Prosecutors put in your statement?
14 A. We talked about that a lot. I said I had heard volunteers were
15 involved. I said you had come to inspect your volunteers in the area of
16 Vocin. You visited them. But I didn't say that you had ordered that
17 killing or that you were directly responsible.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
19 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
20 Q. So it's the Prosecutors of the Tribunal who arbitrarily put this
21 in your statement.
22 A. That's the way the statement was written. That's what they
23 understood probably from the discussion we had, but I never directly
24 accused you of being responsible.
25 Q. That's because you didn't write the statement. They wrote the
1 statement on the basis of your interview and gave it to you to sign.
2 A. We talked. They drafted a statement and I signed the statement
3 after reading it.
4 Q. You said that a unit of volunteers was present somewhere in the
5 area around Vocin; right?
6 A. Yes, I heard that.
7 Q. Do you know it was about ten kilometres away from Vocin?
8 A. I really don't know the exact location, so I can't tell you the
10 Q. But if you had checked where that unit was, if you had gone to
11 that location to see the unit, to see those men, do you think you would
12 have been killed?
13 A. I don't think I would have been killed, although I was not really
14 well-liked among the militaries, but I don't think they would have
15 actually killed me. I can't tell you. I didn't think about that much.
16 They had no reason to kill me.
17 Q. But The Hague Prosecutors put it in your statement that you had
18 been there to check, that in fact that if you had gone there to check that
19 the volunteer unit was there in Vocin or around Vocin, you would probably
20 have been killed. That's in your statement of August.
21 A. I can tell you why it was written that way, I think. Jovo Vezmar
22 who was in the staff of the Territorial Defence for Western Slavonia
23 warned me that I should have no contact with military units or try to
24 inspect them, because I had had one contact at the very outset. So he
25 invited me to the staff and told me that if I try that again, I would be
1 killed, and that's why I thought that if I had tried to make another
2 contact of that kind, this promise made by one of the commanders would
3 have been made true.
4 Q. But he is from Pakrac. He has nothing to do with the Serbian
5 Radical Party.
6 A. Yes, he's from Pakrac. He was first commander of the TO staff of
7 Pakrac, and he was later with the staff of Western Slavonia.
8 Q. Does that mean that you were never in danger at that time to be
9 killed by me or the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party?
10 A. Jovo Vezmar threatened me directly in a way that you or your
11 volunteers never did. Not in the words that Jovo Vezmar and other people
12 from the TO did.
13 Q. In 1991 did I ever intervene in your interpersonal conflicts in
14 Western Slavonia? I mean conflicts between Serbian leaders, politicians,
15 whatever you want to call them. Did I get involved in that in any way?
16 A. No. When you were there and just at that time, you did not get
18 Q. At that dinner in Zvecevo, did I greet you cordially like everyone
19 else, and was it generally cordial conversation as a whole?
20 A. Yes. It was correct. There were no incidents. There were no
22 Q. Can you then conclude that I had no prejudice or animosity towards
23 any of you at the time?
24 A. Yes, I can.
25 Q. Here in the statement that you gave on the 14th of August, 2006,
1 you said that as far as you knew, in Western Slavonia there were only
2 volunteers linked to the Serbian Radical Party, and there were no
3 volunteers linked to other political parties. Did you say that?
4 A. Yes, I said that because nobody else ever appeared or ever made
5 any claims to any volunteers. That's why I concluded that they were all
6 volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party, and that was the general opinion
7 in Western Slavonia.
8 Q. However, a few years earlier, in the statement from year 2002, on
9 page 30 you say: "There existed a unit of White Eagles in Vocin and
10 another one in Kamenska numbering around 30 men. It was said that there
11 was a unit of the Serbian guards of Vuk Draskovic. I had no contact with
12 those people."
13 You stated that in 2002 when your memory was fresher than in 2006;
15 A. Yes, I remember that statement I gave in 2002.
16 Q. So were there any White Eagles in Western Slavonia or not?
17 A. I later gave that statement that I did because it was always said
18 that there were volunteers of only one organisation. White Eagles were
19 mentioned, and I said I didn't see them myself. I just heard about them,
20 and to whom they belonged I don't know.
21 Q. But you know that there were in Kamenska around 30 men belonging
22 to White Eagles. That's what you said in your statement.
23 A. Yes, that was the general talk mentioning that number and those
25 Q. Do you know who brought White Eagles to Western Slavonia?
1 A. No, I don't know that.
2 Q. How many times did you meet General Aleksandar Vasiljevic?
3 A. Never.
4 Q. When in early 1992 you publicly blamed a crime on the volunteers
5 of the Serbian Radical Party, I attacked you and General
6 Aleksandar Vasiljevic by saying that you had brought White Eagles to
7 Western Slavonia. I'm not asking if this is the truth. I'm asking if I
8 did make that accusation against you.
9 A. Yes. You accused me of being responsible for what happened in
10 Western Slavonia.
11 Q. Do you remember I also mentioned General Aleksandar Vasiljevic?
12 A. I remember you mentioned him, but I don't remember you put me and
13 him in the same context.
14 Q. Do you know that it hasn't been elucidated to date how exactly the
15 White Eagles came to Western Slavonia? The volunteers of the Serbian
16 Radical Party went to the barracks of the JNA in Bubanj Potok. They got
17 uniforms there. Sometimes they got weapons there too. Sometimes the
18 weapons were given later in Okucani. And all of them went along the same
19 channel. The White Eagles never passed through the Bubanj Potok barracks.
20 To date it's not exactly known how they turned up in Western Slavonia.
21 A. Well, as you say, it hasn't been elucidated to date and that might
22 make it easier for you to understand that we, at the time, didn't know how
23 they came, who organised it, and at the time I didn't know who brought
24 them and on whose orders they were there.
25 Q. But when you blamed that crime in Vocin on the volunteers of the
1 Serbian Radical Party, you did that randomly, without any verifiable
3 A. Well, there was no investigation at the time if you mean that I
4 could have used reliable information from an inquiry. I heard from people
5 who had come from that area that the volunteers of the Serbian Radical
6 Party participated in the liquidation of those people. Now, which exactly
7 volunteers and who specifically was there I don't know. I just said what
8 I had heard. I didn't mention any investigation.
9 Q. But you did mention the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party,
10 and that's why I lashed out saying that you were responsible for the
11 White Eagles.
12 A. Yes. I lashed out at you naming your volunteers, and then you hit
13 back linking me with the White Eagles. You made these statements in the
14 media like I did.
15 Q. How come that in 2002 you spoke about the existence of White Eagle
16 units, namely two units, you even mentioned the Serbian guards of
17 Vuk Draskovic, and then in the statement of 2006 you denied that there
18 were any other volunteers but those from the Serbian Radical Party? Is
19 that a suggestion The Hague Prosecutors made or did they simply write it
20 on their own in your statement?
21 A. No, they did not suggest it, and they didn't write my statement.
22 I wrote my own statement. Nobody imposed anything on me.
23 Q. Then how do you explain the significant discrepancy between the
24 two statements?
25 A. Just before my first statement, I learned from talking to someone
1 that the White Eagles and the guards were mentioned. That's why it stayed
2 in my mind. You said yourself that the situation was very confused. I
3 didn't realise it was very important that I mentioned other volunteers.
4 You say that there is a lot of guessing and speculation to this day. But
5 since there were no other leaders representing the White Eagles or any
6 other organisation, it was thought that all of the volunteers were from
7 one and the same source. Maybe I was also impressed by that movie where
8 you spoke about the White Eagles, and based on that, too, I concluded that
9 all those volunteers were together in the same basket. You saw yourself
10 those White Eagles, those volunteers with the White Eagle on their
11 helmets. That probably led me to conclude what I did.
12 Q. Do you make a distinction between the two-headed white eagle as an
13 old ancient Serbian symbol back from the dynasty of the Nemanjics taken
14 over from the Byzantine tradition - it is still the official Serbian
15 symbol on the flag and the coat of arms - and a specific organisation
16 called the White Eagles?
17 A. I believe that the state official symbols are one thing and White
18 Eagles as volunteers are something different.
19 Q. Did you ever hear me denying in public that the crimes against
20 Croat civilians in Western Slavonia happened?
21 A. I didn't hear you denying that.
22 Q. Did you hear me blaming that crime publicly on the White Eagles
24 A. I heard that.
25 Q. You saw yesterday that document shown to you by the Prosecution
1 listing 68 suspects for the crimes in Vocin and other places. Did you see
2 that document?
3 A. I did, yesterday.
4 Q. Did you see that there were only names of local residents of
5 Western Slavonia?
6 A. Yes, but I think at the beginning when those Puces [phoen] were
7 being mentioned, they were not residents of Western Slavonia.
8 Q. Was there a single volunteer of the Serbian Radical Party on that
10 A. Well, I don't know who belonged to what organisation there, so I
11 can't really answer that question.
12 Q. Did you ever hear that when I was in Western Slavonia when I
13 publicly spoke that I advocated the expulsion of the Croatian population
14 from Western Slavonia? Did you hear me say that ever?
15 A. No, you didn't say that.
16 Q. But here they slipped into your statement of 206 on page 6,
17 paragraph 14, that -- that I said that the best thing for the Croats would
18 be for them to go to Croatia, and that means that a Greater Serbia would
19 be a state of Serbs alone. And that is to be found on page 6 of your 206
20 statement. Did you say that or did they put that in?
21 A. Well, that was on the basis of the footage we saw when there was
22 mention of the Croatian state and that that's where that conclusion came
23 from. On the basis of the video that was shown of your speech, how a
24 Croatian state should be formed and who should live in it.
25 Q. But you said in examination-in-chief yourself that I considered
1 that the majority of today's alleged Croats were in fact the Serb
2 Catholics and that the Bosnian Muslims were Serbs of the Islamic faith; is
3 that right?
4 A. Yes, you did say that.
5 Q. Now, in your region in Western Slavonia, for instance, for
6 Slavonian Catholics were they referred to as being Sokci? Was that term
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And what does Sokac mean? Can you explain that to us? What does
10 that term mean?
11 A. Well, for the Croats over there, they -- it was considered that
12 Empress Marija Terezija had converted them to Catholicism but previously
13 they had been Orthodox and that was in those villages and that some of
14 them had taken over the Catholic faith; some remained Greco-Catholic, some
15 took over the Roman Catholic faith entirely.
16 Q. So they were Orthodox Serbs at one time who converted to
17 Catholicism and the other Serb Orthodox referred to these people as the
18 Sokci; is that right?
19 A. Well, I don't know whether that was the reason for them being
20 Sokci, but as I said some convert from orthodoxy to the Roman Catholic
22 Q. As you are an educated man, the Orthodox Serbs make the sign of
23 the cross using three fingers; right?
24 A. Yes, that is right.
25 Q. Whereas the Catholics make the sign of the cross with all five
1 fingers and a straight palm; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, through history, was that a slightly derogatory way of making
4 the sign of the cross if you use five fingers and your whole hand, meaning
5 a Saka, hand, and then later on this became Sokci, from Saka, the word
6 Saka. Is that how that name came to be used?
7 A. That is one possible interpretation.
8 Q. And you come across this explanation in books, in literature.
9 Saka and Sakci becoming Sokci. Is it true that I always said that the
10 Sokci from Slavonia were Serbs of the Catholic faith?
11 A. Yes, you did say that.
12 Q. You also spoke about the Uliac [phoen] and you know about the
13 Zumberacka union; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In the environs in Zagreb, do these Greco-Catholics still exist
16 who have Orthodox ceremonies, religious ceremonies but recognise the Pope
17 as the head of the Catholic church?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And today on Croatian television we sometimes see their prayers
20 being said. I watch programmes like that in the detention centre, in
21 prison here. I watch Croatian television broadcasting that kind of
22 programme; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So the religious ceremony is completely Orthodox but they mention
25 the Pope in their prayers and they mostly consider themselves to be
1 Croats; rights?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, in Croatia today, is the process being continued of
4 converting Serbs to the Roman Catholic faith?
5 A. Well, if that does occur, it is on an individual basis.
6 Q. Of course it's on an individual basis. Each man has to decide for
7 himself. But do you know the official date of the Serbian Catholic church
8 whereby over 30.000 Orthodox Serbs have already been converted to
10 A. Yes, I did hear about that.
11 Q. Now, do you know that when an Orthodox Serb converts to
12 Catholicism that automatically everybody in Croatia considers that person
13 to be a Croat?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So the difference between Serbs and Croats boils down to the
16 question of religion; right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, Pavelic's Croatia, the Ustasha state, did it wage a policy,
19 the aim of which was to kill a third of the Serbs, to expel another third
20 to Serbia, and to convert the last third to Catholicism?
21 A. Yes, that was Ante Pavelic's policy and the politics he pursued.
22 Q. Very well, Mr. VS-004. Now, The Hague Prosecutors showed you some
23 documents during the proofing sessions, and you stated your views on these
24 documents. Would that be right?
25 A. Yes, that is right.
1 Q. They showed you the declaration on the situation in Yugoslavia of
2 the 28th of October, 1991; right?
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
4 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Did you hear me? Anyway, they showed you a declaration on the
6 situation in Yugoslavia dated the 28th of October, 1991, and you said that
7 you had never seen that document; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. That is to be found on page 8 of the attachment to your statement
10 of 2006, and then on the basis of that, on the basis of you saying that
11 you had never seen the document, they introduce it along with your
12 testimony as evidence that you had never seen it before and they have it
14 A. I made the statement that I'd never seen the document until it was
15 placed before me, and we saw here that it was admitted into evidence.
16 Q. And for the Brioni joint declaration of the 7th of July, 1991, you
17 also said that you had never seen that document either; is that right?
18 A. Well, I hadn't seen that document ever. I wasn't in a position to
19 see it until I came here to the OTP.
20 Q. But they introduced it as an exhibit as if you had seen it.
21 A. Well, I did see that it was on the list of exhibits.
22 Q. They showed you another list, Epoha, and on the title page there
23 was a picture of Dobrica Cosic, the renowned Serb writer.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And they misled you to the effect that the text that appeared in
1 the Epoha and that was presented here was written by Dobrica Cosic
2 himself, that he was the author of the text?
3 A. That's what -- that's the conclusion I made, that it was a text
4 written by Dobrica Cosic.
5 Q. And the Prosecution said that that was the case, and here it says
6 that Dobrica Cosic wrote that article for the third way. Now, was Dobrica
7 Cosic at that convention for a third Yugoslavia at all?
8 A. Well, I don't remember that. It was a large meeting, and I can't
9 remember that.
10 Q. But if he was, you would have remembered, because he's such a
11 renowned writer that all us other mere mortals, at that time, barely
12 reached his knees we were so small.
13 A. Well, he had that kind of authority, so I do believe that I would
14 have noticed if he had been there, yes.
15 Q. They showed you a translation of my interview given to
16 Der Spiegel, the German journal; right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And that was published in August 1991; right?
19 A. I think that's right, yes.
20 Q. So for it to be published on the 8th of August, the interview
21 would have had to have been given during the month of July; right?
22 A. Well, one could conclude that. You can't give an interview after
23 the article's been published.
24 Q. And since I'm talking about my command position there, that must
25 have been before the 1st of August, 1991; right?
1 A. Yes. That's what one could conclude.
2 Q. Did you ever give interviews to foreign correspondents ever?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And did you ever authorise the interview or did you just talk to
5 the journalist and let him leave with your interview and publish what he
7 A. No, I never gave my authorisation. It was up to the journalist's
8 free will whether they would publish the interview or how they would
9 publish the interview. I didn't authorise it.
10 Q. Did it ever happen that in the interview they would publish
11 something that you never said or that they mistakenly interpreted your
12 words or anything like that?
13 A. Well, there were cases like that too.
14 Q. But you say you never saw those interviews published later on
15 because they appeared in the foreign press?
16 A. Yes, they appeared once and never again.
17 Q. But when they were published, you didn't really know that they
18 were published and what it said because the newspapers never reached you.
19 A. Well, on very rare occasions did the newspapers actually reach me.
20 Q. Have you heard of Renate Flottau who was the correspondent of
21 Der Spiegel from Belgrade?
22 A. No, I don't remember the name.
23 Q. Do you know that in 1999, the Serbian Radical Party was in a
24 coalition with Milosevic's party and that we had 15 ministers in the
25 government of Serbia?
1 A. I do know that it was during that period but I can't say whether
2 it was in 1999, but I do remember that you had entered a coalition with
3 Milosevic's party and that you had a significant presence in power and
5 Q. And do you know that Renate Flottau was officially expelled by our
6 government from Belgrade?
7 A. I remember that there was this case of a journalist being
8 officially asked to leave, but I don't know whether it was Renate Flottau,
9 who it was.
10 Q. The reason for her expulsion was her subversive activity with
11 regard to the war for Kosovo and Metohija, the NATO aggression, the
12 Albanian terrorists and their rebellions and so on and so forth. You
13 didn't hear about that?
14 A. No.
15 Q. All right. Now they also showed you some footage here, a fragment
16 from the BBC broadcast "The Death of Yugoslavia", and on that video you
17 can see part of my statement where I say that Milosevic asked us radicals
18 to send volunteers to the front. Do you remember that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you happen to remember that it was my first meeting with
21 Milosevic in May 1992?
22 A. I don't remember that detail.
23 Q. That's what I say in that interview and it was broadcast on one
24 occasion here. However that's not important if you don't remember that
25 detail. But do you know that Yugoslavia was given ultimatum by the
1 western powers and the Security Council, as far as I remember, that by the
2 19th of May, 1992, all JNA units should be withdrawn from
4 A. Yes. Yes, I do remember that.
5 Q. Well, is it obvious that Milosevic and I were discussing the fate
6 of the Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time after the withdrawal
7 of the JNA?
8 A. Well, one could conclude that, yes.
9 Q. Do you know that I, during those days, persistently advocated in
10 public that the JNA should not withdraw from Bosnia-Herzegovina and that
11 we should reject the ultimatum of the Western powers come what may?
12 A. Yes, I do remember that.
13 Q. Quite obviously Mr. Milosevic and I are discussing the fate of the
14 Serb people after the withdrawal of the JNA. That's obvious.
15 A. Yes, one could make that conclusion.
16 Q. So when I ask him what's going to be -- what's going to happen
17 with the Serbs over there, he says, "Well, send us some volunteers."
18 A. I don't remember that detail. It was a long time ago after all,
19 and I didn't follow all that.
20 Q. I'm sure you know that the JNA did in fact withdraw on the 19th of
21 May and that in Bosnia-Herzegovina all that was left were the Serbs that
22 were born there and that they formed an army of Republika Srpska. Is that
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Therefore, the volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party who after
1 that period of time went could no longer go under JNA organisation; right?
2 A. That is what one could conclude. I don't know what happened
3 before that. That would be a logical conclusion. If there was no JNA,
4 then it couldn't have organised it over there.
5 Q. And if we sent volunteers after that time then they had to go in
6 civilian clothes. They couldn't have worn uniforms. They couldn't have
7 gone bearing arms but they would be transported in civilian clothing as
8 ordinary civilians and then would report to the various commands and be
9 deployed and sent where they were sent.
10 A. That is a possibility but I'm not well-versed in affairs of that
11 kind so I can't confirm or refute that.
12 Q. You remember that in 1991, I myself wore a camouflage uniform from
13 time to time.
14 A. Yes, I remember that.
15 Q. I had a pistol on me when I toured the front lines. Sometimes I
16 would have a Kalashnikov, an automatic rifle on me. Sometimes it would be
17 the M-56 automatic rifle depending on the occasion.
18 A. Yes, we could see you in the media with different weapons.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Ah, the microphone seems to be
21 working again.
22 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Now, after the 19th of May, 1992, and the withdrawal of the JNA
24 from Bosnia-Herzegovina, do you ever see me in uniform after that?
25 A. I don't remember. I can't claim that I saw you in uniform after
1 that. I can't say.
2 Q. And did you see television footage of me touring Republika Srpska
3 or Republika Srpska Krajina? And I went there several times and held
4 rallies in Serbian Krajina in 1995 for the last time, I was in Okucani
5 too, and I always went wearing civilian clothes. Were you able to see
6 that on television? Did you notice that?
7 A. Yes, I do remember that in Okucani when you were there, that you
8 were wearing civilian clothes and when you went to some other places.
9 Q. So I as a citizen of Serbia and a military conscript of the JNA
10 never left Serbia wearing a uniform. Is that a fact?
11 A. Well, I don't remember seeing you later on in uniform, no.
12 Q. All right. Now, we dealt with that set of questions. I'd like to
13 move on to another area and deal with some general circumstances.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question which could
15 summarise everything that's been said here, the questions and the answers.
16 Mr. Seselj seems to be asking you to confirm the following: The JNA
17 withdrew in 1992 at a date which we can confirm without any problem. When
18 the JNA withdraws, it seems that Milosevic then asked for volunteers to be
19 sent in. The volunteers would then have arrived on the spot, and these
20 volunteers would then have been integrated by local units called TO units
21 that would have incorporated them in their units. Is that how you
22 perceived things? Is this the way things happened when the JNA withdrew
23 and the volunteers arrived?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, one might conclude
25 that. I did not have any insight into the manner of arrival, the methods
1 of recruitment, the issuing of uniforms and weapons. I know that the JNA
2 was leaving at the time and that -- Herzegovina, and that officers went
3 over to the army of Republika Srpska, and one can only conclude that now
4 the volunteers who arrived would belong to the Republika Srpska army
5 because the JNA was no longer there. But I didn't live there, and as a
6 civilian I did not have any insight into the inner workings of military
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have to raise a
9 point. I'm afraid you did not properly understand one segment of my
11 I said in that statement Milosevic asked, but you have to see the
12 context. He didn't ask me officially to send volunteers on behalf of
13 Serbia. When I expressed my fears and my opposition to the withdrawal of
14 the JNA and how the Serbs down there would be able to resist the Croats
15 and the Muslims who had joined forces with the support of the West, he
16 responded, "Well, send us -- you should send more volunteers."
17 Official Serbia had nothing to do with the sending of volunteers,
18 and there's not a shred of evidence that official Serbia participated in
19 that. The OTP has no document and no evidence to show that. It was
20 finished as far as official Serbia was concerned. It was now up to the
21 Serb Radical Party and our people who were desirous of coming to their aid
22 of their brothers across the River Drina. I think this has to be
23 clarified so that this testimony can be reduced to the framework it
24 belongs in because the OTP has been too ambitious presenting evidence
25 through this witness that the witness knows nothing about.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You heard what has just been
2 clarified. What do you have to say about this? Is this a possibility?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I think -- I don't know what
4 else I could say, Your Honour. I didn't have any insight into that. All
5 I can say is that the JNA left. The army that remained reorganised itself
6 as the army of Republika Srpska, and anyone arriving in the area would
7 have to be organised by the army of Republika Srpska, but how this
8 operated I don't know. I couldn't comment on that.
9 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I just wanted to remark that the
10 witness gave us a fairly clear testimony, and it is for the Trial Chamber
11 to draw its conclusions thereof.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Seselj, we have
13 seven minutes left before the break.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. I'll make use of that to
15 deal with another important point concerning the general circumstances. I
16 finished with the crime base now, although the OTP did not have the right
17 to introduce a witness testifying to the crime base in Western Slavonia,
18 but as they did, I had to clarify the issues concerning Vocin, crimes
19 against civilians and everything else, but let me point out that the OTP
20 had no right to do this.
21 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. VS-004, are you aware that Franjo Tudjman was one of the first
23 people in the former Yugoslavia who started publicly challenging the
24 official data on the war crimes committed in World War II?
25 A. Yes, I'm aware of that.
1 Q. Are you aware that the present-day regime in Croatia is still
2 doing this and that Stipe Mesic, Ivo Sanader and all the other
3 high-ranking officials are participating in it?
4 A. I think they're endeavouring for the data that was the official
5 data in the former Yugoslavia to be challenged and to have data that is
6 reduced in numbers accepted as the official data.
7 Q. Are you aware that when it comes to the number of victims in
8 Jasenovac at the trial in Nuremberg the figure of 700.000 was officially
10 A. Yes. That was the official information up until the war in the
11 former Yugoslavia.
12 Q. Are you aware that most European states have laws proclaiming it a
13 criminal offence to attempt to reduce the number of victims in World War
15 A. Yes. I know that this is a highly sensitive issue and that it's
17 Q. Usually it is the pro-Nazi forces that want to reduce those
19 A. Well, I would rather say that it is those whose compatriots who
20 committed those crimes who want to reduce the numbers.
21 Q. Are you aware that Franjo Tudjman, referring to the total number
22 of victims in Jasenovac wanted to reduce that number to 40.000?
23 A. Yes. That was his aim and his intention.
24 Q. Are you aware that Stipe Mesic and the present-day officials in
25 Croatia are trying to reduce the number of victims in Jasenovac to --
1 between 80 and 100.000?
2 A. Yes. Some research in Croatia has come up with those figures, and
3 that's what they're saying.
4 Q. Have you heard of Yad Vashem, the big Holocaust museum in Israel?
5 A. Yes. Yes, I have heard of it.
6 Q. Have you heard that according to the official information of
7 Yad Vashem in Jasenovac, 600.000 people were killed?
8 A. Yes. Yes, I have heard that.
9 Q. Do you know the name of Miroslav Krleza?
10 A. Of course. Of course I do.
11 Q. Do you agree that Miroslav Krleza is one of the greatest Croatian
12 men of letters of all time?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. Do you agree that for several decades Miroslav Krleza was the
15 director of the Yugoslav Lexicographic Institute with its headquarters in
17 A. Yes, I agree.
18 Q. Are you aware that the encyclopedia of Yugoslavia which was
19 compiled under his leadership published the information that 500 to
20 600.000 Serbs, Croats, and Jews were killed in Jasenovac?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Have you heard of an authors called Jakov Gelo, a demographer?
23 A. No. No, I haven't.
24 Q. So you're not aware that he published in 1987, in Zagreb, a book
25 published by Globus entitled "Demographic Changes in Croatia from 1978 to
1 1981" where he stated that in Jasenovac over 700.000 camp inmates were
3 A. I heard this information. I don't remember the name.
4 Q. Do you remember that in 1961 and 1962 a group of five professors,
5 university professors, including Dr. Ante Pogacnik from the Institute of
6 Forensic Medicine in Ljubljana; Dr. Vida Brodar, professor from Ljubljana;
7 Dr. Ante Predl, a professor of forensic medicine at Zagreb university;
8 Dr. Srboljub Zivanovic, an anthropologist, a professor Emeritus in London
9 and Professor Maric --
10 THE INTERPRETER: This is to fast for the interpreters.
11 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
12 Q. -- and they concluded that in the graves that have been
13 investigated alone over 700.000 corpses were found?
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please go more slowly because
15 the interpreters have difficulty keeping up.
16 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
17 Q. My question is: Are you aware that this commission which had a
18 majority of Croats and Slovenes in it concluded based on information from
19 the ground that in those graves that have been investigated over 700.000
20 corpses were buried?
21 A. Yes, I did hear about that.
22 Q. They were unable to investigate all the graveyards because it's an
23 area that's frequently flooded by the River Sava and many corpses are
24 floated down the Sava. Is that right?
25 A. Yes, I did hear about that.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's now 10.00, and
2 we shall have a 20-minute break.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.00 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 10.20 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We've resumed the hearing. It's
6 20 past 10.00. You have the floor, Mr. Seselj.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for Mr. Seselj.
8 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. VS-004, have you heard had of Simon Wiesenthal's centre for
10 the investigation and prosecution of war criminals with it's headquarters
11 in Vienna?
12 A. I can hear Mr. Seselj's question, but the interpretation I'm
13 receiving is in English -- or, rather, I'm hearing English in my headset
14 and it's very confusing.
15 Yes, I have heard of Simon Wiesenthal's centre.
16 Q. Are you aware that Wiesenthal's centre has an official figure of
17 600.000 victims of the Jasenovac camp in World War II?
18 A. Yes, I've heard of that.
19 Q. So it's evident that the precise number will never be known
20 because entire villages were killed, but certainly there were not less
21 than 600.000 victims. Is that correct?
22 A. Well, it's correct that the real number will never be known, and
23 we Serbs who feel victimised believe in that figure of 600.000.
24 Q. You mentioned that a large number of your close family members
25 were killed in Jasenovac. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes. They were in Gradiska, the camp of Stara Gradiska which
2 belonged to the Jasenovac camp.
3 Q. Seventeen members of your close family were killed?
4 A. Seventeen only on my father's side, on my father's side alone.
5 Q. This will not reveal the witness's identity. You don't have to
6 intervene. I am taking that into account. I will have a few questions
7 towards the end of my cross-examination, and I will tell you then when it
8 refers to personal information, but this information will not identify the
9 witness in public.
10 Do you agree, Witness 004? This is information that cannot reveal
11 your identity?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So both your father and your mother suffered a similar fate. They
14 were small children at the time of the war; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Are you aware that Pavelic's Ustasha state, as part of its
17 official policy, took away small children from Serbs who had been
18 liquidated and gave them to Croatian families for adoption, education,
19 care, and so on?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. There were several tens of thousands of such children; is that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Most of these children were so small that they had no idea who
25 their father was, who their mother was, and it would be very hard for them
1 to discover this after the war?
2 A. Yes. This did -- this did happen.
3 Q. Of course there are many honourable and honest Croats, and your
4 parents were lucky to be cared for by such people. However, there were
5 others who immediately had those children convert to Catholicism, gave
6 them other names and so on. Isn't that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Another detail concerning your statement given to the OTP. You
9 mentioned here allegedly that on the 19th of December, volunteers of the
10 Serbian Radical Party got drunk in Masicka Sagovina and were killed by
11 Croats. Did you say that?
12 A. Yes, I heard about this, and that's what I said.
13 Q. Who did you hear from that they were drunk and that's why they
14 were killed?
15 A. Well, I heard that because that's a date connected with
16 Saint Nicolas, who is an important Serbian saint, and they were
17 celebrating. That was the version of the story I heard, that they were
18 celebrating this.
19 Q. According to what I learned, in the village of Masicka Sagovina
20 it's Djurdjevdan which is usually celebrated. St. George is celebrated as
21 the patron saint of most of the inhabitants of the village. Would that be
23 A. Well, that might be true, but the patron saint of those people
24 might have been Saint Nicolas. Maybe they were celebrating with a friend
25 whose patron saint it was.
1 Q. And can you recall who told you they were drunk?
2 A. No, I can't recall.
3 Q. Are you aware that on that day Croatian paramilitary formations
4 attacked Masicka Sagovina with a large force?
5 A. On that date there was a widespread offensive on the territory of
6 Western Slavonia from Pakrac onward --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, can we move into
8 private session for a few seconds, please.
9 [Private session] [Confidentiality lifted by order of Chamber]
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're now in private session.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I'm taking the floor
12 because earlier on Mr. Seselj put questions to the witness about orphans,
13 Serb orphans, that were allegedly adopted and given to Croatian families
14 during the Second World War. It's something I was not aware of, and it
15 may be true or not. But I'm putting myself in the shoes -- or in the
16 place of Croats who would listen to this and who would then start
17 wondering about their own relationship with their own parents, about their
18 own family connections. Therefore, I would like to consult my colleagues
19 to see whether we should not redact this part of the proceedings because
20 we still have time to issue an order for a redaction. Such adoption
21 issues are always very sensitive, and some people listening to this might
22 find this extremely traumatic. People might start asking questions to
23 their parents. So I'd like to consult my fellow Judges to see what we'll
24 do about this.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I say something, Your Honour?
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's a well-known fact described in
3 a large number of books, newspaper serials. It's no secret. Almost all
4 these children, except for those who were small babies, did try to find
5 out about their origins after the war and with great difficulty they would
6 learn about their background. Unless you tell the public -- no one will
7 be upset by this in the public because it is a well-known fact, and I
8 think the witness is aware that it's a well-known fact.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll consider the matter.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] After considering the matter we
12 only have one question to put to the witness.
13 Witness, you've heard the questions put to you by Mr. Seselj about
14 this matter. Do you believe that -- or personally does this have an
15 impact on your own situation?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. Those children, if
17 they are still alive, are now aged about 70. There are many people, most
18 notably the children of Mount Kozara, who ended up that way. Many were
19 raised by other families. Some learned about their real parents, others
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right. The Trial Chamber
23 decides to keep all that part of the transcript public.
24 We're now going to go back into open session.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I demand that this
1 part of the secret session, while you were still deliberating, be made
2 public. The public needs to know the dilemmas faced by the Trial Chamber.
3 It's very important, and it doesn't identify the witness.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber will respond
5 to this application of yours later.
6 Please proceed with your cross-examination.
7 [Open session]
8 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Have you heard that in the Jasenovac camp more than 20.000 small
10 Serbian children were killed?
11 A. Yes. That information circulated in the public.
12 Q. And the Ustasha government of Ante Pavelic took a number of
13 children of Serbian parents who were killed and gave them to be raised by
14 Croatian families to become Croats; correct?
15 A. Yes. That was their objective.
16 Q. Let us go back to Masicka Sagovina. You heard from someone - you
17 don't know who - that the volunteers had got drunk. Do you know that the
18 volunteers of the Serbian Radical Party in Masicka Sagovina were engaged
19 in a blocking defence until all the population had managed to pull out
20 and the Territorial Defence, too, that they sacrificed themselves to save
22 A. I heard about the fighting. I didn't know about the details.
23 Q. Do you know that on that day 11 volunteers of the Serbian Radical
24 Party were killed while a number were wounded and captured?
25 A. I don't know the exact number of those who were killed and I know
1 that some were captured.
2 Q. Do you know that among the captured there was one girl,
3 Dusica Nikolic who, after a while, served as an MP from the Serbian
4 Radical Party in the Assembly of Serbia?
5 A. I heard that.
6 Q. In a Croatian prison she was subjected to the most cruel torture.
7 A. I heard that.
8 Q. Do you know that there was not a single captured volunteer who was
9 actually prosecuted, volunteer of the Serbian Radical Party? They were
10 all released after a while without any charges.
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, private session,
14 [Private session] [Confidentiality lifted by order of Chamber]
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're now in private session.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you mentioned
17 Dusica Nikolic who was an MP, and you stated that she was imprisoned in a
18 Croatian prison, that she was brutally tortured, and so on and so forth.
19 I do not know whether this is an established fact or not, but what I'm
20 wondering is whether Ms. Dusica Nikolic would agree for us to be
21 discussing her situation openly. That's my problem. Can you confirm me
22 that this is an established fact? Has this been investigated? Has there
23 been a judgement about this? Because I can imagine that Ms. Nikolic would
24 not want this to be discussed in public.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Dusica Nikolic lives
1 in Belgrade. About the torture in the Croatian prison she spoke a lot,
2 even in the National Assembly of Serbia and gave several interviews to
3 newspapers. Dusica Nikolic will be my defence witness, and here in the
4 courtroom she will testify in public because I won't have a single secret
5 witness, and she will testify publicly about everything she went through
6 in the Croatian prison.
7 You see, the witness had heard about this case too. If he -- if
8 he hadn't heard -- if it hadn't been discussed publicly, he wouldn't have
9 heard about it. And there was not a single prosecution. They never
10 prosecute criminals unless they are pressured into it by someone from the
11 outside. All their criminals go scot-free.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We're going to move
13 back into open session and all this part of the transcript can be made
15 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
16 Q. We are now going back to a number of details --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please wait a moment. The
18 registrar needs to announce that we're in public session, in open session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're now in open session.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. We are in open session.
22 Let me say that we were in private session and we mentioned the situation
23 of Ms. Dusica Nikolic. Mr. Seselj announced that she would be testifying
24 as a Defence witness. As a result, the portion of the transcript that was
25 recorded in private session is now going to become public.
1 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Towards the end of 1991, the Vance Plan was accepted, the plan to
3 deploy UN troops in the territory of the Serbian Krajina,
4 Western Slavonia, Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, and the JNA
5 was to pull out from these areas; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did Serbs anywhere, any time after the deployment of the UNPROFOR,
8 restart on their own initiative armed actions against Croats?
9 A. There were no armed actions. All I know is that in some areas of
10 Western Slavonia some groups made deep incursions across the separation
11 lines, and there were several ambushes killing policemen, and there were
12 some civilian victims too.
13 Q. Are you talking about Croatian groups making incursions into
14 Serbian territory or vice versa?
15 A. What I just said was Serbian groups making incursions across the
16 separation lines. They went to visit their villages, ran into a police
17 patrol which they liquidated, and sometimes they seized vehicles and
18 kidnapped civilians, Croats in Western Slavonia.
19 Q. But it was individual incidents, individuals doing something of
20 their own accord.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. While the weaponry of the army of the Serbian Krajina was under
23 lock and key.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. One key was in the hands of the UNPROFOR, and the other key was in
1 the hands of the Territorial Defence of Western Slavonia.
2 A. Yes. That applied to heavy weaponry.
3 Q. But the staffs of Territorial Defence still functioned, although
4 the employees came to work in civilian clothes?
5 A. That was in 1992 and early 1993. Later on, the staffs got
6 uniformed again, and until 1995 they were in uniform.
7 Q. But they took up arms again only when Croats started attacking
8 certain UN safe areas?
9 A. That was after the case of Maslenica, which happened in January
10 1993. Later on our leadership in Western Slavonia changed. The attitude
11 changed, and that's when the staffs took up their role again.
12 Q. Do you remember that in September 1993 there was an attack by
13 Croat forces on the Medak pocket in Serbian Krajina?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In that attack were all civilians who were found there killed, and
16 all the villages and UN safe areas were burned, Citluk, Divoselo and
17 Pocitelj. They were completely destroyed these three villages.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Do you remember that the UNPROFOR general Jean Cot stated on that
20 occasion that he had been to the area and found no signs of life, human or
21 animal, that the destruction by Croatian forces was systematic, deliberate
22 and complete?
23 A. Yes, I remember that.
24 Q. You spoke about Western Slavonia and the destruction of Serbian
25 villages. What is the total number of Serbian villages burned,
1 devastated, destroyed by Croats after December 1991 when they captured the
2 greatest part of Western Slavonia?
3 A. 165 villages were completely devastated and destroyed in Western
5 Q. Plus another 20 or so that were partially destroyed?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. In 1995, on the 1st of May, the Croats mounted an operation known
8 publicly as Operation Flash; correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The purpose of the operation was to take hold of all
11 Western Slavonia and to expel the Serbian population from there; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Those areas of Western Slavonia were officially under the
14 protection of the UNPROFOR; correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On two occasions Mr. Seselj
17 asked you to confirm that these territories were under the protection of
18 UNPROFOR. What does it mean, in your opinion, what does this protection
19 mean? What was it all about? What did it entail?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that area, Your Honours, the
21 forces of the UN, both military and police, were deployed. They
22 supervised and controlled those areas in order to prevent the kind of war
23 between Serbs and Croats that occurred in 1991. In the meantime, a UN
24 Security Council Resolution changed their mandate, so in end 1995 it was
25 called UNCRO a protection belt in Croatia which encouraged the Croatian
1 forces to believe they could attack it whereas in fact they shouldn't
2 have. It was under UN protection. The UN forces were supposed to protect
3 it, to prevent conflict. And they should have warned the population at
4 the time that Croatian forces are preparing an attack so that the
5 population could prepare themselves and move rather than suffer the
6 destruction and killing that they did in the end.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to you, did UNPROFOR
8 have a mandate to oppose militarily any type of attack.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a delicate issue. I'll try to
10 shed some light.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's precisely because it's
12 delicate that I'm putting that question to you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Right. When I was negotiating
14 with the UNPROFOR in 1992, and when we in Western Slavonia demilitarised,
15 handing over our heavy weaponry to be under double key, the only armed
16 force was the police carrying short barrels, that is, pistols in Western
17 Slavonia, we got guarantees from Commander Zabala, commander of Sector
18 West, who said that in case of attack by the Croatian army, they would
19 respond and protect that area from the Croatian army.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Who was the commander who gave
21 you that guarantee?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The commander was General Zabala
23 from the Argentinian battalion. In 1992, we got a written guarantee from
24 him, and sometime on the 2nd September, 1992, Marrack Goulding, the
25 under-secretary of the United Nations, came to the area to congratulate us
1 on the implementation of the Vance Plan and supported our activities and
2 actions and encouraged us to continue.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're saying that you received
4 a written document from that Argentinian general and he had stated that he
5 would intervene if your sector was attacked; is that correct.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That's how it was,
7 Your Honour, in 1992.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I continue my clarification? In
10 1993, an order was issued by our Serbian commander, a general from Banija,
11 General Novakovic, that we in Western Slavonia, who had a total of five
12 tanks, should attack Novska and Gradiska, that is neighbouring towns under
13 Croatian control because an offensive was to be launched from there. An
14 urgent meeting was then held between the civilian authorities and the
15 UNPROFOR where we civilians imposed a ban on moving those tanks because
16 General Zabala had promised to protect us if a conflict occurs. And then
17 again those weapons placed again under control in those delicate moments.
18 We had those guarantees from him and that's why we acted in the spirit of
19 the Vance Plan.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And afterwards when
21 the Croats attacked, no one kept their promises, if I understand
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in 1995 -- in the meantime I
24 had spent time in prison. I was no longer part of the authorities. I was
25 a regular citizen. And in 1995, when another all-out offensive of the
1 Croatian forces occurred, the units of the UNPROFOR simply moved, pulled
2 out from their locations, but one Serbian unit stopped one of their
3 units. And through that unit we established contact with representatives
4 of the United Nations in order to start negotiations on a truce which we
5 managed to establish only after 24 hours, thanks only to that one patrol.
6 Because when the Croatian artillery started firing, they all pulled out,
7 and that was the only one patrol that helped us establish contact with the
8 UNPROFOR that resulted eventually in a truce after 24 hours.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
10 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Did the Croatian army in Operation Flash kill Serb civilians that
12 it came across?
13 A. Yes. There were cases where the Serb civilians were killed.
14 Q. Were -- did many Serb civilians die going towards
15 Bosanska Gradiska?
16 A. A lot was said about this and I heard from people who broke
17 through during that event. They said there were many dead and many
18 wounded and an investigation was launched but the exact figure was never
19 established because the traces were done away with. And there were quite
20 a lot of people who either had someone or didn't have anybody to ask after
21 them. So we don't actually know the exact figure of the number of
22 civilians killed during the withdrawal.
23 Q. Is it true that the column of civilians was attacked severely by
24 the Croatian artillery?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And the Croatian air force, was it included in the bombing of
2 civilians who were withdrawing?
3 A. Yes, I heard about that.
4 Q. Is it also true and correct that the motorway used by the
5 civilians in their withdrawal was so full of blood that afterwards they
6 used hoses and detergents to wash the blood away from the asphalt surface?
7 A. I heard about this on the road from Okucani to Stara Gradiska.
8 It's not a motorway, it's a road leading directly to Stara Gradiska or
9 Bosanska Gradiska.
10 Q. Do you know who lieutenant colonel Harambasic is?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Is lieutenant colonel -- was lieutenant Harambasic commander of
13 the Serb forces in Pakrac?
14 A. Yes, he was.
15 Q. Did lieutenant colonel Harambasic negotiate with the Croats
16 through the mediation of the United Nations to have his unit hand over its
17 weapons to UNPROFOR so that the Serbs without weapons could withdraw from
18 the area and that 1.500 soldiers should withdraw and 4.000 civilians?
19 A. There were negotiations about that for a surrender, and I took
20 part in those talks and the weapons were indeed handed over, and it was
21 agreed that the soldiers who wished to leave could do so.
22 Q. Is it true and correct that as soon as the Serbs lay down their
23 arms, surrendered their arms, Croatian artillery opened fire on them and
24 demanded unconditional surrender?
25 A. After all those negotiations that went on for some time, there was
1 supposed to be a final round of talks which was postponed three times, and
2 near us negotiators there were representatives of the European observers
3 too. They attended the negotiations throughout. And when the final
4 agreement was postponed, what happened was that there was shelling, sudden
5 shelling. And during that shelling the news reached us that unconditional
6 surrender was being called for, unconditional surrender of civilians
7 because there were no more soldiers under arms at the time. They'd all
8 taken off their uniforms and were civilians and waiting for further
9 developments. And then the surrender itself took place.
10 Q. What happened to the soldiers when they surrendered?
11 A. Well, almost all of them ranging in age between 18 and 60, and
12 there were even people who were 80 years old who were arrested and taken
13 to prisons in Bjelovar, Varazdin, Pozega, Osijek, and so on. There were
14 private prisons at the time, too, or that's what people said and quite
15 large number of them, especially in Varazdin, were physically mistreated
16 and some succumbed to their wounds. Some were beaten up. Many later on
17 took a long time to recover after the mistreatment, and a smaller number
18 were released one day after another, after they had been interrogated I
19 assume. And when they returned to Pakrac in the buses, the police made
20 them slap each other so you would have two brothers slapping each other on
21 orders from the police. And when these people arrived where these
22 soldiers were, many of them left Western Slavonia because they were afraid
23 of what was about to happen, and those who stayed on were abused
24 overnight. There's the village of Brusnik which was an example in point
25 where the policemen stormed their homes at night and made them lick salt,
1 lick salt. They abused them, and then they left the area and went towards
3 Q. Is it true that in Operation Flash a total of 20.000 Serbs were
4 expelled from the territory of Western Slavonia?
5 A. That is a figure that we had at the time. It was 15.000 around
6 Okucani and 5.000, almost 6.000 in the Pakrac area.
7 Q. Is it true and correct that at that time only 1.000 Serbs stayed
8 on in the territory of Western Slavonia?
9 A. Immediately after those events and the exodus or, rather, the
10 departure of the people, we made a list of people that remained and those
11 who were missing, and the figure was that about 1.700 remained, some 1.700
12 Serbs remained.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone, please.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Ah, it's all right now. I was very
15 careful in handling the microphone so I don't know what went wrong.
16 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
17 Q. But is it true that the Serb houses at the time were looted and
18 set alight?
19 A. That happened on the territory of Okucani and up there around
20 Pakrac where we stayed there was looting but there was no setting fire to
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone again, please.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's working now.
24 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Is it true and correct that the remaining Serb civilians were
1 mistreated in large numbers and some of them were even killed?
2 A. Well, there wasn't mass killing. There was killing. People were
3 killed and nobody was held responsible still, but they were mistreated,
4 and I personally attended one such instance in a village around Pakrac
5 where I happened to be. They asked me to go there and take them out
6 because they had -- were having a lot of problems. They were being
7 mistreated. So when I returned, that very moment I called --
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Only one short observation. All these events
9 happened in 1995. That is far behind the time frame of the indictment.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Seselj. What is the
11 relevance of what happened in 1995 as against what you wish to prove?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All these events depict the
13 relationship of the Croatian authorities towards Serb civilians, and that
14 relationship was a continuous one identical for a five-year period. So
15 that's the relevance of it. That's why this is important. It is
16 important to show that the Serbs over there had no other way out but to
17 resist Croatian attacks by taking up arms. Their ultimate fate is best
18 proof and evidence that that was the only way out. They didn't manage to
19 be victorious and preserve their villages and houses.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, I have a question to put to
21 you. As in 1995, well, as we've said, this is not part of the indictment,
22 but you were present in the Pakrac area, and you therefore witnessed the
23 Flash offensive that was launched by the Croatian army. It seems
24 according to the questions that were put to you and according to your
25 answers that 20.000 Serbs allegedly left the area and were driven out.
1 This is what I'm interested in. I'm trying to understand why all these
2 people left and why according to the census only 1.700 Serbs were left.
3 Your neighbours or the people in the area, when these people left,
4 they left because they were afraid of what was about to happen or because
5 orders had been given to the effect that they should leave? Or was their
6 departure connected to a feeling of panic which is more than
7 understandable in such situation or was it a concerted action which meant
8 that these people had to leave? What kind of light can you shed on this,
9 because you witnessed all of this, and why didn't you yourself leave?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Western Slavonia was
11 specific as a region because the way of life there was normal. There were
12 contacts with the other side, with the Croats, that is. There were
13 check-points at a number of places where family and friends could meet.
14 Then there was the motorway and the Serbs left -- or, rather, the Serbs
15 went to the Croatian petrol pumps to get fuel. Then there were
16 intentional situations of incident, and a Serb was killed at one of such
17 petrol pump with a knife. And to quote an example, well, there was this
18 dead man lying by the petrol pump killed by a Croat. Everybody saw that,
19 but everybody went on tanking up. They didn't pay that much attention.
20 They didn't think it would present any great fear. But later on the Serb
21 police closed off the motorway to prevent this point of contact and they
22 said that this was to prevent further killing.
23 Now, when an all-out offensive broke out with strong artillery and
24 tank forces being engaged, then certainly there was panic and fear among
25 the population so that they should not fare the same way as they did in
1 Maslenica [indiscernible] pocket. And they left the area in a panic.
2 Those of us who remained in the Pakrac area we were under siege. We were
3 in an enclave under siege for four days and I said a moment ago that it
4 was thanks to the patrol that was held back and we were able to establish
5 contact with the United Nations and negotiated for four days. And as a
6 group, four and a half to 5.000 there were -- people there until -- we
7 were there until the 4th of May. Now after being beaten up in the prisons
8 and all the mistreatment, many people left. And part of those people,
9 military conscripts left because they thought they might be mobilised and
10 sent to the war against other -- in other areas of Krajina. They didn't
11 feel safe and secure.
12 Now, we tried to prevail upon the people to stay on and to take
13 over the new documents of the Croatian authorities and to continue our
14 struggle for our rights. We didn't come across fruitful ground because
15 there was general chaos. People had been beaten and they didn't believe
16 anyone anymore. And I know that I talked to the European observers, and
17 they said it is your human right to fight for that, to continue living in
18 the area, to -- win your rights. And if you leave, it means you have
19 given up on your rights and what you are owed. So my colleagues and I
20 decided to stay on, but I can tell you that it was very difficult period
21 because all those who had remained to the present day - and that's 12 or
22 13 years on - cannot find employment in state institutions. They can only
23 find employment privately. We still do not have guaranteed civilians'
24 rights, although we do have religious rights, but there were difficulties
25 after Operation Flash. I know that on Christmas extremists stormed our
1 church and threatened us and so on. So these were very difficult times
2 and, as I say, it's still difficult to live there today. You don't have
3 the right to work, to employment; and if you don't have the right to
4 employment, you don't have the means of a livelihood and existence.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for your rather
6 comprehensive answer.
7 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Having mentioned the right to employment and right to work, is it
9 true that the Croatian authorities took away tenants' rights to all Serbs
10 who were expelled from Croatia or out of fear left of their own accord?
11 A. Yes. That's a well-known fact. It's only the Serbs that lost
12 their tenant's rights in the Republic of Croatia during 1991. If they had
13 not spent six months living in a particular apartment, many left because
14 they were threatened. Many left because of fear. Many were evicted from
15 their flats when they went out to work and when they came back home, they
16 found somebody else living in their flats and they would change the locks
17 and wouldn't allow the tenants to go to their flats.
18 Q. Since the Trial Chamber does not know what this property right
19 means and tenants' rights, let me explain it. Tenants' rights are a part
20 of property rights which was specifically developed in Communist
21 Yugoslavia; isn't that right, Witness?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In Communist Yugoslavia people, for the most part, did not have
24 the possibility of building their own houses or buying their own flats.
25 Those were few and far between; right?
1 A. Yes. And there was no need because you would get a socially owned
2 flat and you would deal with your housing problem that way. You were
3 assigned a socially owned flat.
4 Q. To continue along those lines, this happened in the following
5 way: Everybody employed would set aside a part of their salary to what
6 was called the housing fund; right?
7 A. Yes, that is right.
8 Q. And it was from these housing funds that flats were be purchased
9 in socially owned enterprises and so on and then they would be allocated
10 to the employees on the basis of a list of priorities?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. And when somebody was once assigned a flat, nobody could take that
13 flat away from him but he did not have the right to sell it, so the flats
14 could be inherited by their immediate family members and descendants. So
15 this was a form of limited tenants' rights. You can't sell the flat but
16 nobody, on the other hand, could take the flat away from you; is that
17 right? Is that how things worked?
18 A. Yes, that's the truth of.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly slow down. Thank you.
20 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
21 Q. However, the Tudjman authorities took away these rights from Serbs
22 unscrupulously who had left their flats for more than six months and this
23 was contrary to the Constitution and contrary to the law right?
24 A. Yes, that is right.
25 Q. And they did this only to the Serbs. If Croats were absent from
1 their flat for even a few years, nobody would question their tenants'
2 rights; is that right?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. I have just one more question related to 1995 and then we'll go
5 back to something that is far more relevant in terms of the indictment.
6 In August 1995, a new large-scale Croatian operation against Serbian
7 Krajina took place under the name of Storm, Operation Storm; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know that in organising this operation an allegedly private
11 but close to the Pentagon organisation was invoked, the IMPR, that they
12 were resorted to?
13 A. I don't know the exact name but I do know that a private
14 organisation was used to help in the preparations.
15 Q. Do you know that the American air force incapacitated all Serb
16 radar systems before the Croatian operation was launched?
17 A. Yes, I heard about that too.
18 Q. Do you know that the Americans thereby incapacitated the command
19 posts of the Serb forces?
20 A. I heard about that too.
21 Q. Does that then mean that we're not only dealing with Croatia but
22 it was an American aggression against Serbian Krajina which is under the
23 protection of the United Nations in fact?
24 A. Well, as far as I heard it was assisted by -- or, rather, Croatia
25 was assisted by NATO Air Force.
1 Q. Is it true that during Operation Storm about 200.000 Serbs were
2 expelled from the western part of the Republic of Serbian Krajina?
3 A. Yes, I am aware of that.
4 Q. And are you aware of the fact that on that occasion 22.000 Serb
5 houses were destroyed?
6 A. Yes. That is the figure that was seriously quoted.
7 Q. Have you heard of the organisation called Veritas?
8 A. Yes, I have.
9 Q. Do you know who heads Veritas?
10 A. I do know but I can't remember the name now. I know the man.
11 Q. Do you know that that organisation, Veritas, established that at
12 least 1.791 Serbs were killed or went missing in the course of
13 Operation Storm?
14 A. Yes, I heard that.
15 Q. Are you aware that of that number 996 Serb civilians were killed?
16 A. I heard about that number from Veritas.
17 Q. Are you aware that out of that 996 Serb civilians 449 women were
19 A. Yes. That Veritas information is also well-known.
20 Q. Are you aware that 11 Serb children were killed at that time?
21 A. That number also has been published by Veritas.
22 Q. Well, let's go back to the year 1991. Do you recall that the
23 authorities of Western Slavonia, in April 1992, established that in the
24 course of 1991, 4.118 Serb houses were destroyed in Western Slavonia?
25 A. Yes, I remember that.
1 Q. Are you aware that that same document contains the information
2 that in that period, that is in 1991, 27 Serb Orthodox churches were
3 destroyed on the territory of Western Slavonia?
4 A. Yes, I heard that too.
5 Q. Are you aware of Boutros-Ghali's report from May 1993 according to
6 which from Croatia beyond the -- that is, not in the Republic of Serb
7 Krajina, 251.000 Serbs were expelled from the towns?
8 A. I heard that but if that's in Boutros-Ghali's report it can easily
9 be established. I don't recall the precise number.
10 Q. Are you aware that Dr. Svetozar Livade, a professor of Zagreb
11 university, who has patiently dealt with many years with the persecution
12 of Serbs under Tudjman's regime, are you aware of him?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Are you aware that in some publications and books he published
15 specific information as to the different ways in which the Croatian
16 authorities under Tudjman and later on persecuted Serbs and what kind of
17 discriminatory measures are still being applied against Serbs?
18 A. Yes, I've heard of those books.
19 Q. Are you aware, as in the course of the examination-in-chief the
20 Vance Plan was admitted into evidence, that the Vance Plan envisaged
21 exclusively negotiations as a means of solving the problems between the
22 Serb Krajina and the Republic of Croatia without pre-judging the outcome
23 of those negotiations?
24 A. Yes. That was the Vance Plan.
25 Q. Is it not obvious that the Vance Plan was in fact a trick played
1 on you Serbs? We all accepted that plan trusting in the United Nations,
2 and it turned out later on that we were tricked.
3 A. The result turned out to be bad. Let me mention that the
4 leadership in Knin did not make use of all their opportunities to
5 negotiate. They may have missed their chance. I'm not saying things
6 wouldn't have turned out the same in the end but they did not seize the
7 opportunity of having good quality negotiations to search for a solution.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a question. You
9 mentioned Boutros-Ghali's report dated May 1993, and Dr. Svetozar Livada's
10 publication, who was a professor in Zagreb. These two documents seem to
11 indicate that 251.000 people were expelled. Why do you not present these
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the OTP has those
14 documents at their disposal. As early as 2006 under Rule 68(i), the OTP
15 disclosed to me a huge pile of texts by Professor Svetozar Livada. They
16 have those documents. I am cross-examining the witness here. It's not
17 for me to prove that I'm innocent. I'm proving that the indictment is
18 false and that there is no evidence against me.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But the problem is that you
20 submit your theory, but if the Judges do not have the documents in support
21 of your case we will not be satisfied with the mere question and answer.
22 In that case, your case will not be corroborated by any documentary
23 evidence. You say yes, but these documents are in the hands of the
24 Prosecution, but if the Prosecution does not tender them into evidence, we
25 have a problem.
1 I have told you already. I have told you this a few days ago, and
2 I am telling you again. It may be important for us to know that after
3 this Flash operation, tempest operation, there were large movements of
4 population from Western Slavonia and Serb Krajina, but if this is not
5 supported by any documents, this will just remain on the transcript.
6 Technically speaking, it is very easy for you to do. You could
7 have said, "Witness, let me present you with Boutros-Ghali's report in
8 which it says so-and-so," and the witness then says,"yes, it's written in
9 the document," and it is then tendered into evidence. "Let me present Dr.
10 Livade's book." The witness will say, "Yes, and the book says
11 such-and-such," and then you ask for this to be tendered into evidence.
12 This is what I wanted to tell you. Please proceed.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if I had an assistant
14 here I could present all this to you. As I'm working on my own, I am
15 preparing for my defence in the way I consider is best for my interests.
16 If I had my legal advisors and my case managers here, it would all look
17 different probably. They would immediately be handing these documents to
18 me. I cannot carry full boxes with me every day. My briefcase is quite
19 heavy, and in the course of the examination-in-chief of this witness not a
20 single charge against me was put forward. This witness is not alleging
21 anything against me. That's why I'm discussing general circumstances with
22 him. If I had had any reason to vehemently oppose his allegations that it
23 would all look different, but you can see that he's not alleging anything
24 against me and we have been public enemies for 15 or 16 years. We lashed
25 out at each other in public, and we couldn't bear to look at one another.
1 I am bringing only the most important documents here. The witness
2 confirmed that those documents are in existence and that's sufficient for
3 me. Allow me to be in charge of my own defence. I don't need
4 Boutros-Ghali's plan to prove false allegations against me in the
5 indictment. When we come to specifics, to concrete matters, then I'll
6 bring documents. I can't deal so intensely with these peripheral matters
7 but I want to make use of my time in the best possible way, so please
8 allow me to continue.
9 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Are you aware, Mr. VS-004, that Franjo Tudjman, in 1992, on the
11 occasion of the anniversary of the declaration of independence, the first
12 anniversary, declared on Jelacic square in Zagreb that there would have
13 been no war had Croatia not wanted it? Do you remember that statement he
15 A. Yes, I remember that statement of his. I don't know whether he
16 stated that in the place you mentioned, but I know he did say it.
17 Q. Well, the statement itself is more important than the place it was
18 uttered, but according to my information it was on the square the Croats
19 called Jelacic place; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that's what they call it.
21 Q. Did Tudjman then say that they, the Croatian leaders, could only
22 gain independence through war? Do you remember that?
23 A. Yes, I remember that.
24 Q. Have you ever heard of Tomislav Mercep?
25 A. Yes, I have heard of him.
1 Q. Do you know that Tomislav Mercep killed Serb civilians and
2 tortured and mistreated them in Vukovar before the JNA entered into a
3 conflict with Croatian paramilitary units?
4 A. I heard that these crimes have been alleged against him and his
6 Q. These crimes of his, did they escalate to such an extent that the
7 Croatian authorities finally had to remove him from Vukovar?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did Tomislav Mercep then arrive in Western Slavonia?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did Tomislav Mercep, with his group of armed para-soldiers commit
12 heinous crimes in Pakracka Poljana?
13 A. Those crimes in Pakracka Poljana have been alleged against him and
14 his unit.
15 Q. Has there been an investigation of Tomislav Mercep after many
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you know the name of the chief witness, an insider witness who
19 described all the ways in which they killed Serbs?
20 A. I heard and read about it, but I can't recall his name at present.
21 Q. Was his last name Bajramovic or something like that?
22 A. Yes. Yes, it was.
23 Q. And that witness against Mercep, was he killed later?
24 A. I know that a witness was killed and another witness died. I
25 can't remember whether Bajramovic is the one who was killed or the one
1 died, but I do know that one was killed and that one died, of the
3 Q. Are you aware that throughout the war and throughout the existence
4 of the Republika Srpska Krajina, the Croats in many places in that area
5 lived quite peacefully without any harassment? For example, in Knin.
6 A. Yes, I know about Knin, that they lived there normally.
7 Q. There were incidents, I don't deny that. Sometimes there were
8 problems, but those who wanted to live in Republika Srpska Krajina were
9 not prevented from doing so by the authorities and there was no policy of
10 expelling Croats from the area. Is that true?
11 A. Well, later on when the Republika Srpska Krajina was established
12 and the civilian authorities began operating, I think they could live in
13 peace without persecution, but there was persecution and killing and
14 burning in 1991.
15 Q. But this persecution was not organised by the authorities. There
16 were incidents among the people. Isn't that correct?
17 A. Well, it did happen. If more than one person is killed it's more
18 than just an incident. It's more like an operation. I don't know that
19 there were orders that this should be done. There were moments when
20 extremists wanted to take revenge for reasons only they knew.
21 Q. We've already established that on the 19th and 20 of November,
22 1991, I visited Western Slavonia. Do you know that on the 20th I returned
23 to Banja Luka in the evening?
24 A. I know that on the second day you went back, so you probably did
25 go to Banja Luka.
1 Q. I was supposed to be met by a helicopter in Banja Luka on the
2 21st. Are you aware that that night officials of the Banja Luka Serbian
3 Democratic Party took me to Knin?
4 A. I only heard about that.
5 Q. Do you know why I went to Knin so urgently?
6 A. No. No, I don't.
7 Q. Do you know that there I had a conflict with Captain Dragan,
8 Dragan Vasiljkovic who called himself Captain Dragan in public?
9 A. Yes, I heard about that conflict between you and Captain Dragan.
10 Q. Was that a personal conflict or did we have differences concerning
11 the Srpska Krajina?
12 A. To the best of my knowledge which came through the media, I think
13 you had a conflict because of his manner of operating in that area.
14 Q. Are you aware that earlier on he had been expelled from the
15 territory of Srpska Krajina?
16 A. I heard something about that, but I didn't know precisely what
17 happened because it was far away from where I was and I didn't have any
18 possibility of establishing the details.
19 Q. You're not aware that in November he returned and started
20 agitating among the soldiers to topple the government of Milan Babic?
21 A. I heard about that from the media but nothing specific.
22 Q. The OTP here showed footage of my conflict with Captain Dragan in
23 Benkovac, and you were shown footage of a conversation I had later, after
24 that, with soldiers on different issues and only a short clip was played.
25 Do you remember that?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. Do you remember when I tried to convince them that they should
3 respect the officers and some of them interrupted me saying they were
4 Communists, that I had -- well, I had to convince them to wear a helmet
5 because it's much more dangerous to wage war without a helmet. There were
6 more woundings, especially in the Kas [phoen] terrain. It would be enough
7 for a shell to land on the stone, for a piece of stone to hit a soldier in
8 the head and kill him.
9 A. I saw you, yes, trying to convince them about the officers and of
10 course I didn't see the entire footage so I can't interpret your words,
12 Q. Were you able to conclude something else that I insisted on
13 discipline by insisting on their obeying their officers because it was
14 primarily a matter of discipline?
15 A. One might conclude that.
16 Q. Were you able to conclude from my manner of speaking and from
17 their behaviour that these were not volunteers of the SRS, because
18 volunteers of the SRS would have kept silent while I was speaking? They
19 would have shown me more respect. I had to tell them to be quiet while I
20 was speaking. Do you remember that?
21 A. Yes. And I recognised the man sitting next to you, and judging by
22 their voices and their accents these were local people.
23 Q. So these were people from the Knin Krajina, from Benkovac and the
24 surrounding area. You were able to see that. So if I were talking to
25 soldiers who were not volunteers of the SRS but it's evident that I was
1 advocating discipline, could you draw that conclusion from the footage?
2 A. Well, I concluded that you asked them to trust the JNA officers
3 and have confidence in them.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Seselj, please.
5 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
6 Q. To have confidence in the JNA as the only regular army which had
7 freed itself from its Communist ideological shackles. Is that true?
8 A. Well, yes, that's what you said.
9 Q. Are you aware that on the territory of Croatia there was a large
10 number of camps and prisons in which Serb civilians were imprisoned?
11 A. Yes, I heard mostly about Western Slavonia, but there were also
12 such camps in other places and in towns.
13 Q. What Croatian camps do you know of in Western Slavonia where the
14 Croats kept imprisoned Serb civilians?
15 A. Well, I heard about Pakrac, Daruvar, Pozega, Slatina, Gradiska,
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: [Interpretation] Witness, kindly pause before
18 answering questions put to you by Mr. Seselj, because otherwise the
19 interpreters find it difficult to keep up with you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I will, Your Honour.
21 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
22 Q. So in a very small area of Western Slavonia there was an enormous,
23 I would say, number of camps where Croatian authorities kept Serbian
24 civilians imprisoned.
25 A. Yes, almost in every larger settlement.
1 Q. Did you hear about the methods of torture they used against those
2 imprisoned Serb civilians?
3 A. I heard they were mistreated, beaten, that they were threatened.
4 Q. Do you know that electrical cables were used most often to beat
6 A. Yes, I heard about that.
7 Q. Do you -- did you hear about torture with the low voltage
8 electrical shocks?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you hear there were quite a few cases when imprisoned Serb
11 civilians were ordered to cut each other's ears and then eat them?
12 A. Yes, I read about that in the newspapers.
13 Q. Those were statements of survivors?
14 A. Yes. It was one of the survivors from Kipa village, I believe, in
15 the Pakrac fields.
16 Q. Do you agree when we look at the map of Croatia and bear in mind
17 the ethnic composition in towns and villages that it was much harder for
18 Serbs where there was the smallest number of them than in places where
19 there were lots of them?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Where Serbs were the fewest, they were -- they had the hardest
22 time with the discriminatory measures of the Croatian authorities.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You said already that the area of the entire Western Slavonia was
25 severely victimised in the World War II. Did other areas suffer as well
1 in Serbian Krajina?
2 A. Banija and Kordun were the hardest hit of all areas, followed by
3 Western Slavonia, followed by Lika and that part of Dalmatia.
4 Q. I suppose you know that both Banija and Kordun were strongholds of
5 partisans in World War II. There were very few Chetniks there, if any?
6 A. Yes, Banija and Kordun were known partisan areas.
7 Q. There were Chetniks in Lika and Dalmatia?
8 A. Yes, in parts thereof.
9 Q. Do you know that villages in Eastern Slavonia, around Vukovar and
10 Osijek, were also severely victimised in World War II?
11 A. Yes. I heard about that as well.
12 Q. Do you know that in World War II the operation forced conversion
13 to Catholicism of Serbs was implemented to the greatest degree in
15 A. Yes, I heard about that.
16 Q. Do you know that entire Serb villages such as Okutaj [phoen] in
17 Eastern Slavonia were forced to accept Catholicism?
18 A. I heard about that.
19 Q. Do you know that it happened in the largest measure in the
20 Djakovica bishopry?
21 A. I heard about that as well.
22 Q. Do you remember that the new Tudjman authorities with amendment 68
23 to the constitution of Croatia completely abolished the Cyrillic as one of
24 the official scripts in Croatia?
25 A. I don't know which amendment exactly it was, but I know that the
1 Cyrillic was abolished as a script when Tudjman came into power.
2 Q. The resistance of Serbs in Western Slavonia to Tudjman's regime,
3 was it spontaneous or was it organised, encouraged, instigated from
5 A. It's a complex issue. I'll try to answer truthfully. The Serbs
6 in Western Slavonia had misgivings about Tudjman's authority, his
7 behaviour, his rhetorics, the provocations that ensued. There followed
8 mistrust and fear. And I remember at all meetings we had about
9 constitutional amendments and at the meeting in Okucani we had a professor
10 of constitutional law present because we wanted to speak technically and
11 professionally about constitutional amendments, people only shouted, "Give
12 us arms, give us arms," because they were so frightened seeing the new
13 Croatian army on television. You couldn't talk to them. They were just
14 demanding weapons. It was already a psychosis. They believed that only
15 weapons will save them because nothing else is left.
16 As such, they did eventually organise themselves and organised
17 their staffs but whether in doing so they had somebody's assistance and
18 help in organising, I don't know. I know that it was not my role, and I
19 had no influence from outside. It was not my role to organise anything --
20 to organise anything militarily, but I also know that I suffered problems
21 because I tried to negotiate with Tudjman from other people who were more
22 extreme, who considered me as a traitor. I know that many people believed
23 that there was no point in negotiating. It was a battle lost in advance.
24 Q. Do you know that in 1995, when Western Slavonia was captured, part
25 of Serbian Krajina was occupied and Eastern Slavonia was involved in
1 negotiations about peaceful, allegedly peaceful integration into Croatia,
2 the Croatians falsely accused many Serbs of war crimes.
3 A. Those were indictments mainly raised in 1992 and 1993, issued
4 mainly in the absence of the people concerned, and I know that many of us
5 were called in by the police for interviews and some were prosecuted.
6 Those were collective indictments without much supporting material or
7 evidence, so that people who later tried to come back to Croatia to
8 continue living there, they would be arrested, investigated, and later
9 released, which indicates there was no evidence of their responsibility.
10 This is still going on in Croatia. Nothing is known exactly. And
11 I must say for the sake of people who are still in prison serving
12 sentences of many years are innocent, although they were convicted to 20
13 years imprisonment because there was no fair trial. There was no proper
14 defence. The witnesses who testified against them were political. And
15 these convictions were made based on indictments from 1992 and 1993
16 without supporting evidence.
17 Q. Does that mean that Croatian authorities indicted Serbs on
18 purpose, falsely, investigated and imprisoned some of them to discourage
19 Serbs from coming back to their property in Croatia?
20 A. We who dealt with the problem came to that conclusion, and through
21 the international community we tried to put pressure on Croatia to stop
22 with those mass indictments, to stop intimidating people, and to bring to
23 justice instead those people who are really responsible so that people who
24 had nothing to do with the crimes could feel free and could continue to
25 live there. But this is still a problem, and it's still being discussed.
1 Q. Now, tell me about the rest of the Serbs who live in Croatia.
2 There are very few of them. How do they feel in their hearts when it
3 happens, for instance, that Miro Bajramovic, who is one of Mercep's men,
4 admits publicly that he had slit the throats of 72 Serbs, including 9
5 women, and the Croatian court then acquits him for lack of evidence? How
6 does a Serb react to that?
7 A. Well, it's not a matter of indifference to them. They know many
8 things that happened, and they feel bitter that the Croatian authorities
9 are so ineffectual and do not treat perpetrators fairly or equally. When
10 the crimes were against Croatians, the trials are quick; and when the
11 crimes were against Serbs, they always don't have enough evidence, things
12 don't move very far or very fast. But they feel helpless they can't
13 change that.
14 Q. You probably remember the large rally of Serbian people in a place
15 called Srb on the 25th July 1990?
16 A. I remember. I attended.
17 Q. Do you remember I was there too?
18 A. Yes, I remember you came to the rally. And some people addressed
19 me, too, thinking that I am the same thing that you were.
20 Q. You mean that somebody mistook you for me?
21 A. Well, people -- some people found a resemblance, although you were
22 not so politically active by that time in that area.
23 Q. Well, the only resemblance is glasses, because I'm much fatter and
24 much taller.
25 A. Well, these people probably are the only ones who know why they
1 made the mistake.
2 Q. I hope you don't mind my joke. You don't -- do you remember, did
3 I speak about that meeting -- at that meeting, at that rally? I was just
4 an observer.
5 A. I remember you didn't speak.
6 Q. Do you remember that that rally adopted the declaration of the
7 Serbian people in the territory of Croatia?
8 A. Yes. That declaration was adopted.
9 Q. I will interpret now briefly the gist of that declaration, and you
10 will confirm whether I did it well or not.
11 Is it the case that Serb political leaders offered to the gathered
12 Serbian people for acclamation three basic positions. One, if Croatia
13 remains within Federal Yugoslavia, Serbs require only cultural autonomy.
14 Two, if Yugoslavia is to turn into a confederation, Serbs then
15 insist on territorial autonomy.
16 Three, if Croatia is seceding from Yugoslavia, Serbs are seceding
17 from Croatia and remain with Yugoslavia.
18 Is this a good interpretation of that declaration?
19 A. Yes. That was that general demand of the rally and the then
20 political representatives.
21 Q. Is that the basic policy that was later the guiding policy of the
22 Serbian Democratic Party?
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, please. With respect
25 to the second point, are you talking about a federation or a
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The second point was a federation --
3 no, no. That was the first point. If Yugoslavia remains a federation,
4 Serbs want only cultural autonomy, protection for their script, language,
5 cultural heritage. If the state is to become a confederation, then they
6 want territorial autonomy within Croatia. And if Croatia secedes from
7 Yugoslavia, then they don't want to live in such a Croatia. They want to
8 secede from Croatia and continue living in Yugoslavia. That was the gist
9 of Serbian policy at the time.
10 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
11 Q. At that time the president of the Serbian Democratic Party was a
12 renowned Serb intellectual, Dr. Jovan Raskovic; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Jovan Raskovic was a man of pronounced liberal and democratic
15 convictions; correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did Dr. Jovan Raskovic frequently call Tudjman's regime an Ustasha
18 or a pro-Ustasha regime?
19 A. I think he called it a pro-Ustasha regime.
20 Q. You mentioned that towards the end of 1990 there occurred a rift
21 in the Serbian Democratic Party and that Milan Babic separated the Serbian
22 Democratic Party of Krajina from the rest of the party that continued to
23 be led by Dr. Jovan Raskovic?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. Was the main reason the fact that Tudjman's regime compromised
1 Jovan Raskovic in public eyes?
2 A. I think Milan Babic just took advantage of that as a possibility.
3 I believe that there was friction between Raskovic and Babic even earlier.
4 I remember some of those sessions.
5 Q. Is it true that Franjo Tudjman had invited Jovan Raskovic for
6 talks, Raskovic accepted, went to Tudjman's resident -- residence in
7 Zagreb and talked, and then Tudjman made public the tapes of that
8 conversation and had it published?
9 A. Yes. That's what happened.
10 Q. Did it turn out that in that conversation Jovan Raskovic said to
11 Tudjman, "We Serbs are a crazy people"?
12 A. Yes. That statement was well-publicised.
13 Q. Raskovic probably wanted to let Tudjman know that you should not
14 provoke Serbs too much. You shouldn't go too far with them.
15 A. Yes, something like that.
16 Q. But complete transcripts of those talks had a very bad impact
17 among the Serb public, the Serb population.
18 A. I think it was that statement that was later used and abused, and
19 those who were against negotiations used it to say that this only shows
20 that there's no talking to -- to Tudjman and his regime.
21 Q. Well, wasn't it really dishonourable to secretly tape the
22 conversation with the Serb leader and then make it public?
23 A. Yes. We found it very dishonest and dishonourable on Tudjman's
24 part, especially because at that time it was important to establish
25 dialogue, and Mr. Raskovic enjoyed great authority.
1 Q. So Raskovic wanted to talk. He wanted to reach an agreement. And
2 Tudjman deliberately compromised him among the Serbs, and Raskovic lost
3 his authority. This was taken advantage of by people who were opposed to
4 Raskovic, people who had their own political ambitions and possibly
5 greater political demands.
6 A. Yes. I'm saying this again. Raskovic still had considerable
7 authority, but the narrow circle against Babic which was more hard-line
8 separated one segment of the party so that they could put forward their
9 own political and personal ambitions.
10 Q. You said during examination-in-chief that Stipe Mesic and
11 Ante Markovic could not really be called Ustashas, but I did call them
12 Ustashas; correct?
13 A. Yes, you did.
14 Q. We have seen that there is evidence that Stipe Mesic was a guest
15 of Ustasha emigrants and gave pro-Ustasha statements. He said that
16 Ustashas were victorious twice, and including when the Ustasha authority
17 was established.
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. We need to
21 Mr. Seselj, you've used three hours and ten minutes of your time.
22 Therefore, you have 50 minutes left. We'll resume at 10 past 12.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 11.50 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.12 p.m.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have resumed our hearing.
1 Mr. Seselj, you have the floor.
2 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
3 Q. We have finally arrived at Ante Markovic and the fact that in 1991
4 I referred to him as a Ustasha. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I assume you're aware of the fact that in Communist Yugoslavia the
7 president of the federal government or the prime minister was an office
8 where politicians from the various federal units took their turns; is that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Are you aware that in 1980 when Tito died, Veselin Djuranovic from
12 Montenegro happened to be prime minister?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. He was succeeded by someone from Croatia, from the Croatian
15 federal unit. So it was Croatia's turn to nominate the prime minister,
16 and that was the Croat lady politician, Milka Planinc; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. After Milka Planinc, it was Serbia's turn to nominate the prime
19 minister, the federal Prime Minister; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And Serbia wanted to nominate Ivan Stambolic, but Croatia and
22 Slovenia opposed the choice; is that correct?
23 A. I think so.
24 Q. And without the consensus of all the federal units, such issues
25 could not be efficiently resolved; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did Serbia then waive its right to the position of prime minister
3 so that the next federal Prime Minister to be elected was Branko Mikulic,
4 a Croat from Bosnia-Herzegovina?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So now we already have two Croats successively holding the post of
7 federal Prime Minister, Milka Planinc and then Branko Mikulic; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In 1989 the term of office expired again so now someone from
11 Serbia should have been elected; is that correct?
12 A. I think so.
13 Q. And Serbia nominated Borisav Jovic but the Croats and Slovenes
14 again refused to accept him?
15 A. I know there was some sort of problem but I don't remember the
17 Q. And Serbia almost demonstratively again agreed to having a Croat
18 become federal Prime Minister and Ante Markovic was elected to the post;
19 is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So we had three Croats holding the office of federal Prime
22 Minister in succession, although it was an office where in every term of
23 office it had to be held by a candidate from a different federal unit. Am
24 I correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In the system of collective leadership in the sphere of politics
2 where we had a collective Presidency, decision-making in the
3 Federal Assembly according to the delegations of the federal units, was
4 the post of federal Prime Minister in fact the most powerful office,
5 individual office?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And Serbia did not oppose having three federal Prime Ministers in
8 succession being Croats, all for the sake of preserving the unity of
10 A. Well, I hope that was the reason.
11 Q. In 1990, was the federal Minister of Foreign Affairs a Croat
12 again, Budimir Loncar?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was the Minister of Defence, general of the army Veljko Kadijevic
15 half Croat, half Serb?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. His father was a Croat or his mother a Serb or vice versa. I
18 can't really remember. Is that right?
19 A. Well, yes, something like that. I don't know precisely who was a
20 Croat of his parents.
21 Q. So the civil war in Yugoslavia started when many federal offices
22 were held by Croats or Slovenes or members of other ethnicities, and this
23 was the case in the army likewise; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did Ante Markovic become the federal Prime Minister as the
1 candidate of the then only political party, the League of Communists of
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. In 1989, he came to that office as a Communist, and in 1990, as
5 the prime minister he proclaimed the establishment of his own political
6 party which he called the League of Reform Forces. Is this correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. This is in summer of 1990, if my memory serves me well; is that
10 A. Yes, after the elections in Croatia.
11 Q. The fundamental criticism of Ante Markovic's move in Serbia in the
12 Serbian public among the Serbian intellectuals and in the media, was it
13 that he had waited for the multi-party elections to be over in Slovenia
14 and Croatia allowing separatists to win there and then, only then, did he
15 create his party and have candidate run in other federal units? It was a
16 pro-federal -- allegedly a pro-federal party?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And then he started holding rallies in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
19 Serbia, in Sehitluci near Banja Luka, and so on; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So we criticised him, concluded that his aim was to break up, to
22 fragment the Serbian electoral body ahead of the elections in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia; is that correct?
24 A. Well, I don't know what you thought, but I remember that it was
25 held against him that he did not participate with this party in the
1 elections in Slovenia and Croatia so that his party would have been active
2 in all the federal units, not just in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
3 That's why the politicians in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia responded,
4 because they were afraid that he would take away their voters and those
5 who were in favour of Yugoslavia or other ideas would be split.
6 Q. And most Serbs, the vast majority of Serbs, almost all of the
7 Serbs were in favour of Yugoslavia. Is that true?
8 A. Well, yes. The Serbs identified themselves with Yugoslavia, and
9 they considered that it was a state in which they had lived best, and they
10 still think that.
11 Q. And in that state almost all the Serbs had lived with the
12 exception of the diaspora in Romania and Albania and Hungary. Almost all
13 the other Serbs lived in Yugoslavia.
14 A. Well, the vast majority of Serbs lived in Yugoslavia. A small
15 portion went to live abroad in Austria, Hungary, or somewhere else.
16 Albania. Albania, as you said.
17 Q. And this huge mass of Serbs, did they ever think about
18 Greater Serbia once they had Yugoslavia?
19 A. No. No. It never crossed their minds that there could be
20 anything else besides Yugoslavia.
21 Q. And when I first put forward the idea of Greater Serbia in public,
22 it was only in case the Slovenes and Croats insisted on secession from
24 A. Yes, you did mention that. You said that if the Serbs and Croats
25 didn't want to stay in Yugoslavia, they were free to leave, but only with
1 Croatian territories.
2 Q. And you are aware that when the Yugoslav state was established in
3 1918, it was established through the unification of the Kingdom of Serbia
4 with an improvised state of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, which did not
5 have international recognition; is that correct?
6 A. Well, as far as I can remember, it was a state of Serbs, Croats,
7 and Slovenes and Serbia.
8 Q. And before that state was created, Serbia already included
9 Macedonia. It was internationally recognised as part of Serbia. It also
10 had Montenegro and Vojvodina; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The people of Montenegro, at a large national assembly in
13 Podgorica in 1918, reached a decision on direct joining with Serbia; is
14 that correct?
15 A. I think so.
16 Q. And the Assembly of the Serbian people and the Bunjevci of
17 Vojvodina issued a decision also on directly acceding to Serbia; is that
19 A. I think so, yes.
20 Q. Did the state of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs comprise only
21 Slavonia, Croatia, Dalmatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina? Did it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. We can't speak at that time of a Croatia encompassing Slavonia and
24 Dalmatia, can we?
25 A. I don't think so.
1 Q. At the time of Austria-Hungary, Dalmatia was part of Austria and
2 Croatia and Slavonia were part of Hungary; is that right?
3 A. I think so.
4 Q. Do you agree that for Croats and Slovenes, entry into the common
5 state with the Serbs represented salvation from the pretensions of the
6 neighbouring countries?
7 A. Yes. That was the interpretation given to it. I know that Bishop
8 Juraj Strossmayer advocated the Yugoslav ideas and that it was the Croats
9 who gave the initiative for the creation of Yugoslavia.
10 Q. Are you aware that in no Yugoslav Constitution was the right of
11 cessation for a federal unit ever enshrined?
12 A. I don't know. I don't know about that detail.
13 Q. Have you heard that this is part of the Constitution?
14 A. I did hear something about it.
15 Q. That it exists in the Constitution?
16 A. I heard about the Constitution and the detail about the right to
17 cessation. I don't know, but I don't think they had that right.
18 Q. In 1991, the Serbs were prepared to introduce that right into the
19 Constitution and to prescribe a procedure to implement this. Is that
20 correct? They insisted that the Federal Assembly should decide the model
21 that could be used by a federal unit to secede?
22 A. I know that this was discussed, but I don't know about the
24 Q. But Serbian politicians both in the government and in the
25 opposition were against forcible secession; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. They were against secession by violence.
2 Q. And in principle they accepted the possibility that by democratic
3 means a legal framework for secession should be put in place?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did Ante Markovic issue a decision that the JNA should intervene
6 in Slovenia?
7 A. Yes. This was ascribed to him.
8 Q. Did the Slovene politicians ascribe this decision to him?
9 A. Yes, they did.
10 Q. Was the Serbian leadership against the intervention of the JNA in
12 A. Yes, I heard that.
13 Q. Was the vast majority of Serbian politicians, did they consider
14 that if the Slovenes didn't want to live in Yugoslavia they shouldn't be
15 made to stay, they shouldn't be kept in by force?
16 A. Yes, that was said.
17 Q. Was it possible that -- was it possible for Croatia to secede from
18 Yugoslavia as easily as Slovenia had done?
19 A. No. Especially not with the people who were in power then at the
21 Q. Not with Tudjman's government, which had openly shown itself to be
23 A. Well, I would rather say non-democratic. The Serbs didn't like it
24 or trust it.
25 Q. And Croatia could not secede from Yugoslavia without the agreement
1 of the Serbs who lived in Croatia as a constituent nation; is that
3 A. Well, the Serbs were a constituent people in the Republic of
4 Croatia because of -- they had huge merit for the recognition of Croatia
5 when it became part of Yugoslavia in World War II, and they thought that
6 without their agreement, without their approval, Croatia should not leave
8 Q. Do you remember that Ante Markovic in late '89 or, rather, as of
9 the 1st of January, 1990, proclaimed the convertible dinar as the new
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Was the exchange rate of the dinar then linked to the German mark,
13 7 dinars for 1 German mark, I think?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. At that point in time did the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the
16 SFRY, that is, have about $10 billion of currency reserves?
17 A. Yes, I think that's how it was.
18 Q. And did the most developed republics, Croatia and especially
19 Slovenia, use money from the primary issue to buy hard currency?
20 A. I heard about that.
21 Q. And were the foreign exchange reserves depleted in this way very
23 A. I heard about this too.
24 Q. Am I right when I accuse Ante Markovic that in this way he
25 intentionally depleted the foreign exchange reserves and facilitated the
1 leaking of foreign currency reserves to Slovenia and Croatia?
2 A. I can't say whether he did this intentionally or not, but one
3 might conclude that from the events that occurred later on. What his
4 intentions were I wouldn't know.
5 Q. Well, when in the economic and financial sphere we link this with
6 the creation of the new political party which was intended to take part in
7 the elections in the Rump Yugoslavia without Croatia and Slovenia, then
8 everything becomes clear, does it not?
9 A. At that time there were odd events, out of control events when
10 there were reasons for suspicion, and suddenly there was a huge
11 disproportion as regards foreign currency, and there were suspicions that
12 there were dishonourable intentions behind it. This was not good for the
13 country, and all these statements, of course, created lack of confidence
14 in Ante Markovic when he later participated in the elections and when he
15 allowed money to flow off in different directions.
16 Q. Then I assume I'm right when I used to say during those years that
17 Ante Markovic was a much more dangerous Ustasha than Franjo Tudjman
18 because Franjo Tudjman was openly waging an Ustasha policy and we knew who
19 we were dealing with whereas Ante Markovic perfidiously was working to
20 topple Yugoslavia and trample on Serb nation interests. He was assisting
21 the separatists of Slovenia and Croatia and he was making believe that he
22 was in favour of preserving Yugoslavia. So is that the crux and essence
23 of my statements? I'm not asking you whether you think I'm right, but is
24 that what I said? Is that the crux of what I said?
25 A. Yes. That was essence of your statements, I can say that. But
1 Mr. Ante Markovic, I don't think we can call him Ustasha today. Now
2 whether they -- whether he had perfidious aims or not, I don't know, but
3 the Serbs did doubt him and did suspect him during that time and in the
4 actions -- in his actions.
5 Q. But were those my arguments when I called him a more dangerous
6 Ustasha than Franjo Tudjman? That's the essence of my question.
7 A. Well, I think I can say yes looking to -- listening to what you're
8 saying today and what you said previously.
9 Q. You mentioned that Milan Martic and Milan Babic advocated the
10 extremist option. Is that what you said during the examination-in-chief,
11 what was the word you used?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. An extreme option in the politics of the Republic of Serbian
14 Krajina? Right. Do you know that throughout Milan Martic and Milan Babic
15 were in a conflict themselves between themselves?
16 A. Yes, they were in a conflict.
17 Q. And I tried to intervene once to mediate, to ensure that they had
18 better relations.
19 A. Yes, I think that's what happened.
20 Q. When I publicly on behalf of the Serbian Radical Party supported
21 the Vance Plan for Serbian Krajina and Babic was opposed to it, did I
22 insist on that occasion too that the Serb politicians should take a united
23 stand and settle their differences?
24 A. I think so, yes.
25 Q. The fact that I insisted that Serb politicians should dovetail
1 their positions and settle accounts if there was anything that they
2 disagreed on, does that mean then that I can -- participated in some joint
3 criminal enterprise?
4 A. Well, I never accused you for any participation in a joint
5 criminal enterprise. I said that you asked them to put a united front.
6 Q. Now, on the Serbian political scene from the 1990s or 1990
7 onwards, except for the Serbian Radical Party, did anybody else advocate a
8 Greater Serbia?
9 A. As far as I remember, it was only you and the Serbian Radical
10 Party. I don't remember that anybody else put that idea forward.
11 Q. Is it possible that Slobodan Milosevic might have been in favour
12 of a Greater Serbia?
13 A. I don't think so, no.
14 Q. What about Jovan Raskovic, was he in favour of a Greater Serbia?
15 A. No.
16 Q. What about Milan Babic, did he ever say that he was striving for a
17 Greater Serbia?
18 A. On the eve of the referendum of the 12th of May, 1991, he insisted
19 that -- that the sentence be put -- be put to the voters would be that the
20 Serbia should be conjoined to Serbia -- that Krajina should be conjoined
21 to Serbia not Yugoslavia and that's where our views diverged. It was our
22 wish that Serbia remain within Yugoslavia whereas he wanted to see Krajina
23 attached to Serbia so that is why it was thought that he was advocating
24 Greater Serbia rather than remaining in Yugoslavia.
25 Q. But he never mentions Greater Serbia. He just wanted the
1 Knin-Krajina region to be attached to Serbia; right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And do you remember that the national assembly of the Republic of
4 Serbia rejected the request by which he asked that the Serbian Krajina be
5 attached to Serbia?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And what about Radovan Karadzic, did he ever strive for a Greater
9 A. Well, he strove for an alliance of Serb lands.
10 Q. But previously he insisted that those who wished to remain in
11 Yugoslavia could do so, that they should be allowed to do so and enabled
12 to do so?
13 A. That's what he said at first.
14 Q. He never asked that Republika Srpska be joined to Serbia; right?
15 A. I don't remember that an official request along those lines was
16 made by him.
17 Q. What about the Minister of Defence, Veljko Kadijevic? Did he ever
18 strive for a Greater Serbia?
19 A. No, I never heard him do that.
20 Q. Well, I couldn't have asked a more ridiculous question, could I?
21 A. Well, I don't know.
22 Q. Have you heard of the League of Communists, the movement for
23 Yugoslavia, the political party with that name?
24 A. Yes, I have.
25 Q. And who set up that political party?
1 A. I think it was retired officers of the JNA, as far as I remember.
2 I think there was Branko Mamula and somebody else with him, Mirkovic, I
3 think, General Mirkovic and a few more.
4 Q. Branko Mamula, Admiral, was the Defence minister before Kadijevic?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And do you remember that active Generals Kadijevic, Adzic,
7 Vasiljevic, and almost all the rest belonged to that party too?
8 A. I think so, yes.
9 Q. Do you remember that the officers of the JNA had to join the
10 party, that party?
11 A. I heard about that.
12 Q. Do you know that that particular party had a plan to carry out a
13 putsch, a coup d'etat against Tudjman and Milosevic and assume power in
15 A. I heard that the top military leaders had the plan of a coup
17 Q. Do you know that they sought support aboard, first in the west and
18 then in the east for that plan?
19 A. I heard that Kadijevic went round.
20 Q. First of all, they wanted to gain America's and NATO's support.
21 When they weren't able to secure that, they asked for the Soviet Union's
22 support and were rejected then. Kadijevic traveled to Moscow personally,
23 did he not?
24 A. Yes, I read about that. I heard about that.
25 Q. Now, do you know that the leadership of Serbia was afraid of a
1 military coup right up until the time that Kadijevic and Adzic were
2 pensioned off, retired?
3 A. No, I didn't know that.
4 Q. Do you know that in Serbia mobilisation in 1991 was not successful
5 because the authorities in Serbia as a federal unit, Milosevic's regime in
6 fact, did not wish to involve themselves in implementing mobilisation at
8 A. I know that mobilisation -- the mobilisation was unsuccessful and
9 I know that it was never publicly proclaimed that there was the need for
10 mobilisation and that the regime was criticised for that.
11 Q. You mean Kadijevic criticised Milosevic for that; right?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. And Milosevic did not dare allow mobilisation to take place so
14 that he wouldn't be toppled from power by Kadijevic; that's quite clear,
15 is it not?
16 A. I don't know that. I'm sure Milosevic knows what happened, that he
17 knows best.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Very well, thank you. I'd now like to ask a few questions which
21 could disclose the identity of the witness, so you decide what we're going
22 to do. I think that this witness has no reason to prevent the public from
23 hearing his testimony in open session. I don't know what anybody could
24 blame him for for the testimony so far and I don't think that there'll be
25 anything to blame him for in continuation of his testimony but you
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
3 ... Into private session.
4 [Private session]
11 Pages 3606-3620 redacted. Private session.
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're now in open session.
11 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Before I start, let me make a short remark. I
12 think I could have objected to many questions because technically it was
13 not like a cross-examination should be done. I did not do this
14 intentionally because I -- it's also the Prosecution's interest to get out
15 what really happened and I think this way was the better way.
16 Before I start my -- now I would like to ask the witness.
17 Re-examination by Mr. Mussemeyer:
18 Q. You said yesterday in your cross-examination that the question of
19 the president, the president asked you in 1991, "Was the name of Seselj
20 familiar to those Serbs who lived in Croatia? Did that name ring a bell
21 or was it someone no one knew about -- nothing about?" And you answer
22 was, "He was completely unknown to Serbs in Croatia at that time."
23 Mr. Witness, are you aware that the accused has been arrested
24 under Milosevic in 1984?
25 A. In 1984? Well, I do know that he was arrested. I don't know
1 exactly what year but I think that in answer to your question which is
2 1991, that the Presiding Judge asked me about 1990, 1990. And in 1991 or
3 already from May onwards, people did hear of Seselj, but during 1990, he
4 wasn't essential. And we established today that at the meeting in Srb,
5 the rally in Srb in July 1990, he was still completely unknown and he
6 didn't even speak.
7 Now, as far as 1984 is concerned, I don't know if it was that
8 particular year but I do know that Mr. Seselj was arrested one year.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. Mr. President, the
10 Prosecutor is now trying to mislead the witness that in 1984 I was
11 arrested under Milosevic. In 1984, Milosevic was not in power. In 1984,
12 Milosevic was the president of the city community -- committee of the
13 League of Communists of Yugoslavia of -- of -- of Belgrade.
14 MR. MUSSEMEYER: It is not my intention to mislead. I just want
15 to come back to the fact that Mr. Seselj in that time was arrested and was
16 in prison.
17 Q. Is that true?
18 A. I know that he was in prison, but I don't know exactly what year
19 that was.
20 Q. Was he a famous dissident at that time and known in all over the
21 former Yugoslavia?
22 A. Well, people had heard of him as being a dissident.
23 Q. So can we say he was known at that time or not?
24 A. Well, to be quite frank, people had heard about him, but not
25 within the nationalistic frameworks as happened later on, because later on
1 Mr. Seselj was identified with the political option that he led.
2 Now, I think that at that time when all this was happening a
3 smaller number of people, fewer people, had heard mention of him. I don't
4 think he was recognised in the same way he was later on.
5 Q. But he was known to, would you say, a limited number of persons or
6 a greater number of persons, whatever that is. I know that's not very
8 A. Well, I think that a narrow circle of people knew about him, who
9 he was, what he wanted. People in the political spheres, not the ordinary
10 man in the street.
11 Q. At the end of the '80s and from 1989, 1991 onwards, there was a
12 kind of revival of the Chetnik movement or the Chetnik ideology. Are you
13 aware of this?
14 A. Yes, I heard about that in the media. That was talked about,
15 about the Chetnik Movement and the Ravna Gorski -- Ravna Gora movement,
16 that kind of thing.
17 Q. Which persons were connected to this Chetnik movement?
18 A. Well, I know that mention was made of Vuk Draskovic, for instance,
19 who was trying to rehabilitate Draza Mihajlovic today and that later on
20 Mr. Seselj was given the rank of Vojvoda, duke, from the then living --
21 Vojvoda living in America, and he was the personification of a Chetnik.
22 He embodied what a Chetnik was.
23 Q. Wasn't this fact known to the Serbs in Croatia?
24 A. Yes. They had heard about that then.
25 Q. So can we say that he was completely unknown in this period?
1 A. I didn't say that he was completely unknown, but if I gave the
2 example and said that when he attended a rally there were 250.000 Serbs in
3 Srb and that he wasn't -- people didn't recognise him then, they might
4 have heard of his name, some people, but didn't know him, didn't know who
5 he was, and nobody attached any importance to him because there were
6 bigger figures, political figures, like Babic, for example, or Raskovic
7 and so on.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Witness. Could you please explain us again what
9 the meaning of "Ustasha" was for a Serb?
10 A. Well, if I can make a comparison, we can say that it's something
11 that exists as the worst in the world, as an executioner. An Ustasha was
12 somebody that had destroyed the Serbs' homes, lives, took away all their
13 rights. The worst thing that anybody had to encounter in his life or in
14 his history.
15 Q. Is it justified to call all Croats Ustashas?
16 A. No, no. Far from it. Many Croats were in the Partisans, for
17 instance, and they weren't loyal to the Ustasha regime.
18 Q. Is it justified to call Ante Markovic an Ustasha?
19 A. Well, I said no, and Ante Markovic to my view cannot be a Ustasha.
20 He didn't accept that kind of ideology or that kind of code of conduct.
21 He was a member of the League of Communists, after all.
22 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I would like to ask the registrar to show us
23 again the Serbian version of Exhibit number 411, which is P39, marked for
25 It is the Spiegel article from the 6th of August, 1991. I was
1 referring to this during chief -- examination-in-chief, and Mr. Seselj was
2 referring to this during cross-examination.
3 Q. Mr. Witness, could you please have a look at the bottom of the
4 second page. Please, the second page of the Serbian version. A bit more
5 down, please, because I -- down. Down. At the bottom of the page. It's
6 not the bottom.
7 There you see something which is called Tanjug Press. Please
8 could you explain us what Tanjug President means?
9 A. Tanjug is an abbreviation for the Yugoslav news agency,
10 information agency. I don't know that I can tell you what it looks like,
11 but Tanjug sent out information to all the newspapers. Newspapers use
12 that as a source of information.
13 Q. If I'm not wrong, the date of this Tanjug Press report is the 8th
14 of August, 1991. Is that possible to show this? Maybe that is on the
15 first page.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. The Prosecutor is once
17 again trying to mislead the witness. We're talking about an internal
18 Tanjug publication which is only sent to the editorial offices of
19 newspapers and other privileged users such as political bodies and state
20 organs and the like. It's not a publication that can be sold widely and
21 it is for state organs and the agency had certain interesting articles
22 from the -- appearing in the foreign press translated into Serbian.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have noted what you have just
24 said. Let's wait for the rest of the question.
25 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
1 Q. I do not assert that this was known publicly. What I want to say
2 is that this has been published in Tanjug, and my question to the witness
3 is: Did you ever hear that Mr. Seselj distanced himself or contested the
4 content of this article?
5 A. Well, I didn't know of this article, what it contains. I can see
6 the details now. I never read it fully to the end and now I -- but I
7 never heard him distance himself from it.
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Thank you, Your Honours. I have no further
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, on behalf of the Bench, I
11 thank you for having come to The Hague to testify. I wish you a safe
12 journey home. Before you leave the courtroom, we will drop the blinds.
13 Let me inform everyone that the hearing will begin at 8.30, and we
14 will hear the expert witness Mr. Theunens.
15 Is that right, Mr. Mundis? The expert is available to the
17 MR. MUNDIS: That is correct, Mr. President. Thank you very much.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Who will lead the witness during
20 MR. MUNDIS: The examination-in-chief for the Prosecution will be
21 conducted by my colleague, trial attorney Mathias Marcusson.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
23 I wish you all a nice afternoon, we shall meet again tomorrow
24 morning at 8.30.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, and good-bye.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.26 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 14th day
3 of February, 2008.