1 Tuesday, 4 March 2008
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 3.03 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, kindly call the case,
7 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you and good afternoon, Your Honours. This
8 is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus Vojislav Seselj.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar. Today we
10 are Tuesday, the 4th of March, 2008. I'd like to greet the
11 representatives of the Prosecution, Mr. Seselj, as well as all the other
12 people assisting us.
13 We are running a little bit late this afternoon for the simple
14 reason that the previous hearing could not end at the expected time, so I
15 have asked to go on for a little bit longer.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, instead of starting at
17 a quarter to 3.00, we would start at 3.00.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall hear a witness today
19 but I would like to address the issue of tomorrow's witness, Witness
20 number 21. I shall not give his name because he has been granted
21 protective measures.
22 Mr. Mundis, how do we stand to date? We have had nothing in
23 writing, no document. I would like to mention to you that I had told
24 Madam Dahl that I had asked to get, as was the case in the previous cases
25 which I presided over, Hadzihasanovic and Prlic, I had asked Mrs. Dahl to
1 give me the binders on a witness-by-witness basis, which means that I have
2 no binder whatsoever concerning Witness 21. So I don't know why that is
3 the case. I don't know why this hasn't been done.
4 Therefore, at three minutes past 3.00 and 53 seconds, I would like
5 to state that I have no document whatsoever concerning Witness 21. What
6 do you have to say to this?
7 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon,
8 Your Honours.
9 We do have those binders here with us in the courtroom, and I
10 would ask that the usher assist in distributing them at this point in
11 time. We are in the process of getting the consolidated 92 ter statement
12 ERN'd, and as soon as that is available that will also be distributed
13 along with the exhibits for that witness.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Mundis. You were
15 saying that you have prepared a written statement, a consolidated
16 statement, a 92 ter written statement.
17 Now, if this witness is coming to testify tomorrow, the accused
18 will only have this statement in his own language a few hours before the
19 witness's testimony. I think that we face a problem here. What do you
20 have to say to that?
21 MR. MUNDIS: I have again the unERN'd version of that statement
22 signed by the witness in B/C/S, and we are prepared to give the unERN'd
23 version of that statement to the accused right now, Mr. President.
24 I should also indicate that while the witness is scheduled to
25 begin his testimony tomorrow that may or may not be the case depending
1 upon how long it takes with the witness who is scheduled to begin
2 testifying today. So it's possible that this witness, the 92 ter witness,
3 will not actually commence until Thursday, but we of course will move as
4 expeditiously as possible with the next witness, but of course it's
5 entirely possible, if not likely that the 92 ter witness will not start
6 tomorrow, or at the very least the cross-examination would not start until
7 Thursday of this week.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 Mr. Seselj, I shall give you the floor. I am discovering this at
10 the same time as you are. As far as Witness 21 is concerned, we have now
11 the documents that have been prepared by the Prosecution. We have five
12 exhibits which are undisputed. These are well-known lists, a few
13 photographs. So in a few seconds, you are able to review the content of
14 these documents.
15 However, you do not have and I don't have the written statement.
16 As far as you are concerned, notwithstanding the fact that you are against
17 92 ter statements, that is another issue, do you feel that having the
18 statement in writing during the day, does this in any way prejudice your
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, evidently the OTP is
21 now abusing the decision handed down by the Trial Chamber permitting them
22 to bring three witnesses under Rule 92 ter. This Witness VS-021 has given
23 several statements to date and testified in several cases. Why does the
24 OTP need now to produce a consolidated statement by that witness? Because
25 then that statement can be introduced directly onto the record. I can
1 stand on my head in the courtroom, but I cannot change anything in that
3 If that is the decision you have reached, then act on it, but I
4 abide by my decision to ignore that witness tomorrow completely. I will
5 not raise any procedural objections. I will not listen to his abbreviated
6 examination-in-chief introduced by the OTP along with a 92 ter statement.
7 You have approved this because of the precedent in other cases, but you
8 know that this happened because the Defence teams were inadequate. Had a
9 Defence team risen to its feet and said, "I will not allow this. I will
10 leave the courtroom," it wouldn't have happened.
11 The lawyers here have all been bought. They don't want to lose
12 their lucrative fees, so you can pour boiling water on them in this
13 courtroom, if you like, and then cold ice water alternately and they will
14 not object. You can introduce everything under Rule 92 ter and finish
15 this trial in a few days. I will not say anything. I will sit here
16 quietly in the dock. I guarantee that.
17 You have seen here when several witnesses were examined, we had
18 two, Stoparic, and a protected witness. You saw for yourselves that the
19 witness or both witnesses said that they did not say what was contained in
20 the statement, that they couldn't concentrate when the statement was being
21 read out to them, that the statement was given to them for their signature
22 in English, and the witness who is supposed to come here said that on
23 another occasion, testifying in another case. So these are all forgeries,
24 these statements. Any such statement -- secondly, any such statement to
25 be admitted into evidence has to be taken according to the model used to
1 take statements out of court. It can be valid only if I was able to
2 cross-examine the witness when the statement was being taken, not at a
3 later date, not subsequently.
4 There are two things I will never accept: Introducing rules under
5 92 ter and quater, and I will not accept any testimony by videolink. You
6 are right that this is provided for in the Rules. You are now applying
7 the Rules retroactively to my case, and you may be right. You may have
8 the right to do that. But the principle of oral testimony and the
9 principle of direct testimony pre-date both the Statute and the Rules of
10 Procedure and Evidence of this court. The principle of viva voce
11 testimony can only be violated if we are speaking of someone who is
12 seriously ill, seriously disabled, had his speech apparatus damaged and
13 then that kind of person can sit here in the courtroom and write his
14 responses. That's the only time when this principle can be laid aside.
15 How do I know who is sitting there on the other side of the TV
16 screen? The witness has to be brought here into the courtroom.
17 You can do what you like but I have told you my opinion. In my
18 view, the major problem is not the fact that the OTP has not prepared the
19 material in time. A bigger problem is the willingness of the Chamber to
20 accept 92 ter testimony.
21 You have said that you will allow such witnesses only when someone
22 turns up testifying to a same issue so that the testimony is cumulative.
23 It's the same issue mentioned by other witnesses. But now you're
24 introducing three witnesses under Rule 92 ter and not one of them has
25 testified about that particular crime base.
1 There's another issue I want to raise now that I have the floor
2 although it's difficult for me to speak today. The witness who is
3 supposed to come today has been announced as a crime base witness. The
4 first sentence in the pro memoria, in the memo for that witness says that
5 the witness will testify to the crime base in Western Slavonia. And you
6 have handed down a decision more than once, as did your predecessors, that
7 this crime base will not be brought up in the courtroom, and I am amazed
8 at all the changes that are taking place here. I can't follow things
9 properly. I don't know what's going on. Are we having testimony here
10 about the crime base in Western Slavonia or not?
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Several things. First of all, I
12 have realised something, Mr. Seselj. Last week you told me that you had a
13 bout of asthma, and now you've just said, if I've understood correctly,
14 that you've had a few problems. Can you confirm that you're suffering
15 from asthma right now or not?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, this is the season of the year
17 when I have this problem, and a virus is also going around. I've noticed
18 that with the other people in detention in Scheveningen and it's making my
19 asthma a bit more serious, but I am not in so bad a condition that I
20 cannot follow the trial or sit here. It will pass in a few days.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me get back to your bout of
22 asthma, because this was a topic which you addressed when I was a Judge
23 during the pre-trial stage, and you mentioned the atmosphere in your cell,
24 and at the time we had expeditiously sent experts to your cell to see
25 whether the air in your cell was conducive to asthma in any way, but as
1 this had been settled at the time, are you currently taking any medicines
2 such as Ventolin? Because if you have a sudden attack of asthma, you can
3 then use your spray and contain the asthma.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm constantly taking medicaments
5 for asthma. I have them in my pocket so I don't foresee any special
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So good. I feel very reassured
8 by this.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Seselj, I just want to make sure that I
10 understand your standpoint in relation to the application of Rule 92 ter
11 correctly, because what I don't understand is what difference it makes to
12 you whether a witness comes here and testifies viva voce under Rule 65 ter
13 and during his testimony a statement that he has given and signed is
14 introduced into evidence. That is one situation. And the other situation
15 is exactly the same thing happening except that the statement is admitted
16 through 92 ter. The witness is here. He's open to you to
17 cross-examination, he's open to questions from the Court in both cases.
18 So what damage is done to your case by introducing a witness statement
19 under Rule 92 ter?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In principle -- or, rather, the
21 principle of viva voce testimony means that the witness must be able to
22 tell his story in the courtroom in front of us all.
23 We saw from the Stoparic example and the example of VS-004 that
24 their stories deviated significantly from what was in their statement,
25 especially Witness Stoparic said he never said those things.
1 Do you remember that in the statement it said that I greeted the
2 people at the rally with the Hitler salute, and the witness denied it all
3 when he came to the courtroom.
4 In a number of cases you can see that witnesses said their
5 statements contained things they hadn't said. At least 40 witnesses in
6 the Milosevic case said that what was in the statement were not their
8 Now, look here. What sort of statement is it by the witness when
9 it's written down by someone from the OTP, when they sign it in English,
10 and when after many hours of interviews somebody else prepares the
12 You heard what Stoparic said. He wanted it to be over as soon as
13 possible. He just wanted to sign and be done with it.
14 So you're accepting in advance to have something on the record
15 that was written by the OTP. What the OTP writes down is simply an
16 addendum to the indictment. It's not evidence. Otherwise, the indictment
17 itself would be evidence, because the OTP compiled the indictment based on
18 many statements. But an indictment cannot be evidence. Nothing that the
19 OTP writes can be evidence, and those statements were written by the OTP.
20 Had that statement been taken by rules governing depositions, that
21 would be another matter. We can have a witness who is unavailable, who is
22 serving time in another prison, it's too dangerous to bring him here.
23 Then somebody from the Chamber, from the Registry, from the OTP, and from
24 the Defence has to go and interview the witness.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: I can hear what you're saying but you're not
1 answering my question. In both instances the witness will be here to tell
2 his story and in both instances you will be able to cross-examine him. So
3 what difference does it make whether he comes under one or the other form?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The difference is in that case it's
5 much easier to manipulate the witness, and I delivered to you two
6 statements by legal advisors of Slobodan Milosevic who suspected in the
7 case of a number of witnesses that somebody was dictating to them through
8 their headsets in the courtroom what sort of answers they should give.
9 That is very easy to do technically. That's one of the reasons.
10 Secondly, a witness can give brief replies, yes and no, that
11 simply neutralise my questions.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, my fellow Judge has
13 clearly indicated with his questions that according to him and according
14 to me, and I believe my fellow Judge to my left also agrees with me, this
15 procedure does not prejudice you in any way, but you seem to be concerned
16 about Witness 21. I'm not going to give his name, but let me remind you
17 that the Prosecution had filed a motion, a confidential motion, an ex
18 parte motion on the 22nd of October, 2007, and stipulated or asked for the
19 admission of the transcripts during witness testimony during other trials.
20 The Trial Chamber handed down its decision on the 22nd of
21 February, 2008, and we dismissed this request and indicated to the
22 Prosecution that it could, if need be, seize us of a motion on the basis
23 of a new statement provided for these witness under the condition that
24 this motion be introduced 14 days before the witness's testimony in
25 question and before having the translation in your language. So the
1 14-day deadline has not, in this particular instance, been abided by. So
2 this is why this will be discussed by the Trial Chamber a little later
4 As far as I'm concerned, I'm against the 92 ter procedure in the
5 case of this witness, because our decision has not been abided by.
6 We have taken this decision to protect your rights, so that
7 transcripts concerning these witnesses are not admitted when the questions
8 that might arise might have no direct connection with you and may have
9 nothing to do with the presentation of your case. This is why we had
10 asked the Prosecution to prepare a new written statement, and it is with
11 this in mind that the Prosecution did prepare a new written statement, but
12 they did this in somewhat of a hurry and called this witness to testify
13 rather quickly without enabling you to look into the statement in detail.
14 So this is what the problem is all about.
15 Now, in what way would you be prejudiced? I think the whole
16 question hinges on this.
17 If we have a written statement -- let's take any witness. If we
18 have a written statement, the witness then explains what he -- his
19 training was, what kind of studies he undertook, what unit he was part of,
20 and then what does the Prosecution do when it's a viva voce witness? The
21 Prosecution then has the written statement before him or her and then puts
22 questions in line or in the same order as the written statement. For
23 instance: Can you tell the Trial Chamber what did you do between 1990 and
24 1991? And the witness will say, "1990 and 1991, I did such-and-such," and
25 the witness will repeat what is already contained in the written
1 statement, and this is how this will unfold. Rather than wasting time at
2 this game and the Prosecution puts question to the witness and the witness
3 repeats what has already been said, we can gain time by admitting the
4 written statement. But the accused has the written statement before him,
5 and the accused can in that case look at those paragraphs which are
6 relevant to his case. And at the time of the cross-examination, you can
7 then put your questions.
8 You're not prejudiced in any way. You would be prejudiced if the
9 Prosecutor were to ask him to say what is in the statement. If the lawyer
10 does not put the right question, which is not your case because you are
11 representing yourself in this case, the accused -- or if the accused would
12 not be putting the right questions, then there could be prejudice, but
13 this is not the case because you are defending your own case. So you are
14 not going to overlook anything that's contained in the written statement.
15 And in addition, you have a Trial Chamber before you that puts a lot of
16 questions. So you can imagine that if in the written statement there is
17 something that is essential, the Bench will put questions to the witness.
18 They will not overlook this important point.
19 This is why it is so difficult for us to understand why you are
20 opposed to this. You have explained this to us many a time, and you have
21 said, "If it's like that, I shall not put any questions." I find that
22 rather difficult to understand.
23 If you felt prejudiced, I would agree with you and support you,
24 but in this case I really don't see in what way you would be prejudiced.
25 If there were a prejudice, tell us in what way you would be prejudiced,
1 because you can, during cross-examination, ask all the questions you wish
2 to put to the witness, and you can then highlight the fact that the
3 written statement is not in line or does not match the truth, because you
4 are the one putting the questions. It's not a counsel who is putting the
5 questions for you.
6 So you also have a Trial Chamber that scrutinises all of this. So
7 in what way would you be prejudiced? If you are able to convince us that
8 you are being prejudiced, we shall listen to you; but today as things
9 stand, the three Judges that make up the Bench do not see in what way you
10 are prejudiced.
11 I'll give the floor back to you, and tell us and let he is know
12 why you believe you are prejudiced. If you are able to convince us, then
13 we will revert to viva voce witnesses, but we are not convinced that you
14 are prejudiced.
15 We'll give the floor back to you, Mr. Seselj. Explain to us in
16 what way you feel you're prejudiced.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judges, a written statement by the
18 witness cannot be admitted either in continental or Anglo Saxon law. This
19 is something new, invented by this international Tribunal. Secondly, it
20 violates the principle of orality, viva voce of testimony. Also, it
21 violates the principle of directness.
22 As soon as a traditional principle of law is violated, this
23 prejudices my case.
24 Secondly, instead of viva voce testimony, a statement is admitted
25 into the file, into the record directly. The statement was written by the
1 OTP. It was only signed by the witness who confirms it is his here in the
2 courtroom but sometimes the witness does that without even reading the
3 statement. So the OTP is producing evidence directly. As you have seen,
4 the OTP is also introducing expert reports, writing expert reports
5 directly. Why doesn't the OTP then write the judgement also. I want to
6 hear the story told by the witness directly. Not a single witness is able
7 to tell the story in the words written for him by the OTP, not a single
8 one, unless someone learns it off by heart. You know, there's a title in
9 Islam. A person is called an Hafiz if they can memorise the entire Koran,
10 and among the witnesses there may be such people with such memories, but
11 average people are unable to memorise things in this way.
12 And it's simply not the same story. It's simply not the same
13 testimony. The OTP is distilling the witness testimony and shaping it in
14 order for it to support the indictment in the best possible way for them,
15 and this is creative work by the OTP. And in that creative work, the OTP
16 gives itself the freedom and the liberty to invent things that the witness
17 never said such as my alleged Nazi salute. The witness said he never
18 heard -- he never said that.
19 I can, of course, cross-examine, but my cross-examination is much
20 more effective if I can compare the statement given to me by the OTP and
21 the story told by the witness in the courtroom, and I can then tell the
22 witness, I can put it to him, "Well, you said so-and-so in the statement
23 and now you're saying something else." And then the witness can say,
24 "Well, when I signed the statement I wasn't concentrating, I overlooked
25 this and so on and so forth." But once the statement is admitted into
1 evidence I no longer have the possibility of doing this.
2 As you know, every witness is proofed. He's thoroughly prepared
3 for his testimony, and in this case it's much easier to proof the witness
4 and prepare him, such as when they tell their experts to give expansive
5 answers, to waste my time, to avoid answering certain questions directly
6 and so on and so forth. Now they can teach the witness to say, "I don't
7 remember. I --" and so on and so forth and it's all admitted into
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you are mistaken in
10 a number of ways. With all due respect, I'm going to point out these
12 You say that in civil law countries, written statement are not
13 admitted as evidence. That's not true. In your country, in Denmark, in
14 Italy, in France, an investigation is conducted by the police, a written
15 statement taken by the police, and then this statement is part and parcel
16 of the case file.
17 The exact same thing happens here. Written statements are taken
18 by investigators. Most of the time they are former policemen, and they
19 take the statements of witnesses. The only difference is that in your
20 country there is an investigative judge and not here. But here we have an
21 adversarial system, a common law system, and thus you are in a position to
22 cross-examine your witnesses.
23 Second mistake I'd like to point out. You say that the statement
24 is admitted. No. The statement is only admitted at the very end, and
25 it's only admitted if it's -- if it looks credible and if no mistakes have
1 appeared during the cross-examination.
2 Let me give an example. This Nazi salute, in the written
3 statement it is said -- let's assume it said that Mr. X made a Nazi
4 salute, and then you can ask the witness during cross-examination, "You
5 said in your written statement that you saw someone make a Nazi salute,"
6 and then the witness could say, "No. I've never said any such thing."
7 The conclusion then would be that the investigator put these words in the
8 witness's mouth, and therefore the written statement has much less weight.
9 During the cross-examination, you will be able to review the
10 written statement point by point. Only at the end of the
11 cross-examination will we decide to admit this written statement or not.
12 If you completely destroyed the written statement during your
13 cross-examination, then the written statement will not be admitted.
14 On the other hand, if you highlight a number of points in the
15 written statements that are not credible, then the Chamber will not take
16 these points into account. Because you have to remember that when we
17 render our judgement at the end, we'll need to give reasons for every one
18 of our conclusions of our holdings, and our judgement will be based on all
19 evidence, on written statements, on testimonies, on the answers given
20 to -- by the witness to everyone. Therefore, there can be no prejudice,
21 you see.
22 You tell us that the written statement in English comes from the
23 OTP. Yes, you're right. A member of the OTP staff has drafted that
24 statement, but theoretically the statement reflects what the witness has
25 said. And the OTP's not going to go around making false statements,
1 because if that appeared to be the case, the Trial Chamber could call the
2 investigator and put questions to him.
3 So you see, your rights are guaranteed.
4 You've decided to adopt a negative attitude and to reject the
5 principle of these written statements. You say that they're not credible.
6 They're false. You say that witnesses are manipulated and at one point
7 you said that witnesses, they are told what to answer in their earphones.
8 Believe me we can check all that and when we listen to a witness, me and
9 my fellow Judges, if we identify any problem, any failings in the
10 testimony, we will put the right questions to the witness.
11 Our mission is to establish the truth, the truth in the interests
12 of justice, not in your interest, not in the interests of the Prosecutor.
13 The Judges have the role to play when the witness is here. They do not
14 only rely on the written statement.
15 Fine. I believe that we've covered everything.
16 Yes, Mr. Seselj.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I'm just going to
18 focus on the first part of what you've said. You're quite right when you
19 say that both in my country and your country and some other countries as
20 well a statement given at the police station is part and parcel of the
21 case files, but only if we're talking about suspects. They are suspects
22 in front of the police, and then the police tells them that they can take
23 a lawyer and have the assistance of a lawyer or give that right up. So
24 the statement can be introduced into the files straight away.
25 However, a witness statement does not go into the files straight
1 away. The witness must testify in the courtroom orally on -- based on the
2 principle of oral testimony and direct testimony. And I'll present
3 another problem now.
4 For one of these three witnesses that will come under 92 ter, the
5 OTP provided me with documents saying that the Croatian intelligence
6 service had interrogated him, that he went through a briefing and was told
7 how he should behave here, and it's a public secret that this is what the
8 Muslim secret service does, too, when we're dealing with Muslims, Muslims
9 witnesses. We have a series of witnesses. The AID of the time that --
10 the A-I-D, AID prepared witnesses. So witnesses are prepared and proofed
11 when it comes to the opposite side. They are prepared by their national
12 police services, and here in the Tribunal they are prepared by the OTP.
13 And then a statement is taken so that he is deprived the right of telling
14 his story in the courtroom.
15 Now, if a witness is going to tell the truth, his story will
16 basically be the same at all times. And if the witness lied on several
17 occasions and if they are lengthy lies, then he's not capable of repeating
18 all those lies in court. And you saw this with Witness Stoparic. His
19 lies were reduced to the question of Vojvodina. He derided all the other
20 true lies from his statement. The only thing that remained was what
21 Natasa Kandic told him what was the key issue and what he should insist
23 So the same will happen with these other witnesses. So witnesses
24 are prepared in twofold fashion, and there's absolutely no doubt that this
25 was done in many other trials as well. And the Defence does not have any
1 means of counteracting this, standing up to it.
2 I have only one way of doing that and that is to refuse to take
3 part in presenting witnesses in this way. That's the only road open to
4 me. And I'm not going to disrupt the proceedings here by any of my
5 gestures. I'm going to sit here quietly. I won't say a single word, and
6 I'll just watch and see what's going on. I'm not going to look at the
7 documents. I could even take off my headset and not listen to anything
8 being said in court. So you won't have any problems with me, but I am not
9 going to participate in any of it.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
11 Mr. Mundis, you wanted to say something.
12 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I'd just like to respond
13 very quickly to two or three issues that arose and then I do have two
14 other issues that I'd like to raise with the Chamber.
15 First of all, the Prosecution categorically denies and refutes the
16 notion that we prepare witnesses or tell witnesses what to say. I'm not
17 going to go into that in any greater detail because quite frankly I don't
18 think it merits a response.
19 Let me just say a couple of things with respect to the issue of 92
20 ter statements and the 92 ter statement that was provided just a few
21 moments ago.
22 There is nothing of any significance that is new in this
23 consolidated statement that has been prepared when carefully compared to
24 the witness's prior statements and prior testimony. What we have done is
25 simply taken the prior statements, taken the prior transcript testimony
1 and consolidated and focused that material into one single statement that
2 makes it easier for the Trial Chamber to follow and makes it easier for
3 Dr. Seselj to prepare his cross-examination.
4 The statement, as will be the case with all the proposed 92 ter
5 statements, are signed by the witness in B/C/S. So the entire issue of a
6 statement in English that's signed by the witness is moot. The 92 ter
7 statements will be signed in the language of the witness.
8 I'd like to also respond to a couple of points concerning what
9 Dr. Seselj said with respect to cross-examining earlier witnesses and
10 those witnesses' statements with respect to their written statements or
11 what they testified in court about concerning their written statements.
12 Again, that's not an issue with respect to 92 ter statements for the
13 simple reason that the statement is, again, in the language of the
14 witness. So we're not talking about a situation where a witness is being
15 questioned about statements that were signed in a language that the
16 witness does not understand.
17 With respect to the timing issue, we're certainly sensitive to
18 than point, but I would like to stress, and I believe the Chamber's well
19 aware of this, that we have had problems lining up witnesses in this case,
20 witnesses who at the last moment are refusing to travel to The Hague and
21 testifying, and our choice is then to re-jiggle the schedule, which
22 combined with time pressures have led us to choose the course set forth in
23 the Rules and jurisprudence under Rule 92 ter in order for us to get all
24 of the evidence before the Trial Chamber in the amount of time allocated,
25 taking into consideration a number of factors such as the refusal of some
1 witnesses to travel to The Hague and testify.
2 And that's really all I have to say, Your Honours, about Rule 92
3 ter and the application thereof in this case. But I do have two other
4 points if I may at this point in time.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please. Before I
6 let you cover these two points, when you were speaking I was looking at
7 the written statement of Witness 21. There are 67 paragraphs in that
8 statement. It took only a few seconds for me to realise that in these 67
9 paragraphs no mention is made of Mr. Seselj or of the volunteers. This is
10 a factual statement about what took place in Vukovar, bombing the
11 hospital, detainees, and so on and so forth.
12 Mr. Seselj, there's nothing in this statement that might prejudice
13 you, nothing at all in those 67 paragraphs.
14 By tomorrow, by Thursday, please take the time to read this
15 statement, the statement of this witness. You will realise that there's
16 no ground to attack the proceedings based on this witness. This could
17 even have been a 92 bis witness. Please read the statement. It took me
18 only a few seconds to glance through it. And believe me, most of the
19 Tribunal's Judges would admit it as a 92 bis witness because there's
20 nothing related to your actions or to your behaviour. It's a purely
21 factual statement.
22 I don't see why you could not cross-examine the witness on events
23 that are quite well-known and that apparently you've never chosen to --
24 chosen to challenge. I don't see where problem is.
25 If it was a much more significant witness, the Chamber would
1 refuse that procedure and would require the witness to be heard viva voce,
2 but I'm telling you, as far as you're concerned, there is no prejudice
3 here regarding this witness.
4 Yes, Mr. Seselj.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if your main problem
6 is time, time concerns, and I assume that that is the case, then the
7 Prosecution is the main culprit for not saving a lot of time, because it's
8 been almost five years since I have requested that I meet with the OTP,
9 with my legal advisors, and the investigators, and to look at the facts
10 not to challenge them or to challenge them. I am not challenging that a
11 crime took place at Ovcara. So these are things that could have been
12 resolved preliminarily and we would have saved a lot of time in that way
13 and then we could look and see who was to blame for the crimes where they
14 are undisputed. But there are a series of other questions which could
15 have been resolved in those five years, preliminary five years, but the
16 OTP avoided doing that because the OTP wanted to select my legal advisors,
17 who could and couldn't be a legal advisor. They wanted to impose counsel
18 on me and then to get through all this material with that counsel and
19 that's not my fault. We have too many witnesses on the witness list; 105
20 witnesses testifying about all and sundry. There is not even a third that
21 could be called relevant witnesses as far as this trial is concerned. So
22 it's ludicrous to call all those witnesses.
23 Next, if you don't allow the OTP to prove the database and crime
24 base, the Prosecution says the crime base is Western Slavonia, for
25 example, to start off with.
1 Now, I don't understand how something like that can happen and you
2 tolerate it. Do we need three witnesses to prove that the crime in Ovcara
3 took place? I think one would be sufficient. And then when you see that
4 I do not deny the crime itself, and then we have forensic experts and two
5 Croatian experts coming in afterwards who dealt with the exhumation of the
6 bodies, not to mention the names, I think they're protected too, then
7 there will be a Serbian witness who is not protected. He was a one-time
8 minister of defence and he's a pathologist himself.
9 So why are they doing all that? One witness would be sufficient
10 for the database as far as the crime at Ovcara is concern. You would be
11 able to see that I'm not challenging that a crime actually took place and
12 that 200 prisoners of war were executed. I'm not contesting that or
13 something that has not got anything to do with his testimony then you
14 wouldn't need the other two witnesses at all because you have proof and
15 evidence on the basis of the transcript, that I'm not challenging or
16 contesting the fact that a crime took place. So why this irrational
17 conduct on the part of the OTP? Now for principled reasons when
18 principles are being violated, I'm always prejudiced and as soon as legal
19 principles are being violated, I consider that that is prejudice against
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis, you came on the case
22 in the middle. You may not be aware that during the pre-trial stage
23 Mr. Seselj suggested that he meet the OTP. He said that very officially,
24 and at the time I drew Ms. Dahl's attention on the fact, saying that
25 Mr. Seselj was ready to meet with you. It did not happen. There was some
1 obstruction, I don't know where, but Mr. Seselj at the time said that some
2 crimes could not be denied. Of course he denies that these crimes can
3 be -- can -- that he may be made responsible for these crimes, but that's
4 something else.
5 The OTP did not respond to the offer of a meeting with Mr. Seselj.
6 We are talking about Ovcara, but there may be other cases, other crimes
7 that were committed. Why do we have five, ten witnesses who will come
8 here to establish this crime, and the witnesses won't even tell us who did
10 Yes, Mr. Mundis.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And an additional observation before
12 Mr. Mundis, if I may. In 2003, that was the offer I made to the OTP.
13 Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff accepted. However, she did not want to accept my
14 legal advisors to be present. You'll be able to find that in the
15 documents. I can provide you with the documents if you can't find them in
16 the registry.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis.
18 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. I believe actually
19 there's -- there's a couple of issues that are -- that are related here in
20 what we've just heard.
21 My understanding is that earlier, what was being proposed was a
22 limited number of agreed facts, not necessarily more overarching crime
23 base such as Ovcara, which we've heard now being indicated by Dr. Seselj
24 that he's not contesting that crimes actually occurred there.
25 I am going to undertake a review of what was previously said, and
1 my understanding as well is that a letter did go from Mrs. Dahl to the
2 accused on this issue as well. I don't have that in front of me. I
3 don't, therefore, want to go into the specifics of that, but I will state
4 two points, two additional points on this matter.
5 First of all, sometimes it's necessary, even though specific
6 events or specific crime or crime bases are admitted to, sometimes it's
7 still necessary to call witnesses in order to identify the actual
8 perpetrator or in order to link those crimes which even though the fact
9 that the crime was committed has been admitted or agreed to, to link that
10 to the accused. So the fact that -- that crimes have been agreed to or
11 admitted to does not always mean that there is no need to call the
12 witnesses with respect to those crimes. That's point one.
13 Point two is, again, once we've undertaken a review to determine
14 exactly what was previously said on this point and what the issues are, I
15 can assure the Trial Chamber that if it would be productive for the
16 Prosecution to meet with Dr. Seselj and his team, we will do so. And if
17 in the very near future it becomes perhaps productive or necessary for us
18 to ask the Chamber not to sit for a certain number of days so that we can
19 do that, I can guarantee you that we will in fact take such steps.
20 At this point I don't want to take that any further until I've
21 been able to review the prior transcripts as well as any prior
22 correspondence relating to this point, but -- but if we believe it would
23 be productive to sit down and meet to discuss a number of issues, whether
24 it's agreed facts or specific crimes and the admission of specific crimes
25 or the fact that they actually occurred, we will do so. I want to make
1 that absolutely clear that we have no intention of bringing in a string of
2 witnesses or victims to testify about events that the accused is not
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. You wanted to add two more
6 MR. MUNDIS: The first issue, Mr. President, concerns submission
7 of the accused number 375. This concerns -- or this was a notice that the
8 accused filed indicating that he had returned a DVD containing Annex B2 to
9 the Prosecution motion for leave to add exhibits to its 65 ter list filed
10 on 24 December 2007.
11 I would note for the record that on 11 January 2008, the
12 Prosecution filed a motion to withdraw the motion that had been filed on
13 24 December 2007. Therefore, in our respectful view, the accused's
14 submission number 375 is moot and requires no further action, at least
15 from the Prosecution. So that if the Chamber were amenable or felt it
16 necessary to render a decision on submission 375, you are certainly free
17 to do so because there will be no further submissions from the Prosecution
18 since that submission of the accused relates to a motion which we have
19 withdrawn, and I want to put that on the record to close that issue as far
20 as we're concerned.
21 The second issue --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
23 MR. MUNDIS: The second issue, Mr. President and Your Honours,
24 concerns a topic that has arisen several times in the last few weeks.
25 This concerns the hard copy disclosure of a large volume of material.
1 In the last two weeks the accused has raised the issue of
2 documents that he had rejected when they were disclosed to him in an
3 electronic format on 30 September 2004. This was raised at the hearing on
4 21 February 2008, commencing at page 3990 of the transcript, and it arose
5 again on 25 February 2008. This concerns the more than 200.000 pages of
6 material that the Trial Chamber is aware of and which, again, has been
7 raised a number of times.
8 As is clear from the transcript of the hearing held on 4 July
9 2007, the accused fully appreciates that the material in question has been
10 identified based on a number of searches for so-called perpetrator
11 organisations. The accused's position has been that since this material
12 is potentially exculpatory, he has requested the Prosecution to provide
13 this material to him in hard copy. He has also indicated that he does not
14 trust the Prosecution to review this material, and in this respect, I draw
15 the Trial Chamber's attention to the transcript at pages 1234, 1300, and
16 pages 1339 through 1340.
17 This position was repeated by Dr. Seselj at the Pre-Trial
18 Conference on 23 October 2007, at transcript pages 1645 through 1647.
19 And as I understood what Dr. Seselj said at the hearing on 21
20 February 2008, he still maintains that he would like this material in hard
22 The Prosecution agrees to the accused's request and will initiate
23 the reproduction of this material in hard copy as soon as possible. I am
24 not standing here today in a position to give a date certain when that
25 material might be delivered to the accused. I do expect, however, that we
1 will be in a position to begin disclosing this material in approximately
2 three weeks and that this disclosure will be complete in approximately six
3 weeks. We will put this material into binders in ERN order, and we will
4 provide Dr. Seselj with an index of this material.
5 It's my understanding that the accused wishes to review all of
6 this material himself as he believes it contains material that falls
7 within Rule 68(i), and he does not trust the Prosecution to review it.
8 While it is obviously up to him to decide how he will review the material,
9 we will, as I've indicated provide him with a number of indices specifying
10 in which documents the various perpetrator groups are mentioned and in
11 which documents the name of crime base locations can be found.
12 Before the Prosecution begins the reproduction of this material,
13 however, I want to be certain that the scope of this hard copy disclosure
14 is fully understood. The total volume of this material amounts to 306.000
15 pages. We will put this in binders. We are talking somewhere in the
16 neighbourhood of 620 large lever-arch binders, which will fill
17 approximately 12 to 15 standard-sized metal cabinets.
18 I will indicate that all of this material is also available in
19 EDS, the electronic disclosure suite. I understand the accused refuses to
20 use that tool, but it is all available in EDS, and he does have access to
22 At this point, Your Honours, what I am simply asking is for a
23 determination from the accused himself in light of what I have just told
24 Your Honours and the accused to confirm that he in fact wants this
25 material in hard copy rather than in an electronic format.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to
2 Mr. Seselj, just -- I would like just to go back a little bit in time.
3 During a pre-trial hearing, Mr. Seselj, on the 30th of September,
4 2004, indicated that there were 207.000 pages that came under Rule 68, and
5 at the time, let me remind you of all of this, this is extremely
6 important. Rule 68 had been amended on the 28th of July, 2004. I
7 attended the session during which this Rule was amended. And a few days
8 later, less than a month later, your colleague who preceded you sent this
9 letter off stating that there were 207.000 pages.
10 From what I understood when your colleague sent this letter off,
11 she knew that Mr. Seselj had a standby counsel at the time, and she had
12 said to herself, well, the standby counsel will conduct the research in
13 the electronic system, and she hadn't asked herself the question that,
14 i.e., that the accused might one of these days represent himself and
15 defend himself and, therefore, these documents had to be provided to him
16 in his own language and in hard copy. This is how things started off to
17 begin with. This started to begin with -- Rule 68 had been amended.
18 Paragraph (i) and (ii) mentions disclosure electronically, and the first
19 paragraph does not mention this. And when an accused is representing
20 himself, when an accused does not wish to use the computer system, he then
21 has to resort to hard copies.
22 It took me a while to identify the problem and now that I'm able
23 to put my finger on it, I know actually what happened.
24 I'm sure you have understood what the problem is all about. This
25 is why you have now formally told us that you would send all these
1 documents to Mr. Seselj, 300.000 pages approximately, and this amounts to
2 620 large binders that could be put into 10 to 12 filing cabinets.
3 Mr. Seselj, are you able in three weeks' time, because the
4 Prosecution has just told us that he needs approximately three weeks, are
5 you able in your cell or in the next door cell receive 600 binders? This
6 is in line with your request. You asked for this. So the Prosecution is
7 meeting request.
8 Are you able on your own to use these 600 binders purposefully and
9 read 300.000 pages?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I've been fighting
11 for this for five years now. I can read it on my own, and my associates
12 will help on this. 300.000 pages, well, you know, if this was all serious
13 material, then it couldn't be read in a lifetime, but you can just leaf
14 through it. You leaf through it, and you leaf through it, and when you
15 come across something interesting you stop, and then there's diagonal
16 reading. There are various systems that can be used.
17 I am prepared to accept this. Let the authorities in the
18 detention unit give me place to store this. They've given me another
19 cell. Let them give me two more. There are plenty of empty cells in the
20 detention unit.
21 But something what is much more important for me is something else
22 here. You will recall last year we had frequent Status Conferences, at
23 least once a month, and at each and every one of those we spoke about the
24 disclosure of material under Rule 68(i), and Madam Christine Dahl kept
25 avoiding this and rejecting this. Now Mr. Mundis says that in six weeks
1 they're ready to do all of that and that they even have a hundred thousand
2 pages more than I asked for. I asked for 207.000 pages and they have
3 300.000 pages, and that is a job that can be done in six weeks. Imagine
4 if it had been down in March or April or June or July of last year. I
5 would have been in a much better position as regards the preparation of my
6 defence and yet I had to wait for half the trial to be over or at least
7 half the Prosecution case to be over before I get this. That's another
8 problem that has now been revealed.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are not halfway. We have
10 just started. We're not halfway. We have heard a few witnesses.
11 So, Mr. Mundis, Mr. Seselj agrees to receive all the 620 binders
12 which will fill 10 to 12 filing cabinets. He is waiting for these
13 documents now, so it's not a problem.
14 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President. And during the next break
15 I will ensure that this project gets underway in earnest. I can tell from
16 the look of the registrar's face that he's looking forward to receiving
17 that material as well, so we will begin that process. I would expect it
18 will take between three -- three weeks for the material to begin arriving
19 and six weeks for the entire project to be complete.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. At least this is a
21 good piece of news.
22 So I don't know whether it's a good piece of news for whom, but
23 for the rights of the accused, I think that's pretty obvious. So -- maybe
24 not for the registrar, who seems to be overwhelmed.
25 Now, let's bring in the witness. So the witness has not been
1 granted any protective measures.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 WITNESS: MLADEN KULIC
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. I want to
6 just check that you are able to hear the translation of what I'm saying in
7 your own language. If you are able to hear me, please tell me.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. I understand you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, can you give me your first
10 name, last name, and date of birth, please.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Mladen Kulic. I was born
12 on the 1st of October, 1946.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you have an occupation
14 currently, and if you do, please tell us which one?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I'm not employed at present.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, have you already testified
17 in any trial? If so, which one?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I testified in 2002 in the Milosevic
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. According to my
21 research work, in 2002 you were granted protective measures. Today you
22 have not been granted protective measures for your testimony. For what
23 reason have you decided to testify publicly, in open session?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, circumstances have
25 changed somewhat so that is why my estimate is that I can testify like
1 this now.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Could you take the
3 solemn declaration, please.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
5 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir. You may sit
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Before I give the floor to the
10 representative from the Prosecution some very brief information I would
11 like to convey to you. You, sir, will have to answer questions that will
12 be put to you by the representative of the Prosecution whom we have
13 granted two hours to put questions to you. The representative of the
14 Prosecution will show you a number of documents in support of his
16 After this phase, Mr. Seselj who is seated to your left will also
17 put questions to you as part of the cross-examination.
18 The three Judges that make up the Bench can also at any time put
19 questions to you on the basis of some of the documents or on the basis of
20 some of the answers you provide to one or other party.
21 Generally, we have a break every hour and a half so that you can
22 have a 20-minute break. If you don't understand the meaning of the
23 question, please do not hesitate to ask the person who has put the
24 question to you to rephrase it. If at some point in time you don't feel
25 well, don't hesitate to raise your hand and let us know so that we can
1 adjourn the hearing instantly and make sure that you have an appropriate
2 rest. If you feel at some point in time you would like to address the
3 Chamber, do not hesitate to put any question which you may deem useful,
4 because we shall be prepared to listen to you.
5 This is what I wanted to convey to you, and I shall now give the
6 floor to the representative of the Prosecution, who is going to start his
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. President, before I start -- before I start
9 to put questions to the witness, let me please correct some information.
10 You said at the beginning that this witness has not been granted
11 protective measures. This is not completely correct. He has been granted
12 protective measures with a decision on 30th of August, 2007, paragraphs
13 (ii) and (vi). He has got pseudonym and face distortion. But during
14 proofing the witness told me that he does not need these protective
15 measures any longer. This is the reason why he wants to testify now in
16 open session without any protective measures.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. I agree with you. When I
18 said that there were no protective measures, as of today, that is what I
19 meant. Before today, of course, there were protective measures.
20 Examination by Mr. Mussemeyer:
21 Q. Mr. Kulic, could you please tell us what is your nationality, and
22 what is your ethnicity?
23 A. I am a national of the Republic of Croatia, and by nationality I'm
24 a Serb.
25 Q. Are you married and do you have children?
1 A. I am not married, but I do have children.
2 Q. Could you please describe us your professional background. What
3 is your -- what was your professional education?
4 A. I graduated in economy. I'm an economist. I graduated in 1978 at
5 Osijek University, the Faculty of Economics.
6 Q. Please tell us, when did you finish your studies?
7 A. I -- as I said, I graduated in 1978. I was working also before
8 that. I got another degree at the same university in '74, which was an
9 intermediate degree. I studied economics at Novi Sad and at Subotica, but
10 because of financial circumstances and because at that faculty you could
11 not study by degrees as you could in Osijek, I first did my military
12 service, and then I continued my studies. That's the history of my
13 university studies.
14 Q. Please tell us what did you do between 1969 and 1971, apart from
16 A. In 1969, because of my financial situation, because I couldn't
17 afford to continue my studies in the regular way, I got a job in Podravska
18 Slatina in the Municipal Assembly, as it was then called, and then I
19 continued studying along with my work. I first got the intermediate
20 degree and then I got the actual bachelor's degree.
21 Q. What was your task when you worked between 1969 and 1971?
22 A. I was employed in the Municipal Assembly in a newly established
23 body. Its precise name at the time was the Staff of the Territorial
24 Defence. It's an organ which by a decision of the Podravska Slatina
25 Municipal Assembly was established in 1968 and I was the first person
1 employed on organising work there at the time.
2 Q. When you studied to work in the profession you studied or in the
3 job you studied, can you please tell us where did you start your work, at
4 what company?
5 A. When I completed the first degree of the Faculty of Economics in
6 Osijek, I had to pass some extra exams in 1974, and then I paused. I took
7 a break because I couldn't continue working and studying at the same time.
8 So then I completed my studies in the regular way and sometime in February
9 1974 I took my degree, and I immediately got employment in Podravska
10 Slatina in the industrial and agricultural complex called Osijek.
11 Q. Did you change your work employment sometime during your
12 professional life?
13 A. Yes. When I completed that school, because there were
14 insufficient staff in Podravska Slatina and in other companies they needed
15 people like me, and then I went to work in Univerzal where I was in charge
16 of the finance department.
17 Q. What kind of company was this?
18 A. It was a metalworking industry. We produced curing sheds for
19 tobacco production.
20 Q. What did you do after you finished working for that company?
21 A. In late 1996, I returned to my previous company, the industrial
22 agricultural complex Osijek in the part dealing with fruit and vegetable
24 Q. Sorry to interrupt. I refer to --
25 A. [In English] Okay. Okay.
1 Q. I refer to the years 1983 and not 1996. That's a too big gap.
2 A. Okay. [Interpretation] Yes, I understand. In 1983, I left the
3 place of director of the Univerzal metalworking industry. In the
4 meantime, from chief of the finance department I was promoted to the post
5 of managing director where I stayed for one term from 1979 to 1983. After
6 that, I went back to the Municipal Assembly of Podravska Slatina, but I
7 went to work in what was then called the institute for social planning and
9 Q. How would you describe your job at that time?
10 A. My job in the institute for social planning and statistics was to
11 do with my profession. Based on my experience in the enterprises I had
12 worked in and my financial expertise, I was an economic analyst for the
13 Podravska Slatina municipality. After that, I also became the director of
14 that institute.
15 Q. Is it correct that your last position was that of a director?
16 A. Yes. In 1991, I was director of the institute for social planning
17 and statistics of the Podravska Slatina municipality.
18 Q. What was -- did you finish this job and when?
19 A. On the 30th of May, 1991, the government commissioner of the
20 Republic of Croatia, Ante Simara relieved me of my duty. He dismissed me,
21 me and many others, mostly Serbs.
22 Q. Who was Ante Simara?
23 A. Ante Simara was the commissioner of the government of Croatia
24 because the executive organ of the Municipal Assembly had been disbanded.
25 He was the president of the HDZ for the Podravska Slatina municipality,
1 and also the president of the Podravska Slatina Crisis Staff. That was
2 the information I had about what he was doing at the time.
3 Q. Have also other persons been removed from their job?
4 A. Yes. All my friends and many other Serbs were dismissed from
5 their jobs.
6 Q. Only Serbs?
7 A. In the Municipal Assembly all the Serbs, and in other
8 organisations there were other -- no, only Serbs.
9 Q. I will now come to another issue. Have you ever been politically
11 A. No.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you lost your job
13 because you were a Serb. You studied at the economics faculty. At the
14 time could you have seized a tribunal to challenge your dismissal which
15 had obviously taken place for ethnic reasons? Was that something you
16 could have done? Was that a possibility?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Overlapping speakers] ... possible.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Why didn't you do this?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I need to explain this. On the 31st
20 of May, 1991, when the government of Croatia appointed the commissioner of
21 the Municipal Assembly of Podravska Slatina to take over the function of
22 the Executive Council, Ante Simara, he took it upon himself to reorganise
23 things, and he dismissed people, all of us, in such a way that we
24 continued receiving salaries until the 31st of August, 1991. They said we
25 were on standby. That's what they called it.
1 There was no reason at that point for me to sue the State of
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But after the 31st of August,
4 1991, you weren't on the payroll any more, so you had been dismissed from
5 then on, hadn't you?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, right now it's very
7 important to explain what the circumstances were that prevailed from the
8 31st of May to the 31st of August. There were other problems, and the
9 question was whether one should enter into legal proceedings when one was
10 worried about saving one's life.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] At the time Yugoslavia was a
12 federal republic, wasn't it? Now when someone is dismissed, you were
13 still in Yugoslavia, so the political bodies were sometimes in the
14 minority. HDZ -- the HDZ had taken control. Could it have not turned to
15 the federal authority?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, on the 31st of August,
17 Yugoslavia existed only formally. Concerning my republic at the time,
18 there were no communications any more. On the 31st of August, there was
19 already a state of war. It was a situation where -- how can I explain
20 this? There was shooting going on. People were being killed. Property
21 was being damaged. There was no communication among the republics of the
22 former Yugoslavia any more. And all these were circumstances which put
23 one in a dilemma whether to try and save one's life, save your life and
24 the life of your family. So it was no longer -- it was no longer so
25 important to seek your employment rights when you no longer had any right
1 to a home.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for your answers. I'm
3 sure we will be able to better understand things in the course of your
5 I'll give the floor back to the Prosecutor.
6 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
7 Q. Mr. Kulic, you told us that you had never been politically
8 engaged. Can you give us the reasons for that?
9 A. Well, some might challenge what I'm saying now because up to
10 1988 -- from 1964 to 1988, I was actually a member of the League of
11 Communists of Yugoslavia. From 1988, I was no longer a member.
12 When I say I was not involved in politics, what I want to say is
13 that I never held a post where I could carry out any special political
14 tasks, let alone create policies and influence the situation around me. I
15 was a member on paper, yes. I paid my dues to the party. I sometimes
16 attended meetings when I was summoned, but I was never in the leading
17 structures of that party, and that's why I say I was not involved in
19 Q. Could you please describe us the political situation in your
20 region in 1990 and 1991.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. We shall have
22 the break now, and you can put your question again after the break.
23 It's now time to stop and have a break. So we shall have a
24 20-minute break.
25 --- Recess taken at 4.30 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 4.52 p.m.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The hearing is
3 resumed. The Prosecutor needs to ask the last question again. Let me
4 just tell you that at five to 6.00 we'll have a ten-minute break and then
5 we'll resume at 5 past 6.00 until 7.00 p.m.
6 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
7 Q. Mr. Witness, the last question I put to you was: Please describe
8 us what was the political situation in 1990 and 1991 in your area.
9 A. In 1990 as was common knowledge after the parliamentary elections
10 in Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Party came into power, the HDZ, and at
11 the time in the Croatia there were about 12.5 per cent Serbs who mostly
12 voted for the Party of Democratic Change or the SDP party. They changed
13 their name at the time.
14 Now, with these changes in power and authority, the changes on the
15 political scene, in fact, with the arrival of the Croatian Democratic
16 Community, conditions changed for one and all because in the pre-election
17 campaign itself we could see quite clearly the policy that was waged --
18 that was going to be waged by the Croatian Democratic Union if it came
19 into power, the HDZ. First of all, it was a national policy, a
20 nationalist policy, and already at the time it was recognisable as a
21 nationalist party, and that is what it proved to be.
22 With the changes in the constitution in 1990, the Serbs as a
23 constituent people were wiped out. They became a minority regardless of
24 their contribution to the creation of Croatia, and their contribution to
25 the development of Croatia.
1 In this way, immediately after the elections everything that was
2 said in the pre-election campaign proved to be even worse later on, even
3 more black for the position of the Serbs. There was no attempt at
4 resolving the problem peacefully. The Croatian state attempted in all
5 places where the Serbs were in the majority and Serbs who didn't agree to
6 the terror over them to be detained, taken into custody, and so on, but I
7 have to say that in the meantime the Serbs began to organise themselves on
8 a national basis, too, and the Serbian Democratic Party was formed along
9 those lines, and in some places earlier, in some places later.
10 In my region, Podravska Slatina, the Serbian Democratic Party was
11 formed at the beginning of 1991, for instance. And the people who had
12 been in the SDP until then, and they were in the Municipal Assembly, for
13 example, as delegates there, they set up their own SDP club. I'm sorry, I
14 meant SDS club.
15 In the political sense this didn't lead towards a dialogue, but it
16 led to confrontation. And in the meantime, at the beginning of 1991, as
17 you already know, incidents broke out, different incidents. And when I
18 say that, I mean the escalation of the conflict in general, which was
19 nationalistically coloured, that is to say a conflict between the Serbs
20 and Croats.
21 Let me mention that from Pakrac, 1993, which is my general area,
22 because my place belongs to Western Slavonia as does Pakrac, then in April
23 at Lake Plitvice, then in Borovo Selo, in May and so on and so forth, for
24 you to be able to understand the situation, let me say that 1991 proved a
25 year of escalation and took on the contours of war, a war conflict. And
1 in all these places you had the presence of police forces that came into
2 play. The group of citizens and the National Guards Corps, which was
3 established in the meantime, launched an attack on the barracks of the
4 Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA barracks.
5 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Witness. I'm sorry for interrupt you. I would
6 like to know if there has been any tolerance between the nationalities --
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have an objection. Mr. President,
8 I don't think the Prosecution has the right to interrupt the witness. He
9 has to allow the witness to complete his answer. He can't pick and choose
10 what he likes and what he doesn't like, and when he doesn't like something
11 the witness says to interrupt him.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you were interrupted.
13 Had you completed your answer or did you want to expand on your answer?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This topic, Your Honour, is a very
15 broad one, and I wanted briefly to paint a picture in response to what the
16 Prosecutor asked me with respect to the atmosphere that prevailed at the
17 time, the climate that prevailed, and that affected individual fates and
18 the fate of a peoples in general.
19 I did not wish to go on. All I wanted to say was that in 1991, as
20 opposed to 1990, 1991 you had the war option.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
22 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
23 Q. I repeat my question. Has there been any tolerance between the
24 nationalities at that time?
25 A. Your Honour, from -- throughout Croatia the situation wasn't the
1 same in areas where the Serbs were in the majority and where they were in
2 the minority, and I'm thinking of the urban areas of Croatia when I say
3 that. So where in parts inhabited by large numbers of Serbs they were
4 exposed to pressure, and if they couldn't bear that pressure they had to
5 leave their homes, which is what happened mostly during those years.
6 Q. Mr. Kulic, please explain us which parties dominated the elections
7 in May 1990.
8 A. The HDZ and the SDP. Those were the two leading parties, the two
9 dominant parties that dominated the elections, and they won by a narrow
10 majority, or lost. The other lost by a few places.
11 Q. What party was the SDP?
12 A. The SDP was the party which inherited the League of Communists, in
13 actual fact. And the name was the Party of Democratic Change, but before
14 that the party was called the League of Communists. I think that's what
15 the official title was. The League of Communists of the Republic of
17 Q. And the HDZ, what was --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, please.
19 Witness, these elections took place in May 1990, and according to
20 what you say, these elections are very significant because of the
22 As far as the electoral campaign was concerned, was it the SDP,
23 the former League of Communists, was it promoting the federal unity, or
24 was -- and was HDZ campaigning for Croatia to secede from Yugoslavia?
25 Was -- were these problems in the middle of the election or campaign?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, precisely as you've
2 just put it, Mr. President. The pre-electoral campaign of the HDZ was
3 based on the policy of seceding from Yugoslavia, creating an independent
4 Croatia, whereas the SDP advocated a community of states in its
5 pre-electoral programme or electoral campaign.
6 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
7 Q. Later on there was founded the SDS. Could you please explain us
8 what kind of party that was and when it was founded?
9 A. The Serbian Democratic Party, well, I can't say precisely when it
10 was established in Croatia. I assume in 1990. I can't tell you exactly.
11 As for Podravska Slatina I know that for certain. I don't know
12 the date, but I do know that it was the beginning of 1991. Whether it was
13 February or March I can't quite be -- I can't be quite sure now and I
14 don't think it's that important, but I do know that because a lot of my
15 friends and acquaintances were involved in the whole process and so I know
16 when the party was established there. But I can't -- and the founding
17 Assembly was held near my workplace. So that's how I knew about it too.
18 Q. And what kind of party was that?
19 A. Well, the Serbian Democratic Party was in fact a party which, on
20 the basis of its programme and activities, was supposed to protect the
21 interests of the Serb people in Croatia. First of all, in its political
22 involvement in Croatia as its founding father and president the late Dr.
23 Raskovic used to say many a time, both in the Croatian parliament and in
24 other public statements and appearances he made.
25 The party programme was to be to organise the Serbian community in
1 Croatia, thereby protecting the interests of the Serb community by
2 asserting it in the political life through political dialogue with other
3 participants of political life in Croatia and to protect the interests of
4 the Serbs in Croatia.
5 So that briefly would be the party programme if I were to
6 paraphrase this without any pretensions of being very well acquainted with
7 the programme, but on the basis of what I heard and saw, that's what it
8 would have been.
9 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I have one question. Witness,
10 you told us that when the constitution was amended in 1990, the status of
11 the Serbs in Croatia was also amended. They were a constituent people
12 before, and after that they became a minority.
13 There was this formal and official change in their status. That's
14 one thing. But in terms of their rights, their substantial rights, in
15 terms of their actual rights, how were -- was the status of Serbs in
16 Croatia modified following the change in the constitution?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps in formal terms
18 you would not think that there were any major differences at first glance,
19 or for me to be able to say that because I'm not well-versed in legal
20 matters. But bringing the Serbs into a different position, from being a
21 constituent nation to -- that is to say a people who at the beginning of
22 the century, the 20th century, had a significant majority, and then in
23 that same century reduced that number and expel many of them, and with
24 their participation not only in wars but in the creation of the Croatian
25 state in the first place as a community of nations and also through their
1 work and cultural work help to assert the Croatian state without asking
2 them whether they wish to be a nation or not, and when their majority
3 status was brought into question, they weren't asked at all and they were
4 thrown out of the constitution. So this was a symbolic pointer, indicator
5 to how that nation would fair on a daily basis in their daily lives. That
6 is at least how we the slightly more educated citizens thought about this,
7 and other people felt it too.
8 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Was this a matter of
9 self-determination for you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Certainly.
11 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One very brief follow-up
13 question. You stated that the SDP was founded -- no. No. The Serbian
14 Democratic Party, the SDS, was founded after the elections. It was
15 founded by the Serbs in Croatia in order to defend the interests of the
16 Serbs in Croatia. I want to know the following thing: Was this political
17 party founded spontaneously and in your -- in your city,
18 Podravska Slatina, or was this organised from Belgrade by Serb
20 Do you get the gist of my question? Was this, the creation of
21 this party, something that happened spontaneously, locally, because there
22 was a problem locally, or was this all decided and organised in Belgrade?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, many Serbs from Croatia
24 went to Belgrade, but many ideas from Belgrade were not realised in
25 Croatia. This idea that the Serbs should form, and I'm convinced of that
1 although I can't present arguments to bear that out, but I am convinced
2 not only because the president was Dr. Raskovic, an academician, and
3 people around him, I'm certain that these were people who in the area
4 where they were the ethnically dominant, and I'm thinking of the Knin,
5 Krajina, and that part of the Krajina in general, autonomously because
6 we're talking about intellectuals here from the urban areas and
7 Dr. Raskovic and the group together with him, who came with him, and
8 returned, they originated from those parts. So the Serbs in Croatia,
9 without any suggestions from outside, they established the Serbian
10 Democratic Party. And I'm convinced, if I can put it that way, that they
11 sought ways and means of protecting themselves and no longer believed in
12 the SDP and the issue of the Serbian community in Croatia in the way the
13 Serbs voted in their masses for the SDP, and they sought a way out in the
14 establishment of a national party, or a nationalist party.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Apparently you knew all SDP
16 members from your town, the president, the other members. Did you
17 yourself join this party?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. In 1988, I stepped down from
19 the SDP party. I was no longer a party member until two years ago. No
20 party, Your Honour. I was not a member of any party.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When the SDS was founded at the
22 time in this town you lived in, had you heard of Mr. Seselj? Did this
23 name ring a bell, or was it someone who was a complete unknown for you?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I did not see Mr. Seselj ever
25 before except perhaps on television, but I -- well, he's a little younger
1 than me. I know him to be an intellectual, and I think he's from the
2 Sarajevo University or Belgrade University from there, and probably from
3 the political section when it came to the Serbian Radical Party. So
4 that's what I heard and knew on the basis of these sources and political
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question. When the SDS
7 was founded in the municipality of Podravska Slatina and its first
8 president was to be Milun Karadzic, according is to you, is it possible
9 that Mr. Seselj played a part in the creation of this party directly or
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't believe so, no. Well,
12 I don't know for certain but I don't see any logic in that either.
13 Mr. Seselj was the president of the party in Serbia, and that party didn't
14 exist at the time in Croatia. So my answer would be I don't think so, no.
15 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
16 Q. Mr. Kulic, you already mentioned Raskovic as one of the leaders of
17 the SDS. Could you give us the names of the other important leaders?
18 A. In my region, and I can tell you what I know, there was
19 Mr. Veljko Dzakula at first, the president of the regional organisation
20 and a close associate, fairly close associate of the late Dr. Raskovic.
21 Then afterwards, in late 1991, I believe, there was a meeting of some
22 kind, a rally of some kind, and from Veljko, Sasic took over, Ilija Sasic.
23 At least that's the information I have. That's what I heard from those
24 people, from Mr. Dzakula in actual fact, directly. Of course in Eastern
25 Slavonia there was Hadzic, Jovan Opacic in Knin and some other people
1 whose names I had heard and later on I met some of them.
2 Q. Did Mr. Sasic have a very important role in the party?
3 A. Well, as far as I know, in 1991 he was the president of the
4 regional organisation of the party for our region, and I said that a
5 moment ago. I said I had heard that from somebody I was close to,
6 Mr. Dzakula. I heard that Ilija Sasic took this over.
7 Now, this seemed a bit strange to me, to be quite frank, because
8 the party did not have, if I can put it this way, such a long tradition in
9 my region, which is the same region that Mr. Sasic comes from. But
10 Mr. Dzakula had asserted himself more, so I thought this was a little
11 strange but later on we were to see why that happened.
12 Q. Did you if Mr. Sasic also negotiated with the Croatian side once?
13 A. Yes. I think that in 1991 he attended negotiations with Tudjman.
14 Well, I learnt this from the media, and people told me later on that he
15 went to ask that certain people who had been arrested be released. I
16 think Goran Hadzic and someone else. I can't remember their name now.
17 Q. You already explained us about the rising tensions in the area.
18 Did the Serbs in your area get arms and, if so, from whom?
19 A. In the town of Podravska Slatina, until the 30th of August while I
20 was in town, and it's a town with 11.500 inhabitants based on the 1991
21 census, only Croats bore weapons around the town of Slatina. I could see
22 that as could other citizens, and this was every day, an everyday
23 occurrence regardless of the form it took. I did hear that the Serbs were
24 given weapons too but, strangely enough, they didn't carry those weapons
25 on them. But later on where I went to the areas under Serb control, I saw
1 for myself that they did in fact have some weapons.
2 Q. Was it necessary for them to get weapons?
3 A. Well, I don't know whether it was necessary or not, but what I
4 experienced is this: If you wanted to defend yourself, you had to see to
5 that yourself, and I had to leave my own town because I feared for the
6 lives of my family and me, so I had to leave. It was a question of life
7 and death. And later this turned out to be the correct thing to do,
8 because when I returned later on my friends and relatives, many of them
9 were killed. They hadn't left. They were killed. That's the reason.
10 Q. Who organised the arming? Do you know?
11 A. I'm quite certain that the weapons from the depots of the former
12 JNA was the source. That's where the Croats and Serbs got their weapons
14 Now, the weapons that the Serbs had, I'm convinced that they were
15 from the JNA depots, from the contingent of the Territorial Defence as it
16 was called. Now as to the Croatian side especially as concerns their
17 institutions such as the National Guards Corps, the ZNG and the Ministry
18 of the Interior, I don't know about that except what was seized from the
19 barracks of the JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army.
20 Q. I would like to come back to the SDS. There has been a rift
21 inside the SDS in 1991. Can you affirm this or hasn't this been the case?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. That's a leading
23 question, and I think it's impermissible. There was a rift and then he
24 says, "Can you confirm that?" I don't think that that is proper on the
25 Prosecutor's part.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mussemeyer, it is indeed a
2 very leading question. Can you please address the matter differently,
3 because you're stating that there was a rift.
4 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Sorry for that. I realised that after having put
5 this question. I will repeat it.
6 Q. Has there been a rift in 1991?
7 A. Yes. Obviously I explained a moment ago that there were personnel
8 changes in my region. Some of the people close to me who were in the SDS,
9 well, I heard that the main problem in the SDS was that, if I can put it
10 this way, the rift, when it came to the issue of whether to have an armed
11 struggle and protection of the Serbs or to organise a pacifistic form of
12 political involvement, if I can put it that way, seeking a solution that
13 way. So that's where the rift occurred. And my answer is yes, there was
14 a rift in the SDS.
15 Q. Can you give us the names of the leaders of the SDS who were for a
16 solution by force and who were for a solution by negotiating?
17 A. Yes. I am not really familiar with the structure of the SDS in
18 the headquarters in Knin, but I am certain from what I myself heard
19 listening to Dr. Raskovic and from what I read that he wrote and advocated
20 in the media, he was in favour of building up and affirming the SDS and
21 the Serbian community through political dialogue and through pointing to
22 the problems of the Serbian community. That's how he wanted to affirm the
23 SDS party platform.
24 Another group, and later it transpired that the late Milan Babic
25 had been at its head, and Milan Martic also, and in my area it was Sasic
1 instead of Dzakula, Goran Hadzic, and so on, this was a group of people
2 who advocated the other option, the other option being weapons, organising
3 defence, armed resistance, protection. They spoke primarily about
4 protection. That's how they explained it. That was where the rift in the
5 SDS appeared.
6 Q. Have the leaders been threatened, the leaders who were for a
7 peaceful solution been threatened by the other movement?
8 A. It wasn't just threats, Your Honour. In 1991, the president of
9 Vrgin Most municipality, Mr. Obradovic, was killed only because he
10 rejected that option. From what I myself know personally and from what
11 Mr. Dzakula told me, he received threats. And not just threats, but his
12 life was at risk.
13 Q. Are you able to give us an example that his life was at risk?
14 A. In 1992, I was present when they wanted to kill a certain group of
15 people close to Martic. The police near the town of Novska, on the
16 motorway, they wanted to kill Mr. Veljko Dzakula.
17 Q. Mr. Kulic, you told us that Ilija Sasic was following the militant
18 movement of the SDS, that he wanted to have the problems solved by force.
19 Do you know if he had support from Serbia?
20 A. I can't really say, but I was a witness to the fact that a part of
21 the Association of Serbs from Croatia who were in Belgrade at the time and
22 where many of our Serbs applied for assistance because they were all
23 people originating from our area, and previously they had held important
24 posts, I know that this association supported the option of armed
25 resistance and so on, but I'm sure that the legal and other forms of
1 authority in the former Yugoslavia from the territory of Serbia did the
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We are now addressing, I was
4 about to say, a crucial issue as far as I'm concerned. This is extremely
6 You have just said the following: You have just said that there
7 were two groups, one group that advocated political dialogue, and the
8 second group which wanted to resort to violent or military action, and in
9 this second group there was Babic, Martic, and Goran Hadzic, but you add
10 something, and this is, and this is what seems to me to be very important.
11 You said that the second group wanted to organise the defence,
12 resistance, in so many words, that is by the way the word which you used,
13 or the protection of the Serbs, and that was the purpose of this group,
14 resistance and protection and organisation.
15 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Was the purpose of this second
17 group -- now, did they have another aim, for instance? Did they have
18 Greater Serbia in mind and the takeover of territories predominantly
19 Croatian? This group in which Babic, Martic, and Hadzic were included,
20 did this group also have at the back of its mind the idea of controlling a
21 number of other territories, or according to you was the aim to organise,
22 protect and resist?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am convinced that the general goal
24 was protection, resistance, things of that sort. But when you mention
25 names, Your Honour, as I had an opportunity to meet those people, I have
1 to say that they were unable to carry out more complex tasks. So it would
2 be difficult to implement such a grand project.
3 Now that you're asking me about the idea of a Greater Serbia, in
4 my part of the world, I mean Western Slavonia, these are now four counties
5 from the River Drava to the River Sava, from Slatina and Virovitica all
6 the way to Okucani and Nova Gradiska. I never heard of the concept of a
7 Greater Serbia except from my fellow citizens, Croats who were trying, I'm
8 deeply convinced, to defend their own ideology.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Babic, Martic, Hadzic. You met
10 these people, didn't you? Did you know these three individuals?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No -- well, I didn't know them well
12 but I did meet them. I met them in the Krajina. What I want to say is
13 that my impression of their capacities and their capabilities of carrying
14 out a large-scale project was that they couldn't do it. I wasn't in the
15 party, so I didn't have any opportunity of hearing about a political
16 platform in which the term "Greater Serbia" was mentioned, but as I did
17 meet these people, I assume if it had been included I would have heard of
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Babic, Martic, and Hadzic, these
20 men did not -- were not thinking of Greater Serbia. Their sole idea was
21 to defend and protect themselves against the Croatians.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Precisely so.
23 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
24 Q. Mr. Kulic, do you happen to know if there have been any contacts
25 between Mr. Sasic and Seselj -- Mr. Seselj?
1 A. I don't know, but it would have been very strange had there not
2 been such contacts in view of the prevailing circumstances, his reputation
3 and people's interest in meeting them. And later on when I had the
4 opportunity of meeting Mr. Seselj myself, I became convinced of it.
5 Q. I will come back to this later. Can you please explain us when
6 the SAO Western Slavonia was created?
7 A. The creation of the SAO Western Slavonia was in early 1991, or to
8 be more precise, in May 1991. I'm not sure of the date. I can't recall
9 the precise day, although there was a vote about the cultural autonomy as
10 it was then called. But I do know the SAO Western Slavonia was already
11 being linked to the starting of armed resistance against the possible
12 terrorism and arrests against members of the Serbian community.
13 Q. Who were the main political figures in the SAO Western Slavonia?
14 A. Well, how can I say this? I don't know who these people were, but
15 I can tell you how I obtained my information. I asked a school friend of
16 mine, a gentleman called Zagorac. I said, "How come you nominated the
17 commander of Western Slavonia?" And he told me that Mr. Sasic had
18 persuaded him to do so. He was a man who came from my town, a lawyer in a
19 place near Daruvar where they had a meeting, and they nominated again a
20 man from my town. So this Mr. Zagorac, I was very close to him, and I
21 asked, "Well, how come you appointed a layman to a military post?" And he
22 said that the SDS at its meetings organised and appointed certain military
24 Q. Do you know if the Republic of Serbian Krajina and the SAO Western
25 Slavonia had a representation in Belgrade?
1 A. Yes. Both the Republic of Serbian Krajina and the SAO Western
2 Slavonia had their representations in Belgrade.
3 Q. Was this a kind of diplomatic mission?
4 A. No. I wouldn't call it that. We called it the bureau of the SAO
5 of Western Krajina. I say "we" because I was in Western Slavonia at the
6 time, and I was one of the people responsible for certain jobs, and
7 therefore I would visit that bureau. We thought it was a bureau that was
8 meant to coordinate the assistance that was needed, and it was based
9 primarily on humanitarian aid but also other forms of assistance.
10 Q. You already told us that you visited this mission. Whom did you
11 meet there when you were there?
12 A. I met various people there, people from my hometown, from my
13 hometown of Daruvar. I didn't know the other people very well. I wasn't
14 part of those structures, and they were not members of my profession. So
15 I had no basis on which I could know them. But I did meet both Mr. Sasic
16 and Mr. Simpraga and a number of people who were there either as refugees,
17 working as volunteers, or as members of that bureau that is the political
18 part of the SDS. But as I was not a member, I don't know how come they
19 were there, what their functions were, but I did meet various people, yes.
20 Q. Was Mr. Sasic the head of the mission at that time or not?
21 A. I think as he was the president of the Regional Board of the SDS
22 that he was superior to the bureau. The bureau was simply an office that
23 provided him with certain logistical support. But I don't know when
24 Mr. Sasic stopped dealing with these matters because he only visited
25 Western Slavonia sporadically, occasionally. I didn't have much
1 opportunity of seeing him there. He may have come more often, I don't
3 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. Witness, we're
4 still talking about 1991, are we?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
8 Q. What was your position at that time when you went there for a
10 A. The first time I went there for a visit it was December 1991. I
11 was a refugee by then. I no longer held any post. I had just learned
12 that people had left Western Slavonia.
13 Q. I will come to this -- back to this later. My next question:
14 Have you ever been arrested by Croat paramilitary forces?
15 A. Yes. Before I left Slatina, that was the 29th, I think, of
16 August, a relative of mine and I were trying to leave Slatina, and we were
17 stopped. Many people were stopped, detained, or mistreated, but what that
18 day -- what made that day different was we were no longer willing to stay
19 in Slatina. We were afraid, and there I was detained and for several
20 hours they tried to persuade me, and then they took me to the police
21 station in Slatina, and the police released me because they knew me.
22 Q. So you have been arrested or -- by these paramilitary forces
23 outside Slatina?
24 A. Outside the town of Slatina, yes, in a village called
25 Donji Majlani [phoen].
1 Q. And they brought you to the police station later on?
2 A. Yes. They brought me to the police station, and they wanted to
3 establish our identity, and I had resided in Slatina for more than 20
4 years. The police officers knew me and they had nothing against me, so
5 they released me, but by then I was already in a state of shock and fear
6 because of the mistreatment I had been subjected to.
7 Q. What was your reaction after this arrest?
8 A. Well, it was a combination of circumstances. When I left the
9 police station I ran into an old friend of mine and he had a weekend
10 cottage in a neighbouring village close to Slatina. I used to be a tenant
11 of his and he knew me, and he saw that I was very confused and frightened.
12 I didn't want to go home, and then he took me to his weekend cottage, that
13 relative of mine and I to the village of Lukavac, and --
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter missed the gentleman's name.
15 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
16 Q. Did you always remain there or did you go to another location
17 later on?
18 A. There we found people from neighbouring villages, mostly Serbian
19 villages. And as this relative of mine and I were educated people, we
20 were able to tell them what had happened. And then they asked me to go to
21 their village and explain to the people there what the situation in
22 Slatina was like, to tell people not to expose themselves to danger,
23 although I have to say communications had been cut off. The roads between
24 Podravska Slatina and the neighbouring villages had been already been cut
1 This relative of mine and I went to the village of Macute, and
2 they persuaded me to go to Vocin. They took me there, and there I met
3 some people who were organising armed groups and setting up check-points
4 with armed guards to separate off the villages that today make up the
5 municipality of Vocin, but at the time there was a regional office there,
6 and they were separating themselves off from Podravska Slatina.
7 Q. Did you move to Vocin?
8 A. Well, there was no way for me to go back from Vocin. They brought
9 four or five us there, and I know for a fact that they asked me and my
10 relative Milan to go to those people, because we had some education, and
11 to explain to them what the situation was and to help them in a way. And
12 in Vocin we ended up there as refugees. We couldn't go back, and there
13 was no way forward either.
14 Of course, Your Honours, I could have gone but at a great risk.
15 My life would have been in danger.
16 Q. Could you please tell us when was this that you moved to Vocin,
17 which date?
18 A. The 29th. That's when I left Slatina. I think that I went to
19 Vocin on the 30th. I couldn't say that with certainty.
20 Later on when I analyse the situation, I link it up with a holiday
21 which is celebrated in the Serbian areas, the Assumption of Our Lady and
22 it was a day or two after that. That's in October, and I think it was on
23 the 30th that I went to Vocin.
24 Q. The 30th of October?
25 A. No, no, no. The 30th of August, of August.
1 Q. When you were in Vocin have you ever been mobilised into the TO
2 and, if so, when and where?
3 A. Yes, I was mobilised but not right away. I was mobilised around
4 the 11th or 12th, but not into the military formation. I was mobilised by
5 the staff, and they explained to me that I would be receiving and
6 organising accommodation for refugees, because people came from other
7 towns and villages, just as I had done, and accommodation had to be found
8 for them.
9 I was not on very good terms with the people who were then in the
10 command, and they didn't really want to have me in the ranks of the
12 Q. Could you please describe us how this mobilisation took place?
13 A. I was in the house of a man called Radosevic, who is now deceased,
14 and the relative who was there with me was mobilised right away. I was
15 mobilised a few days later in quite a rough manner. The police came in
16 the middle of the night. They dragged me outside, and with no
17 explanation. I thought I was under arrest. They simply took me to the
18 place where the command of the Territorial Defence was.
19 Q. Where was this? Where did they bring you?
20 A. They brought me to the Territorial Defence Staff of Podravska
21 Slatina, was in place called Lager Sekulinci. The neighbourhood is called
22 Omladinsko Naselje. It's a building where the scouts used to have their
23 training over the summer. It was an improvised accommodation for a large
24 number of people.
25 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, I would like to show the witness
1 65 ter number 2868. This is a map which has already got an exhibit
2 number, P182.
3 Q. Mr. Kulic, before the map shows up on the monitor, could you
4 describe us how were you received at this command post?
5 A. Your Honours, on my arrival -- well, I was actually brought there
6 quite roughly. I raised objections with the people I knew then in the
7 command, and I knew almost all of them. Well, maybe not all of them, but
8 I knew quite a few of them, and of course they were quite uncomfortable
9 with the fact that I had been treated so roughly, but from the
10 conversations that had preceded my mobilisation and judging by the kind of
11 people they had sent to fetch me, I couldn't have fared any better. That
12 was the best I could hope for.
13 The people apologised to me and they said, "Well, you know. It's
14 wartime. You can't control everyone. You can't keep it all under
15 control," things like that.
16 Of course I'm convinced that this demonstrated their attitude
17 towards me and my role and position there. That's how I understood the
18 situation anyway.
19 Q. Did they insist on your mobilisation?
20 A. Well, I objected, Your Honours. I said they couldn't mobilise me
21 in that situation -- or, rather, that no one except the formal territorial
22 organ of the Territorial Defence, legally authorised to mobilise people
23 for the needs of the JNA, could mobilise me because I was a reserve
24 military officer and I was liable for military service, but they ignored
25 everything I said. They said I should bear in mind where I was and what
1 the circumstances were, that all formality was at an end, that we were at
2 war, and that was the brief explanation I was given.
3 Q. Can you already see the map on the monitor?
4 A. Yes, I can see the map.
5 Q. Could you please show us where Lager Sekulinci is situated?
6 A. I'm sorry, Your Honours, but the part of the map I need to see is
7 not on the screen.
8 Q. Can the map be moved around? Or, Mr. Kulic, could you show us the
9 direction where this Lager Sekulinci is situated?
10 A. Can we lift the map up, because it's in the southern portion.
11 It's fine now.
12 The red, the red circle, is Sekulinci on the left, and on the
13 right we have another settlement where it says Gornji. And in the middle
14 there is a small settlement with small letters. I'm afraid I can't see
15 that either but I'm certain, because I know the area, that it's called
16 Omladinsko Naselje, which is an area that we called Lager Sekulinci.
17 Q. Is it correct that it is in the south-east of Sekulinci itself?
18 A. It's more eastward rather than south-east. It's south of the road
19 running for -- from Sekulinci to Juricic. However, it's east of
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Witness. What -- when you have been mobilised,
22 what was your first assignment?
23 A. For the first 14 days -- well, 10 to 14 days, roughly, I was
24 wearing civilian clothes, and I was in that area of Lager Sekulinci and
25 the surrounding parts, Vocin. I tried with the local boards as they were
1 set up, the commands of the local boards, to organise taking in the
2 refugees who came into the area, and those are the orders I received.
3 It was a need, a humanitarian necessity to organise accommodation
4 for the people pouring into the area from other regions.
5 Q. Did you later get a uniform?
6 A. Yes. I'm not quite sure when that was, when I was issued a
7 uniform, but it was sometime in the first half of October -- or, rather,
8 the second half of October when I was given assignments within the
9 frameworks of the Territorial Defence command to work organising, training
10 and education for the members of the Territorial Defence who had not done
11 their military service previously. So this was a sort of training course
12 that I was supposed to organise, but the question remained that it was
13 also my duty to accommodate the incoming mobilised soldiers. Not
14 civilians any more but soldiers.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's almost five to 6.00. We're
16 going to have a 10-minute break. We'll resume at 5 past 6.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.55 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 6.06 p.m.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. We have resumed.
20 Judge Harhoff had some business to attend to.
21 The Prosecution has used 57 minutes. You have one hour and three
22 minutes left.
23 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
24 Q. Mr. Kulic, can you tell us when did the first volunteers arrive to
25 Western Slavonia?
1 A. That was in the second half -- or, rather, the beginning of the
2 second half of October.
3 Q. Do you --
4 A. I can't remember exactly what the date was.
5 Q. Do you know who sent these volunteers?
6 A. Yes, I do know. The volunteers were sent by the staff, the War
7 Staff of the Serbian Radical Party. That's what it said on the document
8 that I saw.
9 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, could we please move into -- on
10 the monitor 65 ter number 737. This is a letter to the Ministry of
11 Serbs -- Ministry for Serbs Outside Serbia, and the Prosecution got this
12 document from a sensitive source on the 18th of September, 2003. I guess
13 that Dr. Seselj knows who this sensitive source is.
14 Q. Mr. Kulic, is this document authentic?
15 A. I do believe that this document is authentic, although I haven't
16 actually seen it.
17 Q. Was this a typical letter for request of volunteers at that time?
18 Can you say this?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. The question is
20 inadmissible, Mr. President, because the witness said that he believes
21 that the document is authentic, although he's never seen it before, and
22 now the Prosecutor is asking him whether it's a typical letter.
23 Now, the question that he could ask would be has he seen another
24 letter ever?
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed. Mr. Seselj is
1 right. You've asked him if that is a typical letter, implying thus that
2 he had seen other letters of this type. So you need to ask him first
3 whether he's seen other such letters.
4 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
5 Q. Mr. Kulic, you've heard the President's remarks. Could you answer
6 his question?
7 A. Yes. I never saw this letter before, and I don't know this
8 portion, but there were a -- so-called recognisable forms of
9 correspondence, so that's why I assume that this is authentic. At the
10 time -- at that point in time although I was in Western Slavonia myself, I
11 did not know that volunteers were being sent. I didn't know about that.
12 I learn that later on when I met the first volunteers. So linked to this
13 letter I can say that I didn't know that it was being sent or whether it
14 was being sent from people from my Territorial Defence. I see that here
15 it says Novska, the Territorial Defence Staff Novska. I do not, however,
16 exclude the possibility that they sent something like this from my staff.
17 And I previously explained, Your Honours, that I wasn't close to the
18 command in the Territorial Defence Staff where I had been -- to which I
19 had been mobilised.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Another objection, Mr. President.
21 The Prosecutor must not lead the witness to make guesswork. All the
22 witness can do is say what he knows personally, not to guess at the
23 answer, whereas the Prosecutor seems to be leading him in that direction,
24 to encourage him to guess.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Mussemeyer.
1 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I think the witness does not remember this
2 document at the moment because it has been shown to him during a 92 ter
3 statement, and he commented on this document. So it's not that I am
4 guessing. Maybe that the witness at the moment does not remember this
6 Q. Mr. Witness, do you know the author of this document,
7 Slobodan Gubic?
8 A. The gentleman you've just mentioned I did get to know and met but
9 in a completely different context, not linked to this. I happened to meet
10 the man when I was a member of the Banja Luka Corps. So after these
12 MR. MUSSEMEYER: My case manager already informed me that this
13 witness -- this document has already been admitted into evidence. It's
14 P239, and it is under seal.
15 I would like to show the witness the next document, which is 65
16 ter number 757. It's a request from the TO Okucani.
17 Q. Mr. Witness, can you comment this document?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. I don't have the
19 complete document. I'm missing a page. All I have is the first page.
20 And I think in English the problem is the same.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Apparently page 2 is
22 missing. We don't have the stamps and so on and so forth.
23 Mr. Mussemeyer, page 2 is missing.
24 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Just a moment, please. We can give it in one
1 Q. Mr. Kulic, can you tell us how many volunteers arrived in the
2 area? The document at the end of page 1 speaks about 5.000.
3 A. I can speak about the area of the Territorial Defence under the
4 control of the Territorial Defence Staff of territorial -- of Podravska
5 Slatina. Now, the period mentioned here up until the 13th of December,
6 1991, I personally think that in that area, including Zvecevo, there could
7 not have been more than, let's say, 4 to 500 volunteers, in my own
8 personal opinion, as far as I knew the situation and met them and so on.
9 I don't exclude a slight deviation from that figure because I didn't have
10 the exact figures and information as to the number and their movement.
11 Now, with respect to the document you've just shown me --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, the Prosecutor did not
13 ask you about your military activities when he covered your CV. I
14 understand that you were an officer of the JNA and that you ended your
15 service within the JNA with the rank of lieutenant.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not an officer, an army officer.
17 I was just in the reserve composition of the Yugoslav People's Army and
18 underwent training for reserve officers, and my rank was captain 1st
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You were captain 1st class in
21 the reserve corps. At the time the law governing military conscription,
22 did that law provide for volunteers to legally join the JNA or the TO, to
23 your knowledge?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I'm quite certain that the law
25 governing the armed forces of Yugoslavia provided for just one form of
1 organisation in such a way that the armed forces of the former Yugoslavia
2 were organised by the Yugoslav People's Army through the Secretariat for
3 National Defence. There was no other possibility under the law.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. But the army was made up
5 of professional officers and of reservists. Yes or no?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The armed forces of Yugoslavia
7 included the territorial component. That's what the law envisaged, both
8 professional and reserve forces.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] To your knowledge did the law
10 provide for a situation where reserve officers or soldiers would have
11 joined the JNA or the TO even without having been called to do so?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. That was not provided for in
13 any shape or form. I am convinced, although I can't speak specifically to
14 this, that there was another important law here and that was the Law on
15 Territorial Defence. Each republic had that and so did the federation,
16 and they did not stipulate any forms of voluntary organisation. But the
17 way in which things were organised followed the example, system and model
18 of the Yugoslav People's Army, because there were what we called
19 formations, both for units and for institutions.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What about if you were shown a
21 document that says the exact opposite? What would you say?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I would say is that I'm not
23 sufficiently well-versed in the legal aspects of that subject, and I might
24 have got it wrong in what I've just presented to you.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When these volunteers would
1 arrive in the field, you said there were about 400 of them. To your
2 knowledge, would they immediately join the Territorial Defence?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the first group of volunteers
4 that I met was at the insistence of my commander. I met them personally.
5 He wanted to boast about that. So from the documents that the volunteers
6 brought with them and what my commander was supposed to do, those
7 volunteers had in fact come in to be subordinated and become attached to
8 the Territorial Defence of the municipality of Podravska Slatina.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You heard that, didn't you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I saw it on the documents those
11 volunteers brought with them.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have a belated objection. You
14 asked a number of questions, so it took me a little time to get my
15 objection in, but let me remind you that the Prosecutor's question was how
16 many volunteers were there in Western Slavonia, indicating that this
17 document mentions a figure of 5.000, thereby trying to mislead the
18 witness. The witness said that there were 4 or 500 to the best of his
19 knowledge. However, we should look at the document and see that this was
20 the need for volunteers, and the document is dated the 2nd of December.
21 So what the Territorial Defence in Okucani assesses that they need, which
22 is 5.000 volunteers. And I think it's quite out of order for the
23 Prosecution to pose questions based on falsification of what it actually
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Mussemeyer, I also
1 understand that this figure of 5.000 was an estimate of a number of men
2 needed. It's not the figure of -- of the men who actually arrived.
3 The witness told us that there were about 400 to 500 of them.
4 Witness, would you agree that this figure of 5.000 is an
5 assessment of the needs, but there weren't 5.000 volunteers?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've just read this document and I
7 can see that it is an assessment, an estimation, but it refers to a far
8 larger territory than the one I spoke about. So I spoke about the area
9 under the control of the Territorial Defence Staff of Podravska Slatina,
10 which is where I was. So I can give you an estimate for that judging by
11 the number of people I met and the information I got and so on. But when
12 we're dealing with SAO Western Slavonia, then you must bear in mind,
13 Your Honours, that there were four more Territorial Defence Staffs there
14 in the municipalities up to the River Sava, and the Territorial Defence
15 Staff of Novska, this one in the village of Rajic which is along the main
16 road, it's close to the Sava River. So these were assessments for the
17 whole of Western Slavonia. At least that's how I understand it reading
18 this document.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In this document mention is made
20 of an axis Virovitica, your own municipality, Daruvar, Pakrac, Okucani,
21 Banja Luka, and to the east there is the Belgrade-Zagreb axis, and so on
22 and so forth. Would that figure of 5.000 include all these axes, or is
23 that a figure that is only relevant to the Okucani municipality?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. From this context,
25 as far as I understand it, and I think it corresponds to the situation,
1 that this was for the entire area of SAO Western Slavonia.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine. To the entire area. Thus
3 five thousand volunteers are needed for the entire region. Fine.
4 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Is it my turn now?
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Please proceed.
6 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I also had doubts about this 5.000, and it was
7 exactly the reason I was asking the witness to clarify this. The reason
8 was not to mislead.
9 Can I have this document moved into evidence. I understood that
10 we already got the second page in the meantime.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I haven't received the second
14 MR. MUSSEMEYER: It is in the e-mail, I was told.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, but Mr. Seselj has not
16 received it. I'm talking about the second page.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I received it on paper,
18 Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Any objections,
20 Mr. Seselj, to the admission of this document?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No. But once again, the question is
22 what does this document have to do with this witness if the witness says
23 he's never seen it before?
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's another matter
1 Can we have a number, Registrar, please for this document.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit number P264.
3 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, can I have on the monitor the
4 document 65 ter number 582. This is an already admitted exhibit. It has
5 the number P227 and is under seal.
6 Q. Mr. Witness, do you see this document on your screen?
7 A. Yes. I can't see the upper part.
8 Q. This is a letter from Mr. Zoran Rankic, who was the deputy of the
9 War Staff of the SRS. Please, Mr. Seselj, correct me if I'm saying this
10 wrong. And it was written the 16th of October, 1991.
11 There are mentioned in this letter three conditions under which
12 the SRS would send volunteers to Western Slavonia. Mr. Witness, can you
13 see this?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know if these conditions have been fulfilled?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. First of all, the
17 Prosecutor should ask the witness whether he's ever seen this document
18 before, and if he says yes, then he can go on and ask him whether these
19 conditions were met.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Mussemeyer, that's
21 what I was about to say. This document is sent to the Territorial Defence
22 of his municipality. You need to ask him whether he was aware of this
23 document at the time.
24 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
25 Q. Mr. Witness, can you tell us if this document is authentic?
1 A. I assume it is.
2 Q. Have you --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is not the proper question
4 to ask. You asked him if the document is authentic. You should ask him
5 first whether he's seen the document before. Then yes, he may say the
6 document is authentic because there is a stamp or, no, here a signature.
7 I'll ask the question myself.
8 Witness, we have a document dated 16th of October, 1991. At the
9 time, did you see that document? Did you read that document?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, no.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Why, then, would
12 this document be authentic according to you?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For a number of reasons. It was not
14 difficult to assume, and I knew the way in which communication was
15 maintained between organs and institutions, but I say that I assume that
16 it's authentic, and later on I came across certain documents from this
17 same institution. That's why I say I assume that it is, but I cannot
18 claim that it is because I've never seen it before.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the witness is
21 brought into a situation where he's asked to speculate again. I did not
22 challenge the authenticity of this document, but it's inappropriate for
23 this witness to be asked whether it's an authentic document or not. How
24 can he say whether it is or not? All he can do is speculate, and there
25 should be no speculation in the examination-in-chief.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Witness, you assume that
2 this document is authentic. You added that you saw other documents coming
3 from the same organisations. So I understand that you had the opportunity
4 to read documents from the SRS. Am I right? Did I understand correctly?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a moment ago when I was
6 asked whether I know when the first volunteers arrived into the area of
7 Vocin, I said when and how they arrived, and on that occasion I was able
8 to see documents.
9 Now, later on, if this is a topic discussed by this Tribunal, I
10 can say that I met some people too. So I knew something about these lines
11 of communication. That's why I say I assume that it is, but I can't claim
12 that it is because it's a document I've never seen before.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If I understand you correctly,
14 based on the substance and the contents of this document, and based on
15 other information you had, based on what you saw, you are in a position to
16 conclude that this document may be an authentic document, that it is a
17 document addressed by the SRS to the Territorial Defence of
18 Podravska Slatina. Is that what you were telling us?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
21 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I would like to show the witness 65 ter number
22 594, which has already been admitted into evidence under P228, and it is
23 under seal. It's an answering letter from the 19th of October, 1991.
24 Q. Mr. Witness, do you see this document?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 Q. Can you tell us if it is authentic?
2 A. Yes, it's an authentic document, although I did not see it.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's an authentic document
4 because of its content or because of what has been added to it?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, for both reasons and because
6 of the signature of the person I know it's authentic. I recognise the
7 shape and manner of handwriting and also the form of the letter. I have
8 been educated to recognise these things, so I feel I'm competent to say
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
12 Q. Can you please tell us how was the approach of the JNA officers in
13 your region? Did they agree to the arrival of the volunteers to support
14 the Serbs in the area?
15 A. In the area I was in there were no active-duty JNA officers except
16 for the commander of the Territorial Defence Staff of Western Slavonia who
17 arrived in November, Colonel Jovan Trbojevic. There were no other
18 active-duty officers unless they came sporadically. I pointed this out to
19 my colleagues and superiors as an omission.
20 I know for a fact that opinions were divided in the Territorial
21 Defence regarding the arrival of volunteers. Not so much their arrival as
22 the special status they had and their behaviour, their conduct.
23 Q. I will come to this later.
24 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Can I please have the document 65 ter number --
25 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I'm a little bit lost. There's
1 something I don't understand. Why do you need to show this document which
2 has already been admitted, and we could gain some time by putting the
3 questions directly, couldn't we, perhaps?
4 MR. MUSSEMEYER: The witness is a witness of the area. He knows
5 what happened there, and I want to lead him through -- also through the
6 documents. If you think it's not necessary, I can also --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The documents which have already
8 been admitted, well, there's no need in showing them again unless, of
9 course, they are of any particular interest.
10 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Yes. The next one has already been admitted, but
11 I want to show it, nevertheless, to the witness because I think it's quite
12 important. It's 65 ter number 608, which has been admitted as P223 under
14 Q. This is a letter from -- to the Territorial Defence of
15 Podravska Slatina, an authorisation, and it authorises Mr. Radovan Novacic
16 to be the commander of the volunteers in the area, and I would like to
17 know from the witness who was the commander of the volunteers. Was it
18 Mr. Novacic or was it a JNA commander?
19 A. Your Honour, I met Radovan Novacic when the first group of
20 volunteers arrived. A letter was sent by the staff of the Radical Party
21 regarding the 17 volunteers, and Mr. Radovan Novacic was the only one
22 whose first and last name was mentioned. I remember that because I met
23 the man, and I asked for other details because of the security issue. I
24 didn't even know who Radovan Novacic was, and I said to the commander, he
25 could be anyone. That's why I went to meet Mr. Novacic, and later on I
1 would meet him.
2 The volunteer units had their own command, and the staff of the
3 Territorial Defence of Western Slavonia was in charge of them. But I'm
4 sure that with respect to the first group it was the Podravska Slatina
5 Territorial Defence Staff.
6 Q. Was there a kind of double line in command?
7 A. I was a reserve officer so I knew a little bit about how command
8 goes on, and I felt that the biggest problem was that there was not a
9 unified form of command, that these were separate units and there was a
10 separate type of linked command. The territorial staff of Western
11 Slavonia was in command of volunteers on the territory of the
12 Podravska Slatina Territorial Defence Staff. That's the information I
13 received from my colleagues in the Territorial Defence Staff where I
14 myself had certain duties to perform.
15 Q. Can you tell us if the volunteers -- did they abide to the rules
16 of the JNA?
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a minute. The Prosecutor
18 is going too fast. Once again here we are addressing a crucial issue, and
19 it's important that we spend some time on it.
20 You are at the headquarters of the Territorial Defence. You see
21 volunteers coming in. Now, there's a document which we have before us
22 which mentions Radovan Novacic.
23 What I would like to know is this: When this man and the other
24 people arrive, is he put under the command of the Main Staff of the
25 Territorial Defence of Podravska Slatina? That's my question. This is a
1 very precise question. Is he going to obey the orders of the Main Staff
2 of the Territorial Defence?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this was in October,
4 and this was the first group of volunteers. There was 17 of them, and
5 they were under the command of the Territorial Defence Staff of
6 Podravska Slatina. We are not now talking about other groups and other
7 times. I'm speaking only of the first group and how I met the person
8 mentioned in this document.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, he arrived in October. At
10 what time did he get there?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think they arrived in the second
12 half of October, but I couldn't pinpoint the date.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There are 17 all in all; is that
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And these 17 men are commanded
17 by Radovan Novacic; is that right?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have just said that they are
20 put under the command of the TO Main Staff.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. That's what I said,
22 Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So what is the name of the
24 commander of the TO in Podravska Slatina? Who was the commander?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Boro Radosavljevic. And the
1 commander of the army, so to say, the Territorial Defence Staff, it also
2 replaced the civilian authorities. That's why I'm trying to explain all
3 this to you. And the commander of the military who received -- I'm
4 referring to the military territorial component, was a friend of mine,
5 Captain 1st Class Keleuva.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So if I've understood you well,
7 Boro Radosavljevic. I'm sorry if I have misspelled [as interpreted] your
8 names -- so this person Boro Radosavljevic is a commander. Is that right?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Territorial Defence of Podravska
10 Slatina municipality.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Radovan Novacic will then obey
12 his orders; is that right?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know whose orders he obeyed
14 because I was not in the chain of command, but I know that he came. He
15 brought a letter that his unit, that first unit, was to be part of the
16 Territorial Defence Staff. It was to be one of their units. And the
17 officers from the staff informed me of this fact.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But in the Main Staff if
19 Radovan Novacic is told, "Go there, do this and that," will Radovan
20 Novacic obey the orders?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. According to the system of
22 subordination he had to, and he did.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right. And that's what he did.
24 Prosecutor, you have the floor again.
25 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
1 Q. Mr. Kulic, could you tell us who was Colonel Trbojevic?
2 A. Colonel Jovan Trbojevic was an active duty officer of the Yugoslav
3 People's Army, and he originated from that area. He arrived, I think, in
4 early November, or sometime in November to the post of Staff Commander of
5 the Territorial Defence of Western Slavonia.
6 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, could I please have 65 ter number
7 501 on the monitor.
8 Q. Mr. Kulic, could you comment on this document? It's the
9 assignment or the appointment of Jovan Trbojevic.
10 A. Your Honour, it follows from this document that Colonel Trbojevic
11 was deployed to this job on the 20th of September, but he arrived probably
12 two months later on, not much less than that if not that. Evidently this
13 is an order where the personnel administration of the Federal Secretariat
14 for National Defence in the usual way assigned people to their duty.
15 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Can I have admitted this document into evidence.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit number P265.
18 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
19 Q. Mr. Kulic, can you tell us if Mr. Trbojevic had command over the
21 A. In the Territorial Defence Staff of Podravska Slatina as of the
22 1st of November my colleagues, the officers and the Staff Commander,
23 assured me of that. They said that the volunteers from Serbia would be
24 under the command of Colonel Trbojevic. I'm not absolutely certain, but I
25 think that at a meeting of officers I heard that from Trbojevic himself
2 Q. Can you describe us what was the volunteers' behaviour in the area
3 of Vocin?
4 A. Well, first of all I have to say something, namely that the meagre
5 knowledge I have of military skills and organisation is to say that for an
6 army to be an army it has to have a unified system of command and they
7 have to wear uniforms or dress the same and so on and so forth, and this
8 was not the case. The volunteers had a certain amount of autonomy. They
9 organised their own accommodation and also their own command so that in
10 relation to the members of the Territorial Defence Staff, they were
11 differently dressed, and they conducted themselves differently.
12 I couldn't say right now that they walked around with weapons and
13 the others didn't, they all did. The difference was in that the members
14 of the volunteer units, some of them, of course, I can't say that about
15 all of them, but some of them went from house to house and they behaved
16 towards the hosts, the local families, in such a way that people were
17 afraid of them. I heard that from four or five families. They demanded
18 to be given brandy, coffee, food. And when some people had already been
19 killed, the local people were afraid of them.
20 Q. What was the reputation of the volunteers among the local people?
21 A. Well, their reputation was -- how can I put it? The local people
22 didn't like the volunteers to come into their courtyards. They didn't
23 even like that, but the volunteers didn't care. They didn't think about
25 In November, the overall situation on the ground in the area of
1 Vocin and the surrounding area was such that people were very frightened.
2 And then they were even more frightened when strange people arrived,
3 unknown people, and all kinds of rumours went around, and these people
4 communicated in a manner that frightened people, so people were afraid of
6 Q. Do you know if Mr. Seselj arrived in the Vocin area sometime in
7 this time period?
8 A. Well, Your Honours, that was the only time I had occasion to see
9 Mr. Seselj. I happened to be in the command in the building in Vocin
10 when, escorted by politicians and members of the staff of Western Slavonia
11 and Slatina, Mr. Seselj and his companions arrived, greeted everyone
12 present including me. And from the information available to the public, I
13 knew who he was. I think this was sometime in the second half of
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When he arrived, was he wearing
16 civilian clothes or military clothes?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I couldn't answer with precision.
18 He might have been in military uniform or in civilian clothing. I really
19 can't say right now, because it didn't seem significant to me at the time.
20 The charisma of Mr. Seselj, his fame overshadowed these details. I had
21 the opportunity to see him wearing a uniform in the media, but I don't
22 know if he was wearing a uniform on that occasion. I assume he was, but I
23 can't say for certain.
24 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
25 Q. Can you tell us who accompanied Dr. Seselj at that time?
1 A. I'm certain about some of them. Our commander of the Territorial
2 Defence of Vocin, Mr. Rajko Bojcic as the host. Mr. Veljko Vukelic. I'm
3 sure of that. I think there was also Mr. Sasic, but I'm not sure of that.
4 There was quite large group of people. I knew quite a few of them from
5 Slatina. There were also others I didn't know, so I can't be sure. But
6 I'm sure Mr. Boro Radosavljevic was there as the commander of the overall
7 territorial staff of Podravska Slatina. And I couldn't enumerate them
8 all. I may be wrong if I mention more names because I wouldn't be sure if
9 they were really there or not.
10 Q. Has there been any event with the house of the Matanci family, and
11 if so, can you please describe this to us?
12 A. Your Honours, the Matanci family house was torched. I was almost
13 a witness to this. And of course this frightened me. It upset me. It
14 made me angry, because I was an officer of sorts in a place where the
15 headquarters, the command was, and a house had been torched. At the time
16 I was passing by the house, and on approaching the house along the
17 footpath I ran into three volunteers. I passed by the house. Something
18 seemed odd, but I ignored it, and I passed by together with my companions.
19 I was going to visit some friends of mine, the Debrojevic family.
20 About half an hour later or three-quarters of an hour later, it
21 was getting dark, on my way back I saw the house on fire. So I said to my
22 companions, "Look here. It must have been those three volunteers who set
23 fire to the house." But that's just an assumption of mine. I don't want
24 to hurt anyone.
25 I thought it was strange that there was a light in all three
1 windows facing the road and there was no electric power in Vocin at the
2 time, and people had only petroleum lamps and there weren't many of those
3 because people didn't normally keep those in the house because they all
4 had electricity. So how come the light was there? And of course the fire
5 had been kindled deliberately.
6 I wanted us to organise and go and put the fire out, but people
7 tried to evade this. They avoided it. They were afraid. The
8 firefighters didn't come. I assume it was those three lads I had seen
9 before and who were members of the volunteer unit. I assume it was them
10 who set fire to the house.
11 Q. The Matanci family, what ethnicity were they of?
12 A. The Matanci family were Croats.
13 Q. Can you tell us what happened to them later?
14 A. I heard later on, because some very good friends of mine live
15 nearby, and I still go to visit them and I have some land there, that
16 family, well, they were really two elderly people, a husband and wife.
17 They were -- Matanci. They were killed on the 13th of December, 1991.
18 Q. Mr. Kulic, can you tell us if there has been the disappearance of
19 people in Vocin in the beginning of December?
20 A. Your Honours, the first time I was granted permission to leave
21 Vocin and the area by Colonel Trbojevic on the 8th of December, and then I
22 got ready to go, and I did go in the morning of the 9th to Banja Luka, but
23 in the evening of the 8th of December I went to see some friends of mine
24 who wanted me to take some things of theirs to Banja Luka because their
25 children and wives had been evacuated previously. I mean young children
1 under the age of seven. And I went to see them to see to ask if they
2 still wanted me to take those things and when I should take them, and I
3 found a group of women in the centre of Vocin in front of the health
4 clinic and they were crying and I asked the women why they were crying and
5 they said our children are missing. I didn't know what this was about
6 because I wasn't from there so I didn't know them, so I said what do you
7 mean your children are missing? It turned out that these were four young
8 men who throughout that autumn had been engaged in the warehouse working
9 on preparing food, wood, firewood, fuel, loading, unloading, and this was
10 organised by the command of the village of Vocin. And these four lads had
11 not turned up, and there were some four or five women there, and I took
12 them to the command of the Territorial Defence, to the -- in front of the
13 building. I asked Commander Bojcic to explain to those women where their
14 children were.
15 The commander didn't explain that but started talking about his
16 parents and so on, and I thought this was irresponsible. So I said to him
17 in front of those women, "The commander's name is Rajko Bojcic, and if he
18 does not establish where your children are in -- within 24 hours, I myself
19 will ask that he be held responsible with the prosecutor." And I did that
20 later on. I learned that those children were missing from information I
21 had received from the local people in Vocin when I met them later after
22 they had withdrawn.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, you are telling us many
24 things, and it's all mixed up. Let me go back to the Matanci family house
25 that was torched by three individuals.
1 You were an officer at the Main Staff. Did you tell the commander
2 that three individuals who were under his command had torched this house?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I told the commander, Your Honours,
4 that I had seen three persons and that I asked for an investigation to be
5 carried out and to establish who was responsible for the torching of that
6 house, and I expressed my suspicions that it had been done by three lads
7 belonging to the Volunteer Unit.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You did your job.
9 What did the commander do then?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I think he ignored it. I
11 think he was busy, but he didn't take any action regarding this request
12 that his men investigate this.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Why? Why, because he was
14 incompetent or because he was covering that type of behaviour, hiding it,
15 or because he thought that it was just a minor incident? Why did nothing
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, first of all, Your Honour, I
18 think that this gentleman was not up to the job. I think he was not
19 competent to carry out those duties. I mentioned a little while ago that
20 the territorial staff of Western Slavonia was in charge of those units.
21 That was the staff at Zvecevo. That's where there was a Territorial
22 Defence Staff. But in spite of this, I think one can say that my
23 commander did not attach great significance to that event.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We'll proceed tomorrow because
25 it's 7.00 p.m. I'm going to ask the registrar to check the time, because
1 at 10 to 7.00 he told me that the Prosecution had used up one hour and 15
2 minutes. It seems rather surprising to me, because at 18.05 I had said
3 that the Prosecution had one hour and three minutes left. So over 45
4 minutes the Prosecutor would have used only 15 minutes? I would be
5 surprised to learn that I'd been the only one to speak during all this
7 I'm being told that the Prosecutor has used one hour and 23
8 minutes in total. I am a bit taken aback, but that's the way it is.
9 Tomorrow the Prosecutor will have 37 minutes left. Here we have
10 to do a lot of maths all the time. Thirty-seven minutes for the
11 Prosecution tomorrow at 2.45. We may not be able to complete the
12 testimony of the witness because Mr. Seselj has two hours to cross-examine
13 the witness, so we'll probably not complete the testimony, but you never
14 know what may happen.
15 At any rate, the other witness needs to be ready to start
17 I'll see you tomorrow at 2.45. Until tomorrow, Witness, you're
18 not to have any contact with the Prosecution. You've taken the solemn
19 declaration. You're a witness of the Tribunal. No contacts with the OTP.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 5th day
22 of March, 2008, at 2.45 p.m.