1 Wednesday, 19 November 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
7 MR. NICE: Before I return to questioning, I've investigated how
8 it was that I made the mistake I did with Exhibit 396, tab 6 yesterday.
9 The position is --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please put the volume up.
11 I can barely hear it. Just a bit more. I hope it's all right now.
12 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues]... Mr. Jovic, not for
13 you. You can listen but I'm addressing the Court.
14 The document that was presented to you had been the exhibit
15 intended to be used until a late stage and was logged in our system under
16 that reference and that ERN number. It was sometime shortly before the
17 exhibit was produced it was substituted by the original document, as the
18 accused correctly recalled, but unfortunately our records weren't amended,
19 and I apologise for the fact that that error occurred.
20 WITNESS: BORISAV JOVIC [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examined by Mr. Nice: [Continued].
23 MR. NICE: In the statement of the witness, at page 39 in the
24 English, paragraph 151.
25 Q. Mr. Jovic, I think you respected the accused as a leader. Tell
1 us, please, very briefly, were you able to disagree with him privately;
2 were you able to disagree with him publicly?
3 A. Of course I respected Mr. Milosevic as a leader, and I absolutely
4 never had any ambition of disputing that. I had a very good cooperation
5 with him over a long period of time. He was always accessible to me,
6 either by telephone or in person. I could always present my own point of
7 view and not agree with him. Of course, I could not change his views if
8 these arguments of mine would not be accepted. Definitely things would
9 always remain the way he had wanted them.
10 As for the remaining part of your question, perhaps I didn't hear
11 it quite well. I could disagree orally. That's the practice we had. We
12 did not want to challenge each other in public because that would have
13 harmed the interests and the policies of our party, although once there
14 was a public disagreement when Mr. Milosevic, during a speech in Leskovac,
15 vehemently criticised the party that he belonged to and whose president I
16 was at the time, and then I gave him an answer in public.
17 So this was an incident, if I can put it that way, that was
18 overcome later on and things continued as usual.
19 Q. Paragraph 153. At the end of 1991, was there a decision to retire
20 generals and admirals?
21 A. Yes. That was the time practically of the gradual reduction of
22 Yugoslavia in real terms, and the gradual decrease in the number of
23 soldiers in Yugoslavia. It was necessary to scale down the number of
24 generals as well but also to reduce army expenditures. A number of
25 generals were of retirement age anyway, so according to the customary
1 procedure in the army, this situation was reviewed, proposals were made to
2 the Presidency, and a number of generals were relieved of their duties.
3 About 40 of them, I believe.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nice, please.
5 MR. NICE: Sorry.
6 Q. In April 1992 was there a second wave? And you deal with that in
7 paragraph 154, where Kostic had not consulted the accused.
8 A. I have to say that, as far as I know, he was not consulted about
9 the first round either, Mr. Milosevic. As for the second round, Mr.
10 Kostic made a list for further retirement. In my opinion, he did this
11 under the great influence of Mr. Boskovic whom he had reactivated, because
12 he had been retired before that. He appointed him chief of the
13 intelligence service. And then under his influence, a new list was made
14 for further retirements in a way which was not customary in the army. In
15 the army this was usually discussed among the General Staff and then
16 proposals were made.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues]... short. When decisions were
18 made to which the accused --
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. -- was not a party, what was the reaction?
21 A. Mr. Milosevic was supposed to take part in the decision-making on
22 the basis of the fact that I was absent. I was abroad at the time and he
23 was standing in for me. That was the way it was according to the
24 constitution. Mr. Kostic did not consult Mr. Milosevic, and he made this
25 decision. However, regrettably in that decision, another thing was
1 included, that is the demobilisation of the minister of defence of Serbia,
2 who was also a general, Mr. Negovanovic.
3 Mr. Milosevic called me, and he was upset. He was angry. How
4 could his minister of defence be replaced, demobilised? Of course that
5 was not right. Mr. Milosevic was supposed to have been consulted, but a
6 practical solution was found, that Mr. Negovanovic, now as a retired
7 civilian, would continue doing that job as well.
8 Q. Paragraphs 157 --
9 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. Mr. Jovic, could you elaborate again
10 to us. When you were absent, how could Mr. Milosevic take part in the
11 procedure at the federal stage? Could you tell us more in detail,
12 including the constitution and everything.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. According to the rules
14 of procedure of the Presidency of the SFRY, which was based on the
15 constitutional provisions, if a member of the Presidency from one republic
16 is not in a position to attend a Presidency session due to illness or
17 being away on official business, et cetera, then the president of that
18 particular republic stands in for him, and then he comes to the Presidency
19 session enjoying all the rights of the member of the Presidency from that
21 Since I was abroad at that time - it was a long trip, perhaps
22 about a week - and this happened at that time, I said to Mr. Kostic that
23 what had to be taken into account was the fact that Mr. Milosevic would be
24 standing in for me and that he should consult him if he wants to do that.
25 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. And at a later stage if the Prosecution
1 could indicate the relevant passages of the constitutional statute.
2 MR. NICE: Certainly. We'll try and have that before you before
3 the witness finishes his evidence.
4 Q. Paragraphs 157 and 158. You record that you believe that the
5 accused made mistakes in Kosovo and Metohija. There's one point you touch
6 on about the level of representation of the Albanian national community in
7 state structures in the last decade of the accused's rule. Just a word
8 about -- literally a word about that, please, or sentence.
9 A. Well, it says here quite specifically "many people say." It's not
10 that I say it. Many people say it that the beginning and the end of his
11 mistakes was Kosovo and Metohija. I'm not the one who said it; I just
12 said that many people say that. And I say that this statement was a
13 problematic one, but the fact remains that it was a major problem, or
14 mistake perhaps, that for an entire decade the policy of Serbia did not
15 manage to incorporate in the state structures in Kosovo a meaningful
16 number, if any, of Albanians in the leaderships there.
17 Q. And just on the same page, paragraph 159, your last sentence,
18 please, where, quoting from your book, there's an opinion of yours
19 expressed. Can you just read the last, literally the last sentence of
20 your statement and then explain in a sentence or so what you meant by
22 A. "Little has been said about the role of decisions that Milosevic
23 had created himself and that this also accelerated the disintegration of
24 Yugoslavia and the decline of the Serbian economy."
25 In this text that I signed for the Court I said, and I would like
1 to repeat it once again, that these excerpts here can be properly
2 understood only if one reads the integral text from the book or, rather,
3 if one reads the entire book. The core of the matter is in the following:
4 "The disintegration of Yugoslavia harmed the economy of Serbia to a great
5 extent as it did the economies of the other republics, because all links
6 had been severed." I explained there what the main causes of Yugoslavia's
7 break-up were. Mostly they did not have to do with Serbia, with Mr.
8 Milosevic, but I also said that a lot is being said about Mr. Milosevic
9 being the one who was to blame the most for the disintegration of
10 Yugoslavia. And then I said that Mr. Milosevic, although he was such a
11 strong personality, although his policy was a clumsy one, he could not
12 influence this totally. His influence was only partial. And then I give
13 examples of where this partial influence came in.
14 For example, one could say that although he firmly advocated
15 Yugoslavia and its unity, at the extraordinary 14th Congress of the League
16 of Communists of Yugoslavia - and he had initiated its convening - at this
17 Congress he did not work for the unity of Yugoslavia but, rather, towards
18 its break-up. One could say that the severing of economic ties with
19 Slovenia, which was caused by the behaviour of Slovenia towards Yugoslavia
20 because they no longer wanted to pay their dues towards Yugoslavia, they
21 did not want to behave as a republic of Yugoslavia any longer, and this
22 brought great misfortune to the Serbian economy.
23 These are examples that show that Mr. Milosevic and Serbia did not
24 contribute to that entirely. What was -- that was not of crucial
25 importance, their contribution. What was crucial was what I already
1 referred to, the aspirations for secession, including violent secession,
2 of some republics from Yugoslavia.
3 Q. To that I'll turn in a moment. First three more of the four
4 exhibits yet to be produced. Tab 4 first, please, dealt with at the end
5 of paragraph 84 of the witness statement, on page 23 in the English
7 Mr. Jovic, you have been shown the extract of a diary of somebody
8 called Petar Jankovic. You've reviewed this, and in the diary the author
9 speaks of, about six lines down, going to see you, presenting the
10 situation which surprised you when you heard that there were 18.000
11 Muslims in Bijeljina, "surprised that the army had not armed us. Why
12 don't the orders go through the army? Radmilo avoids." And then you're
13 recorded in the diary as saying, "The Serb people have been buying that
14 arms and they must get it, they must use it only for defence. He asked
15 what kind of contact we had with the army. I said we had good relations
16 with the commander..."
17 Do you recall this event and being aware of or involved with the
18 arming of Serb people to this extent?
19 A. I did not quite understand the last sentence, that I said that I
20 had good relations with the commander. Who said that; he or I?
21 Q. He -- he said that, I think.
22 A. Well, let's get things straight. These people did come to see me.
23 At that time, I was the president of the Socialist Party of Serbia, I
24 think. This happened in my office, at any rate. Mr. Radmilo Bogdanovic,
25 who was either minister of the interior or an official at that level, I
1 really don't know exactly whether he was still minister of the interior at
2 the time, insisted that they should come. I thought they were people who
3 wanted cooperation with the Socialist Party, because over there in Bosnia
4 there is also a Socialist Party of Serbia.
5 When they came and when they spoke about that problem of theirs,
6 of course what they said, how many Muslims there were, et cetera, I was a
7 bit surprised by that because I am not very familiar with the area. As
8 far as I know, Bijeljina is a Serb town, but I didn't know that there were
9 that many Muslims. So this information was news to me. But that's not
10 really that important.
11 This is the question they dealt with. They said that they did not
12 have enough weapons over there. Of course, what I thought then and what I
13 think now is that the Territorial Defence of Serbia did not have enough
14 weapons, although it was supposed to have enough. The Territorial Defence
15 was supposed to function that way, because that's the way it was supposed
16 to function for decades. And I said to them that they have to discuss
17 these matters with the army, because the army was supposed to take care of
18 that, that proportionately every area should have a sufficient number of
20 That's what it was all about; no more, no less.
21 MR. NICE: Tab 14, please, is a transcript of an interview, of the
22 unedited interview of Zivota Panic for The Death of Yugoslavia in which
23 both he and this witness and many others participated. There's a short
24 extract. The Chamber has the transcript at tab 14. If we can play it,
1 [Videotape played]
2 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
3 Q. Mr. Jovic, General Panic said that the plan which followed on the
4 fall of Croatia and the fall of Vukovar was discussed and approved by the
5 Rump Presidency. Your comment, please.
6 A. Never was such a plan discussed at the Presidency sessions, but
7 there was a political position that was confirmed several times, and the
8 army was aware of that, what the political position of the Presidency was.
9 We did not want to use the army in order to overthrow the Croatian
10 government or to conquer Croatia that had decided to secede from
11 Yugoslavia. Quite simply, we wanted there to be protection. We wanted to
12 have a buffer between the Serb territories and the Croatian units in order
13 to protect the Serb territories until a political solution is found for
14 this issue. That was our position.
15 So what Mr. Panic said, that they had a plan and they could have
16 reached Zagreb, these were probably some kind of plans of their own. They
17 probably could have reached Zagreb, but the policy of the Presidency of
18 Yugoslavia was that this should not be done. There was never a specific
19 meeting devoted to that. There was a political position that the army had
20 been aware of for months.
21 Q. You were part of the body that was the Commander-in-Chief of the
22 army. Were you aware of Panic's plan? Did you countermand his actions or
23 control him in any way? What's the position?
24 A. No. No. We were not aware of this plan. He mentioned me here
25 but he did not discuss that with me. In all fairness, he described the
1 meeting with me in relative terms, because he said that Kostic was at that
2 time president of the Presidency and that he had talked to him, possibly,
3 but I can say -- I beg your pardon? I can just claim that at that time it
4 was definitely quite clear within the Presidency, and all the members of
5 the Presidency said the same thing, that we do not accept any kind of
6 advancement towards Zagreb or the toppling of the Croatian government or
7 the taking of Croatian territories where Croats live. Rather, we want
8 conditions to be created for a political solution for the Serb question in
9 Croatia and that that is where it should be stopped.
10 Q. A few more exhibits. One added overnight by way of an addendum,
11 and a new exhibit list has been published, but first of all just to deal
12 with things swiftly, at tab 20, there's a passage just extracted for
13 convenience from the evidence of Ambassador Okun where he made an
14 observation about the taking of Vukovar, and he observed -- and I'll just
15 read out the relevant passage. It's halfway down the page: "He saw the
16 garrison. It was small and hardly touched in Vukovar. And then
17 Mr. Jovic, the former president of the country, reported in his book on
18 the break-up of Yugoslavia that in fact he said the garrison had been
19 freed on the 20th of September, 1991."
20 That's what you wrote in your book. Is that right, Mr. Jovic,
21 that the garrison was freed by the 20th of September 1991?
22 A. Well, you should indicate where that was written. I really don't
23 remember. Possibly that's what it says, but I really do not remember.
24 Q. I will be coming to that in a second. So let's go to the last
25 exhibit, tab 21. This is again to do with Vukovar. It's a television
1 clip at the time when you were in the Presidency -- I beg your pardon, you
2 were -- yes, in the Presidency, and we can just play it. It's something
3 from Radio/Television Belgrade, and I'd like your comment on it, please.
4 Incidentally, Mr. Jovic, you will recall that when discussing
5 matters with the Office of the Prosecutor who were giving you an
6 opportunity to deal with the matters in advance, this was covered in a
7 newspaper article, but this is a television broadcast covering the same
9 [Videotape played]
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters do not have a transcript.
11 JUDGE MAY: How long is this going to play?
12 MR. NICE: -- transcript. It's nearly finished. I trust the
13 Court has had an opportunity to follow the transcript. The witness has
14 heard it.
15 Q. Can you help us, please, Mr. Jovic? This was a celebration of
16 success in Vukovar. Were you aware of it at the time?
17 A. Of this celebration?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. No. I hear of it for the first time now.
20 Q. [Previous translation continues]... article in a newspaper
21 covering the same thing a couple days ago.
22 You will remember yesterday I was asking you about how, when
23 Vukovar and the fall of it and the crimes committed, if they were, were on
24 your watch, asked you how that could happen. This ceremony took place on
25 the 21st of November, 1991. Can you explain how, please, you as member of
1 the Commander-in-Chief body would be unaware of something like this? So
2 we can have the picture.
3 A. I believe that it is quite clear. The army was not so dependent
4 on the Presidency as not to be able to hold a meeting of its own at which
5 it would congratulate someone, praise someone, or punish someone. These
6 were things that were quite normal. How shall I put it? Within the
7 Presidency of the SFRY does not have such control over the army that it
8 would be impossible for them to get together --
9 Q. Very well.
10 A. -- and congratulate one another.
11 Q. Very well. I have three more or four more general questions for
12 which I would like your assistance, and I'm going to ask you, before you
13 answer the first question, to review with me and for the assistance of the
14 Chamber some passages in your statement. I'll tell you what the question
15 is straight away, we'll look at the passage in your statement, and then
16 I'll ask you the question again.
17 The question is: To what extent in the minds of the leadership
18 was violence recognised from the beginning as the only solution to this
20 And if we can start, please, at English page 24, paragraph 89.
21 I'm going to work backwards. So if you have paragraph 89, Mr. Jovic.
22 Incidentally, that's the paragraph where the Chamber will see, right at
23 the end of the page, that the siege in the garrison at Vukovar was lifted,
24 according to an entry of yours, on the 20th of September. But if we can
25 go further up the page to paragraph 88, the first reference is, the first
1 three lines: "The war," according to Kadijevic, "must be offensive and
2 high-intensity, because anything else would lead to defeat."
3 We then come back, please, to paragraph 81, where, at a meeting of
4 just now the three of you at Kadijevic's house, the accused insisted the
5 military must defend the future borders of Yugoslavia. Indeed, in
6 paragraph 83, the boundaries are identified.
7 If you would be good enough, please, Mr. Jovic, to come back
8 before that to paragraph 48, which the Chamber will find on page 14 so far
9 as material, for an entry of the 18th and 21st of January, 1991.
10 Mr. Jovic, at the end of paragraph 48, you record asking the accused "if
11 he would rather have us take weapons by force than have them surrendered
12 voluntarily. I asked him directly: Does he want bloodshed over a matter
13 that might be able to resolve peacefully? In his opinion, this is not a
15 And then on the same or the following day, paragraph 49: "The
16 agreement I had with Mesic fell through three days later." Three days
17 later -- I was right the first time. "The Croats lied and didn't
18 surrender the weapons. Milosevic thought that was excellent. He thought
19 we should accept Croatia's secession and hold Krajina militarily."
20 And at paragraph 52, at the foot of the same page, four lines
21 down, the accused is disappointed with the results of the Presidency
22 session. It doesn't fit in with his idea which we can discuss over the
23 phone, and that is -- because he says, "Once the military covers Serb
24 territory in Croatia, we no longer have any reason to fear the final
25 outcome of the Yugoslav crisis."
1 If you would be good enough to come back to paragraph 47 on
2 English version 13. I've only got three more page references, I think.
3 At the end of paragraph 47, this is arguably in the voice of Kadijevic but
4 it's not clear from the overall script, the last three lines read like
5 this: "We will shed blood if there is no alternative only for territories
6 in which nations who want to remain in Yugoslavia live."
7 If the Chamber would come back to page 12. We may just look at
8 the top of the page, which is the end of your paragraph 42, Mr. Jovic, and
9 that is where you acknowledge that symbols of Chetniks and Ustashas and
10 other defeated collaborationist forces are being paraded -- World War II
11 collaborationist forces are being paraded around in plain public view.
12 The wave of hatred and national prejudices threatens to return us to our
13 bloody past."
14 We come -- there are actually four more, but they won't take very
15 long. Come back to English page 7 so that paragraph -- your paragraph 24,
16 Mr. Jovic --
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, I don't think this is fair on the witness.
18 I think this is a matter of argument which you're trying to put into the
19 witness's mouth. It's also, with respect, taking up time.
20 MR. NICE: Very well, Your Honour. Can I ask the question
21 nevertheless by reference to one of the passages, and I can explain the
22 purpose of the exercise which is designed to assist the Chamber.
23 If we come back before the one I've got to and we come right the
24 way back to 1989, paragraph 10, page 3, we see that well before the
25 violence, Mr. Jovic, in 1989, paragraph 10, you record this, four lines up
1 from the bottom of the paragraph, roughly: "I was of that opinion because
2 Serbs lived in nearly all parts of Yugoslavia and because I strongly felt
3 that if Yugoslavia were to fall apart, a large part of the Serb population
4 could end up beyond the borders of Serbia unless they opted for another
5 solution through the use of force."
6 The question that I want your assistance with for the Chamber is
7 this: Was there a recognition, or to what extent --
8 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May.
10 JUDGE MAY: Let counsel finish his question and then you can
11 object. Yes.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. To what extent was there a recognition that force, violent force,
14 military force, was the only solution to the developing political problem?
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Now, Mr. Milosevic, what is your point?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think that Mr. Nice is quoting
17 this paragraph 10 of the witness statement incorrectly in relation to the
18 witness, because he's putting the end of the quotation except and unless
19 another solution were to be achieved by force. The next sentence reads:
20 "I have feared genocide against the Serbs should they become national
21 minorities, especially in Croatia. The Serb issue was not an easy matter
22 to resolve. There was an objective risk of a civil war breaking out for a
23 new division of Yugoslavia," et cetera. So the point --
24 JUDGE MAY: Now, wait a moment.
25 MR. NICE: Quite happy to --
1 JUDGE MAY: The witness has now heard the rest, of course, of the
2 quotation which he could have read for himself. Yes. He can now answer
3 the question.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If the reference is to paragraph 10,
5 I will answer the question, but I have to say -- or, rather, to caution
6 that in this statement of mine, I pointed out that these quotations in the
7 way in which they have been given are abstracts from the book and that
8 they are not fully representative.
9 Now, if we take a sentence out of those quotations without taking
10 into consideration the whole passage, then it requires a great deal of
11 clarification and explanation. So I appeal to the Court, regardless of
12 the sentence I'm being asked about by the Prosecution, if I don't have
13 time to read the whole passage and to clear up everything, then the whole
14 passage must be taken into consideration and even the book from which it
15 was extracted.
16 I shall now come back to this point 10. I said quite clearly that
17 our fundamental interest in Serbia was for Yugoslavia to prevail, because
18 the Serb people were living in virtually all the republics. And if
19 Yugoslavia were to break up, there was a very grave danger that a large
20 portion of the Serb people should be left outside the mother country.
21 In view of our history, particularly of the Second World War, the
22 Serb population there was destroyed. About 1 million out of 3 million
23 were destroyed, and there would be a grave danger of an exodus towards
24 Serbia which we could not deal with. Of course, the first danger would be
25 that all their rights would be taken away from them though they were
1 entitled to them according to the constitution of Croatia and Bosnia. And
2 as this would probably lead to discord among the Serb people in those
3 areas, then there would be conflict over their rights, and that is what I
4 was referring to. And I said that there was an objective risk for their
5 rights to be jeopardised and for them to be persecuted or destroyed. And
6 I said, unfortunately, my fears in many respects proved justified. As you
7 know, there was a civil war and more than 250.000 people from Croatia were
8 expelled to Serbia.
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. Very well.
11 A. And the fact that my assessment was that war would probably be
12 inevitable, unfortunately my estimate, assessment, proved to be right.
13 Not because we wanted it that way but because that was our assessment.
14 Q. Second question, which I'll do without reference to the pages to
15 save time, although they're available if anyone wants me to identify them,
16 is this: Can you help the Chamber with different philosophical bases for
17 denying Kosovo Albanians secession where they were in a majority, being
18 prepared to impose Serb rule on areas in Croatia and later in Bosnia, but
19 Croatia for your period, where Serbs were in a local majority, being
20 prepared to impose Serb rule on areas like Eastern Slavonia, Western
21 Drina, Dubrovnik, where there was no Serb majority? Can you explain,
22 please, in general terms, the philosophical justification for those three
23 different positions.
24 A. There's no philosophical background to that, there is a
25 constitutional basis for it. Simply, the Albanians in Kosovo and
1 Metohija, and Albanians in Serbia in general, are a national minority
2 because they have their motherland, Albania. Not a single nation in the
3 world, as far as I know, is allowed to have two states. There's no reason
4 for that. If they are partially inhabiting another state, they enjoy the
5 status of a minority there, and they have their mother country. The
6 Albanians in Serbia had autonomy -- or, rather, Kosovo and Metohija were
7 an autonomy where the Albanians were in the majority with enormous rights
8 that were close to the rights of a republic.
9 As regards Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, those were two
10 republics in Yugoslavia which were the only ones that were multinational,
11 that is they had constituent nations. Slovenia, Macedonia, and Montenegro
12 has one nation and several minorities; however, Croatia and Bosnia were
13 republics in which three nations constituted the republic. The Croatian
14 constitution said that Croatia was a state of the Croatian and Serbian
15 people. The constitution of Bosnia said that Bosnia and Herzegovina was a
16 state of the Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim people. They now renamed
17 themselves into Bosniaks. And it was in that way that their rights were
18 defined not only in the constitution but right through in all the bylaws
19 and regulations so that Serbs in territories or municipalities in which
20 they had majorities - I think the UN proclaimed 24 such municipalities
21 with a Serb majority - they had power in those municipalities. Of course,
22 participating in the authorities were Croats, but in proportionate
23 numbers. They had their representatives in the Croatian parliament, again
24 in proportion to their numbers, so that due to the very fact that Serbs
25 and Croats and in Bosnia also the Muslims were constituent elements of
1 that state, they had the same or equal rights.
2 And now I come back to a provision of the Yugoslav constitution
3 which says that the right to self-determination is inviolable and belongs
4 to the republics and the nations. The implications is the nations in the
5 republics. It was never stated that the Serb nation throughout Yugoslavia
6 could call a referendum and separate as a nation. No. A referendum could
7 be called within a republic where there are one nation and several
8 minorities. Where there are two nations, two referendums. When there are
9 three, three referendums. And if there are differences, they must find a
10 joint solution. That is the constitutional basis. And it was not there
11 by chance. It was the result of the historical evolution of our country
12 accepted by all the Yugoslav peoples.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues]... probably identified that. The
14 one that remains is imposing Serb rule on areas where there was either a
15 relative majority or indeed a minority of Serbs. Eastern Slavonia will do
16 as an example. Can you help us with that; what's the philosophical or
17 political justification, in your opinion, for that for Dubrovnik?
18 A. This is absolutely no evidence that Serbia ever tried or imposed
19 Serb authority in Dubrovnik. That is absolutely incorrect. I would like
20 to ask you kindly to tell me when that happened.
21 Q. I'm not going to ask any more on that. And my last question,
22 because I realise the time, but I think it's important that we have this
23 before us: You know, Mr. Jovic, that Mr. Markovic, the man against whom
24 you -- as you make clear in your statement, ran some anonymous articles at
25 one stage in a newspaper, is coming back to give his evidence, you
1 criticise him in this document. Was he a man of peace, and in a sentence
2 just so that we can understand it, what was the criticism -- and so that
3 he may deal with it maybe, what was the criticism that your leadership
4 made of him?
5 A. Mr. Markovic was the president of the federal Executive Council
6 within whose competence economic policies were in the first place, and
7 fiscal and financial matters, everything related to the economy. In our
8 judgement, he pursued economic policies which were partially directly
9 contrary to the interests of Serbia. And he also had the political aim of
10 toppling the Serbian leadership.
11 I will give you a couple of examples as these are very complex
12 matters. He devised a stabilisation programme according to which the
13 prices of products manufactured in Serbia and sold throughout Yugoslavia,
14 in the first place electricity and agricultural products, those prices
15 were limited by the state at such a low level that they would have no
16 profits - in fact, they would function at a loss - yet they were supplying
17 the whole of Yugoslavia.
18 On the other hand, he allowed free formation for the prices of all
19 products manufactured by other republics and which are sold also in
20 Serbia, of course. In this way, Serbia was damaged, and it couldn't
21 accept that readily.
22 Secondly, Serbia was a major exporter to the former Soviet Union.
23 Other republics as well, but Serbia was the largest exporter to that
24 market. The mechanism of those exports were such that the state supported
25 it. When goods were exported to the Soviet Union, there was a
1 state-controlled fund out of which those goods would be paid for
2 immediately and money would be restored to that fund when Russian goods
3 coming to Yugoslavia - and the state was importing gas, oil, and other
4 goods - and then that money would go back into that fund.
5 Q. You've told about that and you've told us what he did in relation
6 to it.
7 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I see the time. One could go on raising
8 interesting issues with the witness like this, but I'll stop now.
9 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, but you stopped
11 me when I wanted to say just one more sentence, and with the permission of
12 the Court.
13 We had to halt exports to Russia because he stopped that
14 mechanism. He said only once you collect payment can you receive the
15 money. And there were a series of things like that, so we felt that he
16 was working against our economy and against the Serbian leadership. Thank
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you. Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Before I begin my cross-examination,
20 Mr. May, Mr. Kwon, and Mr. Robinson, I received your ruling on Sunday in
21 which you limit Mr. Nice's time up to two hours. You give me up to six
22 hours, and the amicus one hour. And as we can see, Mr. Nice spent not two
23 hours yesterday but two sessions, and 55 minutes this morning. So I
24 assume that this will have a proportionate reflection on my time and that
25 you will give me more time, and would you please bear that in mind.
1 JUDGE MAY: We will bear it in mind, but you also heard us say
2 that we were going to allow the Prosecution more time because of our
3 requirement that he deal -- the Prosecution deal live with evidence, and
4 secondly, because of new material which the witness had adduced.
5 We will bear in mind your application, but I would have thought
6 six hours would be more than enough to deal with this cross-examination.
7 And we also bear in mind that we would want to finish it this week. We
8 have two days, or one and a half days left. We'll also see if we can sit
9 a bit later this afternoon to fit in more time.
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
12 Q. [Interpretation] As time is limited and there are many things to
13 get through and many things which were raised here and matters upon which
14 I think you can testify objectively, Boro, because you occupied top
15 positions in Serbia and Yugoslavia at the time, so I'm going to try and
16 ask as short questions as possible and I should also like to ask you to
17 answer in the measure to which you consider to be necessary to respond and
18 answer and explain.
19 Here the main - how shall I put this? - of that false indictment,
20 the main assertion here is, or allegation, is that we or, rather, in this
21 case I, because I am sitting here in this seat, but of course other
22 members of the leadership as well, the peaks of the state, had some kind
23 of concept of a Greater Serbia. So I should like to ask you for a very
24 decisive, resolute answer to the question: Is it true that that is a pure
25 invention and fabrication, that the political leadership of Serbia and
1 Yugoslavia had some kind of notion of a Greater Serbia; or, rather, is it
2 true and correct that the political leadership of Serbia and Yugoslavia
3 never had this concept of a Greater Serbia in their minds?
4 A. Yes, that is true, and what I can say is this: We had three
5 concepts throughout that period of time which were adapted to suit the
6 situation. The first concept was to preserve Yugoslavia, which we failed
7 to do through constitutional change. The second concept was that if
8 Yugoslavia had to disintegrate, then that the right of self-determination
9 to nations should be applied, a referendum everywhere to hear the vox
10 populi. When that wasn't accepted, the third concept was to ensure
11 equality for the Serb people just like all the other nationalities in the
12 republics which remained outside Yugoslavia. And that is all. There was
13 never any other concept.
14 Q. And is it true that this slogan that was promoted and I explained
15 here how this was incepted as an Austro-Hungarian creation after the
16 annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, when everything that was Serb was
17 referred to as "Greater Serb" or "Greater Serbian," that the slogan that
18 the Serb people had the aspirations of a Greater Serbia was a pretext for
19 realising what were in fact separatist tendencies and plans to break up
21 A. Well, historians should give the final say, and they have actually
22 said how this theory of a Greater Serbia came into being in the first
23 place, and that is probably correct and it's up to them to say.
24 Now, as far as the disintegration of Yugoslavia is concerned, it
25 is common knowledge, or at least as far as I know it is, it was the
1 historical aspirations of the Croatian Slovenian people to create their
2 own independent states. And this dates back to the disintegration of
3 Austro-Hungary itself. Because they didn't succeed in doing so, they were
4 pushed into this common state at the time, but throughout their existence,
5 or rather, the existence of the new Yugoslavia created after World War I,
6 they constantly worked towards increasing their independence and autonomy
7 and that's what they succeeded in doing through constitutional amendment
8 until 1974, in the 1974 constitution they didn't succeed in writing down
9 -- they succeeded in writing down provisions which allowed them to step
10 down from Yugoslavia unpunished.
11 Q. But when they entered into Yugoslavia after World War I, they
12 entered into it together, that is to say the Slovenes, the Croats, and
13 Serbs entered into it together from the areas of the defeated
14 Austro-Hungarian monarchy. And that was the idea of American President
15 Wilson, to allow them the right to self-determination, and they proclaimed
16 that right to self-determination. So the Croats, Slovenes and Serbs from
17 the former Austro-Hungary united together with the Serbs to create the new
18 Yugoslavia; is that right?
19 A. Yes, that is right.
20 Q. So they joined Yugoslavia on a footing of equality, and when they
21 stepped down from Yugoslavia or out of Yugoslavia, they just wiped out the
22 right of the Serb people who together with them joined this new Yugoslavia
23 and had lived there before World War II and to the end of World War II on
24 the territory of the former Austro-Hungary; is that right?
25 A. Yes, that is right. That was the former territory of Slovenia,
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Vojvodina. On the whole of this
2 territory there were Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes living there. Of course
3 the Slovenes are now in Slovenia. Now, the boundaries between them had
4 never been drawn when they joined together to form Yugoslavia, and so they
5 entered into Yugoslavia as one state of the Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs
6 and joined the Kingdom of Serbia.
7 Q. So to sum up this question about a Greater Serbia, is it true that
8 none of the politicians or any political organ of Serbia or Yugoslavia
9 ever came out with the idea or a plan to create a Greater Serbia?
10 A. Yes, that is right. They never came out with that. It wasn't in
11 the interests of the Serbian people.
12 Q. And is it true that our position of principle throughout the
13 Yugoslav crisis, regardless of whether we are dealing with your variants,
14 the ones you quoted to begin with, the right to self-determination or
15 equality, because that boils down to the same thing, our standard
16 principle was always that the Serbian people should be equal and on a
17 footing of equality and free in the territory they live in, nothing more,
18 nothing less, and that nobody in Serbia or Yugoslavia asked for anything
19 more or anything less; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that is right.
21 Q. All right. Now, I'm going to try and get through my questions as
22 quickly as possible, but let's start off with Kosovo.
23 You mentioned yesterday that for a time before being elected as a
24 Yugoslav state Presidency member from the Republic of Serbia, you were
25 president of the national Assembly of Serbia; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And it was precisely at that time when you were president of the
3 national Assembly of Serbia that the constitutional amendments came about
4 which wielded changes in Serbia and changes which had to do with Kosovo
5 and Vojvodina province; is that right?
6 A. Yes, that is right.
7 Q. You were also the president of the commission which worked on
8 those constitutional amendments; is that right?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. Therefore, I assume that we cannot say that there is anybody who
11 would be better placed than you yourself to give political and legal
12 assessments about the events that took place at the time, political first
13 and foremost, but of course legal ones too, because we were dealing with
14 constitutional matter and work in the commission that you headed and the
15 Assembly that made the decisions and you were at its head too. Is that
16 right, Boro?
17 A. Yes. There are probably people who are more competent, but I'll
18 tell you everything I know.
19 Q. All right. Fine. Now, you can just give me yes or no answers to
20 my questions. Of course if that is sufficient. I don't insist on
21 preventing you from explaining, but it is true that Kosovo and Metohija
22 had autonomy from the 1974 constitution onwards and that, pursuant to that
23 constitution, Vojvodina had the character of an autonomous province with a
24 slightly higher degree whereas Kosovo and Metohija a slightly lower status
25 or, rather, it was called an autonomous region? Is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And is it true that the 1963 constitution equated the status of
3 Kosovo and Metohija and Vojvodina?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And that the 1963 constitution Vojvodina and Kosovo reached the
6 highest possible autonomy, the kind that had no precedence anywhere in the
8 A. Well, I don't know everything going on in the world, but yes, I
9 can say they did have a great degree of autonomy.
10 Q. Is it true that through the process of constitutional change at
11 the beginning of the 1970s, with the 1974 constitution as its culmination,
12 their position, the position of the provinces was raised up to a hitherto
13 unprecedented level either in theory or practice, according to which they
14 were constituent, which means the socialist autonomous provinces were
15 constituent elements of the federation according to which the Republic of
16 Serbia, whose part they were, were under their tutorship, in fact?
17 A. Yes, that is right. It was already in 1971 that the
18 constitutional amendments were passed which gave the autonomous provinces
19 all the inherences that republics had with the exception of some small
20 ones such as a coat of arms, a flag, and so on.
21 Q. All right. But I would like to make one point clear to everybody
22 listening to these proceedings; that what was done was in contravention
23 with the constitution of Yugoslavia itself and the constitution of Serbia
24 as well. And let me illustrate this by asking you several questions.
25 Is it true that the SFRY constitution of 1974, the 1974
1 constitution providing this greatest level of autonomy, in Articles 1 and
2 2 provided for the fact that the SFRY was composed of six socialist
3 republics, and two autonomous provinces are also mentioned. And in this
4 regard, it is emphasised that those two provinces are a constituent part
5 of the Socialist Republic of Serbia; is that right?
6 A. Yes, it is.
7 Q. Is it also right that Article 3 of the SFRY constitution read as
8 follows -- the socialist republic and autonomous provinces are not
9 mentioned there but the socialist republic is mentioned: "That the
10 socialist republic is a state based on the sovereignty of the nations and
11 on the rule of the working classes and all working people and the
12 socialist self-management democratic immunity of working people and
13 citizens and equal nations and nationalities."
14 So are you aware of that Article 3? Do you also know --
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you also know that the constitution of Serbia defined republics
17 in similar fashion?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. As "a state based on the sovereignty of the people and the power
20 of and self-management by the working class and all working people." So
21 does each state imply the existence of power and authority exercising its
22 powers throughout the territory of that state?
23 A. That's how it should be but it wasn't the case in our particular
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, earlier you asked the witness to
1 confirm that what was done was in contravention of the Yugoslav and
2 Serbian constitution. Could you clarify and have the witness answer what
3 was it that was done that was in contravention.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] What I said was, and I confirm it
5 through the questions and responses given by the witness, that that degree
6 of autonomy given to the provinces was in contradiction with the letter of
7 the constitution itself or, rather, the constitution was in contradiction
8 with itself, because if in Article 3 that I've just quoted from and
9 Mr. Jovic confirmed, it states that a socialist republic, or the socialist
10 republics - and a republic is a state - the socialist republics are states
11 it says, and at the same time by other acts this degree of autonomy wipes
12 out the fact that it is a state, then that is in itself a contradiction in
13 objecto, a contradiction of itself. And that is why I raised the question
14 of whether every state implies the existence of power and authority which
15 through its organs is exerted and exercised throughout the territory. And
16 Mr. Jovic's answer was yes. But in this case that was not the case. That
17 was not how it was. But as a lawyer and legal man yourself, Mr. Robinson,
18 you know full well that the state implies the existence of power and
19 authority exercised on the territory where it exists.
20 May I continue with my questions, please?
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, continue.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Now, is it true that the organs of Serbia to all intents and
25 purposes had no competencies and authorisations on the territory of the
1 provinces because the hierarchy of the organs ended at the level of the
3 A. Well, they did not have the right, the organs of the republic at
4 the level of the provinces did not have these rights but neither did the
5 citizens of the provinces have the right to realise their rights within
6 the republic. For instance, they weren't able to complain to the
7 republican courts if they were prosecuted, for example, in Kosovo for
8 something they considered was not in order. So there was this
9 interruption, this great severance.
10 Q. All right. So it is true that the hierarchy of the legal organs
11 ended at the level of the supreme courts of the provinces and not the
12 Supreme Court of Serbia, that -- whose jurisdiction did not even stretch
13 to the territory of the provinces. Isn't that right?
14 A. And that was very difficult, because Serbia could not change or
15 enact its constitution without agreement from the provinces, and the
16 provinces could pass all their legal acts, statutory, constitutional
17 provisions and others, without the agreement of the republics, which was
18 complete nonsense.
19 Q. All right. Now, the examples I've quoted, and I have taken just a
20 few examples because my time is limited, don't they clearly confirm and
21 bear out the fact that concrete institutional, constitutional solutions
22 and settlements from the 1974 Serbian constitution were in drastic
23 contravention with the provisions of that constitution itself, in
24 contradiction with them and the SFRY constitutions which defined the
25 status of the republics and republics in general, including the status of
1 Serbia itself and the status of the republics in general, as I say,
2 because it says the socialist republic is a -- the socialist republics are
3 states. That's what it says. Isn't that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, is it true that Serbia, pursuant to its own constitution, was
6 duty-bound to protect the rights of all its citizens?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And is it quite obvious that it was not in a position to fulfil
9 that duty of its in the provinces because it had no institutional
10 mechanisms or ways of doing so, either judicial or any other kind? Is
11 that right?
12 A. Yes, that is right.
13 Q. So in the territory of the provinces, Serbia was completely
14 disenfranchised, although pursuant to the constitution of Serbia and
15 Yugoslavia, both provinces were in fact parts of Serbia. Is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And although it had the constitutional duty to take care of all
18 its citizens in this same provision, it was practically denied of the
19 possibility of exercising that duty.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So according to the federal and republican constitutions, all
22 citizens were equal, weren't they?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Isn't it quite clear that this principle of equality, which at any
25 rate supersedes any kind of administrative divisions, was fully
1 jeopardised and imperiled?
2 A. That's why we had to change the constitution; not because it was
3 written that way but simply because it proved in practice to create
4 insurmountable difficulties. In Vojvodina we did not have such problems
5 but in Kosovo there were many problems where citizens could not get
6 appropriate protection within the Kosovo authorities, and they sought
7 protection from the republic and the republic did not have the right to
8 provide them with this protection.
9 Q. We'll get to that as well.
10 A. Is it correct that the autonomous status of Vojvodina and Kosovo
11 and Metohija was granted to them because of certain specific
12 characteristics they had ethnically, historically speaking, culturally and
13 so on?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. It was a mix. Isn't that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Is it right that only a very small number of laws in Serbia from
18 1974 onwards pertained to the entirety of the republic, whereas a great
19 many laws were passed separately for the autonomous provinces and for
20 Serbia proper, as it was called although this was never defined legally?
21 A. Yes. There were practically these three areas that did not
22 coordinate mutually.
23 Q. Is it true that on the legislative plane this disintegration did
24 not have anything to do with the specific characteristics of the
25 autonomous provinces, why they actually got this autonomous status?
1 A. Well, I cannot exactly claim that it had nothing to do with it,
2 but it could have had something to do with the following: For example,
3 education, that can be a specific matter. Then also as regards some
4 questions that have would have been regulated in a different way because
5 of the ethnic composition. However, as for elementary matters, there was
6 no reason for having any kind of difference involved. For example, the
7 Criminal Code would have to be the same everywhere. They had separate
8 Criminal Codes. So if something was punishable according to the Criminal
9 Code of Serbia, it was not according to the Criminal Code of the province.
10 You could do whatever you wanted there and you wouldn't be punished for
11 it, whereas it was not possible to do that in our state. That is
12 impossible as a way for a state to function.
13 Q. But isn't it correct that this kind of legislative separation had
14 been brought to an absurd level that absolutely annulled the definition of
15 Serbia as a proper state?
16 A. Well, it seriously brought into question the existence of Serbia
17 as an integral state. And also at the same time, it seriously brought
18 into question the equality of Serbia vis-a-vis the other republics that
19 did not have such problems.
20 Q. All right. Doesn't all of this tellingly show that the
21 constitutional changes for 1989 were indispensable in order to bring the
22 provisions of the republican constitution in line with the federal
23 constitution and the republican constitution itself because the two
24 collided? And the only way of redressing this collision were these
1 Before you answer this question of mine, this is your book, "A
2 Date For History," because in addition to these two books --
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Gentlemen, I'm going to ask for
4 these two books to be tendered into evidence in addition to the ones that
5 were tendered by Mr. Nice. These two books of Mr. Jovic's as well. This
6 is a book called "A Date for History," and on page 144 - I'm quoting - I
7 agree with the quotation, but I would like you to comment this.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker please slow down because the
9 interpreters do not have the text.
10 JUDGE MAY: Slow down, please. Slow down when you're reading.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Very well. I'm going to skip this part. "This amendment spells
14 out specifically the legislative powers of the republic throughout its
15 territory, notably in the field of national defence, internal affairs,
16 international relations --" I don't want there to be a mistake in the
17 interpretation. I mean international relations indeed at an international
18 level, not inter-ethnic relations. And I continue the quotation: "A
19 singular protection of the most important social values, et cetera, with
20 the aspiration of specifically spelling out all of this in accordance with
21 the constitutional rights and responsibilities of Serbia as well as in
22 accordance with the rights and responsibilities of the provinces. Rather,
23 without referring to any ambiguity the sovereign rights should be spelled
24 out quite specifically, those that are exercised in the republic as a
1 This is from page 144. And if we had time, there would be very
2 many useful quotations that we could refer to so that everybody would
3 understand all the things that were going on. But is it clear that these
4 constitutional changes were a necessity, something that was made
5 indispensable and showing the high degree to which various constitutional
6 provisions collided within the constitution itself and also in relation to
7 the provisions of the republican and federal constitution? Isn't that
9 A. Allow me to say two things. Firstly, this situation made it
10 possible for those forces in Kosovo that wanted an ethnically pure Kosovo
11 - and they have always existed over the past 100 years, this is not only
12 characteristic of the period while we were in power - they felt that they
13 had the law in their own hands and, therefore, they could abuse it and
14 that they should make the Serb people feel unwelcome and that they should
15 flee from the area. The exodus was a massive one. Tens of thousands of
16 people were fleeing to Serbia, and this caused great political problems,
17 and it also pressured Serbia towards resolving these questions.
18 Serbia brought this question to the agenda dealt with by all of
19 Yugoslavia. The constitution of Yugoslavia was changed, therefore, to a
20 certain extent.
21 In 1988, after a big discussion at the Central Committee and other
22 places, it was made possible for Serbia to adjust the provisions of its
23 constitutions so that these illogical elements could be redressed. So
24 first the constitution of Yugoslavia was changed, the extent that it was
25 indispensable so that Serbia could carry out its own amendments without
1 clashing with the Yugoslav constitution, and then changes were carried out
2 in Serbia. The Assemblies of the autonomous provinces agreed to this as
3 well. This is a fact.
4 So under these circumstances, the autonomous provinces still
5 enjoyed all the rights in the area of culture, education, information,
6 human rights, and a great many other things that they should have, except
7 for the police, the army, the judiciary, criminal law, prosecution, et
8 cetera, other things that are purely matters for the state to deal with.
9 So those are the amendments that took place with the agreement of
10 Yugoslavia and the assemblies of both autonomous provinces. In all
11 fairness, then a constitutional provision was adopted abolishing the
12 rights of the autonomous provinces to approve the republican constitution,
13 because legally this is impossible for a lower-level territorial unit to
14 approve decisions for a higher-level territorial unit, as was the case
16 Q. Lest there be any misunderstanding, the entire structure of the
17 judiciary remained within the provinces but they were no longer
18 independent. They went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Serbia.
19 A. Yes. Now every citizen could appeal to the court of Serbia in
20 respect of decisions reached by the courts of Kosovo. That was impossible
22 Q. Is it correct that what was provided for by the constitution of
23 1974, in these first changes that were introduced in Kosovo and in
24 Vojvodina as elements of the federation, even after these changes, didn't
25 Kosovo and Vojvodina remain constituent elements of the federation as
2 A. Yes. There is always a bit of confusion in this respect. When
3 these changes were carried out in Serbia in 1989, Kosovo and Vojvodina did
4 not have their status vis-a-vis the federation changed at all. They
5 remained constituent elements of the federation, as it was called then,
6 and it consisted of the following: They had their own delegation in the
7 Federal Assembly, just as the republics do, and they also have their own
8 members of parliament, and they have the same rights. As a matter of
9 fact, they can veto any decision of the Federal Assembly.
10 So the delegation of the province can veto any decision of the
11 Federal Assembly. As a matter of fact, it can even veto a proposal made
12 by Serbia, like the proposal of any other republic.
13 Secondly, they still had the same right in the Presidency of
14 Yugoslavia. They had a member of the Presidency of their own, like all
15 the republics did, and so on and so forth. So nothing was changed in
16 respect of that in the relationship between the provinces and the
18 Q. All right. Is it quite clear then that one cannot say at all that
19 the constitutional changes in Serbia in 1989 abolished the autonomous
21 A. That cannot be said that they were abolished. What can be said is
22 that their rights were curtailed, those that, by the very nature of
23 things, belonged to the state not to an autonomous province.
24 Q. However, let's be even more specific about this. Does this
25 exclusively refer to the rights that republics in Yugoslavia have?
1 A. Well, that's right, but those rights that were left to the
2 provinces in other republics belonged to the republics. But in our case,
3 many of these rights were conveyed to the provinces.
4 Q. Very well. So the provinces still allocate -- made allocations
5 from their own budget. They still had their own revenues and
6 expenditures, so everything that existed vis-a-vis the federation until
7 the constitutional changes were made in 1989, and this is the way it still
8 worked; right?
9 A. Well, the provinces had their own Assemblies, their own
10 governments, their own budgets, their own revenues, and also their own
11 financial relationship with the federation.
12 In relation to the federation, they continued to have the same
13 kind of relationship that all the republics had. It was a direct
14 relationship. From that point of view, they were the same as republics.
15 Q. However, as far as Kosovo is concerned, Kosovo received a great
16 deal of material assistance from the fund of the federation and from the
17 fund of the Republic of Serbia for the Accelerated Development of
18 Underdeveloped Areas; is that right?
19 A. Yes. The greatest amount of aid and assistance for development
20 throughout Yugoslavia was received in Kosovo, and all the republics
21 contributed to that aid.
22 Q. And also there was the fund in Serbia for the Accelerated
23 Development of Underdeveloped Areas within Serbia; is that right?
24 A. Yes. Serbia has other areas that are just as underdeveloped as
25 Kosovo is, so these areas of Serbia were assisted as well as Kosovo
2 Q. These changes were carried out in 1989. Not to go too far back
3 into the past, do you know about the nature of the demonstrations that
4 were held in Kosovo by the Albanian separatists already in 1980 and 1981?
5 A. Of course. The constitution from 1974, as was said just now, gave
6 the autonomous provinces rights that differed very slightly from the
7 rights of the republics. They were just not called republics, and they
8 did not have the right to secede. It was only republics that had the
9 right to secede, just like peoples had.
10 In 1980 and 1981, the Albanians, those who had a separatist
11 orientation, practically rebelled. We called them demonstrations, but
12 practically this was a rebellion, and their slogan was "Kosovo Republic."
13 So they were not pleased with the constitutional provisions, although the
14 constitutional provisions were practically unique in the world in case of
15 these provinces. These demonstrations went on for almost two years, and
16 it was very hard to stop them with the intervention of the state. The
17 state had to intervene in order for them to be banned.
18 JUDGE MAY: That would be a convenient moment. We're going to
19 adjourn now. Twenty minutes.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I am far from wanting you to extend
23 your case with additional witnesses, but the line of the cross-examination
24 raises the issue that has been before us already, the question of a
25 constitutional expert. Are you any further with that issue, in getting
2 MR. NICE: I'm further with it, and so far it's been pretty much
3 more of the same, the same problem. I haven't -- I was going to think --
4 I'm thinking of giving you a list of the number of contacts we've made and
5 the difficulties we have encountered. Members of the team are actively
6 engaged in it over the last few weeks. I will keep you posted. It isn't
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: It is hard for us to understand that in a country
9 like Yugoslavia with so many institutions of higher learning that it is
10 not possible to find one person.
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, first of all, we obviously need to have
12 somebody who would have the level of independence and standing that would
13 merit your attention. We can't simply go for anyone. And at that level,
14 we encounter the anxieties, still, that I referred to earlier.
15 We've, I think, got one or two candidates lined up, each of whom
16 has a sort of superficial disadvantage to them. I'll come back to you
17 perhaps later today or file something so that you know where we are, but I
18 readily understand how the evidence is required.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, I urge you, because some of the
20 constitutional issues are not just background, they are essential for
21 proper adjudication and understanding.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I should like to be of assistance in
24 connection with the matter raised by Mr. Robinson. I think it would be
25 sufficient, in view of the fact that you are jurists, just to read the
1 constitutions of both Serbia and Yugoslavia of 1974 and the constitutional
2 amendments, and you will see that what I am claiming and what the witness
3 has confirmed is quite correct.
4 Furthermore, I also asked this book to be admitted, by Mr. Jovic.
5 And you will find many explanations in there.
6 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment. Let's deal with the book. What is
7 it called again? Can you remind us?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is a book written by
9 Mr. Borisav Jovic and it is called "A Date for History" and it has to do
10 with the activities linked to the adoption of constitutional amendments
11 that this other side is addressing in a distorted manner, and it was
12 written authentically and contemporaneously.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Have you got a date -- have you got the date of
14 that book? Have you got the date of that book?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'll try and find it. It's not
16 indicated at the beginning. Probably at the end.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the second page somewhere.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Belgrade, 1989.
19 JUDGE MAY: Any objection, Mr. Nice, to that?
20 MR. NICE: I haven't read it. No objection. It will have to be
21 translated. We may seek the assistance -- if there is no English version,
22 we may seek the assistance of the Chamber through the Registry to get it
23 translated sooner rather than later, books take some time to get done.
24 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We'll give it the next D number.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the number is D217.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I continue, Mr. May?
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. From the beginning of the 1980s, were there enormous problems
5 which developed into a massive expulsion of the Serb population from the
6 territory of Kosovo and Metohija?
7 A. There was a massive exodus due to the questions that we have
8 discussed. My personal opinion is that the constitutional rights at the
9 disposal of the authorities in Kosovo and Metohija were abused and that
10 this put the Serb people in a position that it couldn't defend itself in
11 any other way except by fleeing.
12 Q. Do you remember that the figure used in those days, that from
13 about 1981 until 1987, about 40.000 Serbs had left Kosovo and their homes
14 under pressure?
15 A. Yes. That figure is most probably correct as it was analysed
17 Q. And is it true that that was the first time that we encountered
18 the publicly declared goal of Albanian separatists contained in the
19 sentence "an ethnically pure Kosovo"?
20 A. I cannot say when we first encountered it and whether it was
21 declared in that manner. I just am aware of the slogan "Kosovo Republic"
22 and the practice of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
23 Q. But the use of the term "ethnic cleansing" existed and we
24 considered it to be one the greatest crimes.
25 A. Yes, that is true, but I really do not remember them declaring
1 that they wanted an ethnically pure Kosovo.
2 Q. And do you then recall that there was a lot of talk of ethnic
3 cleansing, of which the victims were the Serbs?
4 A. Yes. Those are facts. Of course I remember that. And that was
5 the reason why we made the request to amend the constitution so as to
6 protect those people, to help them to stay there so that they could ask
7 their republic to protect them and allow them to stay on where they lived.
8 Q. A minor detail in this connection as the fact is being abused that
9 the Assembly of Serbia disbanded the Assembly of Kosovo at a point in time
10 in 1991. Is it true that this was done to protect the constitution?
11 Because that Assembly had acted unconstitutionally or, rather, had taken a
12 decision to secede from Serbia, something it was not entitled to do
13 according to the constitution?
14 A. Yes. That was the reason. Of course a session of the Kosovo
15 Assembly was a legal affair within the framework of its competencies, but
16 when it took the decision on secession from Serbia and on the proclamation
17 of Kosovo as a republic, then this was annulled by the Assembly of Serbia
18 and that Assembly was disbanded.
19 Q. So it was disbanded because it had acted unconstitutionally.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Or, rather, it had flagrantly violated the constitution.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. I hope that it is not in dispute - and this is something you
24 mentioned - that changes to the Serbian constitution were made with the
25 agreement of the Assemblies of the provinces, which was the regular
1 procedure until amendments to the Serbian constitution. That is, nothing
2 could be decided without the agreement of the provincial Assembly. So
3 these amendments were made with the agreement of the provincial
5 A. Correct. There was a debate all day in the Assembly of Kosovo.
6 There was a vote, and only 12 deputies voted against those amendments.
7 All the others voted in favour.
8 Q. The fact is being manipulated here that some sort of violence was
9 resorted to, or use of force, for the Assembly of Kosovo to vote in favour
10 of changes to the Serbian constitution. Was any force used to make the
11 Assembly vote in favour of the amendments to the Serbian constitution?
12 A. I do apologise. I didn't switch off my mobile. It's my mistake.
13 I do apologise. I'm very sorry about this, that it happened.
14 You see, there was a great deal of resistance among a portion of
15 the Albanians who had separatist ambitions, and they were against the
16 constitutional amendments that were to be adopted. And contrary to the
17 official instructions of the authorities that the Assembly could not be
18 obstructed by demonstrations or pressure being brought to bear on it by
19 the demonstrators or, rather, the Albanians who did not agree with the
20 constitutional amendments, a large number of people were gathering around
21 the Assembly building to prevent it from working. Police and military
22 forces prevented these citizens entering the Assembly and undermining its
24 Of course, everyone has his own interpretation of this. Some
25 people say the army or the police pressured the Assembly. That is not
1 true; there was a debate all day and there was a vote.
2 Q. No forces stepped into the Assembly?
3 A. No, they didn't. They just prevented the citizens from breaking
4 into the Assembly and obstructing its work, though they had such plans.
5 Q. Thank you. On the 28th of March, when the Assembly of Serbia was
6 held to adopt the amendments, at that formal session, because a large
7 number of guests were invited, it was held in the Sava centre, and the
8 entire Yugoslav leadership was present; isn't that right?
9 A. Yes, including Ante Markovic, the Prime Minister, the federal
10 Prime Minister.
11 Q. But more important than Ante Markovic's presence, I think, and let
12 me remind you, was also the presence of Sinan Hasani, who at the time was
13 president of the Presidency of Yugoslavia and who represented Kosovo and
14 who was an Albanian; is that right?
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. I remember that as he was sitting next to me.
17 A. Yes, that's quite correct.
18 Q. So there is no doubt that a procedure was carried out which was
19 absolutely legal and against which no one in Yugoslavia had any
20 objections, not even the representative of Kosovo in the SFRY Presidency,
21 who was an Albanian, Sinan Hasani; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now a very brief question as the significance of the memorandum of
24 the Serbian Academy of Sciences is being grossly distorted here and
25 certain substances being attributed to it which it doesn't have, and
1 allegedly some kind of request for all Serbs to live in one state.
2 Would you agree that treating the memorandum in such a way is
3 nonsense, because the Serbs were living in one state, and that was the
4 state of Yugoslavia? And they didn't ask for any other right beyond that
5 and so the memorandum could not have demanded something they already had.
6 Is that right?
7 A. Yes, it is. The memorandum addressed certain problems that they
8 felt remained outstanding within Yugoslavia. However, if the Tribunal
9 allows, and perhaps also Mr. Milosevic will not mind if I say the
10 following: On the day that memorandum was published, it was a great
11 surprise and disappointment for us. So virtually the very next day we had
12 a meeting of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia
13 that had already been scheduled about economic matters at which I was due
14 to make the -- to submit the main report.
15 Q. This was in 1984, wasn't it?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Mr. Milosevic insisted that in that report I add a sentence, and
18 it was meant to express our disappointment and disagreement with this act
19 by the Academy of Sciences. This didn't fit into my concept, because my
20 report dealt with certain conceptual matters for the future, but I
21 accepted this and I wrote it down and it was published in the media that
22 we were disappointed and we considered what the Sciences Academy had
23 published to be quite unnecessary.
24 Q. Boro, that was in 1984, wasn't it?
25 A. Yes, most probably so.
1 Q. I fear that you have caused a mix-up, that you have confused
2 things a little bit, because I wasn't president of the Central Committee
3 at the time, nor could I have suggested to you that you put anything in
4 the report concerning the memorandum. Maybe somebody else made such a
5 suggestion, but it certainly wasn't me.
6 JUDGE MAY: Just a point of detail. My recollection of the
7 memorandum was that it was 1986. I will be corrected if I'm wrong about
8 that. So that may explain any confusion there may have been.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I also think it was in 1986 and that
10 we had a meeting of the Central Committee at which we discussed the
11 question of economic reform. And what I was saying is right.
12 Mr. Milosevic may be wrong because he didn't say that to me directly. He
13 sent me such a message through one of the members of our Executive Board.
14 And I agreed, but unwillingly because it didn't fit into my concept. But
15 it -- in the end, I did say that. What I wanted to say was that when the
16 memorandum was published, Mr. Milosevic was disappointed. And this
17 sentence can be found in the newspaper. Actually, I uttered that
18 sentence, I accepted it, that we felt that such a move by the Serbian
19 Academy of Sciences was quite unnecessary, that Serbia has its own
20 leadership, and that it is aware of the problems that it had to address
21 together with the other Yugoslav peoples.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Very well. Let's not delve into that which is certainly of
24 marginal significance. What I'm saying is that the memorandum cannot be
25 said to have certain properties which it doesn't have, and especially not
1 any what I would call the role of a platform that the leadership may have
2 used to achieve certain goals that were at the detriment of the other
3 peoples in Yugoslavia, because no such thing was contained in the
4 memorandum. Isn't that so?
5 A. All I can say is that we never officially put that memorandum on
6 the agenda in the sense of analysing it and using it for our own work. We
7 had our own programmes and our own activities, and we were quite separate
8 from that.
9 Q. Very well. Can we sum up by saying that with the constitutional
10 changes, that Serbia didn't acquire anything more, any greater rights than
11 enjoyed by the other Yugoslav republics?
12 A. It couldn't have because the constitution of Yugoslavia limited
13 the rights of republics. This was just a problem of relationships within
14 Serbia and not a question of the relationship towards the federation.
15 Q. That's very important for us to clear up.
16 Now, do you remember that from 1981 to 1987 or 1988, when all
17 these turbulent events occurred in Kosovo and when the Serbs were
18 persecuted over there, that this problem was reviewed on several occasions
19 at the level of the Yugoslav bodies, both by the Central Committee and the
20 government and the Presidency of the SFRY?
21 A. The question of the exodus from Kosovo, yes. Yes, of course it
22 was reviewed, repeatedly, at meetings of the Central Committee of Serbia,
23 the Central Committee of Yugoslavia, and I spoke a moment ago about the
24 constitutional changes in the Yugoslav constitution which enabled changes
25 of our own constitution. And all these were based on these discussion and
1 a decision of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of
2 Yugoslavia that that exodus must be put to a stop and that essential
3 changes needed to be made to the constitution.
4 Q. When talking about various ideas regarding amendments to the
5 constitution, was there disagreement between on the one hand Slovenia and
6 Croatian and on the other hand the other republics and provinces of
8 A. You mean in that period or generally? Regarding these changes
9 that preceded changes to our own constitution, those changes were adopted
10 by the Federal Assembly and the Assemblies of all republics. So there was
11 no resistance to those changes.
12 As for the conceptual changes to the Yugoslav constitution in the
13 period of the crisis in Yugoslavia and when we sought to address the
14 problem of Yugoslavia through constitutional amendments, to find a way of
15 continuing to live together, on the one hand, according to the official
16 proposals that were made to the Yugoslav Assembly, were Slovenia and
17 Croatia who proposed the break-up of Yugoslavia and then that independent
18 states, that we were to form a confederation for five years and afterwards
19 each would decide what to do next. And on the other side were the four
20 republics and two autonomous provinces who felt that the Yugoslav
21 constitutional reconstruction was necessary.
22 So the idea that is usually discussed that the conflict was
23 between Serbia and Slovenia is not correct. This is what the division was
24 like. And these official proposals were addressed to the Federal Assembly
25 to deal with the crisis. Of course they were not adopted because for
1 either of these two proposals to be adopted, the agreement of all
2 republics was necessary, because according to the constitution, without a
3 consensus of all the republics, the constitution could not be amended.
4 Q. But what is of essential importance, I think, is that this
5 divergence in approach was not between Serbia on the one hand and Slovenia
6 and Croatia on the other, as is the customary explanation given, but
7 between Slovenia and Croatia on the one side and the other four republics
8 and provinces on the other.
9 A. There are reports, there are proposals, there are agendas of the
10 Federal Assembly which can clearly corroborate this.
11 Q. In view of the fact that the Yugoslav state Presidency discussed
12 the security aspects and problems and everything else linked to that
13 subject matter, are you aware of the fact that in 1981 the first illegal
14 groups of Albanian extremists were uncovered who were militarily organised
15 by the Albanian emigres both in the world and in certain centres within
16 the country itself?
17 A. Well, I don't want to enter into all that now. Most probably, but
18 at the time I didn't work on those affairs in 1981 and 1982, so I can't
19 really say.
20 Q. Very well. Then I'm going to focus on the period when you were
21 the president of the Presidency of Yugoslavia.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Member of the Presidency of Yugoslavia,
23 interpreter's correction.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. As we often hear said here that I de facto was heading the
1 Yugoslav state Presidency and managing it, can this kind of assertion and
2 claim be made at all? Can it be acceptable in any way, that I manned it
3 -- ran it, sorry.
4 A. I explained this on a number of occasions and can explain it
5 again. The Presidency had eight members to it and it was able to make
6 decisions by a majority vote with five members with most of the decisions
7 and six members for some separate decisions of special importance. So it
8 was not able to function in any other way.
9 As far as the influence of the republics go, or the presidents of
10 the republics on their Presidency members, it was there without a doubt.
11 Every member of the Yugoslav state Presidency was duty-bound at the
12 Presidency sessions to stand by the views of its republic and also to
13 cooperate with its republic because it was the role of the Yugoslav state
14 Presidency to dovetail and coordinate the policies of the republics and
15 cooperation amongst them.
16 Therefore, the president of the Republic of Serbia by that same
17 score, by virtue of the job he was doing, was directly based on
18 cooperating with me, and vice versa. He did wield influence on me and the
19 kind of position I would assume. However, this could not have a bearing
20 on the other Presidency members with which he did not communicate
21 directly. So I wasn't able to vote on any decision alone because one
22 member of the Presidency, even if he was president of the Presidency,
23 didn't have the right to make a decision if there was not a majority vote.
24 So everybody influenced everything. All the presidents of the republics
25 influenced their Presidency members.
1 Q. All right. That was a form of regular cooperation and
2 communication, if I can put it that way, between the presidents of the
3 individual republics with the Yugoslav state Presidency members or member
4 from their republic.
5 A. Yes, and that is written down in the rules of procedure as a duty
6 and obligation.
7 Q. Now, my relationship towards you, was it any different from the
8 relationship of any other republican presidents towards the members of the
9 Presidency from their own -- their republic?
10 A. Well, I don't know what their relationship was like. All I can
11 say is that our relationship was a normal relationship of cooperation
12 working on the positions held by the republic and that there was not a
13 single case in which I wanted to assume a different position and that my
14 republic, or you yourself, wanted to assume a different position and that
15 we didn't have any harmonisation of views. There wasn't that kind of case
17 Q. So there wasn't a case in which I would impose my positions on you
18 and you not agree with that position?
19 A. No. That never occurred. Had there been a case like that, I
20 would have withdrawn or perhaps I would have been replaced had I stayed in
21 that position.
22 Q. All right. But anyway, there was never such a case?
23 A. No, there wasn't.
24 Q. All right. Fine. Now, the Supreme Commander of the armed forces,
25 that was -- that post was filled by the entire Presidency; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So you weren't able to usurp that position or post, were you?
3 A. No, not even when I was president did I have the right to do so.
4 The president only has the right to implement the decisions made by the
5 Presidency but not to change them or to make the decisions himself.
6 Q. Therefore, by the same token, Serbia wasn't able to usurp that
7 function through you. If you couldn't, Serbia couldn't either; is that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, is it quite clear that the political position assumed by the
11 then-leadership of Yugoslavia and the political position of the leadership
12 of Serbia as well was to preserve Yugoslavia?
13 A. What period are you referring to?
14 Q. I am -- I am referring to the period when you yourself were a
15 member and president of the Yugoslav state Presidency.
16 A. Well, the position taken by Serbia was to preserve Yugoslavia and
17 also the position of certain republics - I spoke about that a moment ago -
18 whereas Slovenia and Croatia quite obviously had the position of secession
19 because they had enacted their declaration or, rather, decisions for
20 autonomy and independence.
21 Q. All right. Fine. Now, yesterday during the examination-in-chief,
22 you emphasised the fact that Yugoslavia wanted to strengthen Yugoslav
23 institutions. And was it Serbia's position also to hold multi-party
24 elections for the federal parliament on the principles of the one man, one
25 vote, and for the larger republics the principle of equal representation
1 of all the federal units. Is that right?
2 A. Yes. However, there were no elections for the Federal Assembly
3 although the term of office of the previous one had expired, the previous
4 composition had expired, and that because the republics which wished to
5 see the break-up of Yugoslavia did not agree to that decision, and
6 therefore they paralysed the possibility of elections for the Federal
8 Q. All right. But without doubt, Serbia strove to have the federal
9 elections take place; is that right?
10 A. Oh, yes, that's right.
11 Q. And we also favoured strengthening federal institutions. Now, is
12 it true that we strove to ensure that the role of the Yugoslav People's
13 Army should not be weakened as a federal institution itself and that there
14 was mention, when the crisis had entered into deeper waters, if I can put
15 it that way, that the JNA should represent the armed force of the nations
16 and nationalities who remain living in Yugoslavia to protect the
17 territories they live in? Wouldn't that be right?
18 A. Now, you have two questions there, actually, two issues. As far
19 as I understood it, your first question is that we with respect to others,
20 if there were such others, advocated to see the JNA's role preserved and
21 not weakened. I don't think there were any official debates and
22 discussions with the other republics on that score. The constitutional
23 role of the Yugoslav People's Army, as compared to many other states,
24 countries, was different. In many states, the role of the army is to
25 defend the country from a foreign enemy, so the country's integrity. Our
1 army had a dual role, a dual task; to protect the constitutional order as
2 the first objective, and to protect the country's integrity as a second
4 Now, this difference emerged because the federal state did not
5 have its own police, police force. It was only the republics that had
6 their police forces. And there was never any dispute or discussion
7 amongst the republics on that subject except when the time came to use the
8 army to protect the constitutional order. Then a lot of debate and
9 discussion arose but not to amend the constitution, just to see whether
10 constitutional reasons existed to use and deploy the army to defend the
11 constitutional order.
12 That is in general terms. Now, as far as our position goes to the
13 effect that the army was there to defend the peoples and territory
14 inhabited by peoples and nationalities wishing to stay within Yugoslavia
15 is a well-known stance which you can find throughout my book and
16 throughout my statement, and it is true and correct. So we did not
17 consider that the army should forcibly keep anyone within Yugoslavia and
18 toppling anybody's power if they didn't wish to stay in Yugoslavia without
19 respecting the stand of the peoples who wanted to step down from
20 Yugoslavia but that it should defend those who wished to stay within
22 Q. Was our position a clear-cut one to the effect that we didn't want
23 to inflict damage on a single Yugoslav nation or nationality?
24 A. Well, of course. I don't think that anybody could have declared
25 anything like that at all.
1 Q. When the unrest started and various attacks were launched against
2 Serbs in Croatia, for example, and when the first crisis loomed before us,
3 and this is something you testified yesterday in part, there was the
4 formation of certain volunteer or paramilitary formations; isn't that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, I should like to clear up one point in that respect for the
8 time being. Is it true that it was only the opposition in Serbia and
9 primarily the Vuk Draskovic Serbian reconstruction movement demanded the
10 establishment of a Serb army and came out against the JNA and set up its
11 paramilitary formations?
12 A. Yes, that is correct. And in my opinion, that was far more in the
13 function of toppling our power and authority and seizing power by the
14 opposition rather than being geared towards a war with others and
15 preparing a war with others, because what they wanted was to gain the
16 public's trust and come into power themselves.
17 Q. So the care of alleged Serb interests was just a pretext.
18 A. That's how I see it, yes.
19 Q. Whereas what they really wanted was to come into power in Serbia?
20 A. That is my opinion. That is what I think.
21 Q. I have gained the impression that that is the -- that that opinion
22 is fairly justified, and I should now like to remind you, on page 360 of
23 your diary, this diary of yours, the version that I have been provided by
24 the opposite side over there, ERN 00158251 is the ERN number, and the date
25 mentioned is the 10th of July, 1991, and the title is "An Agreement
1 Between Mesic and Vuk Draskovic." And let's establish what it says here
3 It is your diary. "Veljko Kadijevic rang me up and informed me
4 that he took a look at the conversation between Vuk Draskovic and Stjepan
5 Mesic, and they claimed that they had common political goals for which
6 they would strive: The toppling of the JNA and the leadership of Serbia,
7 the ways in which to do so, propaganda against the JNA, its destruction
8 and liquidation. And in such a way, the Serb citizens would remain
9 unprotected in Croatia. The Croats would threaten it, and this will give
10 rise to Serb reaction and intervention. Croatia will then proclaim Serbia
11 the aggressor and will call upon foreign troops with the help of which the
12 legal Serbian authorities will be toppled.
13 "According to this claim, Vuk Draskovic is supported in this by
14 Dragoljub Micunovic," and in brackets you have "Democratic Party."
15 "Veljko's assessment is this is tantamount to sacrificing the interests
16 of the Serb nation in Croatia and outside Serbia in general. That is the
17 price of the agreement with Mesic. The consequences of it are already
18 being felt because in Belgrade itself in units of the 1st Army district
19 soldiers are disregarding orders en masse, saying that they will not obey
20 the orders of those who prevented the overthrow of the Serbian authorities
21 on the 9th of March. He urges us to react politically ..." and that's
22 all. I've read it word-for-word under the heading "The 10th of July, The
23 Agreement Between Mesic and Vuk Draskovic" from your diary.
24 Does that confirm that the main goal was not to protect Serb
25 interests but precisely efforts to use manipulations of this kind and
1 violence of this kind to topple power and authority in Serbia; is that
3 A. Well, that note just confirms that that's what Veljko Kadijevic
4 told me. Now, interpretations are free to one and all. I have nothing
5 against your particular interpretation of it.
6 Q. Well, I'd like to refer to the 15th of October, 1990, and another
7 extract. This was after what I as the president of the republic and the
8 Socialist Party, the ruling party, received in parliament; right? And the
9 15th of October, 1990, is roughly two months prior to the elections;
10 right? And it says here in the diary, and it is page 207 of the diary, of
11 the version that I have, the ERN number is 157868, the 15th of October is
12 the date, and Vuk Draskovic spoke with US Ambassador Zimmerman.
13 "Draskovic asked that the Americans support him in the election campaign
14 in two ways: First that they stop attacking Milosevic because of the
15 repression in Kosovo, since that that only elevates his standing among the
16 Serbian people; instead, they should attack him for Bolshevism because the
17 Serbian people do not like that;.
18 "Second, that they contribute to the rehabilitation of Draza
20 Therefore, is it common knowledge that immediately -- that this
21 cooperation to topple the authority in Belgrade was ongoing and that US
22 Ambassador Zimmerman was involved along those lines with Vuk Draskovic and
23 the Serbian resistance movement?
24 A. That information from the book is reliable information. Now,
25 whether you can draw that general conclusion on the basis of other sources
1 of information, that remains to be seen on the basis of everything else.
2 Q. All right. As you've already spoken about the paramilitary
3 formations and the fact that in the information with respect to the army
4 explanations were given that they were undisciplined, that the soldiers
5 were undisciplined, not sufficiently held under control, that they made
6 problems, is it clear that the Serbian reconstruction movement and renewal
7 movement organised these paramilitary formations but that the Socialist
8 Party never organised any armed formation of any kind? Is that right?
9 A. Yes, that is right.
10 Q. So the goal of the leadership at that time, of our leadership at
11 that time, and not only our own but generally in Yugoslavia, was to
12 preserve Yugoslavia. This approach at that time, was it the same kind of
13 approach that other countries had, or let me put it this way, the
14 international community? Because there were very many statements made,
15 declarations made and official support by the international community to
16 the principle of Yugoslavia's territorial integrity. Do you remember
18 A. Well, of course that was an evolution that took place in the
19 positions taken particularly of the big powers or the European countries
20 in that regard, and in the initial stage, the Helsinki Act was to be
21 respected and that exterior borders were inviolable and that any attempts
22 to go against that was gone against and that the problems of Yugoslavia
23 should be settled politically.
24 Now, later on there was deviation from this little by little, and
25 they considered that the internal borders were those which the
1 international community should protect and defend, which led to the
2 catastrophe that took place in Yugoslavia. There was a great deal of
3 discussion, and I record this in my book, from George Bush, whom I talked
4 to and who supported the unity of Yugoslavia right up until the European
5 Troika, the three foreign ministers who visited Yugoslavia. At that time,
6 they were led by Mr. Poos [phoen] who was the foreign minister of
7 Luxembourg, and they expressly stated that they supported Yugoslavia's
8 unity and that they would not be holding any discussions with individual
9 parts who -- which wished to secede, and so on and so forth. But as time
10 evolved and events evolved, those positions underwent change.
11 Q. Let us discuss a detail that has to do with Mesic's arrival in the
12 Presidency. I had the opportunity of seeing him here as well when he was
13 sitting in that chair, but let's clarify this particular matter.
14 Is it correct that in relation to his coming to the Presidency the
15 problem was that the members of the Presidency practically wanted to stand
16 by their oath, they would defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity
17 of the country, whereas Mesic, before he was supposed to become president
18 of the Presidency of Yugoslavia, made a public statement that his
19 objective was to break Yugoslavia up and that he would be the last
20 president of Yugoslavia; isn't that right?
21 A. Yes. That was a serious political problem, and this was a great
22 dilemma before the members of the Presidency, how we could cooperate with
23 a man who publicly stated that his intention was to break up Yugoslavia,
24 whereas we took a solemn oath to act in accordance with the constitution
25 of Yugoslavia and the constitution does not allow the break-up of
1 Yugoslavia. That was the main reason why he was not elected president.
2 Q. So this conflict, if that is how it could be termed, was caused by
3 him, actually, not those who refused to elect him.
4 A. Yes. We stated at the session of the Presidency that nobody is
5 challenging the right of the representative of Croatia in the forthcoming
6 period to be president of the Presidency. We are not denying anyone that
7 right, because that is in accordance with the rules of procedure of the
8 Presidency. However, since the members of the Presidency objected to that
9 statement made by Mr. Mesic, they believed that the problem could be
10 resolved by having Croatia send a different person, whom we would elect
11 immediately. Of course, Croatia did not want to agree to that and the
12 problem escalated.
13 Q. All right. Now let us look into the question of illegality of the
14 work of the Rump Presidency of Yugoslavia without Drnovsek and Mesic.
15 That is what it was called here. Later on they did not come and attend
16 sessions of the Presidency.
17 Is it correct that Tupurkovski took part, that Bogicevic took
18 part, namely that six members of the Presidency, excluding Mesic and
19 Drnovsek, held sessions for a while? Isn't that right?
20 A. It is correct until the end of October. There are minutes from
21 sessions of the Presidency too. As far as I can remember, the last
22 session of the Presidency in which Tupurkovski and Bogicevic book part as
23 well, that is to say one that involved six members of the Presidency,
24 which is sufficient in order to have any kind of decision passed, any kind
25 of lawful decision passed, that session was the last one, I think, on the
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 29255 to 29264.
1 3rd or 4th of October, I cannot remember exactly now. It was in 1991.
2 And at that session, a decision was made that the Presidency would start
3 operating in a situation of imminent threat of war. So imminent threat of
4 war was proclaimed, and according to the Rules of Procedure of the
5 Presidency and according to the constitution, in such a situation if for
6 any reason whatsoever all the members of the Presidency are not present,
7 then decisions are made with full validity as if all the members were
9 From then onwards, the Presidency functioned as a Rump Presidency.
10 At first, Drnovsek and Mesic did not come and later on Tupurkovski did not
11 come either, and Bogicevic too, but on that basis of that decision, the
12 Presidency continued to operate.
13 Q. All right. This is a very important issue so I would like to
14 clarify it very carefully. So it is not being disputed that six members
15 of the Presidency are quite sufficient for passing any decision of the
16 Presidency in a regular situation, including the decision for the
17 Presidency to move into a situation of imminent threat of war and to
18 operate under those circumstances?
19 A. Yes. No decision requires more than the presence of six members
20 of Presidency for it to have full force.
21 Q. All right. In such a situation, when such a decision was made, on
22 the basis of the constitution, the work of the Presidency continues with
23 the number of members of the Presidency who are in a position to come, to
24 attend the session at all, and then these decisions have full force?
25 A. That's right.
1 Q. Is it correct that the decision to work with a number of members
2 of the Presidency that was possible was reached with the approval of
3 Tupurkovski and Bogicevic and that it was valid all the way up to the end
4 of the functioning of the Presidency in the composition that was possible?
5 A. Yes. There is a stenogram and there are minutes that show this.
6 Nobody voted against it; everybody voted in favour.
7 Q. All right. The Presidency of Yugoslavia, at a given point in time
8 on the basis of a decision reached by the Presidency itself, a fully valid
9 decision, and with required number of members present, namely six, starts
10 working in a situation of imminent threat of war, and that is possible.
11 And according to the Rules of Procedure, fully valid decisions can be
12 reached in that way.
13 A. Yes. I've already said that. Yes.
14 Q. So on the 1st of October, 1991, Kostic convened a session of the
15 Presidency where Bogicevic, Tupurkovski, Jovic were present. Everybody
16 with the exception of Drnovsek and Mesic; isn't that right?
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. In its press release on the 1st of October, 1991, the Presidency
19 stated that: "The federal Executive Council is not functioning, that the
20 federal agencies are not functioning, and therefore the Presidency is in a
21 state of crisis and that therefore expanded sessions will be held. They
22 will be attended by representatives of the republics and the federal
23 government." Isn't that right?
24 A. That is probably correct. I don't remember that exactly.
25 Q. And then for the following day, the 2nd of October, a session of
1 the Presidency was convened where questions pertaining to state security
2 were supposed to be discussed.
3 A. That is very likely.
4 Q. And then at the session of the 3rd of October -- this is according
5 to the information that I have. So could you please corroborate it or
6 deny it, because that is very important in relation to the work of the
7 Presidency of Yugoslavia. The session of the 3rd of October, the
8 Presidency stated that Yugoslavia is confronted with imminent threat of
9 war and that from then onwards the Presidency would start functioning in a
10 situation of imminent threat of war on the basis of this decision of
11 theirs; is that right?
12 A. Yes. I've already said the 3rd or 4th, I do not remember exactly
13 when this session was held and we passed this decision. As for the
14 previous questions, that's probably the way it was. I did not write it
15 down and that is why I cannot remember everything that I did not write
17 Q. So this decision was based on the Rules of Procedure of the
18 Presidency, on the constitution, and also it was made in the presence of
19 six members of the Presidency; is that right?
20 A. Yes, yes.
21 Q. Since they are saying here that I created some kind of a Serbian
22 bloc in the Presidency, is it correct that all divisions in the Presidency
23 were created on the basis of the political divisions that existed
24 regarding the political fate of Yugoslavia, not under someone's personal
25 influence, including my own?
1 A. Well, it could be put that way because there was not a division of
2 views according to personal sympathy and likes and dislikes. It was based
3 on political views.
4 Q. And the political position of Serbia and Montenegro was that they
5 were against having Yugoslavia carved up; is that right?
6 A. At first all the republics were opposed to that except for Croatia
7 and Slovenia until the international community started vacillating and
8 saying that this might be acceptable for the international community as
9 well, especially beginning with the first Hague Conference and the offer
10 made to the republics that they could become independent states. That is
11 when some of the other republics made that decision too. But at first,
12 all the republics with the exception of Slovenia and Croatia were in
13 favour of keeping Yugoslavia and finding an appropriate solution along
14 those lines.
15 Q. All right. Do you remember the session of the Presidency of the
16 SFRY that was held on the 7th and 8th of May, 1991?
17 A. Yes, of course I remember.
18 Q. According to what I have written here, it took almost two days, it
19 lasted almost two days, and you invited all the representatives of the
20 republics. According to the information I have, all the members of the
21 Presidency of the SFRY were present without any exception. The president
22 of the federal Executive Council was present. The presidents of the
23 republics of Macedonia and Serbia respectively were present, namely
24 Gligorov and myself. Then the presidents of the Presidencies of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia. Lest there be any
1 misunderstanding here, in some of these republics there were Presidencies
2 and in these others there were presidents. So Macedonia, Serbia,
3 Montenegro, Slovenia, everybody was represented. And also the Prime
4 Minister of Croatia, that is to say that all the highest officials of the
5 country were there. Is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. As for presidents, only the president of Croatia was not there,
8 but the Prime Minister came instead of him?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is it correct that at that time very important decisions were made
11 that had to do with inter-ethnic relations in terms of how these relations
12 should be resolved, and important assessments were made as to the causes
13 why there were inter-ethnic conflicts and clashes?
14 A. Yes. This was a session of the Presidency attended by all
15 presidents of the respective republics at which agreement was reached for
16 the first time as to what the causes were for the conflict in Croatia
17 between the Serb people and the Croat paramilitary units there.
18 It was indicated what this was all about. There was agreement on
19 that, and it was concluded that the representatives of the Croatian
20 authorities and the representatives of the Serbs from Croatia should
21 discuss these matters and deal with all the issues one by one. This is a
22 very important session. In my opinion, it is of historic importance
23 because all the representatives of all the republics, including the
24 representative of Croatia, agreed on what the causes of the conflicts were
25 and how they should be dealt with.
1 Q. What I have written down here is something that I would like you
2 to comment upon, if necessary. Item 5 from that session says that a
3 parity group should be established straight away consisting of, as you had
4 put it, representatives of the Croatian authorities and the legitimate
5 representatives of the Serb people from Croatia in order to have talks
6 started on all controversial political issues which are considered to be
7 the cause of the crisis. And then they're enumerated, like the
8 constitutional equality of the Croat and Serb people, the alphabet, the
9 language, national symbols and emblems, the right of people to
10 self-determination including the right to secession. So the right of
11 nations to self-determination up to the right of secession -- right to
12 secession, and also that these views could be stated at a referendum and
13 so on.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Was all of this enumerated as elements that produced disputes in
16 Croatia? And the joint conclusion of the entire leadership in the
17 presence of the top representatives of all the republics was that this
18 should be resolved there between the legitimate representatives of the
19 Serb people and the Croatian government; is that right?
20 A. Yes. We thought that this was the internal affair of Croatia,
21 that these were the problems involved and that they should resolve them so
22 that the conflict would not escalate.
23 Q. But it is beyond dispute that everyone decided that these were
24 precisely the issues that led to conflicts in Croatia and that this had to
25 be discussed and that all these obstacles had to be dealt with in a
1 peaceful manner, but basically this had to do with the violation of rights
2 of the Serb people; right?
3 A. That is beyond dispute. Mr. Mesic, who was the member of the
4 Presidency from Croatia, and the Prime Minister of Croatia who represented
5 Croatia there, did not dispute this. This was adopted unanimously.
6 Q. Had this been done, there would have been no conflict; is that
8 A. Well, it's the same old problem. Faced with the facts, they could
9 not deny it, especially because all the other republics and all the other
10 members of the Presidency said that that's the way things were. However,
11 immediately afterwards, they simply ignored this. As a matter of fact, no
12 discussion was started with the representatives of the Serb people. They
13 continued the same old way.
14 Q. So what was continued was activity along the lines of violent
15 secession; isn't that right?
16 A. Well, basically the main cause for the conflict was the decision
17 of Croatia to secede from Yugoslavia, and then the parallel decision of
18 the Serb people that if Croatia secedes from Yugoslavia, then the Serb
19 people would secede from Croatia. That was the last straw, so to speak.
20 And for as long as the rights of the Serb people were jeopardised, there
21 was a bad feeling. There was disagreement. There were discussions and
22 debates, but there was not a serious conflict because of these other
23 matters. But this is what was the most difficult thing of all, secession.
24 Q. And what about Serbs in Croatia at the time? Were they under the
25 same pressure that Mr. Nice asked you about in relation to, I think, item
1 10 in your statement, paragraph 10, where you say: "I was afraid that
2 there would be genocide against the Serbs especially if they became a
3 national minority in Croatia," and so on and so forth. So was it for good
4 reason in view of the history involved and their experience from World War
5 II, did they not state unanimously, and also the Presidency of Yugoslavia
6 at the session that you mentioned, did they share these concerns and is
7 that -- and is that why they were so upset?
8 A. Well, the court can ask the people from that region, and I think
9 it is so. And I think that that is beyond any doubt.
10 Q. Do you remember that the Federal Assembly on the 29th of May,
11 1990, supported the principle of self-determination, including secession,
12 because the Presidency of Yugoslavia, on the 28th of May, launched an
13 initiative in the Assembly that the right to secession should be regulated
14 by law; isn't that right?
15 A. Yes. We thought that there was a very real fact involved, that
16 some republics wanted to leave Yugoslavia, and that this should be viewed
17 as their constitutional right but that this had to be regulated by law,
18 because there are problems. There are material, financial problems
19 between and among companies, then citizens working on both sides, then
20 there are problems related to insurance, debts, property, the properties
21 of different persons in different areas, then this will become two
22 different states, then there are also international obligations involved
23 and we'd have to see how that could be dealt with, and then finally there
24 is the national issue that particularly had to be resolved in Croatia
25 because they are the ones who put it on the agenda and to see whether they
1 would remain together or not.
2 We thought that if a law were not to be passed which would
3 prescribe the exact procedure how this could take place, that we could
4 enter a state of chaos. Croatia did not want to accept that by any means.
5 It is my deep conviction because -- because it was a fact that they
6 thought that if we were to pass this law, they could not attain the
7 objectives that they had envisaged. They simply wanted to outvote
8 everyone without taking due account of the right of the Serb people. They
9 wanted to do this violently. And it is in this period that Croatia armed
10 itself in violation of the law and constitution and irrespective of the
11 way in which the official authorities would act.
12 Q. Do you remember that the main concept of that proposal was to
13 ensure the basic human rights, peaceful settlement of dispute, equality of
14 all nations? This was something that was particularly insisted upon and
15 expected in view of the fact that we had been developing for many years as
16 a civilised country and this shouldn't have been a problem?
17 A. Of course. In this process of separation, this should have been
18 ensured as well, and this draft of our proposal did envisage those points.
19 However, unfortunately, not a single law in the Assembly of Yugoslavia
20 could be adopted without the consensus of all the republics.
21 Q. And was it quite clear that we advocated the preservation of
22 Yugoslavia and a civilised, polite and just process of separation
23 respecting the right of all nations to self-determination, believing that
24 no force, no violence to keep someone with Yugoslavia could be
25 contemplated and that all this was rejected and that the break-up of
1 Yugoslavia started with the forcible secession of Slovenia and Croatia
2 despite all these measures that were taken? Is that right or not?
3 A. Yes. The main difference between our position and theirs was not
4 whether they could or could not secede but whether they should secede in a
5 lawfully regulated manner which would ensure the rights of those remaining
6 and those leaving, or whether it would be done outside the law, that is by
7 means of force, by resort to force. That was the main difference, and
8 that is why everything happened later on in the form of a conflict.
9 Q. Now, let us look at things from the other side of the border. Let
10 us take a view from a different angle, that is the international scene,
11 that no warnings could dissuade Germany from recognising the independence
12 of Slovenia and Croatia on the 21st of December, 1991, that many statesmen
13 later recognised their mistake. For example, French President Mitterrand,
14 in a statement for television on the 3rd of September, 1992, stated that,
15 "The international community bears part of the responsibility for the
16 conflict in Yugoslavia because Europe, in Yugoslavia's case, did not wish
17 to defend existing legal norms, saying that all the republics were hastily
18 recognised." And I quote him when I say that the international community
19 has part of the responsibility for the conflict in Yugoslavia. "Europe
20 did not wish to defend existing legal norms." Those are his words. And
21 also the fact that all the republics were recognised too quickly. Those
22 were his words.
23 A. I'd rather not comment on the statements of world leaders. They
24 said what they said. I am testifying here about what I felt, and my
25 feeling is that the international community or, rather, certain bodies,
1 did commit certain errors which contributed to the escalation of the
2 conflict in Yugoslavia and that things developed to the great misfortune
3 of all the Yugoslav peoples and that this could have been done quite
4 differently had a road been taken that we had proposed, or something like
5 it, which excluded the use of force.
6 Q. So after this premature recognition of Slovenia and Croatia and
7 later on, tragically, even of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the conflict
8 escalated. Isn't that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, tell me, as you were in the Presidency throughout that time,
11 for a while as the president of the Presidency and for a while as a member
12 of the Presidency, up until the mid-1992, is it true that all members of
13 the Presidency who continued working in the Presidency, who didn't abandon
14 it, were in favour of halting hostilities and a peaceful settlement to the
15 conflict and that that was the position of both Serbia and Montenegro?
16 A. That is absolutely so. Our vital aim was to stop hostilities as
17 soon as possible, immediately, for two very simple reasons. The first was
18 for there not to be loss of life unnecessarily because things could be
19 resolved by agreement, and the second being that Serbia was punished quite
20 unjustly, in my opinion. Sanctions were imposed upon it, it couldn't live
21 normally because there was a war outside of Serbia, and that is why it was
22 in our vital interest to get rid of the sanctions and to put an end to the
24 Q. There is a thesis here that Serbia committed aggression against
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina. In view of your position at the time in the
1 Presidency of SFRY and generally in politics of Yugoslavia and Serbia, how
2 can one explain such an allegation at all?
3 A. The Yugoslav People's Army was in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part
4 of its own state, as a part of Yugoslavia, which it naturally covered
5 because it was the Yugoslav People's Army, up until the moment when Bosnia
6 and Herzegovina was internationally recognised as a separate state. On
7 that very day, we passed the decision to pull out of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina or, rather, to pull out from the Yugoslav army, to demobilise
9 and to pull out all citizens of Serbia and Montenegro.
10 So while Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of Yugoslavia, it
11 couldn't have been an aggressor because it was on its own territory.
12 Truly it was attacked from time to time and it had to defend itself from
13 time to time, but this was quite marginal. It wasn't warring against
14 anyone, it was just present there. And after that, the Yugoslav People's
15 Army was not in Bosnia-Herzegovina, at least for as long as I was in the
16 Presidency of Yugoslavia, and I believe after that as well.
17 That, as far as the Yugoslav People's Army is concerned, that's
18 something I know and I can talk about.
19 Q. Is it true that the army was Yugoslav oriented and that the armed
20 forces consisted of the armed forces of all the nations and national
21 minorities in Yugoslavia?
22 A. Of course. Both the leadership in the army and all units, the
23 personnel were mixed. That was the policy, that all units would be
24 ethnically mixed, that commands would be ethnically mixed. And from the
25 very beginning, it was a truly Yugoslav army.
1 This process started to be undermined with the departure of
2 Croatia and Slovenia from Yugoslavia, even before they were recognised,
3 and when the Yugoslav army was abandoned by people from Croatia and
4 Slovenia under the influence of the political situation in their own
5 republics. But nevertheless, that army continued to be Yugoslav because
6 all the other nations were represented in it.
7 Q. Let us now clear up this question of control and command, because
8 certainly you are qualified to talk about it. And various allegations
9 have been made here. I would like to clarify certain things fully.
10 Is it true that regarding the competence of control and command of
11 the armed forces of SFRY, the presidents of the republics did not have any
12 competence in terms of control and command over the armed forces?
13 A. They did not. They only had the possibility through their members
14 in the Presidency or through their direct participation at Presidency
15 meetings when invited to express their views and express their influence,
16 but they had no right to vote or to make any independent decisions in that
18 Q. That was the situation de jure, and that is not in dispute, is it?
19 Now, did I, as it is asserted frequently, was I in a situation to
20 be in command of the armed forces through you, through other members of
21 the Presidency, or in any other way was I in a position to command over
22 the Yugoslav People's Army or to issue orders to Kadijevic, who was
23 defence minister throughout 1991?
24 A. As regards decisions of the Presidency of Yugoslavia, the
25 decisions of the Presidency can be made only by members of the Presidency,
1 and I have reiterated that. They were binding for the military
2 leadership, the General Staff, and the defence minister. Their
3 implementation on the ground was not within the competence of the
4 Presidency but within the terms of reference of the General Staff.
5 Now, whether someone did make any suggestions to someone in the
6 army, including Mr. Milosevic, that is something I don't know. They
7 should be asked whether they received any such suggestions. But they
8 could not receive orders because he did not have that competence. That is
9 beyond doubt.
10 Now, if he made any suggestions, whether they followed those
11 suggestions, I don't know. They should be asked about that. But
12 according to the constitution, they had no right to receive instructions
13 from anyone, not even from any member of the Presidency, or the president
14 of the Presidency, except a decision taken by the whole Presidency which
15 they were bound to respect and to report about that back to the
17 Q. Very well. Now let us move on to a completely different issue, an
18 opposite allegation as I'm trying to clear up all of them.
19 Did you ever have any knowledge of me wanting to make any kind of
20 Serbian army?
21 A. I had knowledge that you were against that.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 A. Our concept always was -- our concern was for the Serbian people
24 outside Serbia. We didn't have the problem of anybody wanting to attack
25 Serbia. Our problem was how we could, in a satisfactory political manner,
1 deal with the problem of Serbs outside Serbia. For that to be possible,
2 somebody needed to protect them, to remain where they lived in freedom
3 until a political settlement was found. And this could only be done by
4 the Yugoslav People's Army while it existed.
5 If we had had a Serbian army, we couldn't do that because that
6 would be mean going beyond the borders of our republic and that would be
7 internationally quite unacceptable. And it was logical that that could
8 not have been our idea. Those who advocated the idea of the creation of a
9 Serbian army, in my opinion that was simply to promote themselves
10 politically, to break up the Yugoslav army, or to topple the Serbian
12 Q. And is it true that in 1987 the army was reorganised in such a
13 manner that it was numerically reduced in strength and that the territory
14 of army districts no longer coincided with the territories of the
16 A. I don't know when this occurred because I didn't deal with
17 military matters at the time, but I do know when I took up my post in the
18 Presidency of Yugoslavia this was true; the army districts did not
19 coincide with the boundaries of the republics but, on the contrary, they
20 were differently formed.
21 Q. And is it true that I did not attend a single meeting of the
22 Supreme Command in 1990 or in 1991 while you were in the Presidency?
23 A. Meetings of the Supreme Command of the armed forces were attended
24 only by members of the Presidency and the General Staff. We never invited
25 to those meetings any single representative of the republics. So none of
1 them attended and neither did you.
2 Q. A moment ago, towards the end of the examination-in-chief, you
3 explained that I had no share in your decision-making regarding the
4 reduction of number of officers, the retirement of generals, and it even
5 follows from what I have heard and which I was reminded of listening to
6 your explanations, I was not asked even when you were present when they
7 should have asked me not as a president of Serbia but as someone standing
8 in for a member of the Presidency -- when you were absent, I'm sorry --
9 regarding the retirement of generals and even the minister of defence of
10 Serbia when he was replaced.
11 A. In that first round of pensioning of generals, we did not consult
12 the presidents of the republics. It was proposed by the army and we
13 agreed. In the second round, I've explained how that was done. It was
14 done in a manner I did not approve, and I still believe that it was wrong.
15 Maybe not wrong, but somehow unfair towards people who had been in the
16 army for so long to be simply removed from the list for no reason at all,
17 no justified reason, and that you should have consulted -- been consulted
18 simply because you were standing in for me while I was absent.
19 Q. Very well. Since I was not consulted even when I was standing in
20 for you when they should have consulted me, doesn't it follow from this
21 quite clearly that they didn't consult me at all on other occasions when I
22 was not standing in for you?
23 A. Yes. I've already said that we didn't consult anyone, and that
24 means we didn't consult you either during the first round. And in the
25 second, again we didn't consult anyone.
1 Q. Is it true that already in November 1991 the JNA was considered
2 still, de facto and de jure, the army of SFRY, that it wasn't in any sense
3 of the word a Serbian army, that the personnel were not all Serbs in spite
4 of the fact that many Slovenes and Croats had left, that the Muslims were
5 instructed not to respond to the call-up, in spite of a major anti-army
6 campaign by some opposition parties and so on? It was still the army of
7 SFRY, wasn't it?
8 A. Yes, absolutely so. The most eloquent example is that the
9 minister of defence was from Croatia, that the Chief of Staff was from
10 Bosnia, and that the deputy minister of the army was from Slovenia, so
11 that the entire composition of the army remained mixed to the extent to
12 which some people had not left it.
13 JUDGE MAY: We've reached the time for the adjournment. We will
14 adjourn for 20 minutes.
15 MR. NICE: The document that His Honour Judge Kwon wanted is in
16 Exhibit 131 and it is Article 324 of the constitution, and I have a copy
17 for you.
18 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. We will adjourn.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.40 p.m.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could you please tell me how long
24 you plan to go on until today.
25 JUDGE MAY: 2.15 today. I'm sorry, 2.00 rather, 2.00.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Is the piece of information that I have here correct and true that
4 in October 1991, 27 per cent of the leadership of the senior officers
5 cadre in the JNA was -- were not Serbs, Montenegrins, or those who
6 declared themselves as Yugoslav, technically speaking?
7 A. Well, I can't confirm or deny that because I don't have the
8 information at hand. But I do believe that it could be true, yes.
9 Q. And is it true that in April 1992 already, in the JNA, there were
10 about 600 Croatian soldiers, and in January -- although in January 1992
11 Croatia had been internationally recognised? So it wasn't the period when
12 they were all separated.
13 A. The same answer as I gave you a moment ago.
14 Q. And is it true that in the air force around 52 per cent of the
15 flying cadres were not Serbs, Montenegrins, or Yugoslavs?
16 A. Well, that is a well-known piece of information.
17 Q. And when it came to the role of the JNA in Croatia, and that was
18 precisely the time that you were a member of the SFRY Presidency, is it
19 true that the JNA, apart from protecting itself and defending itself
20 endeavoured to prevent conflicts from breaking out and to stand in between
21 the two sides and only protected the Serb people when it was under -- when
22 they were under attack, and that it didn't engage in any other activities?
23 A. Well, this is how it was. Just like in any other areas in
24 Yugoslavia, in Croatia the army was also deployed according to the
25 strategic plans that existed at the time in the General Staff from the
1 aspects of the defence of the country. Therefore, it was deployed in
2 barracks in different parts of Croatia. It had no assignments of any
3 kind, military ones, and it was in the barracks or at training grounds
4 where they were undergoing training.
5 The fate was, however, twofold after that, its fate, the army's
6 fate. In territory where it had the support of the people, where the
7 majority population was Serb, it remained in the barracks because nobody
8 attacked it. On the other hand, in territory where Croatian paramilitary
9 units had been set up, it was blocked and it was not allowed -- the
10 soldiers were not allowed to leave the barracks. And they were left
11 without water, without electricity, without bread, without the means of a
12 livelihood and survival. And we had to contend with that kind of
13 situation almost until the conflicts in Croatia ended and when the
14 peacekeepers arrived.
15 Now, in territory where it was not under attack, that is to say
16 areas inhabited by the Serbs, the army was in the barracks up until the
17 time that the Presidency of Yugoslavia passed a decision according to
18 which it could take up positions along the boundaries and borders of those
19 territories to prevent conflicts between the Croatian units who wanted to
20 move forward into these areas and the Serb paramilitaries who were
21 defending themselves from the Croatian side.
22 So that then is how matters stood with respect to the army in
24 Q. All right. Now, during that period of time, Veljko Kadijevic
25 headed the army; isn't that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And is it true that -- and we have heard various assertions here
3 that not only was Kadijevic not my man, as they like to put it here, but
4 he couldn't have been under my command in any way either.
5 A. What I can say is what I know according to the law and what I know
6 in general terms. According to the law, Kadijevic had the Presidency of
7 Yugoslavia as a superior body to him. He was not able to implement
8 anything in the army, either to augment it or to diminish it or to affect
9 its strategic deployment or the appointment of military leaders in any
10 way, or any of the major questions that an army deals with, without a
11 Presidency decision to do so. So the Yugoslav state Presidency was
12 superior to him.
13 As with respect to his relationship to anybody, including the
14 president of the Republic of Serbia, they were not prohibited in any way
15 but quite naturally there were no legal grounds for anybody to order
16 anybody anything.
17 Now, as to my knowledge about their personal relationships, as I
18 attended many meetings where we were all there together, Kadijevic,
19 Milosevic, and myself, they were tolerant, a tolerant relationship, but
20 sparks did tend to fly now and again in the sense of disagreement, and
21 this took two aspects.
22 The first aspect was that the Kadijevic made persistent insistence
23 on defending the whole of Yugoslavia. Milosevic considered that we ought
24 not to force the Croats and Slovenes who wished to step down from
25 Yugoslavia to remain within Yugoslavia, and that we should not topple
1 their authorities and counteract them if they had decided that way. So
2 that was the first difference.
3 The second difference was this: Kadijevic, on many occasions
4 asked Serbia and other republics as well to have too much mobilisation and
5 too many soldiers than was realistically necessary for the goals he had
6 political permission to go ahead with. Sometimes Kadijevic would try to
7 make certain political suggestions which Milosevic did not find suitable,
8 just as Kadijevic didn't like it when Milosevic made suggestions of a
9 military and tactical nature. So sparks flew sometimes, but generally
10 speaking, cooperation more or less ran along normal lines.
11 Q. Yes, but it wasn't of my being in a position to order him
13 A. No, that wasn't the relationship. And even if we're talking about
14 the final outcome and the consequences that this might have, it was common
15 knowledge that Kadijevic was elected by the Federal Assembly and it was
16 only the Federal Assembly that could replace or dismiss him. And that in
17 any conflict with Milosevic, he would not suffer any personal consequences
18 or repercussions.
19 Q. All right. Fine. Now let me just touch upon the question of
20 Territorial Defence briefly. Do you remember that because weapons were
21 stolen from certain warehouses the TO decided that all TO weapons should
22 be moved to military warehouses and provided military security for?
23 A. Yes, that's right, because what happened was that at the time
24 Croatia and Slovenia started to arm their illegal units intensively, they
25 took weapons from those storehouses for that purpose, and the Yugoslav
1 state Presidency issued instructions to the General Staff to put a stop to
2 that, and the chief of the General Staff did do so. He issued orders that
3 all army warehouses be placed under military control in all the republics.
4 Q. There was even a deputy question why arms were being taken away
5 from our Territorial Defence. This question was raised in the Assembly
6 because Serbia had invested in it. And the answer was that this applied
7 to one and all and everybody, including us, had to respect that. I don't
8 know if you remember that.
9 A. No, I don't, but those reactions were quite natural because the
10 people who were in charge of that were taken aback and surprised by this
11 sudden decision which hadn't been announced previously.
12 Q. Is it true that after this disintegration of the JNA, most of the
13 officers born in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia went back to their
14 republics, the ones they were born in, to join up there with the armies
15 that had been established in those republics in order to help their own
16 population and, generally speaking, to be included in the defence of their
17 own people?
18 A. The members of the army from top to bottom - and we're talking
19 about officers in this case - followed the political trends in their own
20 republics and in their own ethnic communities, and they joined - how shall
21 I put this? - the political will expressed by their peoples and republics.
22 So they stepped down from the army en masse. Not completely, but quite a
23 lot of them. The officers left first and then so did the other soldiers
24 from Croatia and Slovenia, and later on from Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were
25 not Serbs.
1 Q. All right. And now that we're talking about those who went to the
2 army of Republika Srpska Krajina and the army of Republika Srpska, would
3 it be true to say that the JNA, or, rather, later the army of Yugoslavia
4 as it came to be known, had no command authority over those armies, no
5 control and command over those armies?
6 A. During that period of time, I was not in the Supreme Command
7 myself. However, to the best of my knowledge, and I was an Assembly
8 deputy, I consider that to be true. I do believe that that is true, yes.
9 Q. So in the sense of control and command, those armies were not
10 subordinated in any way to the army of Yugoslavia.
11 A. We had no decision taken by the Federal Assembly, whose member I
12 was at the time, from which the right would emerge of the Yugoslav army or
13 its leadership to command some other army which was not within its own
14 composition. That's what I can say, and I do believe that they adhered to
15 that principle.
16 Q. And is it true that after the victory of the HDZ party at the
17 elections in 1990, the project for Croatian armed forces to be put in
18 place was started straight away and there was an offensive plan vis-a-vis
19 the officers with the aim of breaking up the JNA?
20 A. In my book, I have noted this kind of thing down, and according to
21 information from our intelligence services and on the basis of what
22 Croatian officials said themselves, including President Tudjman, as well
23 as on the basis of the orders amassed from the Croatian leadership and
24 sent out to the local organs and Territorial Defence organs or units, and
25 this was an undertaking with the help of which Croatia wished to secure
1 for itself the possibility of seceding from Yugoslavia despite, as they
2 thought, that Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav People's Army, would not allow them
3 to do so.
4 Q. Is it true that already in the summer of 1990 mass provocations
5 started and open attacks and pressure were brought to bear against the
6 JNA, members of their family members, and officers? And I assume that all
7 of you who were members of the Presidency received reports to that effect
8 from the army.
9 A. I'm sure the Trial Chamber will read through all those documents
10 and the information received by the Presidency. It's contained in my
11 book. And they were absolutely incredible things that were going on.
12 Their paramilitary units, either wearing civilian clothes or armed, they
13 were given tasks and assignments of making it impossible or, rather, of
14 threatening all the officers' families and even to go as far as killing
15 them to prevent the arrival of the officers in the barracks, to take away
16 their apartments, and a series of other measures that were
17 incomprehensible for peacetime, because it was still a time of peace. So
18 there was enormous pressure brought to bear against the army from all
19 sides and parties. And later on, this peaked in the blockade of the
20 barracks themselves.
21 Q. And is it right that at the beginning of October 1990, they began
22 intensively, illegally arming the Croatian paramilitary formations from
23 other countries, from Hungary, Austria, et cetera, and some other
25 A. According to the intelligence that the Presidency received from
1 our army and which are quoted in my book, that is when all that started,
3 Q. Is it true that the Croatian paramilitary formations
4 simultaneously stormed the Secretariats of the Interior in which they --
5 the Serbs were working? They would disarm them, take away weapons from
6 the reserve Serb force, and in the Knin region in 1990, they threatened --
7 issued threats? There was fear. Fear prevailed generally and then the
8 Serbs began arming themselves in order to protect themselves from all of
10 A. That was a serious reason for which the Serbs in Serbian Krajina
11 set up their resistance, because the Croatian government, completely by
12 surprise and without any reason whatsoever, issued orders that helicopters
13 should bring in special units of the police from Zagreb into the area,
14 into all these places where there was a majority Serb population and to
15 round up all the weapons that was there catering to the reserve police
16 force. And each municipality, in addition to the regular police force,
17 had additional weapons for reserve police force should the need arise.
18 And the Serbs considered that to be a complete onslaught in order to
19 disarm them at a later stage in order to force them to behave in the way
20 that didn't suit them.
21 So that was one of the reasons for which the Yugoslav state
22 Presidency on the 7th and 8th or 8th or 9th of May stated that that
23 question must be dealt with with the Serbs and settled in an acceptable
25 Q. And is it true that a decision was made by the Presidency to
1 disarm all paramilitary units and that of the 30.000 automatic rifles and
2 -- that only 150 barrels were returned, which only 11 were Kalashnikovs?
3 Those are the facts and figures I've been supplied with.
4 A. On the 9th of January, 1991, we considered the situation of
5 illegal arming of people on an ethnic basis and the dangers of a civil war
6 breaking out as a result. And we established that there was indeed a
7 large number of weaponry in units which were set up on the basis of an
8 ethnic composition, both Serbs and Croats, but far more Croats, in fact,
9 who had imported those weapons in an illegal manner.
10 The Yugoslav state Presidency, on the 9th of March, concluded,
11 since it had evidence and proof of who the perpetrators were, when this
12 was done, how this was done, to abolish -- or, rather, not to prosecute
13 everybody but just to prosecute the few most responsible individuals,
14 those organising this endeavour, and that within the space of a fortnight,
15 if the weapons were turned in to the local district units, they would not
16 be prosecuted. So this was a decision that was accepted by the Croatian
17 representative, and President Tudjman attended the meeting himself.
18 However, the Serbs did hand over their weapons. They surrendered
19 their weapons because they believed that once they did so, they would
20 still be protected by the JNA.
21 We had a lot of difficulty with the Croats on several occasions.
22 We had to hold additional talks and negotiations, and they are noted in my
23 book as well. And finally, they failed to turn in their weapons, and they
24 remained armed until the very end regardless of all the Presidency
25 decisions taken to the contrary and regardless of the promises they made.
1 And also, they did not allow us to bring to justice the perpetrators, the
2 people who should be prosecuted. A military court started to sit to try
3 the cases themselves.
4 Q. What about paragraph 48 of your statement? Does that refer to
5 this subject matter? I think that Mr. Nice extracted the wrong conclusion
6 from that portion of your statement because it is stated here that I was
7 in favour of prosecuting the perpetrators, and he considers that any
8 laxity would be wrong, so that the perpetrators should be brought to
9 justice, the ones who had procured the weapons and had been involved in
10 all that.
11 Now, an amnesty was for the lower-ranking people, but I didn't
12 think that we ought to give in in prosecuting the main culprits and not to
13 seize weapons, along with bloodshed.
14 A. Paragraph 48 in my statement can be read exactly the way it is
15 written, but it has to be understood as part of what had happened in
16 general. When we decided that the weapons should be returned and that
17 there would be an amnesty, Mr. Mesic and I discussed the matter so that
18 they would really do this. This conversation points to the fact that in
19 this one conversation we had, that he promised that they would hand in 20
20 of those Kalashnikovs. Of course, all the rest that is stated here is
21 also correct, because I immediately informed Kadijevic and Milosevic that
22 the Croats would hand in 20.000 rifles, and what it says here is true,
23 that Milosevic thought that they would lie, that we were just wasting
24 time, and that they were just gaining time in terms of arming themselves
25 in the meantime. And my reaction was are we going to wage war now over
1 these weapons now that we've made this agreement and they've made this
2 promise? So this is a conversation that remains to be a fact.
3 And then he said, "Are we going to pardon those who are guilty?"
4 And I said, "No, we are going to prosecute them," and that's how the
5 conversation ended.
6 Q. So I am advocating the prosecution of the guilty, and on the other
7 hand I'm saying that they would lie. And didn't that prove to be true
8 within a few days?
9 A. Yes, they did lie, and this was clear within a few days, and
10 unfortunately, we did not prosecute the perpetrators.
11 Q. Very well. Is it true that on the basis of that order the Serbs
12 in Knin returned those weapons?
13 A. Yes, that is correct, but I have to say that Serbs in Knin
14 believed that they would be protected by the Yugoslav army if something
15 possibly happened to the contrary.
16 Q. Is it correct that Tudjman, after the Spegelj film was shown, the
17 one that had to do with illegal arming, firmly promised the Presidency
18 that all paramilitaries would be disarmed and that all the perpetrators
19 would be punished as a matter of fact, and then he did nothing about it;
20 is that right?
21 A. As I said, Tudjman was present at the Presidency session held on
22 the 9th of January when this decision on disarmament and on punishing the
23 perpetrators was adopted. He accepted the decision, but he did not
24 implement it.
25 My opinion is that he did not have any other option but acting
1 that way for tactical purposes in order to mitigate the anger of the
2 Presidency directed at him personally.
3 Q. All right. Do you remember the proposed extraordinary measures,
4 emergency measures? Is it correct that at the session of the Presidency
5 on the 11th of March, 1991, Riza Sapundziju who voted in favour of
6 introducing emergency measures in Yugoslavia, in addition to him, three
7 other members of the Presidency also voted in favour of emergency measures
8 which involved primarily disarming and then three -- and then six months
9 of peace and then elections. So then the majority, 4 to 3, was in favour
10 of emergency measures but they were not passed because Drnovsek was
12 A. Yes. That was on the 12th of March.
13 Q. Well, all right. My notes say the 11th. Whether it's the 11th or
14 12th, it's not that important.
15 A. It's the 12th, so I want to prevent any kind of confusion. That
16 is correct. We did not have a full quorum, Drnovsek was not present that
17 day, but as is well-known, for this kind of a decision of the Presidency
18 to be passed, it was necessary to have five members of the Presidency.
19 Even if only five were present, five would have to vote in favour. It was
20 not sufficient that seven were present and four were in favour of the
21 decision. Nevertheless, the decision could not be passed.
22 Q. Is it correct that this decision or, rather, the failure to pass
23 this decision caused very negative consequences by way of the reaction of
24 the imperiled Serbs, because they expected the army to protect them, as
25 you said a few minutes ago, to have these emergency measures adopted? And
1 when this proposal made by the Federal Secretariat for National Defence to
2 introduce martial law was not adopted when disarmament failed, so when all
3 of this is viewed together, it was only then that they started arming
4 themselves spontaneously. When I say "them," I mean the Serbs in the
6 A. I'm not quite sure that that was the turning point, but this is
7 what the essence of the matter is: It became obvious that the Croats did
8 not honour the decision reached on the 9th of January. So two or three
9 months went by and they continued arming themselves, not only from local
10 but also from international sources, and then of course the Serbs started
11 arming themselves too, not trusting anyone any longer. That is true.
12 Now, whether that particular day was a turning point is something
13 I cannot say, but this is the course of events that actually prevailed at
14 the time, and there were no major watersheds.
15 Q. Is it correct that the leadership of the paramilitary units in
16 Croatia actually distributed weapons to ethnic Croats who were surrounded
17 by Serbs living in the areas where there was a mixed population in the
18 regions of Knin, Lika, Kordun Banija, Srem, and Baranja area?
19 A. I did not quite understand your question. They distributed
20 weapons to Croats where Croats were surrounded by Serbs?
21 Q. Yes. Where there was a predominantly Serb population.
22 A. I don't know really. That's not the kind of information that was
23 dominant. I did not register that anywhere, but possibly this happened
24 too. I know that the Croatian authorities, generally speaking, armed
25 Croats only, and for the most part, members of the HDZ. So on ethnic
1 grounds and according to party affiliation. That is the basis for their
3 Now, whether they did that only in settlements where there were no
4 Serbs or in the settlements where there was a predominantly Serb
5 population, that is something that I did not have very reliable
6 information about, but it is possible.
7 Q. All right. As far as back as 1990, the disarming of those police
8 stations started, those that had a staff consisting of Serbs primarily.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And new police stations were opened, especially in Slavonia and in
11 the Knin region?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And also on the outskirts where the Serbs lived?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And then the members of the special units stormed the area. That's
16 what you mentioned a few minutes ago.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is it correct that at that time it was actually the army that
19 prevented the outbreak of a more serious conflict, not the way Babic put
20 it when he was testifying here, that they were trying to prevent the legal
21 authorities of the State of Croatia from operating in their territory?
22 A. Well, this is a question that has not sufficiently been clarified,
23 at least not from my point of view. As far as I know, Croatia took
24 measures to disarm all these police units where Serbs were predominant,
25 and it sent helicopters to collect the weapons concerned. They managed to
1 do so in many places but not in Obrovac and Knin.
2 When the helicopters went in that area, they were stopped and they
3 were returned by the army. Now, the controversy is whether the army sent
4 them back because they knew they were going to Knin or to Obrovac where a
5 conflict would ensue - that is what Tudjman claimed - or whether the army
6 returned them because they did not report that there would be a flight,
7 because air control was exercised by the army.
8 Tudjman telephoned me and told me that the army forced their
9 helicopters that were legally moving about in order to carry out their
10 assignments and that they forced them to go back. I telephoned Adzic, and
11 I asked him what this was all about. He said to me that it was not true.
12 He said that the helicopters did not report these flights in advance, and
13 army exercised control over the airspace, and they told them to go back
14 and to say that they would be making this flight and then they would allow
15 them to go.
16 Now, what is true out of the two is something that I leave to
17 everyone else for their deliberations.
18 Q. I'm going to put an all-embracing question to you now, and I would
19 like to ask you to tell me in response what you know yourself, because
20 that is when you were a member of the Presidency.
21 Many events are referred to here. I cannot even write all of them
22 down because I did not want to go through all the documents, but, for
23 example, Vukovar, Dubrovnik, Lovas, Skabrnja, Zvornik, Foca, Bijeljina,
24 Brcko, Srebrenica. I cannot make a full list.
25 So Serbia or the Presidency of the SFRY, did they have any part in
1 what was going on? For example, I first heard of Lovas and Skabrnja here.
2 Even in geographic terms I was not aware of them before. These other
3 towns I know of at least geographically speaking, but I was not aware of
4 anything going on there.
5 So do you know that I knew about anything that had to do with
6 these particular localities and some kind of impermissible involvement of
7 forces, some forces from Serbia, or the role of the JNA in all of this for
8 that matter?
9 A. The two of us never talked about this. I don't know who knew what
10 and who did not know what, but we never discussed this.
11 As for my own knowledge, I explained this, and I would like to say
12 it once again: The role of the Presidency and its powers stopped at a
13 particular point, namely the Presidency passed general political
14 decisions. Everything else was the responsibility of the General Staff
15 from the point of view of tactical matters, operational matters, and
16 problems in various localities. And from time to time, the Presidency
17 received general reports on such matters.
18 So the localities that are referred to here were never in my mind,
19 and I had no idea what was going on over there except in very general
20 terms. And I wrote about this in my book, namely what the form of
21 providing information was.
22 Q. All right. If you did not know about this and if you did not have
23 information that would have been of a certain volume, do you think that I
24 knew about what was going on in these localities?
25 A. What I can assert is that we never discussed this, and therefore
1 it can be assumed that you were not kept abreast of this.
2 Q. All right. What do you know about what happened in Vukovar? What
3 was the role of the Presidency of Yugoslavia in the events in Vukovar?
4 Did the Presidency of the SFRY have an immediate role there or is this in
5 the context of general attacks against the JNA and conflicts with the JNA
6 in the territory of Croatia?
7 A. These are two things that the Presidency was involved in. The
8 first thing is the decision of the Presidency of the 8th and 9th of May,
9 that the Yugoslav People's Army should stand as a buffer between the Serb
10 and Croat units in order to reduce the level of conflict and to protect
11 the areas populated by Serbs until a political solution is found. That is
12 the decision of the 9th of May on the basis of which the army operated in
14 The second matter is the following: The agreement between
15 Kadijevic, who was in Geneva on our behalf, and Tudjman. As far as I can
16 remember, Vance was there, and Mr. Milosevic was there, and Croatia was
17 supposed to deblockade all the blocked military barracks of the JNA in
18 Croatia and all the personnel from these barracks should be withdrawn by
19 peaceful means.
20 We agreed to that, and that was our basis for operations. As is
21 well known, this decision was not consistently implemented or was not
22 implemented at all.
23 In Vukovar, there were barracks with several hundred members of
24 the Yugoslav People's Army there. It was under blockade for several
25 months. I cannot say exactly for how many months, but for a long period
1 of time, it was cut off. They could not receive food supplies, medical
2 supplies, they had no telephone connections, electricity, water. So they
3 were completely prevented from leading a normal life.
4 At the same time, it was under constant shelling and sniper fire.
5 In the barracks, there were people who were shot dead or others who died,
6 and there was no place to bury them because, under these constant attacks,
7 no one could leave the barracks.
8 The agreement that was signed in Geneva is one that the Croatian
9 side did not wish to implement. They would not allow the normal
10 evacuation of these barracks. Under these circumstances, the Yugoslav
11 People's Army decided to liberate the barracks because it was absolutely
12 impossible to allow any longer for several hundred people to die there of
13 starvation or get ill, because the corpses that were already inside
14 started decaying. So this was information that the Presidency of
15 Yugoslavia received, that Croatia was not implementing the decision on the
16 deblockade of military barracks and that the military barracks in Vukovar
17 had to be taken by force. That is the knowledge that the Presidency of
18 Yugoslavia had.
19 Q. Is there anything else that we knew in Serbia? Because this is
20 outside Serbia. Could we have known anything more than the Presidency
22 A. I cannot compare knowledge. I'm just saying what information we
23 were given and what the army told us. It's quite possible that someone
24 may have known a little more or not even as much, but I don't know that.
25 Q. I assume it can be said that we followed events and what was going
1 on in Serbia within our competence and what was within the competence of
2 the army, I assume was followed by the Presidency of SFRY when talking
3 about political bodies.
4 A. It was normal that the Yugoslav People's Army had the most
5 information and that it provided us with sufficient information. And I
6 assume that no one else had more information than the army.
7 Q. I assume the same. Now, let us make a brief digression. I should
8 like to ask you to try and remember. Yesterday you mentioned that the
9 international community - I'm paraphrasing what you said - that it always
10 insisted that Serbia take part in all those negotiations. Is that right?
11 A. That is a fact. They wanted you always to be present everywhere.
12 Q. Yes. And do you remember this cropped up in the Geneva
13 discussions, and in Igalo Kadijevic was present on behalf of Yugoslavia.
14 I was asked to attend because the Serbian question was on the table in
15 connection with the Carrington plan. I think I spoke to you about that at
16 the time. There was a discussion of the wording to the effect that all
17 forces under their command, or something to that effect, should be
18 withdrawn, that there should be a cease-fire, et cetera, et cetera, and
19 that my objection repeatedly was that I had nothing to do there because
20 Serbia had no forces. And then Carrington found a solution, saying "or
21 under their influence," which is a very vague expression, so it could
22 imply that Serbia and I personally would do everything within the
23 framework of our political influence in bringing that influence to bear
24 over those people we had influence over.
25 Are you familiar with this wording, this phrase? It appeared in
1 Geneva, in the Igalo agreement, but Carrington then said to me, "All
2 right. You don't have your forces, but you can exert some political
3 influence," which I endeavoured to do, after all, with respect to the
4 coming of the UN, the Vance Plan, the calming down of the situation, et
5 cetera. So is it beyond doubt that we did not have any forces of our own
6 to send there? I'm talking about the political leadership of Serbia, the
7 government of Serbia, or any authorities in Serbia.
8 A. The problem, or the basic fundamental problem occurred, in my
9 opinion, when the international community or its bodies did not recognise
10 the so-called Rump Presidency, but they couldn't avoid talking to bodies
11 of the federation because they were the decision-makers regarding military
12 matters. So the compromise found was that General Veljko Kadijevic should
13 go there on our behalf - he was recognised by them - so they avoided the
14 Presidency of Yugoslavia being mentioned anywhere.
15 So when talking about questions relating to the army and
16 Yugoslavia, then Kadijevic had the authority to do everything and sign
17 everything as if we had been present for the simple reason that they
18 refused to recognise us.
19 As for the participation of others, in my opinion, that was
20 demanded by representatives of the international community, especially
21 with respect to Mr. Milosevic, because they felt sure that things would be
22 implemented better and very probably because of the reputation he had and
23 the influence he had over others. He was not the person who was
24 indispensable from the standpoint of the obligations of the federation,
25 but probably they concluded that it was useful.
1 Q. Thank you. I think that is quite a sufficient explanation.
2 Do you know, since there is repeated mention here, at least it was
3 referred to many times within the framework of the concept of the
4 so-called Greater Serbia, that the army should be positioned on the
5 borders of Greater Serbia, Karlobag, Karlovac, Virovitica, I can't
6 remember exactly now, but roughly along those lines. Do you know that
7 anyone in any body or in contacts with the army or anywhere else that
8 there was any mention of such a border?
9 A. In the public, this was ever present, but those were slogans or
10 objectives set by the opposition parties. In the first place, the Serbian
11 Renewal Movement and the Radical Party. In my opinion, this was a sort of
12 promise to the Serb people that if they came to power, that they would
13 ensure this. And this, in my opinion, was not just an illusion in
14 relation to realities, but it was a political trick and deception. The
15 official leadership never made any statements along those lines, nor did
16 it advocate any such ideas. It is common knowledge what it did, and that
17 is to ensure for the Serb people the right to self-determination and to
18 find a political settlement for the Serb people in Croatia which would be
19 acceptable for them without any mention of any such border, which doesn't
20 even correspond to the ethnic borders of the Serb people.
21 Q. You are well aware that when the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
22 was proclaimed in April 1992, the Assembly proclaimed that the Federal
23 Republic of Yugoslavia had absolutely no territorial claims or pretensions
24 towards any other Yugoslav republics; is that right?
25 A. Yes. Yes. That was virtually a component part of the
1 constitution. It was a declaration that accompanied the promulgation of
2 the constitution.
3 Q. Let us now go back to the events in Croatia. Was it well known at
4 the time that these extremists and paramilitary formations formed in
5 Croatia consisting -- that committed the most horrific crimes against
6 Serbs in Sisak and the surroundings in the summer of 1991, the Pakrac
7 Poljana, the Miljevac plateau, the Maslenica-Medak pocket, the Storm and
8 Flash in 1995, all of this together, was it really in fact a part of the
9 war against Yugoslavia, that is a part of the armed secession that was
10 supported by a part of the international community, Germany, in the first
12 A. I would not like to judge each individual incident or event
13 because that would be very dangerous and sensitive, but generally
14 speaking, all those military activities in Croatia were designed to
15 neutralise the Yugoslav People's Army and to neutralise the resistance of
16 the Serb people.
17 The forms all those activities took, whether some of them are --
18 were out of control of the Croatian authorities themselves or were a
19 component part of their policies and tactics would need to be judged in
20 each individual case and is something which I cannot delve into.
21 Q. Very well. And is it true that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
22 the one in Croatia was an inter-ethnic conflict and a civil war and
23 certainly not a Serb aggression or an aggression of Yugoslavia or an
24 aggression by the Yugoslav People's Army?
25 A. Of course the Yugoslav People's Army did not attack anyone at the
1 time the conflict broke out. They broke out on an inter-ethnic basis for
2 the reasons that I have discussed and which are well known.
3 The Yugoslav army got involved after the 8th or 9th of May, 1991,
4 when it was given instructions to position itself between the warring
5 parties, and those were the ethnic communities and that was a civil war.
6 Q. Is it true that the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was objectively
7 imposed upon the Serb people precisely by those who engaged in a forcible
8 secession from Yugoslavia?
9 A. That is a judgement that perhaps a far more broader, a more
10 competent forum should make on the basis of everything that happened. All
11 I can say is my own profound conviction that Bosnia and Herzegovina had
12 all the pre-conditions to survive without a war. Either to separate from
13 Yugoslavia or to remain within Yugoslavia only if efforts were not made to
14 form a unitary state without respecting the right of three nations in it.
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina in Yugoslavia had a constitutional position
16 adopted by all three nations on the basis of which they were absolutely
17 equal. They had an Assembly with three Chambers - the Serbian, Croatian,
18 and Muslim - and whose deputies were elected by citizens of those three
19 ethnic groups, and not a single decision could be taken to the detriment
20 of the others. They had to be coordinated. There were special committees
21 for coordination. Had it left Yugoslavia or remained in Yugoslavia, this
22 concept, which had been observed and which was functioning for 50 years,
23 had it been retained, there would not have been any war. Instead, the
24 tendency was something that did not respect all nations. The steps taken
25 were a referendum of all the people, and the Muslims had a large majority
1 there, and in my opinion, that was the cause of the war over there in
3 Q. Is it true that the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to be a
4 little more specific, started when an outvoting took place, that is a
5 referendum that was held without the participation of the Serb people even
6 though the constitution says that the republic is constituted by three
7 equal nations?
8 A. The sequence of events was such. The first incident started
9 immediately after that, and then they escalated.
10 Q. And is it true that neither Serbia nor Yugoslavia was involved in
11 that war?
12 A. Of course it was true. That was a civil war pure and simple that
13 broke out for the reasons I have given.
14 Q. Is it true that we persistently insisted, and I think I don't
15 think, I personally know, how many times I insisted, and I think you did
16 as well, that you took the same position, that there is only one solution
17 for the crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that is a solution that would
18 equally protect the rights and interests of all, and that means Serbs,
19 Muslims, and Croats.
20 A. That is what developments proved, that the war was in vain because
21 without the consensus of all three nations, no solution could be found.
22 Q. And the war started because that consensus was violated because
23 the referendum was organised without the participation of the Serbs.
24 A. Unfortunately, that was the suggestion of the European Community,
25 as it was called then, to organise such a referendum without respecting
1 the fact that Bosnia was a multi-ethnic state.
2 Q. But despite that fact, as events developed, is it well known and
3 is it true and was that also a subject of discussion between us, that
4 Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia supported all peace plans
5 whereby the war would be stopped in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. Yes, that is the truth. I think there were six, from the
7 Cutileiro plan to the Dayton Accords, and Serbia accepted all the plans.
8 And each one of them was rejected by one or other party, which was the
9 reason why they were not adopted except for the last one, the Dayton
11 Not only was Serbia vitally committed to ending the war, because
12 that is the worst thing that could happen, but it was vitally interested
13 in sanctions being lifted because it had been punished with sanctions
14 because there was a war being waged in another country.
15 Q. And is it true that -- now, you yourself mentioned the Cutileiro
16 plan, that representatives of all three parties before the conflict
17 started, before the war started, accepted it in Sarajevo on the 18th of
18 March 1992, before the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
19 A. As far as I can remember, yes, but afterwards, the Muslim party
21 Q. Yes. Izetbegovic, on the 25th of March, withdrew his signature
22 from that plan.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is it a well-known fact that he withdrew his signature under the
25 influence of the American Ambassador Warren Zimmermann?
1 A. There were reports in the media about this, and it was not denied,
2 so it's very probable that that is true.
3 Q. Is it true that that plan provided for an independent
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina but divided into cantons? Is that right?
5 A. Yes, that is true. All three nations and their representatives at
6 that point in time agreed to Bosnia and Herzegovina being an independent
7 state, and the division into cantons in which they had certain powers and
8 a joint government that they agreed to.
9 Q. So Serb representatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina cannot be accused of
10 aspiring to any kind of Greater Serbia as they accepted the plan of an
11 independent Bosnia-Herzegovina but one that recognised their equality up
12 to a point and which would be divided into cantons; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I should like you to comment or, rather, to tell me whether this
15 is the right view published in the Muslim papers Majod Bosna [phoen] of
16 the 19th of July, 1993, where it states that the refusal to accept
17 Cutileiro's plan is one of the most catastrophic mistakes made by Muslim
18 policy, and I'm quoting: "The short-sightedness of the Muslim policy is
19 best borne out by the lack of the acceptance of the Cutileiro plan at the
20 beginning of the peace negotiation on Bosnia-Herzegovina which the Serbs
21 too have accepted. The Muslims refused it because of the idea of a uniform
22 -- unified BH."
23 Is that a statement that was realistic, an assessment that was
25 A. As far as I'm concerned, I agree with that excerpt says but
1 everybody is entitled to his own opinion, of course.
2 Q. Now, do you remember that at an Assembly meeting of BH on the 27th
3 of February, 1991, which discussed the draft declaration on the
4 sovereignty of Bosnia proposed by the Party of Democratic Action of Alija
5 Izetbegovic, that he said, "We would give up peace for a sovereign
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina but we wouldn't forfeit its sovereignty for peace"?
7 A. Yes. That sentence is something I record in my diary as a very
8 dangerous statement.
9 Q. Do you remember how much unrest there was amongst the Serbs in
10 Bosnia following that statement?
11 A. Well, the statement did cause unrest and concern beyond
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina as well. If somebody declared publicly that he was
13 prepared to go to war for a unitary Bosnia and that he was ready to
14 forfeit peace for a sovereign Bosnia, that means to abolish the sovereign
15 rights of the two other nations, then that is a very dangerous statement
17 Q. Now, do you remember, and I apologise in advance because I don't
18 have the date in my notes, but I'm sure you will remember when this took
19 place, that following this statement by Alija Izetbegovic and the
20 declaration on the sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was reaction
21 by the deputies' club of the Serbian Democratic Party in the BH Assembly
22 precisely by writing a letter to the Yugoslav state Presidency, and I
23 think it was addressed to the president of the Presidency, calling for
24 protection and referring in particular to its own sovereign right to
25 remain within Yugoslavia guaranteed by Articles 1 and 2 of the
1 constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Yugoslav state constitution
2 too. And in that letter, among other things, they say that, "We the Serb
3 representatives in the Assembly of the Socialist Republic of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina as the legitimate and sole representatives of the
5 Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, demand of the federal institutions
6 that they protect our sovereign rights to remain within the frameworks of
7 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and we base our rights on living in
8 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the grounds of the present BH
9 constitution Article 1, paragraph 2 of the constitution, and also your
10 still existing constitution of the SFRY.
11 And I think that you were the president of the Presidency at that
12 time, and I assume you received that letter, and they reacted. They
13 reacted to this dangerous intention on the part of Izetbegovic which he
14 made public.
15 A. Well, they did address the Yugoslav state Presidency because the
16 Yugoslav constitution stipulates the guarantee of equality to all nations
17 and nationalities in Yugoslavia. This is what the Yugoslav state
18 constitution guarantees but those rights must be realised within the
19 republics themselves.
20 Of course we did not agree to the outvoting in the BH Assembly and
21 making decisions in that way without the agreement of the deputies of all
22 three Chambers and all three nationalities, but as we also know, our power
23 at the time was diminishing and we were able to say they were right -
24 that's what we could do and we did do - but we couldn't do a great deal
25 other than that, because the European community -- or, rather, the
1 international community, had called upon Bosnia-Herzegovina to settle the
2 matter itself, so that any reaction on our part except for lending verbal
3 support would be in conflict with what was happening following
4 instructions from the international community.
5 Q. All right. Let's now go back to the fact that we noted a moment
6 ago. Without doubt the Serb side, therefore, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
7 accepting Cutileiro's plan, gave up its demands for Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 to remain within the frameworks of Yugoslavia. That is to say it accepted
9 an independent BH separate from Yugoslavia, and all it did seek through
10 regionalisation and accepted -- it accepted that because it was provided
11 for by the Cutileiro plan, it was called cantonisation, a sort of
12 protection and defence of their equality vis-a-vis other ethnic
14 So is that quite obvious?
15 A. Yesterday we looked into certain details here from the minutes of
16 the Yugoslav state Presidency meeting dated the 2nd of March, 1992, and
17 that meeting was attended by Mr. Karadzic as well. The Vance Plan was
18 under discussion and its application, and on several occasions in 1992
19 already and also prior to that, he stated that the Serbs in Bosnia had
20 fully accepted not to be within the composition of Yugoslavia but, rather,
21 to be within the composition of a future Bosnia-Herzegovina. All they
22 asked for was equality within that state.
23 So they did this in continuous fashion and came out with
24 declarations of that kind.
25 Q. And do you remember Cutileiro's statement from the Sarajevo
1 Oslobodjenje of the 24th of February 1992 at the beginning of the
2 negotiating process that he led after the Lisbon Conference on the 21st
3 and 22nd of February, 1992 when he said that the Serbs were asking for a
4 confederal Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslims a unitarian one, and the Croats
5 want a federation?
6 A. Well, I don't remember that, but I have no reason to disbelieve
8 Q. All right. Now I assume it is not challenged that the Cutileiro
9 plan did not provide for a confederal Bosnia but for a cantonised state,
10 which is a much firmer form than the other variant.
11 A. Well, we can check that out in the text of the agreement itself.
12 Q. Of course. Now, can we accept that the Serbs agreed to the
13 Cutileiro plan although it was not in conformity with their demands for BH
14 to remain within Yugoslavia but was not in conformity with what they
15 themselves asked of Cutileiro with respect to an independent
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina and that kind of organisation? The Serbs said -- the
17 Serbs asked for confederal, the Muslims a unitarian, and the Croats a
18 federation. So they gave up their idea of the unitarian one, the federal
19 one. They went two steps down their initial demand, down the ladder of
20 their initial demand, in the interests of a rational and peaceful
22 A. Well, everybody had to give something up and a compromise was
23 made, and it is a great pity that that plan was not adopted ultimately.
24 Q. So the Serbs were willing to make concessions in the interests of
25 peace and Izetbegovic's side was not or, rather, the authorities in
1 Sarajevo were not prepared to do the same.
2 A. I don't want to enter into a discussion of these matters, but I
3 can give you my opinion, and that is that the authorities in Sarajevo
4 first did accept the plan because they considered it to be a good thing
5 for Bosnia, and then afterwards, incited by the interests of those who had
6 appointed them, that this should not be done, that they should not go
7 through with it because nobody would encourage a uni-national community in
8 a state and not to accept something unless it was in the interests of the
9 person promoting it to do so. But of course I'm not the best placed
10 person to make conclusions of this kind. I can just give you my opinions
11 to the best of my knowledge.
12 Q. Yes, but as you were president of the Yugoslav state Presidency
13 yourself, occupying the topmost function and post, you knew full well many
14 of these things and had a lot of international experience, experience in
15 international affairs. Whose interests was it to provoke conflicts in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Whose interests did that serve?
17 A. Well, probably those who suggested that the plan should not be
18 adopted, and it probably made greater promises to Alija Izetbegovic which
19 he found attractive. So probably that was the crux of it. Probably, but
20 I can't say that I know for sure.
21 Q. All right. And is it certain that the Cutileiro plan was the best
22 chance for preserving peace in Bosnia and that the Serbs accepted that
23 plan? Is that an undisputed fact?
24 A. That the Serbs accepted it, that is undisputed. That it was the
25 best plan, I would say it was a very good plan myself.
1 Q. Yes, but it was the option which would prevent any kind of war.
2 A. Most probably that is correct.
3 Q. Now, do you know that the two of us, you and I or, rather, the
4 authorities in the Republic of Serbia and the authorities in Yugoslavia,
5 including the two of us, supported Cutileiro's plan?
6 A. Well, that's not being challenged. As I said, we supported all
7 plans for the two reasons I mentioned. The most important thing was to
8 stop the war, and the second most important thing was to have the
9 sanctions lifted. After that, we could seek a solution ourselves.
10 Q. So we supported the Vance-Owen, Stoltenberg plan, the Three
11 Republics plan, the European Union Action Plan and this other one on the
12 basis of Kinkel-Juppe and the others, and the Contact Group plan, and
13 finally, through our endeavours, we accepted the Dayton Accords as well.
14 Now, is it true and correct that all the plans I've just
15 enumerated envisaged a regionalised, or cantonised as you will,
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina; is that right?
17 A. Yes, that is right.
18 Q. So this acceptance of a regional or regionalisation, cantonisation
19 in all the plans that was being proposed, let alone the Serb call for
20 regionalisation and cantonisation which was put forward even before the
21 war in the BH Assembly and it was justified because it was a minimum to
22 ensure equality and the protection of ethnic rights, both of the Serbs and
23 other nationalities as well. Is that how it was? Yes or no.
24 A. Well, I can't say what the minimum or the maximum requirement was.
25 All I know is that in Yugoslavia, until it had disintegrated, Bosnia had a
1 structure as it did, the kind of power structure that I described, in
2 which each nationality, regardless of where it was located, enjoyed the
3 right to elect his own representatives without any territorial
4 regionalisation. But we knew that about 60 per cent of the territory of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina was predominantly inhabited by the Serbs. They were
6 territories that were inhabited sparsely and 30 per cent of the territory
7 was inhabited by the Muslims. But they were in the towns basically and in
8 high built-up areas, and the Croats lived in the other portions.
9 Now, what had existed up until then, whether that was not
10 sufficiently acceptable to them and then they accepted regionalisation as
11 a result along with guarantees that power and authority would be elected
12 from the populace that they represented, probably that did -- everybody
13 did find that acceptable and agreeable.
14 Q. But the Cutileiro plan was found suitable by the Muslims too.
15 Izetbegovic wouldn't have signed it had it not been acceptable.
16 A. Well, yes. That's precisely what I'm saying too.
17 Q. Now, the fact that the Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia and Yugoslavia
18 accepted all these plans, isn't that the best illustration that we cannot
19 speak about any plan for a Greater Serbia at all? Not only verbally but
20 factually as well.
21 A. Neither verbally nor factually. Our political positions, our
22 political speeches, our documents have no mention of that concept, and it
23 would be impossible during all those years and the problems that were
24 resolved during those years, none of the Serb politicians who were in
25 power ever uttered that word. That just did not exist in our policy or
1 practice, because never in practice anywhere, and this is -- was the
2 practice of the Vance-Owen Plan and the Dayton Accord and all the other
3 agreements and plans, we never came out in favour of having parts of those
4 territories annexed to Serbia but that the Serb people living over there
5 should find a solution which would be on a footing of equality with all
6 other ethnic communities.
7 Q. That means that they are free and equal on a footing of equality.
8 That was our principle; isn't that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is it true that this principle stand of ours was confirmed already
11 in mid-1991, since the arrival of Cyrus Vance and the proposal for the
12 peace forces, UN peace forces to come into the country, to place those
13 zones under their protection, under UN protection, so that a political
14 settlement could be found in a peaceful environment? Is that quite clear?
15 And is it clear that nobody could -- it couldn't have entered their heads
16 of having another concept that would be to the detriment of one of the
17 nationalities, ethnic groups.
18 A. Yes, that is correct, but unfortunately, a group of four
19 ambassadors, the ambassadors of the four great powers devised a Z-4 plan
20 for a political settlement for the position of the Serbs in Croatia on the
21 basis of substantial autonomy which in my view was a very good solution.
22 However, before the plan was seriously discussed, what happened was that
23 there was Operation Storm, and while the UN forces were there the Serbs
24 were expelled from the territory and the whole thing fell through.
25 Q. Is it true and correct -- I think we've clarified that point out
1 now very well, but is it true that some countries which from the onset of
2 the Yugoslav crisis encouraged and supported a unilateral act on the part
3 of the Yugoslav republics towards secession and later on they awarded them
4 by recognising their independence, violated the basic principles of the
5 OSCE and the basic principles of international law as well but also the
6 conclusions made of the Conference on Yugoslavia held in The Hague in
7 September 1991? Would that be true?
8 A. Well, I don't want to answer you directly. I can't give you a
9 direct answer. All I can say is that those of us who led the country and
10 were at the head of politics and policy in Yugoslavia were very
11 disappointed because we came to the conclusion that we were harbouring an
12 illusion. Now, why an illusion? We considered that Europe would respect
13 the principle held true in Helsinki, that the frontiers were inviolable
14 and what they did was to consider interior frontiers and boundaries
15 inviolable. And our next delusion was that the rights of nations to
16 self-determination would be respected, which was set out in the United
17 Nations's charter and the Yugoslav constitution but also through the fact
18 that Yugoslavia was created through the options and will of its nations
19 and nationalities to live together. And this is set out in the
20 constitution and it also stipulates that they can use that right to step
21 down from Yugoslavia. This principle was not accepted by Europe, a
22 principle that it nurtured itself and which it found acceptable within the
23 United Nations frameworks itself. What it said was that nationalities did
24 not have the right to self-determination but the republics had the right
25 to secession, which was unacceptable to us.
1 There were many other things well. For example, the problem of
2 secession. Europe and the world were absolutely opposed to supporting
3 secession, especially violent secession. However, in Yugoslavia, we were
4 disillusioned because Europe started to lend its support to violent
5 secession to Croatia and Slovenia and to proclaim that the Yugoslav army
6 was engaged in some sort of aggression over there, which was not true.
7 So all in all what I can say is this: Things happened. The
8 international law was interpreted in different ways, ways which were not
9 good because international law did not respect the provisions of the
10 Yugoslav constitution but probably respected the interests of the powers
11 that be which acted in the way they did, and that had catastrophic
12 repercussions on Yugoslavia and events that were to follow, things that
13 could have been settled through peaceful means, but they evolved to become
14 a war conflict.
15 Q. So violence was committed against Yugoslavia. I assume that is
16 not in dispute.
17 A. Well, if we're talking about legal violence and lack of respect
18 for the norms of international law, then I think that that is a correct
20 Q. Is it true that the decision made by the European Community on
21 23rd of June, 1991 was that 12 countries of the EEC decided not to
22 recognise the independence of Slovenia and Croatia and that they rejected
23 to have any top-level contact if the two republics unilaterally stepped
24 down from the federation? And that is a quote. I'm quoting that. Was
25 that how it was?
1 A. Yes, that was how it was. That was one particular stage in the
2 European Community's views.
3 Q. All right. So it wasn't our delusion, but the position taken by
4 the European Community asserted through Helsinki and the norms of
5 international law; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And then, precipitously, that position was left behind because
8 Germany exerted pressure and they decided to give direct support to
9 secession and to break up Yugoslavia and recognise the independence of the
10 seceded republics even to the extent to which they invited the republics
11 to gain international recognition, to put themselves forward for
12 international recognition. Wasn't that how it was, Boro?
13 A. Well, I don't wish to accuse individual countries, because it's
14 not in good form to do so, although there is a lot of truth to it.
15 However, I would like to say that we accepted the mediation of Europe, the
16 European Community -- or, rather, had we accepted it, with its help and
17 assistance, we would have been able to find a political settlement to the
18 country's problems. It was suggested to us that a commission be set up
19 within the European Community, a legal commission, to look into the norms
20 of international law and domestic law within the frameworks of which we
21 could find a political solution which would be a point of support for
22 finding a political settlement of the situation in Yugoslavia, although
23 war hadn't broken out yet at that time, and the internationality conflicts
24 existed, of course.
25 Now, this commission, which was later to be called the Badinter
1 Commission following its president, didn't take a look at the constitution
2 of Yugoslavia or the situation of Yugoslavia nor did he ever come to see
3 us to discuss any matters with us, but at its first session, it proclaimed
4 that Yugoslavia was in the process of being disintegrated and that all the
5 republics should be called upon to secede if they wished to do so. I
6 think that this assistance was not the right assistance. We had enormous
7 trust and confidence in Europe, but we were disillusioned in the end.
8 Now, had that decision been otherwise, had all the Yugoslav
9 nations and republics been called to exert caution and look for a peaceful
10 settlement with the help of Europe so if somebody wished to secede they
11 should do so peacefully that would have been quite another matter, and not
12 leave it to be a free-for-all and to have the catastrophe ensue that did
13 ensue. So I think that that was the decisive moment and decisive step.
14 Now, whether he was influenced by Germany or France or England or whoever,
15 I leave those matters to others. They are not matters that are not
16 generally known, but I don't wish to comment upon them.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, well, that's a convenient moment.
18 MR. NICE: Could I address you for 30 seconds in private
19 session --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. Nice.
21 MR. NICE: -- about something totally different?
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
23 [Private session]
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, we are in open session.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice - and this affects Mr. Jovic too - we've
15 considered the time which the accused should have available, and given the
16 importance of this witness, we think that he should have tomorrow
17 available for cross-examination.
18 MR. NICE: Well, Your Honour, I'm bound to express our concerns at
19 that. This is clearly a witness who, from the beginning, was likely to be
20 a witness the accused could want for himself. We recognise that. We
21 recognise that he would want the book and the materials. We've provided a
22 great deal of material arguably favourable to the accused, and there must
23 come a time when eating into our allotted time is something that's -- I'm
24 not going to say unfair but unfortunate.
25 JUDGE MAY: Let us say if there is any unfairness, we will have to
1 reflect that. It may be an extension of time for you. I hope not, but it
2 may be that we would have to do that if he's granted more time.
3 MR. NICE: Certainly we're obviously not concerned to close down
4 the questioning once the witness is here save by reason of consideration
5 of the overall time. We are concerned that we should have a significant
6 amount of time for re-examination should we require it.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, that brings me to the point, which is that
8 it will be necessary for the witness to be here for another session.
9 Now, plainly that will be a matter in which his convenience will
10 have to be consulted, and so perhaps you can have a word with him about
11 what would be a convenient time for him to return.
12 MR. NICE: May I add one other thing. I know that the Chamber
13 will find this a difficult proposition to make at this stage, but given
14 the nature of the cross-examination and the nature of the reactions of the
15 witness, which were reasonably to be forecast but nevertheless are as they
16 are, and given the problems of the overall time limits upon us, is this
17 really a witness for whom a second cross-examination from the amici in
18 full is appropriate? I would respectfully suggest that the amici are here
19 where -- to deal with shortcomings in the -- or potential shortcomings in
20 the cross-examination of the accused. With this particular exchange, the
21 Chamber may wonder whether that's strictly necessary or appropriate. I
22 realise in light of the order already been given the Chamber will be
23 reluctant hearing me make that point but I have it guard our timetable
24 with as much care as I can.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours?
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I just say
4 something? I will really make an effort, if I am given the time that was
5 announced I would be given, I will really deal only with questions that
6 Mr. Slobodan Milosevic does not raise. Really, I bear this in mind all
7 the time, to deal with topics that were not raised in Mr. Slobodan
8 Milosevic's questions and that nevertheless fall into -- within the ambit
9 of the examination-in-chief. So I will really restrict myself to these
10 subjects only.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Tapuskovic, we really -- of course we have in mind
13 your sincerity in making this application, but we think that half an hour
14 must be the time allotted to you in view of the length of the time which
15 the accused is going to have. He's going to have over seven hours.
16 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am going to honour
17 your decision, of course, but it really is extremely difficult to work
18 under such constraints. I'm fighting against time all the time. But
19 please allow me at least next time to complete two topics - I'm not going
20 to go further than that - because it's really so difficult to work under
21 such time constraints. Believe me, it is so hard. Sometimes I really
22 feel like dropping this work altogether because it is really difficult to
23 confine oneself to five or ten minutes only, indeed.
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, I'm sure you won't. We're all under these
25 constraints. It's hard for everybody, but thank you very much for your
1 cooperation, and we'll let you cover those topics.
2 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't understand Mr. Nice's remark
4 that I want to keep this witness to myself, because I insist on my right
5 to use the time I have for cross-examination. Please. I assume that I --
6 JUDGE MAY: I wouldn't worry unduly about what he says and what he
7 means by that expression. The fact is you've got tomorrow to
9 Mr. Jovic, I'm sorry that you're going to run overtime, but if we
10 allow the accused tomorrow, which we're going to, it does mean, I'm
11 afraid, that we must ask you to come back to finish your examination for
12 the amicus and also for the Prosecution to ask some more questions. That
13 is our normal procedure. But plainly since it means your having to come
14 back yet again, your convenience must be consulted. So perhaps you would
15 like to have a word with Mr. Nice to try and find a time which is
16 convenient to you, either next month or in the following two months when
17 we shall be sitting.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There will be no problem whatsoever
20 as far as I'm concerned.
21 MR. NICE: I simply wonder whether, given that it would only be
22 re-examination, if there is a possibility of a session on the Friday of
23 this week.
24 JUDGE MAY: I could tell you that's exactly what was suggested on
25 the Bench, but let's think about that. It would be -- how long would you
1 anticipate being?
2 MR. NICE: I can't say now. As short as possible but it's bound
3 to be half an hour, isn't it? It's bound to be half an hour.
4 JUDGE MAY: So the session would be -- effectively it would be one
5 session by the time we finished on Friday. That's what you're proposing.
6 MR. NICE: Indeed, yes.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, I think that's probably a sensible
8 suggestion. If we sat on Friday for one session, we would have to finish
9 in one session. We don't think that that would so unfairly impinge on the
10 accused that we shouldn't be able to do it having regard to everybody
11 else's convenience.
12 We haven't got a court. That's going to be the next problem.
13 Courtroom 2 would be free. Well, that would do.
14 MR. NICE: Change is as good as a rest.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nice, please.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well. That's what we'll do. We'll sit on
17 -- we'll sit tomorrow for the accused; Friday morning, first session for
18 Mr. Tapuskovic and for Mr. Nice.
19 MR. NICE: Mr. Tapuskovic will have up to half an hour and the
20 balance will be available for us?
21 JUDGE MAY: I don't think we can take this any further. Yes.
22 We'll sit tomorrow.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.20 p.m.,
24 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 20th day of
25 November, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.