1 Wednesday, 8 February 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please continue, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 WITNESS: BRANKO KOSTIC [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 Cross-examination by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff: [Continued]
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, just before we continue where we left off yesterday,
12 just one quick question on Sarvas and Aljmas. In those two villages there
13 were no military -- JNA facilities or barracks; right?
14 A. I don't know.
15 Q. You don't --
16 A. I told you yesterday I have never visited either Sarvas or Aljmas
17 or whatever those places are called, so don't ask me about things I have
18 no knowledge of. I really have no knowledge of any military facilities,
19 whether they were there or not, but I do know that these places were taken
20 by the paramilitary units of Croatia and that from those positions they
21 were threatening members of the JNA.
22 Q. We stopped yesterday, we had discussed the -- the Presidency
23 session of the 12th to 15th March 1991, and we had established and read
24 from Mr. Jovic's book that, except for Mr. Jovic himself and Mr. Jugoslav
25 Kostic, nobody agreed to declare a state of emergency, and the question
1 now was did they vote and for what did they vote? And I would like to
2 return to Mr. Jovic's book to clarify that situation.
3 It's again what we have already quoted from yesterday. It's from
4 his book, the entry of the 12th of March, 1991, and it says at the very
5 end of this remark in the book, it says: "The following voted for this
6 edited version of the decision without imposing of a state of emergency
7 and with raising the military combat readiness and additional
8 mobilisation," and that's the vote that they actually took. It's not
9 about state of emergency but raising the military combat readiness and
10 additional mobilisation. And it's actually here that Mr. Bucin,
11 Mr. Sapundzija, Jugoslav Kostic and Jovic voted for it, and Mr. Bogicevic,
12 Stjepan Mesic, and Vasil Tupurkovski against. So I think that clarifies
13 also the question of Judge Kwon and you, your own memory of that someone
14 voted; right?
15 A. By your leave, I have to correct you. Yesterday you did state
16 what you are saying today but I did not confirm it. All I said was that I
17 did not attend that session and that I watched the television footage of
18 that session several times. The vast majority of my people and I still
19 believe that at that session in March, Bogic Bogicevic voted for the
20 proclamation of a state of emergency, so that --
21 Q. Let me stop you here. I mean, we went through the book and you
22 have already said you weren't there, so we'll leave it at that. I will
23 now move on to the speech --
24 A. But you tried to say this as if I had confirmed it, and I did not
25 confirm it.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Kostic. I said that it
2 was in the book.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, is there not a formal record of
4 the vote?
5 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: There is -- there is no formal record of the
6 vote. We actually -- as far as I know, there isn't, but I will check it
7 in the break. I don't think we have any.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
10 Q. Mr. Kostic, yesterday you were already discussing with
11 Mr. Milosevic or, rather, a few days before you discussed with
12 Mr. Milosevic Exhibit 333, tab 51, the Politika article with the speech of
13 Mr. Milosevic that he gave on the 16th of March, 1991.
14 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honours, for your notice, it's also
15 Exhibit 328, tab 29. We had it already earlier as a video.
16 Q. And I would like to quote from that speech, and you can actually
17 use tab -- Mr. Kostic, you can use tab D -- tab 51 in your binders.
18 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Can we have page 2? We need page 2. Page 2.
19 THE WITNESS: Page 2.
20 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's -- the English translation is two pages,
21 the Serbian is just one page.
22 In the English, Your Honours, it's page 2, on top of this page.
23 Q. Mr. Kostic, we have here what Mr. Milosevic said, and I quote:
24 "Taking the newly emerged situation into consideration, I want to announce
25 that the Republic of Serbia will not recognise any decisions reached by
1 the SFRY Presidency because under existing circumstances any such decision
2 would be illegitimate. I will not accept any transfer of authority in
3 accordance with the constitution of Yugoslavia from Borisav Jovic to
4 myself in case of his resignation in the work of such Presidency that has
5 chosen to advocate disintegration of Yugoslavia. I expect that citizens
6 of Serbia, Yugoslavia, and world opinion will understand that no patriot
7 can accept the legitimacy of a president of a state who acts against his
8 own country and constitution.
9 "I demand that the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, in
10 accordance with the act on the takeover of authority from the Kosovo
11 Assembly, reach a decision on the release of Riza Sapundzija from his duty
12 as a member of the SFRY Presidency on their next session."
13 Mr. Kostic, and that did happen, did it? Mr. Riza Sapundzija was
14 dismissed by the Serbian Assembly; correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And he continues, Mr. Milosevic continues: "Under existing
17 circumstances of attempts to set off violence in Sandzak and Kosovo and
18 Metohija, I have ordered a mobilisation of reserve Republic of Serbia MUP
19 security forces and urgent establishment of additional police forces of
20 the Republic of Serbia. I ask the government of the Republic of Serbia to
21 carry out necessary preparations for the establishment of the additional
22 forces in number that would guarantee protection of interest of the
23 Republic of Serbia and the Serbian people."
24 Mr. Kostic, that's what Mr. Milosevic said, and these additional
25 police forces, they were established, were they not?
1 A. Well, to tell you the truth, I can't give you any specific
2 details, but I do think that the numbers of police were increased in
3 Serbia. This was in the direct purview of the Ministry of the Interior
4 and therefore the president of the Republic of Serbia in this particular
5 case. These were the police forces of Serbia, not the federal police
6 force. The police force of Serbia. And it was the Ministry of the
7 Interior of Serbia as a federal unit that was in charge of that.
8 What you have just read, I will take the liberty of commenting
9 upon it. You see, all the members of the Presidency of the SFRY after the
10 session in March and the impossibility of accepting the decisions of the
11 General Staff, they all resigned. Only Mesic, Drnovsek, Bogicevic and
12 Tupurkovski remained.
13 Q. I thought you would comment on the question that I put but I see
14 you are commenting on something different, so I want you to return to my
15 question. You have to -- I have to tell you that because you have already
16 -- we have already discussed here, and Mr. Milosevic did, what happened
17 on that day. There's no need to repeat that.
18 My question was about the additional police forces, and my further
19 question in relation to that is: These additional police forces, they
20 were established and they had different names, such as 1st, then Frenki's
21 Red Berets, and finally Units for Special Operations. Isn't that so? Do
22 you know about that?
23 A. That's what you say. I don't know anything about this, either
24 about the names or anything.
25 Q. Thank you. You yourself were then elected to the Presidency, but
1 your election to the Presidency was not supported by your own party. They
2 didn't support you, did they?
3 A. I don't know where you got this information. It was my own party
4 that nominated me to the Presidency. And in the Assembly of Montenegro,
5 my party had a two-thirds majority, and it was the Assembly that elected
6 me to that post. I don't know where you get this information that my
7 party did not support me. Maybe you found a part in my book which says
8 that when nominations to the Presidency were being considered, the top
9 leadership of my party did not put my name forward at the time. But in
10 the Assembly of Montenegro, my party had a two-thirds majority, and I was
12 Q. I actually had asked you that you were not supported by your party
13 leadership and you just confirmed that. You wrote it in your book. You
14 just confirmed that; correct?
15 A. You said my party did not support me. I only said that the top
16 leadership, that is the Executive Board of my party, did not nominate me
17 at that time. They nominated me to some other post. But my party did
18 support me.
19 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like to exhibit this
20 part of the book, and Ms. Dicklich is now bringing around -- handing out
21 the part of the book. It's from Mr. Kostic's book, "Not To Be Forgotten,"
22 and it's page 267, 268, 269, and 207.
23 Q. Mr. Kostic, as you know your book, I think I can continue with
24 what's written in the book.
25 A. Yes. Please go ahead.
1 Q. The Muslim Assembly member also protested, as you describe in the
2 book, against your nomination, and he actually does this because of, as he
3 says, an anti-Muslim statement of yours. That's in your book, too; right?
4 A. [No interpretation].
5 Q. And in relation to the Muslim nation, as we are at that, your
6 position was --
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: There was no answer to that question. Is that in
8 your book?
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, he said actually yes.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, it's not on the transcript.
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the answer.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please speak so that we can hear.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's in my book, but the lady did
14 not mention the explanation, that it was a complete misinterpretation of
15 my attitudes towards the Muslims. I think she should quote the entire
16 passage. It does say in the book that the Muslim representative opposed
17 my election, yes.
18 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
19 Q. Yes. And I -- the Judges can read these passages for themselves.
20 That's why I did not quote at all from the book, because you remembered it
21 very well.
22 And my question to you was --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excuse me, please. Excuse me.
24 Judges, may I intervene? If the representative of the Prosecution states
25 here in public that I have anti-Muslim stances, that's a serious
1 accusation and it's misinformation. If she quotes only a single book --
2 sentence from the book that I wrote without providing the explanation,
3 then it takes on a completely different meaning. That's why I ask --
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... one of two
5 things. We can either decide to -- to have you provide the additional
6 information, or Mr. Milosevic can raise it in re-examination.
7 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honour -- Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I also only quoted or referred to this Muslim
10 member saying that; I did not say that this was for a fact. I just
11 mentioned that the Muslim member said that.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, Mr. Milosevic may take this up in
13 re-examination if he wishes.
14 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
15 Q. Mr. Kostic, I have --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just understand what I have said. Just
17 understand what I have said. This is -- I understand what you have said,
18 and Mr. Milosevic may raise it in re-examination. So the matter will be
19 dealt with. There's no need to continue the discussion.
20 Please continue. I have said that you are -- you are not to
22 Please continue, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
23 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
24 Q. Mr. Kostic, in relation to the Muslim nation, your position was
25 that the Muslims are not really a nation like the Serbs or the Croats.
1 Did you say that?
2 A. Madam, you are showing a total lack of knowledge in this area if
3 you can say something like that. You're quoting part of my book, so you
4 probably will have read what Their Honours would not allow me to read. If
5 you are now saying that I do not recognise the Muslims as a nation, then
6 you are either misinformed or malicious, because you fail to distinguish
7 between people and nation; "narod" and "nacija." When Their Honours asked
8 me who the constituent nations of Yugoslavia were, I said a few days ago
9 that these were Slovenians, Croats, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Serbs, and
10 so on, and then I said that after 1962 or 1965, I'm not exactly sure when,
11 my party, the League of Communists, which had a one-party monopoly,
12 recognised to the Muslims in Yugoslavia the name of a nation and
13 constituent nation based purely on religion. Anyone with any knowledge of
14 this area has to draw a distinction between the term "narod," or people,
15 and "nacija," nationality. Nations and nationalities.
16 Muslim people are very numerous in Montenegro. Ever since I was a
17 child I have associated with Muslims, but these are two completely
18 different concepts.
19 Q. We do not need that much detail. You were elected by the
20 Montenegrin government in April 1991 for this position in the Presidency,
21 but your post was only confirmed in mid-May. There was a problem in the
22 SFRY Assembly because of the fact that the Serbian Assembly had elected
23 Sejdo Bajramovic and the SFRY Assembly refused to ratify the new members
24 because of that fact. Is that so?
25 A. Madam, first of all, it was not the government of Montenegro that
1 elected me but the parliament of Montenegro, to my position in the
2 Presidency. It's true that in the Assembly of the SFRY there was a
3 problem in verifying the election of Sejdo Bajramovic and Mr. Jugoslav
4 Kostic, both of them, because they were elected by the Assembly of Serbia,
5 as far as I know in accordance with the constitution of Serbia, but the
6 separatist leaderships of Slovenia and Croatia were already attempting to
7 disrupt and to support every measure taken in the provinces that would
8 make it easier for them to carry out their secession.
9 Q. Mr. Kostic, it's a fact that there was a problem in particular
10 with Mr. Sejdo Bajramovic, because he did not represent the interest of
11 the Kosovo Assembly but the interest of the Serbian Assembly; right? That
12 was the point that was made in relation to him. Is that --
13 A. Madam, Mr. Sejdo Bajramovic and Mr. Jugoslav Kostic were in the
14 same position. There was no reason --
15 Q. That's enough. Thank you. Mr. Kostic, from mid-May until June
16 1992 onwards, you participated not only in the work of the SFRY Presidency
17 but in addition you also met with members of the Serbian and Montenegrin
18 leadership and the leadership of the JNA outside of Presidency meetings;
20 A. Yes. Yes, to be sure. Not just with them. I met with many
21 people with whom I had a common stance to preserve Yugoslavia.
22 Q. I would like to hand to the parties and to Mr. Kostic a table
23 produced by the Office of the Prosecutor. So that's easier for us to have
24 now further questions. This is actually an overview of meetings between
25 the SFRY Presidency and military between May 1991 and May 1992, and it's
1 actually based on Mr. Jovic's book "Last Days of the SFRY."
2 Mr. Kostic, these are, of course, only those meetings that
3 Mr. Jovic mentioned in the book. I assume that in addition to that you
4 probably had a lot more meetings.
5 A. And what am I supposed to say about this table? Do you think I
6 can remember every meeting?
7 Q. No, no. You're not expected to remember them all. We will go
8 through a very few. But it just mentions here, when you look at the total
9 figures, that, in the book of Mr. Jovic, you participate in 21 of these
10 meetings with the military and Mr. Bulatovic actually 15 times. And as I
11 said, I assume you probably met much more often than Mr. Jovic mentioned.
12 Could that be right?
13 A. I doubt it. I would rather believe that you added something than
14 took away, but we had daily meetings, madam. The situation was dramatic.
15 The country was falling apart. There were clashes. There was a war on.
16 We sat at meetings all day long. So don't expect me to confirm for each
17 and every one of these that that was exactly when the meeting was held.
18 You can see that Mr. Jovic attended most of these. Well, of course. He
19 was in the Presidency before I was appointed to the Presidency and elected
20 vice-president of the Presidency.
21 You mention meetings with a Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Jovic. Well, of
22 course. I've already said that I can't know to what extent Mr. Jovic
23 communicated with Mr. Milosevic, but I assume it was very often, which is
24 only natural because he was representing Serbia in the highest state
1 Q. Mr. Jovic, I --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: These are meant to demonstrate meetings which
3 involved the military; is that correct?
4 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Yes, Your Honour. It's --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: What significance, then, has a meeting where
6 neither the military representatives mentioned was present?
7 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, this chart does not only refer
8 to meetings with the military. It also - and you will hear from further
9 questions - it relates actually to a group of people that would meet
11 Q. And Mr. Kostic, as you have read Mr. Jovic's book, Mr. Jovic
12 refers to a group of six people or, rather, he says the six men, and he
13 means he himself, Mr. Jovic, Milosevic, Bulatovic, the Generals Kadijevic
14 and Adzic, and actually you yourself. Do you -- are you aware that he is
15 speaking of these six men?
16 A. I didn't notice the term "group" used, but according to the names
17 you've just read out of those people, it was a team. That was the
18 composition of the people who at the time represented the top-most
19 representatives of Serbia and Montenegro in the republics in the SFRY
20 Presidency and the top representatives of the General Staff. But I didn't
21 ever notice the term "group" used. Perhaps what you keep saying in the
22 indictment as a joint criminal enterprise, perhaps you're alluding to
23 something like that?
24 Q. Mr. Kostic, I just said that Mr. Jovic didn't use the word "the
25 group." I use it. He says the six men, and we can also stick to this
2 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honours, just to your question, we
3 actually have looked at these six men, and this chart relates to the six
4 men and shows meetings.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: The title, then, is misleading,
6 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, because it only speaks of meetings between the
7 Presidency and the military.
8 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Yes. The title is -- yes.
9 Q. Mr. Kostic, I just want to refer to one of these meetings, and
10 this is actually a meeting of the 14th of August, 1991, and it's mentioned
11 in Exhibit 596, tab 1, the 89(F) statement of Mr. Jovic.
12 If you look at paragraph 87, it says here: "A meeting took place
13 at Kadijevic's on 14 August 1991. The meeting was attended by Kadijevic,
14 Adzic, Milosevic, Bulatovic, Kostic and I." "I," that's Mr. Jovic. "We
15 received information on the military situation in the field on, inter
16 alia, the Krajina and Slavonia. Kadijevic told us about the discord among
17 the Serbs in Krajina and Slavonia in both the political and military
18 sense. Individuals like Kostic were giving statements without
19 consultation in opposition to the views of the military," and so on and so
20 forth. "Coordination was urgently necessary among the six. Kadijevic
21 proposed the idea of an expert staff (larger group than the six). The
22 idea of systematic consultation by the six was accepted but not the idea
23 of Mr. Kadijevic."
24 Do you remember that meeting?
25 A. Well, to tell you the truth, the meeting held by Mr. Jovic I don't
1 remember in particular because we had many similar meeting of that kind,
2 but what you've just read out here, I have no reason to challenge it. All
3 I can say is that it is quite possibly correct. I know that at times I
4 was -- my name came up in the mass media fairly often, and my statements
5 did, too, but there was a complete disorientation among the people at the
6 time, and that's what I say in my book; that Mr. Milosevic, for example,
7 on one occasion when we talked over the telephone said, "Well, Branko,
8 you're in the media too much. Your name appears there too much." And I
9 said, "Well, thank you, Mr. Milosevic, I think you crop up in the media
10 perhaps too fewer times."
11 But any way, I said during my present testimony that we didn't
12 think alike on all matters, and in the previous days testifying here, I
13 mentioned my divergencies with Mr. Jovic, for example, and --
14 Q. Just let me lead you back to what we are actually talking about.
15 The meeting of the 14th of August of 1991, you say you don't remember it.
16 However, it seems, at least according to what Mr. Jovic remembered, that
17 you, and I think it's meant probably you, "Individuals like Kostic were
18 giving statements without consultation in opposition to the views of the
20 This criticism, was that because of what you said in your visit in
21 Borovo Selo? Do you remember the criticism that was voiced here?
22 A. No. I think - as far as I know, at least - that I did not have a
23 single criticism coming at me from the most responsible people in the army
24 right up until the pensioning off of the second group of generals in May
25 1992. So there were no criticisms either from Mr. Veljko Kadijevic or
1 Mr. Blagoje Adzic either in the sense of saying that my public statements
2 differed from the positions taken by the army. I never had any criticisms
3 of that nature. That's one point.
4 Now, secondly, as far as my visit to Borovo Selo goes, that could
5 have certainly not been a reason for Jovic's statement, because I visited
6 Borovo Selo after having consulted the other members of the Presidency of
7 the SFRY, and I considered that I, as a representative of Montenegro in
8 the Presidency, was better placed to go to Borovo Selo than a
9 representative of Serbia, for example, the Serbian representative in the
10 Presidency to go to Borovo Selo, because we didn't view that as Serbia's
11 problem but as a problem for the whole of Yugoslavia. And our
12 divergencies and parting of ways over certain other questions related to
13 the involvement and engagement of the Yugoslav People's Army to deblock
14 the barracks in Croatia under siege --
15 Q. Let me stop you here. We was talking about the Borovo Selo visit.
16 When you were in Borovo Selo, you actually spoke to the local Serb
17 audience and you did mention "an army of ours" when you spoke to the
18 Serbs. You were asking for "an army of ours," didn't you?
19 A. Our army. That's what I'm saying now, our army, the Yugoslav
20 People's Army. And I was the vice-president and member of the Supreme
21 Command, the Supreme Command in charge of the army. It was our army. And
22 I have to say it was the best and -- best organised army --
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... let me interrupt you here.
24 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, we come to what was said in
25 Borovo Selo a little bit later.
1 Q. Mr. Bulatovic also wrote a book and in his book about the meeting
2 of the 14th of August, 1991. Do you know Mr. Bulatovic's book "Rules of
3 Silence"? Mr. Kostic, do you know that book?
4 A. Yes, I do know that book. And I read the first 114 pages of the
5 book by Momir Bulatovic, because they relate to the time when we worked
6 together on -- holding various political and public functions. And in my
7 new book that is called "Records," I give a critical appraisal -- I
8 believe you have that book of mine -- but I gave a critical appraisal of
9 that portion of Momir Bulatovic's book.
10 Q. I -- I want to quote here about the meeting of the 14th of -- 14th
11 October -- no. No, it says here -- oh, no, sorry. It's 14th October.
12 A. That's quite another matter altogether.
13 Q. I would like to quote, nevertheless, because it's a similar
14 meeting to the one that Mr. Jovic is talking about, and I would like to
15 have it in front of everyone.
16 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I think we have to put it on the ELMO. I
17 just hear that we don't have it available for everyone. I would like to
18 have the English on the ELMO, and for Mr. Jovic the Serbian language.
19 Q. He speaks here in his book about the meeting of the 14th of
20 October and Mr. Milosevic is present, Mr. Jovic is present, a member of
21 the SFRY Presidency, Montenegrin side, Branko Kostic, Mile Djukanovic, and
22 he says the following: "All of our talks, especially my numerous meetings
23 with Slobodan Milosevic before this and in all the coming years, went by
24 the same atmosphere. The meetings were intimate with completely open
25 conversation. One used ordinary vocabulary and discussed every problem,
1 including the hardest, while making references to various affairs and
2 current jokes. In other words, one could feel that we were on the same
3 team and sharing the same fate, regardless of all the differences ..."
4 And it also continues then a little bit further down: "The
5 meetings were almost never recorded (or it was not done in a way that I
6 could notice). Official notes were rarely taken. Statements were issued
7 in connection with certain meetings. The statements would be prepared by
8 Mr. -- by Milosevic's chef de cabinet. By default, it was Milosevic and
9 me who would edit the text of such a statement, or rewrite it."
10 Do you recall this meeting or these kind of meetings?
11 A. I remember that particular meeting extremely well, and what
12 Mr. Bulatovic said was correct.
13 Now, as far as the other observations are concerned by
14 Mr. Bulatovic, I really don't wish to comment on them because the comments
15 about that meeting you could also find in my book. And I do believe you
16 have it, I don't suppose you've skipped it over. It was a consultation
17 that we held right before The Hague Conference was due to take place,
18 which met at the -- on the 18th of October, and this was on the 14th of
20 Now, the simple question arose of what we should do faced with a
21 situation of that kind, because we were dissatisfied with the proposal
22 that had been made, the draft Hague document. And at this point in time,
23 all I can tell you is -- and I don't wish, madam, either Mr. Bulatovic --
24 to criticise or denounce any of my fellow citizens or Mr. Bulatovic in any
25 way, but you have had a chance to talk to Mr. Bulatovic, or can have one,
1 and I wrote a critical appraisal about the book of Mr. Bulatovic. In my
2 new book called "Records" or "Zapisnik," you will be able to find that
3 critical appraisal in my book, and I say at the end of it that that
4 critical appraisal of the book I am writing for the sole reason that I
5 want to say that certain statements by Mr. Bulatovic have to be taken with
6 a pinch of salt, or with reservations, because they're not all correct.
7 Q. Mr. Kostic, I am -- I will speak with you about this particular
8 meeting and in particular the October situation and the Carrington Plan
9 later in the cross-examination, so we don't need to go into details of
10 that meeting from the substance, but what Mr. Bulatovic is actually
11 speaking about is a group of people sharing the same fate - that's how he
12 puts it - "sharing the same fate regardless of differences."
13 This sharing the same fate, does that relate to the political
14 survival of the Serbian and Montenegrin leadership?
15 A. I can't give a comment here and an interpretation of what
16 Mr. Bulatovic meant when he said that. I can just assume that
17 Mr. Bulatovic meant that we shared the same convictions and that we're
18 making the same efforts and had the same desire to preserve Yugoslavia,
19 because in my testimony so far, I have said that although we had
20 differences, what united us, the basic fact that united us and kept us
21 rallied together was this desire to preserve Yugoslavia and to resolve our
22 political crisis in a peaceful manner.
23 Now, the fact that he mentions these six people, I've already said
24 they were the most responsible leaders of Serbia and Montenegro. One was
25 the Prime Minister, the other one was the president of the state, one in
1 Serbia, one in Montenegro, and both Jovic and I were members of the
2 Yugoslav state Presidency from those two republics. Kadijevic and Adzic
3 were the two most responsible men in the army, the top leaders. And of
4 all the institutions in Yugoslavia, the army was most fervently in favour
5 of the preservation of Yugoslavia. So I think that Mr. Bulatovic meant
6 that, the preservation of Yugoslavia, not the preservation of power.
7 Q. From March onwards, the political survival of the leaderships in
8 Serbia and Montenegro and also the JNA, but closely linked to the fate of
9 the Serbs in Croatia, was it is not? Assisting the Serbs in Croatia
10 assisted the survival of these leaderships; correct?
11 A. I have to correct you on that point. Through force of
12 circumstance, it was all about the Serbs in Croatia. However, in all our
13 statements, both in my statements and the statements of all the other six
14 people that you mention in this context, you'll always find our readiness
15 and duty to perform our constitutional functions pursuant to the
16 constitution, letter of the constitution, and if necessary, with the
17 Yugoslav People's Army to give physical protection to every nation or part
18 of a nation that could physically be under jeopardy. I said that in
19 Borovo Selo, and you have what I said there. I said that the units of the
20 Yugoslav People's Army would be deployed the same way to provide defence
21 and protection to our Muslims and Albanians and our Macedonians had they
22 been under threat as the Serbs in Croatia were. So it was through force
23 of circumstance in this instance it was the Serbs in Croatia that were
24 physically under jeopardy, so I think that your interpretation of that is
1 Q. Mr. --
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: I was going to ask you what is your specific
3 answer to the question, but you have now given it here.
4 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
5 Q. Let me now turn again to Exhibit -- the exhibit, statement of
6 Mr. Jovic. That is Exhibit 596, tab 1, 89(F) statement of Mr. Jovic, and
7 it's now paragraph 74 and 75. And it relates to April 1991 in his book.
8 And 75 I just quote from so you get the context. It's Mr. Milosevic,
9 Kadijevic, and Adzic and Jovic actually talking about the situation in
10 Croatia and the JNA involvement.
11 It says here, and I quote, rather, from the end of paragraph 74:
12 "We asked them whether the military would allow the Croatian police to
13 occupy Knin and other Serb cities, which are now under Serb control. The
14 response was very clear; no."
15 And I continue with paragraph 75: "It was decided that in the
16 event that the Croats attack them, they would take armed action and notify
17 me and I would then convene the Presidency and simply inform them of the
18 fact. I was not prepared to seek any decision or consent. Milosevic and
19 I drew their attention to the fact that only -- that only other approach
20 would be betrayal, and that in this case betrayal means the fall of the
21 Serbian leadership and the collapse of the JNA."
22 This is what Mr. Jovic says. He connects the fate of the Serbian
23 leadership very closely with the actions to be taken to assess the Serbs
24 in Croatia. Would you agree with that?
25 A. Madam, I think you are wasting time without purpose. The
1 conversation that you mentioned was taking place at the time that I wasn't
2 in the Presidency, and I sincerely hope that I and my position you are not
3 taking as being the same as the position of the Serb government and Serb
4 leadership. I was the Montenegrin representative there and I am a
6 Now, with respect to your last question, I have already given you
7 an answer when I answered your last question. As far as I'm concerned, it
8 was a constitutional duty both of the Yugoslav People's Army and the
9 entire Presidency and not only Mr. Jovic or Branko Kostic, but it was the
10 duty of all Presidency members, the constitutional duty to take into
11 account the interests of all the citizens of the SFRY. We weren't
12 representatives of only our own republics, and that was one of the main
13 criticisms of having Mesic elected as president of the Presidency, because
14 it was our duty --
15 Q. Mr. Kostic, let me interrupt you. You answered my question, and
16 it was very specific.
17 JUDGE KWON: Excuse me, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff. Can I ask Professor
18 Kostic at this moment the role of the president of Serbia and Montenegro
19 in terms of -- in relation to the matters of the federal state. You
20 referred to the six men as a team. Why should Mr. Milosevic and
21 Mr. Bulatovic participate in those talks? Once you said that
22 Mr. Milosevic has nothing to do with the -- Mr. Jovic. He has no
23 influence over Mr. Jovic, as Mr. Bulatovic has none over you. Why should
24 they participate?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ah, that's not what I said.
1 JUDGE KWON: If you could clarify, explain that matter to me.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Kwon, first of all, I have to
3 correct you. I never said - and not here either - that Mr. Jovic did not
4 have any communication with Mr. Milosevic. I never said that. What I
5 said was that I don't know how far those communications were frequent
6 ones, but that I can assume that because Jovic held the most responsible
7 post in the federal state and Milosevic was the president of Serbia, then
8 I can only assume that their communication was frequent. I never said
9 that they didn't communicate between themselves. That's one point.
10 Secondly, in the same way, you could put the following question,
11 but yes, I'll answer your direct question in just a moment. Do you really
12 think, Mr. Kwon, that Mr. Mesic, for example, and Mr. Tudjman and
13 Mr. Kucan and Mr. Drnovsek and Mr. Izetbegovic, wasn't that a team? Do
14 you really think they didn't communicate amongst themselves and decide
15 what they were going to do? Well, Mesic in his book writes about this
16 very fact. He says that after the 1st of October meeting of the
17 Presidency at which we assess that the country was in a situation of
18 imminent threat of war, directly criticised Bogicevic and Tupurkovski for
19 having come to the meeting at all, for having been present at the
20 meeting. And he didn't dwell there. He sent a letter to Alija
21 Izetbegovic and Kiro Gligorov and asked them not to attend any Presidency
22 meetings further, that is to say Tupurkovski and Bogicevic, that they
23 shouldn't attend any other meetings. Milosevic as president of Serbia and
24 Bulatovic as president of the Montenegrin state Presidency didn't arrive
25 at that post and function drop out from the sky. They were elected by the
1 people democratically at legitimate elections. And those people were --
2 the people were represented through their government, through the
3 parliament, through their state functionaries, and those people expressed
4 the constant desire to preserve Yugoslavia. So it was quite natural that
5 they had to be interested in preserving and protecting the interests of
6 the people they represent.
7 I don't know whether that answers your question.
8 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
10 Q. As at the beginning of your testimony in the context of changes in
11 Montenegro in 1988, you said that Mr. Milosevic was regarded as a person
12 who would be able to make things move.
13 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, that's at T-47614 to 47615 in
14 the transcript.
15 Q. Mr. Milosevic was a charismatic leader, was he not?
16 A. Undoubtedly.
17 Q. And people would look up to him and expect leadership from him;
19 A. Well, if we're going to portray the atmosphere amongst the people
20 at that time, I have to say that Mr. Milosevic was given broad support
21 from all the social strata of society down to the last worker and cleaner
22 on the street. His pictures were carried everywhere, posters of him were
23 put up everywhere, although at that same time when people publicly
24 acclaimed him most, I as president of the Presidency of Montenegro said
25 publicly that I don't like that kind of iconography, and I stated publicly
1 when they asked me as president of Montenegro what I thought about the
2 fact that from the city buses they had removed pictures of Slobodan
3 Milosevic from the buses going to Malesija, which is the Albanian national
4 minority in Montenegro in Podgorica, I said that that was quite normal, as
5 far as I'm concerned, if those pictures and photographs created disquiet
6 among those people then, then it was quite normal that they would be taken
7 off the buses, the pictures.
8 Q. Mr. Kostic, people saw in Mr. Milosevic the protector of the Serbs
9 in Kosovo and Serbs outside Serbia; right?
10 A. Not only that. Not only that. I -- well, all right. Let me give
11 you my intimate thoughts and how I view this matter subjectively. Many
12 attempted to attack Mr. Milosevic at the time, and they do so today, as
13 being a nationalist, an extreme nationalist. Now, I think that was quite
14 wrong, if I might state my opinions. I think that Mr. President Milosevic
15 for a long time, and I think has retained those communist convictions to
16 the present day, according to which from a rather quagmire atmosphere that
17 existed in the 1990s throughout the Yugoslav territory if we take into
18 account and add to that the very difficult economic situation and the
19 crisis that I talked about at the beginning of my testimony here, then I
20 feel that many people, a large number of people saw in Milosevic a young,
21 dynamic politician who would introduce a breath of fresh air into the
22 country and a more dynamic process in the country. That is my personal
23 opinion and conviction.
24 Q. Yes. You just --
25 A. And if I might be allowed to add this: From that vast majority of
1 people who at that time gave their undivided support to Milosevic, already
2 at that time in my interview to the newspaper Borba - and I assume you
3 have that because you've already quoted certain portions from that as
4 president of the Presidency of Montenegro - I said there was a very broad
5 spectrum and circle of people who give Milosevic their undivided support
6 but time would tell very soon that there would be a stratification in that
7 same corpus of men supporting Milosevic at that time.
8 Q. As you already mentioned now the communist convictions, the
9 military leadership saw in Mr. Milosevic the keeper of the socialists, the
10 SFRY; right?
11 A. Madam, you would have to ask the military leadership about that.
12 I can tell you by the same token that, regardless of all that we've been
13 through, as an intellectual and a university professor, I have also
14 preserved some of my socialist convictions because I believe some of that,
15 some elements of that teaching is good for the entire humanity.
16 Q. Mr. Kostic, would you agree that in every sense Mr. Milosevic was
17 the key figure and main actor in Serbia and among the Serbs outside of
19 A. I can say that Mr. Milosevic was the strongest political authority
20 and had the greatest political influence, but I can say that about the
21 territory of Serbia, and partly Montenegro. However, it would be
22 completely wrong to say -- and I'm saying that with full responsibility:
23 It is completely wrong to say that Mr. Milosevic had unfettered influence
24 on the leaderships of Serbs outside Serbia. And if you want specific
25 examples to illustrate this, I can provide them.
1 Q. We come to these examples later on. Just some more questions
2 about Mr. Milosevic. Would you agree that he made decisions at times
3 without consulting those who would usually be involved in decision-making?
4 A. I was never in a position to feel that personally, because I was
5 never part of any leadership that included Mr. Milosevic. Mr. Milosevic
6 was a leader of his own party in Serbia, which enjoyed the support of
7 two-thirds of the parliament. He was the president of Serbia and held the
8 highest post, and I was not in a position to feel it directly. But if you
9 want my sincere and honest opinion, when at a debate in Pancevo that was
10 organised by the opposition parties - and Pancevo is a small town near
11 Belgrade - I was invited to that debate. As I used to do, I responded to
12 such invitations from all parties, and that was in March 1992. They asked
13 me what I thought about Milosevic. So at that time when Milosevic
14 indubitably had the greatest authority, I didn't mince words. I said
15 every tree has branches and every person has failings.
16 Now, to answer your question directly: It is true that some
17 people were replaced from the leadership overnight, and that is one of my
18 main objections towards Mr. Milosevic. Although the later course of
19 events in what is happening on the political arena of Serbia, what has
20 been happening ever since Mr. Milosevic is not president, convinces me
21 evermore that in territories that had not had democracy for a long time,
22 democracy cannot flourish overnight.
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Kostic, let me interrupt
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kostic, you do tend to go on too long. You
1 are the kind of witness that has to be reined in and that has to be done
2 either by the person questioning you or by me.
3 If Mr. Milosevic was not the key figure among Serbs outside
4 Serbia, then can you tell me who was in relation to each of the republics,
5 starting with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if we took it in chronology,
7 we should start with Knin Krajina, but if you want me to start with
8 Bosnia, I'll do that. I think the key political figure in Bosnia was
9 Mr. Radovan Karadzic. In the military sense, the key figure was General
10 Ratko Mladic. That's indisputable. Although I personally think that the
11 leadership of Bosnian Serbs, ideologically and politically speaking, was a
12 very diverse group, but they put the interests of the Serbian people first
13 and put on the back burner all their political and ideological
14 differences. They worked as team, and I think Mrs. Plavsic was an
15 exception, because in many situations she was very extreme, especially in
16 some situations when peaceful solutions were sought.
17 In the Knin Krajina, there were two key political figures, and
18 that is where we should look for a reason that caused eventually the
19 tragedy of the Serb people in the Krajinas. The people were divided
20 politically and ideologically at the time -- at a time when they should
21 have been busy defending their homes.
22 Mr. Robinson, I'm sorry, but these questions cannot be answered in
23 one sentence. If you wanted an explanation, then I would appreciate it if
24 you could --
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... very short
1 explanation after you were given the names. In the Knin Krajina, you said
2 there were two key political figures.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The most influential two persons in
4 the Knin Krajina in the period when I was in the Presidency of the SFRY,
5 1991 and the first half of 1992, were Milan Babic and Milan Martic.
6 Before that the most influential person was Dr. Jovan Raskovic. However,
7 this rift between Babic and Martic was not based on their personal
8 differences. It was an ideological rift. The followers of Babic were
9 practically supporters of the Chetnik ideology.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ...
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Which next republic? I said the
12 Republic of Serbian Krajina, I said about the Serb Republic in Bosnia.
13 Which other republic?
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Well, you have covered them.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I see that as part of one
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Thank you. Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
18 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
19 Q. Would you agree that Mr. Milosevic personally decided on the
20 elections for people for official positions? He took great interest and
21 great influence there?
22 A. I don't know. I can't confirm that. I can assume that he did
23 have influence, at least on some of those people if not all. But I cannot
24 confirm one way or another.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm afraid that Mrs. Uertz-Retzlaff
3 did not explain where. She didn't specify where I had influence, and
4 Mr. Kostic is giving an answer thinking of Serbia, whereas she has been
5 talking for a while implying Krajina and Bosnia, in which case the answers
6 would be different.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's a fair point, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff. Where
8 specifically are you speaking of?
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I was first speaking, actually, of Serbia.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Serbia.
11 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
12 Q. But I would like to put something to you from a book that
13 Mr. Jovic wrote, and that's the book on -- he simply calls it "Book On
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I would like to put something from this, and
16 Your Honour, it's Exhibit 596, tab 3, it is page 29 in the English.
17 Q. I quote now from Mr. Jovic's book. By the way, do you know this
18 book, Mr. Kostic?
19 A. I know there is a book about Milosevic. I haven't read it.
20 Q. "Milosevic's pretensions to conduct an absolutist policy
21 concerning the cadre were not constrained only within the borders of
22 Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in other words, to its
23 organs. It included anyone who was not obedient enough and whose
24 political destiny he could influence in any, even the slightest, degree.
25 In order to suppress Milan Babic, the then president of the Government
1 of --"
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, yes.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The interpreter said absolutist
4 policy. I think "policija," meaning "police," instead of "policy." The
5 interpretation heard on the broadcast was that I was leading some sort of
6 absolutist police, whereas it should be absolutist policy.
7 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: In the English -- yes.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: I believe that's what I heard, "policy."
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That's what we actually said, Mr. Milosevic.
10 The word we said here is "the absolutist policy concerning the cadre."
11 That's what I was quoting.
12 Q. And I continue: "In order to suppress Milan Babic, the then
13 president of the government of the RSK, who opposed his views, he publicly
14 announced that he was severing any cooperation with the RSK until it
15 elected another leadership, and then, via various forms of political
16 malpractice, he made it happen."
17 Mr. Kostic, that indeed is correct, what Mr. Jovic wrote here.
18 That's what happened when Mr. Babic did not want to accept the Vance Plan;
20 A. Madam, I advise you to talk to Mr. Jovic about those things as
21 long as you are quoting him. My views are completely different. It is my
22 conviction --
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think there are issues of fact there. I mean,
24 can you confirm that Mr. Milosevic publicly announced that he was severing
25 cooperation with Republic of the Serbian Krajina until it elected another
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm not sure that that was
3 definitively communicated that way, but I know that Mr. Milosevic did
4 write a public, open letter to Milan Babic at the time, and its very sharp
5 tone came as a surprise to the general public. However, I see that quite
6 differently from Mr. Jovic. Mr. Babic was a supporter of a policy
7 oriented to war, and he thought that all parts of Yugoslavia should get
8 implicated in a war in Croatia and face the Croatian army, which was by
9 that time much stronger and numerous than our Yugoslav People's Army,
10 rather than negotiate with Europe, whereas we advocated the peace option,
11 and we said the Vance Plan is the peace option. And that was the main
12 reason for the disagreements and differences not only between Babic and
13 Milosevic but also between me and Babic. I didn't agree with him either.
14 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
15 Q. Mr. Kostic, I was not talking about a letter, this exchange of
16 letters between Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Babic. I was actually asking you
17 whether you were aware that he made an announcement that he was severing
18 -- a public announcement that he was severing any cooperation with the
19 RSK until it elected another leadership. And you actually should know
20 that, because it's about the Vance Plan at that time, and you were very
21 much involved at that time in Glina, were you not?
22 A. To be quite honest, of course I was involved, among other reasons
23 because Mr. Milosevic was unable to communicate with him. He asked me to
24 go there and talk to the representative of the Krajina leadership. But to
25 be quite honest, I don't think Mr. Milosevic knows about all the
1 statements I made and all the letters I wrote, just as I don't know about
2 all of his.
3 For instance, this thing that you are quoting now, later on when I
4 retired from politics and severed all ties with Republika Srpska because
5 of their rejection of peace plans, I did something similar maybe, but I
6 don't know anything about this statement that Mr. Milosevic allegedly made
7 about severing all the ties with Serbian Krajina. I know about the
8 Bosnian leadership.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Where is this statement made? Is it a speech or
11 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I will -- when we speak about
12 the Vance Plan a little bit later on, I will actually put it again to
13 Mr. Kostic, because we actually do have a reference in Mr. Jovic's book
14 about what was said, and we also have a -- an article dealing with this.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, but where was it said?
16 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It was actually said in Belgrade. It was not
17 said in --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Was it in a meeting, in a speech, or what?
19 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It was a public announcement.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: But that's a meaningless expression. The witness
21 has already said that there was an open letter written in --
22 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It was a speech.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: It was a speech.
24 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That is at least my understanding, and I will
25 come back to it when we discuss the Vance Plan. I will go through several
1 documents in relation to that, including this one.
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, given Mr. Milosevic's powerful position in Serbia,
3 within this group of six or the six men, Mr. Milosevic was the most
4 powerful, was he not?
5 A. Well, you're not going to think that I, from Montenegro with only
6 600.000 population, was more influential than Mr. Milosevic who was
7 representing 10 million people in Serbia.
8 Q. I would like now to quote from a -- from talks, and it's an
9 interview that you had with Monitor, the magazine in Montenegro, but I
10 first would like to have it distributed to everybody.
11 Mr. Kostic, do you remember that you gave this interview or talks
12 on the 21st of October, 1994? Do you remember that?
13 A. Like it was yesterday.
14 Q. It's a long interview, and I don't want to actually go through all
15 of it, just the passages that concern us at the moment.
16 A. In three instalments.
17 Q. Uh-huh, yes. First of all, at the very beginning --
18 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honours, in the English it's on
19 page 3.
20 Q. -- you're asked about your contacts with Mr. Milosevic, and you
21 say -- you say here: "... when I held office, I could say that we had
22 been in contact and we communicated on a daily basis."
23 It's in the beginning. I remember -- is that so, that you had --
24 while you were in the office and the Presidency that you had contacts on a
25 daily basis?
1 A. Well, I couldn't say it was on a daily basis, but I can say that
2 we communicated very frequently, because the times were very dramatic, and
3 both he and I spent our days in our offices from dusk till dawn. We often
4 had lunch in his office or in mine, but I never visited him at home. I
5 never had any occasion to meet anyone from his family. But it was quite a
6 normal communication.
7 Q. And a little bit further down, and it actually should be marked on
8 your copy --
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honours, it's on page 4 in the
11 Q. -- you say or, rather, it's put here: "Milosevic, who is
12 incidentally rather distrustful, suspicious, for a long time had
13 incomparably more trust in Bulatovic and the whole group of the young
14 Montenegrin leadership than in me. That is how it was until The Hague."
15 So after The Hague he had more trust in you?
16 A. Maybe that was not expressed in the most fortunate way. I can't
17 say that he suddenly had more trust in me after The Hague, but as for the
18 young Montenegrin leadership, whom I didn't know mainly before 1989,
19 Bulatovic and others, they were aged 25 or around that, it's a rather
20 large team. They succeeded in convincing the public of Montenegro that I
21 was infiltrated somehow among them as an old-timer who was there to look
22 after the interests of the old guard, and that was the image that followed
23 me. I believe not only in the eye of -- eyes of Mr. Milosevic and the
24 Serbian leadership, but also because the Montegnegrin leadership was
25 viewed as separatist, and the people who were in power during the war are
1 now the most vociferous advocates of Montenegro separating from Serbia.
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, but really refrain yourself to answer just the
3 question. It was actually a simple one.
4 A little bit further down on page 5 in the English, you are
5 actually asked about the party of Mr. Seselj, and you say - it's on the
6 bottom - you say --
7 A. Could you help me? Which instalment is that? Because there were
8 three instalments in the Monitor magazine. Is that the first, second, or
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think Seselj is mentioned in the
11 second one. It's quite funny, this interview. I'd like to read it.
12 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
13 Q. I just want to ask you one -- one point in that interview. I
14 don't want to go into relationships that -- actually, when you look --
15 when you look at the ERN number on top, it says 0424-7290. That's --
16 that's --
17 A. Yes, I see it.
18 Q. And I actually want to refer to one remark in this. It should be
19 at the end of it. You say the following: "The question was the radicals
20 now aggressively accuse the Montegnegrin leaders of being criminals," and
21 so on. That's the question. And then you say: "That has nothing to do
22 with it. I'm not denying that within my ruling party there are those who
23 spread such rumours." And then you say: "I claim even today that Seselj
24 and his radicals helped Milosevic a lot in his quarrel with Draskovic and
25 Micunovic." And my question to you is does this refer to 1991 or to which
2 A. Well, I was talking about 1991. That's the time when I was in
3 Belgrade, and I was very well -- very knowledgeable about the situation.
4 And as for --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much for that answer.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- Draskovic and --
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
8 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
9 Q. And if you now continue a bit further down, and it's when you
10 speak about the power in parties --
11 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's page 6, Your Honour, in the English, the
12 very last paragraph.
13 Q. The Monitor magazine asked you -- and you actually have it marked,
14 you have that passage marked on the page 0424-7290, and it's marked here.
15 On the last column, it says: "At that time you were neglected as the head
16 of the Montenegrin state," and it says here, your answer, that is: "That
17 is right. Power was primarily concentrated in the party, not the
19 Mr. Kostic, was that the same in Serbia, that the power was with
20 the party and not so much with the institutions?
21 A. I couldn't say that reliably about Serbia, but I know about
22 Montenegro for the simple reason that -- and I may be partially to blame,
23 although I don't think I made a mistake, I was simply abiding by the
24 constitution. I was president of the Presidency of Montenegro, and
25 according to the Montenegrin constitution, the president of the Presidency
1 was, let me not say English Queen, but it was quite --
2 Q. I think you have answered the question. You said you can't say
3 that for Serbia because you don't know that.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's not clear to me, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, what is
5 meant by "the institutions." Parliamentary institutions?
6 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Actually, not only -- well, I think we
7 have to ask him.
8 Q. When you said that, Mr. Kostic, when you said that is right, power
9 was primarily concentrated in the party, not the institutions, what
10 institutions do you mean, all the parliamentary institutions or even the
12 A. At that time in the ruling party, which was also my party -- right
13 now I don't belong to any party --
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Answer the question.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I -- I will have to be a little --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: This is not -- this is not a university. We
17 don't need the introduction. Just answer the question.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I said very clearly: In the
19 party rather than the institutions. I meant the institutions of the
20 system, but I had wanted to explain that my party then also had a
21 two-third majority in the parliament. So what the inner circle of the
22 party agreed as the policy, that was implemented everywhere, including
23 institutions. I think that's clear.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: So by "institutions" you mean all institutions;
25 parliamentary and otherwise.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The institutions of the system; the
2 parliament, the government, various ministries, and that was a cause of
3 great disappointment to me, because in all those transformations that took
4 place at the time --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ...
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- I was expecting to see a move
7 towards democracy.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
10 Q. And just one more quote from this series of instalments that you
11 speak, and in the English it's on page 10, the upper answer that
12 Mr. Kostic gives to a question; and for you, Mr. Kostic, it's on page
13 0424-7293 on the very top left. And Monitor asked you: "Who was in
14 favour of peace then?" And your answer is: "It is true that both
15 Milosevic and Bulatovic used to claim: 'Montenegro is not at war,'
16 'Serbia is not at war.' I never said that. I was always saying: 'Both
17 Serbia and Montenegro were at war as well as this part of Yugoslavia.'
18 They were, through their JNA. That army never broke up and I assert that
19 every other army would break up in such circumstances. Mr. Mesic's
20 departure and with the switch to operations in circumstances of imminent
21 threat of war, as the vice-president of the country's Presidency, I
22 practically became the head of state. I held then, as I hold today, that
23 the greatest responsibility still lay with Milosevic as the President of
24 Serbia, the man with the strongest influence and with the greatest
25 pedigree of a statesman, according to his decisions and conduct."
1 This is what you said in 1994 about responsibilities. Yes, and
2 it's --
3 A. Are you awaiting a response?
4 Q. Yes. That's what you said and that's what you meant and that's
5 what you observed.
6 A. Of course. Quite naturally. Milosevic had the greatest political
7 authority and influence.
8 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, I think it's time for the
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. It's time for the --
11 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Oh, just one -- I would like to tender this
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, it's admitted.
14 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And I also -- I forgot to tender the
15 Bulatovic book, the passage that I quoted from.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, the passage quoted will be admitted.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the extract from Kostic Bulatovic's
18 book "Rules of Silence" will be Exhibit 942, and interview given be Branko
19 Kostic to the Monitor magazine will be Exhibit 943.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. We'll break for 20 minutes.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
24 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, during the examination-in-chief you spoke about the
1 downfall of the Montenegrin government of Mr. Vukadinovic in 1988. We do
2 not need to go into details, just this question: The protesters that
3 actually were asking in the rallies that some of the members of the
4 government should resign, these protesters did not really -- did not ask
5 for your resignation; right? They asked for the resignation of others.
6 A. That's correct, yes.
7 Q. And unlike these other members of the government of
8 Mr. Vukadinovic, you survived the fall of the then political leadership;
10 A. Yes. I was the one from that government that continued in
11 politics. Others continued as well, but in other political parties and
12 other posts.
13 Q. And you managed to survive politically in 1988 because you shared
14 Mr. Milosevic's views at that time and his policies and the demands that
15 the protesters had; correct?
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: As brief as possible, Professor.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what Mr. Milosevic's
18 expectations were, but I said during my examination-in-chief what I
19 expected from those changes.
20 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
21 Q. And the new Montegnegrin leaders, Mr. Bulatovic and
22 Mr. Djukanovic, they also came in power in that same wave of changes that
23 Mr. Milosevic headed; is that correct?
24 A. That's correct.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think you should press him to answer that
1 question that you asked previously, whether he survived politically
2 because he shared Mr. Milosevic's views at that time and his policies.
3 What is your answer to that?
4 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I think he said yes.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: You said yes?
6 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. That's at least --
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: I didn't see that.
8 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Then I need to repeat, because I think I
9 heard him say "Da," and I didn't look to the transcript.
10 Q. Mr. Kostic, I asked you before we spoke about Djukanovic and
11 Bulatovic, you shared Mr. Milosevic's view or, rather, the wave of demands
12 by the Serbs and the Montenegrins that he headed as well; right?
13 A. I told you that I didn't know what Mr. Milosevic's views and
14 standpoints were at the time in their entirety because I hadn't met him
15 since we were students. But I have already stated in my testimony so far
16 what my expectations were. If you want a more detailed answer, I'll tell
17 you that I don't know what contributed to my political survival at the
18 time, but I do know that my nomination was put forward by the Republican
19 Conference of the Socialist League of the Working People of Montenegro,
20 which had the same composition as previously, before these events.
21 Perhaps it was my participation in extinguishing the flames in Rozaje,
22 Plavno, Niksic and other places in Montenegro and my successful speeches
23 to those rallies where I managed to calm down the passions of the crowd
24 and got the crowd to disperse probably influenced that.
25 Q. To be specific, more specific, your position at that time was that
1 Montenegro and Serbia were disadvantaged in Yugoslavia compared to other
2 republics and that's just what also Mr. Milosevic felt; right?
3 A. My standpoint never referred to Serbia, because there were others
4 taking care of Serbia. But at the time I felt that Montenegro was badly
5 neglected in economic terms, first of all. And secondly, I supported the
6 motives of the crowds that gathered, and I demanded that the policy of
7 expelling Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo be halted. This had been
8 taking place for decades. Also, I advocated that the Serbian people in
9 Croatia be protected.
10 Q. And like Mr. Milosevic, you were also dissatisfied with
11 Mr. Markovic's measures in relation to Yugoslavia; right?
12 A. Initially I even expressed public support to Mr. Ante Markovic's
13 economic programme. However, when he, as the federal Prime Minister, was
14 not prepared for a full year to deal with the issue of foreign exchange
15 differences in -- differentials in Montenegro, and when he agreed to
16 establish a political party with a rally at Kosare, I turned my back on
17 him because of the economic problems in Montenegro and his unwillingness
18 to deal with them.
19 Q. And just like Mr. Milosevic, you were -- you were in favour of the
20 amendments to the Serbian constitution regarding Vojvodina and Kosovo.
21 That was you agreed to that?
22 A. Yes. Yes.
23 Q. In relation to the last issue, you said during the
24 examination-in-chief, and I refer here to transcript T-47612, you said:
25 "The leaderships in Kosovo and Metohija on one hand and the Vojvodina on
1 the other hand had secessionist or, rather, autonomous leanings and only a
2 popular movement could contribute to bringing about a change in these
3 leaderships as well."
4 Mr. Kostic, you know that the Vojvodina authorities or populations
5 at no time were secessionist; right? At that time there was no movement
6 there that wanted to sever Vojvodina from Serbia; right?
7 A. Perhaps you know that better than I do.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: You must answer the question.
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
10 Q. You have to answer this question. You have said it actually here.
11 You mentioned Vojvodina in this context, and I put to you that there was
12 no secessionist movement.
13 A. Because you keep asserting that. That's why I said perhaps you
14 know that better than I do, but I don't agree with you. Don't try to put
15 your opinions in my mouth. On the contrary --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: She is putting perfectly proper questions to you,
17 and you must answer them.
18 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
19 Q. Mr. Kostic, the population --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I answered that I disagreed with
21 what the lady's saying. The leaderships both in Kosovo and Vojvodina
22 advocated --
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let's move on.
24 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
25 Q. The people in Vojvodina did not pose any threats to Serbs or
1 Serbia, and they did not give any reason to revoke their autonomy. Isn't
2 that correct?
3 A. Where are you reading this from?
4 Q. I'm not reading it. I'm putting this to you. I'm not reading it.
5 I'm just putting this to you. Do you claim -- do you claim that the
6 people from Vojvodina did pose a threat to Serbs or Serbia?
7 A. I don't know where you get these claims from. I mentioned the
8 leaderships in Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohija. I wasn't referring to
9 the people but to the leaderships. It was the leaderships that were
10 replaced through the mass rallies, not the people.
11 I cannot tell you what you want me to say in my testimony. There
12 was no threat to Serbia and Serbs from the people of Vojvodina, but the
13 leaderships in both Kosovo and Metohija and Vojvodina had separatist
14 tendencies and leanings, and the masses wanted the leaderships to be
16 Q. Mr. Kostic, who -- and you speak to Vojvodina. Can you give us
17 the names of the movements or the people that wanted to separate or secede
18 from Serbia?
19 A. Well, to tell you the truth, it was 15 years ago, and to give you
20 a list of names, it would be very hard to do that even in the case of
21 Montenegro let alone Vojvodina. And I come from Montenegro. But I do
22 remember vividly that individuals from the leaderships of Vojvodina and
23 from Kosovo and Metohija were more willing to support the standpoints of
24 the Slovenians or the Croats than their own republic.
25 Q. Following the ousting of the Vojvodina government in the course of
1 1989 and 1990, the autonomous status of Kosovo and Vojvodina were removed.
2 That's correct?
3 A. That's not correct.
4 Q. That's not correct?
5 A. No, that's not correct. Only those provisions whereby the
6 autonomous provinces had been given the right to pass legislation without
7 the approval of the Assembly of Serbia, but the Assembly of Serbia could
8 pass no legislation without the approval of the autonomous provinces. It
9 was this provision that was abolished. I felt that this put Serbia into
10 an unequal footing as compared to all the other Yugoslav republics.
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, a few moments ago we had discussed that the Serbian
12 Assembly actually replaced the member in the Federal Presidency from
13 Kosovo. So there was quite a different change there, isn't it? Based on
14 the changes in 1998 and 1990, the Serbian Assembly could simply replace
15 the member of the Kosovo -- the representative of Kosovo and Metohija in
16 the Federal Presidency. So the change was quite a different one than you
18 A. I don't know whether I mentioned this during my testimony, but the
19 constitution of 1974 included many confederal elements, and the autonomous
20 provinces were even given a constituent character within the Yugoslav
21 federation. I'm not aware of the details concerning the changes in the
22 constitution of Serbia, but I assert with confidence that the autonomy of
23 neither of these provinces was abolished but certain provisions were
24 abolished which put Serbia in -- onto an unequal footing with other
25 republics because of the confederal nature of those provisions.
1 Q. Mr. Kostic, you just said that the Yugoslav constitution of 1974
2 for Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohija, both were constituent elements of
3 that federation, and the autonomous provinces had a representative in the
4 SFRY Presidency and they had their own delegations in both Chambers in the
5 federal parliament. That's correct; right?
6 A. Yes, that's correct. That's correct.
7 Q. Therefore, the changes in the constitutional status of the
8 autonomous provinces immediately impacted on the balance of power in the
9 federal -- on the federal level, isn't it?
10 A. No, because in spite of the changes introduced by Serbia into its
11 constitution, the provinces continued to be represented in the Yugoslav
12 Presidency and the Yugoslav parliament. They retained their
13 representatives in the parliament.
14 Q. Yes. Yes. I have probably formulated too vaguely, but what we
15 have seen is that the Serbian Assembly, according to the changes that were
16 made in 1990, could elect certainly the member of the Presidency for
17 Kosovo and Metohija, and they could do the same and did the same for
18 Vojvodina. So how can that not be a power change? If the Serbian
19 Assembly can basically decide who represents Kosovo and Metohija and who
20 represents Vojvodina, that's definitely a much more powerful position than
21 the Croats had, the Slovenes, the Macedonians, or the Bosnians. You would
22 agree to that? You must, actually.
23 A. But, madam, it was not changes in government. It was changes in
24 competency. Changes in competency occurred, because some issues that were
25 within the purview of the autonomous provinces, according to the previous
1 constitution, were transferred to the republic, but the autonomous
2 provinces continued. And I can tell you that were you at the head of a
3 state or a territory, you as the person responsible for the entire
4 territory of that state would certainly take care to influence what was
5 happening there. But Serbia, until those changes, did not have the power
6 to do this.
7 Q. Yes. Thank you. We heard, actually -- Mr. Kostic, we heard quite
8 some evidence on this point from the historian Ms. Budding, from Petar
9 Kriste - Your Honour, that's at T-14891 - by Nikola Samardzic, that is
10 T-11165; Milan Kucan, and I do not want to quote them here, but I just
11 want to refer you to the person that you actually have mentioned as being
12 a reliable one, and that is Aleksandar Vasiljevic. He was also talking of
13 -- about this situation, and he actually said the following -- and, Your
14 Honours, it's at transcript 15859 to 60. This is what he said about this:
15 "Real power at that time resided in the republican leaders, while the
16 members of the Presidency were, if I can express myself metaphorically,
17 ambassadors representing their own republics and provinces in the
19 And a little bit further down: "I don't think he -" and he refers
20 here to Mr. Milosevic - "his position was any different than that of the
21 presidents of the other republics, but there is no doubt that he was a
22 very strong political leader, that he was very authoritative and that
23 because of this he was in reality able to influence four of the members of
24 the Presidency." And he is referring then to these four members.
25 I just wanted to remind you to what Mr. Vasiljevic said on that.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: What's the question you're putting in relation to
3 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
4 Q. According to -- my question to you is that Mr. Milosevic, or the
5 Serbian leadership, rather, controlled the votes of four members of the
6 SFRY Presidency.
7 A. First I have to correct you. In my previous testimony, I did not
8 say that Mr. Vasiljevic was a reliable witness, because I don't want to
9 take it upon myself to evaluate the character of any individual, including
10 Mr. Vasiljevic. I only said on one occasion that what Mr. Vasiljevic said
11 concerning some communications and so on and so forth would probably know
12 about that better than I do, in view of his position.
13 As to what you have just asked me now, I think there is no doubt
14 that at the time when I was part of the Presidency of the SFRY the
15 presidents of the republics had taken it upon themselves to try and find
16 solutions to the Yugoslav crisis. And if I had any objection to the work
17 of Mr. Milosevic or Mr. Bulatovic, it was precisely that they had taken on
18 this role.
19 Your claim that Mr. Milosevic exerted a direct influence or
20 control over me is completely incorrect. I am a mature, grown-up person,
21 and I made decisions based on my own thoughts. And as I have already
22 said, there were many issues on which Mr. Milosevic, Mr. Jovic, and I did
23 not agree and took different standpoints. But I have said that, yes,
24 Mr. Milosevic was an influential person with a lot of political authority.
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, to go back to this table that was produced according
1 to the book of Mr. Jovic, you can see easily when comparing the columns
2 where Mr. Milosevic is mentioned and Mr. Kadijevic and Mr. Jovic are
3 mentioned. If you look at these columns, you can easily see that although
4 Mr. Milosevic was not a member of the SFRY Presidency, he and Mr. Jovic
5 met with the military more often than you did in the period that we are
6 concerned with. You can see that it's obvious, in particular, from the
7 first page. You can easily see that and it continues to be like this
8 until the end of October 1991.
9 That means, at least as I read it, that he de facto as the
10 President of Serbia was much more important for the JNA leadership than
11 you, despite your position. That's what I read from this chart. Would
12 you agree to that?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The question is based on a
16 misrepresentation that these are sessions of the Presidency of the SFRY.
17 These are not sessions of the Presidency. This has been constructed from
18 various notes in the book, and it puts together various meetings of a
19 diverse nature.
20 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour --
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, what do you say to that?
22 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I didn't say, and it doesn't say
23 on this sheet that it was meetings between -- it's meetings. I have
24 already mentioned it, and Judge Bonomy has corrected it as well. The
25 headline can be ignored. What I said when we spoke about this sheet is
1 that it's referring to meetings within the Presidency and outside the
2 Presidency. That's what I have already corrected, with the help of Judge
3 Bonomy who noticed that the headline is incorrect.
4 JUDGE KWON: What do you mean by "within the Presidency"? You put
5 a footnote that this overview does not include Presidency sessions.
6 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I must admit at the moment I'm at a loss what
7 this means. My understanding is it is the meetings between members of the
8 Rump Presidency and the military and these other people belonging to the
9 group of six, no matter where they took place. That's at least my
10 understanding of the situation. It's the meetings of --
11 JUDGE KWON: So meetings of one party. The group of six on the
12 one end --
13 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's the meetings of the group of six,
14 including the military. That's what I refer here to in this sheet. The
15 members of the Office of the Prosecutor went through the book of Mr. Jovic
16 and has actually -- have actually listed who -- who met in that period we
17 are concerned with and in particular Mr. Kostic is concerned with. It's
18 just the period that Mr. Kostic is actually involved here. And we have
19 noted from all his entries in the book when they met.
20 JUDGE KWON: But, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, in earlier session you
21 clarified in a question to the Presiding Judge that it means the meeting
22 of the group of six people, on the one hand, and military on the other
23 hand. So could you check it out, please.
24 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Would you repeat the question.
1 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, please.
2 Q. The point I'm actually making, Mr. Kostic, and my question to you
3 was that although Mr. Milosevic was not a member of the Presidency, he and
4 Mr. Jovic met with the military outside of the Presidency, meeting, of
5 course, more often than you did in that period. And my --
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let him --
7 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: According to that sheet, it actually looks
8 like it, and you just see it's very obvious --
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think you cannot allow such
10 nonsense. Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff herself said that this is exacted from
11 Jovic's book based on his notes. Her question sounds as if she had a
12 document showing when the witness met with the military leadership. Even
13 Jovic in his book does not deal with Kostic's meetings, and I think that
14 this is not even correct. If it's from the book, it's not correct. There
15 couldn't have been six meetings in May, six or seven in June. Nobody
16 would have been doing anything else then. It's impossible. Whether they
17 met, that's a different issue. But there's nothing about meetings between
18 the witness and the military leadership that can be compared to this.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Never mind -- never mind the source. What's to
20 prevent her from putting that you met with the military leadership more
21 than this witness. Never mind the source. I think the question can be
22 put and it's for the witness to say yes or no.
23 Just put the question again.
24 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, did -- according to that sheet here, according to
1 Mr. Milosevic --
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Never mind the sheet. Never mind the sheet.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
4 Q. Okay. According to the book of Mr. Jovic, it seems that he and
5 Milosevic met the military leadership more often than you did. Is that
6 the correct view or not? Did they meet more often with Milosevic and
8 A. During the examination-in-chief, I said quite decidedly I did not
9 keep tabs on this. Who Mr. Jovic or who Mr. Milosevic were meeting,
10 that's something I can't say, especially on the basis of this information
11 that you say comes from Jovic's book. During the examination-in-chief, I
12 said, I said that some information from Jovic's book should be taken with
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: The witness says he's not in a position to
16 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, just to be correct and be
17 specific about the sheet -- the table, the remark here on the bottom,
18 "This overview does not include regular Presidency sessions," that's
19 correct. It includes only meetings out of -- outside the former framework
20 of the Presidency. So the footnote was correct.
21 Q. In -- we will go into quite some details a little bit later on on
22 political conflicts that Mr. Milosevic had with the Montenegrin president,
23 Mr. Bulatovic. When those conflicts arose - and I refer here in
24 particular to the Carrington Plan, the withdrawal of Montenegrin soldiers
25 from the front lines in Croatia and others that I will speak to you about
1 - you usually would take Mr. Milosevic's point of view and not support
2 Bulatovic; is that correct?
3 A. I did not support Milosevic by that, but I assessed at the time,
4 and I think that later developments prove me right, that in that period,
5 that is say from October 1991 onwards, the immediate --
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- state leadership --
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: -- you can answer that question more directly
9 than you are doing. The question is relatively simple, and it is whether
10 in relation to the conflicts, in particular the Carrington Plan, the
11 withdrawal of Montenegrin soldiers from the front lines in Croatia, that
12 generally you supported Mr. Milosevic's point of view as distinct from the
13 position of Mr. Bulatovic. What is your answer to that?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, quite simply I don't want to
15 answer a question put that way. All I want to say with respect to The
16 Hague document --
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's not for you to determine whether the
18 question is permissible. That's for the Trial Chamber.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I can answer
20 specifically. As far as The Hague document is concerned, Mr. Milosevic
21 and I had the same position, as opposed to Mr. Bulatovic with respect to
22 the withdrawal of part of the army from Montenegro, from Banija, and I
23 state that quite clearly in my book, and I'm sure the Prosecution has that
25 Mr. Bulatovic, as president of the Presidency of Montenegro,
1 called me in Podgorica to attend a meeting of the Presidency of
2 Montenegro, and they offered that I sign a request for fighters to return
3 from Banija. I refused to do that categorically and told them that even
4 if I didn't think the opposite, I couldn't do that because it wasn't part
5 of my purview as vice-president of the Yugoslav state Presidency, that it
6 was up to the General Staff or, rather, the Staff of the Supreme Command,
7 and I also told him that pursuant to the constitution it was even less up
8 to him to sign this request that the fighters return from the front,
9 because this came under the purview of federal organs and federal
10 institutions, and I think that's a complete answer.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
12 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
13 Q. In February 1992, there was a dispute between Mr. Milosevic and
14 Mr. Bulatovic regarding the command of the new army of the new Yugoslavia,
15 put it that simple. Do you recall that?
16 A. Well, you must be more specific, what you have in mind. Do you
17 mean when the constitutional foundations for the new Yugoslavia were
19 Q. No, but I think it's easier -- I will put to you from the book
20 "Rules of Silence" of Mr. Bulatovic, I will put a quote to you.
21 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And can this please be provided to everyone.
22 Q. And as you say, it's indeed about the new Yugoslavia that you
23 discussed in February and also even starting in January 1992 and who would
24 command the army.
25 A. Yes. Those are the constitutional foundations.
1 Q. Yes. And I would like to quote to you from page 2. And you have
2 only one page, and it's here actually indicated with a frame on your page.
3 "From your perspective, the things stood as follows: Branko
4 Kostic --" "From our perspective, the things stood as follows: Branko
5 Kostic had much more understanding for Slobodan Milosevic's proposal than
6 he had for my counter-arguments, and he justified that with federal
8 And I drop now a part that's not so relevant.
9 "During the discussion about the Supreme Defence Council and the
10 command over the Yugoslav army, Milosevic and I could not -- could in no
11 way find a solution. He requested that the president of the state be
12 given the command, and I wanted it to be a collective decision of all
13 three members of the Council; that is, the presidents of the republics and
14 that it be established by consensus."
15 And now I drop also a little part, and then it continues: "As far
16 as I was concerned, we could have done it for 44 hours, for I did not want
17 to give in because of a recent experience of life importance. I did not
18 want any president of Montenegro or Serbia to experience in the future the
19 things I had experienced when helplessly watching soldiers from Montenegro
20 being sent to Banija. Responsibility for their lives was objectively my
21 due, and my influence on that decision was equal to zero. I deemed
22 necessary that these two things be coordinated, and that responsibility
23 not be valid only after the fact, but also prior to the decision being
25 And he also refers then to, let's say, a little bit of forth and
1 back about formulations.
2 Do you recall that; and if so, is it true that you took
3 Mr. Milosevic's view?
4 A. I don't think you formulated the question properly. I did not
5 join in Mr. Milosevic's views, but in that discussion I demonstrated
6 profound disagreement with the position expressed by Mr. Momir Bulatovic.
7 Now, these discrepancies between us began earlier, because what Mr. Momir
8 Bulatovic advocated at the time when he says that he debated it for four
9 hours, he was in fact advocating in that new Yugoslavia once again some
10 sort of confederal element and some sort of collective leadership,
11 collective management of the army, with a general consensus and so on and
12 so forth.
13 Now, I came out in favour of another option that the new Federal
14 Republic of Yugoslavia should be a modern, functional federation, and
15 that's where we didn't see eye-to-eye and clashed in our party organs. I
16 was still in the party then, and Mr. Bulatovic was president of the party.
17 So our views clashed there and at the Assembly. In the Montenegrin
18 Assembly I came out publicly in defending the position that Montenegro
19 could not in that new Yugoslavia insist on having 50 per cent of the share
20 in the Yugoslav People's Army. And if that were the case, then it would
21 have to accept 50 per cent of the costs, and 50 per cent of the diplomats
22 in the diplomatic service, and then it would have to cover 50 per cent of
23 the costs and expenditure for those services. I assumed that in
24 establishing these constitutional foundations - and that's what we're
25 talking about, madam, the constitutional foundations - we should not be
1 allowed in Montenegro to take a position or to take any rigid, rigorous
2 positions which could later on lead Serbia not to accept those principles
3 for a common state.
4 Q. Mr. --
5 A. And I have to say -- may I just be allowed to say one more
6 sentence? I have to say that in that connection there were serious
7 manipulations in the leadership of my won party at the Main Board of the
8 Democratic Party of Socialists. We discussed this at much greater length,
9 but Mr. Bulatovic doesn't write about any of that in this book of his. So
10 in order to --
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
12 A. -- marry the two --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Could I ask, what was your view about how the army
14 should be commanded?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My view was that the command of the
16 army in that state should belong not to the presidents of the republics
17 but to the institution at the level of the federal state. Mr. Bonomy, I
18 considered that --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: How did that differ from Mr. Milosevic's view?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I didn't say that it was
21 opposed to his view, but I didn't join in Milosevic's view but defended
22 this as my own view. But I strongly stood up against the position
23 expressed by Mr. Bulatovic.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: But, you see, that is a very unhelpful way of
25 approaching virtually every question that you're asked, because it seems
1 to me that the actual answer to the question is that you and Mr. Milosevic
2 agreed, and disagreed with Mr. Bulatovic. Simple answer. And if I've got
3 that wrong, if I've got that basic position wrong, please correct me now.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think you have got it wrong.
5 First, I'm not a child to join in anybody else's opinion. I am somebody
6 with my own integrity and I have my own position.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: That is such a childish attitude. Everything has
8 to come from your perspective: Me, me, me. Why can't you just think
9 about the question you're being asked and answer it in a straightforward
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, what Mr. Milosevic's --
12 what Mr. Milosevic accepted during our joint discussions I would never
13 have accepted. I would have stood firm on the position that that new
14 state should be a modern, functional federation and that under its
15 competency and purview and power it has four or five basic functions; that
16 it have defence under its remit, that it has customs policies, the
17 monetary system, and so on, and at the level of that federal state to have
18 its own institutions through which it would realise those powers of it.
19 Now, Mr. Milosevic accepted something I would never have accepted,
20 in the quest for a compromise solution, probably, or for reaching an
21 agreement; I don't know that. He'll be best placed to answer that
23 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like to tender the --
24 this section of Bulatovic's book as part of Exhibit 942.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, we'll admit it.
1 JUDGE KWON: How about keeping the same number as the one we have
2 already admitted. So all as parts of Mr. Bulatovic's book "Rules of
4 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour, that's the proposal.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Just to complete this, the question that was asked
6 some time ago was: "In February 1992 there was a dispute between
7 Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Bulatovic regarding the command of the new army of
8 the new Yugoslavia, put it that simple."
9 So that, Mr. Kostic, was the issue, not the overall general
10 structure of the institutions of the new state.
11 Please carry on, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
12 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
13 Q. But, Mr. Kostic --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I be allowed to explain,
15 Mr. Bonomy?
16 JUDGE BONOMY: No. The Prosecutor will ask you what questions she
17 wishes and Mr. Milosevic can re-examine on it if he wishes.
18 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
19 Q. Mr. Kostic, you in the Presidency, in the Federal Presidency, was
20 the one to represent the Montenegrin interest in -- on the federal level,
21 but you do not support your own president, Mr. Bulatovic, on this
22 important issue where it really goes to the heart of the influence that
23 the Montenegrin leadership can have on this federal level. That's --
24 don't you think that's strange that you do not represent the Montenegrin
1 A. It was precisely through my desire to represent the interests of
2 Montenegro to the end that I firmly adhere to the position I expounded a
3 moment ago, because I consider and I think that time did tell that the
4 confederal elements as a collective command, a collective leadership and
5 so on and so forth, do not give the prospects of that common state having
6 a life. And from the very first day I did everything in my power to
7 retain and preserve that state. A compromise solution was found and then
8 it was said in the constitutional groundworks they refer -- what was
9 referred to was a united armed forces and united command; however, the
10 leadership of Montenegro - that is to say my colleagues from the top
11 political echelons of Montenegro - manipulated the matter at the time as
12 well, and instead of expanding on -- and saying "united," they put
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... here. Now let me interrupt
15 you here.
16 A. You've asked me a question and not given me the opportunity of
17 answering it. Mr. Robinson --
18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the answer, and it didn't
19 really go to the issue.
20 A. But you didn't let me finish.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, please proceed.
22 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Kostic, in 1990 -- in the spring of 1992, it was agreed that
24 the first president of the new Yugoslavia should be nominated by
25 Montenegro. That's correct, isn't it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And the -- your party, the Democratic Party of Socialists
3 nominated Mr. Svetozar Marovic. Remember that?
4 A. I remember it well.
5 Q. That's your party. They want him in this position.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. However, you also then can -- became a candidate, didn't you?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Let's put it this way: You were asked to -- for candidature on
10 this point. You were asked.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Who asked you?
13 A. Specifically, five minutes before the Federal Assembly went into
14 session, it was Mr. Seselj that asked for a meeting and told me that his
15 rather numerous group of deputies in the parliament would like to put
16 forward my name as candidate. And I said that my party had proposed a
17 candidate already on behalf of the Democratic Party of Socialists of
18 Montenegro, and that I couldn't accept it without having consulted my
19 party first.
20 We held those consultations, and my party did not lend its support
21 but went through with its original proposal and I did not accept myself
22 being put forward as a candidate.
23 Q. Mr. Milosevic proposed that you should -- should have a
24 candidature for the Presidency, for the president of the new Yugoslavia.
25 Isn't that what happened?
1 A. That's the first time I've heard of it. I think that I found
2 somewhere -- I do apologise, but I think there's somewhere in Boro Jovic's
3 book I did find a passage -- or once again from his notes, an assertion to
4 the effect that he and Milosevic talked to me. Mr. Milosevic just in one
5 talk offered me the post of defence minister, and I said to him on that
6 occasion if Mr. Bulatovic as president of Montenegro and president of the
7 ruling party in Montenegro, and you Mr. Milosevic as President of Serbia
8 and president of the ruling party in Serbia take it upon yourselves, the
9 two most important posts in that new state, that in that case I would be
10 prepared to continue my political engagement and take up political
11 functions. As that did not happen, I thanked them and returned to the
12 university because I considered that at the outset it was the two most
13 prominent figures should assume those two most prominent posts, functions
14 in the federal state, all the more so as all the international deputies
15 and representatives had communicated with them previously as presidents of
16 the republics.
17 Q. Let me quote from Exhibit 596, tab 3. It's Mr. Jovic's book on
18 Milosevic and I refer to the pages 87 and 88. Yes. We can put this on
19 the ELMO, but I have actually -- I quote first from page -- quote 87, 88:
20 "It is obvious --" and it's about -- in this relation he speaks
21 first about Mr. Marovic not being known to -- on the federal level and to
22 Mr. Milosevic, and it says here: "It is obvious that it influenced
23 Milosevic, who was pulling all strings and making personnel and other
24 decisions in that transitive situation, to try to impose his own candidate
25 for Montenegro, one that he could trust. Milosevic wanted Branko Kostic
1 ... nominate himself for the FRY president ... He was extremely
2 cooperative and loyal in the period of the efforts for preserving
3 Yugoslavia and the defence of the Serbian people's interest. In the
4 critical moments, he was even more on the side of Serbian than the
5 Montenegrin interests"
6 Then a little bit further down: "Slobodan's idea is that Branko
7 Kostic found certain support in Montenegro, if he is not able in his party
8 then out of it, and we will elect him regardless of the will of the
9 Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists. He says he already got consent
10 for he --" that's Mr. Milosevic. "He says he already got consent from
11 Vojislav Seselj and he believes that the other parties will prefer to vote
12 for Branko Kostic than for Marovic. He suggests that I organise a meeting
13 with Branko Kostic and persuade him to accept that proposal of his."
14 And you agreed to this proposal, did you not, Mr. Kostic?
15 A. It is correct that what you've just read out is what it says
16 there, but none of it is correct. None of what Mr. Borisav Jovic says is
17 correct. And I've already said that you should take some of his
18 assertions with reservations. Nor did he write that as a diary. In that
19 book of his he says that on the 14th of July we made the decision to
20 withdraw the army from Slovenia, whereas we did that on the 18th of July.
21 So what Mr. Jovic says here is incorrect. And there are many other things
22 that are not correct in books that I've read on subjects that I've talked
23 about, and it's also incorrect that I ever proclaimed that I would put
24 myself forth as a candidate, and Mr. Jovic goes on in the text to discuss
25 my fate and my destiny and an attitude towards me linked to Dobrica
1 Cosic's orientation, and so on. The full truth is that we had three
2 consultations about cadre solutions for the post of the president of the
3 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. At two of these consultations nobody
4 except for me made any mention of a single name, and at the first and at
5 the second and at the third meeting I persisted in repeating that the two
6 most responsible posts in the federal state must be taken over by the two
7 most prominent men, that is to say Mr. Milosevic and Momir Bulatovic,
8 without entering in who will be Prime Minister and who would be president
9 of the state, of the country. So those strivings of mine --
10 Q. Let me interrupt you here. Mr. Jovic wouldn't have any reason to
11 make something like this up, would he? There is no reason for him to just
12 make this up.
13 A. Madam, let me tell you, Mr. Bulatovic in his book said that we
14 drank coffee at Batajnica airport before we took off in the plane. Quite
15 incorrect. So this is incorrect too. I can't say anything else but that
16 it is incorrect, not true. I have no other choice. And I can also add
17 that we were the last people at the -- or, rather, that Mr. Bulatovic be
18 proposed as candidate and that that had been already decided in the party
20 JUDGE KWON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, before you ask the witness
21 whether he agreed to the suggestion of Milosevic and Jovic, why don't you
22 put the passage where he described a meeting in a villa in Dedinje. It's
23 the last paragraph of 88.
24 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. "We met in a villa in Dedinje where Branko Kostic lived. Slobodan
1 was avoiding starting the conversation because certain master of the house
2 was bustling around and serving coffee and other drinks and he felt
3 unpleasant to ask him to leave. All three of us went out and started the
4 conversation in the garden. Slobodan was explaining to Branko the whole
5 idea and the ways of implementing.
6 "Branko agreed. He was convinced that this move was good for the
7 future of Yugoslavia because he was, similarly like us, very critical
8 about the behaviour of Montenegrin leadership in the period of Yugoslav
10 He is very precise about what is actually discussed and where.
11 And actually, I think I even continue here: "Soon he announced -" he,
12 that's you - "announced that he would run for office, and this caused even
13 more considerable distrust and suspicion among the republic leadership and
14 especially a storm of resistance in the official Montenegro leadership."
15 So he's very precise.
16 A. Very convincing, I have to say. Perhaps that's something
17 Mr. Jovic dreamt of. But the description is very convincing, and it's
18 almost -- it's very difficult for one not to believe it, but all I can say
19 is that this whole story about the running for office and all this time
20 that nothing was known was just two days; it was the weekend. And
21 Mr. Seselj, when prior to the Assembly session suggested that his party,
22 his deputies would put me forward as candidate and I said that I would
23 consult my own party, that is why the election was put off for two days.
24 I think it was left to Monday or the following week, the Wednesday.
25 So there couldn't have been much discussion or dilemma on that
1 point. And ultimately, why would I accept it in that conversation of
2 running for office? It was highly unreasonable, Mr. Seselj putting me
3 forward, bypassing the support from my party and my party's supporters,
4 and why Mr. Milosevic and Jovic wouldn't have put my name forward
5 themselves as candidate.
6 Q. Let me interrupt you, Mr. Kostic.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, did Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Jovic visit
8 your villa?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I lived in two villas. I mostly
10 lived in Uzicka Street number 16, and for the last month I lived in what
11 was known as the Vojvodina villa. And as far as I know, as far as I
12 remember, Milosevic and Jovic never visited me in that villa. I really
13 don't remember them ever having come there.
14 JUDGE KWON: What --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Milosevic did visit me once. I
16 don't know whether it was April or May. He visited me in this villa, and
17 that was the only villa, the villa in Uzicka number 16. But the villa was
18 supposed to be adapted, reconstructed, whatever. So there was discussion
19 over --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't need all these details, Mr. Kostic. I knew
21 it wouldn't be simple. There's bound to be more than one villa for a
22 start. The villa in Dedinje is the one referred to in the question. Now,
23 which of the villas is that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was official accommodation,
25 Mr. Bonomy, both of them. Mr. Bonomy, it was official accommodation. I
1 had an apartment, one apartment in one of those villas. For a time I was
2 in one, for a time I was in another, when I moved.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: In that one that is referred to in that book, did
4 Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Jovic visit you there?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said no. No. I can't
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, is it "no" or is it "I can't remember"?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you.
11 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
12 Q. Mr. Kostic, what benefit would Mr. Jovic have to make up such a
14 A. That's something you would have to ask him. I really can't answer
15 that question. Why would he do that? Why can you find very bad lies in
16 some other books? You can ask that question as well.
17 Q. Mr. Kostic --
18 A. We found Mr. Mesic in his book telling so many untruthful things
20 Q. You are evading, actually, to answer. I asked you what benefit
21 would there be in for Mr. Jovic and your answer would actually have to be
22 "There is no benefit in making up this lie."
23 MR. KAY: Well, he's answered the question: "Ask Mr. Jovic."
24 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: He hasn't answered the question, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let us move on, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
1 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
2 Q. But I want to quote still from the book how this concluded, and
3 it's on page 89 at the bottom and the following page:
4 "Slobodan Milosevic called me to inform me about the definite
5 proposal of the FRY president, just like nothing has happened, like we had
6 not talked with Branko Kostic. He told me that we would go for Dobrica
7 Cosic, that we wouldn't nominate him or probably that we would vote for
8 him. He said he had talked with Dobrica and that he had agreed."
9 And, Mr. Kostic, that was the reason why you withdrew your
10 nomination for president; right?
11 A. That's not how it was, ma'am. That's your conclusion. Please
12 don't expect me to confirm your conclusion. I'm saying this is a
13 fabrication. It's made up. There are many things that are made up, in
14 that book and in many others you've quoted from.
15 Q. At the beginning of your testimony, you said that in June 1992,
16 you withdrew from political life. Mr. Kostic, you were expelled from your
17 own party; isn't that right?
18 A. End 1992. But in mid-1992, I withdrew from political life,
19 because it was my personal decision. And in end 1992, the leadership of
20 my party expelled me from the party.
21 Q. Your remark that you withdrew from political life is not entirely
22 true, because you campaigned against Momir Bulatovic for the president
23 position in Montenegro in December 1992, did you not?
24 A. Madam, on the 15th of June, I stopped being vice-president of the
25 Presidency of the SFRY, and by December I had withdrawn from political
1 life completely. In December, there were presidential elections in
2 Montenegro, and one of the presidential candidates was Momir Bulatovic, as
3 nominated by the ruling Socialist Party --
4 Q. Mr. Kostic --
5 A. -- and there were another seven or eight people running for that
6 office. And there was also a group of citizens --
7 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: [Previous translation continues] ...
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Why can't you --
9 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I asked you --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Why can't you just say whether or not you
11 campaigned for the office of president against Mr. Bulatovic? It's a
12 simple question. It's either yes or it's no.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did, Mr. Bonomy, but five or
14 six months --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you very much.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- after I withdrew from my
17 political life. And if I can explain very briefly why --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. No explanation, please. Let's move on.
19 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
20 Q. During the campaign in December 1992 in Montenegro, the
21 Montenegrin leadership strived for more independence from Serbia, did it?
22 And you did not approve of this; right?
23 A. It's not that way.
24 Q. Mr. Milosevic supported you in your campaign; is that correct?
25 A. That's not true.
1 Q. I would like to put again a quote from Mr. Bulatovic's book
2 "Rules of Silence" to you. And it will be given to everybody here because
3 we would like to tender this afterwards into evidence.
4 We can also put it on the ELMO. We can put it on the ELMO and
5 provide the copies later.
6 Mr. Kostic, it's a meeting that Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Bulatovic
7 have after the election, obviously, and Mr. Bulatovic said the following:
8 "I heard him out and, regaining my composure, shook his hand and said:
9 'This is the hand of real cooperation between the presidents of Montenegro
10 and Serbia. I know that your candidate was Branko Kostic. His Belgrade
11 election headquarters was in your cabinet. Your man of confidence, Mihalj
12 Kertes, brought information over on a special flight, which was supposed
13 to compromise me in a TV debate ...'"
14 And then he continues and says: "Then the phone rang --" Let's
15 say -- I'd rather read the whole thing. "He wouldn't give in. He
16 defended himself with a torrent of words. It is impossible that I would
17 buy into such disinformation. My information is wrong and my sources
18 malevolent. He would never even think of doing something like that, and
19 the like. Then the phone rang. It was his wife who, when she found out I
20 was there, wanted to congratulate me personally on the election. In the
21 third sentence, she said that she kept telling Slobodan not to support
22 Branko Kostic, but he wouldn't listen to her."
23 This is what Mr. Bulatovic writes in his book, and he is what --
24 what -- he is telling the truth, does he not?
25 A. That is not the truth, Mr. Robinson. What the lady just read from
1 Momir Bulatovic's book was written in a book in which Bulatovic claims
2 that I was a candidate of the Serbian Radical Party, that is not true;
3 that the Assembly of Montenegro accepted The Hague document, which is not
4 true; that the leadership of our common party accepted The Hague document,
5 which is not true; that we drank coffee together in Batajnica, which again
6 is not true. There are many things that are not true.
7 Q. Mr. Kostic, I was asking you about this very specific event and
8 there was no need to go into other details of the book, just this one, and
9 I understand your answer to say it's not true.
10 A. He talked to Mr. Milosevic. Mr. Milosevic can say whether that
11 conversation took place or not. I'm just telling you that you are
12 referring to a source which contains a lot of incorrect and untruthful
13 things, and these are not details to me.
14 I wrote, by the way, a very extensive critique of that book, and
15 all these things are verifiable, based on original documentation.
16 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like to have this page
17 admitted into evidence.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, what we're considering is
20 that consistency with our past practice would require that we don't admit
21 it because the witness hasn't agreed or accepted your propositions, but
22 Mr. Milosevic may have no objection to it.
23 Mr. Milosevic?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Of course it's pointless to exhibit
25 books written by somebody else concerning events involving Kostic that
1 Kostic denies. What does this prove? It proves that that man really
2 wrote this. And I think it's really nonsense what is written. I don't
3 want to go into the reasons.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: I think that's probably a fair point consistently
5 with what we've decided. The difference here, significant difference here
6 is that the person who wrote the book is to be a witness, and therefore
7 the position, I suppose, might change.
8 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will not admit it now, then. Well, we can
10 mark it for identification pending the testimony of Mr. Bulatovic.
11 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Okay. Your Honour, before the break, I have
12 to -- I've forgotten to ask admittance of one of the pages of the book of
13 Mr. Kostic himself. It's the pages 267 to 270. We had discussed this,
14 but I had forgotten to ask that it be admitted under tab 3 -- under --
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, it will be admitted.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the one page that was marked for
17 identification will be 944 MFI.
18 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
19 Q. In -- in the examination-in-chief, you had addressed with
20 Mr. Milosevic Exhibits D333, tab 1. That's the visit of the president or
21 ambassador of -- meeting with Dr. Nathan Shamuyarira. And I would like to
22 speak about a few other passages in this exhibit.
23 First, I would like to direct you to page 4 in the English, and
24 it's how you characterised the people you were negotiating with and
25 supposed to find peace agreements with in 1991, and you say: "I have to
1 say that unfortunately at the beginning of this century and in the first
2 half of the century the policies of the Catholic church and the Vatican
3 coincided and connected rather successfully with Hitler's Nazi ideology
4 and that we were going about the same business."
5 That means you compared the new government of Croatia with the
6 Hitler regime that prevailed at that time in Croatia. And you also said:
7 "When Tudjman came to power in Croatia, that Second World War ideology
8 began to reassert itself. Tudjman opened the borders to Ustasha who had
9 emigrated, who had fled after the Second World War."
10 Mr. Kostic, speaking about the people you need to discuss with and
11 find solution with in this form wouldn't really yield any agreements.
12 Don't you think so?
13 A. Well, that's your conclusion. That didn't -- it didn't lead to a
14 solution. That's why we were not able to find a common language or reach
15 an agreement. And it's indisputable that even Mr. Mesic in a passage that
16 we quoted here, as an opposition leader, when he parted ways with Tudjman,
17 he said clearly and loudly that lots of the things that were happening in
18 Croatia at the time recalled the times of the Independent State of
19 Croatia. And it's also well known that the Catholic church played a very
20 important role through the so-called rat channels in the removal of --
21 Q. Mr. Kostic, we're not talking now about the World War II and what
22 happened there. I was just putting to you that if you think of your --
23 people you have to negotiate with, if you speak about them in this way,
24 how could you ever think of achieving an agreement with them and a
25 peaceful solution if you say about them they are basically representing
1 the old Nazi regime?
2 A. Well, madam, if we had been expecting a positive outcome from our
3 talks, we wouldn't have involved the international community - primarily
4 Europe - in those talks. You cannot disregard that. If those people were
5 not like I said, Mr. Mesic himself would not renounce them later.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will adjourn for 20 minutes.
7 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 12.41 p.m.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please continue, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
10 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, when you compared the authorities in Croatia with the
12 -- the state that actually existed, the Croatian state that existed in --
13 in the 1940s, you actually imply, and I think you actually said it
14 publicly, that the Serbs in Croatia were supposed to suffer another
15 genocide. They were threatened with another genocide. You said those
16 things, right, at that time?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Losing the formal status of a constituent nation does not endanger
19 the Serbs in their survival; right?
20 A. I did not understand the question. Would you please repeat it.
21 Q. When speaking about the genocide, it's often referred to the fact
22 that the Serb people were losing the formal status of a constituent
23 nation, and my question was to you losing this formal status of a
24 constituent nation does not endanger the Serbs in their survival; is that
1 A. Well, it could have endangered them, that's true. The loss of the
2 status of constituent people for Serbs in the new Croatian constitution
3 that establishes a nation state of Croats and relegates Serbs to a status
4 of minority, together with all the other things that were present on the
5 Croatian political scene at that time did present a danger, and the Serb
6 people - and you quoted some data yourself - has become a minority in real
7 terms in Croatia, with a share of only 4 per cent in the total population.
8 Q. Mr. Kostic, actually the Serbs are listed in the preamble of the
9 constitution of Croatia as minority, along with the assurances of proper
10 minority rights. You know that, do you?
11 A. I know that. I know that.
12 Q. And being a constituent nation would not have solved the problems
13 of the Serbs living in Croatia, would it? The problems that the Serbs
14 faced on these territories that later became the RSK, they wouldn't have
15 been solved had they been named constituent nation in the Croatian
16 constitution. That was not really the problem, was it?
17 A. Well, preserving the role of constituent people in Croatia from
18 the Serbs' point of view would not have resolved their problems but would
19 have been a much better guarantee of safety in view of their historical
20 experience and all the things they had gone through in the Second World
22 Q. Mr. Kostic, these exaggerations surrounding this formal status was
23 just used as a pretext for the propaganda that the Serbs were threatened
24 with genocide. Isn't that what really was going on?
25 A. That's your opinion, not mine.
1 Q. Given your discussion with Judge Kwon on the difference in the
2 right of a constituent nation and a minority, you said that the difference
3 would be that on all matters of fate and destiny the decision must be
4 taken with acquiescence of all constituent nations and that there would be
5 no out-voting. Did I understand you correctly there in this point?
6 A. If I remember that exchange with Mr. Kwon correctly, it had to do
7 with the Belgrade Initiative and the constitutional arrangements that
8 meant that all nations and all republics were included on a basis of
9 absolute equality and without any out-voting. There was another exchange
10 - I don't know whether it was with Mr. Kwon - concerning the constituent
11 nature of peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina where the constitution states that
12 two nations cannot decide against the third one in matters of life and
13 death, in crucial matters. There were no such provisions in the Croatian
14 constitution requiring complete consensus on crucial, vital issues, but
15 the constituent role for the people -- for Serb people in Croatia would
16 have given greater guarantees to Serbs in terms of safety.
17 Q. Mr. Kostic, I had actually -- the Prosecution team looked at both
18 the constitution of Croatia and also the constitution of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina before the amendments, and first of all, in neither of these
20 constitutions the term "constituent peoples" is used at all. Those
21 constitutions were not ethnically based republics. The emphasis was on
22 the power of the working people; workers, citizens, and nations. Are you
23 aware of this?
24 A. I have already told you that I was not a lawyer. I'm an
25 economist, and I cannot comment on the constitutions of any of these
1 republics, including mine. But I don't know whether it is stipulated in
2 some part of the constitution or not, but in the rules of procedure of
3 various bodies it was very clearly stated.
4 Q. And, Mr. Kostic, I also had checked the constitutions of both
5 Croatia and Herzegovina to find out whether there is this difference
6 between a constituent nation and a minority that you actually claimed here
7 in your discussion with Judge Kwon; that is, that all matters of fate and
8 destiny would have to have the consent of all constituent nations. And
9 actually, there is no such provision, not in the Croatian constitution nor
10 in the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. What do you say to this?
11 A. First of all, you mentioned constituent or constitution forming
12 people, whereas I talked of constituent. Maybe there is no distinction.
13 I'm not sure. Maybe it's the same thing. But I'm telling you what I know
14 about this matter, and I'm not an expert. If I'm mistaken somewhere,
15 please don't take it against me, but I still believe that in Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina, the method of decision-making as far as vital decisions are
17 concerned was stipulated in such a way that the agreement of all three
18 constituent nations was required. Once decisions started being taken by
19 out-voting, that started a whole process that began with the walkout of
20 Serb representatives, the decision-making in the Bosnian parliament
21 without Serb representation, et cetera.
22 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, we don't have a translation of
23 both the constitutions, and they are not tendered in evidence yet. The
24 only proposal I could actually make at the moment is say that it is not in
25 there according to our checking, and my proposal would be that we give it
1 to -- perhaps give the B/C/S version of both constitutions to Mr. Kostic
2 so that he can look into it over the weekend, and if he finds what he
3 claims in there, he could then direct us to it. I mean, otherwise, it's
4 very difficult to prove a negative when you don't have the full text.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I ask you to intervene so that I
9 get those copies of the constitutions of Croatia and Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina, because I may need them for my re-examination.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: That is what I was going to suggest; that they be
12 handed to the -- to Mr. Milosevic so that he may use them in
14 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. We will do that.
15 Q. And actually, what I -- what I said to you, Mr. Kostic, about what
16 you said to Mr. Kwon, it's in the 2nd February session where it actually
17 is said this way as I have quoted it, just as the reference for everyone
18 to check.
19 I would like now to return to the Defence exhibit, tab 1. And,
20 Mr. Kostic, I would like to direct you to page 8 in the English. And you
21 speak with Mr. Shamuyarira about the Muslims, and you say the following,
22 and it's on page 8: "The vast majority of the Muslims in 95 or 98 per
23 cent of cases are Islamised Serbs, Serbs who accepted Islam, that is.
24 However, 30 years ago, the Yugoslav authorities gave the Muslims the
25 status of a people, a nation. This is the only example in the world of a
1 population, a group, having its right to nationhood recognised on a purely
2 religious basis."
3 These Islamised Serbs, this term --
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That's page 15 in Serbian, if I may
6 assist the witness.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. Let us wait in the witness finds it,
8 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've found it.
10 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
11 Q. This term "Islamised Serbs" for Muslims that is actually a term we
12 have heard from Mr. Seselj here as well, but how come you used that term?
13 Do you share his views on that, Mr. Seselj's views?
14 A. On many issues Mr. Seselj and I have completely diverging views.
15 However, there are certain terms in the Serbian language for which there
16 is no other word. These were indeed Serbs who used to be Orthodox
17 Christians and who for various reasons, either for reasons of blood
18 vendetta or for better expectations in life, converted to Islam.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Do you or do you not share Mr. Seselj's views on
20 this matter?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what Mr. Seselj's view
22 is on the matter, but I've already said here. The lady quoted the word
23 "people." It's not the people, it's the nation. I've always said that
24 the Yugoslav Communist Party, at one point in relation to that Yugoslav
25 nation who was part of the population, the Yugoslav Communist Party
1 decided they should have the status of nation.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let us move on.
3 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
4 Q. A little further on, you say: "The big problem is that in Bosnia
5 the Serbs and the Muslims are mixed together. In 105 of 110
6 municipalities they live together mixed together. In some municipalities
7 the Muslims are the ethnic majority, in some municipalities the Serbs are
8 the ethnic majority. The Croats are ethnically fairly homogenous in
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina. They make up about 95 per cent of the population
10 in Western Herzegovina ..."
11 You said that to the ambassador and that was how it was; right?
12 A. Correct, that's what I said, yes.
13 Q. I'd like to quote now from the next page, it's page 9, Your
14 Honours, and -- page 9 in the English. It should be on your page or the
15 next one.
16 It says here: "The European Community and Mr. Badinter as
17 president of the Arbitration Commission unfortunately suggested that a
18 referendum be carried out among the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 This means applying the principle of predominance and destroying the
20 principle of equal right of all ... peoples in line with the constitution
21 of Bosnia and Herzegovina which is in force."
22 Can you please explain to me how a referendum, which is actually a
23 tool of a democratic regime, can be explained to be the principle of
24 predominance? How can you call a democratic referendum that?
25 A. Well, madam, during my previous testimony I said Mr. Alija
1 Izetbegovic had said that all that was going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina
2 was going on about 30 years too early, because in about 30 years Muslims
3 would have an absolute majority in the population. In the then conditions
4 of great tension in Bosnia, the only real solution was to conduct a
5 referendum within each of the constituent peoples in Bosnia. And if all
6 the three respective majorities were in favour of forming an independent
7 state, then that decision would have been justified. This way, if
8 representatives of the Serb people -- rather, not representatives but all
9 the Serbs boycotted that referendum, held their referendum instead and the
10 greatest majority of them voted for staying in the existing common state
11 together with Bosnia, maybe even sovereign, but constituted along
12 principles that would again prevent out-voting.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... interrupt you here. You -- I
14 just quoted to you that you yourself say the Serbs and the Muslims are
15 completely mixed in 105 of these municipalities. How can a referendum for
16 just groups of these -- for this ethnic group lead to any solution? Why
17 not a referendum for all of them as they live all together on that same
18 territory? I would just like you to explain to me, how would three
19 referendums solve that situation?
20 A. I can understand, madam, that it's truly difficult for you to
21 comprehend this. It only goes to show how little you are familiar with
22 the situation on the Balkans. I don't hold it against you, really,
23 because it's impossible for you to understand this.
24 Q. It's impossible for you to -- but I don't want to argue with the
25 witness. Thank you.
1 I will continue -- perhaps you can explain it to me and in
2 particular to the Judges.
3 A. If you insist, I'll try. You see, Muslims, Croats, and Serbs, but
4 mostly the Muslims and Serbs, were all mixed up in 105 municipalities.
5 Muslims and Serbs in practically every municipality. These Muslims and
6 these Serbs had their constitutional status within the Socialist
7 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. At one point in time what happened was
8 that the vast majority of the Muslim population at the first multi-party
9 parliamentary elections voted for the Party of Democratic Action, which
10 was their national and religious party, and --
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... here. The question is very
12 simple: How would three separate referenda solve the situation?
13 A. In my deep conviction, much better and in a much more peaceful way
14 than the way it was actually solved. It was actually done on the basis of
15 a referendum of only the Muslim and Croatian peoples in Bosnia, because
16 the Serbs boycotted the referendum. Let me tell you again, I don't hold
17 it against you that you don't understand this.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: It doesn't seem to me that you have provided the
19 explanation sought by the Prosecutor.
20 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I will move on, Your Honour. And I move on
21 actually a little in the text, and we move just a few lines further down.
22 Q. You say here: "I myself think the best solution would be a
23 peaceful resolution of the crisis, if Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole
24 became part of Yugoslavia, within the borders that it --"
25 It's page 9. It's just a few lines from the last quote.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, I've found it.
2 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
3 Q. "... within the borders that it has today with all three peoples.
4 In such a case we would not deny the Croatian people the right to leave
5 Yugoslavia and Bosnia and possibly join with Croatia, if they come out for
6 this in a referendum."
7 Mr. Kostic, did you propose here the partition of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina? That means the part where these Croats live, they join
9 Croatia. Is that what you propose here?
10 A. No. First of all, this is not a proposal. How could I make a
11 proposal to a minister from a friendly country in Africa concerning
12 partition and so on? I am only reiterating the unanimous standpoint of
13 the Presidency of the SFRY, which on the 7th of September, 1991, Mr. Mesic
14 presented at the inaugural conference in The Hague. That is to say that
15 we recognise to every constituent nation the right to self-determination,
16 including secession. This is the first of the four principles that
17 Mr. Mesic, on behalf of the entire Presidency, and even all the presidents
18 of the republics, read out at the conference. To this we added the
19 principle that no solutions would be imposed on anybody by force, and the
20 third principle was that all options and all solutions would be treated
22 So I was not making anything up here. This was simply the basis
23 which had previously been accepted.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Excuse me. Can I ask what did you mean, then,
25 would happen if the Croatian people, in a referendum, voted to leave
1 Yugoslavia and Bosnia?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, I cannot say what would
3 have happened if something else had happened. I said that the best
4 solution would be for Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole to remain within
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand that, but you go on to say: "In such
7 a case, we would not deny the Croatian people the right to leave
8 Yugoslavia and Bosnia and possibly join with Croatia if they come out for
9 this in a referendum."
10 Now, what did you envisage would happen if the Croatian people
11 decided that's what they wanted to do in a referendum?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to tell you that, although
13 I'm not sure, it would have been very difficult to implement, just as I'm
14 sure that voting in a referendum in my country of Montenegro could be
15 carried out peacefully and without any problems. But the principle is
16 always the same and applies to everyone, which is why I advocated the
17 preservation of Yugoslavia and the preservation of Bosnia as a whole
18 within Yugoslavia.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, you are evading the question. There
20 doesn't seem to be within you the ability to talk straight on anything.
21 You have here a clear statement in such a case what you would not
22 deny the Croatian people. You now tell me that that's a bit theoretical
23 and there would be practical difficulties, which may be one or part of the
24 explanation for all the problems that we are dealing with here, but what I
25 would like you to tell me is what you envisaged was the practical way of
1 implementing a decision of the people of Croatia -- the Croatian people in
2 Bosnia, in a referendum, to leave Yugoslavia and Bosnia. How did you
3 envisage that that would be implemented? In fact, in practice, not in
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, I cannot provide a
6 precise response to such a hypothetical question. I knew what I was
8 JUDGE BONOMY: You raised the question, Mr. Kostic, not me. You
9 raised it in your conversation with the ambassador.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't deny I said it, but I only
11 presented it as a potential possibility based on generally accepted
12 principles within Yugoslavia, principles with which we came to The Hague
13 Conference. We denied no one the right to decide in a democratic manner
14 where and with whom they would live. We only opposed this being done by
15 force, as Croatia and Slovenia did.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I simply --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And please don't be angry with me.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: No. I simply note your unwillingness to answer the
19 question. Thank you.
20 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
21 Q. I would like to continue with the document. It's actually a
22 little bit further down on the same page, on page 9. Mr. Nathan
23 Shamuyarira also understood it this way, because he says: "In other
24 words, the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina." And your answer to him
25 is: "In my opinion, the best solution in this case would probably be for
1 these people in the Serbian Krajina, who wish to remain in within
2 Yugoslavia, to be given the right to self-determination, and the Croats
3 enabled to become part of Croatia along with their territories. That
4 would probably be the least painful solution."
5 Mr. Kostic, you are actually even more clear here on this, what
6 you had in mind. And I would like to make another quote here, because you
7 continue further: "We think that a solution could be reached through
8 political negotiations, that the ethnic majority principle could be
9 applied by agreement, and that could be done by patient negotiations."
10 And then Mr. Shamuyarira says: "Well, let's become get back to
11 division - how would Sarajevo be divided?"
12 And you say: "I do not have a complete picture of how the
13 population is distributed, but the entire area surrounding Sarajevo is
14 populated by Serbs. However, in Sarajevo itself we have all three. The
15 Croats could hardly reckon on being involved in Sarajevo, that's for sure.
16 "But in the event of cantonisation, the Serbs and the Muslims
17 could probably work out how to create a division, as far as Sarajevo is
18 concerned. Because the starting point for cantonisation is the principle
19 of an ethnic majority within a given area. Cantonisation would mean a
20 division of Bosnia and Herzegovina which would allow the Croats and Serbs
21 to have communications and links with their home states, Croatia and
22 Serbia, in other words Yugoslavia."
23 Mr. Kostic, that seems to imply that you had in mind a division,
24 and that would also mean exchange of populations, of resettlement, would
25 it not?
1 A. No. You are drawing completely the wrong conclusion from all
2 this. At the outset, I said that all my efforts were aimed at preserving
3 Yugoslavia and Bosnia as a whole. Had you allowed us to see a few
4 extracts from this CD that I offered yesterday, Mrs. Dubravka Kenic asked
5 me the same question on the 24th of December, and drew the same
6 conclusion; if there is ethnic division, there is no Bosnia. And I
7 respond that's what it would mean, but it's not the solution. What I see
8 as the solution is for Bosnia as a whole to remain in a common state. All
9 the other possible solutions I mentioned, wasn't that the Cutileiro Plan,
10 the idea to cantonise Bosnia? Weren't all these ideas found in the Dayton
11 peace agreement, madam, and all other peace agreements?
12 Please don't accuse me of wanting to divide Bosnia.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, I'm not sure I understood how
14 it would necessarily mean the exchange of populations, of resettlement.
15 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Mr. --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: You had put to the witness --
17 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: -- that his position would imply an exchange of
19 populations. Perhaps you could reformulate the question.
20 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, I will do that.
21 Q. Mr. Kostic, we have heard you say to the ambassador that in 105 of
22 the municipalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina the Muslims and the Serbs were
23 mixed, and the ethnic majority principle that you refer to here would not
24 work in a 50/50 situation, would it?
25 A. No, but in those 105 municipalities, in some places the Muslims
1 were in majority and in others it was the Serbs. And probably the
2 cantonisation envisaged in the Cutileiro Plan would be based on that. It
3 wouldn't have meant resettlement and exchange of populations. Certainly
4 large numbers of people would have remained where they were regardless of
5 whether the canton was to be a Muslim, Serb, or Croatian canton. You know
6 that many Serbs remained in Sarajevo and that even today neither in
7 Republika Srpska nor in the Bosnia-Herzegovina federation do we have an
8 ethnically pure population. In the Croatian federation in Bosnia today,
9 there are Serbs, just as there are Muslims living in Republika Srpska.
10 But these ideas were actually in line with what turned out to be the final
11 peace plan for Bosnia.
12 My biggest mistake -- the Muslims are the most numerous people in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina -- let me finish my idea. In the former Yugoslavia,
14 the big Yugoslavia, after the Serbs, the Muslims were the most numerous
15 people, scattered in various republics and on various territories, and the
16 biggest mistake I made from the very beginning was that I felt that the
17 Muslims would be the ones advocating preserving the integrity of the
18 entire territory and of the state. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
19 Q. Mr. Kostic, those -- Mr. Kostic, for those who would not want to
20 live -- let's say the Muslims who would not want to live in a Serb
21 territory where 50 per cent had actually -- where the Serbs had the
22 majority but their villages are in there with Muslim majorities, these
23 people, if they didn't want to live on this Serbian territory, would have
24 to leave their homes and go somewhere else.
25 A. That would depend on each individual. We had many large-scale
1 occurrences of individuals of Serb and Croat ethnicity exchanging houses
2 and property and so on, those who didn't want to stay on the territory
3 where they were, but that was their free decision.
4 Q. Mr. Kostic, if you have 105 municipalities in which the population
5 is totally mixed, and where you have, for instance, a 50/50 situation or
6 55/45 situation, if these people don't want to live, for instance, in the
7 Serb territory, or otherwise in the Muslims' territory, they would have to
8 move, would they not? Your proposal would lead to a change of
10 A. What proposal are you talking about? My proposal was to preserve
11 Bosnia in its entirety within Yugoslavia. All this is purely
12 hypothetical, what you're saying. These ideas about a division based on
13 ethnicity, that was found in the Cutileiro Plan.
14 From the very beginning I felt, as I still do today, that the best
15 solution would have been for Bosnia to remain within Yugoslavia as a
16 whole, in its entirety.
17 Q. That's understood, Mr. Kostic. I was just quoting from your own
18 words, that you had envisioned such a division. And I was just putting to
19 you if that would have been done, that would mean those who don't want to
20 live, for instance, on the Serb territory that you have in mind would have
21 to leave. And that's actually what happened, did it not?
22 A. That's not correct. I didn't envisage any such division. That's
23 your opinion. You have the right to your opinion, but it's also my right
24 to challenge it and deny it.
25 From the very first day, I advocated Bosnia remaining whole and
1 entire within Yugoslavia, and the ideas you are mentioning were later
2 incorporated into the Cutileiro Plan and the Dayton Accord. Don't expect
3 me to confirm what you're saying. Don't expect to wear me down by your
4 persistent questioning to get me to finally say what you want me to say.
5 As you see, I'm very resilient.
6 Q. I move on now to another point and it's very brief, actually. The
7 failure to select Mr. Mesic as president of the Presidency, at that time
8 when the Presidency was split and the relations were very tense on the
9 15th of May, 1991, the regular change on the rotation -- rotating
10 Presidency was supposed to take place. It was the regular procedure;
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And in the history of the SFRY Presidency, this was always a
14 matter of acclamation, but here in this case, in particular case of
15 Mr. Mesic, that was not that done as before; right?
16 A. Not correct. This was by acclamation as well. There was no
17 secret ballot. It was done openly by acclamation at the session.
18 Everyone said openly whether they were for or against. If we have the
19 same understanding as acclamation. There is secret ballot, and then there
20 is voting by acclamation, by the publicly spoken word. At the Presidency,
21 the voting took place by publicly stating one's yea or nay.
22 Q. Let me then reformulate this. In all the previous Presidency
23 voting for the president, it was not a matter of voting. It was just a
24 matter of agreeing without any vote, and here it was the first time that
25 there was a vote, an official vote. Isn't that how it was?
1 A. As far as I know, at every session of the Presidency, on the 15th
2 of May when the new president was elected, there was a vote. The only
3 difference and the only problem that arose in this particular case
4 consisted in that this was the first voting on the president of the
5 Presidency in conditions of a multi-party political system which had
6 already been put in place in the republics. Mr. Mesic was elected at
7 multi-party parliamentary elections in Croatia.
8 In conditions of a one-party political system in Yugoslavia, there
9 was a large political body or organisation called The Socialist Alliance
10 of the Working Peoples of Yugoslavia. For the sake of the truth, I have
11 to say that the leadership --
12 Q. I think we are actually straying from the issue. Let me put this
13 to you: At that date in 1991, it was for the Croats to propose the
14 candidate for the president, and they did propose a candidate, and the
15 Serbs -- Serbian leadership and the Montenegrins - actually, we leave them
16 out for the moment - they blocked that, and that was the first time that
17 that ever happened. Is that correct?
18 A. I said the first time because the first time Mr. Mesic was
19 nominated as a candidate for the Presidency at multi-party elections
20 rather than elections conducted by the Communist Party. In the case of
21 those elections organised by The Socialist Alliance of Working Peoples,
22 every member of the Presidency first had to go through a procedure, and it
23 was the constitutional obligation of every candidate to be a delegate not
24 only of his own republic but all the republics, the entire territory of
1 Mr. Mesic did not go through the procedure I mentioned, and there
2 was no way to check his credentials because this body in the meantime had
3 experienced its demise, and for the first time it was up to the Presidency
4 to decide whether to vote for someone who refused to advocate the
5 preservation of Yugoslavia, and that is where this essential difference
7 Q. This move of yours definitely provoked the Croats and the Croatian
8 leadership, did it not?
9 A. It depends on who you mean among the Croat leadership. We
10 proposed that the Croats offer another candidate who would advocate
11 Yugoslavia rather than an independent Croatia. I personally proposed
12 Mr. Ante Markovic, for example. As I proposed that in this sensitive
13 situation both Croatia and Montenegro waive their positions of president
14 and vice-president and that these be given to Macedonia and another
16 Q. I do not want to go into any more details on this. I will move on
17 to an issue, quite different one.
18 We have already discussed the Defence Exhibit tab 11. That's a
19 statement from a session of the SFRY Presidency regarding events in
20 Croatia, and it's on the 4th of May, 1991.
21 A. 4th of May.
22 Q. 4th of May, yes. What did I say? I said 4th of May.
23 A. But I'm not -- I wasn't in the Presidency then.
24 Q. No, no, but you discussed this tab 11, you discussed this with
25 Mr. Milosevic, and I just want to --
1 A. Yes, go ahead.
2 Q. -- to refer to it briefly, because in this -- on -- in the second
3 paragraph -- yes, in the second paragraph, it says here: "The SFRY
4 Presidency opined that the most recent events in the Knin Krajina and
5 Eastern Slavonia, and in particular the tragic events in Borovo Selo, had
6 demonstrated all the complexity of the political and security situation in
7 the country which threatens to escalate into large-scale ethnic conflict
8 which has brought the country to the brink of civil war." And it says
9 here specifically, "The SFRY Presidency expressed its regret at the large
10 number of casualties."
11 Mr. Kostic, in Borovo Selo there were casualties on both sides.
12 In particular, 12 Croat policemen were killed. Do you remember that?
13 A. Well, I do remember that.
14 Q. And do you remember the fact that 12 Croatian policemen were
16 A. I don't know about that detail, but I know that several Croatian
17 policemen were killed. I don't know if there were 12 of them.
18 Q. We heard quite some evidence related to the events in Borovo Selo
19 from May 1991, and we had in particular here witnesses like Mr. Babic,
20 Jovan Dulovic, a person C-013, B-129, and C-047 testify about the events.
21 The witness C-013, for instance, said that there were clashes
22 between Croatian police and armed Serbs, including volunteers from the SRS
23 Party from Serbia. Is that what you know about? Do you know that, too,
24 that Seselj's men were involved?
25 A. I really don't know.
1 Q. Mr. Babic, Milan Babic, told us that two of Seselj's volunteers
2 were killed. Do you know about these two casualties?
3 A. No. What I know is that because of the events in Borovo Selo, we
4 had 8.000 refugees. And that was my motive, the motive that prompted me
5 to go and visit there.
6 Q. Mr. Babic also mentioned that Frenki Simatovic and his men were
7 involved in Borovo Selo. Do you know anything about that?
8 A. I really don't know anything about that. I wasn't in the
9 Presidency at the time, so I wasn't called upon as a member of the
10 Presidency of the Supreme Command. It was only later when I was elected
11 to the Presidency that I felt the responsibility and need to visit first
12 and foremost the refugees, which were refugees because of the events in
13 Borovo Selo, and I made a public statement on the occasion and said that
14 that mustn't be only a problem of Serbia and Croatia but it must be taken
15 as being the problem of the whole of the Yugoslav community. Therefore, a
16 problem of the Presidency and the federal government.
17 Q. Mr. Kostic, did you visit Borovo Selo in May 1991, when these
18 tragic events occurred, or only in July?
19 A. No, I didn't visit then. It was in July when I was visited.
20 Q. And do you recall when exactly did you visit?
21 A. Well, I also have some footage of that visit. I couldn't tell you
22 a precise date now, madam, because it's been 15 years since then. So I
23 wouldn't hazard a guess as to the date. But I do know that it was just
24 before the election of the president of the state commission for the
25 cease-fire and that Mr. Mesic, at the Presidency, was categorically
1 opposed to my election precisely because I had visited Borovo Selo. And
2 when I was elected president of that state commission, gaining agreement
3 from the other members of the Presidency, Mr. Mesic in a demonstrative
4 manner left the Presidency session, walked out. Now, if the date is very
5 important to you, I'll do my best to find it and tell you subsequently.
6 Q. It's actually enough to clarify that it was quite immediately
7 before this session that you just mentioned. That's -- that's enough to
8 clarify it. But I --
9 A. Before the meeting.
10 Q. Yes, before the meeting. Immediately before the meeting.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. I would like to play now to you that -- we are now using Sanction
13 to play three clips from your visit in Borovo Selo, and we have here the
14 transcript of what you said there. And we --
15 [Videotape played]
16 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Vice-president of the Presidency of
17 Yugoslavia, Branko Kostic, visited Borovo Selo. In talking to the
18 inhabitants, Kostic said that the defenders cannot be called terrorists or
19 bandits. He criticised the federal government because, as he said, there
20 was insufficient assistance given to the people, and positively assessed
21 the JNA. 'You can count on -- the fact that they call you Chetniks and
22 terrorists is not founded,' stressed Kostic. 'We are just a
23 self-organised armed people.' According to Branko Kostic, the
24 secessionist policy of Croatia and Slovenia cannot be tolerated and
25 accepted because if we were to accept such unilateral acts, in Europe
1 there could be at least 70 new states coming into existence."
2 THE PROSECUTOR: Yes. And can we just have the next clip, and
3 then pause after.
4 [Videotape played]
5 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] As you can see, dear viewers,
6 Branko Kostic, the vice-president of the Yugoslav state Presidency, has
7 visited Borovo Selo and several thousand inhabitants."
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters apologise but they can't find the
9 actual transcript so they're doing a live interpretation.
10 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] I was in a sacred place yesterday,
11 Vucji Dol, important for our history, and I consider you here the
12 followers of those heroes who were always ready throughout our history to
13 defend their own thresholds and their own freedom. Persevere and be
15 "Some of the people that I work with now, and you know who I
16 mean, are referring to you as renegades, Chetniks, terrorists, whereas I
17 always say to them the renegades are those who violated the Yugoslav
18 constitution and enacted unilateral acts and not you here who are fighting
19 for that constitution and for Yugoslavia.
20 "Mr. Kostic said what was important. The most important thing was
21 what he said at the end: That you can rest assured that you are not
22 alone, and if you are bandits, then there are other bandits who will come
23 to defend and protect you."
24 Q. Let's pause here. Mr. Kostic, you just said a minute ago that you
25 were not aware that there were any volunteers, Seselj volunteers, or
1 members from the SRS party there, and now you refer in both of these clips
2 to Chetniks, that they are referring to you as Chetniks, but Chetniks,
3 that's the Seselj's men, aren't they?
4 A. Well, madam, you are showing complete ignorance now; ignorance of
5 terms, ignorance of names. The Croats called anybody who any -- anything
6 to do with the S of Serbia or Serbhood and Serbdom were Chetniks. They
7 referred to members of the Yugoslav People's Army as Chetniks, and the
8 Territorial Defence, and the volunteers, and the paramilitaries. The
9 Croats referred to all of those people with one term; the Chetniks.
10 That's why I say you show complete ignorance of terminology.
11 Now, the term "Chetnik" and "Chetniks" was used bring Mr. Stjepan
12 Mesic as president of the Presidency at official Yugoslav state Presidency
13 meetings. I heard him say it. I listened to him say it once, twice,
14 three times, and then I finally said, "Mr. Mesic, you're the president of
15 Yugoslavia and you cannot refer to those people as Chetniks, terrorists
16 and bandits, because you are Chetniks, terrorists, and bandits if you are
17 treading on the Yugoslav constitution and wanting to arrive at an
18 independent state by your own means." And that's the truth, madam.
19 Now, how come Seselj has anything to do with this here now?
20 Q. Mr. -- Mr. Kostic, this Brane Crncevic that spoke after you, he is
21 who? What is his position and why was he coming with you?
22 A. Brane Crncevic was a respected writer, Serbian writer, but he
23 didn't go with me in his capacity as writer but he went with me, unless
24 I'm much mistaken, as a man who was in charge of the refugees in the
25 Serbian government. I think -- well, I don't know if it was the ministry,
1 a ministry of some kind or some committee for displaced persons and
2 refugees, but that's how he came to be there with me. But if you're
3 asking me about him personally, my views, my political views and ideology,
4 they diverge quite a bit from his.
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Can we please now have the third clip.
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] After a hearty welcome in the
8 centre of Borovo Selo, the vice-president of the Yugoslav state
9 Presidency, Branko Kostic, had talks with the leadership of the Serb
10 autonomous province or area of Western Srem and Slavonia. Hadzic informed
11 him of the situation in the area.
12 "The people here are not Chetniks, terrorists, and bandits. They
13 are the Serb people and I can say that they are part of the Croatian
14 people as well, because there are some Croats there up at the barricade
15 with us that do not recognise the Ustasha authority and do not want to
16 live through the genocide of 50 years ago.
17 "Branko Kostic also said that we have a republishing of the
18 ideology that we saw 50 years ago.
19 "The world and Europe remembered that sort of policy very well,
20 and I am convinced that Europe and the world at large will finally come to
21 realise today too what that policy and those politics means and what
22 terrible consequences such a policy can have, not only on the Serb people
23 themselves living in this area of Croatia, which are the ones most
24 immediately threatened, but also consequences that such a policy could
25 have further afield in Europe as well. Our federal organs, especially the
1 Federal Executive Council, up until now have not been on a par with the
2 job ahead of them because it was through force of circumstance that we're
3 dealing with an area under jeopardy where the Serb people are suffering.
4 And it is the efforts of the Federal Executive Council in this case and in
5 other cases that must be expressed in full measure and materially viewed
6 as well, regardless of the ethnic composition of the population which is
7 undergoing these hardships. We shall do everything in our power to ensure
8 that that Yugoslav People's Army of ours, which is a strong army, a
9 powerful army, and which has the wherewithal -- more than ever before to
10 give assistance --"
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, we have to adjourn in a
12 minute or two.
13 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, it is actually -- we are almost at the
14 end. It's actually the end.
15 [Videotape played]
16 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] All parts of the population who are
17 under threat or are already being jeopardised, regardless of where they
18 are. The today it is the Serb people in Croatia that are under threat.
19 Now, if developments follow the course that none of us would like to see,
20 we don't exclude the possibility of certain other --"
21 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Actually a little bit further than I wanted
22 it to be played.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you for playing that footage.
24 Thank you for showing that.
25 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it's actually already an
1 exhibit. It's part of the videos that were tendered as Exhibit 352, tab
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will have to -- regrettably we will have to
4 put off your question on that clip for tomorrow morning -- not tomorrow.
5 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Actually, next Monday.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Next Monday.
7 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: But Mr. Kostic knows, and I think I can ask
8 the questions. We need not have it again.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. He remembered the clip. He thanked you for
10 playing it, after all.
11 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I would actually like Your Honours, just that
12 Mr. Kostic --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, yes.
14 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: -- constitutions of Croatia and
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina with him.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, and they're also to be passed on to the
18 MR. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Passed on, yes.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: We are adjourned until next Monday at 9.00 a.m.
20 JUDGE KWON: Courtroom 1, maybe.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Monday, the 13th day
23 of February, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.