Page 66

1 Thursday, 1 April 2004

2 [Sentencing Hearing]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, could you please call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number

8 IT-03-72-S, the Prosecutor versus Milan Babic.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

10 Good morning to everyone in this courtroom. Before I ask the

11 parties for the appearances, I would first like to see whether you can

12 hear me in a language you understand, Mr. Babic.

13 I didn't hear any translation, although I take it that perhaps I'm

14 on the wrong channel.

15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now I do understand. The microphone was

17 switched off. Thank you, Mr. Babic.

18 May I have the appearances for the Prosecution first.

19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good morning, Your Honours we have the trial

20 attorneys Ms. Sabine Bauer and Mr. Whiting who will make the opening

21 remarks for the Prosecution, and we have the case manager Ruth Karper and

22 my name is Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Than you, Mrs. Uertz-Retzlaff. And for the Defence.

24 MR. MUELLER: Good morning, Mr. President; good morning,

25 Your Honours. For the Defence, my colleague Mr. Robert Fogelnest,

Page 67

1 Mr. Danilo Cirkovic the case manager, and myself Peter Michael Mueller.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mueller.

3 MR. MUELLER: If you allow me to make a short remark I would like

4 to announce something which has to be done, as I think, in closed session,

5 if you would allow.

6 JUDGE ORIE: If there is anything to be discussed in closed

7 session -- would private session do?

8 MR. MUELLER: Yes, yes, yes.

9 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then turn into private session, which means

10 that we can still be seen but not be heard any more.

11 [Private session]

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted)

20 (redacted)

21 (redacted)

22 (redacted)

23 (redacted)

24 (redacted)

25 (redacted)

Page 68

1 (redacted)

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 [Open session]

7 JUDGE ORIE: What I'd like to do is just briefly discuss with the

8 parties the order of this proceedings. The Chamber would very much like

9 both parties to briefly make some opening remarks. We would then hear

10 witnesses. If Mr. -- we'll hear the testimony witnesses. If Mr. Babic

11 would like to make a statement, and perhaps, Mr. Mueller, you could tell

12 us whether he intends to do so, we could do that after we heard the

13 testimony of the witnesses, and then I'd like to give an opportunity to

14 the parties to make some final observations and remarks.

15 Could the parties agree on this?

16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, that's fine.


18 MR. MUELLER: We very well agree to this, and making reference to

19 your request, Mr. President, whether Mr. Babic is going to make a short

20 address to the Court, I should say that he will but very briefly.


22 MR. FOGELNEST: May I add something, Your Honour.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Fogelnest.

24 MR. FOGELNEST: If the Trial Chamber wishes us to make an opening

25 remark, we will. However, if it's convenient for the Court, it was our

Page 69

1 intention to waive that opportunity in the hope that we need not

2 necessarily consume the time of the Trial Chamber. However, if would you

3 like to hear from us, I will be glad to do that.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, first of all, of course, it's entirely up

5 to you to waive something, and if you say we can say whatever we have to

6 say at the end hearing testimony of witnesses and after we have heard the

7 brief statement of Mr. Babic, the Chamber does not oppose. Of course, it

8 depends a bit. If the Prosecution makes an opening statement, perhaps

9 it's good to perhaps in a few lines to set out not only for the Chamber

10 because we've already read your sentencing briefs, but it is a public

11 hearing, and therefore perhaps it would be good, it's just a suggestion,

12 to spend a few lines on it.

13 MR. FOGELNEST: Certainly, Your Honour. If I may, Your Honour,

14 also --


16 MR. FOGELNEST: -- when it comes time to make our are final

17 statements with the permission of the Trial Chamber, Mr. Mueller and I

18 would like to share whatever time is allocated to the Defence.

19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. If you don't start fighting over the time,

20 Mr. Fogelnest --

21 MR. FOGELNEST: We get along remarkably well, Your Honour.


23 MR. FOGELNEST: Thank you.

24 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, you indicated that it would be your colleague

25 Mr. --

Page 70

1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Mr. Whiting.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Whiting who is going to make the opening remarks.

3 Since we have now agreed on the order, Mr. Whiting, please proceed.

4 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honours.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Could you indicate approximately how much time you

6 need?

7 MR. WHITING: It'll be approximately 20 minutes; 15, 20 minutes.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.

9 MR. WHITING: I will make the brief opening remarks. At the end I

10 will tender into evidence a number exhibits on behalf of the Prosecution

11 and after that Ms. Sabine Bauer will take our first witness,

12 Dr. Mladic Loncar.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you say your first witness. Does this mean you

14 have more witnesses?

15 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry our first and only witness.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's clear to me. I take it that the

17 exhibits you're going to tender that the Defence is aware of it. May I

18 also ask whether there's already an agreement on the admission into

19 evidence or --

20 MR. WHITING: Yes, Your Honours. All the exhibits that the

21 Prosecution will tender into evidence have been provided to the Court and

22 to the -- and to the Defence, and there is agreement on --

23 JUDGE ORIE: Agreement.

24 MR. WHITING: Yes.

25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Then please proceed.

Page 71

1 MR. WHITING: Your Honours, the purpose of the hearing today and

2 tomorrow is to determine the appropriate sentence for the accused,

3 Mr. Milan Babic. On the 27th of January, 2004, the accused pled guilty to

4 the crime of persecutions, a crime against humanity, for his role in

5 crimes committed against Croats and other non-Serbs by Serb forces in

6 Croatia during 1991. Specifically, the accused admitted that he was a

7 co-perpetrator in a joint criminal enterprise whose goal was the forceful

8 removal of the non-Serb population from the territory of the so-called

9 Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, otherwise known as the SAO Krajina.

10 Other participants in this joint criminal enterprise included Slobodan

11 Milosevic, Milan Martic, Goran Hadzic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic,

12 Vojislav Seselj, and Generals Blagoje Adzic and Ratko Mladic, nearly all

13 of whom have either been charged by this Tribunal or are currently

14 detained at this Tribunal or are in trial.

15 The purpose of the joint criminal enterprise was accomplished in

16 part through the crime of persecutions to which this accused has pled

17 guilty. It is important to note that the -- encompassed within this

18 single crime of persecutions are the crimes of extermination and murder,

19 detentions and inhumane treatment, deportation, and the destruction of

20 private, cultural, and religious property. Accordingly, the charge of

21 persecutions attempts in a single umbrella charge to capture the full

22 range and severity of the crimes committed by the members of the joint

23 criminal enterprise, including this accused, against Croat and other

24 non-Serb civilians.

25 The law of the Tribunal sets forth four factors that the Trial

Page 72

1 Chamber must consider in sentencing. One, the gravity of the offence;

2 two, the individual circumstances of the convicted person; three, any

3 mitigating or aggravating circumstances; and four, the sentencing

4 practices of the former Yugoslavia. In this case, however, I think it's

5 helpful to think of two competing factors that the Trial Chamber will have

6 to consider in reaching a sentence for this accused. On the one hand, the

7 Trial Chamber will have to consider the gravity of the offence and this

8 accused's role in that offence. On the other hand, the Court will have to

9 consider and weigh the accused's plea of guilty, his acceptance of

10 responsibility, and his cooperation with this Tribunal and the

11 Prosecution.

12 With respect to the first part of the equation, the Prosecution

13 submits that it is the law of the Tribunal that the gravity of the offence

14 must weigh very, very heavily. In fact, the Prosecution submits that it

15 is the single most important factor that must be considered by the Court

16 at sentencing. The accused has pled guilty to one of the most serious

17 crimes known to mankind, and the suffering, the pain, and the loss caused

18 by these crimes are immense. More than 230 Croats and other non-Serbs

19 were murdered, and thousands of others were subjected to discriminatory

20 measures, detained in inhumane conditions, driven from their homes, or had

21 their personal, religious, or cultural property destroyed. The

22 destruction from these crimes is still felt acutely to this day and will

23 be continued to be felt for years and years to come.

24 On the issue of the gravity of the crimes, the Prosecution during

25 this hearing will offer into evidence both written and oral evidence. With

Page 73

1 respect to the written evidence, the Prosecution will offer as exhibits

2 the statements of five victims who give evidence about the crimes

3 committed and how they affected -- how these crimes affected them and

4 their families. These statements have already been provided to the Court

5 as attachments to our sentencing brief and have been provided to the

6 Defence. I will briefly described what is stated in these statements, but

7 before I do, I would like to situate the crimes at issue on a map that we

8 will also tender into evidence.

9 I will ask the case manager to put the map on the ELMO. This was

10 a map provided to the Prosecution by this accused. It is a map from the

11 Republika Srpska from 1993. However, it is possible to see on this map

12 the SAO Krajina where the crimes occurred in 1991.

13 It's hard -- this map is so big it's hard to capture. If the case

14 manager could show the portion that's marked A, which is just moving it a

15 little bit over and get the -- there we go. And then maybe if we -- is it

16 possible to back out to get -- to get more -- okay.

17 The area on the map that is marked as A, and if the case manager

18 could just point to the -- that area, that -- there -- that area that's

19 marked A with that boundary is the area which was the SAO Krajina in 1991.

20 With this map is also a translation of the text that is on the map, but

21 for the present purposes, it's the map itself which is useful.

22 So the area that is marked A is the SAO Krajina from 1991. The

23 area which is next to that marked B is Western Slavonia, and the area that

24 is marked C is Eastern Slavonia. The areas B and C are not at issue in

25 this case. It is area A which is at issue and the area that is was the

Page 74

1 SAO Krajina and the area of which this accused was the president during

2 the crimes in question.

3 Now, I would like to indicate on this map in the area A where the

4 crimes were committed. If the case manager could point to the villages

5 there in the north-eastern part of the SAO Krajina are the villages of

6 Bacin, Dubica, and Cerovljani which are referenced in paragraph 15A (i) of

7 the indictment the first group of crimes committed in those villages. In

8 the middle of the SAO Krajina are the villages of Saborsko - the case

9 manager's pointing to them now - Saborsko, Poljanak, and Lipovaca which

10 are referenced in paragraph 15(a)(ii) of the indictment. And finally just

11 to the west of Knin -- you have to push the map up a little bit there. In

12 the southern part of the region of the SAO Krajina are the villages just

13 to the west of Knin are the villages of Skabrnja and Nadin and Bruska, and

14 these villages are the site of crimes which are described in paragraphs

15 15(a)(iii) and (iv) of the indictment. And then Knin is there evident on

16 the map and the relationship to these villages.

17 Thank you.

18 Now if I could briefly describe to Your Honours the content of the

19 five victims' statements which will be tendered into evidence by the

20 Prosecution.

21 One witness from Dubica describes how many Croats fled this

22 village, the village of Dubica, during the conflict, and that on the

23 20th of October, 1991, 53 civilians who remained including many elderly

24 and women were rounded up by the Krajina militia and taken to the local

25 fire station where they were guarded by local Serbs and the JNA. The

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Page 76

1 witness himself was released, but he later learned that remaining

2 detainees, along with other detainees from the surrounding villages, were

3 massacred and buried in a mass grave, and in fact, many of these victims

4 were later found in a mass grave after the war.

5 When the witness returned to his village in 1995, he discovered

6 that 13 houses, including his own, and the Catholic church in his village

7 were levelled to the ground.

8 A second witness provides evidence about the attack by Serb forces

9 on Skabrnja on the 18th November 1991. This witness tells how Serb

10 soldiers including JNA soldiers and SAO Krajina soldiers intentionally,

11 deliberately executed civilians during the attack, including elderly and

12 women.

13 A third witness describes how the Krajina militia came to her

14 village of Bruska on the 21st of December, 1991, and massacred ten

15 civilians, nine Croats, and one Serb who happened to be visiting with the

16 Croats and was himself also killed, and also seriously injured the witness

17 herself. When the witness returned to her village after the war, she

18 found her house looted.

19 Another witness provides evidence about attacks on the village of

20 Poljanak and how civilians were literally lined up and executed.

21 Finally, a witness provides evidence about his arrest by Martic's

22 militia and his detention in the old hospital in Knin. The witness was

23 detained with approximately 120 other Croats and provides evidence in his

24 statement about the severe mistreatment and abuse that occurred at that

25 prison.

Page 77

1 I have just briefly described what these witnesses say, but the

2 full details of the horrors that they experienced are -- have been -- will

3 be provided into evidence for the consideration of the Trial Chamber.

4 In addition, the Prosecution will offer into evidence as an

5 exhibit the report of Colonel Ivan Grujic, the head of the Croatian office

6 for detainees and missing persons, which provides comprehensive data about

7 civilians who were killed, who went missing during the war, and about

8 those who were detain. This data and report and information, including

9 detailed information about exhumations, will provide the Court with a

10 basis to assess the scale of the crimes to which this accused has pled

11 guilty.

12 Finally, the Prosecution and the Defence as a joint witness will

13 call Dr. Mladen Loncar, who as I've said will be led by Ms. Sabine Bauer.

14 Mr. Loncar is a psychiatrist with expertise in dealing with victims of war

15 or war crimes and he will testify about the effects on the victims of the

16 crimes in Croatia that occurred in this case. In conjunction with this

17 testimony, the Prosecution will offer into evidence the report and the CV

18 of Mr. Loncar.

19 In addition to the gravity of the offence, the Trial Chamber will

20 have to consider that the accused's role in these crimes was significant.

21 It is accepted that the accused was not the architect of the plan and was

22 far from being the most important actor in the joint criminal enterprise.

23 However, during the times of the crimes, the accused as president of the

24 so-called SAO Krajina held the highest political office in the region.

25 Starting in August of 1991, this accused knew that other members of the

Page 78

1 joint criminal enterprise were forcibly resettling the Croat and other

2 non-Serb population from the targeted areas, and he was conscious that the

3 crimes of mistreatment and prisons, deportations, forcible transfers, and

4 destruction of property were being committed. He also knew that killings

5 were a likely outcome of the pursuit of the joint criminal enterprise.

6 Yet this accused retained his office during this time, participated in the

7 arming of the Serbs and in the creation of the staffing of political and

8 military structures for a Serb entity in Croatia and in obtaining

9 financing for these military structures. At no time did the accused have

10 control over the military or Krajina police force that committed the

11 crimes however. In addition the Trial Chamber will have to consider the

12 conduct of the accused since the crimes in question, and on this issue the

13 Prosecution will offer into evidence the testimony of

14 Ambassador Peter Galbraith, who was the American ambassador to Croatia

15 from 1993 to 1998, from the Milosevic case.

16 So first and foremost, the Trial Chamber will have to consider the

17 gravity of the offence and the accused's role in the crimes. On the other

18 side of the equation, however, it must be recognised that this accused

19 initiated contact with the Prosecution before he was charged, cooperated

20 extensively with the Prosecution, testified in the case against

21 Slobodan Milosevic, has agreed to testify in other cases before this

22 Tribunal, and has pled guilty and accepted responsibility for the charges

23 that were brought against him.

24 Some might say that a man who has committed a crime against

25 humanity should at a minimum take these steps and that he should get no

Page 79

1 credit for these actions. However, in fact, it is the rare accused who

2 does so, and the beneficiaries of the accused's guilty plea and

3 cooperation are this Tribunal, the process of the search for truth, the

4 citizens of the former Yugoslavia, the goal of reconciliation, and most

5 importantly perhaps, the victims of the crimes themselves. The accused's

6 guilty plea and testimony send the message that these crimes did happen.

7 It is not just the Tribunal that says so. It is not just the Prosecution

8 that says so. But one of the persons responsible for the crimes says so.

9 This does not erase the crimes that were committed. It does not excuse

10 them. But, rather, it acknowledges and affirms them on behalf of the

11 victims.

12 In this regard, it serves as an important step in the process of

13 reconciliation which is one of the critical goals of this institution.

14 Mr. Mladen Loncar will testify not only about the effects of the

15 crimes on the victims but also about the positive effects from the

16 accused's guilty plea and his acknowledgement of responsibility. In

17 addition, the Prosecution will offer into evidence a selection of

18 quotations from the accused, from his testimony and his interviews with

19 the Prosecution, which speak to his responsibility for the crimes in

20 question.

21 Further, the accused's cooperation and testimony are a significant

22 step towards establishing the truth and towards bringing those responsible

23 for these crimes to account for their actions. As an indicator of the

24 significance of the accused's testimony of, the Prosecution will tender

25 into evidence a list of documents provided and authenticated by Mr. Babic

Page 80

1 during his testimony. Those persons responsible for the crimes in which

2 the accused participated, and here we are referring in particular to those

3 at the very top, those with the most responsibility, often planned the

4 crimes and executed them with great secrecy, taking care to hide their

5 actions and ensuring that there would be few records of their misdeeds.

6 Further, they took significant steps to cover up their crimes and mislead

7 the international community while they were happening and after they

8 occurred. It is an uncomfortable reality in the search for truth that

9 only by hearing the testimony of those who were on the inside, those who

10 played a role in the crimes themselves that the full truth of what

11 happened and who was responsible will be known.

12 For these reasons, the steps that the accused has taken should be

13 encouraged by this Court. Others in his position should be encouraged and

14 should get the message that it is important and valuable and worthwhile to

15 step forward, take responsibility, and tell the truth.

16 Once the Trial Chamber has heard all the evidence and arguments at

17 this sentencing hearing, it will need to weigh within the framework of the

18 law and the jurisprudence of this Tribunal these two competing

19 considerations, on the one hand the gravity of the offence and the

20 accused's role in that offence; and on the other hand, the accused's plea

21 of guilty and his cooperation. At the end of the hearing on the evidence,

22 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff will address the Court and make arguments as to the

23 appropriate sentence on behalf of the Prosecution.

24 At this time, I would like with the Court's permission to tender

25 into evidence the exhibits that I've referenced on behalf of the

Page 81

1 Prosecution. The first exhibit, and I believe they will be marked P --

2 PS -- PS1, is a statement of five -- of the five victims, crime based

3 witnesses, victim impact statements. These statements have been redacted

4 where appropriate to protect the identity of certain of the victims.

5 Exhibit PS2 is the map of the region I showed during the opening

6 statement which has been marked with different sections.

7 PS3 is the report of Colonel Ivan Grujic head of the Croatian

8 Office for Detainees and Missing Persons. The report is entitled "Missing

9 people, displaced people, and killed people in the Republic of Croatia

10 during the war years 1990 to 1992."

11 Exhibit PS4 is a selection of quotations from the accused, from

12 his testimony and interviews with the Prosecution.

13 Exhibit PS5 is the testimony of Ambassador Peter Galbraith, the US

14 ambassador to Croatia from 1993 to 1998, from the Milosevic case.

15 Exhibit PS6 is the list of documents either provided by Mr. Babic

16 or authenticated by Mr. Babic during his testimony in the Milosevic case.

17 And finally, Your Honours, Exhibit PS7 is the complete transcript

18 of Mr. Babic's testimony from the Milosevic case and his interviews with

19 the Prosecution. These are voluminous and the Prosecution hesitated about

20 whether to provide it to the Trial Chamber. However, it was finally

21 decided that because there may be references to various passages contained

22 within those, testimony or interviews, that it would be prudent for the

23 Trial Chamber to have those into evidence. So those are being provided as

24 well as PS -- Exhibit PS7.

25 As mentioned before these are all being tendered pursuant to Rules

Page 82

1 89(F), 92 bis, and with the agreement of the Defence that they can be put

2 into evidence and considered by the Trial Chamber.

3 Thank you, Your Honours.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Whiting. From what I heard from

5 Mr. Whiting, I take it that there are no objections to admission into

6 evidence of the exhibits then.

7 MR. FOGELNEST: None, Your Honour.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'm just checking, Mr. Whiting. I noticed that

9 in the material that had been provided to the Chamber prior to the

10 sentencing hearing there was some -- there are some differences in

11 numbering. Sometimes the B/C/S version has numbered paragraphs whereas

12 the translation into English has not, which of course doesn't make it very

13 easy to make references to specific parts of -- of those statements if we

14 need to refer to them in our judgement.

15 I'm not going to invite you to -- to submit them again because

16 that would be the third time and a lot of loss of paper, but the Chamber

17 will consider how to resolve this problem. But in general terms it's not

18 only in this case that this happens, if numbering -- paragraph numbering

19 is added in a document, it's preferred by the Chamber that's it's done in

20 all languages and not just in one or two of them.

21 MR. WHITING: Your Honours, I apologise for the inconvenience. We

22 will look this afternoon to see whether there is a way to solve that

23 problem.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. One of the possibilities would be that since we

25 have not taken any decision yet, that you would number them before we

Page 83

1 finally decide to admit them into evidence, at least one copy, and then of

2 course in our personal copies it could be added at a later stage, but that

3 might be one of the solutions.

4 Then, Mr. Whiting, the --

5 I would like to address the Defence. Would you like to make a few

6 opening remarks?

7 MR. FOGELNEST: Thank you, Your Honour. Then please do so,

8 Mr. Fogelnest. Please proceed.

9 MR. FOGELNEST: May I proceed, Your Honour?


11 MR. FOGELNEST: May it please the Trial Chamber, I think that

12 during the course of this hearing you will find very little if any

13 conflict between the positions of the Defence and the Prosecution with one

14 exception that I'll mention in a moment.

15 Consistent with the intention expressed by Mr. Babic from the time

16 he came forward over two years ago to volunteer to come before the

17 Tribunal, we on the Defence and the Prosecution's side have worked

18 together to try to bring the truth before this Trial Chamber and this

19 Tribunal and for the purposes of history, and rather than acting as

20 adversaries, there has been a remarkable degree of cooperation. The only

21 point where we may differ is a legal issue as lawyers sometimes do with

22 respect to the application of perhaps an aggravating circumstance in

23 connection with Mr. Babic's role as a civil/political leader, and that is

24 more of a legal argument rather than a factual one.

25 The goal of all parties, Mr. Babic, the members of the Prosecution

Page 84

1 team, and the members of the Defence team has been to bring the truth

2 forward. All of us, our client included, believe that the way to make a

3 better world is to have the truth about what occurred at this period of

4 time in this part of the world be understood by the world so that we can

5 then go forward and understand what happened and perhaps find ways from

6 that understanding to prevent it from happening again. We view our role

7 as assisting this Tribunal in making those determinations. We have

8 provided a great deal of information before this hearing. Prosecution has

9 done a wonderful job in assisting and gathering that information, much of

10 it provided by Mr. Babic.

11 We will present few witnesses. There is no disagreement. We have

12 had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Loncar and endorse what he has to

13 say. They have had an opportunity to meet with our witness, and I believe

14 they will have no quarrel with anything he says. Again, and I can't

15 underscore this enough, it is the goal of all of us to help you determine

16 what the truth is and help you weigh and assess the appropriate factors so

17 that you can come to a just and fair verdict and sentence that will serve

18 the goals of this Tribunal and ultimately the community of the world and

19 perhaps in some small way putting a stop to the kinds of things that

20 happened. These crimes are occurring, as we speak, in other parts of the

21 world. The work done by this Tribunal is the beginning of what we hope to

22 be a better civilisation as human beings evolve and learn from what has

23 occurred in the past and look for solutions so that it doesn't occur in

24 the future.

25 Mr. Babic has come forward to attempt to help in this process.

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Page 86

1 You will have to weigh the contribution he makes, the contribution he has

2 made, the courage it has taken for him to do that, which is not in

3 dispute, against the gravity of the crime, which cannot be overstated.

4 What has happened in the Balkans is horrendous. You will have to assess

5 his role and weigh that against the other factors and then do a

6 calculation to translate that into what you feel is an appropriate

7 sentence. We will assist you as best we can, and we thank you for the

8 opportunity of doing so.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Fogelnest.

10 Ms. Bauer, addressing you, how much time would you think the

11 examination of Mr. Loncar will take?

12 MS. BAUER: Your Honours, I estimate at the moment between one and

13 a half, maximum two hours.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Maximum two hours. Let's then start with the

15 witness, and may I ask you one thing, you consider him an expert witness?

16 MS. BAUER: Your Honours, yes.


18 MS. BAUER: He has provided an expert report which we in due

19 course ask the Court to tender into evidence. And as far as we know, the

20 Defence does not object to that.

21 JUDGE ORIE: No. I'm asking it because -- because of the solemn

22 declaration I'll ask him to give to the Court, and that would be then the

23 solemn declaration of an expert rather than of a witness. He will not

24 testify on the specific facts relating to the case but rather on his

25 experience as an expert.

Page 87

1 MS. BAUER: Correct.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I see Mr. Usher has already left the courtroom,

3 so I take it that the expert witness will enter the courtroom soon.

4 [The witness entered court]

5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning. Good morning. I take it that you're

6 Mr. Loncar.

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I am.

8 JUDGE ORIE: On request of both parties, you have been called to

9 provide the Court with the expertise you have, your professional

10 expertise, and before doing so, I'd like you to make a solemn declaration

11 as an expert. Since we haven't got them in writing in B/C/S, I'll read it

12 part by part. Will you please repeat it.

13 I solemnly declare.

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare.

15 JUDGE ORIE: That I will do so faithfully, independently,

16 impartially, and with full respect for the duty of confidentiality.

17 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]

18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Loncar, please be seated. You will be

19 examined by counsel for the Prosecution, Ms. Bauer.


21 [Witness answered through interpreter]

22 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Bauer.

23 Questioned by Ms. Bauer:

24 Q. Dr. Loncar, please state your full name.

25 A. My name is Mladen Loncar.

Page 88

1 Q. Dr. Loncar, you are a psychiatrist in Croatia?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And you specialised in traumatology?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And you assist victims of war in Croatia?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And to this extent, you managed two major national programmes in

8 Croatia, and I would like you to shortly describe to the Court which these

9 two programmes are.

10 A. I was the head of the Medical Centre for Human Rights from 1992.

11 I have worked on international programmes of socio- and psychological help

12 to victims of war which were sponsored by international organisations such

13 as the European Union, the World Health Organisation, some governments of

14 Western European countries, and the second project I worked on is a

15 national program of psychosocial and medical assistance to victims of war

16 in Croatia. I have been in co-ordination with four regional centres. The

17 centres are called the Regional Centres for Psychological Trauma in

18 Zagreb, Osijek, Split, and Rijeka.

19 Q. Thank you, Dr. Loncar, the Office of the Prosecutor has asked you

20 to prepare as report, an expert report which deals in principle with two

21 main areas, one is the impact of wartime traumas on the physical and

22 mental well-being of four different witness group, many of which -- all of

23 which were part of this indictment; correct?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And secondly, in this report you concentrated on the effect of

Page 89

1 Mr. Babic's guilty plea on the victims' group as well as the perpetrator

2 group, including its contribution to reconciliation. Is this correct?

3 A. Yes.

4 MS. BAUER: Your Honours, at this point I'd like that -- I would

5 like to offer the expert report, including the curriculum vitae, of

6 Dr. Loncar to be marked as Prosecution sentencing Exhibit number 8.

7 As a small information which -- we have renumbered the B/C/S

8 version in order to correspond to the English version in terms of

9 pagination so Dr. Loncar and Mr. Babic can follow better the B/C/S version

10 of the report.

11 Q. Now, Dr. Loncar, before we talk about the main conclusions of your

12 report, I'd like shortly to digress and read you your educational

13 background, and if you concur with me if you can just confirm at the end.

14 In 1987, you received a graduate degree in medicine in Novi Sad.

15 You commenced subsequently a residence in neuropsychiatry which you had to

16 interrupt due to the war operations. You restarted that residence and

17 graduated in Zagreb in 1998. In 1999, you completed a post-graduate study

18 of social psychiatry at the medical school in Zagreb, which at the same

19 time qualified you as a court-appointed expert in this field. In 2003,

20 you completed another master's degree in social psychiatry at the medical

21 school in Zagreb. Is this correct?

22 A. Yes, everything is correct.

23 Q. Dr. Loncar, could you for the benefit of the court please shortly

24 explain what social psychiatry is.

25 A. Social psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry which deals with the

Page 90

1 relationship between a community and a patient with a mental disorder and

2 the effect that a mental disorder has on a social community.

3 Q. In this context, Dr. Loncar, you participated in numerous

4 conferences, and you also have a huge list of publications on this issue

5 which Your Honours can see from the attached curriculum vitae which is

6 attached to the report.

7 Now, Dr. Loncar, could you explain the Court, please, what was

8 your personal experience during the war in 1991 which led you to focus

9 your work on treating victims of trauma which occurred during the war or

10 after war.

11 A. I must say to the Chamber that I spent two months in a camp in

12 Begejci and Vojvodina in Serbia, and this was my personal motive. When I

13 saw what was happening to other of my inmates, there were some 5 or 600 of

14 us, I decided to spend some professional time in work with war victims.

15 As a professional, as a doctor, as an humanitarian, I wanted to invest my

16 knowledge to help primarily victims, and within my work also I wanted to

17 work on the prevention of violations of human rights, because this is an

18 integral part of looking after human health.

19 Q. As a result of this experience, Doctor, did you found the medical

20 centre in 1991?

21 A. Yes. During the exchange that was mediated by the Red Cross, I

22 arrived in Zagreb. At the beginning of 1992, I gathered a team of doctors

23 who had empathy for psychological trauma. We established the Medical

24 Centre for the -- for Human Rights. The main goal of that centre was to

25 help victims of psycho-trauma. And when we analysed what we did, we

Page 91

1 decided to present the results of our work both to foreign experts as well

2 as to the organisations that may have had some influence on the events in

3 the former Yugoslavia. I primarily refer to the World Health Organisation

4 and the organisation for protection of human rights.

5 Q. And on page 1 of your report, Dr. Loncar, you did outline actually

6 the different projects you were working on as a result; correct?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Dr. Loncar, how many victims did the centre as a whole deal with

9 since 1992?

10 A. Since that day until today, approximately 5.000 victims were

11 treated and went through our centre for human rights.

12 Q. And were this only victims of Croatia or did this extend beyond

13 Croatia?

14 A. These were mostly victims from Croatia, refugees from Bosnia and

15 Herzegovina as well. We have worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina too. And

16 following that, we started also working with the victims from Kosovo and

17 Macedonia.

18 Q. And the employees of the centre that you employ, are they

19 multi-ethnic or ever a single ethnicity?

20 A. From 1992 until today, over 30 persons went through the centre of

21 different ethnic backgrounds including Serbs and Muslims.

22 Q. On page 223 of your report, Doctor, you outline the method of the

23 medical centre in assembling information through taking statements of

24 victims. Would you please tell the Court what the major value is of

25 taking such statements?

Page 92

1 A. The method of taking statements is a kind of therapy which started

2 being used in the 1970s, in the last century. It was also used in Chile

3 during the military regime and it also proved to be useful in the area

4 affected by earthquake. The method is as follows: The victim together

5 with its counsellor puts in writing his or her experience and then works

6 over it with the counsellor. This is a document that has as a symbolic

7 value but also a legal one. So the primary therapeutic effect of this

8 method is that the victim while giving a statement goes from being a

9 victim to being a witness; therefore, changes his or her status. And this

10 acknowledges society-wise the experience of this victim and gives it a

11 value in society as is such.

12 Q. And, Doctor, what other more secondary purposes do those

13 statements serve?

14 A. As a result, after the statement was given, certain analyses and

15 studies were done, and the information collected in this manner was

16 presented to the public. When I say "to the public," I mean organisations

17 dealing with protection of human rights which could have certain impact in

18 the territory of the former Yugoslavia and could have had certain impact

19 on bringing the war to an end.

20 Q. Dr. Loncar, in your report you presented several factual

21 conclusions, and if we could please look at page 3, the penultimate

22 paragraph. Could you please tell the Court how you arrived at the number

23 of detainees?

24 A. The number of detainees in the Knin camps was arrived at after

25 working and taking statements from the victims. This figure pertains to

Page 93

1 the period between 1991 and 1995, and this figure approximately coincides

2 with the figure given by the official commission for the same period.

3 Q. On page 9, if would you kindly look, you arrive at factual

4 conclusions as to the municipality Hrvatska Dubica, which was a part of

5 this indictment, in terms of destruction. How -- how did -- what was the

6 source of these figures?

7 A. The information listed on page 9 is the information that I

8 collected after having visited the area and after having had contacts with

9 the victims and returnees. This is how I gathered and collected the

10 information on destruction.

11 Q. And did you have contact with the victims?

12 A. I had contacts with the victims before, and as for this data here,

13 this is a result of contacts which began early this year and lasted until

14 a few days ago.

15 Q. On page 11, subsequent pages, you described people who witnessed

16 the killings of relatives. What was the source of this statement?

17 A. The source of this information and these statements is our work

18 with the displaced persons. After their family members were killed, the

19 families were displaced. They became refugee. We visited refugee

20 centres. We talked too people about the events in their regions, and then

21 after having taken statements, we arrived at these details, this

22 information.

23 Q. Now, Doctor, could you please return to the first victim group,

24 and that's on page 3, the victims of incarceration. On page 4, you list

25 all the forms of mistreatment -- 3 and 4, all the forms of mistreatment

Page 94

1 detainees suffered and divided it mainly by mental and physical abuse.

2 Could you please just very briefly list some of the mental abuse you

3 learned about after talking to former detainees.

4 A. Yes, and I will mention them individually. The most frequent

5 psychological abuse in prisons and camps ranged from confinement in dark,

6 cramped areas, in cells, and also exposing victims to extreme light,

7 deprivation of sleep, frequent awakenings during night, not allowing

8 prisoners to rest, forcing them to sing songs which were humiliating for

9 victims, threats or taking them to fake executions, forcing them to watch

10 or listen the beatings and torture of other prisoners. And these were the

11 most frequent forms of psychological torture.

12 Q. Now, what is the result in terms of mental disorders or effects

13 this can have on former detainees?

14 A. Mental disorders, which are found in former detainees, are three

15 disorders. One is the post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder,

16 and affective disorders or disorders of the mood.

17 Q. Would you shortly, please, explain what a post-traumatic stress

18 disorder is and which symptoms this disorder exhibits?

19 A. Post-traumatic stress disorder has several features. The first

20 one or criterion A in order to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder is

21 an experience which is outside of normal human experiences, which means

22 that a patient was exposed to threats or came close to being killed and

23 was exposed to a deadly fear. As a result of that, three kinds of

24 symptoms develop. These symptoms are linked with this traumatic

25 experience, and the second group of symptoms are insomnia, attention

Page 95












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Page 96

1 disorder, occasional anger outbursts and so on, and the third group of

2 symptoms are those that have to do with alienating the victim from the

3 society or community, tendency to spend time alone and lack of will to

4 participate in normal human activities.

5 Q. And is there a development of such an acute post-traumatic stress

6 disorder to a more severe disorder of that person?

7 A. It is possible. Post-traumatic stress disorder normally appears

8 within the first three to six months. This is when it starts developing

9 usually. Some people who develop this disorder, PTSD, after at least of

10 two years of symptoms listed within this disorder develop another disorder

11 which is classified in the psychiatric literature, and it is called

12 permanent personality disorder. It is listed under the code 62.

13 Q. And what is the effect of a permanent personality disorder on the

14 person?

15 A. What is typical for permanent personality disorder is an affective

16 change. The patients normally describe this change as feeling different

17 than they used to feel before. So this is a kind of an emotional

18 bluntness. The patient is unable to experience any pleasure, and they

19 become indifferent to life in general. They lose any interest in social

20 contacts and usual day-to-day activities.

21 Q. And that leads me to the next question, what the impact is of such

22 a disorder on the person's ability to manage everyday life and to function

23 in society.

24 A. What is typical for both of these disorders, PTSD and permanent

25 personality disorder, is that the patients have a weakened ability to

Page 97

1 function socially on a day-to-day basis, which makes them lose their

2 ability to work, and this depends on the intensity of their disorder.

3 Q. Now, Doctor, is there a specific starting date for such a

4 post-traumatic stress disorder?

5 A. If you mean the time period, if that's what you're referring to,

6 then I can tell you that it develops within three to six months after the

7 traumatic experience.

8 Q. Is there any time that it can develop at a later stage?

9 A. Yes, it is. The medical literature and also practice are aware of

10 where this develops after several years. This is a so-called delayed

11 PTSD, and the symptoms that I have described appear several years after

12 the traumatic experience.

13 Q. And what would trigger this delayed start?

14 A. That could be either a banal, repeated trauma or a decompensation

15 due to new life experiences which can remind the victim of the original

16 traumatic experience. Usually we call this secondary traumatisation.

17 Q. Now, Doctor, how many camp detainees did you have did talk

18 suffered from such a post-traumatic stress disorder?

19 A. In the research done by our medical centre, we found that

20 approximately 80 per cent of former detainees suffers from PTSD, obviously

21 in various intensity, from mild ones to grave cases.

22 Q. And is there any recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder?

23 A. When this comes to recovery, let us go back to criterion A, which

24 is the traumatic experience that the patient suffered. This cannot be

25 erased. This is recorded permanently in the patient's memory, all of

Page 98

1 these traumatic events and experiences. However we can treat symptoms or

2 consequences of this psycho-trauma. Our experience has shown that a

3 patient can be brought to a remission stage where he can function socially

4 both within the community as a whole and within his or her family.

5 Q. And my concluding question before possibly the break is: You

6 listed in the beginning to other disorders that frequently occur in former

7 camp detainees which is the anxiety and an affective disorder. Could you

8 just shortly explain what an affective disorder is?

9 A. Affective disorders or disorders of the mood is a disorder which

10 frequently comes as a result of a psychological trauma, and it can range

11 from a mild depression to a severe one. What is typical for this disorder

12 is a loss of ability to experience pleasure, a permanent fatigue, also bad

13 mood, which is experienced by the patient's lack of interest in day-to-day

14 activities, difficulty in concentrating, difficulty in focussing, and it

15 is usually accompanied by depressive emotions, and by this I am referring

16 to outbursts of crying and sorrow.

17 Patients who experience extreme symptoms can also develop certain

18 morbid features and suicidal ideas. Such patients usually see no solution

19 for their situation, and these kinds of people have a higher suicide rate

20 when compared to people who have not experienced any traumatic events.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bower, I wouldn't mind if you would continue

22 until 10.30 and then have the break then.

23 MS. BAUER: Thank you, Your Honours.

24 Q. Dr. Loncar, in your report on pages 3 and 4, you also list the

25 most frequent physical, long-term effects of abuse both physically and

Page 99

1 mentally, as well as -- and the prolonged detention on detainees, and you

2 divided it in so-called direct and indirect consequences, physical

3 consequences. Could you just briefly address the direct and indirect

4 consequences?

5 A. Whether it comes to physical torture that the inmates have been

6 through we are talking about the direct consequences, the direct physical

7 consequences which are injuries that they sustain most often by blunt

8 objects such as a baseball bat, a rifle butt, a boot and so on and so

9 forth. This leads to the injuries to the soft tissues. At the beginning

10 these about haematomas all over the inmates' bodies. And when it comes to

11 the motoric system, that's bones and muscles, there were frequent injuries

12 of the head and rib fractures due to beatings.

13 When it comes to indirect consequences of physical abuse, we are

14 talking about the conditions of life in such spaces where inmates were

15 exposed to starvation, and as a result of that, we saw a sudden loss of

16 weight and weakened immunity system. Very often we saw infectious

17 diseases among the inmates and various other diseases of that sort.

18 Q. And from your research, could you see an effect of such abuse on

19 the mortality rate of former camp detainees?

20 A. According to the -- our data, the risk group both for the mobility

21 bit as well as the mortality suffered from more frequent disease than the

22 general population.

23 On the other hand, we have also noticed that the mortality rate

24 among that group is higher than in the general population which was not

25 exposed to any traumatic experience.

Page 100

1 Q. Starting at page 6 of your report, Doctor, you deal with a second

2 victims' group, namely the victims of displacement and deportation.

3 Doctor, what are the most common traumatic experiences that displaced

4 people suffer which connects them to the other two groups, namely people

5 that are missing a relative or a close person as well as people that have

6 witnessed or learned about the killing of a close person?

7 A. What is typical of all of these groups that we list in our report

8 is the following: Usually these people suffered from a compounded trauma.

9 For example, in the group of expelled, we find former detainees, people

10 who had lost their home or a close member of their family or within their

11 family they have a person missing. What is typical of all of these groups

12 as I've already said, is that very often that they will suffer from PTSD,

13 the mood disorder, and what is also typical of this group is the fact that

14 they suffer from the so-called dislocation stress. This is one of the

15 major stress situations that can happen to a person during their life.

16 I'm talking about the -- the fact that they had to abandon their home and

17 they had to lose the security that a familiar milieu offers.

18 Q. And, Doctor, what are sort of the typical types of illnesses that

19 people developed, physical illnesses since you mentioned the mental

20 already.

21 A. What is typical of these cases due to intense accumulative stress

22 situations, in this population we have seen hypertension, diabetes,

23 cardiovascular diseases, that is impairments in the functioning and work

24 of their heart, arrythmias, and other heart conditions.

25 Q. And is there a specific age group which is specifically affected

Page 101

1 by the stress of dislocation?

2 A. There are two age groups which are at more risk than others.

3 Those are children and elderly. Children, because they have not developed

4 their adaptation capabilities and the little security that they had before

5 they had to move, they lose by moving. And on the other hand we have the

6 elderly who have already lost their adjustment abilities suffer more from

7 the dislocation stress. Mostly people who were expelled from rural areas

8 would mostly arrive at urban areas, and at the beginning they would be

9 accommodated at collective accommodation centres.

10 Q. Now, on pages 6 and 7 of your report, Doctor, you mention the

11 stress-building factors on displaced people, and I'm just summarising the

12 headings which would be the arrival in a strange place, living in

13 overcrowded spaces, and a certain conclusion in a social and family

14 environment. Would you like to point out a specific group which

15 suffers -- is this -- is this a compound stress or is this sort of an

16 individual stress or is this a development phase of the stress factors

17 that you are mentioning in this report?

18 A. We're talking about a cumulative stress, a stress that has

19 accumulated over a period of time from beginning of traumatic events. And

20 this traumatic experience is also the refugee status. The -- how much a

21 person is going to be able to cope with that will primarily depend on the

22 age and the vulnerability of the person. The person at more risk than

23 others are children and the elderly.

24 Also, the level of stress will also depend on the pre-war stress

25 status of each individual and also of their pre-morbidity status. That is

Page 102

1 how prone they were to illness before the stress event. Also, it will

2 depend on the previous experience that the person had and whether they

3 were able to cope with traumatic experience in the past and how they coped

4 with those, and also it will depend on the expectations of other people

5 and the frustration that these people experience. All this will lead to

6 the final cumulative effect.

7 Q. And finally before the break, you mentioned in this group a

8 specific disorder called accommodation disorder. Could you just in one

9 sentence describe what an accommodation disorder is? It's on page 9 of

10 your report.

11 A. Yes. This is a disorder which is called in the official

12 classification the adjustment disorder. The clinical features are

13 emotional disorder, the changed behaviour as a response to the well-known

14 psycho-social stress. These people are not able to adapt to newly arisen

15 situations. There is a press -- a presence of disturbed social contacts

16 and inability to function at their workplace.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 MS. BAUER: Your Honours.

19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Ms. Bauer. I think it's a proper time to have a

20 break. We'll have a break until ten minutes to eleven.

21 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.

22 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bauer, you may proceed.


25 Q. Dr. Loncar, before we move on to the next victim group, I have one

Page 103

1 last question in terms of the impact of the accumulated stress that

2 displaced people experience. In your research, did you detect an increase

3 in the mortality rate of such people as opposed to people -- population

4 that doesn't go through such stress factors?

5 A. Based on our data and also based on the contact with doctors who

6 used to work in the villages before the war, we can see that there

7 definitely is an increase in mortality rate. Certain villages were looked

8 at in order to see how many cases of death, natural death, they had

9 yearly. This information was later compiled with information gathered

10 from those same doctors who worked with their former patients who now

11 became refugees. And to compare, let me give you figures. If before a

12 village had five to ten cases of death a year, then after its residents

13 became refugees, this figure rose up to 15 cases a year.

14 Q. Than you, Doctor. Coming to --

15 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bauer, could I ask one additional question.

16 I do understand that the mortality rate went up, but did you

17 establish the causal relationship with either the removal or different

18 housing circumstances after having become a refugee? I mean, what could

19 you say about the causes of this higher mortality?

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Our explanation for the increase in

21 mortality rate is as follows: As we are dealing with accumulated stress

22 to which various groups of refugees were exposed, unlike to conditions

23 that existed before the war where there was no stress, these people, after

24 becoming refugees, developed certain illnesses such as cardiac illnesses,

25 diabetes, hypertension, and so on. So at an earlier stage in life, these

Page 104

1 illnesses appeared among refugees and led to a decrease in expected life,

2 and this led to a decrease in life expectancy and at the same time is an

3 explanation of the increase in mortality rate.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but this doesn't fully answer my question. I

5 fully appreciate that the new conditions, especially stress conditions,

6 could contribute to such developments, but there would be numerous other

7 circumstances that had been changed as well. Let's just say housing, the

8 heating of the houses which might cause other situations as far as food is

9 concerned, other situations as far as employment is concerned. I mean,

10 for refugees, a lot of circumstances do change, which I can imagine could

11 also contribute to a higher rate of -- of diseases and even mortality.

12 My question is: How could you establish that it were mainly those

13 causes you concentrated on in your research rather than perhaps other

14 causes which were, well, less in your field of expertise that could have

15 contributed to a higher rate of diseases and mortality?

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you will allow me, Your Honours,

17 I would like to explain. When I mentioned cumulative stress or cumulative

18 trauma, this is the fact that the traumatic experience among the refugees

19 did not stop when they managed to leave the war-affected areas.

20 Unfortunately, among these people, just likes said, the stress continued.

21 The stress situation continued with their collective accommodation once

22 they left their homes, and this is especially true of the elderly who were

23 used to a certain pace of life. All of a sudden they were in cramped

24 conditions with other people, different food served collectively. They

25 were restricted to a certain area having been accommodated in sports

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Page 106

1 halls, hotels where their movement was restricted with regard to what they

2 had before the war.

3 These people experienced constant yearning for home, mourning for

4 the life that they had before. All this contributed to what we believe

5 has made this group of people a risk group, and that's why they started

6 developing some conditions much earlier in their life. They developed

7 such conditions which are expected to appear at a later stage in life, and

8 that is why these people, or a certain percentage of these people died

9 before the expected time, because they didn't have the adjustment

10 capabilities. They were too exhausted by then time in order to adjust

11 themselves to the new conditions of life.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for your clarification.

13 Please proceed, Ms. Bauer.


15 Q. Dr. Loncar, on pages 10 to 14 of your report you deal with the

16 impact of the traumatic experience of people that miss -- of people who

17 either witnessed the killing of a relative or learned subsequently that a

18 relative experienced a violent death. What is the most common trauma

19 these people develop?

20 A. What we have been able to notice in our work and which corresponds

21 with the description found in professional medical journals is as follows:

22 When somebody experiences a loss in their family, the mourning starts when

23 the death is expected or the individual or the family is prepared for such

24 an event. Since these deaths occurred before that time, and that those

25 were the result of a trauma, we noticed among this population a specific

Page 107

1 reaction which we describe and which has already been described in

2 professional literature as a pathological mourning. What is typical of

3 these families whose members were killed, together with all the other

4 things that I have already mentioned, since this group also belongs to the

5 group that has experienced cumulative stress, there were members of

6 families who were detainees, who were expelled, members of their family

7 were killed, those people developed a specific disorder which we call a

8 pathological mourning. What is typical of this disorder is the fact that

9 it is accompanied by mood swings or sadness. The expected natural

10 mourning and sadness as a result of a loss in family is about six months.

11 In our population, this period is prolonged and becomes a disorder

12 which we called a pathological mourning. The characteristics of this are

13 as follows: There is an intense feeling of guilt that the surviving

14 member of family did not do enough to save the killed person, and they

15 feel somehow responsible for the death of the member of the family who was

16 killed. These people blame themselves for not reacting in time, for not

17 going and for not seeing the person who could have saved the dead person.

18 All this leads to the development of this feeling of guilt for the death

19 of a member -- of the member of family who was killed.

20 Q. And as a result, what mental disabilities or disorders could

21 develop as a result of this pathological grieving?

22 A. This pathological grieving usually becomes a medical entity which

23 we refer to as the depressive disorder with all the characteristics of

24 depression ranging from the pre-morbidity to the development of fully

25 blown depression which is characterised by mood swings, the loss of

Page 108

1 satisfaction in everyday activities, loss of concentration, fatigue,

2 insomnia, the disorder of diet, loss of appetite. And it goes to very

3 extreme situations of the development of suicidal thoughts and ideas.

4 Q. And, Doctor, in your report you already mentioned guilt. Is there

5 a specific term for the guilt people that witness or that have survived

6 maybe an attempted execution experience?

7 A. If we're talking about guilt, in this case when I'm talking about

8 the feeling of guilt, not the legal guilt but the psychological feeling of

9 guilt which is a rationale, because the individual could not have had any

10 impact on the outcome of this situation. However, this does develop as a

11 disorder which accompanies the rest of the stress syndrome.

12 Q. And, Doctor, did you mention in your report on page 11 that this

13 guilt is also referred to as survivor's guilt?

14 A. Yes. It may appear in the survivors as well. Very often this

15 feeling of guilt may turn into the survivor blaming themselves for

16 surviving, wishing to be dead.

17 Q. Now, Doctor, is there -- could you detect a difference of the

18 grieving process between people who had lost a person and knew that that

19 person was killed as opposed to those relatives who only -- whose

20 relatives weren't just missing and having no body or anything has been

21 detected?

22 A. Yes. This group of victims whose family member is missing shared

23 cumulative traumatic experience but have their own typical characteristics

24 which are the following: The person whose family member is missing,

25 unlike the person whose family member is dead, the dead person was buried

Page 109

1 and there is a precise beginning of the grieving period. Depending on the

2 structure of the personality, this person experienced the following

3 phenomenon: The act of violence has ended and the grieving period has

4 started. On the other hand, if there is a missing person in the family,

5 the family develops very specific reactions within the process of

6 searching for the missing person. From the very beginning, there is a

7 belief and there is a denial that that person is indeed dead or was indeed

8 killed. This period lasted up to the year 1995, where there were a number

9 of families with a missing member of the family, and they could not come

10 to terms with the fact that this person may be dead.

11 This period ended in 1995, and then the second stage sets in. Then

12 these families started believing that their family members were still

13 detained in Serbia. These people developed fantasies that their family

14 members were in war camps, that they were not allowed to contact them.

15 This all lasted until the fall of Milosevic's regime when these illusions

16 finally disappeared, because it was already too late and the whole area of

17 the former Yugoslavia was accessible and to various organisation, and all

18 of a sudden this was clear is that these persons were not there, and this

19 gave rise to the third stage which was the acceptance of the possibility

20 that the person may be dead.

21 In that group, there is always an ambivalent wish and fantasy that

22 the person may still be alive. There is a psychological battle with the

23 reality of the fact and the reality is that this person is certainly dead.

24 This leads to anxieties and feelings of anxiety which lead to fantasies in

25 order to overcome the everyday activity and pondering upon the lot of

Page 110

1 their family members.

2 Q. And on page 16 of your report, Doctor, you deal with the problem

3 if still despite today neither the body of a victim was found nor the

4 circumstances of the death could be credibly established. What impact

5 does that have on that person?

6 A. When it comes to the current time period when there is a flow of

7 information among the Croats, among the families whose relatives have gone

8 missing, a certain feeling of anger develops, an anger towards the other

9 ethnic group. In this case we are talking about the Serbs. And there is

10 a certain feeling of anger towards Serbs who they believe to be

11 withholding information on their missing family members, and this leads to

12 a further delay in resolution.

13 Q. So what the consequence, in one word, is for reconciliation

14 purposes amongst those two ethnic groups -- sorry, what is the

15 consequences, in a few words.

16 A. We are here dealing with frustration on one side and development

17 of various negative emotions towards the other group.

18 Q. Now, Doctor, as the second big part of your study you looked into

19 the effects of Mr. Babic's admission of guilt and what effect that had on,

20 first, the victim side, the Croat side. If you could kindly summarise

21 that position.

22 A. Yes. Following the admission of guilt of Mr. Babic, we can say

23 that its impact on Croat victims could be described as follows: The

24 perpetrator finally was given a first and a last name, so the guilt has

25 been individualised, so to say. Therefore, negative emotions which are

Page 111

1 experienced towards the other ethnic group is diminished and finally can

2 disappear altogether. The victims have received a certain satisfaction

3 upon hearing that crimes have been committed, which is to say that their

4 status of victims was officially acknowledged. And this is a process

5 which has positive impact on Croatian victims.

6 Q. Now, Dr. Loncar, do you know if --

7 JUDGE ORIE: Would you allow me to ask. Did you do some

8 systematic study to the effect of the admission of guilt, or is it an

9 impression based on what I would say incidental seeing patients?

10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, please allow me to

11 revert to the first part of my evidence when I said that the areas listed

12 in my report as those which I toured personally from early 2004 until

13 recently and where I spoke personally with the victims is something where

14 official research has not been done, and this is true, but now we are

15 talking about victims and the fact that majority of victims are accepting

16 this as a positive sign, a positive movement.

17 Based on my work with victims before, I can say that this -- that

18 these negative feelings towards the other ethnic group, meaning Serbs, are

19 becoming less acute.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for your clarification.

21 Please proceed, Ms. Bauer.

22 MS. BAUER: Thank you, Your Honours.

23 Q. Dr. Loncar, do you recall that a proverb in Croatia that

24 basically -- that summarises in a sentence what you just attempted to

25 explain to the Court?

Page 112

1 A. Yes. In Croatia, we have a proverb which is frequently used, and

2 it goes that what is admitted is half redressed, which means that this

3 acknowledges the effect that an admission of guilt has upon victims.

4 Q. Doctor, you have also in your report addressed what impact of an

5 admission of guilt has on the perpetrating side, and in order to establish

6 whether you talked -- did you talk to any Croatian Serbs on the admission

7 of guilt?

8 A. Yes. I've talked mostly to Serbs from urban areas, but I also had

9 contacts with Serbs who have returned to their homes. This work was done

10 in mixed villages, mostly in Banovina area. I went to those villages. I

11 talked to people of Serb ethnicity there.

12 What I can say, and let me repeat once again that no official

13 statistics was done. There was no official record-taking or research, so

14 this is all a result of the exchanges in these interviews, but what I can

15 say is that I have not met any Serbs who had a negative attitude towards

16 the admission of guilt of Mr. Babic. What I also noticed among Serbs in

17 Croatia is that there was a certain feeling of relief among them. The

18 admission of guilt of Mr. Babic and the message that it sent was that we

19 should focus on universal human emotions and treat it as such. This led

20 to the fact that the Serbs do not feel a collective guilt now but, rather,

21 this guilt has been individualised and attributed to a person.

22 Q. Now, what is your view on the --

23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

24 MS. BAUER: Apologies.

25 Q. What's the result of the negation of any perpetrator that in -- in

Page 113

1 respect to the reconciliation between two ethnic groups?

2 A. I will give a brief introduction and describe what happens when

3 there is a denial of crimes committed. Psychological experiences of the

4 peoples in the former Yugoslavia is that they normally do not believe that

5 justice will be done. This is a result of the fact that the legal system

6 was always somehow oppressed by ideology or some other factors.

7 Now to go back to the psychological dimension, let me say that

8 there is a certain suspicion always present among the population, even

9 when somebody is convicted for a crime, the population tends to believe

10 that the courts are not independent, that they are under certain political

11 or any other pressure. So they tend to question all of that.

12 Now as to the admission of guilt and the area of which I'm

13 speaking now, among a certain number of people the fact that there was an

14 admission of guilt will lead to them losing all of their suspicions,

15 because now the perpetrator himself has admitted and has shown remorse

16 with respect to the acts committed by him.

17 Q. And will this -- will this have an effect on both populations, the

18 Croat population as well as the Serb population?

19 A. I, as a doctor, am absolutely convinced that it will. There will

20 be a positive impact, and let me try to explain. This admission was not

21 only an admission of guilt, but Mr. Babic also now addressed himself both

22 to Serbs and to Croats, and in showing his remorse he has sent a universal

23 message that - and I'm now quoting his words - "What is most important in

24 admission is to acknowledge that all of us belong to the same human race."

25 Had it not been for that, the situation that reigned up to now

Page 114

1 where people lined up with their ethnic groups is what led to hatred, and

2 then the hatred led to all the atrocities. And this act of Mr. Babic is

3 something completely new. It has shed new light and it has sent a new

4 message to peoples in that area.

5 Q. Doctor, and finally, what would you say takes a man like Mr.

6 Babic, who some people will say was a moderate man and -- with no racial

7 biases, who had Croat relatives and allegedly Croat friends throughout the

8 war, become a nationalist who took part in ethnic cleansing?

9 A. I will try to explain that to the Trial Chamber through a

10 situation which is known in psychiatry and psychology. If you want to

11 change positions, views of a young man, then you have to do three things,

12 and I think that all three things or methods did exist in the territory of

13 the former Yugoslavia.

14 The first method is to separate the people from one another, which

15 means to separate people from their neighbours, in this case Croats. Then

16 following the separation, there should be isolation. You should isolate

17 people so that there is no flow of information, so that the flow of

18 information is reduced, that there is as little communication as possible.

19 And then the third stage or the third method is propaganda, Milosevic's

20 propaganda which had an incredible impact, and it indoctrinated people.

21 "You should tell the worst about people's neighbours and you should instil

22 fear in them." And in that case if you do all those three things, this

23 can lead to somebody completely changing their views, their attitudes, and

24 becoming an extremist.

25 Q. Thank you, Dr. Loncar.

Page 115












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Page 116

1 MS. BAUER: Your Honours, that concludes my questions of this

2 witness.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Bauer. Are there -- is there any need

4 to cross-examine Dr. Loncar?

5 MR. MUELLER: No, Mr. President. There are no questions from the

6 Defence side.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Judge El Mahdi has one more question for you.

8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you, Mr. President.

9 Questioned by the Court:

10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Doctor, I would like to ask you

11 the following. Could you tell us a bit more about the topic which I find

12 very interesting. If I understood you well, you said that the fact that

13 Mr. Babic has admitted his guilt has an effect on the Serbs who found an

14 expression of their own guilt in that.

15 Firstly, I would like to be sure that I understood you well, and

16 secondly, I have a question. This individualisation of guilt, does it

17 mean that in a certain way a scapegoat is found for all that happened, for

18 all the crimes that took place, and that this person who has admitted his

19 guilt in a certain way transferred this guilt and this guilt is now

20 ascribed to just one person, the person who owns up to collective

21 responsibility?

22 First of all, tell me whether I have understood you well, and

23 secondly, would it be useful at the psychological level to carry out this

24 transfer of guilt or whether the case is just the opposite? Does this in

25 a certain way minimise the individual psychology?

Page 117

1 A. If you will allow me, Your Honour, I will try and answer your

2 question. Firstly, I adhere to what I have said, and I believe that the

3 admission of guilt has had a positive effect on the Serbian population.

4 I'll try and elaborate on this.

5 The reason is the following: So far, the principle of action in

6 the area was based on a nationalism which always accompanies

7 homogenisation, and this is an obstacle for any kind of co-existence. Even

8 if there hadn't been a war, it would have been detrimental for the Serbian

9 people.

10 In this part, in addition to his admission of guilt, Mr. Babic

11 conveys a message. We should turn to the universality of the human race

12 and the values of the civilised world.

13 Let me try and answer your second question, Your Honour. When it

14 comes to the individualisation of guilt, personally I'm deeply convinced

15 that this doesn't mean finding a scapegoat and that this is not the fact

16 that one person will be blamed and all will be forgotten. I believe that

17 the individualisation of guilt is somewhat broader. In psychological

18 terms, I can't offer you any other interpretation. In psychological

19 terms, it means the separation between the perpetrator of Serbian origin.

20 It means that behind every crime there is the name of the person who is

21 responsible for a crime.

22 Within that context, I said that the individualisation of guilt is

23 very important. It is up to the Trial Chamber, to those who administer

24 justice, to -- to do justice and that everybody should be taken to account

25 for their individual crimes.

Page 118

1 When I'm talking about collective responsibility, I'm not talking

2 about the collective or a group of people who committed crimes but

3 collective as a nation, that there should be a distinction between the

4 collective perpetrator of crime and the collective as the nation that the

5 perpetrators of crime belong to.

6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Doctor.

7 JUDGE ORIE: I've got a few questions for you as well. The first

8 is you are -- in your report, you are describing the use of a statement as

9 an instrument both for therapeutic reasons and also to be used for

10 research. Is there in literature -- has this method been validated in any

11 publications or -- and would you give us the -- perhaps not immediately,

12 but could you give us the articles in professional publications where the

13 method as such is validated. Yes.

14 A. If you will allow me, Your Honours, I would like to answer your

15 question. This method was introduced in the 1970s, of the last century,

16 in Chile. This method has been used in crisis situations in South

17 America. In Croatia we have adopted this method. I was the first one to

18 introduce it. There are scientific papers about this method. A book has

19 been published about taking of statements as a therapeutic method. The

20 author is Mr. Jensen from Denmark. He is a member of the World Health

21 Organisation.

22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If it would be possible for you to write down

23 the titles and then later on give them to us so we could try to have a

24 look at them.

25 I've got another question. This is a question, although it's

Page 119

1 related to page 9 of your report, it has a more general tendency, that is

2 a question about how you used your sources and what exactly your sources

3 were.

4 If I take you to page 9 of your report, you write: "During the

5 aggression more than 1.005 houses were destroyed by fire, explosives, and

6 shelling in Hrvastka Dubica municipality. All the houses were looted

7 before the devastation." I'd like to just use this as an example and to

8 better understand what sources you used and how you used them.

9 The number of 1.005, could you explain to us why you've taken

10 1.005 and, for example, why you didn't say more than 1.000, because 1.005

11 is very specific.

12 A. Allow me, Your Honours, to try and answer your question again.

13 Over the past few months I've had meetings with returnees to that area,

14 and this is the figure that I received from the returnees that I spoke to.

15 The returnees themselves made a list. The village is now being

16 reconstructed by the state, and for that reason they were aware of the

17 very specific data, to the last number literally.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Nevertheless you are right. There were more

19 than 1.005. What makes you believe that this list is not a complete one.

20 Yes?

21 A. Some of them, families, have not returned and have not been put on

22 the list for refurbishment. For that reason, there is a likelihood that

23 the figure may be somewhat greater. Some of the families or their members

24 were killed or are still missing, and the people have already dealt with

25 the issue of their accommodation elsewhere in Croatia. So even if they

Page 120

1 return to that area, they would not be entitled to have their houses

2 reconstructed by the government. That's why some of the families have not

3 returned.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So the number is related to lists which are

5 relevant for financial support for refurbishing. Is that a correct

6 understanding of your answer?

7 A. Yes. Yes, that's correct.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you do not know exactly who counted the

9 1.005, but you know that they appear on a list.

10 A. I know who counted them, the returnees, the victims who have

11 returned to their destroyed houses have applied for refurbishment. They

12 have applied to the government to help them refurbish their houses because

13 they wanted to return and live in those houses.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And now, you also write that all the houses

15 were looted before the devastation. What's the exact source of that

16 statement?

17 A. The source again are the victims themselves. Most of the people

18 fled at the very beginning of the war. However, a certain number of the

19 elderly remained in the village and could testify as to what had happened

20 after a certain village was occupied. They are the main source for this

21 information.

22 JUDGE ORIE: And did they give this information in the framework

23 of your psychiatric -- psychiatric-oriented research, or were -- was this

24 information given to other authorities that then passed the information to

25 you?

Page 121

1 A. They have been contacted by our medical centre, by our employees

2 as survivors. Whether they gave their statements to some other

3 institutions or bodies, I wouldn't be able to say.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Does that mean that you systematically interviewed

5 them on the question whether the houses were looted before the devastation

6 or that they were just devastated?

7 A. Within the procedure of taking statements as a therapeutical

8 method, they described the entire trauma. They described the sequence of

9 events from the moments the troops entered the village up to the moment of

10 their traumatic experience. And within these descriptions of these events

11 they also described how houses were looted.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I have a final question. You told us what

13 was needed to make someone change into a person with different views. You

14 said you should separate them from others. You should bar information to

15 come to that person, and if you used propaganda, that would be the way of

16 changing someone other's mind in respect of the issues we're talking

17 about. Are there -- is there the possibility that someone changes their

18 mind without these influences? I mean, I've changed on certain subjects

19 my view during my life where I was not separated, where information was

20 not barred and where no propaganda was exercised on me. So would you

21 accept that also without this, I would say external forces, someone could

22 come to a different opinion?

23 A. Your Honour, I agree with you that opinions may change over time

24 as we acquire more knowledge and more information. During the processing

25 of this information, we correct our opinions. This is what is considered

Page 122

1 customary.

2 In this specific case when I was talking about the three stages, I

3 was talking about an extreme change of mindset. My description referred

4 to the most extreme case.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did you investigate by whatever means whether

6 the change of Mr. Babic in a -- well, let's say in a more nationalist

7 person, was the consequence of this exterior force or exterior influence

8 exercised upon him? I mean, did you -- did you just give us a general

9 answer on what could bring about such changes, or do you have any

10 knowledge specifically on Mr. Babic's situation in this respect?

11 A. Your Honour, I was talking about two things of the one was

12 general. The general part was an extreme change of a human's mindset. And

13 as for Mr. Mr. Babic, I knew very little of him before the war, and as far

14 as I know, he was not very prominent in politics and was not easily

15 recognisable. However, there were a number of such examples of people

16 changing their mindset during the war and becoming extremist in the way

17 they acted and the way they thought.

18 Let me go back to Mr. Babic. I don't have enough information

19 about Mr. Babic in order to say this is what was present in his case.

20 However, all of my professional knowledge leads me to believe that this is

21 precisely what happened to Mr. Babic.

22 JUDGE ORIE: On the one hand, sir, as you say, "I haven't got

23 sufficient information on Mr. Babic," and then you say, "Nevertheless, I

24 believe this is what happened." If I would put it in this way would you

25 agree with this or not, to say that all the circumstances were there to

Page 123

1 explain the change of state of mind by these factors, although you do not

2 know whether that actually happened in respect of Mr. Babic? Would that

3 be a correct statement or would it not be correct?

4 A. I would agree with you, sir. I -- I did not act as an expert on

5 Mr. Babic, so I cannot give you a firm opinion about his mindset and what

6 about the change in it. However, I believe that circumstances at the time

7 may have led to the change.

8 JUDGE ORIE: That's clear to me. No further questions by the

9 parties triggered by the questions of the Bench? We're used to giving an

10 opportunity whenever the questions of the Bench trigger new issues to give

11 an opportunity to the parties to ask additional questions but exclusively

12 in that area.

13 MR. FOGELNEST: Judge Orie, if I may, sir, I'd like to follow up

14 on something you just asked.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.

16 Questioned by Mr. Fogelnest:

17 Q. Doctor, I think it's important that we understand this fully. As

18 an expert I'd like to pose a hypothetical to you: Assume for the sake of

19 the hypothetical that there is no evidence prior to the war that an

20 individual was ethnocentric, a hyperextreme nationalist, a bigot, assume

21 further that that individual had family members and social contacts with

22 people of another ethnic group. Assume further that at the onset of the

23 war great fear was existing among individuals and that later this

24 particular individual came to express extreme nationalist views, would

25 that be consistent with what you described in terms of how these views

Page 124

1 came to exist?

2 A. Yes, that would be consistent.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, could you at the us where the witness

4 said where these views came to exist? It's my recollection that the

5 witness said what circumstances could bring about a certain change of

6 views. And he also told us that change of views could be caused by other

7 reasons, newly acquired knowledge. So could you please tell us where

8 exactly he said that, how these views came to exist as you expressed it?

9 MR. FOGELNEST: I don't have the ability to scroll back in the

10 transcript, but I will point to what the doctor said, with respect --

11 where he told the Tribunal that I believe this is exactly what happened

12 with Mr. Babic, that -- I believe he used the word "precisely." That in

13 his view this is precisely what happened with Dr. Babic. That is to what

14 I refer, Your Honour.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then I asked an additional question to him

16 in which he nuanced his position, where he said, "I know that -- I have no

17 knowledge on whether this really happened with Mr. Babic but that all the

18 circumstances there that could have created this. So --

19 MR. FOGELNEST: Indeed. And what I did now as consistent with

20 his, what I understand to be appropriate with expert witnesses, I've

21 tendered a hypothetical to him to include the relevant facts and asked him

22 merely whether that was consistent with how these things develop.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Your question was wholly hypothetical apart

24 from the last part, and that's exactly what I responded to, where you said

25 of how these views came to exist. If you had said these views might have

Page 125












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Page 126

1 come to exist, then it would have been hypothetical.

2 MR. FOGELNEST: That indeed seems to be the point where the Court

3 and I have a small problem. So let me see if I can refine it --

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if you please.

5 MR. FOGELNEST: -- to satisfy Your Honour.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just try to see whether I can put a question

7 in such a way that -- I think Mr. Fogelnest is interested to know that if

8 you see someone making such a big move from non-ethnocentric, et cetera,

9 to what he described as very ethnocentric, whether that would be

10 consistent with the -- with the mechanisms you described as suitable

11 sources to bring about such a change? Is that, Mr. Fogelnest,

12 approximately what you're trying to --

13 MR. FOGELNEST: If the operative term is "approximately," the

14 answer is yes.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please give your view on it. You may have

16 noticed now what Mr. Fogelnest would like to know.

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, precisely what you

18 said stands. So there is a great likelihood, great possibility for that

19 to take place and to lead to a change in the mindset and in the

20 behaviour.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any further questions, Mr. Fogelnest?

22 MR. FOGELNEST: If I may, Your Honour --


24 MR. FOGELNEST: -- put a fine point on it.

25 Q. Given the hypothetical that I posed to you, Doctor, can you posit

Page 127

1 any other reasons why that individual might have such an extreme change in

2 views other than the three factors that you spoke of?

3 A. Theoretically speaking, some other extreme reasons can lead to

4 extreme changes in behaviour. However, that falls within the sphere of

5 mental health, psychiatry, and as far as I know, this is not the topic of

6 our discussion here.

7 Q. Thank you, Doctor.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Dr. Loncar, this concludes your testimony in this

9 court. I'd like to thank you for having come and having finally responded

10 to questions of both parties and of the Bench. Thank you again for

11 coming, and you'll be escorted out of the courtroom by the usher.

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

13 [The witness withdrew]

14 JUDGE ORIE: Looking at the clock, I think we would continue for

15 another half an hour, then we'll have a break from -- up to a quarter to

16 one and then continue until quarter to two. How much time the Defence

17 would need to examine the witness it will call?

18 MR. MUELLER: Your Honour, I would like to --

19 MR. FOGELNEST: I'm sorry. You've heard this --

20 MR. MUELLER: His answer.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Sharing -- sharing your time doesn't agree

22 with --

23 MR. MUELLER: I would like to defer the answer to my colleague

24 because he is asking the witness.

25 MR. FOGELNEST: Which is why I stood up in the first place.

Page 128


2 MR. FOGELNEST: I can only make a rough estimate, Your Honour, but

3 that rough estimate would be, and I would invite Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff to

4 assist me if she thinks I misspeak, one hour. Is that -- she's familiar

5 with the questions that need to be answered.

6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, but I'm not familiar with your style, so

7 I have to say, but I would say one hour would probably be it.

8 JUDGE ORIE: All right. Let's then start and see how far we come.

9 Mr. Usher left already the courtroom, so I take it that he will

10 bring the witness in the courtroom, and that witness --

11 MR. FOGELNEST: What is the Court's preference? Do you prefer

12 that I stay here or move to a lectern there?

13 JUDGE ORIE: I think it's, I think, the advantage of staying

14 there, but it's your --

15 MR. FOGELNEST: That's fine with me.

16 JUDGE ORIE: -- that you have a better view on the witness rather

17 than to be in one line with him, but that's your professional skill rather

18 than preference of the Court.

19 MR. FOGELNEST: Or perhaps my lack of professional skill. Thank

20 you, Your Honour.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, your next witness will be?

22 MR. FOGELNEST: Drago Kovacevic.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Kovacevic.

24 [The witness entered court]

25 JUDGE ORIE: Good day. Do you hear me in a language you

Page 129

1 understand?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. Yes, I can hear you

3 well.

4 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that you are Mr. Kovacevic. I was

5 hesitating to say good morning or good afternoon but it's exactly 12.00, I

6 don't know what to choose; therefore, I said good day to you.

7 Mr. Kovacevic, you are called to give evidence in this court and before

8 giving that testimony the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to

9 make a solemn declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth,

10 and nothing but the truth. The usher will now hand out the text of that

11 solemn declaration to you, and may I invite you to make it.

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you very much. Mr. Kovacevic, please be

15 seated.

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.


18 [Witness answered through interpreter]

19 JUDGE ORIE: You will examined by counsel for the Defence.

20 Mr. Fogelnest, please proceed.

21 MR. FOGELNEST: Thank you, Your Honour.

22 Questioned by Mr. Fogelnest.

23 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, we met for the first time and spoke for the first

24 time on Tuesday, is that not correct? Did you not hear me?

25 A. Yes, that's right, on Tuesday; that's correct.

Page 130

1 Q. And at that meeting when we spoke about what your testimony would

2 be, the -- questions were asked of you; is that correct?

3 A. Yes, that's correct.

4 Q. And present at that meeting was Mr. Mueller, who is standing on my

5 right; correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And do you recognise Mrs. Uertz-Retzlaff, who is on your right,

8 who was also present?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, would you please be so kind as to tell the members of the

11 Trial Chamber who you are and what you do for a living?

12 A. My name is Drago Kovacevic. I was born in 1953 in Knin, Republic

13 of Croatia. I'm a citizen of two states, Republic of Croatia and Serbia

14 and Montenegro. I am a social worker by profession, currently living in

15 Belgrade, where I work in an NGO called Serbian Democratic Forum

16 headquartered in Belgrade, which also has its offices in Croatia and in

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I also am a publisher, and I have -- I am a columnist

18 and my column is called "The Real Answer". We provide answers to refugees

19 from the area.

20 Q. Thank you. Have you written any books?

21 A. Yes. In 2003, I published a book which I wrote earlier, most of

22 it. As I said, it was published in 2003, and its real title is "Cage:

23 Krajina in an Agreed War."

24 Q. Now, you knew Mr. Babic from before the war. Is that not correct?

25 A. Yes. I met Mr. Babic in 1982, I believe, but it was just a brief

Page 131

1 encounter at the time. We met each other through our wives who knew each

2 other better. We lived at a distance of some 30 kilometres. I lived in

3 Knin. He lived in Vrlica, and there wasn't much opportunity for us to

4 socialise. The jobs we had --

5 Q. May I interrupt you for a moment?

6 A. -- absolutely.

7 Q. You said that Mr. Babic lived in Vrlica?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. What kind of a village was that?

10 A. It's a place which lies between Knin and Split or, rather, Sinj,

11 30 kilometres from Knin. It's place with about 2 to 3.000 residents of

12 mixed ethnicity with a majority of Croatian residents.

13 Q. And did you know whether or not Mr. And Mrs. Babic socialised with

14 people with Croatian ethnicity at that time?

15 A. Well, at the time people socialised regardless of their ethnic

16 background. I know that they did. That's absolutely true.

17 Q. Do you know if Mr. Babic has any members of his family that are of

18 Croatian ethnicity?

19 A. I assume that he does. I think that he does. I can't tell you

20 who exactly, but based on some of our conversations, I think that he does

21 have.

22 Q. Did he and his neighbours share the same language, the same

23 culture except for perhaps the religion?

24 A. Yes. That's absolutely true. Same language and same culture and

25 same values. The religion was different, and they probably declared

Page 132

1 themselves differently when it came to a census.

2 Q. Now, did there come a time in approximately 1990 where both you

3 and Mr. Babic became active in politics?

4 A. Yes. I became active in politics in 1990. At the time, the first

5 multi-party elections were taking place in Croatia, and Mr. Babic was also

6 politically active then.

7 Q. Were you in the same party?

8 A. No. No, we were not members of the same party. I belonged to a

9 small political party called Socialist Party of Croatia, and Mr. Babic

10 belonged to the Serbian Democratic Party.

11 Q. Now, the Serbian Democratic Party, I assume, was people who were

12 Serbian ethnicity; correct?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. How --

15 A. The name speaks for itself.

16 Q. How about your party? What was the ethnicity make-up of the

17 people in your party?

18 A. I belonged to a small political party, the members of which were

19 of both ethnicities. There were Serbs and there were Croats. Since we

20 lived in Knin, the party had more Serb members than Croatian. However,

21 it -- that did have Croatian members as well.

22 Q. Now, does that mean that you were a political opponent of

23 Mr. Babic?

24 A. Well, yes, I was. I was a political opponent of Mr. Babic at the

25 time. Once we became delegates in the local parliament, Mr. Babic had a

Page 133

1 significant majority, whereas my party had a very small number of seats so

2 we were a party in opposition, in opposition to Mr. Babic.

3 Q. Now, as a member of a party in opposition to Mr. Babic, amongst

4 the community in which you lived, what was his reputation for being a man

5 of integrity, a honest man, a good man? From the point of view of his

6 political opponents?

7 A. I can say that Mr. Babic did enjoy a reputation as a young and

8 educated man, as a man who came from a very respected family. He enjoyed

9 a reputation as a man who never entered any conflicts, and he could easily

10 be talked to. He showed signs of a person who -- with whom you could

11 cooperate, and he enjoyed quite a good reputation in the midst where he

12 lived.

13 Q. Now, the party of which he became a member, that was a nationalist

14 party, was it not? It had nationalist views?

15 A. That party was a nationalist party, an ethnically based party, and

16 some of its positions could be termed as nationalist positions.

17 Q. Now, do you know if before Mr. Babic became involved with this

18 party he had ever been in any sort of nationalist movements?

19 A. I don't think so. I actually know that he wasn't. Throughout the

20 1980s in the Republic of Croatia, some movements were indeed formed, and

21 up until the year 1990, Mr. Babic never participated in those movements,

22 or at least I don't know that he did.

23 Q. Did you ever learn why he became involved in these nationalist

24 policies?

25 A. It's a very complex question. I do have my opinion which I can

Page 134

1 share with you. In 1990, the situation in the former Yugoslavia and in

2 the Republic of Croatia was rather complex, and the relationship among

3 people was impaired. A lot of people adopted nationalistic tendencies. A

4 mono-party system was turned into a multi-party system in a society which

5 did not have very long democratic traditions. My opinion is that

6 Mr. Babic was invited to join the party as a respectable person, as a

7 diligent person who was very serious about anything that he did. And

8 before the very foundation of the party, he received the invitation to

9 join the party.

10 Q. Do you know if anyone influenced him?

11 A. I can't say. I can't say that he was influenced. I believe that

12 he was approached by the -- some sort of a committee that was in charge of

13 founding this party and that the invitation came. However, it was the

14 general atmosphere that may have had some sort of an impact. The

15 situation was very complex. There was a state of confusion. There was a

16 feeling of political conflicts in the air. And maybe it was this general

17 atmosphere, atmosphere that influenced him.

18 Q. At this time was there a media campaign being waged?

19 A. Absolutely. Already a year or a year and a half before that the

20 media were absolutely under the control of the hard-line nationalist

21 tendencies, and this very slowly and gradually but surely transformed into

22 the language of hatred. All of these circumstances, all of these facts

23 inspired and instilled a fear among the people, and this fear could easily

24 be seen, almost read on the people's faces. There was a feeling of

25 insecurity, the feeling of insecurity about the crisis and how this would

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Page 136

1 be resolved.

2 The situation with the media and the propaganda which came from

3 all directions, from Belgrade, Zagreb, from various political centres and

4 centres of power was something that could clearly be discerned. The

5 entire atmosphere had a huge bearing on the relationships which became

6 worse by the day.

7 Q. And as this campaign was going on, did you see Mr. Babic change

8 from a moderate man into a nationalist or what he has described as an

9 ethno-egoist? Did you see this evolution?

10 A. In the parliament which was presided over by Mr. Babic, he was the

11 president of the Knin municipality. I was a member of the opposition, a

12 member of the minority. In that parliament, we criticised political

13 positions. This was a local parliament, and the issues dealt with were of

14 local concern. Mr. Babic has had a vast majority in that parliament, and

15 as the president of this parliament, he acted in a very civilised manner.

16 Truth be told, he followed the guidelines of his political parties, and I

17 believe that he also participated in the creation of these policies as a

18 very important person.

19 However, when it comes to his attitude towards the other members

20 of this parliament and the employees of the parliament, I believe that he

21 was very correct. I did not see any changes in his behaviour. I'm sure

22 that there were none. I can also say something else.

23 Q. How about his views on nationalism. There is no question but at

24 some point Milan Babic became an extreme Serbian nationalist, and I think

25 the question that the Trial Chamber needs to have answered was: Was he

Page 137

1 always like that, or did that change from the time you knew him in 1982 in

2 the little village to when Yugoslavia began to disintegrate and the media

3 campaign came forth, was there a change that you saw?

4 A. When we talk about this time, about the year 1990, after the year

5 1982 and later on, I never perceived Mr. Babic as a nationalist, and he

6 indeed wasn't a nationalist. In 1990, things happened very quickly. The

7 crisis escalated. I must say that in the area of Knin, some things were

8 happening in the political life that perpetuated each other.

9 Mr. Babic, at that time, had a fairly, very responsible job. He

10 was the president of the Knin municipality, and at that time Knin was a

11 symbol which was created by the Belgrade and Zagreb media. And Knin was

12 portrayed as the symbol of Serbs in Croatia. Mr. Babic was a member of

13 the party which had its platform, and he also had certain organisational

14 and other capabilities.

15 At one point in time, probably --

16 Q. You're going way beyond the question I asked you, sir. May I

17 interrupt you and ask you another and ask you to address your answers to

18 the questions that are being asked, because we want to try to conserve the

19 time of the Trial Chamber.

20 When the violence started in the summer of 1991, what did you do?

21 A. In the summer of 1991, I was no longer in the political life. My

22 party had stopped to exist, and all the things that had happened made its

23 existence impossible, and I was no longer active in the political life in

24 1991.

25 Q. You withdrew from politics in -- before 1991; correct? Or i Or

Page 138

1 1991?

2 A. In 1991.

3 Q. Now, Mr. Babic continued in politics in 1991. Did you ever ask

4 him why he continued in politics? Did you know why?

5 A. Yes. I believe that I asked him, and I know why. I believe I

6 know why.

7 Q. Would you please tell the Trial Chamber what you know.

8 A. I believe that he felt responsibility for all what had already

9 happened, and it was very difficult for him to retract, to go back. And

10 in 1991 -- actually, already throughout the year 1990, but especially in

11 1991, things had escalated to such an extent that any form of withdrawal

12 would have been considered as a very dangerous act that he could have

13 considered -- been considered as a betrayal.

14 Secondly, Mr. Babic was attacked by the media. The Zagreb media

15 satanised him to a huge extent. At the beginning the Belgrade media

16 promoted him and hailed him; however, that changed later on. In such a

17 situation, I believe that there was no room for him to withdraw, to

18 retract. This was my opinion.

19 Q. Did you ever ask him if he sanctioned what had gone on in 1990 and

20 the atrocities that occurred? Did you ever speak with him about that,

21 learn what his feelings were?

22 A. I spoke to him quite a lot of times, but I knew like everybody

23 else who lived in the area at the time, and that was that Mr. Babic was

24 not in control of any agencies of repression. He was not in control of

25 either the police or the army. The old Yugoslavia still existed, and it

Page 139

1 was the old Yugoslavia that controlled the army.

2 As for the police, not for a single moment did Mr. Babic control

3 the police. It is a well-known fact. Sometime in May or June --

4 Q. I haven't asked you about his control of the police, sir. I asked

5 you if you spoke to him about whether or not he approved of these things,

6 if he sanctioned these things. And it would be oh, so helpful if you

7 would answer my question, please, sir.

8 A. I spoke to him about that on several occasions, and I can share

9 with you a very characteristic moment that happened in January 1995, when

10 we were returning from a wedding. He heard that in another part of

11 Krajina, in Banja, around Kostajnica, there were crimes committed over

12 civilians. We were in the car, and he told me with quite a lot of

13 resignation, "See what happened." And how would it have been possible to

14 conduct any kind of policy in a situation like that? So this would be a

15 very characteristic moment that we shared, the two of us.

16 Q. In 1990, there were barricades constructed in Knin. Did Mr. Babic

17 participate in discussions with the Croat authorities to try and calm this

18 situation down?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Can you tell the Tribunal about that? Tell the Trial Chamber,

21 please, what you know.

22 A. Yes. I know that his first activities along these lines were

23 conversations that he had with the president of Sinj municipality. His

24 name was Jerko Vukas, and he was also a high official in the ruling party

25 in Croatia, the HDZ. I believe that their conversations that I didn't

Page 140

1 attend, however, I saw Mr. Vukas on one occasion in the corridor. I

2 believe that these conversations helped to resolve the situation at the

3 beginning. However, it didn't last long. That's one thing.

4 However, I also remember something that I attended because

5 Mr. Babic didn't want to be the only one to talk to the representatives of

6 the Croatian government. He invited some other people from the political

7 life of Knin. I was amongst those as well as some other people who were

8 not members of Mr. Babic's party.

9 On that occasion, some Ministers of the Croatian government came

10 to Knin. Mr. Boljkovac who was the minister of the interior, and Mr. Pero

11 Kriste who was the Minister of Defence.

12 Q. Could you just speak a little more slowly, please. I'm having

13 trouble following the speed at which the translator is being forced to

14 work. So if I might ask you just to slow down, it will be easier on -- at

15 least on me if not everyone else.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps we would first have a break and then you

17 could try to concentrate on slowing down a little bit.

18 Mr. Fogelnest, may I ask you to try to get a better grip on facts

19 and conclusions as far as the witness is concerned.


21 JUDGE ORIE: It's also a matter of how you put your questions to

22 the witness, and that will keep it a bit --

23 MR. FOGELNEST: I recognise the problem, and I'll try to correct

24 it.

25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We will have a break until ten minutes to one.

Page 141

1 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.

2 --- On resuming at 12.54 a.m.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, you may proceed.

4 MR. FOGELNEST: Thank you, Your Honour.

5 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, it's very important to us that the members of the

6 Trial Chamber understand what you're saying, so I'm going to do a couple

7 of things. First I'm going to remind you and ask you to speak more

8 slowly, and I think if you speak at a pace that you feel is too slow, then

9 that will actually be more accurate and be easier for us to understand the

10 translator and make it easier on the translator.

11 The second thing I'm going to do is I'm going to ask you

12 questions, many to the best of my ability that will simply call for a yes

13 or no, and if you can simply answer yes or no, then I'll ask you to

14 explain some of those answers, and I will ask you to do that briefly.

15 Okay?

16 A. Yes, it is.

17 Q. Thank you. Was there a so-called national resistance council

18 active in Knin?

19 A. Yes. It was called the council.

20 Q. The answer to that could have been simply yes. Okay. When was

21 that active?

22 A. It was active from the time the barricades were set up, which was

23 in August of 1990, and up until the end of December 1990.

24 Q. Thank you, sir. Who was behind this national resistance council?

25 A. Well, it was nominally under the control of Milan Martic.

Page 142

1 However, there were other various members in it.

2 Q. Can you name some of them for us, please?

3 A. Well, I think I can. Mr. Vitas was a member. I know that he

4 described himself as a member of that council.

5 Q. Do any other names come to mind at this moment?

6 A. It's difficult to focus on that right now because --

7 Q. [Previous translation continues]... What position did the national

8 resistance council take regarding Mr. Babic's efforts to solve the crisis

9 through negotiations?

10 A. The national resistance council mostly obstructed those attempts.

11 The council exerted pressure with respect to the attempt to resolve the

12 conflict through negotiation, which was advocated by Mr. Babic.

13 Q. Thank you. I want to now invite your attention to the time of the

14 actual conflict. During the conflict, did Mr. Babic have control over the

15 forces involved?

16 A. No, he didn't.

17 Q. Did he have clashes with Milan Martic or Captain Dragan?

18 A. This is how it was: I think that Mr. Babic attempted --

19 Q. Is your answer yes?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, please explain to us how it was.

22 A. Mr. Babic attempted, in order to be in charge of politics that

23 would lead somewhere, to take over the Ministry of the Interior or,

24 rather, the police. However, his first steps already proved to be

25 unsuccessful, even though he had done certain formal activities. However,

Page 143

1 he never managed to take over control. Therefore, the Ministry of the

2 Interior, the police, remained under the control of Martic. Martic

3 remained in charge.

4 As for Captain Dragan, as far as I know there was a conflict with

5 him which emerged sometime in late June of 1991. At that time,

6 Captain Dragan accused Milan Babic of wanting to exercise control over

7 forces trained by Captain Dragan in a camp.

8 The matter ended in such a way that these forces remained under

9 the control of those persons who exercised control over them before, and

10 Mr. Babic had absolutely no influence over those forces.

11 Q. Now, I want to ask you about the attack on the village of Kijevo

12 in August of 1991. There was such an attack, was there not?

13 A. Yes. In August of 1991, Kijevo was attacked, yes.

14 Q. Now, Mr. Babic got involved in that situation, did he not?

15 A. Yes. In a way, yes.

16 Q. Well, can you explain in what way to the members of the Trial

17 Chamber, please?

18 A. At one point in time, I think it was in the second half of August,

19 Milan Martic, through the media, requested the civilian population in the

20 village of Kijevo to leave the territory of the village because there

21 would be an operation against Croatian police which was stationed in that

22 village. I don't remember exactly the date. However, he made this

23 announcement several days before the attack.

24 On the following day, Mr. Babic already intervened, and he did so

25 publicly, and he called that an inappropriate behaviour which leads to

Page 144

1 trouble. And this was the extent of his involvement. He protested

2 against this request to have the civilian population leave the village of

3 Kijevo.

4 Q. In the month following the incidents at Kijevo, did Mr. Babic have

5 contact with the Croats?

6 A. I don't think he had contacts after the Kijevo incident. However,

7 there was a tragedy in his family shortly after that. Namely in the

8 village of Vrlika, which is the village of Mr. Babic, his father-in-law

9 Bozo Skrbic was killed, and his house was set on fire. The house was in

10 the other part of the village, Mr. Babic's house, and his father-in-law's

11 house was also set on fire. His mother managed to flee, as did the mother

12 of his wife, who would probably come to the same end had she not left the

13 house.

14 Q. What happened to his father-in-law?

15 A. The father-in-law was killed in the house, in his own house in the

16 village of Vrlika.

17 Q. How was he killed?

18 A. He was killed by soldiers of the Croatian army or the Croatian

19 guard.

20 Q. Now, moving on to another topic, did Milan Babic ever privately

21 discuss with you the suffering of the Croat people?

22 A. Yes, he did.

23 Q. Will you tell the members of the Trial Chamber what he expressed

24 to you, please.

25 A. Especially at the time when we had active political cooperation,

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Page 146

1 which is in 1993, 1994, 1995, and a part of 1992, Milan Babic very

2 frequently used to say that the war cannot end in a favourable way unless

3 a normal solution is found due to all the suffering on both sides, the

4 Croatian side and the Serbian side that the people have experienced.

5 He used to say that in order to find any kind of a solution, the

6 main obstacle to finding any solution were operations in which civilians

7 were killed and in which there was a lot of destruction, houses,

8 facilities, and so on. He used to condemn that. Therefore, his position

9 was very clear.

10 Q. Did you discuss with him why he failed to say such things in the

11 public forum?

12 A. You see --

13 Q. Did you discuss it? It's a yes or no question first.

14 A. Yes, I did discuss it.

15 Q. Well, then please tell us what he said to you and what you

16 understood the reasons for him not making the public statements that he

17 made to you privately.

18 A. Perhaps that is not the precise way in which I put those questions

19 to him. However, we definitely discussed these matters. There were

20 several reasons that I could give you now that explain why at the time he

21 did not discuss this publicly, although his reaction to the Kijevo

22 incident was a public one. The first reason for that was that it was

23 extremely dangerous. The second reason was that in view of the situation

24 in Krajina at the time where many people were killed in Krajina as well,

25 there was a lack of understanding and it could lead to political damage

Page 147

1 because the situation was not a normal one.

2 The third reason is that - I'm now referring to 1993, 1994, and

3 1995 - Milan Babic had an ambition, namely he wanted to help find a

4 solution so that people from Krajina would not find themselves in a very

5 negative state of affairs, which is exactly what happened in 1995.

6 Therefore, he tried through political negotiations, through insisting with

7 international community, through insisting within the Serbian community in

8 Krajina to find or to help find a political solution which would enable

9 these people to remain in their homes rather than become refugees.

10 Q. When you say "dangerous," were you away of any times when

11 Mr. Babic was attacked or if attempts were made on his life?

12 A. Yes, I am aware of that. There were a number of such situations.

13 I can also give you some examples, and quite a lot of them. Let us begin

14 from his apartment.

15 As early as 1991, there was a serious attempt made on the life of

16 Milan Babic. His apartment in the town of Knin was broken into by two

17 armed men in uniforms, and they tried to kill him. The hall in his living

18 room where I sat more than hundred times. So the hole in the ceiling was

19 still there when we were leaving Knin in 1995.

20 Then there was another serious in Benkovac --

21 Q. Before you move on, what kind of uniforms were these men wearing?

22 JUDGE ORIE: Before asking this, could you please lay your

23 foundation for the knowledge of the witness in that respect.

24 MR. FOGELNEST: Surely.

25 Q. How do you know this?

Page 148

1 A. It was a widely known fact. It was in the media as well. We

2 heard it from Mr. Babic, and I heard it from him and from at least 20

3 people who were in the immediate vicinity. Either they lived in the

4 building where Mr. Babic resided, or that's how we know it.

5 Q. And do you know what kind of uniforms the men were wearing?

6 A. Based on what was said at the time, these people wore the uniforms

7 of the then-Yugoslav People's Army, although I think that the army,

8 following the incident, stated that these people were not mobilised by the

9 army.

10 Q. And you say there was a hole --

11 JUDGE ORIE: We're really entering the realm of speculation.

12 MR. FOGELNEST: I'll move on, Your Honour.

13 JUDGE ORIE: What was the uniforms according to the press is not

14 really something that -- I mean, this witness has testified that he heard

15 from others, including Mr. Babic, that Mr. Babic was attacked in his

16 apartment, and I do not think that on the basis of his knowledge, unless

17 there is a good foundation for it, we could hear any further evidence in

18 that respect. Please proceed.

19 MR. FOGELNEST: Yes, sir.

20 Q. Did you ever speak with Mr. Babic about the reasons why he

21 continued in his political functions and ultimately cooperated with the

22 JNA, with Martic, with Milosevic?

23 A. At the time when Mr. Babic and I cooperated closely politically,

24 we mostly discussed things that we were facing at the time, namely we

25 tried to see how we could improve the situation and try to get Krajina out

Page 149

1 of the war as painlessly as possible.

2 These matters that you refer to in your question, I can say the

3 following about them: I think that there were two factors there. One was

4 that at one point in time Mr. Babic probably believed that the policy

5 which existed in 1990 could potentially lead to an improvement of the

6 situation of the Serbian community in Croatia. I think that that was the

7 first factor. And later on, he just continued it by inertia. I think

8 this would be a brief conclusion that I made based on those conversations.

9 Q. In 1992, you joined the SDS party and supported Mr. Babic in his

10 politics; is that correct?

11 A. Yes. Yes.

12 Q. Why did you do this?

13 A. At the time, it was completely clear to me that Mr. Babic had cut

14 all his ties to Mr. Milosevic and that Mr. Babic was politically

15 reasonable and was a charismatic politician and that this could lead to

16 finding a rational resolution to the crisis so that we can preserve the

17 status of the people in the community so that we can find a peaceful

18 resolution and integrate the Serbian community back.

19 At the time, it became clear that there would be no change of

20 borders and, therefore, we wanted to find the most favourable way to

21 reintegrate the Serbian community in Croatian society.

22 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask you one additional question in that

23 respect, Mr. Kovacevic. When in 1992 you join the SDS?

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Following the attack on Mr. Babic in

25 Benkovac when he was gravely injured. So sometime in the second half of

Page 150

1 1992, let's say in September, after Mr. Babic had left the hospital.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.

3 Please proceed, Mr. Fogelnest.


5 Q. Did you visit him in the hospital?

6 A. No. No, I did not visit him in the hospital.

7 Q. Did you see him shortly after he came out of the hospital?

8 A. I did see him after he left the hospital. He had serious injuries

9 on his head.

10 Q. Can you describe those injuries to the Judges, please?

11 A. The area was swollen, this part around his jaw. I can't give you

12 any medical description, but it looked pretty bad.

13 Q. Were you told how he obtained those injuries?

14 A. He did.

15 Q. Can you tell the Court about how he obtained those injuries?

16 A. He received these injuries in Benkovac, in the house of Lezajic

17 while meeting with party members. While they were meeting, the house was

18 surrounded by the police, the then-police of Krajina. The policemen

19 entered the house, started breaking things in the house. The attack was

20 aimed directly on Mr. Babic, and everybody who was present was under the

21 impression that the attackers wanted to kill him. They shouted insults at

22 him. They especially used the word prefect when addressing him. They

23 beat him all over his body. They beat him on the head.

24 After the attack, they took him out in front of the house --

25 JUDGE ORIE: May I interrupt again. We get a detailed description

Page 151

1 of the attack without even knowing whether this witness was present during

2 the attack.

3 Were you there when it all happened in that house?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, what words were exactly used by the

6 attackers if the witness has not been there, of course, is hearsay. I'm

7 not saying hearsay is not admissible in the Tribunal, but going into such

8 details, I think it would have been sufficient to say that he was directly

9 attacked, being insulted, et cetera, according to what this witness heard.

10 I mean, that's the basic --

11 MR. FOGELNEST: I was trying to limit it, Your Honour. It's a bit

12 difficult.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.


15 Q. This word "prefect," is that --

16 MR. FOGELNEST: And respectfully, Your Honour I believe that may

17 not be the best translation.

18 Q. Did Mr. Babic acquire a nickname that was commonly used?

19 A. This word, "prefect," --

20 Q. The word -- the word --

21 A. Was used as a derogatory word to Mr. Babic. He didn't have any

22 other nickname.

23 INTERPRETER: The word in B/C/S is "Zupan".


25 Q. Zupan. Does it also have a meaning in this context that means

Page 152

1 traitor?

2 A. Yes, especially in that context.

3 Q. Is it your understanding that's how that word was used, Zupan?

4 A. Yes, absolutely yes. It's a word with a certain indication.

5 Q. There's --

6 A. May I explain, please.

7 Q. There is no question pending. Did you ever -- were you ever

8 present when Mr. Babic was called Zupan?

9 A. Yes. I heard that on two occasions in direct conversations, yes.

10 The first time it happened in the year 1990 when he sent a proposal.

11 Actually, it was his initiative when the constitution was being amended

12 and when the people from the national defence council referred to him as

13 Zupan, prefect.

14 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Mr. Kovacevic, please just

15 answer my question yes or no and wait for the next question. Can we do

16 that?

17 Is the answer to my question, "Yes, I heard him called that"?

18 A. Yes, I heard him being called that.

19 Q. All you need to say is "yes." Now, who did you hear call him

20 that, "traitor"?

21 A. What I can remember best is what happened in 1994. It was in

22 October.

23 Q. I didn't ask you when it was. I just asked you who. Please

24 answer my question.

25 A. Biljana Plavsic. I attended that incident when she approached

Page 153

1 him, and she told him, "Goodbye, Zupan," meaning the same thing that we

2 spoke about.

3 Q. Who else did you hear call Mr. Babic "traitor"? Just give us a

4 name if you can.

5 A. For example, I heard people from the national committee, more

6 specifically Mr. Vitas, that we have already mentioned.

7 Q. Thank you. Now, later did Mr. Babic engage in negotiations with

8 the Croatian authority to try to find a peaceful solution? That's a yes

9 or no.

10 A. Yes. Yes.

11 Q. Were you present when the Z-4 plan was discussed between Mr. Babic

12 and Ambassador Galbraith?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Was Mr. Babic in favour of the peaceful reintegration of the

15 Krajina into the Croatian republic?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. That did not happen, did it?

18 A. Unfortunately, no.

19 Q. Do you know why?

20 A. I do.

21 Q. Will you please tell us?

22 A. I believe that the main reason was that this was not allowed by

23 Slobodan Milosevic. His instructions to Martic were for him not to accept

24 that plan, to reject it completely.

25 Q. Were you with Mr. Babic in -- excuse me one moment. I need help

Page 154

1 with pronunciation.

2 Were you with Mr. Babic in Kostajnica in 1995?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And did you learn that Croats had been murdered there in

5 Kostajnica; in 1991, that the murders had occurred in 1991?

6 A. Yes, but not in Kostajnica but in some villages in the vicinity of

7 Kostajnica.

8 Q. But you were with Mr. Babic in 1995 in Kostajnica and you had

9 learned that Croats had been killed in nearby villages in 1991. Am I

10 correct?

11 A. Correct.

12 Q. Yes. Would you please tell the Judges of the Trial Chamber how

13 Mr. Babic reacted to gaining that knowledge?

14 A. He showed signs of resignation with the situation. He was very

15 angry. He told me in the car, "How can anybody possibly conduct any kind

16 of politics if things like that had happened?"

17 Q. Did he appear to you to have knowledge of that before you two

18 learned of it in 1995?

19 A. It seemed to me that he didn't know of this before that, that he

20 heard it for the first time there and then.

21 Q. Did Milan Babic ever express to you that he felt responsible for

22 what happened in the Krajina in 1991 and 1992?

23 A. Not in so many words. However, he did mention his responsibility.

24 He mentioned his political responsibility during that period of 1991 and

25 1992.

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Page 156

1 Q. Did he discuss with you an intention to contact this Tribunal and

2 come forward and give them the information he had?

3 A. Yes. He told me about that. He expressed his willingness to do

4 that, and it was in 2001 that he clearly indicated to me that he would

5 appear before the Tribunal.

6 Q. After you left the Krajina in your capacity as a social worker,

7 did you work with refugees in Serbia?

8 A. Yes. I've worked with them all this time.

9 Q. And can you explain in just a bit more detail the nature of your

10 work.

11 A. First I started with the humanitarian programmes for a Japanese

12 humanitarian organisation, the name of which is YEN. I was involved in

13 classical humanitarian work from the distribution of food to psychological

14 and sociological help. As from the year 2002, I've worked in the Serbian

15 Democratic Forum, which is involved in a certain type of development and

16 social programmes and also on the return of the refugees from Serbia to

17 Krajina.

18 Q. Now with respect to the people you work with now, the Serbian

19 refugees, has Mr. Babic expressed to you any views about whether or not

20 these people should return to Croatia?

21 A. Absolutely. He was very interested in people returning to

22 Croatia. He believed that this would be the most normal and the only

23 solution for them.

24 Q. And did Mr. Babic express to you his own personal sense of

25 responsibility as to whether he could and should do something about this?

Page 157

1 A. Yes. He expressed feelings about his political responsibility.

2 That's what we talked about. He also told me that he would like to see as

3 many people as possible return, that they should be encouraged to return.

4 Those are the situations that he described.

5 Q. Did he tell you how he could -- thought that perhaps to effect

6 that return?

7 A. Yes. He told me that people should be engaged in discussions

8 about that topic, that they should be encouraged to return to their homes,

9 because that is the only possible solution to the whole situation and that

10 everybody should be aware of the fact that not all the people would

11 return. But his view was that it would be best for people to return, as

12 many of them as possible.

13 Q. Is it fair to say that Milan Babic expressed to you that the

14 Croats and the Serbs should be able to live together in the same area and

15 that he was in favour of that?

16 A. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely, yes.

17 Q. Thank you, sir?

18 MR. FOGELNEST: Your Honours, I have no further questions of this

19 witness at this time, and I thank you for your patience.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Fogelnest.

21 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, I understood you have some questions for this

22 witness.

23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, very few.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Very few. We have to stop at a quarter to two. Do

25 you think you could manage until then -- yes. Please proceed.

Page 158


2 Questioned by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff:

3 Q. Yes. Mr. Kovacevic, as we have only very little time, please be

4 very precise in your answers, and very brief. Mr. Babic, we know, was a

5 dentist. Did he practice, to your knowledge, did he practice throughout

6 the Knin region going to villages or was he just stationed in Knin?

7 A. He did work in other surgeries, not only in Knin. There were

8 surgeries all over the Knin area. For example, in Djevrske village,

9 that's where he would go to practice.

10 Q. Is the Knin region or was the Knin region before the war a

11 developed region or rather poor?

12 A. It was a very poor area.

13 Q. When Mr. Babic started to engage in politics, was this

14 underdevelopment of the Knin region, was this the focus of his policy, to

15 change that?

16 A. Yes. However, there was very little time to do anything about

17 that during the period of time while he was actively engaged in politics.

18 Q. That would mean, I have to say, just simply yes. Based on

19 observation of Mr. Babic even then further through the months and years,

20 was his focus always the Knin region, the people of Knin?

21 A. Yes, he focused on people in Knin.

22 Q. You expressed in your testimony the insecurity that all the people

23 felt in the region in 1990. That applies to Serbs and Croats?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Were you afraid of the future, you personally?

Page 159

1 A. Absolutely. I am still afraid.

2 Q. Do you know or did Mr. Babic express that he also was afraid and

3 felt insecure at that time?

4 A. Not in so many words. However, I personally could feel that in

5 him.

6 Q. In 1990, the association of municipality was formed, and your

7 party, did it oppose this?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And when the SAO Krajina was formed with its governments, did your

10 party again oppose it?

11 A. My party had already left the political scene by then.

12 Q. Why did you and your party oppose the association of

13 municipalities, these formations of certain Serbian bodies? Why did you

14 do that?

15 A. There were several reasons for that. Firstly, it was against the

16 platform of my party. We advocated the preservation of the former state

17 in one form or another. Secondly, we wanted to preserve a good

18 relationship between various ethnic communities in Croatia, and we also

19 wanted to preserve a certain social and democratic programme. All that

20 was happening did not provide any guarantees for the good relationships

21 amongst ethnic groups, and it was against my party's platform.

22 Q. Was it indeed increase -- these moves, did they increase the

23 tension between the nations?

24 A. Unfortunately the majority of people were involved in that

25 movement. They covered the entire ethnic area. They gained the majority

Page 160

1 of votes in the election. So what we tried was tried but such an

2 insignificant minority that we couldn't find a serious place for ourselves

3 on the political scene.

4 Q. This didn't really answer my question. I asked you whether those

5 moves added to the tension between the ethnic groups. Is that a yes?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. You mentioned that at some point in time Mr. Babic actually went

8 into opposition to Milosevic. When was that?

9 A. At the moment when it became clear was the 6th of January, 1992,

10 when he became an open opposition, because at that moment all the media

11 published a letter by Mr. Milosevic in which he addressed the people in

12 Krajina directly and in which he said, "From now on you will only get our

13 help when you overthrow Milan Babic."

14 Q. And as a consequence of this, of his opposition to Milosevic, did

15 he indeed then lose his political position?

16 A. Yes. It was impossible to keep a political position in Krajina if

17 you came under such an attack.

18 Q. And you mentioned that Mrs. Plavsic, in 1994, called Mr. Babic a

19 traitor. Why was that? What was the reason for her to do that?

20 A. This happened with regard to the negotiations with the

21 international community. The Assembly of Krajina was supposed to adopt

22 the principles regarding the economic agreement between Krajina and

23 Croatia that had to do with the waterworks, the railroad, and other

24 infrastructure and communications. This assembly session was scheduled

25 for the 25th of November 1994, and the then-president of the assembly

Page 161

1 which belonged to a radical party invited the leadership from Bosnia and

2 Herzegovina, from Republika Srpska, to come to Knin. The intention was to

3 put pressure on the MPs to reject such plans. What happened then was --

4 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Mr. Kovacevic, not too many

5 details. Did she call him a traitor because he was in favour of

6 negotiations and settlement with the Croats? Was that the point?

7 A. Yes, absolutely. She called me Zupan in front of me. We -- I was

8 standing in front of them and she referred to him as Zupan when his

9 initiative fell through.

10 Q. You said that when the violence started in 1991, it was difficult

11 for Mr. Babic to retract because this would be considered betrayal. Who

12 would consider him to be a traitor then?

13 A. He did not have the place to turn to. The Serbs would consider

14 him a traitor. In Croatia he was demonised to such an extent that he

15 couldn't find the place there. So he was between a rock and a hard place

16 at that moment.

17 Q. And you also said speaking up against what was going on in the

18 Krajina during the war would lead to political damage. Does that mean he

19 would lose his political position had he done so?

20 A. It was not so much about the position as it was about the

21 intention to exert influence and to seek a normal solution. One had to

22 have some sort of influence in the public, because no matter what Krajina

23 was at the time, it did have a general public which did play a certain

24 role, and it did have some sort of an influence.

25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, these are the questions.

Page 162

1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.

2 [Trial Chamber confers]

3 JUDGE ORIE: If the interpreters would allow me to continue for

4 five more minutes, I would have a few questions for you, Mr. Kovacevic.

5 The same, of course, is true for the technicians.

6 Questioned by the Court:

7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kovacevic, you told us that Mr. Babic expressed

8 to you that one of the main obstacles to peace were the operations in

9 which civilians were killed. Do you remember at what occasion he told you

10 this?

11 A. It was in 1995, sometime in September.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Were you yourself aware of people being killed

13 in the early days of the conflict?

14 A. One could hear about that, but I didn't have any confirmation. I

15 lived in Knin where these things did not happen.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You heard it from whom or ...

17 A. In 1995, you mean? I heard it from people from Kostajnica.

18 JUDGE ORIE: No. I mean in the early stages.

19 A. There were rumours. One could hear among people. There were

20 rumours. And it was also brought by -- broadcast by the media. We could

21 also see some incidents on the Croatian media. We were aware of the

22 Serbian victims. We knew about those incidents that involved Serbian

23 victim.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Croatian media were reporting on Serbian victims or

25 were they reporting on Croatian victims?

Page 163

1 A. Croatian victims.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Could you receive the Croatian media without

3 technical difficulties?

4 A. The Croatian media could be followed. There were some technical

5 difficulties. I'm talking about the electronic media. We didn't have any

6 printed media.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And do you still remember how often in these

8 early days of the conflict, so I'm not talking about 1995 but 1992, how

9 often would they report on the killing of Croatians in the area where you

10 lived, in the Krajina area?

11 A. We're talking about 1991. In 1992, there was no war in Krajina.

12 They would report as the incidents occurred. Later on, subsequently when

13 I learned about these events because I was interested in that, the

14 coverage was rather realistic when it comes to the casualties and victims.

15 Refugees came from certain areas. They spoke in front of cameras. They

16 spoke about victims and so on and so forth. If this had been recorded,

17 maybe some conclusions may have been drawn. Later on, it turned out that

18 this was not just propaganda but that things really did happen.

19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When you spoke with other people in 1991, did

20 you experience that they had followed the same reports on Croatian

21 television?

22 A. People followed these reports. I couldn't talk to everybody.

23 However, I believe that these reports were followed. There was a feeling

24 of fear among the people. You have to know that. And everybody believed

25 that if that -- if in a battle his place would have been occupied by the

Page 164

1 enemy, that they would lose everything. Those were psychotic feelings

2 which exclude any humanitarian feelings. People react based on instincts.

3 They just think about their own survival.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. One question totally apart from the previous

5 ones. You told us about the attack on Kijevo and you said it was in

6 August 1991. In this statement what has been presented to the Chamber

7 earlier, it appears that you situated this attack in time in January 1991.

8 A. It was in August 1991. In January there were no conflicts. There

9 was no war. I believe that this is due to a technical mistake.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Then you were very -- yes.

11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, just confirmation. We actually

12 have a document that this ultimatum of Milan Martic is indeed from the

13 18th of August, 1991.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Just noticed the inconsistency.

15 Then, finally, you're very precise on one date, that it was the

16 date of the publication of the letter by Mr. Milosevic in which he said

17 that there was no further support for the Serbs in Krajina if the -- well,

18 you remember that? You said that was in --

19 A. It was on the 6th of January, 1992.

20 JUDGE ORIE: You're quite sure about that date?

21 A. It was a very important moment for Krajina.

22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand. If I tell you that the

23 Chamber has been presented with a copy of a newspaper article with this

24 letter apparently in it on the 9th of January, that would not make you

25 hesitate?

Page 165

1 A. You have now confused me. Maybe if an article appeared in the

2 newspapers it could have been delayed, but it seems to me it was on the

3 6th of January, really.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Of course. It was not my intention to confuse you,

5 Mr. Kovacevic.

6 I have no further questions.

7 MR. FOGELNEST: May I inquire briefly Your Honour?

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But we have limited time, so if you --

9 MR. FOGELNEST: Very quickly.

10 Questioned by Mr. Fogelnest:

11 Q. Do you think you might be confused on the dates?

12 A. I believe that I am familiar with the chronology, that I'm very

13 good at chronology. I allow that I may be mistaken in that respect. I

14 will allow that I may have made a mistake.

15 Q. Now, with respect to receiving the Croatian broadcast, were you

16 aware that the TV antennas around Knin were disconnected at a period of

17 time?

18 A. They were disconnected, yes.

19 Q. Can you tell us the period of time that the TV antennas were

20 disconnected?

21 A. They were disconnected during the presidential elections in

22 Krajina.

23 Q. When was that?

24 A. 1993.

25 Q. And to your knowledge, they weren't disconnected before that?

Page 166

1 A. Do you mean the relays of Croatian TV and radio, or do you believe

2 those that belong to the local media? I mean the TV antennas, the large

3 antennas that dealt both with the telephone lines and the ability to

4 receive TB -- TV broadcasts from Croatia were disconnected so that the

5 media was controlled out of Belgrade. Were you aware of that?

6 A. Yes, absolutely. I am aware of that.

7 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Now --

8 A. That happened already in 1991.

9 Q. [Previous translation continues]... When did it happen?

10 A. I think in 1991.

11 Q. Well, then, if it happened in 1991, how is it you were able to --

12 did you have some sort of special device to get Croatian TV if the

13 antennas wouldn't bring it in?

14 A. Yes --

15 Q. Well --

16 A. -- but you the signals came from -- they came with difficulties,

17 but they still came through.

18 Q. From Belgrade?

19 A. We could follow -- receive signals from Croatian relays. There

20 was a relay for Split, but it was close enough to Knin to bring in the

21 transmission to Knin, and the picture wasn't as clear, but --

22 Q. The relay from Split was later, wasn't it?

23 A. Yes. It was there the entire time. There was quite a developed

24 set of relays in the area so --

25 Q. That was later, was it not? You're not -- let me ask you this:

Page 167

1 You're not any more sure about the times when there were the disconnected

2 antennas than you are about the date of the letter that you testified to,

3 are you, sir?

4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, is this your witness or you are

5 examining him as --

6 MR. FOGELNEST: I'm examining him --

7 JUDGE ORIE: -- as in cross-examination.

8 MR. FOGELNEST: Well, based upon Your Honour's questions. I mean,

9 clearly there's an issue that's arisen here.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Wouldn't it be proper to ask permission to do that,

11 to change your position.

12 MR. FOGELNEST: Indeed.

13 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like the witness to come back tomorrow morning at

14 9.00. May I instruct you, Mr. Kovacevic, not to have any contacts and not

15 to speak with anyone about the testimony you have given or who are still

16 about to give in this court. I do not know whether we have any further

17 questions for you tomorrow morning, but I nevertheless would like you to

18 be present at 9.00 in the courtroom in case we might have additional

19 questions.

20 MR. FOGELNEST: Your Honour, may I do this?


22 MR. FOGELNEST: I think that I can abandon this line of

23 questioning. We need not inconvenience this witness. We need not burden

24 the Court. We will just -- I'll end it here. I have no further

25 questions. Of course, if the Court wants to question him --

Page 168

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's the issue I'd like to think over.


3 JUDGE ORIE: If there would be a situation that -- I don't know

4 whether any travel arrangements have been made for Mr. Kovacevic yet.

5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour. And actually I must say, I

6 have a question.

7 JUDGE ORIE: You have a question as well. So let's then -- Mr.

8 Kovacevic, could you please come back tomorrow morning at 9.00 and not

9 discuss with anyone your testimony.

10 We will then adjourn until tomorrow morning, 9.00.

11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.58 p.m.,

12 to be reconvened on Friday, the 2nd day of April,

13 2004, at 9.00 a.m.