Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 2082

1 Thursday, 23 April 1998.

2 (8.30 a.m.).

3 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. I ask the

4 Registrar to call out the case number, please.

5 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-13a-T,

6 Prosecutor versus Slavko Dokmanovic.

7 MR. NIEMANN: My name is Niemann. I appear

8 with my colleagues, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Waespi and Mr. Vos

9 for the Prosecution.

10 MR. FILA: My name is Mr. Toma Fila, I appear

11 with Ms. Lopicic and Mr. Petrovic in the Defence of my

12 client, Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic.

13 JUDGE CASSESE: Can you hear me? Before we

14 start, let me tell Mr. Fila that I have put in place all

15 the necessary measures for the granting of safe

16 conduct. I read your request which was filed

17 yesterday. The order also covers the last witness --

18 there are four. I was wondering what sort of

19 protective measures you were asking for, for those four

20 witnesses. I understand you were asking for voice and

21 face distortion, but I assume you are not asking for a

22 pseudonym because you have already mentioned in court

23 their names.

24 MR. FILA: Your Honours, the day before

25 yesterday I was informed that they are asking for safe

Page 2083

1 conduct. I do not know what they shall be asking by

2 Monday. If they asked for pseudonyms, then I hope the

3 Prosecutor will agree, because this is a joint

4 problem. People hear something today, then they tell

5 somebody else something, and had I not asked for safe

6 conduct for (redacted), I would not have had to ask for

7 anybody else, but they hear that one person has safe

8 conduct status and so they ask for it themselves, so

9 I do apologise for complicating your life in this way.

10 JUDGE CASSESE: Do you have any objection to

11 the granting of these protective measures?

12 MR. NIEMANN: No, we do not have any

13 objection. I just make an observation and that is; it

14 is not only in this case but a number of cases, there

15 is a danger -- we do not take objection because we want

16 the Defence to be able to present their evidence and we

17 do not want to see any obstruction to that and we want

18 to see that happen as effectively as possible. It is a

19 concern, though, that this is becoming very prevalent

20 in a lot of cases. It does eventually impact on the

21 public nature of the trials. I do not think it is a

22 matter we can do anything about now, but it is a

23 concern.

24 Certainly, if Mr. Fila says it is necessary in

25 order to have the evidence, then we do not object to

Page 2084

1 it.

2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We will see,

3 depending on what Mr. Fila tells us, whether in addition

4 to the distortion of voice and face, we also need to

5 give them pseudonyms -- you will let us know, maybe

6 even on Monday.

7 MR. FILA: Yes, I will, quite definitely and

8 I once again apologise to both you and Mr. Niemann. It

9 is not up to me, believe me.

10 JUDGE CASSESE: We may now proceed with the

11 cross-examination.


13 MR. NIEMANN: Overnight we have considered

14 the evidence of Dr. Cukalovic and we consider his

15 evidence is more in the type of an amicus type

16 statement. We will deal with it by way of submission

17 at the end of the day, so we have no cross-examination.

18 JUDGE CASSESE: Any re-examination by

19 Mr. Fila?

20 MR. FILA: I do not have any additional

21 questions. I would just like to ask you to show the

22 evidence to the witness that the Prosecutor submitted

23 at the request of the court. They are documents which

24 are allegedly of an international character signed by

25 Croatia, and I would like you to tell the witness of

Page 2085

1 these documents so that he knows what they are about.

2 JUDGE CASSESE: Which documents?

3 MR. FILA: I do not know the number of the

4 exhibit -- 190-something. It was given yesterday. It

5 is the agreement between the republics. They were

6 submitted as evidence for a Memorandum of

7 Understanding.

8 JUDGE CASSESE: We received from the

9 Prosecutor two sets of documents, to the best of my

10 recollection. One set of documents embraced documents

11 relating to agreements sponsored by the ICRC, and then

12 a document from the UN stating the date of secession of

13 Croatia.

14 MR. FILA: That is it.

15 MR. NIEMANN: I am a little puzzled by all

16 this. If Mr. Fila wants to show the witness something,

17 he is quite welcome to do so, but he does not need to

18 do so in the course of the proceedings. I do not

19 follow what this is all about.

20 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Fila, are you keen to

21 have some sort of assessment by the witness of these

22 documents?

23 MR. FILA: Yes, so that the witness can say

24 whether he has come across these documents working in

25 international law so he knows what the documents are

Page 2086

1 about, yes, that is what it is all about, thank you.

2 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution exhibit 192.

3 MR. NIEMANN: Might I ask, Mr. Fila, if this

4 is re-examination or a continuation of

5 evidence-in-chief?

6 JUDGE CASSESE: We thought we should be

7 rather flexible.

8 MR. FILA: I expected the Prosecutor to ask

9 something. I could not have envisaged the fact that

10 Mr. Niemann would not be asking anything. I just

11 thought that the Prosecution would have some questions

12 to ask, that is my explanation.

13 JUDGE CASSESE: You were taken by surprise.

14 MR. FILA: Yes.

15 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution exhibit 176.

16 MR. FILA: Would you tell us what it is that

17 you are holding there, what document you have before

18 you?

19 A. It is a convention which the Republic of

20 Croatia signed in May 1992, and it states that it will

21 be valid as of 8 October 1991. It is not an ordinary

22 document. We are not talking about giving recognition

23 to the Republic of Croatia here, but it is a

24 retroactive effect of international agreements, so

25 these are two notions which are quite different.

Page 2087

1 What the document states and the date that it

2 comes into force is 8 October 1991, therefore, it is a

3 retroactive document. From the viewpoint of

4 international law, when we come to the question of

5 Croat recognition, this, in fact, does not mean

6 anything at all. In all these Acts, the only thing is

7 that that the date 8 October is mentioned on the basis

8 of the report by the Badinter Commission, which is not

9 binding, which is contradictory, and, after one month,

10 he, in fact, overruled himself -- negated himself.

11 I think that this kind of situation was best explained

12 was best explained by Professor Baladero Pagleri. In

13 cases of this kind, we are not dealing with legal

14 recognition. Therefore, if an agreement stipulates

15 that it will have a retroactive effect, and if by this

16 you wish to demonstrate that Croatia was a State on

17 that particular 8 October, Professor Baladero Pagleri

18 distinguishes between recognition, which has only a

19 political importance, and recognition which has a legal

20 effect. Therefore, for the recognition of a State to

21 be legally valid, the State must fulfil certain

22 criteria which we enumerated yesterday, that it have a

23 territory, a population, and sovereign Government.

24 Croatia, on 8 October, did not have any one

25 of these three elements. Where are the key criteria --

Page 2088

1 active and passive diplomatic offices. With whom did

2 Croatia have diplomatic relations at that time?

3 MR. NIEMANN: I object to this evidence as

4 repetition.

5 JUDGE CASSESE: The objection is sustained.

6 We apply the principle Euro novat curiae. We are

7 expected to know international law in particular, and

8 then what you are saying is repetitive, so you already

9 stated your position yesterday. Mr. Fila, do you have

10 other questions, or can we move on to our next

11 witness?

12 MR. FILA: The next witness will be here at

13 9 o'clock. We did not know that there would be no

14 further cross-examination.

15 Would you please just assess each of these

16 exhibits without repeating what you said yesterday,

17 because the Prosecutor is quite right, you cannot

18 repeat what you have already said?

19 A. Yes, I was just explaining what I failed,

20 perhaps, to mention yesterday.

21 The second document relates to the respect of

22 humanitarian principles and it is an agreement between

23 six signatories. This document as an act of

24 recognition once again does not mean a thing. There

25 are hundreds of Acts of this kind. It was signed by

Page 2089

1 Russia with Chechnya and (INAUDIBLE) and none of these

2 three became a State in its own right. They are just

3 agreements which are reached in critical moments to

4 regulate a given situation.

5 Q. Was that the case in the Philippines, for

6 example, as well?

7 A. In the Philippines, the situation was

8 somewhat different. An agreement there was signed

9 between the legal Government of Corazon Aquino and the

10 rebels similar to this one, once again in order to

11 regulate a concrete situation. Furthermore, the

12 Memorandum on Agreement in Geneva on 27 November 1991,

13 once again, a contradiction here, if you please. If

14 Croatia existed as a State on 8 October, how come then

15 that, on 27 November, a Memorandum of Agreement is

16 signed and it was signed by the representative of the

17 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, that is to

18 say, the Federal Minister?

19 Therefore, Yugoslavia at that point was the

20 subject of international law, Yugoslavia's subjectivity

21 is not proved, it is understood -- the subjectivity of

22 Croatia was to be proved. The fact that the signatory

23 on this document was the representative of Yugoslavia

24 demonstrates that Yugoslavia existed more than one

25 month after that alleged recognition of Croatia.

Page 2090

1 Q. Would you please take a look at the following

2 document -- it is notification of Switzerland--

3 A. Here we are, once again, the convention, the

4 agreement, which was signed on 16 December 1991. As

5 the first signatory, we have the representative of the

6 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Therefore,

7 if Croatia existed, then Yugoslavia no longer existed.

8 On one territory you cannot have the existence of two

9 independent and sovereign States. Let us go on.

10 Finally, an agreement on the establishment of a

11 protected zone around Osijek. That is quite normal,

12 documents of this kind are signed to protect a given

13 zone -- it does not mean international recognition.

14 Then we come to 27 December 1991, once again

15 the signatory is a representative of the Ministry for

16 Health, Labour and Social Welfare, Ljiljana Stojanovic

17 at the first signatory. Those are my comments.

18 I think the situation is quite clear there from the

19 aspects of international law .

20 Q. Briefly, Mr. Cukalovic, do any of these

21 documents which you have seen before you, can any of

22 them be considered agreements concluded between two or

23 more sovereign countries?

24 A. In order to prove this, you would have to

25 prove previously the fact that Croatia existed as a

Page 2091

1 State at that particular moment. None of the arguments

2 which we have put forward indicate a conclusion of this

3 kind except Badinter's report, who negated itself one

4 month later.

5 MR. FILA: Thank you. I should now like to

6 thank your Honours.

7 JUDGE CASSESE: Since we have 10 minutes, if

8 the Prosecutor has no questions, I may ask a question.

9 I was not intending to ask any questions, but we can

10 spend the next 10 minutes discussing this

11 particular --

12 MR. FILA: I apologise, once again, but

13 I would like to ask Mr. Niemann to tell me in advance

14 when he has no further questions so I can bring the

15 witnesses in earlier.

16 JUDGE CASSESE: Yesterday, we discussed the

17 question of the legal status of the so-called Serb

18 District of Slavonia, Baranja and Srem under

19 constitutional law. May I ask you: how would you

20 characterise the Government of the Serb District of

21 Slavonia, Baranja and Srem from the viewpoint of

22 international law? First of all, is it correct that

23 the area covered by the Serb district is in Croatia

24 only, or does it also embrace some parts of the Serb

25 territory? I looked up the map yesterday and I saw

Page 2092

1 that the word "Srem" is across the border. So two

2 questions -- the geographical extension of this

3 particular district and its status under public

4 international law?

5 A. Well, as far as geography is concerned, there

6 is Eastern and Western Srem. One is in the territory

7 of Yugoslavia, and the second part is on Croat

8 territory, so this district does not encompass the

9 territory of the Federal Republic of Serbia, it does

10 not. This area, which has remained the last oasis

11 where there are still some Serbs living in the

12 territory, does not encompass the territory of the

13 Republic of Serbia. The status of the Government,

14 which was set up on this territory, should be

15 determined in keeping with the war operations which

16 were waged at the time.

17 Its status depends on whether or not they

18 control part of the territory, whether or not they had

19 any means of recognition and identification and whether

20 or not they adhered to the provisions of war law.

21 As on that particular territory, organs were

22 set up of the so-called Republic of Serbia and Krajina,

23 they had all the prerogatives of being recognised as a

24 warring party, that is to say, they had -- they were

25 led by a responsible Government, responsible

Page 2093

1 individuals; they had a certain identification and it

2 was the emblem of the Republic of Serbia and Krajina

3 and they had certain military rules and regulations,

4 which showed that they recognised and respected the

5 divisions in that particular area.

6 JUDGE CASSESE: But I think I read somewhere

7 that the so-called Republic of Serbia and Krajina, as

8 you called it, succeeded the establishment of the

9 Serb district of Slavonia, Baranja and Srem.

10 I understand that, when the Republic of Serbia and

11 Krajina was set up, for instance, Mr. Dokmanovic was no

12 longer a Minister of Agriculture of the so-called

13 Serb district of Slavonia. So I thought, but I may

14 be wrong, that the Serb district of Slavonia,

15 Baranja and Srem and the relevant Government was set up

16 probably around September 1991. Then, towards the end

17 of 1991, when the Serb Republic of Krajina was set

18 up, the district of Slavonia and Baranja was

19 dismantled, so, therefore, I thought it was this

20 so-called district and the corresponding Government was

21 a sort of short-lived entity on Croat territory, so

22 my question was therefore, how would you

23 characterise -- if it is correct what I am saying, but

24 I may be wrong -- this particular Government on the

25 territory of Croatia, which lasted only a few months?

Page 2094

1 A. What is quite certain is that that territory

2 had nothing to do with Yugoslav territory and, as far

3 as how we would define that Government, I have already

4 said it was established only as a Defence on the part

5 of the Serb people of a possible Croat terror,

6 namely, what happened in 1941 remained deeply imbedded

7 in the consciousness of the Serb people, and the people

8 there just organised themselves, and according to

9 international war law it is permissible for the

10 population of a particular area to organise itself in

11 the case of a possible massacre, terror and the like.

12 So, this is a region which organised itself

13 with the basic aim of protecting itself.

14 JUDGE CASSESE: But if we proceed on the

15 assumption -- which has been advocated by Mr. Fila as

16 Defence counsel -- that the armed conflict which took

17 place in the area we are referring to between, say,

18 September, October and December 1991, was an internal

19 conflict between Croats, who were rebelling, trying to

20 secede from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the

21 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, why was it necessary

22 for the Government to be set up for a few months in an

23 area which was under the jurisdiction, if we stick to

24 the thesis of Mr. Fila, of the Federal authorities?

25 A. Yes, it was under the jurisdiction of the

Page 2095

1 Federal authorities, but a lot of crimes can be

2 committed in the space of one month, and they could be

3 unavoidable and, therefore, the population, having the

4 experience that it had, because of the same population

5 in 1941 in only several months were massacred greatly,

6 and it was necessary to organise -- for the population

7 to organise itself in any way they could to try and

8 prevent any possible crimes which I am quite sure would

9 have followed. They did follow, in fact, but thanks to

10 the fact that the people themselves had organised

11 themselves, the Yugoslav People's Army had problems

12 with its commanding officers, and a Croat was at the

13 head of the Yugoslav army, and therefore the people had

14 to organise itself, together with the help of the

15 Yugoslav People's Army, to try and save its integrity

16 and to save their lives.

17 JUDGE CASSESE: You mean not only was it

18 needed for those people to organise themselves not only

19 militarily, from the viewpoint of military structure,

20 but also a Government, with the Minister of

21 Agriculture? Anyway -- thank you. Are there any

22 questions? Is there any objection to the witness being

23 released? No objection. Thank you, Professor Cukalovic

24 for giving testimony, you may now be released.

25 (The witness withdrew).

Page 2096

1 MR. FILA: The next witness has arrived a

2 little earlier, luckily.


4 MR. FILA: I will just have to explain

5 something both to you and to Mr. Niemann.

6 Mr. Milan Bulajic, the next expert after Mr. Gavrilovic,

7 he will be coming only on Monday. So, after

8 Gavrilovic, we are going to hear the witness

9 Mr. Milinkovic, who is also there. If we finish

10 Mr. Gavrilovic, we will hear Mr. Milinkovic, so it is

11 just a change in the order -- nothing else.

12 JUDGE CASSESE: While we are waiting for the

13 witness, may I call up on both parties to try to avoid

14 lengthy questions, and I will also ask the witness not

15 to be too lengthy, because we have received the

16 document and he is going to address questions of the

17 Serbs in Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia from the 14th to

18 the 20th century. So it is an historical background.

19 We have already heard a lot of information and evidence

20 about the historical background. I think we should

21 focus, as much as possible, on the legal issues and the

22 factual issues relating to the accused. So, let us

23 avoid entering into domains which, in a way, are

24 extraneous to our matter. I would like, therefore, to

25 call upon, in particular, Mr. Fila to try to confine

Page 2097

1 himself to a few questions and relevant questions. We

2 are not interested in the historical background, the

3 sociological or psychological background. As a court

4 of law, we have to pass judgement on the facts and the

5 law.

6 MR. FILA: Your Honour, I fully agree with

7 you. Everything that I am doing now is what Mr. Wheeler

8 wrote about, and then he was questioned on it. Had the

9 Prosecutor not questioned Mr. Wheeler about the 14th and

10 15th, and 16th century, et cetera, none of this would

11 have been necessary. That is why we have to have such

12 evidence, based on the knowledge of true experts, not

13 what Mr. Wheeler learned within five years.

14 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you please make the

15 solemn declaration, Mr. Gavrilovic?

16 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will

17 speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the

18 truth.

19 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, you may be

20 seated.

21 Examination-in-chief by MR. FILA:

22 Q. Good morning, Professor, do you feel

23 comfortable? Can we begin?

24 A. Yes, fine.

25 Q. Could you please tell us briefly about your

Page 2098

1 education and what schools you have completed?

2 A. My education took place in Vinkovci, Sremski

3 Karlovci and Novi Sad. I attended university in

4 Belgrade. I did research in archives, especially in

5 Zagreb, Osijek, Karlovci, Budapest, Vienna and Moscow

6 and local archives throughout the former Yugoslavia.

7 Q. Could you tell us where you were employed

8 until now?

9 A. First, I was employed at the teachers'

10 college in Prizren in Kosmet; then, as the custodian of

11 the military museum in Novi Sad and, after that, I went

12 to teach at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad,

13 first as an Assistant Professor, and at the end of my

14 career I was a full Professor and, finally, I went to

15 work at the Historical Institute of the Serb Academy

16 of Sciences and Arts, and I was retired there a few

17 years ago.

18 Q. Since when have you been a member of the

19 Serb Academy of Sciences and Arts?

20 A. From 1979.

21 Q. So you are still a member?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Are you the author of many papers and books

24 on the history of the Yugoslav peoples until the

25 20th century?

Page 2099

1 A. Yes. I wrote many studies, reviews, over 450

2 altogether, and I am the author of some 20 monographs

3 and also of 20 publications dealing with original

4 papers on Serbs in the Austro-Hungarian empire, in the

5 Balkans, especially in Croatia, and also, in

6 particular, for some 20 years, I studied the political

7 and social history of Croatia in the 16th, 17th and

8 18th and first half of the 19th century.

9 Q. Could you please be so kind as to have a look

10 at what you will be shown now by the usher? Is that

11 your CV, and is it part of your bibliography?

12 (Handed).

13 THE REGISTRAR: Marked D28.

14 THE WITNESS: Yes. All of this is correct,

15 yes.

16 MR. FILA: Could you now please have a look

17 at the next document, which is in the Serb and

18 English languages and could you tell me whether this is

19 your expert opinion? (Handed).

20 A. Yes, yes.

21 Q. The Defence wishes to have both documents

22 admitted into evidence as Defence exhibits.

23 JUDGE CASSESE: Any objection, Mr. Niemann?

24 MR. WILLIAMSON: No objection, your Honour.

25 JUDGE CASSESE: That will be D.

Page 2100

1 THE REGISTRAR: D28 and D29 and D29A, the

2 English translation.

3 MR. FILA: You have given a detailed

4 expertise and the custom before this court of law is to

5 give brief answers once you have provided detailed

6 expert opinions. I understand that. So I am only

7 going to put a few questions to you so I ask you to

8 give as succinct as possible answers, because this is

9 background material, because the matters dealt with in

10 this trial are far more specific than that.

11 Could you please tell me when the Serbs came

12 to the territory, which is the territory of present day

13 Croatia; how did all this start; et cetera, et cetera?

14 A. The Serbs started moving in very early --

15 already in the 6th and 7th century, a group of Slavs

16 came from the Carpathian mountains to the Danube area

17 -- they were not ethnically or nationally

18 differentiated yet. These Slavs came under the rule of

19 the Hungarian State at the end of the 10th and

20 beginning of the 11th century. They were intensive,

21 although the relations changed between the medieval

22 Hungarian State and medieval Serbia, so this

23 relationship was sometimes hostile and sometimes

24 friendly, but, as far as Serbs in Croatia are concerned

25 -- I am referring to what is today Croatia -- I think

Page 2101

1 that the Serbs have a distinct profile as of the 13th

2 century, when the Serb king, Dragutin as the ally

3 and vassal of the Hungarian king, received Srem,

4 Belgrade and Macva to be under his rule. This was the

5 Srem of this side and that side as it was called then,

6 because it was the area north and south of the Sava

7 River.

8 Since this was a feudal ruler and a feudal

9 court, it is quite clear that he did not need clerks,

10 and it was not the Hungarians who were members of the

11 ruling nation and who were very few in this area --

12 they were not tilling his land, so it was only the

13 local people who were tilling the land, that is to say,

14 belonging to his own nation, his own people and to the

15 same religion as he did. Later, when another Serb

16 ruler, Stevan Lazarevic, who had the title of the

17 despot of Serbia, when he became an ally of the

18 Hungarians and a vassal of the Hungarian king, at the

19 very beginning of the 15th century, he received

20 Belgrade and Northern Serbia, which then fell under his

21 rule. So this population, which was first proto

22 Serb and then Serbia, received strong support from

23 Belgrade, which stood near Srem and then the tragic

24 battle of Kosovo took place and finally, in 1459,

25 Serbia finally fell under the Turks.

Page 2102

1 Then, this great migration movement continued

2 from the south to the north, so the Serbs came to this

3 Penonian Carpathian area, Banat more specifically and

4 then gradually other regions as well, and at the

5 beginning of the 16th century, they moved in to

6 Slavonia in larger numbers as they were fleeing from

7 the Turks, or they were brought in by force by the

8 Turks, who one could say started with the ethnic

9 cleansing in the Balkans, because they used to move

10 entire populations from one area to another -- even

11 areas that were very distant, for example, Serbs from

12 Snrdrevo and all the way to Istanbul and Serbs from

13 Herzegovina from the old Raska State to the western

14 part of Bosnia and to central Slavonia. This was done

15 constantly.

16 The first Serb traces in Northern Dalmatia

17 date back to a period which even preceded that. This

18 is related to very important monasteries, if they still

19 exist today -- Serb monasteries, Krupa and -- I am

20 sorry, I just to recall the name exactly -- two

21 important Serb monasteries, at any rate that were

22 founded at the time when the sister of the Serb

23 emperor, Dusan, Serbia's most important medieval ruler,

24 who was married to Mladen Subic III, there, in that

25 central Dalmatian area, because she got married there,

Page 2103

1 and she moved there, and from a religious point of

2 view, the court of the Subices was tolerant, so she was

3 allowed to bring in Orthodox monks, and to establish

4 the first Orthodox churches.

5 That is when these two most important Serb

6 monasteries in north Dalmatia were founded, that is to

7 say, that all of this took place in the mid

8 14th century.

9 Later, more and more Serbs came to Dalmatia

10 during the Turkish invasion, because the population

11 fled. Part of them went to the Adriatic coast and the

12 islands and other parts of the population went into the

13 mountains towards west Bosnia, to the Una River, and

14 for a certain period of time, while the Croat and

15 Austro-Hungarian borders were the Kupa River and then

16 they went all the way up to the Kupa River, so the

17 Serbs came to this area as Turkish rayah, the subjects

18 of Turkish Lords. They belonged to the Turkish feudal

19 system.

20 Before that, the Turks had totally plundered

21 and devastated the areas that they had conquered before

22 that, so the Turks needed to have an organised area,

23 and so, in addition to the army, they needed a people

24 who would be working for them -- the so-called rayah,

25 they were Christian Serbs predominantly.

Page 2104

1 Q. Now, let us move briefly to the military

2 Krajina -- we are going to skip over two or three

3 centuries?

4 A. When the Serbs first came to western Bosnia,

5 and then to Hungary to Urad and Komokah, they came into

6 contact with other Christian peoples, with Croat

7 feudal lords, who were at the frontier, that is, on the

8 remains of the Croat kingdom, so their forces were

9 very weak, so it is the court in Vienna that took over

10 the defence line against the Turks -- one would call it

11 the Ministry of Defence today, first in Graz and then

12 in Vienna -- and the royal captains and the royal

13 generals asked the Serbs, who were under Turkish rule,

14 to come over to the Christian side, because they were

15 Christians themselves, because it was their wish, too,

16 to defend the borders of the Austrian empire and partly

17 Croatia, vis-à-vis the Turkish empire, so there was an

18 agreement, either in writing or an oral agreement with

19 smaller or larger groups, and, finally, real agreements

20 were signed between the Serb community and the

21 Austrian royal authorities and, ultimately, the court

22 in Vienna itself, which gave certain benefits to the

23 Serbs, so that, as soldier peasants, they would defend

24 the frontiers.

25 The Croat lords wanted them to be peasants

Page 2105

1 first and then soldiers, and soldiers only if

2 necessary, so they would till their lands, but the

3 royal authorities insisted that they should be soldiers

4 first and foremost, and only then peasants, as much as

5 necessary, that is to say, so they could feed

6 themselves.

7 Practically all the Serbs accepted this

8 position of the court in Vienna and of the Emperor's

9 generals, because this meant they could exist as free

10 men. They would be free of paying taxes, and their

11 only obligation would be to do their army service, and,

12 of course, to be faithful throughout their lives to

13 their ruler and at that time and in the centuries that

14 followed, they never betrayed them -- never.

15 Q. What were the Krajina benefits?

16 A. The Krajina benefits were the following:

17 first of all, they were free men, free peasants. They

18 did not have to pay any kind of taxes -- none

19 whatsoever -- and, at that time, that was an

20 exceptional privilege -- an exceptional privilege,

21 indeed. And, also, there was tacit recognition of

22 their right to profess their own religion, the Orthodox

23 religion. Also, they had all elements of local

24 self-government and even beyond that, primarily through

25 the so-called Vlach or Serb statutes that the Vienna

Page 2106

1 gave the Serbs in 1630 and, three years before that, it

2 recognised the right to ownership, the right to

3 property, to all that land where the Krajina borders

4 moved into in the 16th and 17th centuries, and this

5 meant that, from a territorial point of view, the

6 military Krajina, the Vojna Krajina, was a distinct

7 part of that area as opposed to Dalmatia, Srem,

8 et cetera. Later on, in 1690, when the patriarch

9 Carnojevic led the Serbs and their great migration from

10 the south to the north, the Serbs received a different

11 status, even stronger than this. They got very broad

12 privileges especially for that time, with the following

13 key point -- the freedom of religion and religious and

14 secular power of the Serb patriarch over the Serb

15 Orthodox people and, also, not only over the Serbs but

16 also the Vlachs, the Cincar -- all of those who were

17 Orthodox. This was later the metropolitan of Karlovski

18 and at the insistence of patriarch Carnojevic and

19 according to the wishes of the entire Serb population

20 in the kingdom, the court in Vienna recognised the

21 Serbs as Pascianica, or Serbica-Pascianica-Illyrica and

22 these privileges were extended to partes adnexae, also

23 to Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia.

24 In that way, if we look at this first stratum

25 of privileges, that is of the Krajina (INAUDIBLE) and

Page 2107

1 then this went further on.

2 Q. As an academician, you now moved on to the

3 Illyrian movement, too?

4 A. Yes, that is true. It came into being of the

5 first half of the 19th century, as a resistance

6 movement of the younger generation of Croat

7 intellectuals and part of the Croat citizenry and

8 also some of the lower Catholic clergy against

9 Hungarian domination, supremacy, and their persistent

10 efforts to assimilate all non Hungarians as they

11 extended the use of the Hungarian language into

12 schools, the administration and overall life in the

13 area. First, the Croat nobility resisted this, but

14 inconsistently and weakly and without a proper

15 organisation. Then it is the citizenry who took this

16 over. The bourgeoisie was mostly educated in Graz,

17 Vienna and Northern Italy and they already had the seed

18 of European liberalism imbued in them.

19 The Illyrian movement, from a religious point

20 of view, was very tolerant and actually they opened the

21 door for the Serbs to Croat political life. Before

22 that, the Serbs were very important from an economic

23 and military point of view, that is to say, the defence

24 of the remains of Croatia, the defence of the

25 Austro-Hungarian empire, because they were merchants,

Page 2108

1 together with the Cincars in this entire

2 Croat/Slavonian/Hungarian area all the way up to

3 Karlovac, Trieste, Rijeka, Karlobag, Srem.

4 Another thing is important, because they were

5 Orthodox, and especially because they did not have a

6 strong nobility, they were excluded from political

7 life. After all, political life at that time was

8 restricted only to the populous, to the nobility -- not

9 all the people -- so everybody else was excluded from

10 politics but now the Illyrian movement opened the door

11 to Serbs to get into political life, to public life and

12 the Serbs understood this and through their

13 intelligentsia and through there merchants --

14 Q. Please slow down, sir.

15 A. I am sorry, and this way they came into

16 Croat political and social life and gave an

17 important contribution to it. I am only going to

18 mention one thing. For example, money affairs in the

19 Slavic south -- the first savings bank in Zagreb was

20 opened by the Serb, Anastas Popovic -- this was a

21 Croat savings bank -- in 1847 and he introduced the

22 Serbo-Croat or Croat-Serb, or as they even then called

23 it, the Yugoslav language, into commerce, which was so

24 important for the psychological situation in Croatia.

25 The Serbs were very agile in the press of the

Page 2109

1 Illyrian movement, especially with Utjesenovic,

2 Ostrozinski and Makso Prica. The Serbs helped the

3 inception of all institutions in Croatia, like the

4 Matica. I have to refer to the fact that the major

5 contributor for the founding of Matica Hrvatska was an

6 ex prince of Serbia, Milos Obrenovic, or rather, his

7 son, Mihajlo. He contributed 2,000 foreign silver

8 coins, whereas the well-known Draskovic family and

9 others only gave 200 or 500 Florins altogether, so this

10 is a figure that can be found in the first history of

11 the Matica, but it is no longer there in the second

12 edition of the history of the Matica, although it was

13 published in Tito's time, et cetera.

14 Q. Professor, can we now move on to another

15 important thing? When did the SABOR decision come on

16 the equality of the Serbo Croat language?

17 A. In 1840, in the SABOR, there were 52 Serbs,

18 that is, the Croat Parliament. There were never as

19 many Serbs in the Croat SABOR after that, which

20 testifies to the fact that they were important citizens

21 and that they were elected not only by the Serbs but

22 that they were also elected by the Catholics.

23 Slavonians -- Croats, in general.

24 As the Croat SABOR or Assembly accepted

25 and sanctioned the alliance between Vojvodina Srpska

Page 2110

1 proclaimed at the May assembly of the 13th of May

2 b1848, with Srem as a component part -- and I underline

3 this -- a component part, the SABOR accepted this and

4 thereby sanctioned at the most lofty place the alliance

5 and their political unity.

6 In terminology, the language was referred to

7 as "our language". It was rarely referred to as the

8 "Croat language" and even less the "Serb

9 language". It was referred to as "our language"

10 because the integration of the South Slavs was the goal

11 to be achieved. After the breakdown of the revolution

12 and the absolutist period in 1861, there was a renewal

13 of the political and Party life and parliamentarism in

14 the country, and after a lot of trials and

15 tribulations, in 1867 the Croat Parliament met and

16 it was already confronted with the Austro-Hungarian

17 agreement in 1867, according to which there was a dual

18 organisation of the Habsburg monarchy. The Croat

19 politicians were afraid of what was happening and,

20 therefore, they sought an ally, and they had an ally

21 previously in the Serb people -- the Serbs in

22 Croatia and the Serbs in Vojvodina and the Serbs in

23 Hungary and, at the time, the Croat Parliament

24 brought in a clear-cut declaration on the equality of

25 the Serbs and Croats. They accepted the Serb people

Page 2111

1 as a separate people -- a separate nation. Today we

2 would call this a constitutional nation, titular

3 nation, and the language that was used, instead of

4 saying "our language" or the "Yugoslav language" was

5 declared as the "Croat language" or the "Serb

6 language", or the "Serb and Croat language".

7 Q. Would you now move on to the question of

8 Pravastvo; what do we mean by "Pravastvo"?

9 A. Pravastvo was an ideology, a movement, which

10 was born in Croatia with the rebirth of constitutional

11 life but which came to full expression with the father

12 of the homeland Ante Starcevic. Without entering into

13 the controversy surrounding the personality of Ante

14 Starcevic, I would like to emphasise the following --

15 together with Elgen Kvaternik and before them with

16 General (INAUDIBLE) was the creator of a genocidal

17 racist theory, which was later to be put into practice

18 in Croatia. The basic thesis is in the following --

19 Croatia is a unified country, should be in its

20 historical frontiers, somewhere from the Alps,

21 stretching from the Alps to the Black Sea; the Serbs as

22 a peoples do not exist; those who call themselves

23 "Serbs" are in fact -- their roots are Croats -- are

24 Croat. They are just part of the Croat nation,

25 which, their religion tried, as Starcevic said and the

Page 2112

1 people who thought like him, to separate them from the

2 uniform corps of the Croat people. Starcevic went

3 even further and even said that Serb medieval rulers

4 were Croat rulers. This was complete nonsense and

5 the leading individual of Croatia's political life at

6 the time found this ludicrous -- Josip (INAUDIBLE) was

7 among them, and leading historians, Kukuljivic and

8 Franjo Racki. However, this was something that was

9 insisted upon. The Serbs were proclaimed to be

10 (INAUDIBLE) Cincars, Byzantines non brothers, non

11 brothers, and somebody to be destroyed with an axe --

12 as a mass without any physiognomy, as a people according

13 to Starcevic -- they only merit the axe.

14 This ideology was echoed in the petty

15 bourgeois community of Croatia, first and foremost in

16 the towns, particularly in Zagreb as well in the

17 provinces. This ideology because an instrument of the

18 political Party, the Croat Party of Rights, which

19 was set up to be differentiated from the Croat

20 National Party, People's Party, and the Independent

21 Party later on and the Unionist Party later on and this

22 Party was headed by Ante Starcevic himself and Elgen

23 Kvaternik until the Rakovic rebellion against the

24 Habsburg authorities, and it is interesting to note

25 that the protagonists of that rebellion were the Serbs,

Page 2113

1 because they were in the region, with (INAUDIBLE) at

2 the head as the perpetrator of Kvaternik's rebellion.

3 At the end of the century, this Pravastvo

4 ideology after Starcevic's death was a weapon for Josip

5 Frank, an exponent of the imperialist section of the

6 Austrian court, considered the Vienna court, that after

7 the glorious liberation struggle of the Italian peoples

8 ousted and after the defeats with Prussia, that it

9 needed to be directed towards Bosnia-Herzegovina, the

10 Balkans and, ultimately, in order to dominate the

11 Balkans which, at the same time, meant when speaking

12 about the Kingdom of Serbia, its strategic encirclement

13 and to absorb it within the monarchy or to destroy it

14 as a State.

15 Everything that Starcevic and Kvaternik

16 proclaimed became his programme in one of the most

17 brutal forms. This was implemented, translated into

18 practice and this resulted in a series of pogroms over

19 the Serb population in 1892, 1895, 1899 and especially

20 in 1909, when a mass under the slogans of the Party

21 when they said "Death to the Serbs" attacked Serb

22 institutions in Zagreb, attacked the banks, the church,

23 the private houses -- there was bestial conduct for

24 three days and everything was destroyed. Although the

25 Serbs at the time showed full loyalty to the State

Page 2114

1 embodied not in the Croat Parliament but in the

2 Habsburg dynasty and in the court at Vienna.

3 Q. May we now pass on to the First World War and

4 the London Agreement of 1915; what was offered Serbia?

5 A. Serbia, as is common knowledge, after the

6 assassination in Sarajevo, for which the Government was

7 not responsible, was involved in a war, a terrible war,

8 for which it was not prepared, either militarily or

9 psychologically, ideologically. The country was

10 completely exhausted after the two Balkan wars and it

11 was considered that the greatest part of the national

12 goals had been achieved, because, according to the

13 basic document of the Serb national policy, Ilija

14 Garasanin in 1844, the Serb policy was to have been

15 devoted and was, in fact, devoted to the Balkans -- it

16 was a Balkan policy, and if you study Garasanin, who

17 was attacked so much, you can see that, in fact, the

18 kingdom of Croatia and Dalmatia and the Habsburg empire

19 was hardly mentioned. The basic idea of Garasanin and

20 Serb policy was to liberate the Serb people in

21 the Balkans and to create an alliance of the Balkan

22 people in order for the eastern question to be solved

23 on the basis of nationality with the Balkan peoples as

24 actors.

25 This could only be done by a Balkan alliance

Page 2115

1 which was created on two counts during (INAUDIBLE) and

2 once again in 1912, when it became effective and was

3 realised through the Balkan wars and the liberation of

4 the greatest portion of the Balkans from Turkish

5 domination, including the Serbs, including the Greeks

6 and including the Bulgarians.

7 Q. Let us now move on to the 1915 London Treaty;

8 what is offered to Serbia?

9 A. Well, Serbia entered the war and, first of

10 all, its war goal was to defend its own territory and

11 to retain what it had gained by 1914. However, a

12 portion of the Croat intellectuals from Serbia,

13 Bosnia, some Serbs from Vojvodina and Bosnia, left the

14 Habsburg monarchy, they emigrated, and led by

15 Ante Trumbic and Franjo Supilo, the representatives of

16 the Dalmatian stream in the political life of Croatia

17 created a so-called Yugoslav board. This board or

18 committee was supported by the Serb Government and

19 it was to be a sort of agent of the Government, to

20 propagate its political goals, war goals, with the

21 western countries.

22 At that time, there were negotiations between

23 Italy and the forces of the Entente and these Entente

24 forces, with the London pact in 1915, promised part of

25 the Adriatic coast on the South Slav side and to

Page 2116

1 Serbia, very favourable frontiers, in which the

2 greatest portion of the Serb people would be

3 incorporated. Part of the people who would not be

4 included in this extended Serbia, would remain under

5 the power and authority of the Italians in Northern

6 Dalmatia and Lika, whereas the other portion would

7 remain in the trinomial kingdom of Austria and they did

8 not know what their fate would be, whether this would

9 be Croatia or would it be part of the Habsburg monarchy

10 or the Hungarian monarchy -- this was still a debatable

11 question.

12 The Serb Government, under pressure from

13 the Yugoslav board, a council, and led by its

14 intellectuals, refused this, and thus lost a wonderful

15 chance of being an ally to the great Italian people --

16 very close to the Serb people who were linked by the

17 liberation struggle through Garibaldi, Mussolini and so

18 on and so forth, and the policy of alliance between

19 Italy and Serbia that existed, the Italian and Serb

20 people that existed and to overthrow Habsburg power and

21 authority.

22 When Italy became free, it had every interest

23 in maintaining good and friendly relations with the

24 peoples in the Balkans, especially with the Serb

25 people. This renouncing of the London Treaty cost

Page 2117

1 the Serbs a great deal. The Serb Government

2 accepted an all-embracing programme of unification

3 within a country of all the South Slav peoples, of

4 course, except the Bulgarians whose historical road was

5 quite separate, and in the linguistic sense was not

6 linked to this other portion.

7 Q. Excuse me, Professor, this offer made on the

8 basis of the London Treaty, was the term "Greater

9 Serbia" used?

10 A. No, "Greater Serbia" is an interpretation in

11 historiography, and as we would say, it is a phrase in

12 Austrian propaganda to stand up against Greater Serbia.

13 Was not Austria a great State? Every State is great

14 in one way or another. Serbia had 4 million, Austria

15 had 56 million and it is nonsense to speak about great

16 Serbism. This concept, this notion, comes from Austria

17 and from Vienna.

18 What we were dealing with was a certain

19 expansion for Serbia, which would encompass, under one

20 roof, within the frameworks of one State, one nation --

21 an Orthodox nation, of course, in relation and with

22 links to other nations and Ilija Garasanin and Prince

23 Mihajlo showed exceptional tolerance towards the

24 Catholics in Bosnia and even towards the Muslims and

25 they knew that there were no ethnically clean States,

Page 2118

1 that you can only have States with peoples who are

2 mixed, because that is what history did, history mixed

3 all these people up and together and the only road was

4 the road to cooperation or a road to self destruction.

5 Q. Now, how did the end of the First World War

6 come about, and how is the joint State set up, what is

7 its name, why did the people join this State?

8 A. During the war, there was a more intensive

9 relationship between the Yugoslav board and the Serb

10 Government. They did not always see eye to eye as to

11 the Government and organisation of a future State, but

12 the essential point is that, in 1917, a meeting in

13 Corfu was held and the Corfu Declaration was proclaimed

14 between the Serb Government and the Yugoslav Council

15 and on this occasion both sides accepted the following:

16 That is to say, the creation of a uniform State of

17 Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and that this State should

18 be a monarchy under the dynasty of the Karadordevices;

19 furthermore, that the State be founded upon the

20 principles which would, in greater detail, be

21 elaborated by a constitutional assembly after the

22 constitution of the State itself. In the final stages

23 of the war, there was a renovation of political and

24 party life, after the death of Emperor Franz Josef and

25 in 1917 and 1918 there was a renewal of political life

Page 2119

1 in the trinomial kingdom and in the SABOR of Croatia --

2 the Croat Parliament -- and the Croat and Serb or

3 Croat Serb coalition which was set up in 1905,

4 which, at all elections up to 1914, always gained a

5 majority vote and which was therefore legally elected

6 after a period of absence, because the Serb members of

7 the coalition were arrested and interned and the

8 Croats, members of the coalition, were pacified

9 partially and became part of the council.

10 But what happened now was that, with the

11 coalition's return to the Croat Parliament, a

12 particular role was played by its presidency, with

13 Mr. Pribicevic at its head, and now, when the complete

14 disintegration of Austro-Hungary took place, the

15 situation was as follows: the Yugoslav board was a

16 little suppressed from the stage and the Croat

17 Parliament came into the foreground dominated by the

18 Croat Serb coalition headed by Svetozar Pribicevic.

19 This was a concept according to which, within the

20 frameworks of the Habsburg monarchy, first of all, to

21 unify the Slovene peoples -- the Slovenes, the Croats

22 and the Serbs from Vojvodina and the Serbs and Croats,

23 of course, and Muslims in Bosnia, as Bosnia was part

24 and parcel of the Habsburg monarchy and to create a

25 Habsburg Yugoslavia, so to speak, which would negotiate

Page 2120

1 on a footing of equality with the Serb Government in

2 Belgrade. However, the Serbs in Vojvodina, on the

3 basis of a plebiscite, on the basis of a voluntary

4 vote, joined the Kingdom of Serbia -- a decision of

5 25 November 1918, the representatives of the Serbs in

6 Vojvodina -- the Sokci, the Bunjevci people, the

7 Slovaks and the Germans -- I underline the Germans --

8 came out in favour of joining Serbia.

9 At the same time, the Bosnian Serbs

10 considered that Serbia was the closest State. In

11 Montenegro we had the conjoining of the people with the

12 Kingdom of Serbia. So, the position of this so-called

13 Government in Zagreb was weakened considerably and a

14 very significant moment came about, that is to say, the

15 Italian army began to take over the regions -- and we

16 must say this is an historical truth -- which belonged

17 to them according to the London Treaty -- part of

18 Slovenia and Dalmatia. At that time from Slovenia and

19 from Dalmatia pressure was brought to bear in two

20 directions -- on the one hand, the presidency of the

21 Parliament in Zagreb and, on the other hand, the

22 Government in Serbia, urgently, without any conditions,

23 without any negotiations on the future form that the

24 State would take, to unify, to unite, and the Serb

25 army to take up its positions in areas which were

Page 2121

1 jeopardised by the Italians and, once again, Serbia

2 responded to this demand and, once again, pushed Italy

3 back, although it was a military alliance, a war

4 alliance previously, and accepted these offers -- these

5 urgent offers, not to say pressures -- made for

6 unification and then it was merely a technical

7 question, that is to say, a delegation from Zagreb, led

8 by Ante Pavelic, but not the same Ante Pavelic who

9 slaughtered during World War II, but he was a Croat

10 politician of the first half of the 20th century. This

11 delegation was sent to Belgrade and, through a

12 declaration, proposed unification, which the regent at

13 the time and later King Alexander Karadordevic and

14 that was how a trinomial State was set up. It was the

15 kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

16 Q. Thank you, Professor. Would you just tell us

17 before the break, briefly, the genesis of the Ustasha

18 movement, when was it incepted, who its leaders were?

19 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask you to be

20 succinct? In 10 minutes we will have a coffee break --

21 can you conclude, Mr. Fila, your examination-in-chief in

22 10 minutes, or do you need some time after the recess?

23 MR. FILA: After the break, perhaps I will

24 have one additional question. I think that will do.

25 At any rate, I will take less than an hour and a half

Page 2122

1 and that is what I gave as my envisaged time of

2 questioning. Please bear this in mind, that I did not

3 go beyond any of the hour limits I set for myself.

4 Q. Please, could you tell us briefly, because in

5 10 minutes we will be taking a break.

6 A. The ideological and theoretical routes of the

7 Ustasha movement lie in the ideology of the Croat

8 Party of Rights of Kvaternik and Starcevic. There were

9 certain reasons for the Croats to express a certain

10 degree of dissatisfaction with the unitarian policies

11 of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, although I underline, in

12 all governments of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, in

13 addition to Serbs, Slovenes, who were exceptionally

14 well represented, and Muslims from Bosnia-Herzegovina,

15 who were also fairly represented in the Parliament and

16 in the Government, there were also Croats -- the first

17 Minister of Foreign Affairs, that is to say, one of the

18 most important ministries in a country, was a Croat --

19 Ante Trumbic. He was the one who led the Serb

20 delegation, or, rather, who negotiated during the peace

21 negotiations in Versailles and before that and, of

22 course, he particularly bore in mind the western

23 boundaries of the new State -- that was of special

24 importance to him. So, due to the weakness of Serb

25 policies and their lack of caution, especially in terms

Page 2123

1 of the north-eastern border of the State and, even

2 during the dictatorship of king Alexander imposed on

3 6 January 1929, there were Croats in that same

4 Government, too, even three key ministries were held by

5 Croats.

6 Q. Sorry, but you mentioned Mr. Trumbic, did he

7 represent Yugoslavia at the Conference of Versailles?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Were there any problems in connection with

10 him?

11 A. Oh, there were always problems, because the

12 Italians, who were on the side of the Allies during the

13 war, they defended the Treaty of London and the

14 Italians were not happy to see Croats on the Yugoslavia

15 delegation, because they knew they would be fighting

16 primarily for the western borders for Austria, the

17 Adriatic, et cetera.

18 Q. So, please continue about the Ustasha

19 movement, and bear in mind that we have seven minutes

20 only be?

21 A. So, this ideology of the Croat Party of

22 Rights and that meant that there would be no

23 reconciliation with the Serbs. In 1929 after the

24 assassination against Radic in the Parliament and there

25 was undoubtedly growing dissatisfaction, because of

Page 2124

1 this tragic event, Pavelic emigrated and he started

2 rallying together unsatisfied individuals from the

3 ranks of the Croat émigrés in Austria and other

4 countries, those who would follow him. So, relatively

5 quickly, he established a firm foundation for his

6 Ustasha movement. This movement was connected to the

7 European Irredenta, with Hungarian, Bulgarian and other

8 irredentisms -- then they adopted their Statute, their

9 rules, for this nationalist organisation of theirs

10 based on conspiracy with clear objectives -- to

11 struggle against Yugoslavia; to struggle against the

12 Serb people; by resorting to all means; and with the

13 assistance of all possible Allies.

14 Q. What was his idea regarding the future of the

15 Serbs, if he were to come to power?

16 A. He did not conceal this idea, because if we

17 look at the Paroshi period, Serbs were to be expelled

18 from Croatia, they were to be destroyed, or, as they

19 said, they should be reconverted to their original

20 faith, Catholicism, and the Serbs were supposed to be

21 "un-Serbed", as we say today -- they were supposed to

22 become part and parcel of the Croat people, because

23 this entire theory and ideology of the Croat Party

24 of Rights was based on this unfortunate theory.

25 Q. Was there this idea of three-thirds?

Page 2125

1 A. No, it was not formulated at that early

2 stage. It was contained in the spirit of the Ustasha

3 principles and practice -- the assassination of King

4 Alexander and also the attempt to have an uprising in

5 Lika in 1932, et cetera, but this policy of

6 three-thirds was clearly formulated during the

7 independent State of Croatia, a German Quisling State,

8 and the Doglavonic, the first deputy of Ante Starcevic,

9 was Mile Budak, an important writer. He said that

10 one-third of the Serbs should be converted to

11 Catholicism, another third should be moved out, and a

12 third should be exterminated.

13 Q. So, may we conclude by saying that this

14 principle was applied during this independent State of

15 Croatia?

16 A. Oh, yes, absolutely, in a way which is

17 unrivalled in world history, and it superseded, by far,

18 the methods of Ghengis Khan and Tamurlaine by their

19 cruelty. In this text, in this expert opinion that

20 I have submitted, I think that I tellingly demonstrated

21 what these methods were and what the degree of

22 bestiality was -- not cruelty -- bestiality that was

23 applied towards a people who had no leaders, who were

24 peasants. What would a Serb from Kozara be blamed for,

25 an illiterate person, or a Serb from the hills of

Page 2126

1 Slavonia who had hardly seen a town, who hardly knew

2 how to cross himself, but he knew that he was a Serb

3 and he was an Orthodox.

4 Q. And the consequences were?

5 A. And the consequences were Jazenovac,

6 Jadovno, Tenje, Koprivnica, Mitrovica -- practically

7 every town had a concentration camp in its vicinity.

8 At that time, I was a pupil in the Vinkovci secondary

9 school -- I had completed sixth grade then. Under the

10 Ustasha state, I was a secondary school pupil. I knew

11 about this; I heard about this; I had seen for myself

12 Ustasha ideology in the Vinkovci secondary school, that

13 is to say, in Slavonia, and then during the occupation

14 I suffered a lot of what my people had suffered. In a

15 small village near Vinkovski, it was either 20 or 24

16 October 1944, I am sorry that I did not remember the

17 exact date, but 64 persons, including my kinsmen, were

18 slaughtered in the most terrible fashion -- their

19 throats were slit, et cetera, they were only half dead

20 when they were buried. A tombstone is still there.

21 Perhaps they are going to destroy it tomorrow, but that

22 is what it was like.

23 MR. FILA: Thank you. I will have another

24 question after the break and you will all be interested

25 in this, because it relates to the memorandum and

Page 2127

1 Mr. Gavrilovic is a member of that Academy of Sciences

2 and Arts involving this memorandum, and Mr. Wheeler

3 talked about this memorandum.

4 JUDGE CASSESE: We stand in recess until

5 10.20.

6 (10.00 a.m.).

7 (A short break).

8 (10.25 a.m.).

9 MR. FILA: Your Honours, I should like to ask

10 my final question about the famous memorandum. In the

11 meantime, since Mr. Wheeler's testimony to the present

12 day, I have supplied the library with the so-called

13 memorandum of the Serb Academy of Science in English

14 and you can acquaint yourself with the text whenever

15 you like.

16 I should now like to ask the Professor to

17 tell me, briefly, what the memorandum is, how it came

18 into being, is it a text or a draft, how it was

19 published, and so on and so forth, and what the

20 consequences are, who drew it up and so on?

21 A. The memorandum was to have been a critical

22 programme design document, which would indicate to the

23 Serb people the situation in which they find

24 themselves and would propose ways and means of getting

25 out of a situation of that kind. However, events took

Page 2128

1 a different direction -- a dramatic direction. Let me

2 say at the outset, however, that the time in which the

3 decision was made to draw up a document of this kind,

4 programme oriented, was the time after Tito's death

5 when the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, which still

6 existed at the time, pledged to follow Tito's road,

7 even after his death and the slogan was "With Tito,

8 after Tito" -- that was the official slogan of the day.

9 However, the Serb people, during Tito's

10 era and in the post-Tito era, were not neglected and

11 their position was tragic and the position of the

12 Republic of Serbia within a Federal State of

13 Yugoslavia.

14 Via two provinces, the province of Kosovo and

15 the province of Vojvodina, the Serb political and

16 therefore Party peaks continuously was disempowered to

17 implement the economic, political and other goals which

18 stood before the country, both before Serbia and the

19 Serb people in that State.

20 We had a strange phenomenon of

21 anti-Serbism where we would expect, at least on the

22 territory of Macedonia, there was the Macedonianisation

23 of everything. None of the Serbs denied the

24 Macedonian Federal State, but, within that State, the

25 Serbs were treated worse than a national minority.

Page 2129

1 What particularly gained expression was the fact that

2 Serb cultural and historical monuments were

3 desecrated and the appropriation of all medieval

4 monasteries built by Serb rulers or the Serb

5 dynasty and Serb military cemeteries during the

6 First World War were violated. Macedonia was once

7 under Turkish power and authority.

8 Slovenia went its own way. It used the mask

9 of Yugoslavia -- the Yugoslav mask, but implementing

10 its profoundly nationalistic policy, particularly in

11 economic policy, but, as I am not an expert in this

12 realm, I do not want to enter into detail, and I do not

13 think that it is necessary at the present moment.

14 In the case of Vojvodina, we had a very

15 strange type of separatism, which had its roots

16 partially in the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy, in

17 which a very insignificant portion of the people, but

18 they were not without influence, they were sorry that

19 the old monarchy had disappeared, and these individuals

20 said that Serbia was waging a unification policy in

21 relation to Vojvodina. In fact, it was a question of a

22 dogmatic stream within the Party -- the Party

23 hard-liners and dogmatists and the vestiges of

24 Stalinism in the political ranks of Vojvodina, both

25 with the Serbs in Vojvodina and the non-Serbs --

Page 2130

1 Q. Professor, briefly, please --

2 A. Let me say what happened in Bosnia and

3 Croatia, in two or three sentences. In Bosnia, we have

4 the expression of Islamisation, which was masked

5 beforehand, and this was reflected in the cultural and

6 economic life of Bosnia. As I am better acquainted

7 with the cultural life, let me say the following. The

8 thesis was put forward that the Turkish administration

9 and the Turkish State was not an imperialistic State in

10 which genocide was tolerated and implemented, but that

11 it was almost an ideal community for the peoples of the

12 Balkans. The pressure exerted on Serb

13 intelligentsia was that, one by one, they began to

14 leave, like Vojislav Lubarda, the poet, Gojko Nogo,

15 Palevestra, historian of literature, Slavko Leovac and

16 a whole host of leading Serb intellectuals were

17 forced to leave Sarajevo, because, on the one hand,

18 they were under the direct pressure of the Party organs

19 in which the Serbs as well -- Serbs having no backbone

20 -- people like Todo Kurtovic, Mijatovic and others --

21 in fact waged a satellite policy, they became

22 satellites and appendages to the Bosnian Islamisation.

23 Let me now say a few words about Croatia. A

24 similar tendency was seen in Croatia. As an historian,

25 let me say the following: In Croat histiography,

Page 2131

1 the books written, Serbs were minimalised or were

2 passed over altogether. In the excellent "History of

3 the Croats" written by Professor Sidak Karaman,

4 Dragovan Sepic and Mirjana Gross, it is stated in the

5 introduction that "the Serbs have been left out".

6 Well, they showed enough consciousness to say that the

7 Serbs have been left out and that a separate history of

8 the Serbs would be written, and so on and so forth.

9 So, everything which in the past was positive

10 was ascribed to only one nation, that is to say, the

11 Croat nation, whereas most of what was negative and

12 which could compromise Croatia in the eyes of Europe

13 was ascribed to the local Serbs, the Serbs living in

14 Croatia.

15 Therefore, endeavours were made to exclude

16 the Serbs; there was silence about the Serbs and they

17 were eliminated and, in this case, part of the Party

18 leadership, which was composed also by Serbs in

19 Croatia, with the well-known Srecko Bijelic and Dusan

20 Dragosavac and others, a policy was waged in complete

21 agreement with the Croatising tendencies, which caused

22 a great discontent among the Serb people and the

23 Serb intelligentsia. Let me mention just one

24 detail. When the leading Slavist and linguist, today's

25 world renowned linguist, academic Pavle Ivic, wrote his

Page 2132

1 brilliant book, "The Serb People and its Language",

2 nobody else -- it was Dragosavac who stood up and

3 attacked Ivic and Serb science as a whole, not only

4 for the linguistic consequences of his book, but what

5 left the realm of linguistics and entered the realm of

6 politics. Therefore, the memorandum was to emerge in a

7 very difficult situation for the Serb people, at

8 least as we, the intellectuals, not to say the leading

9 intellectuals, saw and felt the situation to be.

10 In an atmosphere of this kind, when the

11 Academy of Science was wholly dissatisfied with the

12 policy of the central committee of Serbia and the

13 Government of Serbia and the politics of Serbia within

14 the federation, a decision was taken to create -- let

15 me call it -- a drafting editing group which would draw

16 up a critical review -- a comprehensive critical view

17 of the existing state of affairs, and it proposed the

18 roads towards the future and directions which could

19 serve as a groundwork for the creation of a national

20 Serb programme, as it was the conviction of the

21 Serb intelligentsia that Serbia did not have a

22 national programme and that, as it lacked a true,

23 genuine, national programme, it could not wage a

24 national policy, of course, respecting the fact that we

25 were within the composition of a Federal State, which

Page 2133

1 we did not want to destroy.

2 But, the desire and wish was not excluded to

3 restructure it, to cultivate it and as it had severed

4 links with the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, to

5 find itself in Europe, the position which it merited

6 and from which it was born and to which it had given so

7 much in the past.

8 The idea was that individual experts, or

9 groups of experts, two or three individuals from the

10 realm of economics, politics, political historiography,

11 art and so on and so forth, should get together and

12 write texts which would be united, and which would be

13 subject to the editing by this editorial group which

14 was set up.

15 It was envisaged -- there were to be six or

16 seven chapters. I followed developments along these

17 lines, although I was not directly involved because

18 I was not living in Belgrade, but was living in

19 Novi Sad in the Vojvodina province, but I attended

20 meetings of the Assembly of the Academy of Science

21 regularly, and, at the time, had this document been

22 completed, once it was presented before the editorial

23 board, it would be sent on to the executive board of

24 the Academy of Science and it was this board --

25 JUDGE CASSESE: I am sorry to interrupt

Page 2134

1 you. I wonder if you would be so kind to set out, in a

2 few sentences, the gist of this memorandum so we can

3 come to the end of this examination-in-chief.

4 MR. FILA: Professor, it was not brought to

5 the editorial council?

6 A. The essential point to note is that it would

7 have the value of an official document and an official

8 attitude of the Academy of Science, had it been adopted

9 by the Assembly of the Academy of Science, and this

10 never took place.

11 Q. Can we say as our first conclusion that it is

12 not an official document of the Academy of Serb

13 Science?

14 A. Absolutely. First of all, because it was

15 never completed and, second, because it never went

16 through all the bodies of the Academy of Science.

17 Therefore, it is just in an uncompleted portion -- an

18 incomplete document, drafted by individuals and groups

19 of citizens within the Academy, members of the Academy.

20 Q. Professor, could you tell us, please, how

21 this uncompleted document went public and the reactions

22 of official Serb policy to this?

23 A. How the memorandum -- that is to say, this

24 document which was conditionally called "the

25 memorandum" -- how it became public remains unclear to

Page 2135

1 the present day -- opinions differ. It seems that what

2 happened, and I as a member of the Academy heard this

3 -- and this is the most probable explanation -- that

4 the late professor, the Professor of the Faculty of

5 Law, Jovan Dordevic, received the first part of this

6 memorandum which was drafted, and it was sent to him to

7 review it from a legal aspect, in the meantime, waiting

8 for other texts.

9 But, allegedly, his son-in-law -- I do not

10 remember if his name was Jovan Jovanovic, took the text

11 from his writing table, had it copied and sent it to

12 the papers and, behind this act, it is considered that

13 it was the head of internal security, the Slovene,

14 Stane Dolanc, who was responsible for this act, with

15 the clear goal of coming by material which could

16 compromise the Serb Government and the Serb

17 central committee, which had started this struggle for

18 a constitutional revision.

19 Q. Professor, can we say, therefore, that the

20 document saw the light of day without authorisation

21 from the Academy?

22 A. Absolutely so.

23 Q. Now, the last question: they do not know,

24 professors, names like Dolanc and so on. They mean

25 nothing to the members of the Tribunal, so let us have

Page 2136

1 a look at the attitude of official Serb policy

2 towards the memorandum -- the President was Milosevic;

3 is that correct? What did the Government have to say?

4 A. Ivan Stambolic was President at the time.

5 Q. What was the official attitude of Serb

6 policy?

7 A. Milosevic was at the head of the Party forum.

8 Q. How was this memorandum received?

9 A. The Government of Serbia and Central

10 Committee of Serbia received the memorandum, as they

11 said, as a "knife in the back". They could not come to

12 terms with it. They could not come to terms with the

13 fact that somebody outside their ranks, particularly

14 outside the ranks of the Party, and most of the

15 academics were not Party members, how could they think

16 with their own heads and take a step which would be

17 contrary to the Government -- opposed to the Government

18 -- showing the Government and the central committee as

19 incapable individuals, disoriented leadership, which

20 was losing its footing amongst its own people and the

21 Academy reacted drastically.

22 First of all, there was a witch hunt, a

23 campaign, in the press against the Academy of Science,

24 against individuals, and against the Academy as an

25 institution.

Page 2137

1 Q. Were your financial resources withheld?

2 A. Yes, they went as far as saying that there

3 was the danger that the Academy be dissolved, and that

4 new elections in the Academy be held, because the

5 regime thought that it would frighten the academics and

6 that a small group of academics, 17 members in all,

7 I do not know whether or not this is true but I do

8 know, and it was difficult for me to say this -- my

9 Professor, where I did my Ph.D., whose assistant I was,

10 he was a one time Minister (INAUDIBLE) was one of these

11 individuals, who together with Pavlesavic and others

12 was to have undermined the assembly of the Academy, and

13 was to bring about a vote of no confidence to the

14 executive board of the time and, quite simply, to turn

15 the clock back, and then to have re-elections take

16 place in the spirit and intentions of the Government

17 and the Central Committee of Serbia, to select the

18 people they wanted to have in the Academy.

19 Furthermore, the Academy, for several months,

20 all financial resources were withheld -- financial

21 resources which belonged to the Academy by law -- the

22 Academy is a not a chorus or a choir -- only two or

23 three institutions were guaranteed their position by

24 law -- first of all, the Serb Academy of Science and

25 Arts and the Matica Hrvatska organisation. The

Page 2138

1 Government and Central Committee overruled this view

2 and they refused to finance the Academy. They said

3 that the academics would not be receiving part of their

4 salaries and we just laughed, because we were not in

5 the Academy for a measly supplement of less than 100

6 marks.

7 Furthermore, systematically, they wanted to

8 separate the administration of the Academy from its

9 members and for several months nobody received their

10 salary in the Academy, but from the cleaning women

11 right up to the Secretary-General, everybody stood

12 behind the academics themselves, and then, from some

13 reserve funds, which were set aside for scientific

14 research, we managed to guarantee the administrators

15 their salaries and we went to the Assembly, which was

16 tied up with the centenary celebrations of the

17 Academy. The Academy had already sent out invitations

18 to 150 addresses throughout the world -- kindred

19 Academies throughout this world, and this was to have

20 been a general assembly, a great manifestation to

21 celebrate the centenary.

22 However, as the Academy lacked funds, our

23 colleagues and delegations from all over the world were

24 not able to come, because we were not able to finance

25 them, but, instead of them, we had the representatives

Page 2139

1 of practically all the embassies ranging from the

2 Japanese straight through to all the others, and they

3 attended the Assembly, which was a very lively one.

4 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry to stop you, but

5 I wonder whether you could refrain from going into so

6 many details. Mr. Fila, are you through?

7 MR. FILA: I am not through -- yes, I have

8 finished. I am not drawing to an end, I have reached

9 the end. Thank you.

10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. I wonder whether

11 the Prosecutor has any questions.

12 Cross-examination by MR. WILLIAMSON.

13 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, we have a number of

14 questions. These relate mainly to the written

15 submission. It deals primarily with the more recent

16 history.

17 Q. Professor, you have indicated that you were a

18 member of this Serb Academy of Arts and Science.

19 Would it be fair to say the Academy has had some degree

20 of influence in Serbia and among Serbs outside of

21 Serbia?

22 A. The Academy did not have a major influence by

23 virtue of the fact that it could hardly exist

24 financially, and it was on the margins of all events

25 generally speaking -- you know what communist rule

Page 2140

1 means -- they thought that all wisdom was in the heads

2 of the members of the Central Committee and we were,

3 what, a necessary evil? They tried to tolerate us and

4 nothing more than that, but the very fact that we were

5 a Serb Academy of Sciences and Arts meant that we

6 had some kind of authority -- I would not say influence

7 -- but, you know, in the thinking of the Serbs in

8 Croatia, in Canada and elsewhere, so it is impossible

9 to deny it and why deny it?

10 Q. You have testified today and you have

11 indicated in your curriculum vitae that you suffered

12 quite a bit during the Ustasha period. I do not in any

13 way want to minimise your loss and suffering that you

14 went through, but, with all respect, does this not make

15 it difficult for you to provide a detached, objective

16 analysis of events during that period?

17 A. Not in the least. I did suffer during the

18 war, as a pupil who had not even completed secondary

19 school yet, I had only finished 11th grade. I was a

20 pupil in Croatia, in Vinkovski, and I did a lot of my

21 research in Zagreb, in Croatia, and I had wonderful

22 colleagues and friends among Croats, particularly among

23 historians, especially the late Professor Jaroslav

24 Sidak, Igor Karaman,, Mirjana Gross, Ivan Erceg --

25 well, he is still alive. In my research in Zagreb,

Page 2141

1 I never encountered any impediments of any kind, but

2 I did get into situations which were rather

3 unpleasant. You know, people trusted me, and they knew

4 that I was not a spy of the authorities, that I was not

5 a stool pigeon, that I was a free-thinking

6 intellectual, so they would say things in front of me

7 which they would not say elsewhere. They would express

8 their attitude towards the Serbs in Croatia, towards

9 the authorities and towards the situation in the

10 country as a whole. By profession, by vocation, so to

11 speak, I am a scholar, I am an historian, I apply

12 critical methods sine ira et studio -- this is my life

13 motto.

14 During my scholarly activities, whenever

15 I encounter documents that did not really speak well of

16 the Serb people, I presented them quite freely. I did

17 it even about the leading people during the life of

18 Tito, and I was subjected to critical views, regardless

19 of whether I expressed views about Serbia and Serb

20 hierarchy or Croats, Catholicism, et cetera, so I wish

21 to state that any kind of Party affiliation,

22 nationalist chauvinist association is something that is

23 foreign to the very essence of my being, although

24 I did, indeed in my youth, see Vukovar and Paucje and

25 Virovitica and Pokupoje and Prigorje and Zagorje, where

Page 2142

1 my very own brother was killed, and, regardless of this

2 major tragedy of inconceivable proportions --

3 inconceivable especially in view of its bestiality, all

4 of this that I witnessed, that I saw -- my best friend,

5 you know, after I was arrested in November 1942, was

6 taken to Jasenovac and he was built into a wall while

7 he was still alive -- alive!

8 But my conscience always prevailed as a

9 scholar -- a Serb scholar who wrote more historical

10 writings about the Croats, the Ruthenians, the Slovaks,

11 the Hungarians, the Cincars, so it is I who did this,

12 Dr. Slavko Gavrilovic, I wrote about all of them more

13 than anyone else.

14 Q. In your written statement, during your

15 discussion of history from the 1300s through to the end

16 of World War II, it is extensively footnoted. In fact,

17 you have 39 footnotes during that period. In the final

18 three pages in which you offer opinions about events of

19 the last 50 years, there appears only one footnote.

20 Does this indicate that there is a lack of scholarly

21 corroboration for the views you are expressing?

22 A. Sorry, scholastic views are not close to my

23 heart -- it is critical views that are close to my

24 heart. Scholastic views are left to the medieval

25 times. What you are saying is true -- Academic

Page 2143

1 Gavrilovic is an expert in history from the 16th until

2 the mid 19th century -- that is what I said, and that

3 is what my CV and bibliography speak of. However,

4 I wrote this expert opinion as a whole, so it is quite

5 understandable that the scientific apparatus is dense

6 in the first part, and it is quite the opposite in the

7 second part.

8 The second part does often contain my own

9 personal knowledge, my personal experience, and my

10 knowledge on the basis of literature, which I read from

11 the days when I was a student. Of course, I cannot say

12 that I can meritoriously speak about the most recent

13 period as I can for the period for which I am a true

14 expert, which I already mentioned.

15 Q. But you have included this period in your

16 expert opinion, which has been submitted to the court?

17 A. Yes and, in addition to these most recent

18 times and these dates, which I had been registering as

19 a citizen, I am prepared to testify on that period,

20 too, yes.

21 Q. Did you feel that it was important to educate

22 Serbs about what happened under the Ustasha Government?

23 A. Certainly. If anything is important about

24 man, it is his memory, it is his history. No matter

25 how much we may minimise the past or suppress the past,

Page 2144

1 it is in us -- it is within our very human beings. How

2 can I not tell my son, "Son, your father went through a

3 Golgotha during the Ustasha Independent State of

4 Croatia, your father was a person who confronted the

5 Ustasha? Very little, the Germans." As you know,

6 history blamed Germans and Italians for the entire war

7 in order to relieve Croats of all responsibility and

8 they should have been held accountable in the first and

9 Second World Wars, so it is impossible to exclude this

10 component of our lives in the education of young people

11 and, also, at the department where I used to teach --

12 I did not teach recent history I taught a different

13 kind of history -- but this is part of our everyday

14 lives.

15 Q. In fact, starting in the late 1980s and into

16 the early 1990s, there were a number of television

17 programmes and documentaries that were shown on Serb

18 television about Jasenovac and the Ustasha period. Do

19 you think this, in any way, contributed to increasing

20 tension among Serbs and further destabilising the

21 situation in Croatia?

22 A. What could we have achieved with the

23 opposite? What did we achieve by having denied our

24 people that for four decades? They did not have a real

25 conception of the immediate past. They did not know

Page 2145

1 how monstrous these crimes were, and these attempts at

2 exterminating an entire people during the Second World

3 War -- this should not be overlooked. We should not

4 live with lies. A background is very important;

5 history is the background of the present day and the

6 present day is the background of the future. The Serbs

7 certainly had some idea of Jasenovac. There was not a

8 single person who did not know about Jasenovac. How

9 could a son and grandson not know about what his

10 father, mother, grandmother and grandfather had gone

11 through? We cannot exclude the family as such. Every

12 Serb in Croatia and elsewhere had heard of Jasenovac

13 and all the suffering. After all, historiography and

14 history text books for secondary schools tried to

15 overlook this, but they could not overlook it

16 completely.

17 It was said, nevertheless that, during the

18 occupation, the Ustasha behaved in a bestial manner in

19 Jasenovac, Jadovno, in the (INAUDIBLE), in Herzegovina,

20 et cetera. It was not really inciting, because these

21 facts were not new for the Serb people; they simply

22 became obvious or rather more obvious to the younger

23 generation now -- not more than that.

24 Q. In your written statement, you say that the

25 Serbs in Croatia had no alternative, but at the last

Page 2146

1 moment, in the places in which they were a majority, to

2 prepare to defend themselves, not to allow themselves

3 to be disarmed and exterminated and even to create

4 their own State, Srpska Krajina. If this was a

5 defensive action by the Serbs, why was it necessary to

6 expel the Croat population from the areas that came

7 under their control?

8 A. I did not go into that, first and foremost.

9 I am informed about this to the extent that any average

10 citizen is, with the following distinction -- the man

11 in the street reads five different newspapers, for

12 example, and I read only one daily newspaper because

13 I have so many things I want to do as a scholar.

14 I could not really remember your entire question.

15 Could you please repeat the second part of your

16 question?

17 Q. Very well. In your written submission, you

18 say, to paraphrase, that the Serbs, in order to defend

19 themselves in places in which they were a majority,

20 created their own State, Srpska Krajina. I am asking

21 you if this was a defensive action by the Serbs, why

22 was it necessary to expel the Croat populations from

23 those areas?

24 A. I really do not know everything that was

25 happening on the ground, but, as far as I know, there

Page 2147

1 was no systematic expulsion of the Croat population

2 when the Serb Krajina was being established on the

3 basis of the tradition of Serb political life and

4 ethnic development in the former Habsburg monarchy.

5 MR. FILA: I am sorry, your Honour, but I did

6 not find anywhere in the written expert opinion that

7 this witness said it was necessary to expel the

8 Croat population. Could the Prosecutor please read

9 this out? Where it was necessary, what was done to

10 the Croat population, where were they expelled? Please

11 do not put your conclusions or your misconceptions into

12 the mouth of this witness. Where does he say so?

13 Could you please read this out to us?

14 MR. WILLIAMSON: My question was very clear.

15 I read the statement that he made where he said it was

16 a defensive action and then I asked him, if this was a

17 defensive action, why was it necessary to expel the

18 Croat population. At no point did I say that he

19 had --

20 MR. FILA: Who told you it was necessary --

21 whoever said this? How can you claim that this was

22 done? The question was whether it was necessary.

23 Why?

24 JUDGE CASSESE: Your quote is from the

25 written statement, which --

Page 2148

1 MR. WILLIAMSON: That is correct.

2 JUDGE CASSESE: Could you tell us where?

3 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, I apologise, it is the

4 next to last paragraph in the English translation, on

5 page 6996, which begins with the statement:

6 "In such a situation, the Serbs in Croatia

7 had no alternative --"

8 Again, I quoted that directly; the second

9 time around I did paraphrase it because he said the

10 question was too long. I think that there is ample

11 evidence that the Croat population was expelled from

12 Ilok, from Lovas, from Tovarnik, from (INAUDIBLE), from

13 Vukovar -- from all these areas. I am asking him about

14 facts that are in evidence and asking him to comment,

15 that if this was a defensive action, why was it

16 necessary to expel the Croat population?

17 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry, your objection is

18 overruled. Please, you may proceed. Could you please

19 answer the question put by the Prosecutor, Professor?

20 THE WITNESS: First of all, may I say that

21 nowhere in my text, not in a single word do I mention

22 expulsions of Croats. I wrote my text as a general

23 essay, and I did not go into all the events that

24 occurred from the moment when the Serb resistance

25 movement came into being and from the moment when the

Page 2149

1 Serb Krajina was created. I have always believed, and

2 I believe now, that people and experts who are directly

3 involved, or who were directly involved, should speak

4 about this, and I am not one of them, and I state

5 responsibly to you, Sir, that I know how to read, and

6 that nowhere is there a single word or a single

7 formulation of that kind. After all, I said in such a

8 situation the Serbs in Croatia had no alternative but

9 at the last moment, et cetera, et cetera, not to allow

10 themselves to be disarmed and exterminated and even to

11 create their own State, Srpska Krajina -- that is what

12 I said, no more, no less. Perhaps you do have

13 different data, because you have done research of your

14 own and perhaps you have come across various things

15 during this trial, but I cannot speak about it.

16 It was not the objective of this historical

17 analysis of mine to talk about such things. I was

18 supposed to show how this last conflict broke out and

19 what happened during this conflict, I have very little

20 information on that, just like an average citizen --

21 I know that various things happened and that people

22 lost their lives, like in any war, and this is to

23 no-one's honour, really.

24 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry, may I point out to

25 you before you start with your next question that, as

Page 2150

1 it was very clear from the outset, this court is not

2 really interested in the historical background of the

3 armed conflict, and we are only interested in the facts

4 of the case and the law which must be applied, so

5 therefore let us start from the assumption that this

6 general background is not material. So, if you could

7 be so kind as to confine your questions to the relevant

8 point. I would also call on the witness to be as

9 concise as possible in his replies.

10 MR. WILLIAMSON: If I may address that for

11 the moment. The Defence has maintained that the Serbs

12 in Croatia were defending themselves and that the

13 Yugoslav army became involved only in an effort to

14 protect them and to maintain Yugoslavia. The

15 Prosecution's position has been that the Serbs embarked

16 on an effort to create a Greater Serbia and that, in

17 fact, the Yugoslav army had become a Serb army and

18 this turned into a conflict between the Serbs and the

19 Croats. This witness has made claims to this effect in

20 his written statement, and this is the position that

21 has been put forth by the Defence.

22 We feel that it is necessary to some extent

23 to go into these issues about the creation of this

24 State and what was the intent of the Serbs at the time,

25 so this is where these questions are directed, but

Page 2151

1 I will try to keep it as close to the point as

2 possible. Perhaps, based on the Professor's

3 statements, I can just put a question and maybe we can

4 get around this altogether.

5 Q. Is what you are saying that, in the period

6 after World War II, the statements that you have

7 included in here are made not as an expert, but as a

8 citizen who observed events and read the newspaper and,

9 if that is the case, perhaps this part of the statement

10 can be withdrawn from evidence and then I would have no

11 further questions on these issues?

12 A. Frankly speaking, that would be the gist of

13 it, because I cannot proclaim myself to be an expert in

14 the history of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, or

15 even present day Yugoslavia in the most recent period,

16 but I was invited to speak here as a witness and

17 I wrote most of this text, especially the first part,

18 on the basis of my own knowledge and research, and on

19 the basis of Serbia, Hungary, Germany and other history

20 and other histiography. In order to speak about this

21 most recent period as an historian, meritoriously,

22 I need documents. I am a scholar. I need a time

23 distance. Even if I were an expert in this period of

24 time in history, I would not have enough facts or

25 sources, so, indeed, as a citizen, and I am not ashamed

Page 2152

1 to say this, as a patriot, too, I knew this. So, that

2 is how, more or less, the milieu that I live in feels

3 and thinks, but, as far as individual facts are

4 concerned, you will have an opportunity to ascertain

5 that during your questioning and hearing of different

6 witnesses.

7 I have seen from the transcript that you have

8 talked to people who can specifically say in such and

9 such a time and such and such a date, but I really

10 cannot do that, and that would be unfair, and it would

11 not do me honour and it would not honour this

12 honourable court if I were to say otherwise.

13 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, if the portion

14 after World War II is being withdrawn as part of the

15 expert submission, I would have no further questions.

16 If, however, it is to be maintained, I think I am

17 obligated to go into the issues as to the issues he

18 raises and the claims he makes.

19 JUDGE CASSESE: It could still be tendered

20 in evidence, however, with the sort of caveat, namely,

21 that the part after World War II does not reflect the

22 position of a distinguished historian, but simply the

23 views of --

24 MR. FILA: That is right.

25 JUDGE CASSESE: -- a citizen. Would you

Page 2153

1 agree, Mr. Fila?

2 MR. FILA: Absolutely, your Honour. You have

3 probably noted that I did not put a single question

4 from that period in my line of questioning. There is a

5 different expert in that field, that is

6 Professor Bulajic, who you will hear on Monday. I had

7 confined myself to the beginning of the

8 Second World War. I did not mention Jasenovac. I only

9 mentioned the memorandum. I fully accepted this. That

10 is why I did not go into that part of his expertise,

11 otherwise I would have been putting questions along

12 those lines, too, and you did not hear me put a single

13 question on that?

14 A. As a man, I spoke about a humane dimension,

15 the suffering of my people, and I am never going to

16 overlook this. I was a participant in all of that,

17 too.

18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.

19 MR. WILLIAMSON: I would have no further

20 questions.

21 JUDGE CASSESE: No questions? I assume

22 there is no objection to the witness being released.

23 MR. WILLIAMSON: No objection.

24 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you, Professor, for

25 coming and you may be released.

Page 2154

1 MR. FILA: We will call upon the next

2 witness. Would you like me to call the next witness

3 now, or are we going to have a break?


5 (The witness withdrew).


7 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning, may I ask you

8 to make the solemn declaration, please?

9 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will

10 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the

11 truth.

12 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be

13 seated.

14 Examination-in-chief by MR. PETROVIC:

15 Q. Mr. Milinkovic, would you please tell us

16 whether, on 24 February 1998, you talked to lawyer

17 Miroslav Vasic and did you give Miroslav Vasic a

18 statement. Did you make a statement. Would the usher

19 please show this witness a statement, the English and

20 the Serb original, so that the witness can identify

21 the signature on the document? (Handed).

22 JUDGE CASSESE: I hope you will not speak so

23 fast as Mr. Fila, so the interpreters --

24 MR. PETROVIC: I shall do my best, but it

25 seems to be our school.

Page 2155

1 THE REGISTRAR: Document is marked D30, the

2 English translation is D30A.

3 MR. PETROVIC: Is that your statement and

4 your signature?

5 A. Yes, it is.

6 Q. Would this statement be admitted as D30 or

7 D30A, the English version?

8 Mr. Milinkovic, would you please tell us

9 something about yourself? You are an electronic

10 engineer and an engineer in atomic physics. In the

11 period between 1983 and 1990, you were the Director of

12 the post in Vukovar?

13 A. I was director of the PTT in Vukovar.

14 Q. Can you tell us something about your work as

15 Director of the Post Telegraph and Telephone company?

16 A. I was in Vukovar when there were 4,500

17 telephone lines and over four and a half years there

18 were 28,000 in the municipality of Vukovar. The

19 municipality of Vukovar at the time had about 26,000

20 households, which means that it had a high degree of

21 development in the telephone service area and I was

22 granted the greatest recognition by the PTT of Croatia

23 and hold an order for labour for my efforts.

24 Q. Were you a member of any political

25 organisation at the time?

Page 2156

1 A. Yes, I was, I was a member of the League of

2 Communists of Croatia, and after it changed its name

3 into the SDP, I was also a member of that Party.

4 Q. Were you a representative in the first

5 parliamentary assembly after the multi-Party elections

6 in 1990?

7 A. Yes, I was elected as a representative of the

8 Council of Municipalities.

9 Q. Would you please tell us something about your

10 political work in that period, that is to say, at the

11 end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s? First

12 of all, I have in mind the beginnings of the

13 transformation of the League of Communists of Croatia

14 into a different political organisation and the overall

15 beginnings of political transformation in Croatia and

16 social transformation as well and I have in mind the

17 11th congress of Croatia, the Croat Party?

18 THE INTERPRETER: A little slower please.

19 MR. PETROVIC: Therefore the 11th congress of

20 the League of Communists of Croatia, when was that

21 meeting held and what happened at that particular

22 congress?

23 A. I was elected as delegate at the 11th

24 congress of the League of Communists of Croatia. It

25 took place, as far as I recall, in 1989. I was in the

Page 2157

1 commission for reform -- there were three commissions

2 -- one was a reform of the economic system. After my

3 presentation within that commission, I took part in the

4 work of the commission for a reform of the political

5 system, but without any intention of presenting a paper

6 before that commission.

7 When, at one particular point, the Chairman

8 concluded the discussion, and proposed that one of the

9 conclusions of the discussion be that the transition to

10 a multi-Party system should take place immediately,

11 I asked for the right to reply, and presented the view

12 that pluralism, which world practice has shown is the

13 most effective way of establishing competitiveness in

14 politics, and the most effective way, but I raised the

15 question of whether we, as a society, were ready for

16 that transformation -- were ready to enter this new

17 form of organisation, especially in view of the fact

18 that there were still national tensions to clear up

19 and, therefore, I proposed that, by using the

20 experience of western Europe in the field, which, after

21 the conclusion that a longer period of time would be

22 necessary for unification and for the dovetailing and

23 harmonisation of all legal and other acts and overcome

24 the barriers in people's minds, that we should do this

25 as well following that model, because we did not have a

Page 2158

1 lot of time -- perhaps only half a year.

2 But that this was the way in which we should

3 proceed. The chairman took note of this and he

4 accepted my reply, but my conclusion was not adopted

5 and although it was not voted on in favour, the

6 conclusion to move to a multi-Party system immediately

7 was made.

8 Q. Could you please tell us something about the

9 pre-election campaign? The elections took place in the

10 spring of 1990. Could you tell us a little about the

11 pre-election campaign, please?

12 A. Within the frameworks of the SDP, certain

13 changes had taken place and for the multi-Party

14 elections we were called the SDP and we organised

15 ourselves for the pre-election campaign. We went to

16 all the local communities in the municipality -- there

17 were about 40 of them, rural and urban ones alike --

18 and we held our meetings, presenting our Party

19 programme, so that we could win over the electorate.

20 On one occasion, in the village of Lovas,

21 there was a pre-electoral meeting that we organised and

22 I was surprised to see very few people turn up,

23 although practically everybody knew me in that

24 particular village, because I solved the telephone

25 connection problem in that particular village and

Page 2159

1 I held a lot of meetings while we solved this problem

2 of the telephone linking and telephone lines.

3 When the meeting ended, I noticed that the

4 HDZ was having a meeting afterwards. As I did not know

5 who the members of the HDZ were, I decided to stay in

6 the hall, and see. The other members of my Party left

7 for the next meeting but I waited in the hall, waited

8 for the people from the HDZ to turn up, and I saw who

9 the members were -- they were Mercep and the others,

10 because I did not know them beforehand -- I had just

11 seen them, perhaps. I asked to be allowed to stay as a

12 guest, an observer at the meeting, and they accepted

13 this. I sat in the first row -- it was, in fact, a

14 cinema in which we held our meeting which was

15 pack-jammed, there were not enough seats for everybody

16 but nobody sat either to the left or right of me

17 although many people knew me -- nobody dared sit next

18 to me.

19 I accepted this as fear on the part of these

20 people, that they would be labelled as consorting with

21 me. The programme was presented, during the meeting in

22 the usual way. At the end I asked for the floor, and

23 Mercep said that this was not the right time for a

24 discussion. I said that I had no intention of taking

25 part in the discussion, but just to address the meeting

Page 2160

1 as a guest. I went up to the rostrum and I said

2 that I come from another political Party, that I had

3 held other political views, but as a man of goodwill

4 I wanted to address the meeting, and the public before

5 me and all men of goodwill.

6 This led to a round of spontaneous applause

7 and Mercep was very angry, and he did not wait for me

8 to return to my seat, but asked me some questions, so

9 I had to go back up to the rostrum to answer those

10 questions. There were many other questions that were

11 asked on the occasion by people up in the chair,

12 candidates for the HDZ membership and from the

13 audience, so, for practically half the time the meeting

14 lasted, I was at the microphone answering the different

15 questions.

16 I recall one particular individual, and one

17 particular question. They asked me how this new Party

18 of ours, the SDP -- it is an abbreviation for the Party

19 of Democratic Change -- how it wished to settle

20 accounts with its members, that is to say, with the

21 members who were not like-minded. I said that it was a

22 truly democratic Party which did not settle accounts

23 with people -- even if they did not feel as they did

24 and particularly not with their own members, and that,

25 as apart from other parties, it was truly a democratic

Page 2161

1 Party.

2 On that occasion I got to know people from

3 the HDZ for the first time, and, in my desire at the

4 beginnings of political pluralism, I proposed to pool

5 our efforts to the Director of the Agricultural

6 Community, that after the meeting, on their own

7 premises, to organise an improvised round-table

8 discussion. They accepted this idea, and we did have a

9 discussion of this kind. There were some 20 people.

10 I was alone representing the SDP. I had to answer many

11 questions, some of them provocative ones, and at one

12 particular point, a young man -- later he was a deputy

13 in the Municipal Assembly -- when he heard that

14 according to my national affiliation I was always

15 declared -- I always declared myself as a Yugoslav, he

16 asked me, "How is this possible? How can you declare

17 yourself as a Yugoslav?" Because he knows that he is a

18 Croat and therefore he cannot be a Yugoslav by the same

19 token. This was a provocative question. He asked

20 whether I had declared myself as a Yugoslav in my time

21 out function, until I find my identity.

22 I answered, and calmed the others present,

23 that if we were going to discuss a particular issue,

24 then we must know the substance, the background, and

25 that an individual seeks his identity first within the

Page 2162

1 frameworks of his inner self and then from the

2 particular towards the general, he goes via his family,

3 via his environment, via the town he lives in, via the

4 region, the State and Europe, and that I was very sorry

5 to see that he had embarked upon this road only

6 yesterday, that he had left his village yesterday,

7 whereas I had found my identity long ago within the

8 State and that I was now looking for my identity within

9 Europe, to be a citizen of the world in times to come

10 and I must say that I gained the impression that many

11 of them did not understand what I was, in fact, saying.

12 But, at all events, I endeavoured to bridge

13 the gap in our different opinions so that we could

14 avoid what, unfortunately, was to take place later on.

15 I also recall that I intimated that, at the meeting on

16 the following day, in Bogdanovci, that I would like to

17 come to the meeting on the following day, if they

18 agreed to this. They did agree to it and I asked

19 Mr. Mate, who is a Croat by nationality, an ethnic Croat

20 -- he was at one time President of the Executive

21 Council of the Municipal Assembly and he was a member

22 of the SDP as well -- I asked him to go to the meeting

23 with me. He agreed, although I saw that he was not

24 very enthusiastic -- he had probably been told that it

25 would not be a very pleasant meeting.

Page 2163

1 And I suppose that they came to realise that,

2 if I was a guest, they had to treat me as such, and

3 they invited Mr. Glavas to the meeting and I saw him

4 there for the first time, and that there was a euphoric

5 atmosphere.

6 Q. Can you tell us who Mr. Glavas was?

7 A. As I heard from the information media, he was

8 a member of the HDZ , whether he was the HDZ leader in

9 Osijek or not, I am not quite sure, but I heard about

10 him from the media.

11 Q. Please continue.

12 A. Well, unfortunately, all my attempts to

13 prevail through force of argument and to have a

14 dialogue by political means was absolutely impossible,

15 because of the euphoria that remained amongst the

16 audience and, because Glavas grabbed the microphone,

17 and he started shouting, "This is Croatia. Vote for

18 the HDZ". There were some very provocative questions

19 and insulting questions and I must admit that I had

20 absolutely no chance of setting up a dialogue.

21 After the meeting in Bogdanovci, I never went

22 to any pre-electoral HDZ campaign meetings but went to

23 our own SDP meetings.

24 Q. Could you just clarify something for us --

25 the reason you wanted to attend these meetings of what

Page 2164

1 was a competitive political organisation at that time

2 -- a rival political organisation?

3 A. I said a moment ago that the reason I went to

4 this meeting was because I wanted, and my Party wanted,

5 to establish a political dialogue between parties

6 within the frameworks of a democratic atmosphere, so

7 that this process of democratic elections could be held

8 in a democratic atmosphere and that the different

9 political opinions be resolved parliamentary, that is

10 through political means.

11 Q. Could you please tell us when the first

12 multi-Party elections were held in Croatia, what

13 deputies were elected at these elections?

14 A. The elections were held at the beginning of

15 May 1990 and at those elections, apart from the

16 SDP Party, we had the participation of the HDZ, another

17 Party was formed to represent the socialists, but less

18 important ones -- the largest parties were in the SDP

19 areas, the HDZ. As I say, up to that point I did not

20 know the HDZ representative sufficiently well, but as

21 I say, the elections were held, and members elected --

22 members to the Municipal Assembly, the deputies

23 themselves. About 115 deputy posts were up for

24 election and the representatives for the Croat

25 Parliament -- the SABOR -- were elected and for the

Page 2165

1 socio-political Chamber, one representative for the

2 Chamber of Municipalities, and for these two

3 representatives, the entire voting corps of the

4 municipality -- there were two other Chambers for

5 Associated Labour where the electorate was divided into

6 three parts and each part was to elect its own

7 representative.

8 The elections for the most part, according to

9 the facts that I have at my disposal, regardless of the

10 fact that, at the HDZ meetings, there was this feeling

11 of euphoria, but nonetheless the elections were --

12 evolved correctly.

13 Q. What were the results of the elections, both

14 locally and at the Croat Republican level?

15 A. At the local level, the overall results were

16 such that the vast majority of votes, some were around

17 two-thirds, went to the candidates of the SDP Party.

18 They were not all members of the SDP Party actually,

19 but were on the SDP list as prominent individuals in

20 the municipality -- well-known for their efforts in the

21 area -- and, if I am correct, I think only 23 deputy

22 posts were won by the HDZ.

23 As I say, about 115 seats in all. On the

24 other hand, as far as the election of members of the

25 Parliament of Croatia were concerned, in addition to

Page 2166

1 myself, a member of the SDP was also elected from the

2 socio-political Chamber as well as two members from the

3 Associated Labour Chamber and the fifth deputy did not

4 enter the elections as the member of any political

5 Party, so he was an independent candidate, so the HDZ

6 officially did not have a single MP in the Parliament

7 of Croatia from the area of Vukovar.

8 I remember that particular figure. My

9 opposing candidate was a candidate of the HDZ and in

10 the second round of votes I got almost 63 per cent of

11 the vote, which showed that people voted for me then as

12 people and they voted for me as a person -- not as a

13 member of a national or ethnic community, but I had won

14 their confidence as a person.

15 In the Croat Parliament, the voting was as

16 follows: I think there were some 323 seats altogether

17 -- a two-thirds majority almost was won by the members

18 of the HDZ, but the true outcome of the vote in terms

19 of percentage was that about 40 per cent of the vote

20 was won by the HDZ and about 30 per cent of the vote

21 was won by the SDP and I looked at the official reports

22 on the voting in the elections and I made an analysis

23 when I looked at the overall electoral body and I saw

24 that the HDZ actually won 32 per cent approximately of

25 the electoral body as a whole -- I mean the electoral

Page 2167

1 body of Croatia -- and the HDZ approximately

2 24 per cent of the total number of voters in Croatia.

3 I think Smiljko Sokol had prepared all of

4 this and, on one occasion, he even said that this law

5 of his was revenge on communism. So, in the final

6 outcome, the HDZ had almost an absolute majority in the

7 Croat Parliament.

8 Q. Please, could you tell us something about the

9 reorganisation of the secretariat for the interior on

10 the territory of the city and municipality of Vukovar?

11 A. The Secretariat of Internal Affairs in

12 Croatia is organised according to municipalities, that

13 is to say, that there was a Republican Secretariat and

14 there were Municipal Secretariats of Internal Affairs

15 in all the municipalities in Croatia. Some time before

16 the elections, I think that this was during 1989, there

17 was a reorganisation of this secretariat. It went

18 along the following lines: instead of being organised

19 according to municipalities, it was organised in a

20 smaller number of secretariats at the level of the

21 entire republic and this resulted in the following --

22 in the municipality of Vukovar, the Secretariat for the

23 Interior was abolished and there was one for the entire

24 territory of Vinkovci, Zupanja and Vukovar. Until

25 then, there was this kind of secretariat in Vukovar, so

Page 2168

1 that Secretary for Internal Affairs -- at that time it

2 was Mr. Lodinovic, who was directly responsible to the

3 Republican Secretariat for Internal Affairs, but also,

4 horizontally, he was responsible to the Assembly of the

5 Municipality of Vukovar and he had to submit his

6 reports to him and that is what the Assembly did, as a

7 rule, every year.

8 When this new secretariat was constituted for

9 the territory of all three municipalities, the Assembly

10 of the Municipality of Vukovar lost all jurisdiction,

11 so to speak, over this Secretariat for Internal

12 Affairs. As I said, this happened even before the

13 elections and it caused quite a bit of

14 dissatisfaction. It stirred up quite a tempest,

15 because the people felt equal before, but when the

16 Municipality of Vukovar was supposed to melt into

17 Vinkovski and Zupanja that had a Croat majority

18 population, they thought that they were losing ground.

19 Mr. Lodinovic was secretary at the time, although

20 I remember that Mr. Dokmanovic was held responsible by

21 some people for having let this happen, but at that

22 time he was not President of the municipality at all.

23 At any rate, this reorganisation was carried

24 out by the Secretariat for Internal Affairs, and the

25 result was that some 40 professionals -- perhaps

Page 2169

1 I should mention before that that the Secretariat of

2 Internal Affairs of Vukovar is part of the overall

3 Republican Secretariat and was often recognised as a

4 very well professionally organised department and they

5 had some very good professionals on their staff, and

6 about 40 professionals from the secretariat received

7 orders that they would no longer be employed in Vukovar

8 but in Vinkovski -- most of these people were Serbs and

9 of course this was not met with enthusiasm. On the

10 contrary, it was taken as punishment and even worse

11 than that.

12 When the possibility was provided for their

13 premature retirement, about 25 of these professionals

14 from that secretariat retired prematurely. Among them

15 was my cousin, Bogdan Krnajac, who was, for many years,

16 head of the Department for General Affairs, so I know

17 this from the horse's mouth, and I was also a good

18 friend of Mr. Lodinovic's, and I would come to the

19 secretariat quite often while he was there and often

20 afterwards when Mr. Sredoselac came to head the

21 secretariat, too. At any rate, this reorganisation

22 which started before the elections continued after the

23 elections, too.

24 After the elections, the Municipal Assembly

25 did not have any jurisdiction whatsoever over this

Page 2170

1 secretariat, because there was now a single secretariat

2 for all three municipalities and at the level of

3 Vukovar itself there was only a police station, and

4 this police station was headed by a Croat,

5 Mr. Sredoselac. Until then, there were about 200 people

6 who were employed there -- I do not know if Serbs or

7 Croats were a majority, but an effort was made to have

8 more or less equal representation.

9 So, after the reorganisation, there was a

10 drastic change. I said already that, due to the fact

11 that they were transferred to Vinkovski, many of these

12 professionals retired prematurely, so new people were

13 taken according to the information that I received

14 I would come to see them quite often and these

15 individuals were ethnic Croats exclusively. In the

16 meantime, the Secretariat for Internal Affairs was

17 transformed into a Ministry of the Interior -- it was

18 called the MUP and, by May, it had 700 people, and

19 already then, as the Serbs left the police, it became

20 an uni-ethnic force.

21 JUDGE CASSESE: I wonder whether we could

22 take a break now, but I suggest, and I hope the

23 interpreters will not be angry at me, that we have only

24 a 15 minute recess, so at 12 o'clock sharp we should

25 resume.

Page 2171

1 (11.45 a.m.).

2 (A short break).

3 (12 noon).

4 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes, you may proceed.


6 Q. Please, could you tell us, briefly, about how

7 the Croat Parliament was constituted?

8 A. After the elections, the Parliament was

9 constituted, the mandates of the elected members were

10 verified, I remember that there was quite a bit of pomp

11 involved when the Parliament was constituted.

12 I remember the euphoria in front of the Parliament

13 building itself and this first day of Parliament was

14 quite euphoric altogether -- the atmosphere was

15 euphoric. It was a very formal occasion, so we did not

16 actually start with our work -- it was ceremonial --

17 but, at the very outset, I got this impression that

18 there was such a lot of euphoria and intolerance

19 involved, and when I saw the expressions on all the

20 faces of these people who were representatives, who

21 were Members of Parliament, I realised that this did no

22 really auger well for the future. I crossed the street

23 from the Parliament building -- I walked across the

24 square to the former head of the Croat parliamentary

25 delegation to the Assembly of Yugoslavia, to

Page 2172

1 Mr. Skakic. He is a relative of mine, he is my uncle.

2 I told him about my fears, that all of this did not

3 auger well. He was quite upset, too, but he assured me

4 that all would be well after all.

5 However, at the very outset of our work, it

6 became obvious that he was not right -- at the first

7 working session already, there was a discussion about

8 replacing three directors -- Serbs -- who were

9 directors of major public enterprises, public companies

10 -- I remember that the Director of Television was

11 amongst them. The representatives of the SDP,

12 especially were very dissatisfied by this.

13 One of the members asked for this item to be

14 removed from the agenda, because this would cause even

15 more ethnic intolerance, but Mr. Dokmanovic, the

16 presiding person in the Parliament, said that this

17 could not be so because the HDZ was a democratic Party

18 and they had the legitimate right of representing

19 exclusively the interests of all the people of Croatia,

20 all the citizens of Croatia and that this was their

21 right only because they had won an absolute majority.

22 I asked for the floor.

23 I had prepared an analysis of the results of

24 the elections, and I wanted to refute the statement

25 that had just been made by the President of the

Page 2173

1 Parliament by resorting to facts, because official

2 analysis showed that only 32 per cent of the electorate

3 had voted for the HDZ and that they, by no means, had

4 the exclusive right to represent the interests of the

5 people of Croatia. When Mr. Domljan realised what I was

6 about to say, he said that he would take the floor away

7 from me. After that, he actually did take the floor

8 away from me. He would not let me speak, because

9 obviously he did not want the results of the elections

10 to be heard from that point of view.

11 The work of the Parliament continued,

12 because, in fact, since the HDZ had an absolute

13 majority, the atmosphere was very bad, very intolerant,

14 very unpleasant, because whenever anybody said

15 something from the rostrum that was not in line with

16 what the HDZ members thought, they would boo this

17 person, and, also, I remember that the son of

18 General Bobetko, who was an MP then, I remember he

19 threw his bag at the rostrum, when another member of

20 Parliament was speaking, and he did not like the views

21 that were presented by this person .

22 Q. I think it would be interesting for us to

23 hear about the constitutional changes that took place

24 in Croatia then?

25 A. In this kind of atmosphere, as the work of

Page 2174

1 the Parliament progressed, there was a debate on

2 changing the constitution of Croatia and a public

3 debate was initiated on the adoption of a new

4 constitution. This created havoc throughout Croatia,

5 because Serbs were no longer to be a constituent

6 element of the Croat State; they were to be turned

7 into a national minority. This caused major

8 dissatisfaction, and a lack of confidence in this same

9 Government, especially amongst the Serbs, but

10 regardless of this proposal, we tried within the SDP

11 Party itself and, when we realised that they defended

12 this position with not very many arguments, that is,

13 this position that Croatia should not be organised as a

14 national State but as a State of citizens, then the

15 four of us, members of Parliament from Vukovar, took

16 our distance from the SDP of Mr. Racan and a debate was

17 conducted not only by us as members of Parliament, but

18 also from the Municipal Assembly itself. We gave

19 certain proposals which were aimed at reaching a

20 compromise, so that the State could be constituted as a

21 State of citizens, not a national State, and also we

22 had another series of amendments, which were again

23 aimed at compromise.

24 On the one hand, there was the view of the

25 Government of the HDZ and, on the other hand, it was

Page 2175

1 that which was acceptable to the Serbs: there were

2 quite a few discussions and meeting devoted to this

3 particular subject matter, and little by little there

4 was increasing polarisation -- many Croats did not

5 agree with the positions of the HDZ but they would not

6 present their own views. The Serbs who presented their

7 views had no way of presenting their views, except

8 through us -- their MPs -- and, gradually, we had --

9 enjoyed less and less confidence among the citizens,

10 because they were increasingly unsatisfied.

11 After the debate in Parliament where

12 amendments were discussed, not a single one of these

13 amendments was accepted. In the Parliament there was a

14 voting machinery, and it was in favour of the

15 Government proposal, which was adopted in its

16 entirety. I believe that this was a key breaking point

17 in this effort to create a greater understanding and

18 confidence between the different ethnic groups. I was

19 convinced that Croatia could have had Serbs as loyal

20 citizens within their State, had they only shown more

21 tolerance and more patience.

22 After this constitution was adopted, it

23 became clear to me that this chance was gambled away.

24 Q. You also have some interesting information as

25 regards the composition of the Parliament and

Page 2176

1 Government in terms of the sentences that were

2 pronounced on these people beforehand?

3 A. Yes. The intention of the Parliament was to

4 publish a book -- an expensive glossy publication and

5 all of us members of Parliament were supposed to write

6 our CVs. It was virtually impossible to have a

7 democratic discussion at the meetings of Parliament

8 themselves, because the atmosphere was not really

9 conducive to that. So, sometimes we would go into

10 other rooms in the Parliament and I had a look at all

11 the CVs and I realised that most of the MPs, instead of

12 starting their CVs by saying, "I was born in such and

13 such a place at such and such a date," they started out

14 by saying, "I had spent such and such a number of years

15 in prison" et cetera and I realised that there were

16 quite a few of them who did that, and that is why I --

17 it is only then that I realised why there was such a

18 degree of intolerance at that particular meeting and at

19 other meetings.

20 Q. I suggest we now go back to the town of

21 Vukovar itself and the municipality of Vukovar. The

22 election of the new authorities in Vukovar after the

23 first multi-Party elections --

24 A. I told you of the results of the election --

25 the SDP, from its list, won more than a two-third

Page 2177

1 majority amongst the delegates for the

2 Municipal Assembly, and, when they were constituted,

3 the discussion held within the Party as to how to

4 distribute the functions in the Municipal Assembly,

5 I was convinced that we should show goodwill to the HDZ

6 and to offer more posts than they would have got by

7 virtue of the votes won. My proposal was accepted and

8 the HDZ was asked to provide candidates for the

9 Vice-President of the Municipal Assembly and for the

10 President of one Chamber and the Vice-President of two

11 Chambers.

12 Although these were a greater number of posts

13 than the HDZ should have been allotted as the Vukovar

14 municipality was a multi-nationality community where

15 the dominant nations were the Serb and Croat, it was

16 standard practice that if, for the President of the

17 Municipal Assembly, a Serb is elected, then the

18 President of the Executive Council, which is the

19 location of executive power, be a Croat and vice

20 versa. That was the principle applied. So, although

21 there was a large measure of goodwill shown on our

22 part, the HDZ showed a high degree of intolerance and

23 it was not satisfied with the results of the elections;

24 it was dissatisfied because, as a Party, they did not

25 come into power in the municipality and from the start

Page 2178

1 they began to obstruct the work of the

2 Municipal Assembly and made it difficult to elect the

3 President and the President of the council and, when

4 discussing the Rules of Procedure, they asked that the

5 Rules of Procedure be amended and it was, according to

6 the rules, only if the general interest came into play

7 that decision-making was done by a two-thirds

8 majority. They insisted that all questions be decided

9 upon by a two-thirds majority, so as to make the work

10 of the Municipal Assembly more difficult.

11 It is my personal impression that this was a

12 systematic obstruction and that everything was done to

13 make life very difficult and that the delegate and the

14 President of the Municipal Assembly, a high degree of

15 tolerance was shown, so that a democratic atmosphere

16 may prevail and that decisions be in keeping with the

17 Rules of Procedure.

18 Q. I should now like to ask you -- we are going

19 to discuss the elections of the President of the

20 Municipal Assembly -- to tell us what list was

21 Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic elected as President of the

22 Municipal Assembly -- what list was he on?

23 A. He was a candidate of the SDP Party -- the

24 Party of Democratic Change. We put forward two

25 candidates on behalf of our Party and then the Assembly

Page 2179

1 was to decide. The second candidate was Mrs. Peter --

2 the election was done by secret ballot and, as far as

3 I recall, Mr. Dokmanovic won two-thirds of the vote and

4 Mrs. Peter won one-third of the vote. The elections

5 took place in keeping with the Rules of Procedure. We

6 provided two candidates, and the deputies elected

7 Mr. Dokmanovic, who was appointed President of the

8 Municipal Assembly.

9 Q. Could you tell us about the work of the

10 Municipal Assembly itself, particularly at this time of

11 national tension in the Vukovar region?

12 A. The Municipal Assembly did not have executive

13 powers, but, rather, it had the task of coordinating

14 matters, of solving problems of common interest to the

15 municipality and the President of the municipality had

16 the task of chairing the meetings. Executive power lay

17 in the Executive Council led by the President of the

18 Executive Council.

19 As I say, from the very start, work was made

20 very difficult, because of the obstructions made by the

21 SDP and Mr. Mercep was very intolerant, he was insulting

22 on many occasions, and made life very difficult. He

23 called various individuals thieves, all those who had

24 held power and authority positions earlier on -- he

25 called them -- abused them and so on -- insulted them.

Page 2180

1 This contributed to the creation of tension.

2 On the other hand, the Party for Democratic

3 Change asked that problems be solved through political

4 dialogue. Mr. Dokmanovic, as President, showed a lot of

5 goodwill in this regard. He tried to ensure a

6 democratic atmosphere for the work of the Assembly. I

7 am not quite sure whether Mr. Dokmanovic was a member of

8 the SDP at the time, but he was on the SDP's list, as

9 was the other candidate, as we had gained a two-thirds

10 majority, and therefore it was up to the Party to

11 nominate two candidates.

12 As I say, life was made fairly difficult, but

13 we did manage to function more or less according to the

14 Rules of Procedure.

15 Q. Could you tell us something about the

16 endeavours of the President of the Municipal Assembly,

17 Slavko Dokmanovic, to deal with the problems that were

18 burgeoning from one day to the next?

19 A. I recall one particular detail where seven or

20 eight villages from the municipality of Vinkovski--

21 where there was a majority Serb population -- they

22 brought in a decision and tabled a demand to the

23 Municipal Assembly of Vukovar requesting that they come

24 under the competence of the Municipal Assembly of

25 Vukovar, that is, to be incorporated into the Vukovar

Page 2181

1 municipality. Mr. Dokmanovic explained the position and

2 said that, under the prevailing conditions, this would

3 not be a good idea, and did not accept this initiative

4 on the part of the villages and so this was not placed

5 on the agenda of the Assembly's discussions.

6 There were several other cases where a

7 compromise solution was sought, which would be

8 acceptable to one and all, including the HDZ.

9 Unfortunately, this did not meet with understanding

10 from the other side, and there were frequent attempts

11 at seizing power in the municipality and, at one point,

12 I think that this was deputy Fekete, proposed that a

13 vote of confidence be voted for Mr. Dokmanovic. This

14 initiative was accepted, and they became aware of the

15 fact that, democratically, they would not be able to

16 assume power and that the Municipal Assembly was, in

17 fact, functioning according to the Rules of Procedure

18 and that, therefore, it would be very difficult to

19 change the power structure in their favour.

20 Q. What was the effect in some circles -- what

21 effect did these endeavours of the President of the

22 assembly have?

23 A. Unfortunately, when the Serbs in Croatia

24 gradually became to lose their confidence in the newly

25 elected authorities, all those who tried democratically

Page 2182

1 and in a tolerant manner through dialogue to seek

2 compromise solutions with the representatives of the

3 Croat authorities, for the most part they began

4 losing their authority. Mr. Dokmanovic's attempts to

5 find democratic and compromise solutions and to arrive

6 at generally acceptable ones led, as a consequence, to

7 the fact that he lost his authority with the Serbs.

8 That happened with me as well, and all those who

9 attempted, precisely because there was a lot of reason

10 for dissatisfaction among the Serbs, sought peaceful

11 democratic solutions in negotiations with the Municipal

12 Authorities.

13 What happened was that certain Serbs and some

14 deputies would criticise Mr. Dokmanovic during

15 meetings. They said that he was not radical enough and

16 that they found his efforts unacceptable -- his efforts

17 at solving matters democratically unacceptable because

18 they were not proving fruitful.

19 Q. The contacts that the President Dokmanovic

20 had with the Prime Minister also had negative

21 reactions?

22 A. Yes, not only with him. We had talked very

23 frequently. We took part together in solving

24 problems. Mr. Dokmanovic and myself spent a lot of time

25 in my own home trying to find compromise solutions to

Page 2183

1 the newly arisen situation -- at least peaceful

2 solutions -- but these come upon dissatisfaction among

3 the Serbs, because their own dissatisfaction was

4 mounting and so were their own fears, and they were of

5 the opinion that it was our fault for not taking a

6 sharp enough stand in defending Serb interests in

7 Croatia, because we had agreed to discuss matters with

8 all representatives of the Republican authorities, and

9 on many occasions Mr. Dokmanovic and myself discussed

10 matters with Mr. Degoricija and other representatives of

11 the Republican authorities -- Mr. Dokmanovic also had

12 talks with Mr. Mesic when he came to open a road around

13 Ilok.

14 Q. At the time, he was the Prime Minister of

15 Croatia, was he not?

16 A. Yes, I think that was the case but, at all

17 events, these contacts were very frequent, but

18 precisely because the Republican authorities gave too

19 many arguments to nurture Serb dissatisfaction,

20 Mr. Dokmanovic and myself lost the confidence that the

21 Serbs had placed in us.

22 Q. In going about your daily duties, that is to

23 say, when you went to work, when Mr. Dokmanovic went to

24 work in the Municipal Assembly building, did he have

25 any problems?

Page 2184

1 A. Well, tensions grew gradually. In the course

2 of 1990, they were not at their peak yet, but they

3 could be felt. The crux came with the adoption of the

4 constitution on the proposal of the Government of

5 Croatia and the next breakdown came after the word

6 Plitvice excesses, when there was very marked fear on

7 the part of the Serbs and especially when barricades

8 were set up in the villages populated by the Serbs. Up

9 until then, Mr. Dokmanovic was able to go to work

10 normally, but, before 1 May, at some point before 1

11 May, he was not able to go to work normally. He did

12 not dare. Afterwards, he would go to his office in the

13 Municipal Assembly building only by official car. When

14 I went to Trpinja when I went to fetch him by car,

15 because he thought he could count on me and that the

16 people would not shoot at me, because there were

17 threats to liquidate him, and that is how he went to

18 work. I went to fetch him in an official car.

19 I recall one occasion when Mr. Josko Moric came --

20 Q. Who was Mr. Josko Moric please?

21 A. Mr. Josko Moric was a high functionary in the

22 Ministry of Internal Affairs.

23 Q. Please continue.

24 A. We sat down for talks together in

25 Mr. Dokmanovic's office. He had had threats that, on

Page 2185

1 the road from Trpinja to Vukovar, he would be ambushed

2 and liquidated. He himself told me that he had very

3 frequent -- his official car was frequently searched,

4 although he was commonly known as "mayor" and I myself

5 know that on many occasions he was met by police

6 officers and asked to leave the car. He said he was

7 the mayor, the President of the Municipal Assembly, but

8 this did not help.

9 Q. These were representatives of the Croat

10 MUP?

11 A. Yes, they would make him leave the car and

12 they would search him for weapons, for example. He

13 would have to place his hands up on the car and he

14 would be searched. All this was highly degrading and

15 was conceived to create this psychosis of fear and

16 these threats contributed to that fear. I think, on

17 several occasions, he had to reach his office in a

18 transporter.

19 I recall that, on one occasion, he called me

20 at my office in the PTT building where I was at work --

21 he called me from Mr. Gorsic's house -- and he asked me

22 to come quickly because he had been told that an ambush

23 had been set up and that we should organise his flee

24 from Vukovar and we called out a garrison vehicle to

25 transport him.

Page 2186

1 So that, after 2 May, when the well-known

2 events took place in Borovo Selo, he did not dare to go

3 to work except when we could provide all the necessary

4 security arrangements whereby he could go to work.

5 Q. When was the last session of the Assembly and

6 was it held, or was it only scheduled?

7 A. As members of the Assembly, we were supposed

8 to coordinate the work of the Municipal Assembly. We

9 were not full members in terms of decision-making, but

10 we were supposed to coordinate their work with the

11 Croat Parliament. So, regularly, whenever I was not

12 attending sessions of the Croat Parliament, I would

13 take part in the work of the Municipal Assembly.

14 I think that the last session was some time before May,

15 and it was scheduled for mid May. However, that

16 particular session was not held, because armed persons

17 and individuals from the HDZ did not allow this session

18 to be held.

19 Q. Do you know how this particular

20 Municipal Assembly, in which Slavko Dokmanovic was a

21 deputy and whose President he was, ended?

22 A. Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic could not work normally

23 as President of the Assembly after the incident in

24 Borovo Selo and the work of the Municipal Assembly

25 itself practically stopped because this session was

Page 2187

1 prevented from taking place by these armed members of

2 the HDZ and other armed individuals, so this was not

3 held and it seems to me that at the end of that month,

4 that by a decree --

5 Q. Sorry, what month, when was that?

6 A. I think that it was the end of June, if I am

7 not mistaken -- no, no, sorry -- some time in June -- I

8 am not sure any more, because in May the session was

9 not held, so it might have been the beginning of June

10 -- I am not really too sure any more.

11 Well, a decree was passed by the Government

12 of Croatia, the Minister of the Judiciary had signed it

13 -- and thus the Municipal Assembly was dissolved and a

14 representative of the Government of Croatia was thus

15 appointed and, in fact, in the authorities of the

16 municipality --

17 Q. Sorry, that was not translated, according to

18 the transcript, what exact month this was in?

19 A. I am not sure whether I said it was the end

20 of June -- I am not sure, but I think it was the end of

21 June.

22 Q. Very briefly, could you give us an assessment

23 of the work of Slavko Dokmanovic as President of the

24 Municipal Assembly of Vukovar while he held that

25 office?

Page 2188

1 A. As a Party, when we were to decide who our

2 candidates for the post of President of the

3 Municipal Assembly would be, we sought to find people

4 who enjoyed the confidence of the people in the

5 municipality, and who were moderate, and it is

6 according to these criteria that Mrs. Peter and

7 Mr. Dokmanovic were proposed, so he was proposed by the

8 Party as a person who enjoyed a reputation within the

9 municipality and whose ideas and behaviour were

10 moderate. So these traits of his, while he was a

11 candidate of ours, were retained throughout his tenure

12 of office. He always tried to find a solution by

13 peaceful political means.

14 Q. Now I would like to move on to a different

15 subject. If you agree, this should be a bit more

16 concise, that is to say, we would like to see how an

17 armed conflict broke out later -- the incident in

18 Plitvice, the spring of 1991 -- March, I believe. Tell

19 us briefly who the protagonists were and what were the

20 consequences of that incident?

21 A. This happened some time in the spring --

22 I think it was end of March or beginning of April, or

23 some time around that period. I do not know exactly

24 why Mr. Hadzic and Mr. Savic were at Plitvice then,

25 whether they were coming or going to or from a meeting

Page 2189

1 of the Serb National Council, I am not sure about that,

2 but, at any rate, there was an armed intervention by

3 the forces of the Ministry of the Interior of Croatia;

4 the two of them were arrested; they were taken to

5 prison in Zagreb, and this piece of news resounded

6 throughout the municipality of Vukovar and it only

7 contributed to this climate of distrust and people

8 became even more fearful, and since they lost all

9 confidence in the republican authorities, they sought

10 ways and means of continuing their existence.

11 I remember that I thought at the time that

12 this would cause major trouble, and I insisted, with

13 Racan and others, particularly Mr. Degoricija, that the

14 two arrested persons be released as soon as possible,

15 and, if necessary, that they be tried before a court of

16 law, but that they should be released, because this

17 would lead to unforeseeable consequences and that this

18 could even create a situation which would be conducive

19 to civil war. At our major insistence this was done

20 after a few days, but just to give you a detail,

21 showing the extent of distrust this kind of behaviour

22 of the Republican Government created among the people

23 and also we were losing confidence among the Serbs in

24 the municipality, all of us who were advocating

25 peaceful solutions -- and I include both Mr. Dokmanovic

Page 2190

1 and myself among these people -- I tried to assure

2 Mr. Hadzic's sister that they would be released and

3 I was told in insulting terms that I was an traitor and

4 that Mr. Dokmanovic and I did not sufficiently represent

5 the interests of the Serbs and that we were not needed

6 by the Serbs of the municipality as such.

7 At any rate, this truly had unforeseeable

8 consequences, particularly at first. Road blocks were

9 set up in Borovo Selo, mostly consisting of

10 agricultural machinery and other obstacles and people

11 stayed primarily in those villages where there was a

12 predominantly Serb population, and, as I said, this, in

13 my opinion, was one of the major turning points -- I am

14 not saying that Borovo Selo was already civil war but

15 it certainly contributed to it. As far as

16 Mr. Dokmanovic is concerned, I tried to pacify the

17 situation -- already, at that stage, I asked people who

18 had held posts of responsibility in the

19 Croat Government and in the Parliament to come to

20 the municipality of Vukovar and if they did not trust

21 me and Mr. Dokmanovic, that they should address the

22 deputies in the Municipal Assembly themselves.

23 Mr. Degoricija accepted this and he came. Mr. Bogdanic

24 also came, another Member of Parliament and we tried to

25 explain to the deputies in the Municipal Assembly that

Page 2191

1 the Government of the Republic of Croatia would behave

2 according to the law and that it would not create a

3 climate of distrust, but they did not believe us or

4 Mr. Degoricija because of everything that had happened.

5 All in all, this created a feeling, a

6 climate, of exceptional mistrust and, when we tried to

7 pacify the situation through our own activities,

8 usually some kind of action taken by the police beyond

9 our control jeopardised all of that. I tried to

10 convince Mr. Soskocanin from Borovo Selo, for example,

11 that he should meet with Mr. Sredoselac, chief of the

12 police station in Vukovar, and we came to Borovo Selo,

13 and we talked to Mr. Soskocanin, and we sought a

14 solution as to how the road blocks could be removed and

15 how traffic could be re-established and this was indeed

16 achieved.

17 It was late in the evening and already the

18 next day a police car that was moving through

19 Borovo Selo was shot at, so, after all the painstaking

20 efforts we took, this one single action put all this

21 down the drain. I told Mr. Soskocanin about it -- I

22 objected and he said they were not his people, although

23 they were wearing police uniforms and he was officially

24 head of the police station, and he was supposed to have

25 all the policemen in that area under his control.

Page 2192

1 There were also other cases where we tried and

2 succeeded in the short run to find a compromising

3 solution and we calmed the situation down, but soon

4 similar action would follow and then everything went

5 down the drain.

6 Q. You are referring to the action in Plitvice?

7 A. Yes, to the action in Plitvice, too, but what

8 was particularly obvious was almost on a regular basis,

9 before sessions of Parliament, there would be some

10 excessive situations and this certainly could not be by

11 accident altogether. In Krajina, when road blocks were

12 put, this was yet another provocation before the

13 session of the Assembly, so this action was provoked by

14 other behaviour, as was the situation in Plitvice and

15 also in Borovo Selo. My personal impression is that

16 these situations were provoked, so the Serbs could be

17 accused as the culprits, and that this was a

18 premeditated effort to have a homogenised national

19 feeling and there was an organised effort involved.

20 Q. Was there organised arming in your area?

21 A. I personally did not see weapons distributed,

22 but, on several occasions, I heard such information in

23 the Municipal Assembly and, on a few occasions, in

24 passing, I received such information, that arms were

25 being distributed to HDZ members, even by HDZ deputies

Page 2193

1 from the Assembly, but in the Croat Parliament

2 itself, people discussed this rather openly, and

3 certain individuals from the HDZ boasted about it

4 saying that the HDZ members were being armed.

5 All of this was at the end of 1990 and

6 beginning of 1991 and nothing was concealed by May --

7 in May people spoke of it quite openly. I remember

8 that a member of the Municipal Assembly put a question

9 at the session of the Municipal Assembly itself --

10 could somebody please explain to him why weapons were

11 being distributed, because in broad daylight, he said

12 that he witnessed the distribution of weapons to

13 civilians from a truck and he did not want to comment

14 on this and no-one wanted to comment on this.

15 Q. Who is Tomislav Mercep?

16 A. Tomislav Mercep was head of the HDZ in the

17 municipality of Vukovar and in fact he led the

18 activities of that Party.

19 Q. Could you tell us about his activities in the

20 territory of Vukovar?

21 A. I actually met Mercep at the pre-election

22 meeting in Lovas. I did not know about him before

23 that, although for many years I was Director of the

24 PTT, and I knew more or less all prominent citizens in

25 the municipality, but I did not know him, and I did not

Page 2194

1 know all others who were in that Party, either. From

2 the very moment I met him at this pre-election meeting,

3 he showed a high degree of intolerance and, very often

4 at sessions of the Assembly itself he spoke very

5 insultingly of others, calling them thieves, liars, and

6 the like, and I remember, once, Mr. Degoricija was

7 present, too -- this meeting was being held in the

8 castle of Count --

9 Q. Could you clarify who Mr. Degoricija was?

10 A. Mr. Degoricija was Deputy Minister of the

11 Interior of the Republic of Croatia, and it was his job

12 to coordinate the work with the Municipal Assembly of

13 Vukovar and he was President of the Municipal -- the

14 Chamber in which I worked, too. We tried and

15 Mr. Degoricija came for this purpose, to calm the

16 situation down, and to make matters a little easier,

17 but at that meeting as well, Mr. Mercep was very

18 arrogant and aggressive, he called everybody else a

19 thief. I asked for the floor and said that to say

20 somebody was a thief without arguments was not only

21 uncivilised, but that it spoke more about the person

22 who had uttered these insults than the person whom they

23 were directed at. Mr. Degoricija said that he had gone

24 too far and he calmed him down.

25 But he was exceptionally dissatisfied with

Page 2195

1 the fact that they had not won over power and authority

2 in the municipality in Vukovar and, through his

3 activities, tried to gain power, or sabotage the work

4 of others. When they were not given a vote of

5 confidence in having Mr. Dokmanovic step down, he said

6 that he would gain power forcibly.

7 I shall later tell you of the events that

8 took place afterwards when they stepped far out of the

9 realm of politics and entered a completely different

10 area.

11 Q. Can you tell us, please, of how power was

12 taken over -- how Radio Vukovar was taken over or

13 control of the local police was assumed?

14 A. When they did not succeed legally through

15 legal means in replacing the authorities in the

16 municipality, they tried and succeeded in using force

17 and Radio Vukovar, which was held by people working

18 professionally in the Radio, when they were forcibly

19 replaced, and made to leave the building. Mr. Mercep

20 did this and his associates, and they appointed other

21 individuals -- a similar thing happened in the National

22 Defence and the secretary was forcibly thrown out of

23 his offices and Mr. Mercep and his associates took

24 over. I do not know whether he had any documents

25 allowing him to do so, but he did assume this function,

Page 2196

1 and the Municipal Assembly made no decision in that

2 regard.

3 Q. From your statement, we see a rather bizarre

4 detail. When you went to Mr. Mercep, to his house for a

5 meeting, something rather bizarre happened. Could you

6 tell us about it?

7 A. This event took place when, after many

8 organised meetings outside the work of the

9 Municipal Assembly, when the political parties met, we

10 would hold discussions until late at night -- we

11 discussed the problems that had occurred and we had

12 found compromise solutions and we were then to write

13 the minutes of that meeting. It was very late on that

14 particular occasion and we decided that we would come

15 early tomorrow morning to Mrs. Peter, Mr. Mercep and

16 myself and to write down the minutes of the meeting.

17 Mrs. Peter said that she could not come early, because

18 she had already had some work with her chickens, she

19 was going to slaughter some of her chickens that day.

20 Mr. Modalek -- he was also deputy in the Parliament --

21 said we would come and help. Mercep's comment was that

22 he would not be able to be present because he could not

23 stand the sight of chickens being slaughtered. He

24 always liked a good joke. Mr. Modalek said, "Never

25 mind, I will put the sajkaca cap on their heads."

Page 2197

1 Mercep said, "then There is no problem, I will

2 slaughter them myself." That was a very bizarre joke

3 -- unpalatable -- but all this demonstrated the great

4 difficulties -- we had to have democratic and

5 constructive dialogue.

6 Q. Would you explain what this "sajkaca" cap

7 means; what does the sajkaca symbolise?

8 A. The sajkaca is the national cap worn by

9 Serbs.

10 Q. Was the head of the hospital in Vukovar also

11 replaced on that occasion -- he was a Serb by

12 nationality?

13 A. In Croatia, I said that there were many Serb

14 directors of large enterprises, and their replacements

15 started hand-in-hand with a legal regulation from the

16 Assembly, which moved towards the centralisation of all

17 public enterprises -- in order to be able to manage

18 them better from one centre, so this was done with the

19 PTT, post, telegraph and telephone service and by

20 decree of the SABOR or Parliament, a public enterprise

21 for the PTT was set up, and the post activities were

22 separated from the telecommunication activities and all

23 the present directors were relieved of their duties,

24 and at all levels, so in the post section and in the

25 telecommunications section, new people were appointed

Page 2198

1 to these posts. As director of the PTT of Vukovar,

2 I was relieved of my duties. Later on, the manager,

3 that is to say, of a lower rank for the units, without

4 any actual authorisation or competencies in my work,

5 which meant that full centralisation for public

6 enterprises had taken place, and all the directors had

7 been replaced -- all the Serb directors of the public

8 enterprises were replaced in the municipality itself --

9 and this happened from May onwards, when Mercep in fact

10 took over the complete command of the town. It is my

11 impression at the time that neither the police -- that

12 the commander of the police station of Vukovar, Mr.

13 Sredoselac and later on his replacement, somebody else

14 was appointed, but they had no power and authority over

15 the police.

16 Q. Who replaced the Serbs?

17 A. Well, Croats were placed in the positions

18 that were held by the Serbs -- the director of the

19 hospital was a Serb, he was replaced. I do not know

20 whether Mr. Gavro came first and then Mr. Bosanac, but he

21 was replaced as the director of the hospital.

22 Q. I should now like to go on to the events

23 which represent a turning point for Vukovar --

24 1 and 2 May. What happened on 1 May?

25 A. 1 May was always traditionally celebrated by

Page 2199

1 the fact that citizens went to the environs of Vukovar

2 near Borovo Selo and Sumadica, which was closer to the

3 town centre. It was my intention that, despite the

4 very difficult situation, to take my family out for an

5 outing in celebration of 1 May, but there were certain

6 excessive situations, and a senior citizen, a Serb by

7 nationality, was killed by another elderly gentleman of

8 the Croat nationality -- I think he was part Croat

9 and part Hungarian. I called the crisis headquarters

10 in the village to ask what had happened, what was going

11 on, and went by car, as I did previously -- whenever

12 there was a situation -- an excessive situation of this

13 kind, I would personally go on the spot in the locality

14 to try and calm the citizens -- the people, to reduce

15 tensions. That is what I did on this particular

16 occasion as well.

17 The villagers, who were very angry at this

18 murder, this killing, had surrounded the house of the

19 individual who had done the shooting and killed the

20 man. I talked to the people in the local community and

21 in the crisis headquarters as it was referred to, and

22 asked that calm prevail. I know that Savo Davidovic

23 who was from that particular village and is also a

24 deputy and myself, I think that Mr. Bosnjakovic was with

25 me and he was also a deputy, a representative -- we

Page 2200

1 tried to calm the situation, and finally I did succeed

2 in allowing the police to take Mr. Gelencin away,

3 because the police maintained that it would have an

4 on-the-site investigation, and that this would come up

5 before the courts in due course. Unfortunately, as

6 happened on many previous occasions this was not done

7 because Mr. Gelencin was never taken to court.

8 So, all in all, this resulted in a further

9 loss of authority, both my own authority and everything

10 else -- everybody else, including Mr. Dokmanovic,

11 because we all tried to deal with the problem

12 peaceably. I went back to the police station that same

13 day, where I came across Mr. Sredoselac and Mr. Markovic

14 was there -- he was a member of the special MUP

15 Croat forces, and for some 10 days he was in the

16 police station at Vukovar, and as I was at the police

17 station practically every day, whenever some excessive

18 events took place where Serbs were involved, they would

19 inform me and I would go there and see what was going

20 on and try to calm the situation and, when the Serb

21 population came to me to intervene, then I would do the

22 same.

23 So, I met these two individuals, and, once

24 again, for the umpteenth time, I tried to explain that

25 we should refrain from the use of force, because with a

Page 2201

1 people who, from the first day, were peaceable -- and

2 I can say this with my full conviction -- they were

3 already to solve things peaceably and always ready for

4 dialogue, but the people began to use patience and

5 confidence and fear started to set in. The development

6 of events led to an escalation of fear and led to a

7 readiness to protect one's own existence and one's

8 family by using other means. I always warned them and

9 cautioned them not to take up arms. I remember that

10 Mr. Markovic said to me that I should agree that they

11 apply force. It was only up to me to agree and he said

12 that then they would clear matters up. I think I spent

13 some two hours late at night discussing this problem,

14 and I went home afterwards, and I asked an on-the-spot

15 investigation to be conducted, and for reports to be

16 submitted so we could show the Serbs that the police

17 were doing something in that particular situation.

18 But, they told us that it was late and that

19 an on-the-spot investigation could not be conducted,

20 but that it would be conducted the following day.

21 On the following day, which was 2 May, I went

22 to the PTT building -- I think it was around 10 o'clock

23 -- they called me from the police station and said

24 that an investigating judge from the court in Osijek

25 arrived. I think this was then under the competence of

Page 2202

1 the court in Osijek, but that he did not dare go on the

2 spot to make his investigation, because people from the

3 local community had said that they would not admit any

4 policeman into the village, because they had some very

5 bad experiences, and that there was rifle fire on the

6 part of the uniformed individuals. I intervened,

7 I asked them -- I told them that I would be responsible

8 and then they agreed, and so, with a group of

9 journalists, who asked to go with me, went together

10 with a police car and two policemen and the

11 investigating judge -- we went to the village and held

12 initial talks in the local community and then, an

13 on-the-spot investigation was conducted by the judge.

14 I remember that one of the sons of the gentleman who

15 was killed was there. The atmosphere was a correct one

16 and they made their statements and said how this event

17 came about. The judge finished his investigation

18 quickly and he said that he would be leaving with the

19 policemen. This was already at the very outskirts of

20 the village towards Vukovar -- 500 or 600 metres away

21 from this forest (INAUDIBLE) left and I remained to

22 talk to the people in the village and the journalists

23 remained, too.

24 At one point, we heard shots from the

25 direction of the forest. I came with my own private

Page 2203

1 car, so I got into the car and I went to the forest

2 straight away to see what was going on. The forest was

3 on the right-hand side and on the left-hand side were

4 silos, with wheat, and there were snipers of the

5 Croat MUP on the silos and on the road in front of

6 the forest there were three vehicles -- a Renault

7 traffic and two Land Rovers. In each vehicle there

8 were 8 fully armed policemen respectively, but I still

9 did not link this with that which would happen

10 afterwards. I asked what all of what was about. They

11 said that somebody had shot from the direction of the

12 forest and I said that they could pass freely, because

13 I was there, and I went back to collect the journalist

14 and, as I passed the forest and as I was approaching

15 the outskirts of Vukovar, I met a large group of

16 policemen.

17 I stopped and I asked what all of that was

18 about and they said that it was nothing special, that

19 everything was fine, and I went on to the police

20 station. I entered the building immediately, and, as

21 I often went to the police station those days, I did

22 not announce myself -- I walked into Mr. Sredoselac's

23 office, I found him, Mr. Dzaja, who was head of the

24 police for Vukovar, Vinkovski and Zupanja, that is to

25 say Mr. Sredoselac's superior and Mr. Bosnjak.

Page 2204

1 I think that he had some post in the police

2 -- I am not too sure, but somebody was killed in

3 Borovo Selo in those past few days. I was surprised

4 that he was wearing a bullet-proof vest and

5 I interrupted their conversation, but I told them what

6 happened and I told them that I managed to pacify the

7 situation there, but that there was shooting and that

8 this made the tensions shoot up again. They said that

9 was okay but they had a different problem altogether.

10 Mr. Dzaja told me that that morning, according to what

11 he said, two policemen were missing in Borovo Selo.

12 Since I was often in contact with Borovo Selo, too,

13 I took the telephone immediately and I tried to phone

14 them, and no-one answered.

15 At that moment, Mr. Bosnjak asked Mr. Dzaja to

16 go out with him so that they could have a private

17 conversation, because obviously they could not continue

18 their conversation in front of me -- the one they had

19 had before that -- and when they came back, I offered

20 to go to Borovo Selo myself -- although I was aware of

21 the fact that I, like all the other Serbs who advocated

22 a peaceable solution, had almost completely lost my

23 credibility with the Serbs, some individuals had

24 already labelled me a traitor. In spite of all of

25 that, I offered to go to this place and to see what was

Page 2205

1 going on, on the spot, and Mr. Dzaja said in response to

2 that, that there was no need to do it, because he had

3 already issued orders for an attack. I must say that I

4 was taken aback. In spite of all my previous

5 assurances offered to him, Sredeoselac, Matkovic and

6 Degoricija, that by no means should they resort to

7 force, that is exactly what happened.

8 I asked him to call Mr. Degoricija for me and

9 he said that he could not reach him. I replied to him

10 that he could tell other people that, but not me, and

11 I knew that he had a special telephone line with the

12 Ministry, but he did not call Mr. Degoricija for me, and

13 I asked him whether he was aware of the fact that, by

14 this very act, the civil war started. He muttered

15 something to himself, saying that he had to clear the

16 terrain and that he could not tolerate this any longer.

17 I looked at Mr. Sredoselac, whom I had

18 considered to be a rather reasonable man, and we spent

19 many hours together before that, discussing the ways

20 and means of overcoming this situation. He looked away

21 from me because he did not have the courage to look me

22 straight in the eye after that. As far as I know, the

23 very next day he no longer held that office -- somebody

24 else was appointed in the meantime.

25 I beseeched Mr. Dzaja, asking him to stop this

Page 2206

1 action -- he did not want to do that. I wanted to

2 leave. But then he said that I had to understand that

3 I could not leave now, that this was in the higher

4 interests and that I could not prevent this action from

5 taking place. I asked him whether he was arresting me

6 and he said no, but that I had to appreciate what he

7 was saying and, as we were involved in this debate, his

8 people walked in and said that all lines were cut from

9 Borovo Selo and he called Mr. Reichl-Kir, who was at the

10 same level, but for the territory of the municipality

11 of Osijek. I remember that there was a receiver in his

12 hand and I heard him shouting, "What are you waiting

13 for? Why do you not leave?" Obviously, quite by

14 accident, as I barged into their office, I managed to

15 allow them to have full synchronisation between both

16 sides. One set of police force set out from Vukovar

17 and the other police force commanded by Reichl-Kir

18 started from Osijek via Dalj. They took the country

19 roads leading to Borovo Selo but obviously they were

20 not synchronised because of what I did -- for about 10

21 or 15 minutes or so.

22 Since I realised this action was already

23 underway I said I was leaving and he kept silent and he

24 stopped me at the door and said -- he asked me whether

25 I could come some time after 5 o'clock and whether we

Page 2207

1 could analyse the outcome of the action together.

2 I remember at that moment something exploded in me and

3 I said all kinds of ugly things to him then, because

4 I was appalled at everything that was happening.

5 I raced out of the police station. In the corridors,

6 there was a large group of policemen in full gear and

7 I simply pushed them away and I raced out, and a group

8 of journalists who were standing in front of the police

9 station, they saw that something was happening but

10 nobody dared approached me because they realised I was

11 rushing into my car and I came to the PTT building and

12 I asked my secretary to call Mr. Degoricija for me,

13 because before that I used to talk to him on the phone

14 almost every day as we tried to reach agreement as to

15 how certain situations could be overcome, and when

16 I said, "Man, what have you done?", he said: "What is

17 going on?". I said: "Dzaja has just started an armed

18 conflict in Borovo Selo." He said that he did not know

19 anything about it and that I should tell Dzaja to call

20 him immediately and then I said angrily that he should

21 tell him, just as he gave his consent for this attack.

22 Immediately after that, I went to the

23 Municipal Assembly -- at that point in time, the

24 President, Slavko Dokmanovic, was not there, because

25 already then he did not dare go to the building,

Page 2208

1 because he had received several threats that he would

2 be ambushed and I told his secretary immediately to

3 call the general staff -- the officer on duty answered

4 the phone and I said that an armed attack against

5 Borovo Selo had just started and I insisted that the

6 army should intervene and stop this and he said that he

7 would check things out, that he did not know what was

8 going on, and, later, I received information that, from

9 the garrison Osijek, they sent tanks in the direction

10 of Borovo Selo to stop further conflict.

11 As we were receiving various information, in

12 the meantime, I tried to call those people whom I could

13 reach from the Municipal Assembly and from the

14 Executive Council, so that, together, we could seek

15 solutions as some what could be done. Mr. Modalek also

16 came, who was a representative, and since we were

17 receiving different information as to what was going

18 on, I asked him to come with me so that we could see

19 for ourselves at the entrance to Vukovar why the army

20 was not intervening and we were in the President's

21 official car and we went to the road leading to Trpinja

22 and Osijek. There was a large group there of a few

23 hundred persons -- some of them in uniform, some of

24 them in civilian clothes, men, women and even some

25 children, who were standing on the road in front of the

Page 2209

1 tanks and therefore the tanks had stopped, because the

2 soldiers did not want to continue because these people

3 were standing on the road. As I got out of the car,

4 somebody from this large group of assembled citizens

5 shouted, "Oh, you are the one who called the army."

6 Before that, I had spoken at many rallies of citizens,

7 so I had some experience as to how one should behave in

8 such a situation, so I did not permit myself to show

9 any fear for a split second and, of course, I did not

10 make any moves which would irritate these people.

11 I just stood there -- I kept silent -- I did not move.

12 I had no comment for a certain period of time.

13 When they saw that I was not reacting, this

14 first wave had subsided, I think that I would have been

15 lynched had I reacted in the wrong way. That is the

16 general feeling that prevailed.

17 So I went back slowly. At that time Modalek

18 and the driver were still in the car and I asked the

19 driver to take me to the other end -- in the direction

20 of Borovo Selo, and this is practically at the

21 outskirts, but there was a clearing without any houses

22 there, just before Borovo Selo. There was a large

23 group of policemen there, but, to my surprise -- and

24 I must admit to my disappointment, too -- a certain

25 number of civilians with arms -- ethnic Croats -- were

Page 2210

1 there and I did not expect them to be extreme

2 nationalists. I remember well a driver in the Borovo

3 Kombinat, when he saw me, we were good friends before

4 that, he actually hid so that I would not see him, too.

5 I also saw policeman Turudija there, who was

6 in charge of that police unit, and I met him on the way

7 out in Brsadin -- as I stopped when I left the police

8 station. He said a bullet hit him in the back, but he

9 had a bullet-proof vest so he just felt a great deal of

10 pain and not more than that. I asked him what was

11 going on. At that point, from the police, via radio,

12 they asked the people who were standing in front of the

13 tanks to move and to let the tanks go through, because

14 the policemen who were in Borovo Selo were surrounded

15 and that the tanks should be let through urgently so

16 that they could get these policemen out. Soon after

17 that, these tanks moved towards Borovo Selo and --

18 Q. Whose tanks are these?

19 A. These are the tanks of the Yugoslav army.

20 Q. The Yugoslav army or the Yugoslav People's

21 Army?

22 A. The Yugoslav People's Army -- at that time it

23 was the Yugoslav People's Army. The tanks --

24 Q. Sorry for interrupting. I think that now we

25 could adjourn, and I believe that the Defence would

Page 2211

1 need an additional half hour for questioning the

2 witness tomorrow, too?

3 JUDGE CASSESE: We stand adjourned.

4 (At 1.16 p.m. the matter adjourned until

5 Friday, 24 April 1998, at 8.30 a.m.)