1 Wednesday, 24 September 2014
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
7 Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-04-75-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
11 The appearances for the record, please, starting with the
13 MS. BIERSAY: Good morning, Your Honours. On behalf of the
14 Prosecution, Lisa Biersay. And I am here with STA Douglas Stringer, case
15 manager Thomas Laugel, and our intern, Laura Stockdale.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
17 Mr. Zivanovic for the consequences.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Defence of
19 Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
21 The witness may be brought in.
22 [The witness takes the stand]
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning, Mr. Veselinovic. May I remind you
24 that you are --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: I have to remind you that you are still under
3 Madam Biersay.
4 MS. BIERSAY: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Sorry, I appear to be having some difficulties with my
6 headphones. If I could just have a moment.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Take your time.
8 MS. BIERSAY: Let's see if Your Honours could perhaps say
9 something, so I could test it.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: You may continue, Ms. Biersay.
11 MS. BIERSAY: Yeah, it's definitely not working. One moment,
13 Okay. I can hear myself, so that --
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Does it work now?
15 MS. BIERSAY: It does work, clearly. Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: You're welcome.
17 WITNESS: SERGIJA VESELINOVIC: [Resumed]
18 [The witness answered through interpretation]
19 Cross-examination by Ms. Biersay: [Continued]
20 Q. Good morning.
21 A. Good morning.
22 Q. I wanted to start out by going back to something we discussed
23 yesterday. This page reference is not for you, it's for the record.
24 MS. BIERSAY: It's at transcript page 11786.
25 Q. And I asked you -- or I said to you:
1 "Well, Mr. Veselinovic, you said that you first met Mr. Hadzic in
2 1990; is that correct?"
3 Mr. Zivanovic objected and he said:
4 "Sorry, may we have reference where the witness said that he
5 first met Hadzic in 1990."
6 And I said:
7 "Well, let me ask you the question: When did you first meet
9 And you said:
10 "I first met Mr. Hadzic in my office in the Obrovac [Realtime
11 transcript read in error "Opatovac"] municipality."
12 MS. BIERSAY: Now, if we could please have -- I'm sorry, I don't
13 have the Defence tab but it's D209, which is the admitted statement.
14 Oh, excuse me. The transcript should read "Obrovac" not
15 "Opatovac." Thank you. And I am interested in going to paragraph 25,
16 which is the second-to-last page in English.
17 Q. And in the English it says:
18 "I met Mr. Goran Hadzic in 1990 when he and
19 Professor Vojislav Vukcevic came to my house in Obrovac."
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Mr. President, with your permission, I would
22 provide the witness with his statement in hard copy.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please do.
24 MS. BIERSAY: Thank you, Mr. Zivanovic.
25 Q. What does it say in your language, where you met Mr. Hadzic in
2 A. Well, I definitely met him at my office.
3 Q. And what -- could you read the first sentence in your language as
4 it's written?
5 A. "I met Goran Hadzic in 1990 when, together with
6 Professor Vojislav Vukcevic, he came to my house in Obrovac."
7 "I met Goran Hadzic in 1990 when, with Professor Vojislav
8 Vukcevic, he came to my house in Obrovac."
9 Q. Thank you. So in the statement that you signed it says "my
10 house" and yesterday after Mr. Zivanovic's intervention you said "my
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, my intervention as regard to the year was
13 wrong, definitely. Just to facilitate further examination.
14 MS. BIERSAY:
15 Q. My question is: So where did you meet Mr. Hadzic? Was it in
16 your house or was it in your office?
17 A. At my office.
18 Q. So the statement is incorrect when it says your house?
19 A. I don't know. I perhaps didn't pay enough attention to this.
20 It's implied that he came to visit me as a guest to the municipality
21 itself, so perhaps in the translation or something -- I really didn't pay
22 attention. But I'm certain that it was at my office. If I may --
23 Q. No --
24 A. -- add something.
25 Q. One moment, Mr. Veselinovic. Yesterday we discussed tab 61 and
1 we also discussed tab 63.
2 MS. BIERSAY: So respectively those would be 65 ter 6653 and
3 6655. And to the Trial Chamber, at this time we would tender tab 63
4 which is 65 ter 6655 which is the Borba article titled "Debt extortion
5 sentences announced in RSK."
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P3268, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
9 MS. BIERSAY:
10 Q. Yesterday, again at transcript page 11782 it says, in talking
11 about your arrest, you said that it was the most fatal incident in your
12 life, and you discussed meeting Aleksandar Andjelkovic through Enriko
13 Josif and Klara Mandic?
14 A. That's correct. On the premises of the Serbian Jewish Friendship
15 association at Morava street in Belgrade.
16 Q. And Klara Mandic, was she a dentist by training, do you know? Do
17 you know her profession?
18 A. Yes, yes, yes, yes. She had private practice. She and her
20 Q. And do you know that she had very close ties with
21 Slobodan Milosevic?
22 A. Yes, she did have contacts with Milosevic and with all of the
23 Serbian government.
24 Q. I'd like to take a look at another article.
25 MS. BIERSAY: And this one can be found at tab 55. It's
1 65 ter 6646. And for the record, it is a VIP Daily News Report published
2 in Belgrade, and it is publication number 87. And the primary -- the
3 opening article is: "Messy Parliamentary Divorce Drags On." And there
4 are other articles as well. And this appears to be dated some time
5 around September of 1993.
6 Q. So I'd like to direct your attention to the fourth page of this
7 document, at the top right column. And I understand. I will read it to
8 you because you don't read the English language. It reads --
9 MS. BIERSAY: I'm sorry, could we go back to the first page. And
10 the next page, please. It appears to be the -- and then the third page.
11 And the next page, please. This is -- appears to be different than ...
12 And if we could go back one more page, to page 3. Okay. I see. So it's
13 at the bottom of page 3, if we could zoom in on the right-hand side.
14 Q. And this comes from a section entitled: "Crime, Too Many Bosses,"
15 and the paragraph reads:
16 "The RSK parliament in Beli Manastir suspended deputy
17 Sergija Veselinovic, a former minister in the RSK Government who was
18 arrested two months ago on extortion charges in Kragujevac."
19 So is it true that you were suspended from the parliament?
20 A. I haven't been informed but it's possible that that did happen.
21 Q. When you say you haven't been informed, I don't understand. What
22 does that mean?
23 A. It means that as a deputy of the Assembly of the Republic of the
24 Serbian Krajina, I was supposed to receive in written form a decision on
25 my suspension, or at least that they would telephone or inform me in some
1 way or other.
2 Q. Are you saying you had no information about being suspended by
3 the parliament?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. You didn't hear about it from anyone, whether from the government
6 or outside of the government or in the parliament or outside of the
8 A. No, I really didn't hear. I never discussed that with anyone.
9 Q. You never discussed it with anyone. Is that what you said?
10 A. Yes, yes, yes. Simply, I didn't find that interesting at that
12 Q. You didn't find it interesting that you were suspended from a
13 position that you held with the parliament?
14 A. Well, after the incident, as I've already said, my second child
15 was born, it had some problems with the feet, and for months we had to go
16 for physical therapy, all kinds of treatments. I had to exercise with
17 him three times a day, and I was completely preoccupied with that and I
18 really wasn't interested in anything that was going on at the time.
19 MS. BIERSAY: I'd like to go back to tab 61 which is 65 ter 6653.
20 I'd like to go to the bottom of the page.
21 Q. And at the bottom of this page, you're quoted as saying:
22 "I am hoping for a favourable outcome."
23 And on the next page it describes that Goran Hadzic first thought
24 of asking you to form the Krajina government. Is it true, that
1 A. When? In which period?
2 Q. Well, this is in July 1993 and you're talking about the
3 replacement of Zecevic. So in that period.
4 A. Before Zecevic's appointment, Goran probably remembers this,
5 Budimir Kosutic was there, and I was an alternative candidate for the
6 prime minister of the government of Republic of Serbian Krajina alongside
7 Zecevic. But we agreed at a meeting of the deputies of the SDS that
8 Zdravko Zecevic, who had more experience with the economy, would be the
9 prime minister and that I would join the government as the minister for
10 culture and religious affairs.
11 Q. So is that statement true that you were being considered?
12 A. Yes, but as I have said I withdrew after the club of the MPs of
13 the SDS met. After that, I decided not to be a candidate.
14 Q. I'd like to read this sentence that follows that line. It says,
15 quoting you:
16 "'I have heard that they have now relieved me of my deputy's
17 seat. That can be done only by the assembly and I hope that before that
18 I will be free and will clear up everything.'"
19 So you had heard about efforts to relieve you of your deputy
20 seat, hasn't you?
21 A. I only had one piece of information, namely that one deputy, who
22 was called Dragan Milenko, requested that I be suspended until the
23 termination of the trial proceedings. But there was no talk of relieving
24 me of my post. Just a suspension and that implies a certain time-period.
25 Q. And you said that can only be done by the assembly; correct?
1 A. Correct. The assembly with the majority of votes.
2 Q. And yet you said that this wasn't very important to you and that
3 you didn't hear anything about being suspended.
4 A. No, really. I really wasn't interested in this at the time
5 because if I had been interested through the club of the deputies of the
6 Serbian Democratic Party and through the government members with whom I
7 was on friendly terms and a great number of deputies, I could have
8 lobbied, which is completely legitimate. But I never did that nor was I
9 interested at all.
10 Q. So when do you say is the end of your tenure with the Obrovac
12 A. In Obrovac, you mean?
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. That was in May, April or May 2003. Excuse me, 1993. 1993 is
15 what I meant.
16 Q. And the end of your tenure with the RSK Assembly, according to
17 you, is when?
18 A. As far as I know, when the next elections were slated.
19 Q. And approximately when would that have been?
20 A. In 1994, I think. I don't know exactly.
21 MS. BIERSAY: At this time we'd move for the admission of tab 61,
22 65 ter 6653.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P3269, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
1 MS. BIERSAY: I'd like to go back to -- this is tab 54 which is
2 65 ter 6645.
3 Q. And while that is being retrieved, it is a VIP Daily News Report
4 that we discussed yesterday. This is where --
5 MS. BIERSAY: If we could go to the third page, please.
6 Q. And it's where I read you the language about Rade Leskovac making
7 accusations against Goran Hadzic yesterday. Do you recall that from
9 A. Yes, I recall.
10 MS. BIERSAY: I'd like to go to the second column where that
11 figure 97.000 is, underneath that. It's about in the middle -- yes.
12 Q. And I'll read it for you. The sentence above refers to the
13 allegations by the prosecution in the Krusevac case against you that you
14 used threats to recover 97.000 from a -- of a debt from a private
15 businessman, and the next line reads:
16 "Hadzic intervened personally in an attempt to secure
17 Veselinovic's release."
18 So, Mr. Veselinovic, this is another publication noting that
19 Hadzic intervened personally to secure your release.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I believe that yesterday the Prosecution put this
22 question many times to the witness and he answered this.
23 MS. BIERSAY: I didn't --
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: I didn't hear a question yet, Mr. --
25 MS. BIERSAY: Yes.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- Zivanovic.
2 MS. BIERSAY: -- there was going to be a question, but to answer
3 the concern raised by Mr. Zivanovic, I did not put to him that yet
4 another publication addressed the same issue that he claims he doesn't
5 know about.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed.
7 MS. BIERSAY:
8 Q. So, Mr. Veselinovic, it says here that Hadzic intervened
9 personally in an attempt to secure your release. Is it your position
10 that this article also was wrong?
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: My objection is the same.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Objection overruled.
13 MS. BIERSAY:
14 Q. You may answer the question.
15 A. Yesterday afternoon, I spoke to my wife about this issue, and I
16 asked her whether she remembered --
17 Q. Mr. Veselinovic --
18 A. -- whether anybody had intervened.
19 Q. One moment, please. I believe you were given an instruction
20 yesterday not to discuss your testimony with anyone, and you're saying
21 that you discussed this with your wife and now you're going to bring
22 that --
23 A. I thought that that applied only to witnesses, the Prosecutor,
24 the lawyers. I didn't know that I was not allowed to talk even to my
25 wife about that. I really apologise. If that is the case, then I
1 obviously made a mistake.
2 MS. BIERSAY: I'll defer to the Trial Chamber on this matter.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: I thought and hoped, Mr. Veselinovic, that the
4 instructions I gave you were clear enough. On the one hand, I told you
5 that you couldn't talk to any of the parties about anything, not even the
6 weather. You couldn't have contact with any of the parties. That was
7 the gist of what I told you yesterday.
8 The other thing was that you couldn't discuss or talk about your
9 testimony with anybody, and I specified not even in the street or in your
10 hotel. And that does include your wife.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm really sorry. I apologise.
12 Obviously, I did not understand your words properly. I thought that that
13 applied only to the witnesses in these proceedings or the Prosecutor or
14 any of the lawyers or anybody involved in these proceedings. I really
15 did not understand your instruction the way I should have. I
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed, Ms. Biersay.
19 MS. BIERSAY: Thank you, Your Honours.
20 I'd like to now go to tab 51, which is --
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Just one moment, Ms. Biersay.
22 Sorry for the interruption, Ms. Biersay. Please proceed.
23 MS. BIERSAY: And for the record, tab 51, which is 65 ter 1821.1,
24 is an untranslated portion of what has already been admitted as P999. So
25 to be clear, that exhibit was admitted and it was not all translated into
1 English. So because we can't modify the already admitted exhibit, we've
2 created this as a subset of that exhibit, and perhaps, with the Court's
3 leave, later we can see if we can expand P999 to include this. Just by
4 way of background for the Trial Chamber.
5 So in -- I'm not asking that we go to P999, but within P999 this
6 would be the B/C/S pages 16 to 17, that would be e-court pages.
7 And at this time if we could please have the 1821.1 on the
8 screen. And for the record, this is in October 1993 and it's an excerpt
9 from the transcript of the tape recordings from the assembly of the
10 Republic of Serbian Krajina held in Beli Manastir on 9 October 1993. And
11 if we could also have the English.
12 We're just trying to locate the English translation.
13 Q. Mr. Veselinovic, I see that you've been reading this in your
14 language as that has been before you. Are you finished reading it?
15 A. Yes, yes. Yes.
16 Q. Now here we have a Mile Paspalj and he's asking to do the
17 verification. He refers to: "Mr. Rade Simic from Obrovac who is the
18 deputy of this assembly, instead of Sergija Veselinovic, who stopped to be
19 a deputy of the assembly for the reasons that are well known to us."
20 And there is a vote on the verification of Rade Simic. Were you
21 aware that Rade Simic replaced you after you were removed?
22 A. I was not aware of that. I am reading it now, but I didn't know
23 about that.
24 Q. So you didn't know at the middle of the page the sentence that
25 begins: "War Presidency ..."
1 "War Presidency of the municipality assembly of Obrovac at its
2 session at 27 July this year," being 1993, "relieved the duty of deputy
3 Sergija Veselinovic, what was unanimously adopted by the municipal
4 assembly of Obrovac at its session from 2nd of September this year."
5 A. I didn't know that, either. To be very precise I didn't care. I
6 was not interested. As I told you, as was September 1993 I definitely
7 moved to Belgrade in Serbia. And I had almost no contacts with anybody
8 except for my mother and father. I didn't speak to anybody on the phone.
9 Q. You didn't tell anyone that you would no longer be representing
10 the people at this assembly?
11 A. I'm afraid I did not understand your question.
12 Q. So are you saying you simply walked away from your position with
13 the municipal assembly of Obrovac without telling anyone in May of 1993?
14 Is that what you're telling us?
15 A. Yes. Both as an assemblyman in the municipality of Obrovac and
16 Republic of Serbian Krajina. I didn't inform anybody. And I had no
17 contacts after that. I simply made that decision, and I suppose that
18 after I failed to appear at assembly sessions they would know what to do,
19 that they would remove me from my position in Republic of Serbian Krajina
20 at least. And as for municipality of Obrovac, they could not take away
21 my position in the assembly of Obrovac from me just like that because I
22 had been elected and only in new elections could that be done. It's part
23 of an election process. Nobody could just issue a decree to remove me
24 from my position. It could only be done in a proper election procedure.
25 Q. Towards the end of that page, it says:
1 "I hereby conclude that the decision of the municipal assemble of
2 Obrovac to relieve Sergija Veselinovic from duty of a member of the
3 People's Assembly of the Republic of Srpska Krajina is adopted."
4 So in this they are also relieving you of your seat in the RSK
5 assembly; correct?
6 A. Yes, it's true for the RSK assembly but not for assembly of the
7 municipality of Obrovac. How shall I explain?
8 Q. Mr. Veselinovic --
9 A. It's like European commissioners --
10 Q. One moment, Mr. Veselinovic. I put it to you that in your
11 statement that you signed that you were -- that until September 1993 you
12 served as a president of the Obrovac municipality exactly because of this
13 decision relieving you of your position and that's why you chose that
14 date to put in your statement, a date you're now changing to May of 1993.
15 A. Well, yes, I believe that it was in May 1993. September was
17 Q. And it's also for that reason that you decided to choose
18 September 1993 in your statement, paragraph 24, as a date that you left
19 the RSK and went to Belgrade with your wife and your son. A date you're
20 now changing to May 1993.
21 A. Well, my obligations and duties ceased in May, and between May
22 and September on several occasions for health reasons I had to go to
23 Belgrade. I would sometimes spend ten days, sometimes a fortnight,
24 sometimes even a month in Belgrade on those occasions.
25 Q. And how was it that you were travelling back and forth between
1 Knin and Belgrade so frequently?
2 A. The municipality of Knin, i.e. the hospital in Knin, and the
3 health institutions in Obrovac could not provide adequate services to
4 my --
5 Q. I'm sorry --
6 A. -- child who was --
7 Q. I'm sorry. My question wasn't clear. I apologise for that. How
8 did you physically get all the way from Knin during this period of
9 conflict, and you say a threatened aggression on the Croatian side, how
10 did you travel from Knin to Belgrade?
11 A. In my own car.
12 Q. I'd like to now ask you about Plitvice Lakes. Do you know what
13 that is, Plitvice Lakes?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And what is it?
16 A. It's a complex of lakes with tourist facilities, hotels, motels.
17 It's one of the most significant national parks in the Republic of
18 Serbian Krajina.
19 Q. Have you heard of the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Agency?
20 A. No, the name does not ring a bell. However, I suppose that there
21 was a tourist agency there.
22 MS. BIERSAY: I'd like to now turn to tab 56, which is
23 65 ter 6647. And for the record, it's a series of articles and it -- the
24 heading is: "Serbian and Foreign Firm Circumvent UN Embargo," and I'm
25 interested in the last blurb -- last paragraph on the fourth page.
1 Q. It says here that:
2 "As part of Yugotourist's representation, an enterprise has also
3 been established on Cyprus that operates as the 'Plitvice Lakes Tourist
4 Agency,' the owner of which is Sergija Veselinovic, the self-styled
5 president of the Obrovac municipality and a member of the government of
6 the 'Republic of Serbian Krajina.' The enterprise's co-owner is
7 Sasa Karadzic, Radovan Karadzic's son."
8 Is it correct that you co-owned this enterprise?
9 A. I've never heard this before. I was never on Cyprus. I never
10 registered a company. I never incepted a company. I never signed an
11 inception document of that kind. I never met Sasa Karadzic. And what
12 does this mean, "the self-styled president of the municipality of
13 Obrovac"? What do they mean when they say "self-styled"?
14 Q. I believe you answered the question. My question to you is:
15 After you moved to Belgrade in 1993, how did you provide for your family?
16 What did you do for a living?
17 A. I registered a shop and my wife landed a job in a medical
18 institution in Dreiser Street in Belgrade. That institution deals with
19 the problems of various dependancies, smoking, drug using, and things
20 like that. She worked in the legal office of that institution.
21 Q. Now you described your work with the referendum that was held in
22 Serb majority areas, I believe, in August and September of 1990; correct?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. Am I correct that the referendum was announced on the 17th of
25 August 1990 and held later?
1 A. It is very likely that you are right. I, however, do not recall
2 the exact date.
3 Q. I see that we have five minutes and I think we can address this
4 within that time.
5 MS. BIERSAY: If we could please go to tab 59, which is
6 65 ter 6651.
7 My apologies. I'd like to change the order of these exhibits.
8 Could I get a confirmation from the interpreters if they have
9 65 ter 4964.3?
10 THE INTERPRETER: No, I'm sorry. I apologise, we've got it.
11 MS. BIERSAY: Okay. Thank you.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Biersay, before we go into the document, you
14 "I see that we have five minutes" --
15 MS. BIERSAY: I meant 35 minutes. I was looking at the clock,
16 Your Honour.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay.
18 MS. BIERSAY: Thank you.
19 Q. So at this time who is Professor Raskovic?
20 A. You mean a member of the akademija, Jovo Raskovic.
21 Q. Yes. And you are aware that he gave some speeches in the Knin
22 area in 1990; correct?
23 A. Yes. I was there together with him.
24 Q. And I believe one of them was in Benkovac as well? One of the
25 rallies, for lack of a better word.
1 A. Yes, yes.
2 MS. BIERSAY: At this time, could we please play 65 ter 4964.3.
3 [Video-clip played]
4 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] We will kill Ustashas.
5 "Thank you. Do not ask me for weapons. Don't ask me for
6 weapons. But if weapons are needed, there will probably be somebody who
7 will give them to you."
8 MS. BIERSAY:
9 Q. So the information that we have is that this was on the 17th of
10 August 1990, and Professor Raskovic says:
11 "Do not ask me for weapons. But if weapons are needed, there
12 will probably be someone who will give it to you."
13 Is that what you heard him say?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And this -- would you describe the crowd to which he's speaking
16 as a very large one?
17 A. I suppose there may have been around 10.000 people at the rally.
18 Q. And this was around the time of the declaration that there would
19 be a referendum for -- of the issue of Serb autonomy?
20 A. I think that that corresponds to the truth.
21 Q. How far is Benkovac from Obrovac?
22 A. These are two border municipalities. Perhaps 18 kilometres. One
23 town is next to the other.
24 MS. BIERSAY: I'd now like to go to tab 59, which is 65 ter 6651.
25 Excuse me. At this time we would tender 65 ter 4964.3.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P3270, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
4 MS. BIERSAY:
5 Q. Now, this is an article published 20 August 1990 and its title
6 is: "Zagreb Journalists Claim Harassed in Obrovac."
7 MS. BIERSAY: I'd like to go to the end of that document. If we
8 could go to the page before this one and to the bottom.
9 Q. And according to this article on 20 August 1990, which would have
10 been a few days after the rally we just saw, it says:
11 "Obrovac is still sporting the decorations that were prepared a
12 few days ago. There is a facade of banners written in black capital
13 letters saying: 'This is Serbia' with four Cyrillic letters S. On the
14 road sign at the beginning of the main street which bans trucks from
15 entering the town, the words 'and Croats too' have been added, as well as
16 the new big slogan 'We will burn Franjo.' Two cafes which are owned by
17 Croats from neighbouring Krusevo have been closed for several days. A
18 broken neon sign languages above one of them and the glass has been
19 smashed in the other so that there is a gaping hole next to Serbian
21 MS. BIERSAY: The next page, please.
22 Q. It reads:
23 "The question would occur to any reporter: What can it be like
24 for Croats who work here in this atmosphere, live here every day, or just
25 drop by? They are full of anxiety and fear for their lives in their own
1 homeland, Croatia, which is obviously not recognising them."
2 Mr. Veselinovic, was it true that there were banners and signs as
3 described in this article in Obrovac?
4 A. I did not see anything like that. But I remember that a cafe bar
5 owned by a Croat from Krusevo who had returned after living in Germany,
6 he opened a cafe bar called Zelengora and someone did break into it and I
7 remember that some of the inventory had been stolen and that the police
8 conducted an onsite investigation. I'm not sure, but I even think that
9 they arrested a young man of Serbian ethnicity.
10 Q. So you're saying that there were no signs directing Croats to
11 stay out of Obrovac?
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I don't believe he said it.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Could you rephrase, Ms. Biersay?
15 MS. BIERSAY: Absolutely, Your Honour.
16 Q. In Obrovac were there signs saying, "This is Serbia"?
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Is it a question?
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: I heard a question, Mr. Zivanovic. The witness
19 may answer.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember that any posters
21 were put up. I remember that on a rock next to the road there was a
22 graffiti saying, "Krajina" rather than "Serbia."
23 MS. BIERSAY:
24 Q. So there -- according to you, there was not -- there weren't any
25 banners saying, "This is Serbia"?
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: He already answered the question. It is in
2 line -- page 21, line 1.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Objection sustained.
4 MS. BIERSAY:
5 Q. Were there road signs that were made to imply that Croats should
6 not enter into Obrovac?
7 A. It couldn't have existed on road signs. Even if someone had
8 wanted to post it on road signs, it wouldn't have been allowed. The
9 police would have arrested him and he would have been punished because it
10 is not allowed to post any banners or anything on road signs.
11 Q. What about graffiti? Was there graffiti placed on signs telling
12 Croats to stay out?
13 A. No. Because the Croats came for work on a daily basis. They
14 came to work at the court, at the municipality, at the police.
15 Q. I'd like to ask you some questions relating to Zecevic. You said
16 that you did not want to be in Bjegovic's government. Do I understand
17 that correctly?
18 A. Yes, you have understood that correctly.
19 Q. But you remained with Zecevic's government, correct?
20 A. Yes, I was. But I did not accept to be a member of Bjegovic's
22 Q. But you accepted to be a member of Zecevic's government?
23 A. Yes.
24 MS. BIERSAY: If I could now have tab 5, which is P37. And just
25 to assist, I will be going to page 58 in the English and pages 78 to 79
1 in the B/C/S. And I'll note this is -- these are the stenographic notes
2 of the enlarged session of the presidency of the SFRY held on 2 March
4 Q. Before we continue, did you ever attend any sessions of the
5 presidency of the SFRY, of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
6 A. The sessions of the presidency?
7 Q. Yes. Did you ever attend those sessions?
8 A. Once in the federal assembly when we took the decision to adopt
9 the Vance plan, I was present. Some representatives from the government
10 of Serbia were there. I remember that Branko Kostic and Jugoslav Kostic
11 were there. Blagoje Adzic.
12 Q. Now, I'd like to direct your attention to the bottom of the page
13 that appears in your language, and it says:
14 "Mr. Zdravko Zecevic, president of the Republic of Serbian
15 Krajina government, will address you now."
16 Is this the same Zecevic that you were talking about before?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I'd like to -- actually, in your language it would be in the next
19 page in the B/C/S. And will you agree with me that he is talking about
20 the possible return of Croats to Benkovac?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And I'll read this section here for the record. It says:
23 "This issue is a complex one. The instinct made our people burn
24 anything that belonged to Croats in order to prevent them from coming
25 back to their homes. The truth is that we cannot live together, that we
1 do not want to live with them anymore, but there is also another type of
2 truth which is recognised by a democratic world and which claims that
3 these people have the right to return to their homes. I really cannot
4 imagine how we are going to organise life then; I guess we will have to
5 think about it later. I am picturing it like this - well, gentlemen, the
6 schools will teach in Cyrillic, and you hate it so much that you will
7 simply have to leave. This is what is awaiting us."
8 So my question to you is did you agree with Mr. Zecevic that what
9 he calls "our people" burned anything that belonged to Croats in order to
10 prevent them from coming back to their homes?
11 A. I did not attend this session. I do not remember that speech of
12 Mr. Zecevic's.
13 Q. I understand that. My question wasn't so much whether you
14 remembered it, but as I read it to you I'm asking whether you agreed with
15 his assessment that "our people burnt anything that belonged to Croats in
16 order to prevent them from coming back to their homes"?
17 A. Can you tell me the exact date of those words so that I could
18 determine what happened before that and what happened later on?
19 Q. These notes are dated 2 March 1992.
20 A. I suppose that these were villages in the area of Ravni Kotari.
21 They were really specific in that they were mixed and there were many
22 incidents on both sides. I'm not sure whether this number of 15.000 is
23 correct. It seems too much to me. But I really never was focused on
25 Q. So are you saying that you don't know whether "our people burnt
1 everything that belonged to Croats in order to prevent them from coming
2 back to their homes"?
3 A. I didn't go to those areas during the war. I didn't deal with
4 that, really. I had too many problems relating to our economy and I was
5 fully focused on assisting our economy. The factories, the textile
6 factory, the fabric of hydraulic cylinders, the fabric that produced
7 stone. We had great problems to put our produce on the market. We were
8 under sanctions, under embargo. Life was very difficult. It was
9 difficult to collect taxes, to have any income, to have the municipal
10 budget to pay the salaries. So in that period I was fully focused on
12 Q. So are you saying that you were so focused on these issues you
13 didn't know what was going on in other places?
14 A. Well, I knew that there were incidents on a daily basis, but how
15 widespread they were that's something I really didn't know. I don't
16 know. Perhaps Zecevic in order to depict the difficult situation he
17 tended to glorify those issues. I think that he exaggerated. I'm not
18 sure if his motives were political. Maybe he wanted to portray it to the
19 people from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to convince them that the
20 problems we were facing were difficult and complex so that he may perhaps
21 receive some financial compensation for the renovation of houses and the
22 return of refugees. I suppose that his motives were primarily political.
23 Q. In this section that we look at he said that he was concerned
24 about the return, right?
25 A. I'm not sure what he would be concerned about. They wouldn't
1 have presented any danger for us if they had returned. I think that at
2 the time the Benkovac Brigade numbered 1400 men. We had our own police
3 and from the security point of view they wouldn't have the represented
4 any danger, and in economic terms they would have been more than welcome
5 because the fields would be tilled, people would be paying taxes. I mean,
6 I think that his motives were political or that his assessment was poor.
7 Q. So according to you there were no impediments for the return of
8 Croats in economic terms or in terms of security?
9 A. I can only speak for myself. On one occasion in the area of
10 Maslenica at the Plitvicka Jezera motel --
11 Q. Sorry. Before you give the example, I'd like an answer to my
12 question, which was: Are you saying, where you said that they wouldn't
13 have presented any danger for us if they had returned, you talked about
14 the Benkovac Brigade numbering 1400 men, "we had our own police, and from
15 the security point of view they wouldn't have represented any danger.
16 And in economic terms, they would have been more than welcome." And my
17 question to you is: Are you saying that from a security point of view
18 and an economic point of view, there were no impediments for the return
19 of Croatian refugees?
20 A. I think that there were no impediments for their return.
21 MS. BIERSAY: Could we please go to tab 32, which is
22 65 ter 2216.2168.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ms. Biersay, while we are waiting --
24 MS. BIERSAY: Yes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- for that document, just one follow-up question
1 for the witness.
2 Mr. Veselinovic, what is the distance between Benkovac and
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Around 18 kilometres between the
5 two towns. But the Benkovac municipality is large in terms of its area.
6 It reaches almost to Sibenik, Budak, Stankovci, that's that's 40 to 50
7 kilometres away from a Obrovac. And Zemunik Gornji is 35 or 60
8 kilometres from Obrovac.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: So there are 18 kilometres between the two towns.
10 Is Obrovac south of Benkovac?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Benkovac is more to the south.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Benkovac is more to the south. Okay.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: 18 kilometres between the two towns. And between
15 the borders of both municipalities, the most close borders, how many
16 kilometres would that be?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is a place called Karin which
18 is on the seaside, the Adriatic sea, it's Novi Grad Karin Bay.
19 Karin Gornji is on the territory of Obrovac municipality, and Karin Donji
20 or the lower Karin is on the territory of Benkovac municipality. But the
21 name of the place is practically the same.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: So I understand you -- I understand it that they
23 are neighbouring municipalities; is that right?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, yes.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
1 Please proceed, Ms. Biersay.
2 MS. BIERSAY: Thank you, Your Honour. I fear that I would like
3 to next discuss a document and I see the time.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, indeed. There is one thing left,
5 Ms. Biersay. You showed a document which was a translation of P999.
6 MS. BIERSAY: That's correct, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: And I thought we had to do something with it but
8 we didn't, right?
9 MS. BIERSAY: Right. So my proposal, and I leave it to the
10 Registry which solution might be easier, it's either I tender it as a
11 separate excerpt or we enlarge the already existing English translation
12 for P999. So I'm open to guidance.
13 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. As long as everyone agrees, Ms. Biersay,
15 we can just enlarge the original document. If you upload it correctly,
16 it can be done.
17 MS. BIERSAY: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll do that.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. If there is no objection from the
19 Defence, I think that's the best course of action.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, no, Your Honour. No objection.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
22 Mr. Veselinovic, first break, 30 minutes. We'll be back at
23 11.00. Court adjourned.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
25 [The witness stands down]
1 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: The witness may be brought in.
3 [The witness takes the stand]
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed, Ms. Biersay.
5 MS. BIERSAY: Thank you, Your Honour. And just for the record,
6 the issue regarding P999 has been resolved and the exhibit modified as
7 discussed previously.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
9 MS. BIERSAY: At this time, may I please have displayed tab 32,
10 which is P number 2216.2168. And at this time if we could go in the
11 English, it's page 3. The section I'm interested in is the section
12 referring to Benkovac. And I think it's on page 2 of the B/C/S. Oh,
13 sorry, the next page, please. And it will continue on the next page in
14 the B/C/S.
15 Q. If I could direct your attention to the bottom of the page that
16 appears in your language regarding Benkovac. And in the English the
17 information that we have written is that -- first of all, I should say
18 that this is a briefing, a monthly report for the UNPROFOR UNCIVPOL. And
19 it's dated 2 November 1992. And it's regarding events in October of 1992
20 regarding Benkovac. It reads that:
21 "2 persons were killed on the 2.10 in the village of Dobropolje.
22 The living conditions for people in many villages in Benkovac area are
23 very bad, i.e., Bijeljina, where about 25 Croatians have to stay out on
24 the fields during nights, because they are afraid to be killed.
25 "A lot of houses have been burnt or destroyed by explosives."
1 And then it goes on. At the end of that section, it reads that:
2 "Many of the Croatian citizen have applied to leave the UNPA, and
3 during one month UNCIVPOL received 155 such applications."
4 Now, Mr. Veselinovic, this document indicates that people, Croats
5 specifically, were so afraid that they slept out in the fields at night
6 because they are afraid to be killed. Yesterday, you described,
7 according to you, that people were interested in leaving the territory
8 controlled by the Serbs -- well, Croats wanted to leave areas controlled
9 by the Serbs because they would get pensions in Croatian occupied
10 territory. Do you recall saying that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So according to this report, what we have are people who are so
13 afraid they don't want to stay in their own houses for fear of being
14 killed; right?
15 A. In this report there is reference to a village, Bijeljina, and it
16 says that 25 Croats stayed in the field. I just happened to know what
17 was happening there. Some 25 Croats with Miroslav Usljebrka as their
18 leader, he armed five or six of his fellow villagers. He gave them
19 Kalashnikovs, long-barreled rifles. I know that the police searched
20 their houses and arrested some of them. And I know that those Croats
21 were very much shaken by that, but their fear was more due to the fact
22 that those five or six had been arrested and they didn't know what would
23 happen to them. They didn't fear so much for their own safety. As for
24 the villages of Smiljcic and Kula Atalagic, it is not Alagic, Serbs were
25 a majority and Croats were a minority population there. I don't know
1 what the ethnic composition of Perusic was.
2 Q. My question to you is this: You said previously today that there
3 was no issue about providing security for people in Benkovac because
4 there were so many members of the police there. So why isn't it the case
5 that these people were protected by that police force?
6 A. I believe that they were protected. But you know what the
7 problem was?
8 Q. Well, before you --
9 A. An incident would happen --
10 Q. Before you explain that, are you saying that these people were
11 protected and yet they felt the need to seek refuge in the fields at
12 night for their own safety?
13 A. No, I did not say that. I was not aware that people sought
14 refuge in the fields. Why would anybody believe that they would be
15 better protected in a field than in their own house?
16 Q. That's a fair question, Mr. Veselinovic.
17 MS. BIERSAY: Could I now please have tab 33, which is P2229.
18 Q. Yesterday you described some events in Medveda, do you recall
20 A. Medvidja?
21 Q. Medvidja. Thank you.
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 MS. BIERSAY: So P2229.2168. And it's the first page at the
24 bottom that I would like to focus on. And this is a message from
25 UNCIVPOL Sector South, Knin, and it's dated 22 February 1993.
1 Q. It reads:
2 "It has also been reported earlier that about 100 Croats have
3 left their homes in the Medvidja area and are living in the caves,
4 fields, or forests for fear of being murdered or robbed by the local
5 turned bandits soldiers."
6 So, Mr. Veselinovic, this is a case of people being fearful,
7 Croats being fearful of being murdered and otherwise mistreated. These
8 are not people who are being motivated to leave because of pensions in
10 A. When it comes to this village, Medvidja, yesterday I said that I
11 spoke in the elementary school whose principle was Petar Kapetanovic --
12 Q. Mr. Veselinovic --
13 A. -- an ethnic Croat whose relative is --
14 Q. I appreciate that. My question to you is that here we have
15 people, Croats who are fearful of being murdered, which is very different
16 from your proposition that people are leaving Serb controlled areas in
17 order to get pensions in Croatian controlled areas. Isn't that true?
18 A. Yesterday I said that there were individual incidents and
19 killings. I told you that three ethnic Croats were killed in Medvidja,
20 Simeon Sadarevic, a person named Erstic, and Branko Genda, they were
21 indeed killed by somebody, I don't know who. The police carried out an
22 onsite inspection but it is certain that they were murdered; I'm not
23 disputing that. I suppose that in the cases of all those murders and
24 killings, the main motive was either material gain or in the case of
25 Simeon Sadarovic, who during the Second World War was a Croatian Ustasha,
1 and never hid the fact, it was a well known fact that that same man had
2 killed many Serbs in Lika and Dalmatia, which is why I assume that that
3 had been the motive of his murder: Personal revenge.
4 Q. So you're telling the Trial Chamber that, according to you, the
5 Croats who are fearful of being murdered and robbed, their murders were
6 being motivated for material gain. Is that what you're saying?
7 A. Well, you know in any society, not only in wartime, things
8 happen. For example, in Belgrade there are daily incidents, shops are
9 broken into, people are beaten in parks and in some other cities where
10 there are black population ghettos where things happen. There is no
11 police in the world that can put all criminal elements under absolute
12 control. Those who committed crimes deserve the gravest sentences. And
13 once again, I need to repeat that the main, if not only, motive was
14 material gain, getting hold of other people's property and assets.
15 MS. BIERSAY: I'd like to turn to tab 41, which is P2865. And it
16 is a document dated 12 November 1992, situation of human rights in the
17 territory of the former Yugoslavia note by the Secretary-General. And in
18 this regard, I'd like to go to page 25. And focusing on paragraph 79.
19 On page 25, there is a paragraph number that says ...
20 Thank you. I will read paragraph 79.
21 Q. Now, this pertains to the UNPA Sector South. And Sector South,
22 did that cover the area of Obrovac and Benkovac?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And according to the report, it says:
25 "Many people are desperate to flee the area. Yet before being
1 granted permission from local authorities, these persons are often forced
2 to sign a statement that their departure is voluntary, thus confusing the
3 legal status of their property as well as erasing evidence of ethnic
4 cleansing. UNPROFOR officials are deeply concerned over the safety of
5 these people as well as over the reallocation and use of abandoned
7 Isn't it true that the Croats were targeted as an effort to make
8 this a secure majority Serb region?
9 A. Over 70 per cent of the population were Serbs, even before the
10 war. So it is not true -- or, rather, can I give you a specific example?
11 Q. I appreciate --
12 A. Let's talk about the family --
13 Q. I appreciate the example, but my question to you: Isn't it true
14 that Croats were targeted, exactly because they were Croats, for murders,
15 for mistreatment, for robberies?
16 A. Those were just sporadic individual incidents. At the level of
17 the collective, things like that were not happening. Croats were not
18 specifically targeted as a group by another group.
19 Q. Now I believe that the -- Mr. Zivanovic showed you a document,
20 P1902, which is dated 27 January 1993.
21 MS. BIERSAY: If I could have one moment. I can retrieve the tab
22 number, but in the meantime if we could please have P1902. I think it's
23 Defence tab 22.
24 Q. Do you recall this document dated January of 1993?
25 A. I do.
1 Q. And you gave this as an example of an investigation being
3 A. The document speaks for itself. The document was signed by
4 Chief Djordje Ilic, and the officer in charge who was sent to the site
5 was Vuksic.
6 MS. BIERSAY: If I could now go to tab 80. It should be on the
7 list we circulated this morning. And it is Defence 65 ter 1D02617. And
8 it's dated March 1, 1993.
9 Q. While we're calling it up, do you know someone by the name of
10 Nebojsa Pavkovic?
11 A. I do.
12 Q. And --
13 A. He was the assistant minister of the interior, if that's the same
14 person, because there is another Nebojsa Pavkovic who was the chief of
15 the General Staff of the Serbian army. He was a general. But I believe
16 that in this case we're talking about Nebojsa Pavkovic who was the
17 assistant minister, right?
18 Q. Now directing your attention to the document before you, its
19 heading is: "Republic of Serbian Krajina Ministry of the Interior, Knin,
20 Public Security Administration." So this would be the first Pavkovic
21 that you described; correct?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. And you can see it's a dispatch going to Benkovac SJB, Obrovac,
24 Drinic, Kistanje, and Vrlika; do you see that?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. And what this note says, it says:
2 "In order to resolve the priority problems and tasks of the
3 public security service, it is necessary to immediately start to put into
4 effect the already prepared criminal processing of recent murders of
5 ethnic Croat citizens, in other words, to bring the perpetrators into
7 "Since protection of the lives and property of ethnic Croat
8 citizens has become the main security problem in all cases when such
9 citizens express a wish to leave the RSK and state this to the," I
10 believe it's the International Red Cross, "it is necessary to do
11 everything to ensure that these citizens remain in the place where they
12 are expected to stay until they leave the RSK. Such problems are
13 particularly noticeable in Podlug, Medvidja, Nunic, Komforte and other
15 "According to reliable information, UNPROFOR and CIVPOL are
16 preparing to set up commissions to investigate all facts relating," I
17 believe the "to" is missing, "relating to the murder of Croats which
18 would further discredit us in the eyes of the international community."
19 So, Mr. Veselinovic, I put to you that the only reason there was
20 even a semblance of an attempt to investigate crimes committed against
21 Croats, it was an effort to persuade UNPROFOR and CIVPOL that Serb
22 authorities are actually doing something about the problem?
23 A. In regard to all the murders that happened, when our police went
24 to investigate the CIVPOL were also present. I know that that was the
25 case in Medvidja. In Obrovac municipality, there was Serge Lazutkin and
1 Vladimir Kononenko. The two of them usually went to investigate together
2 with our police. When paraffin glove was taken, when prints were
3 referred, ballistic expertise, the police of the Republic of Serbian
4 Krajina would do it together with the UNPROFOR CIVPOL.
5 MS. BIERSAY: At this time we would tender
6 Defence 65 ter 1D02617.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P3271, Your Honours.
9 MS. BIERSAY:
10 Q. I'll be brief in the remaining time with you, Mr. Veselinovic. I
11 would like to now direct your attention to --
12 MS. BIERSAY: It's tab 70. And it's Defence 65 ter 1D03054. And
13 by way of description, it's an order of 29 January 1993 from the command
14 of the 7th SVK Corps.
15 Q. Did you know this commander, Colonel Milan Djilas?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And just directing your attention to point 1 there, it says:
18 "Prepare for, organise and take in (200) volunteers from the
19 Serbian Radical Party ('Seselj men') in the area of Zegar village."
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So Seselj's men were participating in this command?
22 A. They were present for a very short time.
23 Q. When you say "short time," what do you mean?
24 A. I don't think it was more than two weeks.
25 Q. And they were near or in Obrovac, correct, as well?
1 A. One group was in this place, Zegar, and another group was in
2 Obrovac itself. They were accommodated -- as this was during the summer
3 when the school was out, they were accommodated at the school in the
4 classrooms. They had sleeping bags because we could not provide anything
5 better than that for them. However, these were men who had no experience
6 whatsoever and they did not accept to be deployed by us to units and to
7 have our men that they would be subordinated to as commanders of the
8 platoons, detachments, and companies. They had their own structure from
9 the squad commander, platoon commander, company commander, to the people
10 in charge of security. And that couldn't work at all. These were very
11 problematic people. After a fortnight we took the decision that they
12 couldn't -- that they were more of a burden than assistance. With regard
13 to our own people, our own brigade, that they were not complementary. So
14 we removed them from the brigade and sent them back to Serbia.
15 Q. And Arkan's men were also present as well? We saw on the
16 document of yesterday that that the presence of Arkan's men increased
18 A. Seselj's volunteers, as they are called here, and Arkan's men,
19 are not present at one and the same time. There may have been a month or
20 a month and a half in between. Arkan's men were highly usable. That was
21 a disciplined and well trained army. Trained for what they needed to do,
22 mostly infiltration in enemy territory and inflicting losses on the enemy
23 army. There were sabotage specialists, people who had received training
24 as marines and who knew what the movements of soldiers in a battle-field
25 meant, whereas the Seselj's group comprised of complete dilettantes,
1 people who were unusable.
2 MS. BIERSAY: May I confirm with the interpreters that they have
3 65 ter 4990.5, which is --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, we have it.
5 MS. BIERSAY: And that is tab 52. This is a time code. It goes
6 from 21 minute and 40 seconds, and it's cut to 25 minutes and 20 seconds
7 but I may stop it before then.
8 Could we please play this video.
9 Q. Actually, while we're getting sorted, did you know Mile Ulemek?
10 Did you receive the translation? It's a question to you.
11 A. He was a -- I have heard it now. I know the man. I saw him once
12 in Obrovac and another time in Knin. If that was Colonel Mile Ulemek.
13 Q. Okay.
14 MS. BIERSAY: If we could please play the video.
15 [Video-clip played]
16 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] 30th January 1993 the ninth day of
17 aggression at the Obrovac front line. Still no peace. The Croatian
18 forces either don't hear Tudjman's message on the cease-fire or they're
19 aware of it being another deception by the international public to keep
20 hold of the captured positions.
21 "What do our troops say to that?
22 "Colonel Ulemek, the commander of the Obrovac front line:
23 Current situation is satisfactory for now. The Ustashas are not
24 advancing anymore. There is nowhere for them to advance. We are trying
25 to push them back and we shall definitely succeed in that, not just to
1 push them back to their initial positions but to push them back into
2 their own depth because we saw that those positions we left them, they
3 are not satisfied with that. This here was Serbian and will remain
4 Serbian forever. We came to show them that. Not to explain it or
5 discuss much but simply to show it to them in a military manner; that is
6 to say, the weapons have to do the work because there is no other way to
7 deal with them. Soldiers as soldiers are good. This is the Serbian
8 people, ready to fight. The people are a little frightened, which is
9 normal. They have relaxed a bit as there was a sort of cease-fire for a
10 year. They thought that the war was over for them. Unfortunately, the
11 war is not over yet as the Ustashas do not want the peace. The Ustashas
12 got it in their 'bungurace' rather than calling them heads that this
13 territory is theirs, but this has never been theirs, I repeat, and it
14 will never be theirs as long as a single Serbian soldier remains there.
15 "The Colonel talked for a long time about the bravery ..."
16 MS. BIERSAY: Okay. We can stop it here.
17 Q. Is that the man you recognise as Colonel Ulemek?
18 A. Yes, yes, yes.
19 Q. And is your information consistent with the information that he
20 provided in this excerpt?
21 A. What do you have in mind, specifically?
22 [Video-clip played]
23 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] 30th January 1993. The ninth day
24 of the aggression at the Oslobodjenje front line. There is still no
25 peace. The Croatian forces either do not hear Tudjman's messages on the
1 cease-fire or they know in advance that it is another deception by the
2 international public to leave the captured positions in their hands.
3 "What do the troops say to that?
4 "Colonel Ulemek, the commander at the Obrovac front line.
5 "The situation as we found it is satisfactory for the time being.
6 The Ustashas are not advancing anymore. There is nowhere for them to
7 advance. We are trying to push them back and we shall certainly do that.
8 Not just to push them back into their original positions but to push them
9 into their own depth because we have seen the positions we left them,
10 they are not satisfied with that. This here was Serbian and will remain
11 Serbian forever. We have come here to show them that. Not to explain it
12 or to discuss much but to show it to them in military terms; that is to
13 say, to have the weapons firing because there is no other way to deal
14 with them. Soldiers as soldiers, they're good. This is the Serbian
15 people, willing to fight. The people are a little frightened, which is
16 normal. They have relaxed for -- there was a sort of a cease-fire for a
17 year. They believed that the war was over for them. Unfortunately, the
18 war is not over because the Ustashas do not want the peace. The Ustashas
19 have set a goal in their 'bungurace,' I can't call them heads, that this
20 must be theirs, but this has never been theirs. I repeat. It has never
21 been theirs as long as a single Serbian soldier remained here.
22 "The Colonel talked a long time about the bravery of the Krajina
23 soldiers who had been lacking a better co-ordinating action among their
24 ranks but it has now been achieved. This was his response to the
25 statement by Arkan about going all the way to Zadar.
1 "If Commander Arkan said that be sure that he has never lied
2 that. It will be as he says. All you have to do the choose a beach
3 where you want to bathe. Zadar has beautiful beaches. It is now up to
4 you to decide which one you want to bathe on. Because if he says he will
5 go to Zadar, he will go to Zadar. That is the kind of man he is,
6 decisive and brave, and if he sets out to do something, he will do it.
7 In the streets of Obrovac, we met people who came from Belgrade,
8 Novi Sad".
9 MS. BIERSAY: Okay. Just for the record we replayed it, this
11 Q. And I'd like to direct your attention to the response -- his
12 response regarding Arkan participating in an action going all the way to
13 Zadar. Were your aware of that?
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It was not something that the person from the
16 video-clip said.
17 MS. BIERSAY: I'm putting the proposition to the witness, if he's
18 heard of this.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: You may continue.
20 Yes, Mr. Zivanovic.
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It is pretty long. Maybe just this part could be
22 repeated, just this part related to Arkan, not whole clip.
23 MS. BIERSAY: I'll be happy to read the transcript as well.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Reading the transcript, Ms. Biersay, we could as
25 well have the clip --
1 MS. BIERSAY: I'm happy to accompany --
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: That part of it.
3 MS. BIERSAY: Yes. Let me see if we can find it quickly.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: It's more or less where you stopped the first
6 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Your Honours, it could be maybe read from the
7 line 24, page 41. It is just few lines, "If commander said ..."
8 MS. BIERSAY: Perhaps I can put one simple question to the
9 witness and perhaps we don't need to go through this exercise at all.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: We could try that.
11 MS. BIERSAY:
12 Q. Before looking at this video-clip today, did you have information
13 that Arkan was participating in an action to go to Zadar?
14 A. Well, I have to tell you one thing. The policy of the Republic
15 of Serbian Krajina was defined to the effect that we would not recognise
16 the sovereignty of the Croatian state in the Serbian ethnic territory,
17 and we never advocated taking control of any single place where the
18 Croats were the majority population. And secondly, Arkan's unit was very
19 small so that not even with God's help he could have overpowered 10.000
20 Croats who were living -- who were at that front line with his 25 or 30
21 men. They were four to five times more numerous than our forces. At
22 least that much. I want to say that Arkan had to subordinate himself to
23 the Benkovac Brigade or the Obrovac Brigade and any operations that were
24 taking place were taking place under the command of the army of the
25 Republic of Serbian Krajina and the said brigade to which he was
1 subordinated. He could not make any decisions on his own. And in
2 particular not to take Zadar. And what Ulemek is saying here, that was
3 more like his own personal promotion and advertising and perhaps on
4 behalf of his unit as well.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MS. BIERSAY: I have no further questions.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Ms. Biersay.
8 Mr. Zivanovic, redirect.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 Re-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Veselinovic, I will ask you a few questions
12 and I will begin with the last thing that I was interested in and that
13 you have talked about today. It has to do with the murders. The
14 Prosecutor asked you this. The murders of Croats, the looting of their
15 property, and other criminal offences committed against them, and you
16 answered that you believed that those were sporadic incidents. I'd like
17 to know this: In that period in the territory of the Republic of Serbian
18 Krajina, were there any murders was Serbs, any looting of their property?
19 Were there any such similar criminal offences as those committed against
21 A. Absolutely. An incomparably larger number of torched Serbian
22 villages, livestock that was killed, as well as people. Property was
23 torched, from crops to other things.
24 Q. Just so as we understand each other, I'm not talking now about
25 actions carried out by the Croatian armed forces during their attacks on
1 the Miljevci plateau or Maslenica, for example. I mean in ordinary life
2 in the territory where the Serbs lived and the Croats lived. In addition
3 to the attacks on the Croats as presented to you by the Prosecutor from
4 some documents, were there any attacks on the Serbs? Were there such
5 instances that a Serb was killed or robbed?
6 A. Yes, yes. There were.
7 Q. Now I would like us to clarify the issue of the time until which
8 you were a member of the government. Do you remember if you attended the
9 assembly session when Djordje Bjegovic as the new prime minister
10 designate proposed and read out the list of future ministers in his
12 A. No, I didn't attend the assembly session at the time.
13 Q. I wonder if you may have participated according to what I have
14 here --
15 A. At the assembly?
16 Q. Let me remind you that was on the 20th of April, 1993.
17 MS. BIERSAY: Objection, Your Honour.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. -- the assembly of the Republic of Serbian Krajina.
20 MS. BIERSAY: Objection, Your Honour. I object to the leading
21 nature of the question.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
23 MS. BIERSAY: I'll use Mr. Zivanovic's words: Asked and
24 answered. The witness said: "No, I didn't attend the assembly session at
25 the time."
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
2 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I would confront the witness with the -- this
3 particular document and he will see that he was at the session but I
4 don't know whether he was at this part of this session. I'd just like to
5 clarify it. It is the Prosecution document, anyway.
6 But anyway, I could withdraw this question because it is -- I
7 could use it with other witnesses, too.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: So then you move on.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. The Prosecutor also showed you a document relating to a text from
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] It's been admitted as P3269.
13 Q. It's a text written by Ljubisa Popovic which I translated to you
14 when we met here. I will just ask you about a few details from the text
15 and ask you to clarify them for us and tell us how correct or incorrect
16 they are. It reads, the title reads, and I will read it to you in
17 English and you will receive interpretation: [In English] "... a stocking
18 on his head." [Interpretation] can you tell me whether on that occasion
19 you or anyone who was with you wore any stockings on your heads?
20 A. This is completely ridiculous and does not correspond to any
21 truth at all. It's the biggest stupidity.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, where are you reading from?
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I'm reading from P3269.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yeah. Is that the one on the screen and are we
25 on the right page?
1 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Oh, I did not -- it is not on the screen and I
2 don't know why. It was 1D2751.
3 MS. BIERSAY: Perhaps I can assist. Hopefully I won't confuse
4 matters. But the -- I think it's the one under the Prosecution's tab 61,
5 which was 65 ter 6653, which, in fact, is not Borba but Vreme. I know
6 the Defence have a copy on their list as well but we have a redacted one
7 which is probably better to use for public purposes and it's been
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, that's correct. It is article from Vreme
10 not from Borba.
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Microphone not activated] Where do we find the
12 passage from there?
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, we have nothing on our screen.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Sorry. There is new one on our screen --
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- now. So where are -- where is the passage
17 about the stocking on their heads?
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: It is immediately maybe seven -- eight, eighth
19 line, there is Belgrade Vreme, in Serbo-Croatian, 26 of July 1993. And
20 the article by Ljubisa Popovic under inverted commas: Robin Hood With a
21 stocking on his head."
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Thank you.
23 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. A bit lower down approximately in the middle of the text, he
25 reads that on that occasion you were accompanied by two other persons
1 from Krajina. From what you know of those who were present, where were
2 they from?
3 A. Nobody except me was from Krajina.
4 Q. I will read out to you another segment of this text. It's
5 already near the bottom where it reads:
6 "[In English] During the trial the Defence will try to prove that
7 Sergija Veselinovic and his friends had the noble intention of collecting
8 the debt for Tomislav Stefanovic and were going to donate to Krajina the
9 reward for services rendered. In a news conference, his lawyer,
10 Gradimir Moskovljevic, represented him as a Krajina Robin Hood who takes
11 from the unscrupulous on behalf of the poor, in this case the state of
13 Please tell me whether you ever said or whether you know if your
14 counsel ever said before a court that you had come to take money from the
15 unscrupulous people in order to give it to some, for example, poor
17 A. No, no, no, no. It has nothing to do with what I was doing.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we see, please, Exhibit P6666. It is from
20 the Prosecution list.
21 Q. [Interpretation] This is a letter that the Prosecutor got from
22 the authorities of the Republic of Serbia in connection with this case.
23 Amongst other things, there is a explanation of the situation. A very
24 brief explanation. Because the paperwork of the case has been destroyed
25 and the final decision was a suspended sentence. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes, absolutely.
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I never served any sentences, ever.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Previous translation continues]... please. Is
5 that tab 76 -- yeah, 76 from the Prosecution list?
6 MS. BIERSAY: Yes, it is, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: And.
8 MS. BIERSAY: And it --
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: And it shouldn't be broadcast, Ms. Biersay?
10 MS. BIERSAY: That's exactly why -- yes, thank you, Your Honour,
11 for noticing that.
12 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry, why it could not be -- okay.
13 MS. BIERSAY: It can be discussed, we just ask that it not be
14 broadcast on the public screen.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: I do not insist on it.
16 Your Honours, I would tender this document into evidence.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit [Microphone not activated]
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: And I have no further questions, thank you.
21 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Veselinovic. That was all from
23 Questioned by the Court:
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Zivanovic.
25 Mr. Veselinovic, were you the first minister of culture and
1 religion of the RSK?
2 A. Mico Jelic, Grnovic, was in that position before me for six
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: And could you tell us a little bit more in detail
5 about the reasons why you did not want to be part of the Bjegovic's
7 A. Well, he was a member of the Party of Democratic Change or the
8 League of Communists of Croatia whose head was Ivica Racan and the
9 headquarters was in Zagreb and he was absolutely loyal to Croats, i.e.,
10 to the authorities in Zagreb. In the meantime, he became an ardent
11 advocate of the League of Communists, the Movement For Yugoslavia, and I
12 was absolutely against such an idea. I never supported anything that had
13 anything to do with the League of Communists and its activities. I
14 thought that they only did harm to their own people and that they do
15 nothing but discredit us before the world.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. Were you asked to be a member of that
17 government or to stay on your post of minister of culture and religion in
18 that government?
19 A. Bjegovic did invite me and we had a discussion. He asked me
20 whether I would be prepared to continue working in the government. I
21 said no.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: And when would that have been?
23 A. As far as I can remember, that was either in May or June 1993,
24 but I'd sooner say that it was in May.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. And last question on this topic. Who
1 was your successor?
2 A. I can't remember.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: I think I have one more thing to ask you,
4 Mr. Veselinovic. At, I think it was yesterday, you said at transcript
5 page 32 of that day, line 13-15:
6 "I believe that the best solution for the states which are
7 multiethnic and multi-confessional was to have a minority."
8 You remember saying that?
9 A. Yes, yes. I still think the same.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: And how do you see that with regard to what
11 happened in Croatia? Were the Serbs kind of a minority in the Croatian
12 entity, something that you and your people did not accept?
13 A. Serbs were not a minority in the Republic of Croatia. They
14 shared sovereignty with Croats.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: And if I understand you correctly --
16 A. Serbs were a constituent people. They were not a minority
17 population or a minority people.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: And the risk of becoming that was a reason for
19 you to seek autonomy, to seek independence to create your own state; is
20 that right?
21 A. When the HDZ and Dr. Franjo Tudjman won in the elections, the
22 Serbs lost almost all of their authorities. At one parliament session,
23 as we had envisaged he would, he did that. He reduced us to the level of
24 a minority ethnic group. So we were not longer a constituent people and
25 we no longer shared sovereignty together with the Croats. At that
1 parliament session, they made the decision that we would from then on
2 become a minority people. And one of the reasons why we wanted to have
3 our own autonomy and our personal autonomy was that. But it was just one
4 of the motives.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness, I have a question
7 about something that is on transcript on page 13. That's today.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. All I hear is French.
9 I do not receive interpretation into my --
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] [Overlapping speakers] Yes, can
11 you hear me? Can you hear me? Do you understand what I'm saying?
12 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
13 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear me? This is the English booth.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Veselinovic, do you hear me in Serbian?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you, yes.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Can I speak in French now? Do you
18 understand me?
19 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
20 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] But I did not get your answer in
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can hear you. I can hear you.
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 JUDGE MINDUA: Mr. Witness, let us go to the transcript page 13,
25 from lines 4 to 21. I can read that you were a member of the RSK
1 parliament and you were suspended and replaced by Mr. Rade Simic. If I
2 am wrong, you can correct me.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have that on the screen,
4 but I do remember and I heard that for the first time earlier today.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: Okay. That is exactly what I was thinking. So
6 please tell me, did you continue to receive your salaries from the
8 A. In the government of the Republic of Serbian Krajina is where I
9 received salaries, and those in the assembly of the Serbian Republic of
10 Krajina did not receive salaries. They only received per diems when the
11 assembly was in session.
12 JUDGE MINDUA: Oh, thank you very much. And now, please tell me:
13 Did you go to the final ceremony at the end of your tenure of your
14 mandate at the parliament?
15 A. No, I didn't.
16 JUDGE MINDUA: Was such a ceremony organised at the time?
17 A. I don't remember. I already lived in Belgrade at that time. And
18 since I had my own personal problems, I really didn't care much about
19 what was going on in the Republic of Serbian Krajina. I didn't inquire
20 what was going on, especially in view of the fact that the people in
21 power did not agree with my political positions or I with theirs and
22 that's why Krajina ended the way it did.
23 JUDGE MINDUA: Okay. It will be my last question. Do you think
24 that it is fair to be elected to the parliament and to decide not to go
25 anymore, even to go to say bye to the colleagues and to the institution?
1 A. I've already said that I had my own personal problems. I don't
2 know if you understand what it means to have a sick child. The only
3 thing that you can think of is that child and that child is your only
4 goal. Nothing else matters. Politics, business, nothing. That's the
5 most important thing that you have to deal with.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: Okay. Thank you very much. I understand very
7 well. Thank you.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Veselinovic, this brings your testimony to an
9 end. We thank you for coming to The Hague to assist us. You are now
10 released as a witness.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: And we wish you a safe journey home.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer.
15 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Since this appears to be the conclusion of the proceedings for
17 the week, I had one small matter to raise with your permission. And
18 it -- apologies if this is already sort of in the pipeline. Next week we
19 expect to see a fairly significant Defence witness, DGH-016, and we have
20 yet to receive the Chamber's ruling on the motion for his statement to be
21 admitted under 92 ter. It's a lengthy and quite hotly disputed
22 statement, and the Chamber's ruling on the admission of the statement or
23 whether parts of it are to be excluded, which is one of the forms of
24 relief which the Prosecution sought in its response, would quite possibly
25 significantly impact not only our preparations but also the length of
1 time, for example, if the statement were to be rejected as a 92 ter
2 statement then presumably that would affect the length of time that the
3 Defence would wish to use for the direct examination, et cetera.
4 So I simply raise this now to indicate that the Prosecution
5 certainly would be grateful if the Chamber were in a position to issue
6 its decision on DGH-016's Rule 92 ter motion. Thank you.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Without exactly knowing it, Mr. Stringer, I'm
8 sure that the decision is in the pipeline. But for the moment, there is
9 nothing more that I could tell you. Just one moment.
10 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: The only thing I can promise you, Mr. Stringer,
12 is that we will prioritise the decision. Just to know what we are
13 talking about, this is a witness, the motion is for 92 ter, with an
14 examination-in-chief of how long?
15 MR. STRINGER: I think what's currently envisioned is an
16 examination-in-chief of about five hours, and that is assuming or based
17 on, I believe, that the 92 ter statement is admitted.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: I suppose so. Yes, I suppose so. As it is a
19 92 ter motion, it's not -- five hours is quite a lot indeed. And that
20 would entail with a cross that will probably go over the week, no?
21 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, it is.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. We'll look into it. If there is nothing
23 else --
24 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Yes.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, I apologise. It appears that my
2 microphone was off on page 49. 65 ter number 6666 has been admitted as
3 Exhibit D213 under seal. Thank you.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
5 Court adjourned.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.22 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Monday, the 29th day
8 of September, 2014, at 9.00 a.m.