Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 1659

1 Tuesday, 21 February 2006

2 [Open session]

3 [The witness entered court]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.

6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting, you can have your last 13 minutes.

7 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, did you -- did the Court want to

8 caution the witness before we started?

9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed. Thank you very much.

10 Mr. Babic, as always, once again you are being reminded you're

11 bound by the declaration you made to tell the truth and nothing else but

12 the truth. Thank you very much.

13 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.


16 [Witness answered through interpreter]

17 Examination by Mr. Whiting: [Continued]

18 Q. Good morning, Mr. Babic, can you understand me?

19 A. Yes. Good morning. I can.

20 Q. Mr. Babic, what was Operation Flash?

21 A. Operation Flash was a Croatian military police intervention on the

22 territory of Western Slavonia which was held by the Serbs, at the

23 beginning of May 1995.

24 Q. Do you know what if anything precipitated Operation Flash?

25 A. Well, what precipitated it was, and what was the reason for the

Page 1660

1 operation, were the events that took place along the motorway from Okucani

2 on the territory of the Republic of Srpska Krajina.

3 Q. Can you tell us what those events were?

4 A. Those events came about after a long period of negotiation between

5 the representatives of the government of Croatia and the government of the

6 Republic of Srpska Krajina which I took part in. The negotiations went on

7 for some months, about the normalisation of relations between the Republic

8 of Srpska Krajina and Croatia in the sense of linking up the electrical

9 power system and the water work system and opening up the motorway between

10 Zagreb and Belgrade, opening the railway lines and things like that.

11 After those talks, a portion of the agreement was realised and that was

12 the opening of the Belgrade-Zagreb motorway across the territory which was

13 controlled by the Republic of Srpska Krajina, and that was Western

14 Slavonia, that area there, and a small part of Eastern Slavonia. The

15 motorway functioned or was opened for a time until -- in 1995, until May

16 1995, and after the motorway was running normally, incidents took place

17 along the motorway and it was closed.

18 Q. Who closed it, if you know?

19 A. Well, as far as my information told me, from the Prime Minister,

20 Mikelic, Mr. Martic, with policemen and people from the area of Okucani

21 issued orders to close off the motorway.

22 Q. What happened after the motorway was closed?

23 A. Negotiations were conducted to discuss its reopening. However,

24 Croatia opened the motorway by force or rather there was a military police

25 operation, an onslaught by which it opened the motorway and took control

Page 1661

1 of the territory of Western Slavonia which had hitherto been under the

2 control of the Serbs. So those were the operations and they went on for

3 several days, the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd of May, in fact. Everything

4 was over by then.

5 Q. And is that what we referred to earlier as Operation Flash?

6 A. Yes. Yes. That is Operation Flash.

7 Q. Did Milan Martic, to your knowledge, do something after Operation

8 Flash?

9 A. Well, he -- on the second day of the -- of Operation Flash, he

10 ordered the shelling of the town of Zagreb in retaliation for Croatia's

11 intervention in Western Slavonia.

12 Q. And how do you know that he ordered it?

13 A. He said himself, on television, that he had issued the order.

14 Q. Mr. Babic, I'd like to look at intercept 593, please.

15 And there is a beginning part there that I would like to ignore

16 and just start with Mikelic and Milosevic, and in your declaration, you

17 stated that you recognised the voices of Slobodan Milosevic and Borisav

18 Mikelic. You've referred in your testimony to Borisav Mikelic. Could you

19 remind us again who he was at that time, in 1995?

20 A. Borisav Mikelic was at the time the Prime Minister of the Republic

21 of Srpska Krajina.

22 Q. There was at the time that you yourself was in the government --

23 were in the government as the Minister of Foreign Affairs; is that

24 correct? You testified about that earlier.

25 A. Yes.

Page 1662

1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, in which government SAO Krajina or Srpska

2 Krajina?

3 MR. WHITING: At this time it's the RSK in 1995, the Republic of

4 Srpska Krajina.

5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Okay.


7 Q. Can you tell me how many times you had occasion to speak with

8 Borisav Mikelic?

9 A. Well, frequently. I can't give you an exact number but over the

10 course of two years, I was a member of the government of which he was

11 Prime Minister, so fairly often. Sometimes daily. Every day.

12 Q. Could you tell us just in general terms what this conversation is

13 about?

14 A. In this conversation, they are discussing topics linked to the

15 events which took place in Western Slavonia, and that was Martic's order

16 of the shelling of Zagreb and the consequences thereof, what came before

17 the event, then there is mention there about certain additional matters

18 such as the meeting of a joint council of the supreme defence between the

19 Republic of Srpska Krajina and Republika Srpska, mention is made of the

20 problems that the Minister of the Interior is encountering, and

21 preparations for an assembly meeting of the Republic of Srpska Krajina.

22 But for the most part it's all linked to this particular events in Western

23 Slavonia and Operation Flash and the shelling of Zagreb.

24 Q. I have to pause for a moment because I lost my transcript. I just

25 have to get it back up here.

Page 1663

1 I'd like to play a clip that starts at page 2 of the English and

2 page 2 of the B/C/S. It starts with Mr. Mikelic saying, "Boro speaking."

3 Do you see that? On page 2 of the transcript. Sorry, actually I think

4 it's on page 1 of the B/C/S. It starts on page 1, at the bottom of page 1

5 of the B/C/S transcript. Do you -- yeah.

6 MR. WHITING: And if we could turn the Sanction on from the AV

7 booth, please. It actually starts with, "Hello, Mr. President."

8 [Intercept played]

9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Hello, Mr. President, what's up?"

10 MR. WHITING: The procedure that we agreed to yesterday with

11 respect to this -- these transcripts and we may have to provide the B/C/S

12 to the French booth, is that in the -- is that the English -- the

13 interpreters do not need to read the English transcript and we'll just

14 listen to the original.

15 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, thank you.

16 MR. WHITING: And the French booth is now being provided with the

17 transcript in B/C/S which we should have done before we started today, and

18 my apologies. And as soon as they have it we can start playing it. And

19 again for the benefit of the French booth, it starts at the bottom of page

20 1 of the B/C/S or the top of page 2.

21 Okay. If we could play it now.

22 [Intercept played]


24 Q. Mr. Babic, in that clip, Slobodan Milosevic says, "No one doubted

25 Tudjman's unscrupulousness even before, but if there had not been for

Page 1664

1 Martic's capriciousness the road would not have been opened for his

2 unscrupulousness. Martic's capriciousness has opened the road for the

3 unscrupulousness of Tudjman because if he had not done that thing with the

4 motorway, which he did and started the fires, this one would never have

5 dared due to the international situation, to put in question a decision

6 which has been set and sanctioned by UN regarding the regime in Western

7 Slavonia." What do you understand that to mean?

8 A. Well, this is provocation, in fact, on the part of Martic, which

9 took place when the motorway was closed, the violation of the agreement

10 reached between the government of Krajina and government of Croatia under

11 the auspices or leadership of the United Nations, who were the guarantor

12 of that agreement. So that is the provocation. It was a provocation to

13 close the motorway and violate the international agreement.

14 Q. And when Mr. Milosevic says, "If he had not done that thing with

15 the motorway, which he did and started the fires, this one never would

16 never have dared." Dared do what, as you understand it?

17 A. To militarily attack Western Slavonia.

18 Q. I'm going to play a second clip and this one begins on page 3 of

19 the English transcript, page 2 of the B/C/S. It begins with where Mikelic

20 says, "Martic was in Banja Luka yesterday."

21 Now, when we listen to this clip, Mr. Babic, I'm going to ask you

22 to listen very carefully to see if you can tell who says what in this

23 clip. It's a little hard to hear in the courtroom. It's actually -- I

24 can say it's easier whether we have listened to it outside the courtroom

25 but playing it through the system in the courtroom, a little hard but I

Page 1665

1 will ask you some questions about who says what in this clip, whether it's

2 Milosevic or Mikelic. So if you could listen carefully to that and see if

3 you are able to determine that.

4 MR. WHITING: If we could play the second clip now.

5 [Intercept played]


7 Q. Mr. Babic, in that clip, one of the two men says, "He said that he

8 made a decision on shelling Zagreb, Karlovac, Sisak. He is a man "what a

9 smart man is ashamed of a crazy man is proud of. He pointed it out as his

10 achievement." Were you able to tell which of the two men said that in the

11 clip?

12 A. I was listening to the voice and not reading the text. It seems

13 that there has been a mix-up here. Because that was all Milosevic,

14 whereas here it says Mikelic. Perhaps if you want to play the clip again,

15 but I wrote this down as a note to myself because I was listening and I

16 realised this and made a note of what I heard. Milosevic says, well, we

17 heard the statement, we listened to the statement but he said that because

18 of your suffering or something and then he said he made the decision on

19 shelling Zagreb or whatever, Zagreb, Karlovac, Sisak and so on, so I think

20 that I heard that that was all Milosevic speaking, if you want to repeat,

21 then I can make sure.

22 Q. Let's play it again to see and it's that second part, that he said

23 he made a decision on shelling Zagreb, Karlovac. I want to you see if you

24 can tell who was saying that second part.

25 [Intercept played]

Page 1666


2 Q. Were you able to tell who says that second part that he said he

3 made a decision on shelling Zagreb, Karlovac, Sisak, he is a man -- "what

4 a smart man is ashamed of a crazy man is part of, he pointed it out as his

5 achievement." Were you able to tell who said that in the clip?

6 A. Milosevic.

7 Q. Thank you. I'm going to play another clip which is on page 4 of

8 the English, it's on page 3 of the B/C/S. And this is a clip starts with

9 Milosevic saying, "At the assembly his resignation should be demanded."

10 Do you see where that is?

11 A. Yes.

12 [Intercept played].


14 Q. Mr. Babic, in that clip, Mr. Milosevic says, "He is a criminal who

15 does not think, he reacts like an animal and not like a man. Yesterday he

16 ordered to shell Zagreb." Who do you understand him to be talking about?

17 A. Milan Martic.

18 Q. He then makes reference to 7.000 people in encirclement. What do

19 you understand that to be a reference to?

20 A. That was, yes, about 7.000 civilians and soldiers in an

21 encirclement which were located in the Pakrac area, because the Croatian

22 army and police cut across the escape route to the population and the

23 soldiers towards Banja Luka or the territory of Republika Srpska. They

24 were under siege. They were in an encirclement, the Serbs were encircled

25 by the Croatian police and military.

Page 1667

1 Q. And to your knowledge, did the shelling of Zagreb have any effect

2 on those people who were encircled, in any way?

3 A. Well, it could have led to Croatian retaliation and have the

4 people as victims of that.

5 Q. Finally I want to play a clip -- no, not finally. There are two

6 more.

7 There is -- the fourth clip is on page 5 of the English and page 5

8 of the B/C/S. And it starts with Milosevic saying, "It should be said at

9 your assembly."

10 A. Yes. I've found it.

11 [Intercept played]


13 Q. In that clip, Milosevic says, "When everything was ready for the

14 motorway to be open, Martic said it was out of question to open the

15 motorway. So after that, Croatia attacked and Tudjman said that he must

16 open the motorway" .

17 What is that a reference to, as you understand it?

18 A. I've already mentioned that once the motorway was closed off,

19 there were negotiations to reopen it, and it was already agreed that the

20 motorway would be reopened, and then Martic said it was out of the

21 question, and that he would not allow for the motorway to be opened, and

22 this is what it's all about.

23 Q. Finally the last clip, it's on page 6 of the English and it's at

24 the bottom of page 4, top of page 5 of the B/C/S. And it's about halfway

25 down the page on the English, and it starts with Milosevic saying, "He

Page 1668

1 cannot violate the constitution. He caused half of it by violating the

2 constitution." I think it's at the bottom of page 4. Okay.

3 MR. WHITING: If we could play that clip, please.

4 [Intercept played]


6 Q. Mr. Babic, in that last clip, Mr. Milosevic says, "He behaves like

7 a mad dog. Even Hitler did not do that. He tore Krajina apart. He is a

8 dangerous troublemaker and a criminal. He is boasting about having

9 shelled Zagreb. The thing a smart man is ashamed of a lunatic is proud

10 of." Who do you understand him to be talking about in that clip?

11 A. Milan Martic.

12 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, could this intercept be marked for

13 identification, please?

14 JUDGE MOLOTO: The intercept 593 --

15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise. I

16 believe that I have not seen the date of this conversation, and I don't

17 know whether there is an indication to that effect. Could we do that

18 before we mark this document for identification? Otherwise we do not

19 object for this document to be identified, but we would like to have the

20 date in order to avoid any subsequent dispute with this regard.

21 MR. WHITING: Well, I think all I can do now is ask the witness if

22 he has any indication about what the date is based on the context of the

23 statement, and we can put further evidence in about when this intercept

24 was -- what the date of the intercept is.


Page 1669


2 Q. Mr. Babic, given the references in the discussion, are you able to

3 tell approximately what the date of the conversation is?

4 A. It may have been the 3rd or the 4th of May, after the 1st or the

5 2nd of May so it could have been the 3rd or the 4th of May. At that time,

6 after the shelling of Zagreb, which took place on the 2nd of May. It may

7 have been on the 2nd of May as well, because a mention is made of the

8 second shelling so it could have been on the 2nd but in any case between

9 the 2nd of May and the 4th of May.

10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Of what year?

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1995.

12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.


14 Q. There are a number of references to an assembly that is going to

15 occur. Do you recall approximately when that assembly occurred?

16 A. This is a different date, before this conversation took place, and

17 the date is the 17 and 18 of May 1995. So this conversation did take

18 place between the 2nd of May and the 17 of May 1995, and that's for sure.

19 MR. WHITING: Thank you. Could it be marked for identification,

20 please?

21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Intercept 593 is marked for

22 identification. May it please be given an exhibit number.

23 THE REGISTRAR: That will be marked for identification number 233,

24 Your Honours.

25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

Page 1670

1 MR. WHITING: I see the Bench perhaps has a question.

2 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Yes. Mr. Whiting, I'm very sorry I'm not

3 comprehending. I thought the witness said when you asked him about the

4 date of this assembly that it was a different date before this

5 conversation took place and the date is the 17th and 18th of May 1995.

6 Could we get a clarification?

7 MR. WHITING: Yes, Your Honour. I think -- yes we can try and

8 clarify that.

9 Q. Mr. Babic, the assembly that's referred to, when did that occur,

10 if you know?

11 A. On the 17th and 18th of May 1995.

12 Q. And based on what you have -- what you see in this transcript, are

13 you able to tell whether this conversation occurred before or after the

14 assembly on the 17th and 18th of May 1995?

15 A. Before the assembly.

16 Q. Thank you?

17 MR. WHITING: I hope that clears it up.

18 Q. Mr. Babic, I asked you with respect to some of the transcripts but

19 I neglected this question with respect to others so I want to put this

20 question to you with respect to all of the intercepts that you've listened

21 to during your testimony and you've spoken about during your testimony

22 here in this trial. And the question is this: With respect to all of the

23 intercepts, are the statements that are made by the people in the

24 conversations consistent with what you understood, what you knew to be

25 their positions at the time?

Page 1671

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Having listened to the intercepts and looked at the transcripts

3 and considered them, is there anything that causes you to doubt the

4 authenticity of any of the intercepts that you have spoken about in your

5 testimony here in this trial?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Mr. Babic, finally, I want to begin -- I want to end where we

8 began. And I want to ask you this. I want you, if you could, to tell the

9 Trial Chamber in your own words what you were responsible for in 1991.

10 What did you plead guilty to? What do you take responsibility for?

11 A. In 1991, I succumbed to the passions of politics and ethnical

12 egotism. I believed that it would be possible to achieve the goal that

13 Slobodan Milosevic set and that was to create a one-state for all Serbs.

14 I believe that this was doable by ethnic separation without any clashes,

15 starting from an approach within the then political system of Yugoslavia,

16 which said that the municipality is a basic unit and that there is room

17 for self-determination. I used my political authority. I invested it in

18 the organisation of the Serbian Autonomous Province of Krajina. I had my

19 personal fears and I had mistrust of the government of Croatia and I

20 shared those with the people of Krajina and I openly conveyed my fear to

21 these people, and that's how I instigated their mistrust of the government

22 and I also contributed to the hatred between the peoples and the Serbian

23 people towards the Croatian state. I became a popular politician in

24 Krajina. I occupied a highest position in Krajina. I won the trust and I

25 created the institutions of the Serbian Autonomous Province of Krajina. I

Page 1672

1 created its institutions.

2 When the war started and when I realised that the creation of the

3 Greater Serbian state is being carried out by force by the persecution of

4 Croats, I kept quiet and I continued performing my public duties. I did

5 have an opportunity to step back, to resign, to withdraw, but I remained

6 in my position and I became responsible or co-responsible for whatever

7 happened in Krajina.

8 MR. WHITING: Thank you.

9 JUDGE MOLOTO: I would like to ask just one question, Mr. Babic,

10 on the statement you've just a made. Are you saying that you,

11 Mr. Milan Babic are not responsible for any act of violence against

12 anybody other than for the position you held as Prime Minister of the SAO

13 Krajina?

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. What I'm saying is that I

15 contributed to the acts of violence by performing my duties, by creating

16 institutions, by setting up institutions, one of them being the

17 Territorial Defence, by speaking in public, by instigating people, by

18 persuading them that life in a Serbian state separated from Croats is a

19 guarantee of safety, and I am responsible for that.

20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me ask you the same question differently. Have

21 you, during your term as a leader in the SAO Krajina, given an order to

22 anybody to commit crime, to kill anybody, to loot, to destroy homes? You

23 never gave that order to anybody?

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, never.

25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

Page 1673


2 Q. Mr. Babic. Thank you.

3 MR. WHITING: I have no further questions, Your Honour.

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Whiting.

5 Cross-examination, Mr. Milovancevic?

6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

7 Cross-examination by Mr. Milovancevic:

8 Q. Good morning, Mr. Babic.

9 A. Good morning.

10 Q. I am Predrag Milovancevic Defence counsel for Mr. Milan Martic.

11 As for the procedure regulated by the Rules of Procedure and Evidence,

12 this is the stage of your cross-examination. Since we speak the same

13 language, I would kindly ask you to make a short pause between my question

14 and your answer so as to help the interpreters to translate our words

15 correctly.

16 Do we understand each other?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Mr. Babic, when you spoke about yourself, you said that you were

19 born in the former Yugoslav Republic of Croatia; is that correct?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Can you please tell us where you attended primary school,

22 secondary school, when you graduated from the secondary school and when

23 you started studying in Belgrade?

24 A. I was born in the village of Kukar and I went to primary school in

25 Vrlika which is some three or four kilometres away from my native village

Page 1674

1 and I finished the 8th grade of primary school in Zemun. I graduated from

2 medical school in Belgrade and I graduated in 1974. And then I became a

3 student at the school of dentistry in Belgrade. I completed my studies in

4 1980 and I graduated one year later. Or actually two years later, to be

5 more precise.

6 During my career in 1988 and 1989, and 1990 as well, I attended

7 post-graduate studies in social medicine at the school of medicine in

8 Sarajevo. I did not obtain my masters degree. I got involved in

9 politics.

10 Q. Mr. Babic, did I understand you well when you said that in 1982,

11 you became a dentist, you graduated in dentistry?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Can you please tell us when you started working?

14 A. It was in 1982, when I became a resident and -- but I interrupted

15 my residency, and I served my compulsory military service and then I

16 started working as a dentist. This was a temporary position but it lasted

17 for a number of years. And then I got a permanent job as a dentist at the

18 medical centre of Knin.

19 Q. Can you please tell us about your residency after the compulsory

20 military service, where was that, in which place and what institution?

21 A. This was in the outpatient's clinic in Djevrske. Also at the

22 outpatient's clinic in Vrlika and the outpatient's clinic in Knin. I

23 passed my board exam at the medical centre of Split.

24 Q. When did you pass your board exam?

25 A. After the residency.

Page 1675

1 Q. Can you tell us the year, if you remember? This is what I meant.

2 A. In 1984.

3 Q. Can you please tell us when you took up your job in Knin at the

4 medical centre of Knin?

5 A. I started my residency there, and I was employed by the medical

6 centre of Knin from September 1982, with some interruptions for the

7 military service, and then I had a temporary position there, but I was

8 continuously at the medical centre of Knin.

9 Q. And when did you become the chief administrator of the medical

10 centre of Knin?

11 A. I became the acting chief administrator after the receivership in

12 19 --

13 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat the year?

14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]

15 Q. Amongst your personal data, you also mentioned that you were a

16 member of the League of Communists of Croatia, which means that were you a

17 member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia as well?

18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Excuse me, the interpreter asked that the witness

19 repeat the date. "I became the acting chief administrator after the

20 receivership in 19" --

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I became the acting chief

22 administrator of the medical centre of Knin in 1989.

23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.

24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

25 Q. I've already asked you, Mr. Babic. You said that you were a

Page 1676

1 member of the league of communists of Croatia. When did you become a

2 member?

3 A. I was -- I did not become a member of the League of Communists of

4 Croatia. I became a member of the League of Communists of Serbia in 1974,

5 while I was still attending high school in Belgrade, and once I moved to

6 Croatia and started working I transferred my documents from the municipal

7 board in Zvezdana to the municipal board in Knin and that's actually how I

8 joined the League of Communists of Croatia and I got involved in its work.

9 Q. Am I right in saying that you became a member of the League of

10 Communists of Serbia?

11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Earlier, Mr. Babic said, "I did not become a member

12 of the League of Communists of Croatia. I became a member of the League

13 of Communists of Serbia." Now he says, actually, "how I joined the League

14 of Communists of Croatia and I got involved in its work."

15 Now, did you become a member of the League of Communists of

16 Croatia at some stage?

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I just meant to

18 say the following. This was not my new admission into the League of

19 Communists. The League of Communists of Croatia was part of the League of

20 Communists of Yugoslavia. There was just an administrative procedure of

21 transferring my documents from the League of Communists of Serbia to the

22 League of Communists of Croatia, and that's how I became a member of the

23 League of Communists of Croatia. It was not my first admission into the

24 League of Communists.

25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]

Page 1677

1 Q. Mr. Babic, you ever just mentioned the relationship between the

2 League of Communists of Serbia, the League of Communists of Croatia, and

3 the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. Can you please briefly tell us at

4 that time the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia was a socialist

5 state, wasn't it?

6 A. According to the constitution, the system was socialist and there

7 was the so-called self-management socialist system. The sociopolitical

8 system was social and self-managing system and I think this is the most

9 precise definition.

10 Q. Can one say that in Yugoslavia, up to 1990, the ruling party was

11 the League of Communists which was first known as the Communist Party and

12 that it was the only party, the only political organisation. There was

13 also the Socialist Alliance, there was a trade union and other

14 organisations, but this was the only political party. Can you tell us,

15 can you confirm for us that this was a mono-party system?

16 A. There was an integral League of Communists of Yugoslavia which

17 consisted of the League of Communists of the various republics. This was

18 a party organised based on the federal principle within the party itself.

19 The federal relationship between the republican parties within the League

20 of Communists of Yugoslavia.

21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.

22 Such an organisation of the party, did it enable you to transfer

23 your membership from the League of Communists of Serbia to the League of

24 Communists of Croatia? Actually it was all one and only League of

25 Communists of Yugoslavia, is that what you were saying before?

Page 1678

1 A. Yes, this is precisely what I was saying.

2 Q. Do you remember when it was that you formally joined the League of

3 Communists of Croatia as part of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia?

4 Do you remember the year?

5 A. It was the same year when I started working. It was in 1982, in

6 the autumn of that year, actually.

7 Q. Can you please tell us what positions you held in the party

8 organisation in the League of Communists of Croatia?

9 A. I was a member of the basic organisation of the League of

10 Communists in the primary health care in Knin up to 1989. In the autumn

11 of that year, I became the secretary of the basic organisation of the

12 League of Communists of the primary health care system in Knin, and I

13 remained in that position until the 17th of February 1990, for a couple of

14 months, that is, during the time surrounding the congress.

15 Q. Am I right in saying that the League of Communists of Croatia, as

16 well as all the other organisations of communists in other republics, had

17 its organisations at the municipal level, in companies, that the network

18 of party organs was widely spread, and you belonged to the League of

19 Communists in Knin in your workplace?

20 A. Yes. There was an alternative for me to either belong to the

21 regional League of Communists or to the company League of Communists. It

22 was customary to belong to the basic organisation that was set up in one's

23 company, and that's how I was a member of the basic organisation in the

24 company that I worked for.

25 Q. Was there any limitation or difference or any way of

Page 1679

1 differentiating on an ethnic basis the members of the League of Communists

2 of Croatia? What I'm saying is this. In that kind of party organisation,

3 would all people be able to join regardless of a nation -- ethnicity,

4 religion, creed or anything like that?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. You, who were a Serb yourself, your ethnicity was a Serb, and you

7 were employed in Knin, and secretary of the party organisation in your

8 work organisation, you received an invitation to take part at the congress

9 of the League of Communists much Croatia which took place at the end of

10 1989, am I right when I say that? Is that what happened?

11 A. Well, I have to be more specific in my answer. There were a

12 number of points raised there by you. First of all, I was elected as a

13 delegate to the congress. So that's what you meant by your question.

14 Before I was elected secretary of the basic organisation, which means that

15 in the pre-congress preparations that went on during that time. Now, I do

16 apologise but what was your question? What else did you wish to know?

17 Q. The explanation is sufficient, Mr. Babic. As a member of the

18 League of Communists of Croatia, under the procedure provided for by the

19 party rules, you were invited to go to the congress and take part in it

20 and you did do so, did you not?

21 A. Well, I wasn't invited to the congress. That's the first point.

22 When it came to that congress, the last congress of the League of

23 Communists of Croatia, in fact, a new procedure was introduced for people

24 going to the congress. Before, the proceedings were that the municipal

25 conference of the League of Communists of the commune would nominate

Page 1680

1 delegates from its community to attend the congress but for the first

2 time, during those elections, it was stated that the delegates to the

3 congress of the League of Communists of Croatia should be elected by a

4 general vote on the part of all the members of the party organisation on

5 the municipality's territory.

6 And for the Knin municipality, there are about 3.700 members of

7 the League of Communists of Croatia, and many in the basic organisations,

8 and I, my name was put forward by my basic organisation to this joint

9 list. My name was placed on the list and it went to all the basic

10 organisations. It was distributed to the general elections, the general

11 party elections that took place at the time and I was elected among the

12 six delegates and that was the way in which I was elected.

13 Q. So as one of six delegates, who represented those 3.700 members of

14 the League of Communists in Knin, you went to attend the party congress

15 and where was the venue?

16 A. It was in Zagreb, at the fair grounds, the Velesajam.

17 Q. Did anything happen at the congress that would be of specific

18 importance to you?

19 A. Well, two important things happened. The first was this: The

20 decision by the congress to introduce a multi-party system into the

21 political system of Croatia. The second decision was a decision which

22 delved into statutory measures of the organisation of the League of

23 Communists of Croatia and Yugoslavia and it was the following. It was

24 decided at the congress that the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was a

25 collection of the leagues of communists of the republics or rather it was

Page 1681

1 defined in this way, that the League of Communists of Croatia was not a

2 part of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia but that the League of

3 Communists of Yugoslavia was composed of the League of Communists

4 organizations in the republics and provinces.

5 Q. This decision immediate by the League of Communists of Croatia at

6 their congress, did it mean the break-up of the League of Communists of

7 Yugoslavia as a united organization and ensuring complete independence for

8 the League of Communists of Croatia? Is that what that meant?

9 A. In a way, yes. Not the break-up but new relationships within the

10 League of Communists of Yugoslavia which became a federation of the party

11 organisations of the republics, and the Serb members, the Serb delegates

12 to the congress also voted on that. I think that there were 25 per cent

13 Serbs taking part at the congress.

14 Q. Were you in favour of the decision?

15 A. No. I belonged to the minority who voted for a united league of

16 communists of Yugoslavia as one organisation and we were not in favour of

17 changing the Statute, the statutory decision.

18 Q. Did the congress of the League of Communists of Croatia, in view

19 of the fact that the League of Communists of Yugoslavia had its own

20 statute, did the congress of the League of Communists of Croatia, was it

21 in your opinion the right decision to adopt, viewed at from the aspects of

22 the statute of the party of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and

23 from the party statute aspect?

24 A. Well, I'm not an expert in statutory matters but as I understood

25 it, the decision was statutory, although I didn't agree with it. But as I

Page 1682

1 say, I can't give you an exact answer to that question, and interpret the

2 statute. All I can tell you is how I saw it.

3 Q. Can you tell us the reasons for which you opposed the decision to

4 which the League of Communists much Croatia would become independent and

5 as such represent a part of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia?

6 A. Well, I saw in that step a sort of domination by the nationalist

7 element and a form of a nationalist approach, an ethnic approach, within

8 the League of Communists of Croatia. So how shall I put this, a sort of

9 ethno-philotism in the party organisation of Croatia, and in view of the

10 fact that the party was still in power, this certainly had to have its

11 consequences or repercussions on the functioning of the federation or

12 rather the socialist federal republic of Yugoslavia.

13 Q. And what could those repercussions have been on the federation.

14 How could this have influenced the functioning of the federation, in your

15 opinion?

16 A. Well, in the sense that for a long time, among Croatian public

17 opinion but we are now talking about the League of Communists of Croatia,

18 from 1971 onwards, there was a dominant national or ethnic stream which

19 went towards a confederalisation of relations within the Socialist Federal

20 Republic of Yugoslavia, or rather, there was a stream which interpreted

21 the constitution of Yugoslavia in a special way because it said in the

22 constitution of Yugoslavia that the socialist Federal Republic of

23 Yugoslavia was composed of the republics, made up of six republics and the

24 people, the nations, and then these were stipulated, all the nations which

25 made up the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, the Slovenes, the

Page 1683

1 Croats, the Muslims, the Serbs, the Montenegrins, the Macedonians. Have I

2 omitted someone?

3 Anyway, I'm talking about this stream or faction that existed in

4 the League of Communists of Croatia which interpreted this and explained

5 the constitution, interpreted it, as stating that this unification of the

6 republics and unity of the republics of the nations and nationalities into

7 a Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had not been exhausted ones and

8 for all but that the republics or rather the people, the nations, had the

9 right to open up the question again at a certain point in time, which was

10 a different interpretation to the dominant, prevailing position, and the

11 politics waged at that time within the League of Communists of Yugoslavia

12 and generally in the other republics, that the right to create a

13 federation and to unite within a country called Yugoslavia had been

14 exhausted, that you can't reassess it, re-evaluate it.

15 I think I've made myself clear it enough. If not, I can go on to

16 explain.

17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. You have explained that to us in great

18 detail.

19 Now, this kind of nationalist stream within the League of

20 Communists of Croatia and you said that it existed from 1971, tried to do

21 something on the political arena in Yugoslavia itself, in that in 1971,

22 the maspok, maspok which was the mass movement. What did that mean, mass

23 movement?

24 A. That stream was defeated in 1971 by the intervention made by Josip

25 Broz Tito at the time and in Croatia from 1971, to 1979, or rather until

Page 1684

1 the end of 1989 there was a more moderate stream which at that last

2 congress in 1989 started to open up the whole question and broach the

3 whole question of -- that was raised in 1971 but not in such an extremist,

4 nationalistic way that was done in what was known as the maspok in 1971,

5 the mass movement, and, of course, you know what the maspok referred to

6 and signified.

7 Q. Since we mentioned this mass movement or maspok, as it was called,

8 can you tell us very briefly what it actually means so as to clarify this

9 issue?

10 A. It was the politics waged by the then leadership of the League of

11 Communists of Croatia led by Savka Dabcevic Kucar, Miko Tripalo, and they

12 gained broad support by the different nationalist organisations of Croatia

13 for a confederalisation of Yugoslavia, and to all intents and purposes, it

14 called for Croatia's independence by the same token, and which this would

15 end up by having Croatia move for membership in the United Nations. So

16 that was the level it went up to and the level of changes in relationships

17 in Yugoslavia that it called for.

18 Q. Now, if I've understood you correctly in that year of 1971, the

19 leadership of Croatia called for an independent Croatia and its reception

20 into the United Nations as a member?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You said that this demand was overturned by Josip Broz Tito. Was

23 he the president of Yugoslavia and the president of the League of

24 Communists of Yugoslavia?

25 A. Yes.

Page 1685

1 Q. Can you tell me what ethnicity Josip Broz Tito was himself?

2 A. Well, everybody knew that he was a Croat, although in the Belgrade

3 press, lots of things were written about all this but we all believed that

4 he was a Croat.

5 Q. Tell us how it was that Josip Broz Tito vanquished that stream,

6 the 1971 stream, that called for Croatia's independence and its becoming a

7 member of the United Nations in that year of 1971?

8 A. He held a session in Karadjordjevo, a meeting in Karadjordjevo

9 with the political leadership of the day. I can't remember all the people

10 that were there. Well, he replaced the leadership, in fact, the political

11 leadership in Croatia, and while he was at it, a large-scale manoeuvres

12 were taking place by the army on the territory of Croatia.

13 Q. Now, those manoeuvres, were they entitled Freedom 71? Was that

14 the name given to the manoeuvres?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. So this demand for breaking up Yugoslavia and Croatia's secession

17 in 1971 ended by the replacement of the Croatian leadership and in 1974

18 the new constitution of Yugoslavia was adopted; is that right, Mr. Babic?

19 A. Yes. With the proviso that in the meantime constitutional

20 amendments were adopted to the constitution of Yugoslavia between 1971 and

21 1974, I mean, so that the 1974 constitution just incorporated the

22 amendments that had already been adopted and gave definitive shape and

23 introduced new relationships between the republics of the Socialist

24 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in such a way as that although the country

25 was a federation in name, it actually became a confederation in essence.

Page 1686

1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.

2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that this

3 would be a good opportunity to take our break, if that is agreeable.

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic. We will take our

5 break and come back at quarter to 11.

6 Court adjourned.

7 --- Recess taken at 10.17 a.m.

8 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.

9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry about that little delay.

10 Mr. Milovancevic.

11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.

13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]

14 Q. Mr. Babic, we left off mentioning the new constitution of

15 Yugoslavia or rather the then constitution of Yugoslavia dating back to

16 1974, and you said of that constitution that, in fact, it turned

17 Yugoslavia into a confederation; is that correct?

18 A. [Microphone not activated]

19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone for the witness,

20 please.

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Socialist Federal Republic of

22 Yugoslavia pursuant to the constitution was still a federation but the

23 structure relationship between republics and provinces by the new -- under

24 the new 1974 constitution was changed. Or rather we can say that the

25 Croatian movement in 1971 was defeated but that the demands of that

Page 1687

1 movement were incorporated into the constitution, and Yugoslavia did

2 indeed become a confederation, by virtue of its contents.

3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]

4 Q. You said that it was personally the Croatian leadership, the

5 political leadership of 1971, that the political leadership was defeated

6 because Josip Broz Tito replaced them as president of Yugoslavia, I mean

7 Josip Broz Tito. Now, can you give us some well known names from that

8 1971 year?

9 A. Well, I've already mentioned them. Two political leaders, one was

10 the secretary or rather the party head of the League of Communists of

11 Croatia Savka Dabcevic Kucar, and the second name was Miko Tripalo. There

12 were more but --

13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. What about Pero Pirker, was he among them?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Ivan Zvonimir Cicak, although he wasn't in the party, Drazan

16 Budisa?

17 A. Cicak and Budisa were students at the time. They were not in the

18 party or rather one of them, whether he studied theology, I think, I'm not

19 quite sure, but I don't think they were members of the party. Budisa and

20 Cicak but I can't be sure.

21 Q. The movement for Croatia's independence in 1971, that you talked

22 about, did it include just the party functionaries or were there other

23 members as well? Do you know anything about the fate of Janko Bobetko,

24 Stjepan Mesic, Franjo Tudjman?

25 A. The maspok was in fact a concept for a broader social movement

Page 1688

1 going on in Croatia at the time. The League of Communists of Croatia --

2 well, I can't tell you specifically about the relationships within the

3 movement but the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was part of that

4 movement.

5 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, League of Communists of Croatia,

6 interpreter's correction.

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And I said that

8 different organisations such as the Matica Hrvatska, with Croatian

9 attributes was part of it and they were leaders of the maspok in the

10 society of Croatia, so Matica Hrvatska, was the most extreme or extremist

11 organisation within the frameworks of that movement and the movement

12 itself is linked to Matica Hrvatska. And now all the people, the names, I

13 can't remember them all from that time.

14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. In the 1970s, and later on, the president

15 of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, was he convicted for Croatian nationalism and

16 was he sentenced to a term in prison?

17 A. I heard about that when Tudjman was head of the HDZ and a

18 presidential candidate or rather when he had already become president of

19 Croatia. I heard information about that from a man who had taken part in

20 Tudjman's trial. But from that time, from 1971, I really don't know

21 firsthand.

22 Q. Do you know when the trial took place? Are you talking about the

23 1970s now?

24 A. Yes, I am talking about that time but as I say I heard about it in

25 the 1990s.

Page 1689

1 Q. Did you happen to hear that the present president of the Republic

2 of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic, as president of the Orahovac municipality was

3 given a prison term for Croatian nationalism during those 1970s?

4 A. Well, I don't know what his position was but I knew -- do know

5 that he spent time in prison in Stara Gradiska for that.

6 Q. Do you know that General Janko Bobetko, the Chief of the Main

7 Staff of the Croatian army, in the 91 to 95 events, was pensioned off in

8 1971 and he also had problems because of Croatian nationalism?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Since we have been using the term maspok, is that in fact an

11 abbreviation of two words, mass movement, and whether for that mass

12 movement, the other name was the Croatian Spring and we are talking about

13 1971?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Do you know, Mr. Babic, anything about an event on Mount Radusa

16 near Bugojno in Bosnia-Herzegovina that took place in 1972?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Can you tell us what happened there at the time?

19 A. Well, I can tell you what I heard from the mass media, from the

20 press, and what happened in my surrounding parts.

21 Q. Tell us, please.

22 A. Well, that year, as far as we were informed by the press, a group

23 of Croatian emigres, as they were referred to -- they were referred to as

24 Ustashas, they illegally crossed into some cistern or some kind of truck,

25 they managed to come in from abroad, on a vehicle, into Yugoslavia, and

Page 1690

1 they got out at mount Radusa in western Hercegovina which is between

2 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their objective was to raise an armed uprising a

3 rebellion, and -- against Yugoslavia, and as I myself was in my native

4 village at that time, during that summer, I know that there was movement

5 on the part of the police, that the group was -- they went out to

6 apprehend the group. I think that many of them were taken prisoner and

7 liquidated and that was the event.

8 Q. Would I be wrong if I say that of the 19 members of that group in

9 that operation, 18 were liquidated and that the army and police forces in

10 Yugoslavia or rather that the police and army forces of Yugoslavia had a

11 number of casualties?

12 A. Yes, to the best of my knowledge, 18 to 19 casualties in fact.

13 Q. Do you remember the killing of Ambassador Rolovic in Stockholm,

14 the capital of Sweden. He was the ambassador of Yugoslavia to Sweden and

15 his killing in 1971 and who did the killing?

16 A. I remember. I was at school in Zvezdana and our school was tasked

17 with carrying flowers when Ambassador Rolovic was being buried in the new

18 cemetery in Belgrade. And this had been done by a member of the Sosi

19 [phoen] immigration as we were told. I forget his name. He was arrested

20 and he was arrested, he was imprisoned in Sweden, but the name may still

21 come to me. But I'll tell you later if it does.

22 Q. The two assassins, were they Miro Barisic and Ajdjelko Brajkovic?

23 A. Yes, I remember Barisic but I can't remember the other name,

24 doesn't ring a bell.

25 Q. On that occasion, did they storm into the embassy of Yugoslavia in

Page 1691

1 the capital of Sweden and they killed the ambassador by shooting in -- a

2 bullet in his mouth? Do you remember that?

3 A. Yes, I believe that the event was described in that way.

4 Q. Is it correct that this Ustasha terrorist, Miro Barisic, after his

5 escape, went to Paraguay and instructed special units in martial arts, and

6 then in 1991 he joined the Croatian police and he was killed by the

7 Serbian peasants at the barricades?

8 A. I know that he escaped from Sweden, I don't know where he found

9 himself. I know that he was killed in 1991, somewhere on the line

10 separating the Krajina Police and the Croatian police. I heard that, and

11 even here in this happening, imprisoned people asked me if I knew who was

12 it who had killed this Barisic. I don't know who it was and this would be

13 the answer to your question, actually to your statement.

14 Q. Who was it who asked you in the detention unit about the killers

15 of Barisic?

16 A. Mladen Naletilic, Tuta. Tuta asked me about that.

17 Q. Can you tell us who that person is and how come he's here?

18 A. I met him in the detention unit here. He is a Croat from

19 Herzegovina.

20 Q. He is accused by the Tribunal. Are you referring to that person?

21 That's what I meant.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. The late Miro Barisic, the assassin, the killer of an ambassador

24 of Yugoslavia, did he die as a member of the Croatian police, the police

25 of Franjo Tudjman, in 1991?

Page 1692

1 A. I wouldn't be able to tell you. I don't know.

2 Q. Was he on the Serbian side or on the Croatian side?

3 A. I assume that he was on the Croatian side but I don't know

4 anything about the event itself.

5 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Before you proceed, Mr. Milovancevic, was it in

6 that context that you used the term Ustasha terrorist of Miro before in

7 your previous question?

8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

9 Q. After the reminiscing on 1991 I have another question, Mr. Babic.

10 Do you remember or do you know anything about a similar movement for

11 Slovenian independence in Slovenia before the year 1971? Do you know

12 anything about the road scandal? Did you hear anything about that?

13 A. No, no. I don't have enough information as to be able to say

14 anything about that. I don't know what happened before 1971 in Croatia --

15 in Slovenia.

16 Q. You said that the top leadership in Croatia that wanted Croatia to

17 be admitted into the United Nations in 1971, were eventually replaced by

18 Josip Broz Tito?

19 A. Yes. Savka Dabcevic Kucar and Miko Tripalo were removed from their

20 offices.

21 Q. You have also told us that despite the defeat of the top

22 leadership in Croatia, there were some changes to the constitution in 1974

23 which meant essential changes of the state of Yugoslavia, which was still

24 a federation but was gradually turning into a confederation?

25 A. Yes.

Page 1693

1 Q. Would I be wrong or let me put it in another way: The main

2 authors of the 1974 constitution, were they Slovenian Edvard Kardelj and a

3 Croat, Vladimir Bakaric, and together with them Josip Broz Tito, the Croat

4 who adopted all that as the president of Yugoslavia?

5 A. But also the political leaderships of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,

6 Montenegro, Macedonia, of all the republics, in other words. Otherwise,

7 there could not have been any amendments to the constitution, if there was

8 no consensus on the part of everybody.

9 Q. You've told us that after all of these events that we have just

10 talked about, towards the end of 1989, you participated in the party

11 congress of the League of Communists of Croatia and that one could hear

12 new theories about the position of that party. Were they similar to the

13 theories that were heard in 1971 or did you perceive them as such?

14 A. No. I felt a certain level of ethno-philotism, and that's putting

15 it mildly. Not in the League of Communists of Croatia and not in the way

16 as it was in 1971.

17 Q. At that moment, in 1989, when this congress of the League of

18 Communists of Croatia took place, already from February 1989, there was

19 the Croatian Democratic Union in place as a party?

20 A. I don't know when the Croatian democratic union was established.

21 I don't know exactly, but what I know is that after the congress and the

22 changes to the legislation of Croatia, at the beginning of 1990, it was

23 one of the first parties that had been set up as part of the pluralist

24 political system of Croatia that was set up after the congress of the

25 League of Communists of Croatia. I don't know when this happened, whether

Page 1694

1 it was in February or in some other time. I don't know when the HDZ was

2 established.

3 Q. Mr. Tudjman participated in the meeting on the 24th and 25th of

4 February 1990, in the founding meeting of the HDZ, and he said that this

5 organisation had been active as of February 1989, and when this congress

6 took place, it became a political organisation and it was registered as

7 such. Was it registered even before?

8 A. It could not have been registered before the congress because it

9 took the changes to the legislation in order to register new parties. So

10 the parliament had to pass new laws in order for any new parties to be

11 registered. Is that the answer to your question?

12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Can you tell us when the law was passed

13 that allowed multi-party organisation of the political life in Croatia?

14 A. It was either in late 1989 or early 1990, the beginning of 1990 it

15 was already in force and the date for a multi-party election was set. I

16 believe that it happened already at the congress of the League of

17 Communists of Croatia before the procedure itself to adopt legal norms was

18 passed or the date and the time of the first multi-party elections in

19 Croatia was already set and I remember that there was a lot of debate

20 about that, whether this was premature or not, and I know that the --

21 either the president or the secretary of the party organization of Zagreb,

22 whatever his title was, opposed to such an early setup of the date of the

23 elections. He was of the opinion that this was premature. I remember

24 those details very well.

25 Q. At that time, a law was passed that provided the grounds for the

Page 1695

1 multi-party system in Croatia and a number of new parties appeared on the

2 political scene of Croatia. Do you remember any of them? Can you tell us

3 their names and who their leaders were?

4 A. After the congress and after the laws were passed, until the

5 elections which were held in April and May, the League of Communists of

6 Croatia was gradually transformed and it changed the name. It was changed

7 into SDP which was the party of democratic changes. Then the Croatian

8 Democratic Union was established or rather registered as such. Then there

9 was the Croatian Democratic Party, the Serbian Democratic Party, the

10 Yugoslav independent democratic party, I'm not sure whether the Socialist

11 Party of Croatia was established before or after the elections. Its head

12 was Boro Mikelic, and there was also the Socialist Party of Croats or the

13 Socialist Alliance of the working people of Croatia which was transformed

14 into a new party under the name of the Socialist Party of Croatia and this

15 also happened before the elections. I don't know whether there were any

16 other parties. There must have been but I can't remember.

17 Q. It's enough, Mr. Babic.

18 We mentioned some political figures from the political life of

19 Croatia that were active in 1971, Savka Dabcevic and Miko Tripalo namely,

20 and we also mentioned Mr. Tudjman. In 1990, did Savka Dabcevic took the

21 leadership of a new party?

22 A. Yes. But let me try and remember its name. I can't give you its

23 precise name. I don't know whether she was with the two Veselica brothers

24 in the Croatian people's party or whether she founded her own party.

25 Q. What about Mr. Tripalo, was he a member of a new party?

Page 1696

1 A. Yes, with Savka. He was a member of her party. They were members

2 of the same party.

3 Q. Mr. Budisa, did he establish a party or did he belong to a party,

4 Drazen Budisa?

5 A. Yes, but I can't remember the name of his party. I don't know

6 whether they immediately registered themselves as the Croatian Liberal

7 Party or something similar to that. I don't know. Maybe they were called

8 the Liberal Democratic Party. In any case, that was their name later.

9 Q. It is a notorious fact that Mr. Franjo Tudjman became the first

10 president of the Croatian Democratic Union and there is no dispute about

11 that?

12 A. Yes, you're right.

13 Q. Mr. Stipan Mesic was also, a high-ranking policemen of that party?

14 A. Yes. He was a member of the HDZ. He was just a politician in

15 that party.

16 Q. Yes. In the HDZ, yes?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Can we say in very general terms that all the people who had

19 problems on account of the Croatian nationalism in 1971 and were removed

20 from politics, all of a sudden in 1990 appeared on the scene as the

21 leaders of the best-known new parties in Croatia?

22 A. Yes. What I knew about these people in 1971, they re-appeared in

23 1990, all of them save for Cicak who was probably a member of a non-party

24 organisation, of a non-governmental organisation.

25 Q. Mr. Babic, we were talking about this Croatian Spring as it was

Page 1697

1 known or the maspok that took place in 1971. In 1971, did that political

2 option have an impact on the Croatian population or the population of

3 Croatia? How did people perceive that? How did you perceive 1971?

4 A. The year 1971 caused a lot of ethnic tensions and some political

5 regrouping. I've already mentioned the fact that Croatian nationalists

6 and advocates of the independent state of Croatia rallied around Matica

7 Hrvatska and on the other hand, the Serbs rallied around Prosvjeta. Both

8 these institutions were, on the paper, cultural and arts societies but at

9 that time they became the fosterers of political ideas. As a consequence

10 there was a lot of mistrust, a raised level of fear among the Serbs,

11 especially after the year 1972 and the infiltration of the terrorist group

12 that we mentioned and also the idea of an independent state of Croatia

13 which started being prominent in the Croatian society and in the Croatian

14 general public also gave rise to fear and these are the consequences that

15 lingered on in society.

16 Q. You mentioned certain fear in 1971 and 1972. Who was afraid?

17 What were they afraid of?

18 A. I'm talking about the fear that existed amongst the Serbs because

19 I could notice that in the area where I was, in 1971, the Serbs were

20 afraid, they didn't know what the number of the -- and the strength of

21 that group of immigrants was, the group that was infiltrated. The Serbs

22 feared for their lives.

23 Q. Mr. Babic, that political option, the option of independence, and

24 leaving the Yugoslav federation and asking for membership in the United

25 Nations, did this also cause fear amongst the Serb population? Were there

Page 1698

1 any reactions to that?

2 A. I don't know. I wouldn't be able to define a fear but I can say

3 that there was a counter-political movement which had its origin in the

4 cultural, Serbian cultural society called Prosvjeta. This was a reaction

5 to -- and there was an escalation of political positions that were based

6 on ethnicity and I think that this would be the best description of the

7 relationship that existed at the time.

8 Q. At that congress of the League of Communists of Croatia in 1989,

9 where did you vote against the decision for the League of Communists of

10 Croatia to become independent and you were among a very few who voted

11 against that decision?

12 A. I said that there were two decisions on the table. I voted for

13 the multi-party system but I was against the second decision because I

14 believed the League of Communists had prevalence in society and that it

15 was still ruling -- the ruling party and that it will remain the ruling

16 party even after the multi-party elections, for -- at least for some time,

17 and that there was an imminent danger that a new political option would

18 lead to separation and break-up of republics in Yugoslavia. This was my

19 line of thought at the time, and this is the reason why I voted for the

20 former constitutional and statutory decision.

21 Q. You said that towards the end of 1989, the new law on multi-party

22 organisation of the state was passed and that the new multi-party -- and

23 that the first multi-party elections were called for the month of April

24 1990; is that correct?

25 A. Yes.

Page 1699

1 Q. Can you please tell us what were the political situation was at

2 the time? What was the political campaign in the run-up to the first

3 multi-party elections especially in view of the Croatian population -- of

4 the Serbian population of Croatia?

5 A. The campaign in Croatia started in 1989 and intensified. The main

6 issue on the agenda was something that was outside of Croatia, namely the

7 incidents in Kosovo and the celebration of the 600th anniversary of the

8 Kosovo battle, and this was used to polarise society in Croatia. The

9 first movement was among -- in the trade union of Croatia which supported

10 miners in Trepca whereas Serb members of the trade union in some companies

11 advocated the political option introduced by Serbia in Kosovo. Already in

12 1989, this became a topical issue and at the beginning of 1990 and in the

13 run-up to the multi-party elections, were still among the most topical

14 issues. And then, of course, the political parties that were set up in

15 early 1990 and appeared in the political campaign and on the political

16 scene in the run-up to the second round of elections in May 1990, they

17 advocated political changes; there was a competition of political ideas

18 amongst these parties.

19 Q. These events in Kosovo and as you said the support of the Croatian

20 trade unions to the Albanian claims in Kosovo, did that start in 1989 or

21 did it actually start earlier? Do you have any information about that?

22 A. Well, when was it that they started exactly? But things escalated

23 in 1980, I think, in February, when the trade union supported the miners

24 in the Trepca mines who were on strike. So it was the trade unions of

25 Croatia that supported them. Whereas the Serbs supported the intervention

Page 1700

1 or the political leadership of Serbia towards the miners and towards

2 Kosovo. That is when big rallies were held, rallies of support, to this

3 policy in Knin, Lapac, et cetera, whereas at the same time the federation

4 of the trade unions of Croatia and Slovenia, I think, were collecting aid

5 for the strikers in the Trepca mine. So I remember that, and I remember

6 that this polarisation actually came to the fore then, and these political

7 clashes.

8 Q. These miners in Trepca, Mr. Babic, were they of Albanian

9 ethnicity?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Were they on strike because they sought better working conditions

12 or did they have some other demands?

13 A. I think that it was in the context of political demands in Kosovo

14 that were there for many years, and at that time, they escalated. I

15 cannot give you the exact time but there were demonstrations by students,

16 the general population, workers, in favour of proclaiming Kosovo a

17 republic. There was an intervention by the federal authorities, a federal

18 detachment of the police was set up there. I know that because some

19 policemen from Croatia also went to this detachment which controlled the

20 situation there. I cannot give you the exact time-frame when all of this

21 happened. I simply heard about it from the media. I was following it

22 from a distance.

23 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry to interrupt, Your Honour, I just wonder

24 if we could get a clarification on the time, the year, here. Because in

25 answer to a previous question, it's at line 19, there may have been a

Page 1701

1 misinterpretation but it says 1980 whereas in previous answers it was I

2 believe 1990. So perhaps this could be clarified what year approximately

3 we are talking about.

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you able to do that for us, Mr. Milovancevic?

5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

6 Q. Mr. Babic --

7 JUDGE MOLOTO: While we are at it I was about to ask whether are

8 we likely to come to the relevant period to the case? We've been dealing

9 with history from 1971 and it looks like we are outside the period of the

10 indictment. I'm not quite sure when you hope to get there, if you can

11 give us an idea.

12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I actually wanted

13 to get to this answer through the witness's answers.

14 Q. But let's clarify there particular matter, Mr. Babic. These

15 protests of Albanian miners in Trepca, when did they actually take place?

16 The transcript does not reflect the exact year, 88, 80, when was it?

17 A. I think it was during the course of 1988 until the beginning of

18 February 1989. I cannot say exactly. I just know that in February 1989,

19 there was an escalation of different reactions in society on account of

20 these events. That's what I know.

21 Q. I'm just going to put one more question to you in relation to this

22 particular topic, very briefly. You said that at that time, Albanians in

23 Kosovo were asking for a republic, the federal authorities intervened, and

24 you also said that Slovenia and Croatia support this demand for

25 independence. Is that what you said?

Page 1702

1 A. No. I said that the Croatian and Slovenian trade unions were

2 collecting aid contributions for the miners who were in the Trepca mines

3 on strike. This was a drive by the trade unions of Croatia and then the

4 trade union of a factory in Knin reacted and they condemned the Croatian

5 trade unions for supporting the miners. That's February 1989. And there

6 was a social confrontation in Croatia on account of these events.

7 Q. Since these are political events that do not have to do with this

8 case, really, but just a brief question. What about the demands of the

9 Trepca miners who were sitting in the mines? Were they -- were their

10 demands political or did they want to have better working conditions?

11 A. I cannot give you a precise answer to that.

12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.

13 While answering the questions of the Prosecutor and also in your

14 statements, you said that after this congress of the League of Communists

15 of Croatia in 1989, that you participated in, at the beginning of 1990 you

16 heard of the Serb Democratic Party; is that correct?

17 A. Yes. On TV Belgrade, I think that it was on the day of St. Sava,

18 the 27th of January, I saw academician Raskovic making a statement, after

19 a rally in Donji Lapac; he announced that a Serb party would be

20 established. He didn't say what its actual name would be but he said that

21 it would be a party.

22 Q. Was the establishment of this kind of party announced by

23 Mr. Raskovic at a moment when there was already a law that made it

24 possible to establish different political parties?

25 A. Yes.

Page 1703

1 Q. This Serb Democratic Party that was established in the territory

2 of the then Yugoslav Republic of Croatia, was it registered according to

3 Croatian laws and the federal law?

4 A. Yes, first it was registered according to the Croatian law and a

5 few months later it was also registered at the federal Secretariat for

6 Justice that dealt with this, yes.

7 Q. Does that mean that a decision was passed by a relevant authority

8 of the Republic of Croatia, the ministry for justice and administration,

9 that's probably what it was called, and in this way, was the Serb

10 Democratic Party registered in accordance with the programme that

11 contained its political goals?

12 A. Yes, it was registered, this party was.

13 Q. According to this decision, could the Serb Democratic Party

14 operate in the territory of all of Croatia and could it operate in the

15 territory of Yugoslavia as such?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. This possibility of political activity on the part of the Serb

18 Democratic Party stemmed on the one hand from the decision of the relevant

19 Croatian authorities that it could function in the territory of Croatia

20 and also at the same time it was registered at federal level by the

21 appropriate authorities in Belgrade?

22 A. Yes, it wasn't at the same time. It was a bit later, but yes.

23 Q. Well, I said at the same time in a figurative sense. I hope that

24 we understand each other.

25 A. Yes.

Page 1704

1 Q. Did you have occasion to see this document on the registration of

2 the Serb Democratic Party, this document of the Ministry of Justice and

3 Administration of the Republic of Croatia, and what does it say in it?

4 What are the objectives of the party?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Can you tell us in general terms what it says in this decision?

7 A. In that decision, there are two or three sentences in terms of

8 what the programme of the party is. Briefly, well, now, I would have to

9 repeat it, but perhaps I can just tell you about it in my own words.

10 After all, I handed in a document, and it exists there, and that is where

11 it is precisely specified what it says.

12 Q. Does it say in this document that --

13 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, excuse me, I'm wondering if the -- if

14 Mr. Milovancevic is going to put a document to the witness, whether it

15 could be shown to the witness, for him to comment on it, if that's what's

16 intended here.

17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic? Will you show the witness the

18 document you want to talk about? And possibly also show it to your

19 learned friend on the opposite side and to the Chamber?

20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that is possible.

21 I proceeded from the statement that the witness gave on the 31st of

22 January 2006, wherein the tabs on page 2 of that statement, in tab 2,

23 there is a brief account of the text of that decision, so I thought that

24 the presentation of the document in its entirety would just be

25 time-consuming. That's why I didn't want to produce the document itself.

Page 1705

1 I believe that there is nothing controversial about it. The witness

2 should know what he said in his statement and what the content of this

3 document is. I don't think it is necessary for us to dwell on it now, to

4 find the document. Of course, if you consider this to be necessary I

5 shall do so.

6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, you can do so without looking at

7 a document yourself. But once you start picking up the document and you

8 want the witness to comment on the content of the document, then we've got

9 to know whether you intend to tender that document into evidence, you've

10 got to show it to the witness, and show it to the rest of the people who

11 participate in the proceedings.

12 If, however, that's -- you don't intend tendering it into

13 evidence, you can ask the question and let's see whether the witness can

14 remember what he said.

15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]

16 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Babic, what it said in principle, this

17 decision about the objectives of the political party and why its

18 registration was allowed?

19 A. The Serb Democratic Party shall advocate the introduction of a

20 multi-party system, of a free market in society, also the freedom of

21 speech, of assembly, rule of law, then federal relations within

22 Yugoslavia, regionalisation. Now, what it says exactly in the decision is

23 probably a shorter form. Now, I don't know whether it was all enumerated

24 in the decision itself but these are the basic programme tenets of the

25 party, as was stated in the decision.

Page 1706

1 Q. Thank you for this explanation, Mr. Babic.

2 This is Exhibit 138, which is part of the evidence, so I believe

3 that there is no need to produce this yet again. As far as I can

4 remember, I think that you quoted it correctly. However, what I would

5 like to ask you is the following: You participated in the founding

6 meetings of that party.

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. You explained the reasons for your attendance at these meetings,

9 and your becoming a high official of that party. Can you tell us what

10 these questions were that were of such vital importance for the Serbs

11 living in Croatia? What did the party deal with?

12 A. I already mentioned three main questions and reasons. That is the

13 democratisation of the society itself recognition, that is to say

14 introducing a pluralist multi-party system, introducing a free market, the

15 rule of law, and legality, and so on and so forth. All of that is part of

16 the democratisation of society and doing away with the communist legacy.

17 Another question was the protection of Serb national interests in Croatia,

18 and thirdly the third question was regionalisation, that the party

19 advocated. Since I belonged to a region where Serbs were the predominant

20 population, the programme of the party met my political positions and my

21 assessment that the party would be successful with this kind of programme

22 in the region of Knin where I lived.

23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.

24 For those reasons, you became a member of that party, and then,

25 due to various circumstances and developments, you became one of its

Page 1707

1 officials, too; is that right?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Before that you were a member of the League of Communists of

4 Croatia. Can you tell us whether, in the League of Communists of Croatia

5 and the moment when you enter this new political party, did you personally

6 ever display any nationalist positions or any kind of hatred? Did you

7 have any feelings of that kind?

8 A. No.

9 Q. This programme of the party that was verified by a republican

10 authority that registered the party, did it contain anything that seemed

11 extremist, nationalist, impermissible, non-democratic to you at the time?

12 A. No.

13 Q. You said that one of the questions that this party was supposed to

14 deal with was the question of the Serb people in Croatia. Can you tell us

15 briefly, the then Republic of Croatia as a member of the Yugoslav

16 federation, what was the population of Croatia then and what percentage

17 were Serbs, the Serb people in Croatia?

18 A. The last census dated back to 1981 so I'm going to give

19 approximate figures now. Croatia had about 4 and a half million

20 inhabitants, perhaps a bit more. Out of that, there were about 12 per

21 cent Serbs or a bit more than that. There were a few percentage points of

22 Yugoslavs and others, other nations and nationalities, as it was called at

23 the time, if you meant the ethnic composition of the population of

24 Croatia.

25 Q. That's precisely what I meant, Mr. Babic. So in the structure of

Page 1708

1 the population of the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia, Serbs comprised 12 per

2 cent or, can you remember the actual numbers, the actual figures? I'm not

3 insisting, I'm not insisting that you remember all figures in detail but

4 roughly?

5 A. Well, I think there were about 530.000 of them, a bit over

6 500.000.

7 Q. Can you tell us, and we've already spoken about this, where it was

8 that the Serbs of Croatia lived, in terms of territory and then we'll come

9 to the towns later?

10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before he answers that question, can I clarify one

11 point? Earlier at line 13, the answer starting at line 13, Mr. Babic said

12 that Serbs constituted about 12 per cent or a little bit more than that,

13 of the population. And then there were a few percentage points of

14 Yugoslavs. Now, are Yugoslavs an ethnic group or is the term Yugoslav,

15 does it describe the entire population? Because you then say Yugoslavs

16 and others, other nations and nationalities, as it was called at the time.

17 If you meant the ethnic composition of the population of Croatia.

18 Can you clear that, please?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. According to the rules on

20 stating your ethnicity, and right to state your ethnicity during a

21 population census, there were categories as to how people could declare

22 themselves, ethnically speaking. So there were -- was a list of nations

23 and nationalities under certain numbers, for statistical processing, and

24 when the census was taken you could declare yourself in different ways.

25 You could declare yourself as being a Croat, a Serb, a Slovene, et cetera.

Page 1709

1 Those were the nations or the nationalities or ethnic groups which were

2 Italians, for example, Hungarians, Albanians, and so forth. So those are

3 the nations and nationalities. Then you could not declare yourself in any

4 one of those ways, and then there was a separate category. People who did

5 not declare themselves on an ethnic basis and then there was the category

6 of those who would -- could declare themselves on a regional basis as

7 being a Dalmatian, a Bosnian, and so on and so forth, without it being a

8 national category, a Slavonian or whatever. And then there was ha this

9 additional category of Yugoslav. You could declare yourself a Yugoslav.

10 And that was always the very interesting question of what this is. Was

11 this a national affiliation or was it a regional affiliation, or what was

12 it? So I couldn't give you a clear-cut definition but it is closer to the

13 national option rather than regional. So according to some assessments,

14 these were people from mixed marriages, for example, the children of a

15 mixed marriage or people who did not wish -- who were one nationality but

16 didn't want to stress their national or ethnic affiliation and perhaps

17 declared themselves in the political sense as being Yugoslavs. Either to

18 cover up their nationality or to highlight the Yugoslav nation as being a

19 nationality, your nationality. I apologise if I've taken up too much of

20 the Court's time.

21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Babic. The other question that came

22 from Mr. Milovancevic was where did the Serbs of Croatia live in Croatia,

23 in terms of territory, in case you had forgotten that, Mr. Milovancevic,

24 that was your question, more or less.

25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes,

Page 1710

1 that was it.

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Do you wish me to comment, taking

3 the regions and the municipalities or broader regions? Or generally, do

4 you wish my answer to be a general one.

5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation].

6 Q. Mr. Babic, let's just avoid interrupting each other or overlapping

7 for the benefit of the interpreters, otherwise they are going to have

8 problems, but just one question. The constitution of Yugoslavia according

9 to that constitution, the members of all the nationalities or ethnic

10 groups living on the territory of Yugoslavia were divided into nations and

11 national minorities. Now, the name for these national minorities that was

12 used -- or was the term national minority used in a different sense? You

13 mentioned, you touched upon that issue a moment ago.

14 A. Yes, the population was divided into members of nations and they

15 were the majority nations in Yugoslavia and the nationalities which in

16 fact represented the national minorities and the members of ethnic groups

17 that did not belong to either category, either to the nations or --

18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. That will suffice.

19 I asked you the question so that the Trial Chamber could

20 understand a specific feature of the Yugoslav constitution, and that is

21 this: Who were the nations in Yugoslavia, Narodi?

22 A. Pursuant to the constitution the nations of Yugoslavia was the she

23 convenience, the Croats, the Muslims, the Serbs, the Montenegrins, and the

24 Macedonians.

25 Q. All the others, all the rest, were called or referred to as

Page 1711

1 nationalities which was a synonym for a national minority, can we state it

2 in those terms?

3 A. No, not everybody came under the national minority category. They

4 were national minorities or ethnic groups that came under the term

5 nationality, narodnosti.

6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.

7 A. There were two categories, in fact. The nationalities and the

8 ethnic groups.

9 Q. Pursuant to the constitution, did we have the Yugoslav nations,

10 thew Serb nation, the Croat nation, the Slovenian nation, were the

11 Yugoslavs a nation or not pursuant to the constitution?

12 A. Well, when Her Honour asked me, I tried to explain what the

13 concept of Yugoslav, a Yugoslav consisted of. Do you want me to repeat

14 what I said because that's what I know about that.

15 Q. That will be enough, Mr. Babic.

16 A. Thank you.

17 Q. We were discussing the issue of the areas in Croatia inhabited by

18 Serbs, what those were. But before we go into that, one more question.

19 Pursuant to the constitution, were the Serbs a nation until 1992?

20 A. Yes, in the sense of constitutional establishment that the state

21 was a state of the Croatian people or Croatian nation, and a state of the

22 Serb people in Croatia. That was the constitutional category.

23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have just one

24 slight intervention. In line 14, it says, were the Serbs a nation until

25 1992, it wasn't 1992. It was 1990. 1990 was the date when the Croatian

Page 1712

1 constitution underwent amendments. Thank you. I just wanted to take note

2 of that.

3 Q. So the Serbs lived in Croatia as they -- it being their own

4 republic and they had the position of a nation just as the Croats had, the

5 Croats were a nation and the Serbs were a nation under the Croatian

6 constitution; is that right, Mr. Babic?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Can you tell us what areas, not the municipalities, just the

9 general areas, regions, inhabited by Serbs within the Republic of Croatia,

10 where they lived as a nation?

11 A. The Serbs lived throughout the republic, the Socialist Republic of

12 Croatia as a nation but they were the majority population in Northern

13 Dalmatia, eastern Lika, Kordun, Banija, those areas, and part of Western

14 Slavonia, whereas in other areas, for example, they represented -- well,

15 they also represented a significant portion of the population.

16 Q. Now, the Serbs in Croatia in 1990, did they live in Croatian towns

17 as well, towns throughout Croatia, the urban population?

18 A. Well, in Zagreb there were 6 per cent, for example, in Rijeka,

19 Split, Dubrovnik. That sort of percentage, 5 or 6 per cent. Yes, they

20 lived in the big towns.

21 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I'm sorry, please, Mr. Milovancevic, before you

22 proceed, I'd like to know this from the witness.

23 Did not the persons within the different republics, the six, for

24 example, the Croatians, Macedonians, Slovenians, et cetera, did they not

25 have a sense of identity based on the fact that they were Yugoslavian in a

Page 1713

1 federation that was Yugoslavia? There was not that concept at all?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That Yugoslav identity was not a

3 national or ethnic identity. It was a political identity, as the citizens

4 of a state.

5 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: It was not a reality in terms of how they

6 perceived themselves as part of their identity, you're saying?

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was not their national identity.

8 Yugoslav-hood was not a national identity.

9 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: But there was no separate group that would be

10 known as Yugoslavs, it was a composite description for persons not clearly

11 fit into the other groups?

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour --

13 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I see you're having difficulty after the

14 description is in. I don't know if I'm the only one in the Chamber or in

15 the courtroom that is having a difficulty.

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There are two categories in which

17 one could declare oneself as being a Yugoslav. A Yugoslav in the sense of

18 national affiliation or something similar to that, in Yugoslavia, based on

19 the census. This represented 4, 5, 6 per cent of the population, that

20 category. The category of people who declared themselves as Yugoslavs.

21 And that would be something similar to national affiliation. So in

22 Croatia, which is what I was talking about, 6 or -- roughly 6 or 7 per

23 cent of the population according to the population census declared

24 themselves as being Yugoslavs. That is to say something that could be

25 termed a national category. But it was not -- they were not recognised as

Page 1714

1 a nation or nationality on the basis of the constitution, either of

2 Yugoslavia or the republics.

3 If I might try and explain this a little better, there was a lack

4 of national declaration. If somebody declared themselves as being

5 Yugoslav, they did not wish to declare themselves as being a member of one

6 of the six nations. That would be closest to an explanation.

7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]

8 Q. Mr. Babic, we were discussing the 1974 constitution, and you said

9 that the confederal element came to expression there. Now, what the Trial

10 Chamber is in fact asking you now, it is even difficult for us who lived

11 in that country to understand something like that because in America, an

12 American is an American, whereas in Yugoslavia, you could be a Serb or a

13 Croat or a Macedonian or a Muslim or a Montenegrin but all you couldn't be

14 pursuant to the constitution was a Yugoslav because a Yugoslav was not a

15 nation. Would that help you?

16 A. Well, thank you. What I know from the scientific terms used or

17 scholarly terms used in the world, there are two types of nation. One is

18 the American type or perhaps the French type in Europe, where citizenship

19 is synonymous with nation and there is the European type of nation, for

20 instance in Europe, where you have Italians, Serbs, Croats and so on which

21 is somewhat different a somewhat different concept to the American concept

22 of nation. So that's the best I can do on that point.

23 Q. We have one more minute, Your Honour. Perhaps we could round off

24 that topic in that minute. My last question in that area, when it comes

25 to a population census, the inhabitants in each of the Yugoslav republics

Page 1715

1 and in the then Yugoslavia had the possibility of declaring themselves as

2 to what nation they belonged to, whether they were Serbs, Croats,

3 Slovenes, Macedonians, and all the rest, don't have to go into enumerating

4 them all, but they also had the option of not declaring themselves in that

5 way but stating that we are Yugoslavs. So are those the Yugoslavs you had

6 in mind when you spoke about that category of the population census at

7 that time?

8 A. Yes.

9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I don't think it would be of

10 any use to go on discussing that topic and it's time for the break as

11 well, Your Honours, so if that is agreeable, perhaps we should take the

12 break now.

13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I couldn't agree more with you.

14 Court adjourned, to come back at half past 12.

15 --- Recess taken at 12.01 p.m.

16 --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.

17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.

18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation].

19 Q. Before the break, Mr. Babic, we looked at the national composition

20 of the Republic of Croatia, the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia, in that year

21 of 1990. And we heard from you that after the congress of the League of

22 Communists of Croatia that was held in 1989 or the end of 1989, that you

23 joined the Serbian Democratic Party. Can you tell us the political reason

24 you chose to take that step and leave the League of Communists of Croatia

25 to join the Serbian Democratic Party?

Page 1716

1 A. Well, I think I've already said something about that. First of

2 all, the party programme was in favour of the democratisation of society

3 which meant leaving behind the communist past and introducing a

4 multi-party pluralist system of free market relations and so on and so

5 forth, not to enumerate all the aspect. The second reason was because the

6 party in its programme envisaged the protection of the Serbs in Croatia,

7 who represented the majority in the area of Knin. And that was my third

8 reason, in fact, my desire to give my contribution to the region's

9 development. So in view of the fact that the party had that kind of

10 programme, political programme, and I thought that they would gain support

11 in my region I close to join it. So those were the three reasons for my

12 doing so.

13 Q. You also told us I think that the League of Communists of Croatia

14 and you attended its last congress in December 1989, made the decision to

15 introduce a multi-party system and to call multi-party elections and

16 schedule them, and could you not wage that struggle for democratisation

17 within the League of Communists of Croatia, for example?

18 A. Well, I've already stated my reasons for joining the Serbian

19 Democratic Party.

20 Q. The League of Communists of Croatia, which changed its name into

21 the Party of Democratic Change at the time, so that was the new name, the

22 League of Communists of Yugoslavia Party of Democratic Change, did that

23 party take into account Serb interests in Croatia, the interests of the

24 Serb people in Croatia?

25 A. Well, that party, or rather we had the party standing behind

Page 1717

1 everything, as it was called at the time, the previous year and in the

2 bygone period before the multi-party elections were conducted introduced

3 certain changes and in the name given to the language which shook the Serb

4 population. So that was one reason for which I called those tendencies

5 within that party ethno-philotism, ethno-phile or pro-Croatian orientation

6 of a bourgeois nature.

7 Q. You said that that party in that year, were you thinking of 1989,

8 decided to change, make linguistic changes? How can it do so and what was

9 the substance of those changes?

10 A. I've already said the party stood behind all this because it was

11 in power. It was in power in the Sabor or Croatian assembly. I've

12 already spoken about that. The Croatian assembly, parliament, passed

13 changes in the language, and in the terms, and the party was behind that.

14 Q. The Sabor of Croatia was the Croatian assembly, in other words; is

15 that right?

16 A. Yes. That would be the Serb equivalent or the eastern expression

17 of Serbo-Croatian or Croato-Serbian, as the language was once called.

18 Q. And what were the changes in language? What kind of changes were

19 these? Do you know that in greater detail?

20 A. Well, the name of the language itself recognition as I've already

21 said, the language used to be called Croato-Serbian in official use it was

22 Croato-Serbian in Croatia, that was the official name by which the

23 language went. Now, the change in name, the first change in name, took

24 place during the power of the League of Communists of Croatia in 1989,

25 because there were changes during the HDZ in the 1990s, in the 1990s. So

Page 1718

1 this first change was the change in the name of the language itself, and

2 we had a rather unusual construction for the language's name, and then it

3 was said that in official use in Croatia, the Croatian literary language,

4 which is called either the Croatian language or the Serb language, would

5 be in use. That was the formulation with respect to the name of the

6 language, and it represented a Croatisation or the concept of a common

7 language for both Serbs and Croats but it still somehow satisfied form

8 because they sort of said, well, it's the same thing, if somebody says the

9 Serb language, that would mean the Croatian language as well or if

10 somebody spoke about this Croatian language that would imply the Serb

11 language as well.

12 Now, Croatian literary language, that was a question that needed

13 to be debated, what did that mean in political terms and other terms, and

14 that was the situation before the multi-party elections took place.

15 Q. Now, this question of language, was it a linguistic issue, first

16 and foremost or a political issue, first and foremost?

17 A. Well, it was primarily a political issue and then a linguistic

18 issue because with the language having its name, you had subsequent

19 changes in lexicology and the introduction of dialects, for instance,

20 dialect concepts, from Croatian and archaic terms of the old Croatian

21 language. Well, I'm not a linguistics expert to be able to explain it all

22 very well but, as I say, it was a political step and a linguistic one,

23 too, subsequently.

24 Q. You said that before 1989, in the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia,

25 the official language was Croato-Serbian language. Does it have anything

Page 1719

1 to do with the fact that according to the constitution of Croatia in

2 Croatia in addition to the Croatian people, there were also the Serbs? In

3 other words, the Serbs were a people recognised in the constitution and

4 that's why they had to have their own language? Does it have anything to

5 do with it or not?

6 A. No. Well, there is something to it but not that much. The name

7 of the language was such because it was one language that was spoken by

8 the Croats, Serbs, Muslims, and Montenegrins. It was the technical term

9 for the language in the linguistic literature. This term was used for the

10 language, in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. There

11 were various combinations. In Croatia it was called Croato-Serbian in

12 Serbia it was called Serbo-Croatian and in Bosnia-Herzegovina it was

13 called Serbo-Croatian/Croato-Serbian or alternatively

14 Croato-Serbian/Serbo-Croatian what it all boiled down to was that this was

15 the language of Croats, Serbs, Muslims, and Montenegrins, and it was the

16 one and only language and in that sense, the term was coined in order to

17 establish the relationship between the language and the peoples. And in

18 Croatia, as to the existence of Serbs and Croats as peoples in the

19 constitution, that does have some indirect link with the name of the

20 language but it's a separate issue.

21 Q. If before 1989 the official language in Croatia was Croato-Serbian

22 language and after the changes that took place in 1989, the official

23 language was the Croatian literary language, did that imply that the

24 Serbian language was rejected from the official use?

25 A. No. In 1989, as I've already explained, this very peculiar

Page 1720

1 wording was introduced.

2 Q. Okay. Let's not dwell upon that.

3 A. That was the first changing in the name and then in 1990 under the

4 HDZ, the term Serbian was completely erased from the name of the language

5 and I believe that this is what you want me to talk about.

6 Q. When did this second change in the name of the language take

7 place, the one that was carried out by the HDZ?

8 A. It was in June or rather the beginning of July 1990, and it was

9 incorporated into the -- into draft amendments to the constitution of

10 Croatia.

11 Q. Did this happen after the first multi-party elections in Croatia

12 in April 1990?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. During the first multi-party elections in 1990, was it the HDZ

15 that won the first multi-party elections?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Is it correct that the HDZ had 41 per cent of the total number of

18 votes at the multi-party elections but owing to the majority system, it

19 got the majority of seats in the parliament of Croatia; is that correct?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Is it correct that the president of the HDZ, Mr. Franjo Tudjman,

22 became the president of the Republic of Croatia as well?

23 A. He became the president of the Presidency of the Republic of

24 Croatia, which meant the head of state, yes, in the sense that you're

25 asking me, that is correct.

Page 1721

1 Q. In addition to the introduction of the Croatian language as the

2 official language of Croatia, were there any other changes introduced in

3 terms of the status of the Serbian people in Croatia?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Can you tell us something about those changes that were

6 introduced?

7 A. There were a few changes that had an indirect or direct impact on

8 the Serbian people in Croatia. One of those changes was the abolition of

9 the association of municipalities, which was interpreted as an attack on

10 the right of Serbs, although in direct terms this could not be implied.

11 However in the assembly this was the consequence of that change. You have

12 already mentioned the change in the name of the language, and then the

13 constituent nature of the Serbian people was also changed so the status of

14 the Serbian people who from then on were treated as a national minority.

15 The symbols of the state were introduced in terms of -- in order to

16 underline the ethnic symbols of Croatia, the change in the name of the

17 republic, which did not have any consequence or impact on the interethnic

18 relationship. The word socialist was erased from the name of the state

19 because this was in line with the reforms that were taking place in

20 society. Those were the draft amendments to the constitution which were

21 proposed towards the end of June and the beginning of July 1990. Finally

22 everything was implemented in the new constitution that was passed in

23 December 1990, the new constitution of Croatia, that is.

24 Q. You have spoken in great detail about these changes, Mr. Babic,

25 and you said amongst other things that a -- mono-ethnic symbols of the

Page 1722

1 state were introduced as ethnic symbols of the state. What did you mean

2 by that?

3 A. The chequerboard was introduced and the chequerboard is a

4 customary term for the Croatian historical coat of arms which until then

5 was only one part of the coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia, which

6 also featured the five-pointed star. However, after the changes, the

7 chequerboard was featured on its own, without any additions, and it

8 represented a historical symbol of the Croatian state and the Croatian

9 people. However, it provoked discussions, both amongst the Croats as well

10 as amongst the Serbs, as to the meaning of this chequerboard.

11 Q. Is this chequerboard in any way connected with the independent

12 state of Croatia which existed between the years 1941 and 1945 and what it

13 meant then?

14 A. As I've already said, it provoked discussions and it evoked the

15 Independent State of Croatia when a similar symbol was the symbol of the

16 independent state of Croatia. There was a lot of discussion among the

17 general public in Croatia as to what was the symbol of the independent

18 state of Croatia and what was the symbol of the Republic of Croatia, and

19 it all boiled down to the distribution of fields, the red field and the

20 white field, and the layout of the chequerboard.

21 Q. Can you tell us what was the main political goal of the party led

22 by Mr. Tudjman was?

23 A. It was the democratisation of society, the break-up with the

24 communist past, nationalist and expansionist political goal as well.

25 Q. What in your view was the nationalist goal and what did it mean?

Page 1723

1 A. In general terms, it meant the so-called Croatisation of this,

2 that and the other, all the public institutions started being called

3 Croatian, not in terms of the Republic of Croatia as such but it was

4 rather an ethnic determination. We have already spoken about the

5 structure, the changes in the names and the introduction of the so-called

6 "new-speak" into the political language, and the language in the society,

7 and also there was a new political programme that went for the creation of

8 a confederation or ultimately the creation of an Independent State of

9 Croatia. At least during the election campaign of the president of the

10 party, Mr. Tudjman, this state should have incorporated parts of

11 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12 Q. Now that you've mentioned Bosnia and Herzegovina and the political

13 goal that relates to Bosnia and Herzegovina, I would like to tell you that

14 we will go back to that later on but now let me ask you this: In order to

15 sum up whatever happened during this very short period of time in the

16 first half of the year 1990, could you say that the constitutional changes

17 meant that the Serbs lost their status of a nation in Croatia, that they

18 lost their language, that they lost a possibility to organise their

19 association of municipalities that had existed in the constitution until

20 then, that they lost their own symbols and that they had to accept

21 Croatian symbols and that the main Croatian symbol was the same

22 chequerboard that was the symbol of the independent state of Croatia that

23 was the execution ground of many a Serb during the Second World War?

24 A. Yes. Everything save for the shape of the chequerboard. It did

25 remind of the chequerboard that was used during the Independent State of

Page 1724

1 Croatia. However, an explanation that was given was that the Ustasha

2 chequerboard started with a white field, whereas the real, the genuine,

3 historical one started with a red field. So my answer would be yes, with

4 this little reservation.

5 Q. Did all these changes that took place in the political life of

6 Croatia and that concerned the Serbian people in Croatia, were they all

7 announced and were they announced by the notorious sentence used by

8 Mr. Tudjman at the founding meeting of the Croatian Democratic Union, who

9 said, and I quote, "The independent state of Croatia, the fascist,

10 quisling creation of Croatia was not only a quisling Croatia and a fascist

11 crime but also an expression of historical strive of the Croatian people,"

12 do you remember that?

13 A. Yes, Tudjman did utter that sentence.

14 Q. The constitutional changes that were introduced through the

15 amendments to the constitution of Croatia, did they meet with the approval

16 of the Serbian people in Croatia or were -- was the Serbian people opposed

17 to that?

18 A. The political representatives of the Serbian people opposed those

19 amendments, and this opposition was supported by the Serbian people at

20 their plebiscite.

21 Q. Can you tell us what form did this opposition take, the opposition

22 of the representatives of the Serbian people in Croatia, that is?

23 A. First of all, there were political rallies at which there were

24 discussions on the constitutional amendments. There it was a public

25 debate amongst the representatives of those municipalities where the Serbs

Page 1725

1 constituted a majority, the representatives in the parliament and other

2 public figures discussed those amendments and rejected them. When the --

3 Q. That is enough, Mr. Babic. We will come to the topics that you

4 have just tackled. I wanted to ask you something else and I apologise for

5 interrupting you.

6 The fact that the constitution was being changed at the time, was

7 it done according to a procedure? Was it done by way of amendments? Were

8 the constitutional amendments introduced in keeping with the constitution

9 of the Republic of Croatia? I'm talking about the year 1990.

10 A. As far as the legality of those amendments is concerned, yes.

11 However, in general terms, in terms of the principles contained in the

12 constitution, my answer would be no.

13 Q. What of these amendments was not in keeping with the constitution

14 in terms of the principles contained in the constitution?

15 A. If I may provide you with the conclusion that the political

16 representatives of Serbs passed at the time, they believed that it was a

17 prevalence or the imposition of the will of one constituent people on

18 another constituent people which was a violation of the constitution.

19 Q. This predominance that you're talking about, was it done with very

20 clear symbols, with very clear reference to some symbols from the past,

21 for example, the chequerboard and the new words that were introduced?

22 A. Yes. I've already spoken about the chequerboard and I -- I've

23 told you about the discussions and the interpretations of that

24 chequerboard amongst the Serb the problem was emphasised especially in the

25 Serbian media, the chequerboard was considered the symbol of the Ustasha

Page 1726

1 state and the Serbs gradually adopted such an interpretation of the

2 chequerboard. On the other hand, I've told you what it represented. It

3 had been part of the coat of arms of the Socialist Republic of Croatia. On

4 its own it was the historical coat of arms of Croatia and the Croats said

5 that because of the distribution of fields, it was not an Ustasha symbol.

6 But what I am trying to tell you is what the reaction of the Serbs was.

7 The Serbs perceived this chequerboard as something that had a link with

8 the Independent State of Croatia. That's how the media interpreted it.

9 Q. We've already mentioned that Mr. Franjo Tudjman, at the founding

10 meeting of the Croatian Democratic Union in February 1990 spoke about the

11 independent Croatian state as a historical strife of the Croatian people.

12 Do you know whether the most prominent people from the Ustasha

13 immigration, who had come from abroad, and who had previously been banned

14 from returning to Yugoslavia, were they sitting at that meeting? Were

15 they there?

16 A. I believe that you're talking about the first generally of the HDZ

17 that took place at the time. This was not at the founding meeting of the

18 HDZ or at least not in formal terms. The party already existed and this

19 was the first rally of the HDZ. I don't know who attended that meeting.

20 However, the media, in the media there was news that a lot of political

21 immigrants who had previously not been able to return to Yugoslavia were

22 present at that rally. I don't know who these people were.

23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. When these amendments were introduced,

24 those that concerned the status of the Serbs, the national status of the

25 Serbs in Croatia, the Serbs proposed their objections to the amendments,

Page 1727

1 introducing such changes to the Republic of Croatia. Is that correct?

2 A. Those amendments were rejected because they were perceived as the

3 amendments that violated the constitution and the rights of the Serbian

4 people to be a constituent people in Croatia.

5 Q. I don't know if we understood each other properly, Mr. Babic. I

6 just wanted to ask the following. There this kind of constitutional

7 amendment was proposed did the Serbs respond by their counter-amendments

8 and what happened to that?

9 A. There was a rejection of these amendments and there were proposals

10 that had not been accepted by the commission for preparing a new

11 constitution, the new constitution of Croatia. There were two types of

12 proposals. One had to do with the items on the agenda concerning changes

13 to the constitution, that was the autumn of 1990, and then there was the

14 proposal to establish an autonomous region or district of Krajina within

15 Croatia, but that was rejected by the Croatian parliament.

16 Q. In order to understand what we've just been discussing, can you

17 tell us what the basic tenet of the Yugoslav federal constitution is from

18 1990? Who led the federal state, the federation? There were the

19 republics and what organs were in the federation?

20 A. The assembly, the Presidency of the SFRY, the federal executive

21 council.

22 Q. That's what I meant, Mr. Babic. Thank you.

23 What about the Presidency of the SFRY? To put it in very simple

24 terms, was that the collective head of state?

25 A. Yes.

Page 1728

1 Q. Can you tell us who the members of the Presidency of the

2 collective head of state were in 1990? I'm not asking you about the

3 actual names of the members but what structures did they come from?

4 A. First of all, it was one single representative from each republic

5 and autonomous province.

6 Q. How many republics did Yugoslavia have in 1990?

7 A. Six.

8 Q. How many members did the Presidency of Yugoslavia have?

9 A. Eight.

10 Q. Can you tell us how come six republics have eight members of the

11 Presidency?

12 A. I already said that each republic had a member respectively and

13 then also the two autonomous provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina.

14 Q. These two provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina, according to the

15 constitution of Yugoslavia from 1974 were where, whose provinces were

16 they, an integral part of what?

17 A. They were part of the territory of Serbia, but they had a dual

18 constitutional position. They were within Serbia and within the

19 federation.

20 Q. So according to the constitution of 1974, the Republic of Serbia

21 as one of the members of the Yugoslav federation had within it two

22 autonomous provinces that had a very high degree of authority; is that

23 right?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Did any other Yugoslav republic have any autonomous provinces

Page 1729

1 within their composition?

2 A. No.

3 Q. In the evidence you've given to date, you've mentioned a great

4 deal, different areas in the former Yugoslav Republic of Croatia, you've

5 mentioned Dalmatia, Kordun, Lika, Banija, Slavonia, Baranja. You even

6 showed us the borders of these area; is that correct, Mr. Babic?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Did any of these areas have the status of an autonomous provinces

9 in the sense in which Vojvodina and Kosovo had that status?

10 A. No.

11 Q. As for Vojvodina and Kosovo as parts of Serbia, according to the

12 constitution of Yugoslavia, did they decide on the president of the

13 Presidency of Serbia so without the Kosovo and Vojvodina votes could the

14 president of Serbia be elected?

15 A. Now you've put a question to me that I'm not quite sure of but I

16 can tell you what I know. The election of the members of the Presidency

17 was carried out within the assembly until the new constitution of Serbia

18 was adopted in 1990. Now, I don't know exactly what you meant, which

19 period in mind -- which period of time you had in mind.

20 Q. You said the Kosovo and Vojvodina as parts of Serbia were members

21 of the Yugoslav federation, too. For example, they gave their own

22 president -- own members for the Presidency of Yugoslavia; is that

23 correct?

24 A. Yes, but that was in the Chamber of republics and provinces in the

25 federal assembly.

Page 1730

1 Q. Is it correct that the representative of Kosovo, otherwise an

2 ethnic Albanian, Fadil Hodza, was the president of the Presidency of

3 Yugoslavia in the 1980s?

4 A. Yes, during one term of office, yes.

5 Q. Can you tell us how this came about? Out of these eight members

6 of the Presidency, one would be the presiding member, the president. What

7 was the mechanism involved?

8 A. There were rules of procedure or a protocol regulating the shifts

9 involved among the presidents -- members of the Presidency who would be

10 president and who would be vice-president, a certain order was set. So

11 for one year, one of the members of the Presidency would carry out the

12 duties of the president of the Presidency, and, of course, another member,

13 one of the members of the Presidency, would be the vice-president of the

14 Presidency. So there was a system of rotation. One of the members of the

15 Presidency would come to this position of president of the Presidency.

16 Q. In order to make what you've told us just now clearer, in 1990,

17 and before that, did Slovenia have its own member of the Presidency and,

18 if so, who was it?

19 A. Yes. Slovenia had Drnovsek, Janez Drnovsek.

20 Q. That's right. What about Croatia? Did it have its representative

21 in the Presidency of Yugoslavia?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And that was?

24 A. When, in 1990?

25 Q. I think it was Mr. Mesic?

Page 1731

1 A. First it was Stipe Suvar, and Mesic was first Prime Minister and

2 then during the course of 1990, I don't know exactly when this happened,

3 but until the end of 1990, Croatia did change its member of the

4 Presidency, Suvar was recalled and Mesic came to the Presidency.

5 Q. What about the other republics and these two autonomous provinces,

6 did they all have their respective members of the Presidency of

7 Yugoslavia. So the Presidency consisted of eight members and these eight

8 members elected their president of the Presidency, the presiding member;

9 is that correct?

10 A. Yes, well.

11 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I think this question has now been

12 asked several times and it's been answered.

13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic? Do you have anything to say? I

14 think we have been going in circles around the same point for a long, long

15 time.

16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm just trying to

17 get an answer from the witness to my question, my question being whether

18 the constitutional provision from the federal constitution made it

19 possible for every republic, every member of the Yugoslav federation that

20 when its order -- its turn came, according to a certain order, a certain

21 protocol that had been agreed upon previously, that they would get their

22 own president of the Presidency. Did every Yugoslav republic and province

23 have that possibility and then the witness was talking about that.

24 JUDGE MOLOTO: That question can be put in a very small and short

25 sentence. You have actually put it before and the witness told you that

Page 1732

1 there was a rotation system in terms of which every republic got an

2 opportunity to be -- to get the president -- the Presidency of the

3 Presidency. You even asked him about Kosovo, which is -- which was then

4 an autonomous region and he said, yes, Kosovo did get an opportunity to

5 get -- to be president of the Presidency. I think you can ask that

6 question one simple sentence and get the answer. We are moving way out of

7 the area of the indictment. We are doing a history of former Yugoslavia,

8 and we haven't got much time. This witness has got only two more days

9 with us.

10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with all due

11 respect, the defence is just trying to get an answer to the question in

12 terms of the thesis put forth by the Prosecution.

13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just put your question to the witness. Let the

14 witness answer it.

15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not going to

16 comment the charges made by the Prosecution in terms of the political

17 situation in Yugoslavia, but I put these questions in order to get some

18 answers in this respect. However, now you started a question that

19 actually confused me, totally. So far, we have not had any information as

20 to how long the cross-examination of this witness would last. This

21 witness is the most important Prosecution witness that is to appear here

22 and he was examined for more than four days. I think that the remaining

23 two days that you refer to are absolutely inappropriate for the Defence

24 and that the Defence has to raise a great many other important issues.

25 This has just been an introduction to those questions.

Page 1733

1 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, if I might address that, this was

2 something I was going to raise with Defence counsel after today's session

3 and try to address it with the Chamber outside of Court so as not to use

4 up court time but now that it's come up, the Court is, of course,

5 referring to the fact that the witness is scheduled to finish at the end

6 of the week of -- on March 3rd, for other reasons, and that's how it's

7 been scheduled. However, that schedule was made contemplating that we

8 would be sitting additional days. And now that we have this gap of one

9 week, I do think that we should address whether the witness could be held

10 over a little bit longer so that the Defence has adequate time to

11 cross-examine the witness. And that was something I was going to ask the

12 Defence counsel how long he anticipated needing and then raise with the

13 Court whether the witness could be kept perhaps an additional day or two

14 so the cross-examination could be finished. Having said that, I do think

15 that the cross-examination so far has gone quite afield on some areas and

16 if there is some way that it could be moved a little more quickly. But

17 I'd leave that to the Chamber to deal with.

18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I would imagine on the first point, Mr. Whiting, if

19 what has happened before can be taken as precedent, if you do want the

20 witness to stay a little longer, you do that by motion, don't you?

21 MR. WHITING: That was my intention, and I'll take care of that,

22 Your Honour.

23 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's right. So there is no need to either

24 discuss it with the Chamber or with the Defence outside court. You can

25 just do that by motion. You can discuss it with the Defence to find out

Page 1734

1 how long they are going to be with him in order for you to determine how

2 long you would like him to be here for.

3 MR. WHITING: That was my intention, thank you, Your Honour.

4 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's right. On the second point, this is not the

5 first time the Court has indicated that, in fact, the cross-examination is

6 going afield, and we've been trying to get Mr. Milovancevic to at least

7 come back to the issues of this case. I once again say so to you,

8 Mr. Milovancevic. I do not want to restrict you in your cross-examination

9 of the witness, but I think it is important to stay relevant. We've been

10 irrelevant in terms of time, we've dealt with 1971, some 20 years prior to

11 the period relevant to this case. We are now talking about the

12 constitution of the Presidency of the SFRY. This witness has indicated in

13 one sentence that there was a rotational system in terms of which each of

14 the republics and the autonomous regions, the two autonomous regions got

15 an opportunity to become president of the Presidency. I'm not quite sure

16 what else we need. But if there is anything else you need, by all means,

17 get to it and let's get to it as fast as we possibly can. Thank you very

18 much.

19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I appreciate what you've said,

20 Your Honour, and I shall always go by your words, and honour them. I just

21 wanted to say that the Defence tried to indicate a highly relevant fact,

22 namely that the efforts to destroy Yugoslavia, which in 1990 was the only

23 internationally recognised entity, did not start in February, 1989, but a

24 lot before that, 20 years before that. So what happened in 1990 was just

25 a finale of a long process where one has to view the roles of all the

Page 1735

1 protagonists involved, their true and concealed objectives, in order to

2 draw a conclusion as to what actually happened on the scene, on the

3 political scene in Yugoslavia. I'm sorry to have burdened the Trial

4 Chamber with so many facts that have to do with the previous period, but

5 this is just a sketch of what happened beforehand and what finally

6 exploded in 1991.

7 Throughout these proceedings, we have been talking about Croatia,

8 about the JNA, about its role as an aggressor, the Defence is just trying

9 to point out one detail: The only international legal entity in 1990 was

10 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia as a subject of

11 international law. In order to understand what was going on and what the

12 true causes were and what were the consequences and effects only, I guess

13 I went into quite a bit of detail but I tried to give you a full picture.

14 May I proceed now?

15 JUDGE MOLOTO: You did go into quite a bit of detail and you

16 haven't told us one wit about what Mr. Martic did from 1971 to 1990. And

17 this court is here about Mr. Martic, and we haven't heard one word about

18 what he did from 1971.

19 Yes, please go ahead, Mr. Milovancevic. Let us get on with the

20 job.

21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since this is

22 cross-examination, as for the role of Mr. Martic in this period, the

23 Defence is going to talk about that when we reach a stage in these

24 proceedings when that is our objective. Now we are only responding to

25 what was put another by the Prosecution during examination in chief. I

Page 1736

1 shall move on to my question straight away.

2 Q. Mr. Babic, what was the factual consequence of the decision to get

3 rid of the Serbs as a people, as a nation, from the Croatian constitution,

4 indeed what was the legal effect of that?

5 A. Well, what is your question? You have two there, I think.

6 Q. Let me be more precise. You say that the Croatian parliament

7 adopted the amendments and threw out the Serbs from the constitution of

8 Croatia as a nation; is that correct?

9 A. I was very specific. I said that on the 25th of July 1991, the

10 Croatian parliament adopted the proposed amendments to the Croatian

11 constitution and in the month of December, perhaps I'm not going to get

12 the date exactly right, but I think it was the 23rd of December maybe,

13 when it adopted the new constitution of the Republic of Croatia, in which

14 the Serbs were no longer treated as a constituent peoples, nation, but

15 were reduced to the concept of a national minority, if that was what you

16 meant by your question.

17 Q. The right of political assertion and the position of Croatia as a

18 member of the Yugoslav federation, could the Serbs have that right when

19 they were reduced to a national minority, this right of expression,

20 political expression?

21 A. This question was opened up in April and May 1991, in the

22 following sense or rather in the sense that you mention.

23 Q. Thank you.

24 A. The status of a state, and this was pursuant to an agreement of

25 the presidents of the republic that met and the crisis that escalated at

Page 1737

1 that time. So could you tell me what period you mean? What period do you

2 have in mind?

3 Q. We'll come to that.

4 Mr. Babic, you said that the Serbian Democratic Party started

5 dealing with issues which were vital to the Serb population in Croatia,

6 and then you said that the amendments to the Croatian constitution were

7 rejected; is that right? When was that and who did that?

8 A. At the Croatian parliament or rather the assembly of the Serbian

9 people in Croatia held on the 25th of July 1991, the amendments were

10 rejected to the Croatian constitution which delved into the question of

11 constituent nationality of the Serbs in Croatia. Is that what you meant.

12 Q. Was that in the 25th of July and was it held in the town called

13 Srb and who attended that rally and was a decision passed or that assembly

14 meeting? When -- what were the decisions?

15 A. About 100.000 citizens of Serb ethnicity from the Republic of

16 Croatia territory took part in that assembly. What was your next

17 question?

18 Q. Were any other political representatives of the Serb people who

19 attended?

20 A. Yes. There were representatives of the democratic party, the

21 Yugoslav independent democratic party, representatives of the Serbian

22 Orthodox Church, and individuals, of course.

23 Q. Was all that in 1990, the 25th of July 1990?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Because in the transcript, it says 1991. So there was an omission

Page 1738

1 there. It was 1990, right?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Can you tell us what the basic decisions of that declaration were,

4 the declaration that was adopted? What were the decisions?

5 A. The declaration was adopted rejecting the constitutional

6 amendments to the constitution of Croatia which denied the status of the

7 Serb nation as a nation on a footing of equality with the other nations in

8 Croatia, and the declaration also determined and ascertained that the

9 constitutional amendment relating to rescinding the communality of

10 municipalities be rejected. The declaration also speaks about strivings

11 towards a possible or rather the declaration assumes future relations in

12 Yugoslavia and the way in which the national rights of the Serbs in

13 Croatia would be realised and it was said and decided that if Yugoslavia

14 remains a federation, the Serb nation, the Serb people, are called for

15 territorial -- would call for territorial autonomy or self-government, and

16 if Yugoslavia was structured and organised as a confederation of states,

17 then the Serb people would ask for political territorial autonomy within

18 the frameworks of the Republic of Croatia. So that -- well, you have the

19 text of the declaration itself if you wish to discuss it further. You can

20 refer to the actual declaration.

21 Q. Yes, it would be a good idea to place on the overhead projector

22 and on our screens, the declaration of the sovereignty and autonomy of the

23 Serb people of the 25th of June 1990 and it is found in tab -- the number

24 is 02141952, 02141953. ERN number, that is. And I think it was Exhibit

25 141.

Page 1739

1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you say that you want that on the ELMO?

2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

3 JUDGE MOLOTO: May we please have it on the ELMO?

4 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

5 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm told it can be put on e-court. May we please

6 have it on e-court?

7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] It is Exhibit 141 and I think

8 that we could see it on the e-court, yes. We have the declaration on our

9 screens.

10 Q. Can you read out what it says? It is in B/C/S or the Serb

11 language. And there is an English version as well. Can you read point 1

12 of the declaration, please?

13 A. "Within the borders of the socialist Republic of Croatia which is

14 the state of the Serb people as well, living in the socialist Republic of

15 Croatia, the Serb nation on the basis of its geographical, historical,

16 social and cultural characteristics is a sovereign nation with all the

17 rights contained in the sovereignty of nations." Do you want me to read

18 on?

19 Q. Just dwell there for a moment. Let's stop there for a moment.

20 That first paragraph of Article 1, point 1, does it refer to the Serb

21 people within the borders of Croatia? Is that something that is not

22 challenged? We are talking about the Serb people living within the

23 borders of the Republic of Croatia, is that right?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, what does it say? Would you read on, read the next paragraph

Page 1740

1 for us, please?

2 A. "The Serb people in the socialist Republic of Croatia has the full

3 right of joining in communality with the Croatian people or independently

4 in establishing new relationships in Yugoslavia should -- may decide

5 either for a federative or confederal state organisation."

6 Q. Read the next paragraph, please.

7 A. "With no forms of Yugoslav communality can be elected without the

8 participation of the Serb people, and this is particularly true for -- in

9 situations of a legitimate secession. Nations are seceded, not states,

10 nations can secede, not states."

11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic.

12 These quotes from this declaration on the autonomy of the Serb

13 people, are they in conformity with the provisions of the Croatian

14 constitution and Yugoslav constitution? Is there anything there that

15 would be contrary to positive Yugoslav law, law positive, at that time?

16 A. I've already spoken about that. I said that the Serbs and Serb

17 political representatives of that time interpreted the principles of the

18 Croatian constitution. This was interpreting with those principles. Now

19 as far as the principles and concept of who had the right to secede,

20 whether it was the republics or the people, that was a debatable issue at

21 that time. The Serbs accepted this concept advocated by Milosevic and the

22 socialist party and the leadership of Serbia, which met in September and

23 was expounded by Abedisa Borojevic [phoen], that it was the nations that

24 had the right to self-determination regardless of republican borders, and

25 this related to that particular position and concept and its acceptance.

Page 1741

1 Q. Can you read out the next provision, point 2 of the declaration?

2 The entire point?

3 A. "On the basis of its sovereignty, the Serb people in Croatia have

4 the right to autonomy. The contents of that autonomy will depend on the

5 federal or confederal setup of Yugoslavia. Under conditions of a federal

6 state setup the Serb people have the right to unimpeded and limitless use

7 of the Serbian literary language in official and private use, the Cyrillic

8 script in schools and Serbian school programmes, and that's where my text

9 ends here. I see nothing further on my screen.

10 Q. Turn to the next page of that same document now, please.

11 A. It continues: "Cultural and political institutions, enterprises,

12 the press and Serb radio and television. An organisation of this type of

13 autonomy can be implemented only through full municipal self-government,

14 especially in the municipalities where the Serbs make up the majority and

15 by linking up those municipalities within a community under conditions of

16 a confederative state setup of Yugoslavia, the Serb people in Croatia have

17 the right to political, territorial autonomy."

18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Now, in that point 2 of the declaration,

19 according to that point by this political act, are the Serb people in

20 Croatia called upon to realise their constitutional rights which existed

21 up until then for them as a nation?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. In paragraph 2 of point 2, do we see which rights the Serb people

24 have under a federal state setup? Is that what is stipulated?

25 A. Or the rights required or demanded, yes, for the realisation of

Page 1742

1 those rights, yes.

2 Q. Now, these right, the rights mentioned in paragraph 2, the right

3 to use the Serbian literary language, the right to use the Cyrillic

4 alphabet, the right to have schools and Serbian school programmes, the

5 right to their political and cultural institutions, the right to their own

6 enterprises, press and Serb radio, television, were those rights enjoyed

7 by the Serb people at that time in Croatia?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Could the Serb people realise those rights on the basis of

10 municipal self-government which is referred to in paragraph 3, especially

11 in those municipalities where the Serbs were the majority population and

12 by the linking up of those municipalities into a community?

13 A. Yes. That was the optimum way in which those right could be

14 realised and enjoyed.

15 Q. Requirements and demands of this kind, democratic -- basic human

16 rights, in fact, are being stressed by the Serb people at a point in time

17 where the amendments to the Croatian constitution are just about to be

18 adopted in which the Serb people are being eradicated from the

19 constitution, where the Serbian language is being thrown out of the

20 constitution, at which point in time they are -- local self-government is

21 being made impossible through the community of municipalities because they

22 too are being pushed out of the constitution?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, in point 2, does it mention autonomy and then provide for two

25 options, one variant would be within a federal state and the second option

Page 1743

1 would be within a confederal state?

2 A. Yes. These are the possibilities. These are the options. And

3 solutions under supposed conditions, assumed conditions, of that kind,

4 because solutions of that kind were already up for discussion within

5 Yugoslavia as a whole.

6 Q. You said that the then leadership of Croatia, led by Franjo

7 Tudjman, spoke about a future confederal setup for Yugoslavia or an

8 independent Croatia, is that true?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, in the last paragraph of this declaration on the sovereignty

11 and autonomy of the Serb people, does it say that or rather the last point

12 in point 2, that under a confederative state setup the Serb people in

13 Croatia would have the right to political territorial autonomy, is that

14 what it says?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. This last paragraph, then, is that an answer or response to

17 possible political options to which the new leadership of Croatia was

18 aspiring, conducting the constitutional amendments that we have been

19 discussing?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Now, in points 3, 4 and 5 of this declaration on the sovereignty

22 and autonomy of the Serb people, does it say who the political

23 representative the Serb people in Croatia is to be?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Now, those political representatives of the Serb people in Croatia

Page 1744

1 pursuant to this declaration, are they the Serb Sabor or assembly meeting

2 in Srb whose executive organ is the Serbian National Council?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. In point 4 does it say the following, that the Serb National

5 Council has the right to organise plebiscite -- a plebiscite for the Serb

6 people to state their views on all questions of vital interest to their

7 position in Croatia and Yugoslavia, as well as other issues having to do

8 with the realisation of Serb sovereignty and autonomy?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Does point 6 of this declaration state that this Serb Sabor or

11 assembly at its session in Srb on the 25th of July 1990 proclaims null and

12 void for the Serb people in Croatia all constitutional and other legal

13 amendments denying its sovereignty as a nation and diminish their

14 autonomous rights?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. [Microphone not activated]

17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for counsel. Microphone.

18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Thank you.

19 Q. Up until that time, did the Croatian Sabor or assembly, had it

20 already rejected all the Serb amendments?

21 A. No. On that day, the assembly met in Zagreb, on that same day.

22 Q. On that same day, the assembly met in Zagreb, and what was the

23 topic?

24 A. It was the adoption of the constitutional amendments, that was on

25 the agenda. Now, what I want to say is this: That was a response to the

Page 1745

1 meeting of the Croatian parliament to pass the amendments to the

2 constitution that we are discussing here.

3 Q. Can we then say that by adopting this declaration, the

4 representatives of the Serb people in Croatia just tried to ward off the

5 negative consequences that would emerge from a change in the Croatian

6 constitution?

7 A. Yes. Or rather let me be more precise. They wanted to protect

8 their rights under the principles of the constitution that was in force

9 until that time.

10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Babic. Now, point 7 of the declaration, does it

11 say the following that the Serb people in Croatia are seeking nothing more

12 than the right that is other modern nations in Europe have had for a long

13 time and are enjoying?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. This assembly in Srb, in terms of its content and in terms of its

16 mode of operation, did it constitute any kind of extremist national

17 behaviour on the part of the people present or was this a struggle for

18 vital national rights?

19 A. It's two questions. It did not constitute extremist nationalist

20 behaviour. Rather, as interpreted in the public, as well, or rather as I

21 interpreted its function, it was the second half, the other half, of the

22 parliament of Croatia, because one half, not an exact laugh in terms of

23 numbers, was in session in Zagreb at that time. This was the other half,

24 consisting of the Serbs.

25 Q. What about the Serb National Council? It was the executive organ

Page 1746

1 of the Croatian Sabor. Did it act in accordance with paragraph 4 of this

2 declaration, namely organise a plebiscite of the Serb people in Croatia

3 with regard to all questions that are relevant to their status?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. When was this done and how was this carried through?

6 A. The Serb National Council were elected by the assembly in Srb. It

7 was constituted on the 31st of July 1991. At this first session a

8 decision was reached to organise a referendum. The legal grounds for this

9 were not specified. It was just stated that a plebiscite or a referendum

10 of the Serb people would be organised until the legal grounds for carrying

11 out the plebiscite were established. At the second meeting of the Serb

12 National Council on the 16th of August, in Dvor Na Uni, a decision was

13 adopted for that announced referendum or plebiscite would be carried out

14 in accordance with the constitutions of Croatia and Yugoslavia and

15 relevant laws and that it would not be called a referendum but it would be

16 called an expression of views in accordance with the Croatian

17 constitution.

18 Q. Could you say when the Serb people in Croatia expressed their

19 views in that way?

20 A. From the 17th of August 1990, until the 2nd of September 1990.

21 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Excuse me, may I ask, in the answer before, Mr.

22 Babic, you said 31st of July 1991. This also is 1990, I suppose.

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I meant 1990, and in the other

24 answer, I said from the 19th of August until the 2nd of September, whereas

25 I see here a different date, the 17th of August.

Page 1747

1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]

2 Q. The plebiscite was held and what was the turnout like and what

3 were the views stated by the population?

4 A. The turnout was, if I can put it in descriptive terms, almost 100

5 per cent. That is to say that a large percentage of people voted. The

6 plebiscite or rather this expression of views was held in the territory of

7 Croatia throughout Yugoslavia and abroad. That is to say that Serbs from

8 Croatia who did not even live in Croatia at that time voted, and then

9 there were interpretations in terms of whether there was even a turnout

10 greater than 100 per cent. A large number of Serbs turned out, and 99 per

11 cent or whatever of those who voted in the referendum voted in favour of

12 autonomy.

13 Q. So the Serb people in Croatia who took part in this referendum,

14 did they state their views on their autonomy in Croatia?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. In December 1990, did the Serb National Council and the temporary

17 Presidency of the municipalities of Dalmatia and Lika proclaim the Serb

18 Autonomous Region of Krajina and did they adopt the Statute of the

19 Krajina?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. This Serb Autonomous Region of Krajina, according to this statute

22 and according to the decision establishing it, is it defined as a form of

23 territorial autonomy within the Republic of Croatia?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Can it be said that the Serbian National Council, as a temporary

Page 1748

1 executive organ of the Serb assembly and of the Serbs, observing the

2 results of the plebiscite, reached a decision on the establishment of a

3 Serb autonomous region, the Serb Autonomous Region of Krajina as an

4 integral part of the Republic of Croatia an autonomy within Croatia, so

5 did they respect the political will of the Serb people?

6 A. The Serb National Council only proclaimed the decisions that were

7 reached by the assemblies of the municipalities that constituted the

8 municipalities of western -- of Northern Dalmatia and Lika. So it was

9 renamed into the Serb Autonomous Region of Krajina. So it's not that the

10 Serb National Council reached the decision, they only proclaimed that the

11 municipalities confirmed the status and that the Serb Autonomous Region of

12 Krajina was established as an integral part of the Republic of Croatia.

13 Q. That's right, Mr. Babic. Thank you for your answer.

14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I think that it is time for the

15 adjournment now. It is quarter to 2. We shall continue when the Trial

16 Chamber tells us that we will.

17 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I -- just a small matter. It's

18 happened a couple of times. It's a minor point but nonetheless I raise

19 it. I would just ask if the Court could ask Defence counsel to refrain

20 from saying to the witness, "That's right," when he's given answers, after

21 he's given certain answers, he says, "that's right, Mr. Babic." It seems

22 to me that's a subjective argument.

23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Apart from it being the subject of argument are,

24 it's a kind of unacceptable echo in the recording of the proceedings, Mr.

25 Milovancevic. It's just something that is discouraged in these fora. I

Page 1749

1 don't know how you take that.

2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I accept what

3 you've said to me with full respect, with a brief explanation. The

4 witness corrected me. My question was not fully in line with what he had

5 been saying so then I confirmed that he said what he said, not wishing to

6 influence the witness in any way. Of course, I shall bear in mine the

7 instructions of the Trial Chamber. Thank you.

8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.

9 The matter stands adjourned to the 2nd of March at quarter past 2

10 in Courtroom I, this courtroom.

11 Court adjourned.

12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.49 p.m.,

13 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 2nd day of March,

14 2006, at 2.15 p.m.