1 Wednesday, 25 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.19 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning. Good morning, sir. May I just
7 remind you that at the beginning of your testimony you made a declaration
8 to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing else but the truth. I just
9 remind you that you are still bound by that declaration.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm aware of that, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
12 I don't know whether I should let you speak or should I speak
13 before you.
14 MR. BLACK: Please go ahead, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: We got the news. We're terribly sorry. May his
16 soul rest in peace. Thank you very much.
17 MR. BLACK: Should I proceed, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: What was the point you were going to make?
19 MR. BLACK: No, I was just going to continue with the
20 cross-examination, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. You may continue with the cross-examination.
22 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 I know that following on from Monday there was a discussion and
24 the Prosecution filed a written response on the issue of further evidence,
25 but I'll just wait until the Court brings that up. I can continue in the
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please do.
3 MR. BLACK: Thank you.
4 WITNESS: MILE DAKIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Black: [Continued]
7 Q. Good morning, Mr. Dakic.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. I'm going to continue with my questions now for a while.
10 On Monday where we left off was we were talking about the period
11 around July and August of 1990, so I'm going to take up there again. And
12 actually, it would be great if you could have a copy of your statement.
13 MR. BLACK: If the registrar and the usher could provide the
14 witness with a copy, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 MR. BLACK:
17 Q. Sir, this way you'll be able to follow along as I -- and I'll
18 point you to specific paragraphs as much as I can. And my first question
19 or two will be in regards to paragraph 21, where you discuss the seizure
20 of reserve police weapons. And you say there that the Croatian MUP began
21 taking away reserve police weapons "in all Serb municipalities on the
22 territories of Northern Dalmatia and Lika."
23 Sir, in fact what happened was the reserve police weapons were
24 seized only in Benkovac. There may have been an attempt to seize them in
25 Obrovac but it failed, and there were no other places where the Croatian
1 MUP seized reserve police weapons in August 1990, at least in that area
2 that you referred to; correct?
3 A. Mr. Prosecutor, it is a fact that the Croatian police was not able
4 to seize weapons everywhere because the police sided with the people in
5 many areas and they were unable to see this through. But there was the
6 intention to seize weapons in all the Serb-inhabited areas while at the
7 same time the HDZ was arming its members. We knew where this was all
8 going. We know that in Glina the Croatian police occupied the local
9 police station.
10 Q. Okay. But I'm -- it's correct, isn't it, that it was only in
11 Benkovac where the reserve police weapons were actually seized, not in all
12 Serb municipalities, as you put it in your statement, right?
13 A. The intention was evident, and that was to seize weapons in all
14 the Serb municipalities. But they were unable to pull this through
15 because the police station -- some of the police stations sided with the
16 local people.
17 Q. Sir, that's not -- sir --
18 A. The transcript says the Croatian police began taking away arms and
19 weapons placed at police station warehouses in all Serb municipalities.
20 So what I said was that it began seizing weapons; I did not say that it
21 seized weapons in all these municipalities. I stand by what I said in my
22 statement. And there is this well-known incident --
23 Q. No, sir --
24 A. -- where a helicopter was returned to the JNA --
25 Q. We've heard about that well-known incident from other witnesses,
1 so you don't need to address it. But you didn't talk about -- in your
2 statement about intentions. What you said was they began with taking away
3 the weapons; in fact, that's not true. Only in Benkovac were weapons
4 taken away or seized and nowhere else, right, in August of 1990?
5 A. I don't have the exact information as to where weapons were taken.
6 I know that they began the process, that there -- the intention was there,
7 and I stand by my statement that this was indeed their intention --
8 Q. Okay.
9 A. For instance, I was at the head of the Petrova Gora museum and we
10 had weapons. And the Karlovac police force came to take the weapons. I
11 told them that the weapons stored in the museum were not workable and that
12 they could not be used. Therefore, they tried to seize all the weapons
13 that existed in the Serb-inhabited areas.
14 This crime was long in the making. We anticipated what was to
15 happen. We suffered a genocide, a pure genocide in World War II. In my
16 area where I hailed from, one out of three people were killed --
17 Q. I apologise for interrupting you. We don't need to hear about
18 World War II. I'm focused on the 1990s. When was it that you say that
19 this happened that the Karlovac police came and tried to seize weapons
20 from the Petrova Gora memorial? When did that happen?
21 A. I know that it happened toward the end of 1990. They came to
22 bring me into -- before the Karlovac court because I wrote a satirical
23 poem about Tudjman and they wanted to charge me for that.
24 Q. Well, thanks for the date. That's what I had asked you about.
25 You know, in your statement the reason you talk about this is
1 you're trying to make a point about the -- and then you make a point about
2 the purpose of seizing reserve police weapons --
3 MR. BLACK: I apologise, Your Honour. Do you have something
4 before I move on?
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Didn't you ask a question now? I think the witness
6 can answer your question and then I can put mine.
7 MR. BLACK: Very well. Thank you.
8 Q. Sir, my question was: In your statement when you talk about this,
9 then you start talking about the purpose of seizing these weapons. And
10 it's -- and you talk about the referendum, so it's clear you were talking
11 about August of 1990. And I just want to ask one more time to see if
12 we're clear on that. In August of 1990, only Benkovac had its reserve
13 police weapons seized by the Croatian MUP; correct?
14 A. Yes -- well, I don't know. I'm not sure that it didn't happen
15 elsewhere, but let's say that this was the way it was.
16 Q. Okay. Because you don't know of any other place that it happened
17 in August 1990; correct?
18 A. I know that at Donji Lapac they were supposed to come and seize
19 weapons, but the people broke into the depot and took the weapons. The
20 president of the Executive Council Milan Djukic went to Zagreb out of
21 protest because in his opinion weapons should not end up in the hands of
22 the people; they had no business having weapons.
23 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I believe you had a question for the
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Dakic. At page 4, line 19, starting
1 from line 19, the Prosecutor asked you a question as to when it was that
2 you say this happened, and "this" refers to the attempt to take weapons
3 from the Karlovac police station -- I beg your pardon, not from the
4 Karlovac police station but from the Petrova Gora memorial; that's what
5 you say. And when the Karlovac police came and tried to seize weapons
6 from the Petrova Gora memorial, you said: I know that it happened toward
7 the end of 1990. They came to bring me in to -- before the Karlovac court
8 charge because I wrote a satirical poem about Tudjman and they wanted to
9 charge me about that.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are giving us the reason in that answer why
12 they came. They came to try and charge you. This doesn't seem to have
13 anything to do with taking weapons from Petrova Gora. Would you agree
14 with that?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely, yes. But at the same
16 time they told me that I should appear before the court.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed. That's what they told you. They didn't
18 say they are coming to take weapons from Petrova Gora; they were coming to
19 get you to appear before the court, and the reason they wanted you to
20 appear before the court is because you had written a satirical poem about
21 Tudjman, based on your own evidence.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, sir.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this was something they
25 told me in passing, as a matter of fact, that I should appear before the
1 court. But the purpose of their arrival there was to seize weapons. The
2 chief of police from Vojnic went along with me to make an inventory of the
3 weapons, to see whether all the weapons were there. We made the
4 inventory. And the man who had come from the Karlovac police station went
5 back to Karlovac and he satisfied himself that indeed the weapons were all
6 still up there. I recall his name, and I mean the name of the policeman
7 who came to Vojnic. His name was Vucnjec [phoen].
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's fine, that's fine. That's a new story.
9 That doesn't detract from my questions. My questions were precisely that
10 what you had told us didn't contain what you are telling us now.
11 You may proceed, Mr. Prosecutor.
12 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Dakic, at the end of one of your responses just before His
14 Honour asked you these questions you said that Milan Djukic went to Zagreb
15 out of protest - this is in regards to Donji Lapac - because in his
16 opinion weapons should not end up in the hands of the people; they had no
17 business having weapons.
18 You did not share that view, did you?
19 A. Well, perhaps I misspoke. Not in the hands of the people but in
20 the hands of the individuals he didn't trust. And he abandoned his post
21 out of protest, went to Zagreb, and was subsequently appointed to a senior
22 position within the police force during the war. And after the war he
23 established the Serb National Party in Zagreb.
24 Q. Okay. Let me focus your attention on paragraph 22 of your
25 statement. And here you say that the aim of the Croatian MUP at this
1 time, in August of 1990, was not only to collect arms of the reserve
2 police but to prevent the Serb referendum which was scheduled for the
3 19th of August, 1990. Sir, doesn't that seem to you a rather round-about
4 way of preventing a referendum, seizing reserve police weapons?
5 A. Well, in fact this was an opportunity to prevent the referendum
6 from going ahead, but the main purpose was to disarm all Serb
7 municipalities, because this was the area of the Krajina which was known
8 to have been an area where wars were waged throughout -- through history.
9 The people, the local people, felt safer while having these weapons, but
10 I'm sure that this exercise of collecting arms was connected with the
12 It says here that I went past some barricades and that the
13 barricades were organised by civilians --
14 Q. Sir, let me interrupt you --
15 A. -- that those were mostly civilian rifles that were to be found at
16 these barricades --
17 Q. Sir, please again just focus on my questions. And sometimes I --
18 I don't speak right at the end of when you finish speaking, it's because
19 I'm listening to the interpretation. I'm not inviting you to keep going
20 on to another topic. It's just that I need to get the interpretation
21 before I can ask you the next question. So please focus and try to focus
22 your answers on my questions, okay? Thank you.
23 Sir, you alluded to something similar, but let me put this to you:
24 The real purpose of these attempts, unsuccessful except for in Benkovac,
25 to take control of reserve police weapons, the real purpose was simply to
1 establish control over those weapons in municipalities where the
2 authorities felt there was a risk that those weapons would be used against
3 the Croatian government, as subsequently in fact happened in Knin, right?
4 That was the purpose of taking control of these police reserve weapons?
5 A. Mr. Prosecutor, this wasn't the matter of control, but the matter
6 of physically seizing weapons. They could have had control over the
7 weapons by simply listing them and knowing what there was to be found.
8 This was no control. This was seizing of weapons and relocating them to
9 the areas with a Croatian majority.
10 Q. Okay. Well, I don't want to spend too much more time on this.
11 But you say it's seizing the weapons. Well, these weapons were weapons
12 that already belonged to the Croatian police, right? They were simply
13 moving their own weapons from one place to another.
14 A. This can't be true because there are two equal people in Croatia.
15 They were under the constitution at the time, and you can't speak of
16 weapons being taken from one people and given to others --
17 Q. Sir, let me interrupt you --
18 A. When this police officer came to Vojnic, he asked that the
19 weapons --
20 Q. Sorry to interrupt you, sir, you must have misunderstood me. I
21 didn't talk about the Croatian people seizing weapons. It was about the
22 fact that these weapons belonged to the Croatian police, to the MUP of
23 Croatia, right, so they already were -- they already belonged to the MUP
24 of Croatia, and the MUP of Croatia was just taking their own weapons to
25 another place, right?
1 A. Yes, but with what objective? That's my question. What was the
2 actual goal? Well, you can imagine what it was. The main goal was to
3 have the Serb people disarmed and defenceless, and then they would be easy
4 to manipulate. And this is proved by the fact that subsequently genocide
5 was committed on a large scale.
6 Q. Let me turn your attention to another paragraph, 26, of your
7 statement. There you say that the Croatian constitution of December 1990
8 caused the war by making Serbs a national minority instead of a
9 constituent people. This is something I think you were just referring to.
10 But, sir, isn't it true that before 1990 there had already been
11 confrontations and violence in the Krajina before 1990; correct? Before
12 December 1990, excuse me.
13 A. There were such instances and confrontations, but I'm not sure
14 what sort of violence you're referring to. Still, there was no war. One
15 could not even imagine that there would be a war. The people in Krajina
16 did not think about waging a war; we thought about securing our rights.
17 The -- the amendments to the constitution caused the Serb people to
18 basically experience a death. If you have one constituent people in a
19 country that had -- had this status over centuries, then what happened
20 subsequently to the people is without precedent in history. I'm a
21 historian. I can tell you that. Where you have a nation which is a
22 constituent nation and had been back in the 16th, 17th century, all
23 through to the 20th century, the only precedent was the Ustasha state in
24 the 1941 to 1945 period. And this is the actual cause of the war.
25 Q. Sir, that was quite a long answer, and I'm -- please, I want you
1 to really focus on just answering my questions and try to keep it brief,
2 if you can. And my question was -- I guess maybe it wasn't clear. I'm
3 focused on the timing of the war, and you say that before this -- these
4 changes to the constitution there is no war, no one was thinking of war.
5 There's an exhibit in our case, Exhibit 491. I can show it to you if you
6 want to, but I don't think we need to pull it up. And what it is is it's
7 an official decision by the RSK on the 28th of July, 1992, that they
8 decided -- they officially determined that the war started on the 17th of
9 August, 1990. Were you aware of that decision?
10 A. No decision was made concerning the war in -- having started in
11 1990. It could only have been done by Milan Babic to have issued a
12 declaration of the state of war, but nobody accepted this. And this was
13 done outside the Croatian -- the Serb National Council. The war actually
14 started on the 31st of March, 1991 --
15 Q. Sir, I'm going to --
16 A. -- with the well-known events at Plitvice.
17 Q. Okay. Let me have a look --
18 MR. BLACK: If we could see on the e-court, please, Exhibit 491.
19 I think we'll have to turn to the second page in both the English and
20 the B/C/S.
21 Q. Sir, can you see there that this is a document from the RSK and
22 it's dated the 28th of July, 1992.
23 MR. BLACK: And if we could scroll down, please. There, that's
25 Q. Do you see there in numbered paragraph 1 that it says that the war
1 began on the 17th of August, 1990?
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: This is on page 2?
3 MR. BLACK: Yes, Your Honour, it should be. I didn't bring a hard
4 copy, but it should be on page 2 of the English and the B/C/S. The B/C/S
5 is on our screens.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, I have the English. I have the English on my
7 screen, and there's no sentence on ...
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I speak?
9 MR. BLACK:
10 Q. Actually --
11 A. Regardless of the fact that Zdravko Zecevic --
12 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... so that we can all follow
13 along with you. I apologise for the interruption. Just a moment
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me tell you what I've got on my screen. I've
15 got military post number 6065, internal number 234-1, 28th of August,
16 1992, Petrinje. And then from there it's all blank right down up to the
17 bottom where it just says page 2. Unless -- unless I've got a completely
18 different -- okay, it has come on my screen now. Thank you very much.
19 MR. BLACK: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour, I'm glad we sorted that
21 Q. Witness, first before you give your explanation it's correct here
22 that it says here that according to the RSK the war started on the 17th of
23 August, 1990, right?
24 A. No, it's not right. Your Honours, it's not right that the war
25 began on that date --
1 Q. No, sorry, let me interrupt you fist. But this was -- that was
2 the conclusion of the RSK, correct, and I'll give you a chance to explain
3 why you disagree, but it says here that the war started on the 17th of
4 August, 1990, right?
5 A. It is a document by the president, President Zecevic. He's a man
6 who runs ahead of the cart sometimes. But the war didn't begin then, it
7 began in 1991.
8 Q. Sir, by -- by blaming the December 1990 constitution for causing
9 the war, what you're really trying to do is shift all the blame away from
10 any Serbs and push all that blame on to Croatia. Isn't that right?
11 A. I claim with full responsibility --
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to object -- just a
13 minute, sir.
14 I have an objection to make over the observation in the sentence
15 that the blame should be put on the other side. Does the Prosecutor wish
16 to try the Serbs in this trial? In the transcript it says "Serbs," but
17 the translation we got was the Serb people. So what I'm objecting to is
18 this: I'm objecting to the position taken by the Prosecution and his
19 question. Is he trying to shift the blame from the Serb people to the
20 other side? That is quite unacceptable, or perhaps the Prosecutor thinks
22 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, this is a baseless objection. What I
23 said was is the witness trying to shift the blame away from any Serbs,
24 those were the words I used, any Serbs and put the blame on to Croatia?
25 The Serbs or the Serb people obviously are not on trial here; Milan Martic
1 is. But what I'm focused on is what the witness is trying to do in his
2 statement by shifting all blame on to Croatia and away from any Serb
3 actors, be it the RSK or individual Serbs or any Serbs. That is why I
4 used that language.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Any response, Mr. Milovancevic?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness can
7 be right or can be mistaken when he tries, as the Prosecutor says, to
8 shift the blame to the Croatian state. But to say that it is the people
9 who are to blame, to formulate a question in that way is something that is
10 quite unacceptable. And in this Tribunal we try cases on the principle of
11 individual responsibility, each individual, each accused. There are no
12 entire nations that were to blame; there were during World War II and they
13 ended up in the crematoriums and in Jasinovac. We saw what that was like.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I be allowed to say something?
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, you are not allowed to say something.
16 The objection is overruled. You may proceed.
17 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Mr. Dakic, do you need me to repeat the question or do you
19 remember it, can you answer it?
20 A. Could you repeat the question, please.
21 Q. Sure. Let me go back and try to make sure that I put it the same
23 By blaming the December 1990 constitution for causing the war,
24 what you're really trying to do is shift all the blame away from any Serbs
25 and push all that blame on to Croatia. Isn't that right?
1 A. No, that is not right. The Serbs are a minority nation in Croatia
2 and were never able to dictate to the majority Croatian population, or
3 rather, its leadership what they were supposed to do and how they should
4 function. So the Serbs in this case were the minority nation and the
6 And I say with full responsibility that this constitution, the
7 so-called Christmas constitution, was at the centre and was, in fact, the
8 basis of the war in Croatia. Had that constitution not existed, had we
9 remained a constituent people in Croatia, I say with full responsibility
10 as a historian there would have been no war.
11 Q. Thank you. Let me turn your attention now to paragraphs 29 and 30
12 of your statement, where you refer to dismissals of Serbs and in
13 particular you talk about loyalty oaths. Isn't it true, sir, that some
14 Croats were also forced to declare loyalty or be removed from their jobs
15 in the SAO Krajina in 1991?
16 A. I don't know of any such cases, although -- well, I don't know
17 about them personally, but I could have heard stories to the effect that
18 Croats that opposed the HDZ policy also had to bear the blame and make
19 declarations and statements. However, I don't personally know about that,
20 although I did hear about cases of that kind happening.
21 Q. Okay. So I'm -- maybe my question wasn't clear. What I meant to
22 ask you about is that in 1991 some Croats were forced to sign or declare
23 their loyalty to the SAO Krajina or risk being removed from their jobs.
24 Isn't that right?
25 A. I can't really answer that question. All I know is what the
1 rumours were, that there were Croats who had to write declarations and
2 things of that kind, but those were rare cases. I named two people from
3 Zagreb whom I knew who worked in the defence ministry and who one day some
4 20 of them were called to a meeting and they were told that they were not
5 going to work after that day.
6 In my firm where I was the director, there were 37 employees and
7 an order arrived --
8 Q. Sir, let me interrupt you --
9 A. -- according to which we were supposed to dismiss --
10 Q. Are you talking about Croats being dismissed from their jobs
11 within the SAO Krajina or are you talking about something different than
12 that now?
13 A. No, nothing about the dismissal of Croats in SAO Krajina. I'm
14 talking about the Serbs being let go en masse from their jobs throughout
15 the territory of Croatia.
16 Q. Sir, that's in your statement, and I was asking you about
17 something -- specifically about Croats being dismissed and I think you
18 said you didn't know anything about that. Let me give you one specific
19 instance and see if that jogs your memory; if it doesn't, just tell us.
20 It's true, isn't it, that in early 1991 ethnic Croat police in
21 Plaski were required to sign loyalty oaths to the SAO Krajina MUP or they
22 were dismissed, isn't that right, or do you not know anything about that?
23 A. I don't know anything about that.
24 Q. Okay. Let me turn your attention to paragraph -- well, in fact
25 it's mentioned in paragraph 31, paragraph 33, 38, paragraph 54 and maybe
1 others, and the topic is illegal arming, and you make a number of
2 references to illegal arming by Croatia.
3 And my first question on this topic, sir, is: Isn't it true that
4 Serbs in the Krajina were also illegally arming themselves from August
5 1990 onwards?
6 A. All I know is that weapons at the time were being procured in one
7 way or another because evil times were looming and people came by those
8 weapons on the black market mostly clandestinely. You would give your cow
9 for one rifle and things of that kind; that's what people did. But there
10 was no systematic arming in 1990. Some weapons from the JNA or other
11 sources or things of that kind.
12 Q. Well, okay, I think there's two things. First, it wasn't a
13 hundred per cent clear, but do I take you to say: Yes, Serbs were
14 illegally arming themselves in the Krajina from 1990 -- August 1990
15 onwards? And then I'll move to the question of organisation afterwards.
16 But could we get a clear answer to that question, please.
17 A. There were sporadic cases whereby people purchased weapons, but it
18 wasn't on a massive scale until Croatia threw us out, or rather, the
19 leadership threw us out of the constitution.
20 Q. Okay. And when you say "people," just so that it's a hundred per
21 cent clear, you're talking about Serb people, people of Serb ethnicity;
23 A. Yes, yes, certainly.
24 Q. And in fact, that arming was organised, I would put to you, by
25 people including Milan Martic and the Council for National Resistance, for
1 example, there was organised arming of Serbs from August 1990 onwards,
2 wasn't there?
3 A. Well, I know that the arming started mostly in 1991. I don't know
4 about that happening in 1990, any systematic arming at any rate.
5 Q. Okay. But would you agree with me that certainly in 1991 there
6 was systematic arming of the Serbs, Serb population in the Krajina?
7 A. No, no. Not then, not yet.
8 Q. When -- when do you say that this systematic arming began?
9 A. Well, it's like this, you see. I was the president of a party,
10 and I was the vice-president of the Serbian National Council. I was not
11 in that sphere and didn't have contacts of that kind, so I can't really
12 say when it began. And it's been 11 years since then. I am a refugee. I
13 haven't been back to my native area and 15 or 16 years have elapsed since
14 those events, so I can't remember now. I can't really say.
15 Q. Well, let me ask you about something very specific and it happened
16 either in July or of August of 1991. You personally transported a
17 truckload of weapons sent by Milan Martic through Bosnia up to the
18 Petrova Gora region, right? Do you remember that?
19 A. Well, I don't know what year that was. I can't tell you that now,
20 but I know that there was some trophy weapon -- there was some trophy
21 weapons in a truck and that we transported it, but not to attack Croatia,
22 to defend ourselves.
23 Q. And on that trip do you remember running into Milan Babic and
24 talking to him?
25 A. No, not during that trip. All I know is that I met Milan Babic
1 somewhere in the area of Novi, but that wasn't at that time. It was on
2 another occasion when we had this meeting in a motel.
3 Q. Okay. And on that occasion, when you met Milan Babic in the area
4 of Novi, at that time you were also transporting a truckload of weapons,
5 weren't you, sent by Milan Martic. And you were taking them back to
6 Vojnic, to Petrova Gora?
7 A. I don't remember that. It wasn't then. In my opinion, that did
8 not happen then, because we had a separate meeting with Milan Babic but
9 that wasn't at the time when that truckload of weapons was being
10 transported. I don't remember that that happened then. At that meeting
11 Milan Babic put me forward as staff commander of the Territorial Defence,
12 so commander of a -- the structure of a federal state, a legal structure.
13 Q. Okay. I see, sir, I think we may be talking about two different
14 events to some extent. And I'm focused --
15 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Mr. Black, before you proceed, I would just like
16 to find out from the witness.
17 The occasion that you're talking about in respect of the
18 transportation of weapons that you were involved in, where were the
19 weapons being transported from to, and about how many weapons were
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the weapons were loaded up
22 onto a truck; that was in Knin -- well, not really in Knin but the place
23 near Knin - what was its name? - I'll remember in due course. It was
24 trophy weapons, M-48 rifles, that kind of thing, of different calibres,
25 but not combat weapons, not the kind of weapons that the Yugoslav People's
1 Army used, but it was trophy weapons from a depot. I can't tell you how
2 many. I remember there were 15 rifles of that kind and probably other
3 weapons as well, but I can't really say.
4 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: What precisely are trophy weapons?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Trophy weapons are old weapons,
6 dating back to World War II.
7 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: But these weapons, they would still have been in
8 working order?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. Prosecutor, it
10 could be used, yes, certainly. But it lagged far behind the other types
11 of sophisticated weapons that were being used.
12 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: You have told us where the weapons were loaded,
13 in Knin, but where was the destination, the final destination, for those
14 weapons and did they reach there?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it did reach Petrova Gora, and
16 it was stored up there. And the Territorial Defence had control of that
17 weaponry. I don't know what happened to those weapons afterwards, myself.
18 It was distributed to people who went to do village watches, part of the
19 village guards, watching over their villages, not to attack anybody but to
20 stand guard over their villages and to prevent an attack or crimes.
21 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you.
22 Mr. Black.
23 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Dakic, I'm going to move on to a new topic now, and it's at
25 paragraph 33 of your statement. I guess it's actually -- it's still
1 connected to the issue of arming but there specifically you talk about
2 Martin Spegelj, and there's one phrase in particular. You say: "The
3 whole Croatia backed Spegelj."
4 Sir, that's a bit of an exaggeration, isn't it?
5 A. Well, perhaps it wasn't stated in the best way. We can't actually
6 say that the whole of Croatia did, but most of the Croatian public. I
7 don't want to say the people, but public figures in Croatia certainly.
8 Q. And you say most of the Croatian public figures, I think is what
9 you're saying, but it's also true, right, that there were public figures
10 in Croatia who did not back Spegelj, right?
11 A. Absolutely, yes.
12 Q. Did you know that in Martin Spegelj's published memoirs he
13 describes how Tudjman, Franjo Tudjman, disagreed with him about the need
14 to arm Croatia, that they had disputes about that issue? Did you know
15 about that?
16 A. I'm not aware of that. I don't know.
17 Q. Did you know that Spegelj was dismissed from his post as defence
18 minister by Tudjman in August of 1991?
19 A. I know he left his post, but he was always in the -- those
20 political and military circles. He was always someone to be reckoned
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. Look now at paragraphs 35 and to some extent --
23 yeah, 35 and 42, which talk about Plitvice. I want to ask you a couple
24 questions about that.
25 First of all, in paragraph 35 you say that in February 1991 the
1 Croatian MUP established a police station in Plitvice where one had never
2 existed before. Sir, Croatia, and specifically the Croatian MUP, was
3 entitled to establish police stations anywhere on its territory; correct?
4 There was nothing unlawful about that?
5 A. I remember those events. On that particular day, the 31st, I
6 happened to be in Plaski, not far away from Plitvice --
7 Q. Sorry, sir, let me interrupt you. I think you're getting ahead of
8 me a little bit. I want to ask you about this specific issue about --
9 A. I apologise, yes.
10 Q. It's no problem. Before we get on to the 31st of March, you say
11 that the Croatian MUP established a police station in Plitvice where one
12 had never existed before. And my question is that it's correct, isn't it,
13 that the Croatian MUP was entitled to establish police stations anywhere
14 on its territory; there was nothing unlawful about that.
15 A. Well, whether it was lawful or not, I don't know, but -- well,
16 that's a debatable point. Whether at -- during those fateful days in a
17 purely Serb area where the Serbs made 90 per cent of the population in the
18 Plitvice area, whether it was opportune to set up a police station there.
19 The Serbs saw that as a threat and, quite simply, did not agree with it.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I just -- I'm sorry to do this to you. From --
21 from your question, Mr. Black, I inferred that the word "redarstvenici"
22 means MUP. I just want to get confirmation of meaning of that word.
23 "Redarstvenici," Witness, what does that word mean? Did you hear
24 the question?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are you asking me? Is that a
1 question for me?
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed it is a question for you, sir. It's a word
3 from your statement; I want to know what it means.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] MUP.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues]...
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't understand the question.
7 Do you mean the secretary or --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, no, I'm not meaning the secretary. I'm meaning
9 that word that is written in paragraph 35 that's in italics that reads
10 "redarstvenici," or I don't know whether I'm pronouncing it correctly. I
11 just want to know what that word means.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, "redarstvenici" were policemen.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is that policemen or is that MUP?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, members of the MUP, the
15 Ministry of the Interior, that's -- they were under the control or command
16 of the MUP of Croatia, that's it.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
18 Thank you.
19 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Sir, it's also true, isn't it, that the SAO Krajina police
21 established police stations where none had ever existed before in
22 different places, including, for example, Civljani, isn't that right, in
24 A. I don't have information to that effect.
25 Q. Very well. That's -- if you don't -- if you don't know about
1 that, that's fine. I can move on to the next question.
2 Let's look now a little bit at paragraph 42 and together with
3 paragraph 35. In paragraph 42, you say that the Croatian special forces
4 attacked Serbian villages and village guards in order to re-establish
5 their police station in Plitvice on the 31st of March, 1991. And I'm a
6 little confused because in paragraph 35 you said that a police station was
7 set up in February, and now you're saying that they were trying to
8 re-establish one at the end of March. And those two don't seem to go
9 together. Can you explain that, please?
10 A. I can explain it in this way. There were attempts to establish it
11 for the first time, to establish a police station for the first time, but
12 there was intervention from the Yugoslav People's Army on that occasion.
13 And I think that that police station withdrew, so this was a second
14 attempt to establish a police station at Plitvice.
15 Q. You mentioned the Yugoslav People's Army, but in paragraph 35 you
16 say that SUP Secretary Martic was the one that asked the Croatian MUP to
17 leave Plitvice. Was it Martic or was it the JNA, or both?
18 A. Well, both. Both. Martic asked that that be done, as far as I
19 remember, and so did the SFRY Presidency, to avoid a war, to avoid a
20 conflict, and to calm the situation down, to prevent a war from breaking
22 Q. Okay. So -- and -- so that request was essentially honoured, and
23 in February 1991 a police station was not -- not established in Plitvice,
24 just so I have the chronology right. Is that correct?
25 A. Well, I don't remember -- I knew it existed for quite some time
1 after the -- I see, on February, you're asking me about February. No, I
2 don't think it existed; that's my opinion at least, that it wasn't in
3 existence in February.
4 Q. Okay. Thank you.
5 MR. BLACK: I apologise for going a couple minutes over. It's a
6 convenient time, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's okay. And the Chamber has received word
8 that the problem that we had with -- the technical problem that we had
9 this morning that caused us to start late still persists and that they
10 will need 45 minutes to sort it out. So we will take a break and come
11 back at 11.00 instead of quarter to 11.00.
12 Court adjourned.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.15 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.08 a.m.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: We are sorry about these technological problems,
16 but what can we do.
17 Yes, Mr. Black.
18 MR. BLACK: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Dakic, just before our break we were talking a bit about
20 Plitvice, which you describe what happened on the 31st of March, 1991, in
21 paragraph 42 of your statement. And, sir, I put to you that you account
22 here distorts what really happened, which was that the SAO Krajina police
23 provoked the fighting at Plitvice, and specifically they went to Plitvice
24 and they took up combat positions which provoked a response from the
25 Croatian special police and that's how the fighting started. Isn't that
2 A. That's not correct. This is an area inhabited exclusively by
3 Serbs, and the Serb people didn't allow the police station to be set up.
4 And none of the Serbs attacked the Croatian police on their way to
5 Plitvice. They simply did not allow them to gain entrance to Plitvice.
6 So it wasn't the case that the Serb people started the violence first; it
7 was the other side.
8 Q. Again -- and I don't know if -- what leads to this confusion, but
9 I'm not talking about necessarily the Serb people, I'm talking about the
10 Serb police, the SAO Krajina police, just so that's clear. And what I'm
11 putting to you, sir, is that it was the SAO Krajina police who provoked
12 this conflict by taking up combat positions in and around Plitvice. Am I
13 right that you -- do you disagree with that?
14 A. I disagree with that because the side which is in the position to
15 defend one's own area is not the one attacking. The question is: Why did
16 Croatia insist so much on setting up a Croatian police station in an area
17 inhabited exclusively by Serbs? It is known who arrived in the area and
18 attacked the other side. We know that the Serbian people did not attack
20 Q. Okay. I think I can move on to the next topic. Please look at
21 paragraph 40 of your statement. And there you say that from the 16th of
22 May, 1991, onwards "all" --
23 A. March.
24 Q. "All power was concentrated in the hands of Milan Babic."
25 And, sir, in fact isn't it the case that although Milan Babic was
1 certainly a powerful political figure in the Krajina in 1991, Milan Martic
2 was an even more powerful figure, particularly with regard to operational
3 matters; things like the arming of the population, the functioning of the
4 police, and particularly the formation, training and arming of the police
5 special purpose units. And in all those operational fields, Milan Martic
6 was much more influential than was Milan Babic. Isn't that the case?
7 A. No, this can't be the case. Milan Martic was a clerk, an
8 administrator in the SAO government, in the SAO Krajina government. He
9 was far below Milan Babic -- well, he may have out-topped Babic in terms
10 of popularity, the press coverage he received and so on and so forth.
11 However, Milan Babic was the political figure at the head of the
12 SAO Krajina leadership, whereas Milan Babic [as interpreted] was simply an
13 administrator working for the SAO Krajina at the post of the minister of
14 the interior. There was a harmony existing between Milan Babic and Milan
15 Martic up until the end of May - now which year was it? -- 1992, yes.
16 Q. Okay. There's one point of confusion just in the translation, I
17 think, or maybe you misspoke but I think it's clear from your answer in
18 total. You're saying that Milan Martic was a clerk, or an administrator,
19 in the SAO government, although there's a -- on page 27, line 10 -- excuse
20 me, line 11 there is reference to Milan Babic --
21 MR. BLACK: But I think that was a mistake, and it's clear from
22 the record, Your Honours.
23 Q. Sir, you say he was a clerk or an administrator. He was the
24 minister of the interior, right? That's not a low-level position.
25 A. Compared to Milan Babic, who was the president of the SAO Krajina,
1 that is the case, because the two roles are not comparable. Milan Babic
2 was the leading figure and he was the mover and shaker at the time. He
3 made a lot of mistakes and did many things that were detrimental for our
4 people. However, when gauging the two persons, the popularity was more or
5 less the same. However, Babic was above Milan Martic, who was a minister,
6 a member of the Krajina cabinet. A minister, in my view, is simply a -- a
7 clerk, an administrator working for the government.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Witness, but you do accept that Mr. Martic
9 was the minister of the interior at the time that you are talking about?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was minister.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
14 Yes, Mr. Black.
15 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Dakic, both according -- according to the law -- and
17 actually -- and according to reality, Milan Martic was in control of all
18 Krajina police from -- from early on, certainly from the end -- or
19 certainly no later than the beginning of 1991 onward. He was always in
20 control of the police, Mr. Milan Martic. Isn't that correct?
21 A. Well, yes, he was at the head of the police force and he
22 controlled the police force as far as one was able to, given the turbulent
23 times, the war broke out, and it was a dirty war. Therefore, to the
24 extent one was able to firmly -- have a firm grasp over matters.
25 Q. Sir, let me move you to another topic. At paragraph 43 of your
1 statement you refer to a decision in April 1991 to hold a referendum on
2 annexing Krajina to Serbia. And you call this a "fatal decision for the
3 Serb people," which you blame on Milan Babic.
4 And here's my question, sir: Isn't it correct that Milan Babic's
5 mistake was that -- simply that he spoke too openly or acted too openly
6 about the goal of unifying Serb lands? He was too open about that;
7 whereas Mr. Milosevic and other Serb leaders would have preferred that
8 that be discussed only privately and that the public focus be on
9 preserving Yugoslavia. Is what I've said accurate?
10 A. I was at the heart of these affairs, and we had a meeting in
11 Korenica of the Serbian National Council. And Milan Babic, as the
12 president, proposed that we schedule a referendum. The Serbian National
13 Council opposed the idea and I myself stated that we should by no means
14 take that direction, that we should try to find our place in Croatia. By
15 acting this way, we would give leeway to the other side to take the steps
16 that they wanted to.
17 Unfortunately, Milan Babic insisted on this but didn't go through
18 the Serb National Council; rather, he went to the Association of Serb
19 Municipalities. And in fact, on the 12th of May, 1991, the referendum was
20 held. This was --
21 Q. Okay, sir --
22 A. -- this dealt a great blow to the Serbian people in Croatia.
23 Q. Thank you, sir. And I think all that was contained in your
24 statement. To the extent you can, you don't -- it's not really necessary
25 to repeat what's in the statement because it's in evidence, but thanks for
1 your explanation.
2 And the real point of my question is that, you know, you say that
3 by acting in this way you would give leeway to the other side to take the
4 steps that they wanted to. And that was my point. It wasn't a problem of
5 substance, this idea of unifying all Serbs in one unified state; it was
6 the fact that if you talked about it openly, that caused problems with the
7 international community or it gave a justification to Croatia for their
8 actions. That was the real problem, right, it was about openly addressing
9 this issue. It wasn't a question of substance on unifying all Serbs in
10 one state.
11 A. You see, as much as the Croatian people had the right to set up
12 their own state, and they have to take credit for that, for the fact that
13 they managed to set up their own state, the other equal nation in Croatia
14 had the same right to pursue their own course, their right of
15 self-determination. However, the referendum was detrimental to our side,
16 given the time when it was held, and it caused a rift between Babic and
17 Milosevic. And I'm sure that Milosevic did not back the referendum.
18 Q. Okay. And let me just ask this one more time and see if I can get
19 clarity on this. The reason that Milosevic, for instance, did not back
20 the referendum was not that Milosevic didn't want Krajina and Serbia to be
21 united or for there to be Serbs united in a single state, the reason he
22 didn't back it was because he thought that openly advocating this
23 unification was going to cause problems with the international community
24 and with Croatia, right? Is that correct, as you understand it?
25 A. I cannot speculate on what Milosevic's thoughts on this were, but
1 I know for a fact that from that point on the relations between Milan
2 Babic and Milosevic became troubled.
3 Q. Okay. Had the SAO Krajina's annexation to Serbia been successful
4 and accepted by Serbia in May of 1991, that would have constituted the
5 first change to the internal borders of Yugoslavia, wouldn't it? Because
6 Croatia and Slovenia had not yet declared independence in May of 1991.
7 A. It would have been only natural for all equal nations because the
8 area was not merely divided into republics and provinces, but it was also
9 a country of different nations. And therefore, it would have only been
10 natural for all nations to decide what their fate would be. Therefore,
11 the fact that the Serbs would leave Croatia would not be an unlawful move;
12 it would be based on the basic postulates of justice and democracy.
13 Q. You're getting away from my question. I'm not focused on the
14 lawfulness. We've actually had other witnesses testify about these kinds
15 of issues. But am I correct that in May 1991 had this annexation been
16 accepted by Serbia, that would have been the first change to the internal
17 borders of Yugoslavia; correct?
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I allowed the witness to answer
21 this question once, although it was a question asking for a speculative
22 answer, what would have been the case had things happened this way or
23 other way, and this is quite unacceptable because this isn't what
24 happened. And the witness has already answered the same question. So
25 this is calling for pure speculation.
1 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I'm not calling for any speculation; I'm
2 trying to emphasise a point of the time-line. It's a question of when
3 things happened. You know, these were proposed changes to the borders in
4 May 1991; later on there were declarations of independence in June of
5 1991. And I just wanted to get clear with the witness that that's the
6 correct chronology and this would have been the first change. I don't
7 think that's improperly speculative, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Any reply, Mr. Milovancevic?
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this definitely
10 calls for speculation because in the month of May Croatia held a
11 referendum on the secession from Yugoslavia. The referendum resulted in
12 the actual secession. So such a question could be put because this indeed
13 happened. In this case it did not happen, and the Prosecutor asked what
14 would have happened happened had this indeed been the case.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. The objection is overruled.
16 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Witness, do you understand my question? It isn't -- I don't think
18 it's -- it shouldn't be a controversial one. It's just this: Had the
19 SAO Krajina's annexation to Serbia been accepted by Serbia in May 1991,
20 that would have been the first change to the internal borders of
21 Yugoslavia; correct?
22 A. Yes, it would have been the first. But it would have been a
23 reasonable one because, as you know, under all the rules every constituent
24 nation has the right --
25 Q. Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt you. We've had plenty of evidence
1 about that and I wasn't really asking about whether it was reasonable or
2 unreasonable. I just wanted to focus on the timing.
3 Let me turn you to another topic, and you should look at
4 paragraph 45 of your statement. There you say that Croatian President
5 Franjo Tudjman in May 1991 in Trogir advocated riots against the JNA.
6 Sir, you're referring to a speech in Trogir in early May that -- a speech
7 that Tudjman gave in Trogir in early May; correct? Is that what you're
8 referring to?
9 A. Yes, yes, to the speech in Trogir.
10 Q. In that speech Tudjman said that he wondered why people were not
11 demonstrating outside of barracks. He didn't call for violence or he
12 didn't call for blockades of the barracks; he just wondered why people
13 hadn't been demonstrating. Isn't that right?
14 A. Isn't that the same thing, Mr. Prosecutor? It's the same thing
15 but differently worded.
16 Q. Let me ask you a question about that. I understood in your
17 statement riots to mean violence, whereas you could presumably have a
18 peaceful demonstration. So are you referring -- when you say that Tudjman
19 called -- he advocated riots, are you talking about violent action or are
20 you talking about peaceful action, demonstrations?
21 A. In any event, I'm speaking about acts of violence, because at the
22 time the barracks were already under siege, their water and food supplies
23 were cut off. This constitutes violence and not a protest.
24 Q. Okay. And you say those things were already happening in May of
1 A. Not systematically, but what happened in Trogir and in Split and
2 the victim, Sasa Petrovski and the -- Sasa Gesovski and the strangling of
3 the soldier on a tank, these were no longer demonstrations; this was an
4 event of quite a different nature.
5 Q. Okay. And am I accurate - or perhaps you don't know - but isn't
6 it correct that Tudjman did not call for violence, he didn't call for
7 violent acts like that, he just wondered why people hadn't been
8 demonstrating, which is slightly different.
9 A. Any experienced politician would term it in these particular
10 terms. A soldier or anybody else wouldn't know how to use terminology to
11 serve one's own turn, but in actual fact the meaning was the same.
12 Q. Okay. So you're accepting that he didn't actually use these
13 words. He didn't actually call for violence or riots. What he asked
14 about was demonstrations, just focusing on the words that he used, you
15 accept that?
16 A. I don't have the text of what he said. I recall the strong
17 reaction in Krajina to his speech in Trogir. It augured ill for a country
18 that was a recognised UN member state. Any other state would have acted
19 in a different way.
20 Q. Okay. If you don't remember the words that he used, that's fine.
21 Am I to understand that you don't really remember the words that he used?
22 A. No, I don't remember the exact words. I remember the meaning,
23 that it was irritating and it portended blockades.
24 Q. You've explained that more than once now. Please look -- well,
25 actually at the end of paragraph 45 you refer to signatures being
1 collected, as you say, to forbid members of the SDS to stay in Sibenik.
2 You're referring to a petition that had to do with Jovan Raskovic and a
3 couple of other people, and that was -- it was signed in August of 1990,
4 right? Is that the event you're referring to there?
5 A. Yes, I believe that that is the event. You had Branko Popovic
6 testifying here; you could have asked him. He was directly threatened.
7 Marko Dobrijevic is in Belgrade now. Jovan Raskovic is no more
8 unfortunately. But I do recall that the signatures were collected and
9 that they had to leave Sibenik.
10 Q. Thank you, sir. In fact, questions were put to Mr. Popovic on
11 this, but you don't need to concern yourself with that.
12 Do you remember what the petition actually said? Do you know if
13 you read it or do you remember the actual language of the petition?
14 A. No. Because I knew the people involved very well, I socialised
15 with them, we met frequently and discussed these matters, and therefore I
16 knew what the petition meant.
17 Q. But you never saw the petition itself, as far as you can recall?
18 A. No, I didn't see it. I know what I heard from them and the result
19 of it all was that they were compelled to leave the area. But the
20 petition evidently existed.
21 Q. Okay. Since you haven't seen the petition -- well, let me ask --
22 let me just put this question to you. In fact, sir, the petition which is
23 Exhibit -- the language is set out in 939, Exhibit 939, but I don't think
24 we need to put it out on our screens unless you want to have a look at it.
25 What it says is they were upset with these people and that they wished
1 they weren't around, but it doesn't actually expel them or forbid them to
2 stay in Sibenik, does it? Just focusing really on exactly what the
3 petition said or called for. Do you accept what I've said or not? Or do
4 you feel like you need to look at the document to answer the question?
5 A. I'd like to take a look at the document, since I've never seen it.
6 Q. Okay. That's fine. It's Exhibit 939. I'm just trying to keep us
7 moving quickly because we do have a lot of ground to cover today, sir, but
8 we can take a moment and look at this document on our screens hopefully.
9 And, sir, the part that I'm interested in bears the
10 title "Petition Against Representatives." Do you see it there?
11 A. No, I don't. Petition, no --
12 Q. "Petition against representatives of the Serbian Democratic Party
13 in Sibenik." And I'm sorry that I can't -- I'm not much use to help you
14 find it on --
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] It should be there at the top.
16 Yes, yes, now we can see it. "We would be happy if you were to disappear
17 forever," and I believe that's the text referring to the petition.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I can see it now.
19 MR. BLACK: I'm grateful to Defence counsel. Thank you for
20 helping me out on that.
21 Q. Sir --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Mr. Dakic, maybe you'll find this to be an overly subtle point,
24 but I just want to ask you: According to the text of this petition, and
25 it says that they -- the people who signed the petition feel offended and
1 humiliated, and even, it says, they would be happy if they disappeared
2 forever from their environment, but it doesn't actually expel them. It
3 doesn't actually say that they can't stay there, does it, sir?
4 A. Sir, this isn't the petition; this is a newspaper article. This
5 piece of information was shaped by the journalist. I thought I was going
6 to be presented with the actual petition. This doesn't say anything.
7 Q. Sir, this is from the publication Politika. Are you saying that
8 you think the petition actually was different than this, that this doesn't
9 accurately represent the language of the petition?
10 A. Historians, we historians are quite stubborn when it comes to
11 documents. This isn't a document, in my view; this is a -- an -- a work
13 Q. So do you think that the petition was differently worded than this
14 or do you simply not know? I think you said you hadn't seen it. If you
15 don't know, that's fine and we can just move on to another topic.
16 A. Yes, I've not seen the petition, but in my view this isn't the
17 text of the petition.
18 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I don't think I can take this any further
19 with this witness given those answers, so I'll move on to the next topic,
20 if that's okay.
21 Q. Sir, Mr. Dakic, thank you. Please look at paragraph 52 and
22 actually the paragraphs which follow in your statement. You mention a
23 whole number of attacks and crimes allegedly committed by Croatian police
24 and special forces against Serb forces and Serb civilians.
25 My first question, sir: In 1991 there were also attacks by Serb
1 forces, such as the SAO Krajina police, the TO, and the JNA against Croat
2 villages, weren't there?
3 A. Well, there were attacks, or rather, there were attacks from both
4 sides. I can't deny the fact that there were crimes. You have crimes in
5 all wars, on both sides. But I was the president of the state commission
6 for war crimes, and I gathered information about them. Unfortunately --
7 well, I gathered information from both sides, who killed whom. But
8 unfortunately they stayed in Knin during these -- Operation Storm and I'm
9 very sorry about that. But anyway, I learned about this from various
10 documents later on, what happened, where, in which area, and so on.
11 Q. Okay. So you accept that there were actually crimes committed by
12 both sides and against civilians of both ethnicities, Serb and Croat;
14 A. Absolutely. I accept that, yes, that there were crimes on both
15 sides, but on the majority side far more.
16 Q. Okay. Well, how come you didn't mention any of these crimes by
17 Serb forces in your statement? And doesn't it seem like you provided a
18 very one-sided view in your statement. You only mention the crimes by one
19 side and you haven't said anything about the crimes by the other side.
20 A. I said that all the documents was -- all the documents were left
21 in Knin, and I recorded both sides. So that's a great misfortune that
22 they stayed there, those documents and information.
23 But in the statement I expose spoke about crimes committed by the
24 majority side, that is to say the side that had absolutely no reason for
25 destroying that peoples. And that nation is being destroyed to the
1 present day through genocide and so on --
2 Q. Sir, sir, let me interrupt you. Somehow you managed to remember
3 about the crimes against Serbs, even though the documentation was left
4 behind in Knin; how come you didn't remember or you didn't include crimes
5 against Croats in your statement?
6 A. It's like this: I was far away from the front line. I was in the
7 rear, and I followed what was going on through television, the press, and
8 so on. I wasn't up at the front lines where the fighting was going on.
9 So I didn't go where the shooting was done and where the killing was done,
10 but later on I saw the results of that, of those crimes. And then I
11 recorded it. And as I say, my documentation was left behind. And of
12 course I had greater access to this one side where the Croats had stormed
13 the area and committed crimes. I heard a lot about that. I heard a lot
14 about Sisak, about Slavonia, and so on and so forth. But I maintained
15 that there were crimes, of course, committed on both sides.
16 Q. Okay, sir, let me interrupt you --
17 A. -- and the people were not responsible for that on any side.
18 Q. Okay. Am I to understand -- you say that you weren't at the front
19 lines where the fighting was going on, you didn't go where the shooting
20 was done and where the killing was done. Am I to take it that all the
21 material you provide here about crimes by Croatian forces against Serb
22 police, this is also stuff that you don't have personal knowledge about.
23 You didn't -- you don't have direct knowledge about those things; you just
24 have maybe what you read in the press or that you gleaned from other
25 sources, but no personal knowledge about it. Is that right?
1 A. I was it the Medak pocket, and immediately after the operation
2 there I went and contacted UNPROFOR. I was in the delegation, in fact,
3 and I saw what Jean-Claude said that there wasn't a single bird left
4 alive, not life at all, let alone people. I saw that. That's what I
5 saw. But otherwise I gathered the rest from documents.
6 Q. All right. You also had access to documents, I take it, which
7 discussed crimes by Serb forces against Croats or did you have no such
9 A. I did not have access to those documents.
10 Q. So how did you -- you said that there were crimes by the Serb
11 forces; how did you learn about such crimes? And can you give us any
12 specific examples of the kind of things you're talking about.
13 A. Well, it's like this, you see. I know that in different parts of
14 Krajina the situation differed. For example, in the Dalmatian part there
15 were a great deal of Croatian houses that had been destroyed, and I know
16 that lots of things happened there. But it was only later on that I saw
17 the extent of the evil perpetrated by Croatian forces against another
18 nation; it was a complete nightmare. And it was difficult -- well,
19 Tudjman himself said that he needed a war, and that's what happened. And
20 please bear in mind the fact --
21 Q. Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt you. You keep focusing -- you keep
22 sort of gliding back to what the Croatian forces did, and I just wanted to
23 focus, just for this instance now, on Serb forces.
24 Do you have any specific examples of crimes committed by Serb
25 forces or not?
1 A. Concrete examples, no, I do not have any concrete examples.
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. However, I heard about them, just like others did.
4 Q. Okay.
5 A. I didn't see them.
6 Q. Okay. I understand your answer. Thank you.
7 At paragraphs 59 and 60 at least, maybe 61, too, it's not clear to
8 me, you refer specifically to crimes against Serbs in Western Slavonia in
9 the fall of 1991. But I take it that you were not in Western Slavonia at
10 that time, and so I take it you -- you don't -- this is one of the things
11 where you don't have personal knowledge about those crimes; these are
12 things you learned about through other means. Am I correct about that?
13 A. As to crimes in Western Slavonia, Dr. Vojin Babic wrote a lot
14 about that. And in his book you will find all the facts and figures of
15 how 18 Serb villages were destroyed. It was the first mass ethnic
16 cleansing of Serbs from Croatia, which happened at the end of 1991.
17 And later on I went to a number of places in Eastern Slavonia, in
18 Dalj, for instance, and I learned of the crime that took place in Dalj.
19 It is --
20 Q. Okay, sir, I'm just focusing on Western Slavonia for the time
21 being, so please focus your answer just on Western Slavonia.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did this book by Mr. Vojin Babic, did that also include evidence
24 about crimes against Croats in Western Slavonia in 1991?
25 A. Dabic, Dabic.
1 Q. Thank you, Dabic. Did Mr. Dabic -- or did this book by Vojin
2 Dabic, did that also include information about crimes against Croats in
3 Western Slavonia in 1991, do you recall, or was it exclusively about Serb
5 A. He is a research worker. He is professor at the University of
6 Belgrade, and he published this book, and I used the book to learn about
7 what happened in Western Slavonia. And I'm sure you know the exodus that
8 took place, the exodus of the Serbs in -- from Western Slavonia at the end
9 of 1991 --
10 Q. Sir, did you understand my question?
11 A. Yes, I did. Vojin Dabic treats both sides equally; he doesn't
12 spare either side.
13 Q. Okay. So you're saying that yes, indeed, his book includes
14 information on crimes against Croats in Western Slavonia in 1991?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Sir, how come you didn't mention --
17 A. Well, no --
18 Q. Go ahead, please. Answer the question.
19 A. Well, I didn't mention it because the crimes in Western Slavonia
20 against Croats is something that -- or, rather, Vojin Dabic gave
21 intimations that there were crimes on both sides. However, what happened
22 to the Serbs in Western Slavonia cannot be compared at all to what
23 happened to the Croats, because the Serbs were completely ethnically
24 cleansed from 18 villages. That was the first instance of mass ethnic
25 cleansing, and it was the Serbs who were the victims in Western Slavonia.
1 Q. Sir, did you know that in Vocin Croats civilians were mistreated
2 and harassed from August of 1991 until December, and in December 1991 more
3 than 40 Croat civilians were massacred in Vocin. Did you know about that?
4 A. I went to Vocin in 1990. I didn't know about that later.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
6 A. I knew many people, but -- no, I did not know about them.
7 Q. Did you know that between the summer and October of 1991 Croats
8 were killed in Donji Cavlic [phoen], Cetekovac, Balinci, Bacin and Bujice
9 [phoen]. I apologise if I'm not pronouncing those names exactly right.
10 But did you know about Croats being killed in those places at that time in
11 Western Slavonia?
12 A. No, I did not hear about that.
13 Q. Did you know that Croat civilians were detained in detention
14 facilities and mistreated in Bujice and in Stara Gradiska?
15 A. No, I never heard of that ever.
16 Q. Okay. Let me -- let me focus your attention on paragraph 61,
17 where you say that 141.000 Serbs were expelled from Croatian towns where
18 there was no combat. Sir, what time-frame are you referring to in that
20 A. I'm referring to the entire time-frame during the war. There are
21 exact -- there is exact information pertaining to refugees in Serbia, and
22 a list from -- of refugees from 1996 that says who came from what area,
23 what refugee came from what area, where they live, and so on. And then I
24 conducted research on that basis. And 141.887 Serbs were expelled from
25 Croatian towns where there was no war.
1 That's the heart of the matter. They were expelled not because
2 they expressed themselves against the leadership. Now, why were 5.100
3 Serbs expelled from Rijeka? Why were several hundred Serbs expelled from
4 Pula, from Varazdin, from Zagreb, where there was no war and so on and so
5 forth. And that is the greatest blow to the Serb people in Croatia
6 because they were -- it was the Serb intelligentsia that was expelled from
7 the towns, and a nation without its intelligentsia is a maimed nation and
8 cannot continue to live, and their citizens' rights have been taken away
9 from them so they are not able to return today.
10 Q. Sir, you're getting a little bit away from my question, but thank
11 you for your answer.
12 You mentioned a -- I'm not exactly clear, could you specify what
13 your source is for this number? I think you referred to it in your answer
14 but I didn't quite get it, the source you used to arrive at this number.
15 A. The source is the refugees census or list of refugees in Serbia
16 and Montenegro conducted in 1996, and they are just -- it just includes
17 people from Serbia and Montenegro -- in Serbia and Montenegro, but how
18 many were expelled to Republika Srpska, to America, and to other western
19 countries is a far larger number of Serbs expelled from Croatian towns
20 where there was no war.
21 Q. Well, actually, while you say that I just -- isn't it correct
22 that -- that even this number, 141.000, that's exaggerated. The numbers
23 were actually significantly smaller than that, weren't they?
24 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor, far greater. The figure is far greater.
25 Because this just refers to those that arrived on the territory Serbia and
1 Montenegro, whereas the others are not included on that list. So quite
2 certainly we have another 20.000 to 30.000 people who were expelled from
3 Croatian towns. The exact figure is what I tell you because I published
4 it in my book.
5 Q. And when did you provide this figure to the Defence; do you
7 A. Well, I don't remember exactly. I met the Defence lawyer on a
8 number of occasions, the lawyer I worked with last year, the beginning of
9 this year, and so on. We would meet and he looked through my book, and my
10 book is where those figures are contained.
11 Q. Okay. I understand that it may be hard to give an exact date, but
12 do I understand that it was -- you think it was last year or the beginning
13 of this year? Is that what you think?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. BLACK: Your Honours, I only go into that because I note that
16 this was a figure that was never put to any Prosecution witnesses, even
17 ones who testified regarding Western Slavonia.
18 Q. One final question on this, Mr. Dakic. Of the Serbs that did
19 leave Croatia --
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have an
21 objection to what the Prosecutor said, that this figure was never shown to
22 other witnesses. The -- this figure was put forward on a number of
23 occasions, and the UN Secretary-General's report submitted in May 1993 was
24 referred to, where mention is made of a total figure 251.000 expelled
25 Serbs. And the -- my learned friends of the Prosecution dealt with that
1 Resolution. 251.000 expelled from Krajina. And the witness is now
2 speaking about Serbs expelled from the towns of Croatia, this figure of
3 141.000, people who found safety in Serbia and Montenegro, refuge in
4 Serbia and Montenegro. But he said that those in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
5 America, and all over the world is far greater.
6 So the observation made by my friend of the Prosecution, according
7 to which this figure was not shown witnesses, it was contained in a
8 Security Council report of May 1993, and the exact figure there
9 was 251.000.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Black.
11 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, that -- this figure 251.000 was
12 discussed; the figure 141.000, specifically from towns where there was no
13 combat, that's a separate figure. And I'd be delighted if counsel could
14 direct me to a time when it was put to a Prosecution witness. But as far
15 as I can discover it had not been. And I think there's an important
16 difference between those two figures. So I stand by what I said before.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic.
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is difficult
19 for me here and now to indicate a specific page of the transcript. I
20 think that when Mr. Kirudja was here the figure was mention, the
21 Prosecution witness. And the witness here today spoke about the list of
22 expelled Serbs from Croatian towns outside the area of conflict.
23 According to this list and census in 1996, and there the number was
24 141.887 was the exact figure. And he explained that apart from that
25 number located in Serbia and Montenegro, several dozen other Serbs were
1 expelled. So the figures are identical.
2 I just wish to indicate, without making a comprehensive summary,
3 that what the Prosecutor said was not in conformity with what we have in
4 our documents.
5 MR. BLACK: Your Honour --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, dozens of thousands of
7 other Serbs.
8 MR. BLACK: -- if I may, this is an observation which I think we
9 can argue about later. There's no question, so I don't -- I'm happy to
10 just move on and we can deal with it at the argument stage, if that's
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: The Chamber must rule on the objection, which is
14 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. I apologise for interrupting.
15 Q. Mr. Dakic, one last question on this issue of people who you say
16 were expelled. In my -- am I right that of the Serbs that did leave
17 Croatian towns, many did so because of the fear that was put into their
18 minds by Serb leaders, who constantly referred to the Ustashas, to
19 genocide in World War II, who compared the Croatian government of the
20 1990s to the fascist government of World War II. It was that fear that
21 was stirred up by Serb leaders which caused some Serbs to leave. Isn't
22 that right?
23 A. Well, at all events fear was a reason, but if somebody comes to
24 your flat and if they put one, two, or three crosses and then it says one
25 cross means kill the head of the household, two crosses means kill all the
1 male members of the family, and three crosses meant kill everyone, and
2 this is spread around town, what else could the people do? What else were
3 they to think? They had to leave the towns. They were left without their
4 jobs. They were, quite simply, expelled from towns where there was no
5 war. Those who stayed on, my sister, for example, remained in Karlovac
6 and so did her husband.
7 I would never accept a life of that kind, to live a life like that
8 in that kind of town during the war in Croatia, and I'm very happy that I
9 didn't experience that myself.
10 Q. Sir, the only real question that I wanted to put to you is: Isn't
11 it true that that fear which you talked about was, at least in part, due
12 to the kind of rhetoric and even sometimes propaganda which was used by
13 the Serb leaders at the time. Do you agree with that or disagree with
15 A. I don't know about Serb rhetorics. They didn't call for people to
16 leave towns, you know, but this feeling of insecurity, complete lack of
17 safety. My friend Virosevic [phoen] who was a customs officer, a
18 well-known one, he was brought to the police station in Zagreb. He was a
19 well-known personage. They interrogated him, and on his way back they
20 shot a burst of gun-fire into his back. The Zec family is another cases
21 in point. I'm sure you've heard of that particular case. And there were
22 other such uninvestigated crimes. In Sisak, for example --
23 Q. Sir, let me interrupt you. Sorry, you're just getting away from
24 my question. We may have a chance to discuss this later or I think
25 Defence counsel may have put to you questions on those topics.
1 MR. BLACK: This would ordinarily be the time we take the break.
2 Should we stick to the regular schedule, Your Honour?
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's correct.
4 MR. BLACK: This is a convenient time.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We'll take a break and come
6 back at half past 12.00.
7 Court adjourned.
8 --- Recess taken at 12.02 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Black.
11 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Dakic, I'm going to continue, and to do that please look at
13 paragraph 65 of your statement. And just very briefly -- it's just the
14 last sentence I'm interested in. You say that: "Milan Martic did not
15 object to this plan," referring to the Vance Plan.
16 Isn't it accurate, sir, that Martic initially did oppose the
17 Vance Plan, but then he changed his position and by around, I guess,
18 January of 1992, then he was openly supporting the Vance Plan. But
19 initially he had opposed it. Isn't that right?
20 A. I don't know whether he opposed the plan, but I do know that when
21 the plan was being adopted he was on the side of those who were supporting
22 the plan, unlike Babic and many others.
23 I wrote two articles about the plan, they were published, and in
24 those articles I said that there were some pitfalls in the plan but that
25 it could be acceptable if certain points in it were rectified.
1 Q. Okay. I apologise for interrupting you. We don't need to talk
2 about it in detail, I just wanted to see if you knew that Martic had
3 initially opposed it and you -- you say you don't know whether he opposed
4 the plan initially. So that's fine. We can move on to the next
6 Here you say that the true intentions of the Croatian leadership
7 are revealed by a statement which you say was made by Stjepan Mesic in
8 December of 1991 in which he allegedly said: "I think that I have
9 accomplished my task. Yugoslavia does not exist anymore."
10 That's quotation marks that are in your statement. Are you saying
11 that those were Mesic's exact words or do you remember the exact words
12 that Mesic used?
13 A. The meaning is there, the substance is there --
14 Q. Okay, sir --
15 A. I can't claim that the -- these are his exact words.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you. I just wanted to have clarity on that --
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, can I have clarity myself.
18 Must they be taken out of quotation marks, because as they are
19 quoted there you are saying those are the exact words of the speaker.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You see, I copied the words from
21 someplace, whether it was from newspapers, and that's why I placed the
22 quotation marks. It's just that I can't remember at this time where I
23 copied it from. But these -- the sentence that he uttered had been
24 published so many times --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: My question is very simple. Because you don't know
1 whether these are his exact words, therefore they must be taken out of
2 quotation marks. Is that a correct inference to make?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree with you, yes, the quotation
4 marks could be deleted.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues]...
6 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Sir, just -- and then a couple questions about what you referred
8 to as the substance of this. In 1991 Mesic should have become the
9 president of the SFRY Presidency, but Serb members blocked his election
10 until the international community finally exercised enough pressure and he
11 was finally elected president of the Presidency, but that didn't happen
12 right away. Am I accurate about that?
13 A. It is correct that the Serbian side was initially against Mesic --
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object to the
15 part of the question where the Prosecutor says that the Serbian
16 representatives blocked Mesic's election into the Presidency. Serbia had
17 one member in the Presidency only. Could my learned friend be more
18 specific, because the Presidency consisted of presidents of each of the
19 republics, plus the two provinces from Serbia. Serbia had only one member
20 in the Presidency.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Black.
22 MR. BLACK: I'm happy to ask the witness for clarity on this. I
23 don't believe -- I said that the Serb members -- and I don't believe that
24 misstates anything, but in fact I was actually asking the witness. I
25 wasn't trying to put something to him. I was trying to get an answer from
1 the witness so that I -- including myself can have some more clarity on
2 this, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you accepting the objection or are you
4 disputing the objection?
5 MR. BLACK: I accept it. I will rephrase the question.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. You may rephrase the
8 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Sir, who -- who was it on the SFRY Presidency who opposed Mesic.
10 Do you remember which members opposed Mesic initially?
11 A. Well, you see, these matters were normally settled in closed
12 sessions. The information didn't reach the public at large, but the
13 Presidency as a whole opposed Mesic because they were in favour of Stipe
14 Suvar, who they considered to be a far more acceptable person. They asked
15 that Stipe Suvar remain a member of the Presidency.
16 Q. Sir, this was a very important development and people did know
17 about this. This was in the press and other places. This wasn't any kind
18 of secret about the opposition to Stipe Mesic, was it?
19 A. It may have been published someplace. I didn't notice that. I
20 didn't know that the -- these matters were published, in fact. I don't
21 think that there were individual members cited as being against Mesic;
22 rather, the Presidency as a whole.
23 Q. Okay. If you don't know you can say so, but let me put a couple
24 of specific questions to you.
25 Croatia was not against Mesic for president of the Presidency,
1 right, Croatia supported that; do you know?
2 A. Well, of course Croatia supported him; that's quite certain.
3 Q. Okay. And Slovenia also supported him; correct?
4 A. I think that Slovenia wasn't opposed. It was Serbia, the
5 provinces, and Bosnia at the time.
6 Q. Okay. Serbia, including its two provinces, and Bosnia. Also
7 Montenegro was opposed to Mesic. Is that right; do you know?
8 A. Yes, yes, I believe Montenegro was also opposed. It would be
9 logical at any rate.
10 Q. Okay. And this opposition kept Mesic from assuming the Presidency
11 of the -- the president of the Presidency position until June of 1991;
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. By December of 1991, Croatia and Slovenia had declared and
15 implemented their secession from Yugoslavia; correct?
16 A. Officially they were still part of the federal state, but the
17 decisions adopted by their organs existed and the referendums had been
18 held and they did not consider themselves to be members of the SFRY,
19 although from a formal and legal point of view they still were.
20 Q. Okay. In -- from --
21 A. -- That's the international recognition.
22 Q. Okay. Well, I don't want to get into that right now. From a
23 practical point of view, in December of 1991 the SFRY no longer existed;
24 isn't that right? It didn't really exist in the form that it had existed
1 A. It existed on paper, so to speak, until the proclamation of the
2 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It existed but without the republics that
3 were internationally recognised.
4 Q. Okay. And again, practically speaking, without thinking about so
5 much what's on paper but what's true in practice, in December 1991 the
6 Presidency of the SFRY wasn't functioning any longer either, was it?
7 A. Yes. The so-called Rump Presidency existed; that's how it was
8 popularly called, the Rump Presidency, without the representatives from
9 Slovenia and Croatia. And it continued working as such until the
10 proclamation of a new state, including the Republics of Serbia and
11 Montenegro. There was Yugoslav Kostic and the representatives of Bosnia
12 were still there because Bosnia wasn't at a war -- wasn't in a war as yet,
13 and the representatives of Macedonia.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you for that explanation. And the reason I've asked
15 you these questions is to build up to this: Perhaps you know that
16 Mr. Mesic was asked about this very statement at this Tribunal in 2002,
17 and his explanation was that his statement didn't -- it wasn't indicating
18 any nefarious intentions as you suggested but simply the fact that when he
19 returned from Belgrade in December 1991 Yugoslavia no longer existed, his
20 post as president of the Presidency no longer had any meaning, and that's
21 all he meant to say by those words. Do you accept that explanation or do
22 you dispute it, as to what he actually meant when he said these things?
23 A. I think that the meaning that I conveyed in this statement
24 nevertheless stands. I believe that when he made that statement in the
25 Croatian parliament upon his return, that it was met with general
2 Q. But do you still think that it revealed an intention to break up
3 Yugoslavia so that -- do you think that Mesic went to assume his duties in
4 the Presidency with the intention of breaking up Yugoslavia and that that
5 intention is revealed by those words? Do you still feel that way or would
6 you accept the other interpretation that I put forward to you?
7 A. I think that the intention was there because he belonged to a
8 party which invested all its efforts toward breaking up the country, and
9 the breaking up of a country in this way constitutes a crime against
11 I believe that this was his contribution to the break-up of the
12 state and the creation of the Republic of Croatia, which the Croatian
13 people were perfectly entitled to set up. This is not what I am denying
14 in any way, but it should not have been done this way.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. I was just waiting for the interpretation;
16 that's why I was pausing there for a moment. Thank you.
17 Let's move on to paragraph 69, and perhaps it's mentioned in other
18 paragraphs. I'm interested in the topic of cease-fire violations. You
19 refer in your statement to cease-fire violations by Croatia I think in
20 December of 1991 and into 1992, and I just have one very narrow question
21 on this. There were also numerous cease-fire violations by the Serb side,
22 beginning in August of 1991 and lasting -- well, through the fall of 1991
23 and into 1992 and after that. Isn't that correct?
24 A. You see, the Serbian forces at the time, predominantly the
25 Yugoslav People's Army, reached different cease-fire agreements. I didn't
1 notice that the Serb forces violated cease-fires. There was the chain of
2 command down from Belgrade, and when a cease-fire agreement is signed then
3 it is adhered to. However, this was never in Croatia's favour, and you
4 know that Mesic and -- or, rather, Tudjman always opted and worked toward
5 the war option.
6 Q. Okay. So I'm going to ask you -- please try to keep your -- if
7 you can, keep your answers a little shorter. You know, you'd answered my
8 question when you said: I didn't notice that the Serb forces violated
9 cease-fires, and then you went on to kind of talk about some other things,
10 and we need to move quickly so that I can hopefully finish my questions
12 Please look at paragraph 84 of your statement. There you say that
13 in May 1992 it appeared that -- excuse me. Let me make sure I have the
14 right -- the right paragraph number. Right. Paragraph 84 it says that in
15 May 1992 is when you're referring to, I think here, it appeared that
16 Croatia was encouraged to commit crimes by its admission into the UN.
17 Can you explain to me how you think that admission into the UN was
18 encouraging Croatia to attack civilians?
19 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I think the accused has a note that he'd
20 like to pass to his counsel in the meantime.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, but I can't find this
22 in paragraph 84.
23 MR. BLACK:
24 Q. Yeah, I'll help you. It's actually -- it follows on from
25 paragraphs 82 and 83; that's where you can see the date. And you're
1 talking about the JNA pull-out in May of 1992 --
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. -- and then you say: "A few days later Croatian artillery were
4 shooting Knin and civilian targets in the town."
5 And then you say: "It appeared that Croatia was encouraged to
6 commit these acts by its admission into the UN."
7 And that's really what I'm focused on. I'd like you to explain
8 how it is that you think the UN encouraged Croatia to commit attacks
9 against civilian targets.
10 A. In any event that the recognition of Croatia by the UN meant a lot
11 to Croatia, to its struggle for independence, and it most certainly gave
12 Croatia strength to continue taking its course.
13 In my view, the recognition came too soon, it was premature, and
14 triggered the other events, especially the ones in Bosnia. For Croatia,
15 this was an international basis upon which it could build its further --
16 or, rather, continue pursuing its policies.
17 Q. Okay. You've talked about policies and the recognition and those
18 issues which I don't think we need to get into. But, you know, here
19 you -- it's quite clear that you're saying that this admission into the UN
20 encouraged Croatia to commit these acts, and you're referring to
21 artillery, for instance, against civilian targets in Knin. Would you like
22 to change the way you phrase that, maybe, or do you stand by this idea
23 that the UN was encouraging attacks against civilians?
24 A. Well, I wouldn't say that the UN encouraged Croatia in any way,
25 but this was how Croatia perceived it, as a way of support in continuing
1 what they had been doing so far.
2 Q. Okay --
3 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Sorry, you're essentially saying that Croatia
4 became embolden then?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It emboldened them greatly,
6 the international recognition.
7 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you.
8 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Sir, just so that we're clear, in fact, the United Nations
10 Security Council denounced crimes against civilians by both sides. Isn't
11 that right?
12 A. Of course. The Security Council always denounced crimes on all
14 Q. And in particular, on several occasions the Security Council also
15 disapproved of specific Croatian military operations, especially those
16 that resulted in civilian casualties. The Security Council condemned and
17 disapproved of those, right?
18 A. No. It -- well, it never approved crimes and never supported the
19 side perpetrating crimes.
20 Q. Right. And beyond just not approving them or supporting them, it
21 actually came out and condemned several attacks by Croatian forces,
22 right? The Security Council actually came out and say: We disapprove of
23 that or we condemn that action. Am I correct about that?
24 A. You're correct. But subsequently an intervention had to be made
25 for them to return to their initial positions, to make it clear to them
1 that they should not wage a war to seize territories that weren't under
2 their control because these were areas protected by the UN. They turned a
3 blind eye to Croatia whenever it committed acts such as the Miljevac
4 plateau --
5 Q. Okay. I'm going to move on. Sorry to interrupt you there, but I
6 just want to move on to another topic. That's the broad topic of
7 negotiations. You mentioned this at paragraphs 86, paragraphs 90 and 91,
8 93, and some other places. Sir, am I not correct that the real
9 fundamental obstacle to a negotiated peaceful solution to the conflict in
10 Croatia was the Serb side's constant foot-dragging and persistent refusal
11 to accept any solution that fell short of independence. That was the main
12 obstacle to a peaceful solution, wasn't it?
13 A. I wouldn't put it that way. Croatia never even presented a
14 feasible platform such that would not entail that part of an area to
15 immediately come within Croatia. The Z-4 plan that was to come up later
16 was fairly correct, in my view, and should have been accepted.
17 In all these negotiations, Croatia always assumed a position
18 superior to that of the RSK. On our side, we always had representatives
19 of the republic or of the government at these negotiations, whereas they
20 always sent people from lower levels. And in this way, they always had
21 the initiative on their side. I believe that the approach that they took
22 to these negotiations should have been different because what was at issue
23 here were the fates of two peoples.
24 Q. You made specific reference to the Z-4 plan. Milan Martic refused
25 to even look at that plan, didn't he, at the time that it was proposed.
1 He wouldn't consider it at all until -- well, the reason he gave was that
2 he wanted the UN mandate extended before he considered it, but then the
3 mandate was extended and he still didn't consider it. He was never
4 willing to consider the Z-4 plan, was he?
5 A. I took part in all these events and I was in Knin when the
6 Assembly of the RSK was supposed to discuss the Z-4 plan. And I do state
7 that they were waiting for a response from Belgrade, and it was a higher
8 level that was deciding about the -- about whether the Z-4 plan would be
9 accepted or not. Milan Babic did not have much of a say in that. As far
10 as I was able to see, phone calls were being made in the intervals to the
11 Assembly session. I believe that someone higher up said: You must not
12 accept the plan. I don't think that -- that Milan Babic himself said that
13 it should not be accepted.
14 Q. You said that --
15 A. And can I just say this. Before that, Milosevic organised a
16 meeting of the presidents of the Assemblies of Krajina municipalities in
17 Belgrade, and he said at this meeting, among other things: I have posts
18 for all of you here. He had a plan of his own.
19 Q. Okay. And you referred to Milan Babic. My question was actually
20 about Milan Martic, not Mr. Babic. But -- now you've given an
21 explanation --
22 A. Martic, yes, yes, I apologise. I meant Milan Martic.
23 Q. Okay. Thank you. And I -- tell me if I understand correctly:
24 Milan Martic's opposition to the Z-4 plan was based on Slobodan
25 Milosevic's position that it should not be accepted. Is that right? Is
1 that the way things happened?
2 A. That was the impression I had. I attended the Assembly session in
3 Knin at the time, and I know for a fact that an order came from Belgrade
4 that the Z-4 plan should not be accepted.
5 Q. Thank you. One more question about negotiations and I'll move on.
6 And this is part of what I had put to you, that the Serb side was dragging
7 its feet in negotiations. The RSK used many different tactics, including
8 things even like complaining about the number of journalists who would be
9 able to attend a certain meeting or things like this, just in an effort to
10 delay the negotiation process. Is that right? Is that accurate, based on
11 your experience?
12 A. Delaying was, first of all, detrimental to the RSK and the Serbian
13 people in the Krajina. In those months, I wrote letters to
14 representatives of governments that they should try and find a settlement
15 as soon as they can, that there should not be a war. There was
16 foot-dragging, but not from the RSK representatives. Rather, there were
17 some games being played by some grey eminences from Zagreb and Belgrade
18 behind the scenes.
19 Q. Okay. I think we can move on. One quick question, from 1994 and
20 in 1995 Milan Martic was president of the RSK; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. I just wanted to confirm that.
23 Let's look at paragraphs 86 to 89 of your statement, and again I
24 just have -- just looking for one very small clarification. We don't have
25 to go into detail on this. You refer to Maslenica and the Medak pocket.
1 Those areas were in the so-called pink zones, correct, they weren't
2 actually within the UNPAs, the United Nations Protected Areas, but rather
3 in the pink zones. Am I correct about that?
4 A. Well, I understood it that the pink zones had a different regime,
5 but the pink zones did come under the United Nations, yes.
6 Q. And Maslenica and Medak were in the pink zones. Is that right?
7 A. I'm not quite sure, but probably if you say so.
8 Q. Okay. If you don't know, that's -- there's no problem. That's
10 In paragraph 95 of your statement, that's the last paragraph of
11 your statement, you say that incidents on the Zagreb-Belgrade motorway
12 there in Western Slavonia were staged by the Croatian leadership in order
13 to create a justification for Operation Flash. And in relation to that I
14 just -- first I want to get some -- ask you some questions about the
15 chronology of events to make sure that I have this, the order, correct.
16 And if you don't know any of these, you can respond -- just say if you
17 know that that's true, that it's not right, or that -- if you don't know,
18 that's fine, you can just say so.
19 Am I correct that the motorway was closed on the 24th of April,
20 1995, by the RSK and then re-opened the next day? Do you remember that?
21 This is about a week before Operation Flash, sorry, if that helps you
22 contextualise that.
23 A. Well, you know, if somebody is preparing for an aggression, is
24 preparing for a military operation, then in all wars - and as a historian
25 I only know that full well - that a pretext is sought, and this was a good
1 opportunity to cause that, on the motorway, that's quite logical.
2 Q. Okay. And I think you've made that -- you've said that in your
3 statement too. I want to ask you some specific questions about the
4 chronology, so if you'll just bear with me and answer them if you can.
5 It's correct, isn't it, that on the 24th of April, 1995, the
6 motorway was closed and then -- by the RSK and then it was re-opened the
7 next day. Is that right?
8 A. Yes, the decision was made provisionally to close the motorway.
9 Then it was opened up again and then the unfortunate events took place,
10 the shooting, the killing of one -- of a Serb, then shooting at a van with
11 Croats inside, so as a pretext, that was a pretext for an operation
12 against Western Slavonia that had already been prepared.
13 Q. Okay. And I think you're referring to events on the 28th of April
14 where a Serb named Tihomir Blagojevic was killed by a Croat who was
15 actually from his own village, and then following that several Croats were
16 killed on the motorway, which resulted in the motorway being closed again.
17 Do I have that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You're not contending, are you, that those incidents were staged
20 by the Croatian leadership, you know, that this was kind of a set-up, this
21 Serb being killed and then the Croats being killed. I just want to --
22 because that's the language that appears in your statement. And I
23 think -- I understand what you're saying about a pretext, but do -- do you
24 really say that these events were staged by the Croatian leadership?
25 A. I cannot claim that, but in my opinion there is great probability
1 that those events were staged to find a pretext for an attack on Western
2 Slavonia to be launched.
3 Q. Okay. In fact, the pretext, the justification that Croatia
4 needed, it was -- that was the closing of the motorway; that's what gave
5 Croatia the justification it needed to launch Operation Flash. Isn't that
7 A. Well, before the public it said: Here is what the other side are
8 doing and they blame the Serbs for everything and then attacked. But
9 nobody has the right to cause such casualties and inflict such victims on
10 a people as was the result of Operations Flash and Storm. A military
11 operation could not be justified on a protected UN area.
12 Q. Okay, sorry to interrupt you. I don't want to go into the results
13 and all the things that happened. But in fact, there were even two --
14 there was even a commission in the RSK set up to sort of investigate what
15 happened in Western Slavonia, and that commission concluded that it was
16 the closing of the motorway that sort of gave Croatia the justification it
17 needed. Is that right? Is that an accurate description of what happened?
18 A. An incident like this, a small incident, can't be justification
19 for anybody to launch a military operation. That is untenable.
20 Q. Okay. I was -- maybe we're misunderstanding each other a little
21 bit about the word "justified." But it was the closing of the motorway
22 that sort of triggered Croatia to launch this operation, right, that was
23 what gave them -- you can call it whatever you want, the excuse, the
24 justification, the trigger, but that was the thing that -- that sort of
25 allowed Operation Flash to be launched, right? If you know. If you don't
1 have any opinion on it, you can say that, and I'll move on.
2 A. I think that you can find all that in the book by General Bobetko,
3 who writes at length about all the preparations for Operation Flash. He
4 is the author of the book and he knows that everything was prepared, and
5 then in my opinion - and I speak from historical experience - that all
6 that was needed was a pretext.
7 Q. Okay. I think we can just move on.
8 One last topic for the time being anyhow. In 1991, so kind of
9 going back in time now - you can put your statement aside because these
10 questions don't arise directly out of the statement - you adopted the
11 nom de guerre or the sort of pseudonym of Captain Darda. Is that right?
12 A. That's correct. When I was appointed commander of the TO staff,
13 which admittedly was only for a short period of time because one person
14 didn't agree with this and my appointment was never confirmed, this was
15 because the JNA did not trust me. I was up at Petrova Gora, and Babic
16 appointed me commander of the TO staff which was stationed up at
17 Petrova Gora.
18 The highest mount of Petrova Gora is called Darda or Petrovac.
19 Somebody thought of this and then called me Darda, and then the papers
20 published my name as Captain Darda. I was a member of the reserve force,
21 not an active-duty soldier, but for those months I was referred to as
22 Captain Darda until proper soldiers arrived. Actually, I thought that
23 this was a bit exaggerated because it did not really match my character.
24 I'm not of that ilk. And this was, in fact, used to force me out of the
25 top political leadership and force me in a direction I myself never found
1 appropriate for myself.
2 Q. Which direction do you mean? Which inappropriate direction were
3 you forced into? I didn't understand exactly the last part of what you
5 A. They wanted to move me from the political structure to the
6 military structure as president of the Serbian National Council. He
7 didn't want me to be alongside him anymore.
8 Q. Is it true, sir, that you formed a group of men, and I'm not sure
9 whether it should be characterised as TO or reserve or something separate
10 from that, but you led a group based near Petrova Gora to whom you
11 distributed weapons, including the weapons that were sent by Milan Martic,
12 and as well as weapons that were taken from the Petrova Gora memorial
13 park. Is that correct?
14 A. I didn't have any sort of group. I had the staff of Territorial
15 Defence appointed by Milan Babic. So it was the staff. The army did not
16 accept it, and I went to Knin one day and returned to Petrova Gora. And
17 my staff was disbanded. The JNA came and seized the weapons.
18 The communists, the movement for Yugoslavia, in fact, rallied in
19 the area around the Vrgin Most president of the municipality, the late
20 Obradovic. They, quite simply, were opposed to having that staff
21 established. They didn't want me to be at the head of it, and they
22 disarmed it. So I went back and that's how my staff and headquarters
23 ceased to exist. So I saw that I did not enjoy Belgrade support and the
24 Yugoslav People's Army.
25 Q. Sir, it's correct, isn't it, that a criminal complaint was filed
1 against you in Croatia based on your alleged participation as
2 Captain Darda, I believe, in an attack on Croatian police in August of
3 1991. Is that correct?
4 A. Well, those proceedings were initiated, and it's lodged with the
5 Supreme Court of Croatia. This complaint was filed in 1999, and in the
6 judgement it says, and I can bring it in for you to have a look, and
7 whenever any lawyers look at the judgement they are astonished. It says
8 that a prison term of 20 years is being -- because he incited a group of
9 people to shoot at Croatian policemen. They heard three witnesses, and
10 nobody spoke about instigation, but that's what I was found guilty of.
11 That was a form of ethnic cleansing, to prevent me, as an intellectual, to
12 return to Croatia, in fact.
13 Q. Okay. Thanks for your explanation. Is it correct that there were
14 also at least preliminary investigations against you in Serbia and
15 Montenegro in 2003, arising out of this same -- these same events or this
16 same time-period; do you know?
17 A. No, never. Never any investigation in Serbia and Montenegro
18 against me. I was arrested, that is true, by Milosevic's police after an
19 article that I had published under the title of "refugees and
20 calculations," because the state spent money that was ear-marked for
21 refugees. They used it for other projects, elections, and so forth, and I
22 published this in a newspaper article, and then I was arrested during the
23 night. They stormed the flat where I was a tenant. I was taken to the
24 police station but then returned, and then they said that I had been
25 arrested by mistake, that I shouldn't have been. So that's the whole
1 truth of it.
2 Q. Thank you very much. I have no further questions for you at this
4 MR. BLACK: Thank you very much.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Black.
6 Mr. Milovancevic.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. May I
8 just take a moment, please.
9 [Defence counsel confer]
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Before
11 I begin, may I be told whether this is an examination-in-chief, according
12 to our motion and request, or shall I start the cross-examination and then
13 continue with in chief or what?
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: You can't start any cross-examination. This is
15 your witness. You are re-examining the witness, Mr. Milovancevic.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I made a mistake, a slip
17 of the tongue. I meant re-examination. Thank you for putting me right.
18 [Defence counsel confer]
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we filed a motion
20 with respect to this witness and our right to the examination-in-chief,
21 and as far as I know there was a response from the Prosecution. I don't
22 know whether I can hear the position of the Trial Chamber on the issue,
23 whether the Defence has the right to examine this witness in chief. We
24 said that we would have three areas to examine the witness on, and we have
25 some additional questions related to re-direct.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, the Chamber will give its
2 decision when it is ready with a decision. For the moment, you are only
3 allowed to re-examine the witness. Once that decision is handed down, you
4 will then be in a position to act according to that decision.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Re-examination by Mr. Milovancevic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. This is the turn of the Defence, who will be asking you questions
10 which emanate from what my learned colleague, Mr. Black, the Prosecutor,
11 asked you.
12 I'm sure you'll recall that Mr. Black asked you about this, how it
13 was that you included in your statement the dates of individual events,
14 the chronology of events, and how you remembered them. Do you remember
15 being asked that?
16 A. Well, yes, there was mention of that, but not --
17 Q. So your answer is yes?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. My colleague asked you that at the very outset.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you remember that you told the Prosecutor, among other things,
22 that you also kept a diary and that you wrote several books, that you have
23 a -- fresh recollections of the events, that you linked them up, and that
24 you were a witness of many meetings with Mr. Tudjman, and that you
25 remember that very well. Do you remember saying that?
1 A. Yes, I remember my answer.
2 Q. Now, did you, in stating what you did in your statement about
3 meetings with Mr. Tudjman, describe them as they happened?
4 A. Absolutely so, and I stand by everything that I said about my
5 talks with President Tudjman. When I talked to him he wasn't the
6 president yet, he was just a candidate.
7 Q. In this regard, can you briefly tell us what you warned President
8 Tudjman of, when that was, and who else was present, and what did he tell
9 you --
10 MR. BLACK: Objection, Your Honour. I apologise for the
12 I don't believe this -- this arises from cross-examination. This
13 is not a topic that's -- that's addressed in the statement, the witness's
14 own interaction with President Tudjman. He did make a passing reference
15 to it in response to a question, but it wasn't anything that I went into.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did the witness talk to you about any warnings?
17 Did you deal with the question of the witness warning Mr. Tudjman about
19 MR. BLACK: I didn't ask any questions about it and he -- and I
20 think in response to a question he kind of went on to a different topic,
21 and I know that it was mentioned but I did not pursue it. It's not in the
22 statement. I didn't put any questions. I don't think that this fairly
23 arises out of cross-examination, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
25 Mr. Milovancevic.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I agree with what Mr. Black has
2 said and I'll withdraw that question.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, the witness spoke of the
5 topic himself.
6 Q. In one of the questions from the Prosecution you were asked to
7 compare the independent state of Croatia and the Croatia of 1991. Do you
8 remember that?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. BLACK: Objection, Your Honour. I apologise for the
11 interruption again twice in a row.
12 I think this may be a translation issue, but I certainly didn't
13 ask the witness to compare the independent state of Croatia with the
14 Croatia of 1991. I suggested to him that he had in fact done that in his
15 statement, and I think I asked him a question about that. But I didn't
16 ask him to do any comparison between the two. I think, quite to the
17 contrary, I suggested to him that they were very different.
18 JUDGE HOEPFEL: What do you mean by "the independent state of
20 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I was just referring to his question, but
21 I take that to mean the NDH, the independent state of Croatia, from
22 World War II.
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic.
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is true that
1 the Prosecutor asked the question, asked about what he said, his
2 statement, about the NDH, the independent state of Croatia, and the new
3 Croatian state of 1991. And after receiving the answer the Prosecutor -
4 and I remember that very well - did ask the witness ultimately to tell him
5 what, according to him, he sees as points that can be compared,
6 comparable, and the witness gave us a detailed answer to that. He said
7 that the Serbs -- or, rather, that both states placed the Serbs --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you tell us what he said, can you refer us
9 to the text, please, in the transcript so that we can read what he said in
11 JUDGE HOEPFEL: I appreciate that of course, especially as I was
12 not present Monday.
13 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, if I can be of any assistance, I believe
14 what counsel is referring to is at page 9988, and in fact it's true, in
15 following up on the witness's response I said: "Okay. Well, go ahead and
16 tell me why there are no significant differences between these two
17 governments which existed 50 years separate from one another, if you can
18 do so briefly."
19 So I can see that -- I think you could say that I asked him and it
20 does arise from cross-examination to that extent.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. And you therefore withdraw the
23 MR. BLACK: I withdraw my objection. Thank you.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
25 Mr. Milovancevic, you may proceed. The objection is withdrawn.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Black, and thank
2 you, Your Honour.
3 Q. In response to the Prosecution's question on page 9988 about the
4 similarities between the NDH and why you claim that there were no
5 significant differences between the two, you indicated the fact that the
6 Serbs were placed outside the law, you mentioned the position of the
7 Cyrillic alphabet, the persecutions, the Croato-centrism. You mentioned
8 symbolics, too, and that's where the Prosecutor interrupted you. Do you
9 remember that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us when you compare, linked to this
12 particular topic, when you were interrupted, when you compare this, how
13 did the state and political functionaries in the independent state of
14 Croatia, that is to say the NDH, and in Croatia of 1990 and 1991, what was
15 their attitude towards the Serbs in their public speeches?
16 A. In their public speeches their attitude was almost identical.
17 Many representatives of the Republic of Croatia publicly lent their
18 support to the independent state of Croatia. In their public speakings
19 they said many things against the Serb people, and the Serb people
20 experienced this as a reprisal, or rather, a repeat of World War II.
21 Q. Thank you. I have to interrupt you there and go on with my
22 questions. For speeches of this kind made by the leaders of Croatia, or
23 rather, can we say that that kind -- that those kinds of speeches were
24 extreme incidents and extreme cases or not --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, no, no, ask the witness. Don't tell the
1 witness. You are not cross-examining; you are re-examining, sir. Ask the
2 witness how he characterises those speeches.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I'll withdraw that
4 question, Your Honour. It is a leading question, you're quite right, and
5 I apologise. I was following my line of thinking.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. It is the witness's line of thinking
7 that we want to follow.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Can you tell us: When you compare the two states, the NDH and the
10 thank you Croatia of 1990/1991, how was the Serb question resolved in one
11 state and in the other? Is there any comparison?
12 A. Well, you can draw a parallel and make a comparison because both
13 states were, in their politics, at the heart of their politics was that
14 the Serbs in one way or another should either be killed or expelled from
15 that territory. That was the basic component of these two states. And in
16 the Second World War this ethnic cleansing, ethnic marketing did not
17 happen, but there were far more killings in World War II. However, now
18 the overall, the entire people were expelled from that area. And it is a
19 wasteland to the present day.
20 Q. Thank you. Do you remember that the Prosecutor asked you
21 questions linked to your statement whereby you said that the new Croatian
22 constitution, the so-called Christmas constitution dating back to
23 December, that that was a cause of war; do you remember that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you tell us briefly why you say that this new constitution was
1 the cause of war.
2 A. Well, quite simply, because it threw the Serbs out of the
3 constitution after so many years, I would even go as far as to say
4 centuries. Because the Serbs from times immemorial were an equitable
5 nation and recognised as a nation on an equal footing, just as there were
6 in Bosnia three nations of an equal footing, first of all two, then
7 three. And in Croatia four centuries ago there were two equitable
8 nations. And suddenly the situation repeated itself, history repeated
9 itself back from 1941. The Serbs were being thrown out of the Croatian
10 constitution, and the Serbian people understood this as a slap in the face
11 and a threat, and that was proved to be true.
12 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I'm sorry, before you go on, is an equitable
13 nation the same thing as a constituent nation or is it different?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes, a nation on an equal
15 footing or -- equitable is not quite the same. A constituent nation is a
16 higher notion and concept from the equality of nations. The equality of
17 nations or an equitable nation can be -- a nation can be equitable in
18 various ways with respect to civic rights and civilian rights. But a
19 constituent nation is something else again.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you done?
21 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: This may be a problem of interpretation, but for
23 myself I would like to understand what the word "equitable" is intended to
24 mean in context.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, equality. If you have
1 equality, it is the equality of citizens or nations, national minorities
2 can be on a footing of equality, in that sense of equitable. But
3 constituent nation is a different category in jurisdiction and
4 jurisprudence. And in Croatia, two nations on a footing of equality
5 always existed, two constituent nations.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's a new meaning I'm getting of the
7 word "equitable."
8 JUDGE HOEPFEL: A new meaning of the word "equitable" for us
10 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Did the Serb nation stop being an equitable
11 nation at some time and then become a constituent nation within the
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All constitutions of the Republic of
14 Croatia from 1947 onwards when the first constitution of Croatia was
15 enacted, in all the constitutions it says the Croatian and Serbian peoples
16 are completely equal, and national minorities gain the right to be on a
17 footing of equality with other nations, but this constituent quality and
18 the division of power within a state.
19 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: So it's two different status, two different
20 conditions within the framework of the law? One is to do with equality
21 and the other one is to do with constituency. Am I understanding you
22 correctly? Thank you very much.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right. They are not the
24 concepts in the constitution. "Ravno pravnost" as equality and footing of
25 equality is a separate character, and constituent nation is another
2 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much.
3 Please go on.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Do you recall that during the cross-examination by my learned
6 friend from the OTP His Honour Judge Moloto asked you about the meaning of
7 the word "redarstvenik"; do you recall that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you tell us when this term, "redarstvenik" appeared for the
10 first time and where?
11 A. During the independent state of Croatia when new words were coined
12 simply to make a distinction between the Croatian and Serbian languages.
13 Now the result of this is that the police force in Croatia was referred to
14 as "redarstvenici" and the police administration was referred to as
15 "redarstveni ured" and so on.
16 Q. Did the terms "redarstvo" and the term "redarstvenici" exist in
17 the territory of Croatia in the period between the end of World War II and
19 A. No.
20 Q. When did this term enter into usage again and by whom was it used?
21 A. It started being used again after the HDZ elections in --
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, sorry, sorry, just a second. You asked the
23 question whether these terms did exist in the Republic of Croatia during
24 the period between the end of World War II and 1990, and the answer was:
25 No. Your next question is: When did they enter usage again. You haven't
1 established that they were ever there before. You have just got a
2 negative answer to that question, in fact, so you can't use the
3 word "again," Mr. Milovancevic.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can accept this
5 with the following qualification. I had in mind the text of Article 35,
6 which is something -- which is the text of paragraph 35 --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, no, no, no, I don't accept that. If you accept
8 it, you accept what I'm saying. You can't give your qualification because
9 now your qualification is -- is again putting words into the witness's
10 mouth. If you accept it, accept it. You can't ask the word -- use the
11 word "again." Is that okay?
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, the question to you, Witness, is when did this
14 term enter into usage and by whom was it used?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was used after the elections in
16 Croatia when the Croatian Democratic Union came to power.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Thank you.
18 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. With regard to your answer, the -- what was the reaction on the
21 part of the Serbian population to the entry into usage of these terms?
22 A. You see, there are no significant differences between the Serbian
23 and Croatian languages in Croatia; they are one and the same language. We
24 were very close nations. And any step which went against the unity of the
25 two people ruffled the feathers of the Serbs because it harked back to the
1 period between 1941 and 1945 when mass-scale crimes were committed against
2 the Serb people and the Serbian people were afraid of this repeating
4 Q. Can you just briefly tell us why you tie in these terms
5 of "redarstvo," "redarstvenici" with the fear of the Serbs that the crimes
6 would repeat themselves?
7 A. Because during World War II millions of people were killed in
8 Croatia, in what was then called the independent state of Croatia.
9 Q. Very well. Let us move to a different topic which has to do with
10 paragraph 43.
11 My learned friend from the Prosecution asked several questions
12 about the part of your statement where you speak of the fatal -- of the
13 decision taken by Babic which was fatal for the Serbian people. Do you
14 remember that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you recall that in your answer to the Prosecutor you explained
17 and stated, among other things, that you as a member of the Serbian
18 National Council and vice-president of the Serbian National Council, just
19 as all the other members of the Serbian National Council, were opposed to
20 the proposal by Milan Babic in the capacity of the president of the same
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you recall saying that you, as a member of the Serbian National
24 Council, were in favour of seeking a solution to the issue within the
25 framework of Croatia?
1 A. Yes. And if I may clarify, I stated as much in a public rally in
2 Glina, a newspaper article was published in Borba which stated that
3 Tudjman ear-marked 300.000 German marks for Mile Dakic and others who --
4 to leave Krajina in Croatia. This was what Mile Paspalj, the president of
5 the Assembly stated.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 300.000 million.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. The Prosecutor asked you about this and you said that as the
9 Croatian -- as the Serbian National Council you were against Krajina's
10 annexation with Serbia. What was his reaction to this position of yours?
11 A. He said, Who do we belong to if we do not belong to Serbia? And
12 what was his reaction to my opposed view.
13 Q. Do you know how the famous decision on annexation with Serbia was
14 made, which was signed by Milan Babic as the president of the Executive
15 Council of SAO Krajina after the Plitvice events?
16 A. As the Serbian National Council refused the idea of a referendum
17 being held, he went through the association of municipalities. There, the
18 decision was carried in favour of the referendum and the referendum was
19 indeed held on the 20th of May. The Serbian people, given the situation
20 in Croatia, opted in favour of annexing the area with Serbia.
21 Q. I should like to know whose decision it was to annex Krajina with
22 Serbia. You said that the Serbian National Council refused it.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And it was signed by Babic.
25 A. Yes, it was, on behalf of the Association of Municipalities of
1 Northern Dalmatia and Lika; I believe that was the name of the association
2 at the time. And the association expanded to include other areas later
4 Q. In your statement and in response to Prosecutor's questions, you
5 explained that in this way Milan Babic basically found a channel which
6 enabled him to have this decision taken.
7 A. Yes. Because he was unable to achieve his goal through the
8 Serbian National Council, he took a different course to it. Following
9 these events, he never summoned any meetings of the Serbian Council
11 Q. Do you know if Belgrade supported this decision of his and did
12 Belgrade help him see it through and have it carried?
13 A. I don't know whether Belgrade lent any support to him or not. I
14 know that afterwards the relations between him and Milosevic became tense.
15 Subsequently, in the month of January, the relations were further
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Milovancevic please repeat what he
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Prosecutor asked you the following: The decision made by
21 Mr. Babic on annexation, was it characterised by you as fatal only because
22 he made it publicly and not clandestinely and this, in fact, was against
23 your view?
24 A. I'm a historian, and I was aware of the fact that Europe and the
25 international community at large did not wish to see a Greater Serbia
1 formed. And I knew that not only would we have Croatia as our adversary
2 but the entire world.
3 Q. And did you tell Mr. Babic as much?
4 A. I did.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I believe this would be a good
7 moment --
8 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Just before the witness completes, but in
9 regards to annexation, having regard to the geographical location of
10 Serbia and the RSK, for example, and other Serbian territories, weren't
11 there practical difficulties in implementation of any framework involving
12 annexure? Wouldn't it have been rather difficult in the real
13 circumstances, as an historian?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The proponents of the idea of the
15 annexation with Serbia said that one has to be able to reach Krajina from
16 Serbia by treading only Serbian soil. Obviously the idea was to connect
17 different areas of -- Serb areas of Bosnia and Slavonia with Knin and
18 those parts. In this way, they wanted to create a Greater Serbia. Milan
19 Babic was advocating the creation of Greater Serbia in a certain way, and
20 us, the members of the Serbian National Council, were opposed to that
22 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: But weren't those Serbian areas, other than
23 Serbia itself, within the boundaries of other republics; and would you not
24 have had the need for the consent of those other republics before such
25 annexure could become effective and become lawful? Wouldn't it have been
1 essentially illegal and unlawful otherwise?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know to what extent some
3 third party may have been involved in this and whom Mr. Babic spoke with.
4 I know that Croatia was also inclined towards such an idea, that's to say
5 to divide Bosnia --
6 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: [Previous translation continues]...
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- and of course the other side,
8 Serbia, may have wished to have Serbs connected to them. But it was
10 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Could Croatia determine that Bosnia should be
11 divided? Is that how it worked?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Believe me, Milosevic and Tudjman
13 never stopped discussing Bosnia. The Serbs from Krajina fell victims of
14 such calculations and combinations. We would never have lived to see such
15 evil and such an exodus had not such ideas been entertained. Even the --
16 even Karadzic and the Bosnian leadership wanted Bosnia to be divided, but
17 in turn they insisted that the RSK, as an entity, cease to exist.
18 So we are victims of Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian leaderships.
19 The rope that we had around our neck was being pulled by different hands
20 from different sides, and that was why we suffered the fate we did.
21 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much. Sorry to have kept you.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, you had indicated it is a
23 convenient time?
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I'm correct in
25 thinking that the working day finishes at 1.45, then we have come to that
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Then the matter stands
3 postponed to tomorrow at 9.00 in Courtroom II, this courtroom.
4 Court adjourned.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.49 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 26th day of
7 October, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.