Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 9996

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

Page 9997

1 meantime.

2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please do.

3 MR. BLACK: Thank you.


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.


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

Page 9998

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,

Page 9999

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

Page 10000

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

24 witness.

25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Dakic. At page 4, line 19, starting

Page 10001

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

Page 10002

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

Page 10003

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

11 referendum.

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

Page 10004

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?

Page 10005

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

Page 10006

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

24 fine.

25 Q. Do you see there in numbered paragraph 1 that it says that the war

Page 10007

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?


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

20 out.

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 --

Page 10008

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

21 otherwise.

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

Page 10009

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

22 way.

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?

Page 10010

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

5 victims.

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

Page 10011

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

Page 10012

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;

22 correct?

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

Page 10013

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

Page 10014

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

20 involved?

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

Page 10015

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

Page 10016

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

21 with.

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

Page 10017

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

Page 10018

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

23 1991?

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

Page 10019

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

21 okay.

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

Page 10020

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

Page 10021

1 correct?

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

19 anyone.

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

Page 10022

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,

Page 10023

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

Page 10024

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

Page 10025

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

Page 10026

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.

Page 10027

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

Page 10028

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

25 1991?

Page 10029

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

Page 10030

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

Page 10031

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

Page 10032

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

12 product.

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

Page 10033

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;

13 correct?

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

Page 10034

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?

Page 10035

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

8 access?

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?

Page 10036

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.

Page 10037

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

4 victims?

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.

Page 10038

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

19 paragraph?

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.

Page 10039

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

Page 10040

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

6 recall?

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

Page 10041

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

Page 10042

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

11 better.

12 JUDGE MOLOTO: The Chamber must rule on the objection, which is

13 overruled.

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

Page 10043

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

14 that?

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.

Page 10044

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.

Page 10045

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

5 paragraph.

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

Page 10046

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

Page 10047

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

7 question.

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,

Page 10048

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;

12 correct?

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

25 before.

Page 10049

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

Page 10050

1 approbation.

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

10 peace.

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

Page 10051

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

11 today.

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.


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

Page 10052

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

Page 10053

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.


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

13 sides.

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

Page 10054

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.

Page 10055

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

Page 10056

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.

Page 10057

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

9 fine.

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

Page 10058

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

Page 10059

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

6 right?

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

Page 10060

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

Page 10061

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

4 said.

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

Page 10062

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

Page 10063

1 truth of it.

2 Q. Thank you very much. I have no further questions for you at this

3 time.

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.

Page 10064

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?

Page 10065

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

11 interruption.

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

18 anything?

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.

Page 10066

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

19 Croatia"?

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

Page 10067

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

10 response.

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

22 objection?

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.

Page 10068

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

Page 10069

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

Page 10070

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

Page 10071

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

9 apparently.

10 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Did the Serb nation stop being an equitable

11 nation at some time and then become a constituent nation within the

12 constitution?

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

Page 10072

1 category.

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

18 1990?

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

Page 10073

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

Page 10074

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

3 itself.

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

21 council?

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?

Page 10075

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

Page 10076

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

3 on.

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

10 anymore.

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

16 troubled.

17 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Milovancevic please repeat what he

18 said.

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

Page 10077

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

21 position.

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

Page 10078

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

9 unrealistic.

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

Page 10079

1 point.

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.