1 Wednesday, 15 February 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, please continue. And I encourage
7 you to be as brief as possible, and bear in mind that you don't have to
8 ask questions on every issue raised in cross-examination. Just confine
9 yourself to those matters where you think your witness might need some
11 WITNESS: BRANKO KOSTIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Re-examination by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
14 Q. [Interpretation] Professor Kostic, in connection with the
15 assertions made by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff with respect to my open letter to
16 Milan Babic which she refers to as my statement - she can call it whatever
17 she likes - but do you have the letter in front of you? It's Exhibit 352,
18 tab 79, and it is the front page of the Politika newspaper.
19 A. Yes, I've got that.
20 Q. Would you read out what it says from the beginning, that first
21 part, and then we can go on to some others.
22 A. "Open letter of Slobodan Milosevic to Milan Babic. The people
23 should not have to suffer because of the self-love of a politician. To
24 reject -- the rejection of the continued peaceful course of the solution
25 to the crisis means to opt for a continuation of war at a time when there
1 are no more reasons for war. The fact that Serbia is giving comprehensive
2 and selfless assistance to Krajina does not mean that you have gained the
3 right to decide upon the lives of its citizens."
4 Q. You're reading that --
5 A. The subtitles, subheadings.
6 Q. All right, fine, the subheadings. Let's not waste time with that.
7 Let's go to the original text of the -- the actual text of the letter,
8 although that is part of the text, but never mind.
9 A. "I feel it my obligation and responsibility to express my
10 disagreement with your position that you do not want the United Nations
11 peacekeeping forces to protect the territory of Krajina under the Cyrus
12 Vance Plan. Rejecting protection --"
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, to what end is this letter being
14 read, and how much of it is going to be read? Why don't you just put your
15 question to the witness?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I would like to ask a
17 question, and it relates to the claim made that I am bringing into
18 question the Krajina leadership and everything over there presented by
19 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff referring to the book by Borisav Jovic, and that from
20 this letter you can see that it's absolutely incorrect.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Read the penultimate paragraph of the letter, if you will.
23 A. "Since it has become obvious that for a long time now you are
24 creating an image with the citizens of Krajina, that you are agreeing with
25 the leadership of Serbia on your positions and stands, I'd like the people
1 of Krajina to know that that is not true."
2 Q. All right. Now, Professor Kostic, was that the practice? Was
3 that what was done, that over there, and here too for that matter, we can
4 encounter things like that, that what is being done over there is being
5 decided upon in Belgrade?
6 A. Correct. That's what I said in the cross-examination as well.
7 And where my speech was shown and my address to the citizens of Glina,
8 that we had come there to tell the people that the rumours going round
9 there were just not true.
10 Q. Was that the constant practice, that is to say that everything
11 that was happening over there was being ascribed to Serbia?
12 A. Yes, correct. And during the examination-in-chief, I already said
13 that it was quite wrong to believe, regardless of the fact that you had
14 the greatest political authority and wielded the greatest political
15 influence on the territory of Serbia and the territory of Montenegro, that
16 it was quite wrong to assume, as the public, both national an
17 international, thought, that you had absolute control and influence over
18 the leadership.
19 Q. Now, what does it say further on there? "Although you personally
20 informed me that the Presidency decision with respect to the arrival of
21 the UN forces you would accept as a whole, on the whole --"
22 A. I'm not hearing anything. I just hear the interpretation now in
23 French. I'm receiving the French interpretation.
24 Q. Well, the channels have been mixed up.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let's try again, Mr. Milosevic.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Take a look at the last paragraph, what it says there. "Although
3 you personally informed me --" have you found that? "-- that you would
4 accept entirely the decision of the Yugoslavia Presidency --" that is the
5 SFRY Presidency --
6 A. "Although you personally informed me that you would accept
7 entirely the decision of the Yugoslavia Presidency on the arrival of the
8 United Nations forces, you have turned a deaf ear to the explicit
9 positions of the Yugoslav Presidency of the Serbian leadership more than
10 once, giving yourself the right to make decisions for which,
11 unfortunately, the entire Serbian people should pay, and pay with their
13 Q. Now, with respect to what Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff said about this
14 relationship as contained in my statement, as she called it, and found in
15 Jovic's book, that Krajina not be given any more assistance and support,
16 what does it say at the end of that letter of mine?
17 A. "Serbia will not stop helping the people of Krajina even when peace
18 is established, but the citizens of Krajina should know that because of
19 what you have done, you have lost all the trust we had in you, and for
20 future relations with the authorities of the Republic of Serbia, they have
21 to delegate persons who will hold the interests of their people above
22 personal political prestige ..."
23 Q. So who, then, in my letter has lost trust, or forfeited trust? Is
24 it the people in Krajina, is it the leadership in Krajina, or is it Milan
1 A. Exclusively Milan Babic.
2 Q. And is any replacement called for here except for saying we don't
3 want to do anything more with him who is -- because he is a liar and a
4 dishonourable man?
5 A. That's right. And he even publicly accused us of wanting to
6 arrest him and that he was afraid and that he was afraid to spend time in
7 Belgrade, whereas in fact he spent a lot of time in Belgrade frequently.
8 Q. Well, all right. He's not the only man that said that. Mesic
9 said he was afraid too, and so did Ante Markovic. He said he was afraid
10 too, so he's not the only one, and nothing happened to any of them.
11 Nobody even whistled at them --
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic --
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] -- Booed them.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: -- You are to ask questions.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. As we were saying, in this regard and the fact that Babic was
17 replaced after that, my question to you is who replaced Babic? Did we
18 replace him or was he replaced by the Krajina Assembly?
19 A. It was the Assembly of the Republic of Srpska Krajina that
20 replaced him. The initiative came, proposals came from the Assembly
21 session that I attended where the Assembly ultimately adopted the Vance
22 Plan and there were proposals put forward that Mr. Babic be replaced.
23 However, those of us who came to expound the Vance Plan and to convince
24 the delegates of Serbian Krajina that it was a good idea to accept the
25 plan, we suggested that they should not go forward with this at that
1 session, especially as Mr. Babic did not attend the meeting. They did
2 that at a later session, when they were alone.
3 Q. With respect to the claim that Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff made with
4 reference to Borisav Jovic's book, she read out something to the effect
5 that I managed the negotiations on the Vance Plan. Now, do you happen to
6 remember whether Vance and his associates talked to the leadership of
7 Montenegro, for example?
8 A. Yes, they did talk to the leadership of Montenegro at a villa in
9 Gorica in Podgorica and I --
10 Q. And they talked about Montenegro?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. They talked with me. They talked with the leadership of Krajina,
13 do you remember that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. They talked to you too?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And they talked to Tudjman. So was it quite obvious from all that
18 what they actually wanted to achieve? Did they want to talk to all the
19 important factors in Yugoslavia or just to me?
20 A. Well, they wished to talk to everybody who could have an influence
21 on a positive relationship and the implementation of Cyrus Vance's peace
23 Q. Now, from those competent individuals, did they leave anybody out?
24 A. I don't think so, no. They talked to us in the Presidency most
25 because they had an interest in seeing that, as the Supreme Command, we
1 should act in conformity with the plan, which means that the Yugoslav
2 People's Army should be withdrawn from that territory once the Blue
3 Helmets arrive.
4 Q. So they talked to you most and then they talked to the leadership
5 of Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Krajina.
6 A. Yes, that's right. Even Mr. Marek Goulding I think went to
7 Krajina on two occasions to explain the plan and to dissuade -- and to
8 prevail upon the leadership in Serb Krajina about some doubts that they
9 had, to prevail upon them to change their minds.
10 Q. Now, in connection to Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff's question to the effect
11 that the Serb Assembly decided who would represent Kosovo and Vojvodina,
12 did the Serbian Assembly make any decisions at all with respect to
13 representation in the Presidency from Vojvodina?
14 A. I don't know that. I really can't say.
15 Q. And do you remember under what circumstances the Serbian Assembly
16 took over the authorisation and competencies of the Assembly of Kosovo,
17 for example?
18 A. Well, I'm not sure. I'm not sure I can give the right answer to
20 Q. All right. Fine. I'm not going to lead you in an answer to the
21 question and suggest one.
22 Madam Uertz-Retzlaff presented an excerpt from Momir Bulatovic,
23 from page 93, dating back to the times we discussed the new constitution
24 of Yugoslavia.
25 A. Yes, I do remember that.
1 Q. And she quoted passage, or, rather, the end of a passage, the
2 second passage on page 93, where it says: "Slobodan Milosevic, as usual,
3 had the main say," and here it says: "Slobodan Milosevic, as usually, had
4 the main say on behalf of the other -- in front of the other side." Now,
5 which other side discussed -- or which other sides discussed the Yugoslav
6 constitution? Which were they?
7 A. I don't know.
8 Q. Well, wasn't it Serbia and Montenegro?
9 A. Well, I can't interpret what it says in Momir's book, but I can
10 confirm that several of us most responsible people from Serbia and
11 Montenegro, including Jovic as member of the Presidency from Serbia and
12 myself as member of the Montenegrin Presidency, did take part in those
13 talks. They were held in Belgrade once and once in Vila Gorica, until we
14 finally reached an agreement.
15 Q. All right. Fine. Now, those two sides, Serbia and Montenegro,
16 are those the sides referred to here?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Here he says: "Slobodan Milosevic took the floor and chaired --"
19 was that Serbia on behalf of the other side?
20 A. Well, yes, it should be Serbia.
21 Q. So who else would be best placed to conduct negotiations in the
22 name of Serbia?
23 A. Well, according to the constitution, it was you and according --
24 and it was him for Montenegro.
25 Q. Is that right?
1 A. Yes. He was president of the Presidency of Montenegro.
2 Q. There's an explanation here about how we talked in your villa at
3 Dedinje, or I don't know whose villa at Dedinje. I didn't note it down
4 and it was a few days ago. And that we went out to talk in the garden
5 because there was a waiter there. Do you remember that, what Madam
6 Uertz-Retzlaff explained here?
7 A. Yes, I remember that, and I remember reading about it in Jovic's
8 book. I didn't have time then to say that never did you and Mr. Jovic
9 come to my home except on one occasion when you arrived with a man from
10 the building management a month before I retired from Belgrade, and you
11 asked if I would mind moving to another villa, also on Dedinje, because
12 there had to be some alterations made to the villa, and of course I agreed
13 because I had an apartment in that villa, just as Mesic, Drnovsek,
14 Tupurkovski and others did. But they had already left, so the villa was
16 Q. So we never visited you in your home?
17 A. No, never.
18 Q. And what about what it says here, that we had to go out to talk in
19 the garden because there was a waiter in the villa serving coffee?
20 A. Well, I have to say it sounds very convincing, just as he said
21 very convincingly that we had coffee together at Batajnica, although I was
22 never there with him on that day. He probably visited that villa very
23 often, so it wasn't difficult for him to describe the atmosphere of the
24 villa. I don't know who he was trying to damage, you or me.
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, you stated quite clearly here that you retired from
1 political life in June when your term of office expired and when the
2 president of the SRJ was elected; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Six months later, in December 1992, you agreed to be a candidate
5 for president of Montenegro. Why in December 1992 did you agree to this?
6 A. While I was still in Belgrade holding office there, and also after
7 I retired from political life, the relations between the leaderships of
8 Serbia and Montenegro grew increasingly tense. I wasn't afraid that
9 Serbia would attack Montenegro but I was afraid of internal conflicts in
10 Montenegro. As I had decided to retire from political life -- for two
11 years I had been president of Montenegro, before that I had been
12 vice-president of Montenegro, I had also been vice-president of Yugoslavia
13 -- so I felt it was my moral duty to warn the citizens of Montenegro that
14 the then leadership, which is still in power today, were leading them
15 towards separatism, but they were doing it secretly, undercover, because
16 they knew if they did it openly they would not have the support of the
18 The only way to be reported in the media was to become a candidate
19 for president. I was nominated by two local communes, my native local
20 commune, and I agreed. Even before the results were announced, I stated I
21 did not expect to win the election but I felt I had done my civic duty of
22 warning the population what was in the offing.
23 Q. Thank you. This reply's quite sufficient. Just another brief
24 clarification in connection with this statement. Was it I who nominated
25 you? You just said that two local communes from your native region
1 nominated you. Did I play any role in your nomination for the candidacy?
2 A. No, not for a single instant. We never even spoke on the phone.
3 Mr. Jovic called me on the phone once, and he said, "Branko, withdraw.
4 You don't stand a chance of winning." And I told him the same thing that
5 I have now stated before this Court, that I wasn't interested in holding
6 the office but that I wanted to have the chance of telling the citizens of
7 Montenegro where their leadership was taking them.
8 It's well known that practically everything we agreed about the
9 constitution, about common functions at the top, that they instead of
10 unified, transformed this into joint. So there was a Joint Command, every
11 republic had its own embassies, and so on and so forth, and Mr. Bulatovic
12 even agreed that they should switch every six months. It was a hybrid
13 construct that had no chance of surviving.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... answer the
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff dwelt for a relatively long time on your
18 conversation with the minister of the interior. That's in tab 1. Would
19 you please take a look at it. She quoted some portions of this.
20 A. I have it, yes.
21 Q. Take a look at page 14, where you say at the bottom of the page,
22 last paragraph: "However, the most important problem now --" what does it
24 A. Let me just find page 14. I've found it now.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, allow the Trial Chamber to find
1 it. You should be directing us to the page in English. What page is it
2 in the English text, Mr. Milosevic?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I don't have the
4 English in my -- oh, yes, I have. Yes I have. Just a moment. I'll find
5 it for you.
6 It's on page 8, the second paragraph not counting the one that's
7 gone over from the previous page.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. What does it say?
10 A. "However, we now have a more serious problem, Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina. According to the constitution of Yugoslavia and the
12 constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have three constituent peoples
13 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Muslims are the most numerous and make up
14 about 44 to 46 per cent of the populations. The Serbs make up 32 per cent
15 and have about 64 per cent of the territory. The Croats make up 18 per
16 cent of the population.
17 "According to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina currently
18 in force, all three peoples have equal rights, regardless of their
20 Q. Very well. And then questions are put to you, "Who are the
21 Muslims?" And then you say, "... in 95 or 98 per cent of the cases, they
22 are Islamised Serbs, Serbs who accepted Islam, that is."
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Then Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff quoted to you the next portion, three
25 paragraphs down, where you say: "In 105 of 110 municipalities they live
1 together mixed together."
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Was this one of the key arguments supporting what you say, that
4 the three peoples should agree among themselves?
5 A. Precisely so. In this kind of mixed population, mixed according
6 to ethnic and religious affiliation, it was impossible to draw some kind
7 of demarcation line. That's why we kept saying and insisting that Bosnia
8 should remain entire and whole and unified and as such be part of
10 Q. And on the next page, and this was also partly quoted by
11 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff: "Unfortunately the European Community and
12 Mr. Badinter as president of the Arbitration Commission suggested that a
13 referendum be carried out among the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 This means applying the principle of predominance and destroying the
15 principle of equal rights of all three peoples in line with the
16 constitution," and so on and so forth.
17 A. This would lead directly to military conflict in Bosnia.
18 Therefore, the idea of internationally recognising an independent Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina leads directly to a conflagration of war of unprecedented
21 Q. And is this what actually happened?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you remember what Carrington, Cyrus Vance, and others said
24 about these premature recognitions and their influence?
25 A. More than once both Mr. Carrington and Mr. Cyrus Vance and Lord
1 Owen reiterated that the premature recognition of the independence of
2 Slovenia and Croatia, and especially of Bosnia and Herzegovina, had led to
3 escalating war conflicts and fanned the flames, and that it was a disaster
4 for all the peoples on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
5 Q. Could you now please find page 18.
6 A. I found it.
7 Q. The third paragraph from the bottom, what do you say?
8 A. "For us every solution is acceptable resulting from an agreement
9 between each of the peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Any attempt by two
10 of the peoples to impose their will on the third will obviously lead to
12 I think this is fully in line with the provisions of the
13 constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina which I presented to Their Honours
14 after the end of my cross-examination.
15 Q. As Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff said that you were mentioning ideas which
16 would lead to the division of Bosnia, I won't go back to your responses,
17 but look at the second paragraph of your speech here.
18 A. "But in the event of cantonisation, the Serbs and Muslims could
19 probably work out how to create a division as far as Sarajevo is
20 concerned, because the starting point for cantonisation is the principle
21 of an ethnic majority within a given area. Cantonisation would mean a
22 division of Bosnia and Herzegovina which would allow the Croats and Serbs
23 to have communications and links with their home states, Croatia and
24 Serbia; in other words, Yugoslavia."
25 Q. And was the Cutileiro Plan a plan that proposed cantonisation?
1 A. Yes. That's what I said. The Cutileiro Plan was based on
2 precisely those principles, as was the case with the Dayton Accord which
3 led to the end of the war in Bosnia, and it included even some specific
4 links between the Serbian Republic and Yugoslavia.
5 Q. Please go on.
6 A. "We think there is an extremist Muslim fundamentalism about in
7 this wing of the Muslim party. Independence for Bosnia and Herzegovina is
8 an attempt to form the first Islamic state in Europe. We believe that if
9 the Muslim leaders really were to protect the interests of their people,
10 they themselves would have to support the preservation and interests of
11 Yugoslavia, because after the Serbs, the Muslims are the people who are
12 most widely scattered around Yugoslavia. And just as the Serbs naturally
13 want to stay living in a single state, it is also natural for the Muslims
14 to want to live in a single state."
15 Q. You needn't go on. You needn't explain where the Muslims live and
16 so on. You go on to say that the current leaders are not taking into
17 account the interests of the Muslim people. Does this correspond to what
18 their leader Adil Zulfikarpasic was saying, both in the interview we
19 tendered here and in his public interviews?
20 A. What I'm saying here to the minister of foreign affairs of
21 friendly nation Zimbabwe in faraway Africa - and this was all happening in
22 1992 - and what Mr. Zulfikarpasic wrote about and gave an extensive
23 interview about in 1996 or 1997, these two things, what I said then and
24 the assessments of Mr. Zulfikarpasic, correspond fully. It's not because
25 they correspond but because it's really common sense. That's why I said
1 that Mr. Zulfikarpasic was one of the most eminent intellectuals from
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3 Q. And what you say in the third paragraph from the bottom here:
4 "When the Yugoslav crisis began, we had people from Croatia in six of the
5 most responsible positions." What does it go on to say?
6 A. "Six of the most responsible positions in the federation:
7 Mr. Mesic as president of the Presidency, Mr. Markovic as president of the
8 Federal Executive Council, SIV, Mr. Loncar as minister of foreign
9 affairs," and so on.
10 In my examination-in-chief, I also mentioned Mr. Zekan, the
11 minister of finance, and -- his name escapes me now. He was the minister
12 of technology and science.
13 Q. Marendic.
14 A. Yes, Bozidar Marendic.
15 Q. There were many questions about the election of Mesic. Did anyone
16 ever challenge the right of Croatia to elect Mesic as a member of the
18 A. No. No one ever denied it for a moment, nor did anyone deny the
19 right of Croatia to provide its own candidate for president in that year.
20 Q. In the Rules of Procedure where it speaks about the Presidency,
21 does it say that he has to be elected or does he automatically take up the
22 post according to the rotation system?
23 A. No, he had to be elected. He was always elected. But as I
24 explained previously, every member of the Presidency had gone through the
25 various checks in the socialist system, but Mr. Mesic had not gone through
1 this procedure because in the meantime the League of Socialists had been
2 disbanded or, rather, the Socialist Alliance of Working People.
3 Q. Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff played several videos concerning your visit to
4 Borovo Selo. I'm not going to play them again because I don't want to
5 waste time, but has it been said more than once, and I have in front of me
6 the English version of the transcript of what you said, you say: "[In
7 English] In this and in all other cases the Federal Executive Council must
8 be fully responsible for it regardless of ethnic affiliation of population
9 overtaken by misfortune."
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: What's the question, Mr. Milosevic?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let me just finish the quotation.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Last sentence: "[In English] Our army must be the power and the
14 national army in the proper sense of the word that will protect -- that
15 will protect and every of our citizens at risk, regardless of his
16 nationality or religion or his political commitment."
17 [Interpretation] That is what you said then in that area, speaking
18 among Serbs, talking about the fact that the army and the leadership would
19 be protecting everybody. Who was attacked there?
20 A. It was the Serbian population. They were the most numerous among
21 the 8.000 refugees.
22 Q. So to them, the people who had been attacked and whom you had come
23 to visit after all that, you were saying, "We will be protecting everybody
24 regardless of ethnicity." Was that the crux of your message?
25 A. Yes. That was the essence of my message. And it was played
1 several times, and I'm glad it was played. I wouldn't change a single
2 word even today.
3 Q. Did that also express the position of the then leadership
4 concerning equality among ethnicities and non-discrimination?
5 A. Yes. That reflected the position of all of us who were in favour
6 of preserving Yugoslavia and equality among all the peoples and nations
7 and republics that constituted the country.
8 Q. Do you remember at the time of the visit, of your visit, how many
9 refugees had already come from those parts into Serbia?
10 A. I've already said. About 8.000. Of course there were some Croats
11 among them who had fled to Serbia as well. But since those areas were
12 mostly populated by Serbs, the most refugees were Serbs, and the majority
13 of them were in fact women and children because the men had stayed behind
14 to try to defend their homes.
15 Q. Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff has tried to represent that you were attacked
16 by your own colleagues, university professors. Do you remember that?
17 A. Yes, I remember those attacks as well.
18 Q. All those attacks that were made against you at that time, verbal
19 attacks, did you publish them all in your book?
20 A. Yes. I quoted them verbatim. There were three successive
21 writings, and in all of them they reiterated that they were not
22 criticising me as a person but my political activities and engagement.
23 But the bottom line is that all those people who wrote that did not make
24 up even 10 per cent of the staff of the university. Of course all those
25 who signed those statements had been and remain in opposition parties,
1 people who were always my opponents, because even today we have different
2 opinions as far as politics are concerned.
3 Q. I'm just looking for another passage. Some of the questions asked
4 by the opposite side had to do with rallies, and you said something about
5 them being organised from behind the scenes.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff told you that you had spoken then about events
8 that were totally made up because the wave of refugees and the violence
9 started later, whereas you were speaking in October 1990.
10 A. Well, she must have been confused. In mid-1991, direct attacks
11 against the Yugoslav People's Army had already started, whereas the
12 insecurities and anxiety for the people in Serb Krajina started much
13 earlier. And I wasn't making anything up; people were fleeing already in
14 great numbers.
15 Q. When did you visit Borovo Selo?
16 A. It was in 1991. I believe in June or maybe -- I think it was
18 Q. And what about the rallies? You said you went to the rallies to
19 calm the spirits town. Who organised those rallies in Montenegro?
20 A. Well, the organiser of the particular one that the lady quoted
21 from was a party led by my former colleague from the university, Professor
22 Novak Kilibarda, who was the leader of that party. A lot has changed for
23 the better since then, I must say. This people's party has changed a lot.
24 And I also tried to diffuse tensions on many other occasions, many other
25 rallies. I don't know who organised them all, but there were ethnic
1 divisions and rifts. On one side there were Serbs and Montenegrins. On
2 the other side there were Muslims and Albanians. Only a line of policemen
3 divided them. And when I arrived, I was informed that Albanians had
4 interrupted a Serb dance and then a Turkish dance was interrupted by the
5 other side, and the whole situation was very confused.
6 Q. What role did you play then?
7 A. Well, the passions were running so high that I believe Mr. Blagoje
8 Lukic, who was a high party official, had spent all day there without any
9 success, and when I arrived I noticed that within the building the
10 leadership had already been divided along ethnic lines. They had started
11 shaking each other by the lapels, and I simply didn't know what to do. I
12 saw that there was no use relying on the local leadership. I went down
13 the stairs to address the people. I asked them to select five among them.
14 From another group of citizens I also asked that they select five, a
15 group of five that they trusted, and to promise me there would be no
17 When we were left alone together, I wrote down their names. There
18 was another member of the government together with me.
19 Q. Let's cut the long story short, Mr. Kostic. Did you fan the
20 flames then? Did you help the tensions rise or was it quite the contrary?
21 A. No. I told those ten selected men, and later all the people who
22 had gathered around the building, that nobody from Podgorica or from
23 Belgrade could bring them peace and harmony unless they find it within
24 themselves, if they want to go on living together. That was the point of
25 all my efforts, and I stand by that even today. And the people dispersed
2 Q. There was some outstanding issues concerning the Ohrid Initiative.
3 That's tab 20 among the binders, I believe. It was a meeting of the
4 Yugoslav Presidency with republican presidents.
5 What was the intention and what can we see from tab 20? Could you
6 look at paragraph 2: "We have to stand in the way of any use of force."
7 A. "We must stand against the use of force which has taken human
8 lives and continues to do so and moves us ever further away from our vital
10 "These interests are democratic development, respect for individual
11 and collective rights and civil liberties, the continued evolution of
12 these, and improving the quality of life.
13 "These interests are full equality and mutual respect for the
14 rights of our peoples to decide themselves, with sovereignty and
15 independence, on their own fate and the fate of Yugoslavia, as well as
16 freedom of communication and association with the world ..."
17 Q. Were those the messages of Ohrid Initiative?
18 A. Yes, those were the messages, and they underlie the four main
19 principles that were accepted by the full composition of the Presidency
20 headed by Stjepan Mesic that were proclaimed at the inaugural session of
21 The Hague peace conference.
22 Q. So how did it come about that Mesic walked out of that session of
23 the Presidency which he chaired?
24 A. I don't think it was Mesic who walked out. I think it was only
1 Q. And why did he do that?
2 A. It was all happening in the evening, around 8.00 p.m., and Tudjman
3 allegedly received information that there was war going on in Croatia,
4 that there was some skirmishes, that the Yugoslav People's Army had
5 attacked one or another area, but it was more than obvious that it was all
6 staged. The whole attack was stage-managed to create an excuse for him to
7 abandon the meeting in Ohrid and not to accept the Ohrid Declaration.
8 Q. Was there anything in that Declaration that was justified to
10 A. Well, there were many things they wanted, probably, to reject but
11 not while saving face. One of the unacceptable things for Mr. Mesic was
12 the fact that the Declaration insisted on disarming paramilitary
13 formations and disengagement of the Yugoslav People's Army, whereas Mesic
14 and Tudjman always insisted that the JNA withdraw into its barracks, and
15 that would have almost certainly led to attacks by the paramilitaries
16 which had already been great in number against Serb areas and citizens.
17 Q. Let's proceed with a memorandum of understanding with the monitor
18 mission of 1991. It exists only in English, as far as I understand. It's
19 also one of the documents of the European Union.
20 This seems to be a confirmation of the claim that the suspension
21 of independence was to have been for three months rather than what you
22 explained. Point B(1): "To monitor the suspension of the implementation
23 of the declaration of independence for the period of three months, as
24 agreed between the host parties -- in the --"
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That's Exhibit 946.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. "-- in Brioni --" [Interpretation] I would like the interpreters
3 to interpret what I said, because what they interpreted was the
4 clarification by the OTP. "[In English] -- in Brioni, particularly on the
5 border regime and border security."
6 [Interpretation] So they should monitor the three-month
7 suspension, especially with regard to the border regime and border
9 Q. Now, tell me, could the Brioni Declaration serve as justification
10 for any claims that suspension of independence was challenged?
11 A. No. Its only purpose was to restore the previous condition on the
12 borders of Yugoslavia for three months.
13 Q. Those three months mentioned in the Brioni Declaration, do they
14 refer to anybody but Slovenia?
15 A. No, just Slovenia.
16 Q. Does it only have to do with the Slovenian part of the Yugoslav
18 A. Only the border regime, with the suggestion or the expectation
19 that an agreed solution would be found in the meantime, in those three
20 months, that would be more in line with the arrangements sought by the
21 European Community to move that role to the border police.
22 Q. Now, in connection with the immediate threat of war, I'm not going
23 to dwell on that, but did you see here a decision or, rather, an act from
24 the Official Gazette of Yugoslavia which you signed with respect to the
25 assessment made that there was an imminent threat of war?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you remember having signed a document of that kind and that
3 that was the evaluation of the 1st of October session?
4 A. Yes. That was the stance taken. But until I had a look, I didn't
5 remember having signed an act of that kind nor did I know that the
6 Official Gazette had published it. But, yes, that was the evaluation that
7 was made, and I think that is something that is so clear that we needn't
8 go into it to prove it any further.
9 Q. Now, with respect to what was published or, rather, the statement
10 published, where it says that the country was facing an imminent threat of
11 war - and that's to be found in tab 33 of the exhibits here, tab 33 in
12 this binder of yours that has the exhibits - tell me, please, in view of
13 the practice that the Presidency followed, do you happen to remember
14 whether the Presidency ever published any kind of statement which was not
15 okayed by all the members of the Presidency having discussed it?
16 A. I can say that quite certainly, and I think the Trial Chamber will
17 also be able to see that and has seen it, because during the examination
18 we had, for example, the stenographic notes from one of the sessions or,
19 rather, from the 1st of October session, the Yugoslav state Presidency
20 session. And at the end of those stenographic notes, you can see quite
21 clearly that this discussion was conducted at the session of the 1st of
22 October, that each paragraph and every word was discussed and that it said
23 what had to be deleted from the text and so forth, and no similar
24 appraisal was ever published in the Official Gazette, but everything that
25 did -- that was a public announcement or public statement was something
1 that all the Presidency members had spent time analysing and adopted by
2 all the members. And we can see in those stenographic notes that at that
3 particular meeting we adopted six or seven minutes from previous meetings
4 and previous Presidency sessions, which confirms what I said earlier on,
5 that the stenographic notes were authorised only if they were to be
6 published publicly, and we accepted and adopted minutes at Presidency
8 Q. All right. Fine. Now let's dwell for a moment on the minutes
9 that were shown you by the other side, and it is a draft minutes for the
10 144th session, held on the 3rd of October, and the first point on the
11 agenda is: Agreement and discussion on ensuring the continuity and the
12 work of the Presidency on the basis of an assessment made by the Yugoslav
13 state Presidency from the 143rd session, the Presidency session of the 1st
14 of October of the existence of imminent threat of war and moving to the --
15 and having the Presidency moved to working under conditions of an imminent
16 threat of war.
17 Do you have that document before you, those minutes?
18 A. What tab is that?
19 Q. It's not in a tab. It was shown you by the other side during the
20 cross-examination, and it claims something that I want to ask you about
21 here and now.
22 A. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have that.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ...
24 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it's Exhibit 328, tab 13. These
1 are the minutes of the 3rd October session.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is it being provided to the witness?
3 Mr. Milosevic, you should have a copy for the witness.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I have absolutely no
5 facilities to make a copy of what Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff presents here. I
6 don't know where I would be expected to make a copy.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During the cross-examination, I did
8 see a copy, but the copy was taken back afterwards, so I don't have it
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Well, I'll ask that my
11 own copy be placed on the overhead projector.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. So I'll ask you my questions looking at it on the screen.
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: [Previous translation continues] ...
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, we are wasting time. This goes to
16 the management of your case.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just explain to me, please,
18 Mr. Robinson, where is it that I can make a copy and provide it to the
19 witness from the documents that the lady or, rather, the other side
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... pro se
22 liaison officer, and she could have assisted you.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Now, have you found --
25 A. Yes, I have.
1 JUDGE KWON: [Previous translation continues] ... whether it is
2 able to show the document such as this which is in the computer already,
3 whether they can show this document to the witness via Sanction or
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Ms. Dicklich is trying.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have it here.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: But actually, we always provide when we have
8 here the documents --
9 JUDGE KWON: To the witness.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Not to the witness but also to Mr. Milosevic.
11 JUDGE KWON: Yes, but the document which is shown to the witness
12 has been taken back. Is that right?
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That's correct, Your Honour, yes, but
14 Mr. Milosevic has it, and he has it now from my binder.
15 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let's proceed.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Professor Kostic, point 1 on page 2, does it say there:
19 "Unanimously assess that we were confronted -" and that was the 1st of
20 October session, the Presidency session with six members -- was that the
21 1st of October session?
22 A. "Unanimously assess that we were confronted with an imminent threat
23 of war." Imminent threat of war, of an all-out civil war, and that the
24 country is in a state of imminent threat of war.
25 Q. So what was this imminent threat of war situation that the country
1 faced? What does it say here? Threat or danger of what?
2 A. Of an all-out civil war on the territory, that's what it says.
3 Because to all intents and purposes, there was already a war on in the
4 territory of Yugoslavia.
5 Q. And what does it say in the following paragraph? Does it say that
6 all the conditions are ripe for the Yugoslav state Presidency to work as
7 provided for by the SFRY constitution under conditions of an imminent
8 threat of war situation, because we were not able to convene before the
9 1st of October? And what does it say at the end of the paragraph? What
10 does the president say?
11 A. The Presidency of the SFRY did --
12 Q. At the end of the second paragraph, the last sentence, what does
13 that say there?
14 A. It says: "The Presidency of the SFRY --"
15 Q. It's on page 2. You'll find it on page 2.
16 A. Ah, I see, on page 2. "The Presidency of the SFRY rejects the
17 possibility of its work being blocked and takes it upon itself the
18 competencies of the Assembly -- certain competencies of the Assembly of
19 the SFRY Presidency because it cannot be convened."
20 Q. Did you use any of those competencies?
21 A. No, although we had the power to adopt decree laws, because the
22 Assembly had already been blocked by Slovenia and Croatia. But we did not
23 avail ourselves of that constitutional right and we could have done so as
24 the Presidency.
25 Q. All right. Now, there was a lot of interest on the part of the
1 other side during the cross-examination about the penultimate paragraph on
2 that same page, where the following is stated: "That all members of the
3 Presidency of the SFRY should be informed immediately." And read
4 on: "That the Presidency of the SFRY, during the existence of --"
5 A. "-- an imminent threat of war, will convene continuously in
6 Belgrade and in connection to that it is necessary that the Yugoslav state
7 Presidency should either be in Belgrade or be in close vicinity for them
8 to be able to reconvene within the space of two hours after the session
9 has been scheduled."
10 Q. Now, tell me this: The opposite side insisted here upon the fact
11 that you made it impossible for certain Presidency members to come to the
12 sessions. Now, how were they able to arrive, to attend the meetings? For
13 example, a Presidency present from Slovenia or Macedonia or Croatia or
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, how did they regularly come to attend the Presidency
15 sessions? What means of transport? Just answer. What means of
16 transport? Don't say what you had, just what means of transport.
17 A. Aeroplanes. The Presidency had its own aircraft, small aircraft.
18 Q. Did they come in to attend Presidency sessions always using those
19 aircraft? Did they -- were they flown in every time?
20 A. Well, I don't know whether they were flown in every time. They
21 might have come by car on occasion, but they did use the 12-seater small
23 Q. Very well. Now, how long would it have taken them to fly to
24 Belgrade from some of the other capitals?
25 A. Well, an hour at the utmost.
1 Q. That's right, one hour. Now, you said -- state here that they
2 have to be somewhere where they can reach Belgrade within the space of two
4 A. Yes, Mr. Milosevic, but even without this situation of imminent
5 threat of war, all the Presidency members were duty-bound to be in their
6 offices in their cabinets in Belgrade, and they had their official
7 accommodation provided in Belgrade.
8 Q. Right, but did this decision bind them and make them obliged to
9 come into Belgrade even if they were in their own republics and own
10 capital cities, and were they in any danger in coming to Belgrade?
11 A. Well, of course not, because Mr. Tudjman had talks with you and
12 Kadijevic just a few days prior to that, for example. He was in Belgrade.
13 Q. All right. Fine.
14 A. Mr. Mesic, in his book, writes that a JAT plane was placed at his
15 disposal to take him there, to fly him in, and he still didn't turn up.
16 That's what Mesic writes in his own book. So it's more than clear that it
17 was an intentional attempt at blockading the Presidency, at blocking the
19 Q. All right. Now, you have the following minutes that were
20 presented to you here by the other side over there from the 145th session.
21 A. I don't seem to have that either.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, I'm expecting you to conclude your
23 re-examination by the end of this session.
24 JUDGE KWON: It's tab 11. Tab 11 of Exhibit 328.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Do you have that, Mr. Kostic, before you?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Well, I can read it out. The question asked here was that you
4 assigned some decrees, because it says the Presidency president informed
5 the Presidency of the decrees signed from the sphere of command of the
6 armed forces.
7 Now, to do away with all doubts and to clarify what a decree can
8 refer to or relate to -- or let me put it this way: Is the subject of a
9 decree issued, or can the subject of a decree be any kind of order to the
10 army to undertake any kind of military action, military operation?
11 A. No. No orders of that kind. A decree can only be to appoint or
12 dismiss an ambassador, for example, or to promote somebody to a higher
13 rank, applying to top-ranking army officers, or a decree can once again be
14 the promotion to rank of cadets after they had completed their military
16 Q. Or commendations and medals; right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. So is there any theoretical possibility that a decree can contain
19 a military order of any kind?
20 A. No.
21 Q. All right. We won't dwell on that any more then. Thank you.
22 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, in quoting from the stenographic notes of the
23 143rd session of the 1st of October, quoted the deputy federal secretary
24 for foreign affairs, and that was on page 44, and we have a translation of
25 it in English, and she provided it in the original and with an attached
1 translation, where she said the following -- or, rather, where she quoted
2 the deputy foreign minister saying that a West European Union meeting had
3 been held and the 12 ministers for foreign affairs, and then it goes on to
4 say, according to Maksic, they agreed on the following: To call, in a
5 declaration that was being prepared, all the parties in Yugoslavia that
6 after the moratorium they continue sitting on the Conference on Yugoslavia
7 in The Hague and that they should do that with goodwill, bona fides, so as
8 to enable the conference order to be fruitful and make the right
10 So the other side over there suggested to you that at the time you
11 bore in mind the fact that the moratorium would expire on independence.
12 Now, what Maksic said, did that in any way or can that in any way relate
13 to some expiration of a moratorium on independence? Because they said
14 they agreed after the moratorium expired. Now, what did the moratorium
15 relate to? And you were all aware of that, were you?
16 A. Well, the moratorium related to a cease-fire, to a truce, and
17 peace so that in peaceful conditions political settlements could be found
18 to the crisis, and not a moratorium with respect to independence. That
19 wasn't what it referred to.
20 Q. All right. Fine. Now, the other side over there also quoted
21 another thing. It was Jovic's variation for the future of Yugoslavia from
22 some kind of meeting with you and with myself. Now, can you remember or
23 could you tell us whether that might have been from his diary, thoughts
24 written down in his diary, or any of our own thoughts, or were they all of
25 our thoughts together, the way we thought?
1 A. Well, during the cross-examination I said I had reservations to
2 make with respect to a lot of things that Jovic wrote about in his book,
3 because quite obviously, looking at several examples, we saw that it
4 wasn't actually a diary that he kept on a regular basis but he might have
5 shaped it into a diary much later on.
6 Now, as far as this, I already said during the cross-examination
7 that these were his own personal thoughts but that all our thoughts
8 together about the different variants and solutions moved along the
9 direction of preserving the reduced Yugoslavia as it was, and that was
10 what the convention for Yugoslavia of the 3rd of January also came out in
11 favour of. So we really didn't expect a conflict in Bosnia to break out
12 between the Muslims and Serbs until the very last moment.
13 Q. Now, here you were also shown a declaration by the European Union,
14 or rather it was the European Community at the time, about the situation
15 in Yugoslavia, with claims that it was confirmation of the fact that
16 Carrington's plan was adopted in advance, accepted in advance. And that
17 is why a quotation was chosen from Momir Bulatovic's book.
18 Now, this is a very important matter, so I'm going to ask you a
19 few questions in that regard, and they are these: On page 2 of this
20 declaration about the situation in Yugoslavia, the 28th of October 1991,
21 which was drafted in Brussels -- no, I do apologise. This doesn't seem to
22 be it. There was another document from the European Union. Let me just
23 take a moment to find it, if I may.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it could be Exhibit 812, the
25 Conference on Yugoslavia Summary of Developments that I used quite a lot,
1 so I assume that Mr. Milosevic refers to this.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I wanted to find the document of the
3 European Union which mentions what van den Broek stated after the meeting
4 that was held. I had it here. But as it's identical or similar to what
5 is in Mr. Bulatovic's book, I will use the book. Here it is.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Take a look at this. It's page 65, page 65 of Momir Bulatovic's
8 book, which you were shown here. It says: "The basis of this solution,
9 as the document said, will be independence to those republics that want it
10 at the end of the talks, which are to be held bona fide."
11 This is on the 4th of October. Lord Carrington and Hans van den
12 Broek accepted this, and it goes on to say: "The independence will be
13 granted on the basis --" or, rather: "Independence will be granted to
14 those republics that want it at the end of the talks, which are to be held
15 bona fide."
16 At any point in time did the Presidency of SFRY or Serbia or
17 Montenegro deny the right to any people in Yugoslavia who wanted to to
19 A. No, not for a single moment. We never challenged this.
20 Q. Was it our standpoint that this should happen at the end of a
21 negotiating process which was meant to protect everybody's rights?
22 A. Our standpoint was that in the search for political solutions and
23 in the negotiations, all options should be considered equally, that an
24 agreement should be reached through a political process. Our side, which
25 was advocating the Yugoslav option, insisted that just as the peoples and
1 republics had an equal right to secession, those republics who wanted to
2 stay in Yugoslavia and continue living together had at least an equal
3 right. We never denied the right to secession. All those republics who
4 wanted to secede were denying the right of us who were remaining in
5 Yugoslavia to have our place in The Hague conference.
6 Q. So if van den Broek said that a solution should be found, bearing
7 in mind that those republics who wanted to secede would be able to secede,
8 but it says here at the end of the talks. Does it say that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is that the same thing that we were saying?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So was anybody denying this or bringing it into question?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Were such negotiations held or were they interrupted?
15 A. They were interrupted after the 5th of November when the seceding
16 republics rejected what Mr. Carrington was already prepared to include in
17 the first chapter of The Hague document, and that is that those republics
18 that wanted to stay in Yugoslavia had to be treated on an equal footing
19 and given the same rights.
20 Q. Mr. Kostic, when was that meeting in The Hague held where I
21 refused or rejected the Carrington paper?
22 A. The 18th of October.
23 Q. When?
24 A. The 18th of October, 1991.
25 Q. Exactly two weeks after this; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. As it says here that all this was to take place at the end of the
3 talks which are to be held bona fide, was it possible 14 days later to
4 declare that Yugoslavia no longer exists?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Could that have been the end of bona fide negotiations?
7 A. No.
8 Q. And then you were given a quotation from the book of Smilja
9 Avramov. I received only one page of that, and then it's interrupted, but
10 it says here that I said that we could not accept the offered solutions to
11 the Yugoslav crisis because practically this was abolishing Yugoslavia, a
12 state that had existed for 70 years, and that an international forum could
13 not issue a decision on abolishing a country, and so on and so forth.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have appended this, Mr. Robinson,
15 and you can read it. As an international lawyer, I don't believe you can
16 have any objection to it.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Kostic, the first point of the Carrington paper, was it that
19 Yugoslavia ceases to exist?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So what is stated here, that independence would be achieved at the
22 end of talks which are to be held bona fide --
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, stop. You've been asking leading
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Very well.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: The answers are worthless.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Well, what is quoted
3 from the documents is not worthless, I assume, Mr. Robinson, regardless of
4 whether --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... the
6 documents are in evidence. I had indicated that I expected you to finish
7 your re-examination by the end of the first session.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It will be very difficult for me to
9 conclude by the end of this session, but I'm doing my best and skipping
10 over many questions, which I'm trying to reduce to a minimum, but I
11 certainly won't be finished by the end of this session. That's now, as
12 far as I can see. Let's just finish with this question.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. What does it say here? "Independence to those republics that want
15 it at the end of the talks which are to be held bona fide." Were there
16 any talks after that 4th of October? This document is dated the 4th of
17 October. Were there any talks after that?
18 A. On the 18th and then on the 5th.
19 Q. Wait a minute, wait a minute. This was written on the 4th of
20 October. Were there any talks after the 4th of October and before the
21 18th of October when it was proposed that Yugoslavia be abolished? Were
22 there any talks in the intervening period?
23 A. Well, I couldn't say because I didn't participate in them, but I
24 think there were some talks. I'm not sure exactly when or where.
25 Q. Very well, if you can say nothing about it, but would it have been
1 possible for talks to have been completed within 14 days, ending in a
2 proposal that Yugoslavia be abolished, on the basis of what it says here,
3 at the end of the talks which are to be held bona fide?
4 A. Well, during my previous testimony I said that the principle of
5 seeking a political solution, taking everybody's rights equally into
6 account, were diverged from in this process.
7 Q. Very well. Let's move on. You have tab 2 here where you had that
8 long conversation. What was your aim when you had this conversation with
9 the representatives of the Republic of Serbian Krajina? Just tell us
11 A. Our main goal was to convince the leadership of the Republika
12 Srpska Krajina to accept the peace plan of Cyrus Vance.
13 Q. Read what it says on page 34. This is a fast dialogue.
14 A. "Branko Kostic --"
15 Q. Before that, Paspalj finishes. What does he say?
16 A. "Now, this part of the people who dare to defend first
17 themselves --"
18 Q. Read slowly because the interpreters are slow.
19 A. "Now, that part of the people who dare to defend first themselves
20 to save the honour of the remainder of Yugoslavia, the army, these people
21 we are putting under the patronage of the United Nations and in some way
22 leaving to it to its own fate, to what the world powers decide."
23 Q. So leaving them to their fate and to the decision of the world
24 powers. Paspalj, the president of the Assembly, says this.
25 A. Yes. And I reply: "Why did the conflict break out there? Why
1 was there a military conflict in the Krajina?" Paspalj says: "That's
2 clear to everyone." I ask: "I'm asking you why. Is it because the
3 Croatian authorities attempted on that territory to impose their own
4 authority over you? Is that correct?" Paspalj says: "Correct." I say:
5 "And you rose up and organised yourselves to defend yourselves against
6 it." Mile Paspalj: "We defended ourselves." Branko Kostic: "You
7 defended yourselves."
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's time for the break. We'll adjourn for
9 twenty minutes.
10 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 10.59 a.m.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic, please continue.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Professor Kostic, we were looking at page 34 of the shorthand
15 notes, and you say: "Why did conflict erupt in Krajina? Is it because
16 the Croatian authorities tried to impose their authority and power on this
17 territory; is that right? You rose and organised yourselves to defend
18 yourselves from against this." And he says: "We have defended
19 ourselves." This quick, spontaneous exchange, does it really indicate
20 what happened there or does it indicate something else?
21 A. Well, these are original shorthand notes. They're
22 contemporaneous, they were not prepared for anyone else, including this
23 Tribunal, and they only go to support what I said during my testimony.
24 This is precisely what happened.
25 Q. Very well. The other side here, in connection with the Convention
1 on Yugoslavia, showed you certain maps which turned out to be UNPROFOR
2 maps showing the demographic break-up of the Yugoslav map. At the
3 convention on the new Yugoslavia, were there any maps, either that map or
4 anything similar to that?
5 A. As I said, there were no maps at the convention.
6 Q. Was there any discussion of borders at that convention?
7 A. No. At the convention and during the discussion, all that was
8 mentioned was that we should all come together regardless of our
9 differences to preserve Yugoslavia as our common state and that this
10 Yugoslavia should be based on principles acceptable to all; that is, the
11 equality of all peoples and all republics, leaving open the possibility of
12 later accession.
13 The Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina saw it as their vital
14 interest to preserve Yugoslavia. When they saw they couldn't, they
15 accepted independent Bosnia, but an independent Bosnia where there would
16 be no predominance, where all peoples would have equal rights.
17 Q. Very well. In their cross-examination, the other side showed you
18 your book, page 179, drawing attention to footnote 85 at the bottom of
19 that page. Please take a look at that as well as the following page, and
20 I'll put a question to you in this respect.
21 A. Yes, I have found it.
22 Q. She drew your attention to footnote 85, and you say: "The
23 decision of the Presidency of the SFRY on the withdrawal of JNA units from
24 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been fully implemented by then."
25 A. Yes. This is an interview given to ZDF, the German broadcasting
1 company, and this was in June, whereas on the 18th or 19th of May, we had
2 already withdrawn all JNA units from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 Q. Well, now for footnote 86 on the following page, not shown to you
4 by the other side, what does it say?
5 A. "The leadership of the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
6 especially Dr. Radovan Karadzic, pointed out more than once that the Serbs
7 in Bosnia and Herzegovina are handicapped in relation to the Muslims and
8 the Croats because the JNA was recruiting a large part of their manpower,
9 whereas the other sides were -- and they were -- the JNA was acting with
10 extreme restraint, whereas the other two sides were very aggressive."
11 Q. And what does this show?
12 A. It shows what I constantly kept pointing out, that the JNA was
13 acting with extreme restraint on all the territories where it was
14 positioned, and it also confirms what I have already stated, that the
15 Muslims and the Croats stopped sending their recruits to the JNA and that
16 they, rather, sent them to their own paramilitary formations. At the same
17 time, it denies what Mr. Jovic said, that I said I would never subscribe
18 to the withdrawal of the JNA from Bosnia.
19 Q. Wait a minute. I want you to read that. That's the next
20 quotation. But what you have just said about not sending Muslim recruits
21 to the JNA, did Izetbegovic confirm this at your meeting in Skopje? Are
22 we able to see this on that stenogram, on those shorthand notes?
23 A. Yes. He said that the Muslim leadership in Bosnia bore part of
24 the responsibility for the fact that the JNA had become the army of a
25 single nation.
1 Q. What did you write in the next footnote?
2 A. The immediate decision on the withdrawal of the JNA just before
3 the decision was reached to withdraw the JNA from Bosnia-Herzegovina, I
4 said in public, in a speech, I quoted: "I will never subscribe to the
5 withdrawal of the JNA in Bosnia-Herzegovina without the prior agreement of
6 all three leaderships of that republic. The Presidency of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, composed of the most responsible representatives of the
8 Croats and Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina, officially requested the
9 withdrawal of the JNA from Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is my impression
10 that the leadership of the Serbian people could hardly wait for this. We
11 had talks with Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, and Dr. Nikola
12 Koljevic, at which we gained their agreement to the withdrawal of the JNA
13 from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Later on, my political opponents often
14 accused me of making that statement, but they only quoted the first half,
15 not the other half of it."
16 Q. And the other half was that you would never subscribe to it
17 without the agreement of all three leaderships.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you gained their agreement because the Croats and Muslims had
20 agreed to it and Karadzic and Koljevic in their conversation with you also
21 agreed to it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So did you act in accordance with your stated position?
24 A. Precisely so.
25 Q. The side opposite gave you a map related -- I don't know what's
1 written here. A map depicting evidence, crime base evidence, reflected in
2 the indictment.
3 Now, look, I have only a couple of questions in this regard. Do
4 you have the map in front of you?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Please take it, and we can also put it on the overhead projector
7 if it's suitable. Now, please, look, on the territory of Serbia is there
8 a single act of murder according to this map, which is a graphic depiction
9 of their evidence? Is there a single killing?
10 A. According to this map, no, no single crime on the territory of
11 Serbia, including murders. And what there is is concentrated in the
12 border area between Croatia and Serbia and in the border areas between
13 Serbia and Bosnia.
14 Q. Is there a single murder in Serbia?
15 A. No.
16 Q. What was the percentage of non-Serb population in Serbia then?
17 A. Over 34 per cent. More than one-third.
18 Q. So over 3 million, 3.5 million.
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. And none of them were affected?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Now look at the blue points. They show detentions. As you can
23 see, in four places in Serbia detentions are indicated, places of
25 A. Five: Lovac, Sremska Mitrovica, Sid --
1 Q. Lovac is in Croatia.
2 A. Sorry, that's true.
3 Q. Now, out of those four places, is there a single one under the
4 authority of Serbia? Look from the top. Begici - paragraph 64(e) - JNA
5 barracks. Is that what's written? And then: Stajicevo agricultural
6 complex, JNA. Then Sid military prison, JNA. Sremska Mitrovica military
7 prison, JNA. Is that it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Is there a single prison that was run by Serbian authorities?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Look at Montenegro. There is Morinje, also a military depot of
12 the JNA. Are there any prisons, places of detention run by Montenegrin
14 A. No. All these military installations belong to the JNA.
15 Q. What happened, to the best of your knowledge, with the people who
16 were detained there, and who were those people anyway?
17 A. Well, they were prisoners, members of Croatian paramilitaries who
18 were taken prisoner by the JNA and detained in those places. Later, a
19 number of them were exchanged. I mentioned Dr. Vesna Bosanac, who used to
20 be the director of the Vukovar Hospital. She was indicted before Serbian
21 courts as a war criminal. But even she was later exchanged during that
22 exchange conducted by Mr. Banic on the principle of all for all.
23 Q. Was anybody murdered in those prisons?
24 A. Not to my knowledge.
25 Q. This is a pretty voluminous document sent by the Helsinki Watch.
1 Is it in any way different from this map? Does it show anything in
2 existence in Serbia?
3 A. I didn't understand your question.
4 Q. Well, you received a letter from the Helsinki Watch sent to me and
5 Blagoje Adzic speaking of violations of human rights, and they go on to
6 enumerate places like Strugar, Dvor, Benkovac, Osijek, Lovinac near
7 Gracac, Petrinje, Belinci in Podravska Slatina, Gospic, Grubisno Polje,
8 Bogdanovci, and so on. Is there a single place there that is located in
10 A. No. They're all in Croatia.
11 Q. Very well. Regarding Dubrovnik, what were we all told by the top
12 military echelons concerning Dubrovnik?
13 A. The top military leaders responded to all our warnings and
14 requests first by informing us that their troops on the ground had strict
15 orders not to come close to the Old Town, not to come within the range of
16 any forces that might be located in the Old Town. They also had strict
17 orders not to shell or bomb Dubrovnik, to preserve the Old Town. And I
18 must say that we were kept informed about this. It is also true that
19 propaganda was very vociferous on both sides, especially the Croatian
20 propaganda saying that the entire Dubrovnik was about to be destroyed. I
21 already mentioned that there is another place, called Cavtat, near
22 Dubrovnik where JNA troops entered without firing a single round.
23 Q. What's important to me is this: What was the JNA answer to our
24 questions about what was going on in Dubrovnik, why it was being shelled?
25 A. We were told that it was Croatian propaganda, that the Old Town
1 was not being shelled, that they had information that many vital buildings
2 in the Old Town had mines and explosives planted around them, that
3 Croatian forces were staging certain attacks in order to blame the JNA.
4 Q. Did we have a single piece of information telling us that the JNA
5 was really shelling Dubrovnik?
6 A. No.
7 Q. We requested information. What was the answer; that they were
8 shelling or they were not shelling?
9 A. The answer was that Dubrovnik was not being shelled. And even in
10 the case of the 6th of December, about which I learned the most from the
11 trial before this Tribunal, the naval base of the JNA informed us and the
12 general public that there was no shelling of Dubrovnik.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: I was going to ask, where would that information
14 have come from that the JNA was not shelling Dubrovnik?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We received our information from the
16 most responsible, the highest-ranking people of the Supreme Command Staff
17 with whom we kept in touch. I didn't communicate with commanders on the
18 ground, we communicated with Generals Adzic, Kadijevic, and Brovet,
19 whereas the official information came from the Military-Naval Sector of
20 Boka, and it was published as an official communique refuting allegations
21 in the Croatian press, in propaganda, that there was a particularly bad
22 shelling on the 6th of December.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you move on, these are very general answers
24 that you're giving about this, but the impression I have is that you would
25 actually be face-to-face with someone who held a senior position in the
1 army, who would tell you what was happening in Dubrovnik. Can you tell us
2 who principally gave you the information?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Bonomy, I visited those
4 troops, those units, for about two or three hours. Of course I was unable
5 to visit Dubrovnik itself because there were military conflicts going on.
6 I visited the environs of Dubrovnik, and the commanders with whom we
7 talked on the spot told us that certain buildings and even the walls of
8 the Old Town were being used as firing points. And during
9 cross-examination, I also said that I had had the opportunity to see some
10 footage and documentaries from which I was able to see that there had been
11 shelling of Dubrovnik and some buildings had been destroyed, but it was
12 not on such a massive scale as the propaganda was trying to represent at
13 the time, and still today I would say that there was no such destruction
14 of Dubrovnik.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you for that, but in an earlier part of the
16 -- the reason I ask this question, you earlier said, "I didn't
17 communicate with commanders on the ground." At least, that's the
18 translation in the transcript. And you mentioned the most senior
19 personnel, Adzic, Kadijevic, and Brovet. But you now say that you
20 actually got the information from commanders on the ground at Dubrovnik.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, the Dubrovnik operation
22 lasted for several months, and that information that we received regarding
23 the Dubrovnik operation and everything else came to us regularly from the
24 very top, from the Supreme Command Staff. And this was an individual
25 visit that lasted two or three hours.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But the main information was
3 received from the Supreme Command staff.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Among these documents, some of which have been shown here, and I
6 mean the documents related to JNA decisions in attachment 123, there is a
7 letter by Kadijevic to Mr. van den Broek of the 4th of November, 1991,
8 where he says: "Connecting to the military actions in the area of
9 Dubrovnik, I emphasise the following facts: JNA units have received many
10 strict orders not to fire on the Old Town of Dubrovnik under any
11 circumstances, even if the Old Town is being used as a firing position."
12 That was written by Kadijevic to van den Broek on the 4th of
13 November, 1991. Was that the same thing that Kadijevic kept telling you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. There was some dispute about a certain document which was a
16 warning of the Supreme Command Staff to the Republic of Croatia, its
17 president and the headquarters of the Main Staff of the Croatian army.
18 You found that document. Do you remember it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Please read just the last paragraph, because there were -- there
21 are two points here. In the other one, there were four points. What is
22 authentic, the one with two points or the one with four points?
23 A. I have given a copy to the ladies and gentlemen of the
24 Prosecution. I'm not sure I have another.
25 JUDGE KWON: I think way are dealing with 948, but before that,
1 Mr. Milosevic, I didn't follow what documents you were referring to when
2 you said the JNA decisions in attachment 123.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Kwon, is that a question to me?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No.
5 123 is an attachment from the same collection to which Exhibit 948
6 belongs. Its number is 87, whereas 123 is a letter from Kadijevic to
7 Mr. van den Broek of the 4th of November, 1991. I quoted from it the
8 passage where he informs van den Broek that several strict orders had been
9 issued not to fire on Dubrovnik under any circumstances, which is the same
10 information we received.
11 JUDGE KWON: [Previous translation continues] ...
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I don't think so, but as I
13 understand the tabs that we have in binder 2 of Mr. Milosevic, are all
14 from a collection I think prepared from the JNA, and I'm not sure that
15 this document number 123 is part of it. I don't think so.
16 JUDGE KWON: That can be clarified later on. Let us proceed.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. I can give you that
18 document. It's absolutely identical to the ones we're looking at.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. So have you received the one that you had found yourself?
21 A. Yes, I have it.
22 Q. It has two points, doesn't it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What does it say after those two points? "If you wish to avoid
25 bloodshed and destruction, let the local authorities immediately get in
1 touch --"
2 A. "... let [them] immediately get in touch with the competent JNA
3 commands in order to enable absolutely safe passage for withdrawing units
4 with their movable property as well as the families of JNA members from
5 the jeopardised garrisons. International monitors can be engaged too."
6 Q. So this warning from the Supreme Command Staff, was it a threat?
7 A. Well, this should be considered as a warning. If the Croatian
8 authorities cut off the water, electricity, telephone lines, and food
9 supplies to 125.000 JNA members -- sorry, 25.000, and prevent them from
10 taking out their wounded and even dead to be buried, I suppose that even
11 today in the same circumstances, after ten attempts at cease-fire that had
12 not been observed, I would write such a warning myself.
13 Q. Was this threat realised in all these garrisons that had been
14 under attack?
15 A. No.
16 Q. So this was understood as a threat. To what purpose?
17 A. It was a warning to finally persuade Croatian paramilitaries and
18 Croatian authorities to finally accept something that they had already
19 pretended to accept in all the previous cease-fire agreements, to enable
20 the withdrawal of our JNA members and their families.
21 Q. Just one more question. Your book, "Lest it be Forgotten," was
22 presented to you, page 108, a passage referring to the pensioning off of
23 generals. You spoke about that.
24 A. Yes, I found it.
25 Q. What was the reason underlying the reduction of the number of
2 A. I've already said that even then, in peacetime conditions, for the
3 entire territory of the former Yugoslavia we already had an excessive
4 number of generals that was unusually high for the general number of the
5 army. In the meantime, wars erupted, Croatia and Slovenia stopped sending
6 their recruits, followed by Kosovo Albanians, followed by Alija
7 Izetbegovic and the Muslims in Bosnia. The territory of Yugoslavia,
8 although it still existed as a legitimate state, was halved, and it was
9 normal to reduce that number of generals that had been too high even in
10 peacetime. And we were the Supreme Command, competent for those issues,
11 and we still sought approval, and we sought a list of all generals of the
12 JNA from the General Staff, broken down by various branches.
13 Q. Tell me, did I play any role in that job that you just described?
14 A. No, really not.
15 Q. Did I intervene, asking to pension off or not to pension off any
16 single general?
17 A. I've already said you didn't intervene about anybody. You didn't
18 even call me. The only conversation we had on the subject was a pretty
19 angry comment you made concerning Mr. Marko Negovanovic, who was your
20 Serbian minister of defence, and you hadn't even been informed that he
21 would be pensioned off.
22 Q. And what did I say on that occasion? Did I protest because he was
23 being pensioned off?
24 A. No. You protested because you said it would have been normal to
25 at least inform you, seeing how he was the president -- sorry, the
1 minister of defence of Serbia. And I explained that he was not being
2 pensioned off as the minister of defence, he was being pensioned off as
3 head of the 12th administration of the army counter-intelligence, and that
4 he was the most responsible for the -- the whole thing in Slovenia,
5 together with Aleksandar Vasiljevic. At the time when the Slovenian
6 operation took place, he was head of the 12th administration of the army
7 counter-intelligence service.
8 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I say at least something after
10 ten days without being asked any questions by you?
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: No; we don't like volunteers.
12 Questioned by the Court:
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, just to clarify something you said a
14 short time ago when you were referred to your book and the speech you made
15 about the withdrawal of the JNA from Bosnia, and you said: "The
16 Presidency of Bosnia, composed of the most responsible representatives of
17 the Croats and Muslims, officially requested the withdrawal of the JNA.
18 It is my impression that the leadership of the Serbian people could hardly
19 wait for this."
20 What did you mean by that sentence?
21 A. I think it's actually explained in the book, but maybe I failed to
22 remind you of something that we have discussed even during my evidence.
23 The leadership of the Serbian people in Bosnia constantly
24 complained that the engagement of their recruits and military men in the
25 JNA was weakening their position as representatives of the Serbian people
1 in that territory under the circumstances when the Croats and Muslims
2 already had established their paramilitary units. And with the withdrawal
3 of the JNA, all the Serb members of the JNA who were natives of Bosnia
4 would be free to join the Serbian army in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus
5 strengthening the Serbian position.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I now understand the point. Thank you.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kostic, that concludes your evidence, and
8 thank you for coming to give it at the Tribunal. You may now leave.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I have one issue in relation to
12 exhibits. I had used this map that the Office of the Prosecutor made with
13 the witness, but I actually only used it as a visual aid, but as now
14 Mr. Milosevic also used it, I wonder whether we should exhibit it. It's
15 just depicting -- it's just depicting the crime bases, and --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kay?
17 MR. KAY: It's illustrative of the Prosecution's case rather than
18 being an exhibit that derives from the witness and should be part of their
19 final brief.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. It has more the character of an
21 aide-memoire than an exhibit.
22 The next witness -- Mr. Nice?
23 MR. NICE: Before the next witness comes in, there is a couple of
24 administrative matters that I'd be grateful to deal with. It will only
25 take a couple of minutes. The first is just a general observation that we
1 are still working on a witness list that is really one witness at a time.
2 We're getting notification of one witness at a time and always uncertainty
3 as to future witnesses.
4 The second matter, could we have a couple of minutes in private
5 session, please.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, private session.
7 [Private session]
11 Pages 48541-48543 redacted. Private session.
22 [Open session]
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. We are in public session now.
24 THE REGISTRAR: We're in public session, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, there was a matter raised in
1 public session, I think, by Mr. Nice about the witness Mr. Bulatovic. You
2 were to inform us -- that was in private session? It was in private
3 session. Let us return to private session.
4 [Private session]
1 [Open session]
2 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you're also to provide more
5 information on your witness list, and I would say for the next four to six
6 weeks. You should provide the Chamber and the parties your witnesses for
7 that period.
8 May we have the next witness.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the witness make the declaration.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
12 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please sit.
14 WITNESS: MARKO ATLAGIC
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: And you may begin your examination-in-chief,
18 Mr. Milosevic.
19 Examination by Mr. Milosevic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Atlagic, would you please introduce yourself
21 in brief terms.
22 A. My name is Marko Atlagic. I was born on the 30th of April, 1949,
23 in the village of Ostrovica, Benkovac municipality. I completed primary
24 school in Ostrovica, after which I went to secondary school for the
25 teachers training course in Benkovac. After completing secondary school,
1 I enrolled at the faculty of philosophy in Zadar to study history and
2 pedagogy, and after that I went on to do my post-graduate studies at the
3 same university, for historical sciences. I received an M.A., a Ph.D.,
4 and now I'm professor at the faculty of philosophy in Pristina, with
5 headquarters in Kosovska Mitrovica. My first job was at the primary
6 school in --
7 MR. NICE: It's quite clear that the witness has in front of him
8 and appears to be reading from what looks like a prepared list of notes or
9 a statement. Such a pity it wasn't served under 89(F) to save time if
10 prepared in typed form, as would appear to be the case. But I know the
11 Chamber likes to know whether witnesses are referring to notes, and if so
12 what, and then to decide whether they're available to the Prosecution to
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness's microphone be adjusted as
15 well, please, thank you.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please have the witness's microphone adjusted.
17 And, Mr. Atlagic, I'm to ask you, are you reading from a document?
18 Are you reading from a document?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I'm saying now I'm not reading
20 from documents, but I have prepared general theses in front of me. And
21 you may feel free to take a look at them.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. When did you prepare this?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I prepared them over the last two or
24 three days.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see. Yes. Thank you.
1 Mr. Milosevic, yes. I think we have the background information.
2 Do you want any more background information?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'll ask him about any more
4 background information that I need.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Atlagic, what posts did you occupy? What positions in Croatia
7 during 1990 to 1992?
8 A. From 1990 to 1992, I was the deputy in the Assembly of the Sabor
9 in the Republic of Croatia.
10 Q. And what elections were you elected to the parliament of Croatia?
11 A. I was elected to the parliament of Croatia at elections held in
12 1990, the first multi-party elections that were held.
13 Q. On whose party's ticket? Which party put you forward for member
14 of the Croatian Sabor or parliament?
15 A. I was on the list of the Alliance of Socialists of Croatia, and I
16 was elected deputy to the Croatian Assembly.
17 Q. That particular party, ethnically speaking was it a uni-ethnic
18 party or a multi-ethnic party? What was the ethnic composition of the
19 party in whose name your name was nominated for deputy?
20 A. The ethnic composition of the party was as follows: We had
21 deputies who were both Serbs and Croats.
22 Q. Was there a Serb or a Croat at the head of the party?
23 A. Zeljko Mazar, a Croat, headed the party.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: There is one thing missing from the transcript
25 about your current position. Did you say you were a professor in
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: And professor of what subject?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Historical sciences at the
5 department of philosophy.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you very much.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. In view of the fact that during that critical time, that is to say
9 1990 to 1992, you were a member of parliament or, rather, a member of the
10 Croatian Sabor as it's called, what was your electoral base from which you
11 went to represent the citizens in the Assembly?
12 A. Well, my base was Benkovac, the Benkovac municipality. My
13 constituency was Benkovac.
14 Q. At that critical point in time did you have numerous contacts with
15 your constituency and all the information coming in to you about what was
16 going on in the area from which you were elected by the population to the
17 Croatian Assembly?
18 A. Yes, I did. I did have information from the constituency, as far
19 as a deputy can have.
20 Q. And did you have all information about events going on in the
21 Croatian Assembly whose member you were about the subject matter
22 discussed, the political situation and so on?
23 A. Yes. I did have information about the topics under discussion in
24 the Croatian Assembly, and I think I was an active participation in the
25 discussions there.
1 Q. So you actively participated as a member of the Croatian
2 parliament; is that right?
3 A. Yes. And I acquitted myself with honour, I think.
4 Q. Now, in view of your function and post and the fact that you were
5 politically active throughout in the Republic of Croatia, tell us the
6 following, please. I'm going ask you a question which is raised in point
7 6 of the indictment, for example, where a joint criminal enterprise is
8 referred to on our part; that is to say that I myself was the person who
9 organised it there, the purpose of which was the forcible removal of the
10 majority of the Croats and other non-Serb population from the
11 approximately one-third of the territory of the Republic of Croatia, that
12 I planned to become part of a new Serb-dominated state through the
13 commission of crimes, et cetera, et cetera.
14 Now, as you were a politician throughout that time, an actor on
15 the political arena, what can you tell us about that time in Croatia?
16 A. There was no joint criminal enterprise in which you, Milosevic,
17 took part, and therefore you could not have forcibly removed the non-Serb
18 population from the territory of the Republic of Croatia by the same token
19 or -- nor could you have planned it to become part of the new
20 Serb-dominated state.
21 Q. Well, what is the truth, then?
22 A. The truth is quite different: That had a joint criminal
23 enterprise existed -- or, rather, that Franjo Tudjman was the head of the
24 joint criminal enterprise that existed, the president of Croatia.
25 Q. Well, what was the purpose of what you qualify as joint criminal
1 enterprise on the part of the Croatian leadership? What was its purpose?
2 A. Well, the purpose of that leadership was to break up the Federal
3 Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia in order to create an Independent State
4 of Croatia without any Serbs, and the legal continuity of this would have
5 been an appendage to the Fascist Independent State of Croatia, a state
6 from World War II, which would incorporate today's Croatia and
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Bay of Kotor and Backa including Subotica.
8 Q. All right. When you say at the head, now, as you were a
9 representative in the Croatian Assembly, who was the head of creating that
10 Croatia without Serbs? Who else was involved in that enterprise for you
11 to be able to testify about it as an Assembly member who saw this acted
13 A. Well, there were a number of heads, a number of leaders in the
14 Republic of Croatia. Among others, Dr. Zarko Domljan, the president of
15 the Croatian Assembly and president of the Executive Council of the
16 Republic of Croatia; Josip Manolic, the vice-president of the Croatian
17 Assembly; Sulimanac, Stjepan Sulimanac; and the second vice-president of
18 Croatia, Vladimir Seks; the minister of the interior of the Republic of
19 Croatia, Josip Boljkovac; and Martin Spegelj, minister of defence; as well
20 as member of the SFRY Presidency and later president of the Yugoslav state
21 Presidency who is the present day president, Mr. Stipe Mesic.
22 Q. On what basis do you claim that they were involved at that time,
23 that is to say when you were a deputy or, rather, member of parliament in
24 creating a Croatia without the Serbs?
25 A. On the basis of the general atmosphere and, later, all the events
1 that took place in at that territory.
2 Q. Is there a document stating that this was actually the aim? You
3 are speaking on the basis of your experience.
4 A. Yes, it's in the party platform of the Croatian Democratic Union,
5 especially the provisions of the first general convention and the
6 statements issued by the Croatian Democratic Union.
7 Q. You're talking about the convention of the Croatian Democratic
8 Union and its decisions. Are these decisions of the first party
9 convention in tab 1?
10 A. Yes, they are.
11 Q. Please look at tab 1 and tell us what it is.
12 A. Tab 1 contains the decisions from the first general convention of
13 the HDZ, the party platform, the statute, and so on.
14 On page 39, in the lower left-hand corner, it says that the HDZ
15 will advocate the current inalienable right to self-determination of the
16 Croatian nation within their historical and natural borders. Croatia is
17 mentioned within its natural and historical borders. These are the
18 borders I mentioned at the outset. That's today's Republic of Croatia,
19 plus Bosnia-Herzegovina, plus Boka Kotorska, plus Srem and Backa, as well
20 as Subotica.
21 Q. Was this something new on the Croatian political scene? Was this
22 something new that emerged only in the 1990s and was espoused by the main
23 leader, Franjo Tudjman, or was this something that can be found in
24 previous historical periods?
25 A. No. This was nothing new. Dr. Tudjman had advocated these ideas
2 Q. Can you support this with an example?
3 A. Yes. In 1964, Dr. Franjo Tudjman wrote that he was advocating
4 Croatia and its historical and natural borders. By this he was implying
5 the AVNOJ Croatia, plus Bosnia-Herzegovina, plus Boka Kotorska, plus Srem
6 and Backa with Subotica. And for this reason he was interrogated before
7 the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.
8 Q. What you are speaking about now, is it contained in the document
9 in tab 3 where there is a book by two authors entitled "The Croats and
10 Bosnia." Look at tab 3. I hope you have this before you.
11 A. Yes, I do have tab 3.
12 MR. NICE: No translation.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. Let it be placed on the ELMO.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Please put page 69 on the ELMO. We have a very brief quotation
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's 96 in the text which we have, Mr. Milosevic,
18 not 69.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 96, yes.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. What is quoted here from Tudjman?
22 A. I will try to read out what Dr. Tudjman said. "From the
23 Historical Borders of Croatia (the tripartite kingdom of Croatia), Srem
24 and Boka Kotorska were taken away and Srem and Boka Kotorska were not
25 added to it which was part of Croatia before, and parts of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina, Srem and Backa with Subotica were left out also."
2 Q. For the sake of those who are looking at this and who are not
3 familiar with the geography, could you explain where these territories are
4 and these places that are mentioned here.
5 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the neighbouring republic. However,
6 Boka Kotorska is in the Republic of Montenegro, whereas Backa, including
7 Subotica, is in the Republic of Serbia, in Yugoslavia.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: What about Srem? Where is Srem?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Srem is in Serbia partly, and a part
10 of it is in Croatia.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Because in paragraph 7 of the indictment, it claims that this
14 joint criminal enterprise came into existence before the 1st of August,
15 1991, tell us, what was the situation in Croatia before the 1st of August,
16 1991? To be more precise, what was the situation as regards the
17 multi-party elections in which you were elected and after the HDZ won the
18 elections and came into power with Dr. Franjo Tudjman at its head?
19 A. Immediately after the multi-party elections, the Croatian
20 Democratic Union celebrated its victories. In almost every village they
21 roast bulls on spits, and then, half drunk in the evening hours, people
22 would pass through Serbian hamlets, provoking the Serbian population by
23 singing various songs, calling on the names of Ante Pavelic and Ante
24 Starcevic. The authorities did not respond to this. Slogans emerged,
25 slogans against the Serbs, on kiosks and on the facades of buildings.
1 Q. When did this campaign and this atmosphere you're describing
2 start, these slogans and all the rest?
3 A. It was in 1989 that these slogans first began to turn up, but
4 later on they became more frequent. In the 1990s, when the HDZ came into
5 power, they became ubiquitous.
6 Q. What were the slogans that predominated in public?
7 A. Well, there were many of them. The most frequent ones were:
8 "Hang the Serbs from willow trees," "We shall slaughter Serbs, sons of
9 whores," and things like that. "We shall expel the Serbs."
10 Q. Did the authorities react to these slogans and graffiti?
11 A. The authorities did not react at all in the period leading up to
12 1992. The authorities ignored this. They considered it quite normal.
13 Q. For you Serbs and for you as a member of parliament in the
14 parliament of Croatia, what did this attitude of the authorities in
15 Croatia signify in 1990, 1991?
16 A. To the Serbs in Croatia and us who were in the government, it
17 signified a restoration of Croatia and its so-called historical borders,
18 also a Croatia devoid of Serbs. They called on the name of Ante
19 Starcevic, who was the greatest Serb-later in the entire history of
20 Croat-Serb relations. This man had said that the Serbs did not exist, not
21 just in Croatia but also in Serbia. He called them Gypsies, Vuljaks
22 [phoen], Balkan riffraff. He thought that the Serbs as a political nation
23 did not exist at all, only the Croats. He uttered a well-known sentence
24 that the Croats were the only political nation in Croatia and that the
25 Serbs were part of those people; that is, that they didn't exist as such.
1 The Serbs were very upset by all this.
2 Q. Please be kind enough to look into tab 2 where we have a quotation
3 from a very eminent Croatian intellectual, Joza Horvat. This is a very
4 brief quotation. It can be put on the ELMO. What does it say?
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: What page is it, Mr. Milosevic?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's on page 97, a brief quotation.
7 Here it is on the ELMO now.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. What does it say here, Mr. Atlagic? Please read it. This is what
10 the prominent Croatian intellectual Joza Horvat said about these
11 activities. Now, please, you read the quotation.
12 A. "Not a little fear and incredulity was introduced by the
13 propaganda agitation of the HDZ. After winning the elections, they
14 fiercely set upon all the traces of the people's liberation struggle. Our
15 President Franjo Tudjman, not as a general but as an historian, should
16 explain it to us ignoramuses the following: Had there not been the
17 people's liberation struggle, had there not been Tito and the Partizans,
18 there would be no present-day Republic of Croatia or the HDZ."
19 Q. So this is a Croatian intellectual responding to this atmosphere
20 and all these events. Calling upon the names of Pavelic and Starcevic,
21 which you mentioned, could this leave the Serbs in any doubt as to what
22 was in store for them, what this meant for them? Could there have been
23 any doubt among them?
24 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues] ... I haven't yet
25 objected to the book, I'm not sure what value that's going to have, the
1 assertion as to who this person is, but even so, even if the book is
2 admissible, the next question isn't.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, the question is -- is leading.
4 I'll allow you to reformulate it.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You said that there were slogans on the political scene and that
8 the names of Pavelic and Starcevic were invoked. Did you say that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. As we are now discussing ideas and slogans, my question is as
11 follows: Were these ideas implemented or did they begin to be implemented
12 in practice in 1990 and 1991?
13 A. Yes, certainly. In the 1990s, they began to be put into practice,
14 and this is how: The president of the republic, Franjo Tudjman, in almost
15 every one of his speeches, invoked the name of Ante Starcevic, calling him
16 the father of the homeland, ignoring Starcevic's attitude to the Serbs.
17 And of course this could not leave the Serbs indifferent.
18 Q. In this quotation that you read just a minute ago, you -- because
19 I don't want to put a leading question -- you touched upon anti-fascism.
20 In the new HDZ government, what was typical for their attitude towards
22 A. The new HDZ government was characterised first of all by their
23 denial of the fighters of the anti-fascist movement.
24 Q. Can you give us some examples?
25 A. Yes. For example, the new authorities renamed the Victims of
1 Fascism Square in Zagreb and called it Mile Budak Square.
2 Q. Who is Mile Budak?
3 A. He was the head of the Independent State of Croatia from 1941 to
4 1945. He was in the Croatian government and he said that one-third of the
5 Serbs had to be expelled, one-third had to be killed, and one-third had to
6 be rebaptised to become Catholics.
7 Q. And when this -- did this renaming of the Victims of Fascism
8 Square occur?
9 A. This happened in the period up to 1993.
10 Q. Tell me, do you have any other examples? You're talking about
11 the Ustasha movement. Was there a party that openly espoused these
13 A. Yes. The new authorities, sometime in March 1991, permitted the
14 founding of an Ustasha party in Hotel Marijan in Split. This means that
15 they were turning their backs on everything that the fighters of the
16 anti-fascist movement and World War II had done.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's time for the break. We're going to break
18 for 25 minutes.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.46 p.m.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please continue, Mr. Milosevic.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Atlagic, you were speaking about that atmosphere. How did the
24 Serbs experience it? How did you?
25 A. We were living in great fear, both Serbs and myself as an MP,
1 because we were witnessing all that was going on, the invocations of the
2 past and Ante Starcevic who had said that Serbs did not exist at all, that
3 they were fit only to be axed down. So it was all inspiring great fear
4 and misgivings among the Serbs.
5 Q. And what was the official position with the Croatian leadership?
6 A. It was headed by Dr. Franjo Tudjman. He was the one who charted
7 the policy of the Croatian leadership, and his position was that the
8 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should be broken up and an
9 Independent State of Croatia created, and that independent state would be
10 actually the legal successor of the criminal Independent State of Croatia
11 from the World War II. However, that former Independent State of Croatia
12 was under foreign control. He was invoking, however, in 1990, Ante
13 Starcevic as the father of the homeland, and he was also invoking Ante
15 Q. We quoted from tab 3 and 2 in part. Was something particular
16 happening in 1989, 1990, 1991 in Croatia?
17 A. By that time in 1990, and even earlier, in 1989, Franjo Tudjman
18 attended a Conference of the Diplomatic Corps in Germany and he presented
19 his solution for the Serb people in Krajina. He said he would resolve
20 that issue very quickly, but he said the ground would be red with blood in
21 Krajina. And then there are some other statements from 1990. Speaking at
22 the Jelacic Square, he said, "Who started the war?" And he said whether
23 it could have been avoided. He said it could have been avoided, but it
24 was carried out nevertheless. And he also explained why.
25 Q. We have tab 4 now. There is an article there called "The
1 Nationalists are Stewing in Their Own Broth." And on page 3 of this
2 collection of documents, we have a statement from Tudjman from 1989. Is
3 that what you just mentioned?
4 A. Yes. Yes, that's it. I will try to quote this announcement made
5 by Tudjman. He says: "'My experience is not so fresh as Warren's, and it
6 comes mainly from service in Bulgaria,' emphasised Fischer. 'However, two
7 situations that I've experienced were a drastic warning that the situation
8 in Yugoslavia was much more complex than it had seemed to me. I remember
9 the Conference of the Diplomatic Corps in Germany in 1989 that was
10 attended by the future Croatian president, Tudjman. He emphasised on that
11 occasion that when he becomes president of Croatia, the ground in Krajina
12 will be red with blood. At that time, I didn't understand that there is a
13 political hatred that has to emerge sooner or later.
14 "'Another situation had to do with the meeting of the American
15 Committee for Security and Foreign Affairs and a delegation of the
16 European Community in October 1991 in the White House. I addressed an
17 American politician at the time with a question: What was the position of
18 the US concerning the crisis in Yugoslavia? and he answered, Let those
19 fools stew in their own broth. I didn't know whether to understand it as
20 a joke or a position reflecting the poverty of the American foreign
22 That is a quotation from Warren Zimmermann's book.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Who is speaking there? Whose words were you
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Zimmerman -- David Fischer.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Who, sorry?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] David Fischer, speaking at the --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Who is David Fischer?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's a politician, a German
5 official who had served in Bulgaria for a while, as far as I know
6 JUDGE BONOMY: A German official. He's a diplomat, was he?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. He quotes here the passage where Tudjman said in 1989 that the
11 soil in Krajina would be red with blood, and you mentioned also his speech
12 in 1992, on the 24th of May, at Jelacic Square. Is that in tab 5?
13 A. Yes. That quotation is under tab 5. I quote: "There would have
14 been no war if Croatia hadn't wanted it. However, we estimated that only
15 by war can we gain the independence for Croatia. That is why we carried
16 on with a policy of negotiations, but behind the scenes of the
17 negotiations, we were establishing our armed units. If we hadn't done it
18 that way, we would not have reached our goal. Therefore, the war was
19 possible to avoid if only we had given up on our objectives, that is, the
20 independence of our state."
21 Q. So that's what he stated publicly at a rally.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Were there any other messages sent out publicly that inspired fear
24 among the Serbs and made them self-organise or respond in any way?
25 A. Yes. There were many other causes for fear. Not all of them were
1 statements, but these statements did have a great impact, not only on
2 Serbs but also on the Croatian part of the population that was
3 anti-fascist. There were many statements made by Croatian officials and
5 Q. Look at what Gerard Baudson wrote in his book called "The Europe
6 of Fools or The Break-up of Yugoslavia." There is just a short passage
7 that I wish to quote.
8 A. Which tab?
9 Q. Tab 6. Have you found page 60?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What is written in the last paragraph?
12 A. I quote: "Before his election into the Presidency of the republic
13 in 1990, he publicly rejoiced over the fact that his wife was neither Serb
14 nor Jewish. There is nothing democratic about this man. In 1989, he
15 published a book in Zagreb titled "The Impassable Roads of Historical
16 Reality," which can be translated as "The Flight of Historical Truth," or
17 even better, "An Impasse of Historical Truth."
18 Q. How did you understand that statement such as the joy that his
19 wife was neither Serb nor Jewish?
20 A. Well, we were astonished, and he said to a journalist called Tanja
21 Torbarina, "I'm really happy that my wife is neither Jewish nor Serb." We
22 understood it as complete madness. We thought the situation from 1941 was
23 coming back all over again.
24 Q. Look at another passage from tab 7.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Who is the author of tab 6?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Tab 6? The author is Gerard
2 Baudson, a Frenchman who wrote a book called "The Europe of Fools or The
3 Break-up of Yugoslavia."
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. On page 10 --
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: What are you seeking to establish with this
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'm seeking to establish how
9 this whole atmosphere was created. The witness is speaking to a fear that
10 was obviously not groundless. It was based on political behaviour, mass
11 behaviour, everything that was going on in Croatia even before the
12 elections in 1991. It's a very ugly attitude towards the Serb population,
13 the revamping of the Ustasha movement from the Second World War and public
14 statements made by the most prominent Croat politicians, followed by
15 self-organisation of the Serbs and their response. So I'm trying to
16 establish a causal link, because the indictment speaks about criminal
17 enterprise in Serbia, whereas Serbs were reacting to the situation in
18 Croatia. And whatever action they took, it was always a response only,
19 and those were facts of life obvious to everybody at the time.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: So this background is -- will be consistent with
21 your case that the Serbs were always responding. Yes, continue,
22 Mr. Milosevic.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. What is written in this last paragraph on page 10, tab 7?
1 A. The last paragraph, I quote: "When way back in 1997 Franjo
2 Tudjman was submitting a report to the parliament of Croatia, his state of
3 the nation speech, he mentioned as the greatest achievement of his policy
4 the disappearance of Serbs from Croatia and the fact that they were
5 reduced to a small minority that would never again be able to be a
6 political factor in Croatia."
7 Q. In view of all this activity that was taking place before your
8 very eyes, tell me, were there other public figures in Croatia who issued
9 such threats to Serbs and repeated such threats from 1990s, early 1990s,
10 that spoke of the intentions of the Croatian leadership?
11 A. Yes. There were some people in Croatia who also reacted against
12 them. There was a very famous painter who said that Tudjman was trying to
13 persuade him in the 1990s that he would resolve the Serb problem in
14 Croatia by making half of the Serbs pack up and leave and would expel the
15 rest. This was Edo Murtic, a very famous painter. And this theory
16 originates from Mile Budak, whom I already mentioned.
17 Q. Can we find that passage on page 95 in the next tab?
18 MR. NICE: I understand this witness is going to be six hours, so
19 we have to check what's actually happening at the moment. I can see that
20 he's heavily dependent on his notes. His eyes are down on them throughout
21 most questions. They seem to be very well ordered, with titled and
22 subparagraphs, and probably constitute effectively a witness statement.
23 I'm not sure how desirable it is to have a witness really following notes
24 that closely unless they're available to everyone. If they are available
25 to everyone, of course, we'll be able to read them between now and
1 whenever next week's sitting starts, maybe make some concessions or
2 identify some areas of evidence that are not helpful. What we're now
3 doing is going through books -- for example, the last one, last entry on
4 tab 7, I'm not sure whether the witness says he was present at the event
5 itself. If he was, he can give evidence of it, if it's relevant.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it's noticeable that we've got no direct
7 evidence yet. You would think a man in the parliament who was actually
8 encountering Mr. Tudjman would be able to tell us something directly about
9 what he was saying and doing, to the extent that it's relevant at all.
10 MR. NICE: Yes. I respectfully adopt Your Honour's observations.
11 The material is by and large not translated, we've only had it since last
12 Wednesday afternoon, and the answers, as I say some of them are very well
13 cast and formulated, appear to be quite well prepared. So I think -- I
14 would respectfully invite the Chamber to first of all question the
15 admissibility of books, and we had some quite interesting passages in the
16 cross-examination of my learned friend of the last witness where plainly
17 relevant books were at best being admitted for identification only because
18 the witness has no direct experience or declines or fails to acknowledge
19 the accuracy of the book. Those don't go in as evidence. I'm not sure
20 what the evidence or status of this material is. And there it is.
21 I mean, it may be the better course would be to get the witness to
22 turn his notes over, or perhaps he'd like to provide them to us and we'll
23 copy them and peruse them over the weekend.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: May I ask you, Mr. Atlagic, what kind of notes do
25 you have, and to what extent are you relying on them?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not relying on these notes.
2 They are just bullet points, and I can do without them if I have to. I
3 don't mind.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, to your question, the
5 witness already answered that he made some bullet points for himself over
6 the past three days. I think he is entitled to them. If you think that
7 he shouldn't be looking at notes --
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... explained
9 that first. But, Mr. Milosevic, as to the nature of this witness's
10 evidence, are you going to lead him to evidence that is more directly
11 related to the charges in the indictments, and is there any evidence
12 coming from him of matters in which he was more directly involved?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please, Mr. Robinson. Mr. Nice
14 mentioned tab 7, for instance. I'm going to take this as an example
15 because he mentioned it. A quotation was used from Tudjman's speech
16 before the parliament, his state of the nation speech, saying that the
17 Serbs were reduced to an insignificant minority and would never again be a
18 political factor. That's a public document. It's his speech before the
19 Croatian parliament. Can anybody dispute that it's a valid document if we
20 are looking at a speech of a president, a head of state, before the
21 parliament of that state? And the witness is a man who was a politician
22 at the time in Croatia, at the critical time in the early 1990s, and he
23 was politically active in that particular political scene. And even when
24 he quotes, he quotes from what is already in the tabs. There is not a
25 single quotation that he used that is not supported by the documents under
1 the tabs.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yeah. The witness may refer to the bullet points
4 which he has -- which he has made, but of course to the extent that you
5 don't have to refer to them, then so much the better because we prefer
6 evidence to be given unaided.
7 And, Mr. Milosevic, you must bring this witness to events in which
8 he was more directly involved.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly. I would be working
10 in that direction as well. But this man was active in the political life,
11 and all these are facts from political life. They are public. It's not
12 about his secret conversations with Tudjman. These are public statements
13 that marked the entire political atmosphere that prevailed at the time.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let's move on.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: We haven't heard one word so far about anything he
16 himself did or, indeed, experienced.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We'll come to that as well. Can I
18 continue, please, Mr. Robinson?
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. What you have just said about the painter Edo Murtic, can we see
22 it in tab 8, page 95, the penultimate paragraph? Can you please read
24 A. "In his interview to Novi List, a newspaper from Rijeka, given in
25 January 2000, Croatian painter Edo Murtic emphasises that Tudjman was
1 assuring him on the eve of their 1990 elections that his objective was to
2 achieve what the Ustashas and Pavelic had failed to do in 1941. He said
3 250.000 Serbs would pack up and leave and the remaining 250.000 would
4 either remain or disappear."
5 Q. Let us look now at tab 9.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is this more of the same, Mr. Milosevic, to show
7 the state of mind of Tudjman? Haven't we had enough material on that?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This concerns Bosniaks. Tab 5
9 relates to Bosniaks -- sorry, tab 9 relates to Bosniaks, not Serbs, and I
10 think it would be useful for the witness to deal with it. It's at the
11 very beginning.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We'll try to deal with it very
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. He thought -- what did he believe?
17 A. At the 4th Congress of the Croatian Democratic Union, Tudjman
18 said, I quote: "A nation name of Bosniaks will make it easier for Muslims
19 to make that mental choice in Croatia, because if there are Bosniaks in
20 Bosnia of Muslim faith, it is clear that in Croatia there will be no
21 Bosniaks of Croatian faith. They can only be Croats of Muslim faith."
22 Q. Now, tell us from your experience at that time, what did the HDZ
23 focus its activities on when they came into power?
24 A. When they came into power, the Croatian Democratic Union focused
25 their activity on Croatisation, based mainly on the Ustasha fascist
2 Q. That is a general assessment you're giving us. Could you give us
3 a few examples of this Croatisation? What does that mean?
4 A. Names with any anti-fascist emblems were renamed with fascist
5 iconography introduced. Everything, every name or symbol that had to do
6 with the anti-fascist struggle from 1941 to 1945 is eliminated.
7 And then there was a series of laws enacted from the 1990s
8 onwards. For instance, laws were named for forests in Croatia. From
9 1990s onwards, when the HDZ was in power, every name of a law was -- began
10 with the word "Croat"; "Croat forests," "Croat economy," et cetera.
11 Also, a ban was introduced on placing flowers on the monument in
12 the former concentration camp of Jasenovac for the victims there. The
13 cleansing of Serbs from government authorities began.
14 Q. When?
15 A. As soon as Tudjman came into power. In June or maybe end May
16 1990, this purge of the Serbs began, not only from the police force but
17 also from the Territorial Defence, ministries, et cetera. It was general
18 Croatisation that was under way. Even in schools Serbs were no longer
19 allowed to teach the Serbo-Croat language, because in the meantime the
20 Croat language had been introduced.
21 Q. Did anything physical happen regarding attitude to homes, Serbs'
22 children, Serb lands, et cetera?
23 A. Certainly. Even names were changed of Serbs, Serb children, even
24 elderly people. Then there was the attitude to homes and things that were
25 sacred. In mid-1990s, there were attacks on things that Serbs held
2 Q. When did the bombing of houses start?
3 A. In 1990s.
4 Q. Are you talking about 1990 or the 1990s? Because the 1990s is a
5 whole decade.
6 A. I'm talking only about 1990.
7 Q. Let us be clear, because the transcript refers to 1990s. I'm
8 talking about the 1990, when the HDZ came into power, and even before
9 that, things that Serbs held sacred were under attack. In Ilok 60 Serb
10 tombstones were destroyed. The crosses were removed from them. Even
11 fresh graves were destroyed. There was also an attack, a provocation,
12 against a Serb Orthodox Church in Split. Graffiti, like "Serb sons of
13 bitches," et cetera.
14 The 3rd July in Dalmatia, a Serb was attacked by a Croat. One
15 Miroslav Mlinar was stabbed to death in Benkovac [as interpreted].
16 Q. That was in 1990. When?
17 A. On the 18th of May, 1990.
18 Q. Benkovac is your municipality, isn't it?
19 A. Yes, that's where I was born, and that was my constituency.
20 Q. Were you personally familiar with the event? Did you see this
22 A. Yes, he was a student of mine when he was in high school. And
23 when that happened, I visited him at the hospital. I was an MP at the
24 time. I saw that he had been stabbed three times.
25 Q. And what did the authorities do about this?
1 A. Mainly nothing. Some sort of proceedings were started but came to
3 Q. You said Serb houses were bombed --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry, could I ask, what did you do about it then
5 when you saw that nothing was being done?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I was an MP for the Alliance
7 of Socialists for the constituency of Benkovac, but other MPs, Croats, did
8 not want to cooperate with me because I was of Serb ethnicity. And even
9 in the Croatian parliament, a colleague of mine was attacking me with all
10 sorts of insinuations and slander. That was the attitude to me. As soon
11 as the HDZ came into power, they made it clear they would not be
12 negotiating with Serbs.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: That wasn't my question. My question was this is a
14 young man, you say, stabbed to death in your constituency, where the
15 majority of people must have supported you. What did you do about it?
16 A. Well, he was stabbed but he wasn't stabbed to death. He was still
17 alive afterwards. I did what I could. I tried in the Croatian Assembly
18 to raise a question to the house, to the president of the Assembly and the
19 president of the Executive Council of Croatia. That's what I did. I
20 asked a question in the house. And that was my duty as an MP.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. You earlier said that this person was stabbed
22 to death. Is that wrong? You gave the name Miroslav Mlinar was stabbed
23 to death in Benkovac.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was not stabbed to death. He --
25 he remained alive. It was an interpreter's error.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Oh, I see. And then it takes several questions
2 before you tell us what you actually did about it. Thank you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I be allowed to continue?
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. Mr. Milosevic.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Yes. Mr. Atlagic, you said that the Serbs at the beginning even
7 started changing their names.
8 A. Yes, some did change their names out of fear. They changed their
9 first and last names. And there were physical assaults as well on both
10 the Serbs and on things they held sacred.
11 Q. Well, can you give us examples? Can you quote examples of
12 violence against the Serbs in addition to the ones you've already
14 A. Well, yes, I can. I can give you the example or, rather, many
15 examples in Sibenik, for example. Bore Petrovic, a case in point. His
16 child was kidnapped. The child was taken away some ten kilometres from
17 Sibenik, and a metal rod was used to beat and stab it. You could see
18 traces on the body of this violence.
19 On and the 21st of November, as well, 1990, a policeman in
20 Benkovac was killed. Goran Alavanja was his name.
21 Q. Is that your municipality?
22 A. Yes, it is. It's my municipality.
23 Q. And that was in 1990, was it?
24 A. Yes, in 1990.
25 Q. And what were the circumstances of the killing of this policeman?
1 A. Well, at the time, I can't remember whether it was a day before a
2 day after, I went to attend an Assembly meeting. I was in Zagreb, and I
3 had my suspicions, because from Benkovac to Zagreb I saw a lot of
4 policemen I didn't know, both in my municipality and the neighbouring
5 municipality, and straight after that we received information that this
6 event had taken place with Goran Alavanja, the policeman in question.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that tells me nothing about -- that tells me
8 nothing about it. Was he a Serb? And in any event, what's the relevance
9 of one -- this isolated incident?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's not an isolated incident.
11 It was an attempt at a killing in the 1990 -- or, rather, in 1990. Now we
12 have a dead policeman. So can you imagine the disquiet among the Serb
13 population, and the Croat population as well for that matter?
14 MR. NICE: It's with great sadness that all this material wasn't
15 served in advance. It may be non-controversial and if it had been
16 provided to us in advance we could have considered it and saved time
17 maybe, but it's up to the accused how he spends his time.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Very well. Not to enumerate further, from what you've just told
21 us, can we speak about that as being isolated cases or was it a series of
22 events and incidents which indicated violence against the Serbs?
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's a leading question. Ask another question.
24 Move to another matter.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. What you've been telling us about, about this violence, is that
3 characteristic only of 1990?
4 A. No, it wasn't characteristic only of 1990 but 1991 as well. So
5 already in 1991 -- well, later on we had a series of attacks similar to
7 Q. All right. Now, when you mention 1991, is that the time of
8 certain events in Western Slavonia?
9 A. Yes. Events throughout Croatia were taking place, in Western
10 Slavonia especially. That's the area where we had a situation where Serb
11 houses were already being attacked and buildings they hold sacred. At the
12 end of 1990 and 1991, many church buildings, religious buildings were
13 destroyed and damaged. Destroyed and damaged. Up until March 1992, over
14 4.000 houses were set fire to in Western Slavonia.
15 Q. So 4.000 houses were set aflame?
16 A. Yes, until March 1992.
17 Q. What happened in Zadar, for example, in 1991?
18 A. Well, there was the Zadar affair, as it was known, the Crystal
19 Night, when in Zadar, in 1991, 350 houses were blown up, and cafes,
20 belonging to Serbs.
21 Q. All right. Now, tell us, was there any tension caused by the
22 Serbs in Zadar at that time?
23 A. No, no tensions.
24 Q. When did that happen in Zadar in 1991? When was that event?
25 A. I think it was either March or May.
1 Q. But anyway, the first half of 1991; is that right?
2 A. Yes, the first half of 1991.
3 MR. NICE: On this topic I think if we're going to be helped at
4 all, do we not need to know whether he's speaking from his own firsthand
5 experience that he was in Zadar or if he's perhaps, I don't know, quoting
6 from a newspaper report or gossip or something? It might help.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the source of this information?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The source of my information? Well,
9 I was a national deputy, and the Zadar municipality is a neighbouring
10 municipality just 15 kilometres away, and there was still communication
11 between the people of the two municipalities. So I was in Zadar during
12 those days to see what was going on, but it was a very well-known event
13 that this -- what was referred to as the Crystal Night event took place.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. And do you know anything about the events that happened at the
17 foot of Mount Papuk and Psunj, the Serb villages there and what happened
18 there at that time?
19 A. Well, at that time, around Psunj and Papuk, there were about 100
20 -- or over 100 Serb villages that were destroyed. They were destroyed,
21 set fire to.
22 Q. And we're talking about the end of 1991, are we?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, did you hear of the expression "The Serbs are
25 flowing down the river towards Serbia"?
1 A. Yes, I have heard of that. It was dominant in Western Slavonia,
2 Baranja and Srem when corpses, which were massacred -- or, rather, Serb
3 corpses which were massacred were thrown in the river and they flowed down
4 the river toward Serbia. But I have to say that that was nothing new,
5 because that was what happened in 1941 to 1945. You would see the same
6 slogans written up. For instance, "King Peter, go to Belgrade," and so
8 MR. NICE: We really have got to try, if I may respectfully
9 suggest, to get some order into this witness's evidence. The accused
10 asked him, it might be thought to be a slightly leading question, whether
11 he had heard a particular expression. He had heard it and then he gave --
12 went on to give what appears to be, perhaps possibly a prepared, almost,
13 or considered answer, but doesn't actually say where he heard it, who said
14 it, what it amounts to. How are we being helped by this?
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: These are matters that you can raise in
16 cross-examination, Mr. Nice.
17 But, Mr. Milosevic, you really need to bring this witness to
18 evidence of matters that he can speak of more directly.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I think he is directly
20 speaking about this, too, and a moment ago, at Mr. Nice's direct
21 intervention, he said that Zadar was the neighbouring municipality to his
22 and that he personally travelled to Zadar and saw it all personally and
23 that he personally communicated with the citizens and inhabitants who were
24 part of his constituency and that he knows it all from firsthand
25 information, not from the press and the mass media, because he was a
1 national deputy, and some of his preoccupations involved what was going
2 on, of course.
3 May I be allowed to continue, Mr. Robinson?
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, but we would like -- we would like evidence
5 that is more directly related to the matters in the indictment. We have
6 had enough of this background.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All those atrocities are directly
8 related because they lead to reaction, refugees, self-organisation,
9 displaced persons, and things like that; self-defence. Directly
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. But let's not speak about 1941 and 1945, Mr. Atlagic. Tell us
13 what happened in 1990, in those years. You talked about Slavonia, and you
14 spoke about the expression "The Serbs flowing down towards Serbia." What
15 happened in the 1990s?
16 A. Well, in the 1990s the situation was the similar in Slavonia.
17 Sacred Serb buildings were attacked. In Vinkovci in 1990, for example,
18 the library, Branka Egic Library, was set fire to. And I remember that
19 particular event. So it's not only 1991 that is important. It all
20 started in 1990 and went on to 1995.
21 Q. And what do you know about the facts and figures related to
22 burnt-down Serb houses and Serbs killed during that time?
23 A. Well, I know that at that time up until 1992 there were many
24 Orthodox buildings throughout Croatia which were destroyed, either totally
25 destroyed or partially destroyed, and I can even take the parishes one by
1 one: The Dalmatian parish, the Karlovac parish, and all the six parishes
2 that exist. So I can take it parish-by-parish. But up until 1990 and
3 1992, there were over 170 Serb sacred buildings that were either totally
4 destroyed or damaged.
5 Q. When you say "sacred buildings," do you mean churches,
6 monasteries, or what?
7 A. Mostly churches and monasteries, that's what I mean.
8 Q. And how many were destroyed until March 1992, did you say?
9 A. Over 160. Over 160 churches and monasteries were destroyed.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Atlagic, did this sort of behaviour cause the
11 Serbs to commit crimes?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. This behaviour at the time -
13 and it's 1990 - we can't speak of Serb crimes. In 1990 in my
14 constituency, for example, I don't know of a single --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: This is the destruction of buildings up until March
16 1992, and I'd like to know if -- Mr. Milosevic keeps telling us the point
17 of this is that the Serbs reacted. Now, did Serbs commit crimes because
18 of this sort of conduct?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, they didn't commit crimes only
20 because of this kind of conduct but because crimes were committed against
21 the Serbs. For example, over 200 Serbs in Western Slavonia, up until 1991
22 and March 1992 were -- died or were killed or destroyed and as many
23 territorials were wounded.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you at the end of the day going to be telling
25 us that you don't know of any crimes that Serbs committed or are you going
1 to be telling us about crimes which Serbs did commit and try to explain
2 why they were committed?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there were crimes committed on
4 all sides, and that is not contentious. It is not contentious that there
5 were individual crimes.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ... we will at
7 some stage come to deal with the crimes that are alleged in the indictment
8 perhaps. Okay. Thank you.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Tell us, please - and you're talking about 1990 and 1991 now -
11 whether the Serbs, to the best of your knowledge, caused a situation for
12 which the authorities had reason to retaliate. You're talking about
13 villages burnt down, houses destroyed, churches and monasteries destroyed
14 and damaged. Did the Serbs do anything which would trigger off
15 retaliation of the kind you've been talking about?
16 A. During that time, Serbs didn't react at all.
17 Q. You said 1990. You weren't referring to the 1990s?
18 A. Well, in 1990 the Serbs didn't give cause for -- well, it was all
19 Serb -- I don't know any situation which was caused -- any untoward
20 situation that was caused by the Serbs in 1990.
21 Q. Let me take an example. According to certain information that I
22 have, and facts and figures - you can tell us if they're true or not - in
23 March, already in March, or to be more precise, on the 16th of March 1990,
24 so that's the date, on a plaque of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Zagreb
25 in Bogoviceva Street, there was a U sign, the letter U was written up, and
1 we're talking about mid-March, 1990, before the actions in Croatia. What
2 did the U signify?
3 MR. NICE: The accused has elected not to give evidence in this
4 case, and therefore if he wants to contribute a question or build a
5 question on information, he's got to give an evidential basis for doing
6 so. It's just not good enough to say he's been told there was a U sign
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you have been at this for some
9 time, leading witnesses, and you should be able to manage asking questions
10 much better than you have been doing. I will allow you to reformulate
11 that question.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I asked a question. I will
13 reformulate it.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. We're dealing with March 1990 now. When were the elections in
17 A. The elections in Croatia were over by the 30th of May because
18 that's when the first Sabor --
19 Q. Yes. You were elected, so you know about that very well. Now,
20 what happened in March 1990?
21 A. In March 1990, on a plaque of the Serbian Orthodox Church in
22 Zagreb - and I know this very well - the letter U was written up, and the
23 letter U refers to the Ustasha who were fascists from 1941 to 1945 in
24 Croatia. However, this caused disquiet among the believers, the Orthodox
25 believers in Zagreb, and the priests alike.
1 Q. Was there any cause on the Serb side for that?
2 A. Well, none in 1990. No cause at all. But this priest in Zagreb
3 on the day that this happened, they also punctured his tyres, the tyres on
4 his car, and even left their IDs to state who had perpetrated this act.
5 Q. And who were the perpetrators? Was that ever uncovered?
6 A. Well, nobody investigated, but they left their IDs next to the
7 car, and it said it was the Clandestine Ustasha Organisation.
8 Q. You spoke about the situation during the elections. Do you know
9 what happened before the elections, before the multi-party elections in
11 A. Well, there were many pre-electoral meetings and rallies, and at
12 these pre-election rallies the leaders of the Croatian Democratic Union
13 were invoking the past and threatening the Serbs that they would throw
14 them out, that they would put them under one umbrella.
15 Q. Well, where do you get this expression from that the Serbs would
16 be put under a single umbrella?
17 A. Well, on the 2nd of March, 1990, as early as that in Gospic, a
18 pre-election rally was -- of the HDZ was held, and the present president
19 of Croatia, Stipe Mesic, spoke on the occasion, he delivered a speech and
20 said -- it was raining, and there were about 15.000 people rallied there,
21 and he said that when the Croatian state was created, all the Serbs would
22 fit under a single umbrella.
23 Q. So we're talking about 2nd of March, 1990, and you say Mesic said
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And why did he say things like that at that time? Was there any
2 reason, cause for saying that caused by the Serbs for him to speak in that
3 kind of way?
4 A. Well, here's why: When it comes to Stjepan Mesic, you have to
5 know that Stjepan Mesic later, on the 5th of December, 1991, when we -- in
6 thanking us deputies for electing him to the Presidency of the SFRY, he
7 said among others, and I'm going to quote what he said, what he told us in
8 the Assembly hall: "Thank you," he said, "for having elected me to
9 represent the interests of the Republic of Croatia in the Yugoslav state
10 Presidency. I have done my duty. Yugoslavia is no more." However,
11 that's not strange. Why do I say it's not strange? Because we know that
12 in the 1970s Stjepan Mesic was sentenced to a prison term for trying to
13 break up Yugoslavia. And he served this sentence, so it wasn't by chance
14 that Stjepan Mesic made that statement.
15 However, there are a series of other events that are important
16 linked to his name. He also said that we Serbs did not bring the land
17 with us on our peasant shoes, although he knows full well that the Serbs
18 were present on the territory of Croat back -- dating back to the 9th
19 century. So you can imagine how the Serbs felt having heard this.
20 Q. Were there any tensions or any incidents caused by the Serbs up to
21 March 1990 when Mesic said in Gospic before 15.000 people that all the
22 Serbs would fit under one umbrella, as he said?
23 A. No. There had not been a single incident to cause such a
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, I'm going to take the adjournment
1 now, and we will resume on Wednesday, the 22nd of February, 2006, when we
2 expect evidence from this witness that is more directly related to the
4 We are adjourned.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.43 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 22nd day
7 of February, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.