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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03THEHAGUE3043
2003-12-11 05:15:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

ICTY: THREE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES OFFERED FROM

Tags:   BK  HR  KAWC  NL  PHUM  PREL  SR  ICTY 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 003043 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/WCI - PROSPER/RICHARD, EUR/SCE -
STEPHENS/GREGORIAN, L/EUR - LAHNE, L/AF - GTAFT. INR/WCAD -
SEIDENSTRICKER/MORIN; USUN FOR ROSTOW/WILLSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6 FIVE YEARS AFTER CLOSURE ICTY
TAGS: BK HR KAWC NL PHUM PREL SR ICTY
SUBJECT: ICTY: THREE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES OFFERED FROM
KEY WITNESSES IN MILOSEVIC TRIAL


(U) Classified by Clifton M. Johnson, Legal Counselor, for
reasons 1.5(D) and 1.6.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 003043

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/WCI - PROSPER/RICHARD, EUR/SCE -
STEPHENS/GREGORIAN, L/EUR - LAHNE, L/AF - GTAFT. INR/WCAD -
SEIDENSTRICKER/MORIN; USUN FOR ROSTOW/WILLSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6 FIVE YEARS AFTER CLOSURE ICTY
TAGS: BK HR KAWC NL PHUM PREL SR ICTY
SUBJECT: ICTY: THREE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES OFFERED FROM
KEY WITNESSES IN MILOSEVIC TRIAL


(U) Classified by Clifton M. Johnson, Legal Counselor, for
reasons 1.5(D) and 1.6.


1. (SBU) Summary: Trial Chamber III of the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) heard from
three key witnesses in November offering unique perspectives
on the role Milosevic played. During the week of November
10, historian Robert Donia resumed his testimony concerning
the policies of Bosnian Serb leaders and their relationships
with external actors, including Milosevic, other Belgrade
leadership, JNA, paramilitaries, international negotiators
and international figures. The week of November 17, Borisav
Jovic, former Yugoslav President who described himself as
Milosevic's one-time closest political ally, depicted
Milosevic as an autocrat with "absolute authority." At the
same time, Milosevic effectively elicited on
cross-examination Jovic's dismissal of the notion that
Milosevic was pursuing a plan for a greater Serbia. In late
November, ICTY indictee Miroslav Deronjic, who has pled
guilty to persecution, testified through a lengthy written
statement. His oral testimony focused on events leading up
to the Serb offensive in Srebrenica. Deronjic characterized
the massacres of Srebrenica as the "logical finale" of the
spiraling sequence of events. Milosevic's cross-examination
attempted to highlight contradictions in the witness's
statement utilizing confidential documents dealing with
Bosnian Serb secret military orders and Karadzic,s daily
calendar. End summary.

--------------
Robert Donia's Testimony
--------------


2. (SBU) On November 11, the trial chamber heard from Robert
Donia. Donia previously appeared before the trial chamber on
September 12, where he provided a report that dealt with the

policies of the Bosnian Serb leadership and the relationships
they had with external actors. The report analyzed the
transcripts of 35-40 sessions of the Assembly sessions of the
Republika Srpska to glean evidence of the policies of the
Bosnian Serb leadership. Milosevic resumed his
cross-examination by attempting to discredit the report as
biased against the "Serb side" and misleading. Milosevic
tried, from various angles, to show that the excerpts and
quotes that Donia used were taken out of context to bias the
report. However, Donia deflected the Accused,s criticisms
by explaining the context of the quotes to the chambers in a
way that only strengthened his original contention.


3. (SBU) Milosevic attempted to characterize the origin of
the conflict as rooted in armed secession, and he asked
Donia, as an historian, if he agreed. Donia rejected this
proposition and offered his view that "this conflict was
caused by a determination on the part of (Milosevic) and
others in the Belgrade leadership to prevent (a) peaceful
secession." Milosevic responded, as he as done previously,
that the war was imposed upon Serbia by the premature
recognition of individual parts of Yugoslavia. Donia again
rejected this view and said that the principal cause of the
conflict was the determination of Milosevic and others in the
Belgrade leadership to "instigate uprisings" amongst the
Serbs in Croation and Bosnia-Herzogovina against the peaceful
process.


4. (SBU) Milosevic addressed a particular reference to
Karadzic speaking in the Assembly of Republika Srpska where
he acknowledged that if Bosnian Serbs entered Srebrenica in
1993 that there would have been "blood to the knees" given
the history of ethnic conflict in the area. Milosevic
attempted to parlay this expression of awareness into
evidence that the leadership of the Republika Srpska (RS)
would attempt to avoid such an explosive situation. However,
Donia responded that the primary concern that Karadzic was
expressing was the potential impact on the Bosnian Serb
"state" rather than the loss of Muslim life. He also noted
that the situation was very different in 1995, since the
principle threat to RS was military rather than lack of
diplomatic recognition. Therefore, he rejected Milosevic,s
contention that the leaders of the Republika Srpska were as
concerned in 1995 about entering Srebrenica as they were in

1993. Donia said that the context had changed, so the
parallel could not be drawn.


5. (SBU) Milosevic raised issue with Donia,s use of "Greater
Serbia" in his report. Milosevic noted that "not a single
representative of the Government of Republika Srpska ever
used the term 'Great Serbia.'" Donia responded that while
"Velinka Srbija" does not appear in the citation, the "sense
of that terminology" indicates that a "Greater Serbia" was an
objective of the leadership of the RS and that use of the
term was suitable.

--------------
Borisav Jovic's Testimony
--------------


6. (SBU) On November 20, the trial chamber heard from Borisav
Jovic, the Serbian member of Yugoslavia's collective
presidency in 1989 and 1990 and later president of the
Serbian Socialist Party. Jovic described himself as one of
Milosevic's closest political associates, but he described
Milosevic as a autocrat with "absolute authority." He
claimed that Milosevic had him replaced in a "non-democratic
manner" like many others. However, during the
cross-examination, Jovic helped Milosevic paint a picture of
the Serb leadership trying to keep Yugoslavia together and
protect the Serbs from a multitude of forces including armed
succession by Croatia, an over-zealous Germany forcing the
European Community into recognizing the republics, and a
United States bent on fighting Communism even if it meant
tearing apart a country.


7. (SBU) Jovic submitted his evidence-in-chief as a written
statement, which included large chunks of his diary that
chronicles, among other things, Milosevic's manipulation of
the political system for his own gain. Jovic testified that
Milosevic had "absolute authority" and no one would disagree
with him publicly. He said that he had a rare relationship
with Milosevic, one in which he could privately disagree with
Milosevic. However, Jovic noted that Milosevic usually put
in place people he could "trust to accept the decisions he
had made." When pressed on this issue during Milosevic,s
cross-examination, Jovic replied that these were his personal
conclusions as he expressed them in his book and are ones he
stands by today. Milosevic asked Jovic, "But did I not
respect other,s opinions?" Jovic replied, "Yes, as long as
they did not clash with your own." Jovic explained that at
first things were different, but later prestige and
confidence in his own ability changed Milosevic. He further
observed that through this transformation political bodies
were marginalized as they automatically adopted Milosevic's
policies. In short, he concluded, Milosevic's word was
decisive, both necessary and sufficient.


8. (SBU) Jovic testified to Milosevic's willingness and
ability to manipulate the media to his own ends. He also
explained the cult of personality that was formed around
Milosevic. When Jovic protested the practice of the public
of carrying around photographs of socialist leaders,
Milosevic agreed and put an end to it with the exception of
his own photo. Milosevic responded to Jovic's accusations
with a series of questions. Milosevic asked whether any
papers or radio stations were censored or prohibited, whether
there were local private television stations, and whether
there were any political prisoners? To each of these
questions, Jovic answered no. However, Jovic commented that
Milosevic had complete control over the State run papers,
radios and television stations. Moreover, Jovic identified
the State-run national television station as the single most
influential medium.


9. (C) Milosevic employed his usual tactic with
potentially helpful witnesses whereby he cultivates their
support during the early part of his examination by holding
back issues of disagreement until the end. As such, Milosevic
began his cross-examination with his favorite coined phrase:
"Greater Serbia." He asked Jovic whether this "Greater
Serbia" was a fabrication and whether they ever had this on
their mind. Jovic responded that they never thought about a
"Greater Serbia." He noted that historians are looking into
the origin of this concept, but that it did not concern their
discussion. Instead, he explained that they had 3
principles: preserve Yugoslavia, provide self-determination
through referenda, and ensure equality for Serbs everywhere.
Milosevic chimed in, "Serbian people should be equal no
matter, nothing more, nothing less."


10. (SBU) Milosevic then turned to the source of the
conflict. He characterized the source of the conflict as an
internal affair of Croatia that turned into a violent act of
secession leading to the oppression of Serb rights. Jovic
said that no one cared about the secession of Slovenia, since
it had a single ethnic identity, and agreed with Milosevic
that the violent succession of Croatia was the origin of the
conflict. Moreover, they both attributed blame to Germany
for forcing the hand of other European states to approve the
early recognition of Slovenia and Croatia. Milosevic quoted
Jovic's diary as claiming that the United States wanted to
destroy communism, even at the expense of breaking up
Yugoslavia. Jovic responded that it was clear that the
United States wanted to topple Communism in Eastern Europe
and was prepared to take Yugoslavia apart to introduce
multi-party elections in the individual republics.


11. (SBU) Jovic also provided useful testimony for the
Accused concerning his control over the Yugoslav People's
Army (JNA). Milosevic asked whether he could give commands
to the JNA. Jovic responded that only members of the
Presidency could make binding decisions, thus the JNA could
not receive orders from Milosevic under the Constitution.
However, Jovic left the door open by adding that whether the
JNA followed suggestions made by others was certainly
something that the generals could be asked. Milosevic then
asked whether in 1991 the JNA was still the Army of
Yugoslavia and not a Serbian Army. Jovic concurred that the
JNA was not a Serbian Army and noted that the Chief of Staff
was Bosnian, the General Staff was Croatian and the entire
army was ethnically mixed. Later, Jovic reiterated that
Milosevic could not give orders to the JNA.

--------------
Miroslav Deronjic's Testimony
--------------


12. (SBU) On November 26, the prosecution called Miroslav
Deronjic, who had already pleaded guilty before the ICTY for
ordering the ethnic cleansing of a Muslim village, Glogova.
Deronjic testified to the involvement of the JNA,
paramilitary groups and the Red Beret commandos in military
operations around Glogova. Milosevic accused the witness of
lying to the court as part of his plea agreement with the
Prosecution. The witness rejected this proposition.
Deronjic also provided a lasting impression as he described a
domino effect of conflict and ethnic tensions of which
"Srebrenica was the logical finale."


13. (SBU) Deronjic described how Serbian paramilitary
groups including Arkan's men and Seselj's men would arrive
into an area and escalate the ethnic tensions with violent
conflicts and looting, which brought on panic and fear. He
described their efforts as part of a secret plan that not
everyone in the SDS new about. He also testified to the
presence of the JNA. He said the JNA took part in the
offensives in some areas. Deronjic also said that the Red
Berets commandos were present. Milosevic, as president of
Serbia, would have had control over this group through his
interior ministry. Deronjic also accused Milosevic of
sending volunteer forces from Serbia to help cleanse Muslims
from villages in the area.


14. (SBU) Milosevic charged Deronjic with agreeing to provide
false testimony as part of a plea agreement with the
Prosecution. Deronjic replied that he had not provided false
testimony and had expressed his desire to appear as a witness
for the prosecution before he ever made a plea agreement. He
said that he was not testifying because of the plea
agreement, but that it was his "absolute wish to testify
before this court."


15. (C) Milosevic referred to two separate documents
while trying to refute the specifics of Deronjic's testimony.
Deronjic claimed that he became away of potential military
preparations concerning Srebrenica and became concerned that
local Serb forces would incur major losses if not supported
by more professional soldiers. Deronjic claimed that he
traveled to Pale to talk with Karadzic about these
preparations. Milosevic attempted to discredit the witness
by referring to a secret military order issued out of Pale,
which Milosevic claims Deronjic would have seen. Also,
Milosevic provided the court with a copy of Karadzic's
calendar for the day in question taken from the diary of his
secretary. While his efforts to discredit the witness were

SIPDIS
not all that effective, it is noteworthy that Milosevic
continues to have access to such documents.


16. (SBU) In his testimony, Deronjic described how already
existing ethnic tensions were deliberately aggravated by the
arrival of Serbian paramilitary and volunteer units. He
described a domino effect where tensions, conflict and
violence lead to an atmosphere of fear and panic. He said
that the massacre in "Srebrenica was the logical finale."


17. (C) Comment: November was an important month for
Milosevic and the prosecution, with each side making gains
through key testimony. With the most dedicated focus yet on
the crimes which occurred in Bosnia, the month opened with
the "big picture" testimony of Lord David Owen, continued
with a host of insiders and "crime-base" witnesses, and
concluded with one of the Bosnian Serb officers on the ground
during the Srebrenica massacres of July 1995. Some of the
witnesses, including Owen and Jovic, gave some credence to
Milosevic's argument that he did not control the actions of
Bosnian Serb political and military leaders. Others, such as
Deronjic and Donia, saw things differently, with Milosevic
clearly at the center of the war in Bosnia, if not an actual
perpetrator of each crime a clear inspiration of them. In
sum, neither side made the trial chamber's job any easier.
End comment.
SOBEL