THE HAGUE | 12.07.2011.

CONTESTING MILAN BABIC’S TESTIMONY

The first defense witness called by Jovica Stanisic to testify in open session claims his erstwhile friend Milan Babic lied when he said that Slobodan Milosevic controlled the situation in Krajina in 1990 and 1991 through ‘parallel structures’. The Serbian State Security Service and its chief Stanisic took active parts in this effort, Babic claimed

After three working weeks and five witnesses who were examined in closed session, Jovica Stanisic’s defense case finally went into open session today. The defense called Mile Bosnic, unemployed political scientist, who used the be a member of the Main Board of the Serbian Democratic Party in Croatia and a deputy in the Krajina Serb Assembly.

Answering the questions of Stanisic’s defense counsel Jordash, the witness strove to challenge the testimony of former Krajina Serb president Milan Babic in the trials of Slobodan Milosevic, Momcilo Krajisnik and Milan Martic. His testimony was admitted into evidence after his death in the trial of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic. They face charges of crimes against non-Serbs in Croatia and BH. In his evidence, Babic claimed that Slobodan Milosevic controlled the situation in Krajina through a double chain of command: one in the JNA and the other in the ‘parallel structures’, from the Serbian security service and its chief, Jovica Stanisic, through Milan Martic’s police force in Krajina to the volunteer units run by Franko Simatovic and Captain Dragan Vasiljkovic.

Mile Bosnic claims that in October 1991 he was one of five Babic’s closest associates and friends, but he doesn’t know anything about those parallel structures. He tried to convince the Trial Chamber there was an independent government in Krajina; it made its decisions in line with democratic procedure, not heeding any external attempts to influence them, including those from Belgrade. He would have been ‘insulted’ if anyone from the outside made decisions bypassing the government structures to which he and Babic belonged. According to the witness, the fact that the Republic of Srbian Krajina was declared in the face of Milosevic’s opposition speaks to its independence.

According to the witness, Babic never spoke to him about Stanisic. He is unaware of any Stanisic’s involvement in the events in Krajina. The chief of the Serbian security service had nothing to do with the appointment of Milan Martic as the interior minister in January 1991, the witness said, adding that this was ‘Babic’s recommendation’. He dismissed the claims that in 1990 Stanisic headed the National Defense Council, a body that ‘coordinated’ the activities of the village watches in Krajina in the so-called ‘log revolution’.

Countering the prosecution’s allegations that the conflict in Krajina had been orchestrated from Belgrade and implemented by the Krajina authorities with the help of Stanisic and Simatovic, the witness claims the ‘roadblocks were put up spontaneously’ because the local Serbs feared the attacks by the Croatian police. The Knin authorities merely monitored the events, the witness said, trying to put the armed civilians under their control; some of the young men were later trained in the Golubic camp. Bosnic denied that weapons were brought to Knin from Serbia through the two accused, noting that the Krajina Serbs at first had only hunting rifles, and later took better weapons from the local police and JNA depots.

The Krajina official is expected to complete his examination-in-chief in the first half of the session tomorrow and will then be cross-examined by Simatovic’s defense and the prosecutor.