THE HAGUE | 13.05.2010.


The defense cross-examined former member of the state security service in the federal SUP, insisting on the discrepancies between his evidence yesterday and the statement he gave to the OTP investigators in 2004. The witness testifies at the trial of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic under the pseudonym JF-38

Jovica Stanisic’s defense counsel insisted today on the discrepancies between what the witness said yesterday and what he described in his 2004 statement. In 2004, the witness never said that he ‘saw’ Stanisic in the spring and summer of 1991 in Knin and ‘greeted’ him; he stated that he ‘heard’ from his colleagues that the Serbian state security service was training policemen in order to establish the Krajina state security and that Stanisic came to Knin to help with the training. The witness replied that he gave his statement in 2004 as part of his preparations for his testimony at the trial of Milan Martic, and therefore, didn’t focus on other persons: he didn’t want to embroil Stanisic. The witness said he amended his statement in the course of the proofing for this trial.

In his examination-in chief yesterday, the witness said that a Croatian assistant interior minister told him at a meeting in Sibenik that the Serbian state security service was ‘present’ in Krajina. The defense counsel asked him if, as he claims, he saw Stanisic in Knin, why he didn’t sit down with Stanisic and asked him what he was doing there without the Croatian authorities knowing it. The witness said that his duty was to report what he saw in the field to the leader of the group sent to Knin on a ‘peace mission’. The witness was then given orders where to go and what to do.

The defense counsel of the second-accused Franko Simatovic also noted that in his 2004 statement the witness didn’t say as he did yesterday in his examination-in chief that when he was in Eastern Slavonia he heard that ‘Frenki’s men’ were active there, as were ‘Arkan’s men’, the White Eagles, Seselj’s Chetniks and Badza’s groups. The witness replied, ‘I probably recalled that in the meantime’. The defense counsel also noted that in his previous statement the witness said that Baranja was ‘under the control of the Territorial Defense and the JNA’ and that ‘there were no paramilitary units there’. ‘I was not asked about it or I didn’t remember it’ in 2004, the witness explained.

In a brief re-examination, the prosecutor asked the witness about the defense’s claim that he ‘made up’ some things. JF-38 replied he ‘didn’t make anything up’ but maybe ‘the time took its toll’. In his effort to prove that the witness didn’t lie in order to be granted asylum in the country where he currently resides, the prosecutor asked the witness if his asylum application was rejected some years ago by the very same country. The witness confirmed it, but the details of the asylum issue were discussed in closed session.

The trial of the former Serbian state security service chiefs for crimes perpetrated in Croatia and BH by the police and paramilitary units controlled by the Serbian secret service continues on Monday. A new witness, it was indicated, will give evidence entirely in closed session.