MINISTER WITH EMPTY POCKETS
Jovica Stanisic’s defense witness tried to contest the prosecution argument that Krajina Serb leaders received large amounts of cash from Belgrade. The witness contended that in early 1990s, Milan Martic was broke most of the time; the witness in fact had to led him money for lunch, cigarettes, gasoline and other running costs ‘countless times’
The examination-in chief of protected witness DST-043 continued today. Jovica Stanisic’s defense lawyers tried to contest the prosecution allegation that the Serbian State Security Service was involved in moving money to Knin from Belgrade. The prosecution claims that the money was then paid to the Krajina interior minister Milan Martic and used to prepare the local Serbs for the war. The defense is trying to prove that the money came into Krajina through different channel. According to the defense, Martic was broke most of the time and didn’t even have money for his personal needs.
The witness’s role and function in Krajina were not made public today. The witness claimed that he personally received donations for the Knin police. On receiving the money, the witness issued receipts to ‘the benefactors’. One of them is a man by the name of Luka Lalic, who collected about 10,000 German marks from the Serb émigrés in Munich in 1991. The witness explained that many such donations poured in in the early 1990s.
As the witness said, at the time Milan Martic was often penniless. The costs were running high as Martic was promoted swiftly from police inspector in January 1991 to interior minister. The witness claims that he gave Martic money for lunch, cigarettes, gasoline and other running costs ‘countless times’. The witness took with him to The Hague several IOUs confirming he gave money to Martic. It is not yet clear if the receipts would be admitted into evidence because the prosecution claims Martic’s didn’t sign them. The witness could not say with absolute certainty that Martic had in fact signed them.
In his statement to the defense, admitted into evidence yesterday, the witness said that he never met with Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic and that they didn’t influence in any way the events in Krajina. The indictment alleges that the two accused participated in the preparations for the war of the Serbs in Bosnia and Krajina and that they established and controlled the police and paramilitary units involved in the crimes against non-Serbs in the wars in Croatia and BH.
Although the witness contends he never met Stanisic, in his replies to defense counsel Jordash the witness explained he had come to The Hague to tell the truth and to ‘lift the burden of guilt hoisted’ on the former chief of the Serbian State Security Service. The witness agreed to give evidence voluntarily when the defense called him because he recalled Stanisic’s ‘humane gesture’ when he released ‘French pilots and other prisoners’ in Bosnia.
At the same time, the witness didn’t pull punches when he talked about the late Krajina Serb president Milan Babic. Babic’s evidence at the three previous Tribunal’s trials in which he spoke about the active role the two accused played in Krajina in early 1990s was admitted into evidence as a prosecution exhibit. The witness was asked about Babic’s mental and physical condition when he rose to power. ‘From time to time [Babic] trembled, his leg would shake under table, he had to use the toilet often and spent a long time in front of a mirror’, the witness replied. He contends that Babic took pills and ‘behaved unpredictably’.
Simatovic’s defense cross-examined the witness briefly. The prosecution cross-examined him in closed session.
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