ARMY HAD POWER, HADZIC HAD NONE
As indicated in the opening statement, Hadzic defends himself by arguing that the JNA had ‘all the power’ while he didn’t have ‘anything’: he had no authority over the Territorial Defense, no personnel, no information about the JNA’s plans to attack...
Former prime minister of the Serb Autonomous Region of Eastern Slavonia continued his evidence in his own defense. Hadzic spoke about the charges against him only tangentially. In the part of the hearing closed to the public Hadzic focused on the events and persons that marked the first few weeks of his tenure as the prime minister elect of the Serb Autonomous Region of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, from 25 June to the end of August 1991.
Hadzic confirmed that the Great National Assembly of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem was constituted on 16 July 1991. The Territorial Defense Staff was formed the same day and Ilija Kojic was appointed its commander. Kojic was in charge of coordinating with the local staffs, but could not do it because, according to Hadzic, the villages were cut off. Telephone lines were down, and the roads were blocked. Hadzic was elected the president of the Serbian National Council at the same Assembly session. Although he held that position, he had ‘no power over the Territorial Defense at all’.
In his evidence Hadzic then turned to his contacts with General Radojica Nenezic. According to Hadzic, Nenezic was a ‘great soldier and a hero’. Hadzic and Nenezic met in the summer of 1991 in Belgrade. General Nenezic appeared ‘not to be of a sound mind’. He had a war map of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem and he fully expected he would ‘take over the command over all Serb forces in the Territorial Defense’.
When they met the second time, again in Belgrade, Nenezic allegedly ‘quarreled’ with Ilija Kojic. Nenezic wanted to remove Kojic from the post of the Territorial Defense commander. Hadzic recounted that Nenezic visited Eastern Slavonia two times. He first came to Borovo Selo where he visited a local bar. On his second trip, Nenezic arrived in the village of Bobota with the official Serbian delegation from the League of Communists – Movement for Yugoslavia. Nenezic had a serious row with Kojic. According to Hadzic, Nenezic ‘wanted to give power, and we were supposed to provide the personnel’. Despite his position as the head of government, Hadzic could not control the members of the Serbian Democratic Party.
Hadzic also commented on the excerpt from an article published in the Belgrade newspaper Politika under the title Borovo Selo – Men’s Town. In the article Hadzic was introduced as the ‘president of the so-called Serbian government of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem’. That, in Hadzic’s view, ‘speaks for itself about the official position of the federal state and Serbia’ towards his government.
At the beginning of the session, the defense showed an excerpt from the famous film produced by the JNA counter-intelligence service in which Martin Spegelj, Croatian defense minister, speaks about the effort to arm the Croatian forces and calls for the JNA officers to be killed. Hadzic claims the film caused fear among the population and made him feel ‘panicked and disappointed’. He could not believe that the people he had been living with were now arming themselves. After the film was shown on TV, Serbs started leaving their homes. The number of refugees in July 1991 grew to 11,000 and continued to grow until it reached 100,000, Hadzic said.
Regarding his own statement in an interview of 24 July 1991 that ‘armed Serbs are on the defensive, but will soon launch a decisive attack’, Hadzic said that it was only a ‘political statement’ and a threat. It was definitely not an advance warning of the attack on Dalj on 1 August 1991. ‘If I had known something about that attack, I wouldn’t have talked about it. That was a secret only the army knew about’, Hadzic explained. Tomorrow Hadzic will continue answering questions put by his defense counsel.
- Case : Hadzic
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