MIRJANA KARANOVIC: It’s time to retell the story of the assassination of Zoran Djindjic. Unlike our judiciary, unlike his party and his ministers, we know it by heart. Our job is to vainly repeat the obvious truths. These are the truths about the horrific events that should have never happened. Slobodan Milosevic did not have to come to power. Yugoslavia did not have to break up in four wars. The Srebrenica genocide had to stay unimaginable. Belgrade could have been only the city of BITEF and FEST. Zoran Djindjic should have stayed in Germany, worn glasses, taught philosophy and annoyed Habermas. We could have been ordinary people.
At the time when the Berlin Wall is crumbling and when the entire Eastern Europe is heading toward the 21st century, we are going to Gazimestan, going 600 years back in time and asking – how can we face Milos? And deciding to face him with Slobodan Milosevic. He was to bring back the national dignity that the Serbs lost in Yugoslavia, adding that “armed conflict is not excluded”. And we loved it. We loved being feared by other Yugoslav nations. It was great fun. In effect, we gave permission for the wars of the 90’s. This is when we made a choice which affected the lives of millions. And the violent death of many, because it does matter how we die. We could have made a different choice then. After that, it was too late.
After that we had to destroy all those towns and kill all those men, women and children, and later to be killed ourselves. We had to conquer territories, and then lose them. Serbia had to take in thousands of refugees. We had to become impoverished and had to fail in every possible way. And NATO had to bomb us in the end, in order to stop us. Just like a person in a fit of hysteria needs to be slapped to come down. Such was our rapture. Such was or need to do what we did. Djindjic would have said – it is history.
The bullet that blew his heart out came from the wars of the 90’s. This bullet had travelled for years. It was shot out in Vukovar. It flew over the whole of Stradun, whistled past the heads of Sarajevo’s children, prowled for days in the woods around Srebrenica, hovered over the lines of Albanian refugees, turned North, paused among us on October 5th in Belgrade, zoomed in on Zoran Djindjic and followed him to the end.
VESNA PESIC: For the first time we had a man, who stood out from all other politicians by not worshiping anyone or anything, who didn’t hang pictures of Draza, or Tito, or Stalin, or his mom and dad, because he didn’t even have a hometown. We still don’t know where he came from. Was it Prokuplje, or Bosnia? We don’t know where he came from. So he didn’t even have a hometown. You know, none of our famous compatriotism. There was nothing to determine him. So he said – there is no authority above me. Nothing rigid above me. I have to think everything through and take it apart and see if there’s anything good in it, something that can be used to improve our situation. So he was extremely positive.
Zoran Djindjic did not want to be the Other Serbia. He wanted to lead, to change things. He openly stated that he wants to re-encode our culture. He said that Serbia has been exposed to two powerful magnetic fields for 200 years – socialism and nationalism. To this idea of a great state, of the Serbian Empire, to this mythology to constantly begin with the idea of the size of our state, and not to say, not to define, what this nation is and what our society is, but to always begin from this huge state. And he said – I want to go the other way.
MIRJANA KARANOVIC: When he was assassinated, on March 12th 2003, we had already awoken from our historical rapture, and we were able to experience a normal human reaction. We left flowers on the steps of the Government building, where he was killed, we lit candles and cried. We went back to our homes and carried on crying. We wailed over ourselves, as if his death revealed that our lives were ruined. And once we started, we could no longer stop. Everything caught up with us: Vukovar and Sarajevo and Srebrenica and the slayed children, and the unborn children, and the children abroad. It was then that we, for the first time, mourned for all those things.
VESNA PESIC: Now, when I heard the news, it was terrible for me to hear that Zoran was murdered. For years I was grief-stricken, sincerely grief-stricken. Then whenever I visited his grave, every March 12, I saw people who were authentically shaken by Djindjic’s death, and you can’t fake that. Whenever you visit this grave, you always see someone there, you see that no one forced those people to come, there was no instruction, they came privately. They came to stand there a bit, to reflect, to put down a flower, and that’s the part of the story I can’t get over. And then, when you think about it in another way, considering our unfortunate 90’s, we were really lucky to have such a figure on our political scene. A person who was so educated, so dynamic, who constantly changed. He used to say – everyone puts me down for being such a pragmatist, but I think I should be proud of that. He used to say – if you have a problem, you cannot solve it by saying “I’ve got principles, but they don’t work.” He said – no, change the principles. Try to solve the problem, don’t stick to those principles like glue, but rather try to solve the problem. This was his famous ethics of responsibility, when he said – we believe in some grand moral things, in big issues, but when reality hits, who’s going to change something that’s rock-solid, that doesn’t want to change? Then we say – well, someone else will do it.
DUBRAVKA STOJANOVIC: I have always seen this event purely as a coup, and for that reason I believe that it has to be viewed from the vantage point of the 90’s, in the context of the 90’s. Then we can understand that what happened on that day was a betrayal of the security services, that they sided with the opposition, left their commander in chief Slobodan Milosevic, and carried out this takeover, in the court itself, in the top positions. The crucial argument for viewing October 5 as a coup is what happened after October 5, namely the fact that the instruments of power and the security structures were not disbanded till 2001, when Djindjic took over the Serbian Government. Therefore, what happened after October 5 goes to show that the main goal of October 5 and of those structures crossing over to the side of the opposition was to maintain the security apparatus. This is why I think it’s necessary to consider October 5 in the context of the 90’s, because then we can figure out what it meant, why this coup was carried out. Then we can conclude that this was an attempt to remove Milosevic, to save the policy which led Serbia to all those wars, to save the apparatus that executed this policy, not to have a trial, not to cooperate with The Hague, and naturally, above all, not to allow Serbia to get closer to the EU, because approaching the EU is a threat to these structures. Therefore, by renouncing Milosevic, they were in fact protecting themselves and the policies that brought them to power.
SRDJA POPOVIC: Djindjic wanted to present and interpret this event as a revolution, after which nothing was going to be the same, where we were to draw the line to separate ourselves from the 90’s, where we would get lustration, change the constitution, change the judiciary, and yet the day Kostunica appeared on TV for the first time, you could see that he interpreted this event very differently: nothing happened, you will live in a boring country, there is continuity, there will be no retaliation, Milosevic will be respected as the president of the largest oppositional party and this interpretation of what happened, which was vague and ambivalent in itself, had lasted right until the assassination, I believe.
VESNA PESIC: We say there was no bloodshed on October 5. Well yes, but his assassin told him he planned to kill him. You know, he didn’t plan to kill me, but Zoran Djindjic. And he finally did kill him. So it was not really bloodless, because Zoran Djindjic took it upon himself, so that no one else would get hurt. He could not take it upon himself on October 5, for all his visions, ideas, Europe, and everything else he wanted to do, he did not want people to get hurt, he did not want bloodshed. He didn’t know what the army would do, but he made a deal with some dangerous people, he had their promise that they would not shoot. But they did shoot him in the end.
SRDJA POPOVIC: Kostunica was against the idea that Djindjic should be designated prime minister. And yet he delayed accepting the nomination for several days, and meanwhile, I believe, he was consulting the people who represented the former regime both symbolically and factually. By that I mean principally the military and the nationalistic Serbian elite.
VESNA PESIC: And now, on the tenth anniversary of the October revolution, Zoran Zivkovic said something curious. Zoran Zivkovic said – what could we do? Could we have asked for two different revolutions? This is the problem. You know, we had just toppled Milosevic, how could we have said “Let’s overthrow Kostunica too”? Because we realized that we needed two different revolutions. We brought down Milosevic, what shall we do with Kostunica? And he says – how can we explain this to anyone? How can we explain this to the people, or to the world? Now that the world too embraced our winner, the president who replaced Milosevic. How can we say he is no good either, let’s force him out too.
SRDJA POPOVIC: Of course, that caused considerable friction, and the entire period before the assassination is defined by the head-on confrontation of Kostunica and Djindjic, who had two completely different ideas, irreconcilable ideas – concerning the country’s future, its relationship with the past, and the foreign policy of the new state. Therefore, they were truly confronted on the crucial issues, not personally, although there was that too, but ideologically, politically confronted. This surfaced, I believe, for the first time during Milosevic’s extradition, which Kostunica, as well as his base, were fiercely opposed to. I think Kostunica revealed what his base was when he opposed the replacement of Rade Markovic during the three months preceding the forming of the government. During that period, according to one witness at the trial, he met with Rade Markovic 24 times. All in this short period of three months. What did Rade Markovic do during that time? He used the time to destroy evidence of all illegal activities and abuse in the service, which gained Kostunica favors from the whole Service, from the JSO, which was involved in all sorts of things in the 90’s, and also from the top ranking military officials, whose names were mentioned in those files. Therefore, these structures must have recognized him as a man who should be trusted.
DRAGAN MICANOVIC: /reading a RDB memo/ October 7, 2000. The State Security Service documentation that needs to be destroyed: the files from 1998 to 2000, relating to individuals from DOS and Otpor. Their files from the database. The registries and microfilms from this period. The audit reports, complementary files on these individuals, the manuscripts of field agents and operational record books, incoming and outgoing memos, informant files and registries, clean the hard drives using crypto-erase, destroy documents dealing with material-financial operations, destroy documents having to do with special associates. The files on individuals which were subjected to complex operational work, the files on the wartime informant network, the duplicates of audit reports.
ZARKO KORAC: We then asked that they be removed from office, starting from the head of State Security Service, Rade Markovic and Pavkovic. Several times we voted unanimously, it was always 17 to one. Only Kostunica was opposed. Then it should have become clear to me that different arrangements were made, that this cannot be accidental, to save the critical people of the Milosevic terror apparatus, because the army and the State Security Service was murdering people in wartime. They killed Ivan Stambolic, they killed Curuvija, this is all obvious, although unfortunately Curuvija’s killers have not yet been found. The pattern is the same, even a child can tell that these were all the same people, that the method was the same. Furthermore, they were both convicted and sentenced, one in The Hague and the other in Belgrade. These are the people Kostunica decided to keep. This cannot be by accident. So, deals were made. You have a deal with Milosevic, the details of which we don’t know, you have some sort of a deal with the Russians – why was Ivanov here the next day, why did he fly in? The Russian foreign minister. Wasn’t it logical that he should meet the leaders of DOS? No, he goes and meets Kostunica. This must be some special relationship. Even back then, with the Russians. After that you have a deal with Rade Markovic, you have a deal with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That’s four people that Kostunica had already made a deal with. The Russians, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the head of State Security Service and Slobodan Milosevic. Everything that followed and that the public doesn’t know enough about, is obstruction, literally by Kostunica, of Milosevic’s extradition to The Hague.
SRDJA POPOVIC: A witness testified in court that Gradimir Nalic, who was very close to Kostunica, and who was at the time a high ranking DSS official, was brought in the JSO (Special Operations Unit) where he delivered a speech. He was presented as the future Minister of the Interior, he was a DSS nominee, and who then told them – you just stick with Vojislav Kostunica, with him there will be no Hague.
DRAGAN MICANOVIC: /reading the words of Zoran Djindjic’s / On Kostunica’s inauguration day in Sava Centar, everything looked glamorous. There were foreign ministers from Greece, Norway, different envoys. But you could feel it was all a façade without substance. You could feel there was no power and that it could all be very temporary. Considering the experience of Allende, Kerensky and other toothless civic revolutions, which began in people’s enthusiasm and ended in bloody confrontations and in military takeover, all the time I had an uncomfortable feeling that nothing is over and that things could go wrong any minute. Those nights I couldn’t sleep. I felt that our position is getting worse by the hour, although publicly it seemed to be getting better. The media was full of stories of victory. But if a man were to ask himself if there is anything to vouch for its survival, he would conclude that there was no guarantee. And if he asks himself where the power is when we go home, he realizes there is no power. It exists while we are together. When we separate, it is no longer there. And if we ask ourselves whether the socialists have functioning mechanisms when they are not around, the answer is – they do. That meant that they had an advantage over us since October 6.
VLADIMIR POPOVIC: They were the ones who actually ruled the country, the ones who appointed their people, they were the ones influencing the election of a president, of government and so on. Whether they did it through their agencies, or, which was more common, through extra-institutional dealings, despite what every one of them will say if you asked them about Army Intelligence, they’ll say Army Intelligence doesn’t have anything to do with it. “We never collected files on political opponents, we never…” Well what did they do? What was the role of Army Intelligence? What was the job of the ex-Yugoslav Army Intelligence, which had thousands of people in Belgrade who were chased out of Slovenia, chased out of Croatia, chased out of Bosnia, chased out of Krajina, wherever they were based they were chased out. And when they were chased out, they came to Belgrade. What did those thousands of people do? What did they do? When they say it wasn’t that – tell us what it was. I would love to know what this army of several thousand people was doing, people from the Counter-Intelligence Agency and the other one, Army Intelligence, and who knows how many agencies there were, three of four. What did those people do? They didn’t do that? Not true. They did, and they were basically the Praetorian Guard of the regime, of Milosevic’s regime. These were the people who caused the wars in Yugoslavia, these were the people who broke it apart. And Ljiljana Nedeljkovic was in charge of them, and of that battalion or whatever it’s called – a thousand or so people. Zoran Djindjic learned this when he came to Washington, and the State Department told him, you are the prime minister, 1600 or 1700 army officers from Republika Srpska receive payments from your budget, and this many of them… crimes and so on.
DUBRAVKA STOJANOVIC: Serbia as a state, since its founding in the 1830’s, is constantly preparing for war, and it is constantly confronting its neighbors and neighboring peoples, because of these preparations for war. And naturally, in those preparations, the army is always given a special position, because its task is to achieve this unification and liberation. Therefore, this is what gives the army a special role, which is always also a financial one, and a lot of things, including the infrastructural and other central issues of the Serbian society, were financially sacrificed, to maintain the huge army. But on the other hand, it plays a significant political role, which it has been manipulating for a century and a half. The real power often lies in its hands. So if we are talking about Apis, we don’t have many sources to find out what the actual relations between the Black Hand and the government were, but what we do know for a fact is that the most important decisions of the Serbian government on the eve of WWI were brought to him for approval, and if he liked it, it was allowed to proceed to the so called assembly, where it was adopted easily. If he didn’t like it, there are records of him tearing up those papers, crumpling them, throwing them at ministers and so on.
VLADIMIR POPOVIC: These are state institutions which are untouchable and which are above us. We are temporary. Us, and Zoran Djindjic and you and me and everyone else is temporary and Vojislav Kostunica is temporary. Even Emir Kusturica, believe me. But the military is not. You’ve got murders that happened in the army. The Topcider situation. What else can you say, what else is there to tell? How is it possible that there is no… it’s been what, five or six years, after everything was proven? Why? I’ll tell you why. So the truth wouldn’t come out. The truth about the Guardian Brigade which has been the core criminal element from 1990 till 1999. Why? Because it is an elite motorized unit, the Guardian Brigade, that liberated Vukovar. They are our heroes and ever since the day Vukovar fell, Serbia has been hostage to these thugs. They might have not been thugs earlier, I don’t know what they were like earlier. I really don’t. I knew them later on. From Gvero, to Pandurovic, to Sljivancanin, to commander Bojovic, who was in charge when Milosevic was arrested, who obstructed in every possible way the police from entering Milosevic’s mansion, the so called Peace Building, tried to stop them from handing him the summons, but who did let in Sinisa Vucinic and 50 other armed men, civilians, half-mad, drunk, high, with firearms. And his colonel Cosic, or his deputy who later succeeded him, and who was crucial in the slaying of the soldiers in Topcider. And he was replaced, he was put away, he is not mentioned, same as Bojovic was replaced, and he is currently being prosecuted for the death of those 20 or 30 soldiers in “Dragisa Misovic” hospital. I am convinced they were sacrificed, just as the RTS workers were sacrificed. Nothing is happening there. He showed up once or twice, but this is a deal they made. You know what, you took an oath of allegiance to the country, you swore you’d die for this country, now this happened and you have to go to court for this country. But don’t worry. Nothing will come of it. This will drag on, we’ll change prosecutors, lawyers, witnesses, they won’t show up, the media is under our control. Who else knows that the commander of the Guardian Brigade is currently on trial for the death of 30 soldiers in “Dragisa Misovic” hospital? Or 29 soldiers, it’s irrelevant, because now they’ll start accusing me that I stated a wrong number. No one knows that.
When Milosevic was being arrested, at one point I was in the offices of the State Security Service, and at some point someone handed a telephone to Goran Petrovic, and he walks up to Dusan Mihajlovic and tells him: “It’s Legija.” What does he want? He was there earlier, and they were off to arrest Milosevic. And while he’s talking to him, Goran is gesturing to us that he’s arrested. Now we’re like – who arrested him? Well, Sinisa Vucinic and his people. Of course, it was all a scam, it was a show for us. A little better than the one in Makis. We ordered them to do it, but how could they do it now? And he tells Dusan Mihajlovic, that while he is talking, he has a gun pointed at him, and it’s Sinisa Vucinic or someone holding the gun. And now he’s calling the minister to ask him what to do. And the minister is listening and he asks him – well did you learn jiu-jitsu? Like, when we go out to see you jumping out of an airplane, and the guy points a gun at you, can you kick it out of his hands with a karate kick? I don’t know what to tell you. And all this is going on when Milosevic is about to be arrested. The whole country is watching, because there’s supposed to be a coup that night, if Milosevic’s arrest doesn’t succeed, the army, that is Bojovic and Cosic, the Guardian Brigade and the rest of them, were to join forces. The only thing missing, and the reason why they didn’t succeed is that they expected 100.000 people to show up. That they would come to defend Milosevic. And then they’ll turn on the police, the police will surrender, because it’s all their guys, just like on October 5, we won’t beat up our own people. Whoever goes out to the streets, the police is there to serve them.
ZORAN DJINDJIC: This decision is effective immediately, the appropriate state agencies have meanwhile acted upon it. Please understand that we cannot answer your questions. I think that this decision and the consequences it carries are a sufficient explanation. Thanks for your time, and once again, I’m sorry for being late.
NEMANJA KOLESAR: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I want to inform you that the ex-president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was handed over to the authorities of the Hague tribunal, who took him…
SRDJA POPOVIC: The first public confrontation was over Milosevic’s extradition. Kostunica called it a coup, and this is where the confrontation starts becoming serious. Kostunica is leaving DOS, Zoran Djindjic throws 40 DSS deputies out of parliament, I believe those actions were extralegal, but the confrontation is escalating because it begins having violent features. I see these violent features in the assassination of Momir Gavrilovic , I see them in the bombing of DSS headquarters, and this is where things are starting to get ugly.
ZARKO KORAC: On June 28, Kostunica went on TV to say that we were in fact an illegal government. And from that point on, everyone who wanted to force Djindjic out knew that they could count on Kostunica’s total support and the whole ex regime knew it. Their motives were – they were afraid of The Hague, they were not sure whether they’ll end up in The Hague, and they were afraid of the criminal charges for assassinations and theft. Fortunes were made. Now just think about that, at one point there’s support for all that, for all the things that were suffocating Serbia, and that intended to keep suffocating it. A month later, DSS is leaving the government, the government is literally abandoned by its health minister, the famous Obren Joksimovic, who only made a mess there, and some other people, and the next thing to come up is the revolt of the Red Berets.
STEVAN FILIPOVIC: First I was uncomfortable with that whole narrative about legality and Kostunica’s platitude on how there won’t be any violent passions, no retaliation and no gloating. I think that violent passions, retaliation and gloating are extremely important for a people who survived the 1990’s. We used to joke that we’ll form a department of violent passions, retaliation and gloating, which will deal with those arrested in front of the prison building. However, as we are all aware, there were no arrests made on October 6. Now, I didn’t know why there were no arrests made, until Milosevic was arrested. In those moments, those crucial moments, everyone showed their true colors. Kostunica’s reaction really told me everything I needed to know about this man.
MILOS CIRIC: When you mention October 5, I want to touch on one part of my inglorious past, I used to have that “Who can look you in the eyes” poster in my window.
SRDJA POPOVIC: The JSO soldiers go out on the highway with 24 Humvees, carrying long guns, and they are making certain political demands. Characteristically, these are the demands of DSS and Kostunica: to replace Mihajlovic, to replace some officials in the Security Service, Petrovic and Mijatovic, and to adopt the law on cooperation with The Hague, which Kostunica insisted on, whose goal was to hinder this cooperation. And this is his famous statement – when medical doctors protest they do it in their white coats, JSO goes out in Humvees, there’s nothing strange about that, and they wear their uniforms and long guns. I think that already caused some consternation among the public and in fact sent a signal to Kostunica’s base that the revolt is one in our name and therefore, we can sit back and relax. Later on it turned out that the rebels knew that the only danger could come from the army. And because of that, naturally, they went to the department of Army Intelligence, to Aco Tomic, who was Zoran Djindjic sworn enemy, whom Djindjic tried to replace and didn’t succeed, and he knew that. So they asked him whether the army will intervene against the rebels, and he answered them: “Don’t worry, you just do your job, the army will not get in your way.”
ZARKO KORAC: Djindjic asks: “If this unit were to attack the government, have we got an armed police force to stop them?” Sreten Lukic says: Mr. prime minister, there is no police unit ready to shoot and stop them.” Then Djindjic, who was very quick-thinking, says: “Well, that’s something else then. Then I need to deal with it differently.” And he leaves. Dusan Mihajlovic later said in Brankica Stankovic’s “Insider”: The prime minister was a quick man and he didn’t wait for the second part of the answer, which was that we arranged everything, that the police was ready. If the police was ready, why didn’t they surround this unit on the highway? If the police was ready, why didn’t they issue a statement? They could have issued a statement, they could have threatened them. This is a group of 120-150 people, and the Serbian police has more than 30.000 people.
DUBRAVKA STOJANOVIC: The rebellion was October 6. This is the second act of October 5, when they were supposed to recover the intelligence apparatus which was somewhat shaken under the Djindjic administration. This rebellion of the Red Berets was a crucial moment and many people are right to point it out, because you could see just from the way those people were standing on the bridge who was the master of the situation, and they were standing in accordance with their political role, which follows from October 5 as a coup. Therefore, it is then that they came to power, and they clearly showed it by coming out to the streets of Belgrade. The strongest argument that this Red Beret rebellion can be understood this way is what happened after the rebellion. So we historians always have to look at the consequences. They explain what happened. And this consequence is clear. The people Djindjic appointed in the intelligence are replaced with the ones who suited the usurpers. And this was an open door to the assassination and in this sense March 12 is only a third phase of these related events. And in this sense, March 12 is a consequence of everything that happened in Serbia during the 1990’s, it is the final defense or an attempted defense of the program which led Serbia into war and into confrontation with all of its neighbors and with the rest of the world and which led it, naturally, to the crimes that followed from this program.
ZARKO KORAC: And then he goes there, and there is footage of his arrival, when the guy salutes him. They are humiliating him, they ask of him to replace everyone, to replace the head of the State Security Service, because technically they are part of the State Security Service, the Red Berets that is, and to replace the interior minister. Zoran Djindjic said to me, it’s another matter what he thought of Dusan Mihajlovic and his abilities, he told me – if they can replace my minister, then they can rule this country. Therefore, he accepted half of the humiliation, but this really was a complete humiliation. He appoints o top positions in the State Security Service Andrija Savic and Bracanovic, who was once in charge of the sector for wiretapping, and he is in fact in charge of the whole agency.
DUBRAVKA STOJANOVIC: This footage is really incredible, when he went there. Because not only there’s no one around him and he’s all alone, but from the way he stands there you can see that this is a defeated man. I’ve seen it a thousand times, and I always had the same impression. Because, if you look at his hands, they are clenched into fists and he is hunched forward. So this is no longer the Djindjic who is jumping three steps at a time, this is a defeated man. He himself must have been aware that this was the moment of his final defeat and this footage is horrible, especially if you consider what happened next, and because it show that unfortunately Djindjic was wrong when he said: “If they kill me, they can’t stop anything; this is a process that is under way.” He was not right when he made this assessment, they were right and they knew that if they kill him, there will be no strength left to carry on with the process, that this process will be stopped or slowed down, and here we are in 2011, and there hasn’t been much progress from 2003. Therefore, unfortunately, he was wrong.
VESNA PESIC: I wrote to Zoran Djindjic – come on, I’ll come back from Mexico, let’s make a new opposition, we can’t do it with Kostunica, let’s end this alliance, this obviously is not working. You see that this is a coup they are threatening with, we’ve got this Red Beret rebellion, let’s be the opposition, you leave power, we can lose this election, let’s be the opposition, let’s be clear and say – now comes the second part of the revolution, were getting rid of the Red Berets and Kostunica, let’s sort this out.
DRAGAN MICANOVIC: /reading the chronology of events of 2001/ On November 9 2001, while Djindjic was abroad, the Berets withdrew their men from the security details of ministers and from airport security. The alleged reason for the rebellion was the misuse of the unit in arresting innocent people, the Banovic brothers. Predrag Banovic later admitted that he murdered five people and took part in the beating up of 22 detainees in Keraterm. He says that many detainees didn’t survive Keraterm. Their bodies were thrown in a container or left by its side. On November 12, 2001 while Legia is testifying at the Ibarska murder trial, the Berets, in 24 Humvees, fully armed, are blocking the highway in Belgrade and issuing their demands, which are the same as the demands of DSS. They are asking for the resignation of the interior minister and of the head of State Security Service, and for the adoption of a patriotic law on cooperation with The Hague. Kostunica supports the armed rebellion, comparing it with a medical doctor’s strike. Then he goes to Kolarac and delivers a lecture on Milan Grol. Aco Tomic travels to Moscow with Pavkovic, and before that he receives Legija and Spasojevic. And he promises that the army will not get involved in the rebellion. Later on, Legija and Spasojevic are talking, Sasa Pejakovic is eavesdropping. We won’t tell Seselj that we made contact with Kostunica. Djindjic, in a closed closed-door session with his ministers, acknowledges defeat and goes to Beret headquarters in Kula. The government relieves Goran Petrovic of his post and appoints Andrija Savic, Legija’s man, as head of State Security Service, and Milorad Bracanovic as his deputy.
In Afghanistan, American troops enter Kabul, the Paris Club writes off 66% of FRY’s debt, the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone premiers. The weekly Reporter publishes a list of several hundred police officers allegedly wanted by the Hague tribunal for crimes committed in Kosovo. In The Hague, the third indictment against Milosevic for crimes in Bosnia is issued. Patriarch Pavle consecrates the bells of The Cathedral of Saint Sava, the space telescope Hubble discovers atmosphere on a planet 150 million light years away, Serbian celebrates the Day of the Republic for the last time, Natasa Micic becomes the Speaker of the Parliament, George Harrison dies, Mirza Delibasic dies, a new labor law is adopted.
SRDJA POPOVIC: And then comes the year 2002, when this final encounter is prepared. The Special Tribunal is formed, the Special Prosecutor’s office is formed, the Witness Protection Act is adopted, they find Ljubisa Buha Cume, who starts revealing the operations of the Zemun clan and JSO, and he reveals that it is above all a single organization. You can already see the connections between JSO and DSS, and a part of that is this article Rade Bulatovic wrote, after Mijatovic and Petrovic were replaced, that is, after the rebellion, and he calls this a triumph of patriotism. This was, I think, very important. What’s even more important is an intercepted conversation between Biljana Kajganic, who was Dejan Milenkovic’s attorney, while was waiting for the result of the extradition case in Athens, because he was supposed to be extradited to our authorities, where she asks him to blame Ljubisa Buha Cume for the murder of Gavrilovic. And he answers her: “Well how can I say that, when it isn’t true?” And she tells him: “You idiot, who cares what’s true, the most powerful people in this country, Jocic and Bulatovic, are behind this suggestion, and they checked it upstairs.” Therefore, I think this is where Kostunica is mentioned. Because for Bulatovic and Jocic there is no other consultation upstairs apart from with Kostunica. The transcript of this intercepted conversation reached Misa Vasic, the reporter from Vreme, and he published it in Vreme. That’s when everyone stood up, the whole government, every minister, everyone had to show up and say it isn’t true, that it never happened, but recently, which gives me hope that everything will eventually be revealed, the head of UBPOK Boro Banjac went on TV, and he ordered the wiretapping and heard the recording, read the transcript, he said that this does exist, that Misa Vasic was right, so this was resolved.
VLADIMIR POPOVIC: They set up this rebellion, they did it together with those people, and Ljiljana Nedeljkovic is someone who had to be summoned to court for Zoran Djindjic’s murder trial, or to the investigation on Momir Gavrilovic’s murder, she is someone who knows who killed Momir Gavrilovic, because she talked him out of traveling, she called him up, she said that he should come to Vojislav Kostunica’s cabinet the next day. He came to his cabinet the next day, he went out and an hour or two or five later, he was murdered: Momir Gavrilovic is important, because there’s one more thing these people who organized the killing and who planned it did, and that is to show Vojislav Kostunica that Zoran Djindjic is killing people. And Momir Gavrilovic was killed as proof to Vojislav Kostunica, because at that moment he was not really convinced that Zoran Djindjic, whom he knew for 20 years, was really such a criminal that these people constantly made him out to be. Tijanic, Nalic, Rade Bulatovic, Aco Tomic, this whole gang that managed to get into that cabinet, Jocic, Marsicanin and so on. They used to drink from morning to night, and when Kostunica shows up at 10 or 11 AM, they are already drunk, they wait for him and then begin with the conspiracy theories and poisoning of his mind: Zoran is this way, Zoran is that way… They used this to tell him – you’ll end up like this one day. Hey, if he can pack him up in a helicopter and send him away, he’ll send you away and get rid of you as well. You have to do it. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that after Gavrilovic was killed, Aleksandar Tijanic wrote in Reporter, which was also their magazine, it’s a magazine founded by the Army Intelligence, and the army used to appoint editors and journalists, who later crossed over to Kurir, that he published an article entitled: Who is killing in Serbia?
ZARKO KORAC: Kostunica is honest, Zoran Djindjic is a thief. Kostunica is a man with a vision, Zoran Djindjic is a German spy. Kostunica knows how Serbia breathes, Zoran Djindjic is a foreign body in Serbia’s flesh. Kostunica surrounded himself with honest people and he’s trying to save Serbia from disaster, Zoran Djindjic wants to sell it away. Just recall how many newspapers reported that the assassination attempt near Limes hall was staged by Djindjic himself to regain his lost popularity. This is such a cynical accusation.
DRAGAN MICANOVIC: /reading newspaper clippings/ We should understand his fabrications. He is trying to encourage himself… The whole story fits into one bearded, psychoanalytical joke… The worrywarts have already managed to turn the incident by Limes hall into an attempted murder… I drive pretty aggressively. I can cut into another lane, and then I’m scared of Bagzi. When I see black limos, I’ll stop the car and wait for them to pass me by, because I don’t want to go to jail for attempting to kill a high official… It was not enough for him that he took all the praise for the struggle against Milosevic away from SPO, now he wants to take away their assassinations too… If this was an attempted murder, it was carried out by people under his command… The failed attempt on Djindjic’s life was simply a family tussle… What attempted murder? Djindjic is only creating a marketing campaign. Djindjic is lying, but he knows who could do him in. I wouldn’t like that to happen to him, because then the murders he’s involved in wouldn’t be resolved… People are betting on whether he will make it alive to 2004. This is an indicator of the people’s opinion, and looking at him they only see lies, deceit, and naked, audacious rapacity.
ZARKO KORAC: And Djindjic said, the atmosphere is terrible, everyone is attacking us, citizens are disappointed, and he was aware of this. And he said, I have to think. He always spoke like that, it was likable. He said, I must think about what I will do, and then he comes three days later, and he says: I remembered. I will start going around Serbia – Serbia on a good path, that was the slogan, let’s do a campaign and go. By the way, an interesting point – you look at these conversations, no one in the room is afraid of him. Look carefully, people would come and tell him – Hey Prime Minister, that doesn’t matter. And people were not afraid of him. In Serbia, people are traditionally afraid of the authorities. No one was afraid of him.
ZORAN DJINDJIC: This is not guaranteed, that we have won democracy, that we are entering economic reforms, that we are moving towards Europe. It is not guaranteed. It is a chance. One that can be wasted tomorrow. What hurts me a little is the fact that I don’t feel that our society is aware of this. Because I don’t feel we are aware of the emergency, that we might struggle for ten years, and after those ten years we may have a comical government, which will repeat, once again, we want to join Europe, after ten lost years.
DRAGAN MICANOVIC: /reads the testimony of Zoran Janjusevic/ I was coming down the stairs, I heard a noise, I saw the Prime Minister lying on the ground. I ran downstairs, I lifted his head, I saw no blood on the front. Then I unbuttoned him, I tore off the buttons, his shirt, tie, and on his right side, here, below the ribs, I saw a hole, maybe the size of a fingernail. I didn’t know what to do. I asked people to bring me water and only when I lifted him to wash his face, I placed my right hand under his left side and felt that giant hole and like a part of his body was torn away. I lifted him, we carried him into the car, I put his hand in my lap. I think that the Prime Minister was already dead by that time.
ZARKO KORAC: I remember that Kori Udovicki cried very hard. I respect her a lot, and I felt very sorry for her. I remember, she sat in her usual spot, she bowed her head like this, and she cried so hard. I will not forget that scene, it was so sincere.
I was at that memorial service, of course, in the Sveti Sava Church in Belgrade, the one that is not finalized yet, when Amfilohije Radovic gave that terrible speech, where he insulted Zoran Djindjic, I remember, the delegation of the Democratic Party of Serbia enters, along with Kostunica, and of course, his famous head of cabinet, Ljilja Nedeljkovic. And I remember, and for this, I am thankful to Vladimir Popovic Beba, he was standing there and he told them not to stand near us, he pushed them away. I am thankful to him for doing this, I have never told him this, either personally or publicly, thankful that he spared me the humiliation of standing and watching them grieve, and they led and organized a campaign against this man, if not some much worse things. We went out, I was part of that procession, we arrived at Slavija, which is, unfortunately, a very ugly and noisy square, with the traffic and all that. And never in my life, I don’t know, it is a paradoxical statement, especially coming from a psychologist, have I heard such silence, silence. I thought – Oh dear God, if he could have seen this, if someone supported him for five minutes while he was alive.
MIRJANA KARANOVIC: We failed to understand the race against time that Djindjic and his government were running. It looked like they were winning. We were laughing when Djindjic told us that he needed people who took two steps at the time, and that he needed 100.000 of those people to change Serbia. He told us that there was no need for us to love him, and if we don’t want to work, we should get out of his way. That he did not need chieftains, but Indians instead. It was an unusual attitude. He took for granted that we agreed with him on everything, and we were flattered that he thought we were worth so much effort. But out loud, we were saying that he was really boring with all of his requests: run, jump, swim. He acted like he was all-powerful and immortal, and it was convenient for us to believe that. It was convenient for us to believe that he roasted pork on Pale and that he took Cane’s plain to fly to Dubai. We let him do everything on his own, we watched him and listened, with envy and admiration.
MILOS CIRIC: And I had a chance, we had the chance for our lives to start normally in some way. There was a chance, just because he was there. But the moment he was assassinated, that is the shock. When you see that you are entering life with that death.
STEVAN FILIPOVIC: Here, we got the wake up call in the worst possible way, childhood is over, now you have to understand who are the good guys, who are the bad guys, because on October 5, which was OK, bearing in mind how young we were, everyone was on our side. The entire block. Everyone who was against Milosevic was ours, and Milosevic was bad, because he was a communist. Only after March 12 did I begin to comprehend what ideology stood behind the wars, behind everything bad that happened during the nineties.
SRDJA POPOVIC: The assassination of Zoran Djindjic affected Serbia. And that was rather odd, bearing in mind his minority position, and in that regard, I believe that the assassination was a Pyrrhic victory for those who ordered it, because the public suddenly, due to the brutality of that crime and the arrogance of that crime, understood who the conflicting parties were. Maybe we did not understand who Djindjic was. But we understand who killed him, and who the ones who kill are. We understood that.
VLADIMIR POPOVIC: The story about the political background cannot take place as long as the main instigator of the media preparation for the assassination of Zoran Djindjic, which is the backbone of the political background of the assassination, is the director of Radio Television Serbia (RTS), and the Democratic Party and Boris Tadic manage RTS. Why did this director of a public service, fifteen days before the assassination, write a newspaper article asking Zoran Djindjic – why he ran off to Dedinje? Why did he surround himself with machineguns, tanks, bodyguards, why his conscience was not clear? What was he afraid of? And what was the intention of all the articles that he was spinning, ordering, from the one that Zoran is murdering people around Serbia, that he is a criminal, a politician of big capital, that he will sacrifice anyone, that he chose the worst people who worked with Milosevic and that, together with them, he is robbing Serbia. What was the intention of those articles? What was the intention of the articles which, two months before the assassination of Zoran Djindjic, wrote about his security. Then he remembered a new story, and found a group of unfortunates and mercenaries, who all depended on him in some way, and recorded some shameful movie, about the media background of the assassination of Zoran Djindjic. The entire movie was focused on me and what I did on March 12 when Djindjic was assassinated, and how I gave the photos of the people who assassinated him. Where did I get these photos? How did I get them? Of course people from the police gave them to me. Of course there was a meeting going on the entire day, and the representatives of the army, police, state and political leadership were there. And of course it was clear to all of us at five in the afternoon that they were part of this. We knew that for certain, and the question was, what to do with this information? It was, you know – we don’t yet have the videotape of the shot that was fired. And then I said – Are you people crazy? I will make this public, give it to me. Is that ok, it is. And several witnesses came and confirmed that they saw Krsmanovic in the government building, they saw Simovic, that this guy was seen in the car. There was nothing to think about. And that was the key issue, that the coup fails, because, in their heads they had a clear picture of what would happen: panic in the government will ensue, as it did, they will kill a few of us more, Bagzi will appear as a witness who will say – Zoran was killed by, I don’t know, Cume or Beba or Cane or Dragoljub from Surcin, cigarettes, drugs… everything would be clear to everyone. You too, I believe. This is what citizens were hearing for three years. To many, all of this would be perfectly logical, they would say – Oh, how horrible, what an unlucky nation we are, there was this man who spread some kind of optimism, he was educated, he was good, and look at all this crime, and so on. Legija would probably be at the head of the army or the commander of the Unit, or a retired national hero. Duca would get away with it. All of the crimes they committed, Stambolic, they would have set us up with everything. Thus, the leader, the boss, the man who devised all this was the media advisor to Vojislav Kostunica, and today, director of RTS, and, without this story, it goes without saying that the political background cannot be uncovered. And of course, every time March 12 arrives, he and a group of people around him have a problem, because they know that, if nothing else, 6 million citizens of Serbia will remember that he publicly announced: If Zoran Djindjic survives, Serbia will not.
ZARKO KORAC: The public was shocked when he was assassinated. And three, four assassination attempts before that, the public did not react at all, not even the democratic public. Fine, that is Djindjic and his stories; he is a liar, thief, German spy, a suspicious personality, who knows what he is. This is the guilt that our democratic public is carrying, that it did not rise up, because someone might have heard that. Someone might have heard. At the moment of the assassination, when we made public the photographs on that arrest warrant of the people who probably did it, we were not 100% sure that they really did it. But it was the best thing we did – they were in shock. First of all that we made their pictures public, and then, that they no longer had the support of citizens. And that is the whole secret. Someone counted on them having the support of citizens. It was a state coup which failed then, on that day. Because there was no support of the citizens, to gather 100.000 people in front of the government building who would say – That’s it, great work, the one who extradited Slobodan Milosevic, the one who robbed and destroyed Serbia, he was assassinated. They postponed that state coup for a year.
SRDJA POPOVIC: As soon as the trial started, criticisms and objections started coming from DSS. From Jocic’s story, that the indictment should be dismissed, returned to the investigation phase, to the statement given by the head of the public service, that the indictment was on wobbly legs, and the statements given by Nalic, that the whole trial was staged, that it was staged by those who killed Djijdic. They literally took the side of the accused. When Ulemek surrendered, they jumped over each other to explain that what Ulemek will say is the whole truth. And when Ulemek finally appeared at the trial and gave his statement, you could see what that truth was. That truth was his fabrication, which was proven to be a fabrication during the trial, that he smuggled 600 kg of heroin with Ceda. That was done, he said, with members of his unit diving in Dunav, one of his typical fairytales, but it was said during the presidential electoral campaign. And the presidential campaign of DSS triumphantly continued that story – here is the proof that they are criminals. Both Ceda and the entire government. It was no longer a secret that they wanted to foil this trial. Thus, from DSS, you have that appeal I was talking about, the one Nalic made – you just stick to Kostunica, with him, there is no Hague. Then you have their participation in the armed rebellion, the demonization of Djindjic, all the way until the assassination, through the fake letters by Ljiljana Buha that he was a criminal. And finally, when the trial started, they began obstructing it. Which, at the moment when DSS finally came to power, became really drastic. Marko Kljajevic, who was brought to preside over the Trial Chamber of the Special Court by Zivkovic’s government, left the trial with the explanation that he was being subjected to immeasurable pressure. The Prosecutor Radovanovic, who was leading the case, was arrested with the explanation that he divulged state secrets to his own wife, that he told her about a judge who was under surveillance for suspicions of bribery – which later proved to be true. In my opinion, the other deputy, when he saw what was going on, left on his own. The media were filled with stories about the third bullet, the ice bullet, about Djindjic being assassinated by Albanians, assassinated by Croats, by foreign intelligence services, how Spasojevic and Lukovic were eliminated in Meljak to prevent them from exposing who was behind the assassination.
DRAGAN MICANOVIC: /reading the statement of Zvezdan Jovanovic/ I am a member of the Unit for Special Operations since 1991, in 1997 I was protecting Frenki Simatovic and Jovica Stanisic. Before the latest events I did not participate in assassinations, I was never offered to do so. I assassinated Zoran Djindjic personally.
VLADIMIR POPOVIC: But you have all these other different things that happened during that trial. Like one of the key witnesses from JSO, who was in charge of the rifle which was used to assassinate Zoran Djindjic, and which was in JSO, and documentation confirms that, and which was finally located. The rifle was dug up by members of Zemun Clan who said that it was used to assassinate Zoran Djindjic. And that man was on the witness list, and he was very important, because the entire time, Legija was trying to prove that it was not that rifle, that JSO had several rifles. Vrzic and Ikonic used this to publish, not only on one, but on several front pages of NIN, that there was another rifle, as well as an article on five pages about the technical details where they concluded why that rifle was scratched – in the way they do it, the journalists who are working for the State Security Service, which those two most certainly are. At that time, those two, I mean Ikonic and Vrzic, worked, wrote directly at the order of Rade Bulatovic. So, we come back to this witness, who was supposed to appear at the trial, it was very important that he explain and speak, as the person who was in charge of keeping this rifle, until when did he have it in his possession, when did the rifle disappear, when was it taken out, why were these manipulations and lies, which were of course fed to the media by Ikonic, Vrzic and the defense lawyers, used for confusing the citizens of Serbia – for example, that Djindjic was assassinated with that rifle, but the rifle that you dug up, that was not the one, it left the unit at this moment, not at that moment – and after that, you don’t understand anything anymore. At the next hearing, some members of the unit appeared, he did not. The judge read the memo, he was subpoenaed, but he is no longer in that Unit, he was, of course, now a member of the police. He used to be a member of JSO, but, as you know, apart from those who were arrested, everyone else from JSO was relocated to other positions, like the Special Anti-terrorist Unit or something else. So the judge read the memo of his superior, this and this person, I cannot remember his name, but it exists in trial records, went to work in Libya, at the approval of Minister Jocic. He was sent as some kind of aid, and he will not return for two, three years. And nothing happened. No one called Jocic to say – excuse me, how can you send away a witness who is so important.
DRAGAN MICANOVIC: /reading the statement of Zvezdan Jovanovic/ The rifle I used to shoot Zoran Djindic is good. The magazine holds 25 bullets. From the black bag, I selected two packs of classic pointed bullets Winchester .308 caliber. We waited for three days. We would arrive around 10am and stay until 2 or 3 pm. The window is opened and we placed a dark multicolored blanked. I was sitting in some kind of armchair. We were not eating anything. I was smoking and putting out cigarettes in a box which I held in my pocket. I was smoking Davidoff. Offices are located on that floor, we could hear voices.
Aca is informed that Djindjic is arriving. I sit on the chair, they cannot see me. The barrel protrudes only a little. The cars arrive. Djindjic’s car stops, and the guy from the security detail takes out the crutches. I am not able to fire because of that guy. The opportunity to shoot comes only when Djindjic arrives near the entrance door. His position is odd, somehow on one side. It is a split second. The moment to fire. I fire once, want to confirm the hit, fire the second time. It was not my intention to hit that guy. I didn’t have time to shoot Djindjic in the head because he was exposed only for a short while.
I was not offered any money to assassinate Djindjic. I would never do this for money. I am not a criminal. For me, this assassination is political. I believed that it would prevent more warriors and true patriots from being sent to Hague, that it would prevent the dissolution of JSO and Serbia, because, as far as I believe, Hague is one of the most shameful things in Serbian history.
VLADIMIR POPOVIC: Those stories, about who turned off the surveillance cameras and why they did not go through that door –it’s complete nonsense. Because, even if there were cameras, I was in that building every day and came every day, if there were cameras, I don’t believe that they were recording. If they were recording, I don’t think the equipment was working properly. And even if the equipment was working properly, I don’t believe they had tapes. That was the building, everything was provisory. It was demolished, then we moved into it, and then they patched it up a little bit. So it does not matter who switched off the cameras, or who did not switch off the cameras. But no one was dealing with what was important about Djindjic’s security. And that is, why Zoran’s chief of security, Keza, resigned 10 to 15 days before Zoran was assassinated. Why did he, but also at least another two, if not three members of Djindjic’s security, who came from State Security, from the Sixth directorate, resign during the month before the assassination. And did not show up at work. But Sasa Bjelic, the driver and Milan Verulovic, Djindjic’s personal bodyguard, were hiding this from Djindjic. Djindjic was assassinated, and he never found out that he had two people less in his security detail. They were hiding this for two reasons. First, because they were scared of telling Zoran bad news and because they weren’t telling him anything in the last 5, maybe 6 months of his life. Starting from his secretary, everyone, whatever bad news were, tried to avoid telling him, wanted someone else to do it. And the second reason is of trivial nature, but not less significant. Those two were taking the daily wages belonging to the other two, which they received. Because, in addition to your salary, when you provide security for the Prime Minister and are on the job that day, you receive daily wages. And now, you work 15 days a month, you are free 15 days a month, these 15 days, the daily wages are not low. On the monthly level, for two people, the daily wages are equal to two, three salaries. So no one was dealing with this. I don’t believe, when saying this, that they consciously wanted to destroy the safety of Zoran Djinjic. Not in the least. However, I believe that with the assassination of a Prime Minister, as this was the case, it was necessary to investigate his security, as well. What his security detail did. And why those people left. Ok, you didn’t say anything, you were afraid. You didn’t say, you kept the money. Let’s say it doesn’t matter. We are all people, we will understand each other, we are Serbs. We like to steal. But why did those people leave. Did you ask yourself, you as the personal bodyguard and you as his driver, why are these people leaving. Why? Well, we know why. Because the entire city was talking about that group preparing to assassinate Zoran Djindjic. Why was Milan Veruovic asking in a panic, for a whole month, during the last month Djindjic was alive, why was he asking both Zoran and other people, Nenad Milic, me, Zoran Janjusevic, other people in the cabinet, that Legija and Zoran Djindjic meet. Allegedly, he has a story, he wants to say something, he will say something important to Zoran. Why was everyone so pale when they worked for Zoran. It is natural to be afraid whey you provide security for a man who you know will be assassinated.
SRDJA POPOVIC: The lawyers of the injured parties and I drafted a motion, firstly, to expand the investigation to the criminal act of armed rebellion. Secondly, to examine the role of political factors. For Bulatovic, Jocic, Kostunica, Tijanic, to explain their actions, to help us understand that assassination in its social and political dimension. This is not a murder trial. They are charged with the criminal act of conspiracy to commit hostile activities and assassination of the highest government representatives. This is a political accusation. We did not succeed in ascertaining any of this, because there were protests in the courtroom, from the defense, and the court accepted this, that it constituted politization of the process. There can be no politization of a political assassination. A political assassination is political and has political motives, political reasons, political consequences, you can’t prevent us from understanding the nature of that incident as a political incident due to some alleged professionalism and legalism, because it is a political incident.
NATA MESAROVIC: Defendant Milorad Ulemek, for the criminal act from Article 310. of the Penal Code, is sentenced to 40 years in prison.
IVAN KUZMINOVIC: The problem here is not only with Kostunica and DSS, with the fact that they had the strongest motive, but I insist that when you make a list of people who directly benefited from the assassination of Zoran Djindjic, that list is so long, but regardless of the fact that the list must have 500 names, the first five are people from DSS and people around Kostunica. And you know what really annoys me. That, since 2003, we were really focused on that question – did Kostunica murder Djindjic – while this question is practically a technical one. Did Aca Tomic, accompanied by Rade Bulatovic, visit Kostunica in his apartment and said – Let’s kill the Prime Minister in seven days, what do you think about that? I think we might have started from the wrong end. I believe that from 2001, when DSS left the Serbian government, DSS was actually some kind of, how shall I put this, political wing of the Zemun Clan and the Unit for Special Operations. Like the case with IRA during the seventies. IRA had its political wing. The political wing did not assassinate people. The political wing did not plant bombs in pubs around London. The political wing was the one protecting the idea, which is actually incitement to murder, the one creating the atmosphere, controlling the structures, controlling the media.
STEVAN FILIPOVIC: I believe that you are somewhat minimizing the responsibility with that definition. It is better to say that the Zemun Clan and JSO were the military wing of DSS.
VLADIMIR POPOVIC: I tried, through these examples both today and then, six years ago and whenever I appeared in public or in the printed media, I was trying to make it perfectly clear, on the basis of things ordinary citizens can deduce, that the role of Vojislav Kostunica in the assassination of Zoran Djindjic is important. This does not mean, and is not an accusation that he ordered the assassination, that he organized it, that he asked for it to happen. But it means that he and the group around him wanted to remove Zoran Djindjic. In the first phase politically, in the second phase they convinced him or they didn’t convince him and made this decision without him and said, let’s not wait for him, he will never allow this decision. It is better if we carry out this decision, and make it look like it was done by criminals. And he plays dumb, they play dumb and everyone is playing dumb, no one knows what this is about, and, in reality, everyone knows. When did they come into power? On March 4, 2004. Not when they wanted. Why? Because operation Sablja (Saber) happened, because they were unmasked, because the perpetrators were arrested, because the trial started, because Americans did not allow for that to be stopped, and so on. But they came one year later. Thus, there are thousands of reasons, and from this phase that followed, of course it is normal that Vojislav Kostunica should be summoned to testify in court.
DUBRAVKA STOJANOVIC: What must be said is that the entire modern history of Serbia, starting from 1804 to 2003, is defined by violent political coups, assassinations of rulers. Apart from Knez Milos and Josip Broz Tito, all other rulers in Serbia were either violently removed from power or assassinated. From Karadjordje to Zoran Djindjic. If that is so, if this is a party state, if the institutions do not function, then it is clear that the political adversary, the political other, is always only an enemy. If the political other is always the enemy, then it is allowed, as they used to say in the Parliament at the beginning of the XX century, to use all means against him, and then it is perfectly logical that coups, revolutions and political assassinations represent the essence of that system. Thus, these were not slipups, which is something we could deduce if we regarded October 5 or JSO rebellion or March 12 as isolated incidents. But if we look at them in this narrower or broader context, then the understanding must go much deeper and then we see that these are not slipups, but, on the contrary, they are the system and they systematically arise from a situation where the pre-modern political culture prevails. This culture does not see a political opponent as a partner in fulfilling the program of common good, but as a political enemy against whom any means can be used legitimately, political assassination included.
SANDRA ORLOVIC: The responsibility for the things you say, that people who fight don’t exist, lies with the Democratic Party as it is today, because people who should have continued with the same energy, with the same values as those Djindjic promoted, renounced all that. Publicly and secretly.
IVAN KUZMINOVIĆ: How is it possible that for the last three years, they are not capable of issuing any public statement about the political background of the assassination of Zoran Djindjic, that is, about the possibly of initiating a new segment of the investigation, which would deal with the political background.
MILOS CIRIC: Well, Ivan, it is equally possible that he is making a deal with Ivica Dacic.
STEVAN FILIPOVIC: Wait a second, we are talking about the man who entered the coalition with Kostunica, how many years after the assassination?
IVAN KUZMINOVIC: Cohabitation.
STEVAN FILIPOVIC: He cleansed the Democratic Party from anyone who saw Zoran Djindjic as much as three times.
IVAN KUZMINOVIC: I visited that special section of Pozarevac prison, where members of the Zemun Clan are held, and I noticed one cell, and I thought – this one is perfect for Vojislav Kostunica. Like the Hyatt hotel. There is a view of a tree, but seriously, there is good reading light, he could write something about constitutional law. I always believe that it would be ideal that one day, Vojislav Kostunica be convicted to 5 years for subverting the constitutional order of the FRY in 2001, just so he can see how it is. But it is actually much more important that we don’t allow those bastards to put into history textbooks, into the documentation of Radio Television Serbia which is headed by Tijanic, that Beba is a criminal, that Djindjic was a criminal, and that he was killed because he had to be killed, that it was a logical move and that it is ok.
MILOS CIRIC: We gather together around this pathos, in the words of Sonja Savic. This pathos has brought us together. And now we have to overcome this, this kind of hopelessness, I mean, we cannot allow them to put into textbooks that Djindjic was a criminal. I mean, man, what are we talking about.
VESNA PESIC: We miss him and we miss Zoran all the time. We need, if not him, then someone else. We need that engine which will always pull forward, because everything that he was, it was pure dynamics. If we can’t function only with pure dynamics, even if may need to pause sometimes, maybe think, but without this dynamics we obviously can’t go forward. All the sleeping, the snoring, the fact that we are always hearing about someone snoring and not showing up, becoming depressed, that annoyed him terribly, that Serbian nihilism – but we can’t, now we want to sleep a little, let’s go out and drink, let’s listen to live music, let’s do this, that. This is the alternative, and it does not have to be in power. This alternative must exist, and someone must constantly be here to wake the Sleeping Beauty up, that was one of the most beautiful sayings Djindjic used, he would say – You would like to sleep the next 100 years. And then the prince would arrive, and kiss you for those 100 years. We don’t have time for a new 100 years.
ZORAN DJINDJIC: If you think, with such a completely ruined country, that in one year, you will be able to enter a bank, take a loan under normal conditions, I am afraid that you picked the wrong country. Go to Switzerland, and you will get any loan you want. But the Swiss people fought for 500 years for that, and what happened to us couldn’t have happened to them.
VESNA PESIC: He read us like a book. We would all like to take a little nap. I sometimes catch myself saying – Don’t get up in the morning, sleep until noon. Try going back to sleep, try. But he didn’t allow this.
SRDJA POPOVIC: When he came into power in 2000, Serbia was a godforsaken wasteland, where some people lived in the basins of Sava, Danube and Morava rivers. But, in a sense, this was not a nation. Because nation entails a political community. Unlike the people, who are a biological category. And it was not a nation because it had no state concept. The two state concepts that Serbia had, since it was formed, were Greater Serbia and Yugoslavia, which would allow all Serbs to live in one state. Milosevic, his war, nationalist politics, this is what destroyed both of those concepts. Serbia was left without a state concept. Greater Serbia is not possible, we destroyed Yugoslavia. We did. Serbia destroyed it. Serbian leadership destroyed Yugoslavia. And at that moment Djindjic came with the concept of Serbia in Europe. Of course this was not done of his own accord, spontaneously, as his own creation, it was something that captured the meaning of the political moment and something that the entire society aspired to. This is the new state concept that he came out with. It was the vision of the future, it was that new state concept. I believe that it is the only thing that survived after Djindjic, and it is probably the most important thing that survived him. This is something that even Toma Nikolic learned. Even he learned this. Even he does not dare oppose it. This fundamental vision Djindjic had.
MILOS CIRIC: He also told us some things. You know like, take two steps at the time. I mean, who would tell me that today?
SANDRA ORLOVIC: I keep remembering that.
MILOS CIRIC: I think about that all the time. And that he needs 100.000 of such people. Who asks you today to be anything else but an extra in a movie. You know, you should keep quiet, you should sit and be like…
SANDRA ORLOVIC: And not be a pessimist.
STEVAN FILIPOVIC: Because you have Novak Djokovic.
MILOS CIRIC: And then they throw you a bone, you know, look here, Djindjic was not a saint. I am absolutely not interested in that.
STEVAN FILIPOVIC: What does it mean – a saint? I don’t use such terms and it does not interest me. So, the way he was, he was the Prime Minister of this country and he was assassinated. I want to know why he was assassinated. I have the right to know why. And who did it.
MILOS CIRIC: No, I don’t want to live in a country where I don’t know who organized the assassination of the formally most powerful man in the state. Excuse me please, what kind of a society do we live in, in what century is this movie taking place?
IVAN KUZMINOVIC: I believe that these people from DSS have made a mistake. They keep repeating – icons, holy sights, but they made a mistake, if I can use their terminology for a moment, because they did make Djindjic into an icon. A lasting icon in the Serbian society. Thus, where they made a grave mistake, is killing a man who – I know this might sound pathetic – but who really and truly forever remains the Prime Minister of Serbia. While, Kostunica, there he is, he was the Prime Minister for several years, he set fires to the city, set fires to embassies, and now he is slowly being pushed towards the margins of history, he is under the 5% threshold.
MILOS CIRIC: As far as I am concerned, this is no consolation.
SANDRA ORLOVIC: This is a moment when we must, nevertheless…
MILOS CIRIC: This is the moment for what we may call – unfounded optimism.
VLADIMIR POPOVIC: He was convinced that there was no chance he would be assassinated. Not because they would not try. After Bagzi, it became completely clear to him that they would try, especially after it was found out, after Bagzi, by listening to and comparing base stations and certain numbers, that he was followed in Kopaonik, and that there was an attempt in front of the Assembly, all of which was later confirmed by the witnesses, that these were different types of attempts on his life. He believed that they were planning to try, but he was convinced that they would not succeed, because everything in this country is so sloppy, like this thing with video surveillance, which, even if it exists, does not have a cable or a tape, so it can’t record. And that is the last phase of his rule, which started sometime in the fall of 2002, the phase when he was practically ready to give up, but he knew that he could not. When he was already terribly exhausted with the quantity of mud that was thrown at him starting from October 5 to that day, each day, in all the media, from all possible friends and enemies, in every possible way. And that energy he had, and the need and that optimism, like – let’s not dwell on that – he stopped reading the papers. He did not watch TV. He watched Fashion Channel when he came home, just to give his head a rest. But I watched TV and read the papers, and the fact that he did not does not mean that these things were not happening in Serbia. And then, when I would see him in the morning and tell him – did you see this, Ljilja Buha – he was running away from that. Simply because there was nothing to say about that. And then he would say – they are dealing with that because we are not giving them enough good topics. Now, for the next 10,15 days, I will have one good topic every day. Call the firemen, let’s go to Novi Beograd, let’s talk to citizens, because that is something that he saw in Germany… I said that several times: he lived in another time, which was neither for Serbia nor for the year 2000. Like he was in a time capsule, and that an error occurred and he was born at the wrong moment in time and grew up in that wrong moment in time, and this is why he was removed from that moment in time. Eliminated.
ZARKO KORAC: I don’t like to be right. I would like for everything that I have said today to be wrong. That he was a criminal and that he was killed by his fellow criminals. That Serbia rid itself of an evil. It would be better for Serbia if this were the truth. But it is not. The situation is the way we show it.
MIRJANA KARANOVIC: Let me explain who we are. We are people from cities, from small and big towns. Civilians, citizens. We are that Serbian middleclass which is always appearing and disappearing. What Serbia managed to gather from its public. We are that Serbian frail society. There aren’t many of us. We are not very smart and brave, we are selfish and withdrawn. We like to go shopping, to the seaside, we like to eat nice, see our friends, educate our children. We like to be comfortable, and, of course, we don’t tolerate violence. We are the natural enemies of war. And these are great demands in the Balkans.
During the wars in the nineties, we made those demands to Milosevic. We hid our children from being drafted into military service, we took to the streets. We rang our bells, we blew our whistles, we hit our drums, banged our pots and lids during his TV news program. We denied the reality of war, because we had nowhere to put it. We were like Gandhi without faith and not in such a good shape.
It is springtime, and I live in Serbia. Apart from a few good slogans, our real contribution to stopping the war equals zero. But we never agreed to war and called that a victory. The assassination of Zoran Djindjic is the only defeat we had to acknowledge. He was assassinated in times of peace, in broad daylight, amongst us, in blood and violence. He was killed on our territory. In the dreamland of Serbian civil society.
This movie was financed by Pescanik listeners. We dedicated the movie to them and to the children who left Serbia. I will tell you the name of one of them. Nikola Vitas. He lives in Netherlands. He is an astronomer. His expertise is our star, the Sun. Nikola Vitas dedicated his doctoral thesis about the Sun to the memory of Yugoslavia. In it, there is a quote by Samuel Beckett: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
- Nat King Cole – Nature Boy
Movie Download: Assassination of Zoran Djindjic – Our Private Affair