The news this morning tells of the suicide of Dr. Milan Babic, who was just beginning to serve a 13 year sentence in a Dutch prison for crimes committed in the Krajina in the early part of the war. I met with Babic twice. Once in Knin in late '91, and again in Beograd six months later. I kept asking myself, 'how did an apparently normal man get to be so crazy?' Well, I find his remarks during his trial to be interesting. Here's an excerpt from the AP story:
Babic's testimony against Milosevic provided a dramatic highlight to a trial that has gone on for more than four years. During his testimony, Babic requested that his identity be concealed, but he later asked to have the secrecy lifted so that his confrontation with Milosevic would be public.
"You dragged the Serb people into war," Babic said. "You brought shame on the Serbs."
Last month Babic testified against Milan Martic, the last president of Serb Krajina before the Croatian army recaptured the territory in 1995.
Asked on Feb. 15 to repeat his 2004 apology to the Croatian people, Babic said: "I stand before this tribunal with a deep sense of shame and remorse. I allowed myself to participate in the persecution of the worst kind against people only because they were Croats, not Serbs," he said.
"The regret that I feel is the pain that I have to live with for the rest of my life," he said, urging other war crimes suspects to face their past.
Mar. 6, 2006