Jezik / Language:
3 July 2006

Milica Jankovic: I tried to convince Gojko to surrender

Birn BiH
In March 2005, Gojko Jankovic, charged with war crimes committed in Foca, surrendered to the Hague Tribunal. A few months earlier, his wife, Milica Jankovic, went to Russia to persuade the then fugitive to surrender. Justice Report publishes the statement she gave to the Republika Srpska police at the time.
“I managed to get together 1,500 Euros and, after reaching agreement with my family, I went to Visegrad. On 6 December, 2004, at around 11:00 pm, I got on a bus from Visegrad and travelled to Belgrade where I arrived the following morning.

As soon as I arrived in Belgrade, I went to the airport and bought a ticket from the JAT office for Moscow. A bit later that same evening, my son Boban left Foca for Belgrade. At home, we agreed that he would be the link between me, Gojko and a person called Jovicic Trivun. We did not meet in Belgrade.

Before the trip, and during negotiations with the previously mentioned representative of the RS Government and member of RS Ministry of Internal Affairs, I was not given any written guarantee to give to my husband in order to encourage his surrender. I was given only oral promises.

During my conversation with them in a Foca/Srbinje fish restaurant called “Mladica” on December 6, 2004, beside the money I received, they also asked whether I needed travel documentation or anything else. I said that I did not need anything other than the large amount of money and five or six days to personally talk to Gojko and try to convince him to surrender.

When I arrived at the airport, I realised I was being followed by several people. I did not travel by JAT, but with Aeroflot. The plane was delayed. It was due to depart at 11:35 am. but it only did so at 3:00 pm. Whilst I was at the airport, I noticed that a JAT plane going to Moscow at 8:30 am, was stopped from taking off for technical reasons just as it was about to leave the runway. I was in the office of my friend, Sandi, waiting for my flight, when someone appeared at the door and asked for the list of passengers who were going to Moscow. All of this tells me that I had been followed since the beginning of my trip.

Before departure, I called Boban to tell him that I was late and I asked him to tell his dad and Jovicic, because Jovicic and Boban had agreed upon call times. I was supposed to have been in Moscow by 3:00pm and let them know about my arrival.

When I arrived at the airport in Moscow, Gojko was waiting for me and he looked to see if nobody else was with me, whether somebody was following.

Considering that I had not seen him for a longtime, he looked much thinner with grey hair and no moustache. Much thinner than the last time I saw him in 2003. I had the feeling that he was wondering whether somebody was following me, but I did not notice anyone at Moscow airport.

I wanted to tell him immediately why I had come. So I told him that he did not have to be afraid anymore and that I had come to tell him that his fear was over and that there was an excellent opportunity for surrendering. His shoulders immediately dropped and he asked me “Did they break you?” I said that no-one had broken me, but described the current situation to him and that he should think carefully about everything I was going to tell him and that he should choose himself or his family.

I had two strategies to try to convince him to surrender - either love for his family or financial. While we were still at the airport, somebody called him. Gojko told the person that I had arrived and then he hesitated as to whether we should first go to the apartment or whether he should take me somewhere else. The person convinced Gojko to first take me to lunch, not to the apartment, and we drove in a taxi to a restaurant - instead of home. At first, I was suspicious about this.

I was surprised because this was the first time since he was in Russia that he went to a restaurant, because the prices there are very high and he never had the money to afford it. A friend of his, who I had never seen before and who did not introduce himself, was waiting at the restaurant. We stayed at the restaurant for lunch until 3:30, after which the friend took us to the apartment. The friend was with us the entire time and he paid for the bill, as well as the taxi which drove us from the airport to the restaurant.

When I entered the apartment I was surprised because it was equipped in a luxurious way. The next day, I contacted Jovicic, through Boban, and told him that dad did not want to surrender (that was his first reaction).

During the day on December 9, 2004, after talking to daughter Svjetlana – Ceca, Gojko gave up and accepted the idea of surrendering. He asked to talk to the lawyers Vujin and Slavisa Prodanovic, in Belgrade. I told him there was no need for him to do that because the RS Government would supply lawyers. Gojko made two contacts with Slavisa Prodanovic, because after the first contact Vujin went to make contact with Jovicic, and the agreement was to call again after an hour – hour and half to tell us the result of the talk.

Gojko asked for two or three more days before surrendering, and Jovicic approved. In the second contact with Slavisa, when my son Boban was in his office, things took a negative turn. While talking to his father, Boban asked “Dad, are you far away?”, and Slavisa also asked “Gojan, are you far away?” Gojko convinced them that he was.

The conversation continued with Boban telling Gojko that Jovicic told him that in Belgrade Gojko was seen in a blue jacket on the Herceg Novi-Vilusi-Belgrade road and that he was being followed, that he entered a building and that an attempt to arrest him would begin in two hours, so that Boban should come and talk to his father.

We had these conversations from a post office in Moscow. The two of us were alone. After that conversation Gojko accused me: “Whom do you trust and who are you giving me up to? Look what is going on in Belgrade and what Boban is going through.”

I did not have any more arguments to convince him and I felt bad. I gave up on convincing him further by saying “let’s wait and see how the situation will develop, wait for January, March 2005”.

After that, until December 11, 2004 again I tried to convince him to surrender, but I was not successful. But he did keep Jovicic’s business card, which gave me hope that he could change his mind at any moment. I still hope for that and I think it could happen.

After talking to Belgrade I did not have any more arguments to convince him to surrender. Gojko admitted to me that he was married (allegedly for the papers), and I had the impression that he also had a child and that those were the reasons why he would stay in Russia. He also said that he felt safe there.

When we were saying goodbye it was a tough discussion about our divorce, and Gojko told me that he would give all the necessary documentation through the Embassy, because he thought that I would solve my problems that way.

I was sad and disappointed and told him not to count on my help and support, that this was an excellent opportunity to ensure a future life for our children by agreeing to surrender. I told him we could be close and see him every weekend because, most likely. After the trial he would do his time somewhere in BiH. But because he loves himself more and the life in Russia is better for him, he has made his choice.

During the time I spent in Moscow, a Russian man went out with use very night. I did not know him, but he spoke like a person with knowledge and experience of police work, because he talked about bugs, etc. The man drove an armoured Mercedes and paid high bills in the restaurants we went to.

I had the impression that they were good friends because Gojko talked to him in Russian, and it was harder for me to fit in because in school I learned French. That man also spoke Serbian, but not clearly. I am sure that that man has great influence over Gojko. The apartment in which he lives is luxurious, but the monetary funds he has are not significant.

During the time I spent there that man did notgo to work, and I know the woman he married. She is about 28. The man had some membership card with theacronym FSB. It was on the table, and seeing that I constantly stared at it to remember the sign, the man put it in his pocket and I did not see it again.

At one stage while we were talking, I was jealous of the man because he had more influence over Gojko than me, and I wanted to get into a fight with him. I was bothered by his presence every night, and then I realized that he was paying the bills. I had the impression that Gojko felt very safe with him,because he was his protector who kept him alive by providing everything for him except money. Before leaving, Gojko was hoping that he would give him some money to send to the children, but he did not.

During the time I spent there, I not only found out that he acquired citizenship last year but that since New Year, Gojko had possessed all the necessary documentation for a Russian citizen under the name PLOUTSADEJEV or PLOUTMADEJEVSERGEJ (I am not sure whether the last name is correct). He married a Russian citizen with that name. He made new friends, because this time we did not contact the people with whom he socialized before.

From April this year to the end of November, Gojko did not reside in Moscow and I had the impression that he was only temporarily in this apartment.

Although he had bad health, he felt like a hero and after he changed his mind about surrendering, he said he would come and defend Republika Srpska again, if necessary. He does not want to be a coward in the eyes of his future grandchildren. Those were his words, but I think that he chose this new life. At one time he said that he saw suicide as the answer to everything. Because he has decided to stay, it is my intention to get a divorce.

Before I left for Yugoslavia, I told to Gojko that I would describe my time in Moscow word for word and everything that I knew. He did not object or protest. He said “talk” and this put me in a bit of a dilemma and confirmed my assumption that he was only temporarily there and that it was all some game.

When I came back to Belgrade on December 12, 2004, I contacted Jovicic and told him that I had returned. My son told me that the lawyers Vujin and Prodanovic wanted to see me. I did not meet them. I spent the entire day with my son, and I came from Belgrade this morning”.

These minutes, published without interventions by BIRN’s Justice Report were signed by Milica Jankovic, on December 13, 2004 in Foca police station. The time she spent in Russia refers to December 7 - December 12, 2004, and beside Mrs. Jankovic it was also signed by two Police officials.
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