1 Tuesday, 10 March 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: While the witness is being brought in, if I could
6 mention to those present that in its decision of the 4th of March on the
7 65 ter exhibit list of the Prosecution, the Chamber reserved its decision
8 in respect of document 22 because there wasn't an English translation.
9 That translation has now been provided and document 22, as described in
10 that decision, will now be added to the Prosecution's Rule 65 ter list.
11 [Closed session]
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
2 WITNESS: WITNESS K88 [Resumed]
3 [Witness answered through interpreter]
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Djurdjic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness. I am Veljko Djurdjic,
6 member of the Defence team for the accused, Vlastimir Djordjevic.
7 Together with me today is Ms. Marie O'Leary, who's a member of our team;
8 lead counsel Dragoljub Djordjevic is away on official business. The two
9 of us speak the same language, so I'm going to ask you that we do not
10 overlap so that we would make it possible for the interpreters to do
11 their job properly. So please be careful. Start speaking once the
12 transcript is typed out, and I'll try to do the same thing.
13 May I call you Mr. Witness?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 I have studied all the statements you gave, and there is
17 something that caught my attention. You gave a statement to the
18 investigators of the OTP from April 2005 until January 2006. Could you
19 please explain this to me. How did that come about?
20 A. First of all, in April I gave a statement. I think that went on
21 for two days, so that was on two occasions. Then we waited for the
22 translation into Serbian. I think that was the time involved. Also, I
23 think there was some kind of a mistake, whatever, something was lost, the
24 sketch that I had drawn. And then, I mean -- well, I draw the sketch
25 again. I think that that's what happened -- I mean that second time in
1 2006 -- was it 2006?
2 Q. Thank you. I would be interested in the following now: The
3 first two days when you gave your statement, I think that is what you
4 said, did you sign the statement that you gave?
5 A. No, I didn't because it was in English. It's a language I don't
6 understand, so I didn't want to sign that in English.
7 Q. If I understood you correctly, six months later, what was it that
8 you signed, what version?
9 A. The version in the Serbian language.
10 Q. Thank you. You say that something got lost. Could you please
11 explain that to me?
12 A. Yes, yes, the last page. It's a sketch. It's a sketch of the
13 scene, just a sketch, a little drawing that I made. Now, was it lost? I
14 don't know. I don't know what the explanation was exactly, but I did the
15 exactly the way it had been the first time, and also there were some
16 changes in terms of the translation that I disagreed with. I thought
17 that the translation was not right. I mean, I wanted it to say what I
18 had said, the way I had felt I had given my statement. So it was really
19 a minor matters, nothing special. That was done then in Serbian, in the
20 Serbian language, and I signed that.
21 Q. So the first time you saw the translation was in 2006?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And then you had some objections to raise in respect of the
24 translation, or rather, the content of the statement that you had signed
25 in Serbian; right?
1 A. Well, yes. I mean, there was something, I can't remember exactly
2 now, it wasn't anything that was of essence, that would change matters
3 drastically. Later on, for example, the gentlemen who were putting the
4 questions to me did not realise what the difference was between
5 "komandant" and "komandir," which is a major different in our language.
6 Q. I would like to ask you to give me questions only if you had
7 witnessed something personally, and if you don't know something, just say
8 "I don't know." Also, if you don't understand me, just say that you
9 don't understand me, and I'll try to rephrase my question, if I can.
10 You were born in Croatia
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And that's where you completed your education?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Tell me, did you do your military service?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Could you explain the reason why you didn't do your military
18 A. I completed the secondary school of the interior for police work
19 in Zagreb
20 military training, and that is later recognised as military service.
21 Q. Thank you. Tell me, when did you ultimately complete your
23 A. In 1980 I completed my education and started working, and then I
24 had a one-year specialised on-the-job training course in Zagreb. I think
25 that was in 1986.
1 Q. When you said to me 1980, you meant that that's when you
2 completed the police secondary school?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And after that you completed an extra one-year school -- one-year
6 A. Yes, in 1986. It was a specialised course for crime technicians.
7 Q. Am I right if I say that you did not complete a post-secondary
9 A. No, I did not complete a post-secondary school.
10 Q. Did you read your statement correctly, the one -- or did you read
11 it carefully, the one you signed in Serbian in January 2006?
12 A. Yes, I think that there is this one part where they treat my
13 school as a post-secondary school; however, that one-year course was
14 treated as post-secondary training and perhaps that's the way it was
15 phrased in the translation too.
16 Q. In view of your education and schooling, you were a
17 non-commissioned officer in terms of your rank?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Had you completed a post-secondary school, you could have been a
20 commissioned officer; right?
6 Q. And what year was that?
7 A. 1991. I think it was on the 19th of August. There was an armed
8 conflict in that area, around Daruvar, Pakrac. I came to work, and then
9 the National Guards Corps, that's what they were called, they took me
10 prisoner. They had taken the police station during the night, and then I
11 was a prisoner there for three days. Let me not go into all the details
12 now. At any rate, I was released afterwards. My family was already in
14 when I lost my job -- I mean, that is the essence of your question, isn't
16 Q. Am I right if I say that you no longer returned to Croatia?
17 A. No, I've never been to Croatia
18 Q. Tell me, you then got a job at the MUP of Serbia?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could you please tell me in which organisational unit you got
21 this job and where were the headquarters of this unit?
22 A. I got a job at the SUP
23 this? It was the police Brigade, that was the unit, the organisational
24 unit, where I got a job. It's part of the Belgrade police.
25 Q. Thank you. At that time it was called the Brigade of
1 the Milicija; right?
2 A. Yes, Milicija.
3 Q. And everything that you described here before you transferred to
4 the SAJ
5 A. Well, yes, I was there for two and a half years roughly, I think.
6 Q. Thank you. Tell me, what kind of vacancy announcement was this,
7 an internal one or an external one for recruiting members of the SAJ at
8 the time when you were recruited?
9 A. At that time, the SAJ
10 at the airport, it transferred to the locality where it is to this day.
11 Since it is a rather large facility, it was necessary to provide
12 additional security and logistics.
13 I applied through a friend of mine, a policeman. I asked to
14 speak to the then-commander of the SAJ
15 extra checks, and then I was admitted into the SAJ. So it was a simple
16 decision that was made for my transfer from one organisational unit to
18 Q. I would be interested in whether this was an internal vacancy
19 announcement, and how did you find out there would be this vacancy at the
2 Q. Where -- where did that happen? Where were you interviewed?
3 A. At the MUP, where the command for the SAJ was, for all the
4 special units of Serbia
5 Q. Tell me, were other people admitted at the same time when you
7 A. Well, yes, there were other people who were admitted at the time.
8 It wasn't really in regular cycles. Say it was within a month or two, or
10 Q. And they were all interviewed before being admitted into the
12 A. Well, probably, probably. I think that's the way it was.
13 Q. You were already a policeman. You worked at the Brigade?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. At the Brigade of the Milicija in Belgrade. And tell me --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Other microphones are on.
17 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. So were you already a member of the police, and therefore did you
19 have proper security, clearance, or was extra clearance needed?
20 A. I'm speaking informally now. I think that there was an extra
21 security check because I don't know how much time had elapsed between my
22 interview with Commander Trajkovic up until the moment when the decision
23 was made for me to be admitted. But on the basis of the interview I had
24 with Trajkovic, he asked me questions, like whether I had been a member
25 of any paramilitaries, like Arkan's men or something like that. And
1 since I came from Croatia
2 member of any one of these units, that he would not tolerate that kind of
3 thing and that he wouldn't really need me. He said that quite openly
4 during the interview. I think that through certain people, I don't know,
5 through the state security, whatever, but I imagine that they did run
6 some kind of a check, yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Was there such a unit in Croatia too?
8 A. Yes, an identical unit.
9 Q. I would be interested in the following: You talk here about some
10 history of this unit that I'm not actually aware of. At that time, were
11 you aware of some history of this unit that you were being admitted into?
12 A. Well, yes, I was aware of it. That's what we learned. We
13 learned about the origins of the unit in Croatia, Serbia, et cetera, how
14 they came into being. They all came into existence roughly around the
15 same time. They were established roughly around the same time. That was
16 one of the questions, one of the questions within that proposal that was
17 made when they presented the structure of the unit to me and the history
18 of the unit. So roughly, that's what I talked about, although I found it
19 a bit strange, I mean specifically in my case, the history of the unit,
20 whatever, it's a generally known thing. But I did say what I said, yes.
21 Perhaps I wasn't accurate enough in terms of the establishment of the
22 unit -- well, you know, I'm not a historian, but I know that much.
23 Q. You said that they were putting questions to you, people from
24 Human Rights Watch?
25 A. Well, it's their table of the chain of command in the SAJ with
1 the names, who was what. The late Radovan Stojicic and then further on,
2 the structure of the SAJ
3 the objective was to see where I was in the chain of command, or rather,
4 on that table. I think that that was the essence, but the names and
5 surnames of all the people were written down there, people who held
6 certain positions, and there was nothing for me to add or take away or
8 Q. Tell me, how come you knew that this was a Human Rights Watch
10 A. I believe that I was told as much. I'm not sure.
11 Q. Am I right if I say that you reviewed the document and said that
12 the structure as reflected therein was accurate?
13 A. Yes, the schematics were quite faithfully reflected up from the
14 main command down to the units. We had three units: Pristina, Belgrade
15 and Novi Sad
16 Q. Thank you. You mentioned Radovan Stojicic and the fact that you
17 saw his name there. Where did you see his name, as part of which
19 A. That was earlier on, at the time when he was one of the SAJ
20 commanders. I believe I saw his name there. I may be mistaken, and I'm
21 referring to the history as presented there of the SAJ.
22 Q. No, you said that you saw the name of Radovan Stojicic, and
23 you've just confirmed to us that he was an SAJ commander for a while
24 there in that document. Tell me, please, were there other names of other
1 A. Yes, Zivko Trajkovic, who replaced him as commander, and he
2 remained the commander of all the SAJ
3 the time.
4 Q. Thank you. Therefore, the entire structure complete with names
5 was presented to you?
6 A. Yes, including the chain of command structure.
7 Q. Thank you. You've just told me that there's a difference between
8 "komandir" and "komandant" and you've already mentioned three SAJ
9 You said that Mr. Trajkovic was in command of all these units. Who did
10 you belong to in that structure?
11 A. I belonged to the Belgrade SAJ.
12 Q. When you were first admitted there, where was your unit
14 A. Batajnica, the 13th of May neighbourhood, that's what it's
15 called, and that's where it still remains today.
16 Q. Am I right if I say that you went to work there, in Batajnica,
17 and that's where you, in fact, did your job?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Tell me, if I understood you well, you said a moment ago that the
20 headquarters of the entire unit -- of all the units was in --
21 A. Kneza Milosa.
22 Q. Kneza Milosa. Are you aware of the numbers of men and the
23 structure of units there at Kneza Milosa?
24 A. When I arrived and became a member of the SAJ, Trajkovic was the
25 commander; there was his deputy and a secretary, a lady secretary, and a
1 driver or a courier.
2 Q. Did Commander Trajkovic issue orders to you?
3 A. No, I was far down the chain of command, and my immediate
4 commanders issued orders to me --
5 Q. Please do not utter any names until I ask you to.
6 A. Very well.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic, we have been skirting on the edge of
20 information that might be better not broadcast, and I think we're now
21 getting across the line. We had better move into private session if
22 you're going to explore this a little further.
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I was
24 just meaning to ask that we move into private session on the issue of the
1 [Private session]
11 Pages 1972-1979 redacted. Private session.
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We are in open session,
5 Your Honours.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
7 Mr. Djurdjic.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Am I right when I say that you were not present at the centre
10 when the trucks were brought in?
11 A. No, I was not present.
12 Q. Am I right when I say that your "komandir" informed you when it
13 was that you were supposed to come to the centre, to the previous
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. You do not have any direct knowledge about where the
17 trucks had come from, come to the centre in Batajnica, that is?
18 A. No, I don't.
19 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 35 you mention that a person was a
20 member of the DB and that you talked to that person.
21 A. Yes, yes, but this is simplified. I mean, they say here a guy
22 from the Kosovo DB state security. I don't really know if such an
23 organisational unit existed, the Kosovo DB. They really simplified this.
24 There was a man there who was, say, 35, he came there with a Mercedes
25 without licence plates. And he said, How are things going? I was angry
1 because I had to do all these things and so on and so forth. And there
2 was a bit of verbal conflict there and he said - I didn't write that out
3 here - but he said, Watch out so that the darkness doesn't devour you.
4 Those were his words. I never saw him after that. He had a longish --
5 or rather, he had a coat and longish hair. He was pretending to look
6 like a detective, whatever, a sort of brash guy.
7 Well -- but, everybody was dislocated at the time. There was no
8 one in the area, not the military, no one. So from time to time people
9 came to see -- he probably came there with a purpose. He was riding
10 around in this car when this job was being done. I never actually found
11 out who he was or what he was. This is just an assumption on my part.
12 Q. Am I right if I say that you don't know whether these trucks on
13 the road up to the base had an escort?
14 A. I really don't know at all how they came, whether there was an
15 escort and so on. I had very few contacts with the drivers, two or three
16 maybe. And -- well, we didn't really discuss that, we really didn't have
17 time to.
18 Q. Thank you. Did you see a driver in civilian uniform -- well,
19 sorry about that, in civilian clothes, rather?
20 A. Yes, there was this elderly man or middle-aged. I remember him
21 because he came with a completely new truck, and it was supposed to be
22 his very own truck, privately owned. So I wondered, I wondered that this
23 kind of work was being done with a truck like that. But as I told you,
24 there was state of war and there was not much choice.
25 Q. Thank you. Tell me, was the bombing intensive in that part of
1 town, because that's where the airport is?
2 A. Yes, the airport was bombed every day, unannounced, just like
3 that. We used to say amongst ourselves -- well, when they had nowhere
4 else to bomb, then they just load off all their bombs on the Batajnica
5 airport. It was the usual thing, explosions out there.
6 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say that you burned tires in order
7 to make it impossible for NATO aircraft to see where you were, so that
8 they couldn't bomb you?
9 A. Yes, yes. May I explain that in two sentences? When I went to
10 Kosovo, I was surprised that by the bridges people were burning straw,
11 tires, whatever, and then I asked someone down there, a soldier or
12 someone, I said, Why are they doing that? And then someone explained
13 that to me, that when there is a lot of smoke, when you burn, say, tires
14 or wet straw or something, that that is a kind of mask -- or rather, that
15 the pilot does not have visual contact from the air, that he cannot
16 locate us. Since I worked with a machine that was very hot, then we did
17 the same thing, and we said, Well, let's try to do that by way of - how
18 should I put this? - some kind of protection or something. I think it
19 was more of a psychological thing for us rather than any kind of real
21 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say that the bodies that you buried
22 in the pits were not burned, or rather, that you did not burn them in any
24 A. No.
25 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say that you received per diems
1 when you went to Kosovo on official business and when you would stay
2 there for a day or two?
3 A. Yes. That was the usual thing. When you would leave the base,
4 or rather, the place where you worked for over 12 hours, then the law
5 gave you an entitlement, you were entitled to a per diem.
6 Q. Thank you. Am I right when I say that when you do any kind of
7 job at the headquarters of your organisational unit, that you do not get
8 any kind of compensation except for your actual salary?
9 A. Yes, just the regular salary. This is customary.
10 Q. Thank you. Am I right -- well, yes, I am right. Thank you,
12 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have
13 concluded my cross-examination.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Djurdjic.
15 Mr. Neuner, do you re-examine?
16 MR. NEUNER: Just some very few questions, Your Honours.
17 Re-examination by Mr. Neuner:
18 Q. Witness, you were asked about the JSO today. Could you explain
19 what the JSO is?
20 A. JSO you mean? That is special operations unit. That is an
21 abbreviation, actually.
22 Q. And who in 1999, if you know, commanded that unit?
23 A. I think it was Lukovic, Milorad Ulemek or Milorad Lukovic, called
24 Legija, that's what he's called. I don't really know what his real name
25 is then.
1 Q. Would you know to who Mr. Milorad Ulemek reported to in 1999?
2 A. Well, theoretically, if they belonged to the state security
3 sector, then probably to the head of the state security sector. If there
4 was state security then -- well, there was, yes.
5 Q. If you don't know, you don't need to answer. Do you know who in
6 1999 was the head of the state security sector?
7 A. I think it was Radomir Markovic, but I'm not sure.
8 Q. You were asked about the drivers who had brought the trucks to
9 Batajnica, and you said - and that's on page 23 of today's
10 transcript - that you had three to four contacts with these drivers.
11 Could you tell me, when was your first contact with a truck driver
12 bringing the bodies?
13 A. Well, I met with two of them briefly. On that sketch, that is
14 vehicle number 4. The people who came on that vehicle had a problem
15 there, the truck broke down, and they had a fuel problem. So I sort of
16 had a contact with them -- I mean, they had to take the truck back and so
17 on and so forth. So then we had to organise the repair of the truck
18 and -- well, things like that.
19 Q. And could you tell me where did you meet them?
20 A. Over there, in Batajnica.
21 Q. On the base itself, yeah?
22 A. Oh, yes, yes, the base itself.
23 Q. And these two gentlemen, what were they wearing when you met
25 A. I didn't quite understand your question. What they were wearing
1 as in clothing or what they were carrying as in their hands?
2 Q. What they were wearing -- what clothes they were wearing?
3 A. Blue police camouflage, it was the so-called intervention uniform
4 that is used to this day, standard police uniform. Let me mention
5 without short-barrelled weapons, let me say that -- or rather, they
6 didn't have long-barrelled weapons or short-barrelled weapons.
7 Q. Could you tell me how long were these drivers at the base,
8 meaning at Batajnica base?
9 A. Yes, they were there very briefly. I think they were put up in
10 town in one of our hotels. We have these police hotels. They were there
11 for as long as the truck was being repaired and fuel provided for the
12 trucks. So it went on, say, for two or three days.
13 Q. And you mentioned some police hotels. Could you explain what you
14 meant by this. Where were the drivers of the trucks staying during these
15 two or three days?
16 A. The police hotel is the place where unmarried policemen would
17 stay. It was like any other sort of hotel. It had rooms and a
18 restaurant. I don't know if it was owned by the MUP or whether the MUP
19 was renting the place. I don't know the details. At any rate, any
20 guests we received would be accommodated there. We call it the hotel for
21 single men.
22 Q. And in which town was that hotel?
23 A. In Belgrade
24 Q. Yeah, you mentioned you had three to four contacts in your
25 testimony. Could you explain to me -- you've just described one contact
1 here with these two drivers. Where were the other two or three contacts?
2 When were these contacts?
3 A. Are you referring to the same drivers we were discussing before?
4 Q. I'm trying to find out whether you had these three to four
5 contacts with these two gentlemen or with other drivers, since you
6 mentioned in your testimony that there were a couple of trucks arriving.
7 A. Yes, yes. We're discussing the two men who had difficulties with
8 the truck. I exchanged a few sentences with them. This one individual
9 who was there in civilian clothes, an elderly man, he had a new truck.
10 And there was another driver who brought over a refrigerator truck; he
11 was a younger man. If we are discussing any sort of socialising with
12 them, well I exchanged a couple of words with them and that was all.
13 Q. Could you explain to me -- you mentioned a refrigerator truck.
14 Is that a truck which also contained bodies or another delivery was in
15 it, if you know?
16 A. Well, it is a trailer truck that was some 30 years old at the
17 time. It is -- it can be termed as a refrigerator truck because it can
18 transport refrigerated goods or any sort of goods. But what was exactly
19 your question? It escaped me now.
20 Q. On that occasion when you met this driver with the refrigerator
21 truck, do you know what goods or what delivery were in the truck?
22 A. He didn't tell me. When we opened it up, I saw that there
23 were -- that it was a load full of soil, black soil, 3 to 4 cubic metres
24 of it. The smell that came out of it reminded me of perhaps corpses, but
25 I couldn't see any. It did surprise me, though, that such a large truck
1 should be used to transport 3 cubic metres of soil only.
2 Q. Could you explain to me what clothes was the driver of that
3 refrigerator truck wearing?
4 A. He also wore a camouflage police uniform. I don't think he
5 had -- he carried any weapons -- or at least I didn't see any.
6 MR. NEUNER: Could we have for a moment Exhibit 325 being
7 displayed to this witness.
8 Q. And you have seen this photo-board earlier. If it comes up I
9 would just ask you two questions. The first question is: If you
10 remember, what were the clothes of the two drivers which you mentioned a
11 moment ago. I'm not asking about the truck driver of the refrigerator
12 truck. I'm asking about the two drivers of the first truck.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
14 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Unless I'm mistaken, the witness
15 said that one of them wore civilian clothes, whereas all the others had
16 the same type of uniform. So the question doesn't seem to be
18 JUDGE PARKER: I think the -- Mr. Neuner is attempting to have
19 some identification of the uniform worn. That much seems relevant.
20 Yes, Mr. Neuner.
21 MR. NEUNER:
22 Q. Could you just tell me if you recognise any of the picture or any
23 of the uniforms here. The two drivers where you stated a moment ago who
24 had uniforms on, which of the numbers depicted here, if any, were they
1 A. Number 4.
2 Q. And the last question is: The uniform worn by the refrigerator
3 truck driver, if it resembles any uniform here, which number would it
5 A. Again, number 4, but he only had the shirt and trousers without
6 the belt and the weapons.
7 MR. NEUNER: The Prosecution has no further questions.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE PARKER: You'll be pleased to know that that concludes the
10 questioning. We have also your statements and previous evidence to
11 consider. We would like to thank you for your patience in being here so
12 many days and for the assistance you've been able to give us, and you are
13 now free to leave and return to your normal activities. Thank you very
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Private session.
17 [Closed session]
11 Pages 1989-2030 redacted. Closed session.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.
3 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 11th day of
4 March, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.