1 Wednesday, 25 March 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: The witness can be brought in. We'll go into
6 closed session.
7 [Closed session]
11 Pages 2756-2805 redacted. Closed session.
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
24 The Chamber has just finished hearing the evidence of a witness
25 in closed session. We are now again in public session.
1 Ms. Kravetz.
2 MS. KRAVETZ: Good afternoon, Your Honours. The next witness is
3 Mr. Goran Stoparic.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Could I ask, noting the time, whether
5 it would be more practical to have the break now and then an hour and a
6 quarter straight session, or would you like to start the witness now?
7 MS. KRAVETZ: I would prefer to have the break now. That way we
8 don't have to interrupt in 15 minutes.
9 JUDGE PARKER: I think then we'll have the second break now and
10 resume at 5.45.
11 --- Recess taken at 5.15 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 5.47 p.m.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Kravetz.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, Mr. Stoparic.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Could you please read aloud the affirmation on the
18 card that's shown to you now.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
20 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: GORAN STOPARIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down. Ms. Kravetz has some
24 questions for you.
25 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Examination by Ms. Kravetz:
2 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. Could you please state your full name
3 for the record.
4 A. My name is Goran Stoparic.
5 Q. Where and when were you born, Mr. Stoparic?
6 A. I was born in Sremska Mitrovica in 1968, on the 17th of January.
7 Q. I'm sorry, I wasn't getting interpretation, but now -- there.
8 Mr. Stoparic, on 6th July, 2006
9 the Office of the Prosecution of this Tribunal?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you have the chance to review your statement before coming to
12 court today?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And while reviewing your statement, did you make a number of
15 corrections to your statement?
16 A. Yes, I remember that.
17 Q. Mr. Stoparic, in order to proceed efficiently through the
18 corrections you've made to your statement, I'm going to read out the
19 passages and ask you each time whether you agree with the corrected
20 version of the text.
21 The first correction, paragraph 4, second sentence currently
23 "In order to become a Vojvoda, you had to have 500 volunteers
24 under your control."
25 Did you correct the sentence to read:
1 "In order to become a Vojvoda you had to have up to 500
2 volunteers under your control"?
3 A. Yes. The first version, it turned out that this was a limit. It
4 was never like that. I added that it could be up to 500.
5 Q. Thank you. Second correction, paragraph 17, lines 2 and 3,
6 currently read:
7 "I reported to Mayor Boca. Boca reported to Legija, Mrgud,
8 Frenki, and ultimately Stanisic."
9 Did you correct this passage to read:
10 "I reported to Mayor Boca, Boca reported to Mrgud, Legija
11 reported to Frenki, and ultimately Stanisic"?
12 A. I corrected it by saying that if I'm carrying out an assignment,
13 I report to Mayor Boca or to Slobodan Medic who was the commander; and
14 then he reported to Mrgud or Milan Milanovic who was then, I think,
15 deputy minister of defence, and then Milan Milanovic further on. So I
16 was never with Milan Milanovic when he was reporting to anyone.
17 Q. Thank you. Now we'll move to the next correction. Paragraph 27,
18 lines 11 and 12 currently read:
19 "I signed a six-month contract and then after a few months I
20 signed a three-year contract with the Red Berets and JSO."
21 Did you correct these lines to read:
22 "If I had stayed with the Red Berets JSO for six months I would
23 have signed a three-year contract, but I did not serve with the JSO for
24 six months and did not sign a three-year contract"?
25 A. Yes, I corrected it. I was, for a period, at Mount Tara
1 training, which was conducted by members of the Red Berets, and
2 originally we were supposed to be their reserve force; and it was our
3 obligation, as they said, as they told us, we would signed a six-month
4 contract, and only after that, a three-year contract. But I didn't sign
5 either of those contracts because I only spent four months with them
6 until the Erdut Agreement.
7 Q. Thank you. Next line that needs a correction, paragraph 45,
8 line 2 currently reads:
9 "Platoon and unit commanders and personnel were allocated."
10 Did you correct this to read in English:
11 "Platoon and squad commanders and personnel were allocated"?
12 A. I remember that. I simply noticed in the statement that there's
13 reference of platoon commanders and unit commanders, because this is
14 absurd. One could only say platoon commanders and squad commanders.
15 Q. Thank you. Next correction, paragraph 47, second sentence
16 currently reads:
17 "It had been demolished by NATO bombing."
18 Did you correct this sentence to read:
19 "It had been damaged by NATO bombing"?
20 A. I corrected it by saying that it had been damaged. Maybe lately
21 destroyed, but I didn't see it. If you're referring to the police
22 station in Podujevo.
23 Q. Yes. Yes. Thank you. Next correction paragraph 54,
24 lines 5 and 6 currently read:
25 "The man was taken from the group by some Skorpions. I heard
1 that the man was killed in a nearby tea house."
2 Did you correct this passage to read:
3 "The man was taken from the group by some policemen. I heard
4 that the man was killed in a nearby tea house"?
5 A. Yes, I corrected it because it wasn't members of the Skorpions
6 that took the man out, but some policemen. Now, whether they were also
7 reservists but not members of our group, whether they are policemen of
8 the PNP
9 Skorpions did not take the man out, some policemen did.
10 Q. Thank you and last correction paragraph 69, lines 4 and 5
11 currently read:
12 "The platoon and unit commanders were equipped with Motorolas,
13 radios for communication."
14 Did you correct this passage to read:
15 "The platoon and squad commanders were equipped with Motorola
16 radios for communication"?
17 A. Yes. The same mistake that I noticed before. Instead of the
18 word "squad," the word "unit" is used. After all, a unit is a larger
19 formation than a squad. So most probably, this applied to squad and
20 platoon commanders. That is why I corrected it.
21 Q. Now, other than for those corrections, are you satisfied that the
22 information contained in this statement is accurate and true to the best
23 of your knowledge and belief?
24 A. The information is correct according to my mind. They correspond
25 to the truth as I saw it on the ground.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I seek to tender the statement at
3 this stage and ask that it be received it's 65 ter 02224.
4 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
5 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00493, Your Honours.
6 MS. KRAVETZ:
7 Q. Mr. Stoparic, did you also previously testify before this court
8 in the trial against Milutinovic et al in July 2006?
9 A. I don't remember the date, but I did testify in the Milutinovic
10 et al trial.
11 Q. Have you recently had the opportunity to go over your testimony
12 from that case?
13 A. I listened to the audio recording in the preparatory talk with
14 the Prosecutor.
15 Q. Thank you. And having had the opportunity to listen again to
16 your previous testimony, if you were asked the same questions that you
17 were asked during your testimony in that case would you provide the same
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could Madam Prosecutor speak into the
20 microphone, please.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course I would try to provide
22 the same answers, but there is the problem of time and memory failures.
23 Now you've reminding me of that testimony during the proofing, but I
24 would do my best. I can't provide a different testimony to the one I
1 MS. KRAVETZ:
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I seek to tender the prior transcript
4 of this witness testimony into evidence in the Milutinovic case. We have
5 unredacted version that needs to be tendered under seal. This is
6 65 ter 05185 and the public redacted version is 05185.01.
7 JUDGE PARKER: That will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: 05185, Your Honours, will be assigned P00494
9 under seal. And 65 ter number 05185.01 will be assigned P00495.
10 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I now will proceed to read the
11 summary of this witness evidence.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could Madam Prosecutor speak up, please.
13 MS. KRAVETZ: I'm very sorry. I'm having a problem with my
14 headphones and the sound is going off, and that's why I'm pausing but
15 I'll try to speak up.
16 So I'm going to proceed to read the summary of this witness
18 The witness is a former member of the Skorpions. He describes
19 how in 1999 just before the NATO bombing commenced Slobodan Medic, also
20 known as Boca, told him that he was needed since the old Skorpion Unit
21 would be re-organised or reformed.
22 The witness and around 120 men were deployed to Kosovo as members
23 of the Skorpions. The witness describes how they were issued with
24 equipment, hats, and uniforms which had both a SAJ patch and a Skorpion
1 The witness describes that the Skorpion Unit arrived to the
2 village of Podujevo in Kosovo. He explains how upon arrival members of
3 the Skorpions Unit were involved in the killing of a group of Albanian
5 The unit was later redeployed and sent back to Serbia. The
6 witness explains that the group was recruited again around
7 15th April 1999; and two or three days later, the unit and other members
8 of units of the police were deployed back to Kosovo to the municipality
9 of Suva
10 describes the activities he carried out during his deployment.
11 The witness also speaks about a trial held against one of the
12 members of the Skorpions for the killing of the Albanian civilians in the
13 village of Podujevo.
14 That is the summary of the evidence.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 MS. KRAVETZ:
17 Q. Mr. Stoparic, I now want to turn to your statement. I want to
18 ask you some questions about the events that you described there. In
19 paragraph -- in paragraph 34 of your statement you indicate that in 1999,
20 two or three days prior to the commencement of the NATO bombing, you were
21 visited by Boca and that you were informed that the old Skorpion Unit was
22 being reformed.
23 First of all, who is the person that is referred to as Boca in
24 your statement?
25 A. Boca is Slobodan Medic. That is his nickname is Boca. He's the
1 former commander of the Skorpion Units which existed in the territory of
2 Djeletovci in the former Republic of Serbian Krajina.
3 Do you want me to describe how he came to my house, and how he
4 engaged me?
5 Q. I want to know if -- the reasons he gave you for the
6 reorganisation of the Skorpion Units when he met you in those days in
7 March 1999.
8 A. He said that the KLA, which was for us a terrorist organisation,
9 had intensified its activities, and one could feel in the air that the
10 NATO aggression was forthcoming. I think those were the reasons he gave.
11 Q. And you say in your statement that he told you that you would be
12 attached to the SAJ
13 A. I asked him who we would be acting with, whether we would be
14 attached to the Army of Yugoslavia or to the Ministry of the Interior,
15 and he said that we would be attached to the Ministry of the Interior as
16 a reserve force of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit of Serbia.
17 You asked me what SAJ
18 Special Anti-Terrorist Unit of the MUP of Serbia. I would say the most
19 elite and most highly qualified unit. Each member of this unit is highly
20 qualified. It is the elite unit of the public security. Their
21 active-duty members are active-duty policemen with secondary or higher
22 police education. They have -- undergo rigorous training. And the
23 initial training is a minimum of six months. After that the candidate
24 works in the unit for three years and takes part in actions passively,
25 not actively. It is only after three years that he becomes a
1 full-fledged member of such a unit. That is why I am saying that they
2 were the elite unit of the Ministry of the Interior. And also, they do
3 not admit civilian persons but only members of the MUP can become their
5 Q. And what was your reaction when you heard that you would be --
6 the Skorpions Unit would be reformed and attached to the SAJ?
7 A. I personally felt pride because I considered to have considerable
8 wartime experience, but to take part in an action side by side with some
9 highly qualified people such as the members of the SAJ were, it was an
10 honour even though the job we were preparing for was a dangerous one.
11 Q. And was it regular for -- procedure for persons like yourself to
12 be incorporated into such an elite unit?
13 A. Well, you see, I don't know. It wasn't customary for NATO to
14 bomb us every day. This was an extraordinary situation.
15 Q. Now, were you told who was going to be commanding this -- this
16 Skorpions Unit?
17 A. During his first visit, when Slobodan Medic sounded the alarm and
18 asked us to organise, he didn't say who would be the commander. We knew
19 that he would be our commander. But from the media, I knew that
20 Zivko Trajkovic was the commander of this special unit, and that's all.
21 I didn't know anything more than that regarding the structure of that
22 unit and the commanding members.
23 Q. Now, in your -- in your statement, in paragraph 37 through 39,
24 you described how this unit was organised, and you say that on
25 24th March, approximately 120 volunteers and yourself were -- travelled
1 in buses to Boca's house in Novi Sad
2 at Boca's house you were joined by Boca, his brother Dragan, and other
4 Do you recall approximately how many volunteers joined your unit
5 in Novi Sad
6 A. The majority of volunteers met around the fire brigade centre in
7 Sid, and to the best of my recollection there were three buses parked
8 there. So we filled one bus, and some men got into the second bus. Then
9 we moved on to Novi Sad
10 Mr. Medic's address, and there another 20 or 30 witnesses -- I beg your
11 pardon. It's obviously the testimony that is putting a strain on me.
12 Another 20 or 30 volunteers; and Milan Milanovic Mrgud; and a driver, an
13 associate of his, were there. And from there we drove on to the town of
14 Ruma. We were expecting some more reinforcements there, so we filled two
15 buses, and one bus was turn back because it was empty, and these two
16 buses headed towards Belgrade
17 Q. So in total how many men approximately were in this unit by the
18 time that you headed to Belgrade
19 A. I don't know the exact number, but not less than 120. I'm sorry,
20 because after all that is the capacity of two buses, about a hundred and
21 twenty men.
22 Q. Now, you say in your statement that when you were heading from
23 Novi Sad
24 Mrgud. Could you tell us what is the full name of this person that you
25 describe as Mrgud in your statement?
1 A. I've already told you. It's Milan Milanovic, known as Mrgud. I
2 knew him from before. He was in the ministry of defence of the so-called
3 republic of Serbian Krajina. So before the peaceful reintegration and
4 the Erdut Agreement. After that Erdut Agreement I didn't know where he
5 was nor where he was living. I saw them then, and he went with us as far
6 as Prolom Banja.
7 Before Kosovo, he would also escort us to other locations, so I
8 knew him well.
9 Q. When you say before Kosovo he had escorted you to other
10 locations, which locations are you referring to that he had escorted you
12 A. Well, he was always -- there is an escort when we went out into
13 the field, that is to say, when we were taking our troops out of a
14 permanent base and we were going to a different area. To the theatre of
15 war he accompanied us in organised transportation to Velika Kladusa
16 before that, Bihac, and afterwards, Trnovo.
17 Q. And do you know why it was that he would escort you each time you
18 were deployed to each one of these locations?
19 A. Well, before the Erdut Agreement, I thought it was right for him
20 to accompany us. After all, he was a certain -- who held a certain post
21 at the ministry of defence of the Republic of the Serb Krajina. As for
22 the last thing in Kosovo, the Republic of the Serb Krajina no longer
23 existed and that ministry as such. So I really don't know what his
24 function was and how come he escorted us to Kosovo as well. I cannot
25 say. I can just wonder a bit. He probably held some kind of post in the
1 then-Serbia too.
2 Q. Now, you say in your statement at paragraph 41 that when you
3 arrived to a field outside of Belgrade
4 weapons; and you say that your uniform had both a SAJ patch insignia and
5 a Skorpion patch. Was this the regular type of uniform worn by members
6 of the SAJ
7 A. Well, I mean I cannot say exactly, but it was somewhere near
8 Bubanj Potok. The reason why, this was outside some kind of
9 infrastructural premises was the NATO bombing. That is to say, boxes
10 were taken out into some kind of a meadow or whatever and that's where we
11 got our uniforms, complete uniforms, that is.
12 On the caps there were insignia of the MUP of Serbia, the
13 tricolour flag, the Serbian flag. Srdjan Manojlovic distributed Skorpion
14 insignia to us. If he didn't have enough SAJ insignia for all of them --
15 well, very few people had such insignia. Probably he's the one who gave
16 them to them. But everybody had a Serbian tricolour and Skorpion
17 insignia. And a few had SAJ
18 Q. And was this the regular uniform of the SAJ, a uniform with both
19 a Skorpion's insignia and a SAJ
20 A. No, no. I don't understand what regular SAJ uniform would be.
21 The SAJ
22 that was along the NATO pattern. I assumed that it was our factory
23 Mile Dragic that manufactured them. Never mind. But it is according to
24 the NATO pattern.
25 Q. That I understand. I'm just asking about the patches. Do other
1 members of the SAJ
2 uniforms with a Skorpion's patch on one arm and a SAJ patch on the other?
3 That's what I'm asking about. Or was that specific for your unit?
4 A. No, that's impossible. The Skorpions were something different,
5 and the SAJ
6 regulated by state regulations. The Skorpions I very much doubt that the
7 state regulated their insignia. However, I don't have any proof for or
8 against. At any rate, SAJ
10 Q. Now, when you were speaking about the distribution of insignias,
11 you referred to a man by the name Srdjan Manojlovic. Could you tell us
12 who that person is?
13 A. Srdjan Manojlovic was a member of the Skorpions earlier on, too.
14 He was the number two man in the Skorpions, in the preceding period, that
15 is. He was the deputy commander, Medic's deputy; although later Medic
16 appointed another man as deputy but regardless of that, the true function
17 of deputy was carry out by Srdjan Manojlovic. Quite simply, he was a
18 trained officer, commissioned or non-commissioned, of the Yugoslav Army,
19 but at any rate he was an active-duty officer in the Yugoslav Army up
20 until 1992 or 1993, and then he left the Yugoslav People's Army and
21 transferred to the Skorpions. That is to say that he was a man who had
22 all the necessary education for that kind of job.
23 Q. Thank you. In your statement, in paragraph 44, you describe how
24 you later travelled to Prolom Banja, to a spa there, and you indicate in
25 paragraph 45 that there were several recruit volunteers with no combat
1 experience and that you gave them a quick training in 24 hours. Was this
2 the only training that was provided to these volunteers with no combat
3 experience, this training that you provided in 24 hours?
4 A. Well, I wouldn't put it that way. Fifty per cent had no combat
5 experience whatsoever in the previous periods. I'm actually referring to
6 the front in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. So I was surprised too. I
7 noticed that many did not even know how to deconcer [phoen] their
8 personal weapons. I said that to the commander and then he told me that
9 together with a few other men I should carry out some short training,
10 whatever, just to teach some people how to use an automatic rifle, how it
11 is cleaned. And I tried to tell them how they should go through that
12 terrain, Kosovo, and survive nevertheless.
13 Yes, I also wondered, too, how come we had so many outsiders as
14 it were.
15 Q. You had described earlier when I asked you about the SAJ you had
16 said it was an elite unit and now you're telling me that about 50 per
17 cent of the volunteers had no combat experience. Was it a regular
18 procedure for such an elite unit to accept or admit such a high number of
19 volunteers with no previous combat experience or training?
20 A. You see, specialists from the SAJ in peacetime have no need for a
21 reserve force. That is to say that these were extraordinary
23 I don't know. We, the Skorpions, or the unit that was called the
24 Skorpions, perhaps during our stay in Kosovo they could have reassigned
25 us -- reassigned us to a reserve unit of the PJP or whatever. Now, why
1 were we attached? Well, we were not actually members of the SAJ. We
2 were just a reserve force. The chiefs could have probably transferred us
3 from one unit to another, but I don't know that. I'm just assuming that.
4 We were in the SAJ
5 the members of the SAJ
6 people there. Maybe Medic had fooled them or tried to fool them, but I'm
7 just guessing now. I don't know.
8 Q. Now, in your statement you described an incident that took place
9 once you were deployed to Kosovo, to Podujevo, and I would like to bring
10 up at this stage 65 ter 02229. And while that is being brought up, I --
11 we were speaking about the training received and you -- you explained how
12 they -- you gave them some quick training in these 24 hours. Was any
13 training given to these volunteers at Prolom Banja on how to treat
14 civilians that they may encounter during their activities?
15 A. Well, you see, I personally underwent such training. Twice, as a
16 matter of fact. Once in 1987 in Pristina when I did my military service
17 in the Yugoslav People's Army. The Geneva Conventions and the
18 laws and customs of war, that is something that all soldiers are taught.
19 The other time was on Mount Tara
20 training at the Omorica Hotel. I personally did not give instructions to
21 anyone, and no one issued that kind of an order that these other
22 soldiers, these outsiders, be given this kind of training. So quite
23 simply, no, no, we didn't.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, in your statement you describe an incident that
25 occurred --
1 MS. KRAVETZ: Yes, it's no problem.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
3 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] It's not an objection,
4 Your Honour. I just wanted to ask something. I was listening to the
5 Milutinovic transcript, and I know that in relation to these names here
6 there were some numbers, and I wanted to ask whether we are talking in
7 terms of numbers or in terms of names. Let us agree on that in advance.
8 We're in open session, I mean.
9 MS. KRAVETZ: I understand the point my learned colleague is
10 making. I was just going to get to that and ask the witness about that.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
12 MS. KRAVETZ:
13 Q. Witness, do you recognise the document that is up before you on
14 your screen?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you tell us what this is?
17 A. This is me trying to sketch the place where this unfortunate
18 incident occurred in Podujevo.
19 Q. On this document you've written down a number of names. When you
20 testified before in the Milutinovic case and also attached to your
21 statement is a redacted version of this same document without the names.
22 Could you explain why when at the time when you testified in the
23 Milutinovic case you had a problem with making public the names that are
24 indicated on this document that you have prepared?
25 A. If you're asking me about the time when I testified in the trial
1 of Milan Milutinovic and others, then I insisted that the names not be
2 mentioned in public session for a simple reason. These men were free at
3 the time, they were at liberty, and it wasn't right for me to disclose
4 their names in The Hague
5 bad could have happened to me, to my nearest and dearest, my family.
6 At this point in time, these persons have been prosecuted. The
7 Serbian police and the prosecutor's office have done their job, and right
8 now they're being tried for this crime. I don't see why we should use
9 any kind of codes now. I think we can use their names.
10 Q. Thank you for that. I think that response to my learned
11 colleague's concern.
12 MS. KRAVETZ: Now if we could zoom in a bit on this -- this
13 sketch here.
14 Q. In your statement, and this is at paragraph 50, you indicate that
15 once upon arrival to Podujevo you and your colleague Milovan Tomic went
16 off to find a suitable house for your accommodation. Have you drawn this
17 house here on the sketch that we have before us?
18 A. Could you give me a pointer or something? I did mark this.
19 Would you like me to indicate things?
20 Q. Yes. You can indicate with the pen that is being handed to you.
21 So if you could mark the house where you said you and your colleague
22 found -- or intended to use as accommodation?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You need to draw. The pen that you have in your hand, it's like
25 a regular pen, so you need to draw on the screen.
1 MS. KRAVETZ: With the usher could kindly assess the witness and
2 show him how this works.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During my very short stay in that
4 street in Podujevo, and I'll mark the houses that I managed to enter.
5 I'll use numbers 1, 2, 3. Is that all right?
6 MS. KRAVETZ:
7 Q. That is fine. So first the house that you and your colleague
8 intended to use as accommodation. If you mark that with a 1.
9 A. My platoon had planned to use this house, number 1, or this
10 house, number 2. We were also thinking about which one of the two we
11 should use.
12 Q. Now, you say in your statement that you saw in a courtyard a
13 group -- a number of the Skorpions bringing a group of Albanian civilians
14 at gunpoint. Could you draw a circle around -- if the courtyard is
15 visible here on the sketch, could you draw a circle around where this
16 courtyard is located?
17 A. I can. The group of Albanian civilians escorted not only by the
18 Skorpions and by other men, too, I wasn't paying attention, it was
19 brought from here.
20 Q. And where would be the location of the courtyard where you saw
21 them for the first time?
22 A. When I first saw them, I was at the entrance door of this house.
23 Q. You say in your statement, and this is at paragraph 52, that you
24 saw some members of the Skorpions searching these -- these civilians and
25 that you decided to stop them from the searching. Why did you decide to
1 stop them from searching the civilians?
2 A. It wasn't only my decision, it was Milovan Tomic's and my own
3 with the support of yet another man and I've forgotten his name, namely
4 that these women should not be searched. It is embarrassing to search
5 women. It's usually women who search women. And I saw that there were a
6 lot of young children there. Simply I thought that it would be best to
7 take them out into the street then.
8 Q. Were there any men in this group of civilians or was it only
9 women and children?
10 A. No, there was a man, too, an older man. I cannot tell how old he
11 was but say between the age of 50 and 70. It is really hard for me to
12 tell. I can remember what he looked like. He had the traditional white
13 cap that Albanians from Kosovo wear. He was the only man that I saw
15 Q. Just before we move on, you have marked a series of As on your
16 sketch. What does each A represent? What do they stand for, the As on
17 the sketch?
18 A. Well, you know, I'm not much of an expert. It's not that I could
19 do an excellent drawing. With the letter A I wanted to show that all of
20 these were residential buildings, houses.
21 Q. Okay. Now, you were telling us that you stopped this -- the --
22 the member of the Skorpion from searching the civilians, and in your
23 statement you indicated that you decided to take the group of civilians
24 outside to the street. Do we see this street where you took this group
25 to here on this sketch, and if you could indicate the direction in which
1 the civilians were taken.
2 A. The civilians were taken out of this yard in this way.
3 Q. Now you've drawn a series of blue and green dots there on -- on
4 the street. What do the blue dots stand for that you've drawn there?
5 A. Well, the blue dots are the police. They had some kind of blue
6 camouflage uniforms. The green dots are men in uniforms who had
7 NATO-patterned uniforms. That could have been us, the Skorpions, members
8 of the SAJ
9 time, I only distinguished between two types of uniforms in that street.
10 Without going into a discussion regarding the emblems on the uniforms,
11 I'm just talking about what the uniforms looked like and what camouflage
12 colour they were.
13 Q. Thank you. You have also drawn an X below where your arrow ends.
14 It's also an X, and you've drawn an arrow that indicates 35 to 40 metres.
15 Can you explain what that depicts, that red X that you've drawn and the
16 line of 35 to 40 metres?
17 A. The line that was drawn 30 to 40 metres, well, that's what it
18 seemed like to me, the distance between me and the location where the X
19 is. The X represents the place where this man, this Albanian man, this
20 civilian, was separated from the group of women and children.
21 Although, you asked me this a bit too early. We should have said
22 before that that we had let the women and children go in this direction,
23 towards the corner of the street, because we had assumed that the command
24 was there, people who were high-ranking officers, and they probably knew
25 how they would treat them, because we could not leave them to sleep with
1 us. So the X is a place where the man was separated from that group and
2 was taken into some kind of catering facility that was there.
3 Q. And can you explain what happened to the group of women and
4 children once they were out on the street, if you recall?
5 A. Yes. Well, they walked in the direction that we had indicated to
6 them. They -- well, I mean, from my point of view they got close to the
7 place where the man had been, and then out of this group of policemen in
8 the street one man said, "Why did you take that out into the street?
9 Take that back into the yard." And then he said very loud, "Tomorrow
10 when --" he didn't explain very much. He said, "Don't take that out into
11 the street. Take that back into the yard."
12 The women heard that - I assume that they knew Serbian - and
13 they turned around themselves and walked back the same way. They went
14 through the yard. Tomic and I and another man or two were there at the
15 entrance into that yard, and then there's this passageway, this
16 passageway here. It is very special. In Srem we call this an unfor
17 [phoen] passageway, so it looks like a tunnel because it is sealed off on
18 all sides. So the women --
19 Q. [Overlapping speakers] if I can just stop you there, so we can
20 understand the sequence of events. So you said that the women and
21 children walked in the direction where you've marked the X and the man
22 was separated from the group. What happened to the man who was separated
23 from the group? If you know.
24 A. The interpreter said men in the plural. There was just one man.
25 This man was killed. He was killed with a machine-gun. I think it was
1 an M-84. I did not see the killing, I just heard the burst of gun-fire,
2 because he was not killed out in the street. He was killed indoors. But
3 other members of my unit said that he was killed by some policeman from
4 this heavy weapon.
5 Q. Now, you told us that the women and children were sent back
6 into -- in the direction where they came. Where were you when the women
7 and children were sent back into the courtyard? If you can mark that
8 with a 3 on the -- on the sketch.
9 A. I can, but I think it would be better to give me a new drawing so
10 that it wouldn't be confusing. I didn't mark anything with a number 1 or
11 2 so that you would know what this is all about. Or if you want to, I
12 can use this same sketch. It's no problem for me. So would you like me
13 to mark this one?
14 Q. Yeah, just mark this one. If you want, you can draw a circle of
15 where you were when the women were sent back into -- in the direction
16 where they came from, back into the courtyard.
17 A. So the women and children returned from here in this direction.
18 I'll mark it this way. And I was standing here.
19 MS. KRAVETZ: Just for the clarity of the transcript, the witness
20 has drawn a broken line to indicate the direction in which the women and
21 children returned into the courtyard and he has drawn a circle right
22 above to the left of the number 1 that he had drawn earlier on the
24 JUDGE PARKER: There is an X in red toward the lower edge. What
25 does that signify?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see it now. This should be
2 lowered or taken up or down, I don't know. Are you perhaps referring to
3 this X?
4 JUDGE PARKER: That is the X, yes.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Oh. That's the place that I tried
6 to explain where the man was separated from the women. The man did not
7 go back with them.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
9 MS. KRAVETZ:
10 Q. Now, Mr. Stoparic, could you describe to the Court what happened
11 when the women and children were taken back into the courtyard.
12 A. No. No. They went back on their own. No one escorted them.
13 People stood in the street, but no one was escorting them, and no one
14 walked after them.
15 I'll try to draw it here now. I was there with Milan
16 Tomic and -- Tomic Milovan, and I decided that we would not spend the
17 night in house number 2, rather, we tried to look for a house on this
18 side of the street. We were watching this and wondering what would be
19 good for us. The women passed by us, and they went through this corridor
20 that looks like a tunnel, as I've already explained to you, and they went
21 to this location here.
22 After a minute or a minute and a half, me and Tomic and a few
23 other soldiers were standing here. I can't remember their names. I've
24 forgotten them. I think one of them was Nebojsa Zekic, but I'm not
25 absolutely certain.
1 A minute later, when those women had passed and we -- they were
2 no longer in our scope of vision, we heard bursts of fire from several
3 automatic rifles in an irregular manner, which means that they didn't
4 start firing at the same time. I grant that a maximum of five automatic
5 rifles took part in this, and I also believe that each of those automatic
6 rifles fired a minimum of 25 shots, and I can claim this on the basis of
7 my early experience from the battle-front, and I know how long it takes
8 for an automatic rifle to empty all its bullets.
9 Shall I describe the whole event to the end? As soon as I heard
10 the shooting, my reflex was to run from this position towards this one.
11 Q. Before you continue, I'm just going to clarify the transcript so
12 we know what the markings are. Number 3, 4, and 5 are -- are the
13 locations that the witness indicated were the houses where they went to
14 search with his colleague Tomic as an alternative accommodation to house
15 number 2. The circle under number -- around red dots above house
16 number 2 indicates the location where the civilians were in when they
17 returned to the courtyard. I wonder, Your Honours, if we could admit
18 this into evidence and move on to a clean copy so we can have the
19 witness indicate the rest of the incident.
20 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Markings made on 65 ter 02229, Your Honours, will
22 be P00496.
23 MS. KRAVETZ: If we can now have a clean copy of this same
25 Q. Now, Witness, you were telling us that you had returned -- that
1 you heard the shooting. And can you indicate where you went once you
2 heard the shooting? If you could draw that on -- you were doing that in
3 the earlier sketch before I interrupted you.
4 A. I'll do that. At the time of the shooting, unconsciously I knew
5 that the shooting had not come from the KLA towards us, so I ran. I
6 never thought about anything while I was running. This is about 6 or 7
7 metres away. And I ran in this direction, and this is where I wanted to
8 go. However, about here I was caught up by my friend Milovan Tomic who
9 caught me by the arm and said, "Stand there, you fool. Don't get blood
10 on your hands."
11 When the shooting calmed down entirely, I managed to peep round
12 the corner.
13 Q. Could you please put a 1 where your colleague stopped you and a
14 number 2 where you eventually stopped.
15 A. This is where my colleague stopped me, and after the shooting, I
16 managed to get this far. With him, not just myself. The two of us.
17 Q. Do you recall approximately how much time went by before --
18 between the time that you heard the shooting and you got to the point
19 that you've marked on the sketch as number 2? Just approximately.
20 A. It is rather hard to be precise now. A minute, maybe a few
21 seconds longer. That is what I think. Let's say a maximum of 70
22 seconds. That is what I believe. Plus this brief conversation here at
23 the position number 1 when -- when he told me, "Stop there." I think it
24 was a maximum of 70 seconds, but in the meantime the shooting had already
25 ceased. The shooting didn't last long either.
1 Q. Can you describe for the Court what you saw when you got to
2 position number -- that you've marked number 2 on the sketch? What did
3 you see?
4 A. You see, I would say that it took a maximum of 30 seconds while I
5 was watching the location of this tragedy, because already by then all
6 the men, the policemen and Skorpions, tried to evacuate from that
7 courtyard. They were leaving. I'm not saying the men who took part in
8 the execution, but other men saw that something had happened that
9 shouldn't have happened; and everyone tried to get away from this, some
10 of them taking this direction, others taking this direction. So that the
11 last that I can remember of those 20 seconds was the picture that I saw
12 here and that I have tried to depict for you.
13 Q. And can you explain what it is that you saw? You can do so by
14 using the sketch. I see you have drawn a number 1. What does this stand
15 for, the number 1?
16 A. Number 1 represents a member of the Skorpions. I drew this a
17 long time ago, but I can't see the legend, but I'll try and recall the
18 order of the men. If I make a mistake, it's only because of memory loss.
19 I think number 1 depicts Dragan Medic. Number 2, I think, was
20 Borojevic. Number 3 could be Demirovic. No, Demirovic was number 4; he
21 was the last one I saw, and I couldn't see him very well. Number 6, I
22 think, was young Zicko [phoen], but I'm not sure. Number 5 should be a
23 policeman who couldn't have taken part in the execution because he was
24 behind the back of these others. So I don't know exactly.
25 Now, I can't remember exactly. I drew this several years ago
1 when my memory was fresh, but it's always possible for me to have been
2 mistaken. Number -- I may have mixed the order. Number 2 may have been
3 number 3 and vice versa.
4 Q. And in addition to seeing these members of your unit there, what
5 else did you see was happening in the courtyard?
6 A. After -- after the shooting or before the shooting? What else I
8 Q. When you arrived there, what -- what was it that you saw? You
9 referred to it as a tragedy that you saw for 30 minutes -- 30 seconds.
10 What exactly did you see?
11 A. I saw - I don't know how to put it - a pile of people, and I
12 realised immediately that they were those same women and children. I
13 couldn't see whether anyone was alive nor whether any of the soldiers was
14 trying to shoot them again. The term we use is "certify." I didn't see
15 that. To make sure they were dead.
16 Q. In paragraph 56 you say that when the shooting cease -- the
17 shooting had just ceased and you saw a person by the name of Sasa Cvetan.
18 Is this person also indicated here in your sketch?
19 A. I must have. You're giving me my own drawing, and I don't see
20 the legend that I myself wrote. Yes, Sasa Cvetan is there. Now, whether
21 he is number 1 or number 2, I can't tell. When you were proofing me two
22 days ago for this testimony, I didn't learn this sketch by heart to be
23 able to tell you now. Yes, Sasa Cvetan was there, Dragan Medic was
24 there. Borojevic Dragan was there. Now, what's his name, this other
25 guy. I'm a bit confused now. Now, what was his name? Dejan Demirovic.
1 Yes. So there were several men there. In my mind and judging by all I
2 know, I'm confident that the four of them carried out the execution, no
3 others than they.
4 Q. And why do you say that you're confident that the four of them
5 carried out the execution?
6 A. You see, Madam Prosecutor, after the Kumanovo Agreement, I'm
7 confident on the basis of what I saw and what I learnt about the unit
8 later. Our security services knew this as well, because after the
9 Kumanovo Agreement, Sasa Cvetan was arrested and then Demirovic was
10 arrested. I think they were arrested by the state security. They spent
11 10 or 20 days in detention, they were released whether it was to defend
12 themselves at liberty. In any case, a trial was started. Cvetan Sasa
13 was convicted, and Demirovic fled to Canada
14 confident did the shooting, their names were known by our own security
15 services; and they were taken to court.
16 As for the others, they were also indicted, but now there's a
17 trial ongoing called Podujevo 2. They have charged an absolutely
18 innocent man apart from these that I consider to be the murderers.
19 It's not just my opinion that they killed those civilians, but
20 the police also discovered this much later.
21 I have to tell you that I took part twice in the trial of
22 Sasa Cvetan. Once it was in the south of Serbia. I lied then.
23 Q. Mr. --
24 A. And then I testified in Belgrade
25 had actually happened.
1 Q. I have further questions for you in relation to this incident and
2 what you have just described. Unfortunately, we've run out of time
4 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, if we could tender this exhibit, the
5 drawing that has been marked.
6 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
7 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00497, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE PARKER: We -- as the Prosecutor has indicated, we have
9 reached the time where we need to adjourn for the evening. We continue
10 tomorrow morning at 9.00. The court officer will show you out after we
11 leave and will give you assistance about your presence here tomorrow
12 morning. We must ask that you return tomorrow to complete your evidence.
13 Over the break overnight, you should not speak to any person
14 about the evidence that you are giving.
15 We adjourn to resume at 9.00 in the morning.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.
17 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 26th day
18 of March, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.