1 Tuesday, 26 May, 1998
2 (In open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
5 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. I would like
6 to ask the Registrar to call out the case number,
8 THE REGISTRAR: It is case number
9 IT-95-13a-T, the Prosecutor versus Dokmanovic.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Dokmanovic,
11 can you hear me well? Thank you.
12 As usual, we will do without the appearances,
13 so we can start.
14 [For the Prosecution: Mr. Niemann, Mr. Williamson,
15 Mr. Waespi
16 For the Defence: Mr. Fila, Mr. Petrovic]
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Before we start, Mr. Fila,
18 may I ask you to do me a favour, a favour to all of
19 us? To be careful and ask the witnesses to try to
20 refrain from mentioning names of protected witnesses.
21 Yesterday, you kindly drew my attention, our attention,
22 to the fact that one witness had mentioned the name of
23 a protected witness, so we had to redact the
25 MR. FILA: Your Honour, let's see where the
1 problem lies. I did not tell those individuals what
2 Witness Q's name is, so if I say not to mention the
3 witness's name, then I have uncovered the witness's
4 identity. Do you see where the problem lies? And if
5 you have a better solution, I will very readily adhere
6 to it, but if I tell him, "Don't tell us the name
7 because it is Witness Q," then that's a difficulty. It
8 is easier for him to say the name and then we can wipe
9 it out, if you agree.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. But in that case, we
11 can redact the name on the transcript. However, since
12 we are working in this small courtroom and since there
13 is no means of delaying the broadcast of the tape which
14 is being taken, therefore, the public in the public
15 gallery or downstairs, they will hear the name. So
16 therefore, we must go out of our way to make sure that
17 protected witnesses' names are not mentioned.
18 I wonder whether Mr. Niemann has a better
19 idea or any suggestion, a practical suggestion?
20 MR. NIEMANN: It might assist, Your Honour,
21 if a mistake happens, rather than mentioning it in open
22 court, to go into private session and then describe
23 what's happened, because often, if something happens
24 like that, it's not so much a problem -- well, it is a
25 problem with it being mentioned -- but that can be
1 exacerbated by discussing it in open court. So if we
2 could immediately go into private session, at some
3 stage go into private session, resolve the matter as
4 best we can, and then come out of private session, I
5 think that would be a better approach to the matter.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Good. Thank
7 you. That is a good suggestion.
8 All right. So we may start with the first
9 witness. Mr. Fila?
10 MR. PETROVIC: Our first witness is Paja
11 Nedic. Can you hear me?
12 WITNESS: PAJA NEDIC
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Mr. Nedic, could you
14 please stand and make the solemn declaration?
15 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
20 Examined by Mr. Petrovic
21 Q. Mr. Nedic, did you, on the 16th of September,
22 1997, make a statement to the investigator on the
23 Defence team, and is that the statement that we're
24 going to show you now?
25 May we have the statement shown here in the
1 courtroom as well, please, and sent to the Prosecutor?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. Is it your signature on the statement?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 MR. PETROVIC: If there are no objections,
6 then I tender the statement as D108.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. There is no
8 objection from the Prosecution, so it's D108.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Just one moment, please. It
10 is D109 and D109A.
11 MR. PETROVIC:
12 Q. Mr. Nedic, did you graduate from the machine
13 engineering faculty?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Where and when?
16 A. I graduated in Belgrade in 1980.
17 Q. Can you tell us, in the course of your
18 working career, where you were employed?
19 A. The most part of my career I spent in Bor
20 (phoen), and this was from when I started up to the
21 rank of director of production line in the Bor factory.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The Borovo, I'm sorry, the
23 Borovo factory, yes.
24 MR. PETROVIC:
25 Q. Can you tell us what the Borovo plant
2 A. For the Vukovar region, the Borovo concern
3 was a basic enterprise which employed 75 percent of the
4 working population, which was the social product as
5 well. In the best years of that time, the profits were
6 highest in the Borovo plant, and Borovo was well-known
7 in Europe and the world for producing footwear and for
8 rubber and technical goods and pneumatics.
9 Q. Until what time did you perform your job in
10 the Borovo plant?
11 A. The last day was the 29th of April, 1991. I
12 worked there until that date.
13 Q. Why was that your last day at Borovo?
14 A. The day before the events that occurred on
15 the 2nd of May in Borovo Selo, and after that, I had a
16 series of informations given to me that I would not be
17 able to go to Borovo and that I must not appear there
18 because at that time unidentified individuals, as they
19 said, could take me away from Borovo.
20 Q. Were you a member of the government of the
21 Serbian district of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western
23 A. Yes, I was. I was a member of the
25 Q. When were you elected to that function?
1 A. I was elected on the 25th of September, 1991,
2 in Beli Manastir, at the assembly that was held there.
3 Q. Was Slavko Dokmanovic a member of that
5 A. Yes, he was. At that assembly, the
6 government was elected at the proposal of the mandater,
7 and in addition to myself, Slavko Dokmanovic's name was
8 put forward, and with lesser or greater problems, he
9 was elected Minister of Agriculture.
10 Q. What were the problems that took place? Who
11 made some problems as to the election of Slavko
13 A. Well, Slavko Dokmanovic's election was
14 attendant with problems. First of all, there were
15 individual members, delegates of the assembly, who,
16 because of Dokmanovic's previous work in the Municipal
17 Assembly of Vukovar, did not agree with the way in
18 which he worked. They considered that he was one of
19 the people to blame for the position of the Serbian
20 people on that territory.
21 Q. What was he criticised for in concrete terms;
22 do you know?
23 A. Well, he was criticised because he made
24 compromises, first of all with the HDZ, which was one
25 of the parties in the Municipal Assembly of Vukovar,
1 and also for his cooperation with the organs of the
2 Croatian State.
3 Q. Since when have you known Slavko Dokmanovic
5 A. I got to know Slavko Dokmanovic in primary
6 school. We're of the same age, we went to the same
7 primary school, and we went to the same secondary
8 school in part at the same time, and so we attended
9 various village festivities, marriages, sports events.
10 And later on in life, we met frequently. We met
11 frequently at various events and for various reasons.
12 Q. Can you please tell us something now about
13 the functioning of the so-called government of the
14 Serbian district of Baranja and Western Srem?
15 A. Well, the government of the Serbian district
16 after the elections, in fact, found itself in a
17 situation where it had none of the insignias of
18 function, of parent authority. That is to say, it had
19 no way of using force or the resources it needed, the
20 instruments it needed, in order to function. So it had
21 to make do with what it had at its disposal. There was
22 no electricity at the time, water, no telephone
23 communications. We did not have anywhere to stay, and,
24 in fact, we had to look for chairs to sit on.
25 Some of us found some empty rooms in Erdut
1 which were in a very poor condition and, as I say, we
2 had to bring in chairs quite literally, chairs and
3 tables, and we remained there provisionally, trying to
4 organise what we could under the conditions that
5 prevailed in those days.
6 Q. Is it true to say that the government
7 partially wanted to establish effective rule in the
8 northern parts of the Serbian district around the Erdut
9 region and that it had no contacts or competences south
10 of the City of Vukovar?
11 A. Yes, that is correct, because between Vukovar
12 and Osijek, the territory was in the Serbian villages,
13 we were able to pass through it, and we were not able
14 to go to the eastern part and southern part, south of
15 Vukovar. It was 150 kilometres of road passing through
17 Q. Which means that there were no territorial
18 links between the northern sections of the Serbian
19 district around Erdut and the part south of the town of
21 A. That's right. We could not pass through that
22 route on the 25th of November, that is, 1991, of
24 Q. How frequently, as a member of the
25 government, did you meet Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic?
1 A. Well, we had occasion to meet after the 25th
2 of September occasionally in Erdut at joint -- in the
3 rooms which we both used, the halls, and we tried to
4 renovate them to find the chairs and tables and
5 inventory that we needed to function, we tried to
6 introduce a telephone and to have the basics, the bare
7 essentials for us to be able to function. That is
8 where we met, usually in the morning hours.
9 We would comment on the events of the day and
10 we would try to do something to take action, but this
11 was always very difficult because of the prevailing
13 Q. Did you perhaps notice what Slavko Dokmanovic
14 was wearing most often in those days?
15 A. Well, yes, I do, because Slavko was most
16 often wearing a sort of greenish uniform, the hunting
17 type, and part of this clothing was intended for
18 hunters. It was the kind of clothing that hunters wore
19 when they went hunting.
20 Q. If we were to show you that uniform now,
21 could you recognise it, do you think?
22 A. I think I could, yes.
23 MR. PETROVIC: Would you show the witness
24 Exhibit D48, please?
25 A. Yes, I think that is the clothing.
1 Q. Have a look at it. Take it out and tell us
2 whether that is the clothing worn by him.
3 A. Yes, that is the uniform. Whether it was
4 this one -- it was like that, yes.
5 Q. Is it a hunting uniform, the vest, or is it a
6 military uniform?
7 A. No, this is a hunting uniform. You see, this
8 is intended for the shells, the bullets.
9 Q. Could you turn this around for the camera to
10 see and for the Chamber to see?
11 A. The cartridges go in there, for example, and
12 this is for a hunting rifle.
13 Q. Thank you. On the 19th of November, were you
14 present at the government meeting held in Erdut?
15 A. Yes, I was. I was present.
16 Q. Was Slavko Dokmanovic present at the meeting?
17 A. Yes, he was.
18 THE INTERPRETER: We lost that, I'm sorry.
19 A. Why I --
20 Q. Could you repeat that, please? Could you
21 repeat the answer to the question whether
22 Mr. Dokmanovic was present?
23 A. Yes, he was. He was present at the meeting,
24 and there was a characteristic event which helps me
25 remember that I saw him there and that we talked before
1 the meeting and at the meeting itself.
2 Q. What was that event; could you tell us?
3 A. Well, one of our colleagues --
4 THE INTERPRETER: We lost that.
5 A. -- who was -- who lost his grandparents --
6 Q. Once again, please, could you --
7 A. I remember the event because one of our
8 colleagues had lost his grandparents, that is to say,
9 the parents of his wife, his in-laws, they were elderly
10 people, and we talked to him about that event. He was
11 in a very difficult situation having lost two people he
12 liked, so I remember that particular meeting.
13 MR. PETROVIC: I should like to show the
14 witness D53, Exhibit D53.
15 Q. And would you please tell us what it is?
16 MR. BOS: I do not have Exhibit D63 with me.
17 MR. PETROVIC: D53, D53.
18 Q. Mr. Nedic, what is that document?
19 A. It is the minutes from the meeting of the
20 government meeting, number 17, of the Serbian district.
21 Q. Is that the minutes of the meeting that we're
22 talking about, that is the one held on the 19th of
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. Would you look at page 2 of the minutes,
1 point 5, and would you read it out and explain what it
2 is all about?
3 A. "That the Serbian district be placed above
4 the units of the JNA on its territory."
5 I think that this formulation in point 5 is
6 not adequate and has not been well-expressed and
7 introduced into the text --
8 Q. Could you repeat what you have just said from
9 the beginning, please? Your comment of point 5.
10 A. My comment of point 5 is that this is an
11 inadequate formulation of what is meant, and from this
12 we can see that we are asking to be above the --
13 superior to the units of the JNA.
14 Q. That means did you ask for something that you
15 did not have at that particular time?
16 A. Yes. But I don't think that we asked to
17 supersede the JNA units at that time either. What we
18 wanted was that after the liberation of certain
19 localities to establish civilian rule, civilian power
20 and authority, and I don't think that the text reflects
21 our ideas. I think that Mr. Jovan Pejakovic, who wrote
22 the minutes, did not express this adequately.
23 Q. Does that mean that in the places that were
24 liberated there was no civilian rule and that it was
25 under the control of the government of the Serbian
2 A. Well, it was not under the control of the
3 Serbian government district, it was a war zone, a war
4 locality, and it was, in fact, the JNA who held power
5 over that territory.
6 Q. And when were the first organs of civilian
7 power and authority established on the liberated
9 A. Only after the liberation of Vukovar, when it
10 was possible for the council of Vukovar --
11 Q. Repeat that, please. We lost you.
12 A. Only when -- only after the liberation of
13 Vukovar when the executive board was established,
14 executive council was established for Vukovar. Only at
15 that point was this established in other parts.
16 Q. So until the liberation of the town and the
17 election of the executive council, what way was the
18 town of Vukovar administered and the Vukovar
20 A. Well, the town of Vukovar was at the time
21 under the control of the Yugoslav People's Army in
22 practical terms, and the government did not have any
23 power and authority over the town and the
24 administration of the town.
25 Q. Do you know when the executive council of the
1 Municipality of Vukovar was formed and when it began to
2 function in practical terms?
3 A. Well, it was proposed and elected at a
4 government meeting, I think it was on the 28th of
5 November, 1991. But when it began to function in
6 practical terms, perhaps 15 days later, perhaps 30 days
7 later, I'm not quite sure. But the ten individuals who
8 were proposed for the executive council had a lot of
9 problems to contend with, and they were not able to
10 establish civilian rule. This took some time.
11 Q. May we now go back to the minutes that you
12 have in front of you? And on page 2, the last
13 paragraph notes that the members of the government
14 will, on the following day, have a meeting.
15 Could you read out what it says and explain
16 to us what it says?
17 A. "Goran Hadzic, the Prime Minister, informs
18 the members of the government that due to the situation
19 in Vukovar, it is necessary for the government members
20 to be on Wednesday, the 20th of November, 1991 --"
21 THE INTERPRETER: We lost the name of where.
22 A. "-- and for Friday, on the 22nd of November,
23 1991, a meeting, government meeting, was convened in
24 Beli Manastir at 9.00."
25 Q. Could you please explain the difference
1 between convening the meeting for Friday and the
2 government members gathering on the 20th in Vukovar?
3 Was there any difference there between the two
5 A. Well, yes, of course there was, because at
6 the government meeting to which the material before me
7 relates, we were informed that part of Vukovar had been
8 liberated, and the proposal was that those members of
9 the government who can and who have the necessary
10 transport to go to Vukovar should go there, should
11 appear there, because the government had no way of
12 acting in Vukovar. So this was the first appearance of
13 the government in Vukovar, and no meeting was scheduled
14 there. Perhaps if the people met there, then they
15 could have a meeting.
16 Q. Does that mean that it was the government's
17 intention to demonstrate its existence by being in
18 Vukovar on the 20th and not to hold a meeting, a
19 regular meeting?
20 A. Yes, that is right, to have a show of
21 presence for the government because the greatest
22 portion of the government members were not in Vukovar
23 on the 20th of November.
24 Q. So it follows on --
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. It follows on from there that the regular
2 government meeting was convened for Friday, the Friday
3 mentioned in the minutes?
4 A. Yes, that's right. It was scheduled for the
5 22nd of November and was held on November the 22nd in
6 Beli Manastir.
7 Q. So that is the next government meeting in
8 relation to the 17th that we mentioned. So on Friday,
9 it was the 18th government session; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. Did you attend the meeting or the session
12 that was held in Vukovar on the 20th of November?
13 A. No, I did not attend that meeting because at
14 that time it was not an obligatory thing. It was a
15 simple visit to Vukovar which was supposed to enable
16 people to come to Vukovar.
17 Q. Could you please repeat the last sentence?
18 Please repeat the last sentence.
19 A. No, it was not an obligation. Most members
20 did not have any transport, so they did not show up
21 there. We had no meeting that was scheduled there. We
22 simply wanted to meet there at a certain point in time,
23 if possible, and I didn't believe that it was necessary
24 for me to go 150 kilometres and to be there because
25 nothing special was supposed to be decided or nothing
1 special was supposed to take place, so I didn't go
3 Q. So it means that there was no quorum on that
4 meeting, no agenda, and no minutes were taken during
5 that meeting, as far as you know?
6 A. As far as I know, no.
7 Q. Since you know Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic from
8 your early days, could you tell us your opinion about
9 this man?
10 A. He's a friend of mine from a neighbouring
11 village which is only 2 kilometres away from my
12 village. We have known each other very well. And in
13 addition to the time that we spent together in our
14 youth, we also worked as colleagues while he was
15 working in the Vukovar municipality as an expert for
16 agriculture between 1970 and 1980 -- 1980 and 1990.
17 And during that time, he never expressed any kind of
18 radical opinions, he never picked a fight, he never
19 quarrelled with people. He was always acting in an
20 opposite way. He was the one who was trying to make
21 peace with people. He was involved in the public life
22 of the village, and I think he had a considerable
23 influence in resolving differences between villages.
24 Q. Do you know the family of Slavko Dokmanovic?
25 A. Well, I know them now. I've known Dan'lka
1 for some time, that's his wife. I think she's about
2 the same age as we are. And, yes, I know her. I
3 didn't spend as much time with her as I spent with
5 Q. You have probably heard Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic
6 has been charged with participating in the killing of
7 200 people. What do you think of that?
8 A. It's impossible, it's simply impossible.
9 This is the kind of man who wouldn't be able to do a
10 much less serious thing, he wouldn't be able to assist
11 in such a thing, be present at such an event. It's a
12 simple mistake.
13 MR. PETROVIC: Thank you very much,
14 Mr. Nedic. The Defence has no further questions for
15 you at this time.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Niemann?
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Niemann
18 Q. Mr. Nedic, the minutes of the meeting that
19 you discussed, D53, have you seen those minutes before,
20 I mean, in the witness box today?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Why was that? Why wouldn't you have seen
23 them before this?
24 A. Well, nobody offered me to see this.
25 Q. Yes. Perhaps there may be some confusion.
1 I'm talking about, did you see them at around about the
2 time that they were produced back in 1991?
3 A. I tried to find the minutes that I took
4 home. This is not the one that I took home. I haven't
5 seen these minutes. This is not the one I saw.
6 Q. Now, you said that -- expressed doubts about
7 whether the government could have exercised control
8 over the JNA. There's no question, is there, that the
9 government had authority over the Territorial Defence
10 as opposed to the JNA?
11 MR. PETROVIC: What is your question,
12 please? I apologise. What is the question?
13 JUDGE CASSESE: It is clear. Can you put it
14 again? But it is clear to me.
15 MR. NIEMANN: Yes.
16 Q. You said that you expressed doubts about the
17 government's authority to exercise control over the
18 JNA, but there is no question about your ability to
19 exercise authority over the Territorial Defence, was
21 THE INTERPRETER: We lost the beginning.
22 A. And there was no possibility to control the
23 Territorial Defence because the assembly had adopted a
24 decision whereby they would be integrated within the
25 armed forces of Yugoslavia as of the beginning of
1 August -- that is October, I'm sorry, from October
3 Q. What then is intended or meant by item 2 on
4 these minutes that refer to the Territorial Defence
6 A. Well, practically it says here that the link
7 that existed between the Territorial Defence and the
8 JNA, the liaison officer should report to the
9 government, if this is the item 2. This is the first
10 time, actually, that I've read it.
11 Q. Well, you know Miroljub Vujovic, don't you?
12 A. I know who that person is, but I cannot say
13 that I know him.
14 Q. You know him to be a person who was in the
15 Territorial Defence?
16 A. Well, I learned that only after the
17 liberation of Vukovar.
18 Q. When did you learn that?
19 A. I learned that only at the meeting of the
20 government on the 28th and 29th of November when we
21 were deciding as to the membership of the executive
22 council of the Vukovar municipality.
23 Q. And Miroljub Vujovic was appointed to the
24 executive council of Vukovar by the government, wasn't
1 A. I think so, yes. I mean, I don't have any
2 kind of document that would -- to confirm, but I
3 believe that he was on that list, yes.
4 Q. Now, at the meeting on the 19th of November,
5 1991, was there any discussion about what would be the
6 subject of the discussion at the meeting in Vukovar the
7 next day, the 20th?
8 A. I have already said that no meeting was
9 supposed to be held in Vukovar but that one part of the
10 government was supposed to go to Vukovar just to see
11 what the situation was, to introduce themselves to the
12 people, to show them that there was government in
13 place. There was no agenda whatsoever and no meeting,
14 no session was held. The session was held on the 22nd
15 of November in Beli Manastir.
16 Q. Members of the government had the freedom to
17 choose, did they, whether they would want to go to
18 Vukovar or whether they didn't?
19 A. Yes. They each could decide for him or
20 herself whether to go. It also depended on the
21 transport available, and I told you, between the
22 western part of the area and Vukovar, you had to cover
23 about 130, 150 kilometres, and at that time, it was by
24 no means easy. It was a difficult distance to cover.
25 Q. Now, this freedom of choosing whether or not
1 you should attend, are you sure it had nothing to do
2 with the contents of the discussion which you were to
3 have at Vukovar on that day?
4 A. I repeat, it was not obligatory for us to go
5 to Vukovar because no meeting of the government was
6 convened and no agenda had been drafted, and I know
7 very well that the President told us that those who
8 could go should come to Vukovar just to see what was
9 happening and to introduce themselves to the people who
10 would by all means gather there. We had no idea of
11 what was happening in Vukovar at that time.
12 Q. During the period leading up to the 20th of
13 November when you were a member of the government, did
14 you wear a military uniform?
15 A. Well, I can claim with certainty that I never
16 wore a complete uniform, maybe only a jacket, that is,
17 the upper part of the uniform, and for practical
19 Q. And what were the practical reasons that you
20 wore the military jacket?
21 A. Well, the practical reasons were, for
22 example, because I lived in that area between Erdut --
23 in the area between Erdut and my village, there were at
24 least five or six checkpoints, and every civilian of my
25 age at that time was suspicious, to say the least.
1 Therefore, I had to pass these checkpoints every day,
2 and sometimes even two times a day, and each
3 explanation to whoever was at the checkpoint as to why
4 I was wearing civilian clothes, let alone a tie, which
5 I'm wearing now, this would -- this would most
6 certainly anger the people who were there at the
8 MR. NIEMANN: Excuse me a moment.
9 Q. Now, this would have also applied, would it
10 not, to other people who were travelling, for example,
11 from Trpinja to Erdut, such as Mr. Dokmanovic's
13 THE INTERPRETER: We didn't hear the
15 A. ... because of the checkpoints.
16 THE INTERPRETER: That was the latter part of
17 the sentence.
18 Q. I need to repeat the question because we
19 didn't receive it all here in The Hague, so I will
20 repeat the question again, if I may?
21 My question is the necessity to wear at least
22 some part of a military uniform would have also applied
23 to other people, such as Mr. Dokmanovic, who at the
24 time was travelling between Trpinja and Erdut.
25 A. If you haven't heard me, I said yes. I said
1 that he had the same kind of problems I had, and vice
2 versa, of course.
3 Q. Now, you said -- wasn't your evidence that
4 you said there were no telephones at all in Erdut at
5 the time?
6 A. At that time there was, I think, one
7 telephone line, which was busy from time to time, and
8 there was one telephone, of course.
9 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions.
10 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Petrovic?
11 MR. PETROVIC: Thank you.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Nedic, I have one or two
13 questions for you.
14 You said, in answering a question put to you
15 by Defence counsel, that there was no quorum at the
16 meeting in Vukovar on the 20th of November. How do you
17 know that there was no quorum? You were not there.
18 Did somebody tell you afterwards?
19 A. Two days later, on the 22nd of November, in
20 Beli Manastir, the people who had been to Vukovar, who
21 had visited Vukovar, we knew who these people were, and
22 as I told you, I believe that most members of the
23 government could not go and were not there in Vukovar.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: So therefore I understand
25 from what you say that you were told on the 22nd of
1 November, at the subsequent meeting of the government,
2 that no quorum existed in Vukovar on the 20th. That
3 means that those people who had participated in the
4 meeting on the 20th reported to you and other members
5 who had been absent on the 20th of November about what
6 had been discussed on the 20th.
7 What were you told about the matters
8 discussed on the 20th of November?
9 A. Well, seven years later, I think it's very
10 difficult for anyone to remember exactly what
11 happened. Those who were in Vukovar told us about the
12 situation in the town. This is something I could tell
13 you about. But as for the meeting, whether any kind of
14 meeting was held, I cannot -- I cannot tell you. It
15 was a long time ago. But these people went to Vukovar
16 just to see the condition of the town itself.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: However, they did tell you
18 about a small detail of the meeting, namely, that no
19 quorum existed, there was no quorum in the meeting.
20 They dwelt on a small detail and didn't report to you
21 on the major problem of what had been discussed and
22 possibly agreed upon on the 20th. Don't you find this
23 a bit odd, that there was a difference between this
24 detail and the major matters? Sorry. I didn't hear
25 your answer.
1 A. Well, first of all, nobody mentioned any kind
2 of quorum, and this is the conclusion I made on the
3 basis of who went there, and my conclusion was that
4 there was no quorum. On the other hand, I can tell you
5 that what we discussed on the 22nd of November in Beli
6 Manastir was just impressions that people had made
7 during their visit to Vukovar.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. One final
9 question: What was the practice of your government as
10 far as the taking of minutes was concerned? Were
11 minutes taken by somebody present at the meeting? I
12 imagine that this was so. But were they formally read
13 out and adopted at the meeting or at the subsequent
15 A. Well, usually the person who was in charge of
16 taking minutes, it was Jovan Pejakovic, in most cases
17 it was him, and afterwards that document would be taken
18 to Dalj where they had a typewriter and then he would
19 draft -- he would make a draft of the minutes; and on
20 the following meeting, he would distribute it, if
21 possible, to all present and all members. We were
22 supposed to have a look at it and to confirm whether
23 this corresponded to the contents of the previous
24 meeting, previous session, and we would, after that,
25 adopt the minutes.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Does this imply that on the
2 22nd of November, the minutes of the meeting on the
3 20th of November, were adopted, were read by all
4 members of government and adopted by them?
5 A. Of the 20th of November? Is that your
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry, you're right. I
8 apologise. I made a mistake. I meant to say the
9 minutes of the meeting of the 19th of November.
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Were they circulated on the
12 22nd of November to all members of government and
13 adopted by them in that meeting of the 22nd of
15 A. No. No, they were not distributed on the
16 22nd of November, maybe later, maybe sometime after
17 that, but they were not circulated on that day because
18 a meeting of the government in Beli Manastir preceded
19 the session, and there was a lot of materials, a lot of
20 documents that had to be prepared, and I'm quite sure
21 that no agenda was proposed at that time for adoption
22 during that session of the government, the one that was
23 held in Beli Manastir.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: I see. This is in spite of
25 the fact that the minutes were actually taken -- I mean
1 typewritten on the 20th of November, 1991, at Dalj, as
2 we can see from this document produced by Defence
3 counsel, D53. You have got it in front of you, and you
4 may see there that it carries the date of the 20th of
5 November. That means that they were drafted on the
6 20th at Dalj. So my assumption was -- I thought that
7 they had been therefore discussed on the 22nd. But
8 probably it was not so, according to you. They were
9 not discussed and adopted on the 22nd?
10 A. I believe, and I'm almost sure, that no, that
11 they were not.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Any questions?
14 All right. There is no objection to
15 Mr. Nedic being released?
16 Mr. Nedic, thank you for testifying. You may
17 now be released.
18 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
19 (The witness withdrew)
20 MR. PETROVIC: Mr. Bogdan Vojnovic.
21 WITNESS: BOGDAN VOJNOVIC
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Vojnovic, good morning.
23 Could you please stand and make the solemn
25 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
1 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
4 Examined by Mr. Petrovic
5 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, on the 26th of November, 1998,
6 did you make a statement? You will be shown the
7 statement. Is it your statement, the statement that
8 you made and signed?
9 A. Yes, on the 26th I made this statement, and I
10 remain completely in accord with the statement as I see
12 JUDGE CASSESE: No objection?
13 MR. PETROVIC: If there are no objections,
14 then I would like to tender it into evidence. The next
15 number, is it 110? I suppose it is.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it is document D110 and
17 D110A for the translation.
18 MR. PETROVIC:
19 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, can you tell us, please,
20 something about your education, what schools you
21 completed, where and when?
22 A. I graduated from the faculty of economics in
23 Zagreb in 1970.
24 Q. In the course of your working career, where
25 were you employed?
1 A. From 1972 until the end of 1989, I worked in
2 Vupik, Vukovar, and the last ten years there, I was the
3 financial director of Vupik, and from the beginning of
4 1990, I formed a private business.
5 Q. Were you a member of the government of the
6 Serbian district of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western
8 A. Yes, I was a member of the government.
9 Q. What function did you perform?
10 A. From the 25th of September, I held the
11 function of Finance Minister.
12 Q. Was Slavko Dokmanovic a member of that
13 government as well?
14 A. Slavko Dokmanovic was a member of the
15 government, yes, and he was in charge of Agriculture,
16 he was Minister of Agriculture.
17 Q. Can you tell us something about the daily
18 functioning of that government, whether the government
19 had everything that is understood as being part of a
20 regular government? Did it have its secretariats, its
21 administrative organs, were the members given salaries
22 and so on and so forth?
23 A. Well, taking into account the conditions
24 under which the government functioned, in practical
25 terms, for the most part, it was not able to perform
1 its functions in a regular way. There were not enough
2 financial resources, and also the general situation in
3 the area was such that it was not able to function, so
4 that it was declarative in nature for the public and
5 for the people, whereas the true functions performed by
6 government, it was not able to do.
7 Q. What was the situation in the area? You
8 mentioned the situation.
9 A. Well, at the time that the government was
10 formed, war operations were still underway. That is on
11 the one hand. Secondly, the government had a rather
12 bad image vis-à-vis the population because the greatest
13 part of the people who were members of the government
14 in the course of May and June had left the area for
15 different reasons. They had left with their families.
16 And I think that it is this factor which is essential
17 as well when looking at the government's image.
18 And also it was not able to have control over
19 the section such as Baranja, Dalj, Erdut, and so on and
20 so forth.
21 Q. What locality did the government control, if
22 we can say that?
23 A. Well, conditionally speaking, it controlled
24 Baranja and the area around Erdut, Dalj, Borovo Selo,
25 and all the Western Srem region, which means from
1 Vukovar towards the border, and Ilok, towards Ilok and
2 Sid, it had no control, no competences over that
4 Q. You said a moment ago that Slavko Dokmanovic
5 was also a member of the government. Can you tell us
6 how long you have known Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic?
7 A. Well, I've known Slavko Dokmanovic from the
8 mid 1970s, because we worked in the same enterprise.
9 Q. You say that you worked in the same
10 enterprise. What kind of worker was Slavko
11 Dokmanovic? Can you tell us something about that?
12 A. Well, as I had a leading function in the
13 firm, we very often spoke about the cadres, the
14 personnel that we had at our disposal. We had 120
15 university graduates. And Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic was a
16 highly esteemed man as a professional for the area in
17 which he was a professional, and also he was highly
18 respected as a man, as a personality, because it was a
19 mixed enterprise, which means that there were Croats
20 and Serbs employed there, but we didn't pay attention
21 to who was what nationality.
22 But at certain moments here and there, if
23 some conflict situations would break out, he was always
24 very reasonable in trying to quell passions, not only
25 political conflicts but others as well. So he was a
1 man who was very reasonable, conciliatory, and always
2 ready to find a way out and to help people out.
3 Q. Do you know the details concerning the
4 election of Dokmanovic for Minister in the government?
5 A. Yes. As I said a moment ago, I spoke about
6 the image of the government, and as the assembly was
7 made up of individuals mostly from the villages and the
8 government members had fled from the area, then for
9 certain individuals, there was problems of the
10 elections, partially for myself as well.
11 However, for Slavko Dokmanovic, Slavko
12 Dokmanovic had a fairly poor image starting out from
13 the fact that his behaviour, his conduct in 1991 was
14 seen to be a traitor to Serbian interests, that he had
15 betrayed Serbian interests, and he was criticised as
16 the President of the Municipal Assembly for allowing
17 the police station to move from Vukovar to Vinkovci and
18 the internal affairs unit, and he was also criticised
19 for leaving the National Council, he was criticised
20 publicly, the council that was set up in Srb, and so he
21 was anathema on the part of many Serbs. So that there
22 were considerable problems regarding his election as a
23 member of the government.
24 However, at the intervention of Mr. Hadzic
25 who, on two occasions, had to take the rostrum and
1 speak about his professional qualities because it was
2 to be a government with members who did not deal in
3 politics alone but were professionals in their own
4 right and were respected as professionals in their
5 particular spheres.
6 Q. You mentioned that you yourself had some
7 problems in the elections for a government member.
8 Could you tell us what that was all about?
9 A. Well, on the 26th of August, I left Vukovar
10 with my family and I lived in Novi Sad, and it was only
11 at Goran Hadzic's invitation prior to the formation of
12 the government that I came from there and, of course,
13 all the people who had remained in the area. I was
14 treated as not having protected Serbian interests
15 sufficiently. That was the attitude towards us and
17 Q. Why did you, on the 26th of August, 1991,
18 leave Vukovar?
19 A. On the 6th.
20 Q. So not August but June.
21 A. It was in June.
22 Q. No, no. What date did you leave Vukovar?
23 A. The 28th of June.
24 Q. Why?
25 A. Well, the situation was common knowledge, and
1 with the victory of the HDZ and HDZ coming into power,
2 there were verbal pressures exerted, first of all, and
3 then the media of the Republic of Croatia began to
4 exert pressure either through the official government
5 representatives on the position and status of the Serbs
6 and the difficult situation that they would encounter
7 in times to come.
8 On the other hand, there was a lot of
9 pressure exerted, telephone conversations, threats --
10 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, speech is very
11 intermittent at the moment.
12 A. There was obstruction by the police. And
13 after May the 2nd --
14 THE INTERPRETER: It's very difficult to
15 follow now. Intermittent speech. We can't follow.
16 A. The National Guard members came. There was
17 daily shooting during the day as well as during the
19 THE INTERPRETER: I'm afraid we can't hear
20 the speaker.
21 A. Serbian houses were set fire to as well as
23 (Pause in proceedings)
24 MR. PETROVIC:
25 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, I hope you can hear me now.
1 A. Yes, I can. I can hear you perfectly well.
2 Q. Well, let us go back to when you left
3 Vukovar. When was that and why?
4 A. Shall I repeat?
5 Q. Yes, please.
6 A. I left Vukovar on the 28th of June together
7 with my family. The reason I left Vukovar -- there
8 were several reasons. In the course of 1990, there
9 were verbal pressures brought to bear against the
10 Serbian population, either on the part of the official
11 authorities or via the media, public information
12 media. I considered that it was not -- the situation
13 was not yet critical if it was only verbal pressure.
14 However, at the beginning of 1991, there was an
15 escalation of pressure on the Serb population. It
16 began with people being sacked from work, replaced from
17 leading functions, there was gunfire in the town, both
18 during the day and during the night. And after the 2nd
19 of May, Serbian facilities were shelled, blown up.
20 Can you hear me? Yes?
21 Q. Continue, please.
22 A. Yes. Serbian businesses and houses, there
23 were killings, as happened in Sotin, Brsadin, in
24 Vukovar, and at the same time, the civilians took up
25 arms, they were members of the HDZ, and they went out
1 into the streets of Vukovar, and there was a
2 concentration of the members of the National Guard, the
3 Zengas, and in addition to the other historical
4 emotional reasons that I don't want to go into at this
6 Q. Do you know how many people left Vukovar at
7 the time that you're talking about, the Serbs, I have
8 in mind?
9 A. Well, it's difficult to make an assessment
10 because this migration began in March 1991 and went on
11 to the middle or end of July.
12 Q. If you do not have the precise data, can we
13 say that the majority of the population left Vukovar or
14 remained in Vukovar? I'm speaking about the Serb
16 A. Well, we must take a look at the population
17 structure, and we must be conscious of the fact that
18 the pressure was exerted on the prominent Serbs, for
19 the most part, whether they had private businesses, the
20 owners of private businesses, or those working in
21 different firms; and over 80 percent of those people,
22 those prominent Serbs, had left Vukovar. It is
23 difficult to expect pensioners, elderly pensioners to
24 leave, and they probably did not feel that pressure.
25 They might have felt it emotionally but not
1 physically. It was the prominent Serb citizens who
2 felt the pressure.
3 Q. On the 19th of November, were you at the
4 government meeting that was held in Erdut?
5 A. Yes, I was.
6 MR. PETROVIC: Could the witness be shown
7 Exhibit D53, please?
8 Q. Would you take a look at this document,
9 please, sir, and tell us what it is about? What is the
10 document before you?
11 A. It is the minutes from the meeting held -- it
12 is the 17th session held on the 19th of November, 1991,
13 in Erdut.
14 Q. Could you please tell us something about that
15 document? Can we see from the document that it was a
16 government meeting in question? Does it show that at
17 the government meeting there was a set agenda? Can we
18 see from the document that the agenda was put forward
19 and then adopted by the government members? Does it
20 show who was present at the meeting? Could you tell us
21 about those technical elements of the minutes, please?
22 A. Everything that you said can be seen in this
24 Q. So there was a set agenda which was
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And how was the agenda determined?
3 A. The agenda was usually determined by an
4 invitation to attend the meeting or, at the meeting
5 itself, if the invitations were not -- could not be
6 handed out to the majority of government members, then
7 it was read out at the meeting.
8 Q. Could you take a look at page 2 of the
9 minutes and the conclusions that were adopted? We are
10 particularly interested in item 5 of the adopted
11 conclusions. Would you read it out and tell us what
12 you can --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Once again, please. We
14 lost that.
15 A. To be quite frank, I do not recall that this
16 conclusion was brought in. But if this is the official
17 minutes and if the minutes state this, then it must
18 have been, but I do not think that this conclusion
19 could have been implemented under the prevailing
20 conditions because the situation was quite different at
21 the given time.
22 Q. Could you tell us whether there were any
23 contacts between the government of the district and the
24 army, command of the army units, whether they had an
25 exchange of information between the two structures and
1 whether there was a relationship of subordination
2 between the government and the JNA, the JNA and the
3 government? How did all this function?
4 A. Well, as far as I was informed and at the
5 meetings that I attended, there were no official
6 contacts of this kind. Now, whether some individual
7 members of the government did, in fact, contact JNA
8 units, I can't say. I couldn't tell you that.
9 Q. Did the units of the JNA who were in the
10 locality of the Serbian district, did they take orders
11 from the government of the Serbian district?
12 A. No, they did not.
13 Q. Did the JNA units have any responsibility
14 about informing of their plans or the actions
16 A. No, they did not have this responsibility.
17 Q. In the areas which were liberated after the
18 war operations had come to an end, was military rule
19 established or was there civilian power and authority?
20 A. Well, for a certain time, there was military
21 rule, military administration, but we succeeded later
22 on in setting up an executive council in the Vukovar
23 region; for example, this was somewhere at the end of
24 November or the beginning of December.
25 However, there were some major problems in
1 this respect. It was difficult -- things were
2 difficult for civilian administration to be
4 Q. When was civilian administration established
5 in the Vukovar municipality?
6 A. It was somewhere at the end of December, I
7 believe, but only in set areas, not everywhere, and
8 set --
9 Q. In set areas? Territorially speaking or for
10 the departments?
11 A. No, I'm talking about the departments and
12 activities of the municipality.
13 Q. Which ones?
14 A. Production organisation, the organisation of
15 supplies for the civilian population because, you know,
16 it was winter. There was no heating, there was not
17 enough food. And for the most part, in respect to the
18 material resources that we had, we were not able to
19 satisfy needs, fully to satisfy needs.
20 Q. Would you take a look at item 3 of the
21 minutes now, please, in the document that you have
22 before you, and tell us what item 3 is about? What did
23 you agree upon in item 3?
24 A. Item 3, in item 3, we agreed on the following
25 day, that is to say, on the 20th of November, to hold a
1 meeting of those members of the government who wanted
2 and were able to come to Vukovar, and the basic reason
3 for bringing in this decision, making that conclusion,
4 was to improve the government's image vis-à-vis the
5 public because the government image was very bad,
6 particularly with regard to the Vukovar population, in
7 relation to the Vukovar population.
8 And we also wanted to discuss possibilities
9 for organising production and supplies for the civilian
10 population and to see how matters stood, what the
11 situation was actually like in Vukovar.
12 However, the meeting was not binding, was not
13 obligatory, and it was not an official government
14 meeting because many members did not come. They were
15 not able to go to Vukovar --
16 Q. Could you repeat? Could you repeat the last
17 sentence, please? Could you repeat the last sentence?
18 You said --
19 A. Not all the members of the government
20 attended. They could either not come because they were
21 prevented from coming or they considered that it was
22 not necessary for them to come because it was only at
23 the following meeting that we were to discuss the
24 situation in Vukovar.
25 Q. For a meeting of the members of the
1 government to be called an official meeting, what
2 conditions must be fulfilled for it to be a government
4 A. Well, it is -- invitations must be sent out
5 officially, containing an agenda, because every
6 government member was duty-bound to -- they had certain
7 tasks with regard to the agenda; that is to say, either
8 to determine the agenda at the session itself and keep
9 the minutes and to get the minutes for the next session
10 (sic) and to adopt the minutes or not adopt the agenda.
11 Q. That is to adopt the agenda of the previous
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. What is necessary for government decisions to
15 be valid? Do you need to --
16 A. You must have the members of the government
17 present and that the proposed conclusions be adopted by
18 the majority.
19 Q. Did you, on the 20th of November, attend the
20 meeting of the government members in Vukovar?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. How many government members attended the
24 A. Well, I can't give you an exact figure
25 because it was seven years ago, which is a long time.
1 I can remember some of the names, such as Goran Hadzic,
2 Vitomir Devetak, Susa Vojin, (redacted), Bogdan
3 Vorkapic, I was there myself, and I think
4 Mr. Koncarevic was there too.
5 Q. Was Mr. Dokmanovic at the meeting?
6 A. Yes, Mr. Dokmanovic as well.
7 Q. Let us begin with the 20th. When did you
8 arrive in Vukovar?
9 A. I arrived somewhere before 1.00 p.m.
10 Q. Where did you arrive? Where did you come to?
11 A. The administrative building of the VELEPROMET
12 in Vukovar, which is at the entrance to Vukovar from
13 the Negoslavci route.
14 Q. Did you see Slavko Dokmanovic in VELEPROMET?
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. You said a moment ago that Mr. Dokmanovic
17 attended the meeting that was held in the VELEPROMET
18 building. Could you tell us precisely where the
19 meeting was held? VELEPROMET is a large compound.
20 A. The meeting was held in the room in the hall
21 within the VELEPROMET enterprise of Vukovar.
22 Q. Which building; do you know?
23 A. Yes, at the entrance. On the left-hand side,
24 you had the porter's lodge and, on the right-hand side,
25 the building that the meeting was held in. The first
1 door was the entrance door to the hall where the
2 meeting was held.
3 Q. Was Slavko Dokmanovic present throughout the
4 meeting that you're talking about?
5 A. As far as I recall, nobody left the room
6 during the meeting, and Slavko Dokmanovic was present.
7 I know that he even took the floor in connection with
8 the autumn sowing season and as regards to the produces
9 of Vukovar and sowing, harvest.
10 Q. Do you know if the Prime Minister, Goran
11 Hadzic, left the meeting at any time, the government
12 meeting, the meeting that was held?
13 A. Possibly, possibly he left the hall because
14 he usually left the hall to make statements for the
15 press during previous meetings.
16 Q. How long did the meeting last?
17 A. I think it lasted about one hour.
18 Q. When did the meeting end; could you remember?
19 A. It ended sometime after 3.00 p.m.
20 Q. And where did you go after that?
21 A. I had come from the direction of Sid, and I
22 went -- I went back.
23 Q. On that day, when was the last time that you
24 saw Mr. Dokmanovic?
25 A. After the meeting was completed, I saw him
1 once again, we greeted each other, we said good-bye to
2 each other and members of the government, and we also
3 agreed as to when and where to hold the next meeting,
4 that is the session.
5 Q. Do you remember how Slavko Dokmanovic was
6 dressed on that occasion?
7 A. Well, most of the members of the government
8 at that time were not wearing civilian clothes because
9 they lived in that area and -- you know that it was a
10 very difficult time for them, there was no electricity,
11 no water, et cetera, so Mr. Dokmanovic was also wearing
12 some kind of green uniform. Whether this was a hunting
13 uniform or something else, I don't know, but he was not
14 wearing civilian clothes. He wore some kind of
15 greenish multi-coloured uniform.
16 Q. Since you've known Mr. Dokmanovic for quite a
17 while, could you tell us something about him?
18 A. I already stated in my responses that he was
19 very well-respected in the company as he was a good
20 expert for agriculture and that he was also respected
21 amongst the village population because I used to go to
22 his village for football matches and all kinds of
23 village festivities, meetings, meetings of the plant in
24 Trpinja, for example. He was a very rational,
25 realistic man, of a conciliatory nature, both as a
1 worker in his company and as a politician who carried
2 out various functions in that period.
3 You must bear in mind the fact that Slavko
4 Dokmanovic was accepted as President of the Municipal
5 Assembly of Vukovar, he was elected President, although
6 half of the government was Croatian, there were 50
7 percent Croats and 50 percent Serbs, so he was accepted
8 by both of them, and if he had not been accepted by
9 both of them, he couldn't have been elected President
10 of the Municipal Assembly, which was not the case.
11 Q. Let us go back for a while, and I would like
12 Defence Exhibit 48 to be shown to the witness, and I
13 would kindly ask the witness to tell us what this thing
14 is, and I would like the witness to tell us whether
15 these were the clothes that Slavko Dokmanovic was
16 wearing on the 20th of November and also on prior
17 occasions that you met him and later on as well.
18 A. Yes, it looks like this uniform. I cannot be
19 100 percent sure about the pattern and colours, but
20 this is the kind of uniform he was wearing.
21 Q. Thank you. You know that before the
22 International Criminal Tribunal, Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic
23 has been charged with participation in the killing of
24 200 people at Ovcara. Could you give us your comment
25 about that?
1 A. I don't think that Slavko did that, and there
2 are two reasons for my belief: First of all, because
3 of his public image, he was the kind of person that
4 could not show up at Ovcara because I believe that most
5 of the Serbs who happened to be there would have killed
6 him as well. And the second reason is his emotional
7 and mental set-up and his character that he
8 demonstrated in previous occasions and in connection
9 with events that had taken place before that in
11 MR. PETROVIC: Thank you very much. I have
12 no further questions for this witness.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We will now take
14 a 20-minute recess.
15 --- Recess taken at 11.05 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.25 a.m.
17 THE REGISTRAR: All rise. Please be seated.
18 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Niemann.
19 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Niemann
21 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, are you able to hear me?
22 A. Yes, I can hear you.
23 Q. When were you appointed the Minister of
24 Finance for the government of the Serbian District of
25 Eastern Slovenia, Baranja and Western Srem?
1 A. On the 25th of September, 1991.
2 Q. And who was it that actually appointed you to
3 that position?
4 A. The Assembly of the government of the Serbian
5 District of Baranja, Eastern Slovenia, Western Srem.
6 Q. And were you a member of that government
7 prior to September?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did the government operate and exist prior to
11 A. Since I lived in Novi Sad at the time, until
12 the invitation by Mr. Hadzic to join the government, I
13 was not aware of that. I was not aware of its
15 Q. After you joined the government, are you able
16 to tell us how often the government met in order to
17 have its meetings?
18 A. Well, usually every 10 to 15 days.
19 Q. And at these meetings were all the Ministers
20 present or were there occasions when there were
21 meetings of lesser than the full number of Ministers?
22 A. Most often not all Ministers were present.
23 Q. And when you had meetings, did you have
24 people attend, who were not government ministers, to
25 advise you on current matters, such as the general
1 military situation in the district?
2 A. People who were in charge of military issues
3 were not present, people who coordinated with the JNA.
4 However, Assistant Ministers were present and
5 Presidents of local communes were present as well.
6 Q. You had a Minister for military matters,
7 didn't you, someone who was responsible for military
8 matters, a Minister for Defence?
9 A. Yes, as far as I can remember, we had a
10 person like that within the government.
11 Q. And the Minister for Defence, was he the
12 person that would brief the government on the current
13 military situation? And I am talking generally in the
14 autumn and late part of 1991.
15 A. Well, sometimes he would inform us about the
16 situation, but most often we knew about the situation
17 through the media.
18 Q. Now, you speak of attending this meeting at
19 Erdut on the 19th of November 1991. What time of day
20 did the meeting take place? Do you remember?
21 A. I think that it was held in the morning.
22 Q. And can you remember where it was held,
23 actually, in Erdut, what part of Erdut?
24 A. The meeting was held in a resort in Erdut
25 which belonged to a company, IPK, from Osijek.
1 Q. Now, you've had a look at the minutes of that
2 meeting, Exhibit D53. Would you look at that exhibit
3 again for me, please. Can I take you to the final --
4 it's the last page on my version, but it's at the end
5 of item 2. There is a series of five paragraphs
6 following item 2, starting, "The following conclusions
7 were unanimously adopted". Do you see that?
8 A. Yes, I can see it.
9 Q. Now, looking at paragraph numbered 1, what
10 was the nature of the Proclamation that was going to be
11 given to the citizens of Vukovar?
12 A. As far as I can remember, and again it all
13 happened seven years ago, we had to have a Proclamation
14 to the effect that the citizens should remain calm,
15 that they should not destroy property, because each war
16 implies looting and similar incidents, so in that sense
17 we wanted to react. The winter was approaching and we
18 had to survive the oncoming -- the upcoming winter, and
19 I think that the Proclamation pointed in that sense, in
20 that direction.
21 Q. Now, when was it intended that this
22 Proclamation would be made? What day or date?
23 A. I couldn't remember that at this point.
24 Q. Do you think it may have been intended to be
25 proclaimed on the 20th of November, the next day when
1 you went to Vukovar?
2 A. No.
3 Q. You seem rather certain about that. Why?
4 A. Well, because simply the Proclamation was
5 supposed to be disseminated through the media, and at
6 that time in Vukovar such things did not function.
7 There were no media in Vukovar at the time.
8 Q. Are you saying that there was no members of
9 the media attended Vukovar on that day, the 20th of
10 November, 1991?
11 A. There were representatives of the media, yes.
12 Q. Well, then, this was something that would
13 have needed to have been done reasonably --
14 A. Yeah, but this is one thing.
15 Q. The Proclamation is something that the
16 government would have been anxious to have proclaimed
17 rather urgently, wouldn't you, as a government? You
18 wouldn't have wanted to sit around on something like
20 A. Yes, but Mr. Caslavocic, Mr. Ilija Petrovic,
21 as far as I remember, were not present at the meeting,
22 and at the same time were not able to draft it. So
23 even if we wanted to make a public Proclamation, we
24 didn't have it. They were supposed to draft it and at
25 the same time the Proclamation was supposed to pass
1 through the government for adoption, and only after
2 that it could be made public.
3 Q. Can we move onto the next item, if we can,
4 number 2. Now, there's a reference there to the Blue
5 Helmets, which are UN forces. Do you see that? Can
6 you see that?
7 THE INTERPRETER: We can't hear the witness.
8 MR. NIEMANN: We are having some difficulties
9 at the moment. We've lost the sound of your voice,
10 unfortunately. So if you would just bear with us for a
12 Q. You may have sound back again. Can you hear
13 me now?
14 THE INTERPRETER: I think that the witness
15 can hear us, but we cannot hear anything.
16 (Pause in proceedings)
17 Q. Can you hear me now, Mr. Vojnovic? Can you
18 hear me now Mr. Vojnovic? Can you hear me now
19 Mr. Vojnovic?
20 A. Yes, I can.
21 Q. Thank you very much. Sorry about that.
22 Mr. Vojnovic, the second paragraph relates to
23 the government's views regarding a proposal of sending
24 in the Blue Helmets. Can you tell me, what were the
25 views of the government on that, and perhaps you might
1 just give us a bit of background to it?
2 A. Again, as far as I remember, the government
3 did accept the arrival of Blue Helmets.
4 Q. This was a proposal that UN forces would be
5 sent into the Vukovar area?
6 A. Such was the proposal, yes.
7 Q. Now, Mr. Vojnovic, it's true, is it not, that
8 there was a distinction to be made between the JNA --
9 at that particular time between the JNA operating in
10 the Republic Serbia as opposed to the Republic of
12 A. I don't understand your question.
13 Q. Okay. Well, we'll just go to paragraph 3, if
14 we might. That speaks there of a range of joint
15 meetings with the Republic -- representatives of the
16 Republic of Serbia and the JNA. Do you see that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And in paragraph 5 you speak of the JNA units
19 being subordinate to the government of the Serbian
20 District, that is your government? Do you see that?
21 A. Yes, I can. Yes.
22 Q. Now, isn't it the position that you wanted to
23 have --
24 MR. PETROVIC: Excuse me, when the Prosecutor
25 is quoting paragraph 5, item 5, he said that they were
1 above the JNA units, that they will be. I would kindly
2 ask to make the distinction between the tenses. They
3 are, as opposed to they will be. Please kindly bear
4 this in mind when you ask your questions.
5 MR. NIEMANN: I don't understand the
6 objection, Your Honour. I understand his words. I
7 don't understand his meaning.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: We were told by the Defence
9 Counsel and the interpreters that actually this
10 document in item 5 -- is it item 2.5 is mistranslated.
11 It should read as follows, "That JNA units shall be
12 subordinate to the Serbian District on its territory."
13 Not "are", "shall be".
14 MR. NIEMANN: I wasn't aware of the fact that
15 I suggested anything else, other than future tense.
16 Thank you. I may have misspoke, Your Honour. If
17 that's the case.
18 Q. In any event it doesn't matter. The point I
19 am making, isn't it true that the JNA units were to be
20 subordinated to the government of the Serbian district,
21 and in order to achieve that, you wanted to have
22 discussions with the Republic of Serbia and the JNA,
23 and so that the two items were linked?
24 A. Even if we wanted to have that kind of
25 meeting, if the government -- in view of the functions
1 that it had, I don't think that such a meeting ever
2 took place. This was a simple wish, for the government
3 to be above the JNA units.
4 Q. Well, you had a Minister of Defence who
5 presumably would have some sort of a military formation
6 under his control, wouldn't he?
7 A. As far as I know, he did not, because the
8 formations that were at our disposals were simply
9 non-existent. We did have village guards organised in
10 Serbian villages, who had been organised on their own,
11 and the government had no influence whatsoever over
12 those village guards.
13 Q. What about Mr. Arkan's forces; were they at
14 your disposal at the time?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Now, when you went to Vukovar on the 21st of
17 November, 1991, where did you leave from?
18 A. From Sid via Orolik and towards Vukovar.
19 Q. When did you see -- first see Mr. Dokmanovic
20 when you went to Vukovar on that day?
21 A. I saw him sometime around 1.00 p.m. After
22 1.00 in the afternoon.
23 Q. And who was he with? Did you remember?
24 A. He was with Rade Leskovac, and he was
25 also with the representatives of the Kladovo
1 Municipality, representatives of Jagodina, because
2 before the war Vukovar and Svetozarevo had been twin
4 Q. On that day were you dressed in a military
5 uniform or were you in civilian clothes?
6 A. I was wearing civilian clothes.
7 Q. And can you give us -- was it a suit or a tie
8 or can you give us a description as best you can of
9 what you were wearing?
10 A. No. I mean, it was not a suit and a tie, of
11 course not. I had a simple shirt, a pullover and a
12 jacket. And because I did not live in the area of that
13 particular district, but in Novi Sad where conditions
14 were much more favourable than there, yes, this was the
15 kind of clothes I was wearing that day.
16 Q. And during the time that you were with the
17 government, at all stages did you wear civilian
18 clothes, did you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, when you attended the government meeting
21 on the 20th of November at VELEPROMET, apart from
22 government members who were there, what military
23 personnel attended the meeting?
24 A. As far as I can remember, the meeting was
25 attended by a Colonel of the JNA who was presiding over
1 the meeting, so to speak.
2 Q. Did you know his name?
3 A. I think his surname is Vojnovic.
4 Q. I take it, no relation to you?
5 A. No. We come from different areas.
6 Q. And apart from Colonel Vojnovic, was there
7 any other military person there, either from the JNA
8 or other military personnel?
9 A. As far as I can remember, no, there were no
10 other such members.
11 Q. What about Arkan, was he there?
12 A. No, he did not attend the meeting.
13 Q. Now, you said that the government image at
14 that time was poor, particularly in relation to the
15 population of Vukovar; is that correct?
16 A. Not quite poor, but it was not good either.
17 Q. And that was because people such as -- well,
18 the government and people such as Mr. Dokmanovic hadn't
19 adopted a hard line; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, that's probably one of the reasons.
21 Q. And so one of the objectives of this meeting
22 that you sought to achieve was to demonstrate,
23 especially to the people of Vukovar, that the
24 government was now about to get tough?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Well, I put it to you that this was what you
2 were trying to achieve, and that this is why you took a
3 decision at this meeting to make sure that all the
4 extremists from the Croatian side, as you would have
5 called them, were dealt with summarily?
6 A. I don't know when I used the expression
7 Croatian extremist. Are you referring to me? I mean,
8 this is not something that was on our minds.
9 Q. Well, I'm just putting it to you that that's
10 what the discussion was about; the discussion was about
11 getting tough in dealing with people from the Croatian
12 side who you saw as being the perpetrators of this
13 military action?
14 A. But we didn't have any kind of competences or
15 possibilities to act, because this was all within the
16 authority, within the control of the JNA. We could
17 only deal with civilian issues, and even that was not
18 possible for us to carry out in an efficient manner,
19 let alone military issues.
20 Q. Did members of the government, during the
21 time that you were at VELEPROMET, inspect or go and see
22 Croatian persons who were being held as prisoners in
23 any part of the VELEPROMET complex?
24 A. I don't remember that detail. During the
25 meeting nobody left the room. I don't know whether
1 anything happened after the meeting.
2 Q. Were you aware at the time that there were
3 people there who were being detained by either the JNA
4 or the Territorial Defence at VELEPROMET?
5 A. No, I was not aware of that, and it was not
6 possible for us to move around freely. We simply -- we
7 went directly to the room from the gate, because we had
8 to pass a number of checkpoints before the gate. We
9 were supposed to show documents in order to get into
11 Q. Once you were in Vukovar, though, was it
12 possible for you to drive around and look at the state
13 of the destruction, wasn't it?
14 A. This is what you are saying. I was not able
15 to do that, and I don't know anything about that.
16 Q. And why weren't you able to do it?
17 A. Well, simply I didn't dare to move around. I
18 simply stuck to VELEPROMET and I wanted to go back as
19 soon as possible. Whether a government member was able
20 to do that, I don't know.
21 Q. You said that after the meeting on the 20th
22 of November at VELEPROMET you then met momentarily with
23 the members of the government and agreed on the time
24 and venue of your next meeting; is that your evidence?
25 A. No. No. I said that we had said good-bye to
1 each other because the next -- the meeting had already
2 been agreed upon and we agreed that the meeting would
3 be held on the 22nd in Erdut.
4 Q. Why wasn't there records kept of this meeting
5 of the government?
6 A. Because this was not a working meeting of the
8 Q. But, surely, if the ministers of the
9 government get together and have a meeting and there
10 are representatives from the JNA present, that's a
11 significant event, isn't it?
12 A. No. We didn't even know that we would meet
13 with the representatives of the JNA. When we arrived
14 to the room, this JNA Colonel was already there, and
15 the government was not supposed to move around Vukovar
16 the way they wanted. So, as I told you, there was
17 several controls, several check-ups already at the
18 arrival, and at the gate to VELEPROMET we had -- there
19 was a checkpoint, and only after we had shown them our
20 documents we were then allowed to proceed to the room
21 where the meeting was held.
22 Q. How could you possibly have hoped to make an
23 impression upon the people of the City of Vukovar as a
24 government, if you met in private, behind closed doors,
25 and you kept no record of what was discussed?
1 A. We didn't even know what the situation in
2 Vukovar was. We saw that the situation would be more
3 or less normal, that we would be able to move freely
4 around the town of Vukovar. We were rather surprised
5 when we arrived there.
6 Q. Now, you said that you didn't believe that
7 Mr. Dokmanovic would go to the Ovcara farm, because if
8 he did the Serbs there would kill him. How do you know
10 A. I didn't say that. I said that he didn't
11 dare go there, because he had a very poor image,
12 because of all the events that had taken place
13 beforehand, between 1980 and the take-over by the
14 Croatian government, when he was replaced by the
15 Croatian government as President. So that was the
16 reason that I offered to you, the reason as to why he
17 didn't dare show up at Ovcara, let alone decide about
18 anything that was happening there.
19 Q. Well, if he wanted to change his conciliatory
20 image, one of the best ways he could have done that,
21 wouldn't it, would be to go to Ovcara on that day?
22 A. No, because passions were running high at
23 this time, and for him this would have been the worst
24 possible moment to do such a thing.
25 MR. NIEMANN: I have no further questions,
1 Your Honour.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Petrovic.
3 MR. PETROVIC: Just a minor thing in the last
4 response to -- the last answer to one of the questions
5 of Mr. Niemann.
6 Re-examined by Mr. Petrovic
7 Q. A reference is made to the period between
8 1980 and the take-over. I presume that the witness had
9 the year of 1990?
10 A. Yes, I did. I apologise.
11 Q. And one more thing. You said that the next
12 meeting was convened, from the 22nd, Friday, in Erdut.
13 Could you please have a look at the transcript that is
14 in front of you.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Item 3 of the minutes where it says where the
17 next government -- the next meeting of the government
18 was supposed to be convened. I presume that you
19 misspoke when you said Erdut instead of Beli Manastir?
20 A. No, I don't understand. The minutes are from
21 the 19th of November, so on that meeting it was agreed
22 where the next meeting of the government would take
23 place, that is on the 22nd of November 1991 in Erdut at
25 Q. Could you please read out item 3.
1 A. "Goran Hadzic, President of the government, is
2 hereby informing members of the government that it is
3 necessary, due to the situation in Vukovar, for the
4 members of government to assemble on Wednesday, 20th of
5 November, in Vukovar. At Friday, 22nd of November, a
6 meeting, a session of the government is being convened
7 in Beli Manastir at 9.00."
8 Q. So, therefore, we are talking about Beli
9 Manastir, not Erdut?
10 A. Yes, yes, you are right.
11 Q. So you didn't misspeak?
12 A. Yes. Yes, I did.
13 Q. One more clarification. Throughout this time,
14 throughout the existence of the government of the
15 Serbian District, did you live in Novi Sad; is that
17 A. Yes, that's correct.
18 Q. No further questions. Thank you.
19 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. I gather there is
20 no objection to the witness being released?
21 Thank you so much for giving evidence. You
22 may now be released.
23 (The witness withdrew)
24 JUDGE CASSESE: I suggest that maybe we start
25 with one more witness. Yes, we have some time left.
1 MR. FILA: This is witness Milos Vojnovic,
2 and I asked your permission to question the witness
3 yesterday, if you recall.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Vojnovic, good morning.
5 Could you please stand and read out the solemn
7 WITNESS: MILOS VOJNOVIC
8 THE WITNESS: Good morning. I solemnly
9 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
10 and nothing but the truth.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
12 Examined by Mr. Fila
13 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, will you tell us your name and
14 your surname, what school qualifications you have,
15 where you graduated and when?
16 A. My name is Milos Vojnovic. I graduated from
17 the Faculty of Law in Belgrade in 1971.
18 Q. Did you live in Vukovar in the period that we
19 are interested in, that is to say 1990 to 1991?
20 A. Yes, I have been living in Vukovar since
22 Q. Do you live there now?
23 A. Yes, I do. I live there now.
24 Q. What were you by profession in 1990, 1991?
25 What job did you hold?
1 A. I was a judge in the Municipal Court in
3 Q. Did you leave Vukovar in 1991, and if so,
5 A. Yes, I left Vukovar on the 24th of May, 1991
6 because I was made to do so -- persecuted.
7 Q. Did they try to arrest you?
8 A. Yes. On that day at about 9.30 my colleague
9 was arrested in the court. He is Sretiac Slavoljub.
10 He was a judge as well. And somewhere at around on
11 noon on the same day, the representatives of the
12 Croatian police came to arrest me, but due to certain
13 problems that arose as to identity, identification,
14 this did not happen. And in the afternoon hours of
15 that same day I was cautioned that there would be a
16 fresh attempt to arrest me, and then with the help of
17 some friends and acquaintances I succeeded in fleeing
18 from Vukovar. And somewhere around 6 p.m. on that same
19 day they came to my flat to arrest me.
20 Q. Did you and Judge Slavoljub have immunity?
21 A. We had immunity, as proclaimed by the
22 Republic of Croatia, if I recall correctly, and a lot
23 of time has gone by, usually for criminal acts related
24 to performing our professional functions. I do not
25 know whether this immunity was limited to that or
2 Q. Did the political forces have any authority
3 to take away this immunity?
4 A. No, they had nothing in writing, no written
5 warrants or any other documents, apart from their
6 professional ID's, which they used to identify
7 themselves with.
8 Q. Did the function of President of the Court
10 A. Yes, it did.
11 Q. What nationality was he?
12 A. He was Petar Mrksic and he was a Serb by
13 nationality, an ethnic Serb.
14 Q. What happened to him? Was he replaced? Was
15 he relieved of his duty?
16 A. Yes, he was replaced. He was replaced
17 sometime -- in those days after our suspension. I
18 don't know the exact date. I think that it was at the
19 end of May, but otherwise he was a very successful
20 court president and performed his functions for more
21 than ten years.
22 Q. Will you repeat the name of the president of
23 the court, his nationality, why he was replaced?
24 A. His name is Petar Mrksic. He was a Serb by
25 nationality and he was replaced for three official
2 If I recall, it was stated that he waged a
3 bad cadres policy, personnel policy, that he did not
4 work sufficiently in solving concrete cases before him,
5 and that there were very poor inter-human relations in
6 the court.
7 Of course, none of this was correct because
8 the Court of Vukovar under his leadership was one of
9 the most successful courts to function in with the
10 Republic of Croatia. So it was his national
12 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, after leaving Vukovar, did you
13 in the government of SAO, which was set up later on,
14 did you hold a function in that government?
15 A. In the second half of August, I don't exactly
16 remember the date, I think it was towards the end of
17 August, I was called by some people to be included into
18 some processes that were ongoing and topical at the
19 time. And after the so-called government, to call it
20 that, was set up, I was given the post of assistant for
21 jurisprudence for the Justice Department, if I recall,
22 and I think I do because I was present. That was on
23 the 25th of September 1991? In Beli Manastir.
24 Q. Whose deputy were you?
25 A. I was assistant, not deputy, but assistant.
1 The assistant to Mr. Susa Vojin. He was the Justice
2 Minister, Vojin, Susa. Yes, that's what it was called.
3 Q. What functions did you perform later on?
4 A. Afterwards, a short time later, I think on
5 the 9th of October, 1991, the judges were elected for
6 that locality and I was chosen -- elected President of
7 the Provincial Regional Court. It was the sort of top
8 instance institution of justice. And there were no
9 more operations in that area.
10 Q. Can I say that it is true that there were
11 Regional Courts and Municipal Courts?
12 A. Yes. They weren't called that, but that was
13 in fact what they were, that you had the Basic court,
14 you had the Higher Court and the Regional Court, the
15 Provincial Court. And it was the judges who were
16 elected on that day, the 9th of October.
17 Q. When did that Justice Department come into
18 effect, if it ever did?
19 A. Well, we had to confront a series of problems
20 right at the very start, both legal problems and
21 technical problems, so that the process of
22 implementation and translation into practice lasted a
23 long time, and apart from the fact that we were formed,
24 it was in 1992 that we began to function seriously as a
1 But we were present there before that because
2 it was considered that on territories where there were
3 no war operations that an institution of this kind
4 should exist of an exclusively civilian nation, so that
5 we could see to law and order and for that institution
6 to have the power of jurisprudence and jurisdiction.
7 But it was a slow and unwieldy process.
8 Q. How did you perform the functions of justice
9 in the Srpska Krajina region?
10 A. Well, I remained in my post until April or
11 May of 1996 when, due to the prevailing circumstances,
12 I left.
13 Q. We didn't hear you.
14 A. When I entered the realm of politics in 1996.
15 Q. What were you before that?
16 A. I was President of the Regional Court and
17 afterwards of the Supreme Court, when the courts
19 Q. What function do you hold at the present
21 A. I am president of the Joint Council -- we
22 didn't hear -- of Eastern Slovenia, Baranja and Western
24 Q. Within the composition of the present
25 Republic of Croatia; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, it is a component part of the Republic
2 of Croatia and the Joint Council is an institution
3 which was set up by the Erdut meeting as an institution
4 by which the Serbs should articulate some of their
5 rights and interests. Therefore, it is not an organ or
6 parent authority, but a political consultancy,
7 administrative institution, and we maintain continuous
8 contacts with the Croatian institutions.
9 Q. Who elected you to that post and how were you
11 A. I was elected by the Joint Council. It is a
12 collective body having 50 representatives from all the
13 municipalities of the area west -- inhabited by the
15 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, I have been asking you all this
16 for one reason. Do you know that in the course of your
17 career, legal career, somebody has been convicted of a
18 war crime in the area of Srpska Krajina, Beli Manastir,
19 or was somebody charged?
20 A. Yes, charged and sentenced.
21 Q. And is he still carrying out that sentence?
22 A. I have for two years left this legal
23 department and I don't know his fate, but I can't
24 recall -- and I can't recall his name and surname at
25 the moment, but he was sentenced to 20 years
1 imprisonment, and that sentence was confirmed and is
2 legally binding for legal -- criminal acts performed to
3 the detriment of the people of Hungarian and other
4 Croatian nationalities.
5 Q. Was there any other instances of persecution
6 of the Serb nationality for criminal acts against
7 Croats, Hungarians, et cetera?
8 A. Well, at this point in time I think there
9 were, but I cannot recall, because I was in the Supreme
10 Court, and this was done -- these were cases that came
11 before the lower courts. So I can't speak of the
12 individual cases, but I do believe that such cases did
13 exist. Thank you. But our general orientation was,
14 for the most part, classical crimes, and of course of
15 the civilian part of the population.
16 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, do you know an inhabitant of
17 Vukovar called Berghofer, Dragutin Berghofer?
18 A. Yes, I do. I have known him for many years,
19 and I can say that I have known him on three counts;
20 that is to say, I know him from the time that he worked
21 in an enterprise in Vukovar to which I came. I was
22 head of the legal service of that particular firm. I
23 think it was in 1979. And later on I met him again --
24 THE INTERPRETER: We lost that, I'm afraid. We
25 lost what he said.
1 A. He had a lot of --
2 Q. We heard about the first count, we heard how
3 you first met him, but we didn't hear what you said
4 after that.
5 A. We know him as somebody who came before the
6 courts as a -- as civil parties and he appeared in
7 these court cases. I was a civilian judge and dealing
8 with property cases in which he appeared as a party in
9 cases -- alimony, cases concerning alimony and family
11 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, I object to any
12 evidence -- I object to any evidence given by a judge
13 of a litigant before that judge in relation to a
14 witness in these proceedings, if that's what the
15 purpose of this evidence is.
16 I submit, Your Honours, that it's highly
17 inappropriate and improper for a judge to come before
18 this Tribunal and testify about proceedings that have
19 gone on before that judge in a case that he might have
20 dealt with in his capacity as a judge. In my
21 respectful submission, it demeans the Tribunal to
22 receive and accept that evidence, especially if it's a
23 matter that goes to the character of the witness.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: The objection is sustained.
25 MR. FILA: Your Honour, may I ask the witness
1 in that case about what he learned about Mr. Berghofer
2 outside his duty as a judge? Nothing to do with
3 himself as a judge.
4 Q. Well, don't speak about the lawsuits, but how
5 do you know him on the third count you mentioned?
6 A. I was not going to speak about the individual
7 lawsuits. I just said that I met him as a party in the
8 court. I did not wish to speak of individual suits,
9 because you are duty bound not to speak about lawsuits,
10 and I will not.
11 Q. Yes, that is in answer to the objection
13 A. On the other hand, I met Mr. Berghofer again
14 as somebody who likes football, as a football fan,
15 amateur football fan. I played football for many years
16 and we met on the sports fields.
17 Q. What kind of man was he? What was his
18 character? Was he respected?
19 A. Well, I'm not a psychiatrist, and it is
20 difficult for me to say. But all I can tell you is
21 that amongst us he was considered to be somebody of a
22 freer conduct and behaviour and relationship towards
23 his responsibilities. I don't want to enter into any
24 other qualifications which might step out of the
25 frameworks of a general --
1 Q. We didn't hear the last part.
2 A. -- communications between citizens.
3 Q. Yes, carry on. Do you know whether he said
4 the truth? Was he known as somebody who always talked
5 and said the truth or was inclined to make things up or
6 exaggerate matters?
7 A. Well, as I say, he was freer in his conduct,
8 in his behaviour, and gave the impression of somebody
9 who was not always serious. He was not always a
10 serious person.
11 Q. When you say he was freer in his conduct, in
12 his behaviour, what do you mean by that?
13 A. Well, I don't think he was criminal in his
14 conduct, but he was very free in going about the town,
15 very sort of liberal. He talked to people. Not very
16 serious. For example, one detail: When I came to the
17 enterprise that I worked in, that he had left his job
18 because he didn't wish to accept a more serious
19 technological and work discipline that the new
20 leadership and I amongst it insisted upon.
21 Q. You mean he wasn't a good worker?
22 A. Well, at the time when I came to the
23 enterprise, he was considered to be a pretty poor
24 worker, and as we insisted on technological and working
25 discipline, he did not like that, and he left the
2 Q. You said that he told various stories and
3 that he was not always serious. What do you mean by
4 that that? Were they false stories?
5 A. Well, they were usually humorous stories,
6 jokes, sports topics, talk on sports topics and the
8 Q. And as a family man, can you tell us
9 something about that? Did he take care of his family?
10 Was he a responsible family man?
11 A. Well, I don't think I am going to disclose
12 any secrets. It is a well-known fact that he divorced
13 his wife.
14 Q. We don't want anything from court practice,
15 just what you know privately. Only privately.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Fila, to what extent is
17 this relevant to our case? His family life, I mean,
18 that's nothing to do with our case.
19 MR. FILA: Very well. Very well. I withdraw
20 the question.
21 Q. So let us summarise. You have given us
22 certain qualifications of the man?
23 A. As I experienced him, yes.
24 Q. Would you give us a definition of whether it
25 is somebody to be believed? Is he a man to be
1 believed? Was he a well respected man amongst you all?
2 A. Well, amongst us he was considered to be
3 somebody who liked to joke.
4 Q. A little bit of a charlatan, perhaps. Thank
6 JUDGE CASSESE: I wonder, Mr. Niemann, do you
7 think you need to put many questions, because we could
8 carry on?
9 MR. NIEMANN: I don't think I need to put any
10 questions, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: No questions.
12 All right. Mr. Vojnovic, thank you for
13 testifying. You may now be released. Thank you.
14 (The witness withdrew)
15 JUDGE CASSESE: We may now adjourn and we'll
16 reconvene at 2.00.
17 MR. FILA: Your Honour, we have two witness
18 -- only two witnesses for this afternoon, so you can
19 plan your day quite easily. No tension there.
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Do you mean only two through
21 video link?
22 MR. FILA: No video links at all. No more
23 video links. Just two witnesses here.
24 JUDGE CASSESE: So that both Gradina and
25 Leskovac have dropped out.
1 MR. FILA: They haven't turned up.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: So we have Susa Vojin and
3 Zlatic Radoslav?
4 MR. FILA: Yes. And they are waiting to be
5 heard here. And the Colonel that I mentioned, I will
6 be able to question only tomorrow, not before tomorrow.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: What about the expert
9 MR. FILA: He has brought this material,
10 these documents with him, so I would like to leave that
11 for tomorrow. Those are the documents that he was
12 brought with him that I have to examine.
13 As far as expert witnesses are concerned, we
14 have a translation of the document, you will be
15 receiving it in the course of the day, and he will be
16 heard after Mr. Dokmanovic's statement. So that the
17 plan is as follows: I complete the two witnesses
18 today, if Your Honours agree, tomorrow we are going to
19 start off with the Colonel, because he has brought
20 documents with him that I have asked to see, and they
21 have seen fit to give me those documents. And then
22 afterwards I would like to start with Mr. Dokmanovic
23 and probably the day after the expert witness. And
24 that would complete my case, as I promised you.
25 The only thing is that I have a new task
1 governing the circumstances -- concerning the penalty
2 which I was not able to complete. So I need one extra
3 day or a day and a half in July.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Because we may finish even on
5 Friday at lunchtime. I wonder whether we could use the
7 MR. FILA: Your Honour, I'm sure that we will
8 be completing on Thursday, that we will be finished on
9 Thursday. And on Friday, if Mr. Niemann can start with
10 his opposite evidence, rebuttal, then that would be
11 fine, the rebuttal on Friday.
12 MR. NIEMANN: We would certainly like to take
13 advantage of Friday, if we could, call a witness, one
14 witness. The only thing that concerns me is coming to
15 some arrangement with Mr. Fila, that he has actually
16 closed his case. We don't want to start our rebuttal
17 evidence until he has closed.
18 So it may be that the evidence that he still
19 wishes to call, that he wants the day and a half for in
20 June, is something that we can agree upon and there
21 would be no difficulty, and if it's something that he
22 wants to put forward. But my only concern is that I
23 would ask that he close his case before we present our
24 rebuttal evidence. But if he does that, then we would
25 like to take advantage of Friday to at least call one
1 witness. I think we have one witness we could call.
2 MR. FILA: Your Honours -- well, let's make
3 it simple. This week I am completing my evidence,
4 so-to-speak, which are important to determine whether
5 Dokmanovic is guilty or not. After that I have no
6 further evidence. The evidence that I am talking about
7 for June will be the family and friends of Dokmanovic,
8 to give a character sketch of him, and an expert. I
9 think we are going to have Mr. Aleksic, if I can find
10 him, or somebody else if not, that has practised in
12 So in practical terms on Thursday,
13 Mr. Niemann, I am completing my Defence case. Have I
14 made myself clearer?
15 MR. NIEMANN: That, Your Honours, wouldn't be
16 a difficulty for us, if it's limited and restricted
17 only to character evidence and Mr. Dokmanovic, and
18 indeed if he wants to call some evidence about
19 sentencing, we have no problem with that either. It's
20 really no different than what the position was before.
21 But we'd ask that it be restricted to that, because we
22 don't want to have to embark upon our rebuttal case
23 only to have it interrupted by further Defence evidence
24 which we are going to have to then rebut again.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: That's what Mr. Fila
1 promised, that in June --
2 MR. FILA: I'm giving you my word. If not,
3 shall I sign my statement for Mr. Niemann? Do you want
4 me to sign?
5 JUDGE CASSESE: So we may start again at
6 2.15? Thank you.
7 --- Luncheon recess at 12.42 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.17 p.m.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon. Mr. Fila or
3 Mr. Petrovic?
4 Mr. Petrovic, our next witness is Mr. Susa
6 MR. PETROVIC: Our next witness is
7 Mr. Zlatic, Radoslav Zlatic.
8 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, before the
9 witness comes in, I have good news, finally, on these
10 prints. I understand that they have been made, and so
11 I should be able to provide those to the court in the
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Tomorrow morning?
14 MR. WILLIAMSON: Yes, sir.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. So this is one of
16 the witnesses for whom we have no witness statement.
17 Am I correct in saying there is no witness statement?
18 MR. PETROVIC: We do have a statement, a
19 statement had been made and it was submitted, and you
20 will also be given one copy of the statement now, but
21 it is a short one.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
23 MR. FILA: It's going to be very brief, Your
25 (The witness entered)
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon. May I ask
2 you to read the solemn declaration?
3 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
4 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
8 WITNESS: RADOSLAV ZLATIC
9 Examined by Mr. Petrovic
10 Q. Mr. Zlatic, do you remember that on the 28th
11 of January, 1998, you gave a statement to the
12 investigator of the Fila law firm?
13 I would kindly ask this to be shown to the
15 And if this is your statement, would you
16 please say so?
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. PETROVIC: If there are no objections, I
19 would tender this statement into evidence as a Defence
20 exhibit, and could this please be given the next number
21 in order together with the English translation,
23 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Defence Exhibit
25 JUDGE CASSESE: I see there is no objection,
1 so it is submitted into evidence.
2 MR. PETROVIC:
3 Q. Mr. Zlatic, did you complete secondary
4 traffic school in Osijek?
5 A. Yes, I did.
6 Q. What kind of work did you do afterwards?
7 A. I worked as a driver.
8 Q. And where were you employed?
9 A. I was employed in the Panonija Osijek company
10 and I worked there for 21 years until the beginning of
11 the crisis in Yugoslavia when I was evicted from
12 Osijek, that is, I was forced to flee together with my
13 family to Belgrade, where I was accommodated in the
14 Kasino Hotel. This is my story.
15 Q. How long have you been working as a driver
16 for the Ministry of Justice in Belgrade?
17 A. When I came to Belgrade, I met Mr. Susa, and
18 at that time he was proposed Minister of the Serbian
19 governments, Baranja, Eastern Slavonia, and Srem, and
20 since I had a new car, a new Zastava 128, I used to
21 drive him to the government sessions and meetings in
22 Erdut, and I used to drive that vehicle for about six
23 or seven months, until it was destroyed, but I remained
24 with Mr. Susa throughout the war and I used to work for
25 the Ministry of Administration and Justice.
1 Q. Thank you. So you drove Mr. Susa in your own
2 car, your private car?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. Do you know Mr. Slavko Dokmanovic and how
5 long have you known him?
6 A. I've known Slavko Dokmanovic because of the
7 sports. My village, the village of Cepin, and Trpinja
8 used to play football together in the district of
9 Osijek, and I used to know him and Mr. Trosic, and when
10 the whole thing started, I used to see him on TV. And
11 after I became a refugee, I used to see him at the
12 meetings of the government. I was never personally
13 introduced to him, but I used to know him by sight very
15 Q. On the 20th of November, 1991, were you in
17 A. Yes, I was.
18 Q. When were you told that you would go to
19 Vukovar on the 20th of November?
20 A. Well, we used to meet every evening in the
21 Kasino Hotel, me and Susa, and he told me to go to
22 Vukovar -- that we were going to Vukovar to get some
23 fuel because there was a shortage of fuel, and I
24 happened to get some near the Zvezda stadium, and at
25 7.00 a.m., Voja arrived and we set out for Vukovar.
1 Q. So you left for Vukovar from Belgrade?
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. When did you arrive in Vukovar?
4 A. We arrived in Vukovar sometime after 9.00
5 a.m., I don't know what exactly -- what time it was. I
6 didn't look at my watch. The road conditions were
7 quite bad.
8 Q. Where exactly did you arrive in Vukovar?
9 A. We went to Vukovar via Sid, Banovci, Orolik,
10 and Negoslavci, and this is the route we took to get to
12 Q. What did you do in the compound? Where did
13 you stop?
14 A. We when we arrived there, we saw some
15 soldiers at the gate.
16 Q. Could you tell us once again where exactly
17 you stopped?
18 A. We stopped at VELEPROMET, which is situated
19 at the entrance to Vukovar, from the direction of
20 Negoslavci, at the left side. So we introduced
21 ourselves to the person who was at the gate, so they
22 let us in.
23 Q. So you were within the compound of the
24 VELEPROMET company?
25 A. Yes. I knew the location from before because
1 I used to be a driver and I used to drive goods to that
3 Q. Who did you see in the yard of VELEPROMET?
4 A. There were a lot of people there and most of
5 them were members of the government: Mr. Susa,
6 Mr. Vojnovic. I also saw Mr. Arkan there, Mr. Kosic,
7 and this person -- yes, Cznevevic (phoen), he's from
8 the area of Osijek, he used to go to school with my
9 sister, he was Minister of Education in that
10 government, and all members of the government were
12 Q. Did you see anyone filming the area?
13 A. Yes, I did. These people came sometime after
14 12.00, maybe around 1.00 in the afternoon, there was
15 some kind of delegation, including Slavko, who was with
16 them, and he was filming the area with a camera.
17 Q. At one point did members of the government
18 withdraw from the area that they were staying and did
19 they go to some kind of gathering?
20 A. I met several colleagues of mine, drivers who
21 are also from Vukovar and who used to work with me in
22 the Panonija company. At one point I was told that
23 they were leaving because a meeting was supposed to
24 start, and Susa told me not to stick around, not to --
25 go anyway.
1 Q. Do you remember how long these members of the
2 government stayed in that room?
3 A. For about an hour maybe, an hour and a half,
4 approximately. Mr. Susa told me that they would have
5 some short meeting of the government to show something
6 at the deliberation of Vukovar, and this was supposed
7 to be held in Vukovar because they did not have any
8 better place to hold that kind of meeting. So that was
9 the reason why that gathering or meeting took place
11 Q. Let us just clarify. You saw someone filming
12 the yard in VELEPROMET. I assume you didn't mean
13 Mr. Dokmanovic.
14 A. No, no, no, it was somebody else, a plump
15 person, same height as myself. He had some kind of
16 green jacket on him.
17 Q. After the gathering was finished, where did
18 you go?
19 A. After it was finished and after they left the
20 meeting of the government, there were a lot of people
21 in the yard, and Voja spent some time, maybe 20 minutes
22 or half an hour, talking to some people, and a column
23 of vehicles had been formed in the meantime, including
24 military trucks, and they were all civilians, nobody
25 was wearing any kind of uniform, and they went in the
1 direction of Croatia.
2 Q. In which direction did you go?
3 A. We went, we took the same road back, via
5 MR. PETROVIC: I would kindly ask that the
6 witness be shown a videotape of the Defence marked D2,
7 and I think the hour is 15.26, and then -- 15.36, I'm
8 sorry, and I would then kindly ask the witness to
9 describe the area.
10 (Videotape played)
11 Q. Where is this? Could you hold on a second?
12 Could we have the monitor be switched on for the
13 witness, please, and could you please rewind the tape a
14 little bit to the beginning of this particular
16 Where is this? Do you recognise this area?
17 A. Yes, I do. This is the exit from Vukovar.
18 Q. Could you stop the tape, please?
19 A. Yes. This is the road towards Negoslavci.
20 Q. Are these the last houses of the town?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And the next houses are where?
23 A. In Negoslavci.
24 Q. Could we go on, please?
25 (Videotape played)
1 A. There used to be a huge hole here.
2 Q. Could we stop the tape, please? Yes. Thank
4 Could you recognise this area?
5 A. Now, this is quite difficult.
6 Q. Could you go on with the tape just a little
7 bit and slowly? In slow motion, please.
8 If you don't recognise the area, it doesn't
10 A. No, it's really very difficult. All I can
11 see is this bus here and some bushes.
12 Q. Take a look at the right-hand side.
13 A. No, I mean, really, it's very difficult to
14 see anything.
15 Q. Slowly I think you will be able to recognise
16 the next segment.
17 A. Could you stop the tape here? This is
18 Negoslavci, I believe. This is the entrance to the
19 village after the curve. The road from Vukovar to
20 Negoslavci is pretty straight and then there's a curve
21 and then it's Negoslavci.
22 Q. Thank you. Did you stop anywhere on the road
23 after Negoslavci?
24 A. The column was moving quite slowly, and
25 before we entered Orolik, we stopped, and they wanted
1 to know why we were waiting. There were some people
2 from the Red Cross there who were distributing food to
3 the people on the buses, some cookies, juices, and
4 things like that, and I noticed that there was a
5 commotion at the entrance, and I remember that there
6 used to be a military checkpoint there, a kind of swing
7 gate, some kind of temporary swing gate, and a soldier
8 was there all the time. I noticed that there was a
9 commotion there, and I wanted to see what was happening
10 and why we were waiting. I wanted to know why civilian
11 vehicles couldn't be let through.
12 When I got there, I saw Mr. Dokmanovic, who
13 was having an argument with this soldier.
14 Q. When exactly was that, what time of the day?
15 A. It was getting dark, it was at dusk. It was
16 a nice day, a sunny day, but in the afternoon hours,
17 fog settled in. The argument was quite heated, and I
18 was actually surprised to see Slavko to have such an
19 argument with a soldier.
20 But at one point, from the house which was on
21 the left-hand side, from the direction of Vukovar, ten
22 soldiers appeared with automatic rifles and they cocked
23 their rifles, and at one point I thought to myself --
24 Q. When did you last see Slavko Dokmanovic on
25 that day?
1 A. Well, this was around 5.00 p.m.
2 MR. PETROVIC: Thank you very much. No
3 further questions.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Niemann?
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Niemann
6 Q. Mr. Zlatic, I don't know whether it was a
7 mistake in translation or not, but did you say that
8 Mr. Susa worked for the Justice Ministry in Belgrade?
9 Was that what you said?
10 A. No, no, no. I didn't say that. Mr. Susa was
11 Minister of Justice and Administration -- that's how it
12 was called at that time -- with the government of
13 Western Slavonia, Baranja, and Srem. No, he didn't
14 work for the Serbian Ministry of Justice. This does
15 not appear in my statement and I didn't say that. I've
16 been with this man from the very beginning.
17 Q. I know it didn't appear in your statement.
18 It's just that I saw that as something that was said in
19 the transcripts. Never mind.
20 On the day that you set off to go to
21 VELEPROMET, how did you know that you should go there,
22 to that particular place in Vukovar, VELEPROMET?
23 A. Well, on the evening, Susa told me that I
24 would be going and that there would be a session of the
25 government in Vukovar, so I didn't have to ask where
1 and why. As we were approaching the area, the first
2 houses and the area near VELEPROMET, at that moment I
3 was told that the meeting would be held there.
4 I used to know Vukovar very well from before
5 the war. Osijek is not very far from Vukovar. I used
6 to work there very often, so I knew the area and I knew
7 where VELEPROMET was.
8 Q. Now, when you arrived at VELEPROMET, where
9 did you park the car?
10 A. Inside the compound. We entered the compound
11 of VELEPROMET.
12 Q. Did you leave the car parked in there, inside
13 the compound?
14 A. Yes, inside the compound.
15 Q. You were there for some time, from 8.00,
16 9.00, right through until the end of the meeting?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you leave VELEPROMET at all that day?
19 A. No, I did not. There was a kitchen there
20 where they were distributing food and water to women
21 and children. There was even some cooked food, beans,
22 I think I remember they had for lunch, and there was
23 this man who was standing outside and he was
24 distributing food from a huge pot, and I also ate there
1 Q. And you didn't see vehicles or buses arriving
2 at the JNA barracks nearby during the course of that
4 A. No, no, I didn't.
5 Q. Did you see buses arriving in VELEPROMET
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What time did they arrive in VELEPROMET?
9 A. Well, they kept coming one by one, maybe two
10 by two. They would enter the compound and the
11 civilians were boarding buses, and there were also
12 military lorries there. As far as I heard, there was a
13 problem, something like Croatia did not want to receive
14 them, to have them back, and that the area was heavily
15 mined. This is something that I heard later on. They
16 went via Bosanski Samac, these women and children.
17 This took place -- this happened for several days.
18 Q. Now, apart from the women and children, did
19 you see any men that had been taken prisoner, Croatian
21 A. Yes, yes, there were some people who were
22 there. I mean, nobody -- as far as I could tell,
23 nobody was captured, they were simply there, and
24 apparently they had expressed a wish to go and they all
25 left. There were lots of men there, elderly men, but
1 there were more women and children.
2 Q. When did you see, first see Mr. Dokmanovic,
3 about what time?
4 A. I saw him sometime before 1.00 p.m. I really
5 couldn't tell you the time. I never thought that I
6 would be a witness here. This all took place a long
7 time ago.
8 Q. Yes, of course you can only tell us what best
9 you can remember.
10 Who did he arrive with? Who did
11 Mr. Dokmanovic arrive with?
12 A. As far as I could tell, they were waiting for
13 him and he was supposed to arrive with a delegation
14 from Serbia, some people who were involved in economic
15 matters and things like that, people unknown to me. I
16 don't know how many there were, about four or five.
17 Q. Did you see him arrive?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But you didn't recognise the people he was
21 A. No. I mean, these people were unknown to
22 me. I had not seen them before.
23 Q. Now, shortly after Mr. Dokmanovic arrived,
24 did they then have the government meeting?
25 A. Yes. At one point, they withdrew to a kind
1 of room which is on the right-hand side from the
2 entrance to the compound. They used to have their
3 administration there. This is where I used to report
4 before when I would come to VELEPROMET as a driver.
5 And this is where they went together with my Minister.
6 Q. Did you see any members of the government
7 delegation set off on a tour of Vukovar at any stage
8 either before or after the meeting?
9 A. I don't think they were able to leave after
10 the meeting. We had been there for a very short while,
11 and it was very difficult for us. We were waiting for
12 our turn to join the column. Later on I saw Slavko in
13 Orolik at the checkpoint where this minor incident took
14 place. My assumption was, my conclusion was, that he
15 had left before us. In my opinion, there was no
16 possibility whatsoever, no opportunity to go to
18 Q. So as best you know, they simply left
19 VELEPROMET and went out with the convoy of buses?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. When you saw Mr. Dokmanovic at Orolik, did
22 you hear him speaking? Did you hear what he was
24 A. Yes. Why they were stopping us, why they
25 didn't want to let us go, we were in a hurry, he had
1 some visitors from Serbia, I don't know whether they
2 were visitors or something else, we were supposed to
3 pass, and this person was telling us that nobody could
4 pass before they received what they needed and --
5 anyway, this is what happened. And I was actually
6 surprised at the violence of the argument.
7 Q. Who was being violent? Mr. Dokmanovic or the
8 soldier or both?
9 A. Well, they were all quite violent, especially
10 Mr. Dokmanovic. He was probably very angry because he
11 was with that delegation, he was supposed to go
12 somewhere, and these people were members of the
13 government of Baranja, Eastern Slavonia and Western
14 Srem, and soldiers wouldn't simply let anyone pass
15 without some kind of authorisation that they were
16 apparently waiting for.
17 Q. Did Mr. Dokmanovic say that he was a member
18 of the government, if you can remember?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. When he said he was a member of the
21 government --
22 A. No, it didn't help. It didn't help. In the
23 meantime, these soldiers came out from that house with
24 their rifles cocked and I was -- I started to worry
25 about our safety. I thought that the situation was
1 quite serious because they were armed, they had cocked
2 their rifles.
3 Q. How many vehicles were there held up from
4 this delegation?
5 A. Well, I didn't count them. I mean, I wasn't
6 interested to know at the time. We were all in a
7 hurry. You know, at that time it was still quite
8 dangerous to drive along that road, especially during
9 the night, because the road between Orolik and Sid, the
10 Ustashas were still there some 200 metres away. There
11 were daily shootings. Our soldiers were going back
12 home and there were lots of civilians too. So it was
13 quite dangerous for us to pass that road during the
14 night. And we were in a hurry. We wanted to leave as
15 soon as possible.
16 I don't know where our people went, but we
17 went to Sid that night, we had dinner in Sid, and then
18 after that, we left for Belgrade. As for Slavko, I
19 don't know where he went because -- you couldn't
20 overtake anyone on that road. I mean, it was a very --
21 the road was in a very bad condition, full of holes.
22 It was a muddy road.
23 Q. Did you manage to make it to Sid before it
24 was dark?
25 A. No, no. It was already getting dark in
1 Orolik, and I think that we stayed there for about half
2 an hour, even more.
3 Q. Now, when you left VELEPROMET, did you leave
4 at the same time as all the buses left, the buses of
5 all the people?
6 A. You know, not everyone can leave at the same
7 time -- could leave at the same time, so we were
8 waiting for our chance, our opportunity to join the
9 column, and those who joined the column beforehand were
10 able to leave before. There were lots of vehicles at
11 that point. And as soon as I got my chance, I joined
12 the column. And probably Slavko managed to get in the
13 column before us.
14 Q. Can you remember whether the buses that were
15 in the convoy were ahead of you or behind you when you
16 set off from VELEPROMET?
17 A. Both ahead of us and behind us.
18 Q. So you were in the middle of the convoy?
19 A. More or less, I think. I don't know how many
20 were behind me and how many were ahead of me, but I was
21 a hundred metres away from the swing gate, and since a
22 bus, I think, is maybe 10 or 12 metres long, there were
23 maybe between 10 and 15 buses ahead of me and a couple
24 of cars.
25 Q. Now, occasionally did you and Mr. Susa stay
1 over in Erdut, overnight in Erdut, when you were there
2 on government business?
3 A. Afterwards, yes.
4 Q. Where did you stay when you had to stay
5 overnight rather than go back to Belgrade? Where did
6 you stay? Where were you accommodated?
7 A. We stayed where the meeting was held. On the
8 top floor upstairs, there were about five or six beds.
9 Sometimes there would be no room for us to stay there,
10 and then we would sleep at the place that before the
11 war used to be some kind of military training centre.
12 There were lots of beds there, and this is where we
13 sometimes stayed.
14 Q. This military training centre was the
15 military training centre of Mr. Arkan's people, was it?
16 A. It's kind of pre-military. It was used for
17 that purpose before the war, and I don't know what
18 purpose it served afterwards.
19 Q. Before the war, you mean before --
20 A. Yes, before the war, when I used to have that
21 kind of training, pre-army training.
22 Q. But at the time that you stayed there with
23 Mr. Susa, when you used to stay in the dormitories,
24 that was then a training centre for Mr. Arkan's people,
25 wasn't it?
1 A. Yes. This is where they used to sleep, live,
2 and work.
3 Q. Was there any connection that you could see
4 between the government, the government of the Serbian
5 district, and Mr. Arkan's military people? I mean, you
6 stayed in their dormitories, but was there any other
7 connection that you observed?
8 A. Could you please repeat the question? I
9 didn't quite understand.
10 Q. Sure. What I'm asking you is whether you saw
11 any connection between the government that Mr. Susa was
12 the Minister of Justice for and Mr. Arkan's military
13 group that was located at these dormitories where you
14 used to sleep occasionally?
15 A. No, no. No.
16 MR. NIEMANN: No further questions.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Mr. Petrovic?
18 MR. PETROVIC: Just two short questions.
19 Re-examined by Mr. Petrovic
20 Q. After Mr. Susa had left the room where the
21 meeting was held, did you hang around in the VELEPROMET
22 yard for a while?
23 A. Yes, we stayed there for a while. He
24 discussed things with certain people, I had started the
25 engine, and I was waiting for my turn to leave the
2 Q. But did you see Slavko Dokmanovic leave?
3 A. Yes, yes, I did. We were the first ones to
4 arrive, Voja and myself, so I was parked, I was
5 stationed next to the gate, so I could see everyone
6 entering and leaving the VELEPROMET compound.
7 Q. How did you see him leave?
8 A. He was sitting on the right side next to the
9 driver, front passenger seat.
10 MR. PETROVIC: Thank you. No further
12 JUDGE CASSESE: I assume there is no
13 objection to the witness being released?
14 Mr. Zlatic, thank you for testifying in
15 court. You may now be released. Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
17 (The witness withdrew)
18 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, might I be
19 excused for the rest of the afternoon? I have a
20 commitment in another Chamber.
21 (The witness entered)
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Good afternoon. Could you
23 please read the solemn declaration?
24 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
25 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may be
4 WITNESS: VOJIN SUSA
5 Examined by Mr. Fila
6 Q. Mr. Susa, did you make a statement to
7 Mr. Vasic on the 14th of August -- no, on the 30th of
8 September, '97? Will you take a look at the document
9 and tell us whether that is your statement?
10 THE REGISTRAR: It is document D112 and
11 D112A for the translation.
12 A. Yes, it is. That is my statement and my
13 signature on the statement.
14 MR. FILA: If there are no objections, I
15 tender this into evidence as D112 and D112A.
16 Q. Mr. Susa, did you graduate from the faculty
17 of law and when?
18 A. Yes, I graduated from the faculty of law at
19 the faculty in Osijek and I graduated in 1983.
20 Q. Did you, in your later career, were you the
21 Public -- the Prosecutor in Vinkovci?
22 A. Yes, between 1983 and 1990, I was the deputy
23 of the district, Public Prosecutor, and I was also the
24 Public Prosecutor later on as well.
25 Q. How long did you perform that function, until
1 what time?
2 A. Until February 1991, and officially right up
3 to September of the same year when I was relieved of my
5 Q. Why were you relieved of your duties?
6 A. I was relieved of my duties due to the fact
7 that I had to -- I was forced to leave the Republic of
9 Q. Did you have any reason to leave the Republic
10 of Croatia? Were you arrested or anything like that?
11 A. As I say, in February 1991, I was subjected
12 to an operation, a gallbladder operation, and after
13 that operation, I spent time recuperating at home, and
14 on the 9th of July, 1991, within my family circle, by a
15 special unit of the Zengara, I was arrested, and I was
16 taken to a camp, collection camp, which was improvised
17 at the stadium of the football club of Zupanja and
18 Vinkovci. I had a lot of trouble there, I was
19 maltreated, and I was physically injured, and on the
20 following day, in a state of that kind, I was allowed
21 to leave the town towards Belgrade.
22 Q. Physical mistreatment meant you had injuries,
23 did it not?
24 A. Yes, I sustained injuries of the mouth
25 because a rifle was introduced into my mouth and it
1 went right up to the right sinus channel, I lost two
2 teeth on the occasion, and two ribs were broken on the
3 right-hand side. I had a dislocated shoulder and had
4 to be treated for those injuries at the emergency
5 centre in Belgrade.
6 Q. Why did they do this to you? Why did you
7 sustain these injuries?
8 A. Because the group came to our house, as I
9 say, and my father was arrested on the occasion, and
10 they allegedly stated that we lent our support to the
11 insurgence in Mirkovci, it is a village near Vinkovci,
12 and allegedly on that night there was shooting from our
13 house in the direction of the Zengara patrol.
14 Q. And that of course was not true?
15 A. No, it was not.
16 Q. How long have you known Slavko Dokmanovic?
17 A. I met Slavko Dokmanovic for the first time on
18 the 18th of August, 1991, at a meeting which was held
19 in Dalj when we discussed the need to constitute an
20 organ which should represent the government and when
21 for Mr. Dokmanovic -- when it was stated that he was a
22 pretender for the function of Agriculture Minister.
23 Q. Were you elected as Minister of Justice and
24 Administration in the government and how were you
1 A. Yes, I was elected to that function at the
2 proposal of Goran Hadzic. I was nominated by the Great
3 National Assembly of the Srem district of the day,
4 Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem.
5 Q. Who represented that Assembly and how were
6 you elected?
7 A. The Assembly was represented by the deputies
8 who, in fact, physically represented the people from
9 the locality in such a way as in the composition of the
10 Great National Assembly, all those were entered who at
11 the previous elections in Croatia got the vote of the
12 people as well as the representatives of the villages
13 from which these people were not formally elected at
14 the elections.
15 Q. Does this refer to the elections in 1990, the
16 first multi-party elections?
17 A. Yes, the elections held in Croatia.
18 MR. FILA: I should like now to show the
19 witness some documents that have already been accepted
20 as Exhibits D59 -- D16 and D59, I think. D59, please,
21 Exhibit D59.
22 Q. It is the decision on the election of the
23 President or Vice-President, Prime Minister and Deputy
24 Prime Minister of the government of the Serbian --
25 district of Serbia, Baranja, and Western Srem, on the
1 basis of -- who wrote this decision and what was it
2 based on?
3 A. The decision was written by an expert
4 service, a professional service, that is to say the
5 secretariat of the Great National Assembly, and noting
6 this conclusion, I took part, I gave certain
7 suggestions as to how it should be shaped and the
8 formal wording, and it was adopted at the Great
9 National Assembly, the date is stated, it is the 25th
10 of September, 1991.
11 Q. It is the exact date and it enumerates all
12 the Ministers who were elected, amongst them yourself
13 and Slavko Dokmanovic?
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 MR. FILA: May we now have Exhibit D60,
17 Q. It is the law governing Ministries. Would
18 you look and tell us who wrote the law?
19 A. The law was devised in my Ministry by my
20 associates, Mr. Milos Vojnovic and the late Mr. Nenad
21 Stankovic. I myself took part in it.
22 Q. Could you take a look at item 10, please? It
23 is the article which relates to the Ministry of
24 Agriculture. The Minister of Agriculture was Slavko
1 A. Yes, he was.
2 Q. Could you tell me the competencies of his
4 A. In order to explain what his functions were,
5 I should have to elaborate the meaning of an
6 administration, administrative rule for the state to
7 become a state and a region, and I must say that in
8 that sense, Mr. Dokmanovic fulfilled his duties
10 Therefore, first of all, he organised work on
11 the farming collectives for the area in which we lived
12 and the area that we controlled and he performed all
13 the functions that meant cooperation with organisations
14 which we did not have on the spot at the time and which
15 dealt with the processing of farming goods so as to
16 ensure their functioning and supplies, food supplies
17 for the population of the area, and I must stress,
18 which the court already knows, I'm sure, that the area
19 we lived in was one of the best farming areas in the
20 former Yugoslavia, agricultural areas, and therefore
21 Mr. Dokmanovic's job was highly responsible and a
22 highly difficult job to perform.
23 MR. FILA: May we show the witness Exhibit
24 D19 now, please?
25 A. That is the law on Territorial Defence,
1 Territorial organisation.
2 Q. Was that also a law which was written in your
4 A. Yes, it was.
5 Q. And you took part in its elaboration?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. A question was raised with the Territorial
8 organisation as to why we have municipalities which
9 were not within your realm, for example, the
10 Municipality of Osijek, the inhabited region of
11 Osijek. What do you mean by that?
12 A. Well, let me say that we had many people
13 working in our various organs, bodies, who came from
14 urban areas, from towns bordering upon us, that is to
15 say Osijek and Vinkovci, and those individuals insisted
16 that those two towns be incorporated into the law on
17 Territorial organisation as something which we, at a
18 given moment, can count on, although it was certain
19 that at that time we were not controlling those two
20 towns and that it was a debatable point whether we
21 would ever succeed in controlling them.
22 Let me stress, for example, with the example
23 of Osijek, that a section of the town, the lower town,
24 as it was called, was inhabited by mostly Serbs who
25 were expelled from the area. And that according to the
1 population census of 1991, done by the organs of
2 Croatia, that this was ascertained in that census. So
3 what was written was purely symbolic, which for a very
4 brief period of time was put down on paper, whereas
5 several months later, after we had written this down,
6 the Municipalities of Prenj (sic) and Mirkovci was set
7 up, which means that this symbolism ceased to exist
8 after that.
9 Q. How was the territory, local self government
11 A. The Territorial organisation was organised in
12 pyramid form with regard to the conditions that
13 prevailed. At the bottom, at the base, were the local
14 communities. Above them, we had the municipalities,
15 the communes, and then the government as executive
16 power and authority which functioned. Then you had the
17 legislative authorities represented by the Great
18 National Assembly and Independent Court rule at the
20 Q. Now, how did this Territorial organisation
21 function at that level until the constitutional law was
22 enacted; that is, since the adoption of the
23 constitutional law?
24 A. Well, before that, there were elections which
25 were held, and after the constitutional law was
1 enacted, I must stress with provisional meaning, until
2 we were able to organise elections, which, due to the
3 conflicts that lasted, that was not possible. We
4 organised this in such a way as having the locals of
5 individual villages elected their representatives. The
6 number depended on the size of the particular locality
7 and number of settlements in it. These
8 representatives, furthermore, through meetings and
9 joint decisions, decided, together with the government,
10 as to who would be their representative for the
11 municipality, and then from the municipalities, the
12 representatives would be delegated once again,
13 depending on the number of inhabitants, into the Great
14 National Assembly.
15 Q. And that is why it is called the law on the
16 provisional, the word is "provisional"?
17 A. Yes, we bore this in mind because it was
18 truly provisional for anything to be able to function
19 and to establish administrative rule in any way until
20 democratic free elections could be held.
21 Q. And finally to conclude this, how did the
22 system of authority function, of government function?
23 A. Well, unfortunately, due to the prevailing
24 conditions, there was still armed -- there was still
25 armed combat on both sides, it was difficult for us to
1 establish the necessary discipline on this part and all
2 this functioned very badly, I must say.
3 Q. In the composition of your government, did
4 you have the Ministries for the army, the police, and
5 did you have armed forces and a police force,
6 particularly in November 1991, because that is the
7 subject of our interests?
8 A. I must say that when we enacted these
9 provisions, we sort of looked towards the future at a
10 time when this would be necessary and would be able to
11 function. That is why formally we did have an Internal
12 Affairs Ministry and a Defence Ministry formally. But,
13 unfortunately, these Ministers did not have anything
14 much to do because neither did they have a police force
15 which could function on the spot nor could the Defence
16 Minister bring in any decisions because, behind him or
17 below him, he had nobody, that is to say, he had no
18 armed formations.
19 MR. FILA: Would you now take a look at the
20 next document that we're going to show you and tell us
21 what it purports to? May we have a number for those
22 exhibits, please?
23 THE REGISTRAR: That is document D113.
24 MR. FILA:
25 Q. You have in mind the decision to conjoin the
1 annexation of the territory, so three decisions.
2 A. I recall one particular meeting that I
3 attended when we discussed the fact that we had a lot
4 of problems with the armed formations which existed at
5 the level of every inhabited region and which had no
6 unified command. We did not have an organ which would
7 be able to control it, and this was necessary.
8 First of all, because of the pilfering and
9 looting that was taking place and it was logical, and I
10 think that Mr. Koncarevic decided this with the
11 military authorities, that everybody carrying weapons
12 in our area without a uniform command be placed under
13 the command of the Yugoslav People's Army.
14 Q. Did you have in mind the village watches?
15 A. Yes. We only had in mind the village watches
16 because we had nobody else carrying weapons in an
17 organised fashion. Had it been organised, we would
18 have stood up against it and coming under the JNA with
19 which we did not particularly cooperate.
20 Q. The date this decision was made was the 9th
21 of October, 1990 -- was it 1991?
22 A. The 10th of October is the date.
23 Q. There must be an error. Does that mean that
24 after the 10th of October, the village watches had
25 nothing to do with you? What happened next?
1 A. Well, this need not be true in absolute terms
2 because the village watches always found ways of
3 retaining their autonomy with the local commanders, but
4 this was not a problem that we were supposed to deal
5 with but it was now a problem of the JNA. But up till
6 then, the local commanders, or the commanders of the
7 village watches, found ways and means of cooperating
8 with officers covering that particular territory so
9 that together, strengthened by the arms they had, would
10 enter into looting and pilfering and doing a lot of
11 valuable stealing.
12 Q. Let's clear up the matter of the relationship
13 between your government and the JNA. What kind of
14 relationship did you have?
15 A. It wasn't a good relationship because the
16 Yugoslav People's Army did not consider us to be a
17 serious partner, not only in military matters, which
18 might have been true, but also in the sense of
19 establishing administrative civilian rule which we
20 insisted upon and which did not -- they did not agree
22 Q. Did you have any possibility of ordering the
23 JNA anything, demanding that they perform anything?
24 A. No, we had to seek ways and means, each of
25 us, as best we could, to use our friendship with
1 somebody to be able to get something done, which was
2 necessary to be able to bring life to a semblance of
3 normality, but we did not have the possibility of
4 calling upon one of the senior commanders and demand
5 that something be done. That was never the case. We
6 could never do that.
7 Q. So could I then conclude that no military
8 forces -- that you were not an authority for any of
10 A. Yes, I'm afraid that is right.
11 Q. Did you, on the 20th of November, 1991, go to
13 A. Yes. I was in Vukovar.
14 Q. When did you arrive? Where did you arrive
15 from and why did you go to Vukovar?
16 A. As I said, I provisionally -- temporarily
17 lived in Belgrade, and the way in which I functioned
18 was that I would travel from Belgrade towards Erdut,
19 and that's what I did on that particular day. I left
20 from Belgrade, but not in the direction of Erdut but in
21 the direction of Vukovar.
22 On the previous day, that is to say the 19th,
23 I was in Erdut, which is where the government was
24 stationed, and Mr. Goran Hadzic informed us on the
25 occasion that he had had talks with his associates who
1 had returned from the terrain and that he was told that
2 in the course of the following day, operations would be
3 completed for the liberation, as we called it, the
4 liberation of Vukovar, and that it would be a good
5 idea, in view of our importance, which was not very
6 great, but due to the fact that we wanted to establish
7 quite different forms of cooperation with the Yugoslav
8 People's Army that, on the following day, we should
9 meet in Vukovar so as to agree upon what should be done
10 to establish administrative civilian structures in the
11 town and to see what the town looks like after the very
12 long and terrible bombing that had taken place.
13 MR. FILA: I should like the witness now to
14 be shown the minutes, but the minutes are in Belgrade.
15 So can I show him my copy? I think that the
16 Prosecutor's office will be able to ascertain that it
17 is the same document. If that is possible. It is
18 Defence Exhibit D53, the original of which is in
20 MR. WILLIAMSON: We have no objection.
21 MR. FILA:
22 Q. Is that the minutes of the meeting held in
23 Erdut on the 19th of November?
24 A. Yes, it is. Those are the minutes.
25 Q. Would you like to comment? You are a lawyer,
1 a legal man. How were these meetings held from the
2 legal aspect?
3 A. The government meetings were held very
4 regularly. As far as the government was concerned, we
5 had the responsibility ...
6 MR. FILA: Ah, we found a copy, a court
7 copy. It's the same document.
8 A. Well, the members of the government had
9 agreed not to improvise, not to take up each other's
10 time, so we would prepare in writing all the proposals
11 for the meetings and the conclusions of the meetings.
12 Q. And the agenda as well?
13 A. Yes. It was always the responsibility of the
14 government secretariat to set up an agenda, to write
15 down an agenda. Sometimes we had problems with this
16 because some of the Ministers wanted to introduce items
17 on the agenda which had not been previously written
18 down, and we thought that we should only answer their
19 needs sometimes when it was an urgent matter but not as
20 standard practice.
21 Q. At the government meetings, was a quorum
23 A. Yes. No decision could be endorsed at the
24 Great National Assembly if the proposal for a decision
25 was made at a government meeting without a quorum.
1 Q. What do you mean by quorum? Fifty plus one?
2 A. Yes, when the government takes decisions.
3 This is so in all the systems that we have had occasion
4 to acquaint ourselves with, the government takes a
5 decision as a proposal for the Great National Assembly
6 with a majority which is represented by the 50 plus one
8 Q. And the minutes that you have, was that
9 enacted in the same way?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were government decisions always verified by
12 the Great National Assembly?
13 A. Yes, that was an obligation. They were
14 always verified by the Great National Assembly.
15 Q. I should now like to ask you to tell us, if
16 you will, something about some of the points in the
17 document that we're interested in.
18 Look at page 2, please, and item by item tell
19 us what it represents. What does item 1 mean, that
20 "Caslav Ocic," et cetera?
21 A. That is clear. If the town has been
22 liberated, we knew that in the town there were a large
23 number of civilians and soldiers, regardless of whether
24 they were Serbs or Croats, Caslav Ocic and Mr. Ilija
25 Petrovic, who likes literary forms of expression, were
1 to prepare a proclamation for the citizens of Vukovar
2 calling upon people to respect law and order and to
3 establish those basic elements of law and order, which
4 would encourage people after everything that had taken
5 place. Mr. Caslav Ocic was to have, under item 2,
6 prepared information about the government's views to
7 send the blue helmets --
8 Q. Let's finish with item 1, please. Was it
9 determined when the proclamation would be given and was
10 it to have been verified previously by the government?
11 What does the word "preparation" mean?
12 A. Yes, everything that had a deadline was to
13 have been expressed in writing. Therefore, Mr. Ocic
14 and Ilija Petrovic were clearly in principle in keeping
15 with the possibilities and the time they have at their
16 disposal, and in view of all the foregoing events,
17 would prepare a proclamation for the citizens.
18 Q. And were you to verify that proclamation as
19 the government?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did they do that by the following day?
22 A. I'm not quite sure about that. I don't
24 Q. Let us now go on to item 2, that Caslav Ocic
25 prepares information, what information?
1 A. At that time we discussed the need to send
2 neutral forces of a third party to the area, and we,
3 that is not myself but I think it was Goran Hadzic, had
4 had preliminary talks for the establishment of a UN
5 mission in the locality.
6 Q. To what aim?
7 A. First of all, to stabilise the region and to
8 prevent any further conflicts from breaking out because
9 we assessed that any war which would be prolonged, we
10 would not be able to contend with.
11 Q. May we now go on to item 3? What does this
13 A. I have already mentioned that our work so
14 far, in cooperation with the members of the JNA, was at
15 a very low level. Most of the time we said things to
16 each other, we would agree upon certain things, but
17 nothing was ever implemented on the ground. There were
18 people within the government who were close to some of
19 the members -- some of the representatives of the
20 Republic of Serbia and who believed that, through their
21 mediation, a new course would set in within the JNA and
22 that it would be allowed for the people in that area to
23 organise themselves independently.
24 Q. Does that mean that until the 19th, the
25 situation was not that way, it was not the case, before
1 and after? When was the first time you established
2 civilian authority, first attempted and then succeeded
3 in doing so?
4 A. I think that after the liberation of Vukovar,
5 maybe a month, month and a half after the liberation,
6 some kind of executive government was established
7 through the executive council which was at that time
8 presided by Mr. Rajko Bibic, until that time we had
9 some kind of military rule that was represented by
10 members of the Yugoslav People's Army, and before that,
11 we had a very, very poor plan at that time for the --
12 for the town of Ilok, which was completely under the
13 control of the JNA.
14 Q. Could you please repeat that? Neither before
15 the 19th nor after the 19th there was no cooperation
16 with the representatives of the Republic of Serbia?
17 A. Yes, I will do that. I said that neither
18 after the 19th was there any cooperation and nor was it
19 the case before the 19th.
20 Q. I would kindly ask you to speak slowly so
21 that we can have everything in the transcript.
22 I would now kindly ask you to give us some
23 explanation as to item 5. I don't quite understand
25 A. Item 5 expresses a wish, a need, which
1 unfortunately until that time or after that time was
2 brought to life, implemented.
3 Q. And now, please have a look at the item 3
4 which says that Goran Hadzic -- item 3 and under item
5 3, Goran Hadzic hereby informs members of the
6 government and so on. Could you explain this to us?
7 A. This was more like an invitation for us to
8 meet in Vukovar on the next day, which was perfectly
9 clear to most of the members of the government. They
10 were people from Vukovar and they could hardly wait for
11 the first possibility, first opportunity to go to
12 Vukovar to see their houses, their friends, and I was
13 interested in that too, although I'm not from Vukovar,
14 but I wanted to attend, to be present at that event,
15 which was supposed to be of a ceremonial character.
16 Q. As you can see, a distinction is being made
17 here between the need for government members to be in
18 Vukovar on Wednesday and the session of the government
19 which is convened on the 22nd in Beli Manastir. Are
20 these two separate things?
21 A. Yes, they are. You can see it from the
22 text. On the 22nd of November, a regular session of
23 the government was held, according to the procedure
24 which I have described. Everybody had prepared a
25 report on the activities, and this was not something
1 that was supposed to be done in Vukovar.
2 I think that at that time we assumed, we had
3 some kind of idea of the situation we would find in
4 Vukovar, and nobody thought that anything seriously
5 could be done in Vukovar in such circumstances.
6 Q. Mr. Susa, would you agree with me that
7 whatever was held in Vukovar on the 20th was not a
8 meeting of the government? It was not a session of the
10 A. It was not a session of the government but it
11 was a meeting of the members of the government.
12 Q. Do you know whether the majority of
13 government members were present?
14 A. Not all of them were there but the majority,
16 Q. Let us see now. When did you arrive in
18 A. I believe that we arrived in Vukovar from
19 Belgrade around half past ten.
20 Q. The reason for your visit to Vukovar?
21 A. We wanted to be there, to gather there. In
22 VELEPROMET, the so-called VELEPROMET compound, around
23 12.00. That's what Goran Hadzic said. And he knew
24 that we were supposed to come from different points,
25 but anyway, we were supposed to meet at 12.00 at the
1 VELEPROMET building.
2 Q. At what time did you enter the VELEPROMET
4 A. I arrived in Vukovar around 10.30 and I
5 couldn't resist the proposal of one of our colleagues
6 who had joined us on our trip from Belgrade to Vukovar
7 and who insisted that we should go and see what was
8 left of his house. Unfortunately, nothing was left of
9 his house, but we were supposed to move around very
10 carefully because the town was in a horrible state and
11 at certain points we had to bypass a number of dead
12 bodies who were still lying around. We had to go over
13 some destruction, smithereens, and we also had to cover
14 the area which was probably mined. But although we
15 were aware of that, we wanted to follow him, we wanted
16 to escort him, so we reached his house and we stayed
17 there for a while. He was very distressed. The name
18 of this person is Nikola Drpa. And after that, we went
19 back to VELEPROMET via the same way, and I think we
20 arrived there at about ten, quarter to twelve.
21 Q. At what time did you see Slavko Dokmanovic,
22 if you did see him on that occasion?
23 A. I saw Slavko Dokmanovic when I got to the
24 yard, to the compound of VELEPROMET, and he was
25 accompanied by some people whom I had not seen before.
1 These people were not members of the government, but I
2 didn't know whether they were from Vukovar because I
3 didn't live in Vukovar.
4 Q. So did Slavko Dokmanovic attend that meeting?
5 A. Yes, he did.
6 Q. Was he present there all the time, as far as
7 you can remember?
8 A. I think he was present there all the time.
9 Q. Was there any agenda on that meeting? Were
10 minutes taken during that meeting?
11 A. Well, we thought that the meeting would be
12 held in a much better atmosphere, and we hoped that
13 there would be room for us for some kind of
14 satisfaction, but the town itself and the people we
15 found there, especially the victims that were there,
16 made us feel really aghast at what we saw. We were
17 really terribly depressed with what we saw in the town
18 and the people we ran into.
19 So nobody -- no member of the government
20 began the meeting. It was some kind of low-ranking
21 officer, maybe Lieutenant Colonel, and I believe his
22 surname was Vojnovic, he was given to us to open the
23 meeting. So he formally chaired the meeting. He was
24 sitting at the table, or maybe he was standing next to
25 the table in front of us, and we were sitting like
1 this, the way I am sitting now facing you here in the
2 courtroom. So we were sitting in rows of tables.
3 MR. FILA: Your Honour, this might be a good
4 time for a break or maybe -- do you want me to
6 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. A 20-minute
8 --- Recess taken at 3.30 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 3:55 p.m.
10 THE REGISTRAR: All rise. Please be seated.
11 MR. FILA: Your Honours, I would like the
12 tape, Defence Exhibit No. 2 be shown to the witness.
13 The time is 15.50, VELEPROMET. I would like to ask him
14 whether he was there, whether he recognises some people
15 on the video. A very brief segment of the tape. If
16 you see Slavko Dokmanovic, please tell us.
17 A. Yes, I can see him.
18 Q. Who else can you see?
19 A. I can see Rade Leskovac, Vlado Kosic.
20 Q. Is this the time prior to the meeting?
21 A. Yes. This is Goran Hadzic and Zeljko
22 Raznjatovic Arkan. This is Ljubo Mudrinic, Slavko
23 Dokmanovic, Dusan Jaksic, Vlado Kosic.
24 Q. Okay. Thank you. That would be enough.
25 Mr. Susa, do you recognize this as the day when you
1 went to Vukovar, the 20th of November?
2 A. Yes. Everything that I saw on the tape tells
3 me that this is the day.
4 Q. Do you want to see some more of the tape or
5 are you sure that this was the situation on the 20th of
7 A. Yes, I am sure, the way people looked and
8 because I saw them there.
9 Q. You said that the meeting was convened for
10 12.00. Now you can see that it's past 1.00 and the
11 meeting has not started yet. When did it start?
12 A. Well, we were supposed to gather at the
13 VELEPROMET building around noon and the meeting started
14 rather late because we were waiting for Mr. Hadzic.
15 And then when he arrived, the meeting didn't start
16 right away because we were waiting for someone to let
17 us into the building of VELEPROMET. So this lasted
18 until 14.00, 2.00, when this gentleman appeared, I
19 think it was this lieutenant-colonel by the name of
21 Q. Can you remember the contents of the
22 meeting --
23 A. Excuse me. I apologise. But can this
24 monitor be turned off? I cannot concentrate myself
25 very well. Excuse me, could you please repeat your
2 Q. When you entered the room where the meeting
3 was held, you said before the break how the seating
4 arrangements looked like. Could you tell us who sat
6 A. Well, we were not put in line. We simply
7 entered the room and he sat next to the desk. He was
8 standing next to the table and then we sat on the
9 benches, which were arranged in school-like manner.
10 Mr. Hadzic was sitting in the first row, Zeljko
11 Raznjatovic Arkan was also there, and I was sitting
12 maybe also in the first row but to the right-hand
13 side. People sat down without any particular order.
14 They simply took the seats that were available.
15 Q. Could we say that he was sitting like some
16 kind of teacher, and would you agree with us that he
17 conducted the meeting?
18 A. Yes, I agree with you, and without his
19 approval it was impossible for us to enter the room.
20 And that's what he said. He said that he had some time
21 and that he was able to talk to us, and if we had any
22 kind of proposal or suggestions, that he was willing to
23 listen to us.
24 Q. So what was discussed at the meeting?
25 A. Some people who thought they knew something
1 about the military doctrine and who did describe -- who
2 did say that the manner in which Vukovar was liberated
3 was not very good, had an opportunity to confirm that,
4 and to say it publicly. I'm not sure, but I believe
5 that Mr. Pajo Nedic was objecting to the shelling of
6 Vukovar and the way it was conducted, because the town
7 was reduced to rubble. And for the people who are from
8 Vukovar, were very hurt by what they said.
9 And I can tell you for myself, after I had
10 seen what the situation was, I was also concerned.
11 Dr. Hadzic also talked, and he was really distressed
12 with what he had seen, and he spoke in some general
13 terms about the need to repair the town so that people
14 would be able to live normally in that town.
15 Dokmanovic also spoke. He addressed the need
16 to organise as soon as possible, together with the army
17 and the people in general, to organise harvest and
18 preparations that were necessary for the sowing.
19 I also mentioned this when I discussed with
20 the members of the Prosecution, and this is the
21 impression that I had. This speech that was made by
22 Dokmanovic seem to me quite strange, bizarre, almost
23 surreal, in view of what was going on around us.
24 However, I can very well understand that at that time
25 his attitude was very professional and he was perfectly
1 conscious that without agriculture, which was the basis
2 for life in the area, that without agriculture we would
3 never be able to repair the town and to enable its
4 population to live normally.
5 Q. Are you sure that Pajo Nedic was at that
7 A. I already told you that I'm not sure that
8 that was Pajo Nedic. Somebody spoke, several people
9 spoke, but someone was very insistent, and he said,
10 Mr. Vojnovic, that the army, in that action, in that
11 operation, which had lasted for several months, had
12 done -- excuse my language -- had done a shitty
14 Mr. Vojnovic had nothing to say in that
15 sense. He said that that was the strategy, that was
16 the doctrine that they had adopted and had resulted in
17 the not very large number of casualties. And I think
18 he had the JNA in mind when he said that. And he said
19 that a grave number of people was supposed to find
20 accommodation as soon as possible, because people kept
21 pouring out of the shelters, out of the basements and
22 the town. There were Croats there, Serbs, people who
23 had been fortunate enough to survive what was happening
24 in the town. And I'm not talking only about the
25 operations carried out by the JNA. There were lots of
1 internal settling of accounts. There were lots of
2 people who had acted on their own, who had established
3 their own groups, and I am referring to parts of
4 Croatian formations, and who were terrorising the
5 population in the town. And the corpses that I saw in
6 the streets were not the corpses of Croats or Serbs.
7 They were corpses of some people who happened to be
8 there and they were all mixed.
9 Q. You said that the meeting lasted for about
10 one hour. Where did you go after the meeting? Did you
11 stay for a while at VELEPROMET?
12 A. I stayed in the yard, the VELEPROMET
13 compound, and most of the people who had been at the
14 meeting stayed there, remained there for a while,
15 because they were waiting in line to get out of the
16 VELEPROMET compound. Some sort of traffic jam had been
17 created there. There was a great number of vehicles in
18 the street in front of the VELEPROMET compound. There
19 was no order whatsoever at that moment, and we were in
20 a great hurry, and half an hour later we managed to
21 join the convoy that was headed no Negoslavci.
22 Q. Mr. Susa, did you see when Slavko Dokmanovic
23 left? Did he leave before you or later on?
24 A. I did not pay attention to Slavko Dokmanovic
25 at that moment, and I don't know whether he had left
1 before me, but if you want me, I can add. Later on I
2 saw him ahead of me.
3 Q. When did you see him? You saw him after the
4 meeting and did after 3 p.m.?
5 A. Yes, the meeting ended around 3.00. I cannot
6 tell you the exact time, and I wouldn't commit myself
7 in that way, but the first time that I saw him after
8 the meeting, it was before the village of Orolik, and
9 it was the last time I saw him on that day. And I
10 didn't see him again before several days.
11 Q. What happened in Orolik?
12 A. The convoy vehicles stopped before Orolik,
13 including my vehicle. At that moment I didn't see
14 anything, however, my driver noticed that something was
15 happening ahead of us, some kind of incident is taking
16 place, and threatened to become a real conflict with
17 casualties maybe. And when my driver said that, he
18 mentioned Slavko Dokmanovic, and he said that he had
19 some kind of argument with the checkpoint control --
20 checkpoint patrol and that they were likely to come to
21 blows. So he left the vehicle, he got out of the
22 vehicle, and I got out of the vehicle after him. And
23 at that point I saw Mr. Dokmanovic, together with Rade
24 Leskovac, and a number of other people unknown who were
25 to me. And I saw a number of military policemen who
1 were quite aggressive, I assume, because they were
2 drunk, and who had their rifles pointed towards
3 Dokmanovic and these other people.
4 And I believe that Mr. Leskovac acted in an
5 inadequate manner during that incident. I believe that
6 he was standing behind Mr. Dokmanovic and he was sort
7 of pushing him towards these people with whom no
8 agreement could be reached.
9 We were simply -- we had to withdraw, simply,
10 and this is what I suggested to Mr. Dokmanovic. But
11 then an officer appeared, an army officer, and he
12 ordered that the road should be cleared and that the
13 convoy should be allowed to proceed.
14 Q. Could you be more specific as to the time of
15 the day?
16 A. Well, that day was quite sunny, but it ended
17 with some kind of mist. And when I saw Mr. Dokmanovic,
18 at that point the sun had already settled down, but I
19 think you can say that it was already dusk. After we
20 had passed Orolik and when we reached Banovci, which is
21 the following village, and which is maybe four or five
22 kilometres away from Orolik, I remember that we already
23 had our lights on.
24 Q. I don't assume you can remember the exact
1 A. Well, I presume it could have been around
2 5.00 p.m., maybe some minutes, several minutes before
3 that or after that.
4 Q. And my last question. Do you remember what
5 Slavko Dokmanovic was wearing that day?
6 A. Slavko Dokmanovic had an uniform on, which
7 was different from my uniform and from other similar
8 uniforms that we were wearing. His uniform resembled
9 the uniform that I was using before the war for
10 hunting. It was a two-piece hunting uniform and I
11 believe that he had the same kind of vest.
12 Q. The one with front pockets for ammunition?
13 A. Yes, that's the kind of vest I had in mind.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Susa, that concludes my
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Williamson.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Williamson
18 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Susa. Do you recall
19 giving a statement to Mr. Waespi in Belgrade on the
20 10th and 11th of January of this year?
21 A. Yes, I do. I made that statement.
22 Q. And was that statement taken down in the
23 English language and subsequently read back to you in
25 A. Yes, it was.
1 Q. And then did you sign the statement as being
2 true and correct?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. Okay. At this time I would like for you to
5 look at this. I'll mark this as Prosecutor's Exhibit,
6 I believe it's 206. And this statement was taken in
7 Mr. Fila's office; is that correct?
8 A. In a way, yes. The first day we were in the
9 building of the Federal Executive Council and then on
10 the second day in Mr. Fila's office.
11 Q. And do you recognize your signature on this
13 MR. FILA: Your Honour, it is not the same as
14 last time. Mr. Waespi gave us that statement.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
16 A. On all the pages of this document, which you
17 have given me, I recognise my signature.
18 MR. WILLIAMSON: At this time I would tender
19 this as Prosecutor's Exhibit 206.
20 MR. FILA: No objection.
21 MR. WILLIAMSON:
22 Q. Mr. Susa, when was the government of the
23 Serbian district of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem
24 formed, initially?
25 A. The first talks about a government began at
1 the beginning of August 1991, and at that time I was
2 still in Belgrade for treatment.
3 A more serious meeting on that topic was held
4 on the 18th of August, the same year, and the
5 government was actually constituted in September of
6 that same year, before the Great National Assembly.
7 Q. So the government that was constituted in
8 September and which we have seen a little earlier,
9 where the ministers are set out in this document, that
10 was the first constituting of a government, is that
11 correct, with actual ministers?
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. And during the period between September and
14 December, did the persons who were holding these
15 ministerial posts change, or did they remain the same?
16 A. I think that during that particular period we
17 only had one situation in which we had a change, and
18 that was after Mr. Ilija Koic was injured, and he was
19 Defence Minister and was replaced by his deputy, Mr.
20 Pedra Grablovic (phoen).
21 Q. How was Mr. Koic, the Defence Minister,
22 injured? What were the circumstances under which he
23 was injured?
24 A. As far as I know, he was going from -- by car
25 from Vukovar towards the village where the -- inhabited
1 by Serbs and was then attacked from an ambush. And
2 that particular vehicle was hit by one of these Zolja,
3 rocket launchers, and he was seriously wounded.
4 Q. Did you have a Deputy Minister of Justice?
5 A. Yes, I had a deputy and several assistants.
6 Q. How many assistant ministers altogether, if
7 you recall?
8 A. Yes, I do recall, of course. I had three
9 assistants. I don't count my deputy. I know that it
10 was his function to help me most directly and to take
11 my place when I was not there. Then we had the
12 secretary in the ministry who dealt with all personnel
13 problems and prepared and organised work within the
14 ministry, and of course there were assistants for
15 justice, for administration and for criminal sanctions.
16 Q. And was this true of the other ministries
17 within the government as well, that there were deputy
18 ministers and assistant ministers for the various
20 A. Unfortunately, I must say that a number of
21 ministers did not have conditions in which they could
22 have the luxury of deputies, so usually they nominated
23 assistants. Some of them did have deputies, others
24 only had assistants, because deputies were a luxury at
25 the time.
1 Q. Do you recall what was the situation with
2 Mr. Dokmanovic within the Ministry of Agriculture. Did
3 he have a deputy, assistants? How many people did he
4 have on his staff, if any?
5 A. I can't quite remember the exact organisation
6 as to personnel, Mr. Dokmanovic's staff, but he had
7 several professionals working with him.
8 Q. Now, do you know what the Serb National
9 Council was? What was this organisation?
10 A. It was an organisation, and I know as much as
11 I've already said about it. It was organised, set up
12 by prominent Serbs on the territory of Croatia and some
13 other individuals who lived in Serbia, in
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and even in Germany,
15 Sweden and Holland. There were about 60 odd people in
16 the Council.
17 Q. And the original Council was created in Serb,
18 near Knin, in July of 1990, correct?
19 A. Let me say that at the time I was politically
20 unengaged on the Serbian question side, because I
21 performed my duties as deputy -- as public attorney in
22 Croatia, District Attorney in Croatia. So I'm not
23 quite sure when the Serb National Council was set up
24 and who set it up, because several people had said that
25 they had made the vital contribution to its founding,
1 but I think the date that you have mentioned was
2 generally accepted as the date when the Council was
4 Q. And I was mentioning the Serb National
5 Council from Serb, from Knin. Later on a separate
6 Council was formed for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and
7 Western Srem, was it not? If you know.
8 A. Yes, I heard about that, but I did not take
9 part in the work of either Council.
10 Q. Did the Serb National Council have a role in
11 the formation of the governmental bodies in the Serbian
12 district of Slovenia, Baranja and Western Srem? Did
13 they have any part in the forming of the national
14 assembly and the government?
15 A. In a way it did, yes, because it gave --
16 presented the idea as to how matters should be
17 organised. The Serbian National Council did not
18 function as an integral, organised body, but it was
19 individuals who presented themselves as members of the
20 Serb National Council and they were the promoters of an
21 idea on the need to create an organ, a body which would
22 organise and control the administration and life in a
23 given locality.
24 Q. So it would be fair to say that they were
25 more of an advisory body that helped create the ideas
1 by which the government was formed?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. Then you had a large role in actually the
4 drafting of the legislation and some of the rules that
5 we have seen by which the government operated; is that
7 A. In a certain sense, yes, I gave some
8 initiatives and concrete proposals which were
9 definitely given shape to and adopted to at the Great
10 National Assembly. Let me also tell you that I also
11 had very many critics at the time.
12 Q. But generally the government was formed in a
13 very organised fashion and there were clearly
14 delineated roles for the different posts; is that
16 A. Yes, on paper.
17 Q. Can you tell me what was the relationship
18 between the government and the Serbian district -- of
19 the Serbian District and the government of the Republic
20 of Croatia, if any? Were there any contacts between
21 the two?
22 A. At that time there were no contacts, not good
23 contacts, but no contacts. When we in mid-1992
24 appeared with the wish to have the most direct possible
25 contacts with the Croatian government, a group of
1 individuals, including myself, was politically -- fared
2 badly politically.
3 Q. But that was much later on; you said in 1992,
5 A. Yes, that was after the unification of the
6 three Serbian districts into one whole, one entity, one
7 organisation, which was called Krajina.
8 Q. Now, during this period of 1991, when the
9 conflict was going on, did your government abide by any
10 decisions which were taken by the Croatian government
11 in respect to the region under your control?
12 A. No, we did not abide by those decisions.
13 Q. And I take it there was no way for the
14 Croatian government to enforce decisions in the area
15 that was under your control?
16 A. In the period that you are discussing, there
17 was no possibility for those decisions to be enforced.
18 Q. Now, as the battle was going on around
19 Vukovar, the government, as I understand it, was
20 meeting regularly in Erdut; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, it is.
22 Q. Were meetings taking place anywhere else?
23 A. They were taking place in two localities,
24 either in Beli Manastir or in Erdut. I don't remember
25 exactly. It is possible that one was held in Ilok, but
1 I'm not sure of that.
2 Q. Did meetings alternate between the two, for
3 example, one meeting in Erdut, then a meeting in Beli
4 Manastir, and the next one in Erdut, or was it more
6 A. No, we could not alternate, but some people
7 wanted to have this sort of symbolic equality between
8 Slavonia and Srem on the one side, and Baranja on the
9 other. However, there were areas which were physically
10 divided, and it was really very complicated to travel
11 such a long way, to hold meetings alternately.
12 Q. And how often were the meetings occurring?
13 A. For the most part, once a week, sometimes
14 more frequently, sometimes less frequently. In view of
15 the problems that we discussed, and if there was the
16 Great National Assembly before that, then we would meet
17 twice a week, but usually it was once every two weeks.
18 Q. Now, you indicated to Mr. Waespi in the
19 statement that you gave to him that it was normal for
20 local military commanders to come and give reports to
21 the government, was it not?
22 A. Yes, it was, but not for everyone. There
23 were military commanders who were highly disciplined in
24 organising the defence of their villages and they
25 remained. And they cooperated with the government in
1 the sense that they came to Erdut regularly and
2 informed us as to the situation in their village. And
3 the situation was very bad, if for nothing else, for
4 health reasons, because we did not have the necessary
5 health care necessary and medical aids for diseases,
6 particularly Trichinella spiralis, the disease that was
8 Q. When you say they came to Erdut, would they
9 actually attend the meetings of the government itself
10 and brief the members as to what was going on in their
12 A. The principle was that these people would
13 inform one of the department ministers and if that
14 minister considers it necessary to tell the other
15 members of the government, then they would discuss the
16 issue. Very frequently they would sit at the meetings
17 and listen to what was going on, and we wanted to
18 ensure the presence of the public at our meetings,
19 because when they would go back to their own villages,
20 they would inform the inhabitants of what we were
21 discussing and what we were preparing to do.
22 Q. And, as I understand it, the -- these
23 military leaders would come to you because they were
24 having some manpower shortages as well, and were asking
25 to you shift people who were involved in agriculture or
1 industrial production to perform military functions; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct. In individual villages,
4 in some of the villages, the danger of conflicts with
5 the opposite side was acute, and it was daily, a daily
6 threat. And in some of the villages, such as Mirkovci,
7 Karadzicevo, Tenia along the border-line, people would
8 die daily. There were less and less people and we had
9 to ensure that people -- safety for people who remained
10 in their houses, adamant in defending them.
11 Q. You had also indicated to Mr. Waespi that the
12 local commanders had in fact two superiors, the JNA who
13 would supply them with food, weapons and wages on one
14 hand and local civil authorities on the other
15 hand. "When they were not able to come to terms with
16 their military superiors, they would turn to us to
17 complain about their problems." Just for your
18 reference, Your Honours, I am on page 4 in the middle
20 Is that a fair statement?
21 A. Yes, I remember what I told Mr. Waespi. What
22 I said is true, but we should have an exact
23 interpretation of the phases in which they would come
24 to us and what they asked to us do. They never asked
25 us concrete solutions, because they knew that we,
1 unfortunately, did not have them at hand. But they
2 asked us to act as arbiters in their relationship with
3 the representatives of the army.
4 Q. So the Territorial Defence saw you as someone
5 who can mediate between them and the JNA, and to help
6 them solve some of their problems?
7 A. Part of the military commanders considered
8 this. Some of us (sic) never asked us for anything.
9 They didn't need us.
10 Q. Now, you have looked at a document earlier,
11 which I think has been entered as Defence Exhibit 113,
12 which was the decision to attach the Territorial
13 Defence of the Serbian district of Slovenia, Baranja
14 and Western Srem to the armed forces of the Socialist
15 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. When it refers to the
16 Territorial Defence of the Serbian district, what does
17 this mean? Was there an unified command or is this
18 just talking about all of the various TO units from the
19 different villages? Can you clarify that a little bit?
20 A. I think I can tell you quite simply.
21 Unfortunately, there was nothing that was so well
22 organised as to represent a whole uniform command.
23 They were -- there were village guard, watches set up
24 earlier, which armed themselves during that period, and
25 depending on the size of the village, and the structure
1 of the people who imposed themselves as commanding, how
2 that Territorial Defence would function. Sometimes,
3 unfortunately, that Territorial Defence would mistreat
4 the villagers in the given villages.
5 Q. And what role, if any, did the Minister of
6 Defence, Mr. Koic have, in coordinating the activities
7 of these various Territorial Defence units?
8 A. Just one correction. It was Mr. Ilija Koic.
9 He had a very difficult task and I would say
10 unsuccessful to the very end.
11 Q. Now, when this decision was reached wherein
12 the Territorial Defences were shifted over to the JNA,
13 how was this communicated to the various Territorial
14 Defence units?
15 A. Perhaps by means of the public information
16 media. I don't know whether at the Ministry of Defence
17 there were any notes written to the villages. I think
18 that it was the radio, press and television which
19 announced that a decision of this kind had been taken,
20 and I suppose that later on people from the JNA began
21 to disarm and to subject these units to themselves, who
22 until then were in command of themselves. Their own
24 Q. Now, you indicated during your examination in
25 chief that Mr. Koncarevic, I believe Ilija Koncarevic,
1 had decided with the military authorities that
2 everybody carrying weapons would be under the command
3 of the JNA? Why was Mr. Koncarevic designated to carry
4 out this discussion with the JNA?
5 A. Well, they were very difficult talks for two
6 reasons. First of all, there was the question of
7 whether the army would agree for us to bring in --
8 bring order into such a disorganised formation, which I
9 suppose would be a very difficult task, a thankless
10 task. On the other hand, we had to explain to the
11 people why they would be commanded by somebody from the
12 JNA in future. Mr. Ilija Koncarevic, in his previous
13 life, was an active officer of the JNA. He had some
14 good connections there, good friends there, and by
15 virtue of his function he was prisoned (sic) the Great
16 National Assembly, therefore, for a political decision
17 of this kind, a lot of strength and authority was
18 needed so that by virtue of his function and the manner
19 in which he was able to perform this, that was the job
20 for him.
21 Q. Now, in the meeting on the 19th of November,
22 which occurred in Erdut, do you recall if anything else
23 was discussed other than those items that appear in the
24 minutes of the meeting?
25 A. Well, to tell you the truth, all the topics
1 -- I can't recall all the subjects in the minutes, had
2 my attention not been drawn to them. I know that the
3 dominant discussion was about Vukovar and about
4 everything that we came to learn of and which indicated
5 that a great tragedy had taken place there.
6 Q. And you indicated that Mr. Hadzic, Goran
7 Hadzic, had been told that military options would be
8 concluded the following day. Do you recall who had
9 told him this, or where he learned this information?
10 A. No, I don't. I couldn't say.
11 Q. And in the minutes, and I know you may not
12 have them in front of you any more, but it indicates
13 that it was necessary for members of the government to
14 be in Vukovar. This seems a little more forceful than
15 just an invitation to attend. It's more of an
16 indication that everyone is expected to be there; is it
18 MR. FILA: Objection, Your Honour. You are
19 not reading correctly, it was not stated that it was
20 their duty to be in Vukovar. That is not stated
21 anywhere. So if we supply you with the defence exhibit
23 MR. WILLIAMSON: It appears on the English
24 translation and that's how it appears on the
25 transcript, that it was necessary for members of the
1 government to be there. I've quoted it correctly.
2 JUDGE CASSESE: You didn't say duty, you said
4 MR. FILA: Necessary and indispensable. It
5 says "necessary" in the minutes and "indispensable" is
6 something else again. Necessary, you can and you
7 needn't. Indispensable is you must.
8 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, I'll read my
9 question again. I said: It indicates that it was
10 necessary for members of the government to be in
11 Vukovar. This seems a little more forceful than just
12 an invitation to attend. I quoted it verbatim.
13 MR. FILA: Let's make one thing clear. The
14 original exists. Would you please read it and have it
15 translated exactly.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Fila, I think
17 Mr. Williamson is reading from the transcript of this
18 afternoon's hearing. So this is what the witness said
19 before. It was necessary. So I think it is quite
20 proper for Mr. Williamson to ask this question. So the
21 objection is overruled. Please -- you may proceed,
22 Mr. Williamson.
23 MR. WILLIAMSON:
24 Q. So again I would just ask you, Mr. Susa,
25 where it indicates that it was necessary for members of
1 the government to be in Vukovar, this seems to be a
2 little more forceful than just an invitation. Again,
3 it seems to be implying that there is some obligation
4 for you to be present, or an expectation that people be
5 present. Wouldn't you say?
6 A. Expectation, yes, perhaps, in a way. All of
7 us wanted to see the town, but I must tell you that
8 when Goran Hadzic tells somebody that something would
9 be necessary, very often this is not binding upon
11 Q. Now, when you reached Vukovar, you indicated
12 that you got there originally around 10.30 in the
13 morning and went with this friend to see his house and
14 then returned to VELEPROMET. What was the situation in
15 VELEPROMET when you arrived back there? What did you
16 observe going on?
17 A. There was a lot of confusion everywhere.
18 Everything was at the level of a catasic (phoen) day.
19 Houses were still on fire. There was a multitude of
20 people. Everybody was going to and fro, or at least I
21 had that feeling, and everything gave me the picture of
22 complete confusion.
23 Immediately after the end of the meeting I
24 had a strong migraine headache. There were people
25 moving about in military uniform. There were women,
1 men in civilian clothing. There were people crying.
2 There were people laughing, and this all -- it seemed
3 like a big painting of Hieronymus Bosch. That's what I
4 said on the occasion.
5 Q. Would it be fair to say that those events
6 left quite a lasting impression on you?
7 A. Yes, they did on me, a very lasting
9 Q. Now, when this meeting started in -- at
10 VELEPROMET, where exactly was it held?
11 A. I did not know VELEPROMET well enough. I
12 don't even know it now. I don't know whether I visited
13 perhaps once or twice afterwards. But the entrance is
14 -- you go through one entrance, one doorway, and then
15 there is a corridor with another door and there is a
16 room which has just that one entrance, which is both
17 the entrance and the exit.
18 Q. And approximately how many people were
19 present for the meeting altogether?
20 A. About 25 to 30 people, possibly.
21 Q. Do you recall which ministers were there?
22 A. More or less, yes. Do you want me to
23 enumerate them?
24 Q. Yes, if you can. The ones that you remember
25 being present, by their name and their post, if
2 A. There was Goran Hadzic, who was the Prime
3 Minister; Dr. Mladen Hadzic, who is no relation to the
4 first, he performed the function of the Deputy Prime
5 Minister; then there was Mr. Dokmanovic, he was
6 Minister of Agricultural; Bogdan Vorkapic as the
7 Minister for Construction and Town Planning; Mr. Bogdan
8 Vojnovic, who was the Minister of Finance; I think
9 Mr. Bora Bogunovic was there as well as the Minister
10 for Internal Affairs; I myself was present; and I think
11 there were some other individuals, Assistant Ministers
12 and Ministers as well. I'm afraid I can't remember.
13 Q. Was Mr. Leskovac a member of the government?
14 I realise he was not a Minister. Was he holding some
15 other post for the government?
16 A. Yes, in a way he was a member of the
17 government because he was an Assistant Minister. As
18 his Ministry, as I said earlier on, did not have a
19 Deputy, then when Mr. Petrovic was absent, who was
20 Minister for Information, Mr. Leskovac would perform
21 his duties. And most frequently, Mr. Petrovic lived in
22 Novi Sad. He was a fairly sick man, and so he was not
23 present very often.
24 Q. Now, you indicated earlier that Arkan was
25 also present in this meeting. What was his role there?
1 A. The role of Zeljko Raznjatovic Arkan was
2 fairly clear in a sense. Up to the beginning of the
3 conflict in the area, his unit was first located in
4 Tenia, and then after, some conflicts with some of our
5 people from Tenia, they transferred to Erdut where he
6 had ambitions of setting up a camp for the training --
7 a training camp for people who had to know about
8 warfare and actually knew nothing about warfare.
9 His relationship with Mr. Hadzic was a good
10 one and very often he would give Mr. Hadzic -- he would
11 supply security for Mr. Hadzic when he would travel
12 through the region where the contact with enemy forces,
13 hostile forces, was a daily occurrence.
14 Q. I believe in your statement to Mr. Waespi you
15 also indicated that Major Sljivancanin joined the
16 meeting at some point in time. What was the purpose
17 for him coming to the meeting?
18 A. Mr. Sljivancanin was not present at the
19 meeting. If I remember correctly, I said on the
20 occasion, and I'll repeat this, he turned up very
21 briefly and left. But I met Mr. Sljivancanin twice in
22 my life, but I saw him on television screens generally
23 after the meeting. I think he just briefly entered and
24 exited from the room. He did not discuss joining in
25 our discussions, nor did he address us.
1 Q. You indicated in the statement -- and I know
2 the statement is in English. I'm not sure how well you
3 can read English -- but on page 10 -- I'll read it out,
4 and you can tell me if this is correct or incorrect.
5 You said: "I think at that time Sljivancanin was
6 present there too since he responded to my words saying
7 that the army will take care of the prisoners of war
9 A. That was definitely stated by Mr. Vojnovic.
10 If I said it as you have read it out, then I probably
11 made a mistake. But Vojnovic spoke about that subject,
12 and that I know full well to be a fact. Perhaps, in
13 all this, I mixed up the statements made by
14 Sljivancanin before or afterwards where he spoke about
15 the prisoners of war.
16 Q. When you say Major Sljivancanin was there
17 briefly, are you indicating that he came into the
18 meeting briefly but did not participate in discussions,
19 or he was just outside at VELEPROMET?
20 A. I have the feeling that he did not come to
21 the meeting at all, that he just came in to see who was
22 there and went out again.
23 Q. So this discussion in relation to prisoners
24 of war took place with Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic
1 A. I repeat, I think that his surname was
2 Vojnovic, and if so, then that is the person in
4 Q. And do you remember exactly what was
5 discussed with him and who participated in the
7 A. Not exactly, but basically, yes. As I said,
8 Goran Hadzic took part in the discussion, Mladen
9 Hadzic, Slavko Dokmanovic, myself. I think two or
10 three other people took the floor.
11 Q. But you can't recall exactly what was said?
12 A. Not exactly, no.
13 Q. Were Territorial Defence commanders also
14 present in this meeting on the 20th of November?
15 A. I did not know all the Territorial Defence
16 commanders, particularly the ones from Vukovar whom I
17 met after Vukovar's liberation. It is possible that
18 some of the commanders were there. There were several
19 people in uniform whom I did not know.
20 Q. Did you know Miroljub Vujovic or Stanko
22 A. I met both of them after the operation to
23 liberate Vukovar.
24 Q. As far as you can recall, neither one of them
25 was present at this meeting on the 20th?
1 A. I don't think they were there, no, not at the
2 meeting. My acquaintance with them date to a later
3 date, when they were cases brought to my court, before
4 my court.
5 Q. And in the meantime, Mr. Vujovic was
6 appointed to the executive council which governed the
7 City of Vukovar, was he not?
8 A. I'm not sure that he was in the first team,
9 but if he was, that would be no strange matter because
10 he had exceptionally great authority in the area. We
11 did not meddle in these matters too much, that is to
12 say, who the people who had liberated Vukovar would
13 send to the executive council. The only thing we
14 wanted was that the President be Mr. Bibic of the
15 executive council, who is a very calm elderly man whom
16 we thought would have good organisational
17 capabilities. He was a successful director, and we
18 felt that a man of this kind would help us in achieving
19 some good cause.
20 Q. Now, as I understand it, after you came out
21 of the meeting, you saw Mr. Dokmanovic again briefly
22 outside; is that correct?
23 A. No, I didn't say that I saw him for a brief
24 moment outside. But it is possible that we passed each
25 other. But that detail was such a minor detail that I
1 don't think I can say when he left the courtyard,
2 whether he stood in the courtyard, stood about for some
3 time. I think that perhaps he did, but I can't quite
4 remember where he was standing and when he left because
5 all of us at one time left the courtyard, and, of
6 course, all these people went through my line of
8 Q. So you are not aware of exactly when he left
9 VELEPROMET or whom he left with?
10 A. I don't know who he left with. He might have
11 left a little before me because the crowd started to
12 thin at the time, and my driver took advantage of this
13 occasion to introduce us into the column. And I think
14 that his driver or anybody else driving did the same
16 Q. But you did not see him again until you
17 reached Orolik; correct?
18 A. That's correct, yes, I didn't see him.
19 Q. And when you saw him, you said that
20 Mr. Leskovac was with him. Was anybody else in his
21 immediate company at that time?
22 A. There were several other individuals whom I
23 was not acquainted with. I know Leskovac well, and so
24 I saw him and took note of him immediately. Dokmanovic
25 was in the forefront whereas Leskovac was a little
2 Q. Did you see who Mr. Dokmanovic left Orolik
4 A. No, I didn't. No. When this incident was
5 over, and I hoped that I helped prevent it, we returned
6 to the column, Dokmanovic was in front of us, and he
7 left that place before us and turned towards Sid in the
8 direction of Belgrade where we went too, but we didn't
9 come across them anymore.
10 Q. When you say he was in front of you, he was
11 not immediately in front of you but, rather, he was far
12 enough away that you weren't able to see what type of
13 car he was in or who he was with or ...
14 A. I couldn't say, no.
15 MR. WILLIAMSON: Thank you, Mr. Susa. I have
16 no further questions, Your Honour.
17 THE WITNESS: Mr. President, could I say
18 something, please?
19 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
20 THE WITNESS: Perhaps just as a piece of
21 information as to what we did during that period. I
22 must say here before you today that the first case of
23 trials for criminal cases was done in our court in Beli
24 Manastir for war crimes where Boljevic was sentenced to
25 a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment, and I
1 must also say that in the majority of cases we know
2 exactly how people behaved on the terrain, and that my
3 contact with the Croatian side was almost regular, and
4 I am getting ready to go to Croatia next week to
5 perform my duties.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: May I then ask you one
7 question? These are cases brought before this court in
8 Beli Manastir about crimes committed in the area of
9 Vukovar in this particular period, '91, war crimes
10 or ...
11 A. The case that I mentioned was a war crime and
12 it was committed in the Beli Manastir locality.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: When?
14 A. In the period between 1991 and '92, and the
15 case was brought to trial in 1993 and '94.
16 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you.
17 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, just based on
18 this statement, I would just have a couple of follow-up
19 questions, if I might?
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes.
21 Cross-examined further by Mr. Williamson
22 Q. Mr. Susa, this case that you are referring
23 to, this was a man and his wife that lived in Beli
24 Manastir; is that correct? And both of them were
25 prosecuted in that case?
1 A. Yes, you are right.
2 Q. How many other prosecutions were brought,
3 that you are aware of, against people for war crimes in
4 the area?
5 A. I'm not quite sure that there were many cases
6 of war crimes, but I must tell you that over 30 cases
7 were tried for individual murders, and all these cases
8 were conducted against Serbs for the crimes that they
9 committed against Croats. But we had other cases as
10 well, cases which we conducted against Croats.
11 Q. This case that you are referring to in Beli
12 Manastir, what were the names of the accused in that
14 A. I have to tell you that I did not follow all
15 this in a direct manner because I never meddled with
16 the affairs of the court, but the surname of the
17 gentleman is Boljevic. I cannot remember his first
18 name. Maybe I don't want to remember it.
19 Anyhow, we have informed the international
20 community in general, and Mr. Klein and his legal unit,
21 we informed them about this particular case.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: Before I turn to Mr. Fila, I
23 wonder whether the parties or the witness could provide
24 the court with the judgements delivered in these
25 particular cases, of course to the extent that they
1 deal with war crimes. I think what the witness said is
2 extremely interesting. I mean, if you may try to dig
3 out all judgements and to provide a copy to the court.
4 MR. FILA: I think it would be much easier
5 for the Prosecution to get that, and I think that this
6 man is still doing his time in Beli Manastir. He is
7 still in prison. And my former chief of prison is
8 still chief of prison there in Beli Manastir. And most
9 of these people have remained and are still working for
10 the judiciary in Croatia. It would be very easy for me
11 to get that verdict, the judgement through Mr. Vasic or
12 maybe through Judge Jelovac who was the President of
13 the Trial Chamber, Presiding Judge. The Trial Chamber
14 worked on this particular case.
15 But this is a very known case, and I think
16 that we informed there of all the -- all the important
17 international entities, and I think that his sentence
18 was confirmed by them as well.
19 MR. WILLIAMSON: Your Honour, I can say, if
20 this is of some interest to the court, we can try to
21 assist anyway we can, but the gentleman that he is
22 talking about is not related in any way to any of the
23 incidents which we have dealt with in this case, nor is
24 he an individual whose name has come up at any point
25 during our case.
1 MR. FILA: No. If you have the 20th of
2 November in mind, no, he has nothing to do with it.
3 No, I didn't say that.
4 Re-examined by Mr. Fila
5 Q. Were there any other investigations carried
6 out for war crimes?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Such as -- I don't want to state -- I don't
9 know whether I am defending any of them.
10 A. Well, I don't know who you are defending, but
11 we conducted an investigation against a person by the
12 name of Jurisic. There were several proceedings that
13 were conducted, but not many of them reached the stage
14 of, you know, war crimes trials. At that time, we were
15 gathering facts that pointed to certain individual
16 murders, and there were attempts to present these
17 murders as some kind of revenge, as in attempts to gain
18 some unlawful material again and things like that.
19 This was very difficult for us to collect all
20 the necessary facts and to prove the existence of a war
21 crime, but we did complete all the work that was
22 possible, and I can claim here on behalf of my
23 colleagues as well that we worked professionally.
24 Q. Let me explain your status. You are now an
25 attorney at law in Belgrade. Can you move freely in
1 Croatia? Are there any proceedings that are being
2 conducted against you in Croatia?
3 A. Not that I know of. I went to Croatia
4 several times and I still have very good contacts in
5 Croatia and I am still on good terms with people there,
6 and I go there without any fear and I will continue to
7 do so in the future.
8 MR. FILA: Thank you.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Mr. Susa, as a former
10 Prosecutor and former Minister of Justice, of course
11 you have special knowledge and you may be of great
12 assistance to our court because I am sure that you have
13 deep sensitivity to legal and institutional problems;
14 so therefore, you can probably clarify some points.
15 Let me ask you, first of all, about the
16 relations between your government and the Republic of
17 Serbia on one side and the central authorities in
18 Belgrade between September '91 and January '92.
19 A. I think that something has been
20 misinterpreted. You spoke about Serbia, and the
21 interpretation I got was the Republic of Serbia.
22 Anyhow, I must tell you that my people found
23 themselves in a very difficult position, and many
24 people didn't know, didn't realise what was going on
25 until a real tragedy befell them. At the beginning, it
1 was the wish of the Republic of Croatia to create a
2 sovereign and independent state and, on the other hand,
3 there was the wish of Serbia to preserve Yugoslavia,
4 and we were the ones who fared the worst in that kind
5 of situation. We did not want to wage war together
6 with the Republic of Croatia against our population,
7 our people in Serbia. You can see that from a great
8 number of people who had gone to Yugoslavia now want to
9 go back to Croatia. This is not a time or place that I
10 could enter into details which have nothing to do with
11 my profession, but this was a great tragedy, and it is
12 very difficult for people to live through such
14 These war crimes were committed by everyone.
15 I do not wish to be more specific as to who these
16 elements or people are.
17 As for our relationship with the government
18 in Belgrade, with the authorities in Belgrade, as long
19 as we believed that Belgrade really wished to support
20 us and that we had any realistic chances of remaining
21 within Yugoslavia, although it was to be around
22 Yugoslavia, our battle, our fight had some kind of
23 meaning, and we wanted to prove our constitutional
24 right that we had at that time within Yugoslavia.
25 After Yugoslavia had established another
1 state through the Zabljak constitution, everything
2 became clear to us. I was aware of that even before.
3 And people like myself experienced a lot of bad
4 things. At that time we were not supposed to say
5 publicly our opinion. I was not supposed to talk about
6 things that were happening, and I couldn't permit
7 myself such kind of behaviour.
8 This situation is now perfectly clear. There
9 are no longer Serbs in Croatia, and in Yugoslavia these
10 people have not managed to find their place under the
12 JUDGE CASSESE: Sorry to interrupt you.
13 Actually, let me explain why I asked you this
15 In the minutes of the meeting of your
16 government held on the 19th of November, it was stated
17 at one point that one of the decisions was to set up a
18 sort of meeting between the Republic of Serbia and the
19 JNA, or to come to some sort of negotiations within the
20 Republic of Serbia -- I'm saying Republic -- and the
22 So I was interested in what sort of
23 institutional relations your government had at that
24 time with the Republic of Serbia, with the central
25 authorities of the Republic of Serbia on the one side
1 and with the authorities in Belgrade, of Yugoslavia.
2 What sort of relations? Because, after all, you set up
3 a government. You were a Minister of Justice in a
4 government, and this government was an entity. I don't
5 know whether it was an international entity, but it was
6 an entity with Ministers, with a staff and so on, and
7 functions, official functions. You were the Minister
8 of Justice.
9 So my query was about, as I say, the
10 institutional relations between your government and two
11 other governments, the government in Serbia and the
12 government of the whole state, Socialist Federal
13 Republic of Yugoslavia.
14 A. At the beginning of 1991 our ambition was,
15 first and foremost, to have the competences of the
16 federal authorities still present in the area where we
17 lived. When we realised that this was not happening in
18 a way that would provide us with some sort of
19 protection, we did everything that's been discussed
20 here for months; and in most aspects, it was the basic
21 kind of self-protection.
22 Later on, after we had established these
23 bodies, when we were no longer within Yugoslavia, we
24 wanted these bodies to be treated seriously and to be
25 connected in an institutional manner, to have
1 counterparts, to have discussions between governments,
2 and this, unfortunately, never took place.
3 I will mention my own example. The way I
4 worked was, thanks to a number of people that I knew in
5 the Ministry, and here I have the Ministry of Serbia in
6 mind, who helped me with various kinds of material
7 assistance and they would often invite me to their
8 meetings where professional issues were discussed. But
9 this was never brought to an official level of
10 relations between two governments and two Ministries.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Now, again I tried to rely on
12 your legal background and experience. I wonder whether
13 any objection was raised when you met in Vukovar on the
14 20th to the fact that the meeting was being presided
15 over by somebody who was not part of your government,
16 namely, a Colonel of the JNA, and I wonder whether you,
17 as a Minister of Justice and as a lawyer, you felt that
18 this was inappropriate for a meeting or an informal
19 discussion of the government of this regional district
20 of Slavonia and so on, to be presided over by a member
21 of the JNA, of the army sent by Belgrade? Did anybody
22 object to -- did you feel anything, that there was
23 something inconsistent or odd in -- as I say, in a
24 meeting not being presided over by the Prime Minister
25 who, institutionally, should be the one who presides
1 over a meeting of the whole government?
2 A. Well, it was -- I was able to understand the
3 fact that the conflict in Vukovar had just finished and
4 the JNA had an active role in that conflict and it was
5 still a war area, and I could understand that the army
6 would play an important role.
7 However, what I did not understand was the
8 fact that we were discussing things with a man whom we
9 had not known from before and who had a very low level
10 within that structure, and my impression was that we
11 were somehow being told about what our position was.
12 I didn't want to attack this gentleman
13 personally because I could tell that he was really
14 embarrassed, and this I had in mind all the time. But
15 in view of the situation in general, I think that
16 Hadzic raised some kind of objection, and he said that
17 he had a different idea of what that meeting should
18 look like, and he said that he thought that we would be
19 discussing some serious issues, and everything boiled
20 down to the question of cleaning -- of the operations
21 at the end of the conflict.
22 JUDGE CASSESE: All right. Thank you. You
23 just said -- I am quoting your words: "I had the
24 impression we were being told what our position was."
25 May I infer from these words that you had the feeling
1 that you were actually -- you, yourself, as the
2 Minister of Justice, and the whole government, was
3 under the control of military people, namely the JNA,
4 and this was symbolically expressed by the fact that a
5 Colonel of the JNA was presiding over the meeting, that
6 in a way he was in charge of the meeting, he was
7 controlling the meeting?
8 A. Even if we could agree that on that day
9 everything remained within the realm of symbolism, I
10 think that during those days it was perfectly clear and
11 obvious, because on the roads that were controlled by
12 the army, I had to have a written authorisation issued
13 by military authorities for free movement. It is true
14 that later on this was somehow simplified and I didn't
15 have to have my pass every day. I could simply get an
16 authorisation for movement for about five or six days.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: To the best of your
18 recollection, was there any discussion in that meeting
19 on the 20th of November about the plight of the
20 civilians in the area of Vukovar, in Vukovar in
21 particular, and with particular reference to all those
22 civilians who had been detained by the army? Was there
23 any discussion, what to do with those civilians,
24 whether to take them away, whether to take them
25 somewhere or to put them in camps? Was the issue
1 discussed by the government?
2 A. The issue was discussed, yes, but not by
3 using the terms that you have just used. I don't know,
4 and I didn't know at that time that civilians were
5 being detained by the army. We were told that the army
6 had under its control members of the Croatian National
7 Guard, and that these people were supposed to be
8 transported to Yugoslavia, which was okay, because we
9 had no accommodation for these people. The only thing
10 that was not right, and what we heard and which was
11 confirmed later on, was that these people, without any
12 proper criteria and prior determination as to their
13 responsibility for crimes that were committed, whether
14 they would be released and surrendered to the Croatian
15 side. I'm sure that most of these people would fit
16 that category, but it was also proved that in at least
17 10 cases there were war criminals within that group.
18 As for the civilians, Dr. Mladen Hadzic, who
19 is a very responsible doctor and a humanist, and I
20 myself, we mentioned several times the need to evacuate
21 women, children and elderly, so that the town would be
22 liberated and so that we could start working on
23 repairing the town itself.
24 It was getting dark and I could not
25 understand -- I could not accept the idea that people
1 would spend the night in the open. It was already very
2 cold, in spite of the fact that they had been -- the
3 day had been quite sunny.
4 Mr. Vojnovic kept convincing us that this was
5 being taken care of and that this was the reason why
6 buses were coming, and that people would be put in
7 these buses and that they would be transported to one
8 of the big sports halls which could accommodate a great
9 number of people. Or that they would continue on their
10 way to Croatia.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Tell me, is there
12 any particular legal or psychological reason why you as
13 a former Prosecutor and Minister of Justice were
14 wearing a military uniform? You said on the 20th you
15 were wearing a military uniform?
16 A. Yes, I was. I was wearing a uniform. First
17 of all, I was not able to wear anything better. My
18 clothes had remained in Croatia and I did not want to
19 wear clothes that are -- received from the Red Cross.
20 Many of my friends and relatives were fighting and this
21 was a sign of solidarity on my part, and in the area
22 where I was, where I was staying, that uniform, believe
23 me, is the most suitable type of clothing. Our life at
24 that time seemed like a big adventure, and it was
25 common for us to spend the night in the open at that
2 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. My final
3 question, which is more general. It's about whether or
4 not you felt during that meeting on the 20th of
5 November, or afterwards that there was a sort of rift
6 or dissension between extremists and moderates, whether
7 somebody was putting pressures on one of the groups --
8 one of these two groups, whether extremists in
9 particular were putting pressure on moderates to be
10 tough because of public opinion, because of the shock,
11 terrible shock, because you were all outraged by what
12 you had seen in Vukovar, destruction, corpses lying
13 everywhere, and of course this was terribly shocking to
15 So I wonder whether, because of this shock,
16 the extremists were putting some pressure on the
17 moderates so as to prompt them to become tough and
18 react in a different way to what had happened?
19 A. Whether people before that meeting, or after
20 the meeting, discussed that amongst themselves, I
21 cannot tell. I myself did not discuss with anyone the
22 need of undertaking any radical measures to eliminating
23 anyone. This was not discussed at the meeting. Nobody
24 ever mentioned the way in which this whole thing would
25 end and how the truth would be established as to what
1 had happened during the past year.
2 However, I myself was amongst those people
3 who were in favour of establishing facts and finding
4 out who committed crimes. And I did not make any
5 distinction between Croats and Serbs at that time, nor
6 am I making any distinction now. There were people on
7 the Croat side who committed crimes against the Serbs.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: You have not replied to my
9 question. My question was whether or not you felt that
10 there was some sort of pressure being put by the
11 extremists on the moderates within the government,
12 because I understand there were moderates, people who
14 A. Are you referring to the extremist within the
15 government or extremists -- well, on that day during
16 the meeting of the government, you couldn't find a
17 single extremist who would go so far -- whether anyone
18 at that time claimed that he was a Serb, and that this
19 was very important for him at that time, yes I am one
20 of them, but this is nothing to do with extremism.
21 JUDGE CASSESE: I assume there is no
22 objection to the witness being released, Mr. Susa.
23 Thank you so much for coming to give evidence here in
24 court. You may now be released. We may adjourn now
25 and --
1 MR. FILA: Your Honours, the expert opinion
2 that I promised to you is now ready, and I hope that
3 you have received it. You have? Thank you.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: You mean the expert
5 assessment by Dr. Petrovic?
6 MR. FILA: Yes, that's correct. And I also
7 have a statement for the witness who is scheduled for
8 tomorrow. However, we don't have enough copies to give
9 them -- to give it to you now. We'll have them
10 tomorrow. The Prosecution has a copy of that
11 statement. Yes.
12 JUDGE CASSESE: May I ask you, who will come
13 first tomorrow, the Colonel, Mr. Miodrag, first.
14 MR. FILA: Yes, Pavlovic followed by Mr.
15 Dokmanovic, and I would kindly ask you -- for you to
16 allow the presence of a psychiatrist during his
17 testimony. And after that the psychiatrist will also
18 testify. And this will conclude my case, as I
20 JUDGE CASSESE: Yes. Yes. I had only a few
21 minutes to quickly glance through the English text of
22 the expert assessment by Dr. Petrovic, but I realise
23 that there were quite a few pages about other
24 witnesses. I assume Dr. Petrovic will only testify
25 about the accused, not about the other witnesses?
1 MR. FILA: What I have entrusted her with,
2 she has responded to that. I don't know what you want
3 to accept from her testimony and whatever we agree upon
4 will be used during her testimony. In our system, when
5 we request an expert assessment, I don't know how it
6 works in your system, we have to provide her with a
7 complete file, case file, so Dr. Petrovic has seen the
8 indictment, everything that is not confidential,
9 transcripts, videotapes of the interview with the
10 accused, the detention unit, on the plane, statements
11 of all witnesses who have been heard so far, and who
12 are not under any protection order. And on the basis
13 of that she provides her opinion about the accused,
14 about nothing else.
15 JUDGE CASSESE: Of course we are not going to
16 apply other Italian or British or some other law. We
17 are applying International law, International criminal
18 law. We discussed -- had a very brief discussion
19 before entering the --
20 MR. FILA: Yes, but there was no other way
21 for me to request for this expert analysis. That's
22 what I am trying to explain.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: We want you to confirm -- to
24 make it clear to Dr. Petrovic that of course her expert
25 assessment must be confined to a psychological or
1 psychiatric evaluation of Mr. Dokmanovic. That's all.
2 Nothing to do with --
3 MR. FILA: That's fine with us, yes.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Because she cannot -- she is
5 not authorised to say anything about witnesses who have
6 been heard by the court. So only, therefore -- and
7 probably we will accept only the statement to the
8 extent that it deals with Mr. Dokmanovic.
9 MR. FILA: Your Honour, that is the reason
10 why I have provided you with this beforehand, because
11 you are creating a new system here and if I were to
12 give this to you a minute before the hearing, we
13 wouldn't accomplish anything.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Thank you so
15 much. Any comments? All right. So we will now
16 adjourn and we'll start again tomorrow at 9.30 sharp.
17 THE REGISTRAR: All rise.
18 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
19 5:25 p.m., to be reconvened Wednesday,
20 27th May, 1998, at 10.00 a.m.