1 Tuesday, 11 March 2008
2 [Opening Statement - Prosecution]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
7 courtroom. Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour. This is case number
9 IT-06-90-T, the Prosecutor versus Gotovina, Cermak, and Markac.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 I see that the appearances are the same as yesterday. That means
12 Mr. Tieger and Mr. Waespi as the core team for the Prosecution.
13 Mr. Misetic and Mr. Kehoe for Mr. Gotovina. I also see Mr. Akhavan.
14 Mr. Akhavan, has the Chamber well understood that you might not be here
15 on a daily basis as a member of the Defence team of Mr. Gotovina?
16 MR. AKHAVAN: That remains to be clarified, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Akhavan.
18 Then we have Mr. Kay, Mr. Cayley for Mr. Cermak, and we have
19 Mr. Mikulicic, Mr. Kuzmanovic for Mr. Markac.
20 MR. KAY: For Mr. Cermak, Your Honour, we have additional counsel
21 today, Ms. Higgins who is joining the Defence team who wasn't here
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The Chamber was informed that Ms. Higgins
24 joined the Defence team.
25 MR. KAY: Thank you.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I suggest we now have on the record who is here that
2 for the days to come and there will be many days to come, that if nothing
3 is said about the appearances, that the Chamber expects Mr. Tieger,
4 Mr. Waespi as being at least the core team, Mr. Misetic and Mr. Kehoe as
5 the core team for Mr. Gotovina, Mr. Kay and Mr. Cayley to be present as
6 the core Defence team of Mr. Cermak, and Mr. Mikulicic and Mr. Kuzmanovic
7 for Mr. Markac, that if any of these counsel is not present, that that
8 will be put on the record at the beginning of each session. This is not
9 to say that other members of Defence teams are not present, but if they
10 speak, we'll see that on the record anyhow.
11 Then we are about to start the trial against the three accused.
12 In this case it is Mr. Gotovina, Mr. Cermak, and Mr. Markac. It is a
13 case in which the parties will present their cases, at least the
14 Prosecution to start, and if need be a Defence case, dealing with war
15 crimes and crimes against humanity as charged in the indictment that
16 allegedly have been committed during and in the aftermath of
17 Operation Storm in the summer of 1995.
18 Nine counts are brought against the accused. They are charged
19 with individual responsibility, also in the form of a joint criminal
20 enterprise in which they allegedly have participated together with
21 others, and they're also held responsible by the Prosecution for command
22 responsibility or superior responsibility depending on the positions.
23 We'll be in court for this case for quite a long period of time.
24 The Chamber expects and is confident that counsel will act as efficiently
25 and professionally as possible, that we will not waste time on matters
1 which are not really of importance for this case so that we can focus on
2 what this Chamber wants to do during the month to come, that is to hear
3 the evidence, the Prosecution evidence, whether Defence evidence, on this
4 case, and the Chamber is confident that the parties will be able and
5 they'll do their utmost best to assist the Chamber in the difficult
6 determinations this Chamber will have to make in this case.
7 Mr. Tieger, are you ready to give your opening statement in the
8 case? I do understand that you'll be the one to start and that
9 approximately at the natural time of a break Mr. Waespi will take over.
10 That's then most likely after that break, and that you'll then after
11 Mr. Waespi has given his portion of the opening statement.
12 MR. TIEGER: That is correct, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
14 MR. TIEGER: Thank you.
15 Mr. President, Your Honours, learned colleagues for the Defence,
16 this trial arises from the forcible elimination of Krajina Serbs from
17 Croatia and the destruction of their community in August of 1995 and the
18 roles and responsibilities of three men, generals in the Croatian army in
19 that process.
20 I'd like to show you first a map depicting Croatia and the
21 territory of Croatia that was claimed by the Serbs and declared by them
22 to be the Republic of Serbian Krajina or RSK.
23 Your Honours, as you can see, it comprised essentially three
24 parts, the first consisting of the large area at the left that you can
25 see roughly from Knin in the south and up to the area of Vrgin Most,
1 Petrinja in the north, the second part known as Western Slavonia which
2 you see in the middle, and the third at the far --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, at this moment whether I choose video,
4 ELMO, or e-court, it's -- it now appears in e-court, but you started --
5 could you please restart.
6 MR. TIEGER: I'd be happy too. Your Honour, I had intended to
7 show you initially this map which you now have on your screen. This map
8 depicts Croatia and superimposed on it the boundaries of the area that
9 was claimed by Croatian Serbs and declared by them to be the Republic of
10 Serbian Krajina or RSK. And as I mentioned, it consists of three parts,
11 the first to the left that I described a bit earlier, the portion in the
12 middle known as Western Slavonia. That's that closest to a circular
13 area. And then the portion at the far eastern end known as
14 Eastern Slavonia.
15 Now, I'll refer to the portion at the left for simplicity's sake
16 as quite a number of witnesses will, as the Krajina generally, although
17 that is not precisely a geographically accurate term.
18 Your Honours, on the early morning of August 4th, 1995, Croatian
19 soldiers began an attack to retake much of the Krajina, the portion to
20 the left, back from the Krajina Serbs who had claimed it in 1991 and
21 brutally cleansed it of virtually all Croats. Many among the Croatian
22 soldiers had lost their homes and members of their families or friends as
23 a result, and after years of failed negotiations were now coming back to
24 reclaim their homes by force. This massive military operation which
25 succeeded in retaking the area within a matter of days was known as
1 Oluja, or Storm, Operation Storm. And although Operation Storm did not
2 spell the end of the armed conflict between Serbs and Croats, it would
3 mean the end for many Serbs of their lives on their ancestral lands.
4 Your Honours, Croatia's right to reintegrate the Krajina into its
5 internationally recognised borders is not in dispute here, but
6 Operation Storm encompassed another objective as well, to drive out the
7 Serb civilian population and ensure their permanent removal.
8 By the time Operation Storm and its accompanying mop-up
9 operations were over, almost the entire Serb population had been driven
10 out and the Serb community was a scarred wasteland of destroyed villages
11 and homes. By the end of the first day of the operation the vast
12 majority of Krajina Serbs were in panic-stricken flight, not by accident
13 but by design, through a successfully implemented plan to achieve just
14 that through the shelling of civilian towns and villages. For the few
15 who remained, largely the elderly and infirm, life became a nightmare
16 during which their homes and villages were plundered and destroyed on a
17 massive scale as they were arrested and harassed and as many were
18 murdered. As one international observer wrote in anguish, "This is
19 criminal. Is there nothing that can be done?"
20 This case is about three men who were instrumental in those
21 crimes, General Ante Gotovina was the commander of the Split Military
22 District, and I'll show you that on the screen. That's the portion of
23 this map that appears in red and in the chequered part of the red area.
24 And he commanded approximately 30.000 troops in the area.
25 General Gotovina planned and ordered the artillery operation that was
1 intended to drive the Serb civilians out, and his troops engaged in
2 widespread crimes against those Serbs who remained.
3 General Mladen Markac was the commander of the special police,
4 the military arm of the Ministry of Interior which worked in tandem with
5 General Gotovina's forces and were also responsible for a portion of the
6 artillery operation and responsible for the destruction that followed.
7 And General Ivan Cermak who was sent personally by
8 President Tudjman to assume the position of garrison commander and
9 effectively the military governor of the area and who deflected
10 international concerns about the crimes while failing to address them and
11 facilitating their commission.
12 These three men were not alone. Foremost among their
13 co-participants in this joint effort to force Serbs from the Krajina was
14 President Franjo Tudjman, the president of the Republic of Croatia and
15 the Supreme Commander of it's armed forces, as well as other high-ranking
16 officials. The contribution of the three accused to this joint effort,
17 however, will be the focus of this trial.
18 Your Honours, although this case is about the crimes that
19 occurred from the beginning of August to the end of September 1995, it
20 may be helpful to put them briefly in context and recognising in so doing
21 that no summary can capture the many complexities and many tragedies of
22 ethnic conflict.
23 The Serbs of the Krajina had lived there for centuries. The name
24 Krajina itself refers back to the military empire established by the
25 Habsburg Empire in the 16th Century to resist Ottoman incursions during
1 which time many Serbs came to the region. While there are some who may
2 trace the roots of the conflict between Serbs and Croats back through the
3 centuries, you will hear relatively little dating back that far. You
4 will, however, hear about the conflict's links to the events of the more
5 recent past and particularly to events during World War II. During that
6 time, the violently nationalist Ustasha regime murdered Serbs on a
7 massive scale. The precise numbers to this day remain a subject of
8 controversy in the region but even the most conservative estimates
9 capture the appalling and systematic nature of the crimes committed
10 against Serbs during that time.
11 At the same time, the Serbian Chetnik forces garnered a
12 reputation among Croats for brutality, and in the conflict that followed
13 the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Serbs and Croats routinely
14 referred to each other pejoratively and often themselves proudly as
15 Ustashas or Chetniks.
16 As the dissolution of Yugoslavia began to become a reality in the
17 early '90s, nationalist parties emerged to represent and promote the
18 perceived interests of each group. In Croatia where Serbs constituted 12
19 to 13 per cent of the population at the time, the Croatian nationalist
20 party HDZ, standing for Croatian Democratic Union, won the 1990 elections
21 under the leadership of Franjo Tudjman. The HDZ sought an independent
22 Croatia, the realisation of a long-held dream to restore a fully
23 independent Croatian nation.
24 Although the Serbian nationalist party SDS, standing for Serbian
25 Democratic Party, was not a particularly successful party in those
1 elections, it began to gather greater support among Serbs in the face of
2 evolving events, which included a new draft constitution that removed the
3 status of Serbs as a constituent nation in Croatia and imposed reduction
4 of Serbs from the police and generally increasing inter-ethnic tensions
5 and violence.
6 Now, this is not to suggest that the actions of the SDS were
7 simply reactive or justified, but it does, however, reflect the synergy
8 of nationalism at the time as Serbs became more nationalistic and
9 Croatian nationalists gathered further support in the face of growing
10 Serb nationalism in a vicious and tragic spiral.
11 The SDS under the leadership of first Milan Babic and then
12 Milan Martic took the position that if Croatia could leave Yugoslavia in
13 which Serbs were a constituent nation, then the Serbs in Croatia could
14 leave Croatia with the land they considered to be theirs. Working
15 closely with Slobodan Milosevic they initiated steps to separate and
16 control areas they deemed Serbian in anticipation of linking those areas
17 to Serbia and to territories in Bosnia claimed by the Bosnian Serbs. The
18 Croatian Serb leaders first declared autonomous regions, the outlines of
19 which you saw on the screen earlier, and then a state, the RSK.
20 The RSK encompassed areas such as those around Knin, which will
21 be the subject of discussion during the course of this case where Serbs
22 were the majority, and it also encompassed areas such as Eastern Slavonia
23 where the population was more mixed or where Croats were the majority.
24 In the course of or after taking these territories, RSK forces often
25 assisted by the Yugoslav Army or other forces from Belgrade, forcibly
1 expelled Croats through murder, inhumane acts and other crimes. These
2 crimes formed the basis for the prosecutions and convictions before this
3 very Tribunal of Serbian leaders Babic and Martic.
4 By the beginning of 1992, after the Serbs had taken approximately
5 one-third of Croatian territory, the international community brokered a
6 cease-fire and the introduction of UN troops to monitor and maintain the
7 peace. Four United Nations Protected Areas or UNPAs were declared and
8 created, and you see those on the screen, and UN peacekeeping forces were
9 introduced. This area on screen now is the area covered by this
10 indictment and was part of one of those protected areas known as
11 Sector South.
12 Between January 1992 when the UNPAs were created and the
13 beginning of August 1995, the international community attempted to
14 resolve of the crisis through various peace proposals or peace plans.
15 These efforts attempted to balance Croatia's insistence on the integrity
16 of its internationally recognised borders, an objective shared by the
17 international community, with the Serbian insistence on an independent
18 state within the territory you've seen. The best known of those efforts
19 the Z-4 plan, offered the Krajina Serb leadership substantial autonomy
20 within Croatia but the RSK leadership and particularly Milan Martic
21 rebuffed these efforts. For Croats this enhanced the risk of a long-term
22 stalemate that could eventually make the RSK a fait accompli.
23 And as these ultimately fruitless negotiations went on, Croatia
24 was in the process of transforming its initially modest fighting forces
25 into a formidable and well-equipped army. Between 1992 and 1995, it
1 tested its capabilities in several military operations into the Serb-held
2 territory. These included Miljevacki plateau, Maslenica bridge,
3 Medak Pocket, and Operation Flash, about which you'll hear.
4 Now, Your Honours, while the conduct of these operations is not
5 directly in dispute in this case or at issue in this case, you will hear
6 evidence that they gave rise to international concern over the treatment
7 of Serb civilians and that Serbs in the Krajina understood that civilians
8 had not always faired well at the hands of the Croatian army.
9 In July 1995, a combination of factors converged - most memorably
10 the Srebrenica massacre and the threat to Bihac by Serbian forces -
11 factors that persuaded President Tudjman that Croatia would have
12 sufficient international support or at least would not suffer any
13 political repercussions for retaking the Krajina through military force.
14 The first step toward this objective was known as Operation
15 Summer during which General Gotovina's forces took Glamoc and Grahovo in
16 Bosnia and you see them depicted here on the map. In so doing they
17 captured the high ground above Knin, which was the capital of the RSK,
18 thus bringing it within direct observation and within artillery range and
19 simultaneously cutting Knin off from its lifeline to Belgrade with its
20 value as a supply centre for Serb forces. Meanwhile, Croatian forces
21 under General Gotovina's command regularly shelled Serb villages and
22 farms in the Krajina increasing Serb fears and triggering a flow of Serb
23 refugees into Knin.
24 On July 31, 1995, in a meeting that was captured on tape as were
25 many others, President Tudjman met with his key military and political
1 advisors, including General Gotovina and General Markac, to plan the
2 attack on Krajina Serbs for which Operation Summer had set the stage.
3 President Tudjman expressed the goal in this way: "In which way
4 do we resolve it? That is the subject of our discussion today. We have
5 to inflict such blows that the Serbs will to all practical purposes
6 disappear, that is to say, the areas we do not take at once must
7 capitulate within a few days. Therefore, our main task is not Bihac but
8 to inflict such blows in several directions that the Serbian forces will
9 no longer be able to recover but will have to capitulate."
10 To strike such blows that the Serbs will to all practical
11 purposes disappear, to inflict such blows that the Serbian forces will no
12 longer be able to recover. These words may appear somewhat ambiguous
13 initially but as the discussion continues, it becomes clear what
14 President Tudjman has in mind.
15 After hearing the operational recommendations of his top military
16 figures and insisting that the Serb forces not be encircled but given a
17 way out so that last-ditch stand which would cost Croatian casualties
18 could be averted, President Tudjman observed that something was missing.
19 It was time, he said, to hit Knin, which had remained untouched while
20 Croatian towns and villages had been destroyed.
21 "Gentlemen, I accept your views in principle. There is still
22 something missing, and that is the fact that in such a situation when we
23 undertake a general offensive in the entire area, even greater panic will
24 break out in Knin than has to date. Accordingly, we should provide for
25 certain forces which will be directly engaged in the direction of Knin.
1 And, particularly, gentlemen, please remember how many Croatian villages
2 and towns have been destroyed, but that's still not the situation in Knin
3 today ..." He goes on: "But their counter-attack from Knin and so
4 forth, it would provide a very good justification for this action and
5 accordingly, we have the pretext to strike if we can with artillery you
6 can ... for complete demoralisation."
7 General Gotovina immediately assured President Tudjman that this
8 represented no problem. "Mr. President, at this time we completely
9 control Knin with our hardware. That's not a problem. If there is an
10 order to strike at Knin, we will destroy it in its entirety in a few
11 hours. With armoured forces, and medium and long-range missile systems."
12 President Tudjman emphasised again that the time to pay back the
13 Serbs had arrived.
14 "Therefore, we need to be bold. That means not just having
15 things under control but taking it back as quickly as possible so he gets
16 a taste of it and we pay him back."
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, you included the word "back" which I do
18 not find on my screen, the first "back." Take it back.
19 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
21 MR. TIEGER: And then President Tudjman made crystal clear what
22 was to happen when they strike Knin with artillery for complete
23 demoralisation: "We've said it here, that they should be given a way out
24 here ... because it is important that those civilians set out, and then
25 the army will follow them, and when the columns set out, they will have a
1 psychological impact on each other."
2 General Gotovina immediately underscored President Tudjman's
3 point. He noted that civilians were already leaving Knin and said:
4 "That means that if we continue this pressure, probably for some time to
5 come there won't be so many civilians, just those who have to stay who
6 have no possibility of leaving."
7 President Tudjman was concerned about one problem that could have
8 international ramifications. Was the attack on Knin possible without
9 hitting the UNCRO camp which was located on the southern edge of Knin?
10 General Gotovina assured him that there was no reason for concern.
11 And first I'd like to show Your Honour the map of Knin, and this
12 depicts here at the southern portion the UNCRO facility that
13 President Tudjman was speaking about when he expressed his concern about
14 whether that would be hit.
15 And if we could return to the large picture. Just so you can
16 place it in the context of Knin.
17 As I said, Your Honour, after President Tudjman posed this
18 question, General Gotovina responded assuring him at that there was no
19 reason for concern.
20 "At this moment, we can engage in extremely precise operations at
21 Knin, systematically, without aiming at the barracks in which UNCRO is
22 located. (We have all the photographs and know exactly ...)."
23 And he said a moment later: "This moment all of our weapons are
24 guided, directly guided."
25 The intention to get Serb civilians to flee was also reflected in
1 efforts to broadcast false radio messages and drop fake leaflets that
2 pretended to be from Serb authorities, leaflets and broadcasts
3 instructing civilians to flee. Here's one of them instructing the entire
4 civilian population to withdraw from the area and providing a route
5 because of the expected attack by the "Ustasha army."
6 This was not perfectly done as you'll see from the stamp at the
7 bottom. The first four letters are in Latin script instead of Cyrillic.
8 But that's not the only reason you know about these efforts. The
9 minister of defence later bragged about them and General Gotovina himself
10 later wrote in his book, which was entitled "Offences and operations of
11 the Croatian army and the Croatian Defence Council," which was published
12 in 1996, in referring to leaflets for the population to leave he wrote
13 that: "It is true that such leaflets were dropped from aircraft prior to
14 Operation Oluja and that this action had an effect."
15 Indeed General Gotovina was sufficiently impressed that he used
16 it in his next operation, that time in Bosnia and that time purporting to
17 be from the Bosnian Serb army, again directing the Serb civilian
18 population to leave.
19 These efforts were also accompanied by a broadcast from
20 President Tudjman ostensibly urging Serbs to stay. I'd like to read out
21 President Tudjman's -- well, I think you'll actually see it in Sanction,
22 but I'd like you to be to able to hear the actual language spoken by --
23 or words spoken by President Tudjman, and particularly the end of his
24 words and the little chuckle at the end which reflect, we submit, his
25 characterisation of this effort.
1 If that could be played.
2 [Audiotape played]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, this is not in evidence at this moment.
4 Therefore, it might not be a major problem. There's no translation. But
5 just for guidance to the parties if any video or audio is played,
6 sufficient time should be given even if we see the English text on our
7 screens it should be on the official transcript as well. Therefore, I
8 will work out at a later stage a procedure by which we have both the
9 words spoken on the English and on the French transcripts.
10 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, I'll be happy to read it out at this
11 point if that would be helpful and put it on the record.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps if you could read it out briefly so that it
13 then also will appear on the French transcript which is produced a couple
14 of days later. Please proceed first by reading.
15 MR. TIEGER: What President Tudjman said is this: "A leaflet of
16 this sort, general chaos, the victory of the Croatian army supported by
17 the international community and so forth, Serbs, you are already
18 withdrawing and so forth and we are appealing to you not to withdraw. We
19 guarantee. This means giving them a way out while pretending to
20 guarantee civil rights, et cetera."
21 "While pretending to guarantee civil rights, et cetera," with the
22 knowing chuckle at the end.
23 These broadcasts complemented the effort through shelling,
24 leaflets, and fake broadcasts to get the civilians to flee while
25 simultaneously providing a fig leaf for Croatian efforts and intentions.
1 Your Honours, the departure of the Serbs realised a long-term
2 political ambition of President Tudjman who had long believed, like other
3 nationalist leaders in the region, that multi-ethnic states were
4 unsustainable, that relatively large numbers of people of another
5 ethnicity threatened the stability of the state. This was a position he
6 openly expressed to international diplomats or to other nationalist
7 leaders in the region.
8 Put more starkly as one of President Tudjman's aides said to the
9 UN ambassador, Serbs in the Krajina were viewed as a cancer on the
10 stomach of Croatia. And the solution to this problem was reconfiguring
11 the demographics of Croatia.
12 In 1992 he discussed the division in Bosnia between its Serb,
13 Croat and Muslim ethnic groups through population transfers with Bosnian
14 Serb leader Nikola Koljevic, another proponent resolving the crisis in
15 Yugoslavia through largely homogenous states built along ethnic lines.
16 As Koljevic said: "The term 'homogeneity' was, as you know, vilified in
17 Yugoslavia. Why should it be something terrible for people to live with
18 people who are closest to them?" And President Tudjman agreed:
19 "Wherever national problems so conceived emerged as they did with us,
20 that was resolved from World War I and World War II. That was brought to
21 a conclusion by exchanges."
22 As one of President Tudjman's advisors related in August 1995
23 about a conversation he had with Slobodan Milosevic: "If there are fewer
24 Serbs in Croatia and Croats in Serbia, I have to tell you the better our
25 future relations are going to be." Referring to Eastern Slavonia, the
1 sole remaining territory under the control of the Croatian Serbs, he
2 noted: "An autonomous region within the Republic of Croatia would be a
3 potential Trojan horse for Serbian politics."
4 Indeed, Your Honours, as the evidence will show, the
5 preoccupation with the risk of a continuing Serb presence in Croatia was
6 even reflected in President Tudjman's rejection of peace -- of possible
7 peace agreements that would provide the land to Croatia but which ran the
8 risk that in so doing large numbers of Serbs would return to Croatia.
9 Instead of accepting an agreement that would give land back to Croatia,
10 he preferred to put Croats from those rejected areas into areas such as
11 Western Slavonia that no longer contained Serbs, thereby keeping a
12 largely homogenous state and Western Slavonia was now available for such
13 a purpose. As one of President Tudjman's advisors said to him after
14 Operation Flash during which the Croatian army retook Western Slavonia:
15 "The Serb problem in Western Slavonia has been solved. There's no more
16 than a thousand of them including old women and the elderly, and there
17 are no more than 300 to 400 people who are political factors."
18 And after Serbs had been driven from the Krajina, the same goal
19 of a reduced Serb presence meant keeping them out. I'll quote from a
20 conversation about one part of Krajina where Serbs had lived.
21 "If you ask me the first, I define five priorities according to
22 the urgency of colonising these places with Croats. If you ask me, this
23 thing right here is the first and second priority. We should bring
24 Croats back here urgently and this area should be urgently colonised with
25 Croats and we should by no means let more than 10 per cent of Serbs be
1 here ever again. Because, that's where we were cut off."
2 President Tudjman was more emphatic: "Not even 10 per cent."
3 Now, this reference to colonisation of Croats reflected a related
4 preoccupation of President Tudjman to ensure that areas emptied of Serbs
5 were quickly refilled with Croats. In the context of Knin and other
6 cities that had been overwhelmingly Serb before the war but had long ago
7 been Croat, that meant, as he said on the 23rd of August, we should make
8 Knin Croatian as fast as possible.
9 This was achieved in two ways, through the destruction of their
10 community which sent an unmistakable signal to Serbs that they shouldn't
11 or couldn't come back and through bureaucratic obstacles to keep them
12 out. First President Tudjman imposed laws to restrict the time within
13 which Serbs could reclaim their property, the property they had abandoned
14 when they were driven out of the Krajina. Quoting President Tudjman: "I
15 am with the more radical, if someone has left the country and does not
16 appear there, I don't know, a month or three months, et cetera, that
17 shall be considered, think of the wording, state property, et cetera. We
18 have come out of a war, et cetera, define it like that."
19 And then the comment: "Not three months. Three months is too
20 long because we ..."
21 And President Tudjman again: "Okay. A month then."
22 This initially imposed period of 30 days was expanded to a
23 largely symbolic 90 days under international pressure, although even that
24 period was also recognised by the international community as
25 accomplishing what Croatian authorities had in mind, and that is an
1 effective barrier to Serb return. At the same time that
2 President Tudjman and Croatian authorities imposed these purposefully
3 restricted time limits, they also intentionally created obstacles to
4 ensure that Serbs could not return in time. Thus in response to
5 questions about entry visas for Serbs who wanted to come back,
6 President Tudjman said in August 1995: "I would not give anything. You
7 have to give instructions to the customs that they should not let people
8 with papers to cross the border."
9 JUDGE ORIE: I heard you say "with papers" but it reads "without
11 MR. TIEGER: Sorry, Your Honour. Thanks for the correction.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
13 MR. TIEGER: And then the comment: "President, let us get
14 inspired the way it is in Western Slavonia." And that's a quote and let
15 me mention that that was the area that was the subject of Operation Flash
16 that we mentioned earlier and the subject of the earlier reference to the
17 problem being solved because there were few Serbs left.
18 "It was very positive for us because no one came back." Adding
19 then: "We should not let them come back -- we should not let them come
20 here. No way."
21 And as President Tudjman further explained later in the same
22 discussion: "If we let 204 persons come here, tomorrow you would have
23 1.204, and in 10 days 12.000. Nothing for now."
24 The combination of these purposefully restricted time periods and
25 the obstacles to return was quite effective as stated in a Security
1 Council report on the 31st of December, 1995, given the various barriers
2 in crossing the border, requiring the Serbs to return within that time
3 frame to reclaim their property constitutes -- "Constitutes a virtually
4 insurmountable obstacle."
5 Following the successful effort to drive Serbs out,
6 President Tudjman spoke with great satisfaction with the new
7 circumstances. In a speech on the 26th of August, 1995, to cheering
8 crowds he stressed Knin's importance as a "royal Croatian town," which
9 never again will anyone be able to endanger."
10 [Videotape played]
11 MR. TIEGER: And Your Honour if the Court would prefer we can
12 play that again and I can read it out for the benefit of the transcript.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps we could already try to do it in the way in
14 which I intend to do it during trial, that is that especially if the
15 words are spoken very quickly, which seems not to be very much the case
16 here, but that if then -- but if there are any other suggestions by the
17 interpreters, I'd like to hear that one the interpreters reads whether
18 the English text as it appears on the screen reflects what is --
19 correctly reflects what is said in the original language and that the
20 other interpreter then reads this text aloud so that it appears on the
21 English channel and that it also appears on the transcript.
22 For the French interpreters, then one of the interpreters, and I
23 know it's teamwork but it works out well usually, that the one
24 interpreter reads whether the English, as we see it on the screen,
25 correctly reflects what is said in the original language, and that the
1 other interpreter who might not be able to follow the speed of speech
2 then translates -- translates it into French so that we have it on the
3 French audio, which will finally result in a French transcript.
4 That is my suggestion. I know it's a problem. Could we give
5 that a test at this very moment and see whether it works? If there's any
6 comment from the -- either the English or the French booth. I'd like to
7 hear it. I'm at this moment listening to Channel 4, the English channel.
8 THE INTERPRETER: From the English booth we will do that,
9 Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: [No interpretation] [In English] Thank you.
11 Then could you please replay it, Mr. Tieger, and we'll check
12 whether it appears on both the English and the French audio channel.
13 [Videotape played]
14 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] But today it is Croatian Knin and
15 never again will it go back to what was before, when they spread cancer
16 which has been destroying the Croatian national being in the middle of
17 Croatia and didn't allow the Croatian people to be truly alone on its
18 own, that Croatia becomes capable of being independent -- an independent
19 and sovereign state, a part of the world community of sovereign states
20 under the heaven."
21 JUDGE ORIE: I would like to thank the interpreters. I wished
22 that all audios and videos would contain speech at such a slow speed,
23 which would certainly help us, but it seems to work well. Thank you for
24 your cooperation.
25 Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
1 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 As President Tudjman said a year later in a speech on the first
3 anniversary of taking Knin and referring to an ancient king: "We have
4 returned Zvonimir's city, the Croatian city of Knin, to the lap of the
5 Croatian motherland clean as it was in Zvonimir's time."
6 All of these factors, Your Honours, reflect the intent behind the
7 discussion of the 31st of July about taking the opportunity, the pretext
8 to strike with artillery for complete demoralisation. And in accordance
9 with the discussion between President Tudjman and Generals Gotovina and
10 Markac, here is the order given by General Gotovina to do precisely what
11 President Tudjman had stated. To shell Knin and other relatively large
12 towns of the Krajina and one across the border.
13 "These are the tasks of the artillery-rocket groups."
14 As you can see the order instructs them to engage in a number of
15 conventional uses of artillery, provide support to main forces by
16 launching a powerful assault on the enemy's first line, hit the enemy's
17 command posts, his communication centres, his artillery positions, and,
18 Your Honours, in addition to that, by targeting the towns of Drvar, Knin,
19 Benkovac, Obrovac, and Gracac with artillery fire.
20 This specific identification of whole towns as a target alongside
21 of military targets was echoed in the orders of his subordinates. I'd
22 like to show you the order from his artillery commander.
23 As you can see toward the bottom of the screen, that order
24 provides: "Neutralise the artillery positions of enemy batteries,
25 destroy the enemy's communications centres and command post. During the
1 attack, secure the flanks with units from the 1st echelon."
2 And then: "Shell the towns of Drvar, Knin, Benkovac, Obrovac,
3 and Gracac."
4 And as that flow continued here's an artillery attachment for one
5 of the four operational groups, that is Operational Group Zadar and the
6 task for an artillery rocket group.
7 We'll go to the next page. Again a number of conventional uses
8 of artillery. Neutralise the enemy artillery battery positions and
9 destroy their communications centres, command post. Secure the 1st
10 echelon, combat echelon unit, flanks in attack. And again, alongside of
11 these military or conventional military objectives, "Put the following
12 towns under artillery fire: Benkovac, Obrovac and Gracac."
13 Thus beyond a legitimate effort to reintegrate the Krajina
14 through military means, these orders reflect the plan discussed on July
15 31st to drive Serb civilians out by shelling and thereby realising the
16 ambition of a mainly homogenous state that was largely free of Serbs.
17 Now, Your Honours, you will hear evidence of the shelling of
18 other towns and villages in the Krajina, indeed more than a hundred were
19 targeted where there was no meaningful military function or purpose, but
20 as General Gotovina stated in his book, Knin was the most important
22 Your Honours, there are a few photographs of Knin on the screen.
23 Although Knin was not a large city by many standards, perhaps
24 15.000 people, it was nevertheless as you've heard a place of
25 significance to both Serbs and Croats. To the Croats it was the ancient
1 capital and town of Croatian kings and now the centre and symbol of
2 Serbian separatism. For Serbs in the Krajina, it was their capital and
3 principal city, but for those who lived there, it was their home where
4 their families had lived for generations, where families lived, children
5 went to school, where there were playgrounds, bakeries, shops.
6 In addition to the Serbian population in Knin there was a
7 considerable number of members of the international community. As you've
8 heard already, UNCRO was there. That's the United Nations Confidence
9 Restoration Operation which succeeded UNPROFOR. As well as
10 representatives of the European Community Monitoring Mission, ECMM,
11 United Nations Civilian Police, UNCIVPOL; United Nations Military
12 Observers, UNMOs; and others, many of whom you will be hearing from
13 during the course of this case.
14 These internationals represented the peace forces assembled by
15 the international community to monitor and maintain the increasingly
16 precarious cease-fire back in July and the beginning of August 1995.
17 Many of them not surprisingly had military experience and a number of
18 them from whom you'll hear had an artillery background.
19 Although people in Knin were aware of Croatian military moves and
20 the risk of conflict and some people had left, the vast majority had
21 remained. Indeed, in the days preceding Storm, Knin's population had
22 swelled and increased from the arrival of Serb refugees who had fled from
23 the areas being shelled by Croatian forces under General Gotovina's
25 Knin was hardly a military stronghold as you'll hear and the
1 Croatian army, which had impressive intelligence capabilities was well
2 aware of the lack of defence and military capability within Knin and the
3 single unsupported line of defence along the zone of separation. In Knin
4 there were no trenches dug, no fortifications constructed, no anti-mines
5 laid, no troop positions, and not a single air-raid or defence drill.
6 There were almost no troops in the town since virtually all the
7 troops were at the front lines in preparation for the imminent attack.
8 As I mentioned, the entire Serbian army defence consisted of a single
9 perimeter that lacked second and third lines, in case the front line was
11 Now you'll see on screen an aerial photo of Knin, Your Honours,
12 and as you can see although it's very small, Knin held a number of sites
13 with varying degrees of military significance. The military
14 headquarters, the parliament, the police headquarters, the barracks, the
15 petroleum and oil depot, the railway yard, a factory that made screws.
16 But in any event, General Gotovina's interest was not in the military
17 advantage to be gained by destroying, capturing, or neutralising any of
18 these specific sites but in doing what had been planned, demoralising the
19 civilians and getting them to flee. And as you will hear, the shelling
20 of Knin was achieved in a manner to achieve precisely that purpose and
21 virtually everyone who experienced it recognised it as an attack on the
22 town as a whole and its civilian inhabitants.
23 At precisely 5.00 a.m. on the 4th of August, 1995, the attack
24 began with a massive rocket and artillery barrage which stunned the
25 population, most of whom were settled in their homes. Indeed, some
1 observers from whom you'll hear were reminded of World War II documentary
2 footage or of the shelling of Sarajevo. In any event, all were stunned
3 by its ferocity. Shells fell in all parts of the town, in areas where
4 there was a mix of military sites and civilian structures and in purely
5 residential areas. The one place shells didn't fall as General Gotovina
6 had assured President Tudjman was on the UNCRO headquarters, underscoring
7 the capacity to control and direct fire.
8 As this went on, many people huddled in basements in terror
9 awaiting a letup in shelling so that they could figure out what to do and
10 where to go. At UNCRO headquarters, UNCRO officials observed the
11 shelling quickly realising that although the shells were landing all over
12 the city, their headquarters were being purposefully spared. When UNCRO
13 members left the compound to rescue some of their personnel and civilian
14 employees who were outside, they found themselves under fire even when in
15 purely residential areas and observed residential areas being shelled.
16 And UNCRO received reports from outposts around the Krajina that
17 civilian population centres were being indiscriminately shelled.
18 THE INTERPRETER: The counsel is kindly asked to slow down for
20 MR. TIEGER: The UNCRO commander General Forand, attempted to
21 stop the shelling of civilians and civilian areas by sending the
22 following protest now on your screen to General Gotovina. This is to
23 protest in the most vigorous manner the unprovoked artillery attack on
24 Knin on the towns of Drnis, Medak, Bunic, Benkovac, and Kistanje.
25 Numerous civilian casualties have been caused as well as extensive
1 material damage. "I demand the cessation of these attacks
2 immediately --"
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, when you read it's well known that --
4 MR. TIEGER: You speed up.
5 JUDGE ORIE: -- you speed up, and since you have been asked to
6 speak -- to slow down, could you please resume reading.
7 MR. TIEGER: "In my opinion, this aggression against unarmed
8 civilians is completely contrary to international humanitarian law and I
9 will document all attacks fully for investigation by international
11 The message was given to a military observer to deliver to the
12 Croatian army liaison officer who reported -- and the UNMO reported back
13 to General Forand that had been delivered.
14 The intense barrage continued for approximately two hours or so.
15 JUDGE ORIE: I think that the French translation -- please
16 proceed, Mr. Tieger.
17 MR. TIEGER: The intense barrage which had commenced at 5.00 a.m.
18 continued for approximately two hours or so until subsiding into sporadic
19 harassment fire which lasted for the remainder of the 4th, indeed until
20 well into the late hours. While estimates of the precise number of
21 shells that fell during the bombardment vary, there is no dispute among
22 the witnesses that during the initial barrage and the subsequent sporadic
23 shelling hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of shells and rockets, up to
24 much larger estimates, were fired into Knin.
25 By the night of the 4th a panicky flight from Knin was underway.
1 This excerpt from the operational diary of the Split military district
2 shows that the army and General Gotovina were well aware of this: "Panic
3 in Knin, evacuation of civilians and Krajina Corps command, that is KK
4 command, expected. ED will follow up on that as well as observation
5 posts. Their in-depth communications are broken. They have no
7 Your Honours, this panic-stricken flight that I referred to and
8 it's referred to in this document was visible that evening and on the
9 morning of the 5th. Yet despite the awareness that the military was in
10 flight, the following morning the pattern was repeated. At approximately
11 05.20 that morning on August 5th, another massive artillery barrage was
12 unleashed on Knin, followed again by sporadic shelling. Again the
13 shelling spanned the city, landing in areas all around. By 10.00 the
14 Croatian army entered, not in anticipation of a street battle but convoy
15 style, in triumph to a largely deserted city.
16 Although we will never know the precise number of people who were
17 killed by the shelling or injured which by the shelling in Knin or
18 Benkovac, Obrovac, Gracac, and the other towns and villages that were
19 shelled. Witnesses on the spot contemporaneously observed bodies of
20 those killed by shelling in the streets of Knin and in the Knin hospital.
21 Estimating from those observations some 20 to 30 or more.
22 This is quite consistent with the report from head of UN
23 peacekeeping operations Akashi to then under-secretary General Kofi Annan
24 on the 23rd of August when he reported seeing four large mounds that gave
25 the impression of a mass grave and where Croatian officials noted that
1 the bodies had been placed in bags ten centimetres apart. A Croatian
2 Civil Defence official present at the site told Akashi that most of the
3 deceased were civilians from Knin who had been killed during the Croatian
4 shelling of the city on the 4th and 5th of August. There were 96 crosses
5 at that time marking the mass grave site.
6 Your Honours, there are several principles that govern the
7 lawfulness of shelling. Foremost among them are the principles of
8 distinction and proportionality. Thus with respect to distinction,
9 targeting of civilians or civilian objects is impermissible, and in
10 keeping with that principle of distinction between military and civilian
11 targets, shelling that does not discriminate between civilian and
12 military targets is impermissible whether it results from shelling that
13 is not directed at a specific military target or shelling that uses a
14 method of a nature to strike military objects or civilians without
15 distinction. And assuming compliance with these principles of
16 distinction, proportionality requires the expected civilian death, injury
17 or damage not to be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct
18 military advantage anticipated.
19 As I mentioned earlier, virtually all of those who experienced
20 the shelling understood that it was directed toward the civilian
21 population. Some understood it because the shells landed on their houses
22 or in their neighbourhoods. Others because they saw from a safer vantage
23 that shells were falling in purely residential areas or were being fired
24 randomly around the town. Some with a military background or knowledge
25 of artillery recognised some of the weapon systems used including rockets
1 used for area use rather than pinpointing particular targets or
2 recognised targeting procedures being employed including adjusting fire
3 to hit more precisely within residential areas.
4 At other times there were no such adjustments. Shells were
5 lobbed in individually so that they would fall relatively randomly
6 without honing in on a particular target and with little likelihood of
7 destroying a specific target.
8 All observed on the second morning the intense shelling of the
9 city from which the military had fled. The manner in which the shelling
10 was conducted, Your Honours, reflects both its departure from the
11 permissible uses of artillery as well as the intention behind it. To
12 shell towns as a whole, to frighten civilians into flight.
13 Croatian officials downplayed the attack reflecting their
14 awareness of its purpose and illegality. On the 7th of August, the
15 minister of defence said in a press conference: "We have tried
16 everything to treat civilians according to the international law. When
17 we began the action on the first day we tried to avoid all large
18 settlements thugs giving the Serbs another chance to surrender. However,
19 when they began shelling Croatian cities on the free territory instead,
20 we decided to carry out the operation of capturing all these settlements
21 to and end." General Gotovina's lengthy account of the operation in his
22 book omits the artillery attack on the 4th entirely.
23 Rather than avoiding attacks on large settlements on humanitarian
24 grounds as suggested by the minister of defence, the shelling of Knin and
25 other towns was at the core of the plan to drive Serbs out. Here are two
1 additional documents, reports from an artillery unit commander on the 4th
2 of August reflecting in part its execution.
3 On the 1st we see highlighted at 6.30 hours five projectiles from
4 a T-130-millimetre at the hospital in Knin. And at 8.00, six projectiles
5 from a T-130-millimetre at a residential area in Knin. And in the second
6 report we see at 13.30 hours, firing with eight projectiles from a
7 T-130-millimetre at Knin. And at 15.00 hours in irregular intervals, a
8 total of 18 projectiles fired from a T-130-millimetre at the general area
9 of Knin.
10 Despite the bombardment, Your Honour, the Court should not get
11 the wrong impression. This was not Stalingrad or Vukovar where weeks of
12 shelling reduced the city to rubble. It was not the most destructive
13 shelling of the war. But that is precisely the point. The intention was
14 not to destroy Knin, the city of Zvonimir into which President Tudjman
15 intended to resettle Croats but to drive out Serbs.
16 You will hear evidence during the course of this case of a
17 provisional assessment of damage in Knin that was undertaken by UNMOs on
18 the 17th of August which found that 44 buildings were damaged, 21
19 severely and 23 slightly, and that they were in the close vicinity of
20 military targets. And you'll also learn that those who actually
21 conducted this provisional assessment at the time emphasised its cursory
22 nature and later conducted patrols that identified further damage and
23 shell craters in purely residential areas where there were no possible
24 military targets.
25 The subsequent findings are consistent with the amount of
1 destruction noted by other witnesses and also with a final document on
2 destruction entitled "Data on population left and destroyed houses,"
3 which indicates hundreds of houses destroyed or partially destroyed in
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down for the benefit
6 of the record. Thank you.
7 MR. TIEGER: Other witnesses, Your Honour, also observed that as
8 time went on they were able to identify additional evidence of shelling
9 in purely residential areas.
10 Indeed even taking the provisional assessment on its face which
11 reflects more than 40 civilian buildings, including large apartment
12 buildings in which many people resided had been damaged by the shelling,
13 when buildings such as the military headquarters, clearly a military
14 target, was struck by one or two shells and left basically intact,
15 these -- these factors indicate damage to civilian buildings at a level
16 in comparison to the damage to significant military targets, which
17 indicates the indiscriminate nature of the shelling.
18 Your Honours, the Court will also hear evidence of an order to
19 evacuate by Milan Martic, the president of the RSK and also of a
20 pre-existing evacuation plan. Now, here is that plan which as you can
21 see was issued approximately 12 hours after the shelling of Knin and
22 other towns and villages had commenced. The facts of the evacuation plan
23 in the evacuation order are these: The evacuation plan represented the
24 customary efforts of civilian bodies, civilian protection bodies, common
25 to most states. There was a civilian defence section of the RSK
1 government that had prepared an evacuation plan in the event of various
2 forms of emergency, including not only shelling of civilian areas but
3 also other emergencies such as natural disasters. It contemplated the
4 temporary removal of people at risk to safer areas, generally into larger
5 towns, but with the larger towns under fire, they had to move farther as
6 the Martic order itself reflects. Martic issued the order after a full
7 day of shelling and after people were already starting to fleeing in
8 panic. Their panic was reflected in the conditions of their homes after
9 they were gone, with food left on the table and personal effects left
10 behind, and by a meeting that UNCRO officials had with RSK officials who
11 had sought their help and during which it became clear that nothing had
12 been prepared.
13 As President Tudjman would say to a crowd a few weeks later:
14 "They didn't have time to collect neither their dirty money, foreign
15 currency, or their underwear."
16 Most importantly, Your Honours, President Tudjman,
17 General Gotovina, and General Markac were not content to rely on Serbian
18 fears or an official evacuation order to rid Knin and the Krajina of
19 Serbs. They shelled and dropped fake leaflets and broadcast false
20 messages in order to get the civilian population to flee many hours
21 before the evacuation order was issued in response.
22 The order certainly did not affect the purpose and nature of
23 shelling which was intended to drive the civilians out and executed well
24 before he issued the order. Thus as reported by the HV head of
25 intelligence about the events of the 4th: "The majority of towns, (Knin,
1 Drnis, Gracac, Plaski, Petrinja, Dubica) were directly threatened, which
2 caused a large-scale (organised or spontaneous) moving out of civilians
3 and also an organised moving out of the highest state organs (moving out
4 of the government to the area of BiH, most probably to the area between
5 Drvar and Sipovo) and the abandonment of military facilities ..."
6 As President Tudjman said on the 26th of August during a
7 triumphal trip through the Krajina: "Owing to the strength of the
8 Croatian army, the wisdom of our decisions and our leadership, they
9 disappeared in two to three days." It was indeed the decisions that the
10 political and military leadership had taken and their execution by the
11 army that led to the disappearance of most of the Serbian community from
12 the Krajina.
13 Your Honours, you previously foreshadowed the bifurcation in the
14 opening address. This would be the point at which Mr. Waespi would
15 commence, so it may be an appropriate time for a break.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll have a break. We will have a break --
17 how much time would Mr. Waespi need approximately?
18 MR. TIEGER: I think approximately 50 minutes to an hour, if I
19 have that --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Fifty minutes to an hour. Then we will have a break
21 for half an hour and we will resume at 10 minutes to 11.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.18 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue, I'd like to make two remarks on
25 the matter we dealt with before the break, that is how to get the text of
1 video and audio clips correctly on the transcript.
2 First of all, I would like to emphasise that although the
3 assistance of the interpreters to see whether the written text reflects
4 what is in the original is highly appreciated, at the same time it's not
5 their task, and it's not their responsibility that this is a correct
6 interpretation. So therefore, we do appreciate if the interpreters would
7 inform us about any striking difference between -- they notice between
8 the text originally spoken and they see on the written text.
9 Therefore, again it is assisting us in achieving the best result,
10 but it's something extra and not within their task and not within their
11 responsibility. Nevertheless, if they find anything that makes clear
12 that the translation does not reflect, I'm not talking about half a word
13 but really important differences, that's highly appreciated if they will
14 draw our attention to that.
15 Second is that working on the basis of the written text on the
16 bottom of the screen is not very easy to do. Therefore, the parties
17 should provide, and I see that the first steps may have been taken
18 already, that they should provide the booth with hard copies of at least
19 the English text but preferably also the original text so that the
20 interpreters, if they're doing this extra work, that they don't have to
21 work from just four, five or six lines on the bottom of their screens
22 which is very difficult to do. So therefore the parties should provide
23 the booth with hard copies of transcripts, preferably in two languages;
24 if that's not possible, at least in the original language.
25 Then apart from that what further is reflected on the transcript,
1 what appears in the transcript is a matter the Chamber would like to be
2 in charge of in every respect. That means even where we encourage a good
3 and informal [Realtime transcript read in error "formal"] relationship
4 with all those who are assisting us and the parties, that finally
5 anything that should be verified on whether something appears or will
6 appear is primarily the responsibility of registry and the Chamber; and
7 therefore any such contacts which would have any impact on what we
8 finally find in the transcript, it's appreciated if the Chamber, as was
9 done today, is informed about such contacts.
10 Mr. Waespi, are you ready to proceed?
11 MR. WAESPI: Yes, Mr. President. Good morning. Good morning,
12 Your Honours.
13 As my colleague Alan Tieger announced, let me address in more
14 detail the crimes which the Prosecution says the accused are responsible.
15 Before I do that I would like to give you a brief snapshot of the main
16 aspect of the military offensive Operation Storm and I will use a couple
17 of the maps from this court binder which we have given to Your Honours,
18 members of the Defence, the registry a couple of days earlier, but we
19 will use these maps on the screen as well.
20 Your Honours, the breadth of Operation Oluja or Storm extends
21 beyond the scope of the indictment. Whilst the indictment focuses on the
22 areas of responsibility of the three accused, Operation Storm was
23 conducted over territory extending beyond the geographical limits
24 relative to the indictment and involved the participation of an overall
25 force of 127.000 members of the Croatian forces including military police
1 and approximately 2.500 members of the Ministry of Interior, the MUP.
2 Map 15, Your Honours, in your court binder is a map that depicts
3 the whole spectrum of Operation Storm. The focus of the indictment is
4 the southern portion of the Krajina where the forces subordinated to the
5 three accused were deployed, predominantly the area of responsibility of
6 the Split Military District.
7 The manpower of the Split Military District for Operation Storm,
8 as Mr. Tieger already said, amounted to approximately 30.000, including
9 10.000 newly mobilised troops. On map 15, if we can focus now on the
10 southern part of map 15, you see the line-up of the Croatian forces
11 involved in Operation Storm. Grouped clockwise, shown in yellow,
12 starting with the 4th Guards Brigade and ending at the other side of the
13 spectrum with the Special Police commanded by the Accused Markac.
14 These are all the units, Your Honours, listed in annex A of the
16 On the same map you can see the defending forces, the RSK forces,
17 shown in red, mainly consisting of units of the 7th Dalmatian Corps
18 organised mainly in brigades. Already in looking at this map,
19 Your Honours, you can see how SVK, the army of the RSK was already in a
20 pocket with the Croatian forces surrounding them at the beginning of
21 Operation Storm.
22 You heard a number of times, Your Honours, that Operation Storm
23 commenced on the 4th of August, 1995, in the early morning hours with air
24 and artillery support. The majority of towns including Knin, you know
25 where it is, Drnis, Benkovac, and Gracac were directly attacked with
2 In his book the Accused Gotovina, the book has been cited before,
3 "Offensive Battles and Operations of the HV and HVO," wrote and I quote:
4 "Towns of Knin and Drvar were shelled from the firing positions in the
5 Bosansko Grahovo area." The arrow to the right. "With 430-millimetre
6 calibre cannons. Knin was also targeted from the Miljevci area," second
7 arrow, "with the same calibre cannons. Gracac was shelled from the
8 firing positions in the Rovanjska area. And lastly, Benkovac was
9 targeted from the firing positions in the area of Mount Debeljak."
10 By nightfall of the 4th of August, the SVK and RSK leadership
11 were in disarray. Panic reigned in Knin and inhabitants left in masses.
12 Thus the stage was set for the HV to enter Knin the following day. Next
13 day, already by the 5th of August, SVK had ceased to function following
14 the break-up of its command and communication systems. On the 5th of
15 August, as you already heard, HV units mainly the 7th Guards Brigade and
16 other units of the 4th Guards Brigade entered Knin, seized the town, and
17 around by midday the Croatian state flag was hoisted at the fortress in
19 In addition, Your Honours, to the seizure of Knin by the end of
20 5th August, 1995, the Split Military District controlled, according to
21 General Gotovina's own assessment, 70 per cent of the northern Dalmatia
22 area which had until then been under ASK control.
23 The next couple of days, Your Honours, Croatian forces including
24 the Special Police took control over towns such as, and I will do it
25 step-by-step so you can familiarise yourselves with these locations which
1 will play a role throughout this trial, Gracac, Obrovac, Benkovac,
2 Kistanje, Otric, two towns completely destroyed. We'll talk about that
3 later today. Donji Lapac. And finally Srb, close to the Bosnian border.
4 These areas' mop-up operations were conducted searching the
5 captured areas and small populated villages.
6 Your Honours, turning to map 14, this is an important map. It's
7 an HV military map signed by General Gotovina. It's map 14 in your court
8 booklet. It displays the daily advancement of the Croatian forces from
9 the 4th to the 8th of August. Note the legend in the bottom left-hand
10 corner which shows the original map marking colours. Although the
11 colours, Your Honours, in the legend have faded, it is clear from the
12 coloured arrows that the colour blue, the outer rim, represents the
13 advancing HV forces as of 4th of August. Purple, 5th of August. Green,
14 6th of August. Orange, 7th of August. And finally yellow, 8th of
16 The blue line across the top of the map denotes the northern
17 border of the area of responsibility of the Split Military District
18 during Operation Storm. In the initial phases of the operation, the
19 Special Police commanded by the Accused Markac operated predominantly in
20 the area above that blue line. As the operation progressed, some of the
21 Special Police forces were also deployed below that line and within the
22 area of responsibility of the Split Military District. And I'll show you
23 these locations a little bit later today.
24 The blue dotted line depicts the HV front line, and next to it
25 the red dotted line is the SVK front line, SVK, defending forces.
1 Both together represent the zone of separation. The blue
2 flag-like marks positioned along the HV front line with the dark blue
3 letters depict the HV units at their start positions on 4th August, 1995.
4 And finally on this map at this point, Your Honours, note how the
5 advancing troops, blue, purple, green, orange, yellow, encircle and
6 reduce in size the Serb territory, leaving open an exit for the Serb
7 civilians to flee towards north, their border of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8 And note that the captured territory, as of 8th of August, which includes
9 all of the areas covered by the coloured arrows.
10 Your Honours, on the 8th of August, General Gotovina reported
11 that the liberation of the whole area within Split Military District
12 so-and-so of responsibility and the tasks assigned to the MD were
14 Mr. President, Your Honours, as you already heard, by the time
15 Operation Storm was over, the Krajina was in ruins. Hundreds of Serb
16 civilians killed, the remaining Serb population almost entirely gone.
17 Homes, villages, towns looted, destroyed on a massive scale, livestock
18 killed and fields burned.
19 Let me be clear, Your Honours. The loss of life, the killings,
20 the devastation, the harassment of civilians, these crimes were not
21 merely unavoidable, regrettable isolated consequences of warfare, of the
22 operation I have you've just outlined. We will present evidence about
23 the circumstances during which these actions occurred. The evidence will
24 show that these attacks on civilians, their lives, their property,
25 occurred outside the military framework, were not committed in the heat
1 of battle.
2 There was little, if any, defence in the Krajina villages and
3 towns which were devastated by the Croatian forces. There were few, if
4 any, military targets in the civilian populated areas, and the
5 overwhelming majority of people killed were civilians or soldiers hors de
6 combat. In short, there was absolutely no military justification in what
7 the Croatian forces did to the Serb civilians and their property in the
8 Krajina in August 1995.
9 Also, not only are the acts not justified by military necessity,
10 these crimes were not isolated, random acts committed by individual
11 soldiers. You will hear evidence that suggests that the volume, the
12 widespread and systematic nature in which the crimes were committed and
13 indeed the manner in which they were committed openly, with impunity,
14 over a relatively small period of time indicates that the crimes formed
15 part of a campaign.
16 Your Honours, the three accused are charged with nine counts that
17 consists of both crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and
18 customs of war. Charges of persecutions, deportation and forcible
19 transfer, plunder of public and private property, wanton destruction,
20 murder, and finally, inhumane acts and cruel treatment.
21 Your Honours, Mr. Tieger already discussed details of the
22 shelling operation that commenced in the early hours of 4th August, 1995,
23 and that was aimed at and indeed resulted in the expulsion of the Krajina
25 Let me focus on what occurred in the heel of the shelling.
1 Immediately after the fall in the afternoon of the 4th of August in Knin,
2 Croatian soldiers began ravaging the town by breaking into homes, shops,
3 and cafes to feast on the bounty of liquor and food left for the taking.
4 At the same time they began looting all of the choice pickings in the
5 town such as abandoned vehicles, televisions, VCRs and even furniture.
6 Not only did they do this all over town of Knin but right in
7 front of the UN compound where they set up a makeshift staging area for
8 the collection of looted items. The UN personnel and Serb refugees who
9 were confined to the UN compound watched helplessly as the Croatian
10 soldiers shot out the locks of vehicles of -- the Serb refugees were
11 forced to leave behind in order to grab whatever might be inside.
12 As the day progressed, 5 August, some Serbs were brought to the
13 UN compound by Croatian soldiers who took photographs and ID cards from
14 the Serbs before taking the keys to their vehicles and driving off with
16 When night fell on the 5th of August, small-arms fire could be
17 heard in quick, short bursts as the Croatian soldiers "cleaned the town."
18 They also made sure to continually fire their machine-guns over the UN
19 compound to keep the Serb refugees in a constant state of panic and to
20 intimidate the members of the UN and their local staff. And when I say
21 "cleaned the town," it's inverted commas, of course.
22 A witness will tell Your Honours about a young Serb female who
23 exacted from him a promise to shoot her if the Croats entered the camp
24 because she was afraid of being raped or worse. Such was the fear
25 inspired by the first night of Croat rule in Knin.
1 By the very next day, the burning had already begun. Even with
2 the near total lockdown of all international observers, the Croats could
3 not hide the plumes of smoke rising from towns and villages all over
4 Sector South.
5 Returning to the events in and around Knin on the 5th August. UN
6 military observers, the UNMOs, reported seeing houses burning in Knin.
7 Large plumes of smoke, and we can go back to -- go to map number 31.
8 This is the last map in your booklet, Your Honours. The UNMOs saw plumes
9 of smoke rising from Benkovac. This is approximately 50 kilometres west
10 of Knin. And the entire -- and also the village of Vrbnik, and you can
11 see that about four kilometres south of Knin, marked red with number 6.
12 The entire village of Vrbnik was looted and set on fire.
13 On the said map, 31, in Gracac, this is at the top left marked in
14 green, an UNMO team that made it back into the town observed HV soldiers
15 looting and almost all of the houses partially destroyed. The UNMOs also
16 found five houses as well as their own former accommodation burned to the
18 In Knin, a small number of international personnel managed to
19 make their way into the town where they all witnessed HV soldiers
20 continuing to damage the city in broad daylight in front of and sometimes
21 alongside the military and civilian police.
22 The main street of Knin was being cleansed of the dead bodies and
23 debris which had littered it after the shelling attack and clearing
24 operation the night before. One witness, Your Honours, will describe the
25 two large cattle trucks he saw parked outside the Knin cemetery on this
1 day, and others will describe what appeared to be mass graves being dug
2 in the same area. New windows were being installed on most buildings
3 along the main street, even as others in the town were burning. Fresh
4 paint was being splashed where needed, and shell craters filled in. By
5 the next day all would appear quite undamaged in time for
6 President Tudjman's arrival to the city which would be followed by the
7 international media.
8 In this context, Your Honours, at trial you'll see a video of the
9 Accused Gotovina representing his subordinate commanders for allowing the
10 troops to ravage the town in the face of the imminent arrival of the
11 president. The irony of this situation is inescapable since the very
12 conduct which General Gotovina appears to be complaining about is not
13 only going on right outside the building in which that meeting is taking
14 place but the same conduct continued for weeks and months thereafter.
15 And the Accused Gotovina did little to stop it much less discipline his
16 subordinate commanders who, too, failed to do so.
17 The ingenuity of the Accused Gotovina's apparent fury at the Knin
18 town is reflected in the fact that in the depths of Knin the real
19 aftermath continued to be seen quite clearly. Heaps of debris from
20 shelling and looting damage were piled high and hidden from view of the
21 main street. HV soldiers and police continued to loot the empty houses
22 in Knin with the exception of those marked as Croat houses, which were
23 conspicuously preserved.
24 The Accused Markac also appears on the video. He did equally
25 little to prevent or punish this conduct in the weeks and months that
1 followed. The transcript should reflect the Accused Cermak. I might
2 have misspoken. The Accused Cermak who also appears on the video did
3 equally little to prevent or punish this conduct. And even on the day
4 the video was made, President Tudjman appointed him the military governor
5 for the former Sector South. Nevertheless, despite these pronouncements
6 and orchestrated media events, the realities that the military
7 authorities, members of the HV including military and Special Police not
8 only continued to exercise authority in the southern part of the Krajina
9 but continued to plunder, burn, and murder their way across the
10 countryside ensuring that no Serb would return.
11 Your Honours, one international witness will give you insight
12 into the motives of the perpetrators on the ground. The HV soldiers
13 complained to him that the looting was their reward for participating in
14 the operation as they were lowly paid and it was considered as part of
15 their wages. They said that their senior commanders had specifically
16 authorised them to help themselves to the goods. When asked about the
17 destruction, the killing of livestock and the poisoning of the wells,
18 they explained that this was to prevent the Serbs from returning.
19 The witness will tell you that you understood exactly what they
20 were saying because he comes from a farming background and to destroy the
21 infrastructure and to destroy the means of a villager's livelihood would
22 ensure that no one could return and live in that particular region.
23 Your Honours, on the 7th of August, Mr. Akashi, the UN special
24 representative of the Secretary-General arrived for a tour of Knin and to
25 discuss with Military Governor Cermak the implementation of the 6th
1 August agreement between the UN and the Croatian government regarding the
2 role of UN authorities in the former Sector South under Croatian rule.
3 A major component of this agreement was the guarantee of total
4 freedom of movement for all UN agencies in order to monitor the human
5 rights situation of the remaining Serbs in the region and to provide
6 humanitarian assistance where needed. Ironically, this discussion was
7 being had while -- held while almost the entire population of
8 international observers and Serb refugees remained confined to the UN
9 camp and other various collection centres throughout Sector South.
10 When Mr. Akashi arrived, he was permitted to have a UN security
11 escort. Some UN personnel used this opportunity to conduct
12 reconnaissance in Knin while others accompanied Mr. Akashi.
13 The looting of the town had been so thorough that when Mr. Akashi
14 asked to see an example of a looted house, one of the UN escorts from
15 whom you will hear told him, pick any house. At this Mr. Akashi simply
16 pointed to a house at random and when they entered to inspect it, true
17 enough it had been totally ransacked and looted.
18 On the 8th of August, the UN and other international personnel
19 were finally allowed outside the UN compound. These were members of
20 UNMO, UNCRO, ECMM, and the newly created human rights action teams or
21 HRATs. They had been charged with observing the conduct of the warring
22 factions on behalf of the international community but were suspiciously
23 prevented from doing so by the Croatian authorities during the crucial
24 days when their watchful eyes were most needed.
25 Your Honours, on most of these occasions such restrictions
1 occurred when plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the areas where
2 the Croatian authorities would not permit the internationals to
3 investigate. Nevertheless, through dogged perseverance and circuitous
4 travels of the main roads, many of these internationals were able to
5 observe and document the campaign of burning, looting and killings which
6 occurred in the aftermath of Operation Storm.
7 The members of the joint criminal enterprise, and particularly
8 the three accused, condoned the above conduct, encouraging the Croatian
9 forces to continue. For example, the accused Mladen Markac and minister
10 of interior at that time Ivan Jarnjak arrived in Donji Lapac. If you
11 look at map number 15, it's approximately 80 kilometres north of Knin.
12 Donji Lapac was completely destroyed by members of the MUP
13 Special Police forces and the accused and Mr. Jarnjak commended the
14 personnel for "a job well done." However, in response to the protests
15 from the international community to cease the conduct, lukewarm attempts
16 were made such as issuing orders prohibiting the conduct. However,
17 absent any concrete steps to enforce the orders or punish the breaches,
18 they merely amounted to window dressings for the benefit of the
19 international community.
20 Regarding the widespread burning and looting which occurred, the
21 most comprehensive documented observations of these crimes comes from the
22 UNMOs who conducted systematic service to record the damage done to
23 villages throughout Sector South as well as to locate, record, and
24 provide humanitarian assistance to the remaining Serb civilian
25 population. The reports generated by these UNMOs, and many of them will
1 be witnesses, during the months after Operation Storm establish that by
2 the 27th of August, at least 1.730 houses in Sector South were found to
3 have been totally destroyed and at least 2.600 were partially destroyed.
4 As the Court will hear from the UNMOs who actually conducted this
5 service, there was a standard criteria for determining whether a house
6 was totally or partially destroyed. Specifically, if the roof or
7 construct of a house had been damaged, it was considered totally
8 destroyed; and if it was looted with broken windows or doors, it was
9 considered partially destroyed.
10 As the UNMOs gained access, further access, in Sector South, the
11 figures continued to climb. And, Your Honours, by 13 September, out of
12 18.232 houses in 240 villages surveyed, more than 13.600, which is 73 per
13 cent, were destroyed after Operation Storm. Only about 650, this is 5
14 per cent, had been destroyed prior to Operation Storm.
15 The vast majority, Your Honours, of this destruction was done by
16 that time, mid-September. Nevertheless, there are further UN reports
17 that establish that by 4th of October, the number of totally and
18 partially destroyed houses rose to 16.857 out of 21.744, rising even
19 further to a last accounting in 4th November when 17.270 houses out of
20 22.213 houses had been totally or partially destroyed.
21 As one of the UN observers from whom you will hear very shortly
22 wrote and I will quote: "As the daily situation reports showed every
23 day, the looting and harassing of the remaining population has not
24 stopped even though the presence of the Croatian police has increased in
25 some areas. The looting has decreased, but not mainly because of the
1 increased Croatian police presence. The reason is simpler. There is
2 nothing left to loot."
3 Your Honours, by way of example, I would like to briefly address
4 the situation in three of the towns which were devastated by the Croatian
5 forces without any justification. The first map using again map 31, the
6 last map in your binder, is the town of Kistanje located about 20
7 kilometres south-west of Knin. The map -- on your map it's marked in
9 Before Operation Storm, Kistanje was an almost exclusively Serb
10 town with hardly any Croat civilians living there. Your Honours, you
11 will hear evidence about how this town was completely torched, destroyed,
12 and looted. The 15th Home Guard Regiment entered the town on 6th August,
13 1995. One witness who defied the restriction of movement will tell you
14 that the looting and burning started as early as 6th of August.
15 International observers, Your Honours, confirm Kistanje was completely
16 destroyed. By the 14th of August, an UNMO patrol observed that about 90
17 per cent of Kistanje town had been burned down. ECMM observers reported
18 identical observations. UNCIVPOL report of 14th August said 90 per cent
19 of houses burned down, smoke still rising.
20 To finish on Kistanje as one international wrote and I quote him:
21 "We went through Kistanje. Totally destroyed. Still burning. Nothing
22 there. No people, just soldiers. No animals, nothing, but I've got here
23 a lot of smell, strong smell of bodies."
24 Second map, Your Honours, you have heard of this city before,
25 Gracac. On your map 31 it's about 40 kilometres north-west, marked in
1 green here as well.
2 In Gracac, 85 per cent of the buildings were destroyed, either
3 completely or in part. One witness noticed that Gracac was not only
4 destroyed by burning but also had signs that it was shelled. I quote
5 from his witness statement: "This is the first time that it was obvious
6 that they were a target, because there were artillery holes in the ground
7 leading to Gracac, a lot of them. So it was obviously shelled. We
8 didn't see that because we didn't see that, for example, in Kistanje. So
9 they used artillery on it. And if they were like the rest of them, you'd
10 also see rockets. To my knowledge, there was nothing in Gracac of
11 military value. It's just a town, another town with the same houses with
12 red roofs. They got it basically destroyed, just like Kistanje
14 Here are a few pictures taken by a journalist who will appear
15 before you, Your Honours, on the 8th of August at around the time that
16 the Special Police were moving in the area.
17 First one shows a house burning on the road leading to Gracac.
18 Your Honours, when internationals would note that houses were burned to
19 the ground or completely torched or destroyed, the next photo will show
20 what they meant. This is also taken along the same road as the previous
22 On the same day, members of the Special Police were also seen
23 looting. Here's a Special Police member hot-wiring what appears to be a
24 civilian vehicle and then proudly driving off with it, as you can see on
25 the next picture.
1 And the last photo is a member of a Special Police loading a TV
2 into a truck.
3 Gracac, Your Honours, was also the place of one of the cemeteries
4 where Serbs were buried, although access was refused to internationals
5 for a long time, noting fresh graves on a regular basis.
6 At one point the internationals counted up to 81 crosses with
7 only 10 of them bearing any names. A number of victims that are relevant
8 to this case, Your Honours, were exhumed from this cemetery in Gracac.
9 Last city -- or, rather, village, town, Otric, Your Honours.
10 You'll hear a lot about Otric in this case.
11 On map 13 again, you can see it. It's located about 27
12 kilometres north-west of Knin. It's located on the way, on the route
13 from Knin to Srb, which was the road taken by most of the civilians when
14 they fled the area. Otric, Your Honours, was completely destroyed.
15 Again, it was a town predominantly inhabited by Serbs.
16 Internationals stated that -- stated the following about Otric in
17 the weeks following the attack: 11th of August ECMM reports: "Every
18 house in Otric had been destroyed by fire."
19 A few days later, 13th August, one of these HRAT teams, human
20 rights group, reported that Otric, among other towns, had been made
21 "virtually unlivable by actions which occurred after the fighting and
22 that the authorities continue to take no actions."
23 You will hear from a witness who will testify that when she went
24 to Otric on the 16th of August "it had been completely burned down." And
25 that "not a single house was left undamaged."
1 I would like to add, Mr. President, Your Honours, that there are
2 a number of HV military documents, HV Croatian forces, military forces
3 documents which make reference to these crimes to illustrate with only
4 two. First one, a report by the Split military command organ for
5 political affairs on the 6th of August. He describes -- the author
6 describes the treatment of property by the Split military personnel,
7 Split Military District personnel immediately upon entering Knin as
8 catastrophic, or the operational diary of the Split Military District
9 notes that on the 11th of August that in relation to Otric, we just
10 talked about that, a quote: "Everything in Otric is burnt down."
11 Killings. Your Honours, let me turn to the civilians who were
12 killed during Operation Storm. The Croatian forces entering the towns
13 and villages on the heels of the shelling anticipated that most civilians
14 to have left by then. As such, when civilians who had still remained
15 there were discovered, they were captured and intimidated, forcing them
16 to leave. Some were threatened with physical force, weapons, and
17 firearms and ordered to leave, while others were fired at, wounded or
19 Croatian soldiers entering the civilian habitat moved from house
20 to house and ordered the frightened civilians out and marched them or
21 forcibly transported them out of these hamlets or villages. Those
22 captured were transferred to collection centres or detained with the
23 objective of preventing them from returning to their settlements. Some
24 who had taken shelter elsewhere and attempted to return to their houses
25 were assaulted and intimidated.
1 Civilians who refused to leave were killed by members of the HV
2 and Special Police forces while relatives and neighbours watched. The
3 perpetrators sometimes publicly announced their crimes for the remaining
4 civilians to hear, knowing that that would influence them to leave -- to
5 flee, induce them to flee.
6 HV soldiers and members of the Special Police forces entering
7 towns fired at civilians and set fire to civilian property, at times
8 burning the inhabitants alive. They entered dwellings of old people who
9 had stayed due to their inability to leave and harassed them, stealing
10 their food and livestock, destroying any possibility for them to remain.
11 Your Honours, the Prosecution will show that over 350 civilians
12 were killed from 4th August to 30th September, 1995, in the relevant
13 Sector South area. From these killings the Prosecution has, as you know,
14 selected eight killings. We call them scheduled killings, where the
15 Prosecution will show that 29 Serb civilians were killed unlawfully.
16 In your court binder, Your Honours, again you will find the
17 locations of these eight scheduled killings on the last map, map number
18 31. Let me discuss three of these scheduled killings in a little bit
19 more detail.
20 The first example, Mr. President, Your Honours, is killing number
21 2, which took place in the Plavno valley, a valley that was particularly
22 hard hit by Operation Storm.
23 The location of this incident is marked number 2. The Plavno
24 village essentially consists of a number of hamlets. One of these
25 hamlets is Djurici. The evidence will show that in the morning of the
1 5th or 6th August, a few shells fell into this isolated hamlet and
2 damaged houses. Seven or eight civilians sought refuge in the cellar of
3 the house of Sava Djuric. Sava Djuric, who was 53 years old at the time
4 and physically disabled, stayed upstairs in the house with his mother.
5 In the afternoon, a Croatian tank entered this hamlet. The Croatian
6 soldiers were wearing camouflage uniforms and black masks. They started
7 burning the houses. A resident from whom you will hear in due course
8 asked a soldier why they were burning her house. The soldier responded
9 that the Serbs had burned Kijevo in the past, so now they were burning
10 this Serb hamlet.
11 Your Honours, Kijevo is about 25 kilometres away from Djurici.
12 But the soldiers did not stop at burning Djurici. They went into the
13 house of Sava Djuric and forced him and his mother out of it. One of the
14 soldiers took the 82-year-old mother down the road while the others threw
15 the invalid, Savo Djuric, in a burning workshop behind the house in the
16 yard. The remains of the house and the workshop can still be seen today.
17 This picture is the location where the workshop was and where the
18 remains of Sava Djuric were found.
19 The next scheduled killing, Your Honours, is the one of Grubori.
20 It indicates that these killings were not only committed by soldiers of
21 the Croatian army but also the Special Police. Again it occurred in the
22 Plavno valley and you see the red number 4 next to it.
23 Members of the Special Police carried out what is now known as
24 the Grubori massacre. One of the civilians, victim to this massacre, was
25 90 years old. In total, five people were killed. A UN camera,
1 Mr. President and Your Honours, was in the area that day so let me just
2 play a very short clip, it's less than two minutes, about what happened.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Before you do so, you used several times an
4 adjective related to killing, you said the next and I didn't understand
5 the word not being a native English speaker, but even on the transcript I
6 did not -- scheduled. Yes, then I understand it. So you were talking
7 about scheduled killings. Please proceed and play the video. You have
8 provided the booth with the hard copy of the transcript.
9 MR. WAESPI: Yes, we did.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then please proceed.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]
13 "EJF: We visited the Plavno valley yesterday to meet with the
14 group of residents in one town there and we observed that across the
15 valley another town was apparently on fire, there was a huge plume of
16 smoke. So we visited that town in the afternoon and we found that in
17 fact almost every structure in this hillside village was in flames.
18 "RH: The villagers said they had been called away to a meeting
19 in a nearby village. That meeting never took place.
20 "DG: We waited at the school and no one came. When we looked up
21 here we saw that everything was on fire. We rushed back. There is no
22 one here now. There's no sign of those who stayed behind. Whether they
23 burned or ran away, we don't know. My husband's missing. He may have
24 been burnt. Granny's missing. She may have been burned? She's very old
25 and couldn't run away.
1 "RH: When the fire finally died down, Dusanka and her neighbour
2 were able to search the houses. Later, she showed the UN Human Rights
3 Team where they have found their husbands.
4 "DG: Here, let me show you. That woman was not here. Her
5 husband was ill. He was lying in bed over there. When we came we found
6 him dead. That's all I can tell you. He couldn't hear anything. He was
7 deaf. Look, you see? He's been shot, shot in the head."
8 MR. WAESPI: Your Honours. Your Honours, you will hear detailed
9 evidence about this killing. We also show you the numerous attempts to
10 cover up what happened in Grubori, including by the Accused Cermak and
12 The third example of a scheduled killing is killing number 7.
13 It's again shown on your map. It has the number 7 attached to it south
14 of Knin. Let me just show you a few pictures so you can get the sense of
15 the place.
16 This one shows you the road on the right side, the main road to
17 Knin leading to the background of the photo. On the right side, parts of
18 it is the gips or plaster factory of Knin. On the left side, you see the
19 Sare hamlet. That is part of the wider Uzdolje settlement. Uzdolje
20 gives its name to the scheduled incident.
21 Now, bearing in mind, Your Honours, this picture was taken last
22 year, so most of these houses you see have been rebuilt in the meantime.
23 We will show you during the course of the trial video footage taken in
24 1997, which shows most of the houses destroyed.
25 Elements of the 142nd Home Guards Regiment entered this area on
1 the 6th of August as they advanced to meet up with elements of the 7th
2 Guards Brigade coming from south of Knin. If we can go to the next
3 picture, Your Honours.
4 When the Croatian soldiers entered the Sare hamlet which you can
5 see now on the right side, on the morning the 6th of August there were
6 approximately 10 civilians in the hamlet. The soldiers gathered the
7 civilians with the exception of one civilian who was able to run away and
8 hide in the woods, and one elderly and immobile woman was left in her
10 These eight civilians, Mr. President, Your Honours, were lined up
11 and summarily executed by one of these soldiers who described himself as
12 an Ustasha to them. This happened just by these large trees to the right
13 of the orange house in the middle of the photo. Seven of the civilians
14 died while the survivor, who sustained injuries to the head and thigh,
15 was able to escape. The houses in the village were burned, including the
16 house with the old invalid woman still inside. Her family later came and
17 gathered her bones.
18 Mr. President, Your Honours, to finish I would like to illustrate
19 the numbers and facts given using four maps. For the purpose of this
20 presentation, we have marked the location and the extent of the crimes
21 perpetrated across the territory on sequential maps.
22 Prior to presenting these maps to you, I would like to first
23 explain the source of the map we will use in this presentation.
24 The first map before you, Mr. President, Your Honours, is a map
25 we have compiled from four different source maps. The basic map covering
1 most of the area is the map you have seen earlier. It's number 14 in
2 your booklet, the map signed by the accused General Gotovina. This map
3 did not extend far enough north to include the area of operation of the
4 Special Police under the command of Mladen Markac, so we have overlaid
5 two maps depicting Special Police movements in the northern area of the
7 In order to complete the map, we have incorporated a portion of
8 an UNPROFOR map in the north-eastern corner and the north-western area to
9 ensure that the entire area is depicted.
10 We have produced this compilation map for the reason that the two
11 fundamental maps show the areas that the Croatian army and the Special
12 Police had taken over and controlled at the time the crimes were
14 The second map, Your Honours, includes the incidents of killings,
15 wanton destruction, and plunder for the period 4th of August to 30th of
16 September, 1995. The legend in the top left corner explains the symbols.
17 Yellow for killing incidents, black/orange for wanton destruction, and
18 red/black for plunder. In addition, we have marked with black dots,
19 small black dots, evidence of the presence of the Special Police.
20 As I explained before, Your Honours, as the operation went ahead,
21 the Special Police moved into the area of responsibility of the Split
22 Military District from up north. They moved south.
23 The third map, Your Honours, covers the same information, but in
24 addition we have now overlaid it with the area of responsibility of the
25 Split Military District. Your Honours, there is no better way for you to
1 show and see the widespread and systematic nature of these crimes that
2 were committed by the Croatian forces in the course and in the aftermath
3 of Operation Storm within a relatively small area and during a short
4 period of time.
5 Please be aware, Your Honours, each of these symbols represents
6 atrocious crimes, the loss of lives, and the loss of homes. In short,
7 they represent the shattering of a community and a people.
8 The fourth and last map, Your Honours, represents only the
9 killings, but we added the number of victims killed in each of these
10 locations. Perhaps it can be enlarged a little bit.
11 And I repeat, and by this I end, Mr. President, Your Honours,
12 that we counted only civilian victims.
13 Thank you.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Waespi.
15 Before we continue, may I inquire into some of the maps we find
16 in the bundle. I noticed that, for example, map 9 and a lot of maps from
17 16 onwards are apparently projected maps but not under a 90 degree angle
18 but another angle, which if you compare map 2 and map 4 with these maps,
19 you'll see that the shape of the municipalities is quite different on the
20 one map compared to the other one. And since maps are often very useful
21 to calculate distances or make all kind of assessments, of course the
22 scale by this projection also causes a not real proportion. What from
23 the left to the right might appear on the basis of the scale to be 20
24 kilometres will not be 20 kilometres from north to south. So therefore
25 it seems to me to be, let me say it friendly, a bit of a bad habit of the
1 Prosecution to present these distorted maps, whereas I myself, and I take
2 it my colleagues as well, would rather have maps which allow for
3 calculations, for measuring distances, rather than the kind of
4 impressionistic, nice-looking, distorted projected map.
5 MR. WAESPI: Thank you for your observations, Mr. President. We
6 were aware of your concerns because you had uttered them in different
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 MR. WAESPI: And that's why we have included a number of maps.
10 Some of them are maps which are accurate enough for you to measure them.
11 For instance, the last one is one which accurately reflects the
12 proportions and indeed --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but doesn't cover the whole of the terrain.
14 MR. WAESPI: No, but there are more maps which we can --
15 JUDGE ORIE: We don't have to resolve it now but I just draw your
16 attention to it, that measuring needs a 90 degrees projection and nothing
18 MR. MISETIC: I just wanted to clarify Mr. Waespi referred to the
19 second map, the third map and the fourth map, but I don't believe I can
20 find them in this binder and I believe we might go over and use these
21 maps --
22 JUDGE ORIE: I understood this to be maps still to be produced
23 which are the products of further working on that one map together with
24 the other maps. Is that well understood?
25 MR. WAESPI: This is correct. That's just for demonstrative
2 MR. MISETIC: Will we be able to use them tomorrow, Your Honour?
3 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that if you ask Mr. Waespi I'm quite
4 confident that he would agree that he would be at your disposal.
5 Mr. Waespi?
6 MR. WAESPI: Certainly.
7 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Then we resolve this matter of maps at a later
10 Mr. Tieger, could you give us already an indication on how much
11 time you'd need after the break we'll have soon?
12 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, I will be -- I'll need the rest of the
13 time available for the day to complete. I'll be moving quickly as I do.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we'll have a break until 20 minutes past
15 12, which means, Mr. Tieger, that you have one hour and 25 minutes then
17 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 --- Recess taken at 11.55 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.22 p.m.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Where I said before the break page 35, line 13, that
21 I appreciate that, as it appears on the transcript, "formal relationships
22 between those who are assisting us and Defence counsel," of course I
23 meant "informal relationships," that is good working relationships.
24 Mr. Tieger, please proceed.
25 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Your Honours, you've now heard that the destruction of the Serb
2 community began with the arrival of the Croatian army and Special Police
3 in the area and continued for weeks. Earlier I cited the anguished
4 comment of an international, "This is criminal. Is there nothing that
5 can be done?" There was much that could have been done but was not,
6 because those in a position of responsibility, indeed those required by
7 law to do so, did not despite their awareness that both the risks that
8 the crimes would occur and the knowledge that they were ongoing and would
10 I know the Court is well aware of the responsibilities incumbent
11 upon superiors, so I don't wish to dwell on that except to briefly touch
12 on a few points. Of course the law requires a commander to take
13 reasonable and necessary measures to prevent and punish over those for
14 whom he has effective control, that is the material ability to prevent
15 and punish. And these are two distinct duties. They are not discharged
16 just in the face of generalised orders or cautioning subordinates to act
17 in a lawful manner when particular circumstances arise that render that
18 general responsibility insufficient.
19 The duty to act for a commander exists when he knows or has
20 reason to know that crimes are about to occur, but that does not mean he
21 has to have specific details about a crime which is about to unfold or
22 about which has happened. A commander is required to act when he has
23 general information about unlawful acts that are about to occur or have
24 occurred and the need for measures to be taken.
25 For example, this Tribunal has stated that a commander who has
1 received information that some of his subordinates have a violent or
2 unstable character or have been drinking prior to a mission is considered
3 to have the requisite knowledge and must act. And furthermore, a
4 commander cannot refrain from using the means to obtain such information
5 and then later uses an excuse the fact that he didn't possess it.
6 As the Court will hear, Your Honours, the three accused had ample
7 reason to know both before the operation of the substantial risk that
8 crimes would occur and after the operation that they were occurring, and
9 they failed to act or simply reiterated generalised reminders, the same
10 reminders that had already been proven to be inadequate. And having
11 failed to prevent, they also failed to discipline or punish, thereby
12 progressively undercutting the potential deterrent impact of any
13 sanctions, again in a cycle.
14 With a considerable array of enforcement mechanisms at their
15 disposal, none were meaningfully used, and the results can be seen in a
16 number of ways. The activity reports of the military police, criminal
17 police, for August 1995 reflects a level of activity for the military
18 police covering the Split Military District basically comparable to the
19 month before and basically comparable to the August of the year before.
20 In other words, as if the vast wide-spread crimes of August 1995 simply
21 hadn't happened. You will see similar figures for the military and
22 criminal justice systems with almost no investigations initiated in
23 August and early September. And the disciplinary figures for the Split
24 Military District reveal roughly the same thing, no military disciplinary
25 proceedings of any statistical significance and certainly not for the
1 substantial crimes that occurred, recognising that the disciplinary
2 system is not the primary means of enforcement, but the picture is clear.
3 Little was happening, and to understand the gap between that little that
4 was happening, it's useful to turn now to what the accused knew at the
5 time and what they were doing.
6 Some of this discussion will overlap and be interwoven between
7 accused, but I'll try to take them quickly one at a time.
8 General Gotovina, as you've heard, was the commander of the Split
9 Military District throughout the indictment period. That was the
10 district that clearly functioned on a strict command and control system,
11 a command and control system that General Gotovina himself praised in the
12 book you've already heard about. He had both de jure and de facto
13 control over his troops and the ability to issue orders to the military
14 police. He had constant access to information on the ground, ample
15 mechanisms to ensure that his orders, at least the orders he was
16 interested in were enforced. And although he embarked on other offensive
17 operations during the indictment period, he did not relinquish his
18 command and responsibilities and continued to issue orders even when
19 physically outside the area and remained responsible for the conduct of
20 his troops.
21 Shortly after the operation on August 9th, he ordered the
22 reorganisation of his four operational groups into three operational
23 groups and units from those formations were required to ensure the
24 security and conduct clean-up operations throughout the territory as well
25 as protecting the border and preparing for operations in the east. And
1 you'll also hear testimony that many, many, many troops remained in the
2 Split Military District engaged in the crimes about which you've heard.
3 Moreover, the evidence will show that General Gotovina was often
4 physically present in the indictment area during the months of August and
5 September, spending considerable time in Knin but also in Zadar. It
6 would have been impossible not to observe for himself the crimes that
7 were occurring around him.
8 Now, General Gotovina, like others, knew of the risk of
9 retribution by his troops before it began and indeed, as you'll hear in a
10 moment, he knew of the propensity of those troops for engaging in crimes.
11 As was mentioned before, there were troops. Many of the troops were from
12 the area returning to the place and perceived source of their suffering
13 and their attitude toward Serbs or Chetniks was all too predictable.
14 Indeed General Gotovina told President Tudjman on 31 July: "The forces
15 heading towards Knin are 400 good infantrymen from the 3rd Battalion, the
16 126th Regiment who are all from this area and they know the area through
17 and through. They have reason to fight here and at this moment it is
18 difficult to keep them on a leash."
19 Indeed General Gotovina would later explain to one of the
20 internationals that this human feeling to hate an enemy who has burned,
21 looted and expelled one's family was in fact an explanation for why the
22 crimes occurred. It was no secret to General Gotovina or to the other
23 commanders in Storm that they were sending in aggrieved men to a place
24 that they saw as the cause of the harm to them and their families. That
25 information alone would have been more than sufficient to trigger some --
1 something more than boilerplate or customary standard admonitions to
2 abide by the Geneva Conventions or international humanitarian law, but
3 there's more than that, because just a few days before in the prior
4 operation, General Gotovina's troops had committed the same crimes they
5 were to go on to commit during Operation Storm.
6 Let me show you -- I'll read from an excerpt of a report on 13
7 August from the military police: "On the following day, members of the
8 Croatian army 4th Guards Brigade and the 7th Guards Brigade as well as
9 certain groups ... that came into the broad area of Grahovo from
10 surrounding areas began setting fire to houses in Grahovo and the
11 surrounding villages in an organised fashion."
12 Now, this activity was also reflected in the Split Military
13 District diary which mentioned on July 29th that the entire Grahovo was
14 on fire.
15 So knowing that he was sending in armed men to a place in which
16 they would be quite prone and predisposed to revenge and knowing further
17 of the propensity for committing crimes against Serbs, the measures, both
18 reasonable and necessary, for General Gotovina to have taken extended
19 well-beyond customary instructions concerning compliance. Strong and
20 very specific measures were required such as immediate investigations,
21 detention, dismissal, arrest. It was not only sensible but clearly
22 needed, yet General Gotovina took none of these measures, limiting
23 himself repeatedly as these crimes went on to standard reminders such as
24 instructing units on their obligations or generalised admonitions to
25 prevent looting and burning.
1 And of course what happened after he sent in those troops was all
2 too predictable. You've already heard that the looting and burning
3 commenced right away and you've already heard that General Gotovina knew
4 about it as evidenced by the meeting on August 6th and the video during
5 which he complained about the fact that dignitaries and the media were
6 about to arrive and things were a mess and during the course of which he
7 characterised his troops alternately as barbarians or spoiled children
8 but no orders to deal with those "barbarians" were issued.
9 And again predictably under those circumstances the crimes
10 continued and again General Gotovina had ample reason to know and did in
11 fact know that this was taking place.
12 First of all as Mr. Waespi indicated, these crimes were happening
13 routinely, and the evidence of what was happening was available for
14 everybody. An interesting quote from a witness who wrote: "The ferocity
15 and thoroughness of this senseless destruction is reminiscent of a
16 medieval exorcism of Serbian spirits from the timbers of every building
17 and barn. No village was spared."
18 And as you'll hear from the witnesses, the knowledge about what
19 was happening was available for anyone who cared to look.
20 There are ample excerpts from the Split Military District
21 operational diary indicating those crimes on a chronological and ongoing
22 basis. You heard one from Mr. Waespi. Let me cite just a couple of
24 On the 10th: "Everything is looted. The looting is the
25 problem." On the 14th: "The burning of houses and the killing of cattle
1 is being continued." On the 19th: "The problem is the 6th Home Guard
2 Regiment that is burning down the houses in Rasanovci." And then you
3 extend beyond the Split Military District diary operations. Here's an
4 example from a report by the political administration coordinator for the
5 Split Military District on August 13th: "It should be noted that the
6 largest number of fires occurred a day or two following the entry of HV
7 units, that is Croatian army units, into newly liberated villages. Cases
8 of arson were most often carried out by members of Home Guard regiments
9 who were displaced persons from the areas recently liberated. It should
10 be assumed that their motive is revenge."
11 Your Honours, the -- apart from the obvious evidence visible to
12 everyone in the area, it was equally clear that everyone in the military
13 structure knew that these crimes were taking place and were ongoing.
14 And again as I said, as those crimes continued General Gotovina
15 took no steps beyond the generalised prohibitions that I mentioned.
16 On the 10th of August he issued an order to two of the four
17 operational groups to implement military discipline and order, prevent
18 arson and illegal acts and to take resolute measures against those who
19 conduct themselves in an undisciplined manner. That's essentially a
20 reiteration of the duties that were obviously incumbent upon those
21 commanders and upon those troops since before the operation began and had
22 been persistently ignored on an ongoing basis.
23 But perhaps General Gotovina's most telling reaction to the
24 crimes occurred about a week later.
25 Aware again of the ongoing crimes and the inadequacy of his
1 previous responses to it, he noted once more that burning buildings was
2 forbidden and the issue should be resolved. And as for concrete steps,
3 he said this: "The units that are burning down the houses will stay
4 during the winter in the houses they are burning down now." In short,
5 they'll just have to live with the mess they made.
6 A commander has the obligation to take steps to ensure that his
7 orders are carried out or they mean nothing. Indeed if they are not
8 carried out, they mean less than nothing. They become quickly sanctioned
9 and they become a signal to the troops that such behaviour that is
10 supposed to be prohibited is tolerated. And the duty to act is
11 particularly significant when an entire community is being destroyed
12 virtually systematically and over a protracted period of time.
13 Now, Mr. Waespi spoke about killings and the number of Serbian
14 civilians who were killed during the course of the destruction of their
15 community, but it would not be until international pressures mounted
16 weeks later that these later -- that inquiries started to be made for
17 these later victims. The notice began much earlier. Of course it begins
18 with the knowledge of the troops who were going in and the area they're
19 going into. As General Cermak said to President Tudjman, explaining what
20 happened: "You had fighters on the front line for three, four years.
21 They lost their houses, ancestors, land, et cetera. They were already a
22 bid damaged by the Vietnam syndrome and in that state they were killing."
23 It took no stretch of imagination to realise the considerable
24 risk of retribution of that type in the absence of concrete measures to
25 suppress it. And after the operation began there was information from
1 observations of internationals and complaints of internationals, both
2 direct and through the media, that killings were taking place.
3 One interesting one is the report by a UN press officer named
4 Alun Roberts on September 1st when he said, "We basically got a body
5 count of people since the 4th and 5th of August. There's now --"
6 THE INTERPRETER: Would you mind slowing down. Thank you.
7 MR. TIEGER: "There's now somewhere near 100 or more."
8 Now, apart from the evidence that you'll hear of the intense
9 interest on the part of Croatian military and political authorities about
10 the possibility of media exposure and their awareness of what the media
11 was saying, the accused were particularly interested in -- and attuned to
12 Mr. Roberts' reports. So as you'll hear, in early September
13 General Gotovina, in a meeting with the UNCRO sector commander threatened
14 to have Roberts executed as a spy and provocateur and General Cermak
15 similarly singled Roberts out in a newspaper article as one who had been
16 writing about Croatia negatively from the very start.
17 But Generals Gotovina and Cermak and General Markac did not need
18 the media to know that Serb civilians were being killed on a large scale.
19 On the 19th of August, General Cermak met with a fact-finding team from
20 the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights and they
21 confronted him with information about summary executions and his response
22 was: "That there are probably --" and I'm quoting from the report.
23 "That there are probably 200 to 300 bodies in the hills with bullet holes
24 in their heads."
25 When they pressed him for more information, nothing was
2 But these accused did not need the media to know that Serb
3 civilians were being killed. Those bodies weren't secreted away only to
4 be discovered years later to everyone's surprise. They were officially
5 collected and counted on a daily basis, and Generals Gotovina and Cermak
6 and Markac knew that because they used or established the very sanitation
7 groups that were out there collecting the bodies. General Cermak did
8 that immediately when he arrived in Knin, and General Gotovina did that
9 on August 11th.
10 Now, General Gotovina's order for attack had anticipated that
11 such a detachment would work with the civilian police and they did. So
12 as the sanitation units prepared reports daily, the -- they provided them
13 to -- they provided that information to the police and the chief of the
14 Zadar crime police, who was -- that was one of the police administrations
15 involved in General Gotovina' order, reported on the progress of
16 sanitation operations. And General Cermak was regularly apprised about
17 the bodies collected.
18 Let me show you an example of one of the reports by the chief of
19 the Zadar crime police setting out the details of the corpses collected
20 by the 9th of August.
21 This is the type of information that was available about the
22 number of civilians being killed. And you've heard the final statistics.
23 Over 350, and I believe the evidence will show even more were killed, and
24 that is civilians, during August and September, during the indictment
1 Now, the Defence in its pre-trial brief has asserted that
2 General Gotovina essentially relied upon, was informed that the civilian
3 and military police and authorities were taking effective action and were
4 restoring order and discipline in the liberated areas. Well, first, a
5 commander cannot evade his fundamental responsibility to control his
6 troops by pointing at others who may have been in a position to do so
7 after they committed crimes. The responsibility to control those troops
8 lies first and foremost with the commander, and the reason is, as you'll
9 hear, that if he fails to do so, there is little that can be done in
11 In any event, General Gotovina knew full well that the civilian
12 and military authorities were not -- military police authorities were not
13 coping with the crimes. The evidence of that failure and the evidence of
14 what his troops were doing was before his eyes at any given moment. But
15 let me address the activities of the civilian military police authorities
16 quickly, perhaps too quickly, in any event.
17 First of all, everybody knew that the civilian authorities would
18 take time to get established and functional. As President Tudjman said,
19 the military may not be able to do all the things civilian authorities
20 ultimately can, but "they can maintain order in these transitional
22 General Gotovina knew this. He told internationals in a meeting
23 on August 8th that the military governor would remain in Knin until
24 civilian authority was established. General Cermak was there until
1 It was also clear that the civilian authorities were not going to
2 be able to cope with the extensive crimes committed by soldiers at that
3 time. There was never a genuine prospect of that happening. They
4 weren't really set up to do that. They didn't have the real clout and
5 authority to. Indeed the civilian police in the area answered to
6 General Cermak and were implementing his orders.
7 Furthermore, the Serb commanders in the area, and there were Serb
8 commanders there pursuant to a constitutional provision regarding the old
9 ethnic demographics weren't really in charge. They answered to people
10 in -- who actually wielded power in Zadar and Zagreb, and as I said, to
11 General Cermak.
12 The -- but perhaps more importantly and understandably, the
13 civilian police, vastly outnumbered by the military, were extremely wary
14 of interfering with armed and marauding soldiers. And you'll see a
15 number of reports indicating that and I'll quote quickly from two.
16 After reporting that members of the HV had been torching houses
17 and killing livestock, the chief of the Lika Sinj police administration
18 writes: "In conversations with individual officers, they have stated
19 that they are powerless with regard to this problem."
20 And similarly, the assistant minister for the police wrote: "It
21 is apparent that houses are being burned down and other people's property
22 is being stolen on a daily basis." He writes: "The perpetrators of
23 those acts in most cases are formally and in effect members of the
24 Croatian army, although there are some persons who are not and are
25 abusing the HV uniform. I hope you will understand that the civilian
1 police faces -- the problem the civilian police faces 'the fact that the
2 perpetrators wear HV uniforms completely blocks the work of the civilian
4 Now, that would have rendered the civilian police and their
5 efforts inadequate enough, but in fact the limited resources they had
6 were not devoted to protecting Serbs but, in fact, to collecting and
7 interrogating them. That was pursuant to something called
8 Operation Povartak or Return, the priorities of which were to collect
9 suspected prisoners of war, basically meaning anyone of military age, any
10 male of military age, collect civilians in reception centres purportedly
11 for their protection, and sanitize bodies killed during the operations
12 and afterwards, in the aftermath.
13 The diversion of police resources to this task was not a secret
14 and no surprise. It was anticipated before the operation was launched
15 and can be found in General Gotovina's order for attack.
16 In short, the efforts or the lack of efforts by the civilian
17 police contributed to the reign of impunity that existed for perpetrators
18 of crimes against Serbs during this period and that de facto impunity
19 actually became official on August 18th for those who had committed
20 crimes up to that point. And I'm going to read from an encoded order
21 from the assistant minister of the interior to the police
22 administrations. First he recounts the houses that are torched and
23 burned, again indicates that these individuals -- that most of those acts
24 are perpetrated by Croatian army members, notes that the destruction is
25 assuming such proportions that it is inflicting political damage to the
1 Republic of Croatia, and then notes that the local police administration
2 chiefs must immediately convene a meeting with the commanders of military
3 police battalions to inform them of the problem. And so now that damage
4 to Croatia is happening, something should be done. And then: "The
5 meeting must be informed of the decision that cases of torching of houses
6 and illegal taking away of people's movable property that have hitherto
7 occurred will not be operatively investigated, but a stop must be put to
8 cases of this type as of today."
9 Thus the civilian and military police were instructed not to
10 investigate or operatively process the crimes that had taken place. Now,
11 by that time much of the Krajina was in flames. A huge amount of Serb
12 property had been looted and stolen and many had been killed. The
13 impunity bestowed by this order is not only a further reflection of the
14 negligible impact of the police but sent a continuing signal along with
15 the absence of any meaningful measures from the military commanders that
16 crimes against Serbs were tolerated. The commanders didn't act. The
17 civilian police didn't act, and I'll turn to the military police in a
18 moment. Nobody acted to stop the crimes.
19 Now, General Gotovina does point to the military police, as I
20 mentioned, and cites his reliance on the military police. There are
21 three reasons why no commander can reasonably fail to act on that basis.
22 First of all, as I mentioned, a commander has the responsibility to
23 command and control his troops. That responsibility ultimately rests
24 with him, not with others.
25 Second, he knew that the military police were not investigating
1 crimes. And third, in any event, the military police was a body under
2 his daily operational control.
3 With respect to the first that a commander is the principal
4 figure responsible for his troops and that if he fails to control them
5 there is no realistic prospect that the back-up mechanisms to respond to
6 their crimes will cope, I'll quote as an illustration a report from a
7 high-ranking military police official making precisely that point on
8 August 3rd. After stating the tasks of the military and civilian police
9 he said referring to a meeting the previous day with high-level
10 officials, including General Gotovina: "It had been pointed out to the
11 commanders of the HV units that they were personally responsible for the
12 discipline of their subordinates as without that even a much greater
13 number of military police members could not maintain discipline."
14 As for awareness that the military police were not coping with
15 the problem and that a commander needed to do something, apart from the
16 visible extent of crimes before him General Gotovina was specifically
17 informed that that was the case. He was -- this is a portion of a report
18 addressed to commanders of military districts including General Gotovina
19 on August 17th, again reporting that houses are being torched, property
20 is being looted and other unlawful actions by Croatian army soldiers and
21 civilians wearing HV uniforms are occurring on a daily basis. The
22 communication also says that cooperation between the military police and
23 civilian police on liberated territory thus far has not yielded results.
24 And finally, the third element of any suggestion that
25 General Gotovina could excuse his inaction by pointing to the military
1 police, in fact by pointing to the military police General Gotovina is
2 inadvertently pointing to himself because the military police were
3 subordinated to him for the -- and he had daily operational control. I
4 won't go into details about this, but essentially the rules governing the
5 structure and operation of the military police provide that the military
6 police administration has a -- their own hierarchy and supervisory
7 control over the military police. That's a kind of vertical control.
8 But it specifically provides in Article 9 of those rules that military
9 district commanders have daily operational control, and that's a kind of
10 vertical control, to ensure that the people on the ground are in a
11 position to direct the military police to the very place they're needed
12 at the very time. And you'll see an order in connection with Storm
13 issued by the head of the military police which relates that in the
14 command of daily operations military police battalion commanders shall be
15 subordinated to the Croatian army military district commanders.
16 In short, Your Honours, having brought in the very same troops
17 who had just committed crimes into an area where they were even more
18 likely to do it, General Gotovina did nothing more than issue perfunctory
19 orders to his subordinates reminding them of their obligations, the very
20 obligations they had ignored before and they were ignoring over and over
21 again. Under those circumstances in the climate of ongoing daily
22 widespread crimes, his failure to take those measures not only was a
23 failure to discharge his responsibility but sent a message of toleration
24 and acquiescence to his troops making the continuation of those crimes
25 inevitable and leading to those troops who told the international that
1 Mr. Waespi referred to that their commanders thought it was just fine.
2 But, Your Honours, General Gotovina was not the only General, not
3 the only Colonel-General, indeed, in the area. General Markac was also
4 there, an associate of President Tudjman who was a long-standing member
5 of the HDZ and both a political and military figure. General Cermak did
6 not participate in the planning of Operation Storm or its commencement,
7 but on August 5th he was formally appointed directly and personally by
8 President Tudjman as the Knin Garrison commander and sent there in
9 President Tudjman's own words for the purpose of keeping order.
10 Now, beyond General Cermak's de jure powers as garrison commander
11 which is a position in the military that exists for the purpose of
12 discipline, he was also vested with his authority of his high rank,
13 colonel-general, and the considerable authority emanating from being a
14 personal emissary of President Tudjman for the very purpose of taking
15 charge. Indeed General Cermak was understood by internationals to be the
16 military governor of the area and that was a term used by them throughout
17 in their dealings with them that appears in correspondence and that was
18 not corrected by him. Everyone accepted the appellation of military
19 governor in connection with General Cermak's duties.
20 He was not an operational commander and his presence there didn't
21 interfere with General Gotovina's control over his troops, but by virtue
22 of his position as garrison commander and his even broader de facto
23 authority arising from the factors I've just described, General Cermak
24 possessed effective control and the material ability to discipline and
25 punish Croatian army soldiers within the garrison area. Indeed in the
1 course of his military governor tasks, he used -- he issued orders for
2 activity or coordinated in operations that extended beyond the garrison
4 He was able to direct the military and civilian police, as you'll
5 hear, and he had the responsibility and power to punish and, by so doing,
6 prevent crimes against Serbs. Instead, as you'll hear, he exercised his
7 power principally to ensure that Croatia's public image was not damaged
8 with the international community, even when that meant ignoring,
9 excusing, or even covering up crimes against Serbs.
10 Now, General Cermak has asserted that he did not function in a
11 military role. He has characterised himself instead as something like
12 the Red Cross. A man with no authority who was garrison commander only
13 so he could take advantage of logistics and was in Knin to restore
14 electricity and open the water and liaise with the international
15 community. And he's further said that while he was appalled at the
16 crimes that were taking place and repeatedly pleaded with others to do
17 something about it, because he wasn't really a military figure he was not
18 the person responsible in any way for addressing them.
19 In that sense, like General Gotovina, he points to others as
20 failing to do a job for which he was responsible.
21 But the evidence will show, Your Honour, that General Cermak was
22 a military figure, as I've said, with the authority to order the military
23 police and the power as -- as the effective military governor to order
24 the civilian police. He knew that crimes against the Serbian community
25 were being committed by the army. He knew that nothing effective was
1 being done about it, and instead he used his role as described to deflect
2 international pressure and cover up crimes.
3 Let me address those in order.
4 First, General Cermak was unmistakably a military figure. He was
5 mobilised from the reserves. He had the rank of colonel-general. He
6 wore a uniform. He himself acknowledged in the course of recorded
7 interviews with the OTP that he was responsible under military discipline
8 had he done something wrong.
9 Now, his military position was also reflected in other ways. For
10 example, his involvement in mopping up operations. And this series of
11 correspondence that you'll see during the course of the case will reflect
12 that. First on August 21st, the Croatian army chief of staff issued an
13 order for mop-up operations which said responsible for the realisation of
14 this order are the commanders of the military districts as well as the
15 commander of the Knin Garrison. And when General Markac reported to the
16 chief of staff the next day he noted that: "At 1200 hours there was a
17 short meeting with Generals Gotovina and Cermak."
18 And on the 25th, General Cermak responded to the order of the
19 21st noting that in respect to part of the order that called for an
20 intelligence assessment: "The Split Military District command and Knin
21 Garrison are in constant coordination. The intelligence assessment
22 regarding this order was made by the chief of the intelligence department
23 of Split Military District command. If we were to submit the same, I
24 would consider it a repetition of work."
25 He was clearly a military figure and the evidence will further
1 show that he had the power to issue orders as colonel general to the
2 military police and the power as the effective military governor,
3 emissary from President Tudjman to issue orders to the civilian police
4 who understood they were to implement those records.
5 First I'd like to show you an order to the commander of the Knin
6 military police and the commander of the Knin police station to form
7 teams to find material and return property misappropriated from UNCRO and
8 report back to him. "This order enters into force immediately," as the
9 order says. And here's one on August 8th. Also to the military and
10 civilian police, also effective immediately.
11 You'll also hear witness testimony that General Cermak held daily
12 meetings with the military and civilian police who, as I mentioned
13 before, understood that the conclusions from those meetings were to be
14 implemented. And as he has acknowledged himself in the course of the
15 interviews I mentioned: "I got reports from the military police."
16 He also acknowledged this power contemporaneously at the time,
17 telling members of the international community that he would order or
18 that he had ordered investigations of the crimes they reported.
19 On August 24th, when internationals again raised the issue of
20 continuing crimes, he said he had already issued strict orders to the
21 civilian and military personnel to stop such acts. And again on
22 September 3rd, he responded to UNCRO Commander Forand concerning
23 restriction of movement, telling him that he, General Cermak, had issued
24 a "strict order that it be investigated."
25 Similarly he described in one of his interviews his reaction when
1 he learned that humanitarian aid that he had delivered had been stolen.
2 He was furious he said, immediately called the police commander and told
3 him "do whatever you want. I want the culprits found." And indeed they
5 Now, I said that General Cermak was a military figure who had the
6 power to do something about these crimes and he knew about these crimes
7 and knew that crimes were being committed by the army. First he knew
8 about it from the internationals who repeatedly brought it to his
9 attention. You will hear from those internationals and you'll see
10 contemporaneous reports, but as General Cermak himself told OTP
11 representatives about the complaints: "This was a daily problem. It was
12 a constant problem. It was a problem that just went on."
13 Now, beyond his awareness from the reports and protests of the
14 international community, General Cermak himself has repeatedly
15 acknowledged during the course of those interviews with the OTP that he
16 knew that soldiers were committing crimes during that period.
17 "Most of the military wasn't -- wasn't conducting themselves the
18 way they should have." "So when we talk about torching and destruction
19 that was in the first week of the Croatian military going through. So
20 that was one period. And then after that this also happened but to
21 lesser degree; so we have two periods." Here's another quote: "You know
22 that there were some killings, there was looting and burning also after
23 the operation of the Croatian military, and that went on."
24 General Cermak also recounted a telephone conversation with the
25 head of the political affairs administration of the Ministry of Defence.
1 Now, this happened after General Cermak read a newspaper interview in
2 which the head of the political affairs administration had denied that
3 the Croatian army was committing crimes and attributed those crimes to
4 civilians dressed in military uniform, which General Cermak knew was not
5 true so he, according to him, called the head of political affairs on the
6 phone and said: "You idiot. What are you saying? You think these
7 people have no eyes to see what was going on? You're sitting there in
8 Zagreb. You don't even know what the situation is, and the truth is what
9 I'm telling you now."
10 Interestingly, according to General Cermak, the head of political
11 affairs said: "Well, don't be upset with me. You know I don't think
12 like that. There are people higher up."
13 Knowing that these crimes were taking place, General Cermak also
14 knew that insufficient measures were being taken. Indeed that virtually
15 nothing was being done. Here's what he said about that: "From
16 day-to-day I told them: Do your work. Start doing something. Look
17 what's going on in Knin." He stated: "They were there to do their jobs
18 and they were just hanging around, not knowing what to do with
19 themselves." Those are references to the military and the civilian
21 According to General Cermak, he was constantly telling others of
22 the criminality that was occurring in the Krajina and beseeching them to
23 do something. He was in touch, he stated with the Minister of the
24 Interior Ivan Jarnjak and with President Tudjman: "Because I didn't
25 understand that this was happening and we couldn't stop this and I was
1 embarrassed this was happening."
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down for the benefit
3 of the interpreters. Thank you.
4 MR. TIEGER: General Cermak said that he made repeated appeals
5 for the crimes by the army to be dealt with. "I made appeals to the
6 civilian police, the military police. I went to the office of the
7 president. I even called Mr. Jarnjak. I talked to Mr. Gotovina." And
8 then later he said: "I told him clearly, Ante, the military is doing
9 nasty things. We have to stop that." "All the way to the president
10 because I didn't understand that this was happening and we couldn't stop
11 this and I was embarrassed this was happening."
12 So according to General Cermak, he knew that insufficient
13 measures were being taken to address the crimes that, as he told the
14 political affairs head, any idiot could see. He thus admits that he did
15 not take the measures necessary to stop the crimes because he claims he
16 lacked the power to do so. Instead, he beseeched those who had the
17 power, Jarnjak, Tudjman, Gotovina, to do something.
18 Now, these claims acknowledge the ongoing crimes by the army
19 about which everyone knew but then seek to deny his own power and
20 responsibility to act. But apart from failing to use the power and
21 responsibility he had, General Cermak also worked to ensure that
22 international pressures to stop the crimes were deflected. He repeatedly
23 assured the internationals that all necessary steps were being taken or
24 attempted to mislead them into believing that it was not the army that
25 was committing the crimes.
1 I'll quote from a letter that he sent to the ICRC in response to
2 their complaints about the crimes echoing the very claims that he says he
3 told the head of political affairs were untrue.
4 "Crimes that you are referring to were committed by individuals
5 who want to take advantage of a brilliant military operation to gain
6 property in an illegal manner and fulfil sick murderous instincts. Such
7 individuals are criminals who by putting on camouflage uniforms shed
8 suspicions on the honesty of the Croatian soldier and the correct
9 policies of the Republic of Croatia. The government of the Republic of
10 Croatia has shown firm views and determination that all such criminals be
11 brought to justice."
12 Similarly on the 31st of August, the head of UNCRO Sector South
13 wrote him about the smoke coming from the areas where UNCRO had been
14 restricted and posed the question that these unexplained burnings leave
15 many unanswered questions: How is it that almost after a month so many
16 houses continue to be burned, driving poor and destitute persons homeless
17 from their land?
18 And on September 3rd, General Cermak wrote back: "I am surprised
19 that you mentioned the expulsion of the poor and needy from their land
20 and I consider these to be serious allegations and baseless accusations.
21 Please provide documentation to prove at least one case of expelling
22 people and torching their houses."
23 As General Cermak told President Tudjman in 1999: "He had to
24 oppose incessantly to the Helsinki Watch, the international community,
25 arsons, killings, et cetera."
1 Now, in doing that he was just one part of the effort to ensure
2 that crimes were not inadvertently revealed to the international
3 community. You'll see repeated documents during the course of this case,
4 I've cited a couple before, reflecting concern over international
5 repercussions or the fear of damage to Croatia's image, but the objective
6 to ensure that the international community did not receive information
7 that might hurt Croatia's image was pursued in various ways rather than
8 stopping the crimes themselves.
9 For example, Mr. Waespi told you that the UNCRO personnel was
10 locked down and when they were finally released they observed the efforts
11 that had been made to eliminate evidence of what had happened. There was
12 a similar effort to control journalistic access for fear that the media
13 would expose the ongoing crimes.
14 Now, this began before Storm --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Kindly slow down. Thank you.
16 MR. TIEGER: At a meeting on August 2nd, the political department
17 of the Split Military District reported that journalists were asking to
18 come to Grahovo which had been burned down by HV troops. The quote was
19 in the diary: "Journalists requesting to come to Grahovo. Do not allow
20 journalists to come to Grahovo. Cameras to be controlled."
21 And then General Gotovina, who knew precisely how the damage to
22 Grahovo had occurred then suggested they disseminate an alternative
23 explanation. "Report through a messenger that Glamoc and Grahovo were
24 shelled by phosphoric shells."
25 After Storm that same concern continued, in fact was amplified
1 and you will see various references to that during the course of the
2 case. I will quote again from the Split Military District war diary.
3 "Burning down of houses is a huge problem. The journalists and others
4 who come to visit the area could prove that it was the arson."
5 And then a later reference to different foreign TV agencies
6 coming and the insufficient number of check-points to control journalists
7 from getting in.
8 General Cermak's efforts, however, to cloak the crimes and
9 prevent their exposure to the international community went beyond the
10 measures already discussed, however. Now, I mentioned earlier the
11 collection of bodies in the absence of investigation, bodies that were
12 simply picked up, tagged, photographed, and buried along with the
13 forensic evidence with them. Civilian bodies, animal carcasses were
14 collected as quickly as possible and basically treated with the same
15 investigative interest. Despite the fact that these civilian deaths
16 mounted, these were considered collateral damage, Storm damage. But it's
17 possible to understand more clearly the attitude toward these deaths by
18 pulling the curtain behind which some of these incidents are cloaked and
19 looking at one in particular. Mr. Waespi mentioned Grubori, and I'd like
20 to focus for a moment on what happened in the aftermath of Grubori.
21 Now, that's the incident in which five people were killed,
22 including the 78-year-old man you saw in the video and a 90-year-old
23 woman with a bullet in her head, burned in her house. So similar events
24 of course had happened before. There was one difference here. The human
25 rights action team was virtually on the spot with a camera, and they
1 forced certain actions and responses that enable us to see both the
2 attitude toward killings of Serbs and General Cermak's view of what to do
3 about them.
4 So let's begin with the day of the operation. First
5 General Markac's Special Police members were involved in the mopping up
6 of Grubori. And during the course of that day through radio contact as
7 they were reporting back, they reported that nothing had happened and
8 when they returned that evening they reported that nothing had happened.
9 But the same day, the human rights action team came in with cameras and
10 entered the village and then confronted General Cermak later on. And if
11 I can show you a quick video of his comments.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, has a hard copy of the transcript been
13 provided to the booth?
14 MR. TIEGER: Yes, Your Honour, it has.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then please proceed.
16 [Videotape played]
17 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] There are still some scattered
18 groups of renegades and terrorists on the ground and our own
19 anti-terrorist units of the civilian police are mopping up the area. In
20 one such clean-up action yesterday, they covered 100 kilometres of land
21 towards the villages of Plavno and Grubor. Our troops are performing
22 their normal tasks.
23 "However, the general denied that civilians had been killed or
24 houses burned.
25 "I don't know where you got the information from that the people
1 were called out from their houses, some were in pyjamas and that houses
2 were burned. I will personally submit an official report on this and I
3 think that your information is not really accurate."
4 In this case, however, under pressure from the internationals, it
5 was clear that saying nothing happened was not going to work. So
6 General Markac and his troops went for the easy justification, combat
7 activity. General Markac obtained backdated reports from, first, the
8 commander of the unit and then later, realising there were no reports
9 from the subcommanders who had actually conducted the operation, obtained
10 backdated reports from them as well. All of these reports say that
11 killings occurred as an unfortunate consequence of combat. And these are
12 interesting reports which the Court will have an opportunity to see. Of
13 particular interest is the fact that at some point someone realised that
14 these reports needed an added touch and so the same reports were redone
15 with an extra paragraph which said that before the operation they had
16 been instructed to comply with international law.
17 That's that last paragraph you see in this document.
18 But there was a small problem and that was the two local civilian
19 police wanted to investigate, but that was quickly dealt with. Both were
20 reprimanded not to initiate an investigation. One was called to
21 General Cermak's office, and there the minister of interior was
22 telephoned by General Markac's assistant commander to complain about what
23 the local police were trying to do and it seemed at that point that the
24 matter was successfully buried. Meanwhile, however, General Cermak was
25 assuring the internationals that the victims had died in combat. So in a
1 letter to the ICRC chief of delegation on August 30th, he assured her
2 that: "The Croatian army has and observed strict rules about the
3 protection of civilians." And emphasised: "I personally visited the
4 area the following day and convinced myself of the truth and course of
5 the incidents in question."
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, just for me to follow, I heard and the
7 transcript reads: "One was called to General Cermak's office and there
8 the minister of interior was telephoned by General Markac's assistant
9 commander --"
10 MR. TIEGER: Sorry, Your Honour, in General Markac's presence
11 after a conversation with General Cermak and the assistant to that local
12 civilian police officer pushing him not to investigate.
13 JUDGE ORIE: So, in General Cermak's office by the assistant of
14 General Markac.
15 MR. TIEGER: Correct.
16 JUDGE ORIE: All right. Please proceed.
17 MR. TIEGER: I just noted General Cermak's comment that he
18 personally visited and convinced himself of the truth. The Court has had
19 an opportunity to see that scene, and perhaps it wasn't visible on the
20 video, but that includes bullet casings on the floor where one of the
21 victims was murdered, which is hardly suggestive of collateral damage
22 until the battle took place in that victims' bedroom.
23 Well, not surprisingly, people realised that none of this made
24 sense and Grubori was referenced in a report by the Special Rapporteur
25 Elizabeth Rehn and this is 7th of November.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. -- it's my recollection but I could be wrong
2 that I saw one casing on the floor or are there more? Have I missed the
3 relevant part or --
4 MR. TIEGER: I thought there were two, Your Honour, but I may
5 have --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
7 MR. TIEGER: In any event the point was --
8 JUDGE ORIE: At least one.
9 MR. TIEGER: At least one.
10 JUDGE ORIE: At least one. Please proceed.
11 MR. TIEGER: And -- and Rehn wrote the Foreign Minister
12 emphasising some of the factors that made this clearly appear to be
13 murder rather than combat. And so General Markac was contacted as a
14 result of this letter and he came up with now the third and most
15 implausible version, his new version was that the victims had been
16 executed as the evidence indicated but by Serb terrorists. Now, this
17 version was so transparent that when the Croatian officials responded to
18 Rehn, they didn't even mention it. And in fact this version was too
19 preposterous for even General Markac to maintain and in 2001 when he was
20 interviewed by Croatian investigators looking into Grubori, he reverted
21 to the original coverup story, that the victims had been killed in
23 JUDGE ORIE: I take it the exclamation marks we find in the
24 margin, are they put there in the original as well or --
25 MR. TIEGER: I don't have the original, Your Honour. My
1 recollection is that's right but we will check and get back to you on
3 JUDGE ORIE: Just for us to be sure. Please proceed.
4 MR. TIEGER: So let me quickly recap.
5 The first story is that nothing happened. Then, when the
6 killings couldn't be denied it was said to be result of combat
7 activities, and when that was challenged, then Serb terrorists were
8 responsible. And when that clearly couldn't be sustained, General Markac
9 reverted back to the combat activity story which hadn't made sense in the
10 first place. The true story is that the Special Police murdered the
11 victims and destroyed the village and that together, Generals Markac and
12 Cermak worked to ensure that this would never be known.
13 Now, General Markac's cover-up would have been significant enough
14 if he was simply another superior officer of the Lucko unit which was
15 involved; but as the assistant minister of the interior for Special
16 Police and the commander of the Special Police forces during Storm, he
17 set the standard for every member of that body.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Slow down, please. Thank you.
19 MR. TIEGER: I apologise to the interpreters and I'll write it
20 down on each page.
21 The Special Police was originally designed to be an elite force
22 within the Ministry of the Interior to fight sabotage and combat
23 terrorism, and they were also, as they did in Storm, to participate in
24 combat operations as specialised infantry forces. After combat, they
25 were used to mop up. They were heavily armed with everything from
1 pistols, rifles, machine-guns, to anti-tank rocket launchers, mortars,
2 and multiple-rocket launchers.
3 During and for a time after Operation Storm, Special Police
4 forces were operationally subordinated to the Croatian army with
5 General Markac reporting both to the Croatian army Main Staff and to the
6 minister of the interior. He had mechanisms to receive reports about
7 upcoming, ongoing, and completed operations and had the authority to
8 order investigations and initiate disciplinary actions against
9 subordinates. And despite the obvious crimes that were taking place all
10 around him and that were clearly committed by his men, he chose like his
11 fellow accused not to do anything, not to punish anyone, or, rather, he
12 chose to do the opposite.
13 From the virtual outset of entering towns and villages the
14 Special Police began committing crimes. As Mr. Waespi indicated, they
15 entered Gracac on the 5th and within a short time the town was destroyed
16 or was being destroyed.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger. Could you perhaps put it every ten
18 lines, Mr. Tieger. Please proceed.
19 MR. TIEGER: Ultimately, as you have heard, 85 per cent of Gracac
20 was destroyed and you saw those photographs of the Special Police members
21 loading televisions on trucks and hot-wiring cars.
22 General Markac could always know where his men were. He received
23 regular reports, but in Gracac he didn't need to read reports to know
24 that. He was there with them. On the morning of the 5th of August, he
25 entered Gracac with his Special Police and set up his forward command
1 post there at noon. And that's the -- I think you can see that at the
3 A few days later, on the 7th of August, the Special Police
4 entered Donji Lapac in much the same way as they entered Gracac. As with
5 Gracac, the town was set ablaze and as with Gracac the burning continued
6 for days. Ultimately, Donji Lapac was virtually completely destroyed.
7 As the minister of defence said in September to President Tudjman:
8 "President, Donji Lapac as such does not exist. There is only its name
9 on the map. Everything is destroyed, everything."
10 Here, too, General Markac didn't need to rely on the widespread
11 awareness of the looting and burning or the reporting system that would
12 have alerted that to him -- excuse me, to the presence of his units in
13 the locations where the looting and burning was taking place. He was in
14 Donji Lapac as the evidence will show and he could see it for himself.
15 Now, in light of what you've heard about Grubori, it's no
16 surprise that no disciplinary measures or criminal penalties were imposed
17 against members of the Special Police for crimes. General Markac's
18 interest was not in disciplining his troops, not in preventing these
19 crimes, not in punishing these crimes but in ensuring the opposite, that
20 these crimes would not be brought to light, that they would be buried
21 along with the victims.
22 We talked Grubori already. The very day after the Grubori
23 massacre, on the 26th of August, the same unit involved conducted a
24 mop-up operation in the municipality of Orlic. And you have you've heard
25 from Mr. Waespi what happened to Orlic. In the course of this operation
1 they began setting fires. General Markac was present immediately after
2 the incident. In this case he argued with the subordinate commander who
3 had led the unit over the manner in which the operation was conducted.
4 But he didn't punish, discipline, or arrest the members of the unit
5 despite the fact that he knew that they were the unit which had just set
6 fire -- General Markac was aware that this unit which had just set fire
7 to the village was the same unit involved in Grubori the day before.
8 Instead of the necessary punishment, punishment that would have sent a
9 message that had long since been needed in -- in the face of the ongoing
10 crimes, he simply withdrew them to Zagreb.
11 And then this incident, too, was covered up by General Markac,
12 just like Grubori. In his report to the chief of staff on the Special
13 Police operation for that date, he reported that this fire occurred in
14 the course of combat. And indeed when you have an opportunity to look at
15 those reports you can see the similarities.
16 This false characterisation just like in Grubori served as a
17 means of cloaking crimes by his subordinates, crimes that he was
18 responsible for preventing and punishing, not covering up.
19 Your Honours, the circumstances that I have outlined, the
20 unlawful failures of those with responsibility, the climate of impunity,
21 the cover-ups did not happen by accident. They can be traced back to the
22 objective I described at the beginning of my remarks, to drive Serbs out
23 of the Krajina and keep them out. As discussed, the three accused
24 contributed to that objective in various ways, whether actively or by
25 repeatedly turning a blind eye, by standing by as the destruction
1 unfolded day after day and yet repeatedly failing to take necessary steps
2 to prevent or to stop the crimes.
3 In so doing, as I've said before, the message that was sent is
4 the one that was received by the soldier who talked to that international
5 that Mr. Waespi referred to, who understood that his conduct was
6 tolerated and permissible. It is for these reasons that the indictment
7 charges a joint effort to achieve the illegal objective identified in the
9 Your Honours, twice earlier I referred to the anguished
10 rhetorical question posed about an international in the midst of the
11 destruction of the Serb community, a community which had resided in that
12 part of the Krajina for centuries: "This is criminal. Is there nothing
13 that can be done?"
14 Well, at this point what can be done now is the trial that we
15 have embarked today which promises a full and fair account of those
16 events with due regard to the rights of the accused and the rights of the
17 victims and to the solemn responsibility to ensure that to the extent
18 possible, the full story of what happened based on all the available
19 evidence will emerge and responsibility allocated accordingly. It is the
20 Prosecution's submission, Your Honours, that at the end of this trial,
21 having heard all the evidence, you will find the accused guilty of the
22 crimes charged in the indictment.
23 This concludes my opening remarks and Mr. Waespi's opening
24 remarks for the Prosecution. Thank you, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Tieger.
1 Having finished for today, we'll adjourn unless there's anything
2 to be raised.
3 Mr. Misetic.
4 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I did want to say something. I should
5 have addressed it earlier but I didn't want to take time away from the
6 Prosecution's opening statement. We have extensive use of videos in our
7 opening statement tomorrow. We have already sent an instruction to our
8 team to get as many transcripts as possible to the interpreters in the
9 booth but I did want the Trial Chamber to be aware that I'm not positive
10 yet that we're going to have all the transcripts, but we're going to do
11 everything possible to get that done by tomorrow morning.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I take it that you understand my concern for a
13 complete transcript. On reviewing this this afternoon, whether you have
14 all the material available, try to imagine what practical problems could
15 arise on those clips for which you have no hard copy available. If these
16 are longer clips, that might create an unworkable situation. If it's a
17 very short clip, you might read at the appropriate speed something into
18 the transcript. Perhaps also the parties could consider this afternoon
19 to what extent videos played or audios played are later tendered because
20 then there might not be that much of a need to have them all marked for
21 identification. If, however, this is material that will not come at any
22 later stage, then I think it would be wise to have them marked for
23 identification. Perhaps it would even be a good idea that if not every
24 single part would be marked for identification that at least, in one way
25 or the other, it is on the record what has been played, for example, by
1 just providing a short list, finding them, index of video and audio
2 material played during opening statements can be filed then we don't have
3 to pay any attention to it any further, but then the record is at least
5 We will adjourn until tomorrow morning, 9.00, the same courtroom.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.37 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 12th day
8 of March, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.