1 Thursday, 17 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon to everyone.
6 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
8 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, The
9 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina et al.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 This is an application pending for protective measures for the
12 next witness to be heard, and the Chamber would like to proceed in giving
13 the parties an opportunity to put further questions. Will it be you
14 Mr. Waespi or you Mr. Hedaraly.
15 MR. HEDARALY: It will be me, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You've seen the submissions made by the
17 Defence, so I take it that you'll focus further questions on the issues
19 Then this should be done in private session.
20 [Private session]
11 Pages 6705-6709 redacted. Private session.
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
6 Mr. Hedaraly, are you ready to examine the witness.
7 MR. HEDARALY: Yes, Your Honour.
8 Examination by Mr. Hedaraly:
9 JUDGE ORIE: Then please proceed.
10 MR. HEDARALY:
11 Q. Witness, could you please state your full name for the record.
12 A. Marija Vecerina.
13 Q. And can you please tell the Court where you currently live?
14 A. I currently live in Karakaj near Kladovo on premises that are
15 collective premises.
16 Q. And what kind of premises are those? What kind of establishment
17 is it where you reside?
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, the Chamber, of course, is not -- the
19 Chamber is not insisting on hearing details which might not be that
20 relevant for the present residence of the witness, unless -- I leave it
21 to you how relevant that is, but in view of the --
22 MR. KEHOE: We are certainly not pressing for that either.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Since the witness has some concerns, we do not
24 insist on having more than what we really need.
25 But if it's for your examination, if it is of relevance, then, of
1 course, please proceed.
2 MR. HEDARALY: Can I just confer for a moment with co-counsel.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MR. HEDARALY:
6 Q. Witness, can you please describe in general terms what kind of
7 facility you live in without giving too much detail. What other people
8 live there with you?
9 A. Well, refugees and people who were driven away from Kosovo and
10 from Croatia
11 Q. If I could please have 65 ter 5337 on the screen. And that's in
12 tab 2 for Madam Registrar in Belgrade
13 Now, Witness, do you recall providing a statement to the Office
14 of the Prosecutor on 16 October 2003
15 A. Yes, I do. I remember.
16 Q. And if there's a document now that's being shown to you, can you
17 see your signature at the bottom. Is this the statement that you
18 provided to the Office of the Prosecutor in 2003?
19 A. Yes, it is.
20 MR. HEDARALY: If I could now have 5338 on the screen, please.
21 Than is tab 4 in Belgrade
22 Q. Witness, do you recall providing a supplemental statement to the
23 Office of the Prosecutor on 11 July 2007
24 and clarifications to the first statement?
25 A. Yes, I remember that very well.
1 Q. And the document that is shown to you now with your signature at
2 the bottom, is that the supplemental statement that you made in 2007?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 Q. Did you have a chance to review these two statement in the last
5 week; and by that mean were they read back to you in a language that you
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And in the -- in paragraph 4 of your first statement, the 2003
9 statement, there's a reference that says that when the war in former
11 And you informed us that you wanted to correct that portion of
12 the statement. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes. My son was still in high school, whereas my daughters had
14 already completed high school, just as the whole thing started.
15 Q. Thank you. There was also another correction in paragraph 24 of
16 that same statement that your daughters left Canada in 2001 and you also
17 wanted to correct that [sic]. Can you please tell us when your daughters
18 actually left for Canada
19 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me. The statement says 2003 and I think she
20 wanted to correct the 2003.
21 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you.
22 Q. Sorry, Witness --
23 A. Well, no. In 2001, on the 14th of February.
24 Q. That's when they left for Canada, right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And subject to these two corrections, do these statements that
2 were read back to you last week accurately reflect what you said to the
3 Office of the Prosecutor in the course of those interviews?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And are the contents of those statement us that signed true to
6 the best of your knowledge and recollection, with the addition of the two
7 corrections we just made?
8 A. Yes. What I said is the truth. There was nothing to add.
9 Q. And if you were asked the same questions today that you were
10 asked in those interviews, would you give the same answers?
11 A. Yes, I would.
12 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honours, at this time I would like to have 65
13 ter 5337 and 5338 admitted into evidence, pursuant to Rule 92 ter.
14 JUDGE ORIE: From the submissions of the party, I understood that
15 there are no objections against admission.
16 Mr. Registrar.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours 65 ter 05337 becomes Exhibit P652.
18 And 65 ter 05338 becomes exhibit number P653.
19 JUDGE ORIE: P652 and P653 are admitted into evidence.
20 MR. HEDARALY: And I would also like to move into evidence 65 ter
21 5339, which is an attachment to the 2007 supplemental statement and now
22 that statement is in evidence, the foundation for the -- for this
23 document is in that statement.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Any objections.
25 MR. KEHOE: Well, is the document that counsel is offering the
1 flyer, is that it? She couldn't identify that so we object to that and
2 there's no foundation for that.
3 MR. HEDARALY: If I may respond to that, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 MR. HEDARALY: She did identify that it was something similar to
6 it so I think that is in our view something that goes to the weight of
7 the document, not the admissibility of it. We will have other evidence
8 that will further support the weight of this document.
9 MR. KEHOE: First, Your Honour, the document counsel is talking
10 about is P480 MFI'd. No one has been able to identify this document and
11 this document was shown to the witness and unable to identify it. Now if
12 counsel's got somebody else that come in and identify it, that's fine.
13 This witness can't do it.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
15 MR. HEDARALY: I mean, the fact that the witness could not
16 positively identify it but said that it was actually very similar to the
17 leaflet she had seen I think is enough for it to be admissible and the
18 rest is a matter of the weight to be given to that document when she
19 describes essentially the same -- the same -- that it was the same
20 thing, that it was a leaflet purporting to be from the RSV army advising
21 them to go towards Srb, which is what she testifies was a leaflet she saw
22 and which is what this leaflet says, so ...
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, I take it that you have not invented
24 yourself this document. Can you tell us anything about why you put this
25 to her, what is its origin for you?
1 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, the Prosecution's position is that
2 that is a leaflet that was actually sent by the Croatian government --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Where did you get it?
4 MR. HEDARALY: I don't have that answer from the top of my head.
5 I believe it was -- I don't want to speculate, Your Honour, I can check
6 on it and inform the Chamber after the break.
7 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, might I --
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe.
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Your Honour, I mean if we just reflect I may
11 have misspoke this is P480 MFI and in P652 the witness's first statement
12 she said that she couldn't -- this is in paragraph 10, she couldn't say
13 exactly what is on the leaflet, during the interview of which counsel was
14 present, the -- in paragraph 5 of P653, was shown this document and she
15 says I'm not sure if that is a copy of the leaflet I had seen. It could
16 be, but I'm not sure. I think the one I saw had more written on it. But
17 it is it essentially -- had similar information.
18 Frankly, Judge, the witness couldn't identify this document. If
19 counsel can bring somebody in that can, that's fine. We can address it
20 at a different time. But this witness cannot identify this document.
21 JUDGE ORIE: No. But her testimony can only be understood if we
22 look at this document she said it was similar although perhaps not the
24 Mr. Hedaraly, the Chamber will not take a decision at this very
25 moment. The document will be marked for identification and the Chamber
1 is waiting for your information as to how the Prosecution obtained this
3 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, it has already been MFI'd.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, it's already --
5 MR. KEHOE: It's P480 MFI.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Then it -- it keeps that status for the time being.
7 And, Mr. Hedaraly, you're invited to come back to the Chamber with ...
8 Please proceed.
9 MR. HEDARALY: Mr. President, I would like to read out a short
10 summary of the evidence of the witness contained in the two witness
11 statements, and I think it may be of assistance if the Bench further
12 informed the witness of the purpose of this exercise and that the
13 information contained in her statements are already in evidence.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Vecerina, Mr. Hedaraly will now read a short
15 summary of the statements you have given to the Prosecution, and these
16 are the statements that we have just admitted into evidence.
17 The purpose of this is to inform the public about what is in your
18 statement, because, otherwise, the public would have no idea about your
19 testimony. So please wait until Mr. Hedaraly has finished his summary
20 and then he may put further questions to you.
21 Mr. Hedaraly.
22 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Marija Vecerina is a Croatian citizen of Serb ethnicity who lived
24 in the municipality of Obrovac
25 On 5 August 1995
1 two daughters, one son, and two other female relatives. On the way, they
2 picked up two young men. At that time, there were therefore eight in the
3 car; five women and three men.
4 At the village of Ocestovo
5 shot at, and several passengers, including the witness's son, were
6 wounded. Croatian army soldiers surrounded the car, forced the
7 passengers to lie face down on the road, searched them, and took their
8 belongings. The group was taken to the basement of a house nearby.
9 The next morning, Croatian soldiers took five young men out of
10 the basement at gunpoint, including the three young men that were in the
11 car with the witness. Several minutes after the young men were taken
12 away, she heard a burst of gun-fire. Years later, Ms. Vecerina learned
13 that her son's body had been found in the Knin cemetery.
14 Later, on the 6th of August, the group in the basement, including
15 the five women from the witness's group, were taken towards an UN camp in
16 Knin. Croatian policemen at the entrance to Knin directed them to the
17 Knin secondary school. Ms. Vecerina spent three days there.
18 On 9 August 1995
19 facility, before being transferred again to a larger sports hall in
20 Zadar. All these facilities were guarded by policemen.
21 On 16 September 1995, the witness left for Serbia on the
22 organised convoy from Knin.
23 This concludes my summary, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Hedaraly.
25 MR. HEDARALY: Could we ask for the witness's mic to be put a
1 little higher and closer to her. It keeps on moving away. Thank you.
2 Q. Ms. Vecerina, I just have a few questions, mainly to clarify a
3 few points in your statement. So just as a way of background, as I just
4 read out in the summary, there were eight of you in the car on 5?
5 August 1995; five women and three men. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, I want to discuss about each group in turn. So I will start
8 with the five women. So that you, your two daughters and your two
10 In your statement, you described how you were in --
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. I'm sorry. In your statement you describe how you were in the
13 school in Knin and then you were taken to Zadar and then eventually on
14 the bus that went to Serbia
15 My question for you is the following. Were all five of you
16 always together through this whole series of movements?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Let me now turn to each of those locations where you were in
20 First of all, the school in Knin. You said in your statement
21 that that school was guarded by policemen. My question for is: Were you
22 allowed to leave the school while you were there?
23 A. No.
24 Q. And were any reasons given to you as to why you couldn't leave?
25 A. The reasons were that we were not free. They were guarding us.
1 We couldn't go anywhere.
2 Q. Let me now turn to Zadar, where you were thereafter.
3 And you referred to three different locations where you were in
4 Zadar in your statement. That's at paragraph 12 of the supplemental
5 statement. So you mentioned, first of all a sports hall for two days,
6 then a larger one for 20 to 30 days and then finally an even larger one
7 where you stayed a week. In that same paragraph you also told us that
8 all of these were guarded by policemen.
9 My question for you is the same: Were you allowed to leave any
10 of these locations on your own?
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 Q. And what were the conditions under which you were allowed to
13 leave those -- those locations?
14 A. It wasn't allowed. The policemen were on guard.
15 Q. Was anyone allowed to leave those locations in Zadar?
16 A. Only those who had relatives. So the relatives could take them
17 to their place, so some did go.
18 Q. And would these relatives take these people back to their homes
19 in the -- in the former Krajina, or would they take them outside to
20 another location?
21 A. They would take them to their house, and some of them came back
22 before we were going to leave. Some of them came back again.
23 Q. And -- and the ones that came back, why did they come back?
24 A. Just because, for the security. They wanted to leave.
25 Q. And finally, on this series of questions, on where you were, you
1 decided to go to Serbia
2 you decided to go to Serb rather than back to your home in the Obrovac
4 A. Because I was afraid for my daughters, and we decided to leave.
5 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, at this time I would like to move
6 three documents from the bar table, 65 ter 5340, which is a list of
7 people that were in the Knin elementary school; 65 ter 2585, list of
8 people transferred from Knin to Zadar; and 65 ter 2825, list of people
9 leaving Zadar for Serbia
10 In all those -- in the first two lists, the names of all five
11 people mentioned in her statement are there. In the last one, for some
12 reason the witness's name is not there but her four other relatives are
13 there. That's why I asked the witness the question whether they were
15 For the purpose of the submission from the bar table, I don't
16 think that's that crucial.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Any objections.
18 MR. KEHOE: No objection, Judge.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
20 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 05340 becomes exhibit number P654. 65 ter
21 02585 becomes exhibit number P655. And 65 ter 02825 becomes exhibit
22 number P656.
23 JUDGE ORIE: P654, P655, and P656 are admitted into evidence.
24 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Ms. Vecerina, I now want to turn my attention to the three men
1 that were in your group.
2 So there was your son Stevo and the two other young men you
3 picked up Stevo Baljak and Mile Gnjatovic. In your statement, in
4 paragraph 14, you mentioned that five men, the three from your group I
5 just mentioned and two more, Djuro Macak and Momcilo Tisma were taken
6 from the basement.
7 Is that accurate?
8 A. Yes, that's correct. It's just that we met up on the way.
9 Stevan Baljak and then closer to Zegari, Miro Gnjatovic and Mile
10 Gnjatovic took my son away to the Nadvode hamlet to find a vehicle. And
11 they found a vehicle there, a red Lada, vehicle, and we all got into that
12 car, all of us did, and we set out towards -- well, we didn't know the
13 road precisely. It was already getting dark, when we encountered the
14 Croatian soldiers in Ocestovo and they started firing at the car there,
15 and the cars didn't have the lights on.
16 Then we stopped and the soldiers gathered around the car. They
17 were masked. And they were insulting us, cursing us, they were saying,
18 Get out of the car, we will kill you all. We came out. They said to us,
19 Lie down, we will kill you all.
20 And they threw our things around, they went through our pockets,
21 found some money in my son's pocket, and then he said, Take it all, just
22 don't kill me.
23 Q. Thank you. When the group of five young men were taken away from
24 the basement, you said in your statement that several minutes later, you
25 heard a burst of gun-fire.
1 Did you actually see what happened?
2 A. I didn't see it. I went with him to see the car, and how they
3 would get him in. They said that those who were wounded would go to the
4 hospital and the soldiers would go to prison. But they turned me back.
5 They told me not to go, and that they would kill me. So I went back to
6 the cellar and a few minutes later, I could hear shots.
7 After that, perhaps a few more minutes after the shooting was
8 heard, they brought two women there. I think that one of them was
9 wounded, and there was also a man, and we suspected that they had fired
10 at them, at the car, and they killed the driver in the car, this woman
11 who was wounded had told us.
12 Q. And apart from these five young men that were taken away,
13 including your son, were there any other young men in that basement?
14 A. When they brought us to the cellar, when they captured us, we
15 found Momcilo Tisma and Djuro Macak there. Two young men were there.
16 There were also some older men and women, about 13 of them were there, 13
17 or 14, I'm not sure exactly how many.
18 Q. I just want to make sure I completely understand. So in addition
19 to the three men with you and these two that.
20 You've just mentioned, those five men, all of them were taken
21 outside. Were there any other young men in that basement that were not
22 taken outside?
23 A. No, there were no young men.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, I would also like to move from the
1 bar table 20 documents relating the death of these five men and
2 essentially there are four documents for each of the victims, and I can
3 maybe run through one series of them if it will assist the Chamber with
4 what they are. Essentially, the bodies of all five men were buried by
5 the Croatian authorities on the 14th August 1995 and then they were
6 exhumed and the autopsy indicated that four of these five men died as a
7 result of gunshot injuries to the head mand the fifth of a gunshot wound
8 to the neck.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe.
10 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Your Honour, I don't object to the bar table
11 submission of these documents at this time.
12 JUDGE ORIE: You indicated more or less what these documents are
13 about, Mr. Hedaraly. And I -- make I take it that they do not create any
14 specific issues apart from reporting on what was found?
15 MR. HEDARALY: They do not, Your Honour. The first document is
16 the one when the body was buried and then the others -- is the autopsy
17 report and then a list essentially linking that information because a
18 numbered tag was put on it and another number for the exhumation, so the
19 documents that list the identify of the victim, s the burial and the
20 autopsy report. That's why it is a package of four documents for each of
21 the victims.
22 MR. KEHOE: I have been through the documents and that submission
23 by counsel is accurate.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, would you please assign exhibit
2 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, Mr. Registrar will prepare a list and
4 has reserved 20 numbers. That is P657 up to and including 676.
5 MR. HEDARALY: There's just one issue on that. In some cases
6 some of the documents are the same so there should be two less exhibits
7 because the list identifying three of the victims are on the same
8 document, so it should be -- it is my mistake. It should be 18 new
10 JUDGE ORIE: 18. Then Mr. Registrar reserves 657 up to and
11 including 674. Once we've received the list -- the Chamber will admit
12 these documents once we've received the list.
13 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Your Honour. This concludes my
15 Q. Thank you, Ms. Vecerina.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Who will be first to cross-examine the witness?
17 MR. KEHOE: I think it will be me on behalf the General Gotovina.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Ms. Vecerina, you will now be cross-examined
19 by Mr. Kehoe who is Defence counsel for Mr. Gotovina.
20 Mr. Kehoe, you may proceed.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Your Honour, if I could just get ...
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Kehoe:
23 Q. Good afternoon, Ms. Vecerina. I would just like to ask you a
24 couple of questions about your --
25 A. Good afternoon.
1 Q. -- statement as well as some information that you gave to the
2 Prosecution during your direct examination.
3 Ms. Vecerina, if at any time you don't understand one of my
4 questions, please just stop me and I will try to rephrase it, okay?
5 A. I will tell you what I know. Just go ahead and put your
7 Q. Thank you very much.
8 Now, Ms. Vecerina, let me go back to the 5th of August of 1995,
9 and on that day, according to your statement, you were up tending to
10 livestock with your daughter, when your son, Stevo, came up to see you.
11 Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And Stevo --
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. And Stevo, I think in your statement, was a member of the ARSK
16 but was sick at the time, right?
17 A. Yes. He was sick for a few days. His tooth was inflamed and
18 there was a swelling. So he was sick during those days, yes.
19 Q. I understand, ma'am. And he came up and told that you Knin had
20 fallen and possibly Gracac. Do you recall that? And you said that in
21 paragraph 7 of your statement, P652.
22 Do you recall that, ma'am?
23 A. I remember and I think I said so, yes, that's how it was.
24 Q. Yes, you did, ma'am. And did Stevo tell you how he had learned
25 that -- that Knin had fallen and possibly Gracac?
1 A. Well, you know how it was. In the mountains we didn't have any
2 transistor radios or anything. We were not able to know this and so we
3 found out about this through Radio Knin.
4 Q. And when -- did Stevo come up to where you were grazing with your
5 daughter and tell you that he had heard on Radio Knin that Knin had
7 A. I think so. I think that that is what they said.
8 Q. Okay. Well -- and your son Stevo told you that, did he not?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, did Stevo also tell you that the people in the village had
11 already left?
12 A. He said that people were fleeing, and that we should escape as
13 well, that there was nothing more.
14 Q. Now, when Stevo - I believe it is Stevo - came to see you up with
15 your daughter, did he bring --
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. -- a change of clothing for you and your daughter so you could
18 leave right away?
19 A. Maybe he did take some things for himself, but nothing for us.
20 We were just with those things that we had in the -- in the mountain. We
21 took that. Later we took some things.
22 Q. So when Stevo came to get you, he was coming to get you to leave
23 from the area, wasn't he?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. And I believe you also said that when he came up to get you, you
1 then met your other daughter Mira and you all left together. Is that
3 A. Yes, that's right. Because he came to get us quickly, from the
4 main road. He went to the mountain where we were, and we set off and we
5 caught up with the other daughter.
6 Q. So, ma'am, the reason why you left that area was because Stevo
7 came and got you to leave. Isn't that right?
8 A. Yes. We heard shooting, but this happened several times before,
9 so we didn't know precisely what was going on until he came.
10 Q. Now, did Stevo lead the way as to the direction you were going to
11 head in? Did he know the direction to head in?
12 A. We were going via Golubic, Krupa and that's where we caught up
13 with Stevan Gujko and then we were going towards Zegar. That's where we
14 met up with Mile Gnjatovic, and then we set off in the direction of
15 Nadvode and Mile Gnjatovic took my son there. He said, Let's go and see
16 if we can find some kind of transportation. He said there's some gas
17 left maybe, and they found an abandoned car there and they caught up with
18 us. We had already passed through Zegar when they caught up with us and
19 that's where we all got into the car.
20 Q. I'm sorry, ma'am, if I could just clarify my question and if you
21 could bear with me for one moment.
22 If we can just go back a little bit. You left the area because
23 Stevo told to you leave. Isn't that right, ma'am?
24 A. We left because he told us that Knin had fallen and that we
25 needed to escape.
1 Q. And the actual direction that you were following to Golubic and
2 down towards Krupa, was that --
3 A. Golubic.
4 Q. I'm sorry. Pardon my pronunciation. Golubic to Krupa, you went
5 in that direction because that's the direction -- was that the direction
6 that Stevo told you to go?
7 A. Because we thought that it would be safer for us there, that they
8 perhaps hadn't captured that part yet. But, unfortunately, they
9 intercepted the car, and --
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't understand what the
11 witness said.
12 A. The soldiers -- it was about 9.00 or 10.00 in the evening, and
13 they started to shoot at us there.
14 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, I don't know how to exactly handle that,
15 but ...
16 JUDGE ORIE: I'll -- one second.
17 Ms. Vecerina, at a certain moment, you told us that,
18 "unfortunately, they intercepted the car," and then you added something
19 the interpreters could not hear.
20 Could you please repeat what you said after: "Unfortunately,
21 they intercepted the car."
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we ran into the Croatian
23 troops. They had -- they had an ambush there. They had set up an ambush
24 there so as we arrived they started shooting on our car.
25 The Croatian soldiers had masks. They asked us Where are you
1 headed, get out of the car. This is when they wounded my son in the leg
2 and also my daughter and the relative, Dragana Vecerina, was -- she had a
3 slight head injury. They told us, Get out of the car, we're going kill
4 you all. We got out of the car and we remained there lying on the ground
5 for maybe 15 or 20 minutes. They searched our pockets, our bags,
6 ransacked them and they found some money in my son's pocket. He said,
7 Take it all, just don't kill me.
8 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, if I -- if Your Honour can clarify one
9 matter, I believe that, and I take this from Mr. Misetic, the word that
10 she used that has been translated on line 14 as "masks" was in fact
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 You told us --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they were masked. Their faces
15 were masked. That is correct.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Did they -- were they in any other way also
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know. Paint, I think
19 it was black paint, they had on their faces. That's how they were
20 camouflaged. I don't know exactly what it was.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Now, in addition to the paint, did they have masks
22 made of cloth or whatever, or was it just that their faces were painted?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was just painted. Just paint on
24 their faces.
25 MR. KEHOE:
1 Q. Ma'am, let us continue just to talk about that a little bit.
2 You talked to us about Stevan Baljak and Mile being picked up to
3 go along with you and I believe in response to some -- the --
4 A. We actually caught up with them. We ran into them on -- as we
5 were on the way.
6 Q. I understand. And you had eight people in the car. And when you
7 were driving that car, you noted in paragraph 11 that the -- your tires
8 were shot out. Is that right?
9 A. Yes. The tires were shot at, and that's how my son got wounded.
10 They were shooting at the tires to stop us.
11 Q. Now, ma'am, just looking at your statement, you don't know if
12 these were military police or special police or Croatian soldiers, do
14 A. Well, Croatian soldiers in camouflage uniforms with paint on
15 their faces. I don't know whether there were specials or just soldiers.
16 Q. To be a little bit more specific, and maybe that last question
17 wasn't fair, if I may just say, did you see any insignia on any of these
19 A. I don't know that I've seen any on their uniforms, and even if I
20 did, I couldn't, because I was in a state of shock.
21 Q. I certainly understand.
22 Ma'am, after you were taken out of the car with the other seven
23 individuals, you were then taken to the basement of this residence. Is
24 that right?
25 A. Yes, that's right, in the basement.
1 Q. And in your second statement, P653, in -- if I may, in
2 paragraph 7, you note that: "The house that we were taken to was very
3 close to the road where our car had been fired upon."
4 Is that right, ma'am?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. And approximately how far away was it from the car to the
7 basement; do you know?
8 A. I don't know exactly. Not far. Perhaps, let's say, 50 metres.
9 I'm not sure. It was dark.
10 Q. I understand. I understand, ma'am.
11 Now, it was the next morning that the soldiers came down and took
12 these five men out. Isn't that right?
13 A. Yes, that's right. They came around 9.00 in the morning, and
14 they said, Come on, soldiers will go to the military prison, and the
15 wounded will be taken to hospital. They took my son Stevan Baljak, and I
16 don't know whether it was Mile Gnjatovic or Momcilo Tisma, they took him
17 between them and I went with him to see that car, and to see how they
18 would put my wounded son in the car. But they sent me back. They said,
19 Go back, we're going to kill you. So I returned to the basement and
20 after a while, I heard -- we heard shooting.
21 Soon afterwards, a man and a woman came in. The woman was
22 wounded. I can't say exactly. I think there were two women. But in the
23 state that I was in, I can't really recall. They just said that the
24 driver was killed.
25 Q. Ms. Vecerina, just turning to your statement at P652, at
1 paragraph 14, the last line, it says: "The soldiers said that the
2 military police had arrived to deal with the matter."
3 And you, again, say, in your supplemental --
4 A. Yes. A vehicle, a military police vehicle came. But we did not
5 see that vehicle.
6 Q. But you were told that the military police vehicle had come to
7 take them away, did you not?
8 A. Yes. That's what we were told, that the military police vehicle
9 was there, that the soldiers will be taken to the prison, and the wounded
10 to the hospital.
11 Q. Let me show you --
12 MR. KEHOE: If can I show to the witness, Mr. Usher, 65 ter 3384
13 which is your questionnaire for search for missing persons.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My God, I filled out so many of
16 MR. KEHOE:
17 Q. I understand, ma'am. Just bear with us here.
18 Can you read that okay, ma'am, or would you like me to read it
19 out for you? That would be easier? Why don't I do that.
20 If we can turn to paragraph 9. This is a questionnaire for the
21 search for missing persons -- person and it mentions your sons Stevo
22 Vecerina and in paragraph 9, you write, He was in a group with Mile
23 Gnjatovic, Stevo Baljak and his mother. They were all detained. They
24 spent one night, it's illegible, and then on 6 August at around 0900
25 hours the police took away Stevo and four others.
1 Do you recall filling out that -- giving that information to
2 the -- the association for families of missing persons from Krajina?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, at this time I will offer 65 ter 3384
5 into evidence.
6 MR. HEDARALY: No objection.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes exhibit number D694.
9 JUDGE ORIE: D694 is admitted into evidence.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Now, ma'am, in that document, you say the police. But when you
13 were saying the police, did you mean the military police?
14 A. Well, I guess the military police, because they said, The
15 military police is here to get you or to pick you up.
16 Q. By the way, ma'am, I know you told us that you knew three of the
17 individuals, but did you know this Djuro Macak and Momcilo Tisma before
18 that date, the 5th of August?
19 A. No. No, one of them was from Benkovac municipality and the other
20 from Knin municipality. No, I didn't know them.
21 Q. And when did you first learn their names?
22 A. We learned their names while we were in the basement.
23 Q. Okay. Now, ma'am, when they took your son out, I think you told
24 us that your son was wounded when the car that you were driving in had
25 been fired upon.
1 I'm sorry, ma'am, did you say something?
2 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, I'm not sure if she said something
3 that --
4 JUDGE ORIE: I think she said something but it was not
6 When Mr. Kehoe started asking his question that your son was
7 injured, what did you then say? You said a few words.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to reply, but you just go
9 ahead and put your question and then I will give you my answer.
10 MR. KEHOE:
11 Q. Okay. I will do that.
12 Now, when your son was taken out, was he taken out in -- because
13 he had been wounded, was he taken out on some type of stretcher?
14 A. No way. No stretcher. They didn't even have them. They said
15 they would take him to the hospital. While we were in the basement, they
16 said that the ambulance would come, but that did not materialise.
17 They took him between them and helped him out. I followed them,
18 I wanted to see, but they did not allow me and they sent me back.
19 Q. Ms. Vecerina, before they sent you back, back into the basement
20 when you were up seeing the soldiers leading your -- the men away, did
21 you see any other civilians up around the house before you went back to
22 the basement?
23 A. I don't know that I did.
24 Q. Now --
25 A. I didn't see anything.
1 Q. Now, ma'am, when you -- you -- let us just talk a little bit
2 about this burst of gun-fire, that you talked about on direct. You noted
3 that you heard a burst of gun-fire. Did you hear any other shots after
4 that burst of gun-fire?
5 A. We heard -- soon after I returned to the basement, we heard
6 firing, and soon afterwards, a man and a woman who was injured and
7 wounded came. I don't know if there was another woman with them. I
8 think that they told me that there were four of them in the car but that
9 the driver had been killed.
10 Q. Now, you note in your statement that -- and -- P652 in?
11 paragraph 16 that: "Immediately after the Croatian soldiers" -- this an
12 after the burst of gun-fire, immediately after the Croatian soldiers
13 brought these people into the basement.
14 Is that right?
15 A. After that, they brought a man and a woman. I'm sure the woman
16 was wounded, but I'm not sure whether there was another woman. All I
17 know is that they said that the driver had been shot. I think they said
18 that there had been four of them.
19 Q. And, ma'am, in conversation with these people that came into the
20 basement, you came to understand that the burst of the gun-fire that you
21 had heard was the soldiers shooting on their car. Isn't that right?
22 A. I don't know. We were in the basement. We didn't see it. We
23 only heard the fire and we suspected that a vehicle had been shot at.
24 Q. Did they in fact tell that you their vehicle had just been shot
1 Let me read your statement. You said: "As I see learned from
2 those people, the soldiers shot at the vehicle those people were in,
3 killing one man."
4 So didn't those people tell you that the soldiers had just shot
5 at their car?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So the burst of gun-fire that you heard in the basement, you
8 concluded was the soldiers shooting at their car just before they were
9 brought down to the basement. Isn't that right?
10 Is that right, ma'am?
11 A. Yes, it is right that they had been shot at and that the driver
12 had been killed and the woman had been wounded.
13 Q. Now, from the time that those people came in until the time when,
14 I think, according to your statement, you were put out on the road and
15 told to go to Knin, did any of the other people in custody leave the
17 A. Well, of the ones who remained, we all left. We all got out.
18 And the soldiers told us that they didn't have any vehicles to take us
19 in, so you will have to use the carts. There was a cart there that they
20 had captured. So they said you can use -- you will use this, you will be
21 taken there in the cart. And that's how we were sent to Knin, without
22 any escort.
23 We met a lot of military vehicles and Croatian troops there, and
24 soldiers would point their rifles at us, but we kept on going towards
25 Knin, and when we arrived at Knin, we were met by the Croatian police,
1 intercepted by the Croatian police.
2 They intercepted us there. They provoked us a bit, verbally they
3 said, Stand there, we're going shoot you all.
4 Q. Ma'am, what I was talking about was just the -- the time-frame
5 between when the car was shot and these people came back in and when you
6 left. During that time-frame when the group was -- that was left was
7 still in the basement, did anybody in the group leave or was anybody in
8 the group taken out?
9 A. No. We all left together. The men who -- or the people who
10 arrived and came into the basement, we all left together, towards Knin.
11 Q. Now, ma'am, when you were taken out of the basement that
12 morning -- and approximately how long after your son and the other four
13 were taken out were you and the rest of the group taken out of the
15 A. Well, all together, perhaps an hour elapsed, and then we left.
16 Q. Now, when you were taken out of the basement, ma'am, did you see
17 or did you observe that the Croatian soldiers had any other ARSK soldiers
18 in custody when you got out of the basement?
19 A. No.
20 Q. But when you got out of the basement with the group,
21 Ms. Vecerina, you didn't see any trace of the five men who had been taken
22 out, the five men including your son, who had been taken out
23 approximately an hour before, had you?
24 A. No, no trace of them.
25 Q. And I know this is difficult, ma'am. I know this is hard. I
1 just need to ask you a couple of more questions about this.
2 But when you got out of the basement, you didn't see any evidence
3 that they had been shot, did you?
4 A. No, we didn't see anything.
5 Q. Now, ma'am, in paragraph 23 of your statement you said you didn't
6 know a man by the name of Zdravko Buncic. And you said that in 2003.
7 Have you met Mr. Buncic since 2003? I'm sorry, ma'am --
8 A. Nothing.
9 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, if I can have one moment.
10 [Defence counsel confer]
11 MR. KEHOE:
12 Q. Ma'am, thank you very much for your time, and I appreciate you
13 testifying for us.
14 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, I have no other questions at this time.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kehoe.
16 Other Defence.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you as well.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, could you give us an indication as to
19 how much time you would need because we are at a time when we usually
20 have a break.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: Then maybe it will be better to take the break
22 then and afterwards, I will have, let's say, 45 minutes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 MR. KAY: No questions, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: No questions on behalf of the Cermak Defence.
1 Ms. Vecerina, we'll first have a break of approximately 25
2 minutes, and then in the next session, I take it that we can conclude
3 your testimony. So we'd like to see you back in 25 minutes.
4 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 4.21 p.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, are you ready?
7 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, I am, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Ms. Vecerina, you will now be cross-examined
9 by Mr. Mikulicic, who is counsel for Mr. Markac.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Ms. Vecerina, good day.
14 Allow me to use this opportunity to express my sincere regret
15 over the unfortunate things that have happened to you.
16 A. Thank you.
17 Q. Ms. Vecerina, I'm going to put some questions to you. I will try
18 to be as brief as possible, and I kindly ask you to reply according to
19 your best recollection.
20 A. Yes, I will tell you everything that I know and everything I've
22 Q. Madam, you described the events, how you went towards the
23 direction where the Serbs were and that it was your intention to go
24 through Golubic towards Krupa and towards Srb --
25 THE INTERPRETER: That you were going in the direction of Srb,
1 interpreter's correction.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. -- and how your son and Mile managed to obtain a vehicle. This
4 vehicle, its front lights were not working. Is that true?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And it was night?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And you didn't really know the road that you were moving along,
9 did you?
10 A. No, we didn't know the road. It was night and all of that, yes.
11 Q. And you actually missed the road that you wanted to take, and
12 that is how you reached the village of Ocestovo
13 A. Yes, that's true. Because we didn't know the road well and it
14 had gotten dark and that's how we ended up there.
15 Q. Ms. Vecerina, can you please tell us, if you know, that the other
16 villagers from your village and from neighbouring villages who left
17 earlier, did they use the same road that you did through Ocestovo or did
18 they take a different road? Do you know anything about that?
19 A. I don't know. People went wherever they knew how to go. They
20 went all over.
21 Q. Shortly before they started firing at the car where you were, can
22 you please tell us whether you were moving in a column of some sort or
23 whether you were just driving along by yourselves on this road?
24 A. I don't know. We didn't see anyone. I guess we were by
25 ourselves, because it was -- it was night.
1 Q. Ms. Vecerina, you said in your statement that your son and Mile
2 had taken rifles with them, which they put in the boot of the car.
3 A. Yes, they did put them in the boot.
4 Q. And can you explain to us why they carried the rifles?
5 A. I don't know why and how.
6 Q. You described how you spent some time in the cellar of the house
7 after you left the car and that then you were directed to Knin, to the
8 school there.
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. And I will ask you this. You said you didn't get any kind of
11 escort to the school from the Croatian authorities. Is that correct?
12 A. Not to the school, but to Knin. The school is a little bit
13 farther away. Policemen waited for us there. There were many of them,
14 and they asked us where we were going and we said that we were going to
15 the international camp or base. And they said, There is no camp, stop
16 there or we will kill all of you, and they provoked us there, and then
17 they said, Go to the Knin secondary school centre.
18 Q. On your way to Knin, you were by yourselves, weren't you, there
19 was no escort from the Croatian authorities? And I'm thinking of the
20 police or the military.
21 A. Yes. There was nobody.
22 Q. You described how the policemen who were guarding the buildings
23 where you were in Knin and later in Zadar were actually offering people
24 the opportunity who wanted to stay in Croatia to do that, and they let
25 them out of the premises. Isn't that right? Did you have an opportunity
1 to go anywhere?
2 A. No, no, I didn't, actually. I didn't have any close relations,
4 Q. Ms. Vecerina, can you please tell us something about your
5 property. What did you own in Muskovci where you lived with your two
6 daughters and son? Did you have a house or something like that?
7 A. Yes, house, land, cattle, and during the summer, from May until
8 September or until October or November, we lived in the mountains with
9 the cattle.
10 Q. After you left Croatia
11 ask to be allowed to return to Croatia
12 restored to you?
13 A. We did ask that, but nothing came of it.
14 Q. Is it correct, Ms. Vecerina, that you were allowed to return,
15 that the Croatian authorities allowed you to return to Croatia
16 you actually reported in Croatia
17 in Obrovac. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. Is it correct that you also received some assistance from the
20 Croatian authorities, some financial assistance?
21 A. I did receive something.
22 Q. But, still, you decided to remain in Serbia and not to return to
23 your village of birth.
24 A. Well, after a certain while, when nothing came of it, I really
25 didn't know if I wanted to go back again.
1 Q. Thank you for your answers. I have no more questions for you
2 Ms. Vecerina.
3 A. Thank you, sir.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, situation is as it was?
5 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
7 MR. HEDARALY: I have no questions, Your Honour, but I do have an
8 answer to the question that the Bench had asked earlier regarding P480.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps I'd prefer to see first whether we
10 have further questions for the witness.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 Questioned by the Court:
13 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Vecerina, I have one question for you.
14 You described how you left your home, how you were stopped, how
15 you ended in the basement, how you then were taken out, you were then
16 ordered to go to Knin, and then you told us what further happened to you.
17 Was there any moment when this happened that you considered
18 whether it would have been preferable to go back to your home, either in
19 the basement or later on in Knin or ...
20 A. I think that I would have done that, but because of my daughters
21 and because of their safety, they were actually not in favour of that.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us when, during these events, you
23 considered to go back to your home?
24 A. In 1998, I went back for the first time in early November, back
25 to Croatia
1 In the meantime, I had done the rounds in Belgrade of all of the
2 international places, seeking.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you're now talking about a later stage.
4 Let me take you back to the moment where you were ordered to come
5 out of the basement and to go to Knin. Did you consider, at that moment,
6 that you have a choice to do -- to go to another place than Knin?
7 A. We didn't have a choice. Soldiers were there. So we had no
8 choice other than what they ordered us to do.
9 JUDGE ORIE: If you would have had an opportunity at that time to
10 return to your home, would you have considered to do that?
11 A. There was no opportunity for that.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Now, I do understand, if you would have been left a
13 choice, would you also have gone to Knin, or would have you gone
15 A. No, we were not able to choose, but we had to do as we were
16 ordered to.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And does that mean that if you would not have
18 been ordered to go to Knin that you might have gone elsewhere?
19 A. Where else? They ordered us to go to Knin. The soldiers
20 directed us to Knin.
21 JUDGE ORIE: For example, if you would have had a choice to go
22 back home, would you have gone back home or would have you gone to Knin?
23 A. Had there been an opportunity, we would have returned, we would
24 have gone back, but there was no opportunity to go back.
25 JUDGE ORIE: When you left Knin later for Zadar, did you also
1 feel that you had no choice than to do what you were told to do, or did
2 you consider at that moment that you would have had a choice?
3 A. We didn't think about anything. One morning - I think it was the
4 9th or the 8th - they came and they said that the municipalities of
5 Benkovac and Obrovac were to go to Zadar. The bus came, picked us up,
6 and we left.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And then, finally, you left. Leaving Croatia
8 you feel at that time that you had a choice to remain in Croatia or to
9 leave that -- the country?
10 A. They asked us. They really did ask us if anyone wished to say,
11 but very few actually stayed. Some stayed but very few people.
12 JUDGE ORIE: So did I understand you well, that you felt that you
13 had no choice until the moment that you were in Zadar and at that moment
14 a choice was left to you, whether to go back or to leave the country?
15 A. Yes. In the third hall, when they got all of us together from
16 the place we were accommodated, they asked if there was anyone among us
17 who wished to stay. Some people, very few people, decided to do that,
18 and they stayed.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Did you discuss with the other people present at
20 that moment why you or they choose to stay or to leave?
21 A. I don't know. I didn't speak with them. That's what they said,
22 that they would stay.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Did I understand well from one of your previous
24 answers that you discussed the matter with your daughters?
25 A. The daughters were not for that option, so what could I do?
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If your daughters would not have been there,
2 if it would just have been you, would you have opted for --
3 A. They were not for that. That's what I mean.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand, but if they would not have
5 been there, what was your personal -- just -- not thinking about the
6 option preferred by your daughters, what would have been your preferred
7 option? To stay or to leave? If you would have been alone, so to say.
8 A. Perhaps I would have stayed, but I didn't because of my
9 daughters. I left with them.
10 JUDGE ORIE: And can you tell us why your daughters preferred to
12 A. That's what they wished, because they went through all the things
13 that had happened. That's why.
14 JUDGE ORIE: What do you mean by that? "They went through all
15 the things"? Is that war circumstances or, more specifically, that your
16 son wasn't present anymore, or other matters?
17 A. Yes, that's what I'm thinking of. Precisely that.
18 JUDGE ORIE: You mean war and your son having disappeared?
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
21 A. My son disappeared and -- and then my daughters also had been
22 deprived of their future.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, in response to an earlier question put to
24 you by Mr. Mikulicic, you told us that you had received something from
25 the Croatian government. Could you tell us what exactly you did receive,
1 and when, and why?
2 So, first, what did you receive?
3 A. It was like this: In 1999 and 2000, I was looking for my son
4 there. I sent messages to the government, to the president, to Knin. I
5 went everywhere during that time, and I thought that I would go back.
6 There was always some hope that he was alive until 2003, and I wanted to
7 go back.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Vecerina, these were my questions.
10 Have the questions by the Bench triggered any need for further
12 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Your Honour, just briefly.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. There may be a few more questions by
14 Mr. Kehoe.
15 Further cross-examination by Mr. Kehoe:
16 Q. Ms. Vecerina, very, very quickly. When you were in Zadar, you
17 told us that relatives came to pick people up and those people were
18 allowed to go. They were allowed to go because those relatives were
19 vouching for those people as Croatian citizens. Isn't that right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And you yourself, ma'am, did you have --
22 A. Definitely.
23 Q. And did you have Croatian citizenship papers at the time?
24 A. I didn't have papers at the time when we were there.
25 Q. Did you ever attempt to get Croatian citizenship papers?
1 A. I tried in 1989 -- no, 1999 -- no, actually, 1998. First I went
2 for the first time in November. I'm not sure exactly about the date.
3 Around that time.
4 Q. And where did you go to get that, ma'am?
5 A. I went to Belgrade
6 Q. Ma'am, when you were either in Knin or in Zadar, did you try to
7 get citizenship papers in any of those locations?
8 A. No, no one mentioned this to us.
9 Q. Now, ma'am, when you were -- had left your village on the 5th,
10 and -- you were headed towards Bosnia
11 you not?
12 A. We were headed towards Srb. That's what we were instructed to
13 do. That's what we were told to do. But we didn't have any means of
14 transportation, and then on the way, we managed to get some
15 transportation, unfortunately.
16 Q. And who told to you go to Srb, ma'am?
17 MR. HEDARALY: I'm -- maybe I have missed something. I don't see
18 how this is related to the questions from the Bench.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe, is it?
20 MR. KEHOE: Your Honour, I just was following up some of the
21 questions that you had given with regard to what her choices were when
22 she was in Knin and Zadar.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but that doesn't open the way to explore all
24 the choices she made in her life.
25 MR. KEHOE: I understand.
1 JUDGE ORIE: On several matters.
2 MR. KEHOE: I understand, Judge.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Are there any further questions?
4 MR. KEHOE: Nothing, Judge. That is quite all right.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Vecerina, this concludes your testimony in this
6 court. The Chamber understands that it might not have been easy for you
7 to go back to that time and to tell us about what happened. The Chamber
8 would like to thank you very much for having come and for answering the
9 questions that were put to you by the Defence and the Prosecution and the
11 Thank you very much. I hope you'll be soon home safely again.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Then we can close the videolink with Belgrade.
14 [The witness's testimony via videolink concluded]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then are there any matters at this moment? We don't
16 have any further witnesses for today and not for tomorrow either, from
17 what I understand.
18 MR. HEDARALY: That's correct, Your Honour. If Your Honour would
19 allow me, I can elaborate on the provenance of P480 that the bench had
20 asked about earlier.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
22 MR. HEDARALY: That document was received by the Prosecution in
23 response to a request for assistance to the Croatian government, and it
24 was attached to a report which is also been MFI'd which is P484. Both
25 P480 and P484 had been a part of the bar table submissions for Ambassador
1 Galbraith's testimony, so this is where we got the information from, so
2 with that I would once again move for it to be admitted on the basis of
3 the witness statement, who although did not identify it, you know, it is
4 part of the witness testimony to the extent that she relates to finding a
5 similar leaflet that had similar information on it.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe.
7 MR. KEHOE: The fact remains and I understand the Prosecution is
8 trying to get this in. She still can't recognise it. Now, if it was
9 MFI'd for Ambassador Galbraith, frankly I don't recall what the
10 discussion was at that time and before I take a final position on the
11 document, which Your Honour didn't admit at the time and just MFI'd, I
12 would like to have the opportunity to just go back and revisit that
13 discussion and report back just as soon as I do that.
14 But suffice it to say, with regard to this witness there is no
15 foundation of this document. That's the sum and substance of it.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Is there any possibility that you would sit
17 together with Mr. Hedaraly and further discuss to what extent you would
18 accept what we just heard about the provenance of that document? And
19 then to see whether that changes your position in this way.
20 MR. KEHOE: Absolutely, Judge. That's all I'm asking for, just
21 to go back and revisit that particular issue and the discussion on the
22 MFI when it was initially submitted and maybe we can come to a
24 I'm just uncomfortable acceding to that based on what this
25 witness said during the course of her not only testimony but her witness
2 JUDGE ORIE: Well, of course, it was shown to her and she
3 referred to it, but let's not further discuss it at this moment. You
4 will have an opportunity to further consider the matter, to review what
5 has happened with P484 and P480 during these proceedings and to have
6 further discussions with Mr. Hedaraly.
7 When could we expect? Would that before the recess? Would that
8 be a fair --
9 MR. KEHOE: Monday, Judge.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Monday.
11 MR. KEHOE: Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Then we will hear from you --
13 MR. KEHOE: Monday, sure.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Monday. When we're talking about MFIs, could the
15 parties please prepare for next week for the rather long list of MFIs we
16 have at this moment. There will be a meeting anyhow with the parties on
17 practicalities and MFI'd documents tendered through the bar table might
18 be a subject to be discussed during that meeting.
19 Just for your information. But we try to get rid of the long MFI
20 list somewhere next week.
21 Then before we adjourn, I'd like to read the Chamber's reasons
22 for its decision on the Prosecution's motion for evidence to be presented
23 via video-conference link and submission of Rule 92 ter statement for
24 witness 172, which was filed on the 8th of July of this year.
25 The decision granting the part of the motion on hearing
1 Witness 172 via video-conference link was given on the 10th of July,
2 2008. I refer you to the transcript, page 6288. The Chamber defers the
3 part of the motion dealing with the submission of the witness's statement
4 pursuant to Rule 92 ter to the time when the witness will give testimony.
5 The initially expected date of testimony for Witness 172 was the 18th of
6 July, 2008
7 unlikely that the witness will testify on that day. That would be
9 The Cermak Defence and the Markac Defence, in their respective
10 responses of the 9th and 10th of July, 2008, did not oppose the motion.
11 In its response of the 10th of July, the Gotovina Defence did not object
12 to the submission of the Rule 92 ter statement but it did oppose the
13 application for testimony via video-conference link.
14 According to Rule 81 bis of the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and
15 Evidence a chamber may order that proceedings be conducted by
16 video-conference link if this is consistent with the interests of
17 justice. As set out by this Chamber, the standard of Rule 81 bis is met
18 if a witness is unable to come to the Tribunal, if the testimony is
19 sufficiently important to make it unfair to the requesting party to
20 proceed without it, and if the accused is not prejudiced in his or her
21 right to confront the witness.
22 The Prosecution submitted that the witness is unable to come to
23 The Hague
24 responded that there are at least four to six months left of the
25 Prosecution case and that the Chamber should wait and see whether the
1 witness's health will improve. According to a medical certificate
2 attached to the Prosecution's motion, Witness 172 should avoid stressful
3 situations and travel by air. The Chamber was therefore satisfied that
4 the witness is unable to come to the Tribunal.
5 Having reviewed the witness's statement given in 2007, the
6 Chamber accepted that the testimony is sufficiently important to make it
7 unfair to the Prosecution to proceed without it.
8 The Prosecution submitted that hearing Witness 172's evidence via
9 videolink would not prejudice the accuseds' right to confront the
10 witness. The Gotovina Defence responded that during a recent testimony,
11 the Chamber was presented with a statement that the witness had acted in
12 a certain way and that it expected the witness to deny that action. It
13 added that the Chamber should have the benefit of examining the witness's
14 credibility in person.
15 The Chamber found that the Gotovina Defence's assumption that
16 there will be a contradiction between the witness's evidence and evidence
17 already presented to the Chamber is to some extent perspective. But even
18 if the witness would contradict evidence already presented to the
19 chamber, considering the circumstances and, in particular, the witness's
20 health, the Chamber found that the Gotovina Defence's objection was not
21 of such a weight as to justify a postponement of the witness's testimony
22 or to decline the application to hear his testimony via video-conference
23 link. The Gotovina Defence would have sufficient opportunity to
24 cross-examine the witness, also on the aspect of the evidence raised in
25 its objection. The Chamber, therefore, found that Gotovina Defence's
1 right to confront the witness was not prejudiced.
2 It was for the foregoing reasons that the Chamber found that it
3 is consistent with the interests of justice to hear the testimony of
4 Witness 172 via video-conference link and granted the motion.
5 This concludes the Chamber's reasons on the decision to hear the
6 evidence of Witness 172 via video-conference link.
7 We will not hear in the initially scheduled hearing any evidence
8 tomorrow. However, we have a motion hearing tomorrow, Friday, the 18th
9 of July, quarter past 2.00 in Courtroom III, and we'll adjourn until
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.58 p.m.
12 to be reconvened on Friday, the 18th day of July,
13 2008, at 2.15 p.m.