1 Tuesday, 7 October 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 Mr. Usher, could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
12 Meanwhile, Mr. Margetts, how much time would you still need?
13 MR. MARGETTS: Mr. President, I hope to be done within half an
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Buhin. I would like to remind
17 you that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you gave at the
18 beginning of your testimony.
19 Mr. Margetts will now continue his examination-in-chief.
20 You may proceed, Mr. Margetts.
21 MR. MARGETTS: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 WITNESS: STJEPAN BUHIN [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Examination by Mr. Margetts: [Continued]
25 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Buhin.
1 You'll recall that last night when we finished, that we were
2 addressing the issue of the investigation of the events in Grubori. And
3 you'd informed the Court that it had been agreed between you and Romanic
4 that an investigation would take place. And you also informed the Court
5 that Ivica Cetina from the Zadar administration had indicated that he
6 would send a crime team for the investigation.
7 MR. MARGETTS: Mr. President, I'd like to deal with another
8 exhibit. If we could move into private session to deal with that
10 JUDGE ORIE: We move into private session. And the exhibit not
11 to be shown to the public.
12 [Private session]
11 Pages 9999-10002 redacted. Private session.
24 [Open session]
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, sorry for the interruption.
1 Your Honours, we're back in open session.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
3 MR. MARGETTS: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
4 If we could please have displayed on the screen Exhibit D57, and
5 it's page 61 in the Croatian, and page 59 of the English, please.
6 Yes, Mr. Registrar, if we could highlight the bottom portion of
7 that entry for that page.
8 Q. Mr. Buhin, could you please refer to this entry here. This is
9 the Knin log-book recording the operational activities that took -- that
10 were reported to the Knin police station. And I'd just like you to note
11 there that the date is the 26th of August for this entry, which is entry
12 193. And there's a reference to bodies having been found in Grubori.
13 And you'll see there's two different entries in the right-hand column
14 relating to the measures to be taken. There's one that is written in a
15 similar manner to the entry on the left and then there's different
16 writing below.
17 Now the first entry as to measures to be taken, refers to the
18 fact that it is contemplated that an on-site investigation would be
19 conducted in the morning of the 27th of August. Is that consistent with
20 your recollection of when that investigation was to take place?
21 A. This document is authentic, and it is not in keeping with my
22 recollection. I was certain that we had learned about this event on the
23 morning of the 27th. However, this shows that the event occurred on the
24 26th, specifically the afternoon of the 26th. This was immediately
25 recorded, entered into the police station log-book.
1 What we see here is -- was agreed with Chief Cedo Romanic there
2 would be an on-site investigation on the 27th of August. This might as
3 well have been added later on in the day, that evening, perhaps, once it
4 had been ascertained that no such action would be possible on that same
6 According to what I remember, the event was reported that
7 morning. However, I think this is a more trustworthy source because this
8 is a written document and it was kept in the police station.
9 Q. Yes, I invite my learned friends if I'm proceeding in a manner
10 which isn't agreed between the parties or accepted between the parties,
11 but I -- I just -- just to assist you in terms of placing this log-book
12 entry in the chronology of events, there's -- as we have received
13 information, the event took place on the 25th, which we believe was a
14 Friday, and quite clearly this entry in the log-book is the following
15 day, the 26th, which we believe is a Saturday.
16 So is that of any assistance to you? Does that assist you in
17 placing these events, in terms of, you know, when the event occurred,
18 when the information was received by you, and the actions that took
20 A. Unfortunately, I don't think this would be of any assistance to
21 me. It has been a very long time. I see now that I have to go back and
22 change my view, the view that I had held up until yesterday, that the
23 event occurred the same day that all these steps were taken. I do,
24 however, realize now that the report came on the previous day. I don't
25 have such a great head for dates, and I didn't take any notes of my own.
1 Q. Now, if you just look at this entry, the entry -- the person
2 reporting the incident is Mihic. And I understand you had conversations
3 with Mihic about what steps would be taken. Is that correct? And you
4 will see that the time at which this report is made is 1500; it's on the
5 third column from the left there. In other words, 3.00 p.m., 3.00 in the
7 MR. MARGETTS: Mr. Registrar, if we could please move on --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Margetts, when you asked, is that correct, I saw
9 the witness nodding yes, but that does not appear on the transcript.
10 MR. MARGETTS: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
11 Q. Mr. Buhin, when I asked you about your conversations that you had
12 with Mr. Mihic, you nodded. So I'll ask you the question again and if
13 you could give an audible response. And that is that I indicated the
14 person reporting the incident was Milos Mihic, and I asked you: "And I
15 understand you had conversations with Mihic about what steps would be
16 taken. Is that correct?" And could you respond to that question
18 A. Based on what has been recorded, Milos Mihic was the commander of
19 the police station who was the one who received this report and then
20 passed it along to his own chief, Cedo Romanic. We learned about this at
21 the same time. We got in touch with Mr. Cedo Romanic who was
22 Milos Mihic's superior, so then he imparted whatever instructions still
23 needed imparting at this point.
24 Q. And just to be clear, did you yourself have conversations with
25 Mr. Mihic at this time about these events.
1 A. I can't remember exactly.
2 Q. Okay. Thank you.
3 MR. MARGETTS: And now if we could move on, Mr. Registrar,
4 please. It's the same document, but if we could move forward to page 63
5 in the Croatian and that is page 61 of the English. And the entry that
6 I'm interested in is entry number 197, which is the second one down,
7 Mr. Registrar. Thank you.
8 Q. Mr. Buhin, could I direct your attention to the second entry.
9 It's again in the Knin daily log of events held at the police station,
10 and this time it refers to an entry that was reported by a
11 Mr. Karolj Dondo. Can you inform the Trial Chamber as to who Mr. Dondo
13 A. Never heard.
14 Q. And you'll see in this entry, again it refers to events in
15 Grubori but this time this entry is made at 2000, which is five hours
16 after the other entry. It describes the events as being the finding of
17 five bodies who were killed during military and police Operation Storm.
18 Now, at that stage, in the evening of the 26th of August, did you
19 have any knowledge about a military and police operation having been
20 conducted in the area of the Grubori village; that is the Plavno valley
22 A. At the time, I had no information indicating that. However, if I
23 may just comment on the entry. The shift had changed. There was a
24 changing of the shift at 1900 hours. Some people stayed and some people
25 left. The duty officer entered this information. I'm not sure to what
1 extent he was familiar with the substance. Nevertheless, the established
2 practice was for everything, all reports to be recorded. So that's what
3 he did. We often had different reports on the same developments, so this
4 was the case in point. There was this policeman who came to the station
5 to tell us about the bodies. The entry should be reflected literally in
6 the same way or the report should be reflected literally in the same way
7 that it was delivered, and I believe that was the case here.
8 Q. Now, there is a significant difference in this entry to the
9 previous entry, apart from the number of bodies which we've already
10 noted. But in the measures taken or the action that is proposed, in this
11 entry, there is no reference to an investigation. In fact, the officer
12 wrote that the information will be passed on to civilian protection
13 officers for hygiene and sanitation.
14 Now, this is at 8.00 p.m. on the 26th of August. Now, at that
15 stage, were you aware of any decision having been taken that there should
16 be a change from what's recorded at 3.00 p.m., and in fact, instead of
17 the investigation, there should be sanitation of the terrain?
18 A. This is probably an omission on the part of the police station
19 commander who was supposed to go through the entries each morning. At
20 the time, I don't know who was on duty and in charge at the police
21 station. Having followed the situation as it developed at the time, as
22 soon as the report came in about the bodies being found following combat,
23 the civil protection people would be informed. They had a forensic
24 person who would go to a scene immediately and then this sanitation would
25 take place.
1 Q. Now, Mr. Buhin, that -- that's helpful information that you are
2 providing. It's just that my question was little more specific and it
3 was a question as to whether you were aware that -- of any change in
4 circumstances between 3.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. on the 26th of August, that
5 instead of investigation there should be sanitation of the bodies in
6 Grubori. Were you made aware of any one --
7 MR. KAY: -- matter of accuracy here which may be important given
8 the witness's last answer. He never said "instead."
9 JUDGE ORIE: That could be clarified then.
10 MR. KAY: Thank you.
11 MR. MARGETTS: Yes, Mr. President. I don't entirely follow
12 Mr. Kay's suggestion.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I think that Mr. Kay does not -- let's -- I
14 could clarify that.
15 Mr. Buhin, when was it decided, if this was decided, that no
16 investigation team would be sent to Grubori? When did you become aware?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That -- I found out that an
18 investigation team had not attended the scene, only several days later.
19 And the agreement was in the morning, when I and my colleague Ivo Baric
20 were at the UNPROFOR police headquarters, that the scene would be
21 attended after two to three hours, once we had set up a team from Zadar.
22 All day, until sometime in the afternoon, there was every indication that
23 the on-site investigation would indeed be conducted.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Could you then tell us this conversation with
25 Mr. Sacic, which is described in your statement, when that took place?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was sometime around midday
2 JUDGE ORIE: On what day? 27th, 26th?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 27th, sometime around 1200
5 JUDGE ORIE: Now, from your statement I read that it was
6 explained to you that -- no, that you told him that you had taken steps
7 and that an investigation would take place and that Mr. Sacic became
8 angry and said that you -- that you -- that the bodies would be processed
9 and clearly contradicting your plans to have the investigation, as you
10 had on your mind.
11 Now, you tell us that only a couple of days after that you
12 learned that no investigation with the investigation -- investigating
13 judge had taken place. Is that how I have to understand your testimony?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, you understand me
16 JUDGE ORIE: And when Mr. Sacic told you that what you intended
17 was not what should happen, did you get any impression that the
18 investigation would be -- not take place; or did you still consider for a
19 couple of days that the investigation, as it was planned by you and as it
20 was agreed that should take place, that that would take place?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believed that the investigation
22 would take place in the afternoon on that same day, the same day when the
23 investigative judge's team from Zadar was formed and when the team of
24 on-site investigation experts, crime scene examiners, was set up.
25 JUDGE ORIE: And what Mr. Sacic said raised no doubt in your mind
1 as to whether such an investigation would take place at all.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I never doubted it.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let me try to understand. You agreed that an
4 investigation with a investigating judge will take place. Then Mr. Sacic
5 comes, apparently there was some communication with Mr. Moric as well,
6 and Mr. Sacic says, No way, you do it totally wrong. This is not what
7 should happen. And then you still expected that things would go on as
8 you had in mind and not as Mr. Sacic had -- apparently on his mind.
9 Is that your testimony?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That I believed the on-site
11 investigation would certainly take place. And after Mr. Moric had called
12 me on the telephone, some 15 minutes or so, after my conversation with
13 Mr. Sacic, Mr. Moric, quite angrily told me that I should not actually do
14 the job of the crime police but that I should do the job for which I had
15 been assigned to Zadar, which were duties of public order and traffic.
16 After that, I no longer was concerned with the on-site
17 investigation and the crime police duties but continued doing my other
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Margetts.
20 MR. MARGETTS: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Mr. Buhin, just to be clear on this, as you recalled and you've
22 related to the Trial Chamber, the information about this event reached
23 you, as you understood it, in -- on a morning, during a morning, and did
24 you consider that the investigation would take place that same day?
25 A. Yes, I did.
1 Q. And as you understand it, was that the same day that you met with
2 Mr. Sacic or a day prior to your meeting with Mr. Sacic?
3 A. It was the same day after we had the conversation with the UN
5 Q. Yes. And did that conversation with the UN police take place on
6 the -- well, on the day prior to your meeting with Mr. Sacic?
7 A. It was on the same day.
8 MR. MARGETTS: Mr. President, if we could now move into private
9 session again, please.
10 JUDGE ORIE: We move into private session.
11 [Private session]
11 Page 10013 redacted. Private session.
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
18 MR. MARGETTS:
19 Q. Mr. Buhin, you referred in your statement to the fact that during
20 Operation Flash and those times that you received maps from the special
21 police that indicated to you where any operations would take place. And
22 I'm just interested to know, in terms of your desire to locate the
23 village of Grubori, did either you or Mr. Baric, or Mr. Romanic, or
24 perhaps Mr. Mihic or anyone you know of, make inquiries with any of the
25 special police or military command as to whether they would be able to
1 assist you with maps of the location of the Plavno valley?
2 A. That is probably a mistake on the part of us all, that was a
3 mistake on the part of us all because no one got in touch with special
4 police officers after -- after having learned of these events. And that
5 is why Mr. Sacic was angry.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Buhin. That concludes my questions.
7 MR MARGETTS: And thank you, Mr. President, that concludes the
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Margetts.
10 Could I ask you one question to clarify the last answer you gave.
11 You said no one got in touch with special police officers and
12 that Mr. Sacic was angry. Did he expect you to have got in touch with
13 the special police on the matter?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know who -- whom he
15 expected to do that, but we did not have any direct contacts with special
16 police officers there during our stay there.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did you have -- did you gain any impression on
18 whether the special police would or should play a role in revealing what
19 had happened in Grubori? Were they to play a role?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that they were to play a
21 role, in view of the fact that Mr. Sacic said that the special police had
22 a mopping up action in that area. Now, that area could be a broader
23 term. I cannot be very specific in that particular sense.
24 JUDGE ORIE: To your knowledge, were they still in the area or
25 would they return to that area? And I'm talking about the area of
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Throughout my stay in the area of
3 Knin, I had no information whatsoever about the activities of the special
4 police, in terms of where they were, what area they were in, and similar.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Were you informed whether they would be sent to
6 further investigate or further -- make further findings on the situation
7 in Grubori?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. After talking with Mr. Moric,
9 I was no longer concerned with that segment of the assignment.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Did he tell you whether the special police would be
11 sent to the area but now for the purpose of clarifying or investigating
12 or revealing what -- or make any findings on what had happened?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Ours was a very short
14 conversation. He only angrily told me not to butt in the work of the
15 crime police but to do my assigned job. That was the long and the short
16 of our conversation.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And no one else told that you the special police
18 would be sent there?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for those answers.
21 Who will be the first one to cross-examine the witness?
22 MR. KAY: I am, Your Honour, on behalf of Mr. Cermak.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Buhin, you will now be cross-examined by
24 Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay is counsel for Mr. Cermak.
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Kay:
1 Q. Mr. Buhin, I want to ask you some questions, first of all, about
2 your briefing by Mr. Moric and Mr. Djurica before you went down to Knin.
3 Do you understand?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. You told us that you had a briefing by those two superiors to
6 you. Whereabouts was that briefing?
7 A. It was in one of the offices. I'm not sure whether it was
8 Mr. Moric's or Mr. Djurica's office, but it was on the premises of the
10 Q. So that would be in Zagreb
11 A. Yes, exactly. In the Ministry of the Interior, in Zagreb
12 Q. And which day was that?
13 A. I believe that it was the 5th of August, the same day when the
14 army entered Knin. After we had learned from the mass media that the
15 army had entered Knin, we were called to either Mr. Moric's or
16 Mr. Djurica's office; I'm not sure at this point.
17 Q. And so did you arrive in Knin on the next day, the 6th of August?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. At the briefing by Mr. Moric and Mr. Djurica, what matters did
20 they brief you about?
21 A. It was a very short briefing. They confirmed to us what we had
22 already heard from the mass media, namely, that Croatian troops had
23 entered Knin. And that we were chosen individually, by name, to be
24 assigned as coordinators to the just liberated area. I and Mr. Baric
25 were assigned to the police administration and the police station in
2 Q. Was your role as a coordinator defined for you?
3 A. No. Not much was said at that point about it. We were just told
4 that we were to help with the organisation and functioning of the police
5 administration and the police station, in terms of law and order and safe
7 Q. Had you operated in a similar role as a coordinator before?
8 A. No, I had not.
9 Q. Was it a position that you were able to understand what you had
10 to do after Mr. Moric and Mr. Djurica had briefed you?
11 A. In principle, yes. Yes, we understood our task that we were to
12 assist the new leadership, the chief of the police administration, the
13 chief of the police station to find their bearings and for the police
14 station and the police administration to start functioning, conducting
15 the basic duties of the police.
16 Q. And was it one of the purposes for this role that because you
17 came from Zagreb
18 help Mr. Romanic in setting up the Kotar-Knin police administration on
19 the ground?
20 A. That was our objective, to help organise that administration.
21 Q. Before this day of the 5th of August, had you been aware of joint
22 steps taken by Mr. Moric on behalf of the Ministry of Interior with the
23 military police administration, in cooperation and coordination between
24 the two police forces during Operation Storm?
25 A. We were not aware, not I and not my colleagues, about any
1 preparations for Operation Storm, until the moment that we were called
2 for that short briefing.
3 Q. At that stage, did you learn, or subsequently learn, about the
4 steps of cooperation between the MUP and the military police?
5 A. Do you mean measures during Operation Oluja, or customary
6 measures, steps?
7 Q. Measures to be taken after Operation Oluja.
8 A. No. At that time, I was not aware of any meetings or of any
9 agreements to that effect.
10 Q. When you arrived in Knin on the 6th of August, had you been to
11 Knin before?
12 A. That was the first time.
13 Q. And can you recollect at what time of day you arrived in Knin?
14 A. I believe it was sometime around midday. We came from the police
15 administration in Zadar and were being led by police officer in the
16 direction of Knin.
17 Q. Was that the day that the minister of interior, Mr. Jarnjak,
18 opened the police station in Knin?
19 A. The minister never came to Knin during my stay there. It was
20 only after two or three days that Mr. Moric arrived for five minutes or
21 so, only just to put up the plaque on the police station, and he left
22 immediately after that.
23 Q. So you were there when the plaque was put on the police station.
24 A. Yes, I was there. The plaque was put there on -- on the second
25 or third day, after I had arrived.
1 Q. And when you arrived at the police station in Knin, what state
2 did you find the building in?
3 A. The chief of the police administration, Cedo Romanic, and a
4 couple of policemen were already in the building. The building was quite
5 ransacked, and there were two shell holes inside. The entire place had
6 been ransacked and it was hard to find one's way about it.
7 Q. And did you help Mr. Romanic to start, establish a working police
8 station from that building?
9 A. To the extent that we could. To the extent that we were able to
10 give him a hand at that time. There were no links to the Zadar police
11 administration; that's one thing we must bear in mind, and no links to
12 the ministry either.
13 The policemen were new in the area as well. They had arrived
14 from other areas and were not familiar with Knin or indeed its
15 surroundings. We did our best to, little by little, take over police
16 affairs in the area.
17 Q. Your headwear is being adjusted.
18 JUDGE ORIE: I think the best way to take care that it doesn't
19 fall off is to have the band on top of your head rather than ... like --
20 MR. KAY:
21 Q. All right?
22 How long did it take to establish Knin police station as a -- a
23 working police station?
24 A. After two or three days, we started doing all the basic things.
25 Duty rotation, recording daily events, and we started drawing up
1 schedules, work schedules, on day one, in terms of which officers would
2 be dispatched to which area.
3 Q. And was that work that you were helping Mr. Romanic with?
4 A. It was more Mr. Mihic that we were helping, who, at the time, was
5 chief or commander, I'm not sure what the term was at the time, of the
6 Knin police station.
7 As for Mr. Romanic, we helped him try to link up all the police
8 stations in the area.
9 Q. We know that Kotar-Knin police administration relied on
10 Zadar-Knin police station for support. Is that right?
11 A. Yes. All of the support and assistance came through the Zadar
12 police station.
13 Q. And how long was it before you had links with Zadar-Knin police
15 A. It depends on the kind of work involved. For the first five to
16 eight days, we had no water, no electricity, no radio communications. We
17 would try to distribute information and spread information to the extent
18 that we could and were trying to gradually bring life back to normal.
19 But the station had not yet reached its full capacity, not even by day
21 Q. Was it difficult working conditions to establish an effective
22 police administration in those circumstances?
23 A. The conditions were exceptionally difficult. We didn't have the
24 equipment, we didn't have enough money, nor indeed did we have a
25 sufficient number of trained people who were properly trained to perform
1 those kinds of operations.
2 Q. At the beginning, how many police officers did you have working
3 for Kotar-Knin police administration and the Knin police station?
4 A. I can't give you a figure. But there were probably about 50
5 police officers from Split-Dalmatia police administration and about the
6 same amount from Zadar. Very few, you might say. We had used up a lot
7 of our manpower trying to secure some important facilities and features
8 such as sources of water, the Orthodox monastery at Kistanje where we set
9 up a police outpost, and there was a factory there too. There were a
10 number of other features in addition to our own place station. There was
11 some facilities for police accommodation and all of that needed securing.
12 We also had to set up a number of check-points throughout the
13 area. We did not have sufficient manpower. It wasn't before the end of
14 that month that another contingent of about 50 men was sent over to us
15 from Krapina-Zagorje police administration. By this time, we had already
16 stepped up traffic control and other such routine operations.
17 Q. We know that Kotar-Knin police administration had eight police
18 stations underneath it, and the Kotar-Knin police administration was the
19 supporting administration for those fundamental police stations on the
20 ground. What about the manpower, the police officers, to take up
21 position within those other police stations within the region? How soon
22 were you able to achieve that?
23 A. These forces were being deployed by the Ministry of Interior in
25 directly to certain police stations.
1 I believe that as soon as the 6th, all of the police officers who
2 were meant to be dispatched were already at their respective police
4 Q. And how many policemen were there at these other police stations
5 in the region?
6 A. I don't remember the exact figures, and I don't think it would be
7 a good idea for me to just round it off.
8 Q. What was your relationship, how did you work with those other
9 police stations outside Knin?
10 A. Over the first two or three weeks, communication would occur no
11 more than once a week at meetings organised by Mr. Franjo Djurica, who
12 was the coordinator in charge of these newly liberated areas. He
13 provided a link between us and the ministry. He would always schedule
14 meetings and each time this would occur at a different police station,
15 and then all the chiefs and police station commander, chiefs of police
16 administrations would meet, problems would be raised, and assignments
18 Q. And were those meetings that you would go to?
19 A. Indeed.
20 Q. And the matters discussed at those meetings with Mr. Djurica and
21 the other police commanders were what kind of matters? What was
22 discussed on a weekly basis between the commanders of the police stations
23 and Mr. Djurica?
24 A. For the most part, each of the station commanders spoke about
25 their own prospective areas and the problems they were encountering.
1 At the outset, there was a serious problem involving numerous
2 persons wearing Croatian army uniforms freely roaming about the area,
3 committing all sorts of offences and crimes. There were cases of arson,
4 looting, and so on. There were even some murders.
5 So that was the main subject that we covered. There was also the
6 question of putting up all these police officers somewhere in the area,
7 the conditions under which they worked, and everything else.
8 Q. And what was Mr. Djurica's reaction when he heard about these
9 kinds of problems being told to him by the commanders of the police
11 A. In the roughest of terms, the reactions were, We'll try to
12 improve our cooperation with the military police. Do what you can within
13 your powers. He would also inform the ministry about our problems,
14 expecting that they would provide some sort of assistance. There was a
15 general shortage of police officers throughout all these areas, in terms
16 of sufficient numbers. That's what I'm saying.
17 Little by little things were, however, improving, and
18 circumstances, more and more, started favouring us.
19 Q. You referred to the problem of people in uniform committing
20 offences. Was it difficult to find out whether those were civilian
21 people in military uniform or whether they were genuine-serving military
23 A. It was very difficult. There were a few police teams patrolling
24 the area. Police officers and police vehicles are easy to spot from a
25 distance. So whenever there was a police presence in an area, no such
1 incidents would occur. It wasn't before one actually got to talk with
2 locals in these areas that we were able to find out that persons were
3 spotted roaming about wearing Croatian army uniforms.
4 Q. Given the circumstances that you had entered into in this
5 liberated region, did you have any of the usual police techniques for
6 monitoring law and order available to you? By that, I mean established
7 intelligence links, information coming from various sources. Did you
8 have anything like that established to help you deal with law and order?
9 A. Well, as I have pointed out already, it was very difficult.
10 There was no proper radio communication because we didn't have the
11 repeaters required for that sort of communication. For the first eight
12 days, there was no electricity in the broader Knin area. The direct
13 approach was the only course of action. Police officers would have to go
14 to and fro. They would have to go back to the station to bring reports.
15 They would have to go out and check reports. These police officers were
16 now in an area that was unfamiliar and they were scared, scared of enemy
17 fire, scared of booby-traps. So for the first 15 to 20 days, the working
18 conditions were exceptionally difficult.
19 Q. I'd just like to look at a document to see whether it's one that
20 you recognise or whether you can comment upon it.
21 MR. KAY: If we have Exhibit D600, please, on the screen. This
22 is a document dated the 6th of August, 1995, and it was sent to the
23 police administrations by Mr. Zidovec, and amongst the police
24 administrations were Zadar-Knin.
25 Q. If we look at the document, first of all, it concerns records of
1 fires and wanting statistical records about fires and giving the reason,
2 the result of combat operations in the areas of your police
3 administrations. And information was to be sent to the headquarters
4 giving matters that would help the statistics.
5 First of all, was this a document that you saw when you arrived
6 as a coordinator down in Knin?
7 A. I didn't see this document. For the first few days, no mail
9 Q. We know it was sent to Zadar-Knin, and we know that the
10 Kotar-Knin police administration was established the day before, on the
11 5th of August, 1995. Was there a problem in having communication sent to
12 the Kotar-Knin police administration?
13 A. Yes, there were problems. We received all documents such as this
14 one, or orders, with a one or two-day delay. For example, when one of
15 our messengers went to Zadar or when a messenger arrived Knin from Zadar,
16 we would probably receive something like this on day two or day three.
17 I don't remember this document as such. I do know, however, that
18 we recorded all of our incoming mail. As soon as the communications were
19 up and running, we informed the ministry directly.
20 Q. Thank you. Let's just look at another document, D43,
21 Exhibit D43. This is dated the 7th of August, 1995, and it's to the
22 police administration of Split-Dalmatia, operations staff. Again, from
23 Mr. Zidovec and it concerns assistance to the Zadar-Knin police
24 administration --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, could I just go back to the previous
1 document for one second.
2 MR. KAY: Yes.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you explained to us that mail would be
4 received with a delay of one or two days. Could we just go back to the
5 previous document and have a look at the stamp at the bottom of that
7 MR. KAY: While we're doing that, can I tell Your Honour that it
8 doesn't go to the Kotar-Knin police administration; it goes to the
9 Zadar-Knin police administration.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Therefore I'm seeking clarification on who
11 received what, where, at what time.
12 MR. KAY: Precisely.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Because it is not entirely clear, also on the
14 bottom, who received it. It was received on the same day apparently by
16 MR. KAY: Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And I wanted to ask the witness whether he could
18 give us further clarification on what that stamp exactly tells us.
19 MR. KAY: Yes.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could you have a look at the stamp at the bottom?
21 If it could be enlarged. And could we also have the English,
22 the -- if possible, the entirety of the document --
23 MR. KAY: Page 2.
24 JUDGE ORIE: No, it's on the bottom of the first page,
1 MR. KAY: Ah.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us who signed or -- I see a number,
3 47, shift leader. Could you tell us, could you give us a clue as to who
4 signed for the receipt of this document with this stamp?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't say. The shift leader,
6 probably. This was the operations duty of the police administration and
7 it could have been any of these police administrations cited above.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
9 Please proceed, Mr. Kay.
10 MR. KAY: Your Honour, looking at the time, it's an hour and a
11 half since we started.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if this would be a suitable moment for you.
13 Perhaps we first ask Mr. Usher to escort the witness out of the
15 [The witness withdrew]
16 JUDGE ORIE: Which gives me an opportunity to inquire with the
17 parties on timing.
18 Mr. Kay, since you are the first one.
19 MR. KAY: Your Honour, three and a half hours.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Three and a half hours.
21 Still to go or in total?
22 MR. KAY: I can't remember when I started, Your Honour, I
24 JUDGE ORIE: Approximately half an hour ago, from what is my
25 recollection, because Mr. Margetts indicated at five minutes past 3.00, I
1 think it was, that my conception of half an hour should be adjusted and
2 he had one question remaining.
3 MR. MARGETTS: Yes, Your Honour, that accords with my memory.
4 JUDGE ORIE: I think you are a little bit over half an hour,
5 Mr. Kay. Another three hours or another three and a half hours?
6 MR. KAY: Another three and a half hours, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: I will be the second one, Your Honour. And, of
9 course, it depends on Mr. Kay's progress. I'll assume that I wouldn't
10 take more than an hour and a half.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
12 MR. MISETIC: I don't expect to be more than an hour, and, again,
13 I anticipate probably less.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Altogether we have six hours still to go.
15 Isn't it true that a videolink has been prepared for tomorrow?
16 MR. MARGETTS: Yes, Your Honour. So --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Could I get an impression on how much time the
18 videolink would take because it is very difficult to cancel a videolink.
19 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, it is my understanding in discussions
20 with the Defence that the cross-examination will, all in likelihood,
21 certainly be less than an hour total for all three teams.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Less than an hour total.
23 MR. MARGETTS: Mr. President, we would be only half an hour in
24 chief with the videolink.
25 JUDGE ORIE: So if we would work efficiently, in one session with
1 the videolink. Let me ...
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE ORIE: What we then should try to achieve is to hear the
4 testimony of this witness today and tomorrow, apart from the first
5 session tomorrow in which we would have a videolink, which would mean
6 that we have four sessions remaining, which should do for the six hours.
7 If Defence could try to be as efficient as possible, then there's
8 a chance perhaps, Mr. Margetts, that any re-examination needed could be
9 done. I don't know whether there would be many questions of the witness,
10 but let's try to see whether we can finish both this witness and the
11 videolink witness by the end -- by the close of business of tomorrow.
12 If everyone keeps that on his mind, then we will have a break
13 until quarter past 4.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
16 JUDGE ORIE: May the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Kay.
19 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 I'm going to change the document that we were going to look at in
21 the interests of speed.
22 Can we look at Exhibit D583, please. This is letter dated the
23 8th of August, 1995, from Mr. Moric and sent to all the police
24 administration chiefs, referring to a telegram that he'd sent on the 4th
25 of August.
1 Q. And I'd like you to look at this document, please, Mr. Buhin, as
2 it refers to heightened security measures, which you referred to as being
3 problems for the police.
4 We can see this document from Mr. Moric, and ordering increased
5 coverage of places and features that could be the subject of a terrorist
6 attack, and despite measures we saw attempts of attack against transport,
7 vital industrial facilities by terrorist laying large amounts of
8 explosives, and referring to future attacks by sabotage and terrorist
9 attacks. So he orders to assiduously cover vital transport
10 infrastructure, strengthen security of features of significance and
11 strengthen security of features and infrastructure in the ownership of
12 the police administration. That is Mr. Moric's order, Mr. Buhin. It was
13 sent to all police administration chiefs. Did you receive this document
14 through the system?
15 A. I cannot remember specifically this document but I probably did.
16 Q. The matter that the document is dealing with concerning terrorist
17 attacks and sabotage, were they matters that you had to deal with in
18 relation to the use of the police?
19 A. Yes, they certainly were. This the period immediately following
20 the Operation Oluja, when terrorist attacks were to be expected, and
21 everyone in his respective area had to make a security assessment in
22 terms of what facilities might come under attack and how to protect them.
23 This is what we did, too. That is why we posted security around the
24 Orthodox monastery because it was to be expected that it might come under
25 attack and be demolished. Then also the water catchment point, which is
1 also a facility of vital importance, was guarded, as were some bridges
2 and factories. There was also a military proving ground which was used
3 by Milan Martic's special police forces.
4 There were also other facilities. I cannot recall them all at
5 this point, but we posted quite a few of our forces to such guard posts.
6 Q. So the role of the police at this stage in Knin, would it be
7 right to say, faced three tasks: Ordinary police work, as one task;
8 establishing the police station and the police system as another task; as
9 well as dealing with potential conflict that there may be against the
11 A. Yes, those were the fundamental -- these are the fundamental
12 tasks of the police.
13 Q. When you arrived in Knin, you had met Mr. Moric and Mr. Djurica
14 at that stage. How often did Mr. Moric come down to the Knin region to
15 see what was happening?
16 A. He only came once, when he brought the plaque with the
17 inscription "police station" and "police administration," and he only
18 stayed for five minutes or so on that occasion.
19 Q. Can we look at the Exhibit P962, which was the organigram you
20 looked at yesterday. And that organigram detailed the tasks of senior
21 police officers as well as showing where they fitted in to the Ministry
22 of Interior structure.
23 You told us about Mr. Djurica coming down for weekly meetings
24 with the police commanders. Did he come down to Knin more frequently
25 than that?
1 A. It is difficult for me to be sure, but he did come between those
2 meetings, to talk to just us, in Knin.
3 Q. And what would be he talking to you about when he came down to
5 A. The conversation was always about the current problems that we
6 were grappling with. It depended on the actual time when he came and
7 what problems we had at that specific moment, and we tried to deal with
8 them together.
9 Q. So, broadly, would those problems he was discussing with you,
10 concern people committing crimes?
11 A. Well, the problems concerned more the fundamental duties of the
12 police, and we actually diverted the problems dealing with the commission
13 of crimes to the criminal police.
14 Q. So if we look at our organigram here, Exhibit P962, we see that
15 Mr. Benko was the assistant minister in charge of the crime police. How
16 often did he go down to Knin, if you're able to say?
17 A. I don't recall him coming to Knin at all while I was there.
18 Q. We see on the organigram that Mr. Nadj is the chief of the crime
19 police sector, beneath Mr. Benko. Were you aware of him coming down to
20 Knin region, not necessarily just the town but the Knin region.
21 A. I don't remember him coming either.
22 Q. You've told us about Mr. Kardum, who was the chief of the
23 Zadar-Knin crime police. Did he come to Knin and have meetings and
24 discuss problems?
25 A. I believe that he did come, but I cannot recall a specific
1 instance. I know him from that time. Actually, I met him for the first
2 time while I stayed in Knin. But I'm not sure whether he came directly
3 to Knin, whether we had in encounter in Knin or in Zadar. Much time has
4 elapsed, so I cannot be sure.
5 Q. Mr. Cetina, who was chief of the Zadar-Knin police
6 administration, did you meet him in Knin or elsewhere to discuss problems
7 with the policing of the region?
8 A. Yes. Mr. Cetina did come. He came on different occasions to
9 Zadar [as interpreted], and we discussed both police work and civilian
10 protection duties because he was in charge of both.
11 Q. And at these meetings, were people like Mr. Cetina and
12 Mr. Djurica trying to give you support for your work as -- or for the
13 work of the Kotar-Knin police administration?
14 A. I had the feeling that they did their utmost to the best of their
15 ability, to help us. But then again their own abilities were restricted
16 in terms of securing the necessary equipment for us, and the necessary
17 number of police officers, so that most of it was just confined to us
18 stating our problems and then them seeking to help us to alleviate or
19 overcome those problems, but they certainly did assist us to the best of
20 their ability.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Margetts.
22 MR. MARGETTS: Sorry to interrupt. Just at line 38, 1, there's a
23 reference to Zadar and in light of the question, and the -- the start of
24 the answer at -- I think 25 --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think the witness -- it is my recollection
1 that the witness said something different.
2 Could you please -- when you said, Mr. Cetina did come, he came
3 on different occasions to where?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To Knin.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Kay.
6 MR. KAY: I'm grateful to Mr. Margetts. Thank you.
7 Q. So as you said, you were working with the fundamental police.
8 That's the ordinary police. Is that right?
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. The crime police who investigated crimes were separate from your
11 responsibility. Is that right?
12 A. That is right.
13 Q. Were you able to judge whether there was enough crime police to
14 support you in your work when you reported crimes to the Zadar-Knin
15 police administration?
16 A. Well, I remember that a constant problem was the number of
17 equipped teams for on-site investigations and of crime inspectors because
18 the same number of people had to cover, over a very short period of time,
19 a much larger area than before, whereas their number had not been
20 increased. On the other hand, criminal offences were also on the rise,
22 Q. Were you aware also of measures taken by the Ministry of
23 Interior, the MUP, to cooperate and coordinate with the military police,
24 to establish a -- a system of law and order and control right at the
25 start of Operation Storm?
1 A. Well, in meetings with Mr. Franjo Djurica, we were always
2 instructed to try and maintain as good as a cooperation as possible with
3 the military police, that we should exchange information on events and
4 incidents and seek to establish jointly manned check-points, which were
5 actually established some 15 or 20 days later.
6 Q. Did you meet and have discussions with Major Juric, who was the
7 commander of the 72nd and 73rd Military Police Battalions in the region
8 from the 2nd of August, in fact, 1995, until the 13th of August, 1995
9 Did you meet him?
10 A. No, not as a rule, because colleague Ivo Baric assumed that duty
11 of meeting with Mr. Cermak and also with the military police people,
12 together with Cedo Romanic.
13 I do remember that this person, this gentleman came, if we are
14 talking about the same person, to our offices at the police
15 administration. Someone from the police administration did come.
16 Whether it was specifically that gentleman, I'm not sure, because I do
17 not know him personally.
18 Q. He would have been from the military police administration. Do
19 you mean someone came from the military police administration?
20 A. Someone, one of the officers of the military police came on
21 several occasions to our offices, in order for us to agree on exchanging
22 information, on joint actions and so on and so forth, but I do not recall
23 the details.
24 Q. Were you aware of various orders that were issued by Mr. Moric to
25 the police administrations, telling them to cooperate with the military
2 A. All the orders issued by Mr. Moric also reached us at Knin so
3 that I had to be aware of them.
4 Q. You told us that you arrived in Knin on the 6th of August.
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. Did you receive orders that had been issued by Mr. Moric, by the
7 chief of military police administration, before that date, so that you
8 knew what had been decided between the MUP, on the one hand, and the
9 military police administration on the other hand, as to how they were
10 going to work together?
11 A. The first days of my stay in Knin, I did not see any such orders.
12 It was probably only after contacts with Mr. Franjo Djurica that we, the
13 coordinators, were also informed of these tasks and of these
14 instructions, i.e., orders.
15 Q. So from what you could tell, had Mr. Djurica been in contact with
16 the military police administration as to how you were going to work
17 jointly with them?
18 A. I cannot confirm that, but he probably had been. I only don't
19 know at what command level of the military police that contact was.
20 Q. From what you say, it was Mr. Baric who was the other coordinator
21 who worked with the military police. Is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you and he separate your roles as to the kind of tasks that
24 you would do?
25 A. Yes. We had agreement to the effect that I should see more to
1 the fundamental police work in the station and also deal with some
2 matters associated with administration; and he was to work with the army
3 and the military police more, but we did share the workload.
4 Q. So when you established your police check-points in the Knin
5 region, did you do that, or did he establish the check-points? Or did
6 you both work together?
7 A. As far as I can remember, we did that work jointly, and the
8 check-points were set up immediately after our arrival.
9 Q. How did you select those places that you set the check-points at?
10 A. We used a map. We used the map that we had found in the
11 building, and we freely assessed what directions would be the most
12 interesting from our standpoint. The busiest roads, that is to say, were
13 the ones that we established check-points at, although there was not much
14 traffic to speak of at that time.
15 Q. And as you learnt more about the area, did you move your
16 check-point positions?
17 A. Yes. They were not constant. We wanted to set them up near
18 overpasses, bridges, where there were facilities which required
19 protection and supervision, and roads where we expected busier traffic
20 where there would be vehicles and people passing.
21 Q. You were referred to the joint check-points you had with the
22 military police yesterday. Did you establish your check-points first and
23 they then join you at the check-points, so that they became joint
25 A. At first, we had separate check-points. But the military police
1 also had their own check-points from the very first days, where they
2 controlled and supervised the passage of persons wearing military
3 uniforms, the passing of military vehicles and so on, and we controlled
4 the passage of civilian vehicles and persons. But they also had their
5 check-points. Initially they were separated, but upon some insistence,
6 they were later joined.
7 Q. I just want to look at the joint check-points.
8 You referred to them having a separate check-point. Do you mean
9 by that that they were in the same place but 20 metres or even 30 metres
10 apart from where the fundamental police had their check-point?
11 A. Yes. As a rule, we covered the same roads. Distances varying
12 depending on the lie of the land between the two, 20, 30, or even 10
13 metres, in some cases.
14 Q. And was one of the reasons for that that it made sense to filter
15 the military police into dealing with the military; and you to have a
16 filter dealing with civilians, so that the task became easier to divide
17 the two separate groups?
18 A. Precisely.
19 Q. However, did it then change so that you started to work not
20 separately but as mixed check-points, where you would both be together at
21 the same point?
22 A. Precisely.
23 MR. KAY: If we could just look at Exhibit D49, please.
24 Q. This is a document dated the 18th of August. And it was sent by
25 Mr. Moric to the police administrations, including Knin, and concerns
1 crimes being committed, and also individuals who are not members of the
2 Croatian army but are wrongfully wearing Croatian army uniforms, as well
3 as individuals who are formally and actually members of the Croatian
4 army. And then he made an order. And we can see at paragraph 3 he
5 refers to mixed check-points and mixed patrols, as well as, in 4, he
6 refers to on-site investigations that would be conducted after every case
7 of torching and illegal taking away of property as of today.
8 Do you remember receiving this order from -- from Mr. Moric,
9 which was sent to the Knin police administration?
10 A. I can't remember specifically receiving this document. I do,
11 however, believe that I received it and that the document was followed
13 Q. Would it be the sort of matter that Mr. Djurica was discussing
14 with the police commanders when he came to the region?
15 A. I think so.
16 Q. In your work that you were trying to do, were you attempting to
17 stop criminal offences being committed?
18 A. That was certainly the case. To the extent that it was possible,
19 under the circumstances. We had very few available police officers.
20 When I say available, I mean not manning any check-points or securing any
21 facilities or features in the area. We would, as a matter of fact, send
22 out patrols to areas in which crimes were occurring, such as looting and
23 arson. Whenever there were police officers patrolling an area, as a
24 rule, nothing would happen. But even so, just by dispatching officers to
25 an area we already achieved something, as a rule. It's difficult to say
1 whether in this way we actually managed to forestall or prevent any
2 crimes from happening, but that's what we did.
3 Q. And how closely did you supervise your police officers who were
4 working for you?
5 A. We toured police-manned check-points on an almost daily basis.
6 One of us, one of the coordinators, perhaps Mr. Baric, normally with the
7 chief of the police administration, Mr. Romanic or the commander of the
8 police station, we would go out and tour the check-points to make sure
9 for ourselves whether they were manning the points that they were
10 supposed to be manning, whether they were carrying out their assignments
11 as ordered and what sort of problems they were encountering. So yes, we
12 did check regularly. As for police teams being dispatched to certain
13 areas, they were impossible to keep under control in the same way.
14 Q. Point 4 of the document we've just looked at, which refers to
15 "on-site investigations and forensic and operative criminal processing
16 will be conducted after every case of torching ... houses and illegal
17 taking away of people's movable property," were you aware if on-site
18 investigations were not being conducted in relation to these sorts of
19 crimes before the 18th of August?
20 A. As far as I remember, prior to this order, such incidents were
21 just recorded in our logs and then there would be numerical accounts of
22 these incidents that would, in due course, be forwarded to the Ministry
23 of Interior.
24 Q. In what circumstances would you conduct -- contact the crime
25 police in Zadar-Knin?
1 A. Whenever the assistance of the crime police was required or
2 whenever they had to go an area to carry out an on-site investigation,
3 depending very much on the situation. And then someone would be informed
4 in the Zadar police administration. Sometimes this would be done by
5 Mr. Romanic directly; sometimes it would be the duty officers of the
6 police station. Once they'd got their system set up a little, they would
7 send operative reports to the Zadar police administration, depending on
8 the incident and depending on the channel that was used to forward this
9 type of information.
10 This, of course, was the case whenever a crime occurred and
11 whenever an on-site investigation was required.
12 Q. Were you able to contact Zadar-Knin right from the start to ask
13 them to carry out on-site investigations, if a crime was recorded or
14 reported to you?
15 A. As I say, in the first days it was very difficult to communicate
16 and it was slow going because we needed to dispatch a messenger to Zadar
17 to take our messages there, and the same thing applied the other way
18 around. Nonetheless, when the presence of the crime police was required,
19 information would always be sent through to them eventually. The only
20 matter here was the time-lag between this and the time we found out.
21 MR. KAY: Can we look at Exhibit D584, please. This a document
22 dated 19th of August, 1995, from Mr. Cetina, the chief of the Zadar-Knin
23 police administration, and it concerns the previous document we've just
24 looked at. And he refers to a meeting on the 16th of August, with the
25 deputy commander of the 72nd Battalion of the military police,
1 Mr. Primorac, which was held on that day. And on the 17th of August,
2 1995, a meeting with the commander of the 71st Battalion of military
3 police, Mr. Matanic. And both those men pointed out that "coordinated
4 action at all check-points was impossible due to lack of personnel."
5 Q. First of all, were you aware of any contacts that Mr. Cetina had
6 with the military police concerning joint work with the ordinary police?
7 A. In some way, yes. I certainly was informed about that directly
8 through Mr. Cetina or perhaps following Mr. Baric's meetings with
9 officers of the military police or perhaps following meetings with
10 General Cermak.
11 At any rate, I must have known about that in the meetings in one
12 way or another. It's difficult for me to pinpoint this exactly, as it
13 has been a long time.
14 Q. Was that a problem that you were aware of, that there were
15 insufficient numbers of military police to do some of the tasks required
16 of them?
17 A. I'm positive that that was one of the major problems. There was
18 a problem involving uniformed police and I believe the same applied to
19 the military police. They were unable to cover all the requirements.
20 I don't know about the numbers of men the military police had
21 available to them at the time.
22 Q. You referred to the meetings that took place. In relation to
23 meetings with General Cermak, it's right that you, yourself, didn't
24 attend any of those meetings.
25 A. No. I never even met General Cermak in person. I knew that he
1 was around, but we simply never happened to be in the same room. As
2 simple as that.
3 Q. And did you know what his job was in Knin?
4 A. I can tell you what my understanding was at the time and, as a
5 matter of fact, it still is.
6 His role was to bring together the civilian authorities, the
7 civilian police, the role of the army in the area. His role was that of
8 coordination. He was supposed to link up all these different activities.
9 Q. And was that why there were these meetings at garrison command?
10 A. I believe so. He, too, had to know what was going on and he had
11 to know everything that the police knew about and all the steps taken by
12 the police. In addition to police work like that, I believe he had to
13 monitor everything else that was going on. Therefore, the meetings were
14 necessary, even on a daily basis.
15 Q. And was this because of the circumstances of Knin having been
16 liberated and was not a fully functioning or normally functioning town?
17 A. Certainly. There wasn't a single body that could do its work
18 properly at the time. We were warming up, getting into our stride, as it
19 were. And the same applied to the civilian authorities, the medical
20 bodies that were operating in the area. So the problems faced over those
21 first couple of days were great, and what this required was someone
22 linking up all these different fields of activity.
23 Q. Did it make sense to you, then, to have all these different
24 agencies meeting to discuss problems?
25 A. I believe that it did. This was the only way we could get
1 ourselves up and running. This was the only way we could start doing
2 something in terms of exchanging information, see what the other people
3 were having to deal with and how it -- how they were going about
4 resolving any difficulty or problems that they were facing.
5 Q. For instance, opening of shops or banks. Was that the kind of
6 information that would be important for you to know, if that was
7 happening in Knin town?
8 A. Most certainly. We, too, had to keep a close watch on such
9 facilities and features in order to prevent any looting or robbery. It
10 was only to be expected that such institutions and facilities would be at
11 a risk.
12 Q. And from what you say about meetings, is it right that the
13 fundamental police, through Mr. Baric or through Mr. Romanic, had
14 separate meetings with the military police outside of meetings at
15 General Cermak's office?
16 A. Yes. There were several meetings on the military police
18 Q. And were you aware of meetings taking place at a higher level,
19 where Mr. Moric from the Ministry of Interior, General Lausic from the
20 military police administration and other senior MUP and military police
21 personnel, were meeting to discuss problems that they both faced in the
22 liberated areas?
23 A. We were informed about such meetings at our own meetings with
24 Mr. Djurica or directly by Mr. Moric, who would send us written notes
25 about such meetings.
1 Q. The problems that other agencies faced within the town and region
2 of Knin, were they reported to you; for instance, the problems in getting
3 the normalization of life to the town?
4 A. Sometimes we would learn about these problems in other secondary
5 ways. But we didn't look into our people's business that much because we
6 each dealt with our own business within our own respective systems. So,
7 yes, we were aware of problems faced by the health bodies or
8 institutions. We would get reports from further afield or we would
9 ourselves sometimes drive people to hospitals to collection or reception
10 centres. People were hungry and thirsty. We would go on to inform
11 civilian authorities about these situations, the social welfare office or
12 Mr. Pasic, or Pasalic's office, or whatever his name was.
13 There were steps that were taken, but this wasn't really our line
14 of work or our concern in the strictest sense of the word.
15 Q. In terms of the military hierarchy, the structure of the
16 military, do you know about that, how the military was structured, about
17 the ranks and positions within the military of the Republic of Croatia
18 A. I didn't busy myself thinking about that at the time. Even now,
19 I'm still unable to really distinguish.
20 Q. Have you ever served in the military?
21 A. Yes. Back in 1972. That was my regular military term with the
22 JNA. The conditions had changed, obviously, after the breakup of
24 Q. Let's turn to 1995. Did you know what position within the
25 Croatian military General Cermak had?
1 A. As far as I remember, he was a general. I'm not sure which unit
2 he commanded. I do know that he was a commander in the Knin area. But
3 which unit, how many men, I was never privy to that type of detail about
4 the Croatian army, and I never looked hard, if you see what I mean. I
5 know that he was the commander in chief in Knin.
6 Q. In terms of his actual position, did you know what that was, what
7 his position within the Split Military District was?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And in your statement, you say: "In my opinion, General Cermak
10 was in charge of the military." Do you think you had enough knowledge to
11 give an opinion such as that? Did you know enough about the military to
12 give your opinion as to whether he was in charge of the military?
13 A. No. Not then, not now, as I explained a minute ago. I wasn't
14 familiar with the military structure or hierarchy of the Croatian army.
15 When I stated that, I knew that he was the main commander for the army,
16 which is really a very broad notion, but I did not know anything more
17 specific than that about his powers or about his specific units.
18 Q. And in relation to any area of responsibility, did you know
19 anything about that, what his area of responsibility was?
20 A. As far as I know, the newly liberated territory or what used to
21 be known as Kotar-Knin.
22 Q. And did you have any document or information about that that told
23 you that, or is it a guess?
24 A. It's a guess. I had no information available to me, orally or
1 Q. And as for him being a commander of the military in the Knin
2 area, was that because you had any information or was it because it's a
4 A. This was my conclusion. General Cermak was the highest ranking
5 officer that we worked with, in terms of coordinating with the army. I
6 believe no one outranked him in the area. This was a logical conclusion
7 that I draw intuitively, you might say, but I did not see any documents
8 to that effect, and that is about as much as I can say.
9 Q. So would it be fair to say, then, that it's because of his rank
10 that you make these statements of opinion, rather than knowing what his
11 function was?
12 MR. MARGETTS: Excuse me, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Margetts.
14 MR. MARGETTS: The witness has given an answer that's based upon
15 his experience.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Which is why there then -- what's just put to
17 him, I take it that that's what you'd like it raise.
18 MR. MARGETTS: Yes. I think it would be more fair to -- to --
19 acknowledge that -- those aspects of the witness's answer.
20 MR. KAY: There's nothing wrong with the question.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Well, of course, there's a -- I beg your pardon.
22 MR. KAY: Your Honour, in my submission there is nothing wrong
23 with the question at all. And in fact --
24 JUDGE ORIE: No, there's nothing wrong with the question.
25 Nevertheless, if it -- whether it gives the -- certainly in
1 cross-examination you can put to a witness something he has not yet said,
2 that, as such -- not wrong. At the same time, I wonder whether it gives
3 us always the best evidence available.
4 Mr. Buhin, you said General Cermak was the highest ranking
5 officer that you worked with, in terms of coordinating with the army.
6 Now, was it just because he was a general; or was it also on the
7 type of work he was involved that you concluded that he was the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Most probably because we cooperated
10 with him and he was a general by rank. It was only a lengthy period
11 after I had returned from Knin that I found out that General Gotovina had
12 been there as well. General Zagorac was also referred to. During my
13 stay in Knin I had never heard of those persons in fact.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Were there areas, according to your knowledge, for
15 which General Cermak was not competent to deal, was it limited to certain
16 areas? You mentioned the coordination between civilians and the army.
17 Were there -- did you learn anything about the activities in which he was
18 involved, being, as you said, the highest ranking person you were aware
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As regards his other activities and
21 his participation in dealing with other problems, I cannot say anything
22 about that.
23 I know that he was in charge of coordination, that there were
24 coordination meetings, in fact, at General Cermak's office; but to what
25 an extent he participated in resolving other problems, I don't know. I
1 know that we informed him and submitted to him reports on the work of the
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 Mr. Kay, please proceed.
5 MR. KAY:
6 Q. Just looking that other matter. When you say, "I know we
7 informed him and submitted to him reports on the work of the police,"
8 first of all, you're not talking about written reports. Is that right?
9 A. No. No. We would inform him orally. Rather, colleague Baric
10 and colleague Cedo Romanic would report on problems, would inform about
11 problems that we were encountering and about the planned activity of the
12 police and what the police was to do. In some instances we sought
13 cooperation with the military police. We pointed out problems, problems
14 associated with people in military uniform freely moving about. So, in
15 principle, at such meetings, we informed him of what we had learned and
16 about what we -- and told him what we thought should be done.
17 Q. And that information was being given to him because he was
18 coordinating other agencies in the area. Is that right?
19 A. The practice was for us to cooperate closely with him and to
20 inform him of things. He probably required such information in order to
21 be able to coordinate with other agencies in the area.
22 Q. Yes. You said quite clearly yesterday that Mr. Cermak could not
23 command you in the police. Isn't that right?
24 A. That's right.
25 Q. Because you're in a separate hierarchy from the military. Isn't
1 that right?
2 A. Yes, that is right. We received orders directly from the
3 Ministry of the Interior. We complied with them in accordance with our
4 powers, and wherever there was something controversial, we always sought
5 the approval and consent of the minister of the interior. We could not
6 get any orders from the army directly.
7 Q. And what was happening was that information was being given to
8 General Cermak by the civilian police. Is that right?
9 A. From our side, yes.
10 Q. And at the meetings, you would see if there was information from
11 other agencies who required the help of the fundamental police. Is that
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, could we learn what meetings you are
14 referring to.
15 MR. KAY: I'm referring to the meetings at General Cermak's
16 office, Your Honour. I haven't diverted from that.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Which were not attended by the witness.
18 MR. KAY: Well, he was asked about it in chief, so I've been
19 dealing with it this way, Your Honour. The Prosecution asked about it so
20 I --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
22 MR. KAY:
23 Q. Yes. Sorry, I will repeat -- to be fair to you, I'll repeat the
25 JUDGE ORIE: You asked the witness --
1 MR. KAY: My eyes are not so good as they were.
2 JUDGE ORIE: -- what was happening was that information was being
3 given to General Cermak by the civilian police. Is that right? And
4 then -- let me just see.
5 MR. KAY: I think there's something missing on the transcript.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I see that the meetings are missing.
7 MR. KAY: Yes.
8 MR. MARGETTS: It refers to a technical difficulty at 54, 22.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see that. Page 54, line 22. That's just
10 before my intervention, Mr. Kay, there was a technical difficulty.
11 Perhaps you try to catch up from there.
12 MR. KAY: My eyes weren't as bad as I thought they were --
13 JUDGE ORIE: No, no.
14 MR. KAY: -- because I couldn't see it. Now I know the answer.
15 Q. And to be fair, you didn't go to the meeting so you don't know
16 what was discussed. Is that right, Mr. Buhin?
17 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour, I'm not entirely sure that the --
18 that's a logical conclusion. And --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I don't think that you have to be concerned
20 about that, because --
21 MR. KAY: You asked --
22 JUDGE ORIE: -- in view of the question Mr. Kay did put, he is
23 certainly not seeking the witness to say, No, I have got no idea what
24 happened there. That's for -- because I wasn't present.
25 The reason I intervened, Mr. Kay, is because you used, although I
1 can't read it anymore, what you observed in the meetings. That's the
2 reason why I intervened.
3 MR. KAY: Yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Let's leave it to Mr. Kay for the time being.
5 MR. KAY: And I was trying to follow, Your Honour, to assist on
6 that matter.
7 JUDGE ORIE: That is clear and Mr. Margetts assisted us --
8 MR. KAY: He didn't object against Your Honour but he did --
9 JUDGE ORIE: He wisely did not.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. KAY:
12 Q. Mr. Buhin, back, then, to business.
13 At the meetings that were held at the offices of General Cermak,
14 just so we establish this, you've told us you weren't present, and so
15 we're right to say you don't know what was actually said. Is that
17 A. After these meetings were held, we would talk about it. In the
18 police station -- in the police administration so that I was informed
19 about the substance of the meetings by colleagues who had attended the
21 Q. Very right, and that's a very good answer. And that's what I
22 want to ask you about. Was it clear to you from how they spoke to you,
23 that at those meetings they were told to do their job of policing?
24 A. I don't know whether they had to be told that. We knew what we
25 were to do and we merely informed the General about what was going on and
1 what we were doing about it.
2 Q. And would your colleagues come back and report problems that
3 other agencies were talking about in the meetings?
4 A. If it touched upon work, police work, we would discuss that too.
5 What was not of the essence for the work of the police would not be
6 related to me.
7 Q. For instance, if I give an example and tell me if it's a wrong
8 example, civilians coming into the region who had previously lived there
9 and were looking to get back to their properties and homes. Was that a
10 problem that was discussed after a meeting between you, Mr. Baric,
11 Mr. Romanic?
12 A. Definitely must have been a problem, because there was a
13 procedure in place for registering those persons who were found there
14 after Operation Oluja as well as of persons who arrived in the area.
15 Q. And this caused a big problem that the police had to deal with,
16 because the number of people coming into the region was expanding by each
18 A. Yes, it was a problem, because very soon after our own arrival, a
19 large number of civilians started flocking in and they were hard to keep
20 tabs on, and that was an extra effort on our part.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, could we try to become a bit more concrete
22 so as if you say, was that a problem, what I'd like to know from the
23 witness is if this was discussed, what did this result in, what did you,
24 as a police officer, or a police force, what did you do about the newly
25 coming in -- what were your activities in this respect.
1 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour. I was going to actually take it in
2 stages, identify what the problem was and then what they --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do see. But if we get a broad description of
4 many, many problems, of course, if it is obvious that people coming in
5 may have created a problem, then we could more quickly go to -- to come
6 to the point.
7 MR. KAY: Yes, very well.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Such as if the witness tells us that they raise the
9 issue of people in uniforms freely moving around, apparently a matter
10 which was raised with Mr. Cermak, then what I'd like to know is what was
11 the result of having raised this. Did you -- what was the result of any
12 coordinating activity, what did you do about people in uniform freely
13 moving around, just as to what extent did you adapt your work to the
14 people coming in newly?
15 What -- what concrete steps, what concrete activity, or what
16 change in your activity was the result of what was discussed during these
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In respect of the free movement of
19 persons in military uniform, it was practically impossible for us to take
20 any measures. The General informed us that we should be patient and that
21 units of the Croatian army would be withdrawing from Knin very shortly.
22 The few people that would remain would be easier to deal with by the
23 police. And that was so indeed. But the problem that we had was that a
24 large number of civilians had arrived over a very short period of time --
25 JUDGE ORIE: That comes then to the second point. You said about
1 the people in uniform freely moving around almost nothing or nothing
2 could be done. Now you come to the other point.
3 Mr. Kay, if you want to take it in small steps. But let me say
4 the following. If we want to move forward, you can take too big steps
5 and can you also take many, many very small steps, which certainly slows
6 down the way in which you proceed.
7 MR. KAY: I don't want to frustrate the Court with this, but
8 there are a number of different issues in relation to --
9 JUDGE ORIE: If you can find a fair balance between proceeding
10 and not taking too big steps but also not too small steps.
11 MR. KAY: Yes.
12 Q. Had it been expected that a large number of civilians would come
13 into the area as soon as they did?
14 A. No. We were taken by surprise because it had not been announced.
15 After the arrival of the train and the establishment of regular services,
16 a large number of civilians came and we had difficulty receiving all of
17 them. People's papers needed to be checked, people went to see their
18 flats, their facilities, their houses. People had to be able to prove
19 that the things they had taken were indeed theirs, and these were the
20 kinds of problems that the civilian police had to grapple with.
21 Q. Are you able to say where these civilians were coming from?
22 A. From all over Croatia
23 were in the areas of Split
25 Q. And as the MUP, were you able to stop them coming in?
1 A. No. This was an order that came from the top, I'm not sure
2 whether from the government or the Presidency of Croatia, that was
3 transmitted to the Ministry of Interior that they should be able to pass
4 through with passes and being registered, but later, this practice was
5 abolished so that they could come without having to produce any passes.
6 And then there were persons who came into the area just out of curiosity,
7 to see what it looked like.
8 Q. You referred yesterday to the train and the president coming to
9 Knin on the train. Were you aware if the train from Split to Zagreb
10 actually running into Knin before the president came on the freedom
12 A. I don't know about the train. I don't know that the train passed
13 there before that.
14 MR. KAY: Your Honour, that might be a convenient moment. If I
15 check whether I've got any more cross-examination to do, I've finished
16 earlier, if I have; or I will certainly finish earlier if I have a bit
17 more to do.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll leave you some time to consider that.
19 We'll have a break, and we'll resume at 6.00.
20 [The witness stands down]
21 --- Recess taken at 5.37 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 6.02 p.m.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay. Oh, we have no witness yet.
24 Could the witness be brought into the courtroom.
25 MR. KAY: Your Honour, to let the Court know, I have finished my
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
3 Number two was you, Mr. Mikulicic.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: I will be the number two, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Buhin, Mr. Kay informed us that he has finished
9 his questioning. You will now be cross-examined by Mr. Mikulicic.
10 Mr. Mikulicic is counsel for Mr. Markac.
11 Mr. Mikulicic, please proceed.
12 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Buhin.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. I will be asking you some questions on behalf of General Markac's
17 Defence. Before we begin, I will ask you to please bear in mind the fact
18 that whatever we are saying is being interpreted for the benefit of the
19 court record. Therefore, please pause after each of my questions before
20 you start your answer and I will do the same, which will allow us to give
21 the interpreters a chance to do their job properly.
22 A. I understand.
23 Q. Mr. Buhin, you have been with the police for a long time. How
24 long was your career with the police?
25 A. 20 years.
1 Q. You consider yourself an experienced police officer, right?
2 A. Indeed, I do.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, could Mr. Mikulicic please
4 speak a little closer to the microphone because we can't hear him
5 properly. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Could you speak closer to the microphone,
7 Mr. Mikulicic.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: I will try to.
9 Q. [Interpretation] On the eve of Operation Storm, you were with the
10 Ministry of Interior. Which department?
11 A. Uniformed police.
12 Q. At the time, were you with the prevention unit of the uniformed
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have D527 brought
16 up. Thank you.
17 Q. Mr. Buhin, we are about to see the decree on the internal
18 structure and modus operandi of the Ministry of Interior of the
19 Republic of Croatia
20 decree talks about how the MUP is organised.
21 If we move on to page 4, we see that the decree talks about the
22 police sector.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Page 4, please. Thank you.
24 Q. We have the police department within the police sector; that is
25 Article 10. And within the police department, we have two sections, the
1 prevention section and the security section. That's on the next page.
2 But we will not be needing this for the time being.
3 You told us that you were with the prevention section. Just to
4 remind you, may I put it to you that this section's job was to make
5 proposals and take measures to train police and also to make proposals
6 for measures and provide any technical assistance as well as supervise
7 work done in various police administrations.
8 These are the legal foundations and the result of these -- one of
9 the results is the role of coordinator. Do you agree with me?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. The role of coordinator is a peculiar one within the Ministry of
12 Interior. This isn't something that is envisaged by this decree. Is
13 that not a fact, sir?
14 A. Indeed, it is.
15 Q. This role, in a way, was something that was agreed within the
16 ministry because of the newly arisen situation in the liberated area.
17 What was required was to find a way to set up the police bodies in the
18 area, right?
19 A. Yes. And I believe that this was the practical solution for that
20 problem at that time.
21 Q. Prior to Operation Storm, the role of coordinator was envisaged
22 in Knin in a certain way, but prior to Operation Storm that never
23 existed, did it, that role?
24 A. That is true. This was the first time I came across anything
25 like that.
1 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... pause now and
2 then. May I remind to you do the same.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour, I'm sorry. I apologise.
4 Q. [Interpretation] We've heard already about the way in which it
5 worked and what your principle task was. It was to help uniformed
6 police, right?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. But you had nothing do with the crime police, did you?
9 A. No, not directly.
10 Q. The need for a coordinator, this -- this is a newly liberated
11 area and one had to set up a police administration as well as police
12 stations within the existing framework. You agree with me, right?
13 A. Indeed, I do.
14 Q. When you came there, you found a chief of the police
15 administration there and that was Mr. Romanic, right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I'm looking at your statement, P963, paragraph 12. You say that
18 Mr. Romanic was a very professional police officer. You believe that
19 Serbs were appointed to certain positions within the police for political
20 motives, but you couldn't tell which political motives precisely.
21 Let us say a thing or two about that as well.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have 65 ter 3143.
23 Q. Mr. Buhin, what we're about to look at is the constitutional Law
24 on Human Rights and Freedoms and the Rights of Ethnic Minorities in the
25 Republic of Croatia
1 The Trial Chamber is aware of the fact that in Croatia's
2 territory there was a substantial Serb ethnic minority. Under the
3 constitution, they had certain rights.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Article 19 of
5 the constitutional law displayed.
6 Q. This is about proportional representation in bodies of government
7 and this is it about the representatives of various ethnic minorities.
8 Can you please look at Article 19, Mr. Buhin, it reads: "Members of
9 ethnic national communities or minorities have the right to be
10 represented in the bodies of local self-government in proportion to their
11 share in the overall population of the respective local self-government
13 Now that I have shown you this law, this constitutional law, do
14 you agree with me that the matter of appointing a chief of police
15 administration in an area that, according to the census, was
16 predominantly Serb is a move that is politically clever but it is also
17 based on the constitutional law and it follows from this constitutional
19 A. I'm entirely in agreement with you.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have a number for
21 this 65 ter document. Thank you.
22 MR. MARGETTS: No objection, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit number D836.
25 JUDGE ORIE: D836 is admitted into evidence.
1 Mr. Mikulicic, you were referring to paragraph 12 of the -- of
2 P963. As it appears in e-court, it is without numbering of paragraphs.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes. That will be in the -- in the Croatian
4 version that will be paragraph one, two, three, four, on page 3.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Just so that we save other people from
6 counting all the paragraphs.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: I did it by myself.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. In English it is page 3, the fourth paragraph.
9 Please proceed.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Therefore, when you arrived in Knin, you met the
12 newly appointed chief of the police administration, and the commander of
13 the police station, Mr. Mihic, right?
14 A. Yes, Mr. Romanic and Mr. Mihic. That's right.
15 Q. You describe the situation that you found when you came, there no
16 electricity, no telephone, it was difficult, and so on and so forth.
17 Nevertheless, would you agree -- you said there was a shortage of police
18 officers. Was this not also a consequence of the fact that many
19 experienced Serb police officers, if I may put it that way, during the
20 existence of the Republic of Serbian Krajina changed sides, thereby
21 abandoning their positions within the Croatian police or the Croatian
22 Ministry of Interior?
23 A. That is certainly true, yes.
24 Q. One had to make up for all those absences, not just in terms of
25 numbers but also in terms of professional skill and ability, right?
1 A. Yes. One tried to compensate for that, but there were a lot of
2 policemen who hadn't even completed their elementary schooling, and the
3 courses they followed or the training programmes were sometimes no longer
4 than two months which was fairly insufficient to qualify them for police
5 work, but that was what the situation dictated.
6 Q. At the time, Mr. Buhin, did you have the following experience.
7 The Ministry of Interior, in terms how it was structured, was at the very
8 centre, and it did what it could to bring manning levels up in these
9 police administrations across the newly liberated areas. They did what
10 they could and that also entailed your role of coordinator, did it not?
11 A. Yes. The ministry did what it could at the time, what it could
12 reasonably be expected to do, under the circumstances, and this entailed
13 all the police administrations and police stations across Croatia
14 were seconded, to the extent possible, without jeopardizing or
15 compromising the work of local police in the areas from which men were
16 being seconded to the newly liberated areas.
17 Q. You, the coordinators, were, in a manner of speaking, a tool
18 employed by this policy. The policy being to get the greatest possible
19 assistance to these local police stations and units that were being set
20 up. Is that right?
21 A. Yes. And this was probably the only course of action open to us
22 at the time because the newly appointed chief of the police
23 administration and the commander of the police station had little or no
24 experience in leadership, and they knew little or nothing about how to
25 run a police administration or a police station. They were to some
1 extent experienced police officers but they needed assistance in terms of
2 organizing all these things and setting them up.
3 Q. You also testified that there was another problem. Some of the
4 police officers seconded from other areas across Croatia were not
5 entirely familiar with the area, with the lie of the land. However, you
6 also say that a lot of the ground was booby-trapped. Therefore, it was
7 dangerous to leave any of the main roads and take any of the village
8 roads leading to villages in that mountainous area. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes. All of that is entirely correct.
10 Q. Mr. Buhin, what about these booby-trapped areas?
11 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Mikulicic,
12 listening to your question, I made some comments when Mr. Kay
13 cross-examined the witness. I said small steps, big steps. It seems
14 that you are taking rather big steps. And also I asked him to focus on
15 what we -- what was done concretely.
16 Now if I listen to your last question, that reflects almost
17 literally what the witness said about the reasons why, in the Grubori
18 incident, the people that were sent caused them not to be able to find
19 it, unfamiliar with the area -- everything is more or less repetition.
20 Now, is there any reason to deal with that in a general way,
21 where it has been explained in the very concrete circumstances of people
22 being sent to Grubori. And that question came to my mind several times.
23 Is there any need to give the big picture -- of course, I'm not saying
24 that background and environment is -- is not of some importance. But of
25 primary importance is what the witness observed, what he saw, what he
1 heard, what he did, et cetera, of course in the context of the totality.
2 And where I invited Mr. Kay to find a balance, I would like to invite you
3 also to find a balance between what is background, general information,
4 and what is concrete, not knowledge of this witness.
5 Please proceed.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: I understand, Your Honour. I will move on.
7 Q. [Interpretation] We mentioned the areas that were booby-trapped.
8 The mines needed clearing and this was something that was done by
9 specially trained units, right?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. On the part of the Ministry of Interior, we are talking about
12 special police units. Is that right?
13 A. I think not. There were areas that were booby-trapped, areas
14 that we were informed about as being booby-trapped, and these areas were
15 cleared by special civil protection units. There was a special team in
16 charge of that.
17 Q. Talking about special police, it is not the houses, the buildings
18 there that I had in mind. I meant the ground covered and searched by the
19 special police while tracking down any remaining enemies and then there
20 were mines that were laid there and booby-traps and so on and so forth.
21 So that was one of the tasks of the special police?
22 A. Yes, that's true. That was one of their tasks.
23 Q. I'm about to show you a document that is already an exhibit.
24 This is D399.
25 This is a document produced by the chief of the -- military
1 police administration, Mr. Lausic, and we are going straight to page 2.
2 It reads: "In addition to combat activity, members of the special police
3 also were responsible for searching the area."
4 The Chamber knows about other documents that talk about this as
5 well. It's D293. And then the next document would be D399, as well as
6 D506, and D554. Further, D559, and so on and so forth.
7 All these documents show that the military police with its own
8 units, to a large extent, was involved in clearing and searching the
10 Mr. Buhin, if we look at this order that is on our screens right
11 now, if we go to the last page of that order, we shall see that it was
12 not delivered to the Ministry of Interior, which means that you were not
13 informed about this. Is that the reason that you were unfamiliar, as you
14 said, with the fact that members of the military police, too, were
15 involved in searching and clearing the ground?
16 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour, the conclusion --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Conclusion, Mr. Mikulicic, what you said, it's not
18 addressed to this unit or person or institution. So therefore you have
19 not seen it. That's a conclusion which is not for you to draw. If
20 there's a chance that the witness may have seen, you could ask him and
21 otherwise you just say this is a document addressed to.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: I was trying to make a big step, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, yes, yes.
24 MR. MARGETTS: Yes. And also, Mr. President, I think the
25 suggestion was a little bit broader than that. It was referring to the
1 subject matter suggesting --
2 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that Mr. Mikulicic will now take some
3 smaller steps.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: Okay.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Buhin, can you please go to the very last
6 page of this order, or, rather, this report. If I look at my copy, I see
7 at least who it was delivered to. But, all right, we can go on and use a
8 different copy.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] 65 ter 03242, please.
10 Q. I'm about to show you another order of the military police
11 administration. The chief, Mate Lausic, if you look at Article 2 you
12 will see that anti-terror platoons and other members of the military
13 police - and it's the 9th of August, 1995, that we are talking about -
14 these people are involved in combat. They need to be rested, and then
15 they need to be sent out to search and clear these newly liberated areas
16 of the Republic of Croatia
17 My question to you, sir, is have you ever seen an order like
19 A. No, I haven't.
20 Q. This order was sent to the military police; but we do not see it
21 being sent, at the very least, to the attention of the Ministry of
23 If we go to page 2 of this order, we see that it was delivered to
24 the defence minister, to the chief of the Main Staff, to the assistant
25 minister for security, and to a number of commanders. Therefore, no
1 Ministry of Interior.
2 I am putting it to you that your ignorance of the fact that the
3 military police was involved searching the ground is a result of the fact
4 that you were not among the addressees and did not receive any of their
5 orders. Do you agree?
6 A. Indeed, I do.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have a number for
8 03242 ter. Thank you.
9 MR. MARGETTS: No objection, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit number D837, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: D837 is admitted into evidence.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Buhin, we've been looking at some orders to do with the
16 military police. I'm about to show you a different order, and this is
18 This is an order by the chief of Croatian army's Main Staff,
19 General Zvonimir Cervenko. The date is the 14th of August.
20 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... but I'd -- yes,
22 Mr. Mikulicic, let me try to understand the evidence you're
23 eliciting from this witness. You asked him about the tasks of the
24 special police - I'm referring to page 69 - what their tasks were and you
25 said tracking down remaining enemies and there were mines that were laid
1 and booby-traps and so on. So you gave -- and then the witness confirmed
2 that that was the task of the special police.
3 Now, in relation to the last document, you said: "I'm putting to
4 you that your ignorance of the fact that" -- oh, that was the military
5 police here. I'm sorry, I made a mistake, Mr. Mikulicic.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour --
7 JUDGE ORIE: And I now understand your testimony which I did
8 not --
9 MR. MIKULICIC: -- what I'm trying to do is to show up that --
10 JUDGE ORIE: It's clear you are making --
11 MR. MIKULICIC: -- besides the special police, there were others
12 who were also performing the mop-up operations.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's clear to me now.
14 Please proceed.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. [Interpretation] In respect of what you see, I shall first ask
17 you, Mr. Buhin, did you ever have occasion to see the order of the chief
18 of the Main Staff of the Croatian army?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Look at first -- at B on the first page, what the Chief of Staff
21 is ordering. He says: "Reserve forces, namely, Home Guard and domicile
22 units as well as intervention guard units, should be used to search the
23 terrain and mop up areas from any remaining or possibly infiltrated enemy
24 bands in an organised, planned and consecutive fashion."
25 You told us that you personally have not seen this order or
1 anything similar, and I should like to refer you to page 5 of the same
2 order, which shows that this order was not submitted to anybody within
3 the Ministry of Interior.
4 Mr. Buhin, having seen these documents, do you agree that some
5 other units, other than special police units, also participated in the
6 searching and mopping up of the terrain during and immediately after
7 Operation Oluja?
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Margetts.
9 MR. MARGETTS: Mr. President, I'm not entirely sure that the
10 witness has had an opportunity to see these documents. We're moving very
11 fast. The witness has given a lot of evidence about certain things that
12 he may not have received that certain discussions that people he was
13 associated with may have had, so if we want to explore the witness's
14 knowledge about these topics, I suggest we do so properly. If the
15 witness's evidence on these matters is not so relevant, then I'm not
16 entirely sure about the use of putting these documents to him at this
18 JUDGE ORIE: I think there are two issues, Mr. Mikulicic. The
19 one is what is the knowledge of this witness about tasks for the military
20 police in mopping up operations; that's one. And the second, the witness
21 told us that he was not aware of that.
22 The second issue, then, is whether these documents are evidence
23 that they were. The witness may not be able to tell us anything about
24 it. It may be a matter of drawing conclusions. If the witness says,
25 I've not thoroughly studied this but that is the conclusion of these
1 documents, then that is it a matter that is not a knowledge of facts that
2 the witness observed.
3 I do understand that you would like to tender these documents as
4 evidence that what the witness did not know -- at least on the basis of
5 the documents, is probable or you may even consider it to be proven. I
6 leave that to you what conclusions to draw out of that. But to ask the
7 witness documents of five pages which he hasn't -- which he has not
8 studied, to say whether this rebuts what he did not know to be the case,
9 that might not be a very good way of proceeding.
10 This is not in any way to stop you to present this evidence but
11 just to make a clear distinction between what the witness can tell us and
12 what you invite the Chamber to conclude on the basis of documents you're
14 MR. MIKULICIC: I'll move on, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please do so.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Let's move on to another topic. It is about civilian protection.
18 What information did you have during the time you were in Knin as
19 a coordinator about the role and task of the civilian protection? Did
20 you have any contacts with them, with representatives of the civilian
22 A. We had contacts with them on a daily basis. They would inform us
23 of where they would go, which areas they would go to in order to de-mine
24 them, and they asked for our assistance there, to provide the necessary
25 security. And we know that they also cleared up, cleaned flats, streets,
1 different premises, and they encountered a multitude of problems because
2 they didn't have the necessary equipment, the necessary vehicles, and
3 they operated under very difficult conditions.
4 Q. Can you recall what were the civilian protection members wearing?
5 Did they have any kind of uniform? What were they wearing?
6 A. I cannot describe their uniforms.
7 Q. You said, Mr. Buhin, that their task was to enter flats and
8 houses that had been abandoned by the departing Serbian population from
9 that area.
10 What was it that they were supposed to look for and establish in
11 such houses and flats?
12 A. The greater problems were the refrigerators that were left loaded
13 with meat because, due to combat operations, the electricity was down and
14 there would be no electricity for five or ten days. So the meat in them
15 rotted and there were maggots actually emerging from the refrigerators.
16 As far as we knew, this threatened with large-scale epidemic, and that is
17 one of the tasks that they had to carry out.
18 Q. Will you tell us, you said a while ago that they were poorly
19 equipped. What vehicles did the civilian protection member use when they
20 took away such objects from the abandoned houses and flats?
21 A. To the best of my recollection, they had a small number of very
22 few trucks, i.e., freight vehicles. In most cases, they would exactly
23 habilitate the vehicles which they had found in the liberated area to
24 suit their particular purpose.
25 Q. Are you referring to civilian vehicles?
1 A. Yes. Any vehicles, all vehicles that they found and that they
2 could put to some use.
3 Q. You also mentioned as one of the duties of the civilian
4 protection members being the locating of explosives. They had a crime
5 scene examiner, a forensic technician on the team, did they not, and he
6 was equipped for that?
7 A. They had a de-mining team as part of the civilian protection team
8 and they were trained to find and defuse mines. The crime scene examiner
9 or forensic technician actually was used to process and -- and sanitize
10 areas where the corpse were found.
11 Q. What are you actually saying? What was their particular role?
12 What was their task -- what was his task, that of the forensic
13 technician, that is. Do you know anything specific?
14 A. I do not know the details. I can only assume that as a crime
15 person he was able to register or to establish in what way, more or less,
16 the person in question had met his death.
17 Q. In your recollection, did the civilian protection team actually
18 find explosives and weapons in flats and houses and similar objects?
19 A. I cannot remember any such instances.
20 Q. Let us move on to another topic and that is a topic that has been
21 discussed at some length. That is, the topic of Grubori.
22 This Chamber has heard quite a few testimonies and been presented
23 a lot of evidence on this topic, but what I would like to know is this:
24 What was the task of the uniformed police, when a report -- when the
25 report was received in police station Knin that some bodies had been
1 found in Grubori? What was the primary task of the uniformed police, in
2 your professional opinion?
3 A. As in any such -- other such instance, the primary task was to
4 attend the scene, verify the information received, and if indeed bodies
5 were found, to secure the scene of the event until the arrival of the
6 expert team of forensic people of the crime police or the investigating
7 judge together with the crime police team.
8 Q. What does that mean to provide security, to secure the scene, in
9 your view?
10 A. To secure the scene so as to retain it in the state as found, in
11 order to prevent any changes from occurring at the scene until the expert
12 team arrives.
13 Q. We know from previous testimonies given before this Court that at
14 the -- it was the UN members who arrived first at the scene in Grubori
15 and that it was them, actually, who photographed the scene, entered the
16 premises, registered the situation at the scene, talked to the locals,
17 et cetera. Talking from the police standpoint, is that an appropriate
18 procedure in terms of securing the scene of the event?
19 A. At any rate, after such information is received, our task is to
20 go to the scene of the event and secure what we find at the moment we get
21 there. Any changes that have occurred before that or after that is
22 something that would be ascertained later.
23 Q. You told us that the -- the uniformed police patrol did not find
24 the place and that they returned, that they came back. After that, what
25 was the task of the uniformed police at the police station in Knin, of
1 the operations duty service, after they received the report about the
2 finding of these bodies at that scene? Did they have to inform anybody
3 about that?
4 A. We, in the administration were informed about it, the chief of
5 the police administration, the coordinators as well. I do not remember
6 how -- whether it was possible to coordinate -- communicate with the
7 police administration in Zadar at that time. But the first task which
8 was carried out was to inform the police administration, namely, Mr. Cedo
9 Romanic, was aware of it, we knew of it, and we agreed further on how to
10 proceed in our task.
11 Q. Was it the obligation of the operative duty service of the Knin
12 police station to inform the operative duty service of the police
13 administration in Zadar?
14 A. I don't think that it was at that time, because this station was
15 actually part of the police administration in Knin, and the operation
16 duty service did not have -- it did not have a specific separate
17 operation duty service but we functioned as a staff.
18 Q. Do I understand you correctly: At that time, the police
19 administration of the district of Knin was supposed to inform the
20 operative duty service in Zadar, right?
21 A. Right.
22 Q. Do you personally know that that did happen; namely, that the
23 operative duty service of the Zadar police administration was indeed
24 informed about the incident at Grubori?
25 A. I cannot be sure of that, but I am sure that Mr. Ivo Cetina, as
1 chief of the police administration, was directly informed, and it was his
2 task to refer it further to his administration, to his operations duty
3 service, and to take the necessary further measures.
4 Q. You told us that you had personally talked to Mr. Cetina about
5 the incident in Grubori and that you had reported to him about it. Did I
6 understand you correctly?
7 A. Yes, you did.
8 Q. Did you inform, so to speak, your superior coordinator,
9 Mr. Franjo, about that incident?
10 A. I do not remember.
11 Q. And then Mr. Cetina told you that he required some time but that
12 he would ensure an on-site investigation team, and you expected an
13 on-site investigation team to come, right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Are you aware of the way in which an investigating judge who is
16 competent over an area is informed to perform an investigation?
17 A. In practice and in normal circumstances, the police
18 administration operations duty service informs the investigating judge of
19 any event which requires the attendance at the scene of the crime police.
20 And it is the decision of the investigating judge whether he will attend
21 the scene himself or leave that task to members of the crime police.
22 Q. Mr. Buhin, do you know that in this specific case, the one in
23 Grubori, whether the investigating judge had been indeed informed?
24 A. I don't know. I believe that Mr. Cetina had done that.
25 Q. You believed because that is standard procedure. Is that right?
1 A. He had promised that he would do so.
2 Q. Did you know Mr. Kardum? He was the chief of the crime police
3 department in the police administration of Zadar.
4 A. Yes. I met him in the police administration, but I do not
5 remember whether it was in those days, when I came to the police
6 administration before departing for Knin, or in an encounter during my
7 stay in Knin.
8 Q. As chief of the crime police in the crime -- in the police
9 administration, Mr. Kardum was the person who was supposed to form the
10 crime police team to take part in the on-site investigation with the
11 investigating judge. Is that not so?
12 A. Yes. He should have done that.
13 Q. That means that Mr. Kardum should have been informed about the
14 event in Grubori in order to be able to set up a team of forensic
16 A. Yes, he should have been. That is quite logical.
17 Q. Mr. Kardum testified before this Court. That is page 9361,
18 line 18 of the transcript, and he said that he had not at all been
19 informed about the incident at Grubori.
20 I know you don't know yourself why that is the case but perhaps
21 you can tell us this. Was this something that was only to be expected,
22 as far as a regular procedure was concerned whenever a suspicious
23 incident was being reported?
24 A. Normally, he would have been among the first to know. However,
25 the circumstances being what they were, a lot of shortcuts were taken and
1 corners were cut.
2 Q. May I ask you this: Do you perhaps know why Mr. Kardum was not
4 A. No, I don't know that.
5 Q. You refer to Mr. Sacic in your evidence, who arrived in Knin
6 about the Grubori the incident. What was his role within the police
7 structure and organisation?
8 A. I know that he was the deputy chief of the special police units.
9 Q. Given what you tell us about his role or position, let's talk
10 about him in relation to the uniformed police. Does he have any powers
11 over the uniformed police, in terms of giving orders or anything like
13 A. No, he doesn't.
14 Q. Mr. Buhin, did he have any powers over you, in terms of giving
16 A. No, none.
17 Q. Now I draw your attention to a portion in your statement. This
18 is page 4, paragraph 3, from the bottom of the page up.
19 You state: "When I spoke to Sacic, he said that any murders
20 would be handled as a by-product of Operation Storm. It struck me as
21 strange that he should say that. It also struck me as strange that he
22 had come to Knin. My own view is Sacic tried to cover the murders, but I
23 have no idea why."
24 Of course, I know that it has been a long time and many of these
25 developments have since failed in your memory. Do try to remember,
1 however, why did you form this opinion; namely, that Sacic was out to
2 conceal the murders, to hush them up? When you ponder the same thing
3 today, is your opinion or your impression still the same as it was back
5 A. That was my first impression. If I ask myself the same question
6 today, Sacic would have been wrong in trying to conceal or hush up those
7 murders. That was my first impression on account of the altercation that
8 occurred and also because Mr. Moric had called to say that I should mind
9 my own business and not meddle in anyone else's.
10 That was my first impression and it was a somewhat weird
11 impression, so for a while I went on believing that.
12 Q. In a way, you felt hurt by this, if my understanding is correct,
14 A. Yes, precisely.
15 Q. On the one hand, you were trying to help; on the other, your own
16 superiors simply instructed you to mind your own business and this had to
17 do with the uniformed police and not interfere with the business of the
18 crime police.
19 Would that be an accurate conclusion?
20 A. Very much so. All the more given the fact, as we all knew, that
21 the UN police had been to the scene by this time. They were perfectly
22 well trained and they knew how to do their work. Therefore, it would
23 have been entirely impractical to go and try and cover up something like
25 Q. Mr. Buhin, you are an experienced police officer and you know the
1 ins and outs of your line of work. The first duty of any police officer
2 is to observe the law, right?
3 A. Yes. Quite so.
4 Q. However, what would a policeman do in the following hypothetical
5 situation. His superior gives him an order that is illegal or not in
6 keeping with the laws. You have over 20 years' experience working with
7 the police. How do you see this situation?
8 A. First of all, I would have the responsibility of pointing this
9 out to my superior, that his order is illegitimate or illegal. Secondly,
10 if there was the slightest chance that I would harm anyone in the
11 exercise of this order, I would have to desist and refuse to obey.
12 Q. Is my conclusion right, if I suggested this. If a policeman
13 agrees to carry out such an order, he is in breach of the law himself,
14 despite the fact that this is an order that is issued to him by his
16 A. Yes, that is entirely correct.
17 Q. Mr. Buhin, did you ever receive from anyone any order at all to
18 do something that you were not bound to do by the law or, alternatively,
19 to perform an action that was illegal? Did you ever find yourself on the
20 receiving end of an order like that?
21 A. I can't remember any specific incident involving something like
23 Q. Again, hypothetically, and I do have a high regard for your
24 experience and professionalism, try to imagine yourself in a situation
25 where a superior comes up to you and gives you an order that you deem is
1 illegal. What would you do?
2 A. Again, the same as any other police officer. I would draw my
3 superior's intention to the illegal nature of the whole procedure, and I
4 would refuse to obey.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Previous translation continues] ... looking at
6 the clock.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, so am I.
8 MR. MIKULICIC: I would like to pass on the other theme, but I
9 don't think it is appropriate to commence with a few questions and then
10 stop until tomorrow.
11 JUDGE ORIE: How much time would you still need?
12 MR. MIKULICIC: I think I will be finished within 20 minutes, or
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Which you -- would keep you exactly within the
15 time-limits you -- if it would be 30.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber would grant you, also in view of the way
18 in which the time was used, another 20 minutes tomorrow, Mr. Mikulicic.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And if you leave out some of the hypothetical
21 questions, then you might have saved already the ten minutes you might be
22 short of.
23 Then, Mr. Buhin, we'll adjourn for the day. We'd like to see you
24 back tomorrow, although we first will hear briefly another witness, that
25 means -- which means that we will not start at a quarter past 2.00
1 further hearing your evidence, but only later that afternoon. Most
2 likely that will be approximately at -- a little bit after 4.00.
3 I would like to remind you that you should not speak with anyone
4 about your testimony, whether already given or still to be given, and
5 we'd like to see you back at a bit of an uncertain time tomorrow, later
6 in the afternoon.
7 We adjourn, and we will resume tomorrow, the 8th of October,
8 quarter past 2.00 in this courtroom, III.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.
10 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 8th day of
11 October, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.