1 Monday, 15 December 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
7 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, The
10 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
12 Good morning, Mr. Turkalj. I would like it remind you -- I would
13 like to remind that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you have
14 given at the beginning of your testimony, that is, that you will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 Ms. Mahindaratne.
17 WITNESS: JOSIP TURKALJ
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 Examination by Ms. Mahindaratne: [Continued]
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Good morning, Mr. Turkalj.
22 A. Good morning.
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, may I have document P606,
25 Q. Mr. Turkalj, you compiled a record referred to as the war path or
1 the war record for the Lucko Unit on the orders of Mr. Markac, did you
2 not? And you'll see the document in a moment on the screen.
3 This was compiled by you, wasn't it?
4 A. It was drafted by my unit colleagues, and I signed the report. I
5 am familiar with it.
6 Q. What were the sources of information for the report? And I -- we
7 will go through -- this is just a cover note. What were the sources of
8 information based on which this report was compiled and submitted?
9 A. The entire report was drafted, based on the knowledge an
10 information that was in possession of some of the employees that were in
11 the field, and the data from various log-books and rosters of those who
12 were in the field.
13 Q. And it's -- the cover note indicates that it's -- it was
14 submitted on 16 February 1998
15 A. This report was submitted to the special police sector, to the
16 chief personally.
17 Q. Who had access to this report, apart from the chief? For
18 example, did the inner control branch have access, did Mr. Markac have
19 access to this report?
20 A. I can't tell you precisely who had access to it. It was
21 forwarded to the special police sector, and the chief at the time was
22 Mr. Sacic.
23 As for who had access to it and what he did with the report is
24 something I can't say.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, could you turn to the Croatian
1 version, page 91, and in the English page 10.
2 Q. Mr. Turkalj, I'll take you to the section for -- which is --
3 which reports on the operation on 25th and 26th August.
4 Now, when was this section compiled? Is it in 1998, since you
5 submitted the report in 1998?
6 A. I believe so.
7 Q. Now, with regard to the operation on the 25th, this report has no
8 reference to people being killed and houses burning in the course of the
9 operation. Did anybody, either Mr. Markac or Mr. Sacic or the inner
10 control branch, question you about the absence of that -- such
11 information with regard to that particular operation in this report?
12 A. This report on the war path did not contain such information. It
13 mainly focussed itself on what the tasks of the unit were, starting with
14 1990 until the end of 1995. In such reports, such war paths, one does
15 not include that type of information. It only contains information on
16 the whereabouts of the unit at any point in time.
17 Q. So what was the basis or what was the source of information based
18 on which you reported for the 25th August operation in this record? What
19 were your other -- the underlying reports that you used?
20 A. As regards this report, we used solely the orders we had received
21 for particular tasks. It was based on the commands orders that is, and
22 on the participation of individual people included in those tasks. No
23 additional information was provided in the war path, and you could
24 probably see the same pattern when other operations in the course of that
25 period are mentioned.
1 Q. Now, in this report there is no reference to an operation being
2 conducted on the 26th of August. You were aware that there was an
3 operation conducted in the area of the Promina hills on the 26th August,
4 were you not? You have, in fact, referred to in your interview
5 transcripts. Why is that not referred to?
6 A. That is correct. However, in this report, among all the other
7 reports that have to do with Operation Storm, this one, all -- includes
8 the 25th and 26th of August as well -- with regards to Operation
9 Oluja-encirclement. It was a single operation. I don't know whether you
10 get my point. Reports were not drafted on the particular details of any
11 given operation. This is merely a report on the war path of the unit.
12 Q. That's correct. But the point is you just told Court,
13 Mr. Turkalj, that what you recorded here as to where the units were at a
14 particular time. Now you are aware there was operation on 25th, and you
15 were aware that there was another operation on the 26th in another area,
16 in the -- in the area of the Promina hills. So why is that not referred
17 to in this report? That's my question to you.
18 A. The employees drafting this report probably did not find it
19 necessary to include any details. That's why they use the term Operation
20 Storm encirclement, including both the 25th and 26th of August.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
22 A. To repeat, this is not a report on the specific tasks. This
23 mainly concerns the name of the operation and the whereabouts of the
25 Q. Very well. I will move on.
1 Can I just ask you, Mr. Turkalj, to turn to your transcripts.
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Madam Usher, if I could have your assistance.
3 Q. This is --
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MS. MAHINDARATNE: This is P1152, that is section three of -- the
6 ERN number is V000-5305.
7 If I could ask you, Madam Usher, to turn to page 49.
8 Q. And, Mr. Turkalj, before we go into that, are you aware of any
9 reports relating to the 26th August operation in the Promina hills
10 existing within the Lucko Unit?
11 MR. KEHOE: Excuse me, Your Honour, I think this is 1152.
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: That's what I said.
13 MR. KEHOE: Sorry, it came up as 1162.
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I'm sorry. It should be 1152, but I believe I
15 said 1152.
16 Q. Mr. Turkalj, if you could answer me, are you aware -- Mr. Turkalj
17 are you aware of reports -- before you go through that, Mr. Turkalj, can
18 you answer my question. Are you aware of reports relating to the 26th
19 August operation in the Promina hills existing within the Lucko Unit?
20 A. I did not have occasion to see such reports at that time. I did
21 see some later, however. To repeat, the reports were not sent to the
22 unit itself but to the command of operations. That is a different thing.
23 Q. When you said you saw reports later, when did you see reports
24 relating to the 26th August operation later? When was that?
25 A. When I received such documents from you.
1 Q. From who -- Mr. Turkalj, we did not show you any documents
2 relating to the 26th August operation. What are you -- I'm not relating
3 to the Grubori event. I'm relating to the operation in -- on the 26th in
4 the Promina hills. Have you ever seen any reports, written reports,
5 related to that operation?
6 A. I don't recall such reports.
7 Q. Now, in -- on page 49 you refer to this operation. And you refer
8 to what Mr. Celic told you about that operation, and this is what you
10 "I can say only what I talked about with Celic and what he told
11 me in that aspect. He told me that they had a search in that area, that
12 you mentioned, although I still do not know which particular part they
13 were searching.
14 He told me - next page - that some houses were set on fire during
15 the search. And he told me that Mr. Markac talked to him and to some
16 other people from the unit, more specifically one instructor whose name
17 is Franjo Drljo. That is, once again, I learned from Celic because I was
18 not present there."
19 Then the last -- "Celic also mentioned that it was not a pleasant
20 conversation and that Drljo said to Markac words to the effect, So I did
21 it, so I burned them, so what now? Kill me if you want."
22 And you go on up from that point onwards, Mr. Turkalj, you go on
23 to describe what Mr. Celic told you and which -- that was a conversation
24 that took place between Mr. Markac and Mr. -- Mr. Markac and Franjo Drljo
25 where Drljo told him that he had burned houses.
1 Now, apart from that, did Mr. Celic tell you any further details
2 about that operation of the 26th?
3 A. No, there was no further discussion about the operation.
4 At the beginning of my testimony, I said that subsequently I
5 talked to Mr. Janjic who said that he had investigated that event.
6 Q. Now, you were informed by your assistant commander Celic that
7 Mr. Drljo had admitted to the commander of the special police,
8 Mr. Markac, that he had burned houses. Now, what did you as commander of
9 the Lucko Unit do about that? Why didn't you take any measures against
11 A. Regarding that, I cannot state precisely that Celic told me of
12 someone who had confirmed to him that they had burned houses. In any
13 case, Celic told me there was fighting and firing and some houses were
14 set ablaze but not in the sense that it was arson.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic.
16 MR. KUZMANOVIC: With respect to this line of questioning, we had
17 a witness, Mr. Celic, who came here to testify. He was asked nothing
18 about these issues.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, it is an inappropriate
20 intervention while the witness is listening to this. May I just ask --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Can we ask the witness to take his earphones off.
22 Ms. Mahindaratne, could you please respond to --
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, if Mr. Kuzmanovic would read
24 Mr. Celic's transcripts which are all in evidence, Mr. Kuzmanovic will
25 see Mr. Celic's testimony about 26th August operation, which is exactly
1 what is stated here by this witness. Mr. Celic talks about the
2 conversation between Mr. Markac and Mr. -- and Drljo where Drljo admits
3 to burning of houses. I think Mr. Kuzmanovic should read the transcripts
4 first before rising to his feet.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic.
6 MR. KUZMANOVIC: I totally disagree with that assertion, and
7 Mr. Celic was here, and these questions should have been asked of him
9 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, well, if it is part of a written
10 statement which is admitted into evidence, then, of course, there's no --
11 Ms. Mahindaratne, could you give us the page references for
12 Mr. Celic's --
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President, can I do it after the
14 break because I don't have the page in front of me.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, otherwise I will try to find it.
16 MR. KUZMANOVIC: My position, Your Honour, is if this is just
17 another part of another document that she's referring to that we received
18 when we have 92 ter statements and materials for witnesses, that's one
19 thing. He was here on the stand; he could have asked the questions
20 directly. He wasn't. Now they're trying to go through a witness,
21 basically a double hearsay.
22 JUDGE ORIE: No. If it is in his 92 ter statement, and I'll
23 check that immediately - I can't tell that you I have a lot on my mind -
24 then it is entirely appropriate what Ms. Mahindaratne does.
25 Ms. Mahindaratne, if you, meanwhile, proceed, then I'll try to
1 find the relevant ...
2 Could the witness ...
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May I proceed, Mr. President?
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
6 Q. Now, Mr. Turkalj, you just said that Mr. Celic told you that
7 there had been combat activity. Now, how is it that you have never
8 mentioned that either in your statement or the interview? The statement
9 during -- can you not hear me or ...
10 Mr. Celic [sic], your evidence was I cannot state precisely that
11 Celic told me. You said: "Celic told me Mr. Was fighting and firing and
12 some houses were set ablaze but not in the sense that it was arson."
13 Now how come you never mentioned either in your statement of 2004
14 or at the interview there 2005 that Celic told you that there was firing
15 and the houses were burned in the course of the combat activity? You
16 never mentioned that. Why are you saying that for the first time here?
17 A. I must confess it was very difficult to remember every word after
18 so many years, and it all depended on the investigator's questions.
19 Q. Okay. I move on. Mr. Turkalj -- but let me just ask one
20 question. Did you have ever question Franjo Drljo about this
21 conversation between him and Mr. Markac, or did you find out what really
22 happened in the course of that conversation?
23 A. No. As regards that part, I did not talk to Mr. Drljo, given
24 that the operation commander had inquired into the event, and Drljo must
25 have explained that.
1 Q. Did Mr. Markac ever call you up, or did Mr. Sacic ask you to call
2 up any reports regarding the 26th August operation either from Celic or
3 any other special instructors involved in that operation?
4 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Your Honour, I am going to continue to object to
5 this line of questioning. She's not listening. I'd ask the witness to
6 take off the headphones, please.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please take off your earphones for a
8 while, Mr. Turkalj.
9 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 He has already answered two or three times that the commander of
11 the operation was the one who investigated this incident. And she keeps
12 asking him whether he did so, and he keeps saying the same thing. The
13 commander of this operation investigated this incident. I don't know we
14 need to go any further.
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I do. I think it's because Mr. Kuzmanovic was
16 not listening to my question, Mr. President.
17 My question was did Mr. Markac or Mr. Sacic ever ask this witness
18 to call up reports from the -- from -- his assistant commander Celic or
19 any other special instructors to written reports on this operation, as
20 Mr. Markac had then done with regard to 25th August operation.
21 I think Mr. Kuzmanovic has a difficulty in, you know,
22 differentiating between these questions. These are frivolous objections
23 to say the least.
24 MR. KUZMANOVIC: You know what, Counsel, I would really prefer
25 that we not get into those sort of language issues. This is an issue
1 with respect to your methodology of questioning. This witness has
2 answered the question on more than one occasion, and I'm sure he will
3 answer it the same way again if he gets asked, so if you want to continue
4 to waste time, that's fine with me.
5 JUDGE ORIE: It's only Monday morning, and now already -- I'm
6 just checking. I'm trying to check a lot of things at the same time.
7 Last question by Ms. Mahindaratne was, whether this witness was
8 ever called upon to produce a report. Whether he investigated himself is
9 a different matter. So to that extent, the objection is denied.
10 And could you refrain from unnecessary interruptions.
11 Ms. Mahindaratne, you may proceed.
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Mr. Turkalj, let me repeat my question to you. Were you ever
14 asked by Mr. Markac or Mr. Sacic to call reports from Celic --
15 Josip Celic or any other special instructors to submit written reports on
16 the operation on the 26th as he did with regard to the operation on the
18 A. No. There was no such a request.
19 Q. Thank you. Let me take you, Mr. Turkalj, and this is my last
20 line of questions. If I could ask you to turn to page 126 on the same
21 section. That is P1152. That's V000-5305, page 126.
22 Now your testimony was that at some stage the deputy commander of
23 the Lucko Unit, Mr. Curkovic - pardon my pronunciation - informed you,
24 told you, that one of the members of the Lucko Unit, namely Igor Beneta
25 may have participated in the incident on 25th August in Grubori. It's at
1 page 126 and 127.
2 Now, did you ever ask him what the basis of that information was?
3 A. This was only in an informal conversation that I heard the name,
4 but it could not be absolutely checked up on, nor could direct knowledge
5 be obtained in relation to anything. I can't really confirm anything in
6 relation to this particular conversation.
7 Q. When were you told that by Mr. Curkovic?
8 A. I can't recall that either. I can't pinpoint the time. At any
9 rate, it was at a certain point in time after the action.
10 Q. I'm going to show you three documents --
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter isn't certain of the last
12 witness's last answer. Could he please repeat it, please.
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
14 Q. Mr. Turkalj, could you please repeat your answer again.
15 Mr. Turkalj, could you say what you said earlier on, your answer,
16 repeat your answer, with regard to the time-frame when he may have told
17 you this.
18 A. I said that it wasn't shortly after the action. It could have
19 been several years later. I can't recall exactly.
20 Q. Mr. Turkalj, I'm going to show you three documents, and I'll ask
21 you a couple of questions about them. I'll just show you those
22 documents, and you ought to be familiar with them.
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, could I have document 6447,
25 Q. You will see in a moment, Mr. Turkalj, on the screen a report
1 sent by you to the special police sector regarding the matter of transfer
2 of Igor Beneta and others dated 21st October, 1995.
3 This is your document, isn't it?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Why was Mr. -- whose proposal was it to transfer Mr. Igor Beneta
6 in this stage, something like one month from the incident in Grubori?
7 Whose proposal was it?
8 A. This was solely on the proposal from the unit. But it had
9 nothing to do with those events. This was regular procedure of
10 transferring members to new posts.
11 Q. Was there a regular procedure when members were transferred from
12 the unit? Was there a roster, or how was it done?
13 A. There was no specific or concrete procedure in place. It
14 depended on the requests coming from individual members. Somebody wanted
15 to take a different post or be dispatched to a different town or village.
16 For the most part, it was the result of an agreement between the
17 commander and the individual, or in regard to some members, there was
18 such a working relationship where the superiors felt that it was better
19 for these individuals to be transferred to some other posts. This was
20 nothing unusual.
21 Q. So generally these transfers took place on the basis of a request
22 from the individual concerned or in consultation with the individual
23 concerned, is it?
24 A. That's correct too. What's also correct is that there was a
25 request from the command where we would be possibly asking for their
1 transfer to a new post. Let me repeat, I don't see anything unusual in
2 the document. This was regular procedure, not only applied by this unit
3 but by all units.
4 Q. And can the individual concerned in the course of this type of
5 regular procedures, as you say, do the individuals concerned resist such
6 transfers, or do they refuse to accept the transfer or ...
7 A. The ministry worked in such a way, and I mean the Ministry of
8 Interior, that every member of the ministry can be transferred or granted
9 transfer to another post. Of course, this decision can be complained
10 against, a complaint can be lodged against it.
11 Q. And if a complaint is lodged against such a decision is there a
12 procedure involved where it is reconsidered, or is there an inquiry?
13 What is generally done?
14 A. This isn't a matter for us. It is it a matter for the personal
16 Q. My question is, Mr. Turkalj, and I will be very specific. For
17 instance, when a decision to transfer a member of the Lucko Unit is made,
18 can the -- that member refuse to accept the transfer paper, resist it
19 quite -- let us say, refuse to accept the papers, just, you know, resist
20 it in such a way, not go through regular procedure of moving for an
21 appeal against such a decision?
22 A. The transfer decision is serviced upon an individual by the
23 personnel service and only by the personnel service, not by the
24 commander. Everyone who receives such a decision is allowed to appeal
25 the decision within, I believe, six or seven days, and this is the
1 practice that still exists today. And the appeal or complaint is filed
2 with the personnel service.
3 Q. And did Mr. Sacic, as the chief of the sector, get involved in
4 these transfer procedures, either proposing that a transfer be made, or
5 that if a member resists a transfer in cancelling that previous decision;
6 or is it only the personnel department that gets involved in such
8 A. I don't think that it was within the competence of Mr. Sacic to
9 do that. That was within the purview of the personnel service. When
10 we're talking about the level of the units themselves, they produce
11 proposals; they don't issue decisions.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I tender this document into
15 MR. MIKULICIC: No objections, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit P1157.
18 JUDGE ORIE: P1157 is admitted into evidence.
19 Ms. Mahindaratne, on Friday you told us you would need another
20 20 minutes.
21 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ORIE: And I checked with Mr. Registrar. He said that
23 looking very carefully at the time taken and interruptions et cetera that
24 you had had approximately 30 minutes, but you've taken this 30 minutes
25 already. Could you please wrap up.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President, I will just tender two
2 documents and I --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, can I have document 6448,
6 Mr. President, let me just tender those two documents in the bar
7 table, so I had not waste any time. Document number 6448 and 6449, I
8 will tender from the bar table. I don't have to have any questions from
9 this witness.
10 JUDGE ORIE: That's -- you know the procedure for bar table
11 documents, is that you briefly describe them and that you -- now these
12 are relatively short ones, and apparently they are follow-ups in relation
13 to the last one, is that ...
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Is there, although the formality is --
16 MR. MIKULICIC: I wouldn't object to this, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: You wouldn't object, and since I do not hear any
18 objections from the other Defence teams, Mr. Registrar.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter 6448 becomes exhibit number
20 P1158. And 65 ter 6449 becomes exhibit number P1159.
21 JUDGE ORIE: P1158 and P1159 are admitted into evidence.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
23 Q. Mr. Turkalj, we handed over to you during the first break on
24 Friday, the -- an interview -- a record of an interview that Ministry of
25 Interior officials had had with you, and you were asked to review that
1 document and let us know if there were any mistakes or if the record was
2 an accurate reflection of the interview.
3 Do you have anything to say about that note? If perhaps on the
4 screen, Mr. Registrar, if could I have 2537; that is the document.
5 Do you recall the note that was given to you, Mr. Turkalj?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. Is that an accurate reflection of the interview that was
8 conducted by the Ministry of Interior officials with you in 2004?
9 A. It is not an accurate reflection of the interview.
10 Q. Are there many mistakes?
11 A. The contents in their entirety are different from what we talked
12 about, and from the statement I gave to the ICTY investigators. In the
13 last sentence, it is even stated that the statement is identical to the
14 one given to the ICTY investigators. In fact, it is not. Besides, this
15 is an Official Note, not a statement, which I didn't either see or sign.
16 Q. Thank you. I will not tender that, Mr. President.
17 That concludes my examination-in-chief.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Mahindaratne.
19 Mr. Mikulicic, I got a estimate of the time you would need.
20 Could I receive from other counsel an estimate as well.
21 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I may be one session, or I may not be any
22 questions at all. We're reviewing the position.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Gotovina.
24 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Your Honour, I will be very brief, half an hour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Half an hour.
1 Then, Mr. Mikulicic, please proceed.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Turkalj.
5 A. Good morning.
6 Q. Since we will be speaking in the same language, for technical
7 reasons, namely interpretation, I kindly ask you to be mindful of the
8 fact that we have to make a break between questions an answer, so please
9 make a short pause after you have heard my question before answering so
10 that the interpreters can do their job.
11 Mr. Turkalj, in the line of questions the Prosecutor just put to
12 you, there was reference of the arson -- or, rather, the firing of houses
13 on 26th of September -- of August, 26th of August, 1995, which was
14 conducted by the anti-terrorist unit Lucko. Though you were a commander
15 of the unit, you were not out on the field on that day, were you?
16 A. No.
17 Q. The operational commander in the field was Mr. Celic; was he not?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The commander of the overall action was Mr. Janjic. Is that
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You were asked about whether you spoke to anyone in the wake of
23 the action, and you said that you spoke both to Mr. Celic and Mr. Janjic.
24 We heard the testimonies of both of these individuals in court.
25 Can you please clarify one portion of the statement by Mr. Janjic
1 who said here in his testimony that Mr. Markac had personally tasked him
2 with investigating the circumstances which led to the houses being set on
3 fire and he assumed -- and he said that he assumed that task upon
4 himself. What did Mr. Janjic tell you?
5 A. I believe that I mentioned my conversation with Mr. Janic, and he
6 said that he had met with Mr. Markac who had tasked him with inquiring
7 into the matter. That's to say the events in which the unit was involved
8 on -- of, in, on the 26th. Mr. Janjic told me that he had, in fact,
9 inquired and reported to Mr. Markac about what had happened in the area
10 on the 26th.
11 Q. Mr. Janjic stated in this courtroom that he claimed that the
12 houses came to be set on fire due to the fact that a rocket launcher had
13 been fired at them. What did he tell you?
14 A. He told me that after they had investigated the matter he had
15 information to the effect that there was fighting going on and that, in
16 fact, the houses came to be -- or were set on fire, through the firing of
17 a rocket launcher.
18 Q. Thank you. There was another incident which is the subject of
19 this case which we heard a lot of evidence about that. That's in the
20 Plavno valley, specifically in the village of Grubori
21 heard that the event took place on the 25th of August, while a mop-up
22 operation was going on, one in which your anti-terrorist unit Lucko took
24 You were not out in the field at that time either, were you?
25 A. No, I was not.
1 Q. The information you have about the event are, in fact -- is, in
2 fact, indirect information you received from those who took part in what
3 happened. Is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Following these events and following your visit, personal visit,
6 to the village of Grubori
7 that it -- it was your impression that there was some fighting going on
8 there. You were sent by the commander of the special police to ask from
9 the commander of the action Mr. Celic and the instructors to submit their
10 reports, which is what you did. Is that right?
11 A. Yes. And I said as much last week.
12 Q. When the written reports were being written, was any sort of
13 duress, measures of coercion applied towards Mr. Celic and the
14 instructors to draft the reports this way or the other, or was it
15 entirely left up to them to write the reports as they wished?
16 A. All the members of the unit had their rooms on the premises of
17 the unit, and once I gave them the order to produce the report, they
18 produced the reports independently, and nobody told them in any way how
19 to write the reports.
20 Q. The leaders of the group that were formed in the action of the
21 search operation, and they were asked to produce the report. We know
22 that Mr. Drljo did not produce a report. However, is it true that
23 Mr. Drljo verbally reported to you?
24 A. I reported to Mr. Markac about the fact that Mr. Drljo did not
25 produce a written report. Mr. Drljo, on his part, told me that he had
1 not been there. That he was not aware of what took place in Grubori,
2 that he had only heard gunshots and that he believed as a result of that,
3 he need not write a report. It was on the basis of this information that
4 I reported to Mr. Markac accordingly.
5 Q. Did Mr. Drljo tell you that he would not be submitting a report
6 in addition to other matters also because he was not a group leader?
7 A. Yes. He said something to that effect. This was an insult to
8 him, since he was an instructor.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can the registrar please call up
10 65 ter 3258.
11 THE INTERPRETER: And can the counsel and the witness make a
12 pause between question and answer.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Both you, Mr. Mikulicic, and you, Mr. Turkalj, are
14 invited to make a break between question and answer, and then answer and
16 Ms. Mahindaratne, if meanwhile, if could you try to find the
17 relevant portion of the Celic statement.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I did, Mr. President, but I just wanted to,
19 for what it's worth, just check -- in fact, my colleague did check, and
20 have I got the transcript reference numbers where it was discussed in
21 court as well as the -- in the statement, the paragraphs.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Would it be a good idea if you just sent by
23 e-mail the relevant page numbers so that everyone can check, and if you
24 would please then copy the Chamber.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: The Chamber. Yes I will do that. I will do
1 that at the break.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Because it is not evidence; it is just assisting us
3 in finding the relevant portions you referred to.
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I will do that, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. MIKULICIC:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Turkalj, on our screens we can see the
8 report from the criminal investigation police department sent to the
9 county state attorney's office or state attorney in Sibenik on the issue
10 of what happened in Grubori, and it dates from 2004.
11 Do you agree with me that -- this points to a conclusion that
12 back in 2004, still an investigation was ongoing about the events that
13 transpired in Grubori nine years previously?
14 A. Yes. I have not seen this report before, but since it was sent
15 by the criminal investigation police to the state attorney's office, or
16 to the state attorney, evidently there was an investigation under way.
17 Q. I would like to direct you to paragraph 2 of the report, where
18 the CID
19 "However, as is evident from these interviews," and they're
20 referring to the interviews conducted in paragraph 1 of this report, "we
21 still have not been able to establish the compositions of the groups and
22 the possible commanders of these groups. The reason being that all the
23 above-mentioned members of the anti-terrorist unit stated that there had
24 been no strict division into groups during the operation but that they
25 had acted jointly on the ground, and that then, depending on the lie of
1 the land, and internal friendships between individuals, they moved on,
2 either in small groups or in pairs."
3 Mr. Turkalj, this sort of an interpretation of the lie of the
4 land and the type of the land which is mountainous and forested, is it
5 consistent with what you know of this search operation?
6 A. Yes, it is possible.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be assigned an
8 exhibit number, please.
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I have no objection. This was
10 a document included in the bar table submission with regard to this
11 witness. So maybe Mr. Registrar --
12 JUDGE ORIE: So there is no need you would say -- the bar table
13 you just --
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then, Mr. Registrar, if you would ...
16 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
17 JUDGE ORIE: That means that, at this moment, only one document
18 is then tendered. Mr. Registrar will verify, and you can also verify
19 whether Chamber can -- at this moment whether the other document is the
20 same as the one tendered by Ms. Mahindaratne, if so, we leave it as it
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, may I just also say that that
23 bar table submission was not copied to the -- to the Chambers yet because
24 we are awaiting objections from the Defence.
25 JUDGE ORIE: You mean bar table submission and not the two bar
1 table documents you --
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE ORIE: No. You said one of the bar table.
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I'm sorry, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Trying to find out what we are talking about.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
7 JUDGE ORIE: No, if that is the case, then I would say that we
8 strike from bar table submissions whatever is tendered into evidence and
9 admitted into evidence by the other party before the bar table procedure
10 has been completed.
11 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Therefore, Mr. Registrar, the ...
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes exhibit number D1200.
14 JUDGE ORIE: D1200 is admitted into evidence.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, you strike it from your bar table
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I'll do that, Mr. President. I'm doing that
19 right now.
20 MR. MIKULICIC:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Turkalj, while we can still this document on
22 the screen which you say indicates that nine years after the Grubori
23 incident, an investigation was still pending about it, do you have any
24 sort of information today about the fact that in the village of Grubori
25 on the 25th of August, 1995
1 you have information about who would have been the one for whom there
2 would have been reasonable suspicion that the individual had committed
3 the crime?
4 A. I don't have any specific information about there having been
5 committed a crime or about the possible perpetrator thereof.
6 Q. In other words, if you don't have that sort of information today,
7 you did not have it back then; in other words, in the months of August or
8 September 1995?
9 A. No, we did not have it.
10 Q. In the situation when Mr. Drljo did not wish to submit a written
11 report, did you have any indications that he might have been connected
12 with the crimes in the village of Grubori
13 wish to submit a written report perhaps?
14 A. No. Absolutely there were no indications of Mr. Drljo
15 participating in any such event that could have been tied in with the
17 Q. You told us, Mr. Turkalj, that Mr. Drljo was an undisciplined
18 member of the special police unit, mildly speaking, but, on the other
19 hand, that he was a very good fighter. Was it your assessment when he
20 was not punished because he did not write the report, you as the
21 commander had all of these conditions in mind?
22 A. Well, all I can say is that Mr. Drljo did not respect authority
23 simply as a person. That was one of his character traits. But, on the
24 other hand, I can confirm that he was an excellent fighter, since we were
25 in the middle of war. He did have authority in the unit and broader when
1 fighting was concerned, so I believe that one report was not a reason to
2 submit a request for disciplinary measures. At that point in time, for
3 me, I won't say that it was an unimportant, but let's say that it was not
5 Q. Mr. Turkalj, when you were at the scene of the crimes together
6 with Mr. Sacic, Balunovic in Grubori, and you saw that there were many
7 people there according to what you said, and they included some members
8 of the police, of the local police station, were you able to notice if
9 the local police was informed about the events in the village of Grubori
10 A. In my testimony, I said that there were many people there. I
11 think -- or I thought that there were some members of the regular police
12 there, and that made it clear that they were informed about the events in
13 the same way as those who had just arrived to that area.
14 Q. Since you are a person who participated in the events, I would
15 like to ask about your reaction. It is indisputable that in the police
16 there was a criminal police section, which was in charge of looking for
17 perpetrators of crimes and evidence.
18 A. Within the police in control of that area and the general city
19 police who were there, they only dealt with criminal acts.
20 Q. It's correct, isn't it, Mr. Turkalj, that special police did not
21 have a section for crime, did not investigate criminal acts, or look for
22 perpetrators of crimes. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. However, on the other hand, if the criminal police actions or the
25 judicial organs were to establish that some member of the special police
1 did commit a specific crime and if the special police command was
2 informed of that, measures would then be taken, wouldn't they? Certain
3 disciplinary measures?
4 A. Well, I would like to correct you a little bit. If we're talking
5 about crimes, specifically if it's a crime, we're not taking disciplinary
6 measures, then we're talking about an investigation, and then I, as the
7 commander, could then provide the opportunity to interview the member the
8 police were interested in, and we could provide some logistic support, if
9 this was being asked of us.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I would like the registrar to
11 show us D1078, please.
12 Q. Mr. Turkalj, you will see on your screen shortly a decision under
13 which a member of the anti-terrorist Lucko, Mario Spekuljuk, was relieved
14 of duty because criminal proceedings were initiated against him in the
15 investigation centre of the county court in Zagreb, and that's where he
16 was also detained. So we see a situation here when possible perpetrator
17 of a crime was identified, and on that basis, you will see on the
18 following page, Mr. Markac, made a decision to suspend him from duty.
19 Is this a procedure that you are familiar with and that was usual
20 for cases like that, when a member of the anti-terrorist unit that you
21 were heading had committed a criminal act?
22 A. You can see from this document that investigations were initiated
23 against Mr. Spekuljuk and that Mr. Markac, therefore, suspended him from
24 duty pursuant to the relevant rules of work.
25 Q. Thank you. I would now like to move to another topic; that is,
1 the topic of the procedure of repair and write-off of weapons in the
2 anti-terrorist unit, Lucko.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could the registry please show us
4 document 3D01-0702.
5 Q. And while we're waiting for the document to appear, it's correct,
6 isn't it, Mr. Turkalj, that the procedure to repair, inspect and
7 write-off weapons was regulated in writing at the Ministry of the
8 Interior. There were documents about that, and here we see the rules of
9 procedure, with official personal, arms, weapons and ammunition which was
10 adopted by the minister of the interior.
11 Mr. Turkalj, did you have the opportunity to familiarize yourself
12 with these rules?
13 A. The rules were in force, and we operated on the basis of its
15 Q. Can we now look at Article 6 of the rules in the Croatian text.
16 This is on page 3, which states:
17 "A police administration structural unit, authorised for matters
18 of operational technical equipment, conducts periodical inspections and
19 maintenance of personal arms in a police administration."
20 Simply stated, are we talking about the weapons maintenance plant
22 A. We're talking about the structural unit of the police
23 administration, and it has to do with the repair of technical equipment
24 of the police administration, and you can say that we're talking about
25 the weaponry repair and maintenance workshop. It's part of that section.
1 Q. Article 6, paragraph 2 says that:
2 "The structural unit ... in accordance with its own inspection
3 plan at least once a year, conducts inspections of the complete personal
4 arsenal ..."
5 Is this something that concords with the practice in the
6 anti-terrorist unit Lucko, as well as in all the special police units, as
7 well as in the general police units?
8 A. I have already said that that was the usual procedure, and we can
9 conclude on the basis of these rules that each year, an inspection was
10 carried out of weapons and equipment as well as the operation of the
11 depots, and the procedure was something that applied to all our
13 Q. If it were to be established that certain weapons that were
14 inspected were found to be faulty, they would be repaired, wouldn't they?
15 A. The commission that inspected the weapons would decide whether
16 the weapons -- whether it was possible to repair the weapons or not,
17 depending on the state they were in, and then depending on their
18 assessment if it was possible to repair the weapons, they would be sent
19 to the workshop, repaired and returned to the unit. If it was not
20 possible to repair the weapons, that -- to the extent that it was not
21 worth repairing the particular piece, it would be written off.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we now move to Article 9 of
23 this document. This is on the following page.
24 Q. Article 9 talks about the procedure of writing off personal
25 equipment, and we're talking about what you just mentioned, that in case
1 it was not possible to repair the weapons, or it would not be worthwhile
2 this repair them, a report would be compiled, and they would be proposed
3 for write-off.
4 So this was a regular procedure, wasn't it?
5 A. Yes. That is exactly what I said a little bit earlier.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we have an exhibit number for
7 this document, please.
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number D1201.
11 JUDGE ORIE: D1201 is admitted into evidence. Although,
12 Mr. Mikulicic, it appears to be a provisional translation, very informal.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: [Overlapping speakers] ... The official
14 translation has -- yes, has been requested, and we will have it in due
15 course. That's what was our information.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Then the -- the official translation will then
17 replace the provisional translation.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 [Interpretation] Can we now please look at document 6165,
22 Mr. Registrar.
23 Q. The document that we just looked at were the rules on handling
24 weapons drafted or adopted by the minister, and the implementation of the
25 rules actually is a kind of instruction about how to write-off weapons.
1 Can we now look at this document, on page 2.
2 So these instructions were adopted on the basis of the rules that
3 we just looked at, and it was adopted by the chief of the weaponry
4 special equipment and technical protection.
5 Can we look at the next page with text, please.
6 We could say that this is an operative document which specifies
7 how to handle weapons. Is that correct?
8 A. Yes. It's a guideline, it means that it provides an explanation
9 how -- of how to write-off weapons. That procedure is --
10 Q. And now we can see in paragraph 2 that a commission is formed for
11 write-off of weapons which has three members. We don't have to go into
12 detail here.
13 Then on the following page, we see in heading 3 what the methods
14 and procedures are of the write-off of weapons. And in item 2, it is
15 specified how to separate working from faulty parts in order to follow
16 the procedure correctly. You're familiar with that?
17 A. Yes, I am.
18 Q. And it's something that was applied regularly in the weapons
19 write-off procedure at the anti-terrorist unit, isn't it?
20 A. Yes. This was the only way that the inspection and write-off of
21 weapons could be conducted.
22 Q. Very well.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have an exhibit
24 number for this document.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number D1202, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: D1202 is admitted into evidence.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at document
6 Q. We're looking at a document signed by Mr. Markac, special
7 minister's advisor, where you are ordered, as well as Mr. Bole, the chief
8 of logistics, based on the inspection carried out on your unit, it's a
9 request for 40 weapons to be serviced and then to proceed and issue the
10 appropriate decision on write-off.
11 Mr. Turkalj, we can see on page 2 a list of the weapons that are
12 supposed to be inspected and evaluated, if it is possible to repair them
13 or not, and the serial numbers of these weapons are provided, and we can
14 note that it is not said which piece of weaponry was issued to which
15 member of the unit. So it is an anonymous list, isn't it? You would
16 agree with that?
17 A. Yes, I agree.
18 Q. This order that we are looking at, was it something that would
19 indicate anything extraordinary or unusual, deviating from the regular
20 procedure in your experience?
21 A. No, it's nothing unusual. It's a list of weapons and the serial
22 numbers, the type of weapon and the number, which was issued to the
23 Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit regardless of whether it was issued to the
24 depot or to individual members.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: Can we have a number for this document, please.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: This is P578.
2 JUDGE ORIE: If you could agree with that.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Ms. Prashanthi, I obviously missed
5 [Interpretation] Can we now look at 6170, please.
6 Q. And now we will see another document on the same topic consisting
7 of authorised persons or -- meant for the authorised persons at the
8 anti-terrorist unit Lucko, and it says that based on the plan for the
9 supervision and technical inspection of weapons on order of the special
10 advisor to the minister, Mladen Markac. On 10th of November 1999, an
11 inspection was carried out in the Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit, and it was
12 found that a number of weapons were malfunctioning and needed to be
13 serviced or repaired. And then there is a list of weaponry that would be
14 subject to inspection.
15 So this is the list of weapons which was included in the previous
16 order, the P578 that we looked at earlier. In this document, what is
17 being described is the extent and the state of weapons pieces, what the
18 malfunctions are, and it's an order of the special advisor to the
19 minister, Mr. Mladen Markac.
20 A. Yes. This is the plan of the maintenance and technical
21 inspection, and this is the plan that the inspection would be carried out
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] May I have a number for this
24 document, please.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes exhibit number D1203.
3 JUDGE ORIE: D1203 is admitted into evidence.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this type of
5 document can be found in the 65 examples to 2809, 2651, as well as 6167.
6 I presume these documents are on the bar table list of the Prosecution,
7 and therefore I won't press this topic any further. I just wanted to
8 indicate that the documents refer to the same subject, the same topic.
9 Q. As we saw the decision on what to do with weapons always needed
10 to be made by the especially appointed commission. Isn't that correct,
11 Mr. Turkalj?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you agree with me that the existence of such procedure points
14 to the fact that inside the Ministry of the Interior, including, of
15 course, the sector of special police, care was taken of weapons, and
16 there were no independent voluntary decisions of individuals even if
17 those included commanders to decide on the fate of weapons themselves?
18 A. Weapons and their use and handling is exclusively prescribed by
19 the instructions of the Ministry of Interior. It was impossible to deal
20 with equipment and weapons of this type in any other way.
21 Q. A few additional questions on the topic, Mr. Turkalj, before we
23 During your examination-in-chief there was discussion about why
24 the weapons of members of the anti-terrorist unit Lucko who took part in
25 the search operation on the 25th of August in Grubori; that is, the 25th
1 of August, 1995, was not exempt from the standard procedure.
2 My question is the following: Does anyone, apart from the
3 competent prosecutor, have a possibility to order that certain pieces of
4 weaponry or objects be exempt and kept separately as evidence, or could
5 that be done by the police themselves?
6 A. The police could not do that alone, since there were special
7 instructions pertaining to equipment and weaponry.
8 Q. Was there a particular reason that particular care would be taken
9 as regards the weapons of the special police unit of Lucko? Particularly
10 in view of the fact that there was no evidence, no proof of which piece
11 was issued to which particular member of the unit, when -- during -- when
12 participating in an operation?
13 A. As regards the weapons inside the unit, the regular procedure was
14 followed in terms of data on the weapons and the storing of the weapons
15 as well as the details we have already discussed regarding servicing and
16 maintenance of weapons.
17 Q. Let us look at an exhibit. It is P625.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] The ERN number is 0465-1852.
19 Q. This is it a list of personnel of the anti-terrorist unit Lucko,
20 who, on the 25th of August - it seems that the year is wrong. It should
21 be 1995 instead of 2004 - took part in the military police operation
22 Storm encirclement. We won't into any details on the list, but just to
23 remind ourselves, we can see that each member of staff was issued with
24 several different pieces of weaponry. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, it is.
1 Q. Is it also correct that when participating in the operation, the
2 particular staff member had to decide which of the weapons he had been
3 issued with would -- he would take with him?
4 A. Out of the list of weapons they had been issued with, each
5 particular staff member was free to choose the particular piece he deemed
6 best for any particular operation or action, as regards the police.
7 Q. Therefore, it depended solely on the type of operation.
8 A. Precisely so. And they would then take appropriate pieces with
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could we please
11 look at 2852 next. 2852.
12 Q. This is a letter by Mr. Celic following a request of the police
13 director, in which he states, in paragraph 2 that:
14 "Considering that the anti-terrorist unit of Lucko does not have
15 a record that would allow us to accurately determine what weapons the
16 members of the Lucko Unit were using on the 25th of August, 1995 ..."
17 Mr. Turkalj, does this assertion tally with your recollection and
18 experience, that there was no separate record kept on who used what piece
19 during the operation?
20 A. This is correct. It cannot be ascertained, since each staff
21 member had a number of weapons that they had been issued with, and they
22 decided themselves which weapon they would take for what operation.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, I would kindly ask
24 a number for this document.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I think my bar table submission will be
3 reduced, Mr. President.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes exhibit number D1204.
5 JUDGE ORIE: D1204 is admitted into evidence.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: I think it's an appropriate time for having a
7 break, Your Honour, if you wish so.
8 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then have a break, and we'll resume at five
9 minutes to 11.00.
10 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic.
13 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Before Mr. Turkalj -- I'd ask that he leave his headphones off
15 for this.
16 I just want to make the Court aware we did get the transcript
17 reference with regard to my objection. Nowhere in the transcript
18 reference that I received that I looked at with reference to what
19 Mr. Celic said does it say that Mr. Celic told Drljo that Markac --
20 Mr. Celic said that he had heard Drljo tell Markac that he had burned
21 houses. That is what I was objecting to before.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I was checking that. I have not found the
23 references yet. But if we are talking about -- I was looking at page 40
24 of tape 2 of two side A.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No, Mr. President. It's tape 3.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Tape 3.
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: That is -- if it's convenient on the e- court.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I'll look at it later because I was also -- well,
4 not to say worried about it, but that was the focus of my verification.
5 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Just so --
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, may I just say, I can say it
7 with a sense of responsibility that not only in the statements of
8 Mr. Celic but even in court, I read back what he had referred to with
9 regard to the conversation between Markac and Drljo on the 26th. The
10 argument, and, in fact, I have questioned him on this in court. So the
11 objection was without merit, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So we have two issues now, whether it was put
13 to Mr. Celic as a witness, that's one; and the second is whether what you
14 said reflects what is Mr. Celic said.
15 MR. KUZMANOVIC: That's correct, Your Honour. I just want to be
16 very very specific about this. The statement that was put to Mr. Turkalj
17 was that Celic said that Drljo told Markac that he had burned houses.
18 That's not what Celic said in the transcript life. That's not what Celic
19 said in any conversation in an interview. And why is that important?
20 Because that question is being put to Mr. Turkalj, who is basically the
21 third level -- it's third level hearsay being put to him. Because Celic
22 is overhearing Drljo talk to Markac. That's double hearsay in and of
23 itself. Then that question is being put to Mr. Turkalj who said -- who
24 talked to Celic. That is fourth level hearsay.
25 So my problem with that is I don't disagree there was some
1 discussion between Celic -- that Celic overheard that Drljo and Markac
2 had no specific issues either in the trial transcript or in the interview
3 were made about Drljo telling Markac himself that Drljo had burned houses
4 and that really is very important obviously for obvious reasons, and that
5 is why I objected.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think we shouldn't use time in court at this
8 very moment to verify all of this. We are now hearing the evidence of
9 Mr. Turkalj in cross-examination and nevertheless, of course, it's
10 important for the Chamber to verify it, and we'll certainly do that but
11 not at this very moment.
12 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, you may proceed.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Turkalj, just one more question in relation
16 to the Grubori incident.
17 I'm referring to your statement from 2004, which is P1149,
18 paragraph 48. In this courtroom, on several occasions, there was mention
19 of the fact which, to tell you the truth, was not corroborated by expert
20 opinion, and that is that one of those killed in the Grubori incident had
21 a cut throat. In your statement, paragraph 48, you said that when you
22 were in Grubori and when you saw a male corpse that you thought you saw a
23 gunshot wound to the body but that you were not certain. And you also
24 stated that afterwards you heard that a knife wound was present on the
1 First of all, who did you hear that piece of information from,
2 that on the corpse that you had seen and on which you believed there was
3 a gunshot wound that, in fact, it was a knife wound. Can you recall that
5 A. As far as I remember, it is true what you said. As for the knife
6 wound, if I recollect correctly, the investigator mentioned it to me.
7 Prior to that, I had no such information.
8 Q. Thank you. We can move to another topic, which is the topic of
9 Storm and the use of artillery in the course of the operation.
10 To start with, Mr. Turkalj, can you tell us precisely what your
11 role was in Operation Storm? You were commander of the anti-terrorist
12 unit Lucko, as you have said, but you had completed Military Academy
13 specialized in artillery; isn't that correct?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 Q. Your role in Operation Storm, regarding the use of the special
16 forces of the Ministry of Interior had to do with artillery, correct?
17 A. Yes. Solely with artillery.
18 Q. Let us look at document D543 together.
19 This exhibit is something that the Chamber has already seen. It
20 is an order by the chief of the Main Staff, General Cervenko, on the use
21 of the special MUP forces during Operation Storm.
22 Let us have a look at item 2 of the order, towards the bottom of
23 the page. Thank you. Whereby it is stated that as regards the MUP
24 special forces, the operation shall be carried out in two phases. In the
25 first phase tactical surprise needs to be achieved by committing forces
1 of adequate strength with considerable artillery support in order to
2 reach the assigned locations.
3 General Cervenko is referring to the use of the artillery of the
4 special police forces. Can you tell us what sort of artillery of their
5 own did the special police have that they could use in Operation Storm?
6 A. As regards their own artillery, they had mixed artillery
7 batteries comprising of a 120-millimetre mortars and 128-millimetres RAK
8 12 rocket launchers.
9 Q. If we are to discuss the range of artillery, this Chamber has
10 heard an expert witness who said that different types of artillery are
11 used for different targets. If we try to define the type of artillery at
12 the disposal of the special police, how would you categorise it,
13 short-range or long-range artillery, and what is its use?
14 A. I would say it is short-range artillery. The mortars had the
15 range of 6.200 metres; and RAK 12, 8.500 metres. It is short-range
16 artillery mainly used to attack the front lines of the enemy and
17 immediately behind them.
18 Q. In the first phase when the special police artillery was used, we
19 see that it includes the locations of Sveti Rok, Balonje [phoen], Vukova
20 Kosa, and so on and so forth. It is the area of Mount Velebit
21 Can you tell us what is the lie of the land there and whether it
22 is populated, whether the area is populated.
23 A. As regards the terrain there, it is mountainous, over 1.000
24 metres in altitude. In that area, there were no settlements.
25 Q. Let us move to the next page of the order, please, where
1 General Cervenko mentions the second phase of the operation, in which he
2 orders that the radio relay facility at Celavac needs to be taken control
3 of as well as the tunnel at Prezid in order to join the 9th Guards
4 Brigade forces. What is the importance of the Celavac facility?
5 A. Celovac facility was a communication centre used by the enemy.
6 It dominated the entire communications network in the area.
7 Q. What about the pass and tunnel at Prezid?
8 A. The pass and at tunnel was along the road between Gracac and
9 Obrovac, and we had to be able to control the road in order to prevent
10 any link up of any enemy forces or introduction of new, fresh forces by
11 the enemy.
12 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the Registrar
13 to kindly put up 65 ter 1893 on the screen.
14 Q. We just saw the order sent by the chief of Main Staff to the
15 special police forces. In order to coordinate with the right-hand side
16 neighbour which was the Military District Split as the Chamber has heard,
17 the same order was sent to OG North, to Staff Brigadier Rahim Ademi
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Let us go to next page of this order in Croatian,
20 towards the bottom of the page in Croatian. Let us go to the bottom of
21 page 2, please.
22 Q. As you can see, Mr. Turkalj, there is an note, a remark here,
23 beginning with the words: Brigadier, sir.
24 And when we move on to page 3 we will see that the remark was
25 drafted by Brigadier Rajko Rakic. It is a comment on Mr. Ademi's behalf
1 of General Cervenko order. In item 2 he says that the launching of the
2 MUP special forces operation will probably result in the Chetniks
3 attacking the Pontoon bridge and other facilities and that it is
4 necessary, therefore, to reinforce the area with artillery. The special
5 police in the course of the first phase did receive reinforcements in
6 terms of artillery by the Croatian army.
7 A. Yes. An artillery group was deployed to the foot of the Velebit
9 Q. We will be dealing with that later.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we first have a number
11 assigned to the document.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne.
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number D1205, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Exhibit D1205 is admitted into evidence.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] On the issue of these
18 reinforcements, can the registrar call up P614, and can we turn to page
19 23 of the document, ERN number 0349-3618.
20 Q. Mr. Turkalj, this document is already in evidence. It is an
21 analysis of the course of Operation Storm sent by the special police
22 personally to the chief of the Main Staff, General Zvonimir Cervenko.
23 Let's look at the page we have on our screens. This is part of
24 the analysis referring to the rocket and artillery support of the joint
25 forces of the special police in Operation Storm.
1 Can we please have your comments on the rocket artillery support
2 described herein? Look at the start of the text, where it is stated that
3 the forces of the special police were provided support by, and there
4 follows a list of weapons.
5 Can you explain what this is it about.
6 A. This is my comment. The rocket artillery support for the special
7 police was provided by six mortar batteries of 120 millimetres in
8 calibre; one rocket battalion of RAKs, and they were along the same axis
9 of attack; three 130-millimetre cannons; one 22-milimetres Grada multiple
10 rocket launcher; and ten 107-millimetre light LRLs, and they were the
11 ones used along the axis of attack of the special police during Operation
13 Q. Please focus on 130-millimetre cannons. Were the weapons of the
14 special police, or were they attached from the Croatian army as support
15 along the axis of attack?
16 A. They were attached to the special police along its axis of attack
17 and were not part of the arsenal of the weapons of the special police.
18 Q. The document goes on to detail the weapons used along the axis of
19 attack. Their Honours are already aware of the fact that the special
20 police advanced along one main axis and four auxiliary axes. Each of
21 these axes had its own rocket artillery support.
22 Can you describe for us in what way the artillery of the special
23 police was used. Who called for that support, and who provided clearance
24 for the use of artillery? What was the procedure like?
25 A. The procedure was very simple. Every axis of attack, including
1 the main and auxiliary ones, had a rocket artillery battery designated
2 for their purposes. Every commander of every axis referred to their own
3 battery that they had assigned to them as their support and asked for the
4 type of support that they needed.
5 Q. At the bottom of the page, it is stated that the organisation of
6 rocket and artillery support for the special police was reinforced by the
7 rocket and artillery forces of the Croatian army. The document goes on
8 to list them as the reinforced 130-millimetre cannon platoons and
9 reinforced 122, D30 Howitzer platoons.
10 First of all, can we agree that this is this long-rage artillery?
11 A. Well, this could be termed as medium to long-range artillery.
12 Q. If we turn to the next page, page 24, we will see an entry which
14 "In addition to the rocket and artillery support provided to the
15 joint forces of the police, the aforementioned long range artillery
16 support provided support to the unit of the right hand neighbour."
17 Mr. Turkalj, is this consistent with what you remember, that the
18 artillery provided by the HV to the special police, in fact, provided
19 support to both the special police forces and the HV, where these are the
20 so-called termites; that's how the members of the unit were referred to?
21 A. This particular artillery group was intended for providing
22 support to the forces of the special police and the HV, which also
23 launched an attack at the foot of the Velebit mount, as well as to the HV
24 forces that were attacking along the right-hand side of the police
1 Q. Is it true that this particular unit which provided support to
2 the special police units did so at the request of yourself, or other
3 members of the special police, and I'm referring to the commanders of
4 individual axis, who referred to you, and that, in fact, it was not
5 resubordinated to the units of the special police in the strict sense of
6 the word?
7 A. At the commencement of Operation Storm, the artillery group we're
8 referring to provided support at the request of the special police, or,
9 rather, through me. I was the one who designated the target that had to
10 be engaged where necessary.
11 Q. I forgot one thing, Mr. Turkalj, when we were referring to
12 130-millimetre cannons a moment ago, we realized that the analysis
13 mentioned them twice on the same page. Were these one and the same
14 cannons that were used by the HV and which provided support for the
15 special police units? You did say that the special police did not have
16 that sort of weaponry.
17 A. These were the only cannons present in the area. There were none
18 other than that.
19 Q. You said that you sought support that was supposed to engage the
20 previously designated targets.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can the registrar please call up
23 Q. As for these targets, in the course of the -- this case we were
24 able to see the internal control department which provided the command of
25 the special police with intelligence concerning the extent of the enemy
1 forces and the activities that are to be expected from the other side.
2 Is it true that the information provided by the inner control
3 department for the purposes of Operation Storm was, in fact, the basis
4 upon which the targets engaged with artillery were designated?
5 A. That's correct. The inner control department gathered
6 intelligence in cooperation with the Croatian army and delivered the
7 intelligence to me and probably to others. The intelligence contained
8 the deployment of the enemy forces and what was to be expected from these
9 forces in the course of Operation Storm.
10 Q. It is true, is it not, that on the basis of such intelligence you
11 selected the targets to be engaged at a given moment at different stages
12 of the operation?
13 A. That's true.
14 Q. For Their Honours' benefit, the document identical in contents
15 but dating from a different period, is D1052 -- or, rather, 1092, 1093,
16 and 1098.
17 We're referring to military targets, of course. You said that
18 one of the targets was communications. You just described for us the --
19 the importance of the Celavac radio relay feature as well as the Prezid
20 feature. And in the course of your testimony, you said that other
21 targets were warehouses, command posts, assembly posts, which constituted
22 the targets your artillery engaged. Is that correct, Mr. Turkalj?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. We will now discuss an artillery issue, and I presume you will be
25 able to help us with it, in view of your relevant experience.
1 Can you explain to us the meaning in artillery -- in the
2 artillery sense, the firing of a projectile upon a military target in
3 order to -- with a view to disrupting it, as opposed to firing a
4 projectile upon a military target with a view to neutralizing. What is
5 the different -- from a -- in terms of artillery?
6 A. Engaging a target to neutralize it would mean that great many
7 more projectiles would need to be used, and when we're talking about
8 command posts or communication centres, neutralizing them would mean
9 placing them out of operation. In other words, such locations could not
10 -- no longer be used as venues for commanding or engaging in any sort of
11 activity. Neutralizing it means to make it impossible for these features
12 to operate.
13 Disrupting a target means to fire a small number of projectiles
14 upon that location, in order to diminish its capacity to engage in the
15 activities that location normally engages in.
16 Q. Judging from the tactics the artillery of the special police
17 employed in the early stages of Operation Storm, would you say that they
18 engaged in -- they engaged targets with a view to neutralizing them or
19 disrupting their activity?
20 A. Well, if we're talking about the targets deep behind the front
21 line, then the intention was to disrupt their activity; whereas the
22 targets that were on the front line, or immediately behind the front
23 line, then the intention was to neutralize their activities.
24 Q. Are you referring to the strongholds held by the enemy which were
25 used to fire upon the Croatian forces?
1 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat his answer
2 because there was no break between question and answer.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Could you make breaks between question and answer,
4 and could you repeat your last answer because the interpreters could not
5 hear it.
6 So the last question was whether you were referring to the
7 strongholds held by the enemy which were used to fire upon the Croatian
8 forces. Could you repeat your answer to that question.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't received interpretation.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Do you now receive interpretation? Apparently not.
11 Let's check.
12 Do you now hear me in a language you understand? Yes. You were
13 invited to repeat the -- your answer to the last question, and the last
14 question being whether you were referring to the strongholds held by the
15 enemy which were used to fire upon the Croatian forces.
16 Could you please repeat your answer to that question.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My answer was that the targets to
18 be neutralized were the strongholds held by the enemy, which engaged in
19 artillery fire upon the Croatian forces.
20 MR. MIKULICIC:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Once the first defence line of the enemy was
22 broken through and in the subsequent activities that the special police
23 engaged in, what sort of tactics did the artillery engage in?
24 A. Can I just make an introduction to this question?
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. Given the lie of the land as the Croatian forces were advancing
2 toward the foot of the Velebit mount pretty quickly, we were not longer
3 able to rely upon the artillery support because of the range that they
4 had. For these purposes, we used the artillery that was attached to the
5 special police in order to make sure that our forces could further
6 advance, until such time as the special police artillery was able to
7 redeploy to new positions.
8 Q. Can we make a difference now in the number of spent ammunition in
9 relation to the first part of the action, which is Velebit, compared to
10 the next part of the action. Which part of the action, the first or the
11 second, used more artillery shells, depending on the phase of the action?
12 A. Depending on the phase of the action, the most artillery was
13 spent breaking through the first line of defence. It is difficult to
14 give you a percentage, but most of the artillery -- or more artillery was
15 spent in that phase.
16 Q. You said that that was a demanding hilly area, mostly
17 uninhabited. Is that what you're referring to?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Mr. Turkalj, there was a question about shelling in the following
20 phase of the action on the town of Gracac
21 testimony from an eye-witness of this shelling who lived in Gracac. I'm
22 now referring to the testimony of Mr. Mile Sovilj. And he told us, and
23 this is transcript page 2241, line 8, that the shelling of Gracac that
24 day when Oluja started proceeded at intervals and that, from what he
25 recalled, he remembers about some 15 shells following on the area of
1 Gracac where he lived.
2 Can you please tell us from -- based on your recollection how
3 many shells were fired at Gracac, the town itself? Does this number
4 correspond to what you know?
5 A. Yes, I think that the number is accurate, about the number of
6 projectiles fired at Gracac itself.
7 Q. When you're talking about targets, I assume that you are
8 referring to military targets?
9 A. Yes. I'm exclusively talking about targets.
10 Q. But these targets are in inhabited areas, populated areas, in
11 civilian areas, let's put it that way. You have already explained to the
12 Prosecution that this had to be done very precisely, in order to minimise
13 possible collateral damage. Isn't that right?
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. The same witness, Mr. Mile Sovilj, in his testimony said that in
16 the centre of Gracac itself, there was a police station, the municipal
17 building as well where the national or people's defence office was.
18 There was railway station, intersection of the roads from Knin to Zagreb
19 and towards Otric, then depot next to the railway station, which the
20 witness -- about which the witness said that that's where he saw certain
22 Does that correspond with your recollection of the facilities and
23 the buildings in Gracac and the targets?
24 A. Yes, those were the targets.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I think we have a practice here when we put
1 previous continue testimony from other witnesses to a witness in court,
2 there is an practice as to how that should be done. I think this is the
3 second time Mr. Mikulicic has breached that.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: I was trying to save some time and not to quote
5 all the parts of testimony of witness Mile Sovilj, and, therefore, I gave
6 the reference. And the reference, I could repeat, starts from transcript
7 page 2241 --
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE: That's not what I'm talking about.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, let's be -- of course, if you ask
10 a witness to describe a certain event, then -- then it makes sense to
11 hear the version of the present witness and after that to perhaps put to
12 him what another witness said about it. But to first ask him whether
13 there was a railway station there, and then to say, Well, that's what
14 Mr. Sovilj told us as well. Of course, it doesn't make sense. I do
15 agree with you that is the rules, but, of course, rules should be applied
16 always in context. And here the only thing until now is that in the
17 centre of Gracac itself, there was the municipal building; there was a
18 railway station; there was an intersection -- well, these intersections
19 usually do not move very quickly, so, therefore, looking at it in the
20 context, it is more efficient to put these simple matters to this
21 witness. It could even have been put to him separate from Mr. Sovilj's
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I only rose to my feet because
24 the witness has already testified in examination-in-chief as to what
25 targets were present in Gracac and also the previous question as to the
1 number of shells fired at Gracac. The witness should have been asked
2 that, and then thereafter if there was a contradiction to -- with the
3 previous testimony. That is why, Mr. President, that I feel that --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Of course, whether he has testified in chief, that
5 is, of course, a different matter. And it would even, I would say,
6 undermine, more or less, your objection because -- if he had already
7 testified about it, then, of course, the procedure which is to seek the
8 testimony of the witness before putting to him what other witness said
9 apparently has then already been met. Isn't it?
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I guess so, Mr. President. Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's try to -- to interpret rules and
12 guidance and context and with full understanding of what it is all about.
13 Please proceed, Mr. Mikulicic.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Turkalj, the first lines of defence of the
16 enemy were broken through in the first half of the day, and then you said
17 that after that you descended down the slopes of the Velebit towards the
18 road leading from Gospic towards Gracac. The pace of the events was
19 quite considerable, wasn't it?
20 A. Yes, it was.
21 Q. Can you tell us if the command insisted on this pace of advance
22 of the special unit?
23 A. The command of the special unit insisted, depending on the
24 conditions at the front, at the time the situation on the front line, the
25 breakthrough of the front line, and so on and so forth.
1 Q. In your experience, why was the pace of advance in these actions
2 important for special units which are actually pushing back enemy forces,
3 why is this pace important?
4 A. Well, it's now a question of tactics, but the main assignment was
5 not to permit the enemy forces to group, and, in that way, to create a
6 second line of defence, which would then place before us the same problem
7 of having to breakthrough that second line.
8 Q. You told us that, in your view, the bulk of the artillery was
9 spent in that first phase.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] So I would now like us to look at
11 document P1154. 1154.
12 Q. What we are going to see, Mr. Turkalj, is a request from the
13 special police sent on the second day of the action, the 5th of August,
14 to the Ministry of Defence, to General Cervenko, the chief of the
15 Main Staff, for replenishment of ammunition for the requirements of the
16 special police.
17 Not going into too much detail, I would just like to you comment.
18 We can see that what is being asked here under the first two items are
19 120-millimetre mines and 128-millimetre missiles or projectiles. And
20 then later, missiles for a hand-held rocket launcher.
21 According to the categories that we referred to earlier,
22 short-range, medium-range and long-range artillery, what would be the
23 purpose of these projectiles? Are these projectiles for long-range
24 weaponry or --
25 A. These are projectiles for short-range artillery. The other
1 projects are anti-armour ammunition or shells which the members carry
2 with them. And then we see also replenishment and guns.
3 Q. And was this request implemented to the letter? Was all this
4 weaponry and ammunition delivered to the special police units, or were
5 there some logistical imprecisions, if we can put it that way?
6 A. The question of replenishment was something that was under the
7 jurisdiction of the logistics section, so I don't know how much actually
8 of this was delivered.
9 Q. My question had to do with document P614, which was an analysis
10 of Storm, and on page 35 negative experience from the action are referred
11 to from the operation. And then in item 5, it says that untimely support
12 in ammunition for the artillery was a negative aspect resulting in more
13 difficulties for those firing positions, because they were supplied under
14 enemy fire.
15 Do you recall such problems occurring?
16 A. Yes, there was such problems. In an operation like that, it can
17 happen for the ammunition not to arrive in time especially in the sector
18 where our logistical forces were moving and the artillery was shifting to
19 new positions and then fire was opened from enemy artillery in those
20 sections, so it was not that easy to organise everything.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could the registrar now please
22 show us D1095.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, I'd like to take the opportunity to
24 ask one additional question.
25 Where you several times refer to short-range and long-range
1 artillery weaponry, where does the short-range move into long-range?
2 What is approximately where you ...
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Targets on the first line of
4 defence, enemy defence, and for shorter depth - we're talking about
5 targets that would be in contact with the Croatian forces, where the two
6 forces were in contact - that's where short-range artillery would be
7 used, in the area of attack. Long-range artillery would be used in the
8 course of the operations for targets in the depth, and these artilleries
9 would be separate.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Could you express that in distances.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All targets that are farther than
12 eight kilometres could only be fired at with long-term -- long range
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at document
18 Q. Other than this problem that was indicated as a negative
19 experience in the analysis of the Storm operation, we can also see from
20 this document that the weapons malfunctioned. And now I'm drawing your
21 attention to paragraph 4, the biggest paragraph, on the first page where
22 it says that :
23 "The 130-millimetre gun was jammed, that the 203-millimetre
24 Howitzer also broke down. According to this categorisation. We're
25 talking about medium or long-range weaponry, aren't we?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And does what you know correspond to what it says there, that
3 there were malfunctions while using artillery?
4 A. Yes, of course.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at document P586,
7 Q. In the examination-in-chief, Mr. Turkalj, battles were discussed
8 and the use of artillery in Donji Lapac. You are now going to see this
9 document. It has already been admitted into evidence, and it's a report
10 from the chief, Mr. Branislav Bole, chief of logistics, sent to the chief
11 of sector, Mr. Zeljko Sacic. It had to do with the fighting to liberate
12 Donji Lapac.
13 Mr. Turkalj, first of all, it is correct, isn't it, that the
14 special police actually did not use artillery in the fighting to liberate
15 Donji Lapac itself?
16 A. Yes, that is correct. This is what I have already stated.
17 Q. Then what it says here in paragraph 2 is that although there were
18 no major battles in the town of Donji Lapac, in the town centre two
19 houses were burning as a consequence of artillery rocket support actions.
20 But then later major incidents occurred in town, and houses were set on
22 Were you an eye-witness of these events, Mr. Turkalj?
23 A. From what I know -- I was also in Donji Lapac myself when forces
24 of the special police entered that sector. In any case, because of my
25 duties, I was among the last to arrive.
1 Could you please repeat the question about what I know. Are you
2 asking about what I know about how Donji Lapac looked?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. As for Donji Lapac itself, it wasn't burned or destroyed. There
5 was no destruction, and I would even say that everything appeared quite
7 Q. The Trial Chamber has already heard testimony that there was a
8 friendly fire incident in Donji Lapac. Do you remember that?
9 A. Yes, I remember it well.
10 Q. How long did this friendly fire at special police forces last
11 before radio communication was established, asking for the artillery
12 firing to stop?
13 A. It was difficult -- it's difficult to say how long it lasted, if
14 fire in the area. Perhaps it's not quite correct to say on Donji Lapac
15 but somewhere in that area at the entrances to Donji Lapac, or whatever
16 the targets were that the artillery was firing, but it did last for
17 minutes, perhaps even several scores of minutes.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at document
19 06171, please.
20 Q. I assume, Mr. Turkalj, that you didn't have the opportunity to
21 see this document, because this is a document on the participation of the
22 rocket and artillery battery of the Brod-Posavina unit in the Operation
23 Storm Oluja 1995?
24 A. I haven't seen this document before.
25 Q. I'm going ask for your comments on the document then.
1 Based on the description of the equipment and materiel in the
2 second paragraph of the document, can you please tell us what sort of
3 artillery is talking -- being talked about here?
4 A. It is artillery that the special police had, and we can see here
5 that it includes only 120-millimetre mortars and RAK 12, which is a
6 128-millimetre rocket launcher. The rest had nothing to do with
7 artillery but with vehicles. As for the rocket Strijela 2M, it has to do
8 with anti-aircraft defence.
9 Q. Was this artillery, as part of the Brod-Posavina police
10 administration special forces, which through its engagement with the
11 joint forces of the special police forces, made its pieces available for
12 use to the joint forces? Was this the method applied in order to
13 establish the joint forces?
14 A. Yes. It was that method, and the same principle was used with
15 other units and their artillery.
16 Q. In the last paragraph on this page, I would like to elicit a
17 comment from you. It says: "It was also agreed on a who can ask for
18 artillery support."
19 Can you comment on this sentence of the report?
20 A. Yes, I can. The commander of the battery, who I suppose
21 forwarded this report, was at the meeting prior to the operation and
22 familiarized with the principles to ask for artillery support and what
23 was the axis of attack that he was supposed to engage.
24 Q. If we go to page 2 of this document, please focus on paragraph 2,
25 which says that, on the 4th of August of 1995 upon the beginning of the
1 operation at 0400 hours, he explained to the members, and "he" is
2 probably the submitter of the report, Mr. Andrija Zivkovic, commander of
3 the rocket artillery battery, how we would perform the rocket artillery
4 operations on the targets already designated.
5 "At 0520 hours we fired the first rockets and shells and the
6 artillery support lasted for about half an hour."
7 Now we come to the part that I'm interested in:
8 "And then we only opened fire pursuant to a request of
9 Mr. Josip Turkalj who was chief of artillery of the special units."
10 This was then the procedure applied when the artillery forces of
11 the joint forces were used?
12 A. Yes, that was the procedure. The commanders could ask me to
13 engage certain targets, and I would approve of such targeting at the
14 artillery position. It wasn't only up to me to designate targets. The
15 axis commanders could also request fire support. However this position
16 was relatively close to me, and I could supervise their work.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] May I receive a number for this
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1206, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: D1206 is admitted into evidence.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have 05612 next.
24 Q. Perhaps later we are going to discuss the establishment of the
25 joint forces of the police that participated in Operation Storm. This
1 Chamber has already heard evidence of the joint forces being formed in a
2 way that from individual police administrations, parts of special police
3 forces units were joined and that a common headquarters was established
4 that was in charge of the operation.
5 What we can see on the screen is an order of the 27th of July,
6 that is on the eve of Operation Storm, issued by assistant minister,
7 Mr. Mladen Markac, sent to the chiefs of four police administrations
8 personally, as well as to you, as the ATJ unit, Lucko commander.
9 As we can see from the order, it discusses the gathering of
10 artillery pieces from the units of the special police. It is stated that
11 from the Osijek-Baranja police administration, two 120-millimetre mortars
12 should be attached to the joint forces, and the same goes for the
13 Sisak-Moslavina police administration.
14 As for the Karlovac police administration, what was requested was
15 a four-member crew, and from the police administration of Zagreb, an
16 additional two mortars were requested.
17 Mr. Turkalj, in relation to what we have discussed so far, this
18 is the operational implementation of the manning of the joint forces of
19 the police with artillery pieces.
20 A. Yes, this was sent to the chiefs of police administrations, and
21 they were supposed to hand this order to the commanders of their
22 respective special forces. It is also stipulated here where those
23 commanders were supposed to report to, so as to be issued with specific
24 artillery tasks.
25 Q. Therefore, that was the model used to establish the artillery of
1 the joint forces for operation Storm?
2 A. Yes, it was.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we please receive a number
4 for this document.
5 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1270.
8 JUDGE ORIE: 1207 is admitted into evidence.
9 MR. MIKULICIC:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Turkalj, as for you and the members of the
11 special police that serviced the artillery pieces, did you have or did
12 you receive proper training on the use of artillery in keeping with the
13 Geneva Conventions and related protocols?
14 A. Yes. The commanders of the batteries that we have been
15 discussing of the special police received orders from me providing
16 instruction on the use of artillery, and they also conducted training
17 with their respective staff on the use of artillery.
18 Q. Briefly, in two sentences, could you tell us what was the essence
19 of the instructions you issued on the use of artillery in keeping with
20 the laws of war?
21 A. The essence was that only military targets could be engaged, and
22 we did so in that part of the attack operation.
23 Tactically speaking, it also addressed the issue of artillery, in
24 the sense of how to neutralize enemy targets.
25 Q. Thank you for that answer.
1 In the analysis document of the special police, which is P614,
2 Mr. Turkalj, concerning the use of artillery at page 23 that we have
3 already seen, it is stated, I will quote:
4 "Through their efficient use, meaning the artillery, the
5 fortified enemy positions and facilities were destroyed as well as the
6 strategic military targets in depth of the enemy were engaged, thus
7 creating psychological uncertainty and anxiety among the ranks of the
8 enemy as well as the Serbian population?"
9 Mr. Turkalj, in your experience and education during the Military
10 Academy, it is correct, is it not, that the use of artillery carries a
11 relatively significant psychological effect. Can you tell us about that?
12 A. Artillery does have a psychological impact in order to demoralize
13 enemy forces. It is one of its basic tasks to demoralize the enemy. As
14 for the use of artillery against military targets, irrespective of
15 whether it is in proximity or distance from settlements does have a
16 certain psychological effect on the population in the area as well. This
17 last sentence is basically a statement of mine, a comment of mine.
18 Artillery as such can cause fear among the population as well as the
19 forces in that area.
20 Q. You mentioned the effect of explosions and detonations upon
21 firing. You also said that it was a mountainous terrain with gorges and
22 valleys. In your opinion, and expertise, what is the effect of
23 detonations and firing of shells from artillery pieces in such terrain?
24 A. As for the lie of land, perhaps there is a part I would like to
25 add to your question an offer a single reply. When we destroyed the
1 communications centre of the enemy as well as our targeting of the radio
2 relay facility enabled -- did not enable them to communicate effectively
3 anymore, and engaging other targets along the axis of attack of the
4 special forces did have a certain negative impact on the persons in the
5 vicinity. Such persons can not precisely determine where detonations
6 came from; they only hear them.
7 Q. Thank you for that answer.
8 However, I'd just like to go back to one part of your answer
9 because it wasn't recorded.
10 What was your personal view on the use of artillery? You said
11 that the population could suffer feelings of fear, of anxiety?
12 A. I said that I would also be scared if I heard artillery being
13 active nearby.
14 Q. I wanted to ask you this: In a mountainous terrain with
15 depressions and gorges, there's an echo effect amplifying the noises of
16 firing, multiplying them, so to speak. Is that a byproduct, so to speak,
17 of the use of artillery?
18 A. Yes. I can confirm that.
19 Q. Therefore, it is correct that a layperson, when artillery is used
20 in such geographical conditions could conclude that there was a far
21 greater number of shells that were fired, given the echo effect than the
22 number that was actually fired?
23 A. One could conclude that. In such geographical conditions it is
24 very difficult to assess how many projectiles were fired at individual
25 targets if a person concerned has no particular knowledge and experience
1 with artillery.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 As regards, artillery, Your Honours, this concludes there topic,
4 unless you have questions about that, otherwise I will move on to another
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please move on.
7 MR. MIKULICIC:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Turkalj, we are going to discuss the topic
9 of the joint forces of the special police next.
10 We saw, and you mentioned that as well, that Mr. Markac, the
11 assistant minister, who was actually the commander of the special police
12 sector, he sent an order to certain police administration commanders as
13 regards personnel, materiel, and equipment.
14 In your experience and, knowledge, what was the relationship
15 between the special police unit commander at the police administration
16 vis-a-vis the head of that police administration?
17 A. Well, I would try to it turn your question around a bit. The
18 special unit of the police was a part of the police administration
19 structure. It was part and parcel of it. The head of that police
20 administration was responsible for the work of that particular special
21 police unit.
22 Q. I am not going to talk to -- about the joint forces now but,
23 rather, on the use of the special police forces.
24 Could a police administration head independently decide on the
25 use of the special police unit inside his police administration, within
1 its territory?
2 A. As regards the tasks of the special police, the head of the
3 police administration would exclusively decide on the orders and
4 decisions concerning daily use and work of that particular special unit
5 in that area. It was the head of the police administration who could
6 issue orders to the unit, and he was in charge of the use of that unit in
7 his area.
8 Q. In situations such as Operation Storm, when joint forces are
9 formed, joint forces of the police that is, from individual police
10 administrations, including all of them save for the ones that did not
11 have special police units, some members of the special police units'
12 staff were assigned to the joint forces.
13 Those of the staff who remained in their respective police
14 administrations, what was their role and who decided on the tasks of
15 those special police who remained within their respective
17 A. Those members of the special police units who did not participate
18 in the joint forces remained under the competence of the head of the
19 police administration, and he issued them tasks.
20 Q. Did I understand you well, it means that the headquarters of the
21 joint forces, vis-a-vis those special police forces that did not
22 participate in the joint forces held no sway?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. However, if the head the police administration should, for
25 whatever reasons, and I'm not even referring to combat here or the mop-up
1 operation, but, for instance, civil unrest taking place in the territory
2 outside of the purview of that particular police administration, should
3 therefore the police of that particular police administration have to be
4 engaged outside of its purview of competence, then it has to apply to the
5 minister; does it not?
6 A. Yes. It has to apply to the Ministry of the Interior to allow it
7 to use its staff outside of their respective police administration.
8 Q. The unit you were the head of, the anti-terrorist unit Lucko, was
9 of a specific sort because it did not fall under any of the police
10 administrations. Rather, it was a part of the sector of the special
11 police; is that right?
12 A. Yes, that is right, because that particular unit was present in
13 the Ministry of Interior before other special police units were formed.
14 Q. Your unit, and I don't mean this disrespectfully toward anyone,
15 had the status of an elite unit within the Ministry of Interior compared
16 to the other special police units belonging to various administrations.
17 A. Yes, you could say that it enjoyed the status of an elite unit,
18 although in combat activities, it was not given any specific role for
19 that score only, nevertheless, it did enjoy a special status.
20 Q. There are -- there is statistical data speaking of the dead and
21 injured members of the anti-terrorist unit Lucko, as opposed to other
22 members of the special police forces in that particular operation. And
23 it is true, is it not, that it was precisely your anti-terrorist unit
24 Lucko which suffered a great number of dead and injured?
25 A. That's true. From day one of the war in Croatia, it was engaged
1 in almost all important war activities and had more dead and wounded than
2 any other unit in Croatia
3 Q. Mr. Turkalj, let me go back to the events which transpired on the
4 25th and 26th of August, 1995.
5 Let me remind you that the so-called freedom train was supposed
6 to travel the railway between Zagreb
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. It is true, is it not, that to that end, the anti-terrorist unit
10 Lucko was engaged in the most sensitive section of the railway, where the
11 train was supposed to travel, holding the president of the republic,
12 ministers, and many of the diplomates accredited in Zagreb.
13 A. That's true.
14 Q. Once the freedom train passed the railway track from Zagreb
15 reached Split
17 A. That's correct. I said that in my statement that Mr. Janjic as
18 commander of the action did not deem its presence necessary there anymore
19 and ordered that it return to Zagreb
20 Q. Did rumour reach you to the effect that once the freedom train
21 finished its journey, the return of the anti-terrorist unit Lucko to
23 in one of the villages?
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the name.
25 A. Yes. In fact, the commander believed that the unit needs to go
1 back to its base, since its task was finished.
2 MR. MIKULICIC:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Is it true, is it not, Mr. Turkalj, that the
4 operational action of providing security to the railway track to be
5 travelled by the freedom train ended as the train reached Split
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we have document D1084,
9 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... there was an
10 observation by the interpreters that the interpreters could not hear the
11 name of the villages, if you would please look at --
12 MR. MIKULICIC: The name of the village is Ramljane.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Turkalj, the former Minister of the Interior
17 of the Republic of Croatia
18 1991. My first question is: Have you seen this order before, ever
20 A. I have never seen this order. At least I don't remember.
21 Q. I'll ask you to comment certain portions of the document. In
22 practice, in the everyday life and work, did the anti-terrorist unit
23 conduct itself in line with this particular order? And I'm referring to
24 items 5 and the subsequent items. It says here that for every special
25 unit formed, its reserve force has to be set up as well, equal in number
1 to the active duty unit.
2 Is this consistent with the practice you came to know while you
3 worked with the special police?
4 A. Yes, in principle it does tally with how it worked in practice.
5 Q. Can you tell us who were members of the reserve force of the
6 special police unit?
7 A. Members of reserve force units in the various police
8 administrations were citizens who were charged with certain duties in the
9 police. Both the general duty police and the special police force had
10 its reserve force.
11 Q. Am I right in interpreting your answer by saying these were
12 individuals with police training?
13 A. Yes, they did have some sort of police training through their
14 work. As the reserve force, they underwent police staining.
15 Q. This is particularly what item 6 speaks to, namely that the
16 reserve forces of the special unit would be formed of members of the
17 reserve force of the special police according to the criteria set in
18 place for active-duty special policemen.
19 Item 7 reads:
20 "The special units are to be engaged solely pursuant to decisions
21 issued by the chief of police administration and deputy minister of the
22 interior or the person thus authorised by him."
23 It seems that what you've just said confirms the practice, as it
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we turn to page 2 of the
2 document to look at item 8.
3 Q. Where the minister orders that the -- that before engaging a
4 special unit in the area of his administration, the chief of a police
5 administration must obtain clearance from the deputy minister or the
6 person authorised by the him.
7 It seems to me, and you will correct me if I'm wrong, that the
8 practice is somewhat modified this decision, and that the chief of a
9 police administration subsequently did not need to obtain the approval
10 from the minister or the deputy minister to use his forces within the
11 territory of the administration but only when it came to their use
12 outside of the police administration.
13 A. Well, as far as I know, for the territory of an administration --
14 of a police administration, it was solely the chief of that particular
15 police administration that would approve the use of the police force.
16 Q. But if we look at item 9, it speaks of this other situation,
17 where the police is being used in the territory of a different police
18 administration, where it cannot be used, meaning the police force,
19 without the approval from the deputy minister.
20 This is consistent with your experience, is it not?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. Mr. Turkalj, when the combat activities of the joint forces of
23 the special police were over, there remained another task which was,
24 according to the order of the chief of the Main Staff within the purview
25 of the joint forces, and that was the duty of the -- the duty to carry
1 out search and mop-up operations outside the inhabited areas. This was
2 something that was carried out by the special police; was it not?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. To your recollection, and based on your experience, can you tell
5 us what the main task was in the search operation that was assigned to
6 the special police?
7 A. As far as I remember, since the HV and special police units
8 advanced very quickly in Operation Storm, which meant that certain groups
9 of enemy soldiers could have found themselves cut off and lingered in
10 mountainous areas, that are difficult to control, the special police was
11 given the order to conduct a search operation in order to detect,
12 sabotage terrorist groups or groups of enemy soldiers who stayed behind
13 after their forces were routed in Operation Storm.
14 Q. We spoke of the pace at which our units, meaning the military and
15 the special police forces advanced during Operation Storm. Is it true,
16 is it not, that the advancements was made along certain roads and axes
17 and some of the terrain not covered by these, i.e., the mountainous area,
18 stayed behind, was not cleared up or certain pockets were formed where
19 one could not be sure whether there were any mines laid or lingering
20 stragglers of enemy forces, and so on and so forth?
21 A. Yes, that's right. That's what I said. There were certain areas
22 not covered in the initial stages of Storm and were left behind, and
23 there were -- there was materiel and technical equipment, explosives, and
24 weapons that had been wielded by the enemy.
25 Q. Before we make the break, the area that was searched by the
1 special police in this search and mop-up operation was difficult to
2 access; was it not?
3 Did you ever have occasion to hear or see that the special police
4 force had conducted such search operations in inhabited areas, villages
5 or towns?
6 A. As far as I know, the special police conducted such operations
7 solely in the elevated feature, such as the Petrova Gora or the Plitvice
8 lakes which is a forested area, difficult to survey. The areas of
9 [indiscernible] and similar features.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, it's time for a break. May I remind
11 you, and also you, Mr. Turkalj, that the speed which you develop in
12 question and answer gives the interpreters a hard time today, so if could
13 you please slow down and make these breaks.
14 So we will have a break, and we will resume at ten minutes to
16 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, please proceed.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Turkalj, before we had the break, we were
21 discussing joint forces and search operations.
22 First let me put a question to you about the setting up of the
23 joint forces. The joint forces of the special police could also be set
24 up for the purposes of combat activities but also for purely regular
25 policing tasks, such as policing rioting, any other sort of unrest, and
1 so on and so forth; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can the Registrar please call up
5 Q. The document we're about to see dates from August 1992, and is,
6 in fact, a proposal from the then-chief of the special police department,
7 Mr. Markac, which was sent to assistant minister Josko Moric. Later on
8 when we look at page 2, we will see that assistant minister Josko Moric
9 approved the proposal, as did deputy minister Zeljko Tomljenovic.
10 This is a proposal for establishing action Poskok, horned viper,
11 in the area of Velebit. You are familiar with Poskok action that the
12 special police conducted in the area of Mount Velebit?
13 A. Yes, I am.
14 Q. Is it true, is it not, that the idea behind the whole action was
15 to prevent the breakthrough from the enemy forces across the Velebit
16 mount, and out on to the -- from preventing it from coming out on the
17 seaward side, and thus cutting off Croatia into two parts, northern and
18 southern parts; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In this document General Markac, in fact, proposes the tasks of
21 the special police within the action as a whole.
22 Please look at item 3, locating sabotage terrorist groups, their
23 capturing, disarmament, bringing in, and destroying.
24 Item 4, locating, identifying, marking and, in cooperation with
25 the Croatian army engineering team, demounting and destroying
1 mine-explosive devices.
2 On the next page, items 5 and 6, speak about the fact that the
3 special police, as part of its work, has to engage in detecting all
4 manner of explosive devices hidden away in various caches and hideouts on
5 the Velebit mount, as well as detecting dead bodies, and burials, graves.
6 In fact, these were the tasks discharged by the special police as
7 it was conducting searches and mopping up areas; is that right?
8 A. Yes. These are identical tasks.
9 Q. The tasks were defined in light of the fact that the members of
10 the special police had specialist knowledge. Primarily I'm referring to
11 scuba divers, speleology, explosive specialists, and so on and so forth.
12 It is true, is it not, that members of the special police had to go
13 through specialist training and specialize in various fields?
14 A. Every unit had organised, specialized groups, the ones that you
15 referred to, and they had to go through their regular training alongside
16 their regular work. And it had to do with the specialist knowledge you
17 to referred to.
18 Q. Based on the specialist knowledge and training members of the
19 special police under went, they were used for special purpose missions;
20 is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Turkalj, I will be changing topics now. I am not doing this
23 in the proper order, but this is because I omitted to next something, and
24 I have to get back to it now.
25 You remember when we discussed the use of artillery, I showed you
1 the order from the chief of the Main Staff to engage special police units
2 in Operation Storm. This order is now marked as D1205. This order was
3 sent to Brigadier Ademi for his information.
4 You will remember that Brigadier Rajko Rakic added in his hand an
5 observation that the area had to be reinforced with artillery.
6 I would now like to you look at D1094. When Brigadier Rakic
7 placed his remark on the order sent for their information about the
8 reinforced artillery - this was on the 29th of July, 1995 - the chief of
9 the Main Staff, General Cervenko, reacted with a 30th July order --
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] This isn't the document. Can we
11 have D1049. That's 65 ter 2162.
12 Q. There seems as if we have small technical problems, but perhaps
13 we can do it without this document.
14 Here it is. Can we look at item 4.
15 In this order by General Cervenko, which followed the next day
16 after the remark by Brigadier Rakic about the use of artillery, General
17 Cervenko orders that forces engaged on the slopes of Velebit to be
18 provided with a special artillery group that would provide them -
19 referring to the HVO forces - and the MUP forces with artillery support.
20 One question about this, Mr. Turkalj. It's correct, isn't it,
21 that only the chief of the Main Staff was authorised to order artillery
22 support and then that order was operationally implemented at the level of
23 army command?
24 A. Yes. It would be further operationally implemented in the
25 Military Districts that it applied to, relating to artillery support.
1 Q. Mr. Turkalj, I'm at the end of my cross-examination, and I would
2 just like to put a few more questions to you.
3 We talked about how, on the 25th of August, or, rather, the 26th
4 of August, an incident took place in the village of Grubori
5 area of the village of Ramljane
6 some persons were killed in the village of Grubori
7 that sense that there were a lot of contested facts, and you tried to
8 explain that, as well as some other witnesses who were here.
9 In relation to that, this is my question, did you ever, or anyone
10 that you know, received from the superior structures within the police or
11 the state government in general, any kind of instruction, oral or
12 written, that these events should be covered up, that they should not be
13 investigated, that they should -- or that the facts relating to those
14 incidents in Grubori should be concealed? Did you know anything like
16 A. Well, I'm going to try to respond very simply to your question.
17 I don't know. I did not, nor did I hear of any other of my colleagues
18 received any kind of instruction to cover up any event that happened over
19 those few days.
20 Q. Mr. Turkalj, thank you very much for your answers. I'm going
21 conclude my with that, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
23 Who is next in line, Mr. Kay.
24 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Turkalj, you will you now be cross-examined by
1 Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay is counsel for Mr. Cermak.
2 MR. KAY: Thank you.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Kay:
4 Q. Mr. Turkalj, where were you when you first heard that an incident
5 had happened in the Plavno valley in Grubori on the 25th of August, 1995
6 A. I'm sorry, I didn't get a translation.
7 Q. I'll repeat the question. Where were you when you first heard --
8 I'll start again because we may have switched channels. I don't know.
9 Where were you when you first heard that on the 25th of August,
10 in Grubori, in the Plavno valley, that there had been an incident and
11 people were killed?
12 A. As you already know from my statement, I said that I was not in
13 the area during those few days, and I think that it was only on the 27th
14 that I was called to that area, and that was the first time that I
15 received information about an incident or event happening in that area.
16 Q. So on the 25th of August, where were you on that day?
17 A. On the 25th of August, I was working in Zagreb.
18 Q. And you didn't hear anything about an incident in Grubori whilst
19 you were in Zagreb
20 A. That is right. I didn't hear anything.
21 Q. On the next day, the 26th of August, were you still in Zagreb
22 A. Yes, I was in Zagreb
23 Q. Did you hear anything on that day about an incident happening in
24 Grubori, in the Plavno valley?
25 A. No, I did not.
1 Q. So moving, then, to the 27th, what time of day was it that you
2 heard that something had happened on the 25th?
3 A. I cannot tell you the exact time, but it was sometime in the
5 Q. And where exactly were you when you heard that information in the
7 A. I was in the area of Plavno and of Grubori.
8 Q. And why had you gone to Grubori in the area of Plavno on the
9 27th? What caused you to go there on that day?
10 A. I have already said in my testimony that I was called by
11 Mr. Sacic to come to Plavno because there was certain activities there.
12 Q. On the 27th, then, when Mr. Sacic called you, where were you when
13 you received that call?
14 A. I was in Zagreb
15 Q. And in what particular place?
16 A. I could have been at home.
17 Q. And so how did he communicate to you whilst you were in Zagreb
18 A. By telephone, I think.
19 Q. And so you left Zagreb
20 A. I went to the Gracac area and then continued towards Plavno.
21 Q. Now, in Gracac, where exactly did you go?
22 A. I only met Mr. Celic and Mr. Balunovic in Gracac. I didn't go
23 anywhere specifically; we just with met up in Gracac and then continued
24 on our way.
25 Q. Did you travel from Zagreb
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. And what place did you meet Mr. Celic and Mr. Balunovic at in
4 A. I don't know exactly where we met. We met somewhere in Gracac
6 Q. Well, was it on the street, in a cafe, or in an office?
7 A. We met in front of the building where the staff of the special
8 police was. But I cannot definitely say where it was. But I think
9 that's where it was.
10 Q. Had you ever been to that building in Gracac before the 27th of
12 A. I believe so, yes.
13 Q. And just thinking about the time again, as we've got there in
14 front of the special police building, are you able to think again and
15 recollect what time of day that you met Mr. Celic?
16 A. We met sometime in the morning. Maybe around 7.00 or 8.00,
18 Q. Did you meet Mr. Sacic when you were in Gracac?
19 A. I don't remember. No, no, I didn't.
20 Q. Did you speak to Mr. Sacic when you were in Gracac?
21 A. I did not meet Mr. Sacic when I was in Gracac.
22 Q. How long did you spend in Gracac, having met Mr. Celic?
23 A. We didn't stay long in Gracac.
24 Q. So from Gracac, where did you then go?
25 A. After Gracac, we went to the area of Plavno.
1 Q. And how long did it take you to get from Gracac to this area of
3 A. It's hard to say, but perhaps about an hour and a half, two
5 Q. And when you say "in the area of Plavno," is that the village of
7 A. No. I'm thinking about the area of the settlement of Plavno
8 itself. It's a bit below the village of Grubori
9 Q. And thinking again, what time of day would that have been, if
10 you're able to tell us, when you arrived in Plavno village?
11 A. It's hard to say exactly what time it was. Perhaps it was around
12 10.00. It's hard to be specific.
13 Q. And did you travel from Gracac to Plavno on your own or with
15 A. I travelled alone.
16 Q. Did Mr. Celic and Mr. Balunovic also go to Plavno at the same
18 A. Yes. But they had another vehicle.
19 Q. Did Mr. Celic tell you why you were going to Plavno?
20 A. Mr. Celic didn't tell me that. I've already said that Mr. Sacic
21 told me that I was to go to the village of Plavno
22 specific event that happened there.
23 Q. Well, taking this in stages, did Mr. Sacic describe to you what
24 the specific event was, what had happened?
25 A. No, he didn't describe anything specifically, no.
1 Q. So what did he describe then, if he didn't describe anything
2 specifically? What did he say to you was your mission and reason for
3 going to Plavno?
4 A. He didn't mention any specific assignment. No such assignment
5 was given to me. He just called and said that I was supposed to go to
6 that area, and this is what I did. The alleged reason was that there had
7 been some event in that area.
8 Q. Well, looking at it, then, why did you go to Gracac first and not
9 drive direct to Plavno?
10 A. For the simple reason that I didn't know where the settlement or
11 the village of Plavno
12 Q. So when you went to Gracac, was Mr. Celic expecting you to come
13 to Gracac?
14 A. I told Mr. Celic to come to Gracac so then we can go -- we could
15 go to the area of Plavno, because I didn't know that area of Plavno at
17 Q. Had anyone else told Mr. Celic that he should go to Plavno, or
18 was it just as a result of your request?
19 A. As far as I know, it was as a result of my request that we should
20 meet in Gracac and then continue on to Plavno, because I didn't know
21 where Plavno was.
22 Q. So had you telephoned him in advance to say that you were coming
24 A. No. He also set off from Zagreb
25 Q. Did he travel down with you from Zagreb?
1 A. No. Everyone had their own vehicle.
2 Q. Did you travel together, although in separate vehicles?
3 A. No, we didn't.
4 Q. Did you know that he was travelling from Zagreb at the same time
5 as you?
6 A. Yes. I told him to go to the Gracac area so that, later, we
7 could go to the Plavno area together.
8 Q. Mr. Balunovic, did he travel down from Zagreb as well?
9 A. He went together with Mr. Celic.
10 Q. Who arrived in Gracac first? You or Mr. Celic?
11 A. Mr. Celic.
12 Q. So he was waiting for you there, was he?
13 A. Yes. As I said, we met in front of the building. Perhaps he
14 arrived five or ten minutes before I did, but I'm not able to say exactly
15 how much earlier.
16 Q. Did Mr. Celic explain to you why you were going to Plavno?
17 A. No. I called Mr. Celic to come with me.
18 Q. Looking at that in two parts, then, when you called Mr. Celic,
19 did he say anything to you about what had happened in Plavno?
20 A. No. I've already said that I didn't speak with Mr. Celic before
21 that. Only when we arrived at Plavno.
22 Q. But when you met Mr. Celic in Gracac outside the special police
23 building, did you have a conversation with him as to why you were going
24 to the Plavno area?
25 A. No. We didn't discuss those questions specifically. I've
1 already said that.
2 Q. So he didn't make any explanation to you on that morning of the
3 27th of August as to why you needed to go to Plavno?
4 A. No, not that time. I said that when we came to Plavno, we were
5 together, and that was when we talked.
6 Q. Just one matter of detail. Did you travel that morning before
7 you went to Grubori to Knin? Before you went to Grubori.
8 A. No.
9 Q. Where did you stop in the village of Plavno
10 A. I cannot say exactly. I'm not really that familiar with that
11 area. That was the first time that I was there, and I never went back
12 there again. But we stopped somewhere close to Grubori, somewhere on the
13 road. I don't know the name of that place. I'm -- I can't say that now.
14 Q. And how long did you stop there for?
15 A. I'm not able to say that either.
16 Q. Did you have a discussion with Mr. Celic before you later went to
17 Grubori as to what had happened in Grubori?
18 A. I mentioned in my statement what we talked about.
19 Q. I'm sorry, I want you to answer my question, though. You may
20 have said many things in your statement, but I want you to answer my
22 I'll repeat it. Did you have a discussion with Mr. Celic before
23 you later went to Grubori as to what had happened in Grubori?
24 A. I don't recall the exact details of the conversation, but we
25 talked about the assignments of the unit, we talked, he explained the
1 area, more or less where the unit was supposed to sweep the terrain. He
2 explained to me, and I said this in my statement, that he wrote this
3 statement and that after the statement, while he was talking with
4 Mr. Sacic, he wrote an additional report about the circumstances. He
5 also told me that he was not at that place, since there was some other
6 assignments he was executing at that time. Specifically, he was
7 somewhere else. And he doesn't know what happened in that area. That
8 was more or less the gist of the conversation.
9 Q. Thank you. So before you went to Grubori, did you know that
10 there had been an assertion that there had been a fight between the
11 special police units and terrorists in that area?
12 A. The only information that I had, and that was that precise
13 information, is that there had been a fight there with the opposing
15 Q. Thank you. You then went to Grubori. And how many houses in
16 that village were you able to see?
17 A. We didn't search the houses. When a number of the people who
18 were in Grubori, when they came to that area, we saw that whole area more
19 or less, but I had the feeling that you could see perhaps in two or three
20 houses that there had been possible fighting. There were traces of
21 weapons, of bullets, traces on the walls of the houses. The houses were
22 not burned or showed other kind of damage.
23 Q. Did you speak to Mr. Sacic whilst you were in Grubori?
24 A. No, I didn't speak to Mr. Sacic about anything in particular.
25 I've already said that there were several people there, and Mr. Sacic and
1 I did not talk with one another.
2 Q. Do you know if Mr. Sacic spoke to Mr. Celic whilst you were in
4 A. I don't recall him talking with Mr. Celic then, when he was in
6 Q. Whilst you were in Grubori, did a group of people also enter the
7 village which were journalists, General Cermak, and other people,
8 amounting to about 30 people?
9 A. I cannot say how many people were there when the group came to
10 that area, but there were many people. That's why it's hard to say who
11 talked with whom.
12 Q. And what was the purpose of you being actually there physically
13 in Grubori at that time?
14 A. You mean me personally or the group?
15 Q. You personally.
16 A. I was not under the impression that my presence there was
17 required or important for anything. However, it is a fact that Mr. Sacic
18 called me and told me that I was supposed to go to that area. Other than
19 that, I had no specific tasks there.
20 Q. Were you present in Grubori when there were any discussions about
21 there having been a combat at that -- on the 25th of August between the
22 special police and the terrorist forces?
23 A. I was present in the settlement of Grubori as a member of the
24 group you referred to. There were no specific discussions that took
25 place. However, there were several people there, and they were talking
1 to each other. Therefore, I suppose that they did exchange comments.
2 Q. Did you hear such comments being made that the special police had
3 been involved in a combat action with Serbian terrorist forces?
4 A. Yes, there were such remarks made.
5 Q. Where you were and what you saw, did it look like, to you, that
6 that could have been an explanation as to what had happened in Grubori?
7 A. As I have said already, as far as I could assess, the looks of
8 the area, I concluded that there was fighting.
9 Q. You're a member of the special police. Are you able to name the
10 other types of people, if there were any, other than special police who
11 were in Grubori during your visit?
12 A. While I was in Grubori, I know that Mr. Celic and Mr. Balunovic
13 were there who arrived with me. There was Mr. Sacic. There was some
14 other members of the HV. There was some civilians. I can't say
15 specifically who was there in the settlement of Grubori.
16 Q. Did you know if there were or were not members of the ordinary
17 civilian police also there at that time?
18 A. I think there were representatives of the civilian police.
19 However, I do not remember who they were or what their names were.
20 Q. How long did you spend in Grubori during this visit?
21 A. It was a relatively short period of time, 15 to 20 minutes. I
22 can't be any more precise than that.
23 Q. From Grubori, you then went where? Where was the next place you
24 went to?
25 A. From Grubori, we went downhill to the area of Plavno, where we
1 stayed for a relatively short time as a group.
2 Q. And then where did you go next after that place?
3 A. After that, we went to Knin.
4 Q. And who did you travel with?
5 A. I was in my own vehicle.
6 Q. Had you ever been to Knin before?
7 A. No, I had not.
8 Q. When you went to Knin, what place did you go to?
9 A. I think I went to the building or facility where the Croatian
10 army was. I don't know what the name of the building was, though. It
11 may have been a headquarters or simply a building with the HV.
12 Q. Can you think back now as to what time of day it was when you
13 arrived there?
14 A. It was sometime before lunch, perhaps around noon. I can't tell
15 you the precise time, but around noon
16 Q. Is this the time and the place where you had a cup of coffee?
17 A. Yes, we did have a cup of coffee.
18 Q. And was there general discussion amongst people at that time and
19 at that place about what had happened in Grubori?
20 A. At that place where the group was, in the room, there was
21 discussion about general things, life and work in Knin, and its environs.
22 There was mention made of Grubori, that it all looked like there had been
23 fighting, but there was also some general discussion.
24 Q. Was that a statement that was made by Mr. Sacic at that time,
25 that there had been a combat between the special police and a Serbian
1 terrorist group?
2 A. I think Mr. Sacic did mention that, that he did mention that
3 while we were having coffee.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay.
5 MR. KAY: I have one last question on this point, Your Honour,
6 to --
7 Q. Was there any suggestion made by Mr. Sacic that what had happened
8 in Grubori must be misrepresented, or a false story promoted, or people
9 misled about what had happened?
10 A. Could you please repeat your question, because I did not
11 understand it fully.
12 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I will continue my questioning tomorrow
13 with the court's leave because I have a few other matters, and I do
14 notice the time of the clock.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
16 Mr. Turkalj, I give you the same instruction as I did before,
17 that is, that you should not speak with anyone about the testimony,
18 whether already given or still to be given, and we'd like to see you back
19 tomorrow morning, 9.00.
20 We adjourn for the day, and we'll resume tomorrow, the 16th of
21 December, 9.00 in the morning, in this same courtroom, I.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 16th day of
24 December, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.