1 Thursday, 18 June 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
6 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
8 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina et al.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Assuming that there are no procedural issues, I would like the
12 witness to be escorted into the courtroom.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 MR. MISETIC: Good morning, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning.
16 MR. MISETIC: I'm just concerned that my case manager wasn't
17 here, but ...
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
19 WITNESS: MILE MRKSIC [Resumed]
20 [The witness answered through interpreter]
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning to everyone.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Mrksic. Please be seated.
23 Mr. Mrksic, a few reminders. First, you are still bound by the
24 solemn declaration you gave yesterday at the beginning of your testimony.
25 Second, if Mr. Misetic raises his hands, it's not necessarily that he
1 wants you to stop, but perhaps to slow down, and it's not because we
2 don't want to hear your answer. To the contrary, we want to hear your
3 answer, but we need the interpreters for that. So please follow
4 Mr. Misetic and then wait for a while. If he then puts his next question
5 to you, that would mean that you've answered his question. If not, he'll
6 give you a sign that you can continue. Third, if, and I just give an
7 example, Mr. Misetic asks you by what means of transportation you came
8 here, you can just say, I came by car, I came by plane, I came by train.
9 There's no need, at that moment, to tell us what the colour of the car
10 was, whether it was a Fiat or it was a Volkswagen. If he's interested to
11 know about the colour, he'll certainly ask you. So try to keep your
12 answers focused very much on the questions, keep them short. If we need
13 more details, we'll ask you about it.
14 Is that clear to you?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's clear, Your Honour.
16 Following the experience I had yesterday, and it was the first
17 time I found myself in such a situation, I suppose I will be able to give
18 answers slowly to everyone's delight, I hope. And I would like to cover
19 all of the ground. I do have a feeling at times that I'm being
20 interrupted at the moment when I'm trying to say something I believe
21 could be helpful both for Misetic and everyone else.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Let's try to find a balance. Let's first focus on
23 the question as it was put to you. It's not criticism. It's just trying
24 to assist and to help you in using our time in this court as efficiently
25 as possible.
1 Mr. Misetic, please proceed.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I ask you this: I
3 was given a warning that I shouldn't be talking to this and other person
4 or phone anyone. Am I entitled to give a phone call to my wife and
5 family and inquire if they're well? I don't want to discuss the case. I
6 just want to let them know that I'm feeling well and that I'm in good
8 I do understand your instructions, but I haven't been speaking to
9 either the other inmates or my wife, the lawyer is not here, and I'm
10 becoming mute. That's what I -- that's how I understood your warning, at
11 any rate.
12 JUDGE ORIE: You can talk to anyone, as long as it not in any way
13 relates to the fact that you're giving testimony and the substance of
14 your testimony. But if you want to talk about the weather, the food, or
15 your health with your family, that's fine.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely. Thank you.
17 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Examination by Mr. Misetic: [Continued]
19 Q. Good morning again, General Mrksic.
20 Mr. Registrar, if we could have on the screen again, please,
21 Exhibit D1465, at English page 210.
22 General Mrksic, I'm going to pick up where we left off yesterday,
23 and we're going to go back to this meeting at the end of June in Belgrade
24 about the operation in the Bihac pocket.
25 Now, you see there, towards the middle of the page "JS," whom
1 yesterday you said was Jovica Stanisic, in talking about this operation,
2 and it's page 215 in the B/C/S. If we go down to "JS":
3 "I can find 120 perfect men who would come there in seven days.
4 They would be from the eastern sector - that is support."
5 And then it says:
6 "They should not be engaged ..."
7 And then if we can turn the page please. Then again it says:
8 "JS: Mr. Stanisic, let Mladic arrange it with the 1st and 2nd
9 Krajina corps, and find them to replace the 400 of Pecanac's men and give
10 them to Mrksic. That we form a battalion of volunteers and engage them
11 in ten days - that General Perisic equips them. There are 58, from
12 Kragujevac, Nis
13 This is the next page in the B/C/S, I understand.
14 Now, General Mrksic, first of all, in preparing this operation,
15 do you recall conversations in Belgrade
16 transfer of men from, let's say, the command of General Mladic's army and
17 transferring them to your command for purposes of this operation?
18 A. I do remember it being mentioned. But specifically who was
19 supposed to be issued this assignment and what it involved, sending whom
20 to whom, I don't remember. This is the first time I see the mention of
21 Kragujevac, Ljubiskovo. I don't remember that at all. I don't remember
22 at all -- well, this is a piece of paper, an arrangement, and many times,
23 as far as I can remember, such arrangements came to nothing. I can tell
24 you about what I did in Slunj, what I formed in Slunj. I don't remember
25 there being any Pecanac around, I don't know the man, and I couldn't know
1 to begin with because I didn't go to see them over there.
2 Q. I understand. Let me ask you this question: At these meetings,
3 who has the authority to transfer -- you said it was discussed, but
4 you're not sure if it was ever implemented. Who had the authority to
5 transfer men from the Army of the VRS to the Army of the ARSK?
6 A. I think that certain police units were involved, and it was
7 within the competence of the Ministry of Republika Srpska. I am not
8 familiar with their system of command. Normally, the army that was under
9 Mladic's control and command would not come to my -- under my authority.
10 Those must have been MUP or SUP
11 Q. What I'm asking you about specifically is the line that says:
12 "Let Mladic arrange it with the 1st and 2nd Krajina Corps."
13 The 1st and 2nd Krajina Corps refers to the corps of the VRS;
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. " ... and find men to replace the 400 of Pecanac's men and give
17 them to Mrksic."
18 Now --
19 A. This was not done. I don't remember it being done.
20 Q. Whether it was done or not, my question to you is: Who had the
21 authority to do it, if they were going to do it?
22 A. I assume -- well, I don't know who this person Pecanac was,
23 whether he was from the MUP or the VRS. More likely he was from the MUP.
24 Some other forces were supposed to be found to replace his. The MUP and
25 the VRS controlled the same front-line, just as was the case in the
1 Republic of Croatia
2 be holding separate territory from that of the VRS. It must have been
3 regrouping that took place.
4 Q. My question is: Who had the authority to subordinate forces of
5 the VRS or of the RS MUP to you?
6 A. It must have been resolved by the president, because the MUP came
7 under the president or the Ministry of the Interior. I don't know who
8 was the minister at the time. They strictly took care to keep their own,
9 and I'm talking about the MUP and the army.
10 Q. The president of which entity?
11 A. Republika Srpska, since Pecanac and these forces were involved.
12 Q. That would be Mr. Karadzic; correct?
13 A. Yes, or his minister of the interior, if he authorised him to do
15 Q. Now, the next entry says:
16 "Mrksic: Let us pay this corps. Four million came, but I don't
17 know where four is."
18 Can you recall what you were referring to when you said "four
19 million came"?
20 A. Well, this is the conversations that we did not finish that we
21 had in Karadjordjevo. I mean, we did not finish because you interrupted
22 me. Had I told you the entire story, you wouldn't have to put this
23 question to me now.
24 After my appointment as commander, at the meeting in
25 Karadjordjevo I laid out my concept - Mladic was there as well - as to
1 how we should set up the army. I wasn't able to do that merely on the
2 basis of fine words. I needed money for that. The president said, Well,
3 you have Djeletovci there and pumps that work there. Where is this money
4 going to? So they managed to get hold of some funds that enabled me to
5 pay for specialists within the corps at Slunj. I managed to pay out the
6 first salaries, and I transferred the funds to the budgets of the
7 Republic of Serbian Krajina, which was suddenly revived, thanks to that.
8 Of course, it was the federal organs that authorised the transfer of
9 funds through the SDK, not me.
10 This is nothing to do with the operation. I merely took an
11 opportunity at this meeting to raise this issue. Do you understand now?
12 It has nothing to do with this particular meeting. I merely abused, if
13 you will, the meeting to raise this issue, because he had made this
14 promise to me in Karadjordjevo that he did not follow up on. And I
15 asked, Where's the money, who put the money away?
16 Q. Okay. Now, eventually after this meeting an operation was
17 undertaken in the Bihac pocket; do you recall that?
18 A. Yes. I think the name was "Match" or "Sword," or something of
19 the sort.
20 Q. And can you tell us whether you achieved your objectives in
21 launching that operation?
22 A. I had a twofold goal, I personally. Well, I was given the
23 assignment, but my aim was to see how these professionals of mine would
24 fare. It was like a drilling exercise to me or a demonstration. There
25 was the entire battalion or a check-point of Polish members of UNPROFOR
1 who admired the professional side of it. I did not want to make this
2 breakthrough in order to incur losses, but rather I wanted to conquer the
3 forces of the 5th Corps. You see, the Pauk command had 10.000 men under
4 their command, and they had expanded their territory. The expansion of
5 the territory was in my favour because I gained depth, which would prove
6 useful in the case the Republic of Croatia
7 settlements. I would have this depth where I would be able to protect
8 ordinary people and allow them to pull out.
9 In 1994, we -- at the time when people and the army of
10 Fikret Abdic had fled from the area, we received them, and this was done
11 in World War II as well.
12 I would like you to understand why this balance of power was
13 created. You might not be familiar with this. When there were
14 offensives taking place -- well, you're not allowing me to proceed. All
16 JUDGE ORIE: No, no. Let me again stress, we want --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's history I'm referring to, but
18 it will not harm anyone. I just wanted to present to you the fact that
19 it was not the whim of the politics of the time.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Always keep a close eye on Mr. Misetic, because he
21 tries to perform two tasks. The first is to slow you down in such a way
22 that we are able to hear what you want to tell us, and, second, to keep
23 your answers within the limits Mr. Misetic thinks is useful for us to
25 Please proceed.
1 MR. MISETIC:
2 Q. Let me just try to explain something to you, in terms of why it's
3 good if you try to keep your answers focused on my questions.
4 You obviously have a lot of information on every question I can
5 pose to you. I'm aware of that. But from your perspective, the longer
6 answers --
7 A. [No interpretation]
8 Q. No, no, no. The longer the answers are that give to every
9 question, the longer you're going to be here.
10 A. Yes, yes, the visit on the 24th.
11 Q. Exactly. Try to keep those answers short and strictly to the
12 question. We will be done faster. Okay.
13 I lost my train of thought now.
14 A. [In English] Excuse me. [Interpretation] That wasn't my
15 intention, to do that.
16 Q. My question is: In terms of trying to gain depth, how much
17 depth -- what was the purpose of the operation in terms of how much depth
18 you wanted to gain?
19 A. My forces got into the territory -- 2 kilometres into the
20 territory. They crossed the Korana, which was the frontier, and reached
21 the first elevation points near the village of -- and that's where they
22 stopped. They didn't advance any further. This was not the goal. The
23 goal or the objectives were into the depth in the next mountain range,
24 where there were Pauk members present. There I realised that the Dinara
25 was the problem and I aborted this action.
1 Q. Let me ask you, I'm not referring just to forces that maybe were
2 under the ARSK command. What was the objective in terms of the depth for
3 the Pauk command, Fikret Abdic's forces and your forces? How far did you
4 want to reach, all three of you?
5 A. The assignment was not to touch Bihac. Bihac was a protected
6 zone. The instruction was not to irritate the international community.
7 This was a protected area. It was an assignment to the VRS. Another
8 instruction was that towns should not be touched, not even Cazin, which
9 was within range; rather, only the villages which had, through their
10 delegations, spoken their mind to Fikret Abdic in terms of them wanting
11 to cross and go under his authority. I don't know how they settled this
12 issue, what their dealings were. I had only heard that several of the
13 villages had decided to join him.
14 We weren't supposed to go radically and destroy the 5th Corps.
15 Besides, we didn't have the forces to do that. But the corps was in a
16 very bad way, and not because of combat activities, but because
17 marketeering and smuggling activities had been stopped. But we haven't
18 even approached that topic yet.
19 MR. MISETIC: Staying on this topic for a minute, if we could go
20 back to Exhibit D923, please, the second-to-last page in the English.
21 Q. General Mrksic, this is that report from the 26th of August sent
22 to the chief of the Main Staff of the Yugoslav Army. It's right under
23 the section in the B/C/S that begins under point 19.
24 Now, I'm asking you this in the context of these meetings at the
25 end of June. The second paragraph there under point 19, you write, on
1 the 26th of August:
2 "The Army of the Serbian Krajina was and still is considered a
3 part of the VJ, Yugoslav Army. It was doing everything it could, but it
4 has remained isolated. We think that the Main Staff of the Yugoslav Army
5 should have supported development of the Army of the Serbian Krajina in a
6 more courageous and determined way."
7 Now, can you explain that concept of the Army of the Serbian
8 Krajina was and still is considered a part of the VJ?
9 A. I told you yesterday that it was the first time I saw the
10 document. The Army of Republika Srpska was an independent body, and it
11 was not merely a branch of the VJ. I wasn't submitting reports to
12 Perisic. I was on equal footing both with him and Mladic. We were three
13 systems. We weren't three united peoples in one state, and there wasn't
14 one person commanding over three front-lines. Simply, they were a
15 brother nation, and I would appeal to them for their assistance in order
16 to make sure that their brethren survived. I didn't write this. These
17 are not my conclusions.
18 Q. Let me take you back to what you said earlier today at page 7,
19 lines 22 and 23, when I was asking you about the Operation Match or
20 Sword. Your answer was:
21 "I had a twofold goal, I personally. Well, I was given the
22 assignment, but my aim was to see how these professionals of mine would
24 Now, if you're three separate armies, and you are the chief --
25 A. [No interpretation]
1 Q. -- if you are the chief, the commander of the Main Staff, who is
2 giving you the assignment?
3 A. Martic, the supreme commander, was giving me my assignments.
4 Q. And Martic, who was he receiving his instructions from?
5 A. As for his instructions, we would have -- those assignments would
6 be discussed by the Supreme Council to assist whether they were in favour
7 or detrimental to the Republic of the Serbian Krajina and to see what the
8 objective would gain us.
9 There were general tasks which were imposed by
10 President Milosevic, who was an authority for all Serbian lands. To that
11 effect, we were not, in fact, economically able to do anything without
12 assistance. And assistance to Fikret Abdic was along those lines, in
13 fact, to help the people gain depth, gain the area, where the people
14 could flee if need be, God forbid. And I personally reckoned with 10.000
15 people, 10.000 combatants of Fikret Abdic. My back was more secure in
16 that case than if I had had a 5th Corps at my command, because Slunj was
17 there in the area.
18 Q. Let me show you a different document, General Mrksic.
19 This is Exhibit D953, Mr. Registrar.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: The 5th Corps behind
21 my back, not at my command.
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. Now, let me just ask you for one clarification of your answer.
24 Page 12, lines 9 and 10, you say:
25 "There were general tasks which were imposed by
1 President Milosevic, who was an authority for all Serb lands."
2 Is that correct?
3 A. I don't see where that is.
4 Q. No, no. I'm looking at your last answer on the transcript at
5 page 12, lines 9 and 10. Ignore the document on the screen for a minute.
6 A. It's not there.
7 Q. You answered the last question -- when I asked you who was Martic
8 receiving his instructions from, you answered at page 12, lines 9 and 10:
9 "There are general tasks which were imposed by
10 President Milosevic, who was an authority for all Serbs lands."
11 Is that correct?
12 A. Well, for the territory of the Republic of Serbian Krajina
13 was an authority, and I admit that because I told you what was the
14 assignment that he had issued me in Karadjordjevo. That is the essence,
15 that is the long-term concept, which was in effect until the fall of the
16 Krajina. And when I spoke about those tasks, my task was for the -- to
17 change the consciousness of the leadership of the Republic of Serbian
18 Krajina by strengthening the army and by joint action and by unity of the
19 MUP and the army, and by annulling some paramilitary units in the
20 villages, in the surrounding area, which would create problems for their
21 commanders, looting, taking away vehicles from UNPROFOR. And my task was
22 to prevent all that and to actually clean up the act of the commanders
23 who would have free lunches and dinners in certain cafes. The leaders
24 would go to the different positions. Television crews would follow them
25 and film their activities. We wanted to achieve unity of the people and
1 the leadership. The aim was to adopt a new position, because we were
2 aware of the fact that we were unable to defend ourselves at that point.
3 Q. Well, let me ask you, on this document on the screen at page 2 in
4 the English, this is a report from Mr. Kosta Novakovic, who was an
5 assistant commander of yours; correct?
6 If we could turn the page, please, and --
7 A. Yeah, for morale.
8 Q. Sorry. It's on the first page in the B/C/S now, just so you've
9 seen the note on the bottom. And if we could go back.
10 Now, in speaking of these operations and Operation Sword in
11 Western Bosnia, Mr. Novakovic writes to the Special Units Corps Command,
12 and he says:
13 "Our side, the operations in that area, is presented in the media
14 as inter-Muslim conflicts and is denying the participation of the SVK in
15 these operations, a position we are still holding."
16 Now, why was the SVK denying its role in the operations in the
17 Bihac pocket?
18 A. Well, one shouldn't boast about it. After all, in a way, that
19 was crossing the River Korana to the other side, to the territory, and
20 this involved these divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Republican
21 border, the Republican frontier, was there.
22 This was not characteristic only of us. This is typical of all
23 warfare and of all troops, and this is an excess and one shouldn't
24 actually boast about it.
25 Q. Let me ask you, this operation in Western Bosnia, in the Bihac
1 pocket, what was it that caused you to abandon your goals in that area?
2 A. We abandoned our goals in that area because, as I learned later
3 through the system, there had been reached an agreement -- some sort of
4 agreement in Split
5 there was a rapid penetration of HVO forces and Croatian forces from
6 Livanjsko Polje towards Grahovo. So normally every commander is aware of
7 the fact that he will lose his battle, that he will lose everything, if
8 that were to materialise. So I urgently withdrew those forces and sent
9 them there, but I was ordered -- I was requested, and I was already angry
10 by that time, because I wanted to get out with my forces and emerge at
11 Grahovo with my forces and my staff. I wanted to defend that direction
12 from Pejulja [phoen] and onwards, but I received a telegram to the
13 effect, You are prohibited from commanding on our territory.
14 Q. Who --
15 A. I could not find Milovanovic, the general, anywhere. When I went
16 to see Martic to reach an agreement up there, he would flee and no one
17 could find him, he was nowhere to be found. They were dealing with other
18 issues then.
19 Q. And at some point the combined forces of the Croatian Army and
20 the HVO seized Grahovo; correct? You're aware of that?
21 Explain to the Court, from your perspective, what it meant for
22 you when the Croatian Army seized Grahovo.
23 A. Yes, I can explain that. Thank you for this question.
24 The Republic of the Serbian Krajina, in all its war plans, and
25 you did not allow me to expand on that question, but to tell you what I
1 did when I returned from Karadjordjevo, and if there is time, I would
2 like to expound that so that you will see what happened when Grahovo was
4 When I perceived the possibilities and the free forces and what
5 my range of action -- what range of action was feasible for me, given my
6 systems, all the towns in Croatia
7 commanders, Why would you open fire that you cannot observe? Prepare
8 your concepts so that you actually engage targets that you can see,
9 because we do not have 10 or 15 rounds of ammunition, but we have
10 somewhere around 0.5. So there was a change of the war plan, in terms of
11 the use of ammunition and pieces, to reinforce the forward end and to
12 rectify all mistakes in engineering works, the breaching of roads, the
13 firing systems improvement, the engineer works, then to change our
14 targets and not to shell settlements and inhabited places, Karlovac,
16 Next, now I was in position, namely, immediately after returning
17 from Slunj, the operation which I discontinued, I asked the corps
18 commander in Knin, Who is defending Knin for you? He replied, No one,
19 Knin is a free city. And I said, What do you mean, where are your
20 positions? And he said, We never made any positions. The Knin Brigade
21 is defending the area towards Split
22 from up there, forces came -- HV forces came, they occupied the firing
23 positions, and they had Knin as in the palm of their hands. In Knin,
24 there were no troops, there were no men, there were just women and
25 children. So I tried to do something with those women, but of course it
1 all came to nothing.
2 When the aggression started, simply prior to the commencement of
3 the aggression, I returned the special units to Slunj to be able to
4 intervene to be able to prevent the lines from being cut off at that
5 direction and near Glina.
6 This was a shock, the arrival of these forces. I went by
7 helicopter to an area below Dinara and tried to see what could be done,
8 together with Commander Martic. We asked for assistance from
9 Republika Srpska, but that was to no avail at all, not to mention the
10 joint meeting of the Supreme Command which took place prior to the very
11 aggression. We didn't know whether it would be the 4th or the 5th. We
12 were expecting the attack, and the attack did happen, it happened on the
13 4th. It found me in a house in town where I had been relocated,
14 transferred by them.
15 So this is -- actually, my war plan failed, in my eyes. It was a
16 great surprise, but it should not have been a surprise, but it was one
17 because someone let it happen.
18 I will say more about it, if you allow me, later.
19 Q. We will get into it a little bit, and I want to go back now for
20 one second.
21 Mr. Registrar, if we could have Exhibit 65 ter 1D1069, please.
22 Now, this -- if we could go to the signature page, this looks
23 like a document issued by you on the 1st of June, 1995, General Mrksic.
24 A. Radunovic, Colonel Radunovic. I'd have to read it; I don't know
25 what this is about. And I do not recall this particular Colonel;
1 Radulakovic [phoen], Milan
2 and training -- is a general, not a colonel, General Sekulic, in fact.
3 This is not mine. I don't remember this. I don't remember this man.
4 Let's see what it is that he wrote and why you need this.
5 Q. Well, let me ask you -- and let's look at point 5 in this
6 document. It says:
7 "Corps commands in their areas shall device civilian protection
8 measures, assign municipal organs and local communes to organise
9 evacuation and accommodation and food supplies for the population (women,
10 children and the elderly) from the potential areas of operations."
11 And then the bottom penultimate paragraph:
12 "Soldiers and the officers of the RSK, we are entering the
13 concluding phase of accomplishing our national aims, and we must not
14 allow any further losses of people or territory. The RSK is more
15 important than the interests and rights of individuals, and that is why I
16 am aware of my responsibility and the measures I am taking."
17 Now, do you recall issuing an order similar to this on or about
18 the 1st of June?
19 A. No, no, I never issued anything of the kind. That is not my
20 style, and whoever wrote this, and I don't know why they wrote this,
21 really did not deal with local communes or municipalities. This is not
22 my style of expression or of writing, nor is it my document, nor do I
23 know that colonel.
24 But you did not permit me to tell you about everything that I had
25 undertaken and all the measures that I had taken so that you could see
1 what we did. There were things that I organised, but as part of tactical
3 Q. You will have plenty of opportunity, General Mrksic, and I'm
4 trying to take this step by step. And, believe me, we will get to
5 everything that we need to cover.
6 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I would ask the exhibit be marked,
7 and I tender it into evidence.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is no document of mine. You
9 can admit it all you like.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Just a moment.
11 Mr. Russo.
12 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, I'm having problems with my
13 microphone. There we go.
14 I will object to the admission, Mr. President. The witness has
15 clearly not given the foundation for the document, and no foundation
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, this is a document from the Croatian
18 government archives that we received. It goes to probative value and
19 weight. I don't think it goes to admissibility.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Even if the witness can't say anything about it, you
21 would tender it from the Bar table as a relevant document; is that --
22 MR. MISETIC: Yes, and since it was put to him here. We can
23 argue it later.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, could you please mark it for
25 identification and give it a number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1509, marked
2 for identification.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
4 MR. MISETIC:
5 Q. Mr. Mrksic, I'd like to show you a video now, and after you've
6 taken a look at this video, I will ask you a few questions about it.
7 Mr. Registrar -- Mr. Registrar, this is Exhibit D136.
8 Transcripts have been given to the booths. This is from RSK Television
9 in July of 1995.
10 [Video-clip played]
11 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Having heard the sound of sirens,
12 we hurried towards Trzic. It is now five minutes to 6.00. We are
13 located on a bridge crossing the River Mreznica between Trzic and
14 Premizelna [phoen]. We encountered the commander of the
15 13th Infantry Brigade, Colonel Marko Reljic. As we speak, a column of
16 civilian with vehicles and livestock are arriving from Trzic. What does
17 this mean, commander?"
18 "Well, this is an exercise which we are conducting in accordance
19 with our assumptions, and our information that the enemy aviation will be
20 active in this region, using rockets and artillery. And before this
21 happens we have to evacuate, that is, evacuate the civilian population
22 from the combat area, and our units will complete the tasks that they
23 have been given. That means that it is of importance to us to train the
24 population, the civilian population, to evacuate, as to suffer as little
25 losses as possible."
1 "Are you satisfied with the exercise up to now? Are members of
2 the 13th Infantry Brigade engaged in this exercise, or are they manning
3 their positions?"
4 "Members of the 13th Infantry Brigade are manning their
5 positions, and according to the tasks they have received, all soldiers
6 are at their positions. And I'm very pleased with the conduct of the
7 civilian population. They understand the situation, and they are aware
8 of the fact that we need to prepare and be trained. If we truly find
9 ourselves in a situation we have to evacuate, so that there are no
10 unnecessary victims, so that what happened in Western Slavonia does not
11 happen again, absolutely.
12 "Thank you very much.
13 "You're welcome.
14 "Because Trzic is our first position which will be targeted, so
15 we wanted to test this, and by means of this exercise, we have to review
16 whether we are well prepared, whether we are well organised, and what
17 would be the best way to do this so as to avoid civilian victims, should
18 there be military activity. We need to evacuate the civilian population
19 in due time. After having learned the lesson in Western Slavonia and
20 throughout history in wars, the population needs to be evacuated and
21 removed in time. The units and the army are to remain in their
22 positions, executing their tasks. This is extremely important that you
23 understand, that you know that within your homes and families you need to
24 prepare yourselves, organise yourselves. And upon receipt of the signal,
25 you need to withdraw to the designated region because the enemy wants to
1 slaughter, to murder, to burn, to slaughter these children. That is why
2 every citizen must be prepared for the evacuation. This evacuation won't
3 be signaled in advance. There won't be enough time to prepare. You
4 might have to prepare -- you have to say this, You must be prepared for
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Am I -- are you going to put a
7 question to me in relation to this?
8 MR. MISETIC:
9 Q. General Mrksic, tell us -- tell the Court why the Army of the
10 ARSK, in July of 1995, is engaged in an evacuation exercise to evacuate
11 civilians. And if you can, in your answer, explain why it was then
12 broadcast on TV Knin?
13 MR. RUSSO: Sorry. If I could --
14 JUDGE ORIE: I think it was RSK Television, not necessarily
15 Knin Television.
16 MR. MISETIC: Sorry, yes.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the Republic of Serbian
19 Let me tell you this: Let me tell you what has been left unsaid
20 so far. We were aware of our position. We know and you know -- take a
21 map and take a look at where Trzic is and where some of our
22 neighbourhoods and villages were along the first line of defence.
23 Under the tactical principles and our rules, and this is
24 something your generals know, the obligations of a commander organising
25 the defence in a certain area is to evacuate the civilian population out
1 of an area which will be subject to direct artillery fire and activity by
2 the enemy, to the left, to the right, in the depth, to remove them from
3 the axis of the attack.
4 There wasn't just one exercise, there were a great many of them,
5 and this individual carried them out in an excellent way. And not only
6 were there these exercises. I wasn't given an opportunity by you to tell
7 you this.
8 When I started organising the army, I was aware of the fact that
9 I would be losing all the communication lines with my subordinates
10 because of the electronic activity and the involvement of NATO, should
11 the aggression take place. We were all hoping it would not. I wanted
12 the commanders to be able to organise independently their defence within
13 their AORs should an attack follow, so that they should be able to launch
14 counter-attacks to engage the forces that were available for
15 counter-attacks, to evacuate the population to avoid great losses.
16 However, I wanted to make sure that no one came out of their AORs, and of
17 course the AORs involved Petrova Mount, a lot of forested land where
18 people could find refuge. This was something that was done during World
19 War II, when the fourth enemy offensive took place involving Ustasha,
20 when they were fleeing their homes to save their lives. So this was not
21 an exercise for the subsequent fleeing in the wake of Storm. This was
22 something quite different.
23 I discussed this with senior officers, security organs, and I
24 talked to different individuals, and I had never heard of anything of the
1 But this was done in an excellent way, and we deliberately
2 broadcast this on TV so as to show how people were getting ready for an
3 all-out war. This was something that we were taught under the concept of
4 the former SFRY.
5 If you want me to add something, I will.
6 Q. Let me ask you, at the end of the clip, the officer tells the
7 people that, The enemy wants to kill you, the enemy -- these children
8 here will be slaughtered. Now, what is the purpose of telling that to
9 those people and then broadcasting it on television?
10 A. Well, perhaps his entire family had perished in World War II, was
11 slaughtered at the time. You know that it was always the population
12 residing there that was victimised the most, and whenever a war topic was
13 broached the idea of throats being cut came up, fears of this and that.
14 Our politicians were responsible for this.
15 Let me tell you that Ante Pavelic's daughter, when she arrived in
16 1992 in Rijeka
17 Serbs was even worse than had been experienced in World War II. The
18 Serbs had this natural fear.
19 I wanted to have a strong army which would enable me to control
20 these fears and compel the international community and the Croatian side
21 to find a way of living together, such as had been found in
22 Eastern Slavonia
23 Q. Well, let me ask you, following up on that point: How did
24 attacking the Bihac pocket contribute to your efforts to finding a way of
25 living together with the Croats?
1 A. Well, I didn't attack Croats in Bihac pocket. We had traded with
2 the Croats in Bihac pocket, cooperated, and worked together along
3 security lines and intelligence. They were our main source of
5 Q. You just told the Court yesterday and today that you were trying
6 to build depth for yourself. You're building depth for yourself against
7 the Croats?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Against the Croats?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. How -- let me ask the question.
12 A. Not against; rather, for the defence. I wanted my defence area
13 to be deeper. I could have cut Croatia
14 Slovenians any time, but I didn't want to.
15 Q. How did you think the Croats were going to view your efforts to
16 build depth on the territory of the Bihac pocket, and how did you think
17 that was going to promote your efforts to coexist and find a peaceful
19 A. Thank you for putting this question. This was my line of
20 thinking: If the area where Fikret Abdic was would be expanded, because
21 he was a man of Croatia
22 Western Bosnia managed to survive, then tomorrow -- come tomorrow, when
23 coexistence will have been achieved, because you were waging a war with
24 the Muslims in Central Bosnia, you will have -- just as you did have
25 Serbs, you would get Muslims in the Republic of Croatia
1 depth, and you wouldn't have the croissant or crescent-shaped country, as
2 you did.
3 Q. So you were launching that offensive to help Croatia
4 territory; you were doing it in Croatian interests?
5 A. No, I was doing this so that you would give up on launching an
6 attack, so that we could engage in negotiations, and by gaining us, the
7 Serbs, you would automatically gain something else, the bride, as well.
8 Q. General Mrksic, let's look and see what happened after Grahovo
9 fell, and let's look --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, one thing. Trzic, I think we earlier
11 established for Sector North, is that approximately 40 or 50 kilometres
12 north of Karlovac? Is that -- I'm just trying to --
13 MR. MISETIC: I think we made a filing on this.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, then I may have forgotten about that.
15 MR. MISETIC: I'll check on that during the break, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could have 65 ter 1D1050 on
18 the screen, please.
19 Q. Now, after the fall of Grahovo, are you -- you're familiar with
20 the fact that a state of war was declared on the territory of the RSK?
21 A. I'm familiar with that, but it was abolished very soon
23 Q. Who abolished it?
24 A. The Supreme Council did.
25 Q. When?
1 A. I don't know. It may have lasted for two or three days, because
2 with a state of war, war legislation comes into application. We did not
3 want -- rather, people at large started behaving differently, and we
4 didn't want to have to apply wartime measures and very strict war laws in
5 respect of anyone. It was a problem for me to find someone to fire back
6 at Benkovac, and nobody wanted to go back and defend Knin.
7 Q. Let's then not go to this document right away. And based on that
8 last answer, you said:
9 "People at large started behaving differently, and we didn't want
10 to have to apply wartime measures and very strict war laws in respect of
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, I'm sorry, but Exhibit D939 on the
14 screen, please.
15 Q. General, this is from the 29th of July, 1995. Sorry, 30th of
16 July, a decree. If we go to page 2 in the English, it's a proposal by
17 you. Page 4 in the B/C/S, please.
18 Now, this is you writing to the Supreme Defence Council on the
19 30th of July, 1995, and it says:
20 "Based on the initiative of several corps commands and
21 brigades ... I propose that a decree be issued with legal force on the
22 conditions of the formation and work of the ad hoc military courts, in
23 the case of war or in the case of an immediate threat of war.
24 "These are, in fact, courts-martial. Given that the stated
25 Military Court
1 only penalty is the death penalty, they would be rare in everyday
2 practice and would surely have a great psychological effect on the
3 possible perpetrators.
4 "For this reason, we recommend that our proposal be accepted and
5 that the stated decree be signed by the president of the RSK."
6 Now, General Mrksic, why are you proposing on the 30th of July
7 ad hoc military courts with the power to issue the death penalty?
8 A. To tell you quite honestly and candidly, my problem was that the
9 elite had started to flee. When I said "the elite," I meant those who
10 had -- who were loaded, had money, and they were pampered dads --
11 children. And when people at large see that such individuals fled, then
12 everybody follows their suit. And these individuals, who thought that
13 they were protected for the fact that they were sons of important
14 individuals, I wanted to frighten them. I wanted to enforce law and
15 order. I wanted to send across a clear message that there would be no
16 fleeing tolerated and that they had to stay and fight. Everybody
17 experienced such problems, not just the Republic of Serbian Krajina
18 Q. Why was the elite fleeing to such an extent that you needed to
19 issue -- or request the formation of ad hoc military courts?
20 A. Because they had means, they had the wherewithal, they had
21 houses, they had businesses, et cetera.
22 Q. Why didn't they stay?
23 A. Because nobody could prevent them from doing this under the
24 legislation that existed. I wanted to make sure that this way they would
25 be prevented from, and we even erected check-points where they would be
1 stopped, but they still tried to flee across Slunj.
2 Q. I don't think you're understanding my question. What I want to
3 know is, if these people are the elite, if they're the elite --
4 A. I didn't mean the intellectual elite.
5 Q. No.
6 A. I meant professors -- I didn't mean professors and such groups of
7 people. I meant the mob, the mafia men.
8 Q. I understand. My question is, though: Why didn't they want to
9 stay in the Krajina?
10 A. Well, sir, just because just as your lot, they had links tying
11 them together. They knew one another. They had open channels throughout
12 the war, and they knew what was to happen. They had more information
13 than I did, and of course they were trying to save their skins. The
14 intelligence and business, economic structures, had worked throughout the
15 war. Even today, we have such individuals buying businesses, et cetera.
16 I don't want to have any trouble on account of mentioning them one day
17 when I get released.
18 Q. Let me --
19 A. I think you know this. You shouldn't have put the question to
20 begin with.
21 Q. My question simply is: Were people leaving because they were
22 anticipating that the Croatian Army was going to attack?
23 A. Yes, and that the -- their predictions were that the Serb Army
24 did not stand a chance and could not defend itself; not because that was
25 their opinion, but because they received information from their
1 colleagues, people who engaged in the same sort of activities on the
2 other side.
3 I would kindly ask the President to caution me or warn me if I am
4 going across the bounds of what might prejudice me.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Well, this is a different kind of prejudice compared
6 to the one we were talking about yesterday. Mr. Misetic is not asking
7 you about names, so therefore, focusing on his question, you don't have
8 to give them, no one is inviting you --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't even know their
11 JUDGE ORIE: Could I just try to understand your last answers.
12 Is it that the times of profiteering from the situation appeared to be
13 over once the army would have had to give up the territory? Is that the
14 reason why they left? Is that how I understand your answer? If it's
15 correct, say "yes." If it's not correct, tell me.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When Grahovo fell, that was the
17 first indication to them. We were transmitting TV broadcasts to the
18 effect that people should not be leaving, that a solution would be found,
19 that Republika Srpska would be appealed to for assistance, that
20 negotiations might be embarked on, that the presence of UNPROFOR might
21 ensure that this sort of an aggression of that scale would not be
22 launched. We were hopeful.
23 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Mr. Mrksic, if we could go back to the document that I had
25 originally put up, which is 65 ter 1D1050, Mr. Registrar.
1 Now, this is an order by you, dated 29 July 1995, and it's to the
2 commander of the Special Units Corps. And it says to:
3 "Urgently group the 2nd Guards Brigade in the area of the village
4 Bruvno, where they are conducting training of the reserve forces of the
5 General Staff of the Serb Krajina Army. Grouping is to be completed on
6 29 July 1995
7 Now, Bruvno is located where in relation to Gracac?
8 A. I can't tell you from memory. I don't have a map. It's
9 somewhere there. I can't tell you that without the map. I think it was
10 a training centre.
11 I didn't finish the story about the mobilisations we did in
13 July, after the 20th of July, and he said to me, Mile, what is it that
14 you're doing? Franjo gave me a call and told me that you were developing
15 some sort of a serious Army there. It's not going to pass just that way,
16 because women's organisations and that sort of organisations started are
17 demonstrating, because they said refugees could not be mobilised. And
18 that's where the mobilisation was stopped. I was sent some 2.400
19 reservists, and that's where it all ended.
20 We proceeded to perform a serious job. We conducted exercises of
21 an attack, counter-attack, withdrawal, et cetera, just as one would do in
22 peacetime in various barracks. We did not squat down in a shelter,
23 waiting for an attack to come.
24 Q. And because of all of that training that you were doing, had you
25 had a few more months, would you have been successful in making that a
1 modern army?
2 A. There would have been negotiations and there would not have been
3 an attack.
4 Q. That's not my question. Had you had a few more months of that
5 training and had you been able, for a few more months, to have all that
6 training, do you think you would have had an army capable of stopping the
7 Croatian Army?
8 A. No, Croatia
9 because the losses -- no. It was the balance was 6:1, because 400.000 of
10 us could not fight 4 million. That's an absurdity. But we could have
11 inflicted such losses as to --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, let me try to understand your answer in
13 relation to Mr. Misetic's question.
14 If you would have had a few more months to further train your
15 army, would the balance of military power have been re-established so as
16 that you -- if there ever would have been an attack, that you would have
17 been in a position to resist to such an attack? If it's accurate, say
18 "yes," and if it's not accurate, please correct me.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We would have been able to inflict
20 such losses as would have proved unbearable for the Republic of Croatia
21 They would have to give up on the idea of an attack and opt for a peace
23 JUDGE ORIE: Proceed, Mr. Misetic.
24 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Now, why -- do you recall why are you grouping the units of the
1 Special Units Corps in the Bruvno area on the 29th of July?
2 A. I don't recall why this was being done in Bruvno, in Lika.
3 Probably an assessment was made to the effect that this proved to be a
4 good area for training or something like that. I don't remember the
5 reason. You know why. The area of Bruvno was quite close to the Knin
6 axis, I believe. I don't have a map, so ...
7 Q. I don't want -- I think you may be confusing Brusko with Bruvno,
8 which are two separate places.
9 A. No, Brusko. Do we have a map here?
10 Q. That's okay.
11 A. One can easily reach the Knin to -- where was my reserve command
12 point? Knin Serb road from Bruvno or, rather, the intersection there.
13 And in this way you could prevent your forces from being cut off and from
14 finding yourself in an encirclement. Probably because of that. It's
15 difficult for me to reconstruct the combinations I had in my mind at the
17 Q. Let me give you that map, because that's an interesting point
18 that I wanted to follow up with you on.
19 This is Exhibit P2414, and if you can't -- if the size of the map
20 is not quality enough for you, General Mrksic, I think we may have a hard
21 copy in the courtroom that's bigger. Okay.
22 Now, if we could go to the bottom of this map, please.
23 Now, you see Knin there; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I know it's difficult to read the place names, but you see Gracac
1 in the upper middle part?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. Now, from your recollection, the village of Bruvno
4 located where in relation to Gracac?
5 A. I don't know. I think it must be between Gracac and -- what's
6 this place called to the right of Gracac?
7 Q. Otric.
8 A. Yes, between Otric and Gracac, or to the north. I'm not sure. I
9 would have to look at the real map. I spent a very short period of time
10 there, and the time I spent there I only dealt with major issues. I
11 didn't visit and see all these places.
12 Q. Okay. I want to go back now, with the map still on the screen,
13 to your answer at page 33, beginning at line 3. You said:
14 "One can easily reach the Knin to where was my reserve point."
15 And I think we can agree -- everyone in the court can agree that
16 your reserve point was in Srb, which is in the upper --
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. And then you said:
19 " ... or, rather, the intersection there, and in this way you
20 could prevent your forces from being cut off and from finding yourself in
21 an encirclement."
22 Now, can you explain to the Court what you mean by that? How
23 could you have been encircled at that point, and can you tell us which
24 point you were referring to?
25 A. No, I meant Knin. With the fall of Bosansko Grahovo and the
1 advancement of forces above Seliste, et cetera. Knin was within range of
2 120-millimetre artillery as well as all the other types of artillery that
3 were firing upon Knin. And there's something I want to tell you about
4 that as well.
5 The only way out of Knin was the curving, winding road leading
6 toward Otric and Srb, or towards Grahovo, in other words. Towards Otric,
7 because this main road from Grahovo was the main life-line, the supply
8 road, and had been cut off, so it couldn't be counted on. If you
9 controlled the winding road with your fire, nobody could reach Knin, and
10 one could merely walk into an empty town because Knin was not a defended
11 town. If the objective was for the Dalmatia Corps to be disarmed or to
12 be inflicted losses in order to capture the area, then this -- there was
13 no need for this course of action to be taken.
14 Q. Okay. What I'm asking you is: Agreed, the Strmica-Grahovo road,
15 you had been cut off there, and is your testimony, then, that if you had
16 to do an evacuation out of Knin, you would have had to go up that road
17 from Knin to Otric and then from Otric to Srb, to your reserve command
18 post; is that it?
19 A. No, no -- yes, it was the Supreme Council that issued -- made a
20 decision, and an order was issued. I think you have it there. That was
21 the only solution that we were left with, or to fight in an encirclement
22 at the cost of many human lives, or to evacuate to the territory from
23 Otric to Srb that was under the control of the RSK Army.
24 Q. Let me -- while we're on this topic, let me jump ahead a little
25 bit and go straight to another order that you issued, because -- to
1 explain this road from Knin to Srb, via Otric.
2 First of all, Mr. President, if I could have that previous
3 document marked, and I tender it into evidence.
4 MR. RUSSO: No objection, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter 1D1050 becomes
7 Exhibit D1510.
8 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence. I don't think
9 there's a reason -- would there be a reason to keep -- no, it's fine.
10 It's admitted into evidence.
11 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 If I could ask everyone to sort of keep this map in their mind,
13 this is Knin-Otric-Srb, and to the left of Otric is a road that goes to
14 Gracac. Okay.
15 And now I would like to show you 65 ter 5954, Mr. Registrar.
16 Q. General Mrksic, we're going to jump way ahead to the 5th of
17 August, the second day of Operation Storm. I assure you we will talk
18 about the 4th of August in great detail, absolutely.
19 A. You'll be going back to the first day?
20 Q. Absolutely. But while we're on this topic, it makes sense that
21 we try to explain topics all at once.
22 Now, this is an order issued by you on the 5th, and it says, the
23 second paragraph:
24 "Excellent results produced in combat operations in the first
25 15 hours have been jeopardised by such practice," and the practice refers
1 to soldiers and officers leaving their units, "and in some units they
2 have been completely annulled."
3 Now, if we could go to the next page, which is point 1 of the
4 order. Sorry, it's -- yes, point 1.
5 A. 7th Corps.
6 Q. Yes, 7th Corps. If we could scroll to page 2, there we go, and
7 point 1. And point 1 there, you see that, General, you ordered, "the
8 7th Corps, with the 103rd Infantry Brigade is stabilising a defence along
9 Mala Dinara-Derala-Otric-Malovan front-lines, by persistent defence with
10 the goal to prevent the enemy taking Knin without being engaged in a
11 battle and joining of the enemy forces which are engaged in directions
12 Knin-Otric, Gracac-Otric, a part of the forces is to continue the battle
13 in the encirclement, one unit is to be sent to the area of Bulina Strana
14 for a defence of the area of Knin and a prevention of the enemy's rapid
15 advance towards Otric."
16 General, which forces of the enemy, the Croatian Army, did you
17 order your forces to prevent their joining and where?
18 A. You didn't allow me to go through the document fully. Can I look
19 at the document? Is it my document? Yes, very well, fine. Fine, we
20 will go back to it. Go ahead.
21 The gist of it was that from Gracac to Otric,
22 Mr. General Gotovina's forces should be prevented from joining with who
23 it was who was coming from up there, the police or somebody else. Very
24 dangerous forces were coming from up there, across Gracac. For this
25 reason, this particular corps, the Dalmatia Corps, was supposed to
1 regroup. Nobody had been engaging them along the first line of defence.
2 We had been building positions and laying mines in vain, and we only
3 created a problem for the Republic of Croatia
4 Q. We're at a break, but let me ask you one more question on this
5 point. If I understand your answer correctly, you're trying to prevent
6 General Gotovina's forces and the forces of the Special Police attacking
7 through Gracac from linking up at Otric, which would have prevented you
8 from being able to evacuate to Srb; correct?
9 A. Yes, Gracac had already been taken by them, but to prevent them
10 from capturing the territory toward Otric, as you put it, yes.
11 Q. [Overlapping speakers] ... encircled you and to prevent you from
12 getting out?
13 A. Yes, to save the people at large. I was trying to do that to
14 save people. The political leadership decided that the people should
15 leave the territory into the depth so that they would not come in harm's
17 You're all praising this order, but had this not been done, God
18 knows what the position of the international community and the Republic
19 of Croatia
20 JUDGE ORIE: We'll have a break, and we'll resume at five minutes
21 to 11.00.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
25 JUDGE ORIE: May the witness be brought into the courtroom.
1 [The witness takes the stand]
2 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
3 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. General Mrksic, we were running short of time there before the
5 break, so I want to follow up with your last answer. And we were talking
6 about the significance of Otric, and you said:
7 "Yes, to save the people at large, I was trying to do that to
8 save people. The political leadership decided that the people should
9 leave the territory into the depth so that they would not come in harm's
10 way. You are all praising this order, but had this not been done, God
11 knows what the position of the international community and the Republic
12 of Croatia
13 And I wanted to do ask you to clarify what you were referring to
14 when you say "God knows -- had this not been done, God knows what the
15 position of the international community and the Republic of Croatia
16 be today." What were you trying to say?
17 A. What I was trying to say, in hindsight and on the basis of all
18 the experiences, and after everything that happened to -- in the wake of
19 Oluja to all the elderly people, to all the people in general who had
20 remained there, imagine now had those forces, those frenzied forces,
21 found all those people there, there would have been great losses, and
22 that would have been to our detriment and to the detriment of the
23 international community. It was a huge area, and I believe that not even
24 the commanders who were in charge of the offensive operations would have
25 been able to control that.
1 We, as a supreme Council, because the president of -- the
2 prime minister, rather, Babic had gone to Belgrade to sign the Z-4 plan,
3 we had the supreme commander Martic and the president of the assembly and
4 some ministers at that meeting, and we took this decision. And I told
5 them, If the people should withdraw, mounting a defence would be a very
6 big problem for us, because these groups all had their families there,
7 everybody would want to protect their own families, and there we would
8 have troubles with that, problems would crop up. But then they decided,
9 although they were aware of the potential for such problems, We are not
10 leaving the Republic of the Serbian Krajina, we are just going into the
11 wooded areas in depth where we can wait for the enemy up front and not
12 from the back. That is why forces were regrouped, that is why such
13 decisions were taken.
14 Q. So if I understand you correctly, you ordered the evacuation of
15 the population in order to prevent --
16 A. Not me.
17 Q. The leadership?
18 A. Yes, yes. The leaders, yes.
19 Q. And the intention was then to form a second front-line?
20 A. That is correct, that's right.
21 Q. And where did you want to form that second front-line?
22 A. That front-line was supposed to be above Knin, from Gracac, to
23 prevent a penetration from -- towards Srb, a Serbian gate, to meet the
24 enemy face to face. In fact, there were no real fighting. We had no
25 expenditure of ammunition at all. We did not open fire at any targets in
1 depth. We had no one to open fire at.
2 Q. Now, can you tell us, you had already testified that you did not
3 want Otric to fall, you did not want the forces of General Gotovina and
4 General Markac to link up at Otric because it would have prevented you
5 from --
6 A. Yes, for them to link up, to prevent the linking up. Had they
7 linked up, the -- or if they had linked up, the defence of Lika and
9 Q. Now, what would have happened -- what was your assessment at the
10 time, what would have happened if the forces of General Markac and
11 General Gotovina linked up in Otric and your forces were still -- and
12 your forces were still south of that point, what would have happened?
13 A. That is correct, that is a very good question, because that issue
14 was discussed by the Supreme Defence Council and it was also elaborated
15 through training and demonstration exercises in the corps. But if you'll
16 allow me to time the explain.
17 We had assessments -- we had three or four variants of the
18 possible course that events would take. So if it would happen and we
19 knew that that would happen, mind you, we did not have modern
20 communications systems, so our former JNA systems were over 40 years old,
21 and the fastest connection was by telephone or by railway
22 [as interpreted] but that was only up to Lapac. So we assessed that --
23 we assessed the method in which the Croatian side would act, the Blues,
24 because we had demonstration exercises, training exercises, as I said, we
25 assessed that they might cut off -- that forces might be cut off and that
1 there would be fighting in encirclement at the corps level, the
2 Kordun Corps, the Banja Corps, in Lika, on that ridge, we would have the
3 Lika Corps towards Lapac, and we were reckoning that the major actions
4 would be directed to Dalmatia
5 There was a change of concept. There was a change of the entire
6 way the fighting was conceived of, and then we saw that we were, in fact,
7 tricked; deceived, that is. So we knew from these other corps what the
8 variants were. Irrespective of the fact whether I would be in contact
9 with them, they were under the obligation to follow the idea, the concept
10 that was actually planned. That is why we had these exercises; the
11 battalion in attack, the battalion in counter-attack, breaching an area,
12 the creation of reserves at brigade level, at corps level. All this was
13 exercised. We were preparing ourselves as in manoeuvres, as in
14 manoeuvring exercises. And when the aggression took place, there was a
15 counter-attack at Karlovac and at Petrinja, and there the -- we inflicted
16 the greatest losses on the attackers, and that was thanks to all the
17 actions that we had exercised.
18 Q. Let me get back to my initial question.
19 A. Let me just say, in the Dalmatia Corps we did not exercise the
20 variant of an aggression from the back. That is why forces had to be
21 moved, and that is why population had to be pulled out.
22 Q. Why did it have to be pulled out, why did the population have to
23 be pulled out?
24 A. It was any squad leader knows of that. If artillery is shelling
25 the forward end and the villages in the forward area, it is the women,
1 the old ladies, and the children that will come to harm, those who are
2 not carrying any rifles, because they can only find shelter in some
3 woods. And this is something which was done in every war. This is an
4 obligation under the Geneva Conventions. Of course, shelling a village
5 is something that should not be done.
6 Q. Let me ask you this, and we'll talk about shelling, and I will
7 raise issues with you about Vukovar shelling and things like that at a
8 later time. Okay? But let me ask you --
9 A. Excellent. Thank you for that.
10 Q. Let me get back to my question, which is: What was going to
11 happen, in your view, if, in fact, your forces were encircled at the
12 Otric point?
13 A. Excellent. Fine, excellent, an excellent question. This is
14 something that I also discussed with the commanders and in a core of the
15 corps, to have fighting in the encirclement and to exert pressure to
16 surrender. It was not the intention -- the objective of the Croatian
17 forces either to have great losses. But in this scenario we foresaw the
18 involvement of the international community which would help avert a
19 massacre or retaliation, and that in that case some of the men who
20 thought that they had done something, that they were guilty of some
21 wrongs, you know, stealing, looting, or anything wrong, that they would
22 leave because they would be afraid of having to appear in court, and that
23 the rest of the people, the ordinary peasants, the ordinary fighters,
24 would be disarmed and return to their homes normally, and that the
25 minority rights would be guaranteed, would have been guaranteed, and not
1 be reduced to just 4 percent, as had been the case in Eastern Slavonia
2 Q. I'm asking you -- let me ask it more bluntly. Did you think that
3 there would be more casualties on your side if, in fact, you were
4 encircled by Croatian forces?
5 A. Because it wasn't 1942, when there were no roads. They had
6 roads; they had helicopters. There were also cadaver dogs, and
7 everything could be seen. And great losses would have been inflicted,
8 because of the realistic potentials, the means of destruction and
9 everything, the wherewithal they had, the losses inflicted would have
10 been much greater and everybody would be sorry, those who inflicted them
11 and those on whom they were inflicted.
12 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I still have this document on the
13 screen from the 5th of August, and I'd ask that it be marked, and I
14 tender it into evidence.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
16 MR. RUSSO: No objection, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1511.
19 JUDGE ORIE: D1511 is admitted into evidence.
20 MR. MISETIC:
21 Q. General Mrksic, let me just clarify one comment that you made.
22 You said you --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, if you would allow me, whenever you
24 talk about losses, could you always clearly distinguish in your questions
25 between possible civilian losses and military losses.
1 MR. MISETIC: Okay.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
3 Q. You indicated at page 41, lines 19 to 21, that you weren't
4 expecting attack from the Grahovo side but, rather, from the Dalmatian
5 side and that you were tricked. And could you clarify who tricked you?
6 A. The one that was supposed to resolve the issue of
7 Livanjsko Polje, and we had three meetings on that issue and created --
8 we were to make a plan, but they never had the capacity to actually do
9 it, and they wanted me to do it. Well, General Milovanovic. And who had
10 sent him, he knows that. And that is why I have been carrying this
11 burden for 15 years now.
12 Q. Now, let me take you back to Exhibit D923, if we could have that
13 on the screen again, please.
14 Now, General Mrksic, after the fall of Grahovo, but before
15 Operation Storm, was there an operation planned to take back
16 Bosansko Grahovo?
17 A. Such an idea was to be discussed and a decision made at the
18 Supreme Defence Council, but it never happened. That was a joint meeting
19 of the Republika Srpska and the Republic of the Serbian Krajina in Drvar,
20 but it never materialised. From a position of topographically lower
21 facilities, I had no capacity to ascend against the four brigades of
22 Gotovina against all that artillery located there. My only task was to
23 prevent it from southerly -- from southern incursions into my area. It
24 was a sort of reconnaissance mission that I had. I was amazed that they
25 should be waiting there for three hours, three and a half hours. Why did
1 they not descend down there when it was possible? There was no one
2 there. They could have taken the entire corps captive, and all the
3 people as well.
4 MR. MISETIC: If we could go to page 2 in the English of this
5 document. It's page 1 here. I believe it's the fourth paragraph in the
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 MR. MISETIC: Okay.
9 Q. And it says in the middle of that paragraph:
10 "Because of that, a new operation for the liberation of Grahovo
11 was undertaken. The Guards Brigade from the Special Units Corps was
12 transferred to the area of Crvena Zemlja. The two-day combat operations
13 did not better the situation considerably, apart from halting the
14 advancement of the Croatian Army towards Knin via Strmica and towards
15 Licka Kaldrma via the village of Resanovci
16 Now, do you recall such a two-day combat operation?
17 A. Yes. It was not an operation. These were tactical actions. It
18 is not called an operation. Perhaps wishes were for it to be
19 something -- an undertaking of that scale, but we were aware of what we
20 could do, just to stop it for a while.
21 Q. Where --
22 A. An operation has a different objective, and this objective was a
23 different one. We liked to use that expression, I mean, to express
24 ourselves at the operative level, operations and such.
25 Q. Was this operation taking place in the area of Strmica?
1 A. Yes, it was. The corps commander went there in person to see
2 what they could do. When they saw that they couldn't do anything, it was
3 abandoned. We had over-planned.
4 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Registrar, if I could have on the screen, please,
5 Exhibit 65 ter 1895, please.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Meanwhile, Mr. Misetic, I don't know whether you're
7 going to deal with that, but the exact timing of this operation, which
8 isn't an operation, as I understand, will you pay attention to that?
9 MR. MISETIC: Let me see if --
10 Q. First let me ask if you recall, General Mrksic, what specific
11 date this --
12 A. I think that all this was on the 1st of August, before -- or,
13 rather, I'm not sure when you took Grahovo. On the 28th or the 29th, I
14 immediately transferred a portion of the forces to see what could be
15 done, but it was from Republika Srpska, the territory of the other side,
16 tried to say what could be saved. I read the riot act to the mayor of
17 the city, Why are you not defending the city of Knin, what's happening?
18 And he said, This is a publicly -- he replied, It's a publicly-declared
19 free, open city. No one is going to attack it.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, I usually do not comment on language
21 used, but if you say "when you took Grahovo," Mr. Misetic did not take
22 Grahovo. He's the one who's examining you. If you wanted to say the
23 Croats took Grahovo or -- it's all fine. Refer to troops rather than to
24 "you," because Mr. Misetic --
25 THE WITNESS: [In English] I understand. [Interpretation] I
1 certainly did not mean Mr. Misetic. I meant the Croatian Army and the
2 HVO, certainly, the Sector South that Mr. General was in charge of, was
3 in command of; nothing more than that.
4 JUDGE ORIE: That's perfect, if you refer to, for example, HV or
5 HVO, so that we know what you're exactly talking about.
6 Please proceed.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, of course.
8 MR. MISETIC:
9 Q. Who told you that Knin had been declared an open city?
10 A. Don't hold me to my word. I didn't look it up in the
11 Official Gazette. I could not verify that this is the way they tried to
12 bail themselves out. When talking to me, I'm not sure whether that is
13 truth. When I actually lashed out at them, this is what they told me. I
14 know that Knin was the only town in the Serbian Army of Krajina that did
15 not have its own unit. All the others had -- Petrinja had its brigade,
16 Slunj had its brigade, other towns had its brigades. Knin didn't have
17 its own brigade. It was defended, they said, by the Drnis one. So
18 that's the way it was.
19 This is it.
20 Q. Yes. Can you tell us what this is?
21 A. Well, that is it. That is what I was talking about. I have
22 already talked about this.
23 Q. About preventing families and members of --
24 A. Yes, yes, yes. They saw the well-off ones leaving, so some
25 officers started sending of their families and children in a clandestine
1 manner. So I told them, Look at the people, see what you are doing.
2 What do you think they will thinking about -- what do you think they will
3 think about us? So I forbid this. This is correct, what I stated.
4 MR. MISETIC: Okay. Mr. President, I tender -- I ask that the
5 exhibit be marked, and I tender it into evidence.
6 MR. RUSSO: No objection, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1512.
9 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
10 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
11 Mr. Registrar, if we could have Exhibit D1465 again on the screen
12 again, please.
13 Q. General, do you recall having a meeting with Ratko Mladic in Knin
14 on the 30th of July, 1995?
15 A. Yes -- no, I had no meeting, no such meeting. That is a mistake.
16 That is why that I believe this diary, this log-book, was written in
17 hindsight, and I cannot accept that. I did hear that he was with the
18 patriarch, but I was in Slunj. I never saw Mladic. When we were
19 supposed to resolve the question of Livanjsko Polje and the features on
20 Dinara, nobody was able to get hold of him. I was unable to establish
21 contact with him. He was not with me, and this is incorrect information.
22 And on the basis of this incorrect information, I actually have doubts
23 about everything else.
24 Q. Well, let me ask you this question, General: If General Mladic
25 was in Knin, meeting with members of the ARSK Main Staff, given the fact
1 that you were -- if he were, why would he be talking to members of the
2 Main Staff?
3 A. He was not talking -- he did not talk to members of the
4 Main Staff. This is something the media concocted, because earlier he
5 served in Knin and was attached to the people there. And now he spoke on
6 television, I don't know why. Had I been there then, I would have told
7 him everything that I have told you about the fall of Grahovo and
8 everything else, and then quite a conflict would have erupted then
9 between the two of us because of that.
10 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I never actually acknowledged any
12 authority, including that of Mladic.
13 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, this is page 239 in the English --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These are mere assumptions, all
16 MR. MISETIC: -- and page 244 in the B/C/S.
17 Q. Now, how were you aware that Mr. Mladic appeared on television in
18 Knin when he was there?
19 A. Kosta Novakovic, the commissar, commissar, told me that he had
20 come there and asked to appear on television, a press conference. I'm
21 not quite sure what it was, but I know what his style is. He likes that,
22 he likes to speak in public. I was not there, so I cannot comment on it.
23 Q. So now if you look at the screen here, and Mr. Mladic's diary,
24 it's 30 July 1995
25 "Knin. Meeting with the Main Staff of the Serbian Krajina Army."
1 You're saying you have no knowledge of such a meeting?
2 MR. RUSSO: I'm going to object to that, Mr. President. I
3 believe the witness's testimony was that there was no meeting.
4 MR. MISETIC: I don't know if he --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No meeting at all, nor did he have
6 any authority to hold a meeting with my staff. He could have asked them
7 about how they were and things like that. It was only me that could
8 have -- that could hold a meeting with my staff.
9 Now, what he did, why he hadn't sent word to me that he would be
10 coming, that is a quite different matter, and that is all hindsight, you
12 MR. MISETIC:
13 Q. General Mrksic, you said you were in Slunj on that day. Whether
14 somebody met with someone from the ARSK Main Staff or not, you wouldn't
15 know if you were in Slunj. And you acknowledge that he was in Knin;
17 A. He was in Knin. I was told that he arrived there and gave
18 statements of sorts. I wasn't there. I was dealing with vital issues.
19 Had he sent word to me that he was coming to Knin, I would have gone
20 there. That's why I don't accept this as being any sort of meeting. It
21 was his private visit, and he obviously brought the patriarch along.
22 What his reasons were, I don't know, dragging an old man down there.
23 Probably he had a reason of his own.
24 Q. General Mrksic, let me turn your attention to --
25 A. Let's get this clear. Nobody can command the Main Staff, save
2 Q. I didn't suggest that Mr. Mladic was commanding your Main Staff,
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I think you let yourself go. The whole
5 line of questioning, a meeting with the Main Staff, would that mean the
6 complete Main Staff? If you're in Slunj, you might not know, but --
7 unless all the members of the Main Staff are with you there, so it's a
8 rather complex matter which is not that easily dealt with. Apparently,
9 the witness, from what I understand, that you have knowledge --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Half of the command was with me.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And the other members of the command were
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Half of it was with me at the IKM
14 in Slunj.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And the other --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The commissar, the commissioner,
17 was down there, and I don't know if anybody else, I mean in addition to
18 Kosta Novakovic.
19 JUDGE ORIE: And you were not informed of them meeting with --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not even the president of the
21 republic was there. I was informed of it subsequently by phone and when
22 I got there later on, but there was no declarative statement to the
23 effect that they would be doing this and that by way of providing
25 JUDGE ORIE: If you exclude for the possibility that members of
1 the Main Staff that were Knin may have met or may have had a conversation
2 with General Mladic --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] An informal conversation, perhaps,
4 in passing, because they knew each other from 1991 or 1992, when he was
5 serving there, and he knew quite a few of the officers there. But no
6 official meetings or talks could have been held, since I wasn't present
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, please proceed.
9 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. Now, General Mrksic, I want to turn your attention to 65 ter
11 1D1074. Do you recognise this document?
12 A. I would have to read through it. It's a very poor copy. There
13 is no date. When does the document date from?
14 Q. If we look -- if you turn the page and look to the bottom, all
15 the way to the bottom, you see somebody wrote in hand a date with a
17 A. 31st of July. Can I now read through the document? Can we have
18 the top of it?
19 This is precisely the way things happened, the way this
20 assessment outlines.
21 Can we go to the bottom of the page? Back a bit. Can you -- can
22 we go up?
23 Go ahead.
24 Q. Is this an order that you issued, to the best that you can
1 A. Well, looking at the orders given, it does seem logical. I can't
2 tell you whether I issued the order. It's not the signature that
3 matters; the contents do. I don't know what it is you're interested in.
4 Q. Well, point 5 in this document, if we could scroll down, please.
5 A. I don't see that.
6 Q. Let me read it out in English. A portion of point 5 says:
7 "All the population that has not been assigned anywhere should be
8 put into military territorial units."
9 Can you explain what the purpose of that portion of the order is?
10 A. The military territorial units were units of -- that were
11 governed by work obligation. I realised that Knin had not organised
12 anything in terms of its defence in the direction of Dalmatia, as if it
13 was Belgrade
14 population. It consisted of elderly people, like the village guards that
15 existed in 1991 or 1992. Women and men together were supposed to go and
16 build shelters, and that's only logical. Any commander would order that.
17 I see my counsel has arrived.
18 Welcome, Vlado.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 MR. MISETIC: If I could just follow up, and then we can deal
21 with whatever procedural issues the Chamber wishes to deal with.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please continue.
23 MR. MISETIC:
24 Q. It says:
25 "However, these elderly women and" --
1 I'm sorry:
2 "These units consisted of elderly people." These elderly people,
3 according to this provision, were put into military territorial units,
5 A. It's not that I read this out. I was telling you this from my
6 memory. I don't know what it is that the document says. The copy is
7 very poor. But I do believe that what I told you should be helpful.
8 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that the exhibit, marked, and
9 I tender this into evidence as well.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
11 MR. RUSSO: No objection, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1513.
14 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
15 Just for the record, could you introduce yourself?
16 MR. DOMAZET: Your Honours, Vladimir Domazet, counsel for
17 Mr. Mrksic.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Domazet, you have been invited to come to
19 The Hague
20 be present in court with him when he gives his testimony. We,
21 nevertheless, started yesterday without any counsel being present.
22 The matter may have been clear for quite a while, that the
23 Gotovina Defence intended to call Mr. Mrksic as a witness. The Chamber
24 has been informed about communication between Mr. Mrksic's counsel, at
25 least counsel at the time - I do not know whether you consider yourself
1 still to be counsel of Mr. Mrksic - where he has been convicted and
2 sentenced finally by the Appeals Chamber.
3 Being aware of these serious attempts to keep you updated on the
4 moves the Gotovina Defence intended to make, the Chamber was not struck
5 by the communicative skills or at least what happened in this
6 communication. Now, that's the reason why this Chamber decided yesterday
7 that Mr. Mrksic had had every opportunity to address the Chamber and you
8 would have had every opportunity to address the Chamber on the matter.
9 At the same time, the Chamber wished to assist Mr. Mrksic to testify in
10 the presence of counsel.
11 The Chamber clearly expressed that there is no right for a
12 witness to be assisted by counsel. At the same time, it is not uncommon
13 that someone testifies in the presence of counsel.
14 Now, the role of counsel in this respect is rather limited. I
15 take it that you understand that. That means that no advice whatsoever
16 can be given on the substance of the testimony. It's very clear that the
17 only thing a witness has to do is to answer the questions in accordance
18 with the truth and to his best recollection.
19 Before we started yesterday, I informed Mr. Mrksic about his duty
20 to testify; that not answering questions would possibly expose him to
21 further investigation and prosecution for contempt of court under
22 Rule 77. I also informed Mr. Mrksic about the contents of Rule 90(E),
23 which protects a witness to self-incrimination, and also the powers of
24 the Chamber to compel a witness, nevertheless, to give answers. We
25 have -- you can find that on the record, that we have dealt with all
1 those matters.
2 I think that the role of counsel in this respect is limited to
3 those matters; that is, not the substance of the testimony, but rather of
4 the position of a witness, the duties of a witness, and the rights of a
6 If you'd like to make any observations, if you would have any
7 questions in relation to this, you're invited to bring them to the
8 Chamber's attention.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am familiar with the
11 (redacted) However, at the time I received timely
12 notice from the Registrar. I had enough time to meet with the witness
13 or, rather, my client. Unfortunately, this time it was not possible,
14 although my colleague, Mr. Vasic, who was lead counsel to Mr. Mrksic, was
15 in touch. I saw him yesterday in Belgrade, and he told me that he had
16 expected the Registry to inform him of this appointment. However, both
17 the subpoena and the summons arrived far too late for him to obtain a
18 visa. At any rate, we agreed that I would follow the proceedings.
19 I followed the proceedings fully over the internet yesterday, but
20 nevertheless I should like to be provided with the transcripts of both
21 the session yesterday and the session this morning, which I was unable to
22 attend due to my travel by plane.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, may I take it that there will be a
24 possibility to provide Mr. Domazet with a hard copy of the transcript
25 once it has been finalised? Perhaps even an electronic copy could be
1 made available to him, if it's not yet finalised.
2 As far as your role is concerned, there are no further questions,
3 no further submissions, Mr. Domazet?
4 You said, Well, we would have expected to be invited. Well, it
5 is for a witness to express that he wants to have counsel present in
6 court. Never anything of the kind reached this Chamber. And I think
7 that if you would have responded to the earlier attempts to contact you
8 by saying, Well, feel free to call whatever witness you want, if it would
9 be Mr. Mrksic, please be aware that -- inform us about it well in time so
10 that we can address the Chamber, or, We inform you that I would like to
11 be present during the testimony of Mr. Mrksic, would that meet any
12 objection, then I think which a more communicative approach, the matters
13 might not have taken the course they have taken.
14 If there's anything you'd like to respond to that, because these
15 might be a bit harsh words, you have an opportunity to do so. If you,
16 however, suggest that we just proceed, we'll do so as well.
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
18 just explained that I wasn't part of the communication, it was Mr. Vasic.
19 And if there had been some omissions on our part previously, there are
20 none now, and we can proceed just as you said we should.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I just wanted to give you a fair chance to respond
22 to my words.
23 We can proceed. Mr. Misetic, please do so.
24 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit 65 ter 1D1051 on the
1 screen, please.
2 Q. Now, General Mrksic, this is not your order. This is an order of
3 the General Staff of the Serb Army of Krajina, issued by
4 Major General Loncar on the 1st of August. If you could take a look at
5 that, and you see in paragraph 1, he says:
6 "Commanding officers of departments, sections, and organs of the
7 General Staff of the Serb Krajina Army shall, within their authority,
8 carry out preparation of means and documentation for relocation. In the
9 course of the preparation, sort and pack the documentation according to
10 that which is going to be taken to the new location and that which is to
11 be destroyed. The destroying is to follow after the decision on the
12 relocation of the General Staff of the Serb Krajina Army."
13 And then if we go to -- there's several other components of the
14 order, but if we go to page 3, paragraph 10:
15 "All preparations for the relocation are to be carried out
16 immediately. Readiness for all tasks and obligations regarding the
17 relocation of the General Staff of the Serb Krajina Army on 3 August 1995
18 until 2000 hours, when the organs' commanding officers shall report on
19 the readiness status."
20 Now, my question, General Mrksic, is: Why would the
21 General Staff, as of the 1st of August, be preparing to relocate or
22 destroy documents of the SVK General Staff?
23 A. This is a purely military matter. Since the assessment was that
24 an aggression was imminent, whether it was going to be on the 4th, 5th,
25 or 6th, none of the commands or staffs remain as they were. They have to
1 be divided into the main command post and rear command post. Otherwise,
2 one would be able to destroy the staff with a single blow, just as you
3 did on the 4th in the morning, you struck the location of the Main Staff.
4 And that's the proper procedure of relocating matters. You do not take
5 along matters relating to the peacetime, which only consist of burden,
6 they have to be jettisoned, they have to be destroyed, and this is done
7 pursuant to an order of the Chief of Staff. The Chief of Staff left with
8 part of the command, and I stayed behind in Knin with the other part of
9 the command and with the Supreme Command.
10 Q. Let me ask you -- you say now that this was done because you were
11 anticipating the attack. The paragraph 10 seems to provide pretty
12 accurate information about when the attack would take place. Why didn't
13 you just move your entire command out of Knin to the forward command post
14 or to your reserve command post?
15 MR. RUSSO: Sorry, can I just quickly -- just a question on what
16 forward command post Mr. Misetic is referring to.
17 MR. MISETIC: He mentioned it in his last answer. He said the --
18 MR. RUSSO: He said main and rear command post. I'm wasn't sure
19 if there is a distinction between where he was and --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Let's not discuss it. It seems not -- if that would
21 assist Mr. Russo, the quickest way of doing it, Mr. Misetic, is to --
22 MR. MISETIC: Sorry, I was listening to him in the original, so
23 let me ask him again.
24 Q. How many command posts did you say you had, you were preparing?
25 A. There was the main reserve command post and rear command post.
1 That's the case with all the armies, including the Croatian Army.
2 Q. And I -- correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought I heard you say
4 A. Well -- yes. Pardon me?
5 Q. I thought I heard you say "IZM." Maybe I misheard you. I'm
7 A. Rear logistic command post.
8 Q. Let me ask you, then, the same question, essentially. Why didn't
9 you move the entire command out of Knin to the rear command post?
10 A. Well, let me answer this. In a war, where one expects an attack,
11 an act of aggression, five to ten days ahead of the aggression at any
12 time in a timely manner, the units have to be dispersed, command posts
13 have to be dispersed. One should not wait for the first blow, because
14 that's the most lethal one. That would be equal to murder, for a staff
15 to remain headquartered where it was, waiting for an attack. It would be
16 a move on the part of a dilettante, rather than a professional general
17 who had done his schooling. That's how it is.
18 Where an attack is anticipated, the command has to be divided
19 into three structures; the reserve command post, where the commander
20 would be; the reserve command post, where the Chief of Staff was; and the
21 logistics post, where the chief of logistics is. Where the command post
22 is destroyed, then the reserve command post or the rear command post
23 would become the main command post. There can be no situation where an
24 army does not know where its command post is or where the organ in charge
25 of combat activities is situated. That's your textbook knowledge of
2 They went to Srb, if that's what you'd like to know, where the
3 reserve command post was stationed.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, information reached me that a forward
5 command post in Croatian might be "IZM," whereas in Serbian it might be
6 "IKM," so therefore this might be one of the occasions where the
7 differences between the --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
9 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues]... play a role.
10 It's not my own knowledge. I had that --
11 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Just one second, Mr. --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the same terminology
14 was used before, when they went to the same schools I did. They are
15 familiar with that as well.
16 JUDGE ORIE: I think the matter has been sufficiently clarified.
17 Please proceed.
18 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Let me just find the portion of one of your answers.
20 Q. Okay. So in terms of the purpose of this order, were you, in
21 fact -- in terms of preparing to relocate the Main Staff, were you
22 anticipating that the Croatian Army would attack the Main Staff?
23 A. My intelligence services were working non-stop. They were
24 constantly in touch with your lot there. They were crossing over to each
25 side, back and forth. I knew where each battalion was heading. But that
1 was not the point. The point was that I was unable to prevent the
2 attack. That's how strong they were. In other words, we knew that the
3 attack was imminent.
4 Q. Did you know that the Croatian Army would target the Main Staff
6 A. Well, that's task number 1 of every soldier, to strike at the
7 Main Staff. If I were a gunner, I'd be shooting only at that and nothing
8 else, only the Main Staff.
9 And let me tell you now that you've raised the matter, if the
10 Court allows me to, we will have to tell this story.
11 Q. One thing at a time. Now, it goes back -- now let me go back.
12 If, as you say, if you were a gunner, you'd be shooting at only
13 that --
14 A. [No interpretation]
15 Q. My question again is: Did you ever consider, given the location
16 of the Main Staff in the town, to move your command out of a populated
17 area and to go to your rear command post?
18 A. The commander does not go to the rear command post, but to the
19 reserve or alternate command post. But the Chief of Staff went to the
20 reserve command post, and they stayed there. How would the people feel
21 if the entire command were to flee? I'm asking you. Knin was full of
22 people, women, and children, and the command has fled? I didn't want to
23 leave my command post. I sent the commander with us to be able to
24 command from up there. If something should happen to me, I would remain
25 there with the president of the Assembly with the minister in our command
1 post in the basement, and they remained in my office. However, I did not
2 spend that night at the command post due to some reasons; namely, my
3 security staff, my intelligence services, actually told me that if I
4 remained there, I would be bombed.
5 Q. And, finally, while we're talking about your security staff, your
6 intelligence services: Paragraph 10, how did you get that information,
7 to be ready by the 3rd of August at 2000? Do you know how that
8 intelligence was obtained?
9 A. The 3rd of August was when the command post was supposed to be
10 relocated. And as for the attack, all the anticipation was it would be
11 on the 4th and possibly on the 5th. The forces of General Gotovina were
12 above Knin, and they were observing all our activities via binoculars, so
13 we were expecting an attack. Plus all the intelligence and information
14 that was coming in from all quarters obviously said that there was an
15 attack being prepared. Actually, in cooperation with all the political
16 organs, with all my corps, I tried to force the politicians and all these
17 leaders to opt for a peaceful solution, as was my plan, but that didn't
19 THE INTERPRETER: And could the witness please slow down for the
20 benefit of one and all?
21 MR. MISETIC: I was going to say --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, again you are invited to adopt a
23 different speed of speaking.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. You
25 know, I've been burdened with this onus, a difficult psychological
1 burden, for 15 years.
2 JUDGE ORIE: It's not that we have no understanding, but
3 nevertheless we would like to hear your testimony.
4 Please proceed.
5 MR. MISETIC:
6 Q. And my arms are starting to hurt from trying to slow you down, so
7 if we could -- thank you, General.
8 Mr. Registrar, if I could have the exhibit on the screen
9 marked -- or, Mr. President, if I could have the exhibit on the screen
10 marked, and I tender it into evidence.
11 MR. RUSSO: There's no objection, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1514.
14 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
15 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have, please, 65 ter
16 number 1D1052, please.
17 Q. General Mrksic, this is an order issued by you on the 2nd of
18 August; and it's a decision on further combat operations; order. Now,
19 it's a lengthy document, so let me go through it with you step by step.
20 A. I'll have to read it through to see what it is about, if you will
21 allow me. I haven't seen this document in perhaps 15 years. Perhaps I
22 didn't even draw it up and perhaps I wrote it in haste. And I'm not sure
23 if that is the case, what I wrote, so I have to read through it.
24 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, with your permission, I would give
25 the witness a hard copy of the original. Perhaps it will be faster for
1 him to review it on paper.
2 THE WITNESS: [In English] Yes, yes, yes, please.
3 [Interpretation] Yes, I've read it.
4 MR. MISETIC:
5 Q. Okay. And does that look like an order that you issued on the
6 2nd of August?
7 A. Yes, yes. And after that, I was not able to issue any other
8 orders because the communications did not function.
9 Q. I'm sorry. We're going to continue on with this document, but I
10 want to clarify something that you answered earlier by showing you a new
12 Remember, we discussed Mr. Mladic being in Knin, and you said you
13 were in Slunj. Do you remember, on that exact date, you attending a
14 meeting with Mr. Martic and --
15 A. I think that I was in Slunj.
16 Q. Do you remember being present in Knin on that very day with
17 Mr. Martic meeting with Yasushi Akashi?
18 A. I know that I was at all meetings with the president precisely on
19 account of all the tasks I was given after the meeting in Karadjordjevo,
20 and that we were to advance a joint position before representatives of
21 the international community. Now, as for that particular day, I don't
22 know. What I do know is that I was not with Mladic.
23 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, if we can via Sanction, show a memo
24 prepared by Mr. Akashi about his visit to Knin on the 30th of July, and
25 we will tender the document later. The 65 ter number is 1D1586, and
1 we're showing it via Sanction.
2 Q. I don't have a translated copy, so you'll just have to listen, or
3 I know you speak some English, so if you can follow along. This is
4 Mr. Akashi's memorandum to Mr. Kofi Annan. The memo is dated the 1st of
5 August, but in the first paragraph you'll see, he's reporting on:
6 "The results of my meeting in Knin on 30th of July."
7 And paragraph 2 in the middle, he says:
8 "I was accompanied in the meeting by the force commander and
9 senior aides. President Martic, dressed in a camouflage T-shirt, led the
10 delegation from Knin and was accompanied by General Mrksic."
11 Does that refresh your recollection about a meeting that you
12 attended with Yasushi Akashi in Knin on the 30th of July?
13 A. We were at meetings many times, and I sought that I was always
14 present at such meetings, because representatives of the international
15 community insisted that I do so.
16 Q. Now if we can go back to the document in e-court.
17 The order that you have now in front of you on paper, this is
18 your decision on an order on further combat operations. And in the first
19 paragraph, you say:
20 "The territorial integrity of the RSK has been jeopardised by
21 combat operations of the Croatian Army from the Dinara ridge and from
22 Grahovo towards Strmica and Knin."
23 Now, you say -- I'm sorry, and if we can look -- let's look at
24 the sentence before that. In that very first paragraph, you say:
25 "It is expected that the aggression might be initiated with the
1 main forces on the axis Plaski-Slunj-Sturlic and with a part of the
2 forces on the axis Sunja-Kostajnica - valley of the River Una."
3 Now, those places in that sentence, Plaski, Slunj, Sturlic, are
4 areas in Sector North; correct? Yes? You have to speak.
5 A. I'm still listening to the interpretation. Yes. What is the
6 problem there? These are the precise assessments that we had, and it was
7 the most logical variant.
8 Q. Going back to that second paragraph, you talk about the combat
9 operations Grahovo-Strmica-Knin:
10 "Several demonstrational attacks can be expected aimed at
11 achieving surprise and concealing the axes of aggression."
12 And then you say:
13 "Count on the Croatian Army using air-strikes on the axes of
14 combat operations by the main forces, but also fake strikes at favourable
15 areas in order to create confusion."
16 Now, if I read that correctly, you anticipated the main attack
17 would come in Sector North and that the -- from the direction of Grahovo
18 would be demonstrational or fake strikes aimed at creating confusion and
19 masking the true aim of the attack?
20 A. We actually thought that the main attack would come from Grahovo
21 and through Grahovo, and that was our major problem. Our earlier
22 assessment, or war plan, was based on what you have just said, Strmica,
23 the linking up of the 5th Corps with the forces from Ogulin, the nearest
24 part, and near Glina from Stankovac to Glina and then linking again up
25 with Western Bosnia, and of course normally down there by Slunj, cutting
1 off the direction towards Republika Srpska. Those were our assessments.
2 Actually, according -- everything evolved according to assessments,
3 except that we did not assess and anticipate that we would be attacked
4 from the back. And we even assessed all the battalions.
5 Q. If we go to section -- the paragraph B, okay, it says:
6 "The attack on the units which prepared the areas in defence
7 positions are preceded by several hours or days of artillery fire. The
8 artillery inflicts losses, evokes fear, and is aimed at trying to lead
9 the soldiers to abandon their positions for defence prior to the attack
10 itself. The largest psychological effect the Ustasha have been
11 accomplishing by using multiple rocket-launchers. The precision was more
12 weak than well. The Ustasha started the attack only if the soldiers
13 afraid from the artillery fire would leave their positions without a
15 So you were anticipating that the Croatian Army would use --
17 A. [In English] More correct writing, missed the writing totally
18 correct. [Interpretation] It wasn't read correctly, what was written.
19 Multiple rocket-launchers, these are not mortar and these are not just
20 launchers, this is a huge difference, like chalk and cheese. You didn't
21 do it deliberately, I'm sure. Perhaps it is just that you lack military
23 The greater psychological effect was achieved by Ustasha by
24 actually using multiple rocket-launchers -- the precision was weak rather
25 than good. The Ustasha started the attack. Only the soldiers were too
1 afraid from artillery fire would leave their positions without a fight,
2 and that is quite logical. This is something that I, myself, would have
3 done in such a position.
4 Q. Now, if we go to paragraph 2.
5 A. Under C?
6 Q. No, paragraph number 2, after paragraph D:
7 "All SVK units are at the highest level of combat readiness.
8 Combat operations are in progress, with a part of the forces on the
9 Dinara ridge and the defence of the Grahovo-Strmica axis."
10 And it says:
11 "After losing Grahovo and Glamoc, the 2nd Krajina Corps is
12 rapidly conducting engineering work on positions for the defence of the
13 Grahovo-Drvar axis."
14 And now this sentence:
15 "New forces are being rapidly brought in from depth and prepared
16 for conducting a counter-attack on HV/HVO forces on the Grahovo-Livno
17 access and the Glamoc-Livno axis.
18 In paragraph 4:
19 "I have decided by carrying out --"
20 A. This is a bit peculiar, a bit strange. This is a neighbouring
21 adjacent structure; right?
22 Q. Yes, it is.
23 A. This is the commanding methodology? What is the adjacent unit
24 doing, what is the neighbouring structure doing?
25 Q. That's not my question. My question is: In paragraph 4, what
1 you decided is to carry out a persistent defence to slow down and prevent
2 a possible attack --
3 A. Extreme -- extreme and persistent defence. This is the
4 last-ditch defence, decisive defence.
5 Q. "... decisive defence, to slow down and prevent a possible attack
6 by the HV on the chosen axes, while simultaneously carrying out an
7 operation to liberate the Knin-Grahovo-Drvar communication and take
8 control of the Dinara ridge, with the purpose of creating conditions for
9 a more favourable treatment towards RSK's interests in the negotiating
10 process which has started."
11 Now, if I understand this correctly, General, what you intended
12 to do was mount a defence against what you thought were going to be the
13 Croatian Army's main axes of attack and simultaneously conduct your
14 own --
15 A. Yes, against Mr. Gotovina, that is correct.
16 Q. So your plan was to launch a counter-attack to take Grahovo back
17 while the Croatian Army was attacking --
18 A. I cannot mount a counter-attack against such forces. I just
19 wanted to slow them down. I'm sorry, I apologise. So the objective was
20 to halt them on the most important axis which was endangering the capital
21 city, which was undefended, practically. Because delegations had left
22 with the empowerment, with the authority to sign whatever was necessary.
23 They had gone to Geneva
24 the American Embassy and to sign the Z-4, and I was also supposed to go,
25 but the late Mr. Cervenko was not supposed -- was not willing to receive
1 me. I was to go to Turanj with him and to accept everything that
2 Mr. Cervenko asked me to.
3 Q. Let me -- again, as I understand the document, paragraph 1 talks
4 about the main axes of attack being the areas that you've said are in
5 Sector North, and the language in paragraph 3 -- I'm sorry.
6 A. The fourth.
7 Q. Yes. And paragraph 4, you talk about carrying out an operation
8 to liberate the Knin-Grahovo-Drvar communication. An operation to
9 liberate that communication would involve an offensive operation, would
10 it not?
11 A. Yes. But, sir, you skipped over paragraph 3, because we had
12 information from the neighbours, from Republika Srpska, that they were
13 pulling in forces and mounting offensive actions towards Grahovo from
14 Drvar. And I, as the endangered side, had to follow my concept. So this
15 is the conceptual part of the decision, item 4, that I was also to
16 participate in making this road passable, if breaching this
17 communication, if you understand me. But these were -- you know, this
18 was more wishful-thinking type of decisions. They were not backed
19 materially, but the decision -- because the decision has to be backed by
20 equipment, and technical and materiel equipment. This pulling in of
21 forces from Eastern Bosnia, this took days. By that time, Knin had
22 fallen, half of Krajina had fallen, and all of Krajina had fallen, in
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I'm looking at the clock. It might be
25 time for a break, unless you have one or two questions which would
1 conclude a certain chapter or a certain subject.
2 MR. MISETIC: Yes. I was going to complete this document,
3 Mr. President. I have one question left on this document.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's not a short document. If you can do that
5 in a couple of minutes, fine, please proceed.
6 MR. MISETIC: Actually, Mr. President, we can take a break now.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Before we take the break, could I turn into private
9 session for a second.
10 [Private session]
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
7 We have a break, and we resume at 10 minutes to 1.00.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 --- Recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue, perhaps I should address you,
12 Mr. Waespi.
13 There was an informal request by the Cermak Defence for exceeding
14 the word limit in the sur-reply on the matter of Rule 68 disclosure. Is
15 that a matter on which you would like to respond or, knowing the Cermak
16 Defence, that they usually are rather succinct --
17 MR. WAESPI: We'll leave it in your hands, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then the request is granted, Mr. Cayley.
19 MR. CAYLEY: I'm obliged, Mr. President. Thank you.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
21 [The witness takes the stand]
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. General Mrksic, while we still have this document on the screen,
24 I believe it's -- if we go to page 3 in the English, paragraph 5, which
25 in the original -- the original starts:
1 "The KSJ, not including the 2nd pbr ..."
2 Do you see that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, in your order, you said:
5 "The KSJ, not including the 2nd pbr and went with the 75th mabr,
6 parts of the forces from the 21st Corps and Pauk are deployed in the
7 waiting area of Slunj - village of Brocanac
8 counter-attack ..."
9 Now, why did you deploy -- this Special Unit Corps was --
10 A. You haven't read it well. Can I explain, then, read this out,
11 just to assist you? The Special Units Corps, without the 2nd Guards
12 Brigade, with the 75th Mixed Artillery Brigade, mbr, these are
13 130-millimetre guns from the 21st Corps, and the Pauk units or, rather,
14 Fikret Abdic's units deployed in the area, the waiting area Slunj,
15 village of Brocanac-Batnoga, be at for readiness for a counter-attack in
16 the direction of Glina.
17 It was our intention that via Kladusa, they would be linking up
18 through Glina --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I have some problems with what appears
20 in the original and what appears on the -- on our screens. Apparently,
21 paragraph 5, which has a heading, is subdivided in various paragraphs in
22 the original, whereas what we see at this moment is a paragraph 5 without
23 heading and appears to be something -- perhaps it's the subparagraph,
24 what we see left and right is not the same.
25 MR. MISETIC: Yes, that's it. Now we have it right on the
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There it is. I don't know about
4 MR. MISETIC: It's correct.
5 Q. Go ahead and finish your answer, General.
6 A. These reserve forces, in other words, my forces, the forces of
7 the commander of the Supreme Staff, that's to say Matic, they were there
8 in case an aggression was launched to engage in active combat along the
9 axis that might possibly be threatened. And then the Slunj-Rakovica
10 road, I don't know why it is was that we assumed that the Croatian forces
11 would have some sort of landing operations. We were, obviously, fearful
12 of them. The axis of active combat should be coordinated with the Banja
13 and the Kordun Corps.
14 Q. Understood. And what you're talking about is you're not sure why
15 you assume the Croatian forces would have some sort of landing operations
16 up in Sector North; yes?
17 A. To the best of my recollection, there were none, there were no
18 landing operations, but obviously somebody fed this information to our
19 intelligence services.
20 Q. That it was going to be up in Sector North; correct?
21 A. Yes. I believed that that was the best area for Croatian Army to
22 cut off the Banja and Kordun from Lika and Dalmatia Corps. I didn't
23 count on what would subsequently happen with Grahovo.
24 Q. Now, in terms of what you anticipated happening from behind you,
25 from Grahovo, did you -- did you anticipate that the main action of the
1 Croatian Army from Grahovo would be via the Grahovo-Strmica-Knin road?
2 A. I anticipated that the thrust of the attack would be on the road
3 above Knin. Knin, itself, was undefended. I anticipated that the forces
4 of the HV and HVO would be launching a landing operation there. That's
5 why I kept the unit you asked me about close to that location. What's it
6 called? Not Obrovac; Potok or Otisic [phoen]. Bruvno, right. That's
7 why I kept the reserve forces there, because I was afraid of them cutting
8 off the corps and encircling it. We were going through these various
9 scenarios of finding ourselves in encirclement. However, it appeared
10 then that they were not interested in encircling us. They were merely
11 shelling from down there. And as the population was returned, they
12 advanced. That's why I was surprised by, their manner of advancement.
13 They caught me by surprise there 100 percent.
14 As for the other axes covered by the Banja and Kordun Corps, all
15 these developments kind of followed the logic that we were preparing for
16 in our exercises. However, we did not anticipate what the southern flank
17 of the Croatian Army, under the command of General Gotovina, would be
18 doing. That's why I had my mates who helped me there.
19 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that this exhibit be marked,
20 and I tender it into evidence.
21 MR. RUSSO: No objection, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1515.
24 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
25 MR. MISETIC:
1 Q. General Mrksic, there came a point in time that you replaced the
2 commander of the 7th Krajina Corps, Kozomara, with Mr. Kovacevic. Can
3 you tell us, first, when you did that?
4 A. Kozomara, yes. That was shortly before the attack, roughly at
5 the time when the fighting was going on around Grahovo. Kozomara did not
6 prove to be resourceful. He did not -- he wasn't able to use the sources
7 that were there defending Benkovac and elsewhere, where there was no
8 threat, in fact. He should have regrouped those forces and used them
9 where they were needed. He was a good officer. However, apparently he
10 was not in a good psychological state. He was not in a good state of
11 mind, since he, himself, asked for another individual to replace him.
12 Q. Now --
13 A. Well, this wasn't the only poor psychological state that we had.
14 I had my subordinate who committed suicide. These people were made of
15 flesh and blood. He was a colonel.
16 Q. Let me ask you, where did Mr. Kovacevic come from? From what
17 post was he promoted to the position of the commander of the 7th Krajina
19 A. General Kovacevic was chief of armoured units. Since I used to
20 work in the land forces before, I was chief of the land forces -- let me
21 explain this. He, as a Serb volunteer, having seen what the situation
22 was like there, he volunteered to go there on his annual leave. He
23 wasn't dispatched there by the General Staff. They even forbade officers
24 to cross the Drina
1 Q. Just so the record is clear, Mr. Kovacevic --
2 A. Maybe it was the impact of me being the commander there.
3 Q. For the record -- just so the record is clear, General Kovacevic
4 was an officer in the Yugoslav Army -- a general in the Yugoslav Army who
5 then replaced Mr. Kozomara?
6 A. That's correct, yes. Kozomara stayed behind to work with him,
7 but he took charge of everything because he was a stable person, and he
8 personally took it upon himself to take care of the positions up on the
9 Dinara. The other ones didn't dare show their noses up there; not
10 because they were afraid, but because they had been engaged in the war
11 for a long time.
12 Q. Let's turn our attention back to D1495. Sorry, 1465. I
13 apologise. Page 240 in the English, and page --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 MR. MISETIC: Page 240 in the English and page 245 in the B/C/S.
16 Q. General Mrksic, do you recall going to Drvar on the 2nd of
17 August, 1995?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And were Mr. -- were you present at that meeting with
20 Mr. Karadzic, Mr. Krajisnik, Ms. Plavsic, as well as General Tolimir --
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. -- Milovanovic, Martic?
23 A. This was a meeting of two supreme commands. It was supposed to
24 be a meeting, but it did not turn out to be one.
25 Q. Well, what was the purpose of you all getting together on the
1 2nd of August in Drvar?
2 A. The purpose was to resolve the issue of pulling out the
3 breakthrough and causing the fall of Grahovo, et cetera, and the arming
4 of the Republic of the Serbian Krajina. This was the purpose of the
5 joint meeting. Mladic and I, chiefs of staff, were supposed to submit
6 reports, and the commands were supposed to take decisions, What do we do
7 next? We had water up to our chins.
8 Now, what happened? There was no meeting. There ensued a
9 quarrel in the leadership of the Army of Republika Srpska, between Mladic
10 and Krajisnik, or, rather, Karadzic. And all at once NATO aviation
11 appeared. I told Matic, Let's go back, this is to no avail, let's save
12 our skins. So that's how it ended.
13 I don't trust anything that's put on paper here, because this is
14 not the way it happened.
15 Q. Well, can you look at this paper and see, in terms of the names
16 there, do you recall all of those people being present?
17 A. I don't recall all of them. I know about Martic, Karadzic,
18 Krajisnik, Plavsic, who approached me and told me, Good for you, you are
19 so unified. Why don't we have such a unified leadership? That's what I
20 remember. Probably Tomanovic, the commander of the corps, was there.
21 And as far as I remember, Milovanovic was there, since he was in charge
22 of the entire area as of the month of June.
23 However, there was some sort of an excess there when we entered
24 the meeting room, some sort of a quarrel, and then the aviation appeared,
25 and that was the end of the story; no discussion, no conclusions. I
1 didn't even get to say anything.
2 Q. Well, earlier, when we looked at the previous -- your order from
3 the 2nd of August, which was the last document we looked at, you
4 indicated that, in fact, part of your order reflects that the 2nd Krajina
5 Corps, which was under General Mladic's command, was supposed to launch
6 an offensive operation against General Gotovina's forces in Grahovo when
7 the Croatian offensive began; correct?
8 A. Precisely. Information was received along the communication
9 lines between the staffs. This was their plan which was materialised who
10 knows when. But this was not the subject of this particular meeting of
11 the two supreme commands of two countries, the Republika Srpska and the
12 RSK. Perhaps it would have been, had not this altercation or verbal
13 conflict emerged.
14 Q. In terms of your previous order, which was issued on the same day
15 as this meeting, was there some agreement or understanding between you
16 and General Mladic that you would defend and General Mladic's forces
17 would attack? Otherwise, how did you know --
18 A. No. Staffs received information to the effect of what the
19 adjacent units were doing, what the adjacent corps were doing, and our
20 adjacent corps was the Krajina Corps, and they reported on all the areas
21 where they broke through. They said that they would launch an offensive
22 and that we would be doing the same from the other side.
23 General Kovacevic, whom you mentioned, had a company -- we didn't
24 have forces. Everything was tied up along the front-line, along the
25 depth of the front-line.
1 Q. You mentioned General Kovacevic. Where was General Kovacevic's
2 command located once he took over the 7th Krajina Corps?
3 A. I think it was in the barracks in town, the Northern Barracks,
4 and somewhere in Strmica. He relocated later on, and then subsequently
5 he was at the railway station in Knin, and that's where he supervised the
6 pulling out of the forces. And he was the one who was covering the back
7 for the IKM in Srb.
8 Q. So if I understand your answer correctly, General Kovacevic, as
9 the commander of the 7th Krajina Corps, his command was located in the
10 Northern Barracks at first; is that correct?
11 A. Until combat activities commenced. When they did, just as my
12 command did, he got up -- got out to the railway station and perhaps
13 towards Strmica, at the IKM there, because he was practically on the
14 slopes of the Dinara with some elements of his army. That's where the
15 IKM was, and the command post was up at the abandoned railway station. I
16 don't know what it's called, the one above Knin. That's where we found
17 him that night. Martic stayed the night there. We spent nights there,
18 and he stayed behind at the corps, had a nap for perhaps two hours, and I
19 continued my journey to Srb.
20 Q. Now, going back to this meeting in Drvar, do you recall a
21 discussion at that meeting in Drvar on the 2nd of August about the people
22 of Grahovo and Glamoc being bitter that the government organs had
23 provided almost no help at all in evacuation and salvaging of property?
24 A. Such discussions did not take place at all. A quarrel emerged as
25 to who was responsible for the fall of these municipalities. There was a
1 conflict, and that's where the discussions ended. We parted ways. And I
2 really wondered at how this was possible. This was a conflict between
3 Mladic and Karadzic and whatnot. It was an old affair. The Assembly
4 meddled in that later on, or whether the Assembly meeting was before, I
5 don't know. I didn't really study events. I can't testify to that.
6 I can only testify to the fact that the meeting started and then all of a
7 sudden somebody said, The aviation is striking, and we just fled.
8 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn the page in English, please, and
10 Q. The comment at the bottom of the page in English from this
11 meeting says:
12 "The people withdrew spontaneously, but quite successfully and
13 without major casualties, taking part of their property and driving
14 bovine cattle. They are particularly bitter about the fact that the
15 government organs provided almost no help at all in the evacuation and
16 salvaging of property."
17 Does that refresh your recollection at all as to whether that was
18 discussed at this meeting?
19 A. What I see written here is not something that was the subject of
20 discussions. Perhaps somebody wrote it down after the meeting or before
21 the meeting. At any rate, it was not discussed at the meeting. We got
22 in together and left together:
23 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could go to Exhibit D1495,
25 Q. Can you tell the Court who Rade Raseta was at that time?
1 General, General, can you tell us who Rade Raseta was?
2 A. I think that Rade Raseta was chief of security. They rotated
3 frequently. I'm not sure, but I think he was chief of security.
4 Q. Now, what we have on the screen here is a report prepared on the
5 3rd of August, 1995.
6 A. Yes, Dimitrijevic.
7 Q. And he's writing to Dimitrijevic, who is who? Tell the Court who
8 Mr. Dimitrijevic is at that time.
9 A. Dimitrijevic was chief of the Security Administration of the Army
10 of Yugoslavia
11 we had Aco Vasiljevic, and this is Aleksandar Dimitrijevic. He was
12 holding that position for quite a long time.
13 Q. If you look down to the second paragraph, or I guess the middle
14 of that one large paragraph, it says:
15 "In the course of the day," this is 3 August, "the chief of the
16 Krajina Serb Army General Staff established contact with the forward
17 command post of the Serb Republic Army General Staff in regard of the
18 joint operations and planning of further offensive operations along the
19 Grahovo-Livno axis."
20 Do you recall, the day before Operation Storm, establishing
21 contact with the forward command post of the VRS General Staff concerning
22 further offensive -- joint operations, further offensive operations along
23 the Grahovo-Livno axis?
24 A. It is possible, because at the time Mladic went to Ostraj
25 [phoen]. Before Mladic arrived, I was unable to establish any
1 communication, perhaps. But it was a fait accompli. Nothing could be
2 done anymore --
3 Q. If we turn --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the name of the
5 person the witness said he couldn't establish communication with.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Where it says here that artillery
7 engaged in retaliation, this wasn't done. I don't know --
8 MR. MISETIC:
9 Q. The interpreter did not hear the name of the person you said you
10 could not establish contact with.
11 A. That was Chief of Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska,
12 General Milovanovic. One could never know where he was.
13 MR. MISETIC: Okay. Mr. Registrar, if we could go to page 4 of
14 this document in English, which is the very end of the document in B/C/S
15 under section 3.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me just say that this security
17 officer added this in writing at his own initiative.
18 MR. MISETIC:
19 Q. Now, your chief or assistant chief of security is writing to the
20 Yugoslav Army General Staff, Security Administration, on the 3rd of
21 August, and he reports:
22 "On 3 August 1995
23 the impression that there are certain elements of panic, yet still under
24 control. The citizens mostly blame the government, that is, the state
25 leadership of the Republic of the Serb Krajina. They believe that their
1 neglect and irresponsibility caused the consequences we are faced with
2 now. They hope that we have not been betrayed and abandoned and that, as
3 the last possibility, the FRY will help. Furthermore, the citizens
4 believe that we are not able to defend ourselves and that, should there
5 be no significant help by the FRY, it would be better for the people to
6 resettle to other areas rather than stay here to face encirclement and
8 A. I didn't sign the document. What sort of policy was developed by
9 security, I don't know. I didn't receive this document, and we did not
10 have this situation. The situation that I know of was the one where
11 prevailed -- where confidence prevailed. But I needed three more months.
12 I never heard from this security officer, Raseta, or his assistants, or
13 his subordinates, the KOS
14 population should move out. I suppose I should have been the first one
15 to know this and not someone --
16 JUDGE ORIE: One second, please. Mr. Misetic has read a part of
17 a document to you. He has not even put a question to you. Nevertheless,
18 you spent all right eight lines on giving comments. Why not wait what
19 Mr. Misetic would like to know from you?
20 Mr. Misetic, what would be your question in relation to this part
21 of the document?
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. General Mrksic, this document comes from your General Staff, by
24 someone under your command, and I just wanted to ask you: Was it, in
25 fact, the situation, as reported here --
1 A. This was not the line of command.
2 Q. Let me just ask you. This assessment about the citizens
3 believing that if --
4 "Believe that we are unable to defend ourselves and that, should
5 there be no significant help by the FRY, it would be better for the
6 people to resettle to other areas, rather than stay here to face
7 encirclement and death."
8 Was that your understanding of the situation among the citizens
9 on the 3rd of August, 1995?
10 A. As I can see, this was the opinion on the part of the
11 Security Service, along their chain, which did not include mine. Whether
12 their operatives knew more than I did is something I cannot say. I know
13 the extent of what I know, and the information that I received through
14 the chain of command was that there was readiness and preparedness to
15 stay in the area and fight; however, that all steps should be taken to
16 avert a war.
17 The Assembly in Topusko asked me, as a commander, whether we were
18 able to defend ourselves. I said that we were not able to defend
19 ourselves and that we should look for other solutions, we should engage
20 in negotiations.
21 MR. MISETIC: Okay. If we could go to Exhibit D923 again,
22 please. Now, if we could first go to page 3 in the English, please.
23 I'm sorry. Mr. Registrar, if we could go to page -- the bottom,
24 it says, "page 21 of 29." It's page 21. It's page 13 in the B/C/S,
1 Q. Okay. If you look, General --
2 A. Which document are we talking about?
3 Q. This is that report of the 26th of August. And I just wanted to
4 ask you about this line. There is a sentence in here which talks about
5 Western Slavonia right in the middle of the screen in English, and it
7 "After the fall of Western Slavonia, there were many accusations
8 at the expense of the authority, the president of the republic, because
9 the evacuation was not ordered earlier."
10 Now, do you recall, prior to Operation Storm, criticism of the
11 authorities for not ordering the evacuation of the population of Western
13 A. I know nothing about Western Slavonia. I came after
14 Western Slavonia
15 there to heal the wounds of Western Slavonia, to change the climate. I
16 didn't know about the reactions, the recriminations, the accusations.
17 I think that they accused mostly Republika Srpska for failing to assist
18 the people pulling out of Western Slavonia.
19 MR. MISETIC: If we could go to page 3 now of this document in
20 English, please. It's page 2 in the B/C/S.
21 Q. Now, it says here:
22 "The aggression was expected, and the Main Staff directed the
23 main focus of their work on preparing the units to defend their
24 positions, regions, and areas resolutely for five to seven days,
25 believing that that would be enough for the international factors and, if
1 necessary, even the Yugoslav Army, to react."
2 Now, why was it part of your strategy to anticipate international
3 factors and perhaps the Yugoslav Army reacting? What were you hoping the
4 international factors would do?
5 A. We were expecting the international factors to react because we
6 were in a United Nations protected zone. That United Nations protected
7 zone came under strike of the Croatian professional army, the entire army
8 of 160.000 men, attacking unarmed people. We expected that nothing would
9 happen, that the international community would be -- would have to be
10 ashamed of.
11 As regards the use of the Army of Yugoslavia, of the Yugoslav
12 Army, this was said rather as more a boosting factor, to boost the morale
13 of the soldiers, because we knew that they would not be used, that the
14 Yugoslav Army would not -- you knew that the Yugoslav Army would not be
15 used, as did I. We had such close cooperation ties that this was a known
17 Q. Well --
18 A. Not even the East Slavonia Corps was used, which ostensibly was
19 under my command.
20 Q. Would that be the 11th Corps ?
21 A. Yes, yes, the East Slavonia Corps, which is the strongest corps.
22 It was just looking on as we were suffering. We knew that the forces
23 were being pulled in, that there would be an imminent attack, but nothing
24 was being done.
25 Q. We'll talk about the 11th Corps a little bit later. Okay? But
1 let me turn your attention to Exhibit D389, please.
2 Can you tell us who Mihajlo Knezevic was?
3 A. He was some sort of a security or intelligence officer. A
4 lieutenant-colonel was here, lieutenant-colonel, an intelligence officer.
5 Yes, yes, that is what he was. He gathered intelligence on you, and his
6 intelligence was quite precise. I mean, he gathered the intelligence on
7 the Croatian side.
8 Q. Speaking of precise intelligence, let's look at this document.
9 And if you look at the fourth paragraph, this is the report that he
10 prepared on the 4th of August?
11 A. Yeah, Knin-Livanjsko Polje.
12 Q. He reports, talking about the 4th of August, he says:
13 "The first strike was carried out on the building of the SVK
14 General Staff, which suffered great material damage with the fleet of
15 vehicles almost completely destroyed. Later the fire was transferred on
16 the military barracks, '1300 kaplar', the Tvik factory, the railway
17 intersection, residential buildings in the area beneath the Knin
18 fortress, et cetera."
19 Now, that intelligence information from Mr. Knezevic on the
20 4th of August, is that consistent with your --
21 A. The railway hub is what matters. That is, of course, the railway
23 Q. Why does the railway's hub matter?
24 A. Well, the railway hub -- this railway hub, it was the biggest one
25 in this area of Croatia
1 intersection in the Knin area. I don't know why it was important and why
2 it was shelled, because there was no railway traffic and the army was not
3 using that hub. But as you are asking me about this paragraph and what
4 is written here is correct, that -- I spent that night at the orders --
5 or, rather, the suggestion of my personal security guards in town, in a
6 house of a commander, and they were guarding me there. When the bombing
7 started, I sat in a vehicle with my security guards and left for the
8 command post. En route, because of the heavy artillery shelling, we had
9 to stop and take shelter in basements of residential houses, and there I
10 saw people, women and children, with their hands on their ears. Women
11 would be running out of houses naked, and they would ask me, General,
12 what kind of an artillery shelling is this? We have shells coming in
13 through the windows. And then I explained to them, These are rockets,
14 not ordinary shells. And they whizzed with such a terrible sound as they
15 landed, like we had in Belgrade
16 So now I arrive at the command post. Can I explain about that?
17 Q. Let me ask you: The intelligence information contained in here,
18 is that the intelligence information you were, in fact, receiving on the
19 morning of the 4th, in terms of what was being struck?
20 A. Yes, that is correct. I got information the minute I entered the
21 staff, in the basement, the operations conference room which was in the
22 basement, and the officer on duty immediately informed me that they had
23 hit the command so -- with such precision that they had punctured all our
24 vehicles. A guard in the compound, a guard in the vehicles was killed.
25 And they said they had never seen such precision shelling. Now, they
1 used the 152 MM Howitzers. They had to have had a GPS system and a
2 target analysts group because it was so precise. I never asked these
3 gentlemen here what it was they shelled us with. But they continued to
4 shell me, not the town, and that is something which amazed me, because
5 had they continued, they would have finished their job. They just opened
6 that fire. Now, why they did so --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, the question was simply whether this was
8 the intelligence information you received, not who then went on to shell
9 you. That's -- try to focus on the questions.
10 And you have some time to consider it, because, Mr. Misetic, I
11 need five minutes, and it's 20 minutes to 2.00, so I suggest that unless
12 it would be very unsuitable for you, to already ask the witness to be
13 excused for the day only.
14 Mr. Mrksic, we will continue tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning in
15 this same courtroom. I'll further discuss with the parties our time
16 scheduling also in order to see to what extent we will be able to
17 accommodate you, so that's still on our mind.
18 Meanwhile, I instruct you that you should not speak about your
19 testimony, whether already given or whether still to be given, with
20 anyone, and that includes Mr. Domazet, because the substance of your
21 testimony is not to be discussed. Another matter is your position as a
22 witness. That is within the scope of what you can discuss with
23 Mr. Domazet. Is that clear to you?
24 And that's clear to Mr. Domazet as well, I take it? Yes, that's
1 Then, Madam Usher, could you please --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can I telephone my
3 wife and my children to tell them that I'm well, without, of course, ever
4 talking about the subject?
5 JUDGE ORIE: As I said before, the weather or whether you feel
6 well, these are the kind of subjects you can discuss with others.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I'm first addressing you.
10 We're close to five hours now, four hours more to go. That is,
11 for tomorrow, we usually take three and a half effective hours of
12 examination. Could you give us any estimate?
13 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, it is my hope to finish tomorrow. I'm
14 now into the 4th of August, so hopefully most of my time will be spent on
15 that tomorrow. There are some things after the 4th of August, but I will
16 do my best to finish tomorrow.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could the other parties give me any indication
18 on how much time they'll need for --
19 MR. CAYLEY: As things stand at the moment, Your Honour, we don't
20 have any questions at all for this witness.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, my questioning, of course, will very
23 much depends on what Mr. Misetic will be asking before me. But for the
24 present circumstances, I could estimate one session.
25 JUDGE ORIE: One session, which is a little bit not a full one
1 hour and a half, but close to that.
2 Mr. Russo, my question to you.
3 MR. RUSSO: At this point, Mr. President, I'm estimating about a
5 JUDGE ORIE: A day. Well, then, I'm glad that I'll be able,
6 tomorrow, to tell Mr. Mrksic that where the family visit -- the first
7 family visit is planned for Wednesday afternoon, that there is a fair
8 chance - of course, we do not know what re-examination will bring - that
9 he would be even free to prepare for that family visit during the morning
10 hours. If we would need part of Wednesday morning, then it takes a bit
11 of time between concluding a session and being transported back. Since
12 the visit is expected at 1.00, that would certainly not be the whole of
13 Wednesday morning, but if the parties could endeavour - and of course the
14 Chamber may have some questions as well - to not go beyond part of the
16 Mr. Misetic.
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, that is our objective as well, but I
18 do want to let you know that we will have the next witness here, ready to
19 go, hopefully Monday, and so, if for some unforeseen reason, there needs
20 to be more time to examine him, if the Court wishes to take that witness
21 out of turn on Wednesday so that the witness -- this witness can spend
22 time with his family and then come back the next day, after the visit is
24 JUDGE ORIE: Well, the point is that for the Wednesday afternoon,
25 visits are planned, but for the two following days full-day visits are
1 planned. So that is good to know, that the next witness is stand-by, and
2 I think next week Friday we have scheduled another matter anyhow. So,
3 therefore, we'll have to consider that. But let's try to do our utmost
4 best to finish somewhere during Tuesday morning.
5 We will adjourn until tomorrow, Friday, the 19th of June, 9.00,
6 Courtroom III
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.
8 to be reconvened on Friday, the 19th day of June,
9 2009, at 9.00 a.m.