1 Friday, 19 June 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in this courtroom and those
6 assisting us just outside the courtroom.
7 Mr. Registrar, will you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
10 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina et al.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
12 We turn into private session.
13 [Private session]
11 Page 18894 redacted. Private session.
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
9 [The witness takes the stand]
10 WITNESS: MILE MRKSIC [Resumed]
11 [The witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, can you hear me in a language you
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, I can.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, I would like to remind you that the
16 solemn declaration that you gave at the beginning of your testimony still
17 binds you; that is, that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and
18 nothing but the truth.
19 I further inform you that the Chamber has discussed the time your
20 examination would still take. There's a fair chance that your
21 examination will be concluded at the time when your family arrives. At
22 the same time, much depends on yourself. This is not an invitation not
23 to tell the whole truth, but certainly an invitation to focus on the
24 questions that were put to you. And, again, if Mr. Misetic wants to hear
25 further details, he'll certainly ask you so. First, answer your question
1 in a short manner.
2 Mr. Misetic, you may proceed.
3 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Examination by Mr. Misetic: [Continued]
5 Q. Good morning, General.
6 A. Good morning. May I request you -- something before you proceed.
7 I consider you my counsel. You engaged me.
8 I'm not satisfied the way they portraying of this -- these
9 proceedings last night on television, and I know that you will cooperate
10 with them and give them information. So if you gave them the information
11 which they broadcast last night, then I do not consider you an amicable
12 counsel. What am I talking about?
13 On television -- I do apologise. This will be, indeed, very
14 brief, and I shall try to compensate for the time lost in giving brief
15 answers later.
16 They said that I would be shelling myself constantly and,
17 secondly, that I actually introduced a state of war and was killing my
18 own people. I think that that television was at the level of the 1990s.
19 We would have -- we should have made some headway since that period, and
20 someone should bear the consequences for this. I don't know this was
21 portrayed in this way. We, in Serbia
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, your testimony is public, which means
24 that there's no need to give anyone any kind of information which they
25 can find in full in the public domain. That's one.
1 Second, how journalists interpret your testimony is entirely up
2 to them. Whether the picture given is distorted or not, I have no
3 reasons to believe that Mr. Misetic would be the author of any distorted
4 publications. And looking at him, he -- Mr. Misetic, I take it that it's
5 right, that you're not the one who drafts the comments on the television.
6 MR. MISETIC: That's correct.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's what I expected.
8 And apart from that, Mr. Mrksic, the freedom of press allows
9 everyone to comment on what is in the public domain. There's -- even if
10 it would be a distorted view, then usually investigating a prosecuting
11 journalist is not a proper answer to comments of press. I'm not saying
12 that never a journalist should be prosecuted for matters he writes, but
13 we are all aware, after many, many years in this Tribunal, that the press
14 sometimes gives a fully accurate picture of what has happened, and
15 sometimes the picture is coloured in one way or another.
16 Mr. Misetic, you may proceed.
17 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit D389 on the screen,
19 please, again.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm glad that it wasn't
21 Misetic. Okay, I apologise. I apologise for having any doubts. It was
22 not you. Thank you.
23 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
24 Q. If you look on your screen, this is the report that we finished
25 with yesterday by Mr. Knezevic. Now, you'll recall that in this report
1 from the 4th of August, he reports as to the first strike being carried
2 out and what buildings were hit. And yesterday you indicated that this
3 was --
4 A. A strike in the sense of shelling, not a strike in the sense of
5 industrial action, lest someone should think that that is what the
6 interpreters are referring to.
7 Q. I don't think there's any dispute that there were no industrial
8 strikes of workers. Now, yesterday you said this was consistent with
9 information you were receiving in your staff.
10 And if we could then turn to Exhibit D1256, please.
11 Now, did you communicate on the 4th directly with Mr. Knezevic?
12 A. Mr. Knezevic is a member of the Main Staff. I communicated with
13 him. We were communicating up to about 1300 hours or 1600 hours with the
14 corps commanders. And the corps commanders told me the same thing, that
15 it was strange to them that they were not pounding the front, but were
16 shelling elements in the depth. And I received the same information from
17 the intelligence organ.
18 Q. If we could turn to page 2 in the English. This is intercepted
19 telephone conversations, General. And if we turn to page 2 in the
20 English, which is still page 1 in the B/C/S, this is Mr. Knezevic
21 speaking at 7.00 a.m.
22 what he's saying there at 7.00 a.m.
23 "They pounded the area where the command was, all over the yard.
24 "Q. Did you suffer any losses?
25 "I don't know, I can't tell at the moment."
1 A. Yes, yes, you're asking me. He was killed.
2 Q. "Over here, we haven't had any, but in the town, probably, yes.
3 Obviously, the focus was on the barracks and Presidential Palace. There
4 were so many hits, I don't know how many missiles were fired. It lasted
5 about 25 to 30 minutes."
6 Now, is that also consistent with what your understanding was of
7 what the focus of the artillery and rocket attack was in the initial
9 A. Mr. Misetic, this was a special artillery strike, and I'm really
10 interested, as an expert, as a general, how come that they were so
11 precise, because we in the JNA did not have such systems as to be able to
12 hit, with the very first fire, such a tiny target in the middle of town.
13 So it had to have a GPS
14 had to have a Howitzer system. Probably you did not discuss these
15 matters with your client. This was so efficient, this was with such
16 precision on target, and it was just a single target -- strike and
17 nothing more. All the other shelling was random shelling all over town.
18 And this was rocket shelling, and are you asking for artillery
19 log-books, and you should be looking for rocket logs. You will not find
20 the artillery logs, because there were just a few times that they opened
21 fire from artillery. And I believe that this was done by the Croatian
22 Defence Council. I doubt that this was done by Croatian forces.
23 And one soldier was killed on that occasion, and all the motor
24 vehicles of the car fleet were destroyed. Actually, their tires were
25 punctured. And we all, as professionals, were amazed, how could they
1 have implemented this, how could they have been so on target, because you
2 know how it goes, over-shooting, under-shooting. But they hit the
3 centre, bull's eye, with the very first barrage of fire. There you have
5 Q. Let's break this up into two elements. When we're talking -- you
6 said the first strike. Are you talking about the first half an hour --
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. -- of preparation, the artillery preparation, the first barrage?
9 A. It was as part of the general barrage on the town. One couldn't
10 notice that it was there until one came to the actual spot.
11 Q. I'm talking about the time. I'm talking about time now. This
12 initial strike, which you say was very precise and you couldn't
13 understand how precise -- how it is that they could have done it so
14 precisely, is that the initial half an hour, the first half an hour?
15 A. Not half an hour. It lasted all day and all night. But this was
16 the first strike, the surprise attack, the surprise strike, following
17 which there was random shelling by 107, 128-mm rocket batteries. Most of
18 them were 107-mm. I did not notice that strike. I was in this house
19 where I was quartered, and I was being shelled by multiple
20 rocket-launcher rockets. And when I came to the site, I could see that
21 the Command was under attack, and the operations officer on duty told me
22 that it had started in the morning, and it continued. From my position
23 on the third floor, I was able to observe the entire town. I watched, as
24 an expert, how it was being done, and I was trying to assess how many
25 batteries there were, what kind of ammunition was being used, who could
1 have provided the ammunition for them to be using the VBRs, the multiple
2 rocket-launchers, setting buildings on fire and causing panic among the
3 people. And I hid on my third floor -- in my third-floor apartment, I
4 hid behind a piece of furniture in order not to be hit.
5 I found it very strange that the commander continued - the
6 commander of the operation - to pound artillery with such precision,
7 artillery targets in town. And had he continued, we would not have been
8 able to remain at that command post. That was strange, that's was what I
9 found strange. I did not really investigate it further, but at that
10 moment that's how I felt.
11 Q. Let me ask you: In addition to the Command, the front-line on
12 the Crvena Zemlja -- in the Crvena Zemlja area, which of your forces were
13 holding that front-line?
14 A. These were from the Knin Corps, a company or two that could be
15 pulled out from the forward end. There was no attack. This is just to
16 show that there was somebody, these troops who are moving about, but they
17 had nothing -- they didn't have engineering devices, they did not have
18 minefields, they didn't have the necessary fire-power, nothing.
19 Q. Did regular police forces of the RSK, meaning the MUP police
20 forces, hold any front-line position on the Dinara?
21 A. They did, but they held the Unista there. This is the part of
22 the ridge which is the frontier of the Republika Srpska Krajina. I went
23 to see their firing positions up there. These were observation posts,
24 and I could see just the forces coming through Livanjsko Polje and
25 through Grahovsko Polje. They actually also had some artillery fire.
1 I believe that a bus was hit; I'm not sure. I observed it from up there,
2 and I could see that we were in a very precarious position that there
3 could be no serious defence to speak of. I even took the president of
4 the republic up there to observe the position, to see the position that
5 we were in. I took him there by helicopter.
6 Q. General, let me ask you this: If we could please have
7 Exhibit 65 ter 1D1055, please.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Could I, meanwhile, seek some clarification of one
9 of the previous answers.
10 Mr. Mrksic, you said this was so efficient, this was with such
11 precision on target, and it was just a single target strike and nothing
12 more. All the other shelling was random shelling all over town. When
13 referring to the other shelling at random over town, did you refer to the
14 shelling that followed the first surprise strike, or could you explain to
15 me what exactly you meant by the other shelling, apparently opposed to
16 the shelling of your Command? Could you tell us?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, it wasn't just a
18 single strike on the Command and then they waited to start with some
19 other shelling. It all started at one fowl swoop, but the success of the
20 fire was so precise that it was followed by fire all over town. The
21 rocket batteries, the VBR systematically pounded the town. So when I
22 came from my forward command post, where I was resting, to the command
23 place, I had to actually take advantage of the intermissions between the
24 fire, and there I saw people running out of their flats, half-naked
25 women. The children were crying because they were afraid because of the
1 terrible noise which the rockets were making, the VBR rockets. The
2 children were actually holding their ears with their hands, and the
3 women -- the mothers were asking me, What happened? And I heard that
4 rockets had entered rooms of flats. That was the impression I got.
5 When I arrived, I saw this on the spot, and then they told me
6 when it started, there was this one strike, and then this strike was not
8 We had to change the tires on the vehicles. We had to remove
9 those vehicles and relocate the Command to the reserve command post. And
10 there, one soldier was killed. He was there guarding the car fleet.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
12 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. First, General, as part of the artillery attack, was the
14 Northern Barracks hit?
15 A. It was just as precise a hit as were those on the Command and on
16 the rail station, and they also tried to hit the presidential building.
17 I don't know about that, because Martic immediately moved in with me, so
18 we didn't go to see later. So these three or four targets which were
19 targeted by cannon and Howitzer shells, which were specially guided,
20 their fire was specially guided and managed and directed, and I heard
21 that such systems only existed in NATO, so that they could have such
22 first strikes effected with such precision without the necessary
23 preparation. That is only possible with such systems. I don't believe
24 that the gentleman had those, the commander.
25 Q. So if I understand your testimony, you're saying that the
1 Northern Barracks, your Command, and the Presidential Palace were
2 targeted precisely. And let me ask you, did you receive --
3 A. [No interpretation]
4 Q. Let me just ask you this: Did you receive information about some
5 of your soldiers being killed within the Senjak Barracks in the first
7 A. I cannot recall. Probably whoever found themselves there had to
8 have been killed because of that fire. I know only about this soldier
9 outside the Command because I was told that, and I know that later,
10 during the day, a colonel committed suicide because he just couldn't
11 mentally bear all the -- the entire situation, the sounds, because there
12 were some officers there who had never been in battle, who had never
13 felt -- who had never had any war experiences.
14 Q. Do you know if the Senjak Barracks was also targeted in the first
16 A. I don't know. The barracks in which UNPROFOR was, was not hit,
17 and I don't know what its name was. I was there for only two months. I
18 hadn't had time to visit all the barracks.
19 Q. Let me ask you a different way. Colonel Bjelanovic was your
20 logistics officer. Do you know where his base was?
21 A. Yes. I saw him once, I visited him once. There was some sheds,
22 as far as I remember. He did everything he could prior to the aggression
23 to effect a dispersion through the valley where Milka Planac [phoen] was
24 supposed to have a railway or a tunnel built, so we dispersed the people
25 into those tunnels, and our equipment also. It was only some explosives
1 and equipment that remained in the depots, because I also ordered that
2 they should not be used because there could be damage to the
3 Republika Srpska, and I was thinking that we would be using it later for
4 some purposes that would be of benefit.
5 Q. How would you get and transport the explosives and equipment that
6 remained in the depots? If you needed to transport it up to the Dinara
7 and to the front-line, how would you get it from the tunnels to Dinara?
8 MR. RUSSO: Excuse me. Let me just -- can we just have
9 clarification about which depots, in particular, we're referring to? I'm
10 asking for clarification on which depots he's referring to, if you can
11 just ask him.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Let's keep matters a bit --
13 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
14 JUDGE ORIE: One second. You said some explosives and some
15 equipment remained in the depots. A simple question: Where were these
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The depots were in the
18 Zrmanja Valley
19 large depots, and there were some cars -- railway cars in them.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, let me keep it quite simple. I wasn't asking
21 you about the size of it, but where it was. You've answered that
22 question. You said in the Zrmanja Valley
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, no. These were mobile
25 depots. The army had taken them away with them from the warehouses.
1 Mr. President, when I referred to depots, I mean large army
2 depots, and it would be sufficient -- to activate one such depot, half of
3 Knin would be destroyed as a result in the tremors that would follow.
4 Because we did not proceed to destroy anything, any roads or bridges or
5 anything; we didn't really need the explosives. We only took with us
6 what we needed for combat fighting on the front-line.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I think the next question that Mr. Misetic put to
8 you is: From what depots was equipment transported to your positions at
9 Dinara? What depots? I'm just asking that, nothing else.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we took only ammunition that
11 any combatant would take with him. We didn't need any explosive there.
12 We didn't have any contact mines, nor any mines that were required for
13 destroying roads or bills [as interpreted], because this was -- these
14 were very high elevations. If the soldier was on foot, he couldn't carry
15 all this with him. And we didn't even go up there or take anything up
16 there, because this wasn't our territory.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Now, please listen carefully to Mr. Misetic's next
18 question. He'll put a focused question to you; you give a focused
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
22 Q. General, well, first of all, you, in fact, did on the 4th of
23 August receive requests for additional ammunition. And in fact you,
24 yourself, sent a request to Mr. Perisic in Belgrade to send you more
25 ammunition, explosives, et cetera; correct? Isn't that right?
1 A. I don't remember. It is possible that the logistics people did
2 request something. However, the replenishment with ammunition happened
3 some 15 days to a month before the aggression, but the -- we only took
4 the ammunition that was in excess of the normal contingents that were
5 paid by the government.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the last portion
7 of the witness's answer.
8 MR. MISETIC:
9 Q. Can you just repeat the last portion of what you said, General.
10 A. As far as I can recall now, we had ammunition in Ceketovac
11 [phoen], I believe, near Dvor, in that depot, and in Knin, and also the
12 ammunition that the corps reserves had. So we had ammunition for about a
13 few days of fighting. Whether there was a telegram sent with such
14 requests or not, whether someone sent it, I can't really recall right
15 now. But, you know, when it's tough, then everyone calls for ammunition
16 and requests ammunition.
17 Q. General --
18 A. The problem that we had was artillery ammunition.
19 MR. MISETIC: Okay. Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit D161,
21 Q. And can you tell us, while we're pulling that up, what was in
23 A. Well, that's what it's all about. That's the large depot for the
24 former JNA for this entire area between Split and all the way to the
25 Dalmatian Plateau. This was the main depot in Golubici. And there was
1 also a police base in Golubici, I believe.
2 Q. How would you transport that ammunition in Golubic to units, by
3 what means?
4 A. The ammunition was transported from those depots. I don't know
5 actually what you mean by "ammunition." Do you mean the ammunition that
6 was in depots, in the stationary depots in the hills? That ammunition
7 had been pulled out 15 days before the aggression started. It wasn't
8 even there anymore. What was left there was what we didn't really need
9 anymore; explosives, maybe some anti-tank mines and so on. After all,
10 you know what you found there. And as for ammunition, all of it had been
11 pulled out. Going along the valley towards Srb and then Golubici, there
12 are some tunnels there, so it was possible to use transport vehicles from
13 Republika Srpska to go through there and to bring ammunition that we
14 needed. This is the so-called dispersion. Dispersion is effected as
15 soon as a state of war is declared. That's normal; that's what every
16 army prepares for its defence.
17 MR. MISETIC: If we could go to page 5 in the English on this
18 exhibit, please.
19 Q. This is Mr. Bjelanovic's diary from the 4th of August --
20 A. Tiskovac , yes.
21 Q. Let me get the right page in the B/C/S. Page 7 in the B/C/S,
23 Now, this is his diary. On the 4th of August, he's your chief
24 logistics officer. He says, in the middle of the first -- he says:
25 "The attack began at 5.00. At 5.30, I was personally at the SVK
1 Main Staff Operative Centre, where together with the corps command, I
2 monitored the situation in the units. The system of logistical support
3 was in function in the SVK units. The first request from units came
4 about 11.00 from the 7th Corps assistant commander for logistics
5 regarding replenishment of artillery ammunition, which was personally
6 approved by the commander on the suggestion of the chief of artillery."
7 We go down a little bit:
8 "At 1125 hours, I gave an order to my deputy to send vehicles of
9 the 75th Logistics Base to the Golubici --"
10 A. No, no, logistics, not infantry. Logistics or rear.
11 Q. I'm reading the English version.
12 A. Well, the translation is wrong.
13 Q. "Send the vehicles of the 75th Logistics Base to the Golubici
14 depot to load the 60.82 and 120-millimetre shells.
15 "At 1200 hours, artillery ammunition was issued on request of the
16 21st Corps Command."
17 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page, please.
18 Q. Now, before we look at that next section, General, based on this,
19 does that refresh your recollection that the ARSK was obtaining what
20 looks like artillery --
21 A. Thank you, thank you. It does, it does refresh my memory.
22 Q. So you were using vehicles to transport this artillery from
23 Golubic to someplace else; correct?
24 A. Well, this was the replenishment of the 39 Corps, which was the
25 closest. It was deployed on positions around Golubici, the 39th. And as
1 for the 21st, the Kordun Corps, it did not come for ammunition to
2 Golubici, because they had their own ammunition. They could not touch
3 the ammunition store there without the commander's approval.
4 Q. Where would -- the 7th Corps assistant commander for logistics,
5 where would he deploy his artillery ammunition?
6 A. Well, he would deploy the units which had expended the
7 ammunition, those units that had actually engaged the enemy. And most of
8 the fighting was on the Dinara slopes. You did not even attack us from
9 below. You just sort of nudged us a little. There were some home guards
10 units down there, I believe, because at this time the commanders were on
11 the front-line, and this is where most of the ammunition was expended.
12 The greatest expenditure of ammunition was there.
13 Q. Okay. Well, that's my question, is: How did you get that
14 ammunition -- those vehicles, that it says here, were moving ammunition
15 from Golubic to that front-line position of the 7th Corps, how would they
16 get from Golubic to the front-line?
17 A. I understand what you're trying to ask me. Golubic was not
18 targeted. It was just the depot. It was not your intention to shoot or
19 target Golubic. Knin was the target. And they went there to replenish
20 and pull stuff out. They went along the road, and there were some
21 soldiers from Grahovo there.
22 Q. What route -- what communication would you take from Golubic to
23 the positions on the Dinara?
24 A. Well, you would take the route up the Dinara Mountain
25 Grahovo. There was no one left on Mount Dinara
1 mountain. It had already been taken beforehand, before the attack. No
2 one even tried to defend that part. There was only UNPROFOR people who
3 complained that they were fired by mortars, and I had sought permission
4 to actually fire at them.
5 Q. Let's look at this page that's on the screen now. It says:
6 "At 1620, I," and it refers to Mr. Bjelanovic, "went to the rear
7 command post, Senjak Barracks, and had a short meeting with senior
8 officers and deployed them."
9 A. Well, you're not reading this correctly. What it says here in
10 Croat-Serbian or Serbo-Croatian, Milanovic was there throughout this
11 time, and if you're reading from 1820, no. Okay 1620, all right. Let me
12 see. That's correct.
13 Q. Now, were you aware of your logistics officer holding a meeting
14 at 1620 in the Senjak barracks, which is the -- I think we all agree is
15 the compound across from the Tvik factory.
16 A. Yes, the North Barracks.
17 Q. No.
18 A. All right, all right, you probably know this better than I do.
19 Q. I'm surprised to hear that, General. Are you aware of that there
20 was a military barracks --
21 A. Well, I didn't have any time to, you know, make tours of the
22 barracks at the time. I told you what I did. I had to resolve some
23 major issues.
24 Q. Well, General, then that leads me -- we can cut this
25 discussion --
1 A. [No interpretation]
2 Q. Let me just cut --
3 A. Yes, we can, certainly.
4 Q. -- this discussion short. If you didn't know there was a
5 barracks across from the Tvik factory, then are you sure that the
6 artillery that was coming in and firing wasn't firing on military
7 objectives, if you didn't have time to go through the town and know where
8 they all were?
9 A. I was in the barracks where the corps command was, the Command of
10 the Dalmatia
11 where I was. There was also a barrack where there was a base of some
12 sort, and Bjelanovic was there. Then there was another barrack where the
13 UNPROFOR members were stationed. There was the Command. Whether there
14 were some other barracks, whether there were some prisons or something of
15 that sort, I have no idea. Believe me, I did not serve there, really,
16 for long. And even the time that I spent there, I spent more outside of
17 Knin than in Knin itself. And that he did have this meeting, I believe
18 that, yes, Bjelanovic did probably hold this meeting and issue tasks.
19 Q. Okay. We can move on, General. That's fine.
20 If I can turn your attention to 65 ter 1D1055, please.
21 Do you recall General Kovacevic, after Operation Storm, on the
22 9th of August sending a report to the SVK General Staff about the events
23 in Operation Storm?
24 A. Well, he was not the only one. Everyone sent reports so that an
25 analysis could be drafted to see what had happened to us, why it had come
1 about, how it could have happened, and so on. So there was this whole
2 study that was actually done in Banja Luka.
3 Q. Well, if you will --
4 A. What I would like to know is -- this was probably a document
5 provided by the Serbian government to the Croatian government, and then
6 the Croatian government provided it to you. Well, I don't think it's
7 relevant. Oh, I see, the Prosecutor was the one. Okay.
8 Q. Yes. So if you would, to make it easier for you --
9 Mr. President, with your permission, I'll give him a hard copy of this
11 JUDGE ORIE: That's fine. At the same --
12 Mr. Russo.
13 MR. RUSSO: I'm sorry, I wasn't actually looking, but I heard
14 that he indicates that the Prosecutor gave it to you. I mean --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Let's not spend time on matters which appear to be
16 not relevant. Whether the witness has thoughts about where documents
17 originate from is not of major relevance, I would say, unless there's any
18 specific reason to believe that --
19 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, the question just was whether you are
21 aware of a report sent by - let me see - it was General Kovacevic,
22 sending a report on the 9th. Mr. Misetic at this moment is not
23 interested whether any other reports were sent, whether reports were sent
24 frequently. He just wants to know whether you have any recollection of
25 this report by General Novakovic that was sent on the 9th of August.
1 Do you have any recollection of that, this specific report?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have any recollection of
3 this particular report, but I haven't had an opportunity to read it. I
4 don't really know what it's all about, but I see that there is no
5 signature. And the way we did these reports, and this general was the
6 chief of an administration in the General Staff, he wouldn't have
7 provided a document like this. Anyway, I don't recall this document.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's the answer to the question, and all the
9 further comments are, at this moment, not asked from you.
10 Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
11 MR. MISETIC: Now, if we turn to page -- go to the bottom of the
12 English, which is paragraph 5, and then we'll continue on.
13 Q. But if you could go to numbered paragraph 5, General. Okay.
14 General Kovacevic reports that on 4 August, at 0500 hours, the Ustasha
15 forces commenced the preparations and the offensive operations on the
16 entire front-line of the 7th Corps. The artillery was permanently
17 actively engaged until 2030 hours."
18 If you could turn the page, please. Yes:
19 "Already at around 1000 hours on 4 August, the forces of the
20 police battalion that were holding the positions at the Dinara Mountain
21 started retreating in an organised manner, which resulted in the retreat
22 of the remaining units of the 7th Corps. Although the 7th Corps tried to
23 further retain the positions at the Dinara, due to the weak entrenchment
24 and suppression and the horrible pressure on the unaccustomed soldiers
25 imposed by the Ustasha artillery, the dominant positions were abandoned
1 and only parts of the units occupied in a disorganized manner the
2 unprepared positions in the depth ..."
3 Now, does that refresh your recollection about the role that the
4 police battalion had in holding the position on the Dinara Mountain
5 A. Well, these were the forces that I mentioned earlier that I
6 went -- used the helicopter to go up there to review these forces. I
7 took President Martic there because these were his forces, and I took him
8 there to review these. And this helps remind me that this was an order
9 that I actually -- or this was something that I actually heard from
10 General Novakovic orally. Yes, now you've jogged my memory and reminding
11 me of the problems.
12 Q. Going on into paragraphs -- numbered paragraph 6 -- okay, sorry,
13 I apologise. Can we go back up to paragraph 5, paragraph 5. And just in
14 terms of what we were talking about yesterday, General Kovacevic reports
15 in that last sentence in paragraph 5:
16 "At the same time, the Ustasha forces exerted great pressure on
17 the units of the 15th Corps over the Velebit Mountain and captured the
18 Nac Alan, so that there was a threatening danger that in the course of 5
19 and 6 August, by emerging in Knin and Gracac, the Ustasha would cut off
20 and encircle the 7th Corps, which would have catastrophic consequences."
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. That's what you said yesterday about Otric --
23 A. Yes, yes, exactly, yes. The portion of the forces that I had
24 brought from the Special Corps to Bruvno -- what was the name? Yes,
25 that's what this is referring to.
1 MR. MISETIC: Okay. Mr. President, if I could have this exhibit
2 marked, and I tender it into evidence.
3 MR. RUSSO: No objection, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1516.
6 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
7 MR. MISETIC: Now, Mr. Registrar, if we could have Exhibit D828,
9 Q. This is the report of Commander Uzelac, who was the commander in
10 Benkovac; correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, at the bottom of page 1 in the English, there's a paragraph
13 that says:
14 "Around 80 shells were fired on the town of Benkovac
15 Do you see that? It says:
16 "Around 80 shells were fired on the town of Benkovac
17 hours, and around 100 shells on the forward line of brigade defences.
18 Our forces did not open fire."
19 If you could turn the page in the English:
20 "We had neither injured nor killed in both town and the unit
21 until 0800 on 4 August 1995
22 Now, is that information about the shelling of Benkovac
23 consistent with the information you were receiving on the morning of the
24 4th of August?
25 A. Well, I received information from corps commanders, you see. I
1 did not have any contact with brigade commanders. If they informed or
2 reported to their corps commanders, I have no reason to doubt them.
3 But I would like to take a look at this document, because I can
4 only see the first page.
5 Q. We'll get back to it in a few minutes.
6 A. All right, all right, you'll let me read it later. All right.
7 Q. So as of -- let me just ask you something specific on this. On
8 the morning of the 4th of August, by 8.00 a.m. was your information that
9 although Benkovac had been shelled, that there were no injured or killed
10 in Benkovac?
11 A. I did not have the specific information in front of me, but I had
12 information that all towns had been fired upon; Benkovac, Drnis, Vojnic,
13 Vrgin Most, Korenica, Glina. I mean, the operation or the action had
14 started not along the front-line but in depth, and even Vrgin Most, which
15 had been fired at long range, and we were all caught by surprise because
16 we didn't know where they had the artillery from to actually reach that.
17 Q. General, the sentence I read to you says, Commander
18 Uzelac reports, that 100 of the shells were fired on the forward line of
19 brigade defences. So are you saying that on the morning of the 4th, by
20 8.00 a.m.
21 under artillery fire in the 92nd Motorised Brigade?
22 A. I don't know why these 92nd Motorised Brigade should send a
23 report to me, the Main Staff. That is illogical. It had no business
24 sending me reports. We did not liaise in that way. Perhaps it was as is
25 written in this document, but there was no logic for that to be sent to
1 me. He had his own corps commander. I put things in order there, so one
2 couldn't just, you know, tug the commander by the sleeve as they pleased.
3 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit 65 ter
4 1D1048, please. If we could have page 5 in the English, please, which I
5 believe is page 18 -- 6, page 6 in the B/C/S, please. Now, this -- if we
6 go to the top so you can see the date.
7 Mr. Registrar, if we could go to page 17 in this document. That
8 is the original in the B/C/S. In the B/C/S, I'm sorry.
9 Q. Now, you see the date in the upper left-hand corner.
10 A. The 4th of August.
11 Q. Is that your signature and stamp there?
12 A. I think the signature is mine. Mine is a simple signature, so I
13 don't see what is at issue here. What is the question, in fact?
14 Q. Well, on the 4th of August, it purports that you're sending a
15 request to the chiefs of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, asking
16 for replenishment of ammunition, and it's itemised as to what you're
17 seeking on the 4th. Do you recall asking the Yugoslav Army for all of
18 this additional ammunition?
19 A. Frankly speaking, I do not recall that. This was an
20 insignificant matter for me. This was a technical thing, because the
21 logistics people would issue these requests, and of course they would
22 expect the itemised items to arrive. And perhaps since the combat had
23 already started, they gave it to me to sign. Otherwise, it would be
24 normally signed by Bjelanovic. Why I signed it and if I signed it, I
25 really do not recall, but it is, of course, a normal thing to replenish
1 equipment and ammunition.
2 Q. Did you have -- for example, 27 talks about rockets for an Oganj,
3 you've got shells for an M-55, shells for T-34s, other types of
4 artillery. Let me just ask the question. Did you have --
5 A. Twenty-seven, it is not Orkan, the rocket is Oganj, the ones they
6 used to pound us in Knin, Oganj, fire, meaning fire. These are
7 128-millimetre rockets. I did have the Orkans also. And I have
8 70 pieces.
9 Q. I don't know what you're hearing. I said Oganj. I said Oganj.
10 Let me just ask the question. I don't know what you heard.
11 A. It was maybe misinterpreted.
12 Q. In the Knin area, where was your artillery deployed?
13 A. Most of the artillery, the Main Staff's artillery, was deployed
14 in the area of Slunj, towards Petrova Gora, so that it was able to open
15 fire. It was not in Knin. In Knin, there was the corps artillery.
16 Q. I'm sorry, I meant the 7th Knin Corps. Where was the artillery
17 of the 7th Knin Corps deployed?
18 A. When we saw that we were threatened and in danger, it was
19 oriented towards Zadar and Split
20 situation changed, we pulled out a portion of the artillery, and that
21 artillery opened fire. When the forces were brought in and when Grahovo
22 was conquered. So we opened fire at Grahovsko Polje, and also from the
23 positions, lower positions to Kninsko Polje. These were Howitzers
24 mostly, there were just two pieces, very few, in fact. And, in fact, we
25 did not manage to pull them out. You captured them there.
1 Q. Where is Kninsko Polje, if you can explain that to the Court.
2 A. I believe it was somewhere under Crvena Zemlja, so that it would
3 be within range. We pulled out a couple of pieces there in order to be
4 able to open fire and to support the forces that were defending the
5 decent from Grahovo to Knin. But all this was being addressed prior to
6 the attack, prior to the 4th, and the fighting actually did not start on
7 the 4th. It started -- it had started much earlier. In fact, I believe
8 that there was a bus that had been blown up by a mine.
9 Q. But on the 4th itself -- even though the fire started before the
10 4th, on the 4th itself, were those positions in Kninsko Polje returning
11 the artillery fire? Were they returning fire on Croatian positions?
12 A. I think that that artillery had already been pulled up there. As
13 the units moved, as the people moved, it was pulled up towards Otric. It
14 was in no position to be captured down there, and if something was
15 captured, I don't know. That was at the corps level, and I couldn't
16 interfere in their matters.
17 Q. General, why would you need replenishment of artillery if it's
18 not being used?
19 A. Replenishment of artillery was necessary because artillery was
20 used before, in July, when the Sabre action was effected in
21 Western Bosnia, and it started with Polje, because from that time I
22 always had to assist Republika Srpska with a company or two and with
23 ammunition. Ammunition was expended in this way, so I had to seek
24 replenishment to be able to actually properly respond in a war situation.
25 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I'm going to ask that this page be
1 marked, and I tender it into evidence. I note that this is part of a
2 larger 65 ter, and so we will just upload the page that I've used for
4 JUDGE ORIE: Because it's a bit confusing, this document, the
5 original being far larger than the translation.
6 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And I see that, for example, that this page we're
8 talking about appears apparently twice in different formats; once in
9 Cyrillic, with -- but approximately the same content, but without
10 handwriting, et cetera; one's in Latin script. It's a bit confusing.
11 MR. MISETIC: These are original documents attached to an overall
12 assessment and analysis that had been prepared, so what you're reading in
13 the Latin script is simply a part of what was an analysis done on those
14 documents. And that's why I flipped to the original document which were
15 actually annexes to the main document. I don't want the main document; I
16 just want the original annex and the translation of it.
17 JUDGE ORIE: But, nevertheless, 11 pages in translation and
18 21 pages in the original always creates confusion. But if we limit
19 ourselves to what we have on our screen now, technical ways of limiting
20 it to that can be found.
21 Mr. Registrar, that was page 17 in the -- e-court page 17 in the
22 original and - what was the page - 5, I think, in the English.
23 Mr. Russo.
24 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, I would like the opportunity just to
25 determine -- I'm not going to object to this particular page coming in.
1 I just want the opportunity to put in additional pages from the exhibit.
2 MR. MISETIC: That's my intention as well, is to use additional
3 pages, but just to break them up.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Just for this moment, page 17, B/C/S, page 5 in the
5 English, where the translation to English also reflects handwritten notes
6 on page 17.
7 Mr. Registrar, limit it to this specific page.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1517.
9 JUDGE ORIE: D1517 is admitted into evidence.
10 Could you take care that it's split up?
11 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
12 Q. Now, was it the usual practice that the Yugoslav Army would
13 supply you with ammunition?
14 A. We, in the Republic of Serbian Krajina, had some own production
15 for 120-millimetre mortars in Lika, in Licki Osijek, but that was
16 insignificant, so we had to rely on replenishment of purchases on the
17 world market. Mostly the government of the Ministry of the Defence would
18 secure the funds or the resources for that was to be sent to us. As for
19 the Yugoslav Army, they would make available the facilities of -- the
20 production facilities and help us, thus, replenish our expended
21 resources. Otherwise, we would not have been able to survive, and that
22 is no secret, just as Herceg-Bosna would not have been able to survive
23 with the ammunition and the financial resources coming from the Republic
24 of Croatia
25 Q. Now, if we could turn to page 7 in the same document that's on
1 the screen.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Seven in English?
3 MR. MISETIC: Yes, which should then be the next document in the
5 Q. This is now a report from you at 1600 hours on the 4th to the
6 Yugoslav Army General Staff, 2nd Administration. Do you recall sending
7 such a report at 1600?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now, first, can you tell us why, in the midst of combat
10 operations, you're sending a report to the chief of the Yugoslav Army
11 General Staff?
12 A. We did not send him the report because we expected any assistance
13 from him, but so as -- in order for him to be able to acquaint the
14 political leadership of Serbia
15 going on. They were surprised. They should not have been surprised.
16 They all pretended to be surprised.
17 Q. Let's go to paragraph 2 of your report, and at 1600 you reported:
18 "Our forces were ready for the beginning of the aggression.
19 Despite the inconsiderate activities on all of the towns, the work of the
20 commands of all levels was characterized by calmness."
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. "All attacks were stopped."
23 If we go down one sentence -- two sentences :
24 "In the course of the first ten hours of combat, the defence was
25 successfully supported by our aviation and artillery."
1 Now, was that an accurate statement at the time you made it, that
2 you were defending with the use of both aviation and artillery?
3 A. As for aviation, I don't recall whether it shelled any targets or
4 not or whether it was being re-based because of the danger that it would
5 be within the range of Croatian artillery, so it had to relocate to
6 Banja Luka.
7 The aviation, that took place before the start of the aggression,
8 and that was at the request of UNPROFOR and NATO.
9 I forbade, let me tell you honestly, aviation to open fire on
10 Krk, the fuel depots, and some strategic facilities in Croatia, because I
11 thought that that would amount to pure retaliation, and I did not want to
12 do that because I was guided by International Humanitarian Law. And what
13 they had done, I mean the aviation, they did it prior to the 4th. I
14 would not let Orkans open fire on either Kutina or Zagreb. I sent them
15 off to Bosnia
16 Q. This is one of those answers --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, you referred to 1600 hours twice,
18 whereas the stamp at the bottom, as far as I can see, gives "1500 hours."
19 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
20 JUDGE ORIE: I'm asking Mr. Misetic --
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't see what I signed.
22 MR. MISETIC: I'm looking at the first --
23 JUDGE ORIE: There's a stamp, "Received 1500 hours."
24 MR. MISETIC: I'm sorry. I confused it with the next document,
25 which is the operative report of 1600 hours --
1 JUDGE ORIE: It's now corrected and on the record. This document
2 was received at 1500 hours.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. MISETIC: I apologise. We'll get to 1600 hours with my next
5 document, Mr. President.
6 Q. It's at 1500 hours, and if we go to -- but let me ask you again,
7 and let me just -- what I was going to tell you, General, is again, just
8 to remind you to focus your answer on my question, because you may have
9 to stay here longer if we don't get shorter answers. So my question
10 simply is: You've answered the part about the aviation. Were you
11 defending with the use of artillery?
12 A. Yes, but only against what was endangering us, the forces that we
13 could see, that we could observe. And I issued such assignments.
14 Q. Let's go to the next section there:
15 "Artillery activities on towns have caused great destruction and
17 Where was the great destruction? What town had great destruction
18 in it?
19 A. This is probably an expression someone used in their report. You
20 know how it goes. When reports are being drawn up, you always opt for
21 the augmentative. I was only briefed that all settlements, all inhabited
22 places in the municipality, all towns were shelled. That was not
23 logical, rather than pounding the front, they were opening firing at
24 villages where there were no combatants. Now, had some roofs caved in,
25 had some buildings taken hits, I don't know that.
1 Q. Well, we saw the report of General Kovacevic, and you do -- do
2 you dispute General Kovacevic's report that the forces of the 7th Corps
3 on the Dinara were under intense artillery fire there on the front-line?
4 A. I do not dispute that. In fact, I personally observed it,
5 watched it.
6 Q. Now, if we go to the next section, and here's what I'm interested
7 in. You report -- as the Presiding Judge has pointed out, 1500 hours is
8 the stamp:
9 "The enemy is conducting a forceful attack from Grahovo over
10 Dinara" --
11 A. I don't see that.
12 Q. Sorry, it's under the paragraph that begins: "At 1100 hours ..."
13 So it's the paragraph in your version that says: "By 1430 hours ..."
14 Do you see that right above the section that -- right above
15 section 3?
16 A. Above the decision? Yes, I see it. Yes, the danger is there,
17 yes, yes.
18 Q. So sometime between 1430 and 1500, you sent a report to Belgrade
19 saying that there was now a breach at Crvena Zemlja and that this breach
20 was putting in danger the defence of Knin; correct?
21 A. Yes, correct.
22 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I'm going to break these up, just as
23 I did with the last document, so I would like to mark this -- these pages
24 as a separate exhibit and tender them into evidence.
25 JUDGE ORIE:
1 MR. RUSSO: I have no objection, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could I see the last page? You
4 never show me the last page. You always show me just the first page, and
5 that is not the document in its entirety. Let me see what I signed, if
6 it is not too much trouble for the technician to show it to me.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Could the original be shown to the witness, the
8 second page.
9 MR. MISETIC: Yes, the next page, please.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This should be also read:
11 "We feel that all necessary measures must urgently be taken to
12 stop the Croatian aggression."
13 So war was not our objective. Our objective was a peaceful
14 resolution of the situation, because --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, you were asked whether you could see the
16 second page to see whether this is what you signed --
17 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
18 JUDGE ORIE: You were not invited to comment on the document. If
19 there is any relevance, then Mr. Russo might ask questions about it to
20 you, or any of the other Defence counsel.
21 Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
22 MR. MISETIC: Yes. Mr. President, I don't think we've got a
23 number. And just for the record, these pages are --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, you're right, I --
25 MR. MISETIC: The pages are page --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
2 MR. MISETIC: Just for the purposes of the record, Mr. President,
3 this is pages 18 and 19 of the B/C/S and pages 7 and 8 of the English.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, those will become Exhibit D1518.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
6 MR. MISETIC: Now, if we could turn to the next pages in this
8 Q. Now, this is a report from, again, Lieutenant-Colonel
9 Mihajlo Knezevic, and he's sending a report to the Yugoslav Army General
10 Staff, 2nd Administration, with an operative time of 1600 hours, and the
11 stamp says: "Received at 1645."
12 Now, what I'm interested in, in this report, is in the third
13 paragraph. He now reports on the axis Grahovo-Crvena Zemlja-Knin:
14 "The Ustasha have succeeded in taking over the dominant peaks and
15 creating favourable conditions for the continuation of their activities
16 and breaking out to the immediate vicinity of Knin."
17 Now, can you recall if, at approximately 1600 hours, the
18 situation was now such that the Croatian Army had broken through and had
19 taken up positions that were now favourable for the advancement on Knin?
20 Is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that is correct, and the MUP pulled out. They got scared.
22 They avoided a frontal engagement, direct engagement. They could have --
23 the forces could have entered Knin immediately after the pullout, had
24 they wanted to.
25 Q. Now if we look down two paragraphs, he also reports:
1 "They have succeeded around 1500 hours to take over the Mali Alan
2 ridge on The mount Velebit and jeopardised the Celavac TV transmitter."
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. And is that correct, in terms of the timing, that it's around
6 1500 hours where there was a breakthrough on the Velebit side towards
8 A. Yes, there was -- the communications were severed and the lines
9 were down. I had no communication at all with the corps commander,
10 except the previous concept that I had issued to them in the preparation
11 stage. But I believe that repeater was shelled by NATO aircraft.
12 Q. But let me make sure you answered my question. Is it correct, as
13 reported here, that approximately 1500 hours it was reported that the
14 Croatian Army had broken through at Mali Alan and was now threatening
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So is it correct, based on what you testified yesterday, that as
18 of 1600 hours on the 4th, based on the breakthroughs up on Crvena Zemlja
19 and from this side, from the coastal side at Mali Alan, that this
20 threatened encirclement was now possible?
21 A. Yes, exactly, and realistically that was this major risk, major
22 danger for this entire region of Dalmatia, to be cut off and to remain
23 part of Croatia
24 there was the danger of people getting killed at the hands of the
25 different paramilitary units and such.
1 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that pages -- page 20 and
2 21 -- oh, I'm sorry, page 20 of the B/C/S and page -- pages 9 and 10 of
3 the English be marked, and I tender it into evidence.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
5 MR. RUSSO: No objection, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, these two pages.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, those will become Exhibit D1519.
8 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
9 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, could I have Exhibit D927 on the
10 screen, please.
11 Q. Mr. -- I'm sorry, General, do you recall in the late afternoon,
12 sometime after 4.00, being on a phone call with Milan Babic in Belgrade
13 you and Mr. Martic being on a phone call with Mr. Babic?
14 A. Yes, I do recall that, while the communications were still
16 Q. Can you, first, tell us, from your own memory, what was discussed
17 in that conversation?
18 A. Let me explain. I didn't talk to him, personally. It was the
19 president of the republic talking to the prime minister. We sent the
20 prime minister there to go there to see that everything is done in order
21 for war to be averted, to talk to people in the American Embassy, sign
22 all variants of the plans, the Z-4 and what have you, just so as to avert
23 war. So when we finished the session of the Main Staff of the
24 Supreme Command, where we had ministers, the president of the Assembly,
25 the minister of the interior, and this was in the operations conference
1 room of the Main Staff, we arrived at an assessment, and you can see that
2 also on the basis of these documents, to the effect that there was the
3 danger of forces penetrating through Crvena Zemlja into Knin whenever
4 they so wished and that they cut off the line at Otric, cut off the whole
5 of Dalmatia
6 decision needed to be made. We were unable to make such a decision on
7 our own. We had to consult all the members of the Supreme Defence
9 Q. Let's look at the screen here and see if the details here -- this
10 again is a recording of that telephone conversation, and it says -- it
11 starts off with you and Mr. Babic, General Mrksic and Milan, and it
12 says -- number 1 is Mr. Babic, number 2 is you. Number 1 says:
13 "It's like this, I talked to --"
14 Well, if this can make refresh your recollection. It says -- and
15 Mr. Martic -- let me just -- you haven't had a chance to read it? Okay.
16 A. Well, now I'm looking at it, but this is not Mile Mrksic; this is
17 not the style of Mile Mrksic. I just do not allow that this is the way I
18 express myself. I'm not a man who uses cunt words. Whoever prepared
19 this for you planted this. I'm [Realtime transcript read in error "I'm
20 not"] a guards officer.
21 Q. General --
22 JUDGE ORIE: You said it was -- number 1 is Mr. Babic. Where do
23 we find that --
24 MR. MISETIC: A certain Milan
25 JUDGE ORIE: A certain Milan
1 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. You make it Mr. Babic, which still has to be
3 established. It should not be put to the witness in a way --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Martic.
5 JUDGE ORIE: -- the document does not appear in this way.
6 MR. MISETIC: It's just that there are three Milans on this
7 conversation, Mr. President, and it's going to be difficult to keep them
8 all straight.
9 Q. But let's try to follow this, General.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Domazet, is there anything of concern?
11 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
12 [Interpretation] Just an intervention. In the transcript, on
13 page 11: "I'm not a guards officer." Mr. Mrksic actually said, "I am"
14 or "I was a guards officer," not "I'm not."
15 JUDGE ORIE: If there's -- and you may not be familiar with the
16 rules that apply in this court. If you think that the transcript or the
17 translation presents something which is not accurate, then you're not
18 supposed to give your own opinion on what would be accurate, but you can
19 question the matter, see when it's a matter of translation; to seek first
20 the witness to repeat his answer. If it's a matter of transcription, and
21 to point at the page and the line where you think there is any
22 inaccuracy. But it is the habit in this courtroom that we do not replace
23 what we think to be wrong by what we think to be right. It's on the
25 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 MR. MISETIC: My suggestion would be that we take a break, and I
3 will give the witness a --
4 JUDGE ORIE: So that the witness can read it during the break?
5 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, we have some homework for you.
7 Mr. Misetic will have --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: -- will hand you a hard copy of the transcript of
10 this recorded telephone conversation. If you'd please be so kind to read
11 it over the break.
12 We'll then have a break and resume at 11.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, you may proceed.
16 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. General Mrksic, have you had a chance to review that transcript
18 of a telephone conversation?
19 A. Yes, I have.
20 Q. I'm not interested in word for word right now, that you go
21 through it and say every word is correct. Just if you could tell the
22 Court, before you saw that, you said there was a conversation with
23 Mr. Babic and that it was related to this decision on whether to issue an
24 evacuation order. Just by looking at that, in terms of refreshing your
25 recollection, can you tell the Court either what -- I'm sorry. Can you
1 tell the Court what specifically was discussed with Mr. Babic prior to
2 the decision to issue the evacuation order?
3 A. Well, first of all, let me say that as far as I can recall, I did
4 not have a conversation with Mr. Babic; rather, that was the task of the
5 president of the republic, Martic. I was never referred to as Milan
6 any conversation. My name is Mile Mrksic. And even looking at this
7 conversation, no one would have said "Milan." Especially there wouldn't
8 be a conversation of this time with the prime minister because I didn't
9 even know him. But I do know that there was a phone conversation or, as
10 they said, a phone session, because they needed to consult him as a
11 member of the Supreme Command as to what to do next.
12 Q. What were you told was discussed with Mr. Babic?
13 A. The president of the republic said that he had consultations with
14 him and that they agreed, that he had proposed -- that he had put forward
15 a proposal, and this was the opinion of the staff, that people should not
16 be left to their own devices and at the mercy of whoever, that they
17 should be removed from Krajina to Srb. There was no mention of
18 abandoning or leaving the territory of Republika Srpska. This is what we
19 called the tactical and operational movement. But of course there is
20 always a danger when people get in motion, because our people were armed,
21 the population was armed because that was the concept of our defence, and
22 we were aware that there might be problems with that. Following this,
23 there was probably a decision that was probably signed by the president
24 or I don't know who.
25 Q. Do you recall whether there was any discussion -- I'm sorry.
1 Just for purposes of the transcript, if I could ask you -- there may have
2 been something missed in the interpretation. You said the people should
3 not be left to their own devices. What was the -- what was the fear or
4 what was the motivation?
5 A. Well, to be honest, there was a historic -- a historical fear
6 that was --
7 Q. I think you already answered it, but let me ask it this way:
8 This decision, was it because of the danger that there was going to be an
10 A. That decision was made because of the danger of encirclement, and
11 we were not sure that the treatment of the civilian population would be
12 fair and that there would follow what we expected, disarming people and
13 then deciding who is guilty and who is not. And then there was also a
14 great fear regarding Western Slavonia.
15 Q. What was the fear regarding Western Slavonia?
16 A. Well, people were afraid of the force that was then displayed by
17 the Croatian government. Next, there were victims that should not have
18 been there. As it turned out, there were casualties, and those people
19 who did not want to leave the area, who did not want to withdraw to a
20 safer area. I believe the then forces of the Republic of Croatia
21 not capable of controlling their own forces, and there are always
22 extremists who could -- who could wreak havoc among on people and who
23 could harm people. And, of course, people were afraid. And what do you
24 think? If everybody had remained behind, do you have any idea what the
25 number of victims would have been? This way, only the old people
1 remained and those people who had no means to move out of there, because
2 there was no one to take them out of there.
3 Q. Do you recall whether it was reported to you that Mr. Babic
4 conveyed in that conversation whether you could expect assistance from
5 Mr. Galbraith or the international community?
6 A. I think that he had contacts with Martic. And what I can see
7 here, I think that's what it refers to, that there was no assistance to
8 be expected and that once this started, there is no -- there was no way
9 of stopping it anymore. It couldn't even be stopped in Geneva.
10 Mr. Cervenko wouldn't come and talk to me. When that happened, it was
11 clear to me that this decision had been made and there was no stopping it
12 anymore. And, of course, it was in our interests to prevent that. And
13 I think President Milosevic was cheated out of this and everything else.
14 Q. Okay. This conversation is purported to be at 1630.
15 And if we could now go to Exhibit D137, please.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, is that taken from the code at the top,
17 which ends with "1630?" I'm not -- I don't know whether we had paid any
18 attention to what this code --
19 MR. MISETIC: That's the time, as far as I understand,
20 Mr. President.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If that's not in dispute, then ...
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. Now, General, this is a document that's been admitted into
24 evidence as the evacuation order that was issued by Mr. Martic. Do you
25 recall seeing this document before?
1 A. This is the first time that I see this document, but I am aware
2 that he did issue this document. I haven't read it before, but I know
3 that it was drafted in keeping with decisions at the sessions of the
4 Supreme Council. It probably came to the staff and was probably filed
5 there, but because I participated in the session, there was no need to
6 show it to me. And now I see that this is a short order consisting of
7 three points.
8 Q. First, if you look at the time in the upper left-hand corner, is
9 that time consistent with your recollection that the order was issued at
10 1645; in other words, sometime after the conversation with Mr. Babic?
11 A. Yes, you can see at the bottom there that this was actually
12 certified, that only at 5.20 it was actually distributed. You can see
13 that at the bottom of the page, because it takes time to type this and
14 then file it, and so on. So this was issued as a result of that meeting.
15 Q. Now, can you explain to us why the Main Staff had to certify it?
16 A. Because the president of the republic is the supreme commander,
17 and he sat in sessions of the Main Staff. He was our boss, in fact. He
18 was a member of the Main Staff, and all the decisions that were made, he
19 presided over them. And, of course, he used, in wartime, the
20 administration and everything. He was not physically with the
21 Presidency. Whether he had also brought with him somebody else from the
22 Presidency to the Main Staff, I can't recall, because the premises where
23 the Main Staff was were also the premises for the MUP and the Main Staff
24 of the army.
25 Q. At your answer on page 44, line 21, you said "only at 5.20 was it
1 actually distributed." Can you tell us to whom it was distributed?
2 A. This report was only sent to the brigades to which it refers, and
3 the municipalities to which it refers, so the Dalmatia Corps, the
4 Benkovac, Obrovac, and Drnis Brigades, and Obrovac and Gracac. It did
5 not relate to Lika, Kordun or Banija; only the area that we discussed a
6 few days ago that could be cut off and encircled.
7 Q. If I understand you correctly, then, this order was passed down
8 through the military line?
9 A. I don't know how this was done, technically. This is actually
10 taken by courier. I don't know if it was taken to the municipal bodies,
11 whether from there somebody else distributed it further. I don't know
12 what the actual technology is and how the civilian authorities handled
14 Q. Well, let me ask you this: Do you know who Drago Kovacevic is?
15 A. I think he was the president of Knin --
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. -- as far as I can recall. But this was a long time ago, so I'm
18 not sure.
19 Q. Do you recall if Mr. Kovacevic was present at the meeting where
20 the decision was taken to issue the evacuation order?
21 A. I can't recall, but it would have been a good thing had he been
22 there. It would be normal, because it was his corps, the people from his
23 corps. I can't recall. I can't remember the people and every detail,
24 especially because I didn't really spend much time there, and I didn't
25 know the people too well.
1 Q. General Mrksic, do you recall whether you walked into that
2 meeting and said that the evacuation should go to Petrovac and
3 Banja Luka?
4 A. No. Why would I alter the decision of the Supreme Council? I
5 didn't have the authority to do that, and why would I do it?
6 Q. Let me show you a video-clip and ask you to watch it, and then
7 I'll ask for your comment after the clip.
8 This is, Mr. Registrar, Exhibit D326.
9 [Video-clip played]
10 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Refugee columns were travelling
11 through Knin at a large scale when, at approximately 5.00 p.m. on
12 4 August 1995
13 met at Martic's headquarters. And Martic, who was in uniform, there was
14 a huge ashtray in front of him, several empty packs of cigarettes, and
15 then we exchanged hellos. And on the topic of why he had called me, he
16 said he called me because, he said, I've decided to evacuate the city,
17 and we should take steps to relocate the civilian population, I must
18 stress this, civilian population from Northern Dalmatia, meaning from the
19 municipalities of Benkovac, Obrovac, Knin, Drnis, and from the
20 municipality of Gracac in Lika."
21 "This did not come as a shock to me. I perceived this to be some
22 sort of rational measure. At that moment, we passed the order. It was
23 Kosta Novakovic specifically who passed the order. It was then that we
24 wrote in the order that this was to evacuate the civilian population,
25 meaning in the direction of Knin, Otric, or Srb or Lapac, which were the
1 areas where people were to be relocated. It was then that Mrksic reacted
2 and said, What do you mean by Srb? We need to go further than Srb,
3 towards Petrovac and Banja Luka. And then he cautioned us that if the
4 civilians embark on leaving, that the military lines would be at risk.
5 He said the civilians start, then the army goes after them to evacuate
6 them, and this is going to create enormous problems.
7 "However, sometime during the evening, when he arrived, he was
8 upstairs, Mrksic. He told me on the staircase that the evacuation of the
9 population had been ordered. I told him, General, the army will break
10 down. What do you mean by evacuating the people, and this means of an
11 order? He said, This is not in our hands. It was the Supreme Defence
12 Council decision. And then someone had requested that Martic -- or it
13 was Martic himself who had requested to be put through to
14 Slobo Milosevic, but he did not speak with him. Rather, he spoke with
15 Brane Crncic [phoen]. So he got hold of Brane Crncic, probably because
16 he couldn't get hold of Slobo. He assured him that probably he
17 couldn't -- so that's why he spoke to Brane, and then he was told by him,
18 No, no, he won't take any steps, the Slobo wouldn't do anything in this
19 case. And it was then for the first-time I heard it was then that Martic
20 cursed Slobo, and so on and so forth."
21 MR. MISETIC:
22 Q. Now, Mr. Mrksic, let me just give you an opportunity to comment
23 on Mr. Kovacevic's version of events. Did you, in fact, state that, We
24 have to go farther than this order and we have to go to Petrovac and
25 Banja Luka?
1 A. What Mr. Kovacevic was saying there, I don't even remember that
2 he was there, nor did I go where that full ashtray full of ashes were.
3 We -- what Kosta said in that sense, we knew of that, and that's what was
4 said. But that I should have said that they should move on and go
5 further, no, I could not possibly have said that, nor was it in keeping
6 with the assignment that I was given by President Milosevic when I was
7 sent to Krajina, nor would I ever order such a thing. Whether this is
8 some sort of game where someone is trying to impugn the General Mrksic
9 order or something, that's different, but my order was not to that
11 Q. Let me now show you three additional documents. I will show them
12 to you one at a time. And in order to save time, I'll give you an
13 opportunity to comment on them after we've looked at all three. Okay?
14 First, if we could turn to Exhibit D182.
15 Now, I'll give you an opportunity to comment, but later in more
16 detail. But if you could just answer me "yes" or "no." Are you aware
17 that there was a meeting held at 1800 hours with the UNPROFOR or UNCRO
18 command headquarters? Are you aware of that? Just "yes" or "no," and
19 I'll give you an opportunity later to comment further.
20 A. I can't recall. It's possible, but I can't recall. But I
21 believe if I don't recall it, I probably did not attend that meeting. I
22 don't know. Because the situation was critical, it was very difficult,
23 who was doing what and when and how.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, you told us that you have no
25 recollection, and you think, having no recollection, that you would not
1 have been present. That's an answer to the question.
2 Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
3 MR. MISETIC:
4 Q. Do you recall, at that meeting, where the evacuation was
5 discussed? In other words, the council, the Defence Council, was it
6 discussed at that meeting, that UNCRO Command should be approached in
7 order to assist with the evacuation? Do you recall that?
8 A. Whether Kosta Novakovic was issued such an assignment, I don't
9 know, because he was the liaison, but I can't really remember. We sought
10 help wherever we could find it.
11 Q. Let me show you now these three documents, and then I'll give you
12 an opportunity to comment.
13 This is -- the first is -- I believe it's UNCRO, a report sent at
14 1945. Do not pay attention to the date, because everyone in this case
15 agrees that the date should be 4 August 1995. Now, if you look at the
16 second paragraph here, it says:
17 "The RSK authorities have requested UN assistance in organising
18 and providing transport for such evacuation. RSK initial calculation
19 shows that UN will need to provide for these refugees transportation,
20 around 70.000 litres of fuel and 450 trucks. RSK proposed one main
21 route, Knin-Padjene-Otric-Srb-Martin Brod-Bosanski Petrovac-Banja Luka."
22 Now, let me turn to Exhibit D337, please. And if we could go to
23 page 2, paragraph 4.
24 D337, General Mrksic, is a report from Yasushi Akashi to
25 Kofi Annan on the evening of the 4th of August. And at paragraph 4, in
1 the first sentence, he says:
2 "We have been advised by the Civil Affairs Office in Sector South
3 that the Knin leadership have requested UNHCR and UNPF assistance in
4 evacuating approximately 32.000 civilians from Benkovac, Obrovac, Gracac,
5 and Knin to Petrovac and Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
6 Finally, let me show you 65 ter 172, and these are the personal
7 notes of a gentleman named Drago Vujatovic, and he took handwritten notes
8 at the meeting with the UNCRO command.
9 And if we go to English page 16, please. If we go to the bottom.
10 He notes the meeting started at 1740. Kosta Novakovic is
11 present, K. Milan, K. Drago, and then it's noted: "Alain Forand; Mrksic,
12 Mile; Trbulin, Milan
13 -- I'm sorry, I don't think we have shown it to you in the original.
14 It's page 129 in the B/C/S. Okay.
15 Right in that middle of the page are his handwritten notes, and
16 then it says, if we turn the page in English, which we have, okay, he
17 wrote in hand:
18 "EV. Knin-Benkovac-Obrovac-Drnis-Gracac-Otric-Srb-Lapac,
19 defend ..."
20 Then something about:
21 " ... Galbraith is requesting from Tudjman."
23 "Martin Brod further on to Banja Luka, drive to the end."
24 And if we scroll down a bit, and also scroll down in the B/C/S,
25 he says:
1 "Martin Brod-Petrovac-Banja Luka," and then: "Fuel." And
2 there's a breakdown of 15.000 and then, overall, 32.000. And 32.000,
3 you'll recall, is the same number that Mr. Akashi reports as the number
4 of people that were going to be moving out of these areas.
5 Now, first, were you present at this meeting? Does this refresh
6 your recollection at all as to whether you were present at this meeting?
7 A. No, not at all. This is the first time I hear this; this the
8 first time I see this. To the best of my recollection, I was not there.
9 And I only had meetings with Akashi
10 United Nations came, as well as with the -- and I never had a meeting
11 with a local UNPROFOR commander there, as far as I can recall. And as
12 for these things here, this is the first time that I see this. I cannot
13 help you any there. I can only confirm what the president signed.
14 Q. Do you have any explanation as to why representatives of the RSK,
15 at a meeting that took place apparently less than an hour after
16 Mr. Martic issued the evacuation order, why they would go to this meeting
17 and say that they would drive on to Petrovac or Banja Luka?
18 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President, I'd like to object. That calls for
19 speculation as to what's in the minds of other individuals.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Well, sometimes other individuals -- perhaps you
21 could ask him whether he received any information which could shed some
22 light on why others may have said this.
23 MR. MISETIC:
24 Q. Do you have such information?
25 A. No. I did not participate in it. But now I'm placing myself in
1 the role of an ordinary man in the street, of an ordinary peasant. The
2 more he can get, the more inventive he will be. He will ask for more
3 fuel, for more assistance. This is the psychology of our folk. It
4 wasn't an official position. It wasn't my official position, or that of
5 the president, or of anybody else.
6 It is a fact that later matters evolved so that the people had to
7 withdraw from the area, and the area became too cramped, too constricted,
8 for such a large number of people, and there was the pressure being
9 exerted on them. There was the danger that they would get killed.
10 The question to be asked is, why was this set in motion, not how
11 did it evolve.
12 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that 65 ter -- I ask that
13 65 ter 172 be marked and ask that it be admitted into evidence.
14 MR. RUSSO: There's no objection, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1520.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
18 MR. MISETIC:
19 Q. Now, General Mrksic, do you recall having a meeting with your
20 subordinates at 2000 hours on the 4th of August in the Main Staff?
21 A. I do recall a meeting that was to address the military issues.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. You have to jog my memory to tell me what the agenda was.
24 Q. Let me show you two reports that you've seen already earlier.
25 But to jog your memory, let's see if this will help.
1 Exhibit D1516, please.
2 If we could go -- I'm sorry. This is the report of
3 General Kovacevic of the 9th of August that you saw earlier today. And
4 if we could go to page 2 in the English of this and paragraph 6.
5 Now, General Kovacevic reports:
6 "On 4 August, at 2000 hours, the SVK commander issued the order
7 for the reinforcement of the defence of Knin by taking out one infantry
8 battalion from the 75th Motorised Brigade, while the remaining units
9 should be engaged in defence at their current positions, at the same time
10 organising decisive defence at the line ..."
11 And then it identifies the line. It says:
12 "In the course of 4 August, the RSK government issued a public
13 statement, calling the entire population in the endangered areas to
14 evacuate, which caused a chaos within the units and their dispersion,
15 because the soldiers started leaving in order to go home and help their
16 families with the evacuation."
17 Now if we could go to Exhibit D828, please. This is, I'm going
18 to show you, Mr. Uzelac's report of the 92nd Motorised Brigade.
19 If we could go to B/C/S page 2 and English page 3 of this report.
20 Now, I'm interested in, if we could scroll down again, at 1900 hours:
21 "At 1900 hours, we received an instruction from the authorities
22 that it is necessary to do an evacuation of the civilian population. We
23 transfer the order to persons in charge of evacuation.
24 "At 1905, I leave for the Main Staff in Knin. At the KM at
25 2000 hours, with the presence of the brigade commanders of the Command of
1 the Main Staff and commander of the 7th Knin Corps, whom I meet for the
2 first time, we are informed by Main Staff Commander General Mrksic of the
3 situation in the RSK in the area of Kordun, Banija, Lika, especially the
4 area of responsibility of the 7th Corps, that the situation is very
5 complex, that the Vrlika Brigade is under attack, that the Ustasha in the
6 2nd Infantry Brigade have taken Cista Mala and Cista Velika. The
7 authorities are not functioning, et cetera. He orders that the area of
8 responsibility of the corps ..."
9 If we could turn the page in English, please:
10 " ... is reduced, that the areas of responsibility of brigades
11 are reduced, and that the general situation is borne in mind.
12 "I reacted and warned the commander that the 92nd Motorised
13 Brigade was holding its positions firmly. There has been fighting, but
14 there have not been any successes by the Ustashas in my area. I am ready
15 to fight back any attack. I told him that no civilians had been
16 evacuated from Benkovac. I suggest that all commanders be persistent in
17 defending their areas, that conditions be provided for evacuation of
18 civilians, that the super-ordinate commands ensure forces for stopping
19 Ustashas from the direction of Vrlika-Knin."
20 If we could go to the next page in the B/C/S, please:
21 "At 2300 at the KM of the 92nd Motorised Brigade in
22 Gornje Biljane, I introduce everybody to the situation in the RSK,
23 especially the 7th Corps, and ask them all for suggestions. We were all
24 utterly shocked by what was happening. There had been hundreds of
25 attacks on the brigade area of responsibility, and we were not scared by
1 the Ustashas.
2 "I order the units: Defend the areas of defence; take actions
3 toward Ustashas on certain directions in order to display activity;
4 prevent any infiltration or spiking; make possible the pullout of
5 civilians from the front-line."
6 Now, General, first, does this refresh your recollection about
7 what was discussed at the meeting at 2000? That's "yes"?
8 A. Yes, yes, I do remember we discussed these matters. Now, whether
9 it was exactly in this way or not, I'm not sure, but we talked about it,
10 and mainly with the commanders of the 7th Dalmatia Corps. Because if the
11 people pulled out, why should they hold such a wide front? They should,
12 in fact, protect the area where the people would arrive. And, of course,
13 there were comments of this kind, and some people did not quite
14 understand the situation.
15 Q. Why did you feel it necessary to shorten the front?
16 A. I thought that the front should be shortened because there was no
17 one up there in that area. One could ascend that portion from Knin, and
18 whom were the troops to defend if the people had moved out and there were
19 no forces to confront there at that time? It was a bit more difficult
20 for the commanders to comprehend because they had already prepared their
21 fortifications, their entrenchments, and everything, but there were no
22 forces attacking them there. The attack was coming from the territory of
23 Republika Srpska. So this is what gave rise to this entire agenda.
24 We knew in advance that there would be a problem if the people
25 left and the combatants remained, because they would go to their own
1 homes and seek to protect their own families.
2 But the political decisions were made along these lines; namely,
3 had they actually decided that we should fight within the encirclement, I
4 would have implemented such a task.
5 Q. Is it fair to say, then, based on this last answer, that what was
6 happening was those who were holding their lines, nevertheless, you were
7 concerned that they would be attacked from behind because of the
8 penetration by the HV in Knin and Mali Alan?
9 A. Yes, that is correct, because to hold the lines, the old lines,
10 in the front of Benkovac-Velika-Drnis, would mean nothing if the front
11 was from behind. We had to set up a new front in order to stop those
12 forces from penetrating into the region of Otric and this other area
13 where the people were located.
14 We were an armed people, and our task was not to defend territory
15 but to defend the people, to prevent the people from coming to harm.
16 Q. Do you recall any discussion about Bulina Strana at this meeting
17 at 2000?
18 A. This is probably the exit from Knin, Bulina Strana. I've
19 forgotten those names. Yes, we talked about that. That is the key
20 feature to prevent them from going up, if that's what you mean.
21 Q. It is what I mean. And if we can explain to the Court what you
22 mean geographically. Bulina Strana is what in relation to Knin?
23 A. I don't have a map now. This is a feature up there where the
24 road to Otric leads. That was the position of the forward command post
25 of the Knin Corps, and I sent the president of the republic there to rest
1 a bit and so.
2 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, to speed this up, I don't think it
3 will be in dispute that Bulina Strana is at an elevation in relation to
4 Knin town.
5 Q. Correct?
6 A. You're asking me without my having a map in front of me. And so
7 much time has elapsed, I know where the salient features are;
8 Petrova Gora, Dinara and so on. But for these hillocks, I would have to
9 look at a map.
10 Q. Okay. Well, we'll get to that --
11 A. If I ordered some forces to be up there, that means that it was
13 Q. Okay. I think you touched on it in your answer, and let me ...
14 You said, at page 56, line 23, that:
15 "Bulina Strana was the key feature to prevent them from going up,
16 if that's what you mean."
17 Can you explain that a little bit?
18 A. Where is this, please show me, so that I can read the text.
19 Q. It's on the transcript. Part of your answer today, to my
20 question a few minutes ago, was that, in terms of importance of
21 Bulina Strana, "it was a key feature to prevent them," meaning the HV,
22 "from going up."
23 A. I'd have to look at a map, if this is above Knin, where the
24 railway track is, where the railway station is, where the road leading to
25 Otric and Lika is, and then that is it. This is where the main defence
1 should have been. That is where we should have prevented them from
2 striking at the people. That is where the fighting should have been.
3 That is what I meant, if that is what you mean.
4 Q. Yes. I think maybe it will be easier --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, from the answer of the witness, it was
6 clear that he was uncertain about names. That appears on 56:23. And
7 then he continued, we talked about that, and at the same time he says
8 that he doesn't know the names anymore. So, therefore, it might be not
9 fully accurate to present, as part of his answer, that this happened at
10 Bulina Strana.
11 MR. MISETIC: I will show him a different document,
12 Mr. President.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. MISETIC: But before I get to that, let me show him one other
15 document on the evacuation. This is 65 ter 1D1057.
16 Q. And this is the report, General Mrksic, of the commander of the
17 15th Lika Corps, yes, the Lika Corps, Stevo Sevo. And I just want to go
18 to page 3 in the English, the portion that says: "On 4 August 1995
19 around 2330 hours ..." Now -- yes.
20 It says:
21 "Around 2330 hours, the chief of the General Staff of the Serbian
22 Krajina Army personally passed the order to begin the general evacuation
23 of the population in the area of the responsibility of the corps."
24 Now, do you recall issuing -- personally passing such an order?
25 A. No. Chief of the General Staff? No, I never passed any such
1 order. It was the chief of my staff who sent to Loncar, who had a son in
2 the Lika Corps and went to see him and to see what the situation was
3 there, perhaps he did something on his own, at his own initiative like
4 that. I didn't do anything of the kind. And all this was written later
5 in Banja Luka, when everybody was resentful at what had happened, and
6 everybody wrote what they did in hindsight.
7 Q. Yes. But, General, I guess my question to you is: Mr. Martic's
8 evacuation order did not cover Lika; correct?
9 A. It did not; it did not. And everything else that was done, that
10 was abuse; namely, it was either my name or his name being abused or
12 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that this exhibit be marked,
13 and I tender it into evidence.
14 MR. RUSSO: There's no objection, Mr. President.
15 However, I would just like to correct the record with respect to
16 the representation made about that the evacuation did not cover Lika.
17 MR. MISETIC: He confirmed it in his answer, that it didn't.
18 MR. RUSSO: I think the document shown to the witness, D137,
19 indicates parts of Lika.
20 JUDGE ORIE: The question was put to the witness. The question
21 is answered by the witness. Whether it's consistent with other pieces of
22 evidence, we'll evaluate that when looking at the evidence in its
24 Mr. Registrar.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit D1521.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
2 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit D713 on the
3 screen, please.
4 Q. Now, General Mrksic, do you recall going on Radio Belgrade on the
5 evening of the 4th of August, giving a report to Radio Belgrade about the
6 situation in Knin?
7 A. It is not my custom to give statements to either radio or
8 television. I don't remember. Perhaps if someone had interviewed me or
9 just talked to me and then recorded it and broadcast it on television.
10 I, personally, do not recall having made any such statement, or I haven't
11 heard that, that I spoke on radio or television.
12 I would like to read that to see what it is that you're talking
13 about. This is news to me.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I think you've answered the question.
15 Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
16 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. First, this is one version of that, and this is reported carried
18 in the archives of BBC
19 fourth line, says: "Serbian Radio Belgrade in Serbo-Croat, 2000 hours
21 the second paragraph -- and I will show you a different version of this
22 so that you can follow it, but it says:
23 "A telephone interview with General Milan Mrksic, commander of
24 the Serb Krajina Army in Knin ..."
25 And if I can show you a different exhibit of the same interview.
1 Mr. Registrar, this is D106, please.
2 Now, this quotes you as saying first:
3 "At present, all combat activities in the area of Knin have
4 ceased. Knin is enveloped by the dark; evacuation of the population is
5 ongoing. Enemy forces reached at four to six kilometres from the city of
7 Then there's a question, and then you're quoted again:
8 "We are maintaining contact; our forces withdrew to the positions
9 for the direct defence of Knin. The other units are still successfully
10 holding their positions."
11 And then the next answer is:
12 "HV was successful on the direction from Grahovo towards Knin.
13 They had success in Velebit, in conquering, in taking of Mali Alan.
14 Furthermore, they were successful, partially, though, in Banija."
15 If we go down a few lines:
16 "There is a danger of splitting apart parts of Krajina.
17 Presently, we are engaged in evacuation of the population from Dalmatia
18 to prevent them from falling captive, because Knin and the communications
19 leading from Knin are in danger. Persistent defence shall create
20 conditions for that task to be carried out. If the VRS succeeds in
21 putting the pressure on the forces attacking in the direction of
22 Grahovo-Knin, we shall then stabilise the defence and switch on to
24 Now, does that refresh your recollection at all about giving such
25 a statement on Radio Belgrade on the evening of the 4th?
1 A. Well, I think the communications were broken down, and it was
2 impossible to have a conversation after the repeater was struck. It
3 doesn't matter that it's written down here, but I never had -- it was not
4 my custom to give interviews to radio or television. Maybe I had a
5 conversation with someone, but I don't believe that it was possible to
6 maintain communications. But, generally speaking, this actually is
7 consistent with the report to the Corps Command, but I can't tell you
8 exactly whether I did or didn't; I really don't recall. And for me, this
9 is one of those documents that I would like to see. And if you have some
10 more, by all means. But this was not my custom, and I did not -- I never
11 really liked to stand out, nor did I like to pose for photographs.
12 Q. Okay. Let me ask you, then, the next question. Did you speak
13 with Frenki Simatovic on the evening of the 4th of August via telephone?
14 A. No, I did not see Frenki Simatovic either during the operations
15 in Western Bosnia, nor did I talk to him over the phone, nor did he --
16 nor was he wont to call me on the phone.
17 Q. Did you speak to Jovica Stanisic on the evening of the 4th of
19 A. I did not have a conversation with Jovica Stanisic because of the
20 state of the communications, but a telegram arrived saying that we should
21 hold on for a couple of days and that the international community would
22 interfere and save Krajina. Well, in that sense, something to that
23 effect, if that's what you're referring to. Maybe you actually have it.
24 It was sort of reassuring or encouragement, but I did not have direct
25 contact with him, nor did I hear his voice or he mine, because Martic
1 could not actually get through to President Milosevic because the lines
2 were down. All I know is that we got news to the effect, Hang in there,
3 hang in there, and something will come about. And, of course, this is
4 natural. I would have done the same thing had I been in Belgrade and
5 somebody else in Knin.
6 Q. Okay. Can you tell us why Jovica Stanisic would be sending you
7 telegrams and giving you advice about holding out?
8 A. I don't know why. Perhaps this was the political position that
9 the leadership of Serbia
10 other circles, to just hold out for another couple of days and that then
11 the international players would change their attitude towards Croatia
12 that they would discontinue or stop their advance and proceed to a
13 peaceful resolution, so that all the proposals that were being circulated
14 around, including Z-4 and so on, would come into play. I don't know why
15 this was so, but you should ask him, not me. But I assume that this is
16 what this is about.
17 Q. What was the name of the person nicknamed "Medo" who was an
18 associate of Jovica Stanisic's?
19 A. Well, we called him "Medo." That was a nickname that we used,
20 "Medo," because he was rather stout. So we all called him "Medo," or
21 "Teddy bear." I don't know what the names were, because they did not
22 usually use their proper names.
23 Q. Could you tell the Court what Medo's role was, who he was in
24 relationship to Jovica Stanisic?
25 A. I don't know; I don't know. He was the liaison with
1 Jovica Stanisic, but what his actual function was or what he did, where
2 he was, I never knew this, nor could I ask. They probably had their own
3 assignments. I wouldn't know about that.
4 MR. MISETIC: Okay. Mr. Registrar, could we have Exhibit D441 on
5 the screen, please.
6 Q. Now, this is a report which I know you've never seen before
7 because it's a Croatian government report. But if you look at it, it's
8 from the 1st of August, it's within the Special Police Sector. It says:
9 "A Red Beret platoon, Captain Dragan's troops from the centre for
10 the training of special forces in Bruska - have arrived in the Gracac
12 "A plan has been made to evacuate the civilian population from
13 the Gracac area via Srb to Republika Srpska."
14 Now, do you recall whether members of the Red Berets were
15 operating in the area of Gracac during Operation Storm?
16 A. I can't recall. I know that the Captain Dragan's centre used to
17 be in Bruska. This was practically a centre for the training of scouts.
18 He was some sort of professional in this field. He trained scouts for
19 manning units. And they were not called the Red Berets. They also had
21 about what is stated here, Bartele, Bartele, or Medak, or whatever, UNCRO
22 and so on. I wouldn't know anything about this. And I think during --
23 in my day, when I actually brought in some order, they could not do this,
24 because they had to be within the regime that I had imposed.
25 Well, I would like to say something. I disarmed all "mindjusari"
1 so they could not actually hijack the trucks and so on. I just put in
2 some order and, well, that's it.
3 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could please have on the
4 screen Exhibit D948, please.
5 Q. Now, General, I'm going to read portions of what purports to be
6 an intercepted telephone conversation at 2158 on the 4th of August. The
7 first portion purportedly is between Medo and Zezelj. First, can you
8 tell us who Zezelj was?
9 A. I don't know. This is the first time that I hear that name.
10 There used to be a general of the JNA, Zezelj. He was the
11 Guards Command. He hailed from Lika.
12 Q. Okay. Let's go down. There's a line that says:
13 "M: And where's Mile at?
14 "G: He's here.
15 "M: Put him on."
16 And then the comment here is, in the further course of
17 conversation, he is talking to General Mile Mrksic, who he addresses with
19 Now: "G: Hello, Medo."
20 And then it goes on. If we go down a little bit, it says:
21 "G: The rest considering the battles is fine. There was a
22 little bit something up there in Velebit. Your guys did it well. There
23 is one of your guys wounded up there."
24 And then M responds:
25 "I know, it's two of them. Okay, they will be down there. I'll
1 see you in 24 hours."
2 "G: Well, it's finished here. Knin is being emptied.
3 Relocation is organised."
4 "M: Well, can you go to the city?"
5 "G: Well, we will defend Knin tomorrow, and the day after
6 tomorrow, and any way we can."
7 Now, first, do you recall whether the person you referred to as
8 Medo, the person you referred to as Medo, had sent his own forces near
9 the Velebit area on the 4th of August, 1995?
10 A. I have no idea what the forces -- what the manpower was, nor what
11 his assignment was, nor could Medo address me in this way. I mean, you
12 should proceed from a different position. Had you proceeded from a
13 military stand, perhaps I could come to believe this.
14 Q. Let's keep going --
15 A. I mean, this doesn't make any sense.
16 Q. Let's keep going.
17 A. You know, that he would address me with "Mrkso" and so on, no one
18 ever addressed me that way.
19 Q. General, on an open line, typically in combat as a military man,
20 would you use your real names and your full titles on an open telephone
22 A. You mean did I have a code-name? Well, these commanders would
23 know that. In wartime, during combat, but also in peacetime -- in
24 peacetime, we would use rank and last name, and whereas in wartime we
25 would use a code-name, Lasta, Zemlja, a mountain name, or something of
1 that sort. Everyone would know that.
2 Q. In other words, you agree, though, that you wouldn't use your own
3 name, in a war situation, on an open telephone line; correct?
4 A. Well, they would use the code-name. The person that I would talk
5 to would know my voice, and there would be no need to actually introduce
6 myself. The commander is here --
7 Q. Then it says:
8 "G: Knin is empty, but we will defend."
9 M says:
10 "Okay, your friends are here at my place, and they want to say
12 And then the comment is:
13 "A friend, X, and Mrksic participate in the further course of
15 A. X?
16 Q. Yes. X says:
17 "Listen, your situation is not as bad as it looks. They didn't
18 do nothing, man."
19 It goes down:
20 "G: Okay, we will fight tomorrow. Just how much forces and
21 assets ..."
22 If we could turn the page in English, please:
23 " ... they spent."
24 X then says:
25 "Well, they can't do it differently. They have to beat -- they
1 have to finish the job quickly. The problem is in Gracac, the valley."
2 "G: I know, man. I sent up there. That has gotten broken over
3 there, and I sent some units there."
4 X then says:
5 "Listen, Crvena Zemlja, that's all slopes. They can't reach
7 "G: What do you mean they can't? They are here, they are
8 watching Knin from up there."
9 Then the conversation a few lines down, X says:
10 "Don't wait for him down there, but above Knin. Don't wait for
11 him down there, Mrkso. Mind that you keep Gracac."
12 Okay. Now, let's speak generally first. On the evening of the
13 4th, why was it important for you to hold on to Gracac?
14 A. I explained that yesterday or the day before yesterday. After
15 Gracac fell, the communication towards Srb was in jeopardy, so now there
16 was a possibility to cut off all the forces at that location. But the
17 conversation that you are now referring to -- I'll ask you afterwards.
18 Q. Hold on. Had you held on to Gracac, had you been able to defend
19 Gracac and keep the HV forces from entering Gracac, was it your intention
20 to defend -- was it your intention to defend Knin?
21 A. Well, I think Gracac, too, fell.
22 Q. I'm saying let's take ourselves back to the evening of the 4th.
23 You're trying to keep the HV out of Gracac. My question to you is --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. -- had you been able to hold on to Gracac, how would you have
1 defended Knin?
2 A. We -- it was not possible for us to defend Knin and to prevent
3 you from coming in. But we had the possibility of preventing you from
4 advancing from there onwards, and that is why there was this relocation
5 of the 7th Corps, and that is why we brought that unit to Bruvno so that
6 these forces would not enter from the rear, from behind, into Srb.
7 It was all very complicated. When Grahovo fell, the entire
8 defence operation and the concept, the very concept, became very complex.
9 Q. If we turn the page in English, please. Now, there's a line here
10 where G is reported to have said:
11 "Well, F it. The communication assets in Knin are not working.
12 They shot everything this morning. I was left without electricity, TV,
13 radio, everything."
14 Now, I'm just asking you a general question. Were your
15 communication assets damaged on the 4th of August?
16 MR. RUSSO: Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
18 MR. RUSSO: I just want to raise an objection to the manner in
19 which this exhibit is being used.
20 He's been read several portions of it. He's never been asked if
21 he agrees with this as an accurate representation of a conversation he
22 had. It's being used in an extremely leading manner. I think we should
23 just ask the witness, in fairness, if it represents a conversation he was
24 a part of or if he's aware of it.
25 MR. MISETIC: I think he's stated that.
1 JUDGE ORIE: That question was asked to him. He commented on it,
2 rather than directly answering that question, and that gives a bit of an
3 ambiguous picture. And then I think what Mr. Misetic did is to ask him
4 questions about matters that are also discussed in the conversation.
5 MR. MISETIC: Yes. And, Mr. President --
6 JUDGE ORIE: At the same time, Mr. Misetic, I'd certainly
7 encourage you to deal with the matters also without having read greater
8 portions of the conversation.
9 Please proceed.
10 MR. MISETIC: That's fine, Mr. President. My intention, of
11 course, is that, to the extent it will be an issue, that the Chamber is
12 entitled to assess the probative value based on whether --
13 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber always is. That is not an answer to any
14 way of how to proceed during examination, but it goes without saying that
15 the Chamber finally will --
16 MR. MISETIC: What I'm saying is to the extent that, generally
17 speaking a witness says that matters discussed in here are consistent
18 otherwise with his recollection, it tends to increase the probative value
19 of the document, but that's fine.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but you could also ask him some matters without
21 first referring to the television conversation.
22 Please proceed.
23 MR. MISETIC: And also for the record, Mr. President, it's my
24 understanding that this document is -- its authenticity is not disputed
25 and it's being used by the Prosecution in other matters, but I will --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
2 MR. RUSSO: I don't believe that's the issue, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE ORIE: No. At the same time, it's not totally unrelated.
4 If you consider this to be a conversation by certain persons, and then to
5 say, Well, the witness could -- we always took that view, but now the
6 witness takes a different position, so therefore that's all not valid
7 anymore, that's --
8 MR. RUSSO: Just to be clear, Mr. President, I don't believe
9 there's been prior testimony about who the actual participants are. The
10 document purports to indicate whomever wrote the transcript believes --
11 JUDGE ORIE: I think, as a matter of fact, that the content of
12 these documents gives some clues as to who they might be, but perhaps we
13 should make that perhaps more explicit. And if an answer would be that,
14 It's unimaginable that someone would address me like this and that, that
15 nevertheless can have happened. So therefore perhaps to take a more
16 factual approach in follow-up questions if the witness has said anything
17 about his participation in a conversation which is transcribed.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President. I believe I've asked him,
20 generally speaking, on both conversations, but let me ask these
22 Q. General Mrksic, other than Frenki --
23 A. Yes, question.
24 Q. Other than Frenki Simatovic, do you know any other person named
1 A. No, and I maintain that I cannot admit to having participated in
2 this conversation at all. I don't know this document. It's totally
3 foreign to me.
4 Q. Let me ask the next question. Other than Jovica Stanisic, in
5 1995 did you have -- did you know anyone named Jovica who was in any
6 position of authority in Yugoslavia
7 Srpska Krajina?
8 A. You mean someone significant, a person of significance? No, I
9 did not know any other significant person by that name. I mean, if it
10 were an important person, I would have remembered.
11 But you were going to ask me about the electric power and things
12 like that. What is it, you've given up on that?
13 Q. No. My colleagues do a good job sometimes of distracting me from
14 the issue. So, please, tell us what happened to your communications on
15 4 August.
16 A. Because of NATO strikes and their actions from the ships, and
17 because of electronic jamming, and the generals here will know of that,
18 because I had old equipment, since 1.00 or 2.00 p.m. on the 4th, I had no
19 type -- no communications assets at all, except the conceptual
20 communication, like we did in the partisan days. The TV was cut off.
21 There was no power. There was some new TV sender. Everything was the
22 same, but the reporters were different. There were new TV stations,
23 propaganda. I was proclaimed to be dead. My mother was bereaved, and my
25 Q. Let me ask you this, General: Part of your communications, did
1 they go through the PTT?
2 A. The post and telecommunications was down. There was only
3 connection with Lapac. There was a railway track, and if you recall,
4 there are just two wires running parallel to the tracks. That's the only
5 thing that was still up, because this was the most sophisticated system
6 that was used in our area, electronic jamming, special assets, combat
7 assets, land/air battle, and all this was meant to sow panic and fear.
8 What else can I say?
9 MR. MISETIC: Okay. Mr. Registrar, if we can go to
10 Exhibit D1463, please.
11 Q. Do you recall being promised that 200 men from the -- were you
12 ever promised that 200 men from the Serbian SDB would be coming to Knin
13 on the 5th?
14 A. Mr. Misetic, even if two brigades had -- were to come there, it
15 would not be sufficient, let alone 200 men from the Serbian DB. I mean,
16 maybe you can cheat little kids like that, you know, but that's -- that
17 has nothing to do with reality.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Whether it would have helped is another matter.
19 Whether someone missed anything, the question simply was whether you
20 recall that you were promised 200 Serbian SDB men would come to Knin,
21 whether there was any such promise. Whether it realised is a different
22 matter. That's simply the question.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Next question, please, Mr. Misetic.
25 MR. MISETIC:
1 Q. General Mrksic, do you recall both -- do you recall any
2 conversation where Mr. Martic may have been on the phone with
3 Mr. Stanisic and complained about Mr. Milosevic's behaviour?
4 A. Well, I couldn't comment on that. I know that he was angry. He
5 was angry with President Milosevic; Martic, I mean. But whom he was able
6 to communicate with, I couldn't really ask him, because we didn't spend
7 all the time together so that I could overhear his conversations.
8 Whether someone had promised him those 200 men, I don't know. He didn't
9 say anything to me, but to me this is just frivolous.
10 Q. Well, yesterday you mentioned to us the 11th Corps in
11 Eastern Slavonia
12 in the conversation on the screen, there is a statement:
13 "M: Nothing without an ultimatum. Have those from the 11th
14 left? I don't believe them -- anything. Did he stop them?
15 "J: They will work tomorrow."
16 M then says:
17 "Have they worked today? To be honest, I don't believe anything.
18 I believe he stopped them, too. He lied to me like the last time, too."
19 Do you recall Mr. -- do you recall any conversation with
20 Mr. Martic complaining that someone stopped the 11th Corps from attacking
21 out of Eastern Slavonia?
22 A. Not out, but in Eastern Slavonia. I have to explain the essence.
23 When I was receiving my assignment in Karadjordjevo, that is the
24 substance, I was told this corps should be given to the corps commander
25 and to Mrgud. They will work to prepare the forces and the people for
1 cohabitation, and, you take these 4 Corps and do the same thing there.
2 That corps will not be engaged, and that is why you were free to pull in
3 your forces. That is a question to be put to Franjo and to Milosevic.
4 Q. We can't put those questions to them, General.
5 Let me, Mr. President, say that in terms of -- if we look at
6 this, and I'm doing this because we're at a break, Mr. President, to give
7 everyone an opportunity. In this conversation, if we turn the page in
8 English - stop right there - right in the middle of the page there's a
9 reference that says:
11 attack Zagreb
12 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
13 MR. MISETIC: I didn't ask you anything, so don't say anything.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you'd say that -- let me just --
15 MR. MISETIC: I promise you, Mr. President, that I would alert
16 you to any issues before the break.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, yes, thank you for that. I'm just -- if we
18 want to think it over, over the break, we have no access to our e-court
19 system when we're not in this courtroom, when we're locked in here, so
20 I'm just trying to find exactly what we are looking at. Apparently this
21 is a --
22 MR. MISETIC: This is an intercepted conversation, Mr. President,
23 which has been admitted into evidence and which the Defence asserts is a
24 conversation at 2310 involving Mr. Martic, Mr. Mrksic, and
25 Jovica Stanisic.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And this is -- let me just have a look.
2 The exhibit number was one out of a series --
3 MR. MISETIC: This is D1463.
4 JUDGE ORIE: 1463.
5 MR. MISETIC: And I will also, after the break just -- as a
6 general matter, I will address with him -- with this exhibit and
7 Exhibit D930, which is Mr. Vrcelj's book.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Specific pages?
9 MR. MISETIC: I believe the English page is page 9; it begins at
10 page 9.
11 JUDGE ORIE: D930, or ...
12 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
13 JUDGE ORIE: And D1463 is how long? It seems to be a whole
14 series -- oh, it's only two pages. If there would be a possibility for
15 me to have a print-out during the break, then I can read it, because I
16 have no access to my electronic system. So I'm just asking the Registrar
17 to provide me with hard copies of it.
18 We'll have a break, and we'll resume at five minutes to 1.00.
19 [The witness stands down]
20 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.58 p.m.
22 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, you hoped that you would be able to
24 finish today. Do you think you'll be able to?
25 MR. MISETIC: I'm going to push as hard as I can to get done by
1 1.45, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 [The witness takes the stand]
4 JUDGE ORIE: You may proceed, Mr. Misetic.
5 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. General Mrksic, let me now show you Exhibit D930; English
7 page 10, B/C/S page 9. General, I'm going to show you an excerpt from a
8 book written by Marko Vrcelj. Do you recall who Marko Vrcelj was?
9 A. [Previous translation continues]... of artillery --
10 Q. Yes. Now, in the middle of page 9 in the B/C/S, and at the
11 bottom of page 10 in the English - further down, please - it says:
12 "In the afternoon, when the Orkan commander briefed me to have
13 completed the tasks he has received, I ordered him to get ready to fire
14 at the military targets ..."
15 If we could turn the page in English, please:
16 " ... in Zagreb
17 at 0700 hours the following morning."
18 And then if we go down to the third paragraph -- I'm sorry, if we
19 could turn the page in English, please. If we could turn the page in
20 English, please. Okay. It says -- sorry, no.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I think we have a lot of mistakes. You started
22 saying it was page 10 in the English, then you read from the bottom of
23 page 9. You asked to move to page 10, and now I think when this was
24 about to be done, that it was then assumed we had to go to the next page
25 anyhow. So I think we should be on page 10 of the English at the top
1 now. Is that correct, Mr. Misetic?
2 MR. MISETIC: I'm looking at page 11 in e-court.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'm looking at the paging at the bottom of
4 the -- what you started reading appears on the bottom of page 9 in the
5 paging of the document itself. And if we could go back one page, I think
6 we are where we should be.
7 MR. MISETIC: Yes. I'm looking for page 11 in the e-court.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Isn't it true that you started reading what we see
9 now in the bottom: "In the afternoon, when the Orkan command ..." and
10 then you asked to move to the next page, which is -- there we are.
11 I think we're now on the right page.
12 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
13 Q. It says:
14 "We headed up towards Srb at around 3.00 in the morning."
15 And then it continues on:
16 "Looking at the column of people leaving their homes to go to the
17 unknown, knowing that the Orkan commander had gotten the task to fire at
19 fire at Zagreb
20 would lift up their own air force and would mutilate these innocent
21 people. That is the reason why I hurried up to find the commander before
22 6.00 so that we can prevent catastrophe in waiting."
23 If we can scroll down in the B/C/S, please.
24 And now, General Mrksic, I'd like to show you a video which is
25 related to this issue of the shelling of Zagreb and the decision to shell
2 And this is, I believe, a 12-minute video, Mr. President, and I
3 will ask additional questions in addition to this topic based on that
4 video. But transcripts have been provided the booths. We will stop it
5 to allow the translation to catch up.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Especially if someone would follow the translation,
7 especially when it's not written. If there's no subtitles, for example,
8 in French, we hardly ever find them, and that's --
9 MR. MISETIC: General, this is now a video of an interview with
10 Mr. Martic taken in the fall of 1995, and this is D929. And, General, if
11 you would just listen, and when it's done, I will pose a series of
12 questions to you.
13 [Video-clip played]
14 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "That first day, the 4th of August,
15 you, yourself, were present when Knin was bombed along with other places.
16 The Croats did not score any significant successes, other than shifts in
17 the Dinara and Mali
18 according to its own course, and considering that Croats were in Zagreb
19 that day, especially in shelters, expecting us to react by shelling them,
20 we concluded there was no need to bomb Zagreb during those initial
21 moments. What is quite indicative, though, is that I received five phone
22 calls that day from Milan Babic from Milosevic's office for one sole
23 purpose, which was to suggest that I do not bomb Zagreb. I took this
24 information on record and responded that we would assess what to do in
25 due course. No one from the authorities in Serbia, from the regime,
1 contacted me. They simply bypassed me and all contacts were conducted
2 with General Mrksic. Later on, I saw the same requests not to shell
4 "In the evening at 7.30, the Croatian prime-time newsreel was on.
5 We had a generator and electricity within the HQ, and the Croats
6 announced the cessation of air raids -- air threats in Zagreb because a
7 general of theirs, Tolj, I believe was his name, said that all citizens
8 should go out of their shelters in Zagreb because the Serbs supposedly
9 did not have the necessary range. I subsequently sent to General Mrksic
10 the order to bomb Zagreb
11 all the ammunition we had. He replied, Okay, I understand, as they say."
12 MR. MISETIC:
13 Q. General, we'll pause it right here, so let me ask you -- we'll
14 continue with this video, but since this is the issue: Do you recall a
15 conversation on the evening of the 4th with Mr. Martic in which he passed
16 an order to you to bomb Zagreb
17 A. President Martic, seeing what was happening to Knin, kept saying,
18 Why would not we hit back, hit Zagreb
19 All right, and I told the chief of artillery to pull out the Orkan as
20 soon as possible, to pull it out from firing positions and not to shell,
21 because that would amount to retaliation. In my book, that would be
22 cowardice, that would be the act of someone at a loss for a course of
23 action and then just hit at random whatever you want. This was changed
24 in the war plan.
25 Q. Let me ask you, do you know why Mr. Vrcelj passed an order to
1 shell Zagreb
2 A. Well, Vrcelj did this as a sort of an automatic reaction. If you
3 have no communications, you man your firing positions. And when I heard
4 that that was being done, I called Vrcelj immediately and I told them to
5 head for Dvor, to pull out towards Slasinje [phoen] and not to shell the
6 Croatian positions. One of the reasons was because this is prohibited
7 under the Geneva Conventions; namely, to shell civilian facilities,
8 because those were civilian facilities. There were civilians there. I
9 was being attacked by brigades from the Dinara. I was not being attacked
10 by Zagreb
11 MR. MISETIC: We'll play the rest of the video now.
12 [Video-clip played]
13 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Unfortunately, nothing came of
14 this order of mine; rather, to make things even more interesting, they
15 replaced the commander of the Kordun Corps, Colonel Veljko Bosanac,
16 behind my back for fear that I would directly issue him an order for such
17 an attack, because they disposed of the assets up there. They replaced
18 him and appointed a new guy so that the order couldn't possibly be
19 executed, and unfortunately not a single shell fell onto Zagreb, even
20 though we had millions of reasons to do so. And then the worst scenario
21 took place, which was that at a given moment during my brief absence, an
22 order that had been written a couple months prior in Belgrade was issued
23 calling for action in accordance with orders to withdraw the army, which
24 I wasn't even aware of."
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is all in hindsight. This is
1 in Banja Luka.
2 [Video-clip played]
3 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "On that unfortunate day, the
4 4th of August, what was your last order as the supreme commander?
5 "My last order was what I told you about the shelling of Zagreb
6 at approximately 7.30 p.m.
7 prior to that -- but prior to that, I had made a decision.
8 Unfortunately, there was no one to consult with. This was at 5.00 p.m.
9 to withdraw the civilian population from the cities which were under
10 constant shelling, such as Knin, Benkovac, Obrovac, and the order clearly
11 stated that the non-combat population was to withdraw to the villages
12 which were not being shelled, ending with Srb and Lapac, which were in
13 the Krajina and not in Sumadija. I passed such an order for one reason
14 only, that was because I remembered Western Slavonia and the massive
15 suffering of civilians there when I was attacked even by the Serbian
16 regime, and all those who practiced different politics than my own, that
17 this was a mistake. I said that I wouldn't repeat the same mistake and
18 withdraw everyone, but that all those capable for military service along
19 with myself were to take a rifle in their hands and fight for Krajina.
20 Although later on numerous attempts were made to manipulate these
21 facts, this was practically the key, that I passed the order for the army
22 to withdraw, which later proved to be untrue. Because that same evening,
23 I suggested to General Mrksic that we launch a counter-attack towards
24 Dinara, that I personally lead the men, as I knew the Dinara area well,
25 and that we could surprise the Croats, upon which he just stared at me
1 blankly as if to say nothing would come of this."
2 MR. MISETIC:
3 Q. General, do you remember any discussion with Mr. Mrksic on the
4 evening of the 4th about doing -- launching a counter-attack against
5 Croatian forces on the Dinara?
6 A. Well, this is an interview that he gave to Banja Luka. You know
7 how things work. After the fact, one should look for someone to blame.
8 So I don't see why you're showing this video here at all. I
9 don't see what purpose that serves. There is the decision made by the
10 Supreme Defence Council, and that would be like to my -- sort of
11 bewailing my own fate.
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Now, I don't know about this famous
13 order to withdraw the army; nor could I have even anticipated,
14 considering that the Croats experienced no significant successes this
15 far. I believed that the next day would be better for us, to our
16 advantage, and it surely would have been.
17 My absence from the headquarters, which lasted some two hours,
18 was enough for General Mrksic to gather all of his corps commanders which
19 he had appointed in the meantime with new men and to tell them to act in
20 accordance with this new order which had been prepared by Milosevic some
21 months before that. It was sufficient for me to have been absent for
22 that period of time for this to be issued. My return to the
23 headquarters, where I had gone previously in order to set up Radio Knin,
24 for it to start functioning, as a false Radio Knin had been broadcast and
25 was deceiving our people, so when I returned I was confronted with an odd
1 situation. Everyone was whispering about something, those colonels,
2 generals, and I couldn't hear what they were saying. But I believed
3 these were minor issues having to do with command tactics and said to
4 myself that this is okay, this was nothing serious.
5 "Later in the evening, sometime around midnight, I went to get
6 some rest because I hadn't slept for two days. However, I immediately
7 received a phone call from Dr. Karadzic, Krajisnik. The lines were still
8 functioning, and they needed to tell me something, to give me
9 suggestions, so I couldn't sleep. It was then that Mile Mrksic
10 suggested, regarding the command conditions, which were truly dire, that
11 it was impossible to command from Knin, and it was time to go to Srb.
12 And I said, That is out of the question. What Srb are you talking about?
13 That is out of the question, under no circumstances.
14 "After a certain period of time, after a half hour or so of
15 whispering with some colonels, they suggested that we exit at Padjene,
16 that there was a command post there, in the sense that a normal command
17 was possible from there, and that such tactics would then be implemented,
18 that the Croats would be deceived. I relented then and said, If you're
19 going to Padjene, okay. They could barely wait. They simply collected
20 their things. I didn't know that they had already dismantled everything
21 at the headquarters, and they got up and left."
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. Now, General Mrksic, was there a decision to initially evacuate
24 or move the command to Padjene on the evening of the 4th?
25 A. Padjene was a command post of the 7th Corps. It was on the way.
1 It was the command post of the 7th Dalmatia Corps, and from there it was
2 possible to direct fire both of Knin and the others that I already
3 mentioned, so that we would stop the further advance of the Croatian
4 forces. And the president went to that area, and he remained there for a
5 while to rest. I couldn't wait for him to get up. I had to move on in
6 order to set up the system and make sure that it's functioning at Srb.
7 And as for Srb, the day before the command post was moved from --
8 had been moved from Srb already, beforehand, the previous day, and this
9 is normal in tactical terms.
10 I have no intention of commenting what the president was saying
11 here about what happened next in Banja Luka. I don't want to comment on
12 this. I think it's not fair.
13 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "I remained there with my men
14 sometime -- until about 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning, and then I left for
15 Padjene, where I found the following situation. First of all, I realised
16 this was not a command post, as they had indicated to me. There was some
17 form of communication system, but this is not what I expected. But I
18 said to myself, okay, I guess they'll assemble it. They have good
19 communications officers, and things will get better. I then asked to go
20 and rest, and they immediately provided me with some sort of bed. My
21 men, who had accompanied me, also rested a bit, and we awoke at around
22 8.00. There was shelling going on. However, this didn't bother me. It
23 was Saturday, but it was odd that there was no -- there were no sounds.
24 And then all of a sudden we jumped up and realised that there was no
25 command located there. They simply abandoned the position without even
1 having awakened me, which is truly shameful.
2 "For some time on, we remained there around Padjene, and around
3 10.00, I went to search for the command, and only then did I realise,
4 which I could not have possibly anticipated or even imagined that could
5 happen, when I came across a unit which was in Zitnic, which I
6 encountered at the end of Padjene, in Kravlja Draga as we call it, and
7 these men told me that they had received orders to withdraw. What orders
8 to withdraw? Get back there. The order to withdraw is invalid. I said
9 I found their Commander Colonel Davidovic and asked him, what is this
10 supposed to mean? The soldiers surrounded him, defended him, he is not
11 to blame, he received an order. He was like a convict.
12 "At the top of Otric, and I needed a few hours to break through,
13 I encountered the brigade from Dinara. Now, you can only guess when I
14 left, and it was there that I encountered our Colonel Radic. He was
15 pulling his hair out, and he kept saying, Don't ask me anything, don't
16 ask a thing, and so forth. I saw this was a strange situation. Where is
17 Mrksic, I said. He replied, He was in Srb. Therefore, he had escaped to
18 Srb. I needed a few hours as well from Srpski Klanac. I couldn't break
19 through. I went to Srb on foot, only to find them in Srb, to find the
20 famous headquarters which didn't even have a command, they didn't even
21 have a telephone. I saw -- everything was nearly completely lost. I
22 said, Mile, what is this supposed to mean? Do you have military police
23 at your disposal? Stop these people, I will address them. I could -- he
24 didn't even make any attempt. He said, well, you know, We'll do it in
1 MR. MISETIC:
2 Q. General Mrksic, let me ask you, on the 5th of August when you
3 were in Srb, were you already telling Mr. Martic that you would start
4 arresting people once you get to Petrovac?
5 A. No, no, I did not. All this is -- in fact, I'm not going to
6 comment, who was supposed -- at whose door the blame was supposed to be
7 laid? And I'm grateful that you called me to testify.
8 Q. I'm not going to show you the rest of the video, because I want
9 to finish today, so let me ask you this: He says in the video that you
10 had told him on the 5th that you would start arresting people once you
11 get to Petrovac. Was it your intention on the 5th to stay in Srb and to
12 continue to mount a defence against HV forces?
13 A. You know that on the 4th, in the evening, I assigned tasks to the
14 5th Infantry Brigade, so the Knin Corps would be deployed. And what
15 should be done to prevent them from advancing from Gracac, and that the
16 people should stay there -- a political solution.
17 That very day, a helicopter was sent from Republika Srpska to Srb
18 to get me and transfer me to Ostrelj, where Mladic told me, This is
19 urgent, your people are perishing in Banija and Kordun. So I transferred
20 to that theatre.
21 Q. But in terms of -- let's go back to D1511, Mr. Registrar.
22 General, this is the order that we talked about yesterday. Now,
23 you issued an order, in fact, on the 5th of August to continue to form a
24 defence line; correct?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. Now, if we could go to page 2 in the English, please, and this is
2 the portion, General, that starts under the heading "Order."
3 Now, in fact, again on the 5th you were trying to establish a new
4 front-line against the advancing HV forces, correct, as you can see in
5 paragraph 1?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. Now, were you in Srb on the 6th?
8 A. I was in Srb on the 6th, and then I also left Srb on that same
9 day. I spent a night there at the new command post.
10 Q. Okay.
11 A. Then I went to Ostrelj by helicopter and straight on to
12 Boskoski Novi -- Novi
13 Q. Now, in that paragraph 1, if you look at the order, I was
14 referring earlier to you, I said -- I referred to a place called
15 Bulina Strana, and in your order it says:
16 "A part of the forces is to continue the battle in the
17 encirclement, one unit is to be sent to the area of Bulina Strana for a
18 defence of the area of Knin."
19 Does that refresh your memory at all as to what Bulina Strana is?
20 A. This is probably a feature above Knin, above the winding road
21 that leads from Knin, the hairpin-curves road. I cannot speculate,
22 because I do not have a map.
23 Q. When you left Srb on the 6th, was it your intention to continue
24 to resist Croatian Army forces that were advancing towards Srb?
25 A. The intention was for us to stay there, to hold out and offer a
1 resistance pending developments, and we were expecting something to be
2 done by the international community. We were anticipating -- we were
3 hoping that the international community would not allow people to be
4 driven out of Krajina to Bosnia
5 expecting changes along those lines, so that is why I was frightened by
6 what was happening in Banija and in Kordun, and that is why I sent word
7 that the helicopters should find and get me -- should come and get me and
8 take me to that area.
9 Q. Let me ask you, General, why didn't you, on the 6th of August,
10 surrender or offer -- or seek terms of surrender to the Croatian Army?
11 A. Why should I, when I was offering peace without war, a peaceful
12 solution? And this did not suit you, the Croatian Army, the Croatian
13 police. We had signed everything, the Z-4 in Geneva, and I was supposed
14 to go and meet with Cervenko. I had all the necessary authority to sign
15 a peaceful solution with him. Who was to go, was to go; the rest should
17 Q. General, you're aware --
18 A. I didn't need war.
19 Q. General, you're aware that Cedo Bulat under in Sector North
20 surrendered to General Stipetic of the Croatian Army; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And as a result of his surrender -- as a result of his surrender
23 to the Croatian Army, he was allowed to leave his encirclements with his
24 equipment and everything; correct?
25 A. No, just for the men to leave without equipment, and officers
1 were allowed to just carry their pistols. That is under the
2 Geneva Convention. They had to surrender everything else, all the
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot follow the witness and
5 did not catch the last sentence.
6 MR. MISETIC:
7 Q. General, they didn't catch your last sentence, so if you could
8 repeat just your last sentence. Just repeat what you said.
9 A. The Kordun Corps surrendered because it was cut off by air raids,
10 and the line was cut off when Glina was taken, so the retreat line was
11 cut off and the corps was forced to do fight in encirclement. Because
12 that would entail great casualties among the civilians, the command of
13 that corps decided to surrender.
14 JUDGE ORIE: You were invited to repeat your last sentence.
15 Apparently, you have given us more information. Wait for the next
16 question --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what my last sentence
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic will put his next question to you.
20 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
21 Q. Now my question to you is: Why -- you've now said what the
22 Kordun Corps did. Because they were encircled and because great
23 casualties would have occurred among civilians, the commander of the
24 corps decided to surrender.
25 A. That's right.
1 Q. My question to you is: Why, on the entire territory -- you were
2 the commander for the entire territory of the Krajina. Why didn't you,
3 when you -- at the point you realised you could no longer defend,
4 surrender, as Cedo Bulat did, in order to avoid, as to use your terms,
5 great casualties?
6 A. Because the other corps were not yet in a position of having to
7 surrender. A soldier can surrender when there is no-way-out position,
8 and Cedo was in a no-way-out position. But Mr. Tudjman had sent a man
9 who personally knew Cedo Bulat, and he had given him guarantees, so that
10 they had established a relationship of trust, and there were guarantees
11 being given that nothing would happen to the people if the corps pulled
13 Q. So the only way you would have surrendered is if you were
14 completely encircled; is that how I'm to understand you? Only if you're
15 encircled would you ever surrender?
16 A. That is right. That is what you wouldn't allow me to expound on
17 when I said what changes were that I had undertaken. If a corps should
18 be encircled, then each corps takes a decision in terms of what is the
19 best for the people. And we reckoned that all the corps would fare like
20 the Kordun Corps did, but that there would be no retaliation against the
21 people. But you didn't just cut off; you pushed, you instilled fear in
22 the people, you frightened the people, and people had to flee. You
23 pushed and you pushed and you pushed.
24 JUDGE ORIE: I think you have more than answered the question
25 that was put to you.
1 Mr. Misetic.
2 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. General Mrksic, afterwards, after Operation Storm, you came under
4 some criticism; correct?
5 A. Yes, I was to blame for everything to this day. And I would like
6 to say how I fared. I'll be brief.
7 I could not go back to Serbia
8 threatened with arrest. I entered two months later by getting across the
10 Q. General, General, General --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter correction: I was put under house
12 arrest and then I had to retire.
13 MR. MISETIC:
14 Q. I'm racing to try to finish -- we're done today. General -- if I
15 could have 65 ter 1D1043, please.
16 And let me show you a series of documents, and that will speed it
17 up so we can finish today, Mr. President. I won't ask you to comment on
18 each document. I'll ask you to comment on all of them when we've shown
19 every document.
20 A. Well, I don't know. I've forgotten about these documents.
21 Q. Okay. I'm interested -- this purports to be a report or a
22 communication from you to the chief of the General Staff of the
23 Yugoslav Army on the 18th of August. Point 6 says: "Organise --" you're
24 conveying the decision of the Presidency, point 1. And then point 6 is:
25 "Organise a group visit of military conscripts at refugee
1 centres, with the aim of making lists and gathering volunteers.
2 "The dead-line for implementation is 1 September 1995 until when
3 a report is to be submitted."
4 Number 12, it says - I think there's a mis-translation here,
5 General, but:
6 "At this moment, a volunteer battalion of the VRS has been a
7 formed from Western Slavonians which, with the other volunteers,
8 constitutes a core of units located on Mount Kozara in the settlement
9 Benkovac. Upon formation, training, and preparation, the volunteers
10 shall take over part of the battle-field on the RSK border, and in that
11 manner assist the defence of the VRS."
12 Mr. President, just for speed, if I could tender this now.
13 MR. RUSSO: No objection, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1522.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit 65 ter
18 1D1046, please.
19 Q. This is a document purporting to be a communication from you,
20 again, to the chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army.
21 A. Let's see what this is about.
22 Q. It looks like you're seeking, it says:
23 "We seek that in the aim of enabling us to resolve the problems
24 within the authority of the General Staff of the Serb Krajina Army, you
25 provide the following assistance ..."
1 And in point 4:
2 "The General Staff and the SVK units' commands are located in the
3 RS, where they are primarily working on training the units and their
4 inclusion in the composition of the VRS."
5 Mr. President, I ask that this exhibit be marked, and I tender it
6 into evidence.
7 MR. RUSSO: No objection.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit D1523.
10 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
11 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit D416,
13 Q. This is a directive from Mr. Martic on the 2nd of August -- 2nd
14 of September -- or 4th of September, I'm sorry, where he is issuing a
15 directive on the formation of the RSK Liberation Army, and its coalescing
16 into the combat operations in the territory of the Republika Srpska and
17 the RSK.
18 And then let me flip to 65 ter 1D1047, please.
19 JUDGE ORIE: And you'd like to tender the previous one?
20 MR. MISETIC: This is already in.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it is.
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. Now, Mr. Martic issues that order on the 4th, and then there is a
24 stamp in the original here, in the upper left-hand corner. This purports
25 to be an order by you. The stamp is "7 September 1995," for the
1 formation of the Liberation Army of the Republic of Serb Krajina
2 coalescing into combat operations in the territory of the RS and the RSK.
3 And if we look at paragraph 2 of this order, it says:
4 "The RSK Liberation Army is organised in liberation brigade,
5 volunteer liberation brigades, and special units.
6 "Special units are organised in groups and squads."
7 Now, General Mrksic, do you recall issuing an order for the
8 formation of the liberation Army of the RSK in September of 1995?
9 A. Well, I have nothing to say about this material, this document.
10 We were – we were losers, and we wanted to reorganise and go back to our
11 areas. We didn't go from there on purpose, to escape - we were pushed
12 out, and we wanted to go back. And we were even prepared to switch to
13 sabotage and terrorist, I mean anti-sabotage actions, reconnaissance and
14 so on. That’s, I mean - you know how it is… It's like a government in
15 exile, then you ask around, Can we, can we not? And we didn't even know
16 that we were not allowed to mobilise refugees.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic, the simple question was whether you had
18 any recollection in giving such an order. The answer apparently is "yes."
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I remember.
20 MR. MISETIC:
21 Q. General, in case there's an interpretation issue, what types of
22 units did you say? You said: "We were even prepared to switch to ..."?
23 A. Reconnaissance units that would go and gather data or information
24 on the territory of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. That was our
25 territory. Of course, in coordination with the forces of
1 Republika Srpska, because an offensive was being prepared against
2 Republika Srpska, against Prijedor, Banja Luka, and so on. However, this
3 was just a wish list, a laundry list.
4 Q. Let me ask you, General: Are you familiar with whether there
5 were camps organised for bringing back from Serbia males from the Krajina
6 so that they would be retrained and deployed in units such as these?
7 A. Yes, there was one in Bijeljina and another one near Banja Luka
8 at - let me try to remember - the training-grounds at Manjaca. But
9 people did not wish to take up arms, so this fell through. And this was
10 also not within our powers, because no one had the right to force anyone
11 to take up arms if they had already decided to give up fighting.
12 Q. Was there a camp in Eastern Slavonia that you know of?
13 A. I had no prerogatives in Eastern Slavonia. I could not get
14 involved, nor would they let me enter Serbia.
15 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that this exhibit be marked,
16 and I tender it into evidence.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Russo.
18 MR. RUSSO: No objection.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
20 THE REGISTRAR: That's Exhibit D1524, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
22 MR. MISETIC: General Mrksic, thank you very much. That
23 completes my examination --
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you for inviting me to
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mrksic --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE ORIE: -- we'll adjourn for the day, and we'd like to see
4 you back on Monday at 9.00. And I'm quite confident that we'll be able
5 to conclude your testimony in time. Mr. Misetic strictly kept to his
6 time assessment, and I expect the other parties to do the same, which
7 would not in any way endanger your personal interest next week.
8 Could -- Mr. Mrksic, I would like again to instruct you that you
9 should not speak with anyone about the substance. You know the
10 difference about the weather, fine; about your health, fine. But not
11 about your testimony.
12 Could Mr. Mrksic be escorted out of the courtroom.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Then I'd like to deliver a very short decision, so
15 that's from the table as well, and that is a decision on the admission of
17 On the 9th of June, 2009, the Prosecution tendered P2539, of
18 which it had put an excerpt to Witness Zuzul. The excerpt is from a news
19 article according to which the witness had, on the 24th of July, 1997
20 and in his capacity as Croatian ambassador to the US, announced Croatia
21 resistance to orders by this Tribunal to produce documents implicating
22 President Tudjman in the Bosnian war. The witness commented in court on
23 the excerpt. All of this can be found between transcript pages 18374 and
25 The Chamber admits P2539 into evidence because it provides the
1 context to the witness's comments on the article, which may be difficult
2 to understand and to evaluate in the absence of P2539. The Chamber is
3 mindful that it is a hearsay statement. The Chamber further emphasizes
4 that the admission is no indication of the weight, if any, which the
5 Chamber may ultimately attach to this article.
6 And this concludes the Chamber's decision on the admission of
8 We adjourn, and we'll resume on Monday, the 22nd of June, 9.00 in
9 the morning, Courtroom I.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.51 p.m.
11 to be reconvened on Monday, the 22nd day of June,
12 2009, at 9.00 a.m.