1 Monday, 5 October 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
7 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
10 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina et al.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
12 Mr. Kay, is the Cermak Defence ready to call its next witness
13 which, as I understand, will be Karolj Dondo?
14 MR. KAY: That's correct, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning. Mr. Dondo, do you hear me in a
18 language you understand?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require that
21 you make a solemn declaration, Mr. Dondo, before you give testimony. The
22 text will now be handed out to you by Madam Usher, and I would like to
23 invite you to make that solemn declaration.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
25 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: KAROLJ DONDO
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Dondo. Please be seated.
4 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Dondo, you'll first be examined by Mr. Kay.
6 Mr. Kay is counsel for Mr. Cermak.
7 Mr. Kay, please proceed.
8 MR. KAY: Much obliged, Your Honour.
9 Examination by Mr. Kay:
10 Q. Mr. Dondo, can you confirm to the Court one matter, first of all,
11 that you can speak the English language.
12 A. [Interpretation] Yes.
13 Q. But you have chosen to give your evidence today in court in your
14 own language; is that right?
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. And you have brought into court with you copies of your
17 statements that you gave to the Office of the Prosecutor as well as the
18 Defence; is that correct?
19 A. Both, yes, that's right.
20 Q. If you need to refer to those documents as hard copies at any
21 stage, please inform us and the Court that that is what you want to do.
22 Do you understand?
23 A. I do.
24 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Dondo.
25 First of all, I would like you to see a copy of the statement
1 that you gave to the Office of the Prosecution in the year 2005.
2 MR. KAY: Might the first page of that statement be put on the
3 screen in front of you.
4 Q. You'll see it on the right-hand side screen, Mr. Dondo.
5 MR. KAY: 2D00-730.
6 Q. In fact, this is a copy of your statement that you gave to the
7 Defence, but we will start with that. For some reason it was on my list
8 at the top. If you could just look at that statement there, can you see
9 your signature on the bottom of the statement?
10 A. I can see my initials, yes, the ones that I wrote.
11 Q. And can you confirm that this is a statement that you gave to the
12 Defence and that you have read this statement and affirmed its content?
13 A. Yes, I confirm that.
14 Q. And if we just look at the last page of the statement, you're
15 looking at it in the hard copy. Just look at it on the screen,
16 Mr. Dondo. Can you see your statement signed at the end by you?
17 A. Yes, this is my signature. Correct.
18 Q. Thank you. And is it correct that that statement contained
19 certain corrections that you made in relation to a statement you gave to
20 the Office of the Prosecutor in the year 2005?
21 A. Yes, some minor corrections.
22 MR. KAY: Can we now turn to that statement which is
23 65 ter 2D00-729, and if we could turn to the front page of that
24 statement. If we could move to the signatures. Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Dondo, do you confirm there the front page of a statement
1 that you gave to the Office of the Prosecutor on the 9th of March, 2005
2 A. I do confirm that this is my signature on the document.
3 MR. KAY: And can we turn to the last page of that statement.
4 Q. Do you confirm your signature at the end of that statement?
5 A. I do, yes.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I won't be looking at all the pages in
8 between, with Your Honour's leave. Everybody knows they have been signed
9 by the witness.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Leave is granted, Mr. Kay.
11 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Dondo, is the statements that you have given, first of all to
13 the Office of the Prosecution and then to the Defence with the
14 corrections that you made to your statement to the Prosecutor, taking
15 that into account, is the information contained within those two
16 statements to the best of your knowledge and belief true and correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And if I was to ask you today the same questions that made up the
19 information within those two statements, would your answers today be the
20 same answers as you have given on previous occasions?
21 A. They would unless I forgot to mention something.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Dondo.
23 MR. KAY: Your Honour, in those circumstances might the -- first
24 of all, the statement to the Office of the Prosecutor, 2D00-729, with
25 made an exhibit in the case?
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, the number for the 2005 statement
2 would be?
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1695.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
5 Any objections?
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objections, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Then D1695 is admitted into evidence.
8 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Your Honour, might the statement given to the Defence, 2D00-730
10 be admitted into evidence, please?
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, the 2009 statement to the Defence
12 would receive number?
13 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1696, Your Honours.
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. KAY: Thank you.
18 And, Your Honour, for a point of reference, there is at
19 paragraph 3, line 31 of the statement taken by the Defence,
20 Exhibit D1696, the Court will see there reference to a document seen
21 earlier in evidence last week with a witness, Mr. Lukovic. It has the
22 reference OBR06-23. That has already been admitted into evidence as
23 D1689, which I hope assists the Court.
24 Q. Mr. Dondo, could we now look at another document, 2D00-731.
25 MR. KAY: Your Honour, this is mentioned in the Defence statement
1 at -- in the English page 7, paragraph 17, line 20, it's in the body of
2 Mr. Dondo's statement. Might I have permission to add it to the
3 65 ter exhibit list?
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Leave is granted.
6 MR. KAY: And, Your Honour, might I now make this document an
8 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, no objections --
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
10 JUDGE ORIE: -- against 2D00-731 to be admitted into evidence.
11 Mr. Registrar, that would be number ... ?
12 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1697, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please repeat the number.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit D1697.
15 JUDGE ORIE: D1697 is admitted into evidence.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 The next document is 2D00-732. This is mentioned in the Defence
19 statement, Your Honour, at page 9, paragraph 21, line 8. It's a document
20 referred to as OBR05-168. I request leave to add it to our
21 65 ter exhibit list.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And then to have it admitted, may I take it?
24 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, 2D00-732 would receive number ... ?
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1698.
2 JUDGE ORIE: D1698 is admitted into evidence.
3 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 The next document is 2D00-692. Your Honour, this is within the
5 Defence statement at page 7, paragraph 17, line 28, where it has the
6 reference OBR05-165. This is already on the 65 ter exhibit list, Your
8 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne --
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objections.
10 JUDGE ORIE: -- any objection against admission?
11 Mr. Registrar, 2D00-692 would receive number.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1699.
13 JUDGE ORIE: D1699 is admitted into evidence.
14 Mr. Kay.
15 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 The next document is 2D00-733, referred to at page 11 of the
17 Defence statement, paragraph 27, line 19, may this document be added to
18 the 65 ter exhibit list, please, Your Honour?
19 JUDGE ORIE: And once leave is granted, I take it to be admitted
20 into evidence?
21 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 Then 2D00-733, Mr. Registrar, would receive ... ?
25 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1700.
1 JUDGE ORIE: D1700 is admitted into evidence.
2 MR. KAY: The next document -- the next document, Your Honour, is
3 65 ter 2670. It's a document referred to in the Defence statement,
4 page 15, paragraph 38, line 18.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, in the confidential appendix the number
6 appears a bit odd, it's 26 (0), but that's now, as you said, 2670. That
7 is clear.
8 Any objections, Ms. Mahindaratne?
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objections.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, 65 ter 2670 would be ... ?
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1701.
12 JUDGE ORIE: D1701 is admitted into evidence.
13 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 And the last of these documents is 65 ter 2676, please. This
15 is --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MR. KAY: -- referred to in the Defence statement at page 15,
18 paragraph 38, line 15.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, no objections?
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, 65 ter 2676 would be ... ?
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1702.
23 JUDGE ORIE: D1702 is admitted into evidence.
24 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Your Honour, I won't be making a brief summary as to the
1 witness's -- nature of the witness's evidence. I believe this will come
2 out during cross-examination, with the Court's leave, unless the Court
3 wanted me to do so.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course, I do not know what will be -- what
5 will come up during cross-examination, but what Mr. Dondo describes in
6 his statements may be his involvement as a member of the organ that used
7 to liaise, communicate, between the Croatian authorities and the
8 international organisations, and he describes what happened in the early
9 days of August when he was sent to Knin.
10 MR. KAY: That's right, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then at least the subject matter of the testimony in
12 rather general terms is now available to the public and you may proceed.
13 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour. Perhaps I'll just add in one
14 minute as the liaison officer for Sector South he worked under
15 Mr. Lukovic, who gave evidence last week, and he was part of the team of
16 the Croatian military UN/EU liaison group who worked in Knin. He worked
17 with General Cermak. He describes the nature of coordination, meetings
18 that were held at the garrison headquarters. He describes the
19 relationship between Mr. Cermak and Mr. Pasic and other people who were
20 working within Knin at this time, as he describes seeking to normalise
21 life and to get Knin back to a normal state. And he describes the issue
22 of crimes that were being committed at the time and describes Mr. Cermak
23 as passing information on to both the civil and military police from the
24 information passed on to him by the United Nations and other
25 international groups. Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Before I sit down, Mr. Dondo, I'd like you to look at two
2 documents, or three documents in two sections. The first is
3 65 ter Exhibit 2D00-755. It's a document dated the 20th of August, 1995
4 It's not referred to in your statement.
5 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I'll seek various leaves after we finish
6 the questioning on the document with the Court's leave.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and in order to avoid confusion, you were
8 talking about exhibit numbers, of course they receive the exhibit numbers
9 from the Registry --
10 MR. KAY: Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: -- whereas, this is the numbering as assigned by the
13 MR. KAY: Sure.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
15 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. This document here, Mr. Dondo, do you see your signature on it?
17 It's on the right-hand screen in your own language.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And do you recollect the information contained within this
21 A. Give me a moment to read it, please.
22 This is one of our daily reports that we sent to our command in
23 Zadar, and they in turn forwarded them to Zagreb.
24 Q. Thank you. I've no further questions to ask about that.
25 MR. KAY: First of all, Your Honour, may this document be added
1 to the 65 ter list of our Defence?
2 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Then --
5 MR. KAY: May it be made an exhibit.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit D1703.
8 JUDGE ORIE: D1703 is admitted into evidence.
9 MR. KAY: Thank you.
10 Q. The next document that I'd like you to look at is 65 ter 4178.
11 It's a document dated the 31st of August of 1995, and it comes from the
12 ECMM Regional Centre Knin. It's dated the 31st of August, 1995, and it
13 concerns a report about an incident on the 26th of August at Orlic when
14 there was an inspection of a house on fire, an allegation that one
15 Croatian soldier cocked his gun, threatened one of the monitors. There
16 was a protest about this, and it is signed by Philippe Augarde, head of
17 the Knin Regional Centre.
18 On the it happen right-hand side we see some handwriting.
19 Mr. Dondo, can you see that, Karlo?
20 A. [In English] Yes. [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
21 Q. And a question mark. Do you recognise whose writing that is?
22 A. I believe it is Mr. Cermak's handwriting.
23 Q. And what is written is "Karlo?! Response." Is that right?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. I'd like to --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Can we move down the original because -- the B/C/S.
2 Yes, there we see the signature. Thank you.
3 MR. KAY: Your Honour, might this document be made an exhibit?
4 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Is there anything you'd like to add, Mr. Dondo?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There are too few letters for me to
7 be a hundred per cent sure that the handwriting is indeed Mr. Cermak's,
8 but I believe it is.
9 MR. KAY:
10 Q. Thank you.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps we move a little bit so that we can
12 see the full of the handwriting.
13 Mr. Dondo, anything?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I confirm that the
15 handwriting is Mr. Cermak's.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay.
17 MR. KAY: Thank you. Your Honour, might this document be made an
18 exhibit, please?
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit D1704.
22 JUDGE ORIE: D1704 is admitted into evidence.
23 MR. KAY: Your Honour, the next document is Exhibit P1147. It is
24 a letter dated the 8th of September, 1995. If we look at the content of
25 the letter, it's addressed to Mr. Augarde of the European mission
1 Regional Centre Knin from the garrison in Knin. It refers to the letter
2 of protest dated the 31st of August, 1995, concerning an event which
3 occurred as long ago as 26th of August on 1995, and that the letter was
4 only received on the 6th of September, 1995. And it refers to the
5 impermissible behaviour by a person in the uniform of a Croatian soldier
6 and it says:
7 "I have issued an order to the military police to investigate the
8 case and make every attempt to discover the perpetrator."
9 And then it refers to future cooperation.
10 Q. Mr. Dondo, do you recognise this letter?
11 A. Yes, I do. I know it.
12 Q. And how do you come to know the letter?
13 A. We, as the communications officers, forward all letters that are
14 drafted to the United Nations, and this refers to Colonel-General,
15 commander of the regional centre, and such communications would go
16 through us. All the letters are written in Croatian. They are signed by
17 General Cermak. We have them translated and hand them over to the person
18 to whom they are addressed.
19 Q. And do you know if this letter is linked to the previous letter
20 we looked at from Mr. Augarde dated the 31st of August?
21 A. I certainly think it is linked because the way it is phrased
22 hints at the general's apology for the events that had happened, and it
23 expresses the wish for the continuation of good cooperation.
24 Q. Did you draft the response to the letter of the 31st of August?
25 Is this a draft by you?
1 A. Possibly.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. KAY: I have no further questions.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
5 I'm looking at the Gotovina Defence.
6 MR. KEHOE: Thank you, Mr. President, no questions.
7 JUDGE ORIE: No questions from the Gotovina Defence.
8 Mr. Mikulicic.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I will have a couple of
10 questions for Mr. Dondo.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Dondo, you'll now be cross-examined by
12 Mr. Mikulicic. Mr. Mikulicic is counsel for Mr. Markac.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Dondo. I'm going to ask you a
17 few questions on behalf of the Defence of Mr. Markac, and I would ask you
18 to try to reply to them to the best of your knowledge. We are all aware
19 that 15 years have elapsed since the events we're talking about.
20 Mr. Dondo, since we speak the same language and our conversation
21 has to be interpreted for the other participants to the proceedings, for
22 the Court to be able to use them -- use it, I would like to point out
23 that you're supposed to wait for a short while before giving your reply
24 to enable the interpreters to do their work.
25 A. I understand.
1 Q. Mr. Dondo, we saw from your statements that have been tendered
2 under numbers D1695 and D1696, that in August 1995 you were a member of
3 the liaison department of the Croatian army for liaising with the
4 European Union and the United Nations. You said in your statement that
5 in that capacity you attended numerous meetings that took place with
6 representative of the -- representatives of the international community,
7 both as a liaison officer and as an interpreter, as you speak English.
8 That is correct, isn't it?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. Mr. Dondo, just very briefly, did you notice at those meetings
11 that there is a problem with the interpreters of the UN or the European
12 Community at the time as regards their professional qualities and with
13 the quality of the interpretation given at those meetings?
14 A. Unfortunately, yes. Very often the interpreters did their work
15 very poorly and interpreted the statements of Mr. Forand or Mr. Cermak
16 wrongly; and thus, they changed the meaning of what was said. We would
17 then step in as interpreters and correct it, what had been said, and
18 sometimes we even had to go as far as to ask for the interpreters to be
20 Q. As far as you understood at the time, do you think that such a
21 low quality of interpretation provided by people hired by the
22 European Union or the UN affect their understanding of what was going on
23 on the ground at the time?
24 A. I believe that may have been the case because the same
25 interpreters also translated all letters that arrived at the
1 UN headquarters and at the European Community headquarters. And if they
2 were badly translated, then it is possible that they would have been
4 Q. Mr. Dondo, in your statements - we needn't repeat
5 everything - you explain your duties and your relationship with the
6 commander of the zone of operation and the garrison command. You mention
7 that you sent reports to the office in Zagreb, daily reports. To which
8 addresses did you send your reports?
9 A. There was only one address and that was our command in Zadar.
10 Q. So it is correct to say that you were not obliged, nor was it
11 done in practice, to send your reports to the commander of the garrison
12 or the commander of the army district?
13 A. That is correct.
14 Q. Mr. Dondo, during your -- during the time that you were in Knin,
15 there was one incident of special importance and it also has a special
16 significance in these proceedings. I'm referring to the event at
17 Grubori. In your statements you described your role and what you knew
18 about that event, but let me still ask you a few questions about that.
19 I'm now referring to paragraph 25 of your statement given in
20 2005. You gave it to the investigators of the OTP.
21 A. Can we see it on the screen?
22 Q. That is now Exhibit D1695, paragraph 25. I apologise, 1695.
23 You see now on the left-hand side the English version. I hope
24 that soon we will see the Croatian version on the right-hand side. But
25 as you speak English -- oh, here it is.
1 Mr. Dondo, you first found out about the event at Grubori from
2 the report submitted to you by the UNHCR representative, and the
3 situation was very dramatic. It was on the 25th of August in the
4 afternoon; that's correct, isn't it?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. You instructed her to report what she had just reported to you to
7 the civilian police?
8 A. Yes, correct.
9 Q. Mr. Dondo, what is your understanding of the reason why that
10 UNHCR representative came to you to inform you of the event at that
12 A. Because we were in fact the main point of contact for all
13 UN issues, and they thought that everything that was happening in Knin or
14 the surroundings should be taken care of through us.
15 Q. It wasn't a surprise to you with regard to the procedure?
16 A. It was a surprise insofar as I instructed her to turn to the
17 police, because what she had described was a criminal act.
18 Q. But later on when you checked things you realised that the
19 police, at least on that day, the 25th of August, knew nothing of that
20 event; is that correct?
21 A. Unfortunately, yes.
22 Q. On the next day, the 26th of August, in the morning, there was a
23 press conference which General Cermak also attended, and then the
24 journalists present - according to your statement - exerted a rather
25 strong pressure on General Cermak regarding the details of the event at
1 Grubori. Is that correct?
2 A. Do you mean the UN TV spot?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. That was a rather unpleasant situation. On the previous day they
5 had introduced themselves to me and asked for an interview with
6 General Cermak about the normalisation of life in Knin, and they wanted
7 to speak about everyday topics regarding civilian life in Knin. So we
8 didn't expect what was to come after the third sentence, we can call it
9 an attack, regarding something that we had no knowledge of.
10 Q. You too personally were present, weren't you, when Mr. Cermak
11 requested information about the details of those events from the local
12 police in Knin but never got such information; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that's correct.
14 Q. On that day, in the morning of the 26th of August, there was a
15 press conference, and after that, on the same day the so-called train of
16 liberty came to Knin, President Tudjman was on the train and many foreign
17 diplomats. That's correct, isn't it?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. As far as you remember, Mr. Dondo, the arrival of the train of
20 liberty on that day in Knin, what kind of consequences had it for the
21 situation in Knin? Was the situation normal and everyday-like, or did it
22 provoke some extraordinary situation with regard to security, police
23 controls, et cetera? How do you remember that day, with focus on the
24 arrival of the train?
25 A. Since the area had only recently been liberated, it is clear that
1 addition of forces had to be employed for security -- providing security.
2 I remember the euphoria present in Knin at the time, that's what I
3 remember best, euphoria due to the arrival of the train and the
5 Q. So priorly to that situation in Knin, you did understand that the
6 event at Grubori was something about which you needed more information?
7 And it was your initiative, as far as I understood, to suggest to
8 Mr. Cermak to go to the place itself and see what had happened. Is that
9 a correct interpretation?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. So on the 26th of August, in the afternoon, you came to Grubori,
12 assisted by two soldiers who escorted you to the village. At what time
13 do you -- did you arrive at the village?
14 A. It must have been around 5.00 p.m.
15 Q. Then you had the opportunity to contact some of the village's
16 inhabitants; is that correct?
17 A. No, not right away. When we arrived there the village was
18 deserted, and it took quite some time for the first villagers to start
19 appearing. They were extremely frightened because they didn't know who
20 we were, and we needed a little more time to establish normal
21 communication with them.
22 Q. It is then that you understood that the villagers had been
23 informed that on the day preceding the incident, a search of the terrain
24 was scheduled to take place and that they, the villagers, were asked to
25 leave the village to have -- to have the terrain ready for control?
1 A. As far as I remember, yes, that was also said.
2 Q. Your first impression on the 26th of August, in the afternoon, of
3 the events at Grubori, what was it like and can you describe what you saw
5 A. It is very difficult to describe in a few sentences. It was a
6 very emotional experience because I had never before seen anything like
7 that, murder, and -- well, I wouldn't call it torture but -- but elderly
8 people who were paralyzed or unable to move on their own. And I must say
9 I was astonished at the situation that I saw there, that I witnessed
10 there. The houses had been set on fire, the livestock had been
11 scattered, people frightened, dead bodies lying around, burnt. One body
12 in the village centre, another on the attic of a house. People say that
13 he was unable to move and he was dressed in pyjamas. And there was a
14 body which didn't even look like a human body but just like a heap of
15 ash. I wouldn't really like to continue with this.
16 Q. As you saw this kind of situation, human bodies, dead livestock,
17 et cetera, you spoke to the villagers and you tried to calm them down and
18 release the tensions. Was there anything said about burying the bodies?
19 A. We didn't speak about burials, but we said to the villagers that
20 we would do whatever was necessary to -- to deal with the consequences of
21 those events and that the police would come and sanitise the ground and
22 take all other necessary measures.
23 So it was important to us at the time to comfort the villagers
24 who were obviously extremely frightened because they feared that the same
25 soldiers would return, and they didn't feel safe in their village.
1 Although the UN bus was picking up the villagers from the surrounding
2 villages, but these people stayed in their village and they were looking
3 for comfort from us and that's what we wanted to give them. And this
4 comfort wasn't to consist only in promises, but actually in deeds.
5 Q. Upon returning from the village on that day, you drafted a report
6 but before that you went to the police station and orally informed them
7 of your observations. That's correct, isn't it?
8 A. Yes, it is correct.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could I ask the Registrar to show
10 us document P764, please.
11 Q. Mr. Dondo, now you're about to see a document and I will ask you
12 to confirm whether that is the report you drafted upon returning from
13 Grubori on the 26th of August, 1995.
14 You said that on that day, on the 26th, in the evening, when you
15 returned from Grubori, after -- having orally reported your observations
16 to the police and drafted a report afterward, you say that you left a
17 copy of that report on General Cermak's desk because he wasn't in Knin at
18 the time but travelled to Split
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Can you confirm that what we see on the screen is this very
22 report, and if necessary we can take a look at the second page bearing
23 your signature?
24 A. Yes, I would like to see that.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, there is no reference to
1 General Cermak having travelled to Split on the train of liberty. I
2 think the testimony so far in his statement is that General Cermak was
3 occupied with the train arriving in Knin.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, I think that we should not in the
5 presence of the witness say what is in evidence and what is not in
6 evidence --
7 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I apologise, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You're saying is that Mr. Mikulicic is
9 misrepresenting the evidence in this respect.
10 Mr. Mikulicic.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I'm referring to the witness
12 statement which is now D1696, paragraph 32 -- sorry, 33, line -- yes, let
13 me check, line 4 --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne --
15 MR. MIKULICIC: 3 and 4.
16 JUDGE ORIE: -- would you please check because that is in
18 Let me just check the --
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Paragraph 33, line 3 and 4 and 5.
20 JUDGE ORIE: 1696 is the -- yes, is the 2009 statement --
21 MR. MIKULICIC: Right, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: -- yes --
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I apologise, Mr. President. I note that -- I
24 withdraw my objections. My apologies.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Mikulicic.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Dondo, this is page 2 of the document, i.e.,
3 the report. Can you confirm that this is your signature?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Let us look at paragraph 5 of the document, where you state that
6 the villagers of Grubori were promised that sanitisation was to be
7 carried out, most probably on the following day, on the 27th, and that
8 the representatives of civilian structures, authorities, would come to
9 assist them to provide them with accommodation since their houses had
10 been destroyed.
11 Let me ask you this, Mr. Dondo: This process of sanitisation,
12 i.e., the provision for the dead bodies, in relation to this did you
13 receive instructions or orders from anyone stating that you should inform
14 the villagers of Grubori that sanitisation was to be conducted on the
15 following day or did this come about differently?
16 A. No, I didn't receive instructions from anyone, besides we didn't
17 know who it was we were going to find in the village. This is out of the
18 question. Sanitisation or human sanitisation was something that was
19 oftentimes used at the time. Looking at the police documentation, and it
20 was to the police that I provided a report, that was the first time I saw
21 this term "sanitisation," and I guess that's the reason why I used it in
22 my report. The policeman who took my report wrote -- before I wrote the
23 report that I would write a report and that sanitisation would be
24 conducted on the following day.
25 Q. Mr. Dondo, you had spent some 20-odd days in Knin prior to this
1 incident. Is it fair to say that at the time you were confronted with
2 the procedure of sanitisation of dead bodies which was conducted on a
3 regular basis in that period of time? Is that a fair statement?
4 A. No, no, I wouldn't agree that it was conducted on a daily basis
5 more or less, but I would agree with the fact that the term did emerge in
6 our conversations quite often.
7 Q. Similarly, at paragraph 8 you state that you had reported the
8 duty service of the police administration Knin, Mr. Damir Vrkic, at
9 8.00 p.m.
10 Grubori was sought. In other words, this is what you referred to a
11 moment ago; is that right?
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. Thank you for your answers. We are now about to come to the
14 following day, which is the 27th, when you go to Grubori again, but this
15 time as a guide - to put it that way - because there was a TV crew and
16 General Cermak who went there with you. Is that right?
17 A. Let me correct this. Until the very last moment I was not aware
18 of Mr. Cermak's plans because I was dealing with my duties. I didn't
19 know about his plans at the time, just as I didn't know in general
20 because he never informed me of his plans. I didn't know that I was
21 supposed to join them until the very last moment, whereupon I got ready
22 and left together with them.
23 Q. To your recollection - and we are mindful of the elapsed
24 time - who it was that you found of the individuals, and I mean
25 representatives of structures, organs, in the village of Grubori
1 was it who gathered in Grubori on the 27th, in other words, two days
2 following the incident?
3 A. Well, first of all, I'd like to mention journalists who were the
4 most numerous there, the civilian protection service, and the crime
5 investigation police, unless I'm mistaken.
6 Q. Did you have occasion to see members of the special police among
8 A. Yes, Mr. Sacic.
9 Q. Did you talk to Mr. Sacic at all or to any other members of the
10 special police about what had happened in the village of Grubori
11 A. No.
12 Q. Mr. Dondo, as a participant in these events, did you ever receive
13 from anyone instructions or orders to the effect that the incident needed
14 to be covered up or suppressed?
15 A. I am surprised by your question. No, I did not. I'm quite taken
16 aback by your question.
17 Q. During your stay in the field at the time, was it ever your
18 impression or did you receive information to the effect that measures or
19 actions were taken at whatever level aimed at covering up the events in
21 A. When I received the report on what had happened in Grubori from
22 Mr. Cermak - and I received the report because I was supposed to forward
23 it to the Red Cross which had asked for a report from us - that was the
24 only information I had about the events at Grubori.
25 Q. Mr. Dondo, in the context of your duties at the time, did you
1 have occasion to follow what happened after the incidents in Grubori in
2 terms of a police follow-up, investigations, et cetera?
3 A. No, we didn't have time to deal with these matters, nor did we
4 deal with them.
5 Q. If I were to ask you today, Mr. Dondo, if in fact you have
6 accurate or relevant information about the actual events in Grubori, what
7 would your answer be?
8 A. I don't know.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Dondo, for your answers.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, that concludes my cross-examination.
11 I have no further questions.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
13 Could I seek one clarification of one of your last answers. You
14 were supposed to forward the report on what had happened in Grubori by
15 Mr. Cermak and you said "that was the only information I had about the
16 events in Grubori." But you had your personal observations in Grubori?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
18 JUDGE ORIE: And did the content of the report you were supposed
19 to forward to the Red Cross, was that in every respect consistent with
20 your own observations?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It can be said that what happened
22 in Grubori was, as was indeed said, a contact between enemy forces and
23 that fire was opened from heavy weaponry upon houses. Now, the reason
24 why civilians were killed, infirm, elderly persons, this is something I
25 cannot fathom at all.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, now it's not really an answer to my question
2 you're giving. I asked you whether what you observed, whether that was
3 consistent with the content of the report you're supposed to send to the
4 Red Cross.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
7 Ms. Mahindaratne, are you ready to cross-examine Mr. Dondo?
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Dondo, you'll now be cross-examined by
10 Ms. Mahindaratne. Ms. Mahindaratne is counsel for the Prosecution.
11 Cross-examination by Ms. Mahindaratne:
12 Q. Good morning, Mr. Dondo. You testified that you speak English.
13 Do you also read and write English well?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, in -- you left the HV 1996; isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. After you left the HV you were employed by Mr. Cermak; is that
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. In what capacity?
21 A. First as a secretary and then as an operative manager.
22 Q. Are you still employed by Mr. Cermak?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Until when were you in such employment?
25 A. With a brief interval, during which I was in a different company
1 which was roughly one year up until 2006.
2 Q. Do you receive any retirement benefits from Mr. Cermak?
3 A. I was fired by Mr. Cermak.
4 Q. When were you fired by Mr. Cermak?
5 A. In the summer of 2006.
6 Q. Now, were you involved in any way in assisting the Defence --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, would it not be a good idea to try
8 to get an answer to your last question?
9 Do you have any -- let me just check -- well, if you're fired it
10 doesn't mean that there are necessarily no benefits remaining.
11 MR. KAY: Perhaps the clarification on employed by whom should be
12 if we're being technical about such matters, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. KAY: I think the Court will understand what I mean.
15 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that it was for the companies, as it is
16 stated in the statement given to the OTP.
17 Yes. Do you -- have you any pension rights from your employment
18 with any firm which was either owned by or directed by Mr. Cermak?
19 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
21 Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
23 Q. Now, isn't it correct that you assisted --
24 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Excuse me, Your Honour, the answer did not get
25 reflected in the transcript.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I think the answer, at least as I understood it
2 to be, was that you said that you had no pension benefits from such an
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, none, from the employment with
5 Mr. Cermak's company, no, I don't. I don't have any benefits.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
7 Q. Mr. Dondo, isn't it correct that you assisted Mr. Cermak in his
8 preparations towards his defence in this case?
9 A. Can you please clarify your question? I'm not sure I understand
11 Q. Okay. Let me be more specific. Didn't you participate at the
12 interview when Mr. Cermak was interviewed by the representatives of the
13 Office of the Prosecutor in 1998, you were present at that interview,
14 weren't you?
15 A. Correct, yes.
16 Q. You were present throughout that interview; isn't that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And isn't it right that in the course of that interview from time
19 to time you advised Mr. Cermak with regard to his responses, you provided
20 him details of specific, you know, situations. Isn't that correct? You
21 advised him during the course of that interview?
22 A. I wouldn't call it advice. Whenever Mr. Cermak could not recall
23 a fact or a detail that was questionable, he would ask me; and if I knew
24 the answer, I gave it to him.
25 Q. Mr. Dondo, we have that transcript here in evidence, and just --
1 I wanted just -- I don't intend to go through all of those exchanges
2 between you and Mr. Cermak, but I'll point you to a couple of instances.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President -- Mr. Registrar, may I have
4 P2526, please.
5 Mr. President, I wish to explain to the Court this -- this is the
6 1998 interview between Mr. Cermak and the OTP, and in the B/C/S version
7 of the transcript you have the entire recording transcribed and which
8 also captures the exchanges between Mr. Cermak and the witness. However,
9 the interpreter had not interpreted the exchanges between Mr. Cermak and
10 the witness into English, and as such the English transcript which is on
11 record at the moment in the evidence base do not contain those exchanges.
12 So what we -- what the Prosecution has done is we have translated those
13 additional exchanges which has been now disclosed to the Defence.
14 May I for ease of proceeding right now, Mr. President, be
15 permitted to distribute hard copies of those additional translations?
16 JUDGE ORIE: Distribute to whom?
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: To the Defence, Mr. President --
18 JUDGE ORIE: If it was disclosed --
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: And the Chamber -- it has already been
20 disclosed and --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then please provide the Chamber with the hard
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: We also have hard copies if the Defence
24 doesn't have ...
25 Now, Mr. President, in fact these additional translations have
1 been uploaded to e-court; however, for the time being, since we have to
2 refer to the transcript that is on e-court vis-a-vis the additional
3 translations, I will not call the additional translations on e-court for
4 the time being. But we could have it linked to this exhibit later on.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Let's first see how this material is used, what
6 evidence it produces, and then the technical way to deal with it is then
7 still to be considered. Please proceed.
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
9 Q. Mr. Dondo, on the screen in front of you is a record of that
10 transcript of the interview, and in fact your -- you have been asked to
11 identify yourself, and you say:
12 "I'm Karolj Dondo, secretary for Mr. Cermak."
13 And then your answer as to -- to explain your position in this
14 interview and you say:
15 "My participation in this interview is because of my role that I
16 had as the secretary to Mr. Cermak and the Liaison Officer for the time
17 that we spent in Knin."
18 So is it correct that apart from acting as a liaison officer, you
19 also functioned as Mr. Cermak's secretary when you were in Knin during
20 the period --
21 A. No, no, I worked as a secretary in Mr. Cermak's company.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, if we could go to transcript
23 reference -- page number 15 on the English. And that would be Croatian
24 page number 16 in the B/C/S.
25 Q. And in the English, page 15, at line 26 and the Croatian version
1 you would see, Mr. Dondo, and line 26 in front of you on the B/C/S
2 version you were asked -- Cermak is asked a question by the investigator.
3 The question is:
4 "Who was your immediate superior?"
5 And this is the portion which is not -- which has not been
6 interpreted and is now in the additional translation.
7 MS. MAHINDARATNE: And if the Court and Defence could turn to
8 page 3, Mr. President, if you could turn to page 3 of that additional
9 translation, that is the hard copies that is with you, you can find the
10 portion that is left out of the transcript.
11 Q. And there is an exchange between you and Mr. Cermak. Mr. Cermak
13 "To me, since I was dealing with the issues of making the town
14 function and slowly establishing civilian authorities, and I had
15 delegations of the international community ..."
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, that is the portion that is
17 left out of the transcript on e-court, so it's in the hard copy that's --
18 JUDGE ORIE: I know that, Ms. Mahindaratne, but I'm checking the
19 context in e-court --
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Okay.
21 JUDGE ORIE: -- yes, please.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
23 Q. "... community, with regard to all those issues, I had frequent
24 contacts with the Office of the President, in fact Mr. Sarinic,
25 Vesna Skare-Ozbolt, with regard to all those issues. And with regard to
1 those other military issues, my ultimate, ultimate ... who would be my
3 And you in fact assist Mr. Cermak, you say:
4 "The President." And then Mr. Cermak says:
5 "The President, no, that's not it. Wait, who could have been
6 superior to me? Pardon. Who could have been superior to me? I did not
7 receive orders from anybody else, but according to some hierarchy,
8 according to the hierarchy, according to the hierarchy even the military
9 district command could give me orders."
10 And you again advise him:
11 "Gotovina" -- and then there is an exchange between you and
12 Mr. Cermak which has not been captured.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. --
14 MR. MISETIC: If we could just turn the page so our clients could
15 follow along in the B/C/S version, please.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, if we could move to ...
18 Q. So isn't it correct, Mr. Dondo, that you, in fact, and I could
19 really take you through several such exchanges between you and
20 Mr. Cermak -- you in fact were advising Mr. Cermak on what responses he
21 should provide to the investigators in the course of that interview;
22 isn't that correct? It is right here on record.
23 A. I don't recall this. It was a long time ago. I don't remember
24 the details, absolutely not.
25 Q. You may not remember the details, Mr. Dondo, but this is on
1 record. In fact, the videotape is in evidence and this is just a mere
2 transcript of what is on the videotape. So do you agree that you, in
3 fact, assisted Mr. Cermak in the course of that interview with regard to
4 what responses he should provide to the investigators?
5 A. I can't agree with you before I've read the transcript. I am not
6 familiar with it. I don't know.
7 Q. Very well. We could -- actually later on in relation to certain
8 other matters I will go to some of these exchanges. Now, just one other
9 question. As the liaison officer, apart from acting as an intermediary
10 between the international organisations and Mr. -- and the Croatian
11 authorities, did you also function as an intermediary between the
12 Croatian authorities themselves, for example, did you function as an
13 intermediary between Mr. Cermak and the civilian police or Mr. Cermak and
14 the military police?
15 A. No. We were intermediaries between Mr. Cermak and any other
16 commander, be it Mr. Gotovina, the commander of Sector South to whom we
17 were subordinated at one point, and the international community, i.e.,
18 the UN and the European Community.
19 Q. Did Mr. Cermak use the liaison officers at all to convey any
20 instructions either to the civilian police or the military police?
21 A. No. No, I don't remember any such instance.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I note the time. Would this be
23 a good time for a break?
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I think it's a good time for the break, but
25 could I first inquire with you -- let's focus on page 15 of the English
1 because you indicate in your hard copy where to find what. Now I see on
2 the third page of this hard copy you gave to us reference is made to the
3 English translation page 15, line 11; then page 15, line 12; and then in
4 the English translation page 16, line 13, which comes a bit as a surprise
5 in view of what we later find, that is, English translation page 15,
6 line 27. Now, I see that apart from whether it makes any sense to make a
7 distinction between page 15, lines 11, 12, and 13, I find there in our
8 English version translation interpreted by conversation in Croatian
9 between Ivan Cermak and Karolj Dondo. So that explains clearly what we
10 find there. However, on page 15, line 27, I do not see any indication as
11 to any conversation which was apparently not translated. So I'm just
12 wondering as to how complete the English version is in stating that there
13 is a missing portion.
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: It is not, Mr. President. In fact, you are
15 correct. The English transcript, which is now in the evidence base, does
16 not at each point where there is an exchange missing, does not in fact
17 indicate that there is an exchange missing. What the language assistants
18 did was in fact compared the Croatian version and the English version,
19 practically line to line, and that's how they gathered that there was
20 certain portions missing in the English transcript, and hence the
21 indication as to where exactly the missing portions should fit in the
22 English transcript. But unfortunately, on the English transcript itself,
23 it is in the record, everywhere it doesn't report that there is an
24 exchange missing.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, because I find apparently after page 15,
1 line 27, I find -- well, five to six, if not seven lines untranslated
2 without any trace in the English version.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: That's correct, Mr. President. From the
4 comparison, the portion that is missing that is -- which should be at
5 line 27 and then the rest that is recorded should really add on to that,
6 so --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now the reference to page 16, line 13, on that
8 same page, is that just a mistake or is it -- because I -- it gives me
9 the impression, but I've seen it only for a few seconds, that it's all
10 chronologically --
11 MS. MAHINDARATNE: It is a mistake, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: It is a mistake. That should be page 15 then?
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, that should be page 15. I'll have that
14 corrected on what will be uploaded and a link to the exhibit.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for that information.
16 We'll have a break and we'll resume at 11.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.34 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, please proceed.
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Mr. Dondo, let me take you to the incident in Grubori, since we
22 just discussed about that. Now, in your -- in the statement you made to
23 the OTP in 2005, and that is D1695, this is what you say. If you want to
24 follow it on the hard copy --
25 A. [In English] I would like it, please, yes.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, if I could have D1695 and move
2 to page 9 of the English. It's paragraph 25.
3 THE WITNESS: Mm-hmm.
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
5 Q. And while the Croatian is coming up, I will -- let me just read
6 what you've stated. You say:
7 "I think the first I knew was when the UNHCR representative came
8 to us very upset. She was dramatising everything and saying that
9 assistance should be sent immediately because people were being
10 killed" --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. --
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Sorry, Mr. President.
13 Q. "... because people were being killed and houses were being
14 burnt. I think she was accompanied by two others from the same
16 You have, in fact, made an amendment to paragraph 25 with regard
17 to that specific item of evidence, and that is at paragraph 30 of your
18 2009 statement made to the Defence, that's D1696, and this is what you
19 say there:
20 "We received the first information about the incident in the
21 village of Grubori on the same day that it happened, at around
22 1600 hours. The lady who arrived at our Office for Cooperation was most
23 likely a member of the UN civil affairs. She told us that there were
24 shots fired and that houses were burning in Grubori."
25 And the last three lines of paragraph 30 you say:
1 "At that time we did not know that people had been killed, nor
2 did we know in the morning of the next day, 26 August 1995 ..."
3 Now, my question to you is: In your statement to the OTP you
4 said that the first information that you received was that people were
5 being killed and houses were being burnt; but in 2009 when you spoke to
6 the Defence, you said that the first report was that houses were being
7 burnt and shots were fired, that there was no reference to people being
8 killed. Now, what was the basis for that amendment? Why in 2009 did you
9 think that you had not received information about people being killed in
10 that first report?
11 A. [Interpretation] I must say that the first report that I gave to
12 the OTP on the date stated - I can't see it here now but I think it was
13 in 1996 if I'm not mistaken - that report was drafted in a specific
14 manner, as it were, because I was invited by the OTP asking me whether I
15 could come to testify on the following day about my stay at Knin and
16 everything that had happened, so without any preparation and without
17 being reminded or reminding myself of everything that had happened in the
18 past ten
19 may be overstating it a bit, but she was certainly very upset. This may
20 be due to a translation error. The reason was that I wasn't prepared for
21 the first meeting and wasn't able to go into the details of the events as
22 I wasn't prepared, as I said.
23 Q. So are you saying that due to the fact that you were not prepared
24 your statement to the effect -- that you made a mistake and that's why
25 you said that your -- the first information you received it was mentioned
1 that people were being killed. Is that what you're saying?
2 A. It is possible that the first time around I said that people were
3 being killed and that that was a mistake.
4 Q. So what kind of preparations did you take before your to -- your
5 state -- interview with the Defence, which made you remember the incident
6 much better than in 2005?
7 A. Among other things, the reports that we wrote and other materials
8 were read. We sent reports to our command, to our headquarters, about
9 all the details. So that was -- that was something that could remind me
10 of whether or not I really did mention that people were being killed.
11 Q. What report or what material did you read prior to your interview
12 with the Defence which reminded you that you didn't in fact say -- that
13 you did not receive that information in that first report you received
14 from the international monitors about the Grubori event? What is it that
15 you read?
16 A. I cannot say exactly, but it was much material. Among other
17 things, my first statement that I gave to the OTP; but once you have time
18 to think about it more thoroughly things start looking somewhat
19 different. But it is a fact that people had been killed. So in my case,
20 it isn't so important what I first said. And whether or not she really
21 said to me on that occasion is -- I don't consider relevant.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Dondo, could you refrain from giving your
23 opinion on relevance and importance of matters that are a part of the
24 questions that are put to you.
25 Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
4 Q. Mr. Dondo, you just said that you read much material prior to
5 your interview -- the statement you gave to the Defence. Who provided
6 you with that material?
7 A. The Defence.
8 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what that material was?
9 A. It consisted of reports and of documents that were exchanged
10 between the UN and the garrison command at the time.
11 Q. And the reports, were they also reports going between the UN and
12 Mr. Cermak or were they other reports?
13 A. Mr. Cermak and the garrison command.
14 Q. Who do you mean by "garrison command"? What were --
15 A. Mr. Cermak as the commander of the garrison, so he was commander
16 of the garrison, and the UN and the EC on the other hand.
17 Q. Did you read any statements of witnesses in the -- who have
18 testified in these proceedings or who are yet to testify?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did you read any transcripts of any testimony?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Did you follow the proceedings before this Trial Chamber on TV?
23 A. Sometimes I did.
24 Q. Do you recall whose testimony did you follow?
25 A. No, I don't.
1 Q. Did you watch the testimony of Mr. Alun Roberts?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Mr. Edward Flynn?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Ms. Mauro?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber, Mr. Dondo, now of the reports
8 that you read, what is the report or what were the reports that you read
9 which provided you of a clear memory of what happened on the 25th as to
10 exactly what information you received from the UN monitors about the
11 incident which you didn't have in 2005 when you spoke with the OTP?
12 A. Those are mostly the reports that we sent to headquarters in
15 were taking place at Knin.
16 Q. Can you be specific as to what was the report you read that made
17 you remember that in that first report that you received from the
18 international monitors they had not mentioned that people were being
19 killed? I'm asking you for the specific -- what is the basis for you to
20 make that amendment in 2009?
21 A. I do not remember.
22 Q. Okay. Now, you also mentioned that -- the term "dramatising,"
23 you say "she was dramatising everything and saying that assistance should
24 be sent immediately ..."
25 Now, you said dramatising may be an overstatement. Mr. Dondo, we
1 had Mr. Roberts who testified in these proceedings, who in fact
2 specifically testified about your reactions when that first report was
3 made to you. And this is -- for the record I'm referring to P675,
4 paragraph 15 and 16. This is what he said about your reactions:
5 "We decided to go direct to the office of General Cermak in Knin
6 to report what we saw. At the lobby of the building the assistant or
7 main Liaison Officer to General Cermak came down to meet us, Dondo. We
8 asked if the Croatian authorities knew of anything special happening in
9 Plavno? He listened, but seemed unaware. My colleagues, EJ Flynn of
10 HRATS, Maria Teresa Mauro of Humanitarian Affairs, and Benny Otim, head
11 of UNHCR office at Sector HQ, described what we saw in Plavno and
12 Grubori. They urged that because this had just happened and houses were
13 still burning that the Croatian authorities act quickly, go to Grubori,
14 and begin an investigation. In the middle of the conversation I thought
15 it odd that the Liaison Officer asked why I had been in Plavno?"
16 Is that correct, Mr. Dondo, do you recall that?
17 A. No, I don't recall.
18 Q. "I replied because I had been at the same meeting as the UN press
19 officer. The moment was overtaken by the urging of my UN colleagues for
20 quick response. I recall that they asked to receive a report and
21 follow-up and that he inform General Cermak. My thoughts were that I did
22 not sense any great urgency by the Liaison Officer. I did not hear him
23 say, 'We will contact you on what we find' or why the police did not
24 arrive for the meeting. He seemed unhappy with the UN insisting and that
25 the UN press officer was present."
1 Now, in your statement to the OTP you used the term that the
2 UNHCR representative came to you very upset and that she was dramatising
3 everything. Now, did you feel at the time that the reaction from the
4 international monitors was unwarranted in the given circumstances?
5 A. It is possible because it had happened on several occasions that
6 the United Nations would blow some things out of proportion, and
7 subsequently it became clear that they weren't really as bad as that and
8 that very little or nothing had happened in reality. We were able to
9 witness such instances. So, yes, it is possible.
10 Q. So you didn't think at the time that the matter warranted urgent
11 intervention at the time?
12 A. I didn't say that. I said that the issue must be investigated,
13 but that it was also possible that the accounts were exaggerated.
14 Q. Now, your testimony is that upon receipt of that information from
15 the international monitors, you immediately informed Mr. Cermak and that
16 Mr. Cermak then called the civilian police and did not receive any
17 information from them. And then you also go on to say, in your statement
18 to the OTP, that you also believed that Mr. Cermak contacted the military
19 police and did not receive from the military police either any
20 information on the matter.
21 Now, apart from contacting the civilian police and the military
22 police and asking them what they knew about the matter, did
23 General Cermak contact anyone else on the 25th regarding this incident?
24 A. I don't know that, not in my presence anyway.
25 Q. Now, apart from calling them and asking them what information
1 they had on the matter, did General Cermak instruct the civilian police
2 to immediately go to the area, go to Plavno, Grubori, and investigate the
3 matter or to verify if the report was accurate?
4 A. No, he didn't have any authority to give instructions to the
5 police. He simply inquired whether they were aware of what was going on;
6 and if not, that they should go there and check things because we had
7 information from the UN that something was going on or had gone on.
8 Q. Now, on the 25th, after that initial telephone call, did
9 Mr. Cermak at any time discuss this incident with you or inform you of
10 any other information he had received about the event in Grubori?
11 A. I asked him several times whether he knew anything about it, and
12 every time the answer was no.
13 Q. Was it the case on the 26th August also, the next day, following
14 day, at any time, to your knowledge, had General Cermak received any
15 information on this incident as to how it had happened or any other
17 A. Since Mr. Cermak mentioned some details on UN TV, details about
18 another case, I'm sure that he had received information from somebody,
19 albeit false, deliberately or not. But I think that Mr. Cermak was not
20 familiar with this case before he received my report.
21 Q. And then when you say "he was not familiar with this case before
22 he received my report," you're referring to your report that you compiled
23 after your visit to Grubori on the 26th; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, correct.
25 Q. Now, if I could take you to --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, could we seek clarification from
2 that "Mr. Cermak mentioned some details on UN TV, details about another
3 case," what other case?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot remember exactly, but if
5 we can see the video, which would be a good thing because the video is
6 short, so then everything will become clear. The UN TV report I mean.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, would there be any way of
8 perhaps --
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I intend to, Mr. President --
10 JUDGE ORIE: -- to show to the witness and then to --
11 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President. In fact, I wasn't
12 planning to show -- play the video, but I thought I will read the
13 transcript. Just playing the video might --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but if the witness says that false information
15 is contained in the video, it might be in portions that you're not
16 putting to him. And I would like to have an opportunity to -- for a
17 better assessment --
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Mr. --
19 JUDGE ORIE: -- of the probative value his answer in this
20 respect. Is there any way that, for example, during one of the breaks
21 that we could give an opportunity to the witness to watch the video and
22 then to tell us exactly what information came from what other case and to
23 what extent it was false?
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Mr. President. If there is time,
25 actually, I could even play it in court. But since playing the entire
1 thing might take time, perhaps in the break as you suggest --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I don't have any recollection on how long the
3 video exactly was.
4 MR. KAY: It's not that long, Your Honour. It might help the
5 witness, since we're on this point now and it's something he has asked
6 for, for the court to facilitate that. It's on the OTP's list of
8 JUDGE ORIE: So I leave it to the parties whether -- if we would
9 ask the witness to look at it and then answer questions, then there might
10 be a need to play parts of it again. I mean, I -- it might be good for
11 us as well to watch it again so to know exactly what it was. "Not long"
12 is a relative --
13 MR. KAY: Under ten minutes.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Under ten minutes.
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I could play it, Mr. President. I think it
16 would be best if I do that, just after a couple of questions.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
19 Q. Mr. Dondo, I will play that video for you, but before that I just
20 want to take you to your 2009 statement, that is D1696. In
21 paragraph 39 -- 31, I'm sorry, this is what you say, you say:
22 "I organised a meeting with Mr. Cermak and the UN TV crew.
23 Mr. Cermak was surprised by the questions asked by the TV crew because we
24 did not know what had happened in Grubori. Mr. Cermak only had the
25 information he had received from me, and he found out from the TV crew
1 that murders had taken place in the village of Grubori
2 any information and I was pressured by the UN, as they asked every half
3 an hour if there was any new information. The pressure from the UN and
4 media representatives on Mr. Cermak was great. They requested concrete
5 information from him on the incidents that had taken place.
6 "That afternoon President Tudjman was arriving in Knin with the
7 freedom train. Before Mr. Cermak went to await for the arrival of the
8 president, I asked him if he had any new information from the civil
9 police or anyone else. He told me that he had not received any
10 information and that he still did not know anything about what happened
11 in Grubori."
12 So according to your testimony, Mr. Cermak didn't know any
13 information whatsoever about the Grubori incident, even in the afternoon
14 of 26th August; that's correct, isn't it?
15 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to what I was able to
17 conclude from the several conversations I had with him, no, he didn't
18 have any information.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Ms. Mahindaratne, I think the witness clearly
20 testified that Mr. Cermak did not know anything beyond what this witness
21 had told him on the basis of the information he had received. And you
22 are putting the question in a rather absolute way, no knowledge at all,
23 but that's of course not what the witness said.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well.
25 JUDGE ORIE: But he did not receive any additional information,
1 that's -- I take it that's the gist of your answer.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The answers Mr. Cermak gave were
3 the same on the day before and on the day he took the train; in other
4 words, that he had no information as to what had transpired over there.
5 Is that clear?
6 JUDGE ORIE: Well, your conclusion was that because he gave the
7 same answers on the second day that he had not received any additional
8 information. You could not conclude from what he said that he had
9 received any further information.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
11 JUDGE ORIE: That, may I take it, is your answer? Yes.
12 Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. Mr. Dondo, we will play that video, since you wish to see it.
15 This is P504, but we'll play the video -- the transcript is on e-court on
16 P504. We'll play the video which is V000 --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Has the transcript been provided to the booths?
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Now, I think the whole video has been played before.
20 I will just confer with Mr. Registrar whether we could adopt the same
21 transcript if we are not doing anything else than to look at this video.
22 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
23 JUDGE ORIE: With the consent of the parties and the transcript
24 not having been distributed and the transcript already being in evidence,
25 I suggest that we do not make a great effort to have it on the record
1 again. The witness is able to hear it in the original language, and from
2 what I remember it was subtitled, the English was subtitled. So
3 therefore, there's no need at this moment to have it translated again.
4 Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
5 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President. And if we could
6 have V000-1241.
7 [Video-clip played]
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can we stop here?
9 Here General Cermak states that a member of the Serb army was
10 taken prisoner and that a Croatian soldier was found with his hands tied
11 behind his back with wire, which is absolutely inconsistent with the
12 situation as we found it in Grubori. Since before saying that, he
13 clearly and accurately states what the operation was about, where, and
14 what its scope was but then proceeded to give completely inaccurate
15 information as to the consequences and the effects of the operation shows
16 that he did receive information about the events from someone. However,
17 the information happened to be completely inaccurate.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Can we move on? Yes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, there still was the question, he was mixing up
20 another case. Where is that case and what was that case?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know exactly. I would
22 kindly ask the Defence to assist me in that. I think it was an event
23 that took place several days earlier.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Dondo, if you know, tell us; if you don't know,
25 then it's not --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, who did give this false information to
3 Mr. Cermak?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
5 JUDGE ORIE: So you don't know whether he was given any false
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
8 JUDGE ORIE: So when you say what he said was inconsistent with
9 the situation you had found in Grubori, that -- that you give an
10 explanation for that but you have no factual basis for such an
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I believe I don't have to play
15 the video any further, unless the Trial Chamber would want -- would wish
16 the rest of the video footage to be played.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I think your focus was on what Mr. Cermak during
18 this interview gave as information, and we -- I think we further explored
19 one of the previous answers of the witness.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber feels no need to further play the video,
22 but if any of the other parties for contextualisation would need it, we
23 would hear from them.
24 Ms. Mahindaratne, it remains silent so therefore please proceed.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
1 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, this interview took place early on 26th August,
2 isn't it, in the morning of 26th August?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And were you the person who interpreted for Mr. Cermak at -- in
5 the course of the interview?
6 A. I don't remember. I don't think so.
7 Q. Generally when you were around, wasn't it you who interpreted for
8 Mr. Cermak?
9 A. Generally speaking, there were always two of us. When we
10 attended meetings with General Cermak, there would be liaison officers,
11 one of whom would follow the conversation and the other would interpret
12 simultaneously. It was important to follow the conversation in order to
13 make sure that the other side was being accurately interpreted as well.
14 Q. Now, your testimony is that on the afternoon -- in the afternoon
15 of 26th August, when you found out that Mr. Cermak had not received any
16 information from the police regarding the incident, you proposed to
17 Mr. Cermak that you should travel to Grubori to investigate the matter.
18 Now, as a liaison officer, why did you take it upon yourself to conduct
19 such a mission? That's not within your normal functions as a liaison
20 officer. Isn't that correct?
21 A. No, that's not correct. It does fall within our remit. If there
22 are matters that are unclear and the UN seeks a response on that matter
23 and we are unable to obtain it from the authorities, we have the duty to
24 go out into the field ourselves and investigate the matter, whilst of
25 course asking for the assistance of advice from an officer --
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the last part of
2 the witness's answer.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
4 Q. Mr. Dondo, the interpreter has not heard the last part of your
5 answer. Could you repeat the last part of your answer. Is it -- "...
6 whilst of course asking for the assistance of advice from an officer ..."
7 and you didn't complete the sentence.
8 A. From an officer charged with the area of responsibility where the
9 liaison officer is active.
10 Q. Now, up until that time, didn't Mr. Cermak instruct anybody to go
11 to Grubori to investigate the matter and to at least find out the
12 accuracy of the reports he had received?
13 A. No.
14 Q. When you travelled to Grubori on the 27th August -- I'm sorry,
15 26th August, had the civilian police or an investigative judge or any
16 other authority been to civilian -- to Grubori to investigate the matter?
17 A. No.
18 Q. As a liaison officer, did you find that to be a matter of concern
19 and did you report that matter to anybody in authority, that the civilian
20 police even by the next day had not been to Grubori to investigate the
22 A. It was a problematic issue by all accounts. The first thing I
23 did upon my return was go to the civilian police to report the case.
24 Q. And what exactly did you inform the police?
25 A. I told them what I saw and the extent of that can be found in my
1 written report.
2 Q. Did you inquire from the civilian police as to why the police had
3 not gone to Grubori to investigate the matter?
4 A. No, I don't have that sort of authority.
5 Q. So as a liaison officer -- now you just said that you even had
6 the authority to go to the field to investigate with the assistance of
7 relevant -- an officer of the relevant authority to find out what's going
8 on. Were you not --
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Sorry to interrupt you. I would just object to
10 the word "investigate."
11 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I think the witness used that word.
12 MR. MIKULICIC: Certainly not in Croatian language, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll check what he said, and let me first try
14 to find -- it was -- we'll check that. I have to find it. One second,
16 MR. KAY: Is Your Honour thinking of page 51, line 10?
17 JUDGE ORIE: That could be. Yes. The witness there said:
18 "We have the duty to go out into the field ourselves and
19 investigate the matter."
20 Mr. Mikulicic, if you say he didn't use the word "investigate" in
21 Croatian, then we'll have to verify that.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, that will be my proposal, Your Honour,
23 because the word "investigate" is quite official term and it obviously
24 has some --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but we just check it.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: Okay.
2 JUDGE ORIE: If you say that's not what he said, then we'll have
3 to seek clarification what was said on -- in the original language on
4 page 51, line 10.
5 Let's proceed for the time being. Perhaps the witness remembers
6 what word he used -- of course we can verify that at a later stage, where
7 you said you had a duty to go into the field where matters were unclear
8 and investigate. If you remember what word you used, please tell us so
9 that we would know immediately; and otherwise, we'll check it because
10 there's audio recording -- yes --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I don't remember
12 which particular word I used.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 Ms. Mahindaratne, you may proceed at the time as matters stand
15 now on the basis of the transcript. Please proceed.
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, you said as a liaison officer you had even the
18 authority to go to the field and investigate matters. Is it your
19 position that you don't, then, have authority to even request an
20 investigation from the police or even ask them as to why they had not
21 investigated into a matter where you yourself saw five civilians had been
22 killed and houses burnt?
23 A. Yes. I was a soldier and that was the civilian police. I have
24 no powers over them. I can ask them as a private individual why it was
25 that they didn't go up there and investigate, but they don't have to
1 answer that question.
2 Q. Did you inform Mr. Cermak that even on 26th when you went to
3 Grubori that the civilian police had not been there to investigate the
5 A. I didn't know that. We presumed, since we did not receive a
6 reply from anyone, neither the civilian nor the military police, about
7 what had transpired there -- we presumed that nobody had been there.
8 That was the main reason why I went there to begin with. We didn't know
9 if anyone had been there, but we presumed that no one had since we did
10 not receive a response.
11 Q. That's correct. But then you said that you went to Grubori on
12 the 26th, and even when you went to Grubori, the police had not been
13 there to conduct an investigation. So your presumption was confirmed
14 upon your visit to Grubori. So upon that, did you not think it would be
15 appropriate to report to somebody that in a serious matter such as this
16 the civilian police had not initiated an investigation even after
17 24 hours?
18 MR. KAY: Your Honour, sorry, before the witness answers the
19 question --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, before he answers. Yes, an objection --
21 MR. KAY: It's the premise of the question because there is
22 evidence in this case that indicates otherwise in the Knin police
23 log-book recorded by the chief of the local police, Knin police,
24 Your Honour --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes --
1 MR. KAY: -- will recollect that --
2 JUDGE ORIE: -- where we have two entries, I think, on the
4 MR. KAY: We do --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. KAY: -- and there is an earlier entry.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, while --
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I will --
9 JUDGE ORIE: -- I know that -- yes --
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, if I could --
11 JUDGE ORIE: -- nevertheless, yes, if you --
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I intend to, in fact, call that -- the
13 log-book. In fact, Mr. Kay --
14 JUDGE ORIE: So that --
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE: -- should know that I provided the notice of
16 the documents.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So your question was whether the assumption or
18 presumption was confirmed during the visit. Now that we are talking
19 about the perception of this witness, Mr. Kay, I think that's what we are
20 talking about at this moment so we can ask him about this, and then what
21 is to be found in other documents and on what basis is then still a
22 matter to be seen.
23 Ms. Mahindaratne.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
25 Q. Now --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Would you please phrase your question in such a way
2 that Mr. Kay has no problems.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
6 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, when you visited Grubori it was confirmed to you
7 that the civilian police had not been to Grubori on the 26th. Did you
8 consider that relevant enough to inform Mr. Cermak?
9 A. In addition to Mr. Cermak, I also informed the civilian police.
10 Other than that, I simply don't understand your question. You'll have to
12 Q. Did you inform Mr. Cermak upon your return from Grubori on the
13 26th or even 27th morning before you went with Mr. Cermak to Grubori
14 again, that when you went to Grubori that you found the civilian police
15 had not been to Grubori to investigate this crime, did you inform
16 Mr. Cermak?
17 A. No, because I didn't see Mr. Cermak until the following day when
18 we set out for Grubori again.
19 Q. Okay. Let me just call up -- since it's just been discussed.
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, can I have D57, please. That's
21 the Knin police log-book. And if we could move to in the English page 59
22 and the Croatian version page 61.
23 Q. At entry number 193 there's a report from the commander of the
24 police station, Milos Mihic. The report recalls -- it says report on a
1 "He reported verbally that information had been received that in
2 Plavno village, Grubori hamlet, on 25th August 1995, two male bodies were
3 found; Milos Grubar, born 1915, and Jovan Grubar, 60 years of age."
4 And in the "action" columns it says:
5 "It was agreed with Chief Cedo Romanic that an on-site
6 investigation would be conducted in the morning of 27th August 1995.
7 Civilian protection went to the scene at 1100 hours on 27 August 1995,
8 and removed the bodies."
9 Now, this entry in fact confirms that on the 26th the police had
10 not been to Grubori to investigate the matter, so your observation was
11 correct, Mr. Dondo.
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: While we are on this report if we could move
13 to page 61 of the English version and page 63 of the Croatian version.
14 Q. On the same day, that is the 26th, you have made a report to the
15 police at 2000 hours. This is entry number 197. Your report is:
16 "In Plavno village, Grubori hamlet, there are five bodies of men
17 and women who were killed during military and police Operation Storm.
18 "Information on this will be subsequently passed on to civilian
19 protection officers for hygiene and sanitation measures."
20 Now, in relation to this in paragraph 33 of your 2009 statement,
21 that is the statement made to the Defence, you had been shown this entry
22 and you say -- actually, you have been shown a corresponding document
23 which contains the same entry, that is D1393, which is the log-book for
24 the Knin police administration. You say:
25 "I can see that it is stated that the cause of death of those
1 people was Operation Storm. I must say that I did not mention
2 Operation Storm in my report, nor was the incident in Grubori connected
3 with Operation Storm."
4 Now, how do you know that, that these deaths as to whether it was
5 conducted with Operation Storm or what it was connected with? How do you
6 know that in the first place, since you told today in your testimony that
7 even today you don't know what really happened in Grubori?
8 A. I know because I learned as much in the conversations with the
9 villagers of that village, and they told me that the incident had taken
10 place on the previous day and they told me what happened and how. They
11 said when it happened, and not only they, it was also stated in the
12 UN reports. And according to all the reports, the incident had nothing
13 to do with Operation Storm. And most importantly -- or rather, the most
14 important thing were the statements of the villagers from that village
15 who were filled with fear and emotionally overwhelmed.
16 Q. Mr. Dondo, do you consider the --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, if you would not mind.
18 You said that -- one second, please. You said it was also stated
19 in the UN reports. Which reports are you referring to exactly as being
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The oral reports.
22 JUDGE ORIE: The oral report of which you said it might have been
23 an exaggeration, that one, the Italian lady, so to say?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, and reports that came in later
25 from various sides such as from the Red Cross and others. The first
1 report I received I considered relatively exaggerated, but when we saw
2 that reports were coming in more frequently from various parties, we
3 understood how serious the situation was and we concluded that something
4 serious was going on and that concrete measures had to be taken.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'm trying to follow your evidence. You say
6 the entry in the police log is wrong because you did not mention
7 Operation Storm, and then you explain to us why this was wrong anyhow.
8 So that's -- did you know at that time when you reported to the police
9 at -- that it was not Operation Storm, because that, I think, is what
10 Ms. Mahindaratne asked you?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, he asked me as much and I
12 clearly replied that I knew this wasn't due to Operation Storm. It must
13 have been an omission or an error made by the police officer who entered
14 that into the log, inadvertently or otherwise.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And when you say, "I knew that it was not
16 linked to Operation Storm," referring to UN reports, the only report
17 available at that point in time to you was the oral report, whatever
18 confirming reports there may have been at a later stage. But at that
19 moment the only source you had was the UN oral report, people coming to
20 you including the Italian lady who was quite upset. Is that correctly
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. This police report was written
23 after I had returned from Grubori, so after I had seen what I had seen.
24 And after having a conversation, after talking to the villagers of that
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but the only UN report you had available at
2 that moment -- I was just exploring what reports apart from your own
3 observations were there at the time. You had no UN reports in addition
4 to what was reported orally to you by - I again say - the Italian lady
5 being quite upset. Is that correctly understood?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
8 Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, when you say "Operation Storm," are you referring
11 just to the operation -- the initial attack from -- which took place from
12 4th to 8th or 9th August, or do you consider the clearing operations that
13 were carried out after Operation Storm, the initial attack was completed,
14 as also part of an operation? Or do you consider it as not being linked
15 to Operation Storm? I'm just trying to understand your evidence.
16 A. I repeat once more. I never stated that what happened at the
17 village of Grubori, at Plavno, was linked to Operation Storm. I
18 never said as much to the police.
19 Q. Okay. Then let me ask you this way: When you left Grubori after
20 your own investigations were conducted on 26th, did you know that the
21 incident had occurred in the course of a clearing operation or a mop-up
22 operation that had been conducted by the special police or the military?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, did you mention that fact to the police when you made your
1 A. I do not remember.
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, may I have P764, please.
3 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, this is the report you compiled after your visit,
4 and if you could just focus on paragraph 1. You refer to:
5 "... visible evidence of yesterday's clearing operation ..." and
6 you clarify what that evidence is:
7 "... possessions strewn about houses and outside, several houses
8 had been set on fire, and livestock were wandering without
9 supervision ..."
10 And my question is: The reference from you, you consider that
11 evidence as evidence of the clearing operation from the previous day, is
12 that based on your previous recollections of how a place looked like
13 after a clearing operation that were being conducted during this period?
14 A. I don't understand your question.
15 Q. Now, you refer to the fact that you saw possessions strewn about
16 houses and outside, several houses being burnt and livestock wandering
17 around as evidence of the previous day's clearing operation. Now, is
18 that how a place looked like after the clearing operation? Is that
19 because you considered that as evidence of a clearing operation. My
20 question to you is: Is that based on your recollection of how a place
21 generally looked like after a clearing operation?
22 A. I'm still utterly unclear about this. This -- it makes no sense
23 to me to say that the place looked like one in which a mop-up operation
24 had taken place because houses had been burnt down.
25 Q. I'm referring to your own report, Mr. --
1 MR. KAY: Shall I -- maybe I can assist. I'm told the
2 interpretation is unclear as to what the intent of my learned friend's
3 questions are, which may be why there appears to be a problem. Perhaps
4 there could be some consideration in the language that is being used.
5 I'll say no more.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now is there any specific portion? If you
7 could point us at pages and lines where the confusion may arise so that
8 we could invite Ms. Mahindaratne to ask the same but perhaps in a -- in a
9 new phrasing, not necessarily because the phrasing is wrong, but it may
10 have caused some -- I'm not saying it did, but it may have caused some
11 confusion in translation.
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I could try rephrasing, Mr. President --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but let's then first try to find out the exact
14 portion is which may have caused the --
15 MR. KAY: Yes, if I can assist my learned friends. I'm told that
16 the difficulty comes at page 61, line 23 and 24, the last question there
17 after the previous text is unclear as to what is meant. It might be fine
18 in the English -- it might be fine in the English language, but I'm told
19 that there is a problem in this -- expressing it this way.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could you perhaps paraphrase in such a way that the
21 minimum -- that the risk of confusion in translation will be minimal.
22 I'm not saying that any mistake was made, but let's try to see whether we
23 can proceed in this way.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I'll try, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
2 Q. Mr. Dondo, could you please read the first paragraph where you
3 recall -- you say -- you refer to the village and hamlets you say:
4 "... with visible evidence of yesterday's clearing operation ..."
5 And then you clarify it further:
6 "... possessions strewn about houses and outside, several houses
7 had been set on fire, and livestock were wandering without
8 supervision ..."
9 Now, why did you consider that evidence as evidence of a clearing
11 A. So the first paragraph in my report does not refer to the Grubori
12 hamlet. I only mention it in the second paragraph. But indeed, when an
13 army conducts a mop-up operation and passes through a village, it mostly
14 enters houses to check them and possibly throws things around and opens
15 barns so that the livestock strays. But the first paragraph does not
16 imply that the mop-up operation is the cause of the incident in Grubori.
17 Q. Now, in this report you refer to the five bodies you observed.
18 Now, were there any weapons near any of those bodies?
19 A. I didn't see any.
20 Q. Were there weapons anywhere in the village on the ground?
21 A. No, I haven't seen any.
22 Q. Now on 27th August, that is the day after, you accompanied
23 General Cermak to Grubori. Did you meet him before departing to Grubori?
24 A. What do you mean when you say did I meet him? Whether we had a
25 meeting or -- I don't understand what you mean.
1 Q. Yeah, did you have a meeting or did you have even a brief -- did
2 you have an informal discussion?
3 A. No, absolutely not. I didn't even know that our travel to
4 Grubori would be organised in such a manner.
5 Q. So who asked you to accompany General Cermak? Did he ask you
6 himself or did someone else instruct you?
7 A. It was General Cermak in person immediately before departure.
8 Q. At the time were you in your office?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. And did Mr. Cermak contact you from his office?
11 A. I don't remember. I suppose so, but I know that everybody was
12 ready to leave when I was told that we were going to Grubori again. So
13 the journalists and everybody were already prepared, so I was quite
15 Q. Now, how did you travel? Did you travel with Mr. Cermak in his
16 vehicle or did you travel in different vehicles?
17 A. I do not remember exactly. We had vehicles of our own, and I
18 believe that I went in my own vehicle but I'm not sure.
19 Q. Now, Mr. Cermak -- according to your testimony, Mr. Cermak was
20 aware that you were going to Grubori on the 26th. In fact, he provided
21 you with the escort. So did he at any time before he -- the group
22 departed to Grubori or perhaps in the course of it or even in Grubori
23 discuss your report with you?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did he at least ask you - you know, he knew that you had been to
1 Grubori the day before - as to what you saw, whether the reports from the
2 international monitors were accurate? Didn't he at least make an
3 informal inquiry from you?
4 A. I don't remember.
5 Q. Now, you knew that you -- the group was going to Grubori and you
6 were aware that the journalists were going to be there. Didn't you think
7 it appropriate to discuss or tell General Cermak about what you had seen
8 the day before?
9 A. I repeat that I didn't know we would go to Grubori and the
10 journalists would be there. I didn't know until the very last moment,
11 until departure.
12 Q. But at the time you got into your vehicles, you would have known
13 where you were heading; isn't that correct?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. At least didn't you think it would be prudent to discuss, if you
16 didn't have the opportunity to discuss on the way at least just as you
17 get to Grubori, with General Cermak as to what you had seen before, what
18 you had learnt?
19 A. If I wasn't asked any questions, I wasn't in the position to
20 suggest anything to the general or say anything to him. In the army you
21 speak when you're spoken to.
22 Q. Now, you -- your testimony is that your report, P764, after you
23 compiled it you left it on General Cermak's table since he was not in on
24 26th evening. Now, generally when he's not available, is that the way
25 reports are left for him, it's left on his table, is it?
1 A. No, it isn't usual. But in this specific case, knowing the
2 urgency and the importance of that situation for him, knowing what had
3 happened, it was important for both the Croatian and the international
4 public, I saw to it that it be -- that it arrive to his office as soon as
6 Q. And have you had previous instances where you left reports on his
7 desk for him where it has reached him?
8 A. I don't remember.
9 Q. Do you know of any instances previously where reports left for
10 him on his table had not reached him, where he had inquired?
11 A. Mr. Cermak received all the reports he had asked for, at least
12 from our office.
13 Q. Very well. Now --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, could I ask -- he asked
15 specifically for this report?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Well, let's try to get to the core which seems to be
18 at least what Ms. Mahindaratne is interested to know and what apparently
19 creates some confusion with her. I think she's pointing at several
20 elements in your answers. The first one is that what Mr. Cermak said
21 during the press conference on the morning of the 26th was apparently
22 based on, as you said, wrong information.
23 Now, you were going to Grubori in the afternoon of the 26th and
24 you find a situation which is quite different from what Mr. Cermak
25 described at the press conference. You're going to Grubori. You are
1 aware that there's a lot of media present, and what Ms. Mahindaratne has
2 apparently difficulties in understanding is that you had not at one
3 moment communicated with Mr. Cermak to the extent of: Are you aware that
4 what I find yesterday and what I reported to you in a report which I left
5 on your desk is quite different from what you told the press yesterday
6 morning, shouldn't we be -- shouldn't we try to find out what happened?
7 That's apparently what's bothering Ms. Mahindaratne. She has
8 great difficulties in understanding why despite these rather big
9 discrepancies that not a word was said about that, with the only
10 explanation: If you're not asked anything in the military, you don't
12 Do you have an answer to what seems to be the core of the many
13 questions that were put to you by Ms. Mahindaratne?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can only say my opinion, if that
15 is acceptable.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Well, opinion is your own behaviour, so you can tell
17 us what may have been at the basis of that behaviour or what you observed
18 on the part of Mr. Cermak. Please do so.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose that Mr. Cermak, upon
20 receiving my report, communicated with the special police forces and gave
21 them an account of what I stated in my report and asked them --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you there. I'm not asking you to
23 speculate on what you do not know, which -- but what may have been done
24 by Mr. Cermak. The question was focussing about the absence of whatever
25 communication, even communication like, "Have you found my report?"
1 That's what I'm seeking your comment on, not on what Mr. Cermak may have
2 done and of which you are not aware and on which you want to give your
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I can say is that until
5 halfway to Grubori, General Cermak had my report in his hands and he was
6 reading it. And he was comparing the accounts in my report to the
7 situation on the ground. After some time, Mr. Sacic from the special
8 police and others turned up --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Could I stop you for a second. I'd like to hear
10 about Mr. Sacic in a second. You said:
11 "... until halfway to Grubori, General Cermak had my report in
12 his hands ..."
13 Where was that that you saw him having your report in his hands?
14 Was he still in the car? Was he out of the car? Where were you and what
15 did you exactly see?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw him while we were waiting for
17 Mr. Markac and Mr. Sacic, and I saw him in the village of Grubori
18 got there.
19 JUDGE ORIE: You said "we were waiting," I might have missed it
20 in your statement. Where exactly were you waiting for Mr. Markac and
21 Mr. Sacic? That is, in your statement it only says "on the way there,"
22 but where was that? Was he still in his car? Were you waiting out of
23 the cars? Were you not yet in Grubori? If not, where were you?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't describe exactly the place
25 where we were. We were waiting for them halfway through. I know that
1 the journalists who were there as well got out of the car and walked
2 about. The wait certainly lasted for a good half-hour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: You got out of your car as well?
4 THE WITNESS: Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Cermak got out of his car as well?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And did you see him reading out of the car?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw him holding my report in his
9 hands, yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, at what distance were you from him?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You could say that I was
12 practically by his side, in the immediate vicinity.
13 JUDGE ORIE: And you did not exchange one word whatsoever on what
14 was found in the report? Is that how I have to understand your
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I'm also looking at the clock. We'll have a
20 break first and we'll resume at five minutes to 1.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 12.59 p.m.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, before we continue I have one,
24 perhaps two, follow-up questions.
25 Mr. Dondo, you just told us that you were standing next to
1 Mr. Cermak when you were waiting for the others halfway when you went out
2 of your car. Were you close enough to see that it was actually your
3 report that he was reading?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I was.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Could you see the text? Is that how you could
6 establish that?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I even heard him reading the
9 JUDGE ORIE: He was reading it aloud? Is that --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, which is a kind of communication, as a matter
12 of fact, isn't it, if you start reading aloud if someone is standing next
13 to you?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have been trying to explain this
15 earlier on but it seems that we had problems communicating. When I, as a
16 liaison officer, write a report for my commander, the matter is closed
17 there. There is no need for further communication because there is no
18 need for Mr. Cermak to have any doubts about my report. Communication
19 would be warranted at the point where he had reasons to suspect what I
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
22 Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Mr. Dondo, before I go on to what happened on the 27th I could
25 now ask you one question with regard to the 26th. Now your testimony is
1 that by 26th, the police had not gone to Grubori to investigate the
2 matter, which was in fact confirmed by the Knin log-book, D57, which
3 records the police as going to Grubori on the 27th.
4 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I rise --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. KAY: -- and -- to assist my learned friend, I hope it's
7 taken in the right spirit, it may be some propositions are put as
8 evidence which are not, in fact, the evidence, transcript page 5715 of
9 the 3rd of July, 2008.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, if you could please check that
11 source. I take it that you will be able to find that page rather
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, to avoid delay I will just
14 rephrase my question if that's a problematic area. I will just --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Let's see whether then any objection remains or
16 whether -- I'll -- meanwhile I'll check the source given by Mr. Kay at
17 this moment.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. KAY: Yes, it might be important background information
20 behind the question that should be appreciated.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I'll ...
22 [Prosecution counsel confer]
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: If I may have a moment, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Please take your time.
25 [Prosecution counsel confer]
1 MR. KAY: Does that assist Your Honour on the matter?
2 JUDGE ORIE: I am -- just arrived now on the right page and I
3 take it that Ms. Mahindaratne will check it as well. And you're
4 referring to page --
5 MR. KAY: 5715, transcript 3rd of July, 2008.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but any specific line because I've got that --
7 I'll read then the whole page.
8 MR. KAY: I don't have that, but if Your Honour sees the word:
9 "At 1500 hours on the 26th" --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see that.
11 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I don't think that proposition
12 really changes -- has an impact on my question because clearly there is
13 no --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Apparently you are talking about the result, whereas
15 Mr. Kay may have on his mind efforts. If you could please keep that in
16 mind in phrasing your question.
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Mr. President.
18 Q. Mr. Dondo, now your testimony is that when you went to Grubori
19 onto 26th, at the time you went, the police had not been to the village
20 of Grubori to investigate the matter. Now, I want to, on that point,
21 show you -- to go back to what Mr. Cermak told the UN TV on 26th morning.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE: And, Mr. Registrar, if we could have D504 on
23 the screen.
24 Q. I'm going to just read that portion of the transcript, Mr. Dondo,
25 so that we don't waste time looking at the video again.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I'm sorry, P504, Mr. Registrar. My apologies.
2 And on the English if we could go to the next page. If we could go to
3 page 2 of the English and also the Croatian version.
4 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, the interviewer asks Mr. Cermak this question:
5 "Yesterday, your office was informed of this and you promised to
6 take immediate action. However, the Croatian police went to the local
7 larger village but they haven't yet been to the village where the burning
8 took place. Why can the Croatian authorities not go and help people who
9 are still in that village, with the village burning and two corpses in
10 two houses?"
11 And General Cermak responds as follows:
12 "Again, I don't know where the gentlemen has this information
13 from about two civilians killed, and it's not true that the Croatian
14 civilian authorities cannot get to that village. The Croatian civilian
15 authorities got to this village, looked after the people, organised
16 humanitarian assistance for them and other assistance they need, and
17 people stayed in their houses.
18 "General, I don't wish to contradict. We were there this
19 morning. There has been no Croatian police presence in that village.
20 There are five women there and there are two corpses, and after reporting
21 it here again [sic], no one has been to help these people."
22 JUDGE ORIE: My text reads "yesterday" instead of again.
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
24 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, you were present at this interview, in the
25 morning, when General Cermak made this statement to the journalist, the
1 reporters. Then you went to Grubori and found out for yourself that the
2 civilian police had not been to Grubori. Didn't you consider it
3 necessary to inform General Cermak that what he had told the UN TV crew
4 in the morning was incorrect?
5 A. This must be a misunderstanding. How could I have known that it
6 was inaccurate when I went there the day after? That must be a mistake
7 of some sort. I went there the day after. The interview took place in
8 the morning and I went to Grubori on the same day, in the evening, so I
9 don't understand your question. I'm sorry. You'll have to repeat it.
10 Q. You probably did not understand my question. My question was:
11 You were present when this interview was given in the morning?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. That evening you went to Grubori and found out for yourself that
14 the police had not been to Grubori to investigate. Now, at that point
15 did you not consider it relevant or important to let General Cermak know
16 that the statement he made to the UN TV in the morning was inaccurate?
17 A. Even if I had, I could not have done it, I could not have
18 informed him of it because he was not there. He was in Split. He was
19 not in his headquarters.
20 Q. Now do you agree with me that based on your own findings that
21 General Markac's statement to the UN TV crew on 26 July morning about the
22 police having gone to Grubori and helping the people is false?
23 A. Markac?
24 Q. I'm sorry, General Cermak.
25 MR. KAY: Your Honour, just one matter. I'm grateful to my
1 learned friend Mr. Cayley. It doesn't say "police." It says "civilian
2 authorities." So I think we have to be careful about terminology when we
3 do use headings in that way.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Do I understand that you then exclude civilian
5 police from civilian authorities?
6 MR. KAY: I'm not excluding anything myself. I'm saying the
7 proposition of the question if it's being founded on as to whether the
8 statement is false, that I --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes --
10 MR. KAY: Thank you.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, could you please rephrase your
12 question, giving the exact wording of what was said by Mr. Cermak during
13 his interview.
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President. I will do that.
15 Q. Mr. Dondo, can you respond to my question? Now, based on your
16 own findings consequent to your visit to Grubori in the evening of
17 26 August, do you agree with me that General Cermak's statement or
18 interview given to UN TV crew in the morning of 26, where he says that
19 "... already civilian authorities had been to Grubori and had helped the
20 people ..." is an inaccurate statement?
21 A. I do agree.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, going to the 26th -- 27th August, to the
23 questions from the Bench, you mentioned that you were standing right by
24 General Cermak. I want to show you a -- play the video interview where
25 General Cermak gave to the reporter Nadja Surijak [phoen]. Have you seen
1 that video since the 27th?
2 A. No.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: This is P2386.
4 Mr. President, I'll play the video on Sanction.
5 JUDGE ORIE: It has been played before, so we don't -- you have
6 not distributed the transcript --
7 MS. MAHINDARATNE: We have, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You have.
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: It's only a small portion that I'm going to
10 play [overlapping speakers] --
11 JUDGE ORIE: A small portion, then perhaps we follow the usual
12 procedure, which is that one interpreter follows whether the words spoken
13 are reflected in the text and the other interpreter being able to
14 interpret the text as written.
15 Please proceed.
16 [Video-clip played]
17 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "We are in the village of Grubori
18 one of the Chetnik strongholds, which during the operation of cleaning
19 the area, you see, there was the fighting between the special units of
20 MUP and the remaining Chetnik groups. There was some ten remaining
21 terrorists who put up resistance. At that point in time the village was
22 torched. During the operation itself, three members of the Chetnik
23 groups and two civilians got killed. I came personally to the village of
24 Grubori to see the development of the operation and I brought along the
25 whole crew with me to let the facts be known, to let the truth be known,
1 and not to have Croatia
2 killings, et cetera."
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
4 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, you testified -- you answered to questions from
5 the Bench that on the way General Cermak was reading your report and, in
6 fact, even after he alighted from his vehicle, he was reading your report
7 aloud. Now, we just saw General Cermak making a statement and he says
8 that -- he refers to an operation and he says "during the operation
9 itself, three members of the Chetnik group and two civilians got killed,"
10 which is inconsistent to what you have reported.
11 Now, are you able to reconcile what Mr. Cermak is saying on
12 record here, in Grubori, on the 27th, while you are also there with your
13 report, with your testimony?
14 A. Can the interpreter repeat the bit about reconcile. I didn't
15 understand. Can the interpreter repeat that bit?
16 JUDGE ORIE: I can ask Ms. Mahindaratne to --
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE ORIE: -- rephrase her question. Please do so.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
20 Q. Do you agree with me, Mr. Dondo, that based on your own findings,
21 based on what you yourself reported to General Cermak which he read just
22 before he alighted in Grubori and was reading it still then, the
23 statement he made afterwards to the HTV
24 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, if you are -- first of all,
25 that's -- that is not a question. What you -- apparently the witness did
1 not understand your question. Let me try to rephrase your question.
2 Ms. Mahindaratne sees that there is an inconsistency between what
3 Mr. Cermak said to the journalists compared to what he -- what one finds
4 in your report and whether you have an explanation for this.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] An explanation for this. It is
6 difficult for me to give an explanation for this now, since in the
7 meantime representatives of the special police had arrived, the only
8 explanation is that there existed another report, perhaps theirs, which
9 he read and then mixed up the information he received.
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
11 Q. Now, you're speculating that, Mr. Dondo. Do you know for a fact
12 that Mr. Cermak had received --
13 A. No.
14 Q. Now, at any stage afterwards did Mr. Cermak tell you that there
15 were -- that your report is wrong or that your findings are incorrect?
16 A. We no longer discussed the issue.
17 Q. Now, in 2009 when you -- the Defence statement, in paragraph 30
18 you say, and I have only a few more questions to you about this incident,
19 you say that when the UN civil affairs representative informed you about
20 this incident you told her to report the incident to the civil police and
21 you say, "and I expected her to do that."
22 Now, as a liaison officer, isn't it one of your basic obligations
23 to convey information received from the international -- members of the
24 international organisations to the local authorities, to the Croatian
25 authorities? That's your primary task, isn't it?
1 A. Among others, yes.
2 Q. So why did you pass that obligation on -- back on to the
3 UN monitor who informed you of the incident instead of carrying out your
5 A. Because he was a member of the civilian structure of the UN and
6 it was my opinion that as such he should have reported to the civilian
7 police. Had he worn a uniform, my view would have been different.
8 Q. So you then -- you expected the international community to attend
9 to that and you didn't yourself think it necessary to report the matter
10 to the police? That's what you're saying?
11 A. No. What I'm saying is that we reacted to the information we got
12 from them instantly in several ways, one of them being through
13 General Cermak. However, since the lady was from the civilian service of
14 the UN, I also expected her personally to go to the civilian police as
15 well and give her report in addition to the report we were going to
17 Q. Now, you say that: "... we reacted to the information we got
18 from them instantly in several ways, one of them being through General
20 What did you expect Mr. Cermak to do once you reported the matter
21 to him?
22 A. At any rate, that he would phone the police and ask them if they
23 were aware of that case.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, may I have document P1221,
1 Q. Now, while that document comes up, Mr. Dondo, I just want to read
2 a portion of your statement given to the OTP in 2005, where you say - and
3 this is in paragraph 31 of D1695 for the record - you say:
4 "It was only later in response to an inquiry from the ICRC that I
5 learned about the suggestion of a fire-fight between terrorists and the
6 special police. I can say that the response from Mr. Cermak to that
7 inquiry seemed to be in a more military tone than was normal for him, but
8 I do not know if he was basing his response on a military or special
9 police briefing or report."
10 Now, this is the document you're referring to in paragraph 25 --
11 I'm sorry, paragraph 31 of your statement, isn't it, the ICRC inquiry?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, I have difficulties in finding it
15 in the English text, what you just read to us.
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I'm sorry, Mr. President, I was reading off
17 his statement while the document --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, his statement, yes --
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, it's --
20 JUDGE ORIE: I'm sorry.
21 MS. MAHINDARATNE: -- D1695, that's the first statement,
22 Mr. President, 2005.
23 JUDGE ORIE: I apologise.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
25 Q. Now, did the ICRC send this letter to General Cermak via you?
1 A. Yes. The ICRC sent a letter via us, asking about the events in
2 Grubori, expecting a response from the general, which ensued in the form
3 in which you can see it here.
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, can we have P1222, please.
5 Q. Now, Mr. Dondo, you referred to the response sent by
6 General Cermak to this inquiry, and you say that was the first time you
7 learnt about this alleged fire-fight in Grubori. Now, was it you who
8 conveyed this response of General Cermak to ICRC?
9 A. I don't remember.
10 Q. In any event, you say that it was from this letter that you
11 learnt of the fire-fight, and in this letter, if I could -- if you could
12 focus on paragraph 2, it's reported that -- as follows:
13 "During the operation aimed at locating and destroying the
14 defeated enemy sabotage-terrorist groups and locating the MTS, when we
15 were searching the village of Plavno
16 to ten enemy soldiers who opened gun-fire at members of the Ministry of
17 the Interior special forces. In the shooting that ensued,
18 Djure Karanovic, aged about 45, a resident of Belgrade was killed; he was
19 carrying a 7.9-millimetre rifle. During the shoot-out the other members
20 of the enemy group fled in the direction of the village of Strmica
21 Now, you testified here that you didn't see any weapons near any
22 bodies or in Grubori when you conducted your own mission. And according
23 to your report, a person by the name of Djure Karanovic had come for
24 hay-making, you report in your -- according to your own report.
25 Now, when you saw this report -- I'm sorry, Mr. Dondo, are you
1 having trouble about -- having trouble getting reception?
2 A. Not anymore. It's okay now. [In English] It's okay.
3 Q. Now, when you read this report, didn't you ask Mr. Cermak as to
4 from where he got this information? Because clearly what is reported in
5 Mr. Cermak's report to the ICRC is inconsistent with what you had
6 reported to him.
7 A. [Interpretation] Firstly, I did not approach the victims nor did
8 I examine them in such a way as to be able to say that under the bodies
9 or anywhere on their bodies, especially Djure Karanovic which -- whose
10 body was out in the open toward a forest, so we never approached the body
11 itself because it may have been dangerous. We didn't go there to see
12 whether he had a rifle on his body.
13 Secondly, I, as a liaison officer, cannot comment on the
14 general's statements or letters. It is for me to translate it and
15 forward it to the addressee.
16 Q. Now, today when -- please.
17 A. I can comment here that in this letter, as I have said before,
18 military terms are used which is not usual, not typical, of
19 General Cermak's style because this is a purely military letter and in
20 his communication, in his letters, he never used that style or that
22 Q. And can you just point us -- point to us what those military
23 terms are which are not used by Mr. Cermak?
24 A. Yes.
25 "Aimed at locating and destroying the defeated enemy sabotage
1 terrorist groups and locating the equipment and materiel when we were
2 searching the village of Plavno
3 "In the shooting that ensued, Djure Karanovic, aged about 45 ...
4 was killed.
5 "As a result of the fighting in which a hand-held rocket launcher
6 was used, fire was set to," et cetera ...
7 All these are military terms. This is military language which a
8 businessman and a logistics expert would not use daily in his work.
9 Q. In fact, you just -- you've -- in paragraph 31 of your 2005
10 statement, you say that:
11 "... it is more military tone than was normal for him, but I do
12 not know if he was basing his response on a military or special police
13 briefing or report."
14 So you are merely speculating that, are you not, Mr. Dondo? You
15 do not know what information was the basis for this report that
16 Mr. Cermak sent to ICRC?
17 A. Well, certainly I'm speculating. But I am certain that he
18 used -- that he didn't use that terminology usually because I typed many
19 of his letters. I can say that for certain. Whether he received
20 information from the special police or anybody else is a matter of pure
22 Q. And when you typed his letters, were all his letters dictated by
23 him to you? All the letters sent by General Cermak where you acted as a
24 liaison officer typing and conveying, were they all dictated by
25 Mr. Cermak to you?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Would you draft any of his reports or any letters without his
3 authority or without --
4 A. No.
5 Q. So you have never drafted any of his letters without his
6 authority, without his instructions --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Ms. Mahindaratne, before we lose ourselves in
8 the further analysis of these kind of matters, perhaps -- the witness has
9 said that this is typically military language. And now to try to analyse
10 the whole of the correspondence of Mr. Cermak, how it was created, how
11 military it was, how non-military it was, and -- might not be of great
12 assistance to the Chamber.
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No, Mr. President, it is relevant --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, but --
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE: It would be relevant, Mr. President, to some
16 other areas which I would discuss later on, Mr. President.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But I certainly would like to
18 answer the question. Without his permission, nobody in our office or any
19 office of any liaison officer would have drafted a letter of any kind.
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
21 Q. Thank you. Just on this subject of Grubori, the last question,
22 Mr. Dondo, and I move on. Today, to questions from the Bench - and this
23 is at transcript page 26, line 24 - the Presiding Judge asked you whether
24 what you observed in Grubori was consistent with the content of the
25 report sent by General Cermak to the ICRC. And you answered in the
1 affirmative. You said "yes."
2 I want to take you to your 2005 statement.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: And if -- Mr. Registrar, if we could have
4 D1695. Before we go to that -- before we -- Mr. Registrar, if you could
5 just keep this document here.
6 Q. Now, I want -- or I'd like you to look at paragraph 3 of this
7 document, Mr. Dondo, it says:
8 "As a result of the fighting in which a hand-held rocket-launcher
9 was used, fire was set to several cattle sheds and houses ..."
10 That's what I wanted to draw your attention to, and then if we
11 could go to your statement -- the testimony, that's D1695. And if we
12 could go to page 11 in the English version, that's paragraph 29. After
13 five lines from the bottom of that paragraph, paragraph 29, you say:
14 "All the bodies were of elderly people and none of them were
15 dressed in military uniform. I also recall the dead animals which I
16 mentioned in my report. I have been asked if I recall any marks on the
17 buildings which might have been caused by bullets, but I cannot recall
18 such marks."
19 So your own observations were in fact not consistent with
20 Mr. Cermak's report to ICRC about a fire-fight in Grubori in the course
21 of which houses were fired at and they caught fire? Isn't that correct,
22 Mr. Dondo? You yourself did not see any evidence on the buildings of a
24 A. Here a hand-held -- or hand-held rocket-launchers are mentioned
25 and those set houses on fire. I can confirm that houses were set on fire
1 possibly by the -- by projectiles from rocket-launchers, but I was asked
2 whether I had seen bullet-holes in the walls of the houses and my reply
3 was negative.
4 Q. I don't understand your response where you say:
5 "I can confirm that houses were set on fire possibly by
6 projectiles from rocket-launchers."
7 When you say "I can confirm," are you referring to the Grubori
8 incident or are you just merely saying that houses can be -- can catch
9 fire by projectiles? I'm trying to understand what you said there.
10 A. I cannot tell you that because I'm not a fire-arms expert or an
11 expert for fire-related matters. I can only confirm that houses really
12 had been burnt or had been -- or were burning, but how they were set on
13 fire I cannot say.
14 Q. Mr. Dondo, considering that you didn't see any marks on the
15 buildings that indicated fire-fight -- considering that you did not see
16 any deceased persons in military uniforms or weapons in the area, your
17 own observations, I'm referring to your own observations in Grubori, do
18 not correspond to this version reported by Mr. Cermak. Isn't that
20 A. That is possible, yes.
21 Q. So when you answered in the affirmative and the Presiding Judge
22 asked you if your own observations were consistent with this report and
23 you answered in the -- answered "yes," that was incorrect, isn't it?
24 That was wrong?
25 A. Your question confuses me. I don't remember the question of the
1 Presiding Judge or, indeed, your question. So if you could repeat I'd be
2 much obliged.
3 Q. My question to you was: When you today, this morning -- the
4 Presiding Judge asked you this question --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, the --
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well --
7 JUDGE ORIE: -- witness just said that he doesn't remember that
8 question, so before you repeat your question, you perhaps put to him what
9 I asked him and what his answer was.
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE ORIE: I could do it quickly myself as well.
12 Mr. Dondo, I asked you this morning whether the report sent to
13 the Red Cross was consistent with what you had observed personally, and
14 you gave an answer to that question. You said it was consistent.
15 And now, Ms. Mahindaratne, put your question to the witness.
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
17 Q. So your response to the Presiding Judge that it was consistent is
18 wrong; isn't that correct, Mr. Dondo? In fact, your observations are
19 inconsistent with what Mr. Cermak has reported to ICRC; isn't that right?
20 A. I have to think about this because both are practically accurate
21 depending on how you look at it. I repeat, I'm not an expert in
22 fire-arms or in fire-related matters or for the detection of fire-arms.
23 I'm not a criminologist, and therefore I cannot really make conclusions
24 as to who was shooting from where and with what kind of weapons. If
25 you're asking me to give an expert judgement whether rounds were shot
1 from a mortar or any type of fire-arms and whether there were --
2 Q. Mr. Dondo, please, I'm not asking you to give any expert
3 conclusions at all. My question is very simple. You saw -- you visited
4 Grubori. You saw bodies. You saw the houses. You conducted your own
5 fact-finding mission. Based on what you found --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- what Mr. Cermak has reported to the ICRC in this report is
8 incorrect; isn't that right? I'm asking you in the context of what you
10 A. I would sooner say that it was correct than incorrect.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Dondo, your report gives a picture of the
12 situation which is a picture in which hardly, if any, combat context is
13 given, but rather details elderly persons. No reference whatsoever to
14 this being the result of any way of clearing operations or military
15 operations, whereas the report sent to the ICRC puts the whole situation
16 in a clear combat situation. Now, I think that's what Ms. Mahindaratne
17 is interested in to know, whether you consider that the picture given to
18 the ICRC is rather different from the picture you gave, and to that
19 extent inconsistent.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's inconsistent in that my
21 report was the report of a liaison officer and I was focused on what had
22 happened to people, livestock, and the events that had happened, the
23 people who were killed, rather than an expert analysis what could have
24 produced those consequences or preceded them. And soldiers can say why
25 those things happened.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne.
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I note the time.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I had forgotten about that. Yes, we'll have to
4 adjourn for the day, Mr. Dondo. I would like to instruct you that you
5 should not speak with anyone about your testimony, whether that is the
6 testimony you've given today or the testimony still to be given tomorrow.
7 And we'd like to see you back tomorrow morning at 9.00 but in another --
8 in Courtroom -- the same Courtroom, Courtroom III. Could you perhaps
9 already follow the usher. We'd like to see you back tomorrow morning.
10 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
11 [The witness stands down]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, could you inform the Chamber as to
13 where you stand in terms of time. I think you -- it was earlier
14 indicated that you would need three to four sessions.
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President. I believe tomorrow
16 morning's session I should be able to finish, Mr. President, just one
17 more session.
18 JUDGE ORIE: The first session tomorrow morning?
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 Then we can adjourn until -- unless there's any urgent matters to
22 be discussed at this moment.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I believe I forgot to make an
25 application to allow the Prosecution to upload the additional
1 translations which we went through the --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: -- that document ID number 06720944 to Exhibit
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, should -- upload it to the same document or
6 should we keep them apart and say this is the evidence given at the time
7 by Mr. Cermak and we have additional portions of that meeting translated
8 which are, I take it, then tendered by the Prosecution for the purposes
9 of credibility and reliability of the present witness. Is that --
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No, Mr. President. I believe for
11 completion -- in the interests of completeness because the -- P255 --
12 2526, the Croatian transcript contains the entire -- all of the exchanges
13 that we want to tender through these additional translations. So it's
14 only the English transcript --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes --
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: -- that's --
17 JUDGE ORIE: I see what it is, but at the time we didn't discuss
18 to have it all in English there because I think we would focus on the
19 statement of Mr. Cermak rather than on any conversations he would have
20 had with others. But I have to go back into the transcript to see
21 whether this was discussed at the time.
22 Mr. Kay, I'm looking at the clock. If there's anything you'd
23 like to briefly say at this moment, you are invited to do; otherwise, I
24 would ask you to wait until tomorrow morning.
25 MR. KAY: It's just on this. We would welcome, so to speak, an
1 upgraded full transcript. I think that would assist all parties in
2 relation to this matter.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then to attach this or work it in the
4 English version so that we can read it? What's the best way of
5 proceeding, Ms. Mahindaratne?
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I believe -- I have been
7 informed that the current transcript is in a TIFF form, which means to
8 have it upgraded together, we would have to re-type the entire transcript
9 which would take some time, but that can be done in due course.
10 JUDGE ORIE: But then otherwise we would have to jump from one
11 page to another and back again --
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I understand --
13 JUDGE ORIE: -- and a TIFF, even a TIFF transcript by the
14 technique of OCR
15 check whether the accuracy is sufficient. Could you please explore the
16 possibilities on how much extra work it takes compared to the extra work
17 and the confusion by jumping from one document to another? Because there
18 are many entries which you would have to jump to.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President, I see that.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we adjourn and we'll resume tomorrow,
21 6th of October, 9.00, Courtroom III, with apologies to any Chamber which
22 is deprived of a couple of minutes this afternoon.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.54 p.m.
24 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of
25 October, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.