1 Tuesday, 27 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.
6 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
8 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina et al.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Mr. Waespi, I had forgotten yesterday to come back to your --
12 well, announcement or request. It was not entirely clear to me that you
13 intended to file the report, which I would then take would be a
14 confidential filing. I have not checked this morning whether you have
15 done it already. But there is no --
16 MR. WAESPI: No, I left it in your hands.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. WAESPI: We also have it uploaded in the e-court system so we
19 could release it under seal, or whatever you wish.
20 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber is happy if you would file it, but then,
21 of course, confidentially. That seems to be a better approach than to
22 just release it in the e-court.
23 If there is no other procedural matter, then, Mr. Kay, is the
24 Cermak Defence ready to call its next witness, which I do understand no
25 protective measures and that would be Branko Sruk.
1 MR. KAY: That's right, Your Honour, yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 Madam Usher, Could you please escort the witness into the
5 There was an issue about a relatively late filing of this
6 witness. Mr. Waespi, the 92 ter statement was filed relatively late.
7 I'm not saying too late. But is there anything to be expected in terms
8 of -- yes, Mr. Carrier.
9 MR. CARRIER: No, that's fine.
10 JUDGE ORIE: So that problem doesn't exist anymore.
11 Now, perhaps we could also already try to use our time. There
12 are two documents. The first being a compilation of documents which the
13 Cermak Defence would like to have added to its 65 ter list.
14 Mr. Carrier, that's the compilation of documents on sanitation
15 from August 1995 and an order on disbanding mixed detachments for
16 sanitation and transferring sanitation to civilian organs, 4th of
18 Any problem with adding it to the 65 ter list.
19 MR. CARRIER: No.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Leave is granted.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Sruk. Before you give evidence,
23 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require that you make a solemn
24 declaration, of which the text will now be handed out to you by
25 Madam Usher, and I would like to invite you to make that solemn
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
3 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Sruk. Please be seated.
5 Mr. Sruk, you will first be examined by Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay is
6 counsel for Mr. Cermak.
7 Please proceed.
8 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 WITNESS: BRANKO SRUK
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Examination by Mr. Kay:
12 Q. Good morning, Mr. Sruk.
13 Mr. Sruk, there is going to be a document that will come on the
14 screen to the right of you.
15 MR. KAY: Can we have 2D00765.
16 Q. And it is your witness statement that you gave to the Defence.
17 And I ask you to look at it to identify it.
18 Can you see there the statement that you gave to the Defence,
19 when you were interviewed on the 10th of September, 2009. And if the
20 page can be brought down a bit, do you identify your signature on that
22 A. Yes, I do. It's all right.
23 Q. And if we could just turn to the last page of the document, which
24 has the date, 7th of October, 2009, do you confirm that is your signature
25 and you signed this document on that date?
1 A. That's correct. Everything is correct.
2 MR. KAY: And, Your Honour, the pages in between are signed by
3 the witness as well.
4 Q. Mr. Sruk, I'm going to ask you some questions about this
5 statement. First of all, when you signed this document, did you read
6 through its contents?
7 A. Yes, twice.
8 Q. And when you read it, was everything contained in the statement,
9 to the best of your knowledge and belief, true and correct?
10 A. In my statement, is that what you're referring to?
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And if I was to ask you in court today the same questions you
14 were asked and in which the information was recorded in this statement,
15 would you give the same answers to those questions so that the answers
16 remained the same?
17 A. Yes. These are the only possible answers I could give.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sruk.
19 MR. KAY: Your Honour, in those circumstances, may I make this
20 document an exhibit.
21 MR. CARRIER: No objection.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1737.
24 JUDGE ORIE: D1737 is admitted into evidence.
25 Please proceed.
1 MR. KAY:
2 Q. Mr. Sruk, we're now just going to complete some formalities in
3 relation to the statement.
4 MR. KAY: Your Honour, in paragraph 7, there are two documents
5 referenced with OBR numbers. The first is OBR-068311, which goes to page
6 14. Those are the two pages that have been cited. This is 2D00766. And
7 I request that that be made an exhibit, please.
8 MR. CARRIER: No objection.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1738.
11 JUDGE ORIE: D1738 is admitted into evidence.
12 MR. KAY: And, Your Honour, at line 21 in the same paragraph is a
13 similar document identified OBR-0686. That has been uploaded onto our
14 65 ter list as 2D00767. I ask that that be made an exhibit, please.
15 MR. CARRIER: No objection.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1739.
18 JUDGE ORIE: D1739 is admitted into evidence.
19 MR. KAY: Your Honour, that completes the formalities of the
20 statement. I'll now give a short summary of the contents of that
22 Mr. Sruk, since November 2006, is currently the head of the
23 occupational medicine department in the Sunce Polyclinic. In 1995, he
24 was within the health department of Operations Group North of the
25 Split Military District, and his superior was the commander of
1 Operations Group North and he reported to the chief of the health
2 department at the Split Military District. At that time, he was the
3 commander of a military health care centre.
4 Just before Operation Storm, on the 3rd of August, 1995
5 arranged a hygiene and sanitation reception point with a surgical team in
6 the hamlet of Marici, near the village of Luka
7 Sajkovici, where Operation Group's North command post was.
8 Having undertaken his duties there, on the 5th of August, 1995
9 he received an order from the staff of Operations Group North to go to
10 Knin immediately with all available hygiene and sanitation and --
11 personnel with the task of organising the reception centre for Croatian
12 Army members. Early on the 6th of August, he went to Knin and he first
13 visited the hospital and situated himself in a building nearby.
14 During the morning of the 6th of August, he went into Knin, as
15 the communications were not functioning, and near the railway station met
16 a group of people wearing HV uniforms. They informed him they had been
17 carrying out human sanitation of the terrain and that they had taken some
18 dead bodies to Knin cemetery.
19 When he heard of this, he went to the cemetery to check what was
20 happening there, and whether things were in accordance with the
21 established rules and protocol. There was no one at the cemetery at that
22 time, but he found a hole containing some dead bodies near the chapel.
23 At that stage, the Croatian military was responsible for the
24 human sanitation in the area of combat activities, the front line, and
25 the civil protection of police administrations was responsible for the
1 human sanitation in the liberated area.
2 He took no action at that stage, knowing that it was their
3 responsibility to deal with matters. He went to the military health care
4 centre, returned to the cemetery later in the day where he found staff of
5 the civilian protection dealing with the burial of bodies within Knin
6 cemetery, according to accepted standards.
7 In relation to issues in this case, Mr. Sruk has considered an
8 order that was titled: I hereby order, dated 5th of August, 1995,
9 Exhibit P506, signed by Mr. Cermak, and concerning a Dr. Brkic. He has
10 considered the information with that order and has identified the fact
11 that it not only names him but also people working for him. And it is
12 his evidence that, in fact, he never did work with Dr. Brkic, and that
13 reports filed by Dr. Brkic record the work of other people which, in his
14 view, he concludes that Dr. Brkic was seeking to identify himself and
15 self-promote himself in relation to having conducted activities in
16 connection with Operation Storm.
17 Your Honour, having given that brief summary of Dr. Sruk's
18 statement, I'll now ask him some questions of clarification, with
19 Your Honours' leave.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed, as you suggest.
21 MR. KAY: Thank you.
22 Q. Dr. Sruk, I want to turn now to when you arrived Knin on the
23 6th of August. If you could tell the Court what time it was when you
24 arrived the town.
25 A. Roughly at dawn, we were near Sinj, so that at around 8.00, 8.30,
1 we were in Knin.
2 Q. Where did you visit in Knin, first of all? What place did you go
3 to initially when you arrived Knin?
4 A. Pursuant to the verbal order I received, we went immediately to
5 the hospital in Knin. I knew where it was located from before so we
6 found it quite soon. It was our intention to organise there a reception
7 centre and an infirmary for wounded or injured soldiers.
8 Q. Did you establish at that time the reception centre?
9 A. It was a rather makeshift version at the time, which enabled us
10 to, over a short period of time, and we had a team of surgeons and nurses
11 from the nearby area, to put the whole thing together and have it up and
13 Q. Was this located within the Knin hospital itself?
14 A. Yes. It was right next to the main entrance where the emergency
15 ward existed from before.
16 Q. At that stage, when you were establishing the reception centre,
17 how many operatives within your -- your unit did you have working with
19 A. Eight.
20 Q. And the composition of this team that you had was what? Nurses,
21 doctors, if you could describe it to us.
22 A. The team was composed of individuals who had previously been in
23 the village of Marici
24 Operation Storm there was a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, nurses,
25 drivers, myself as a doctor, and male nurses.
1 Q. Did there come a time when you went into Knin town itself, to the
2 railway station?
3 A. As soon as we organised ourselves, I went to get informed, to
4 know what was happening. As you might know, the hospital in Knin is at
5 the edge of town, and we wanted to see what the situation was like in
6 this new environment we came to.
7 Q. And what did you establish within the town, which is of relevance
8 to this case?
9 A. In principle, the town was deserted. There were several broken
10 shop windows, and at the railway station, facing the main square of the
11 town of Knin, I came across a group of uniformed individuals, two or
12 three of whom I recognised because we were members of the same unit back
13 in 1991. As there was a general celebratory mood, we greeted each other
14 cordially and I asked him what it was that they were doing there. They
15 answered, quite reluctantly, that they were charged with sanitation; in
16 other words, with the collection and transport to the cemetery of dead
18 Q. If I can just ask you a few questions about what you told us
20 What -- what unit did they belong to?
21 A. I can't tell you exactly which unit they belonged to at the time.
22 I know that previously they were members of the anti-aircraft defence
23 units. That's what they were members of back in 1991.
24 Q. And did you notice if they had anyone who was particularly in
25 command of them?
1 A. No. No, I didn't know who their commander was. I took it for
2 granted that they had an order which they went about carrying out. I
3 didn't stop to check that, nor was that my duty.
4 Q. And what did you do, as a result of what they told you?
5 A. You know, sir, throughout the war, we feared pits. This is an
6 old tradition from my native land. It was at all times important to us
7 to bury dead soldiers and civilians according to all the standards in
8 full respect of dignity. I -- that's why I went to see what this was all
9 about. There was no order to that effect. I wanted to make sure that
10 this was done properly, and we had to rely -- we had to be resourceful
11 and creative in that respect.
12 Q. Just as a matter of information, for how long had you been
13 involved in dealing with burials of dead bodies during the conflict?
14 A. As I joined the Operations Group Sinj at the end of 1994, and
15 later on, when I joined Operations Group North, I was always present at
16 the front line where, under the rules, the Croatian Army was duty-bound
17 to carry out the proper removal of human bodies and carcasses. In other
18 words, at the front line, I, as the chief of a medical corps, was the
19 person responsible for it. Therefore, my arrival to Knin was nothing
20 novel to me. It wasn't the first time. I had extensive experience, and,
21 believe me when I tell you, that I was doing the job thoroughly and
22 properly as of the end of 1994.
23 Q. Thank you. Did you go to the cemetery in Knin?
24 A. As soon as I heard the information from this group of soldiers, I
25 went to the cemetery right away. I didn't manage to find it at first,
1 but I managed eventually, and it was at my second attempt that I
3 There was nobody at the cemetery, but at the end of the cemetery,
4 I noticed an excavator. This convinced me that somebody was already
5 engaged in sanitation and burying individuals. But I didn't find anybody
7 Q. And were you with anyone when you visited the cemetery?
8 A. No, I was on my own.
9 Q. And when you saw this -- this excavator, what did you see nearby?
10 A. In its immediate surrounding, there was a hole that had been dug
11 of approximate dimensions 4 by 4 metres. When I came to the edge of that
12 hole, at the bottom of the hole I could see some eight, nine, or ten
13 bodies laid down. I didn't exactly count them, I have to admit.
14 Q. When you saw the hole there with the bodies within, had there
15 been any other signs within the cemetery of the digging of graves or any
16 other place of interment?
17 A. Not at the time. When I came there for the first time, there
18 wasn't anything. I was simply there on my own.
19 Q. At that stage, on the 6th of August, whose responsibility was it
20 for the burial and sanitation -- human sanitation in Knin?
21 A. Since Knin was not at the front line, all the burials, human
22 sanitation were the task of the civilian protection of the Ministry of
23 the Interior.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, I have some concerns about whether your
25 question, line 11, 8, was well understood by the witness in view of his
1 answer. I would just like to verify that.
2 Mr. --
3 MR. KAY: Yes. I see what Your Honour mean, yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk, Mr. Kay asked you whether, when you came
5 to the cemetery for the first time, whether you saw any other signs of
6 the digging of graves. And from your answer, I take it that you
7 understood the question to be whether you saw any persons digging graves.
8 Is that how you understood the question?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I understood that I was asked
10 whether any other graves had been buried or whether any other
11 preparations had been made for further interment. This was my
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But I think it was included in the question as
14 well, whether you saw any indicia of people having been buried there
15 recently. The graves perhaps not prepared for being used, but perhaps
16 already being used. Did you see anything which could be understood as
17 indicia for recent opening of the ground and closing it again.
18 MR. KAY: Current -- current burials.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Along the way that I walked on, so
20 from the main entrance by the chapel, this is a rather wide passage,
21 there were old graves on either side of this passage. But I did not walk
22 anywhere else in the cemetery. I simply walked in the direction of the
23 chapel and this is why, at that time, so in the morning hours of the
24 6th of August, to be more precise, it may have been about around 10.00,
25 10.30 in the morning on the 6th of August. It is rather difficult to
1 recall exactly after so much time has lapsed, but bearing all in mind all
2 my other duties at the time, I assume it may have been about 10.00,
4 So I did not walk around the cemetery but I walked directly in
5 the direction of the excavator because this was what I was interested in.
6 There were graves on either side of this passage, but I have to say, I
7 did not pay too much attention. I was not interested in that. I was
8 interested in the -- in the human sanitation itself.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for this clarification.
10 Please proceed, Mr. Kay.
11 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. In relation to what you saw in the hole, the area that had been
13 dug, was there anything that you could do at that stage to deal with the
14 matter? You personally being there.
15 A. Well, quite obviously I couldn't do anything on my own. But it
16 was quite clear that something needed to be done, and whoever did it
17 before was unqualified for the job. And I have to say, when I recall
18 these pictures today, I believe that they did it with the best of
20 However, at that moment, I physically could not do anything on my
22 Q. What did you do next, having seen that -- that site? Where did
23 you going?
24 A. I have to admit that, first of all, I didn't know what to do at
25 all. The town was half empty. At that time we did not even have any
1 internal communication. We could simply use couriers. So I went back to
2 the hospital, and my intention was to try and get in touch with those who
3 were involved with human sanitation. That is with civilian protection
4 service, or whoever could do it from thereon.
5 Q. And was that the civilian -- and was that the civilian protection
6 run by the MUP?
7 A. Yes. Short after I came back to the hospital, my driver brought
8 me a message that members of the civilian protection came - he didn't
9 know where from - and that they were getting ready for sanitation, as I
10 was told at the time, and I quote: "To do it in our way." And this I
11 understood to mean according to all the protocols, and my driver was
12 aware of these protocols and rules.
13 Q. And so what did you do next, in relation to this matter?
14 A. This information that the civilian protection took over the task
15 the of sanitation, at that moment, was enough for me. And soon
16 afterwards, we started with our next task, which we had to carry out, and
17 this was to receive the medical team from Zadar which was supposed to
18 come in and start managing the hospital. One part of that hospital was
19 used by us as infirmary.
20 Q. So did you go to meet the incoming medical team from Zadar?
21 A. Yes. We waited for them there. Actually, we came to the
22 Heliodrom with two vehicles with -- sorry, at the helipad with two
23 vehicles in order to transport them from there to the hospital. The
24 distance is rather long.
25 Q. So did that happen? Did you meet the incoming medical team from
1 Zadar and transport them to the hospital?
2 A. Yes, that is correct.
3 Q. In fact, did they arrive on a helicopter which also contained
4 General Cermak?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In relation to your duties and responsibilities, did
7 General Cermak have any role at all?
8 A. No. I recognised him at that time, because I simply knew him
9 from TV or newspapers. I did not even know at the time what was the
10 purpose of his visit, why he came there. I was explained that later on.
11 Q. Having taken the medical team to the Knin hospital, did you later
12 revisit the Knin cemetery?
13 A. Yes. So, after we transferred the hospital, so to say, to the
14 Zadar team, I was ordered to urgently inspect a situation along the road
15 Knin-Bosansko Grahovo. I went there with my team, and in passing, we
16 were on the road, but in front of the entrance to the cemetery, I could
17 see a rather large group of people, and then I became personally
18 convinced that these were members of the civilian protection that I heard
19 earlier on were coming in, and they were organising their work, and we
20 could see that from the road.
21 In the afternoon hours, after I came back from my previous task,
22 I personally stopped at the cemetery with my personal driver. The first
23 thing I was interested in, as you can assume, is what happened with what
24 I saw that morning; so, that hole with bodies laid in it and the
25 excavator. At first, I was satisfied because I could immediately see
1 that nearly half of the bodies were already taken out. Some four or five
2 bodies, they were laid at a plateau in front and they were already put in
3 body-bags. I introduced myself. They could see my insignia, the ranks,
4 that I was an officer, so I asked them, I said that obviously I couldn't
5 issue any orders. I was not a commander of theirs. But I asked them to
6 complete their work there, and I said, Please, let us do the rest of this
7 work according to all the rules and regulations of human sanitation.
8 I went back a third time to see the situation as it was in the
9 field, and then I already knew a person who said that he was either
10 responsible or that he was coordinating that work. We jointly visited
11 that group grave, mass grave, whatever you want to call it. I just
12 wouldn't like to call it a pit. And that it -- the ground was levelled,
13 and the bodies, at that time, were already buried in the left-hand side
14 of the cemetery where there was still enough room, and that area, the
15 left-hand side, looking from the entrance into the cemetery, was used for
16 human sanitation purposes from there on in Knin.
17 So the area where the hole was dug out previously was levelled.
18 You could see that it was excavated sometime ago, or not so long ago. I
19 was convinced then, if I may say so, I was so sure that the work was done
20 properly that I even sent some beers to people who did that work in such
21 difficult conditions, because the weather conditions were so difficult.
22 It was very hot. And it is our custom that when you offer a drink to
23 somebody, it means that you are expressing your satisfaction, and this is
24 what I have done as well.
25 Q. If I could look at some of the detail there. Had -- did you
1 discuss with the civilian protection team working there what you had
2 found, what you had seen when you were there earlier in the day? Did you
3 inform them about that?
4 A. Yes, certainly.
5 Q. And did they tell you anything they had done about what you had
6 seen, whether they'd taken any steps to deal with the problem that you
7 had seen?
8 A. I said already that when I came there for the second time, I
9 could see already that approximately half of the bodies were taken out
10 and were dealt with properly. Obviously I couldn't assume that they
11 would leave the second half of the bodies in, because there was a large
12 group of people there and a coordinator was there, so I can guarantee
13 that I saw half of the bodies taken out, and I'm sure that they proceeded
14 with the work in the same way, but it wasn't a pit in which the bodies
15 were thrown but that was simply a way that somebody did a human
16 sanitation task in an unqualified way.
17 Q. Could you describe, then, the type of graves that were there that
18 had been made by that civil protection team, how they dealt with it.
19 Describe how they interred those bodies.
20 A. The bodies were buried in a typical manner in which we usually do
21 it when we bury bodies in the ground. So you have a grave dug out, you
22 put in the body, and you have a small barrow on top, a small mound.
23 When I came there for the third time, I tried to see what it was
24 that they did, and I could see that there were graves, one next to
25 another one. There was a cross on each of these graves, as we would
1 normally put it above the head. The graves were typical graves dug in
2 the same way in which it is customarily done in our country. It is done
3 in this way, even today, if you bury somebody in the ground.
4 Q. You've described earlier the excavator. Do you know how the
5 digging was done in the cemetery at that time? How this civil protection
6 team dug?
7 A. On that day, though I passed by the cemetery the next day -- but
8 I'm not talking about that now. On that first day, people dug graves
9 manually, and then I realised that the excavator I saw was broken down.
10 It was out of order. The next day it still stood there in the same
11 position, unmoved.
12 I assumed that later on they brought new excavators and thereby
13 they could work faster. But what I saw on the first day, it was done
14 manually. This is very difficult work.
15 Q. Did you revisit the cemetery in Knin on any other occasions
16 during the month of August?
17 A. Only once. I was asked by an acquaintance of mine who didn't
18 know where the cemetery was and he wanted to visit a grave of a relative
19 of his. So I took him there, but, on that occasion, I didn't even enter
20 the cemetery. I smoked a -- and I smoked a cigarette in front of the
21 entrance while he visited the grave that he wanted to visit. This was in
22 the second half of August, and I didn't visit the cemetery on any other
23 occasion because this was not a part of my task.
24 Q. Thank you very much. I want to now look at other -- another
25 matter with you.
1 MR. KAY: Can we have Exhibit P506, please.
2 Q. Mr. Sruk, you'll see on that screen to the right again a document
3 coming up that I want you to look at. You've referred to it in your
5 It's dated the 5th of August, 1995, from the Knin garrison,
6 signed by General Cermak, and it contains your name within it. And I
7 want you to look at this document with the Court.
8 We can see that it says because of the situation that has arisen
9 and the need for organised and expert human and animal hygienic and
10 sanitary measures of the liberated region. And there's an order.
11 And it says:
12 "A field hygiene and sanitary measures staff is organised under
13 the command of Garrison Town Knin composed as follows."
14 And we see Brigadier Brkic, Chief of Staff; Dr. Gotovac,
15 assistant chief for epidemiological affairs; Major Dr. Branko Sruk,
16 assistant chief for human hygiene and sanitary measures.
17 Now, you're named in this order. Were you ever part of a team
18 that worked under the command of the Knin garrison?
19 A. When you showed me this order, this was the first time that I
20 ever saw it. So this was in the year 2009. I never was and I could not
21 have been a member of a team, because my order, at the time, was to be
22 chief of the medical team and commander of the operative team of the
23 Operation Group North.
24 On the 5th of August, I was still at the front line with the
25 group of people that I presented to you earlier on.
1 The last four members of this team, the last four names, are two
2 nurses and two drivers, and they could not have been here, because that I
3 would mean that I have been left without nurses and drivers, and I could
4 not operate like that.
5 The order that was still valid for me at the time, on the
6 5th of August and the 6th of August until probably 11th or the
7 12th of August, was as I previously stated. So it is rather clear that
8 even if I wasn't a soldier, I couldn't have been at two places at once.
9 My reports written on the 5th and on the 4th of August to my superiors
10 were sent from the front line, and they clearly indicate that I could not
11 have been here, no matter who issued this order.
12 On the other hand, regardless of the fact that this order was
13 signed by Mr. Cermak, even if I received it, at the time I could not have
14 followed it, because I had an entirely different commander and entirely
15 different orders. So although the military forces were only then being
16 created, nonetheless nobody could go anywhere on one's own initiative.
17 You had to follow the orders which you had.
18 Q. Thank you. We'll work up in reverse order, then, of the names
19 here, as you identified those four who were part of your unit.
20 Captain Boris Radovic, coordinator for animal hygiene and
21 sanitary measures. Did you ever work during this time in a sanitation
22 team with him?
23 A. Up until that point, no. Subsequently, yes. However, at -- in
24 this particular exercise contained in the -- referred to in the document,
1 Q. And if you could tell us, then, about Captain Radovic, what his
2 role and job was and whom he worked for?
3 A. Captain Radovic was, to put it simply, my counterpart. What I
4 was in the medical corps, he was in the veterinary field. In other
5 words, he was the chief of the veterinary service.
6 It was only later, pursuant to General Gotovina's order of the
7 11th of August, that he was appointed the coordinator of the mixed team
8 for sanitation, which was within the chain of command, something that
9 came from the staff, and it was a fully valid unit based on the law.
10 Mr. Radovic, who was a veterinarian, was appointed a coordinator. I
11 suppose that were he now alive, he himself would confirm that he never
12 saw the order that we have on our screens now, because he was unable to
13 carry out two tasks at the same time and he had the same commander that I
15 Therefore, there was nobody who could have ordered to us, save
16 for our commanders. In other words, the commander of Operations
17 Group North, and commander of the Split Military District.
18 Q. And Captain Radovic, whom you said that you did later work with
19 at that time, was that in connection with this order of the
20 11th of August you just referred to?
21 A. Let me clarify this.
22 The operations and planning logistics from the Main Staff in
24 concerning the sanitisation -- sanitation of certain areas during and
25 after Operation Storm. The order referred to all the Military Districts
1 and addressed all those who were in the areas of responsibility under the
2 direct command of the Main Staff. I suppose that the order reached
3 Zadar, not Split, because the forward command post of the Split Military
4 District was in Zadar at the time.
5 An order was drafted there, which was signed by General Gotovina
6 on the 11th of August, which contained all the elements of sanitation and
7 everything else that was required in the area covered by the
8 Split Military District, including Knin, as part and parcel of the AOR.
9 At that time, Captain Radovic was appointed a coordinator.
10 At that point, pursuant to the order which arrived from Zagreb
11 mixed detachment was set up. It was quite clear to us that
12 General Gotovina had signed the order whilst being fully aware of the
13 vastness of the territory, which had a very small presence of
14 individuals, most of whom had fled before or during Operation Storm. We
15 were aware of the fact that we had to bring in completely new forces to
16 deal with sanitation, be it the removal of human bodies, of carcasses, of
17 any other debris, et cetera. It was an area where none of the facilities
18 were operational. It was a true and proper order.
19 Q. Thank you. Just going up, then, to the next name on the list.
20 Lieutenant Dr. Boris Samardzija. Do you know Lieutenant Samardzija?
21 A. Yes, I know him and I know everybody else very well.
22 Boris Samardzija arrived only sometime on the 8th or 9th from
24 role was in the reception centre that I told you about which we had set
25 up on the hospital premises. Whether he was used for some duties other
1 than those, I don't know.
2 Q. Was he used for any duties, in relation to sanitation of the
4 A. I don't know about that.
5 Q. Thank you. And, again, is he an officer within the
6 Split Military District?
7 A. Yes, he was an officer, member of the 306th Logistics Base in
9 Q. If we go to the next name, moving up. Snjezana Soldic, a vet.
10 Do you know this person?
11 A. Yes. She was a Miss, at the time, a Mrs. today.
12 She was a veterinarian working in the health administration
13 attached to the Ministry of Health. In other words, she was a civilian
14 person who worked at the time for the Ministry of Defence. It was not
15 customary for military personnel to issue civilians employed there any
16 sort of orders.
17 She was there for a couple of days, and it was more of a
18 supervisory role that she had, and it was after the 10th or the 11th of
19 August that she spent these two days in Knin. She stayed in home that
20 was next to our infirmary housed in the hospital. She did not take any
21 -- any active part in sanitation, and I don't really know what it is that
22 she would be doing there.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: She worked for the
24 health administration within the Ministry of Defence.
25 MR. KAY: Thank you.
1 Q. In relation to your work, did you work with her at all?
2 A. Not at the time.
3 Q. We've dealt with your position. Let's look at Dr. Gotovac,
4 assistant chief for epidemiological affairs. Do you know Dr. Gotovac?
5 A. Of course. In this initial phase of some ten days, Dr. Gotovac
6 was not in Knin. He arrived only after the 10th or the 11th; roughly a
7 week after Operation Storm. He is, indeed, a specialist in epidemiology,
8 and he was also working for the health administration of the Ministry of
10 However, his role at the time was as some sort of supervisor; in
11 other words, he was supposed to oversee the sanitation process. I
12 believe he even drew up a report. But he did not only come to Knin, he
13 visited other Military Districts in the aftermath of Operation Storm. He
14 could not have taken part in anything on the 5th of August, because he
15 wasn't tasked to, and, again, he was an employee of the Ministry of
17 Q. And lastly, Dr. Brkic, identified as Chief of Staff of this team.
18 First of all, did you work with Dr. Brkic at all during this
19 period in Knin?
20 A. We came across each other on several occasions.
21 I must admit that he tried, to put it that way, to coax these
22 four people of mine, two drivers and two nurses, to join him. Now, of
23 course, since we had completely different tasks that we were dealing, we
24 were unable to cooperate. There was no need for it. And officially
25 there was no cooperation. I received -- had I received an order from my
1 superiors to establish any sort of cooperation, I would have. However,
2 my superiors didn't even know that Dr. Brkic was forming any sort of
3 staff and that he was engaging in sanitation, since we were all aware of
4 the fact that it was the civilian protection that engaged in sanitation.
5 It was a bit difficult at first because of the shortage of personnel, and
6 it improved gradually. In other words, there was no need for any sort of
7 staff. Ultimately, under the rules, under the law, this role should have
8 been carried out by the civilian protection, because it didn't have to
9 do, in this instance, with the battlefield.
10 Q. Do you know exactly what Dr. Brkic was doing then in Knin?
11 Perhaps if can I put the question in stages. You obviously know
12 Dr. Brkic; is that correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. Did you know what he was doing in Knin at this time, what his
15 task and responsibilities were?
16 A. When I saw him first, I found it unusual, I must admit. I
17 thought that it was merely a courtesy visit from members of the
18 Ministry of Defence. I thought that he was there to give us a piece of
19 advice. Otherwise, it was not customary for individuals from such a
20 level to pay a visit to us, in order to directly engage in any sort of
22 Very soon, I realised that there was no order or rule based on
23 which he would do anything there.
24 Let me alert you to the fact that as part of preparations for
25 Operation Storm, we knew directly from General Gotovina and other
1 commanders what sort of action would be taken along which axes. And as I
2 wrote instructions for logistics support, and therefore for sanitation as
3 well, we knew that the sanitisation of an area that was outside of the
4 direct combat zone, such as Knin, Drnis, Kistanje, et cetera, would be
5 taken over by the civilian protection. Therefore, anything else would be
6 in direct violation of the documents or the orders that we received from
7 our superiors.
8 Q. I'd like you now to look at a report that he filed dated the
9 12th of August, 1995.
10 MR. KAY: Exhibit D30, please.
11 Q. This is a document referred to in your statement. Do you
12 recollect there is this report and several other reports, one to
13 Mr. Cervenko -- General Cervenko, one to Mr. Susak, one to
14 General Gotovina, and you comment on them in your statement. I'm not
15 going through each of them, but I'd like to you look at this one as being
16 an example, and it is a report on sanitation and hygiene measures taken
17 in the period. It refers to the 5th of August. And you've commented
18 on -- on that order. And it refers to human sanitation measures.
19 And he, in page 2 of the English, and in the main paragraph of
20 the Croatian document, it refers to:
21 "In Knin itself ... bodies of enemy soldiers were partially
22 moved; namely, the rest could not be seen nor did they smell in view of
23 the recent operation."
24 And he refers to the church and finding an excavator with a large
25 hole that had been dug with several bodies. And he refers to:
1 "Aware that this was not the procedure to be followed, I issued
2 an order to Mr. Ivan Jelic, engineer, to deal with the bodies in
3 conformity with the Geneva Convention."
4 That name there, Mr. Jelic, an engineer, is that familiar to you?
5 A. No.
6 Q. The civil protection team that you came across on the 6th, would
7 they be described as engineers or anything like -- like that? Do you
8 know what the phrase here "engineer," or the word "engineer" refers to?
9 A. Members of the civilian protection wore grey uniforms. I
10 remember one of them. I think they were mobilised members of the
11 Ministry of Defence. I don't think that they necessarily needed to be
12 engineers. They were supposed to apply hygiene and sanitation measures
13 in accordance with all the standards.
14 The name doesn't ring any bells. I don't see why somebody should
15 be an engineer or not. These were mobilised personnel. I realised a day
16 later that they came from all over Croatia, including Zagreb
17 unable to man the team from among our ranks in Split and in the south,
18 and I realised later on that MUP had taken upon itself to mobilise these
19 people from across the country.
20 This person, Jelic, if he was among then, I had never heard of
22 Q. We then go to the part of the report where the 6th of August,
23 1995, is referred to, and the fact that the president of the Republic
25 And do you recollect that event, that President Tudjman arrived
1 in Knin on that day?
2 A. Yes. I was not able to be personally present there. I told you
3 that this was at the time when I was out in the field between the two
4 visits that I paid to the hospital.
5 I knew of the event. I don't see what it has to do with the
6 report that was written, to tell you the truth.
7 Q. Looking at the next paragraph, he refers to the morning of the
8 7th of August, 1995, arriving at the cemetery, finding the hole behind
9 the church covered up. He received no answer as to who had done it. And
10 it became clear to him that his presence was indispensable:
11 "... due to the delicate nature of the work and other actions.
12 The team formed, as can be seen from your order, took matters into its
13 own hands and together with the civil protection staff produced results
14 which conformed to all rules of hygiene and sanitation measures; that is,
15 the bodies which were in a common room were separated and buried
17 Now we've looked at the team, and you've made your comments upon
18 those individuals in the order dated the 5th of August. Just looking at
19 that assertion here, that on the 7th of August, that team, which included
20 you and some of your staff, took matters into its own hands and with
21 civil protection staff produced results which conformed to all rules of
22 hygiene and sanitation measures, and the bodies were separated and buried
23 individually, on the 7th of August, 1995.
24 As a relation -- in relation to that assertion in this report, is
25 that correct?
1 MR. CARRIER: Mr. President.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Carrier.
3 MR. CARRIER: I'm just not sure that characterisation of when
4 they were buried or separated and buried is accurate. If Mr. Kay could
5 review that portion and perhaps readdress that.
6 MR. KAY: Well, it says in the morning of the 7th of August, he
7 arrived. He found the hole. He found that his presence was
8 indispensable. The team formed, as can be seen from your order, and
9 that's the order of the 5th of August, took matters into its own hands
10 and together with civil protection staff produced resulted which
11 conformed to all rules of hygiene and sanitation measures; that is, the
12 bodies were separated and buried individually.
13 It seems to me the assertion here that that is quite clearly on
14 the 7th of August, his alleged team and civil protection dealt with the
15 burial of these bodies individually as a team.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think Mr. Carrier points at the line where
17 it says:
18 "The bodies which were in a common room were separated and buried
20 You left out the common room. Is that --
21 MR. CARRIER: No. It's that Mr. Kay added that they were
22 separated and buried individually on the 7th of August, 1995
23 first part of the paragraph of and putting it on the last part of the
24 paragraph and trying to make it seem that's what had happened.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that apparently is the --
1 MR. KAY: [Overlapping speakers] -- make anything seem anything,
2 other than read it out.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Well, let's -- let's --
4 MR. KAY: Excuse me.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, if you could --
6 MR. KAY: I will redo --
7 JUDGE ORIE: -- phrase your question again perhaps by just
8 literally reading, then --
9 MR. KAY:
10 Q. Can you read this paragraph and you comment on it and tell us
11 whether this event happened as described in the paragraph, Mr. Sruk.
12 A. Sir, may I comment on the entire report? Quite briefly.
13 Q. I want you to comment on this paragraph and then I will give you
14 an opportunity to comment on the entire report. But this paragraph which
15 has this matter in it --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and --
17 MR. KAY:
18 Q. You read it yourself.
19 JUDGE ORIE: That's fine, Mr. Kay. And then you asked the
20 witness whether this event happened or not. Let's -- shouldn't we first
21 ask whether he was present during such an event, and if the answer is
22 yes, then, of course, he can comment on what happened. If the answer is
23 no, then, of course, the witness may have other sources of knowledge on
24 this event. But then at least we know what his source of knowledge is.
25 MR. KAY: Right.
1 Q. Did you and the individuals identified in that order take part in
2 the burial of those bodies that you described seeing on the
3 6th of August?
4 A. No. But the bodies were exhumed and then buried by the evening
5 of the 6th. Mr. Brkic arrives on the 7th. He was not in Knin on the
7 The first part is evidently a description based on the stories he
8 heard. He arrives at the cemetery on the 7th, and it is true that he
9 finds that the hole had been covered in, and he said that it's a delicate
10 matter. But, you see, the problem lies in this. What would have
11 happened, had the pit been covered in with the bodies inside? And
12 this -- this is why I had always asked for my commanders to give me
13 permission to give bodies a proper burial. So the bodies were
14 disinterred and were then interred individually. They were given a
15 proper burial. Already, on the evening of the 6th, the large hole had
16 been filled in, and that's how he found it on the 7th.
17 However, what preceded the prelude was different to what is
18 explained in this report. And what's more suspicious is that the
19 document doesn't even have a proper reference number, and this begs the
20 question of what sort of report is this, after all.
21 Q. That's all I ask on that matter, and you have dealt with the
22 reports in your statement in detail.
23 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I'm just trying to find the reference to
24 the 11th of August order that the witness cited during his evidence, and
25 I -- I noticed that I didn't mention to you which document he was
1 referring to. It's Exhibit P496, which is part of his statement, and he
2 dealt with it extemporaneously rather than looking at the document, and I
3 wanted to link that up for Your Honour as to the particular document that
4 was being cited by the witness.
5 I hope that assists the Court.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, thank you for that.
7 MR. KAY: Your Honour, that's all I ask Mr. Sruk. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. May I first inquire with the parties as to how
9 much time they would need.
10 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, 20 to 30 minutes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: 20 to 30 minutes, because we started on the basis of
12 the assumption that Mr. Kay would take half a session where he took one
14 Mr. Mikulicic.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: I will have no questions, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: No questions.
17 Mr. Carrier.
18 MR. CARRIER: Mr. President, I have a session and a half.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Session and a half.
20 Which means that we have to be very efficient in order to finish
21 at 1.30 p.m.
22 core of what they want to elicit as evidence from the witness without too
23 many side roads. We'll first --
24 MR. KAY: We revised our estimate to one session, as I recall,
25 sent a notice.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Then I must have missed that. That's -- I'm just,
2 at this moment, establishing what our real situation is, Mr. Kay, rather
3 than to criticise.
4 We'll have a break, and we will resume at five minutes to 11.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, are you ready to cross-examine the
9 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk, you will now be cross-examined by
11 Mr. Misetic. Mr. Misetic is counsel for Mr. Gotovina.
12 Please proceed.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Misetic:
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Sruk.
15 I noted from your witness statement that you mentioned that you
16 had been subordinated to OG North. Can you tell us, were you ever
17 subordinated to Operative Groups Otric, Sajkovici, or Vrba.
18 A. No.
19 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have Exhibit D281 on the
20 screen, please.
21 Q. Mr. Sruk, this is an order by General Gotovina dated the
22 9th of August, and it is his order for active defence.
23 MR. MISETIC: And if we could go to page 4 in the English. And
24 if we could scroll down, please. Actually ... I'm sorry, it's page 5 in
25 the English, at the bottom.
1 If we could turn the page in English, please. Okay.
2 Q. There you will see, Mr. Sruk, that on the 9th of August,
3 General Gotovina ordered --
4 MR. MISETIC: And if we could scroll up in the Croatian, please.
5 Sorry, if we could go -- page 4 in the Croatian version.
6 Q. And if you look towards the middle of the page, in the Croatian,
7 General Gotovina says:
8 "Three operative groups shall be established for the defence,
9 consisting of all forces and under the command of the Split Military
10 District Command as follows ..."
11 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn the page, please.
12 Q. And he renames and reforms the operative groups which as of
13 9 August become Operative Group Otric, Operative Group Sajkovici, and
14 Operative Group Vrba. As of 9 August, Operative Group North ceased to
15 exist. So after operative -- after 9th of August, can you tell us, who
16 you would have been working for?
17 A. That's correct. On the 9th, or the 8th, or the 9th in the
18 evening, the last briefing that I attended was in Sajkovici. At that
19 time it still belonged to the Operative Group North. Thereafter, as I
20 mentioned previously already, I came back to the 316th Logistics Base.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 306th Logistics
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And my task was to continue to head
24 the infirmary and medical station for members of the Croatian Army, which
25 was set up in the building of the hospital that I previously talked
1 about. So this is correct, what is stated here. Although I have to say
2 that this is the first time that I have seen this document.
3 Q. Thank you for that answer, Dr. Sruk.
4 I want to turn your attention now to your witness statement which
5 is -- particularly at paragraph 6 -- sorry, paragraph 4 of your witness
6 statement. And in that paragraph you mention that -- this is it at
7 line 12 in the English:
8 "I wrote two reports on my work to the commander of Operative
9 Group North on 5 August 1995
10 verbal order from the OG North staff to come to Knin immediately."
11 I'd like to show you, Dr. Sruk, a few of the reports that you
12 filed on the 5th of August.
13 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if could I have 65 ter 1D2997 on the
14 screen, please.
15 Q. Doctor, you will see on the screen that this is one report, on
16 the 5th of August, that you filed with the commander of OG North. The
17 report is titled: Report on killed, wounded and injured in Operation
18 Summer 95 for 3 August 1995
19 Now, preliminarily, you do know that Operation Summer 1995 refers
20 to the Grahovo operation prior to Operation Storm. Correct?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. And if you look through this document, if you look through the
23 first page, it identifies wounded and injured of the 81st Croatian Army
24 Guards Battalion.
25 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page in both the English and
2 Q. It also lists other injuries and then killed. It identifies five
3 persons of the 81st who were killed, and then the sixth person is a
4 member of the 4th Guards Brigade who was killed.
5 So in terms of the report that you filed on the 5th, this -- this
6 report, would have dealt with HV casualties in Operation Summer 95.
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. Okay.
10 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that 65 ter 1D2997 be marked
11 and I tender it into evidence.
12 MR. CARRIER: No objection.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1740.
15 JUDGE ORIE: D1740 is admitted into evidence.
16 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if could I have on the screen,
17 please, 65 ter 1D2998, please.
18 Q. This is, again, a report of the 5th of August to the commander of
19 OG North, and the report is about killed, wounded and injured in
20 Operation Kozjak 95 for 4 August 1995
21 Operation Storm. And if we look through the first page, you identify
22 wounded and injured of the 7th Guards Brigade.
23 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page, please.
24 Q. You then identify three members of the 7th Guards Brigade as
25 having been killed in combat on the 4th of August.
1 Mr. Sruk, would this have been -- looking at this report, is
2 this, in fact, a report that you filed with Operative Group North on the
3 5th of August, 1995?
4 A. That's correct.
5 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that this be marked and I
6 tender it into evidence.
7 MR. CARRIER: No objection.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1741.
10 JUDGE ORIE: D1741 is admitted into evidence.
11 MR. MISETIC:
12 Q. And, finally, Mr. Sruk, there was, in fact, a third report, and I
13 will put that on the screen.
14 MR. MISETIC: This is 65 ter 1D2999.
15 Q. This is also a report of 5 August to the commander of OG North,
16 report on killed, wounded and injured in Kozjak 95, for 5 August 1995.
17 And if you look through that, you will see wounded and injured on
18 the first page, members of the 7th Guards Brigade of the Croatian Army.
19 MR. MISETIC: And if we turn the page.
20 Q. It also identifies two wounded or injured from the
21 4th Guards Brigade, several from -- two from the Special Police of the
22 MUP of Herceg-Bosna and two members of the 4th Guards Brigade as having
23 been killed.
24 Is this a report, Doctor, that you in fact filed with
25 Operative Group North on the 5th of August, 1995?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Doctor, is it fair to say that the reports that you referenced in
3 your witness statement, none of the reports that you filed on
4 5th of August related to -- to Serb soldiers or civilians being injured
5 or killed?
6 A. No. I did not come across them at the time. I did not have such
8 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that 65 ter 1D2999 be marked
9 and I tender it into evidence.
10 MR. CARRIER: No objection.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1742.
13 JUDGE ORIE: D1742 is admitted into evidence.
14 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Doctor, you -- in your direct examination, you discussed
16 General Cervenko's order on the 5th of August to form mixed sanitation
17 teams. When was the first time that you actually saw General Cervenko's
19 A. It was after I received the order by General Gotovina dated the
20 11th of August. I heard the rumour that this order was in fact issued,
21 that the order by General Gotovina was being prepared, and I asked for
22 the original order to be delivered to me. Since this had to do with
23 mixed teams and bearing in mind that I was a chief in the
24 Operations Group North until the 9th, I asked for this, and I received it
25 immediately after I received the order by General Gotovina on the 11th.
1 This was the first time I saw it.
2 Q. Okay. Let's take a look at General Gotovina's order from the
3 11th of August.
4 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could have on the screen,
5 please, Exhibit P496.
6 Q. Now, this is the 11th of August order, referencing in the
7 preamble, General Cervenko's orders of the 5th of August. And point 2
8 discusses the formation of operative groups for various towns.
9 MR. MISETIC: And if we could go to paragraph 4, which is the
10 next page in this document, please. Numbered paragraph 4.
11 Q. It identifies various tasks that need to be completed. You can
12 see there, for example, point 4 is, the group must have -- I'm sorry. It
13 describes who was going to comprise these groups. And paragraph 4.4 says
14 a forensic technician and forensic operative. Paragraph 4.10 identifies
15 persons for the clear-up of human bodies, five workers.
16 MR. MISETIC: If we could go to the next page, please. And we're
17 going to have to flip back and forth a little bit, Mr. Registrar, I
18 apologise for this. If we can go to, again, the next page, paragraph 5.
19 Q. You'll see that General Gotovina then says:
20 "The personnel and equipment for items 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, and
21 4.13 are to be provided ..."
22 And then request we go down to 5f: For the Sibenik clear-up ...
23 from the Sibenik squad of the 306th Logistics Base.
24 Now, in answer to my first question, you had indicated that after
25 the 9th of August you, in fact, had returned back to the 306th Logistics
1 Base. Correct?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. If you keep in mind the numbers in the order as to what the --
4 what the Sibenik 306th Logistics Base was supposed to be doing, we need
5 to look back at 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8 and 4.13.
6 MR. MISETIC: So if we could flip back one page, Mr. Registrar.
7 Q. So your logistics base was charged with providing an ambulance
8 vehicle with a physician and medic, an ABKO squad with an M68 or M78
9 water truck; a combat security squad, engineers comprising of one
10 combined trench digger and two drivers.
11 MR. MISETIC: And then if we could turn the page in English,
13 Q. And a personal vehicle for the commander of the clear-up of the
14 operative group.
15 And now if we scroll down to 6, paragraph 6, General Gotovina
17 "Personnel and equipment for items 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.10, and 4.11
18 shall be provided by the Zadar-Knin county police administration, the
19 Sibenik police administration, for item 5f, and the Split-Dalmatia police
20 administrations for item 5g.
21 MR. MISETIC: So if we can go back now to the previous page in
23 Q. So the MUP was charged with, under 4.2, having a Deputy Commander
24 of the clear-up; 4.3 is an explosives expert; 4.4 was having a forensic
25 technician and forensic operative; and 4.10 was the MUP was supposed to
1 be providing the persons for the clear-up of human bodies of the workers.
2 Now, this order, is that in fact how after the 11th of August the
3 work tasks were divided, that essentially the HV was providing logistical
4 support, and the MUP was providing the forensic technicians and the
5 personnel to clear up human bodies?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. Thank you, Dr. Sruk.
8 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I have no further questions.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Misetic.
10 Mr. Carrier, are you ready to cross-examine Mr. Sruk?
11 MR. CARRIER: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk, you will now be cross-examined by
13 Mr. Carrier. Mr. Carrier is counsel for the Prosecution.
14 Please proceed.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Carrier:
16 Q. Mr. Sruk, when you arrived Knin, were you aware that Dr. Brkic
17 was already there, starting on the 5th of August, 1995?
18 A. No. I saw him only on the 7th.
19 Q. So just to clarify, is it your position that he was not there; or
20 you just didn't know whether or not, in fact, Dr. Brkic was already
22 A. I arrived on the morning of the 6th. I'm not sure what had been
23 happening on the 5th, and I saw him on the 7th of August.
24 Q. I'm just trying to clarify your evidence today because at
25 page 30, starting at about line 1 and on through half the page, with
1 respect to the exhumation of bodies that took place in the cemetery, you
2 said that Dr. Brkic arrived on the 7th, that he was not in Knin on the
4 So is it that you just don't know if he was there on the 6th
5 either, or the 5th or -- I mean, he could have been around, you just
6 don't know? You're just assuming that here?
7 A. During the 6th, throughout the day, I was in touch with very many
8 people belonging to the medical corps and sanitation teams, and it would
9 have been very strange that I didn't come across him or that he didn't
10 look us up in fact. So I cannot claim that he wasn't there, but I didn't
11 see him.
12 Q. Okay. Well, Mr. Sruk, there's a lot more information in that
13 answer that you just gave than was necessary. The answer is no, you
14 didn't know whether he was there on the 5th or the 6th. You just don't
15 know; right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you know Mr. Zeljko Jonjic from the 306th Logistics Base?
18 A. Jonjic? Jonjic?
19 Q. Jonjic.
20 A. Yes, I do know a Jonjic.
21 Q. And were you aware that he was temporarily assigned to the Knin
22 garrison in August 1995 as assistant for logistics at General Cermak 's
24 A. Later on, seven or eight days later, I learned that he was
25 assigned there along with some other people. But during the first four
1 or five days, I wasn't aware of that.
2 Q. But during those first four or five days, did you see that person
3 in and around Knin at all?
4 A. Earlier I saw him, but during the first four or five days that I
5 spent in Knin, I didn't see him.
6 Q. Mr. Sruk, I just want to try to clarify something in your
7 statement, and just let me know if I'm mischaracterising this at all, but
8 is it fair to say that, in essence, your position is that, as far as you
9 are aware, General Cermak was not officially involved in the sanitation
10 operation conducted after Storm and that, as far as you know, he had no
11 authority over those people that were conducting that sanitation
13 A. In the first four or five days, particularly in the first two
14 days, he certainly had no authority, because he was never mentioned by
15 anybody concerning this particular matter. Later on, I don't know.
16 Q. And just to be clear, even -- even though you hadn't heard
17 General Cermak mentioned in the first few days, it's just that you don't
18 know exactly exam his role was, if he had any at all, with the sanitation
19 operation being conducted. Is that fair?
20 A. I really do not know what was his role in respect to the civil
21 protection. But everything that started about noon on the 6th was
22 carried out by the civilian protection service of the Ministry of the
23 Interior. What was his role in respect of them, I really don't know.
24 Q. And with respect to Dr. Brkic, in your statement and during your
25 testimony, you said that you're obviously aware that he was in Knin
1 during August 1995. In your statement, you said you did not cooperate
2 with him officially. And you said that during your testimony, that you
3 weren't officially cooperating with him, and the same goes for, as far as
4 I understood it, General Cermak, that you weren't ordered to do that, but
5 you mentioned it as an official cooperation.
6 Did you cooperate with either of these people unofficially or
7 informally in any way, with respect to the sanitation operation?
8 A. With General Cermak, no. I hardly saw him. Twice in Knin. Once
9 when he came, and on another occasion I passed by him.
10 When it comes to Dr. Brkic, I never cooperated him regarding the
11 sanitation. Neither officially nor unofficially.
12 Q. And just very briefly with respect to the order that you've
13 looked at today with Mr. Kay and also during the time when you gave your
14 statement, the order from General Cermak appointing you to the sanitation
15 staff, you said today, I believe, that, you know, no one else or none of
16 your superiors were aware of that order. Were you aware that when
17 Dr. Brkic, in those reports that you also looked at during the time you
18 gave your statement, had actually attached that order from General Cermak
19 to those reports, and he sent them to Defence Minister Susak,
20 Main Staff -- chief of the Main Staff, General Cervenko; the assistant
21 minister for defence for logistics, Major-General Zagarac. He also sent
22 it to the commander of the Split Military District, General Gotovina. He
23 also sent that order to chief of civil protection, Mr. Cimiran.
24 Were you ever aware or did you ever become aware of the fact that
25 this order from General Cermak that appointed you had been circulating
1 through all these people, some of which, if I'm not mistaken, are in fact
2 superior to you?
3 A. The order and the reports that you are mentioning, I saw them for
4 the first time two months ago, when they were shown to me by Mr. Cermak's
5 Defence team.
6 Q. So even though all those names are mentioned in there, and you
7 went through them today and picked out who they were and that you knew
8 them, despite the fact that these were circulating around, you were never
9 aware of it in any way. No one ever talked about it, no one filed a
10 contemporaneous report, order or some kind of direction contesting that
12 You are not aware of anything like that during the period?
13 A. Sir, at the time, it was difficult to believe in rumours, and
14 even if anybody told me something, I would not have believed it. The
15 times were very serious. Unfortunately, or luckily, even the people
16 belonging to my team, whom I mentioned previously, were not aware of
17 this. Had they known about this, they would have told me so, and I
18 probably would have acted upon it in some way.
19 Q. During August 1995, did you ever attend any meetings that were
20 held by --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. -- could we seek a clarification of the previous
22 answer, Mr. Carrier.
23 You were asked whether you were not aware of anything like people
24 talking about the order, or receiving a contemporaneous report. Then
25 your answer was:
1 "It was difficult to believe in rumours."
2 And then later you said:
3 "Even the people belonging to my team were not aware of this."
4 Were there any rumours? Whether you believed them or not is
5 another ...
6 So you did not hear anyone talk about it, whether you believed it
7 or not?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. CARRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Mr. Sruk, did you ever attend any meetings that were held by
13 General Cermak during August 1995?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Would you have any explanation if Mr. Jonjic placed you at
16 meetings held by General Cermak during 1995?
17 A. No. No, I certainly did not attend them. And for a long time, I
18 was not aware of the location of the garrison command.
19 Q. And, Mr. Sruk, I just want to clarify another part of your
20 statement. And again correct me if I'm mischaracterising this. Is it
21 fair that in essence your position with respect to Dr. Brkic is that
22 effectively he was a self-promotor that went to Knin on his own accord,
23 and he simply tried to adopted and report on the work of the people who
24 were actually involved in sanitation operation, conducted during
25 August 1995, to make himself look important?
1 A. On the 13th or the 14th of August, 1995, Mr. Brkic was removed
2 from his duty, at a time when he was still in Knin, which is yet another
3 indication of the fact that he was there without the knowledge of his
4 superiors, on his own initiative.
5 How can one explain the date of the 5th of August, when
6 General Cermak, or I, or any of those mentioned in the order were not
7 there, nor did he know whether we were dead or alive? By that time, I
8 had already spent four and a half years in the armed forces, and the fact
9 is that my name was known in these circles. All these orders sent in --
10 in this chaotic way, without the respect for the chain of command, point
11 me or lead me to conclude -- led me to conclude and still lead me to
12 conclude that whatever he did was for his self-promotion by drawing upon
13 the achievements of others and the jobs performed by others.
14 When it comes to me, when I got there, I found that the job had
15 been properly and thoroughly done by the civilian protection service in
16 those four to five days before General Gotovina issued his order and some
17 order was brought to the whole set-up.
18 Now, the fact that there is mention of me in these reports sent
19 to the Main Staff and Generals, I believe is completely misplaced,
20 because I was not there. When we first had the occasion to get
21 acquainted with Mr. Brkic, it all became quite clear to us.
22 Q. Now, you say that he was removed from his duty on 13th or
23 14th of August, 1995. I'm not aware of that. Can you explain that a bit
24 more? Who removed him? How do you know about that? What is your actual
25 knowledge of that?
1 A. The documents shown to me confirm this, although I don't have an
2 order to that effect, or as the ministry would normally issue decisions,
3 I can only see his signature in a report where he reports to the chief of
4 the Main Staff, General Cervenko, on all these tasks that had been
5 referred in the various reports referenced by Mr. Kay here.
6 This goes to prove that he was no longer the chief of the health
7 administration of the Ministry of Defence, but, rather, that he was
8 transferred to the staff. Let me tell you that the hierarchy --
9 Q. Okay, Mr. Brkic [sic], I'm going to cut you off.
10 A. -- in the ministry, although it was not a military hierarchy --
11 Q. I'm going to cut you off, Mr. -- sorry, Mr. Sruk, I have to cut
12 you off because it is not really answering the question. It is a very
13 specific question.
14 I'd like to know without assuming anything, because now you're
15 coming up with an explanation based on assumptions, what specifically do
16 you know about him being removed from his post on the 13th or
17 14th of August? And do you actually know that, or are you just assuming
19 A. No, I know this for a fact. I don't know the exact date.
20 Now, what I was trying to explain to you just now is that in the
21 documents that exist - I have them in my bag here, and they were shown to
22 me by Mr. Cermak's Defence a couple of months ago - you can see that he
23 no longer signed with the title of the chief of health administration of
24 the Ministry of Defence but as a chief in the staff. I have a document
25 indicating this. I don't know it off the cuff, but if you show it to me,
1 I can indicate that section to you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk, what you're actually doing is drawing
3 conclusions from a difference in the way that documents were signed by
4 Mr. Brkic.
5 Do you have any other knowledge, that is, direct knowledge, that
6 could be -- well, could perhaps be explained in many ways. But do you
7 have any other specific knowledge of Mr. Brkic being removed from his
9 MR. KAY: Your Honour, there is reference in the Brkic reports
10 to: "I hope I have justified my presence. Dr. Zdilar has helped me a
11 great deal. For instance" --
12 JUDGE ORIE: If you -- yes.
13 MR. KAY: If I give you the reference.
14 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
15 MR. KAY: It's in these multiplied reports --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes --
17 MR. KAY: -- D1060 --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay. There are two different matters.
19 MR. KAY: Oh sorry.
20 JUDGE ORIE: The first is what this witness knows and from what
21 sources. And the second is, I mean, I can state something where it's
22 unclear where my knowledge comes from, even whether I have proper
23 knowledge, which does not necessarily mean that what I'm say something
24 not correct or true. Nevertheless, I would appreciate if you give me the
1 MR. KAY: I think it's relevant to the question if the witness is
2 being tested on his --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Well, let's -- if you give me the --
4 MR. KAY: D1060, page 2 in the English. If you go to P543, last
5 page in the English. And it's a phrase that's repeated in these reports
6 that he sent around.
7 That's all I say. I don't know whether the witness is being
8 challenged or whether the fact is being challenge. But it --
9 JUDGE ORIE: No. That's -- that is still -- as a matter of fact,
10 I wasn't challenging any fact. I was just -- where Mr. Carrier asked the
11 witness what the source of his knowledge was, I then verified whether
12 this was the exclusive source or whether he had any other source of
13 knowledge. That's what we were doing, and now you're pointing us to the
14 substance of what the witness said, and I -- I'm glad to -- to verify
15 that. But that's a different matter.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. CARRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. Mr. Sruk, in relation to your characterisation of Dr. Brkic, you
19 also state that General Cermak did not have enough knowledge to know what
20 it was that Dr. Brkic was doing, in effect. Can you explain your factual
21 basis for knowing what it was that General Cermak actually knew about
22 what General Brkic was doing or anything else to do with the sanitation
23 operation happening in Knin during August 1997 -- or 1995.
24 A. I said that General Cermak evidently didn't have all the
25 information, because he signed an order with me as the Deputy Chief for
1 sanitation; whereas, I had different commanders. My chain of command was
2 a different one, which led me to conclude that he was not privy to the
3 facts or that the facts were not presented to him.
4 Q. So just to be clear, is it fair to say that you don't know
5 exactly what General Cermak knew about the sanitation operation or
6 exactly what his relationship was with Dr. Brkic during August 1995?
7 A. I don't know the extent of his knowledge or the nature of his
8 relationship with Dr. Brkic.
9 Q. Mr. Sruk, I just want to turn now to the -- that hole you saw in
10 the Knin cemetery again. And I think we've sorted it out. You weren't
11 really sure when Dr. Brkic was in Knin in early August 1995, yet in your
12 statement and today, you're describing a situation where you're saying
13 that you're sure that those bodies that you saw earlier in the day on the
14 6th of August had been buried properly, and that basically you're saying
15 that Dr. Brkic's account of this instance is not true, that you know
16 basically that these bodies were properly buried on the evening of the
17 6th of August. And so there is no way that all these reports where
18 Dr. Brkic is reporting on an improper burial, those are all incorrect.
19 Is that fair?
20 A. I said and described what I saw. Now, what Dr. Brkic saw and
21 when, I don't know. The dead bodies were disinterred from the hole and
22 buried in accordance with the standards. What I don't know is whether
23 they were registered and identified. I know that the bodies were
24 individually buried and that the hole was filled in.
25 Suspicions are merely suspicions. I'm describing what I saw with
1 my own two eyes. I'm not telling you the stories I heard from others. I
2 was lucky enough to see the end result, and I am still proud of the fact
3 that we were able -- or, rather, other people were able to do it properly
4 and that I was able to witness it.
5 Q. Okay. So I take it there would be absolutely no reason for the
6 Ministry of Interior to dig up those bodies again on the
7 11th of August and rebury them?
8 A. I don't understand the question.
9 Q. The question is this: Given your testimony and your statement,
10 that you went to -- well, in your statement you went to the Knin cemetery
11 twice. During your testimony you went three times to basically witness
12 this proper burial of bodies, which you initially saw a hole that wasn't
13 proper, and you went back. You wanted to make sure it was going to be
14 done properly, and you're testifying that it was done properly.
15 My question is: If that is what happened, then you can think of
16 no reason why Dr. Brkic would be ordering that the hole that he was
17 referring to be dug up and the bodies be buried properly?
18 A. I have never heard of that.
19 MR. CARRIER: Mr. Registrar, could we please have document number
20 65 ter 7162 on the screen, please.
21 Q. Mr. Sruk, what's going to come up on the screen is a report from
22 the chief of the Zadar-Knin police administration, Mr. Cetina, dated
23 12 August 1995
24 that on orders from Dr. Brkic, an exhumation took place on the
25 11th of August, 1995, in the Knin cemetery, in respect of bodies that
1 were buried before the 7th of August, 1995, contrary to the regulations
2 of international law. Mr. Cetina describes transferring bodies and
3 burying them in appropriate places and changing certain identification
5 So my question for you, Mr. Sruk, is: How do you reconcile your
6 observations of the 6th of August and your testimony that these were
7 properly buried with Mr. Cetina's report about bodies being exhumed and
8 transferred for burial in appropriate place on the 11th, on orders of
9 Dr. Brkic?
10 A. This is the first time I'm seeing this. I don't know if it
11 refers to the same site. I don't know if something was done
12 subsequently. I can stand by what I said and saw, which was that the
13 matter was dealt with properly. What this was about, I really don't
14 know. I have never seen it before.
15 Q. So am I to understand your evidence is now that you're not sure
16 if the hole you saw is now the same one that you had referred to earlier
17 as the one that Dr. Brkic was talking about. It could be a different
18 one, a different site. I think we can agree it's the Knin cemetery,
19 though; right?
20 A. The pit I was referring to and have been discussing all along has
21 been clearly identified by me. It was right next to the gate and to the
22 chapel. This is the detail I was discussing. Whether there were others,
23 that's something I don't know.
24 Q. And given the document, can you offer any explanation as to how
25 it is that Dr. Brkic is issuing orders to people involved in the
1 sanitation process, specifically members of the Ministry of Interior?
2 A. I didn't want to comment on it. I find it strange. It wasn't
3 either customary or envisaged by any rules. The MUP is a civilian
4 organisation; the armed forces and the Ministry of Defence have a
5 separate chain of command. How this came about is something I cannot
6 comment on. I don't know.
7 MR. CARRIER: Your Honours, I ask that that document be marked as
8 an exhibit, please.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, any objections.
10 MR. KAY: No objections, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit P2652.
13 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
14 Please proceed, Mr. Carrier.
15 MR. CARRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. Mr. Sruk, would you have any explanation as to why General Cermak
17 would say to Prosecution investigators that Dr. Brkic was in charge of
18 the Knin cemetery with respect to burial of bodies during the beginning
19 of August 1995?
20 A. I don't know that.
21 Q. And, Mr. Sruk, just to be fair to you, is it just that you don't
22 know really anything about who was in -- or specifically in command and
23 control, issuing orders, instructions, that type of thing, to the civil
24 protection bodies involved in sanitation operation after Storm?
25 A. Yes, I do know. I don't know about the first one or two days.
1 Later on, it was Mr. Cicak. And to the best of my knowledge, he was in
2 command of or in charge of or coordinating his -- I cannot call them
3 units. His department -- or how should I call it? I don't know what the
4 title was, the civilian department, and he ran the department. I know
5 that he was coordinating these activities. I wouldn't say that he was in
6 command. I don't know what the official terminology of the time was.
7 Q. And -- sorry, is that Mr. Cicak or Mr. Cicko?
8 A. I think his name is Cicak. Cicak. Cicek.
9 Q. So if I suggest to that you Damir Cicko was actually the
10 representative of the Ministry of the Interior coordinator for the
11 sanitation of Knin, you don't know anything about that?
12 A. Yes, yes. It has to do with him. But, you see, it's been
13 15 years. Whether it was Cicko or Cicek, it's the same as with Jonjic or
14 Janic. We agreed that it was one and the same person we had in mind.
15 Q. And do you know a person named Damir Cimiran. This is the
16 assistant -- the chief of the civil protection. And he was, according to
17 Assistant Minister Zidovec, the main civil protection official on the
18 ground after Operation Storm, and he was tasked with supervising and
19 coordinating the work of civil protection units on the ground.
20 Do you know that person?
21 A. No. I wasn't a member of any team charged with coordinating.
22 What happened on the evening of the 6th was the extent of my intervention
23 into the sanitation process in Knin, excluding the battlefield.
24 Q. So I take it, then, you would have no information about
25 Mr. Cimiran reporting to the Assistant Minister who's the head of civil
1 protection, Minister Zidovec, where he actually references to Dr. Brkic
2 in reports and interactions between Dr. Brkic and civil protection, and
3 even cites some disagreements between or disagreement at least between
4 Mr. Cicko and Dr. Brkic with regard to how to bury bodies. You don't
5 know anything about that?
6 A. Not from personal knowledge. I was told that there were
7 confrontations, conflicts and misunderstanding. I can't confirm them. I
8 only heard about them.
9 Q. And you're talking about conflicts between individuals and groups
10 involved in the sanitation process, and those people having conflicts
11 with Dr. Brkic.
12 A. I'm referring specifically to the conflict between Mr. Cicko and
13 Dr. Brkic. I'm not referring to groups. I'm not aware of there being
14 more than one group, and that was the civilian protection.
15 Q. And, Mr. Sruk, in -- were you aware that soon after this report I
16 just referred to, from Chief Cimiran about the conflict between Mr. Cicko
17 and Dr. Brkic, that General Cermak specifically requested that Mr. Cicko
18 be transferred from civil defence or civil protection on to his staff for
19 the sanitation in the Knin garrison?
20 Do you have any information or do you know that?
21 A. At the time, I didn't know anything about it. I saw a piece of
22 information two months ago when I was presented some documents. I wasn't
23 aware of it before.
24 MR. KAY: Can we see the document that has been cited by the
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Carrier, can you assist Mr. Kay?
2 MR. CARRIER: Yes, I'm referring to D1058.
3 Q. And, Mr. Sruk, you mention one of the things when you reviewed
4 that request was that you said that General Cermak didn't have the
5 authority to issue orders to two people, specifically Mr. Radovic or
6 Ms. Soldic.
7 MR. CARRIER: Mr. Registrar, could we please have document number
8 65 ter 55 -- sorry, if we could have Exhibit D610 on the screen.
9 Q. And, Mr. Sruk, what you're going to see on the screen in front of
10 you is actually an order issued by General Cermak to both of those people
11 to whom you said he doesn't have the authority to do that. And that's in
12 relation to sanitation of the terrain in Knin, and it's copying Dr. Brkic
13 at the bottom.
14 Does that change your mind at all about General Cermak's
15 authority to issue orders to those people?
16 A. I'm not changing my mind. He could not issue such orders. Now,
17 there is no signature or initials, so I can only assume that he ordered
18 this to Mr. Radovic and Madam Soldic in the same way in which he issued
19 an order to me. But he couldn't do it because the command line was
20 totally different. So obviously this was ... this was supplanted to him.
21 Q. But is it --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk, can I ask you, you say there is no
23 signature. Could you explain that answer, in view of what I see on the
24 screen? Apart from whose signature it is, but I see something which
25 appears to me to be a signature.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, please let me explain.
2 You probably did not understand what I was saying.
3 On the left-hand side, it was customary for those of who wrote
4 proposals of orders as associates of our commanders on the left-hand side
5 to put our initials. First of all, you had initials of person that
6 authored the proposal/the person who actually wrote/typed the proposal.
7 For example, if I was drafting this particular document, on the
8 left-hand side just above this where it says, To, to whom it should be
9 delivered, it would be written BS/BS. Everybody knew that this meant
10 that I authored the document. The person who signed the document and the
11 person who would receive the document knew it. So, until the commander
12 signed it, it was just a proposal. And this would mean that I authored
13 and that I actually typed it. If I didn't type it in person, then the
14 initials of another person would be next to mine.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk, I have no problem in hearing your
16 testimony about what you would expect on a -- on an order, as far as who
17 would have drafted that and whether you would find initials.
18 You said there's no signature. The only question I asked you is
19 what I look at this document, I see a signature. So apart from -- I
20 didn't ask you any question about the absence of initials. I just asked
21 you about what you said about the signature.
22 Anything to add, in relation to the signature?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there may have been a
24 misunderstanding. I said that there were no initials. I did not refer
25 to the signature that you can see on the screen.
1 So it was a misunderstanding. When I was saying I was actually
2 indicating that there should have been initials, and on top of that, the
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's clear. Did you say -- because I'm a bit
5 confused about your last answer. You said:
6 "I said that there were no initials. I did not refer to the
7 signature that can you see on the screen."
8 So you didn't use the word "signature" apart from the word
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Which means that we would have to ask our
12 transcribers or our interpreters why they make a mistake, or is it
13 possible that you use the word "signature." We can consult the original
14 words you used.
15 Are you certain that you did not use the word "signature" in your
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did use it, but I did not refer
18 to this signature, to another signature that I explained later on, and
19 that was my mistake.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Would you be very careful in even suggesting
21 that our interpreters and our transcribers are not properly doing their
22 job. I would have expected your answer to be, I used the word
23 "signature" but in a different context, and then you could have explained
24 that. Whereas you suggested that you did not use that word. But now I
25 hear that you did use that word, so that, therefore, our transcribers and
1 interpreters are doing their job properly.
2 Is the message clear, Mr. Sruk?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Carrier.
5 MR. CARRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Just where we left off, Mr. Sruk, you said that, as far as you
7 know, General Cermak didn't have the authority to issue these orders.
8 But you have already told us that you don't really know what
9 General Cermak's authority was, what his relationship was to specific
10 people, for instance, Dr. Brkic, what his relationship was with the civil
12 So can you explain what your actual factual basis is for -- for
13 testifying that General Cermak couldn't issue these types of orders to
14 these people?
15 A. As far as I knew by then, the commanders of garrisons were not in
16 the same command line with unit commanders.
17 If I have a commander, and Mr. Radovic has it, and if they have a
18 superior assistant for logistics at the ministry, Madam Soldic, it
19 follows for me, and particularly now when I saw all of this, that
20 General Cermak, as a commander of the garrison, could not issue orders to
21 these people without having consulted other instances.
22 Q. Sorry, Mr. Sruk, I thought we covered this off, but let's go
23 through it quickly.
24 Do you -- or did you, during August 1995, ever learn the details
25 of who it was that actually had appointed General Cermak to his position
1 in Knin?
2 A. No. I didn't know that. It -- I was not interested in that
3 either, because my tasks were entirely different. I was not a politician
4 but a soldier.
5 Q. Okay. Stop. I'm cutting you off, sir. I'm cutting you off
6 because the question wasn't about what you were interested in; it's about
7 what you know.
8 So it fair to say that you did not know the precise parameters of
9 the authority or the tasks that had been assigned to General Cermak in
10 Knin in August 1995?
11 A. No.
12 Q. So given that answer, how can you accurately or honestly give any
13 answers about what kinds of orders or to whom General Cermak could issue
14 orders during August 1995?
15 A. It is difficult to describe briefly the rules of the game, so to
16 say, of what the Croatian Army was doing. If I had an order which --
17 Q. Mr. Sruk --
18 A. Please allow me to explain.
19 Q. Mr. Sruk --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Carrier, it is fair to the witness that can he
21 briefly explain what he means.
22 Could you briefly explain what is the basis on which you can give
23 your opinion or assessment of the competence of Mr. Cermak issuing
24 orders, like the ones we've looked at.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 As I started to say, until then, I had a valid order, and my
2 commander was the commander of the Operations Group North, and I had
3 clear instructions as to what to do. All of a sudden, without my
4 knowledge, there comes somebody else who issues an order of an entirely
5 different nature, of an entirely different type, and a different field of
6 activity. From this comes my statement when I said that even if I knew
7 about this order on the 6th of August, 1995, I could not have implemented
8 it, because my old orders were still valid. Such were the rules of the
10 JUDGE ORIE: Although it's not an answer to what Mr. Carrier
11 asked you, I understand your position to be that, since you had no reason
12 to believe that Mr. Cermak would have the authority to issue orders which
13 were contradicting the orders you earlier received, that -- if would you
14 have been aware of this order, you may not have implemented it.
15 Is that correctly understood?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Then let's move on, Mr. Carrier.
18 MR. CARRIER:
19 Q. Mr. Sruk, with respect to the sanitation operation happening in
20 and around Knin during August 1995 and following, is it not the case that
21 the Knin garrison was responsible for organising, among other things, the
22 logistics for that operation?
23 A. Until August the 11th, when the order was issued by
24 General Gotovina, then it became clear who is supposed to provide
25 logistical support to whom and for what. Until then, all that I knew was
1 that civilian protection of the Ministry of the Interior was in charge
2 and was carrying out sanitation tasks. Who supported them, I really
3 don't know. Where they got their shovels, I don't know. I know they had
5 Q. Well, Mr. Sruk, I'm going to suggest to you that, in fact, the
6 Knin garrison was involved in not only coordinating logistics but also
7 issuing instructions and other types of information regarding the
8 sanitation operation occurring in and around Knin during August and
9 September 1995.
10 A. Thank you for this information.
11 Q. You don't dispute that; you just don't know?
12 A. I'm not sure where the garrison, during this first four or five
13 days, could be able to find logistic support and provide logistic support
14 to anybody given the situation in Knin at the time. So I'm talking about
15 the first four or five days. I'm talking about what I know but I'm not
17 So it is my assumption, based on what I know and what I saw. I'm
18 not sure where could I find any support or equipment.
19 Q. Well, Mr. Sruk, they found it, I think, in your home base, the
20 Sibenik Logistics Base. Were you aware of that?
21 A. Yes. Later on, following General Gotovina's order of August the
22 11th. But for the first three or four days, I doubt it. I know that the
23 civilian protection brought their own uniforms, equipment, everything
24 they needed, including trucks. And everything else they brought
1 Q. So you don't dispute that the Knin garrison was certainly
2 involved in assisting with the sanitation process --
3 MR. KAY: Your Honour, the witness has answered this question in
4 many different forms. It's not a question to say -- the way it is put,
5 "So you don't dispute that," that's not the way of questioning him.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Carrier, I think that the position of the
7 witness in relation to the matter you raise in your last question is
8 clear. If there is any specific point you would like to further address,
9 you can do so. But we're now, again, back in the rather general -- in a
10 rather general assessment of the situation, which has proven to -- to
11 create more confusion than clarity.
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. CARRIER: Thank you, Mr. President. I was about to get into
14 some specifics.
15 Q. Mr. Sruk, were you aware of any kind of communication happening
16 between civil defence or civil protection units making certain complaints
17 and then the Knin garrison, in turn, acting on that and rectifying those
18 complaints. Are you aware of that?
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Carrier, would it help to put a time-frame to
20 your question, that is, up to the 11th of August, because that might play
21 a role.
22 MR. CARRIER:
23 Q. During any time in August or September 1995. And I can give a
24 couple of examples, one of which Dr. Brkic requesting 350 crosses for the
25 burial of -- referred to as Chetniks. Putting together eight boilers so
1 that the civil protection staff can shower in Knin, which seems to be in
2 response to a complaint made by the chief of civilian protection,
3 Mr. Cimiran. I'm just wondering whether you're aware of anything of that
5 JUDGE ORIE: Is it possible to add, for the Chamber's
6 information, dates to it.
7 MR. CARRIER: It's, for reference purposes --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you can --
9 MR. CARRIER: It's in D1015, which is the 29 September 1995
10 report on logistics from Mr. Jonjic. The dates are not specific. It
11 just gives a general list of things they were doing, so it is not
12 specified by date, but, rather, a range of dates.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
14 MR. CARRIER:
15 Q. Mr. Sruk, do you think any about the 350 crosses or the -- making
16 shower facilities or anything like that?
17 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I was a major charged with orders issued by my
18 superiors for very specific tasks. I have no idea about shower
19 facilities or crosses that were requested by anybody. I mentioned
20 previously I saw some ten crosses in the cemetery. They were placed
21 appropriately where the graves were. There was no way I could have known
22 about this because I still claim that I never belonged to any of the
23 logistic teams.
24 JUDGE ORIE: If you don't know, unless there are any further
25 questions on your knowledge, just tell us that you don't know, and then
1 whether you should have known is a totally different matter. There's no
2 need to explain why you do not know what you say you do not know.
3 Please proceed, Mr. Carrier.
4 MR. CARRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Mr. Sruk, turning to Dr. Gotovac. You remember that person you
6 discussed today. You mentioned that he is from the Ministry of Defence
7 Health Administration.
8 Now, you're also aware that Dr. Brkic was actually the chief of
9 that health administration, right?
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. And what you describe in relation to Dr. Gotovac is that there
12 was an official role being fulfilled by Dr. Gotovac, in terms of --
13 MR. CARRIER: I just want to find the reference. It's just at
14 the end of page 23 of today's testimony, onto page 24.
15 Q. That that person was there to oversee the sanitation process
16 during August 1995.
17 Now, my question is: If this person, Dr. Gotovac, who was
18 subordinated to Dr. Brkic, is doing that, I'm going to suggest to you
19 that in fact that's also what Dr. Brkic was there doing, was to oversee
20 the sanitation process and make suggestions for how to improve it,
21 et cetera, as it went along.
22 A. The part in which I mentioned Dr. Gotovac, I said that he was in
23 charge of monitoring.
24 Let me explain. He visited the entire field and he reported on
25 what he saw. So what was being done, in which way, and what should have
1 been done. He did not participate directly in the sanitation activities.
2 Q. And what I'm suggesting is that his job and Dr. Brkic's job was
3 to actually oversee that process. Is that fair? And if -- to refresh
4 your memory, we could look at a document you looked at in your statement,
5 which is D1059, which is a report signed by both Dr. Brkic and
6 Dr. Gotovac, dated the 12th of August, 1995, sent to General Cermak.
7 And if it helps you out at all, there is also another document
8 that's in evidence which is a report dated the 20th of August, 1995
9 which is over a week after you say Dr. Brkic was removed, which is a
10 report sent to Dr. Brkic from Dr. Gotovac, and that's P2572, which
11 indicates that their activity after Operation Storm was a regular duty of
12 the health administration; namely, to supervise the professional work
13 related to human sanitation. It also mentions that they acted pursuant
14 to an order of the chief of the Main Staff. Dr. Gotovac, as you state,
15 recounts a reconnaissance of the human sanitation operation.
16 It also mentions that where discrepancies were detected from the
17 established practice, verbal instructions were issued to both the police
18 and the civil protection members, in order to eliminate such failures,
19 and those people in turn gave assurances that such failures would be
20 eliminated. And this is also consistent with how Dr. Brkic starts off
21 all of his reports to all those high-placed Croatian authorities saying,
22 That this is the regular task of his administration.
23 So my question to you: Isn't it, on the basis of these
24 documents, do you have any information about whether or not Dr. Brkic's
25 role was to oversee the sanitation process, just like you say Dr. Gotovac
1 was doing?
2 A. Could I kindly see the document that you have just referred to?
3 Q. Yes. You can see it. It's --
4 MR. CARRIER: Mr. Registrar, if could you call up Exhibit P2572
5 onto the screen.
6 Q. And, Dr. Sruk, just so -- for your reference, the other document
7 I had referred to -- I believe you said you have documents with you, but
8 that's the one that's countersigned by both Dr. Brkic and Dr. Gotovac,
9 and that's dated the 12th of August.
10 A. Could I kindly see the end of this document?
11 Yes, could I see the very end of the document?
12 Q. And it may assist, the -- I believe the actual document has an
13 attachment. But there's three pages, I think, and then there's a
14 signature at the end. I'm not --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Could we go through the document, starting on the
16 third page, to see whether we ...
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could I see the beginning of this
18 document that I just have on the screen now?
19 Yes, here you have the results of the work of the control
20 inspection, or supervision. This is what is clearly stated here.
21 I apologise. Could I see if this document was listed?
22 JUDGE ORIE: If you would please look at the documents as
23 requested but listed -- it's unclear to me.
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters would kindly ask the witness
25 to repeat his request. But this is what was stated.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you please repeat what you said last.
2 You said:
3 "I apologise. Could I see if this document was ..."
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to see the entire
5 document, because I can only see the first page here.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I suggest the following, Mr. Carrier. Let's have a
7 break. Let's make hard copies of the documents you want to show to the
8 witness. Is that --
9 MR. CARRIER: Actually he asked to see it. I did the courtesy of
10 showing it to him, but it was just a question about, if that's what's in
11 the document, then how does he explain Dr. Brkic's role. So, that's the
12 only information I was looking for.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Fine. But apparently the witness would prefer to
14 answer the questions once he has seen the document in its entirety, and
15 that's -- if it's a three-page document, then I think it should not
16 create a major problem.
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
19 MR. MISETIC: -- on behalf of my client, and I'm certain the
20 others as well, they haven't been able to follow the documents because
21 they're being summarised quickly. And then now they would also like to
22 see the documents so ...
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's then take our time and perhaps make one
24 or two copies as well for the accused of the original so that we know
25 what we are talking about. I would rather not hear any evidence where
1 the witness is hesitant to say anything unless he has seen this
2 three-page document in its entirety.
3 If could you take care of that, Mr. Carrier. Then you know of
4 our time constraints. Could you tell us how much time you would still
5 need after the break?
6 MR. CARRIER: As you can tell, I'm trying to go quickly. But I
7 should be done in 20 minutes, 25 minutes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: 20, 25 minutes.
9 Could I get an estimate on time needed for re-examination,
10 Mr. Kay.
11 MR. KAY: There's none at the moment, other than a very short
12 matter within five minutes. It's not substantial.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
14 MR. MISETIC: No questions, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Nothing arises until this moment.
16 We will have a break.
17 Mr. Carrier, you are invited to provide hard copies. And we will
18 resume at five minutes to 1.00, sharp.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.55 p.m.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Carrier.
22 MR. CARRIER: Thank you, Mr. President. And in the interests of
23 time, I would like to, at the end of this session, bar table document
24 65 ter 7452, which is a 12th of August, 1995, report from Brkic to
25 Cimiran. It's similar to all the other ones, but if my friends have the
1 chance to look at it, perhaps we can address it at the end.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could I just ask you, I did write down for
3 myself that P2652, which is the -- I think, Brkic says that it corrects
4 the report on what was done on the 11th. Is the original report
5 available as well, apart from the correction being there, whether that
6 gives any additional information?
7 MR. CARRIER: I'm not aware of one, but ...
8 JUDGE ORIE: But you noticed that it says it is the correction on
9 the report and -- of the 11th and a report on what was done on the 12th.
10 That's in the title at the top.
11 MR. CARRIER: I believe we can find them. It may just be in
12 relation to body lists.
13 JUDGE ORIE: It could be. But it could describe what happened.
14 Whereas here we may find, for example, further details on re-numbering
15 the -- the bodies identified.
16 If could you find that, it might assist.
17 Please proceed.
18 MR. CARRIER: Thank you very much.
19 Q. Mr. Sruk, we left off -- you had a chance to look at the
20 document; right?
21 Now my question is very simply, given this report to Dr. Brkic
22 from Dr. Gotovac, do you actually know whether or not Dr. Brkic was also
23 involved in supervisory reconnaissance of a human sanitation operation
24 conducted after Storm by members of civilian protection?
25 A. It does not follow from this document. However, I know that
1 Dr. Gotovac visited various places and oversaw the process, and at the
2 end of that overseeing procedure, he drafted a report. He was on his own
3 at the time. And I'm referring to the professional overseeing of the
4 work of the members of the ministry. And this was standard procedure.
5 And I'm glad that you showed me the document. This confirms that
6 the agreement on the competence of the civilian protection, complete with
7 all standards of work, was honoured, because Dr. Gotovac states that
8 there was an agreement for the civilian protection --
9 Q. Mr. Sruk, I'm going to cut you off. Mr. Sruk, I apologise. I'm
10 under time limitations and my question was very simple. It was about
11 whether or not you actually know whether or not Dr. Brkic, who's being
12 reported to by Dr. Gotovac in this report, was also involved in that
13 supervisory reconnaissance.
14 A. The -- of the work that was carried out in Knin, he was not. For
15 the rest, I don't know.
16 Q. And on what exactly do you base that?
17 A. I was in Knin at the time when the supervision took place. I
18 spoke to Dr. Gotovac who phoned me. So I know, I am aware of the time
19 when he was involved in this work.
20 Q. That's just Dr. Gotovac, though, right? You're talking about
21 you're aware of when Dr. Gotovac was involved.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. All right.
24 A. Yes. What follows from the document, what he did. This
25 particular supervision exercise. It was earlier. The report is of the
1 28th, and Dr. Gotovac was in Knin on his own, and he told me about the
2 problems that existed in Knin and around Knin and so on.
3 MR. CARRIER: Mr. Registrar, could we please have D598 on the
4 screen, please.
5 Q. Mr. Sruk, what's coming up on the screen is General Cervenko's
6 order of the 5th of August, 1995, calling for sanitation by mixed
7 sanitation detachments of the territory where Storm was conducted.
8 Now, you have had a chance to look at this document already. But
9 my question is, Mr. Sruk, can you point specifically - and before do you
10 that, I'm going suggest that you won't find them - to the words "area of
11 combat activities," or "front line," or "battlefield," where those are
12 used in this order to indicate that the activities of the mixed
13 sanitation detachments that are being set up under this order are limited
14 to operating in those types of areas?
15 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, can we get a cite, and it may very
16 well be true, but where the witness said that the mixed sanitation
17 detachments only operated on the battlefield.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Carrier.
19 MR. CARRIER: Area of combat activities I think you can find in
20 paragraph 5, line 29, page 3 of the English. It says "during combat
21 activities." Paragraph 6, line 6, page 4 in the English.
22 MR. MISETIC: I'm aware of that, but that's different than
23 what -- the way the question is posed. The Prosecutor is suggesting that
24 the witness said that mixed combat groups were only operating at -- in
25 the combat, and that's different than what is said in paragraph 5.
1 MR. CARRIER: I was actually not finished.
2 JUDGE ORIE: But Mr. Carrier is now aware that Mr. Misetic thinks
3 that the -- focussing on those portions of the testimony in which
4 reference is made to limited areas that that's important to include that
5 in the question.
6 MR. MISETIC: Yes. And for the record, the question was finished
7 and he was asked to point in this to order to --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Let's -- let's proceed.
9 MR. CARRIER: Sorry. I meant that I wasn't finished citing the
10 other instances. But if you are not worried about that, I'll just ask
12 Q. Mr. Sruk, is it not your position that the mixed sanitation
13 detachments operated in -- on the battlefield, or areas of combat
14 activities, or the front line, and that's where they were supposed to be
16 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I have never stated that, nor could I have.
17 Pursuant to this order and General Gotovina's order which had to do with
18 his AOR
19 be used everywhere except for the combat zones, because the sanitation in
20 the combat areas was carried out by the Croatian Army. And that's quite
21 clear. The mixed detachments were set up in addition to the military
22 units, and they were civilian, in order to cope with the vast territory.
23 And I -- I wouldn't dream of stating what you've just -- the word that
24 you have just put into my mouth.
25 Q. Thank you. So they operated everywhere; that's fine.
1 A. No, no. I repeat, no, they did not. It was the Croatian Army
2 that did the job in the battlefield, according to the orders. The mixed
3 detachments established pursuant to this order of the 5th of August by
4 the chief of the Main Staff were active throughout the territory, save
5 for the combat zones. And that's quite clear. There is a clear
6 distinction. Civilians have no place being at the front line.
7 Q. Okay. Thank you.
8 Mr. Sruk, when you gave your statement, you reviewed a number of
9 documents. And then you confirmed that the mixed sanitation teams
10 sanitised the terrain in the Split Military District during August 1995.
11 And you said that the chain of command and reporting was fully respected
12 in accordance with General Cervenko's order - the one we're looking at
13 here - and also General Gotovina's order dated the 11th of August, 1995
14 which is P4 -- sorry, P496.
15 MR. CARRIER: And if we could actually just have P496 on the
16 screen quickly. And if you could turn to page 2 in the English and
17 page 2 in the B/C/S.
18 Q. Mr. Sruk, you were shown this document during the
19 cross-examination by Mr. Misetic, and you went through it and you
20 identified who was responsible -- responsible for providing different
21 aspects of these mixed sanitation groups.
22 In terms of 4.1, the commander, is it fair to say that the
23 commander of these groups is an HV member?
24 A. According to what is stated here, yes. And he was, indeed.
25 Q. Thank you. And, Mr. Sruk, with respect to the report sent by
1 Dr. Brkic, which you reviewed, in your statement you said that Dr. Brkic
2 did everything aforesaid in contrast to the order of the Chief of the
3 Main Staff, General Cervenko, of August 5, 1995, in which the tasks for
4 carrying out sanitation and coordination of HV with the police
5 administration civil protection and health crisis staff of the counties
6 in the liberated areas were clearly stated.
7 MR. CARRIER: Now, Mr. Registrar, if we could go back to
8 Exhibit D598 which, just for reference --
9 Q. Mr. Sruk, this is General Cervenko's order again.
10 MR. CARRIER: And if we could turn to page 4 in the English and
11 page 2 in the B/C/S.
12 Q. Looking at item number 7, Mr. Sruk, if you have a chance to look
13 that over, is it fair to say that item number 7 of General Cervenko's
14 order very generally sets out some of the individuals and bodies that are
15 responsible for coordination and supervision of the participants in the
16 sanitation campaign conducted in August 1995?
17 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please answer the question. If you have
18 not understood it, we will invite Mr. Carrier to repeat it.
19 Mr. Carrier characterised what he thinks is found in paragraph 7,
20 and he is seeking whether you agree or disagree with that.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apologies, I didn't understand
22 just now what it was about.
23 This is the normal channel of communication and reporting, where
24 the chief of the Main Staff charges the operational logistics, that's to
25 say, the chiefs of the medical corps, Dr. Marijan Zlatar -- that's to
1 say, the chief of the medical corps, Dr. Marijan Zlatar, and the chief of
2 the veterinarian profession, Perajica, to report to him on the sanitation
3 carried out throughout the territory affected by Operation Storm. That's
4 quite clear and quite proper. And only goes to show that all the others
5 were outside of this order which came into force on the 5th of August.
6 Do I misunderstand you?
7 JUDGE ORIE: I think you misunderstood the question. What
8 Mr. Carrier would like to know is whether you agree or do not agree with,
9 as he put it to you, that paragraph 7 of General Cervenko's order very
10 generally sets out some of the individuals and bodies that are
11 responsible for coordination and supervision of the participants in the
12 sanitation campaign conducted in August 1995.
13 Is that a fair statement, that that's to be found in paragraph 7?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Honourable Judge, this is an order
15 by the then-chief of the Main Staff. This is a usual procedure of
16 issuing commands, where he charges the -- his immediate subordinates with
17 coordinating and ensuring the implementation of the order. I cannot
18 comment on the order of the chief of the Main Staff, but I can only tell
19 you that it is fully within the spirit of the orders issued at the time,
20 where who is responsible for what is quite clearly defined.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Carrier, please proceed.
22 MR. CARRIER: Thank you.
23 Q. And, Mr. Sruk, just to direct your attention more specifically to
24 the last paragraph under item number 7, which states that:
25 "All unclear issues shall be resolved in coordination with the
1 Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia
2 Now, Mr. Sruk, given that Dr. Brkic was the head or the chief of
3 the Health Administration, I'm going to suggest to you that you he was
4 responsible under this order to coordinate the resolution of all unclear
5 issues, in respect of the sanitation campaign, which means that any of
6 his orders, input, direction, et cetera, related to accomplishing that in
7 a sanitation campaign would have to be given due weight and attention,
8 which -- perhaps you could comment on.
9 Is that not fair? Is your characterisation of Dr. Brkic's
10 role inconsistent with that, or you just don't know what he was doing?
11 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I disagree with your assertion. It is quite
12 clear -- I'm trying to account for the system that was in place at the
14 All the things that were unclear and that stemmed from
15 General Cervenko's order were to be clarified with the competent
16 authorities, and, at the time, it was the ministry. This was standard
17 procedure. But it only had to do with those elements that were unclear.
18 On the 5th of August, there were no such things that were unclear
19 yet. When they emerged, they were being dealt with.
20 Q. Mr. Sruk, let me ask you, what specifically are you basing your
21 testimony on, that -- that -- on the 5th there was nothing really that
22 was unclear? What information were you getting, who was reporting to
23 you, how would you actually know that? And how would you know whether or
24 not the Health Administration would be involved in any of that?
25 A. Quite simply on the 5th of August, none of the members of the
1 medical corps were present in Knin. The only person who arrived was my
2 chief of -- within the Military District who flew in by helicopter and
3 then went away again. Nobody came after him, until the early morning
4 hours, when I, together with my teams -- well, it wasn't the -- at the
5 crack of dawn; it was at 7.00 or 8.00 in the morning - that I arrived.
6 And it is quite certain that no one was aware of any problems on the 5th.
7 What --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- is set out here is the normal
10 course that the issuing of an order would entail.
11 JUDGE ORIE: May I understand your answer to be that you were not
12 aware of any unclear issues on that date?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Please -- could you please move on, Mr. Carrier.
15 MR. CARRIER: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. Mr. Sruk, on the basis of your review of Dr. Brkic's reports
17 during your statement, you concluded that Dr. Brkic was not acquainted
18 with the work of the mixed teams for sanitation on the liberated areas,
19 said he wasn't familiar with the fact that these teams reported on their
20 work to the OPL at the Main Staff of the Croatian Army in Zagreb on a
21 daily basis.
22 Now, Mr. Sruk, other than the reports that you looked at from
23 Dr. Brkic, that you looked at for the first time in September 2009, what
24 is your factual basis for saying that Dr. Brkic was unacquainted with the
25 work of the sanitation teams or where it was that they reported to? Can
1 you explain that?
2 A. Having received General Gotovina's order, and once the mixed
3 teams were set up -- or, rather, let me correct myself, not teams but
4 detachments. The commander of the detachments reported along his chain
5 of command up to the chief of the medical profession of the
6 Split Military District. They, in turn, reported to the operations and
7 planning of the logistics within the Main Staff in Zagreb, and it was the
8 individuals listed in item 7 who received the information. And that was
9 the proper implementation of the order issued by the chief of the
10 Main Staff, by the commander of the Split Military District, and the
11 coordinator for sanitation.
12 This was the only acceptable situation in military terms. We
13 were all informed of it and all of us were privy to the elements that
14 fell within our jurisdiction. Unfortunately, we were not aware of some
15 other information.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Carrier, I'm looking at the clock. Are you
17 about to finish?
18 MR. CARRIER: This is the last part. This is the last part about
19 this particular issue. I just have a couple more questions on that so --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but you also know that we have to finish at
21 1.30. That's at least what we intend to do. So could you please put
22 very focussed questions and not take more than three or four minutes.
23 Please proceed.
24 MR. CARRIER: Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Sruk, do you specifically know what information was being
1 sent to Dr. Brkic about what was happening with regard to the sanitation
2 process in Knin in August 1995? Specifically.
3 A. I only know this from Mr. Gotovac, and anything else, when it
4 comes to the mixed detachments, he did not receive any reports from them.
5 Q. Okay. And very quickly, if we could look at item number 8 of
6 General Cervenko' order, which is on the last -- or, sorry page 5 in
7 English, which discusses the actual daily reporting required.
8 And very specifically, Mr. Sruk, it indicates here that the
9 reports are to be sent to the OPL, but moreover, that the OPL sector of
10 the Croatian Army Main Staff is also supposed to forward reports of
11 appropriate scope to the Ministry of Health -- or sorry, the Ministry of
12 Defence Health Administration via regular channels.
13 Can you explain that, because that seems to suggest that those
14 reports -- or portions of the reports or appropriate scope are going to
15 the Health Administration. Do you know anything specifically about what
16 was contained in those reports to the Health Administration, of which
17 Dr. Brkic was the chief?
18 A. Just as I said before, the chain of events was such that us, as
19 military, upon the orders of General Cervenko, were reporting to the OPLs
20 of the Main Staff. Furthermore, General Gotovina did not have the
21 authority to order OPL whom to forward these reports to. This was done
22 by the Main Staff, and this is the usual way of reporting and the correct
23 way of reporting.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk, Mr. Carrier put you to the paragraph 8 of
25 this order by Mr. Cervenko, in which he instructs the OPL to forward
1 reports of appropriate scope to the MORH Health Administration via
2 regular channels.
3 Have you ever seen such a report which was sent to the Health
4 Administration of the Ministry of Defence? Have you ever seen such a
5 report? A very factual question.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could not have seen them from my
7 position. I never saw them.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You never saw them.
9 Do you have any specific knowledge of the content of those
10 reports by other means than having looked at them?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The part of the report that started
12 from the coordination and went to the chief of the medical corps of the
13 garrison, this is what I saw, of course. But furthermore, from there on,
14 I could not have seen them, so I saw what came up to my level of -- in
15 the chain of command.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That answers your question, I take it.
17 MR. CARRIER: Yes, thank you. No more questions.
18 JUDGE ORIE: No more questions.
19 Mr. Kay.
20 Re-examination by Mr. Kay:
21 MR. KAY: Very quickly.
22 Q. The document we're looking at, Exhibit D598, in this document,
23 General Cervenko, Chief of the Main Staff, set out the procedure for
24 sanitation -- sanitisation after Operation Oluja, and you've been
25 directed to the contents of that, and, in particular, paragraph 7, where
1 head of Health Services in the operations, logistics sector of the
2 Main Staff were to coordinate, supervise, provide expert advice, and
3 unclear issues to be resolved in coordination with the Ministry of
4 Defence Health Administration.
5 Considering, then, General Cervenko's order, as you have, was
6 there any need for Dr. Brkic to have an order signed by General Cermak to
7 carry out any duties?
8 A. I apologise, I did not grasp your question, the last part of your
10 Q. General Cervenko set out here in his order of the 5th of
11 August the procedure for sanitisation after Operation Oluja. He gave a
12 coordination role to Brigadier Zlatar and Lieutenant Perajica and said
13 unclear issues should be resolved in coordination with the Ministry of
14 Defence Health Administration. Was there any need, considering General
15 Cervenko's order, for Dr. Brkic to have an order from General Cermak?
16 A. No. No.
17 Q. Thank you very much.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, any further questions.
20 MR. MISETIC: Yes, I just had one quick question, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 Further Cross-examination by Mr. Misetic:
23 Q. Dr. Sruk, you were asked a question about these mixed sanitation
24 unit and General Gotovina's order of the 11th of August and the fact that
25 in point 1, the person identified would be an HV commander. In your
1 experience as someone who worked in the logistics base, could
2 General Gotovina subordinate HV personnel and logistics to the civilian
3 government? In other words, could you have formally been subordinated to
4 a civilian person to work, or would you always have to have someone in
5 the HV supervising you?
6 A. When any type of order was in question, it had to be issued by a
7 soldier to a soldier and we carried out tasks as soldiers. I never
8 experienced that my commander subordinated me to any civilian type of
9 institution when there were other ways to do it.
10 I have no such information, no.
11 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Sruk.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sruk, one question.
14 Today, during your testimony when talking about what you saw in
15 the hole upon arrival at the Knin cemetery you said:
16 "And I have to say, when I recall these pictures today, I believe
17 that they did it with the best of intentions."
18 Now, what specifically in the picture made you believe that there
19 were good intentions behind what you saw?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It wasn't customary to bury anybody
21 in a pit, in a hole, but, rather, for dead bodies to be interred, a
22 single individual body in one grave.
23 Persons who started carrying out this sanitation in this
24 unprofessional manner, nonetheless, they did not throw in these bodies
25 but they laid them down in order, possibly believing that they did it
1 properly. So they were not destroying anything. They did, in a way,
2 inter them, so that I believe they are intentions were good. And it
3 certainly was better even done this way, than if they had been left in
4 the streets or wherever else.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
6 Mr. Carrier.
7 MR. CARRIER: Mr. President, it was just the one outstanding
8 issue of the document I wanted to put in. But if we can't deal with it
9 today, I understand, given time constraints.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If can you deal with that in one or two
11 questions, then please do so. Then even if we take three minutes more,
12 then we'll have to do it.
13 MR. CARRIER: It was just a matter of hoping to just put it in.
14 I gave the number to my friends to look at so they'd have --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, you mean the tendering from the bar table.
16 MR. CARRIER: Yes, just that one document. It's 65 ter 7452,
17 which is basically the same as D30, D1060, D612 although it's to a
18 different addressee, which is the issue, so it is slightly different. So
19 that is the only change really.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, any objections.
21 MR. KAY: Yes. I'm told it is not a duplicate. It is another in
22 the chain. No objections, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: No objections. No objections from the other Defence
25 Then, Mr. Registrar.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit P2653.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
3 If there's no other matter --
4 Mr. Carrier, were you able to find the document to which P2652 is
5 a correction?
6 MR. CARRIER: We haven't yet but I will try to update Your Honour
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course, it would have been preferred to
9 have it here when the witness is still there, but if you didn't find it,
10 then we will have to accept that for the time being.
11 Mr. Sruk, this concludes your evidence in this court. I would
12 like to thank you very much for coming a long way to The Hague and for
13 having answered all the questions that were put to you by the parties and
14 by the Bench, and I hope that you will have a safe return home again.
15 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: We adjourn for the day, and we will resume tomorrow,
17 Wednesday, the 28th of October, quarter past 2.00, Courtroom III.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.34 p.m.
19 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 28th day of
20 October, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.