1 Monday, 30 November 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 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. Mikulicic, is the Markac Defence ready to call its next
13 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour. We are.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Then I take it that it will be Zoran Cvrk.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes. Mr. Cvrk is our next witness.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Cvrk.
19 Before you give evidence, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence
20 require that you make a solemn declaration of which the text will now be
21 handed out to you by the usher.
22 May I invite to you make that solemn declaration.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I solemnly declare
24 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Cvrk. Please be seated.
1 Mr. Cvrk, you will first be examined by Mr. Mikulicic.
2 Mr. Mikulicic is counsel for Mr. Markac.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 WITNESS: ZORAN CVRK
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 Examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Cvrk.
9 A. Good morning, Counsel.
10 Q. Please state your full name for the record.
11 A. My name is Zoran Cvrk.
12 Q. I would ask the Registry for 3D00886.
13 Mr. Cvrk, you will see a document on the screen shortly and that
14 is your statement which you gave to the Defence of General Markac.
15 You remember that you gave the statement to the Defence of
16 General Markac, don't you?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. That was on 13th of May this year, right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could we please see the last page of this statement.
21 You also remember, Mr. Cvrk, that you signed that statement as
22 the one you gave?
23 A. I remember.
24 Q. Is this your signature, the one you see on the right-hand side of
25 the screen?
1 A. Yes, that is my signature.
2 Q. Mr. Cvrk, when you gave the statement, did you say everything to
3 the best of your knowledge and recollection about the facts and the
5 A. To my best knowledge and recollection, in connection with the
6 events and the military and police Operation Storm, I expressed
7 everything truthfully, all the facts and the whole truth.
8 Q. If I were to ask you the same questions today, and if we
9 discussed the same topics, would you provide the same answers?
10 A. Certainly, yes.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I propose to tender
12 this statement into evidence.
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1833.
16 JUDGE ORIE: D1833 is admitted into evidence.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Mr. Cvrk, please be so kind so as to describe briefly your
19 professional development. What is your education, where did you work,
20 and what is your current occupation?
21 A. I was born in Osijek
22 school. And then I enrolled the general military high school Ivo Lola
23 Ribar in Zagreb
24 Land Forces Military Academy
25 as anti-aircraft sublieutenant in Zadar and I worked in the 155th Rocket
1 Regiment of anti-aircraft defence which was based in Zagreb, and the unit
2 I was in was in Stubicka Slatina. At the beginning of the war, I held
3 the rank of lieutenant and then I was transferred to the police.
4 In the police I started working in the special unit of the Zagreb
5 police administration and I was a specialist training instructor, that
6 was my post. And in 1993, by a decision of the interior ministry, I was
7 appointed commander of the same unit. Between 1993 and the year 2000, I
8 was the commander of the special unit of the Zagreb police
9 administration, known as Alpha, and in the meantime, between late 1996
10 and the summer of 1998, I was special police unit commander in the police
11 forces attached to the UN administration for the Croatian Danube Valley
13 In the year 2002, I became director of the Security Staff of the
14 Office of National Security, and I dealt with counter-intelligence
15 protection of protected persons in the Republic of Croatia
16 2002, when I retired.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If I could please see the
18 document 3D00321.
19 Q. Mr. Cvrk, you told us that you joined the special police unit of
20 the Zagreb
21 then in 1993 you were appointed commander of this unit.
22 Mr. Cvrk, in front of you, you will see a document of the
23 27th of May, 1993, according to which the assistant chief of the Zagreb
24 police administration proposes to the Ministry of Interior of the
25 Republic of Croatia
1 the special police unit within this police administration.
2 Mr. Cvrk, please, tell me was this the usual way to propose
3 persons for specific posts within the police administration via the
4 assistant chief or chief?
5 A. Yes, the appointment of the commander of the special police unit,
6 as my superior was the chief of the police administration in the Zagreb
7 police administration, it was usual that that police administration do
8 that. And in this case, you can see that this document was signed by the
9 assistant chief for personnel, Mr. Misetic, proposed to the minister of
10 the interior who would be appointed to which post. So that was the usual
12 Q. And as for the administrative duty of appointing someone or
13 relieving someone of their post, the sector of special police and its
14 chief or the deputy or assistant chief of police administration, did they
15 have any influence or administrative role in appointment to the post that
16 you were assigned to?
17 A. In the administrative sense certainly not, but I believe that
18 professionally they may have been consulted by the persons who appointed
19 me, that is to say, the interior minister, whether I fulfilled the
20 general criteria in terms of ability and some other criteria so that I
21 could be appointed the commander of the police special unit.
22 Q. In your position as the commander of the special police unit
23 attached to the Zagreb
24 hierarchy, subordinated to whom?
25 A. In terms of hierarchy, my position as the commander of the
1 special police unit of the Zagreb
2 to the chief of the Zagreb
3 subordinated to him.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could now please see the
5 document D1086 on the screen, please.
6 Q. From the previous document we could see that the proposal for
7 your appointment was sent to the minister of the interior and now we
8 shall see the decision of the minister of the interior according to which
9 Zoran Cvrk is appointed as of the 15th of June, 1993, to the post of
10 commander of the special unit of the Zagreb police administration.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please scroll down
12 the Croatian version so that we could see the signature.
13 Q. And, Mr. Cvrk, in the lower right-hand corner you will see that
14 the minister of the interior, Mr. Jarnjak, signed this document. And in
15 the left-hand corner you will see that it was delivered to yourself, to
16 the police administration in Zagreb
17 minister of the interior directly appointed you, and there is no doubt
18 about that.
19 Please, tell us whether this appointment as the commander of the
20 special police unit within the Zagreb
21 submitted to the special police sector, because here we cannot see it
22 from the document, that is to say, we see that it was not submitted, was
23 this usual or not?
24 A. This was the usual personnel policy of the Ministry of the
25 Interior and certainly in one way or another the special police sector
1 was informed about this. However, the whole thing developed just as we
2 can see from the document.
3 Q. Later on we will talk a bit about the relations within the
4 special police sector. However, before that, let me ask you this, and
5 the easiest way will be to establish that through documents I will show
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please see D1084,
9 Q. Mr. Cvrk, now you will see an order from 1991 which was issued by
10 the then interior minister, Mr. Ivan Vekic. The order is dated from late
11 1991, from the month of November. And in the order, in item 1, it is
12 stated that special police units should be set up in each police
13 administration for special reasons of security.
14 Further on, under number 7, it is mentioned that special units
15 are to be engaged solely pursuant to decisions issued by the chief of a
16 police administration and deputy minister of the interior or the person
17 thus authorised by him.
18 Mr. Cvrk, according to your knowledge, recollection and
19 experience, was this sort of practice which was introduced by the order
20 from 1991, was implemented continually during your work in the special
22 A. This order confirms the manner of engagement of the special
23 police unit of the interior ministry within police administrations. Most
24 of the engagement since 1991 and 1992 were in the area of the police
25 administrations, and in the sense of establishment and command,
1 everything that was connected with the special police in these years was
2 mostly connected with the local police administrations.
3 Q. If we could now please have a look at the second page of this
4 document, we will see under item 8 in the English version, it's the last
5 paragraph on the page that question certainly see. It says here,
6 Mr. Cvrk, that the chief of a police administration, before engaging a
7 special unit in the area of his administration, must obtain clearance
8 from deputy minister or the person authorised by the deputy minister.
9 And then under item 9, it says that the special unit cannot be
10 engaged in the area of the another police administration without a
11 decision issued by the deputy minister.
12 Was that the usual way to engage a special police unit, Mr. Cvrk?
13 A. Even though at the time I was the instructor of special training,
14 that is to say, I was second in the chain of command, I can say with
15 certainty that that was the usual way that any special police unit within
16 any police administration was used and that it was very logical that this
17 kind of unit could not be engaged without the knowledge of the commanding
18 leadership. And that is to say, the deputy minister of the interior
20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could now please see the
21 document D1077.
22 Q. Mr. Cvrk, what I will show you now is the Law on Internal Affairs
23 which was published in mid-1991.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] And if we could please Article 24
25 of this law which is on page 3 -- no, page 4 of the Croatian version of
1 the text, Article 24.
2 Q. That is the article, Mr. Cvrk, which Mr. Jarnjak referred in the
3 order on your appointment as the legal basis, and this article actually
4 says that because of special reasons of security the maintenance or
5 establishment of law and order in the event of an emergency caused by a
6 natural disaster or an epidemic, the enactment establishing a special
7 unit shall designate which employees of the ministry shall make up the
8 special unit.
9 At the time, that is to say, in 1991, in this law, the term
10 "special police" is not expressly mentioned but, rather, "special units."
11 However, in the amendment to this law which came into force in 1994, and
12 for reference this is P1148, this Article was changed and special police
13 was expressly mentioned and which is established to fight all forms of
14 sabotage and terrorist activities in order to prevent the kidnapping of
15 persons or vehicles, in order to liberate hostages and do other duties
16 from the area of work of the ministry under special conditions.
17 Does this correspond to the practice which you performed as the
18 commander of special police units?
19 A. Yes, that is absolutely true.
20 Q. You said that you were first an instructor, a specialist training
21 instructor. Can you please tell us, in a few sentences, what kind of
22 post was that, and what duties did you perform as a specialist training
24 A. Well, you see, at the beginning of the homeland war and when the
25 special police units were formed, not even the internal structure of
1 special police was very solid in the sense of chain of command and the
2 precision of the duties for each post that we had. In brief, the
3 specialist training instructor could be in the special police unit of the
5 the men up to a reinforced platoon, or he could be a person who, by his
6 specialisation and specific military and police knowledge, was in charge
7 of training. I was in charge both of training and I was in charge of the
8 men. So I had a clear structure of the people who were subordinated to
9 me and that I was a commander to.
10 The documents that you showed were a realist precondition for the
11 creation of the special police sector which, as an organisational
12 structure, was only later set up as of 1993 onwards and only then were
13 the duties and the tasks clearly stated, as well as the ranks, the chain
14 of command, and the internal structure of every special police unit in
15 any police administration.
16 Q. Now we will touch on the subject of the internal structure.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] So if we could please see the
18 document D527 on the screen.
19 Q. You will see, Mr. Cvrk, now a decree on the internal structure
20 and the manner of work of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of
22 decree, it says that in order to conduct affairs pursuant to the Law on
23 Internal Affairs, the following offices shall be established in the
24 ministry, and then we can see the office of the cabinet, the minister's
25 office and the sector.
1 When you mentioned sector a while ago, please tell us what kind
2 of an organisational unit was the special police sector, and according to
3 your best knowledge and recollection, why was such a form selected?
4 A. The decree governing the internal structure and work of the
5 Ministry of Interior did not set out the provisions concerning the
6 special police sector only. There were -- there was the police sector,
7 the crime police sector, the administrative affairs sector, the personnel
8 and legal sectors. There were several such sectors.
9 One of the ways in which the Ministry of Interior was structured
10 was to include the special police sector, which, according to the new
11 structure, was given the task of detailing all the tasks that would fall
12 within the remit of the special police structure, or force, as one of the
13 forces coming under the Ministry of Interior.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we now turn to Article 27 of
15 the decree, which is at page 15 of the English version in e-court.
16 Article 27 relates to the special police sector.
17 The Croatian version is on 3D001513. That's the page number.
18 Article 27.
19 Q. We're waiting for the English version before I start reading it,
20 Mr. Cvrk.
21 The Article reads as follows: The special police sector
22 establishes, manages, and directs the work of special police units,
23 proposes the most efficient methods and means, adopts the plan and means
24 of specialist training, and checks the level of combat readiness and
25 enforcement of legal provisions achieved.
1 Mr. Cvrk, this particular provision describes the duties of the
2 special police units. How did you apply them in practice, and to you, as
3 a commander of a special police unit within the Zagreb police
4 administration, how did this hierarchy appear?
5 A. These guidelines in accordance with the structure of the
6 Ministry of Interior, were in fact duties of the special police sector
7 and all the special police units. Under the law, the special police
8 units were supposed to carry out these duties, train their men, honour
9 the hierarchy, and take care of all the employees or, rather, members of
10 the special police sector. They were supposed to be prepared for the
11 duties of enforcing law and order. Whenever it was disrupted it was
12 supposed to provide assistance to the general duty police and crime
13 police. And it was supposed to, of course, be specialised in terrorist
14 combat, combat in urban areas, knowledge of tactics and the relevant
15 legal provisions, report to the special police sector on all its duties,
16 and cover all the activities -- monitor all the activities that its units
17 are engaged in.
18 It was also duty-bound to keep a record of all the activities and
19 all the documents governing its structure and activity throughout its
21 Q. Could it be said that this was in fact a specialist hierarchy, a
22 specialist line of command, as it were?
23 A. Yes, quite clearly it was a specialist line -- chain of command
24 or hierarchy within the police.
25 Q. When you spoke of the internal structure of the Ministry of the
1 Interior, you referred several sectors, including the police sector, the
2 crime police sector, the special police sector, et cetera. From
3 comparison's sake, let's look at the way in which this same decree
4 resolves the duties of the crime police sector.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Let's turn to Article 17, which
6 is at page 10 of the version in e-court.
7 This is where the crime police sector is defined -- or let us
8 just wait for the text to appear. Page 10 of e-court and the Croatian
9 version is 3D001510. That's the page number of the Croatian version.
10 Q. This is how the decree governs the work of the crime police
11 sector. It is supposed to monitor and examine the trend in criminality
12 in general, cooperate with other ministries, and crime investigation
13 services, provide professional and technical assistance, control the work
14 of police administrations, particular in terms of crime prevention,
15 et cetera.
16 Mr. Cvrk, the fact that the sector was structured in this way,
17 within the Ministry of Interior, and I'm referring to the crime police
18 sector, if we compare it to the way the special police sector was
19 structured, do you notice any similarities or, in other words, what would
20 your comments on this score be?
21 A. There are definitely similarities, primarily within the -- in
22 terms of the specialist organisation. The lower level structure is a
23 department. Although, of course, the duties there with which the
24 criminal police is quite different from that of the special police. We
25 can see that the structure envisages that below the level of the sector
1 there would be various departments charged with different matters, and
2 this is shared by both sectors.
3 Q. Can we say, then, that the way in which the sectors were
4 organised within the Ministry of Interior was envisaged in a such way
5 that they should cover each their own specialist field of activity?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we look at D1083, please.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please break between
9 question and answer.
10 MR. MIKULICIC:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Cvrk --
12 JUDGE ORIE: You're invited to make a pause between question and
14 MR. MIKULICIC: I will do my best, Your Honour. I'm sorry to the
16 Q. [Interpretation] We see here the rules governing the internal
17 order of the Ministry of the Interior, dating from the 17th of November,
19 The rules detail the internal organisation and work posts within
20 the ministry.
21 Let us look at the way in which the commander of the special
22 police unit was defined as a post.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Which is at page 5 of the
24 Croatian version and page 6 of the English version.
25 The Croatian version starts at the top of the page.
1 Q. Commander of the special police unit shall, directly manage and
2 be held responsible for the work of the special police unit, plan,
3 organise, coordinate, and direct all actions involving the participation
4 of the special police unit.
5 Further down, it is stated that it will propose to the chief of
6 the police administration the way in which the personnel is to be
7 recruited, and will recruit the personnel as per the criteria defined.
8 On completed action, he is duty-bound to report in writing to the
9 chief of the police administration and to the chief of the special police
10 sector on the action carried out.
11 Further down, it is stated that he is responsible for the
12 discipline, detection of any negative events, incidents within the unit,
13 and suggest to his superior on measures to be taken.
14 Finally, it said that he is duty-bound to monitor the
15 cutting-edge achievements of similar police units in other countries and
16 make suggestions to his superior accordingly.
17 Mr. Cvrk, can you tell us, as the commander of a special police
18 unit, whether these were indeed the tasks that your unit was addressing?
19 A. Yes. This fully tallies with the description of the duties that
20 I discharged as commander of the special police unit.
21 Q. Mr. Cvrk, now that we have defined the relations within the
22 Ministry of Interior, or specifically within the police administration,
23 can you tell us whether the same relations applied to the engagement of
24 special police units in peacetime circumstances, as well as in
25 circumstances of combat, such as the ones that existed in the police and
1 military Operation Storm, or was there a special set-up envisaged for
2 such circumstances?
3 A. Clearly, the special police units had clearly defined tasks
4 within their respective police administrations in relation to the tasks
5 that they were supposed to discharge outside of the area of
6 responsibility of the police administration. There was a clear hierarchy
7 which started from the chief of the police administration or basically
8 the Deputy Chief of the police administration. He was the first
9 operative officer who was there on behalf of his specialist field, either
10 the crime police or the special police unit, and he was supposed to be
11 responsible for the regular duties discharged by the special police as
12 well as those out of the ordinary activities.
13 When we're talking about the regular activities, that is to say,
14 the enforcement of public law and order and other regular police duties,
15 and this concerned the duties within one's own area of responsibility of
16 one's own police administration, such as police raids, police activities
17 in combat against terrorism or arrest of perpetrators of the most serious
18 crimes, through to the most difficult situations for the police, such as
19 hostage situations, for instance.
20 In other words, all these documents that we've just looked at
21 clearly defined the chain of command.
22 Now, when it came to different situations where special police
23 unit members had to be put together and dispatched outside of the area of
24 responsibility of their own police administration, for instance, in my --
25 in the case of my own unit, when we were supposed to provide assistance
1 to the crime police of our administration or of the Ministry of Interior
2 in general, in such cases we were supposed to be given a clear
3 authorisation in the Ministry of Interior in order to be able to leave
4 our AOR
5 where unrest was expected. We, as the unit of the police -- of the
7 situations. Or, in the case of Operations Flash and Storm, we were given
8 clear instructions and authorisations as to the reasons for our leaving
9 our AOR
10 Q. When it comes to the engagement of special police units together
11 with other forces in general, we will deal with this matter later on.
12 Let us now discuss special police as one of the forces within the
13 Ministry of Interior which had to have specialist knowledge and training.
14 As for the training which related to special police force, in
15 what way were members of the special police force trained in different
16 specialist skills and knowledge?
17 A. Well, as we saw before, the specialist chain of command was
18 clearly defined, which tasked every unit commander with the duty to carry
19 out specialist training within his own respective chain of command.
20 Every unit kept a diary of specialist training which included specialist
21 fields of training and there was specific instructors charged with given
22 fields. They were in charge of training.
23 The training plan was monitored throughout the year for the level
24 of its achievement in each and every special police units. The purpose
25 of the whole exercise was to see to what extent the training plan had
1 been carried out. There was an inspection task force within the special
2 police structure which was charged with specifically monitoring the
3 course of training.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we call up document 3D00729.
5 Q. The issue of training and schooling of special police units is
6 dealt with here. This is a document dated from 1992, which the then
7 chief of the special police department, Mr. Mladen Markac, sent to the
8 assistant minister, Mr. Josko Moric. The subject is the request for
9 special police unit members to be authorised to attend courses at the
10 faculty of criminal justice sciences.
11 In this particular letter, the chief of the special police
12 department seeks authorisation from the assistant minister to allow his
13 men to be additionally schooled at a university.
14 Was this something that was not only typical for 1992 but was
15 present in the subsequent years throughout your term of office there?
16 A. This is one of the documents whereby the then special police
17 department, which was later to become the special police sector,
18 addresses the right addressee up the chain of command, and this was
19 Mr. Josko Moric, assistant minister at the time, to -- to allow special
20 police unit members to attend regular courses at the police academy.
21 They had courses for criminology, and this was the particular course
22 where those police officers who were in good health and had completed the
23 secondary school, could attend courses, full time or part time, in order
24 to gain specialist knowledge, and they would then acquire the title of
25 graduate criminologist or merely a criminologist for undergraduate
1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be admitted
2 into evidence, Mr. President.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1834.
6 JUDGE ORIE: D1834 is admitted into evidence.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 If we could please see the document 3D00731 on the screen now,
10 Q. Now we will see another document dealing with the same subject,
11 from January 1995, also submitted to the minister of the interior,
12 Mr. Ivan Jarnjak, asking for approval for professional training of the
13 leader of the special units of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic
14 of Croatia
15 previously it was the department, now it's a sector - planned to
16 establish a special training course for approximately 60 executives of
17 the MUP's special police.
18 What is your recollection of the organisation of courses, which
19 included improvement of special police unit members, how frequent were
20 these courses, was there a number of those, or was this a unique case?
21 Can you tell us something more about that, please.
22 A. This was just one of the documents which shows a continuous will,
23 wish, intention, to implement professional improvement through all
24 organisational structures of special police. As early as 1992, the first
25 specific specialist courses for leaders within special police were
1 organised so that they would gain the necessary knowledge and military
2 expertise, for the simple reason that all of our members were mostly
3 policemen. These were men who had been prepared to carry out police
4 duties. They were younger men, in terms of age. They had some military
5 knowledge, and they were now actively involved in defending their
7 By analysing the special police sector, it was very easy to
8 notice the need to educate the members, and especially the leadership, so
9 that they would have all the skills necessary to lead the men, and this
10 is specifically one of the courses for which approval was requested. And
11 we should say that the courses were at first organised at police academy,
12 some of them in specific special police bases, depending on whether these
13 bases were properly equipped for that or not. And in late 1994, if I'm
14 not mistaken, a special training centre was set up near [indiscernible]
15 on Losinj and that what was where all the courses were organised from
16 then onwards, such as courses focussed on law, also on mountaineering or
17 scuba-diving, and so on and so forth.
18 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber wonders whether all of the information
19 you are presenting at this moment is of such relevance and whether it's
21 MR. MIKULICIC: No --
22 JUDGE ORIE: I didn't gain the impression that the training at
23 the various levels of responsibility was something the Prosecution relied
24 upon as being insufficient. And therefore, we now know that the training
25 took place on Losinj. What are we supposed to do with this information,
1 Mr. Mikulicic?
2 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wish to
3 demonstrate that the special police, since its establishment, was
4 continuously trained and had undergone specialist training and that
5 specialisation and professionalism were insisted on. If this is not
6 contested in any way, I think that my learned friend agrees about this,
7 then I just wish to refer you to the document D528, in which the number
8 and kind of courses that were organised for members of special police are
10 However, if we could now please see from document D528, page 28
11 in English version, and we will change the subject.
12 Q. Mr. Cvrk --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, let's verify.
14 Ms. Mahindaratne, the document just mentioned is also not
15 contested --
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ORIE: -- as far as content is concerned.
18 Then please move on, Mr. Mikulicic. I thought in the beginning
19 that, and I briefly consulted with my colleagues, that perhaps you need a
20 kind of an introduction, even if it's to some extent even what we find
21 already in the written statement. But it took forms now, over the last
22 45 minutes, such a way that the Chamber really thinks that it's -- that
23 we better focus on what is contested and what are the real issues in this
25 Please proceed.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 [Interpretation] If we could please see page 30 in the Croatian
3 version, and page 28 in the English version in the document D528.
4 Q. As we will see, Mr. Cvrk, this is a report relating to the
5 disciplinary measures taken against the members of the special police, so
6 we will talk about discipline within the special police unit that you
7 were heading.
8 What was your function as the commander of a special police unit,
9 in terms of discipline, what were your obligations, what was your
10 authority? And if any of the members of the special police unit
11 committed any infringement of discipline, how did you react to that and
12 how did you participate in this?
13 A. All members of the Ministry of the Interior were held responsible
14 according to a disciplinary set of rules which clearly stated which were
15 the minor and which were the major infringements of discipline. The
16 minister of the interior transferred some of the authority that he had to
17 the heads of police administrations, and the chief of the Zagreb
18 administration transferred the authority to leaders of some units,
19 whether these were police stations or special police units or some other
20 structural forms such as departments or sectors.
21 The procedure was the following: When the infringements were
22 minor, then one could caution those members or a fine could be imposed on
23 them; or if these were major infringements, then the procedure is
24 something that I would need to initiate, and I would send files to a
25 disciplinary court which was part of the police administration as the
1 first-instance body, and then it was forwarded if someone appealed within
2 15 days to the second-instance body which was at the seat of the Ministry
3 of the Interior.
4 That was the usual procedure for all members of the unit that I
6 Q. Was the procedure of initiating disciplinary responsibility
7 specific in any way for the special police, or was it implemented at the
8 level of the ministry for all organisational structures equally?
9 A. No. It was the single disciplinary procedure which was always
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could turn a page in the
12 document that we see on the screen --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we please go one page
15 forward in this document.
16 Q. We'll see a table with statistical data of disciplinary
17 procedures against members of the special police in 1995.
18 Mr. Cvrk, you said that the reports were drafted annually. Is
19 this report about disciplinary measures also something that was drafted
20 annually, or are we talking about a different time-period?
21 A. Report about the activities of the unit training and also
22 disciplinary proceedings were monthly, as far as I remember. This is a
23 part of the annual report which we also had to submit to the special
24 police sector. And you can see here what was the manning level of the
25 units, what were the minor and major disciplinary infringements, and also
1 the number of the disciplinary proceedings that were conducted, in terms
2 of the reserve forces.
3 Q. The data relating to your unit, we can see that at the bottom of
4 the page, that's the data about the special police unit of the Zagreb
5 police administration, and from the data it follows that your unit, in
6 1995, was manned with 237 policemen, that there was proceedings relating
7 to 11 minor infringements and 18 major ones which was a total of 12.23
8 per cent.
9 By comparison with special police units from other police
10 administration, the result within your police administration points to
11 what sort of conclusion? What conclusion can you draw about the
12 frequency of discipline infringements and how serious were they?
13 A. One should say that the number of police members, 237, was
14 something relating to the number of 250 of active servicemen we should
15 normally have, and we had 288 members of reserve forces rather than 250.
16 The number of infringements did not depend on the number of
17 members, it depended on the number of individuals who committed any
18 infringements, whether they were members of the active force or the
19 reserve forces. And the data just shows that the command structure of
20 the unit and myself implemented the disciplinary rules of the Croatian
21 MUP and that we tried to maintain discipline at the highest possible
22 level within the unit.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please go back for a
24 second to the document which we already saw and that was the Law on
25 Internal Affairs, and that is D1077. If we could please see Article 80
1 which deals with the disciplinary responsibility.
2 Q. Mr. Cvrk, the basic Law on Internal Affairs provides disciplinary
3 responsibility in chapter 5. These are Articles 80 to 92, and as you
4 said, it says there that there can be minor and major infringements of
5 work discipline, that the disciplinary courts shall be set up within the
6 police administrations as the first instances, and then a second instance
7 within the ministry. And in Article 84, it is provided that the
8 first-instance disciplinary court would comprise the president and two
9 members of the Chamber, and the second instance of the president and four
11 Article 87 provides that disciplinary measures such as public
12 caution or fine or termination of duty can be applied.
13 What kind of disciplinary measure could you take as a commander
14 of a unit, Mr. Cvrk?
15 A. Personally, I could take the disciplinary measures relating to
16 minor infringements of discipline and in my authority was to take the
17 measure of public caution or a fine, which were used for minor
18 infringements of discipline.
19 For major infringements, as well as for incidents in which
20 certain members or reserve members were suspected of participating in
21 certain crimes, my duty was to initiate criminal proceedings with all the
22 evidence that such a crime was committed before the disciplinary court of
23 the Zagreb
24 Q. In Article 90 of this law, a decision on suspension of duty is
25 mentioned. What were the cases when a policeman could be suspended from
2 A. The minister of the interior or a person that he would authorise,
3 and that was most often the chief of a police administration, in case
4 when major infringements of discipline were committed, or in particular,
5 if crimes were committed, in according the Criminal Code of the
6 Republic of Croatia
7 could come into force immediately or in eight days, in which case
8 personal weapons and badge or identity card of a member of the MUP were
9 taken away from this person, if there was evidence that such a crime had
10 been committed.
11 Q. Let us try to give an example from practice.
12 If would you be informed, for example, by the crime police or the
13 investigating judge, that there was suspicion that one of the members of
14 your special unit had committed a crime, what was the procedure that, in
15 such a situation, you would apply?
16 A. In such a situation the procedure was very simple.
17 The procedure would be initiated before the first-instance
18 disciplinary court within the police administration of Zagreb, and the
19 policeman would be suspended from duty. His rights would be that he
20 would be receiving 50 per cent of his salary, so the salary would be
21 docked. He had right to legal assistance during the proceedings. He
22 would be suspended from duty. And if he was suspected of having
23 committed certain crimes, or had committed major infringement of
24 discipline which had grave consequences on the operation of any section
25 of the MUP, then he would be suspended. And the disciplinary court
1 would, independently, conduct the proceedings without any influences from
2 outside, whether these were professional or otherwise.
3 So disciplinary courts were wholly independent from the hierarchy
4 and chain of command of the Ministry of the Interior.
5 Q. Would such a procedure be conducted in a situation in which
6 criminal proceedings were initiated before a relevant court against one
7 of your members?
8 A. That's right. That was the procedure in such cases.
9 Q. Mr. Cvrk, let us move on to another topic briefly.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, if would you not mind, I would like
11 to go back to the statistics and conclusions you asked the witness to
12 draw from them. That was the last page of the report, page 29 out of ...
13 Could we have that on our screen again. It was the previous.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Microphone not activated]
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] D528. Page 30 in Croatian and
17 28 in the English version.
18 The next page.
19 JUDGE ORIE: It's -- in English, it's page 29 out of -- yes,
20 perhaps if you --
21 Yes. You drew the conclusion that -- that discipline was
22 maintained at the highest possible level. That was your conclusion, in
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My conclusion was that all of the
25 commanders in their respective units were duty-bound to implement
1 disciplinary rules and procedures. We were also supposed to monitor the
2 level of discipline and maintain it at the highest possible level.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do agree with you. You said, We tried to
4 maintain them at the highest possible level.
5 How could you conclude this from these numbers? Could you give
6 me the reasoning behind how these numbers can show what you tried to do?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Regarding the counsel's question
8 and the data in the table, it is clear that this was not a situation
9 where discipline was not being monitored and followed. This is a living
10 organism, and every individual could have been instituted proceedings
11 against, in disciplinary terms, if an offence had been committed. This
12 was used to raise the awareness of all that discipline is a priority in
13 the work of any commander. This is what this table shows.
14 The total number of measures as well as the indication that there
15 were both minor and major infringements only goes to prove that we were
16 no exemption from the rules that were otherwise applied across the MUP.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now let me try to give you three or four
18 different interpretation of these numbers, and then, again, we are
19 talking about how you can draw conclusions.
20 One of the things you could conclude that if, in certain units,
21 the percentage of people that had to be -- that had disciplinary action
22 taken against, if that moves up to 40 per cent and above, the
23 disciplinary system was not functioning at all, or very badly
25 I'm just -- I'm not saying it is the right conclusion but just to
1 put to you another way of looking at these numbers. Would you say that
2 is logically not conclusive?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Each piece of statistical
4 information, including this one, can be interpreted in different ways.
5 The example here is something that was generated by the sector of the
6 special police. I was merely trying to interpret it in the way that it
7 was visible and it was clear that there was much attention paid to
8 discipline. I said that disciplinary measures were undertaken depending
9 on the nature and number of minor and major infringements, independently
10 of the size of the units and its staffing strength. The statistics in
11 and of itself may or may not mean much. However, it exists, and this was
12 a measure of continuously monitoring discipline. This was only one of
13 the ways of reporting for the special police.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I'm talking about drawing conclusions on the basis
15 of number, nothing else. Not to -- I have no -- if you would say, One of
16 the conclusions you could draw from these numbers, that there was an
17 alarming situation in Zagreb
18 far higher than the percentage of light cases, which is an alarming
19 situation, would you, from a point of view of logic, could you say that
20 that is not a logical conclusion? Apart from whether it is right or not.
21 But is there anything wrong with the logic.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is precisely the purpose of
23 disciplinary monitoring. In relation to minor and major infringements of
24 discipline, it needs to be used to indicate whether discipline in this or
25 that particular unit is of a satisfactory level. I can tell that you
1 certain annual reports, say for 1994, were clear indications of the
2 situation in certain units which, in turn, resulted in staffing changes.
3 That would be one of the clearest indications when looking at such
5 Professionally speaking, it could indicate the level of
6 satisfaction or dissatisfaction concerning the status of each and every
7 unit of the special police.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You further mentioned that the reserves operatives
9 were not 250 but 288; is that correct?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct, sir. Our staffing
11 strength was supposed to have been 250 per establishment; whereas, we
12 actually had 287 staff.
13 JUDGE ORIE: And what -- in what way does that affect the --
14 because the number, which was 287, apparently not 288, but 287 were
15 actually serving in the reserve forces.
16 Now, if you have more men than the 250 you were supposed to have,
17 what does that say about up-keeping standards of discipline?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The staffing strength which
19 exceeded the numbers per establishment was because each unit, including
20 its reserve forces, is a living organism. The figure of 287 at that
21 moment included a number of the policemen who, at that period of time,
22 were already on their way out of the unit, returning to their other
23 duties or studies. Whereas, some of them were on sick-leave as well.
24 JUDGE ORIE: You raised this matter in the context of the
25 conclusions you have drawn from these numbers.
1 My question to you is: In which way does the fact that you have
2 287 persons in the reserve force, in what way does that affect the data
3 we find here and, therefore, in what way does it affect any conclusions
4 to be drawn from this table?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The increased number of staff
6 requires great care and responsibility.
7 This number of staff and proceedings is a piece of statistics.
8 As I told you already, each one of us was tasked with implementing the
9 disciplinary rules of the MUP, irrespective of the size of the unit.
10 Each of the commanders implemented the rules of procedure in relation to
11 the minor and major violations of discipline. The size of a particular
12 unit does not have a direct relation to the number of proceedings
14 JUDGE ORIE: My last question is the following: Isn't it true
15 that to draw any conclusions you would have to know how many violations
16 there had been?
17 I mean, just to give you an example, if a unit reports
18 10 per cent violations and another unit reports 40 per cent violations,
19 well, if you do not know how many violations there had been, could you
20 draw any conclusions from the reported numbers?
21 Let's just assume, for example, that the 40 per cent reporting
22 reflects a situation in which 40 per cent of the members did act in
23 violation of disciplinary rules; whereas, where 10 per cent was reported,
24 also 40 per cent actually had committed acts in violation of discipline,
25 would you agree with me that, if you don't know what the real numbers
1 are, that it is very difficult to draw any conclusions as to the --
2 whether or not the discipline was maintained at the highest level or that
3 such efforts were made?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If we are discussing figures, and
5 if 60 staff committed 26 violations throughout that year, which would
6 result in 40 per cent of the staff having committed any type of
7 infringement, that would be an alarming piece of information. That's
8 what this table is about.
9 JUDGE ORIE: The table is about what was reported, isn't it?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is. There is no other
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, I'm not saying that the conclusion
13 from this witness may not have been perfect, but there is no way, on the
14 basis of the numbers, to establish that.
15 I just wanted to draw your attention also to the level in which
16 these interpretations of statistics assists the Chamber without having a
17 lot of other information in relation to that same material as well.
18 You may proceed.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 [Interpretation] I would kindly ask for 3D00236.
21 Q. Mr. Cvrk, you mentioned as one of the measures in a disciplinary
22 procedure was fines, imposing fines. I am showing you a document
23 stipulating the criteria for monetary fine, vis-a-vis special police
24 members. Its articles precisely define the percentage of a monthly
25 salary that can be deducted after having committed a certain type of
1 disciplinary violation.
2 Mr. Cvrk, did you, in the course of your work, apply these
4 A. Yes. This was a general instruction so that the commanders could
5 apply a uniform approach in imposing fines for minor violations of
6 discipline, that they could take on as part of their overall duties.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask that this
8 document be admitted into evidence, Your Honour.
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1835.
12 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Since we only have a couple of minutes left
15 before the break, Mr. Cvrk, perhaps we can say something briefly about
16 the appearance of special police members.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] For that purpose, I would kindly
18 ask for P329, page 2 of the document. It is the Official Gazette of the
19 Republic of Croatia
20 and other designations of the special forces units of the MUP. We
21 clearly see what the number -- what the colour of the uniform of special
22 police forces was supposed to be in Articles 6 and onwards, as well as
23 the colour of individual items of clothing. One notices that green
24 prevails in that uniform.
25 Q. Mr. Cvrk, did members of the special police forces wear the same
1 uniforms as per these rules?
2 A. Yes. Based on these rules, all active and reserve staff of the
3 special police wore the same uniforms, and we had a uniform insignia.
4 Q. Were there any rank designations on the special police forces
6 A. Yes. We had uniform rank designations for each and every special
7 police unit, its sectors and departments.
8 Q. I may not have been sufficiently clear in my question.
9 If we compare the uniforms worn by the special police with those
10 worn by members of the Croatian Army, as you have just said, you told us
11 that the special police uniforms had designations of individual work
12 posts. But in terms of rank as usually seen in the army, could that be
13 easily seen on police uniforms of that kind?
14 A. No. Any rank designations within the special police was
15 separately designated depending on the job title, such as group leader,
16 instructor or specialty training, assistant deputy, deputy of the special
17 police forces. Each work post had its own designation and insignia in
18 addition to the insignia of the -- our individual special units and the
19 patches of the Ministry of the Interior as well as the patch of the coat
20 of arms of our unit on the right-hand shoulder.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: Mr. President, if I may suggest this will be a
22 time for a break.
23 JUDGE ORIE: It is time for a break.
24 We will have a break until five minutes to 11.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, you may proceed.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 [Interpretation] Your Honour, for the record, the first document
5 that I called up was 3D00321, and this is, in fact, already an exhibit,
6 D1085. I just wanted to clarify this for the record.
7 Similarly, the document I showed to the witness, 3D00731, which
8 deals with professional training of special police units, I would like to
9 tender that document into evidence. 3D00731, that's at transcript
10 page 18, line 15.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now 3D00321, was assigned a number again or
12 I'm --
13 MR. MIKULICIC: No.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Not -- so therefore it's just for the record, for
15 our information --
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Just for the record file, yes, Your Honour. This
17 is D1084.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then --
19 MR. MIKULICIC: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, my mistake. This is
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's what you said a second ago. So that's
22 now on the record.
23 Mr. Registrar, 3D00731 would receive what number?
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1836.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, no objections.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE ORIE: D1836 is admitted into evidence.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
5 MR. MIKULICIC:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Cvrk, when we discussed professional
7 training, schooling and courses taken by members of special police units,
8 can you tell us whether there was any sort of international cooperation
9 in existence as well?
10 A. As far as it was possible under the wartime circumstances,
11 efforts were made to draw upon the knowledge of other special police
12 forces in the region and worldwide and to [French on English channel] --
13 these courses.
14 Q. Let's turn to a different topic now which is the engagement of
15 special police -- [French on English channel].
16 JUDGE ORIE: We are now moving five seconds English, five seconds
17 French, approximately. I like both languages equally but not at the same
18 time. I don't know what caused the problem but -- because it's not usual
19 that it switches again and again. Is there any technical problem behind
21 If not, let's give it a try.
22 Please proceed.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 I would like to call up document D1090.
25 Q. Mr. Cvrk, these are instructions dating from May 1993 made by the
1 head of the special police department, Mr. Mladen Markac.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] We're waiting for the document
3 to appear.
4 Q. In the preamble the following is stated: In view of the new
5 proposal for the internal structure of the Ministry of Interior and in
6 relation to the scope of work of the special police, I hereby issue the
7 following instructions concerning the existing conditions of work which
8 are to temporarily regulate the relations within the special police force
9 among members who conduct combat tasks in the field.
10 Subsequently, the instructions concerning joint forces follow.
11 To your knowledge, Mr. Cvrk, prior to 1993, were special police
12 units organised as part of joint forces whenever major operations needed
13 to be carried out?
14 A. There were, indeed, several actions where, in the area of
15 responsibility of various police administrations where order was
16 disrupted, such actions were taken by joint forces. In 1991 to a lesser
17 extent and in 1992.
18 The document we have before us is the one where, around
19 Operation Maslenica, the engagement of joint forces was affirmed in this
20 way and became the model according to which members of various police
21 administrations were assembled for a specific task that they were
22 supposed to carry out for the benefit of the Ministry of the Interior.
23 Q. Is it fair to say, then, Mr. Cvrk, that up until 1995 and
24 Operation Storm, this model of assembling joint forces had already been
25 well established; is that right?
1 A. Yes, it was a customary method of work, where heads of police
2 administrations were informed of elements of their units being placed at
3 the disposal for the ministry to conduct any of the tasks which were
4 carried out at the state level.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we call up document P554,
7 Q. The internal organisation of the joint forces thus formed was
8 based on guide-lines and orders. Before you is an order whereby the
9 staff of the joint forces of the special police was set up on the
10 23rd of July, 1995, shortly before Operation Storm.
11 Can you briefly tell us how such joint forces worked internally,
12 in terms of the chain of command?
13 A. The chain of command was specifically defined by individual
14 orders, depending on the task given.
15 The chain of command, or the structure of command, was well known
16 to all those who were involved in a particular action, regardless of what
17 their organic unit was. The unit I was in command of could, up to
18 50 per cent, be detached and dispatched for specific missions, be it to
19 hold the separation line between us and the enemy, being to make sure
20 that the agreements reached concerning the demarcation line are to be
21 honoured. Such orders defined the strength of individual units and
22 specific locations of the staff of the joint forces, who was in charge of
23 the staff, and who was in charge of the particular line to be defended,
24 or whatever the task was; in other words, who was tasked with what along
25 the chain of command.
1 Q. You said that specifically your unit, the special police unit of
2 the Zagreb
3 to 50 per cent of its men for the purposes of such actions of joint
4 forces. The remaining men remained within the authority of the Zagreb
5 police administration. Did they fall under the chain of command of the
6 joint forces? And I mean the policemen who stayed behind as part of the
7 special police unit of the police administration.
8 A. The special police unit of the Zagreb police administration had a
9 clearly defined task in terms of the deployment of its Rapid Reaction
10 Force, which covered the state and administrative seats, international
11 representatives, embassies, and was specialised in combat against all
12 manner of crime, including terrorism and dealing with hostage situations.
13 The policemen who stayed behind in the police administration were
14 directly subordinated to the head of the police administration and did
15 not come under the chain of command of the joint police forces tasked
16 with specific state-level missions.
17 Q. The joint forces staff, which was set up in late July of 1995,
18 was set up because of the imminent participation of the police forces in
19 Operation Storm; is that right?
20 A. I believe so. However, it is also likely that this order also
21 served the purpose of setting up police forces for Operation Summer,
22 Ljeto, to man the separation line opposite the enemy in the
23 Military Districts of Gospic and Split
24 was set up for that purpose.
25 Q. However, the joint forces themselves and the staff were set up as
1 part of the plans for Mount Velebit
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Elements of your special police unit of the Zagreb police
5 administration were also part of these joint police forces? And I'm
6 referring to the combat action that the police units were a part of in
7 the course of Operation Storm.
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we call up document D543.
10 Q. Mr. Cvrk, I will show you the order issued by the Main Staff of
11 the Croatian Army, which, in fact, launched Operation Storm, and which
12 issued the special police with the specific task. We can see under
13 item 1 that the MUP special forces were given their axis of attack.
14 Under item 2, it was stated that the operation should be carried out in
15 two phases over the course of three days.
16 In the first phase they were supposed to use their own artillery.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Let's turn to the following page.
18 Q. And they were supposed to cut off the roadway between Gospic and
20 Mr. Cvrk, what was the role you played in Operation Storm as the
21 commander of the special police unit of the Zagreb police administration?
22 A. In addition to the general tasks that all the forces were given,
23 in terms of the implementation of the military and police
24 Operation Storm, as I stated in my statement, I was the commander of the
25 fourth auxiliary axis which was supposed to tie up most of the forces and
1 was supposed to carry out the tasks that we were given by the Main Staff
2 of the Croatian Army.
3 There were several units to be deployed along this auxiliary
4 axis. We were supposed to reach the Gospic-Gracac roadway in the general
5 area of the village of Ruke
6 sure that they reached the Celavac repeater and the Prezid feature, as
7 well as everything else that was ordered in this particular document.
8 Q. As part of preparations for combat activity, did you receive
9 specific information concerning the enemy who was supposed to be engaged?
10 Their strength, deployment, units, and such-like?
11 A. During preparations for Operation Storm, and the dates are the
12 28th, the 29th of July, thereabout, every commander was handed maps which
13 had their axis of deployment plotted in. They each received their set of
14 tasks which indicated the general areas they were supposed to take. And
15 alongside the maps and tasks, we received intelligence concerning the
16 enemy, their strength, forces, deployment, deployment of their artillery,
17 and the location of other relevant targets. We needed all of that
18 documentation in order to be able to launch attacks.
19 Q. The Trial Chamber has already received evidence to that effect.
20 The operation itself started in the morning at around 5.00 on the 4th.
21 The axis that were in command of, namely the fourth auxiliary
22 axis, what sort of progress did you make along that axis and what were
23 the tasks that you achieved on that day?
24 A. As I already said previously, at the auxiliary axis where I was
25 the commander, the anti-terrorist unit, as well as the special police
1 unit of the Primorsko Gorinska area were deployed, the majority of the
2 unit that I commanded was resubordinated to the third auxiliary axis,
3 with Mr. Cindric, and the reserve forces were the special unit of the
4 Krapina and Zagorje police administration.
5 In the first day, we achieved all the tasks that we had been
6 issued with. We reached the roads in the Ruke village sector. We
7 secured the site. We also took the combat position and we prepared for
8 many days of fighting with the enemy, if necessary, because the main task
9 of this position was that it was expected that introduction of new forces
10 would move through this area, as well as reinforcement for the enemy at
11 the positions of Mali Alan and Celavac.
12 Q. When you say that you reached in the Ruke village sector, why was
13 this position strategically important, in relation to the road leading
14 from Gospic towards Gracac, and further on in the direction of the
15 cross-roads with Otric and then later, Bruvno and so on. What was the
16 strategic importance of this road?
17 A. We cannot talk about strategic importance but this was a tactical
18 point because, by cutting off this road, additional logistical support
19 was cut off for the forces that were holding the front line, and the
20 forces on the mountain of Velebit
21 into trenches and trench warfare, but they were just holding certain
22 local points or fortified places. The conditions were difficult and the
23 aim was to gain the upper hand and to disperse the enemy as much as
24 possible, to cut him off in as main points as possible, and to let him
25 know that by introducing so many units and men and by covering military
1 targets with precise artillery fire, that we were determined to achieve
2 our goals. And this is how we managed to achieve what we needed to do so
3 that reinforcements could not be introduced behind our own forces.
4 Q. And the terrain across which you advanced from Velebit towards
5 another place, how densely populated was it?
6 A. It can be noted that the area of Licko Polje is one of the most
7 sparsely populated areas in Croatia
8 in the axis of advance, there were just hamlets, a few houses scattered
9 here and there, so it is only occasionally populated area, very sparsely
10 populated, because people keep cattle in this area and there were not too
11 many populated places on the axis of the advance of special police units.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, neither my colleagues nor myself do
13 fully understand the relevance of what you are asking now, whether it was
14 of strategic importance where this unit was, or tactical importance. It
15 is totally unclear to us. So if you'd please focus your questions in
16 such a way that we understand how the answers could assist us.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: I will try to, Your Honour.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Cvrk, during the combat advance on the first
19 and second days of the Operation Storm, did you come across any
20 civilians? Did you have any combat contacts in the area that included
21 any civilians?
22 A. One should say that the area of Velebit is unpopulated; that was
23 where the special police was. And on the first day, after we achieved
24 the combat results by making it impossible for the enemy to reinforce his
25 units on our axis, on the first day, it was practically impossible to
1 come across any civilians because of the terrain. And on the second day,
2 when we went further in the direction of Gospic, I could say that the
3 space was almost completely empty, because the area of Medak pocket was a
4 depression which, without further advance, could easily be completely
5 surrounded. So it was logical that the enemy, together with the
6 population and everything they could take with themselves, withdrew from
7 there so that there were practically no civilians left in the area
8 through which we advanced from the village of Ruke
9 Sveti Rok, and to the west, that is to say, the north-west, in the
10 direction of Gospic.
11 Q. In the information that you received before the operation, did
12 you learn anything about the enemy formations which were standing, so to
13 speak, on the other side, facing you?
14 A. Yes. As I said, that was part of the intelligence that we
15 received, as part of the order for carrying out our combat operation.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see the document
18 Q. Mr. Cvrk, I will show you now a document which is already in
19 evidence. It is a document issued by the commander of the 9th Motorised
20 Gracac Brigade of the Serbian Army of Krajina.
21 Let me first ask you if you ever had a chance to see this
23 A. I saw this document during the preparation for my testimony.
24 Q. I meant before that.
25 A. Not before that.
1 Q. I will just point out to you some information contained in this
2 document and then I will ask you to place that in the context of your
3 observations on the ground.
4 First of all, it is mentioned here that the command of the
5 9th Brigade received on the 3rd of August, the day before
6 Operation Storm, around 2350 hours, the information that an attack of
7 Ustasha forces was expected. And then it says that the attack was
8 launched at around 5.00 a.m.
9 artillery fire was launched on the Gospic-Medak axis. And that the
10 forces had broken through along this axis, and that, as a consequence of
11 that, the brigade had to withdraw, together with the men, and the
13 On page 2 of this document, there is a listing of all the combat
14 equipment and machinery with which the brigade withdrew.
15 Mr. Cvrk, the tempo of your advance had to be great in this
16 operation. Is that so?
17 A. Yes. It can be confirmed that, as we took control of all this
18 area on foot, then the tempo, as we used few vehicles, was really great.
19 Q. And during the advance, did you have any contacts with the enemy
20 units which were withdrawing?
21 A. I can note that on the first day we had intensive combat contact
22 with them and that was continued until we reached the internationally
23 recognised border between the Republic of Croatia
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 MR. MIKULICIC:
2 Q. [Interpretation] In this document it is stated that the brigade
3 of the Serbian Army of Krajina managed to pull out practically all its
4 machinery, except only if there was not enough fuel. So we can see that
5 they had tanks and trucks and so on. And on the third page, in the
6 conclusion, it is stated that the brigade, on approval of its superior
7 command, had to begin organised withdrawal and the deployment was such
8 that they also secured the withdrawal of the civilian population and
9 their own forces and equipment.
10 Mr. Cvrk, this is military speak, so I would ask you if could you
11 please comment on this formulation. What does it mean that, by its
12 combat deployment, the brigade secured the withdrawal of its own forces
13 and civilian population?
14 A. The commander of the 9th Gracac Brigade wanted to sum up the
15 total combat operations of the unit that he commanded by this document
16 and he described the first day of combat operations and of the advance of
17 special police. And by his combat deployment, he was securing the
18 withdrawal of his forces, equipment and civilian population on the later
19 days which means that he would leave parts of his unit behind the main
20 group of forces so that they would have enough time to withdraw the
21 population as well as the equipment and the members of the entire brigade
22 to Petrovac, which is mentioned there if I'm not mistaken, which means
23 that it was a withdrawal into Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 Q. And in the pulling out of the enemy units and your advance, were
25 there any combat contacts between you?
1 A. Certainly. When we achieved the first results on the first day,
2 the special police, in accordance with further orders, was engaged on
3 several axes and it also tried to take part of various areas, mainly the
4 main rows [as interpreted], and then setting up communications for the
5 needs of logistics and to enable the introduction of reinforcement, if
6 necessary, and once we achieved our final goal, that is to say, when we
7 reached the state border, during all these movements by artillery or
8 infantry weapons or whether it was attacks on the special police units
9 that was going on throughout all of these days [as interpreted].
10 Q. What was the axis that, after you took control of the road and
11 the town of Gracac
12 A. There were several orders. We call them orders D plus 1, D plus
13 2, of D plus 3 orders.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Just for reference to the
15 Chamber, D plus 1, D plus 2, and D plus 3 orders have been admitted as
16 documents D550, then D552, and D322.
17 Q. Please proceed, Mr. Cvrk.
18 A. In accordance with these orders, after we achieved the main goals
19 on our first day, on the second day, we went on to liberate the Gracac.
20 Another part of the forces linked up with the forces of the Military
21 District of Gospic, in Gospic. Then, in the evening, as far as I
22 remember, they continued their advance towards Otric. I think, Prezid
23 was also successfully liberated. And already on the second day, in the
24 evening, we advanced with a part of our forces towards Bruvno.
25 On the third day, in accordance with the order, we went towards
1 Udbina, from Bruvno, and that was the auxiliary axis, while the main part
2 of the forces went from Bruvno towards Gornji and Donji Lapac, and
3 finally, in the area of Kulen Vakuf, it reached the state and
4 administrative border, that is to say, the border between the Republic of
6 So to say everything briefly, how the special police units
7 advanced during Operation Storm.
8 Q. Did your unit and did you personally have the chance to move
9 through the town of Gracac
11 A. The unit that I commanded, on the second day, in accordance with
12 the order D plus 1, was engaged in the direction of Otric, but at the end
13 of this day, a command post of special police was established in the town
14 of Gracac, and for the purpose of coordination I was invited there. So I
15 passed through the town of Gracac several times in order to pass on the
16 tasks or to receive tasks, and also on the occasion when the police
17 station in Gracac was opened. So I was present in the town of Gracac
18 several occasions.
19 Q. And as far as you remember, Mr. Cvrk, to what extent was it
20 visible that there was any damage in the town of Gracac as a result of
21 combat operations while you were passing through the town?
22 A. It was visible that, due to artillery fire, against cross-roads
23 and some legitimate military targets such as the police station and the
24 command of the brigade, that there had been some combat activity and some
25 machinery was abandoned. It was possible that it was useless or that it
1 couldn't be pulled out because of the quick advance of special police
2 units towards Gracac, so that the impression was of an abandoned town
3 which was in the zone of combat operations.
4 Q. Mr. Cvrk, you said that you noticed some damage on the police
5 station, as well as on the building where the Gracac brigade had been
6 accommodated. Do you remember what sort of building that was? I'm
7 talking about the command building.
8 A. Well, not the command building itself, no, because Gracac was not
9 part of the tasks I was charged with. However, the centre where the --
10 subsequently the command of the special police force was set up and where
11 the police station was, I have a pretty good recollection of that,
12 despite the time that lapsed in between, in the meantime.
13 Q. How would you assess the degree of damage to the buildings in
14 Gracac, to the best of your recollection?
15 A. Most of the damage was inflicted by artillery shrapnel. I passed
16 along the main road in the settlement, and there were several buildings
17 aflame, probably due to the same reason. And laterally, where there was
18 some family homes, there were bullet marks as well. They were
20 Q. Your unit next proceeded in the direction of Bruvno; is that
22 A. Yes. That was day D plus 3, since on day plus 2, most of the
23 forces moving along Gornji Donji Vapac [as interpreted] toward
24 Kulen Vakuf gathered there, whereas another batch of forces headed from
25 the area of Bruvno. When we reached Bruvno that morning, we were
1 supposed to move in the direction of Udbina and link up with the forces
2 of the Gospic Military District there.
3 Q. After day three of Storm, what were the specific tasks given to
4 your unit?
5 A. If I remember correctly, that was day D plus 3, when the enemy
6 forces regrouped yet again and reached Kulen Vakuf, from where they
7 opened artillery fire on us. They also used tank fire.
8 The task was to group forces and the -- we received the orders
9 from the special police units staff, so we're talking about the 8th, when
10 we were supposed to link up with the forces from Gospic.
11 On that day, we were replaced by a military unit, which deployed
12 in our area of activity. In other words, we completed our task, reached
13 the state border between the Republic of Croatia
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereupon we received orders to withdraw from the
15 area since we have completed our mission within Operation Storm.
16 Q. Members of the units you were in command of and, if you know,
17 other units, how did they move about the front line? Were vehicles
18 organised for that purpose, or did they walk?
19 A. As for the movement of special police units, initially, we
20 walked. We had to traverse a ragged, mountainous area, and a kilometre
21 into the area, we were moving along a slope of some 45 degrees slant.
22 The area didn't have any roads, and we had to cross the Mali Alan pass.
23 We carried some artillery pieces. We had a -- several APCs. Roughly
24 those supply routes, Gracac, Obrovac, had to be made passable, and on
25 days D plus 1, plus 2, plus 3, we could use the vehicles we had, our own
1 vehicles, and they were enough for 40 per cent of our men, 45 to
2 50 per cent of our men. However, for the rest, for most of the
3 operation, we walked in a skirmish line and we walked, where possible,
4 along the roadways which were along our axis anyway, and, of course,
5 wherever we expected that we could possibly engage enemy forces.
6 Q. What were the vehicles used by the special police in their
7 advancement for the transportation of personnel and assets?
8 A. Different types of vans which could seat some eight to nine men,
9 all the way to lorries which could carry equipment, ammunition, logistic
10 support, and could also tow some of the rocket and artillery pieces.
11 Q. What was the extent of the travel that had to be done by the
12 special police forces all the way from Mount Velebit, where they started,
13 to Kulen Vakuf, where they ultimately stopped?
14 A. The pace at which progress was made was some 20 to 30 kilometres.
15 So in all these days, we covered some 60 to 70 -- 60 to 80 kilometres.
16 But that's an approximation of the pace at which special police forces
17 could advance.
18 Q. You personally and your unit, did you reach Donji Lapac?
19 A. Yes, I personally came to Donji Lapac in order to report on our
20 linking up at Udbina with units of the Gospic Military District, the
21 9th Guards Brigade. I reported on this. The rocket artillery battery
22 was part of the joint forces, which originally belonged to my units and
23 had been detached and deployed there for combat purposes. And I think I
24 was on the -- it was on the 7th of August, late in the evening, that I
25 was in Donji Lapac.
1 Q. What was the situation like in Lapac as you got there on the
2 7th of August, in the evening hours?
3 A. It was quite obvious that a high degree of combat activity had
4 taken place there. The command building and the police station had
5 received several direct hits. The hotel, the local hotel was on fire, as
6 well as a vehicle which had been carrying some assets. It had been hit
7 and was on fire. So there was plenty to see.
8 What could also be seen was that the special police forces were
9 deployed deep behind the lines in the direction of Kulen Vakuf, in the
10 direction of the village of Boricevac
11 state border, as I mentioned earlier.
12 Q. How long did you stay in Lapac?
13 A. Until night-fall. I spent some time there with the men from the
14 battery that I referred to. I had taken orders for further activities,
15 and, unless I'm mistaken, I was invited to a coordination meeting of all
16 special police unit commanders at the staff on the following morning, at
17 some 10.00 or 11.00 in the morning. And then I returned on the same day,
18 in the evening, under enemy artillery fire, to where my unit was.
19 Q. The next day was the 8th of August. What was the task to be
20 carried out by your unit?
21 A. On the 8th of August, an analysis was made of attacks carried out
22 and results achieved. The front units stopped which meant that all the
23 units behind had to stop as well, and they had to take stock of what they
24 had done. At the end of the coordination meeting, most of the units
25 start receiving orders to deploy back to their organic units and this, in
1 fact, took place on the 9th.
2 Q. What was the axis along which your unit was disengaged back to
3 the Zagreb
4 A. I can't be sure but I think we went via Udbina, Plitvice, on to
6 Q. When did you, in fact, reach your organic unit in Zagreb
7 with your men?
8 A. We returned to Zagreb
9 9th of August. We have a record of that, since we passed along the main
10 square in Zagreb
11 Q. Do you know what happened to other elements of the joint forces
12 after the 8th or the 9th of August, when the end of Operation Storm was
13 formally announced?
14 A. To my knowledge, most of the units were -- were disengaged, one
15 by one, in succession; and, as far as I remember, until the end of the
16 day, and I'm referring to the 9th of August, all of us had left the
17 general area of Donji Lapac.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Can we call up D1103 now, please.
19 Q. Once the joint forces had done their job, their part of the job
20 in the military/police Operation Storm, there followed a period which was
21 marked by some other activity, and the Trial Chamber heard about this,
22 the sweeping of terrain.
23 You can see the order of the 10th of August, 1995, here, which
24 was issued by the chief of the Main Staff, General Cervenko, according to
25 which the MUP special police units are ordered to carry out the mopping
1 up and occupy the Petrova Gora area under the orders of
2 General Mladen Markac.
3 Can you tell us what the location of Petrova Gora is in relation
4 to where the joint forces were active in Operation Storm? Is it part of
5 Operation South [as interpreted], or is it outside of that area?
6 A. As far as I know, the area lies outside of Sector South. Unless
7 I'm mistaken, it should come under the Karlovac Military District.
8 However, since we, as policemen, were not much concerned with the
9 boundaries of the Military Districts, I can tell you that it was to the
10 north of Sector South where we carried out our tasks during
11 Operation Storm.
12 Q. Was your unit involved in the sweeping operation of Petrova Gora?
13 A. I personally, and most of the unit's members were involved in the
14 sweeping operation at Petrova Gora.
15 Q. This isn't something I have already asked you but, Mr. Cvrk, do
16 you know what was the total number of special policemen who were part of
17 the joint forces during Operation Storm?
18 A. According to the reports I saw, I think that there were roughly
19 2.200 men involved in Operation Storm, and then subsequently perhaps some
20 fresh forces and logistics men may have been brought in which may have
21 caused the figure to rise to 2500.
22 Q. How long did the sweeping operation at Petrova Gora last?
23 A. As far as I remember, not more than ten days.
24 Q. Following the action which involved the participation of the
25 special police as part of the joint forces, what happened next? Were
1 these forces returned to their bases, or were they subsequently
2 re-engaged in actions of sorts?
3 A. The equipment and the composition of the special police forces
4 were such that we were a highly mobile unit and were able to cross the
5 country from one end to the next very rapidly and were able to carry out
6 the most complex of combat tasks.
7 There were several such actions which ensued after
8 Operation Storm which were prevalently conditioned by the intelligence
9 received and the possible infiltration of enemy groups, the leftover
10 enemy soldiers, as well as by the high -- or, rather, the vast territory
11 of the liberated area which had to be searched for straggling enemy
12 soldiers which might cause -- pose a risk. According to the -- this was
13 done pursuant to the requests of the Ministry of the Interior or of the
14 Main Staff of the Croatian Army. The special police units were used in
15 such operations, and they were, like this one, termed "sweeping
16 operations," in order to stabilise the situation on the ground and to
17 allow for a smooth restoration of authority in the area, in the liberated
19 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could now please see the
20 document D561.
21 Q. Tying up with what you just told us, Mr. Cvrk, I will show you a
22 document in which the chief of Main Staff, General Zvonimir Cervenko, on
23 the 21st of August, ordered that the terrain is to be searched and mopped
24 up. And in the introduction he says that some outlaw groups remained in
25 the area next to the state border, as well as in some areas and
1 facilities that have not yet been searched. And then he says that the
2 purpose units of the MUP will do that, and that the chief of Main Staff
3 makes the commands of the Military Districts and garrisons responsible
4 for submitting information on the possible presence of enemy groups in
5 the area. After this order, issued on 21st August 1995, the search of
6 the terrain followed in the area which was liberated during
7 Operation Storm.
8 Did your unit also participate in this?
9 A. Yes. One part of our unit was engaged, I think it was between
10 120 and 150 members, during this operation which we called, if I remember
11 properly, Oluja-Obrecun [phoen].
12 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please see the
13 document D562 now.
14 Q. Mr. Cvrk, I will show you a report on the search of terrain
15 carried out for the 21st of August, which was submitted by
16 Colonel General Mladen Markac to the Main Staff of the Croatian Army, to
17 General Cervenko, where, under item 3 he mentions that the special police
18 unit of the Zagreb
19 part in the search of the terrain and that the following materiel and
20 technical equipment such as ammunition for mortars and ammunition for
21 infantry weapons were found.
22 Mr. Cvrk, during these search operations, can you tell me briefly
23 what kind of the terrain was this in the newly liberated areas that were
24 part of the so-called former Republic of Serbian Krajina?
25 A. This was terrain that was mountainous, very difficult to pass
1 through and this report only confirms some of the data that we had
2 previously, and that during the combat contact we had during Operation
3 Oluja, whether it was the HVO units or the special police units, that we
4 searched the terrain and found many pieces of abandoned machinery, as
5 noted in this report.
6 In addition to that, in this area, in some of the hamlets that we
7 passed through and everywhere else, there were some civilians whom we
8 recorded, and fairly quickly we would establish their status and then we
9 would direct them to receive assistance or to report themselves to police
10 stations or to UNHCR, which was already active, so some people were
11 registered, some were not, so that they would realise their rights to be
12 granted assistance. These were mostly elderly people who had been left
13 behind and who were mostly very old.
14 Q. As for the contacts with the civilian population that you found
15 during the searches of the terrain, did you receive any instructions
16 about those from your superiors?
17 A. We had very precise instructions about the rights of the
18 individual, the international law of war, and, on the final days of
19 Operation Storm, we also had specific instructions about the
20 international personnel who were deployed on the ground, what authority
21 they had and how we could assist them to perform their duties. Even
22 though we had numerous combat contacts between straggling enemy forces
23 and our own forces, and even though we had wounded members, even 15 days
24 after Operation Storm had de facto been concluded, this was a very strict
25 task for the special police because its purpose was to establish whether
1 the area that had been liberated was clear of enemy soldiers, first of
2 all, and also what was the total number of the population that was
3 possibly left in the area. So clearly we had to register these people
4 and inform the special police sector about this in daily reports.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please see the
6 document P576.
7 Q. Mr. Cvrk, I will show you a report on a completed search of the
8 terrain for the day the 25th of August, 1995, submitted also by
9 Colonel General Mladen Markac to the assistant minister for special
11 It says here that the search had been conducted in which area,
12 and somewhere in the middle of the document or thereabouts it says that
13 in the village of Pasici
14 crime police for further investigation.
15 It is also mentioned that in the village of Grubor
16 search, eight to ten enemy soldiers were observed, that there was an
17 exchange of fire and that the result was the death of Djuro Karanovic,
18 45 years of age and residing in Belgrade
19 rifle, and that, after that, Stevan Karanovic who was also armed with a
20 semi-automatic rifle was arrested, and that two other unidentified
21 females and two elderly men, Milos Grubor and Jovo Grubor, were also
23 Mr. Cvrk, did your unit and you, yourself, did you know anything
24 about the events in the village of Grubor
25 the 25th of August, 1995?
1 A. As one can see from this report, the unit was engaged on a quite
2 different axis but the general information that I had, of course, I heard
3 that there was some activity in the village of Grubori
4 do not remember and do not know all the details in connection with this
5 because I was issued other tasks and I was not member of the command of
6 the sector that had to carry out these activities and control the
7 activities of all of us and all the units.
8 Q. Further on it says here that during the search in the villages on
9 the initial position, 52 civilians have been registered -- 54 civilians,
10 that is to say, and eventually it says, at the end, that the Croatian
11 civilian population has not yet established contact with the civilians
12 who were found. And the list of civilians who were found was made by
13 members of UNCRO.
14 Do you remember that on the occasion of this operation, on the
15 25th, that these 54 civilians were found or was it not on your axis? Did
16 you learn anything about this?
17 A. I don't remember exactly but, generally, on all of these days,
18 there were situations when we would come across the persons who had
19 remained in the area, whether persons who had been registered by UNCRO or
20 persons who had registered by reporting themselves to the police stations
21 that had been set up in the area.
22 So these were three main ways for civilians to establish their
23 status in the area.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please see P579.
25 Q. Mr. Cvrk, for your information, this is a report on the task for
1 the 26th of August, for special police, also submitted by Colonel General
2 Mladen Markac, wherein it is stated that in the village Knezevici
3 civilians were found and registered. And in the village of Karanovac
4 six civilians were found. And then in the village of Ridjane
5 were found and registered by the regular police from the MUP.
6 In addition to registering these persons and submitting that to
7 the regular police of the MUP, did special police have any other
8 obligations in connection with the civilians found during the search of
9 the terrain?
10 A. No. According to my recollection, the obligation to the
11 civilians, which included all kinds of people, people who couldn't move,
12 who were in need of medical assistance, so sometimes we didn't even have
13 to go to the police stations, and in some hamlets and some positions
14 where we found these elderly people were in areas where roads were very
15 bad. There were sometimes only paths and these were places difficult to
16 access, so we would register these people. We needed complete
17 registration of everyone, but that was not really our job to do anything
18 after that. That was a duty of the authorities on the ground, whether it
19 was the police or whoever communicated with the forces of UNCRO along the
20 axis where we were advancing.
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see the document
22 P2379 now.
23 Q. Following up on this, you will see a report on tasks carried out
24 on the 27th of August. Again, it is a search of the terrain. And if we
25 move on to page 2 of this report, we will see in paragraph 4, that two
1 unregistered civilians were also found in the village of Silici
2 in the village were Borovici, another two unidentified civilians; in the
3 village of Kukolj [phoen], it's the same thing. And then around 1200, in
4 the place Kavacevica Stanove [phoen], an attack was launched from
5 fire-arms by a member of the enemy army who was then arrested and
6 delivered to military police.
7 Do you remember, Mr. Cvrk, whether there were any contacts with
8 straggling enemy soldiers during these operations of the search of the
10 A. One can see from this report and from the fact that some members
11 of the special police unit were wounded because of such contacts, it's
12 evident that there were such contacts, even 20 or 30 or even more days
13 after the conclusion of the Operation Storm.
14 Q. All the search operations were carried out in Sector South where
15 formally Operation Storm was launched. How long did they last? Do you
17 A. It is certain that they lasted in accordance with orders, and
18 depending on the coordination of the forces of the special police and the
19 Croatian Army, and after the conclusion of pulling out of combat
20 equipment, and once it was established that there shouldn't be many more
21 straggling enemy soldiers left behind, then these search operations
22 stopped. And I think that -- when I say all this, I'm talking about
23 mid-September or so.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please see
25 65 ter 02264 now.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, just before we move to the next, I
2 missed perhaps something.
3 You said, Mr. Cvrk, As you can see from this report and from the
4 fact that some members of the special police units were wounded because
5 of such contacts, I'm just trying to find, where in this document, we
6 find wounded special police officers, but I may have missed it.
7 Could you help me out?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it is not mentioned in this
9 document but it is fact that one of our colleagues was wounded in this
11 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us further details.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, I'm sure that
13 it was Mr. Labrovic, but as for the exact date on which it happened and
14 the circumstances, I would have to refresh my memory, unfortunately.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please see
18 65 ter 02264.
19 Q. The document that you see on the screen, Mr. Cvrk, is a document
20 informing about the planned activities of the joint special police forces
21 on 8 September 1995
22 this. The area is that of Plitvice, where, if there are any straggling
23 sabotage and terrorist groups, then they should be found. And it is
24 mentioned then what are the axes but this is the general area of
1 Mr. Cvrk, did your unit take part in searching the terrain in the
2 area of Plitvice?
3 A. I think so.
4 Q. For orientation purposes only, can you tell us whether the area
5 of Plitvice is within Sector South, in the newly liberated territory?
6 A. I didn't pay much heed to that type of delineation. But if
7 you're asking me whether the area of Plitvice is without the sector in
8 which the special police forces under my command pursued activities in
9 the initial days of Operation Storm, then my question is -- my answer is
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I seek to tender this document,
12 Your Honour.
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No --
14 JUDGE ORIE: I seek clarification when it was said that, When
15 you're asking me if the area is without the sector, did you mean outside
16 the sector?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Concerning my answer, I wanted to
18 say that this was outside or without the sector in which the special
19 police forces pursued their activities in the initial days of
20 Operation Storm, yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, thank you for that answer.
22 Ms. Mahindaratne, any objections?
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1837.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to remind the Court
3 that concerning the search of the terrain in the area of Plitvice, there
4 are other documents which I would kindly seek to tender, or would you
5 rather have me go through each and every of those documents with the
6 witness? These are 65 ter documents 00503, 00515, and the sequence of
7 documents goes up to the 13th of September. The last of the documents
8 speaks of the search of the terrain around Plitvice.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps we can go through them.
11 I'll make it a brief exercise.
12 JUDGE ORIE: I was not asking it. If there's no objections
13 against bar tabling these documents, Ms. Mahindaratne, then the Chamber
14 would expect, as usual, a joint filing in which we are informed about the
15 relevance and specific portions to pay attention to.
16 Now, if you say, So therefore I leave it your hands. At the same
17 time, I'm looking at the clock, Mr. Mikulicic, I think this witness was
18 announced for two sessions.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: I will finish within five to ten minutes,
20 Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Then we can continue before the break until you've
22 finished, concluded your --
23 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, we can easily go through one or two
24 documents on that topic as well, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I leave it in your hands --
1 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: -- as long as you finish within five or ten minutes.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask for the
5 65 ter document 00515 next.
6 Q. It is an information on the planned activities for the
7 10th of August submitted by Colonel General Mladen Markac in the wider
8 area of Plitvice, where the joint forces, on the 10th of August, were
9 supposed to carry out certain activities between 7.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m.
10 The activities concerned were actually terrain searches.
11 Does this tally with what you can recall, Mr. Cvrk, concerning
12 the searches in the area of Plitvice?
13 A. Certainly. These are standard daily reports, daily informations
14 that we were provided with indicating directions and areas that were
15 supposed to be sweeped.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I seek to tender this document,
17 Your Honour.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1838.
21 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Next I would kindly ask for D566
23 to be shown.
24 Q. The document we are about to see, Mr. Cvrk, has already been
25 admitted. It is a joint report on the completed task of the search in
1 the broader area of the National Park Plitvice of the 12th of September,
2 1995, in which mention is made of the fact that the terrain of the
3 national park of Plitvice was searched, covering 22 by 40 kilometres.
4 The total area was 880 square kilometres. It says that, daily, members
5 of the special police searched some 25 kilometres of terrain in skirmish
6 lines at distances between 1500 metres between each member. The goal was
7 to create a secure environment to protect property.
8 On the second page of this document, it is stated that no
9 straggling enemy forces were located and that, in total, eight corpses of
10 uniformed unidentified soldiers were found and the corpses were already
11 in a state of decay or putrefaction. It is also stated that several
12 elderly persons were found and taken care of in several villages, and
13 that their citizenship status was resolved accordingly.
14 It is also stated that 16 B and H nationals were found who had
15 illegally crossed the state border, and sporting individual items of
16 clothing that belonged to uniforms.
17 On the next page, we have mines and explosives of which a certain
18 amount was found, and mention is also made that the bed of the lake that
19 was in the area was searched by the special police members who were scuba
20 divers. This is the concerning the sweeping of the terrain.
21 Were members of your unit included in these speciality searches
22 such as the search of the lake -- of the lakes, actually, at Plitvice?
23 A. I believe that our frogmen basically came from the anti-terrorist
24 unit of Lucko. We did have a scuba diver for the needs of the Zagreb
25 police administration, in order to extract bodies of casualties or to
1 search certain water beds of which there were many in our police
2 administration territory. But at that time, that speciality group was
3 attached to the anti-terrorist unit of Lucko, as well as to the
4 administrations in Split
5 personnel was used to search the Plitvice lakes.
6 When we arrived there, it was widely believed that the barriers
7 separating the individual levels of the lakes were mined in order to
8 disturb the further flow of the river, and this was supposed to be
9 ascertained by the frogmen of the special police.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] In conclusion, I would ask for
12 After the searches were carried out in Plitvice, on the
13 11th of September, a new order arrived from the chief of the Main Staff,
14 Mr. Cervenko, by virtue of which it is ordered that the special forces of
15 the MUP, amounting to about 2.000 men, should be sent to the southern
16 theatre, in keeping with their deployment plan.
17 Two questions concerning this. Which part of the Croatian
18 territory does this refer to when the southern theatre is mentioned; and
19 did any of your units members take part in this new task issued by the
20 commander of the Main Staff?
21 A. I am certain that a unit I commanded was also encompassed this.
22 This is about the line of separation along the state borders of Croatia
23 and Bosnia
25 Q. You were subordinated to Mr. Markac, who was assistant interior
1 minister for the special police during a certain period of time. In a
2 few words, can you tell us what was your relationship to him and what is
3 your opinion of him as a commander and as an ordinary person?
4 A. After my arrival in the special police and in particular after I
5 was appointed commander of the Alpha Unit, I kept permanent contact with
6 the assistant minister for the interior, Mr. Mladen Markac. I can tell
7 you about Mr. Markac as my wartime commander that, by virtue of his
8 activities and his attempts to be specific in terms of organisational and
9 personnel needs as well as any other needs to ensure the work of the
10 special police, he tried to use his influence to create the conditions
11 within the ministry so that those forces could be trained, that they
12 could act properly, be equipped -- equipped properly, and that the entire
13 special police structure be put in place.
14 I believe by virtue of those actions, by creating the necessary
15 preconditions as well as the implementing of systematic training as well
16 as issuing -- by issuing direct orders, and creating conditions in which
17 we were on a par in terms of equipment with our enemy, he created
18 favourable conditions for work in the special police forces in general,
19 as well in the overall context of armed forces in Croatia.
20 I believe much is due to him, because he achieved much through
21 the Ministry of the Interior. I consider him a highly moral person.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Cvrk.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no further
25 JUDGE ORIE: Then we will have a break and resume at five minutes
1 to 1.00.
2 And after the break, Mr. Cvrk, cross-examination will start.
3 --- Recess taken at 12.35 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 1.05 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Again, apologies for the late start.
6 I don't know who is on his feet for the.
7 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, we have no questions. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You have no questions.
9 MR. KAY: No questions, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: No questions.
11 Ms. Mahindaratne, are you ready to cross-examine the witness?
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Then you may proceed.
14 Mr. Cvrk, you will be cross-examined by Ms. Mahindaratne.
15 Ms. Mahindaratne is counsel for the Prosecution.
16 Please proceed.
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Cross-examination by Ms. Mahindaratne:
19 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Cvrk.
20 A. Good afternoon, Madam Prosecutor.
21 Q. I just wanted to ask you, when you were interviewed on behalf of
22 the Defence team for Mr. Markac, you were interviewed by
23 Mr. Franjo Djurica and Anto Soljic. Isn't that correct?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. And Mr. Djurica Franjo was the chief of the police coordinators
1 appointed to OZ Sector South, in August 1995, in the aftermath of
2 Operation Storm. Isn't that correct?
3 A. I think that's correct.
4 Q. And he held that position until December 1995; are you aware of
6 A. I'm not aware of the details, since Mr. Franjo Djurica was
7 connected to the police sector of the Ministry of the Interior through
8 his work. We cooperated at a later date on the peaceful reintegration of
9 Eastern Slavonia
10 charge of coordinating special police units.
11 Q. You referred to coordinating special police units. Did you mean
12 to say coordinating police units, because Mr. Franjo Djurica was a police
13 coordinator attached to the Ministry of Interior, isn't that correct, he
14 was not part of the special police? I wonder whether you made a mistake
15 when you mentioned the word "special police."
16 A. If we're talking about 1995 and the position of the coordinator
17 on behalf of the police, that particular position had predominantly to do
18 with the forces of the newly set up police stations in Sector South.
19 Q. That's the clarification I sought.
20 And were you aware that, in fact, the police coordinators in
21 charge of the Knin area, Mr. Baric and Mr. Buhin, in fact reported to
22 Mr. Djurica; isn't that correct?
23 A. I can't confirm this with any degree of certainty, since I was
24 busy with the work on the ground. It was the sector of the special
25 police which dealt with police coordination. We were one of the
1 elements. I wasn't active in the special police sector in order for me
2 to be able to confirm this.
3 Q. Are you aware that Mr. Djurica himself is on the list of
4 witnesses for the Defence for Mr. Markac?
5 A. As far as this trial is concerned and my appearance, I was
6 contacted a year and a half ago, in order to give my statement, together
7 with these individuals who were signed here.
8 Now, as for the witnesses who would appear on behalf of
9 General Markac, I'm aware only of the information that was available to
10 me, and I did not hear that Mr. Djurica was on the list of witnesses.
11 Q. Now, the second person who interviewed you, Mr. Anto Soljic, was
12 the head of the inner control branch of the special police during that
13 the whole of 1995, going into 1996; isn't that correct?
14 A. That's correct. Mr. Anto Soljic was the chief of the internal
15 control of the special police sector.
16 Q. And isn't it right that the internal control of the special
17 police sector was responsible for monitoring and reporting on the
18 discipline of the special police units to the special police sector
20 A. Internal control gathered information about the overall
21 activities of the unit, primarily, those relating to discipline, and
22 processed the information for the purposes of the special police sector
23 and for the purposes of a report that was sent to the Ministry of the
25 Q. Are you aware that the internal control, in fact, submitted
1 reports of discipline within the units, in fact, to the special police
2 sector, that is, Mr. Markac and Mr. Sacic? Were you aware of that?
3 A. From the experience I have as commander of the unit, the internal
4 control did not have any major bearing on the state of affairs with
5 regard to discipline. They were mostly involved, like in Operation
6 Storm, in gathering counter-intelligence information of units and
7 information on the enemy in general, and it had to do with putting
8 together intelligence operatives.
9 So these were the duties that the internal control of the special
10 police sector had, as far as I'm able to remember.
11 Q. Mr. Cvrk, I have a problem trying to understand. Your previous
12 answer was this: Internal control gathered information about the overall
13 activities of the unit, primarily those relating to discipline, and
14 processed the information for the purpose of the special police sector
15 and for the purposes of a report that was sent to the Ministry of the
17 But thereafter, you now say: From the experience I have as
18 commander of the unit, the internal control did not have any major
19 bearing on the state of affairs with regard to discipline.
20 Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you're trying to say.
21 Now, is it correct that internal control branch was a section of
22 the special police that monitored discipline within the units and
23 maintained records and reported on the state of discipline to the special
24 police sector command? And when I use the word "sector command," I refer
25 to Mr. Markac and Mr. Sacic?
1 MR. KUZMANOVIC: I think he has answered that already,
2 Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic, I was just waiting for the French
5 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour. He has answered the
6 question and just because she doesn't like the way he has answered the
7 question, doesn't mean that she gets to ask it again.
8 There were two separate questions. The first question was on
9 line -- page 68, line 20, she asked him a specific question about
10 internal control of the special police and he answered the specific
12 The problem was -- the problem is she answered -- asked a
13 separate question in which he gave an answer which was also correct, and
14 I think the Prosecution is confused as to which answer compares to which
15 question. And I think the person -- the witness has answered the
16 question both times and to ask it again I think is repetitive.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Whether the answer to the second question was
18 correct or not, Mr. Kuzmanovic, I wouldn't know yet.
19 The problem -- let me just re-read it.
20 Yes, the problem arises because your first question was a
21 question about facts and the second question was about a judgement. And
22 that, at the same time, Mr. Kuzmanovic, is a key to the solution.
23 Ms. Mahindaratne, you may ask once whether -- that you have some
24 difficulties in reconciling your judgement with the factual answer, but,
25 then, you have to move on. And, of course, you can address the matter in
1 other ways. But that is the problem if a witness of fact is asked to
2 give his judgement, whether it has any bearing is typically a matter of
3 judgement, that that creates these kind of situations and I therefore
4 urge you to -- to, as much as possible, stick to the facts.
5 Please proceed.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
7 Q. Mr. Cvrk, if you could just answer this question: Were you aware
8 that the inner control branch submitted reports on the state of
9 discipline of the special police units to the special police sector
11 A. In terms of making annual reports on disciplinary proceedings and
12 in terms of the work of operatives, well, they did process all the data
13 concerning these units and included it in the intelligence analysis that
14 the special police sector produced. In addition to this, we had monthly
15 reports that we made concerning all the activities taken by a given
16 special police unit within its area of responsibility over a 30-day
17 period. It is possible that, alongside this, there was an uninterrupted
18 analysis made of all things that were done in that sector.
19 Q. Did you, as head of a special police unit in Zagreb, report to
20 Mr. Soljic on discipline within your unit?
21 A. No. I was responsible for my line of work to the assistant
22 minister, to Mr. Markac, the head of the special police department, and
23 to the -- to Mr. Sacic, the head of the special police sector to whom I
24 addressed the report and for whose benefit I wrote it.
25 Q. Thank you for that.
1 Now, there was some discussion about discipline within the
2 special police. Now, are you aware that, if -- before that.
3 You testified that as the head of the special police unit, you
4 were responsible for initiating disciplinary measures against members of
5 your unit when they committed breaches of discipline.
6 Now, isn't that correct that if you, as the -- the commander of
7 the special police unit in Zagreb
8 against a member who had committed a breach, General Markac had the
9 authority to directly order you to do so. Isn't that right?
10 A. As I've already explained, there were minor and major breaches of
11 discipline. The -- it is set out that the minister may confer his
12 authority to chiefs of police administrations on this score, which he
13 did. Then the chiefs of police administrations, in turn, conferred this
14 power on to heads of certain departments. The Zagreb police
15 administration, as a whole, had conferred upon me the power to initiate
16 disciplinary proceedings, to take disciplinary measures against those
17 members of my unit who committed minor breaches of discipline, or to
18 initiate there disciplinary proceedings be launched in the first instance
19 within the police administration and within the ministry in the second
21 Throughout my career, I had never been faced with a situation
22 where Mr. Mladen Markac or the special police sector called upon me to
23 initiate disciplinary proceedings against a member of the special police
24 for a minor or a major breach of discipline.
25 Q. Although you have not come across such situations, are you aware
1 that General Markac this the authority to do so, that he could, in fact,
2 order a commander of a special police unit to initiate discipline against
3 a member of that unit? Were you aware of that?
4 A. This may be so, but only where the sector of the special police
5 itself was concerned and its employees, the helicopter unit which was
6 part of the special police sector and the Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit which
7 was also part of the special police sector. It was only in these cases
8 that this could have done directly. But I am not aware of any other such
9 cases involving units that were under police administrations. We were
10 the ones who were directly responsible for discipline.
11 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, may have I document P610,
13 Q. Now, Mr. Cvrk --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, I'm a bit confused by the last
15 answer and I would like to seek clarification before we continue.
16 You said only in relation to those units you specifically
17 mentioned, that is, the helicopter unit and the Lucko Unit, that it was
18 only in these cases that this could have done directly.
19 Now, I understood from Ms. Mahindaratne's question that she asked
20 you whether Mr. Markac could instruct you to take disciplinary measures
21 against someone of your subordinates, which I would consider indirect
22 approach. That is, Mr. Markac -- you told us he never did but that at
23 least in theory, Mr. Markac instructed you to take disciplinary measures.
24 Now, is that what you had on your mind when you said this was
25 only -- let's try to get it simple again. Do you dispute that Mr. Markac
1 had the authority, whether he ever used it is a different matter, but
2 whether -- that he the authority to instruct you to take disciplinary
3 measures against one of your subordinates if he was aware of any
4 undisciplined behaviour?
5 Do you dispute that, or do you agree with Ms. Mahindaratne on
6 this matter?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because of the way in which the
8 Ministry of the Interior functioned in layers and the fact that the
9 assistant minister was on the specialist collegium, it is possible that
10 certain breaches of discipline were discussed at that level, and that it
11 was on the General's insistence that some of the disciplinary proceedings
12 were initiated. So I'm not disputing the fact that perhaps
13 General Markac may have insisted that disciplinary proceedings be
14 initiated in relation to certain breaches of discipline. So I'm not
15 denying that.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And he did that within the limits of his
17 authority, from what I understand.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, please proceed.
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Mr. Cvrk, I called this document up prior to the Chamber's
22 questioning. Perhaps if could you look at this. I just wanted to point
23 this out to you, since you that said that General Markac's disciplinary
24 authority was only in relation to the -- the helicopter unit and
25 Lucko Unit. But, however, upon clarification now, I don't need to go
1 through this.
2 But do you agree that although -- I withdraw that, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE ORIE: If the matter has become clear --
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: -- without the document, then we can move on.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
9 Q. Now, Mr. Cvrk, there was a discussion about statistics relating
10 to discipline. Mr. Mikulicic dealt with that, and I believe the
11 document, D528 - we don't need that document on the screen - you were
12 shown statistics provided by -- in relation to your unit as well as other
13 units and there was a discussion between you and the Chamber also.
14 Now, I'd like to show you a document.
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE: And, Mr. Registrar, if I could have P2370.
16 Q. The document you're going to see will be extracts of the MUP
17 employment code.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: And, Mr. Registrar, if we could go to -- in
19 the English that would be the -- the second document on the e-court. And
20 the Croatian version, page 16. That would be Article -- yeah.
21 Q. Now, as you can see, you'll see in a moment, in the Croatian
22 version, Article 48 lists out what minor infringement is and Article 49
23 lists out what a major infringement, a serious infringement of work
24 discipline is.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Now, in the English, if could you move to the
1 next page, Mr. Registrar, as well as the Croatian version.
2 Q. There are 26 types of conduct that came within the description of
3 serious infringement of work discipline. Therefore, would you agree with
4 me that those statistics which show specific numbers of disciplinary
5 processes meted out in relation to members of the separate units would
6 not provide the Trial Chamber with any guidance as to exactly what type
7 of conduct was subject to those disciplinary measures?
8 Do you understand my question?
9 A. I do understand your question. But as you put it yourself, in
10 those disciplinary proceedings involving major breaches of discipline,
11 there are 26 different items envisaged. And it would not have been
12 possible for us to make a description of what the minor or major breach
13 of discipline was. However, it never was a problem to examine each and
14 every one of these breaches of discipline in detail to see what exactly
15 they involved, and if I recall correctly, we even had several instances
16 which involved crimes, and at the end of disciplinary proceedings it so
17 happened that the individuals concerned were fired.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, if I could have P1155.
19 Q. Now, for example, you can see in this order, General Markac has
20 requested disciplinary proceedings against a member of the Lucko Unit for
21 his failure to respond to an order to participate in training.
22 Now, you would agree with me, isn't it, therefore, that those
23 numbers, those statistics, include all these type of infringements which
24 were also considered under the MUP employment code as serious breaches of
1 A. That's right, Madam Prosecutor.
2 Q. Were you aware, Mr. Cvrk, that Mr. Markac had the authority to
3 directly suspend a member of the -- of any one of the special police
4 units, if he found them to have committed a breach of discipline?
5 A. If this authority was transferred on him by the minister of the
6 interior, then that is correct.
7 Q. My question is: Were -- are you aware that that was the case?
8 A. As I wasn't working in the special police sector, I am not
9 100 per cent aware of that.
10 Q. Mr. Cvrk, you were the commander of the special police unit of
12 the special police sector, Mr. Markac, had the authority to suspend a
13 member of your unit, if he considered that necessary, in the interests of
14 discipline of the special police?
15 MR. KUZMANOVIC: I just want to ask for a little clarification.
16 Is that in general or in certain circumstances? It's a pretty broad
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I think it is specific enough, Mr. President.
19 I just can't figure out how to narrow it down any further. It's a very
20 straightforward question.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I think the issue is not the matter raised by
22 Mr. Kuzmanovic. However, the problem may be there in view of the
23 previous answer.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, that's why I -- my -- I just
25 wanted to bring him to his particular specific position since he used the
1 word "sector" I believe as a command --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Although the problem was higher up, I think.
3 It was -- he said if the authority was transferred upon him by the
4 minister of the interior, then that is correct and he could not --
5 But --
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: My question would be more factual
7 Mr. President, whether he is aware, not in an argumentative --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You may proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne. Please
9 keep in mind what I just said. Putting next questions to overcome an
10 uncertainty without clearly identifying that uncertainty for the next
11 answer is not something that assists the Chamber.
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Mr. President. Let me call up my
14 JUDGE ORIE: Please, yes.
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, may I have document 609,
17 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Is that a P Document, I'm assuming?
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: P609.
19 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you.
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
21 Q. Mr. Cvrk, do you note Mr. Markac's order to the commander of the
22 anti-terrorist unit Lucko, where he proposes for initiating a
23 disciplinary procedure and the decision on suspension from duty. He
25 "To bring to your attention and for further use, we hereby submit
1 this proposal for initiating a disciplinary procedure against a member of
2 the ATJ
3 from duty?"
4 And can you read the rest of the document. Do you note my point
5 that General Markac had the authority to suspend a member of a special
6 police unit directly, if he deemed it necessary?
7 A. I wish to clarify the previous question [as interpreted] and try
8 to answer your question; namely, the disciplinary rules of the MUP of the
9 Republic of Croatia
10 the minister of the interior or a person authorised accordingly by him.
11 As I worked as part of the police administration of Zagreb, the person
12 that he authorised is the chief of the police administration.
13 As here, we're talking about a member of the anti-terrorist unit
14 of Lucko which is a part of the special police sector there is a
15 possibility that, in relation to these members of the special police
16 sector, including the helicopter unit, including the anti-terrorist unit
17 of Lucko, the minister had authorised in accordance with his own
18 authority General Markac, among others. But I didn't know about this
19 when I received a decision about this from the chief of the special
20 police -- from the police administration. So that is what I meant.
21 Q. Mr. Cvrk, in fact, the chief of the police administration of
22 Zadar-Knin police administration testified here, Mr. Cetina. Have you
23 heard of him?
24 A. Yes, I have heard of this gentleman.
25 Q. And in fact his testimony about his authority or what he could do
1 with the special police unit attached to his police administration was
2 completely contrary to what you are saying. And let me read that to you.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. Registrar, if I could have D1745, please.
4 For the record, that's the statement of the Witness Cetina. And
5 if we could go --
6 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Sorry to interrupt. It's not on the list of
7 cross documents.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne.
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, this is testimony in court, the
10 statement of a witness is testimony in court. It's not a document. That
11 generally we do not list testimony transcript numbers or statement
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic --
14 MR. KUZMANOVIC: If the --
15 JUDGE ORIE: -- if the document here serves to put to the witness
16 what is the equivalent of oral testimony, that is, attested witness
17 statements --
18 MR. KUZMANOVIC: I don't have a problem with that, Your Honour.
19 Normally we attach witness statements to our exhibit lists if it is
20 marked as an exhibit.
21 JUDGE ORIE: But I also heard you say that you have no problem
22 with it. You wanted to put it on the record and that's it.
23 Please proceed, Ms. Mahindaratne -- no, it depends on what
24 Mr. Kehoe --
25 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President. We have a problem with this. I
1 mean, the practice has been, throughout this, we are listing exhibits
2 that each side is going to use. And this is a piece of evidence that is
3 given an exhibit number, admitted into evidence, and that we've had --
4 routinely done that. I am somewhat surprised - I'm shocked, I should
5 say - by the comment by counsel that this is not a piece of evidence that
6 needs to be disclosed. Because that clearly has not been the practice
7 since March of 2008.
8 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: If I may respond Mr. President. This is
10 testimony --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Well, of course, you can -- I must admit that I have
12 no clear recollection whether, always, this has been done but on -- let's
13 just assume it -- it was done. It certainly is not done -- specific
14 portions of the testimony of a witness were not identified in advance.
15 Now, here we are a bit at a cross-roads of, on the one hand, a
16 statement which is, as I said before, equivalent to testimony given in
17 court. And, at the same time, being exhibited and not being just
18 transcript references.
19 So, therefore, I have not given it -- and I could discuss it with
20 my colleagues.
21 Now Mr. Kuzmanovic said that he just wanted to have this on the
23 Mr. Kehoe, is it a matter, you would say, it cannot be put to the
24 witness or is it something that we could perhaps, in a quiet moment,
25 further discuss what we expect the parties to do? I mean, is your
1 concern at this moment in relation to this question put to this witness,
2 or is it a kind of a general observation that you are concerned about
3 what Ms. Mahindaratne said?
4 MR. KEHOE: I am -- I am not raising a concern with regard to
5 this witness. I'm raising a more global concern that we raised in an
6 e-mail with the OTP recently. And Chambers, excuse me.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I suggest that we try not to -- for us to
8 observe this battle or for you to fight this battle in the presence of
9 the witness who -- where apparently there is no specific problem in
10 putting this to him.
11 Ms. Mahindaratne, the matter is not off the table but we proceed
12 with this witness at this moment.
13 Please proceed.
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May I proceed on this particular issue, Mr.
15 President, or is that an indication that I should not address it at this
17 JUDGE ORIE: No, can you put to the witness as you intended to.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Mr. Registrar, if we could move to page 4 of this -- in the
20 English statement, and in the Croatian version, page 3.
21 Q. And you see, Mr. Cvrk, if you could focus on the -- in the
22 English version, the fourth paragraph and can you see -- I'm referring to
23 the paragraph that starts with:
24 "There were also so-called special police units. They were not
25 under the command of the police administration but were directly
1 answerable to the MUP. They had a different building, different
2 uniforms, and they were not doing regular police duties. According to
3 the law, in peacetime, their professional tasks were the prevention of
4 bigger unrest, resolving hijacking, kidnapping and similar jobs."
5 Then a few lines below, he says:
6 "I did not know what their tasks were, if they had any, which
7 they coordinated directly with the MUP headquarters. I personally was
8 not involved in drafting their plans. The special police units had
9 also" -- and then he -- a couple of lines below:
10 "The commander of the special police unit in Zadar was
11 Svemir Vrsaljko. I do not know how many people were under his command.
12 I have never been informed about the special tasks undertaken by those
13 special police units. I never had any meetings with representatives of
14 the special police units. At the time of Storm, I had no control over
15 the special police. The police system that I was in was designed for
16 peacetime, not wartime."
17 And then, Mr. Cvrk, he was further asked about his disciplinary
18 authority over special police units in court, and this is transcript
19 reference page 23593, and this is what was asked and this is his
21 "Now, isn't it correct that if a member of the special police
22 forces committed an offence, that requests for disciplinary procedure,
23 initiation of disciplinary procedures had to be made by the commander of
24 the special police sector and not yourself?
25 "Yes, that's how it was."
1 This is Mr. Cetina's testimony, which is quite different to what
2 you are saying here. Can you reconcile his testimony with what you are
3 saying here, or do you want to clarify what you have stated so far?
4 A. Everything I said so far is based on the rules of the Ministry of
5 Interior. There are disciplinary rules of the Ministry of Interior
6 relating to discipline, and everything else that I was talking about, the
7 interior structure, the way it all operated, how certain orders were
8 submitted through chiefs of police administrations, and engagement of
9 special police units in joint forces, all of that is very transparent.
10 and just as my police administration chief received everything, I cannot
11 see any reason why the chief of the Zadar and Knin police administration,
12 Mr. Cetina, would not receive it.
13 Why Mr. Cetina stated this, I don't know, and I couldn't tell
14 but, at the time when he was appointed the chief of the police
15 administration, he was one of the younger people, as far as I can
16 remember, and de facto upon his appointment he needed to learn much more
17 than others and I think this is visible from his statement. One part of
18 his statement, for me, demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the position
19 to which he was appointed.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne, I'm looking at the clock. We're
21 already three minutes late.
22 Therefore, we will adjourn for the day.
23 Mr. Cvrk, I would like to instruct you that you should not speak
24 with anyone about your testimony, irrespective of whether that is
25 testimony you've given today or whether that's testimony still to be
1 given tomorrow.
2 Then we would like to see you back tomorrow morning at 9.00,
3 because we adjourn, and we'll resume tomorrow, Tuesday, the
4 1st of December, 9.00, Courtroom III.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.49 p.m.
6 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 1st of December,
7 2009, at 9.00 a.m.