1 Wednesday, 9 December 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
8 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
10 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T,
11 the Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.
12 Thank you.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 Before we continue, Mr. Moric, I would like to remind you, as I
15 did before, that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've
16 given at the beginning of your testimony.
17 Mr. Mikulicic, are you ready to continue your re-examination?
18 MR. MIKULICIC: I am, Your Honour.
19 WITNESS: JOSKO MORIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Re-examination by Mr. Mikulicic: [Continued]
22 Q. Good morning, Mr. Moric. Good morning to everyone in the
24 A. Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to everyone in the
1 Q. I will have several more questions before completing my
3 Mr. Moric, a very brief topic, cooperation with UNCIVPOL. You
4 were shown the agreement signed by Mr. Sarinic and Mr. Akashi, which
5 addresses the powers of UNCIVPOL with regard to contacts with the police.
6 At the ministry level, did you receive any reports or complaints
7 or any sort of documentation from UNCIVPOL which would relate to the
8 cooperation I've just referred to or any other matters?
9 A. Counsel, in the early days, during the peacekeeping operation,
10 contacts with UNCIVPOL had to do with cooperation and arrangements aimed
11 at implementing this sort of cooperation. There were letters exchanged
12 to that effect.
13 If you're asking me whether we received any reports on specific
14 security-related incidents, then the answer will be no, not at the level
15 of the ministry but at the lower levels of police stations.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] can we call up document 2D180331.
17 Q. Mr. Moric, pursuant to the rules governing the joint activities
18 of the police and UNCIVPOL, and this is D53 for Their Honours' reference,
19 Mr. Elleby, who was the commander of UNCIVPOL sent a memo to UNCIVPOL
20 members, indicating the procedure that they should follow in their
21 contacts with the police in the newly liberated areas.
22 What we see on our screens is not the document, and my
23 Case Manager has just told me that the document I've asked for has
24 already been admitted into evidence, and that's D1751, and the page
25 should be the next page of the document that we have on our screens now.
1 It's the 30th of August document from the Ministry of the
2 Interior signed by the chief of the police sector, Mr. Franjo Djurica,
3 where he sends the rules governing the joint work of the MUP and UNCIVPOL
4 in order to ensure uniformity of action.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] can we turn to the next page,
6 please. We have it on the left-hand side.
7 Q. Where, under item 1, it is stated that in formers Sectors, North
8 and South, UNCIVPOL will be monitoring the work of the police but only in
9 regard to the protection of human rights.
10 Further down in item 7, it is stated that UNCIVPOL members can
11 observe the work of the police --
12 A. I'm sorry, I don't have item 7 on my screen.
13 Q. Yes, it's on the next page in Croatian. UNCIVPOL members would
14 be observing the work of the MUP and note the observed, but not with
15 audio or videotapes.
16 Mr. Moric, do you recall any specific problems in the police work
17 when it came to on-site investigation? Had you ever heard of any
18 problems in that regard during crime-scene examinations, in cooperation
19 -- problems in cooperation with UNCIVPOL?
20 A. No, I did not have information to that effect.
21 Q. Thank you. At the level of the ministry, did you receive reports
22 from the UN HRAT, Human Rights Action Team?
23 A. Counsel, I don't recall receiving them myself.
24 Q. Thank you. Now that we have the documents on our screens, the
25 one which was sent by Chief Djurica on 30th of August, let us move on to
1 a different topic, that of coordinators and their rotation in the field.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] To that end, can we please move
3 into private session for a moment, and let's look at P487.
4 JUDGE ORIE: We move into private session.
5 [Private session]
11 Page 25923 redacted. Private session.
3 [Open session]
4 MR. MIKULICIC:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Moric --
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
9 MR. MIKULICIC:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Moric, in your line of duty, you attended
11 numerous meetings at the level of the ministry and in contacts with the
12 military police administration. Had you ever been informed at these
13 meetings about a security-related legal problem related to the special
14 police? Had you ever been told that their conduct might have been tied
15 in with any of the crimes that emerged in the wake of Operation Storm?
16 A. No, I don't recall having been informed about that.
17 Q. Did you, yourself, in the ministry or your office receive a
18 report or a complaint about the conduct of the special policemen?
19 A. Neither my personnel nor I ever received that sort of report or
21 Q. Do you know that, at that time or immediately after 1995, any of
22 the special policemen were the subject of a criminal report or criminal
23 charges, in relation to the crimes committed in the newly liberated
25 A. I only recall such cases existing in the civilian ordinary --
1 uniformed police, which disappointed me greatly. But I don't recall
2 there ever having happened something of the sort you described in your
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Moric.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no further
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
8 Mr. Kehoe, are you ready to --
9 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President this will be very brief.
10 Further cross-examination by Mr. Kehoe:
11 Q. Mr. Moric, yesterday during the course of your examination, you
12 asked to make a comment on your order of the 18th, which is D49.
13 MR. KEHOE: If we could bring it on the screen.
14 Q. That is your order of the 18th concerning what you were doing
15 concerning check-points, moving ahead with other investigations.
16 MR. KEHOE: If we could just bring that up on the screen, please.
17 Q. And, again, we're referring to paragraph 2.
18 MR. KEHOE: If we could move to page 2 in the English.
19 Q. And, Mr. Moric, you were being questioned on the legality or
20 illegality of this order, and you said you wanted to make further comment
21 on that issue, and I give you the floor at this point to make further
22 comment on that.
23 A. Counsel, the order is fully in keeping with the provisions of the
24 Law on Internal Affairs. The Law on Internal Affairs, which, I believe,
25 was tendered into evidence by Mr. Mikulicic, provides in no uncertain
1 terms, in Article 10, if I'm not mistaken, the competence and
2 responsibilities of the Ministry of the Interior. In other words, of the
3 state itself, in relation to the general state of affairs with regard to
4 -- to security matters in the state.
5 It also provides that the ministry shall monitor the state of
6 affairs an events related to security and take measures in order to
7 implement the legislation. The responsibility thus conferred by the law
8 has been also set forth for the police administrations -- and police
9 administrations in almost the same terms. In this way, the competence
10 and responsibilities of every organisational structure of the police in
11 the country has been legally defined or defined in the law.
12 On the one hand, this provides for the stability of the security
13 system; and, on the other, it provides for an obligation to act
14 proactively and retroactivity at all three levels. What this means, in
15 practice, is that if the higher level makes an assessment with a
16 considerable degree of certainty, to the effect that the lower level has
17 failed to monitor the developments and the state of affairs or to take
18 measures or that it has failed to take sufficient measures in order to
19 ensure the enforcement of the law, the higher level has to react, either
20 proactively or reactively.
21 This system has provided for a clear terms defining the
22 responsibility, in relation to the implementation of the legislation. I
23 held the position of assistant minister of the interior in charge of
24 uniformed police. I was a state official, a civil servant who conducted
25 his duties from this third level, as provided for in the Law on Internal
1 Affairs. Just as the law dictates, I monitored the state of affairs and
2 the developments; and, based on reports, I took decisions on measures to
3 be taken in order to implement the law. This did not have to do solely
4 with the territories liberated by Storm but with the entire country.
5 My proactive activities had to do with the preparations of
6 3.000 policemen, who were seconded. I think the number in the transcript
7 is wrong, I'm sorry. I said around 3.500 policemen who were seconded to
8 the police administrations in the liberated areas. In doing so, I
9 exposed the state border and the critical infrastructure to high-security
10 risks; and, unfortunately, the infrastructure had been the frequent
11 target of terrorist activities subsequently, since terrorists had crossed
12 the state border with large quantities of explosives and aimed their
13 terrorist attacks against the railway lines, the motorways, and these
14 facilitates at places that were 160 kilometres away from the closest area
15 affected by Storm.
16 In doing so, I exposed to the high-security risks around
17 4 million inhabitants of the country because the rate of crime increased
18 to their detriment. Let me not belabour the point by expounding on the
19 risks that we exposed ourselves to by deploying these 3.500 policemen. I
20 will only concentrate on the liberated areas. I also monitored the
21 situation in these areas.
22 From the reports that I insisted on receiving, as we were able to
23 see in the various documents, whenever I was dissatisfied with the
24 precision of these reports, I insisted that they be re-written. These
25 reports enabled me to understand that the police stations located in
1 these areas did monitor the situation but failed to take sufficient
2 measures to implement the law. I also came to realise that the police
3 administrations, whilst monitoring the situation, did not take sufficient
4 measures to implement the law. I consulted experts on my team and chiefs
5 of police administrations. I alerted them to the fact that they had more
6 than 500 of their own policemen and around 3.500 seconded policemen, that
7 they had 4.000 out of the total of 11.000 policemen in existence across
8 the country.
9 I cautioned the military police. I cautioned my minister about
10 the many facts and difficulties which prevented the police from
11 implementing measures it was bound to implement under the law. I asked
12 that courts be reinstated in the area, because at the time there were
13 neither criminal nor in misdemeanour courts. I described the situation
14 in the area, in the course of my testimony here, as a post-war area
15 riddled with confusion. I realised that new security risks must not be
16 allowed to threaten us in the remainder of the Republic of Croatia
17 the areas liberated by Storm.
18 I found myself in a delicate situation. What else could be done
19 to change the tactics of police work so as to enable us to yield better
20 results? To improve our performance. This is what I decided and
21 informed my associates and ministers of. I drew their attention to
22 priorities that had to be strictly implemented, in keeping with the law.
23 In Article 2 or Article 3 of the Law on Internal Affairs, tasks
24 to be performed by the police are listed in a -- in a certain order. The
25 first task is the protection of life. The second, protection of
1 property, of all persons as a universal category, of all people as a
2 universal category. The third task, crime prevention. The fourth,
3 detection of perpetrators. Other tasks are listed as well, which are
4 less relevant for the topic.
5 The order in which these priorities are listed in police work is
6 not a coincidence. It is inherent to the very nature of police work. In
7 peacetime, the police deals with all these tasks that were listed at
8 once, regardless of the order in which they appear. However, even then -
9 and this is something that is clear in all the police systems around the
10 world - the protection of life, property, and crime prevention are the
11 primary tasks. That is why every police force would have several-fold
12 more personnel of the ordinary uniformed police than the other police
13 branches of the Ministry of Interior.
14 Faced with a spate of attacks on the lives and property of
15 citizens, and primarily abandoned property, I understood, or realised,
16 that we could not be doing our job in such a way as to have the best
17 performance at the same time in all these different types of work.
18 That's why I sent an order to the police, asking them to focus all of
19 their attention on the first three priorities within the law, and let me
20 remind you what they are. They are the protection of life, protection of
21 property, and crime prevention. The fourth priority after that is
22 detection of perpetrators.
23 That was the main reason why I decided to do so. The reason was
24 to protect the lives of the people who had stayed behind, to protect
25 their abandoned property. I wanted all of us to concentrate on the job
1 at hand. I did it deliberately and intentionally. I took a deliberate
2 risk, knowing that sooner or later I would have to explain my actions,
3 although the actions were based on the provisions of the law.
4 Fortunately enough, that was a successful attempt to change the tactics
5 of the police work. And let me -- let me illustrate this by saying that
6 I wanted my police officers to use surgical precision in order to focus
7 on a problem that was the topmost priority at the time.
8 I have gone at a very great length. However, I believe that
9 Madam Prosecutor quoted from Mr. Cetina's testimony, and she said that he
10 had doubts about the legality of my decision and of my document, and she
11 asked me if I was surprised. And my answer to that was that I was,
12 indeed, surprised, and that was an understatement.
13 Mr. Cetina was the chief of the Zadar and Knin police
14 administration. At the time when he received this document, under the
15 rules that were in effect at the time and that regulated the mutual
16 relationships among the police employees, he was obligated to the warn
17 me, to draw my attention to the fact that he had doubts about the
18 legality of my document. He didn't.
19 Moreover, in his report that he submitted on either the 23rd or
20 the 24th, and the document, if I'm not mistaken, was tendered for
21 admission by Mr. Kehoe last week, Mr. Cetina informed me that, from the
22 18th of August, which was the date when this document took effect, there
23 was a -- a significant decrease in the number of attacks against
24 abandoned property.
25 And, finally, not only was this document founded in the
1 obligations of the Ministry of the Interior to monitor the situation and
2 developments and to take measures with a view to implementing the law,
3 this document of mine dated the 18th of August also contains a very clear
4 judgement on the work of the police administration, and it says that they
5 did monitor the situation and the development, but they did not do
6 enough. They didn't take enough measures to implement the law, which is
7 why the third and the highest level, which is the state, had to step in,
8 in order to safe-guard the security in the area. In their reports in
9 which they admit that changes in the police work tactics resulted in the
10 improvements, they admitted that I was right. There's no reference in
11 the document of the 18th of August to the fact that the police would
12 never have to deal with crimes that had taken place before the 18th of
13 August. It arises from the very context of the document, that the police
14 would have to continue dealing with those crimes.
15 And, finally, thousands of criminal reports that were filed
16 clearly show that those criminal reports were also filed for those crimes
17 that had taken place before the 18th of August, and the reports were
18 filed much later than the 18th of August.
19 I'm convinced, I was convinced then and I'm still convinced, that
20 we did a good job and that our work was based on the provisions of
21 Articles 10 and 2 or 3 of the Law on Internal Affairs.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Moric.
23 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I have no questions of Mr. Moric.
24 Q. Thank you, sir.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
1 Mr. Mikulicic.
2 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, just for the reference of the
3 Chamber, the document is D1077. It's a Law on the Internal Affairs and
4 it's Article 1 and Count 2 of which Mr. Moric was speaking.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mikulicic.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Moric, Judge Kinis has one or more questions for
9 Questioned by the Court:
10 JUDGE KINIS: Mr. Moric, I wanted to ask you several questions
11 regarding different subjects. And the first is the Chamber received some
12 evidence indicating that Mr. Cermak issued several orders addressed to
13 Knin police administration regarding stolen UNCRO vehicles for instance,
14 freedom of movement, securing entrances of UN compound and to investigate
15 specific crimes.
16 As a general understanding was the police actually act in
17 accordance with this -- these orders? Did you ever, being as assistant
18 of minister, ever receive from the President or government authorities
19 written or oral instructions concerning how police should cooperate with
20 Mr. Cermak?
21 And did you personally instruct either of writing, or verbally
22 chiefs of police administrations as they should cooperate with
23 Mr. Cermak, and whether the police obliged to execute Cermak's orders and
24 report back to Cermak?
25 A. Your Honour, irrespective of the state of turmoil which existed
1 at the time, and politicians could talk, as they would, but I can tell
2 that you I never received a written order from the office of the
3 President of the state, from my government, or from my -- indeed, my
4 minister which would show that Mr. Cermak had any authorities over the
5 civilian police.
6 Yesterday when Madam Prosecutor examined me and showed me that
7 pass that either Mr. Cermak or his staff were supposedly going to issue,
8 I told her that, when I saw that, I was very angry. But I also said that
9 I had not seen the document that the protected witness dispatched with
10 regard to that idea about the passes, because if I had seen the document,
11 if I had known about it, then that particular protected witness would be
12 charged with disciplinary responsibility within the system that he acted
14 Under the Law on Internal Affairs and based on the factual
15 situation, in view of the way my associates and I managed the police
16 system, Mr. Cermak did not have access to at that system.
17 JUDGE KINIS: But how you would explain that actually police
18 obeys these orders and conduct in accordance with this information?
19 Secure, for instance, gates; there was also a question regarding these
20 passes, just only this expectation with Mr. Cipci, and another
22 A. Your Honour, police receives information about security problems
23 in an area in all sorts of ways from all sorts of citizens. I personally
24 believe that the document that Mr. Cermak sent to the police were
25 understood as information about the problem. And when it comes to
1 providing security for certain objects or facilities that Mr. Cermak
2 requested and the police complied with his request, obviously there were
3 some security reasons found by the police which mandated for the
4 facilitates to be secured. In a situation, as I have just described it,
5 it would not have been sensible from a local police commander to use his
6 human resources for unimportant things; let me put it that way.
7 JUDGE KINIS: What it means that securing of graveyards, it is
8 very important thing for police work? Restricting access to -- from
9 international monitors to these areas.
10 A. If there are security risks, and I don't know about any
11 particular case. I can't remember. However, if there are security
12 risks, as, for example, clearing minefields in or around such a
13 graveyard, then, of course, it is mandated and important.
14 JUDGE KINIS: It is related only with burning of dead bodies, not
15 -- not just finding mine explosives or whatsoever. Is it significant
16 task for police, that police should act in accordance with such
18 A. If we're talking about an ordinary burial without any security
19 implications, then I don't see police playing a role in that.
20 JUDGE KINIS: But actually Chamber receives evidence that such
21 actions took place, securing Gracac cemetery, Knin cemetery.
22 A. Your Honour, from my own point of view, from the point of view
23 which was in position of managing police across the country, I provided
24 you my very firm opinion as to when the police should have been present
25 and when not.
1 If there were reasons of the sort that I enumerated, then it is
2 understandable that the police were present. If those reasons did not
3 exist, then there is no reason why the police should have been present.
4 If there are no security risks, then I don't know why the police should
5 have been present.
6 JUDGE KINIS: Last question would relate with following: The
7 Chamber received evidence through either Kardum, indicating that a very
8 low number of crimes committed in Knin area were reported to the
9 Zadar-Knin critical police. Even through other evidence indicated that
10 many international observers submitted information about ongoing
11 criminality to the police almost every day.
12 The Chamber also has received evidence indicating that in
13 aftermath of Operation Storm sanitation teams including criminal police
14 experts collected human remains by putting them into plastic bags,
15 placing them on trucks, and taking them away. The Chamber has heard
16 testimonies according to which sanitation teams simply collected bodies
17 without any on-site investigations or securing crime scenes taking place.
18 The Chamber also receives in evidence, for instance, the log-book of Knin
19 police in which entries indicated that dead bodies are found in area, but
20 where only indicate the action was that police send information to
21 sanitation teams.
22 Based on the above said, there might be some indications that
23 such method is not -- not report --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could please, Judge, could you slow down when
25 reading. Thank you.
1 JUDGE KINIS: Yes.
2 "Based on above said, there might be such indications that such
3 method and not to report to the criminal police about incidents committed
4 in area, aftermath Operation Storm was conducted in planned manner."
5 I'm looking at this in accordance with your order issued from
6 18th of August, because this order, actually paragraph 2 and 4, indicates
7 that what actions should be taken afterwards.
8 Could you give, please, some explanation of this.
9 A. Your Honour, as far as I know, teams who were dealing with
10 sanitation in the area were structured in compliance with the
11 international standards prescribed by international conventions.
12 On those teams there were also forensic technicians. Their jobs
13 -- their job was to go to the sites and make an assessment as to whether
14 there were any human casualties, and then start the procedure, be it a
15 police procedure or the procedure of sanitation which was the humane
16 disposal of human bodies.
17 In cases that you have just described, as far as I know, forensic
18 technicians identified victims, or if the identification was not
19 possible, then they took samples for subsequent identification of the
20 victims. Obviously, as you may well understand, I -- I don't know
21 anything about their work in detail because they were not part of the
22 operative police force.
23 And as for your doubts, with regard to my document dated the
24 18th of August, and whether it could be construed in such a way, I
25 believe that when you look at the document, Your Honour, you will be able
1 to conclude that it could certainly not be applied to such cases, because
2 in this document, there is no reference at all to attacks against human
3 life. Attacks against human life and protection of life against such
4 attacks are the first priority of the police work. In my document,
5 there's no reference whatsoever to attacks against human life.
6 JUDGE KINIS: Did anyone order such information should be just
7 forwarded to the sanitation teams rather than investigated? And how
8 could police, if they did not conduct an on-site investigation,
9 distinguish between victims of military conflict and victims who died as
10 a result of criminal activity? Were there any criteria for when an
11 on-site investigation should be carried out; and when it was enough to
12 forward information to sanitation teams?
13 A. As for any special criteria of the kind, they don't exist in the
14 police practice.
15 A decision as to what course to take, unfortunately, is based on
16 the assessment and competence of police experts, irrespective of the
17 branch of the police force they come from.
18 As far as I remember, in these particular cases, the prevalent
19 opinion was the opinion of forensic technicians who were educated and who
20 should have been able to make their assessment based on what they saw and
21 conclude, whether they were dealing with victims of an aggravated crime
22 or something else.
23 JUDGE KINIS: Would you agree with me that actually such method
24 would also be used as some sort of cover-up?
25 A. Your Honour, in some particular cases, I suppose that this could
1 have taken place. However, I exclude the possibility that, within the
2 context, as such, as we had, and with the intentions that were clearly
3 implemented that such a thing could have happened in an organised manner.
4 What I'm saying is that there was no way somebody could have
5 orchestrated the cover-up of some things, but I'm not excluding a
6 possibility of something that happens, both in peacetimes as well as in
7 the times of war that somebody made a wrong assessment.
8 Therefore, I cannot exclude the possibility that somebody may
9 have abused a situation.
10 JUDGE KINIS: And last question for me is, the Chamber also
11 received evidence indicating that police temporary confiscated different
12 items, or the household items found in possession of certain civilians
13 and placed those items under police control.
14 However the Chamber also received evidence indicating that this
15 did not always lead to initiation of criminal proceedings.
16 My question is: Do you know what happened with those items, if
17 criminal proceedings were not initiated? And did the police return those
18 items, or were they sequestered for the benefit of the state?
19 A. Your Honour, in my country the police practice at the time, was
20 that objects that were used in crime or the proceeds of a crime were
21 seized pursuant to a procedure, and later on used in evidence. That was
22 a standard procedure which was applied to such objects.
23 Last year, in the course -- last week, in the course of my
24 testimony, I described some situations that posed problems for the
25 police, which largely depended on the type of objects and their numbers.
1 However, if the true owner of the objects could not be determined for
2 various reasons, or if a certain quantity of various objects could not be
3 used in evidence in future proceedings or their owners could not be
4 determined, there are a lot of such examples today, and there were at the
5 time, and what happened to such objects or property was they were sent to
6 public auctions or sold off, and the proceeds went either to the state
7 budget or something of the sort.
8 In any case, everything was done publicly. It was well known
9 which objects were being sold and when, in a public auction.
10 JUDGE KINIS: Did you have special instruction at that time how
11 to deal with such -- such temporarily confiscated objects? How to
12 register it, how to -- how to sell for auctions, or return to persons
13 whom they were withdrawn, and et cetera.
14 A. Your Honour, I believe that instructions or specific directions
15 existed, but they were not part and parcel of operative police work or of
16 uniformed police work, and that's why I have no detailed knowledge of it
17 and cannot give you a precise answer.
18 These were matters dealt with by logistics and legal affairs
19 departments of the Ministry of Interior.
20 JUDGE KINIS: Isn't there was such situations before departure of
21 Knin -- of Split
22 passengers huge amount of different items. And nobody could explain to
23 us what happened with those items, because it's obvious that -- it's
24 quite -- quite hard to understand that if persons were allowed to follow
25 to go back home to Split
1 investigation initiated.
2 It means actually that they were simply collected in one place,
3 and what's happened after? That's my question.
4 A. Your Honour, if you're referring to items which would, in actual
5 fact, constitute evidence about an individual having committed a crime or
6 having been in the process of committing crime, because in other cases
7 the police would not be impounding items at all, if this was the case,
8 then there was standard procedure in place which had to do or was
9 connected with a report filed against the individual from whom the items
10 were seized.
11 I do not rule out the possibility that, unfortunately, some of
12 the members of the police may have abused the procedure.
13 In the course of my testimony, we had occasion to see that I had
14 to deal with some situations that were a great disappointment to me.
15 These were situations of which I was informed by Mr. Cetina, where
16 several policemen were caught red-handed, committing crimes. We could
17 also see from the documents shown during my testimony that I was
18 monitoring the situation in that field as well as dictated by the law and
19 that I issued special instructions, a special order as to how the police
20 force was supposed to rotate and that special attention had to be paid in
21 the rotation process to the attempts on the part of those who were
22 leaving that area and going back to the area of their normal work duties,
23 to carry along items that were not their belongings, and that there had
24 to be disciplinary action initiated and suspension effected in such
1 JUDGE KINIS: I understood from your answer, actually, that all
2 activities afterwards happened with those items who was withdrawn from
3 persons, it is duty for logistic department or -- or legal department,
4 what you mentioned but not for -- for general police.
5 Is it correct?
6 A. Your Honour, I fear that I may not have understood fully some of
7 your questions. I think that we were at cross purposes speaking about
8 two different matters.
9 When dealing with items that had been seized as evidence, one
10 type of procedure is envisaged, and where we are talking about items
11 which clearly do not belong to the person on whom they were found, and
12 thus indicate --
13 JUDGE KINIS: Sorry, I'm talking about the second type of items
14 which were -- there is allegations that persons cannot prove that these
15 items belong to them, that is why police withdraw from them. But there
16 is no indications that criminal investigation followed. This is my
17 question. What's happened with those items?
18 A. Thank you, Your Honour, it is clearer to me now.
19 This second or latter category of situations where the owner
20 cannot be found, a period of time is allowed to pass in case the rightful
21 owner might show up. I think that the period was even specified, but I
22 don't recall the time-limits.
23 Upon the expiry of such a time-limit within which the rightful
24 owner might appear, there follows something that we discussed already, a
25 public auction which is duly announced in advance so that all those
1 interested may appear. If I recall the procedure correctly or the
2 principle underlying the procedure, the rightful owner could report
3 shortly before or during the public auction. But this was a matter for
4 logistics and legal affairs services and not the ordinary police.
5 JUDGE KINIS: Thank you, Mr. Moric, for those answers.
6 A. You're welcome.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Moric, in your statement, you said, and I read
8 it to you - there's no need to put it up:
9 "Military commanders had no powers or competences over the
10 civilian police. Such sporadic attempts by military commanders had no
11 legal effect on the actions of the police."
12 Could I ask you to give examples of what you refer to when you
13 said "such sporadic attempts."
14 A. Your Honour, I was referring to situations where civilian police
15 may be faced with some oral orders from military commanders at the levels
16 of companies, regiments who would sporadically ask chiefs or heads of
17 civilian police to get involved in an operative action which could be
18 related to road traffic or similar situations.
19 In these circumstances, the police would be acting preceding from
20 military authority.
21 JUDGE ORIE: It -- especially the last part of your answer is not
22 entirely clear to me.
23 Would you say that in these circumstances the police would be or
24 would not be acting under military authority?
25 A. Your Honour, it is a matter of judgement or assessment. I don't
1 think that the police would do something only because asked to do so by a
2 military officer. But I do not exclude the possibility that there were
3 cases where some of the police staff, in full respect for the authority
4 of military personnel, did something that they thought was purposeful or
5 sensible to do at the time.
6 JUDGE ORIE: And would be in accordance with what these military
7 commanders had asked them to do, or required to do, or ordered to do, or
9 A. Yes. Probably, if the case was such that the civilian police
10 believed that the request had a purpose and made sense.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us an example of such an occasion
12 where this happened.
13 A. I don't have a specific case in point. I could draw upon a
14 situation from real life and try and describe it.
15 JUDGE ORIE: In your answer, you did not intend to refer to any
16 orders given by Mr. Cermak, who was, at least formally, a military
17 authority, orders given to the police?
18 A. Your Honour, since I was able to see the documents during
19 proofing for my testimony, I can speak on the basis of what I saw when I
20 was reviewing them, and I could use them as an illustration.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you would consider them examples of what
22 you refer to?
23 A. Yes, that would be an example. When I answered His Honour's
24 question a moment ago about Mr. Cermak asking that security be provided
25 for some of the facilities. Therefore, if the civilian police decided
1 that it made sense to secure certain facilities, then it could have
2 happened. However, it happened only if my staff and I were not informed.
3 In the cases -- or had we been informed of that, it would most certainly
4 not have happened.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you told us that if what was asked, requested,
6 ordered, suggested, whatever terms were used, to do something, that the
7 police would consider whether it would be useful to act in accordance
8 with such wishes, requests, orders, whatever. And you say if you would
9 have been informed about that, that it would most certainly not have
10 happened. Why not?
11 A. Your Honour, I apologise for my ineptness. Not in the form of a
12 document which would state, I order. Had I been informed at the time of
13 the police receiving documents stating, I hereby order, I would have
14 requested the police to consider the document as a piece of information
15 that may have come from any ordinary citizen; and, on the other hand, I
16 would have alerted Mr. Cermak to address such information through the
17 regular channels normally used by ordinary citizens when addressing the
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Although the result may have been the same,
20 that the action was taken as requested. I mean, if the order, which you
21 say would not be an order that could be issued, that would, nevertheless,
22 could result in a situation where the police would act in accordance with
23 what was described in that document, if they considered that it would
24 make sense.
25 A. Your Honour, I agree with your formulation, if the civilian
1 police believed that it makes sense. And this is something that would
2 have to fit with the duties and responsibilities as provided for by the
3 law. It would only make sense if it was compatible with these duties and
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, would chiefs of police or those in
6 command over the police activities, would they know that they were
7 supposed not to follow orders, for example, from Mr. Cermak, because he
8 was not in a position to issue any orders to the police?
9 A. Your Honour, pursuant to the responsibilities defined by the Law
10 of the Ministry of Interior, on the one hand, and of the Ministry of
11 Defence, i.e., the Croatian Army, on the other, every civilian police
12 officer is quite clear on the fact that the competence and
13 responsibilities of these differ, and that there can be no overlapping
14 under the law or there can be no mutual interference. In other words,
15 interference with someone's competence and responsibility, or the very
16 attempt at interference cannot happen, if it is to be in keeping with the
18 However, I, myself, on one or two occasions found myself in a
19 situation where - and I was doing a different job of work, it was a
20 different time-period - there was some military documents which had to do
21 with the activities in the area affected by Flash, and I was not
22 consulted on the matter, and the results were next to none.
23 So there were situations where, inadvertently or out of inept
24 handling of a situation, the events would take an awkward turn. That's
25 why the formulation contained in the law, whereby at every level, state
1 of affairs and situations must be monitored in order for the law to be
2 implemented. Hence, that formulation.
3 JUDGE ORIE: In a follow-up to one of Judge Kinis's questions,
4 securing a graveyard, not giving access to members of international
5 organisations, where there would have been an instruction, or a request,
6 or an order, to secure that graveyard where you may find difficulties in
7 understanding what purpose that would have served within the framework of
8 the police duties, if such an order would, nevertheless, or such a
9 request would, nevertheless, be implemented by the police, could you
10 assist us in understanding why that would then have been the action
12 So I'm talking about situations where a request, order, whatever,
13 in whatever terms would have been issued by a military authority, such as
14 Mr. Cermak. And if it's really difficult to see what police purpose --
15 so, therefore, that the -- as you said before, that it's difficult to
16 understand that it would make sense to do that.
17 Could you assist us in understanding why, nevertheless, under
18 such circumstances, the police would act in accordance with that request,
19 order, whatever, as issued by the military authority.
20 A. Your Honour, if the one in charge of the civilian police over a
21 given area assesses that there are security risks of any sort, or for
22 reasons that were provided for --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, I'm talking about the situation where the
24 circumstances and the information is such that one could not identify any
25 security risks or any other reasons which would result in it making sense
1 to do what was asked, ordered. I'm talking about those situations. If,
2 nevertheless, under those circumstances, the police acted in accordance
3 with what was requested, or ordered, could you assist us in understanding
4 why, then, that would have place -- why that, then, would have been the
5 line of action of the police.
6 A. Your Honour, I regret that I cannot assist with this. I would
7 not have acted in a situation as you described. But the answer to this
8 question can only be given by the person in charge of a police force in a
9 particular area.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for those answers.
11 I am -- Ms. Mahindaratne, is there any need for further
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Any need for further questions?
15 MR. MIKULICIC: No, Your Honour.
16 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I have a couple of matters that arise from
17 Your Honours' questions. They would probably be better dealt with after
18 the break.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you give an assessment of how time
20 approximately --
21 MR. KAY: Under ten minutes.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Under ten minutes. Then I'm just wondering -- if it
23 is under ten minutes, then perhaps we could have a late break, and that
24 we could then excuse Mr. Moric.
25 But I'm also looking at interpreters and all others assisting us
1 whether we would -- then I give five minutes extra break after that.
2 Please proceed.
3 MR. KAY: Thank you. Thank you.
4 Further cross-examination by Mr. Kay:
5 Q. Mr. Moric, can I just clarify the last matter, concerning
6 securing a graveyard. And the assumption was made that there could be no
7 reasonable reasons why a graveyard would need to be secured, and you,
8 yourself, said, I don't know of any reasons. You referred to mines,
9 maybe security, and said you would need to ask the policemen involved.
10 Can I put a scene to you that may, in fact, carry with it reasons
11 for security.
12 At the time of conflict, conflict between two people, Serbs and
13 Croats, were there examples during the conflict when churches or
14 religious buildings of the -- of other ethnic groups were liable to be
15 attacked, damaged?
16 A. I apologise, I didn't realise that you have finished.
17 Yes, there were such cases, the cases of attacks against
18 churches, and, unfortunately, graveyards, and also burial ceremonies,
20 However, Counsel, the Trial Chamber asked me this. If there is
21 no reason, that's how they preceded their question, that's why I said
22 that it is up to the person to answer that question, to that person who
23 manages the police in the area.
24 Q. Yes, I understood why you gave the answer you did, because of the
25 no reason.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Kay, just -- you said that was suggested.
2 That it was put at the basis of the question. There was no suggestion
3 that, under no circumstances, there could be any security concern at, for
4 example, burials. That's not what was implied in my question.
5 If that may be clear, do you have any other questions?
6 MR. KAY: Yes. Well, I was just reading the transcript,
7 Your Honour.
8 Q. Can I just deal with a couple of issues Judge Kinis raised with
9 you because I think you answered half his question.
10 He put to you specifically, did you ever receive from the
11 President or government written or oral, verbal instructions on how the
12 police should cooperate with Mr. Cermak?
13 You replied written -- that you never received written
14 instructions. Did you receive any oral instructions from the President
15 or government?
16 A. Counsel, I did not receive either written or oral instructions
17 about the real or possible cooperation with Mr. Cermak. From the point
18 of view of internal security matters, he was not an important player in
19 the area, when it came to the matters of security in the area.
20 Q. Thank you. And just on another aspect of His Honour
21 Judge Kinis's questions, again, he put it in a two-way. Did you instruct
22 in writing or verbally police administrations should cooperate with
23 Mr. Cermak and police report back to Mr. Cermak?
24 So Judge Kinis was interested in whether there had been
25 instructions in writing by you, verbally or in writing.
1 A. Counsel, there were no reasons prescribed by the law for me to do
2 so. There were no professional reasons either. Nothing whatsoever to do
3 with the police and their tasks.
4 Mr. Cermak was an outsider. Mr. Cermak was not capable of
5 performing such tasks, and he did not have the authority to perform them.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I think Mr. Kay was asking whether, where you
7 answered the question about written instructions, that you intended to
8 say that you gave no instructions at all, whether in writing or any
9 verbal instructions.
10 Is that what, Mr. Kay, what you were --
11 MR. KAY: It is, but I took from the terms of what the witness
12 said and the language used by him that he answered it, Your Honour,
13 unless --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think you not only did not give any written
15 instructions, but also no verbal instructions in this matter.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
18 MR. KUZMANOVIC: That's my final question, Your Honour. Thank
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
21 Mr. Moric, this concludes your testimony. You have been with us
22 for quite many days. Thank you for coming to The Hague. Thank you for
23 having answered all the questions that were put to you by the parties and
24 by the Bench. I wish you a safe return home again.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to thank
1 you, and to the parties, to the personnel of the Tribunal who have taken
2 care for me. I came here because that was my obligation. I had certain
3 prejudices, but now I am leaving home without those prejudices. Thanks
4 to you, Mr. President, to the Trial Chamber, and the way you work.
5 Thank you very much, Your Honour. It has been my great honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 We will adjourn. And where the usual break is 25 minutes, at
8 this point in time, we will resume now at quarter past 11.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 10.47 a.m.
10 --- Upon commencing at 11.23 a.m.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Before we -- yes, Mr. Kay.
12 MR. KAY: Sorry, Your Honour. I was raising a matter I alerted
13 the court's Chambers staff to, concerning the suggested bar table during
14 my cross-examination of Mr. Moric, relating to documents concerning
15 Knin 95. That bar table has been completed. It has been shown to the
16 parties. It has been agreed. And what I suggest is if we can make the
17 six documents that go into the table of those documents exhibits now,
18 with the court's leave, we can then file it with the court with exhibit
19 numbers instead of 2D numbers.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And finally, of course, we'll decide at the moment
21 when we have looked at it and see whether the material is fit to be
23 MR. KAY: Yes. There's no objection, Your Honour, from --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I know that. But of course we also know that
25 we haven't seen yet the sheet explaining, et cetera, so that's part of --
1 of course, and we've seen that recently we received a bar table
2 submission clearly saying, This is what the one party says, that's what
3 the other party says. Not to say that there is not doubt about that.
4 But to decide on admission before we have seen the material and before we
5 have seen the table attached to it, might be a premature.
6 MR. KAY: Can we MFI
7 our real concern, so that we can link collections to a witness.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Looking at the screen of the Registrar, it
9 seems that he has something on the screen which is -- consists of six
11 Mr. Registrar, if you would identify the documents and MFI them,
12 so that we will then receive the submission of these bar table documents
13 with the MFI
14 MR. KAY: Yes, thank you.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 2D00498 shall be
17 assigned Exhibit D1877, marked for identification.
18 Document ID 2D18-1197 will be assigned Exhibit D1878, marked for
20 65 ter document 2D00679 will be assigned Exhibit D1879, marked
21 for identification.
22 65 ter document 2D00298 shall be assigned Exhibit D1880, marked
23 for identification.
24 65 ter document 2D00092 shall be assigned Exhibit D1881, marked
25 for identification.
1 65 ter document 2D00395 shall be assigned Exhibit D1882, marked
2 for identification.
3 Thank you, Your Honours.
4 MR. KAY: Much obliged.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we're waiting for your filing of the bar
6 table submission.
7 Mr. Kehoe.
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, thank you. Pardon me for
9 interrupting, but I was going to replicate the same procedure employed by
10 Mr. Kay with the bar table documents that I have discussed with my
11 colleagues in the Office of the Prosecutor.
12 And they have been 65 ter -- given 65 ter numbers 1D3035 through
13 65 ter 1D3044. And I would ask that we go through the same procedure
14 with MFI
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, so we're talking about -- Mr. Registrar, I
17 think if they are -- the numbers, the 65 ter numbers are in sequence --
18 MR. KEHOE: They are.
19 JUDGE ORIE: -- we can attach numbers in a similar sequence, that
20 was a bit different with Mr. Kay because that was not a sequential order
21 of documents.
22 Mr. Registrar, 1D3035 through 1D3044, would receive MFI
23 numbers -- exhibit numbers to be MFI
24 THE REGISTRAR: The following exhibit numbers, D1883 through the
25 exhibit number D1892, all marked for identification.
1 Thank you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. These nine numbers being assigned -- is that
3 the -- are these the numbers that were already submitted in a bar table
4 submission, Mr. Kehoe?
5 MR. KEHOE: They have not yet been, Mr. President. I just
6 conferred with my colleagues in the Office of the Prosecutor.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then you can refer to them under these
8 numbers, and they have the status of documents marked for identification.
9 Before we proceed with the next witness, Mr. Mikulicic, in
10 cross-examination, in the recent past, some attention was drawn to the
11 fact that the person interviewing the witness, where then the 92 ter
12 statement was sought to be admitted, was Mr. Djurica Franjo. Now, for
13 the next witness, we see the same person interviewing one of the
14 witnesses. Is that the same Mr. Djurica Franjo, chief of the police
16 MR. MIKULICIC: The very same person, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The Chamber would like to receive, because
18 there was a suggestion of -- at least that's how the Chamber understood
19 it. There was some suggestion in it, whether it was appropriate or not
20 to have -- to ask persons to take statements -- I'm not talking about
21 assisting in doing research or -- but specifically focussing on taking
22 statements, persons who may have played a role in relevant events at the
23 time. And the Chamber would like to receive brief submissions by the
24 parties on whether there would be any reason or whether there would be
25 any thoughts about this being fully appropriate or being less appropriate
1 or inappropriate.
2 The question by the Chamber is more or less triggered by the
3 cross-examination, and rather than developing our own thoughts on the
4 matter, the Chamber would prefer to receive -- to receive submissions on
5 the matter.
6 Mr. --
7 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, we would be more happy to response
8 on any suggestions made by our learned friends from the Prosecution
9 office that triggered that topic. And, of course, according to their
10 suggestions or remarks, we will respond accordingly.
11 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber will consider whether that's the way in
12 which we will approach the matter.
13 So your suggestion is let the Prosecution give its views on the
14 matter, and if there is anything which is in need of any response that
15 you will give that response.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Of course, Your Honour. They rise that question.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Misetic was earlier on his feet than you
18 were, Mr. Waespi.
19 Therefore, Mr. Misetic.
20 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
21 I rise on a very much related point, so I would move to have my
22 point globally addressed and if we are going to do submissions on this.
23 A similar situation arose with the Office of the Prosecutor's
24 lead investigator in this case between September of 1995 and, I believe,
25 up to 1998, an individual named Joakim Robertsson. Mr. Robertsson was a
1 member of UNCRO in Zagreb
2 what the UN calls an information capacity, which I think, generally
3 speaking, is an intelligence role, and on or about the 1st of September,
4 three weeks after Operation Storm became OTP's lead investigator in this
5 case coming straight from Zagreb
6 this matter.
7 The Court will recall from the cross-examination of
8 General Forand Exhibit D339, which was a red line comparison of a
9 statement taken by Mr. Robertsson in 1996 which had striking similarities
10 to a report that Mr. Forand had prepared for internal purposes in the
11 Canadian army. And we rise because whatever concerns arise with
12 Mr. Franjo, I think, the same applies to Mr. Robertson's role, or earlier
13 in this case, given his role in UNCRO in Zagreb, and so I would ask the
14 leave of the Chamber that we address Mr. Robertson's role as well in
15 terms of deciding the proper function of an investigator who was
16 involved, in fact, with the events that are at issue in this case.
17 Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Now, I must admit that I do not have all the details
19 on my mind immediately.
20 Was there any statement taken by Mr. Robertsson, admitted into
21 evidence under Rule 92 ter?
22 MR. MISETIC: Virtually every statement taken by OTP dated
23 between 1995 through and including 1997 has Mr. Robertson's name on it.
24 You will also recall, Your Honour, that - I don't recall which witness it
25 was specifically - but there was a questionnaire that Mr. Robertsson had
1 prepared in the fall of 1995 which he circulated to any potential or many
2 potential witnesses in the case, so, yes, his name is on many statements
3 that are admitted into evidence. We can, of course, as part of our
4 submission try to list all of them. But General Forand's statement is
5 one that immediately comes to mind, and again that's -- Exhibit D339 is
6 the red line comparison.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
8 Mr. Waespi.
9 MR. WAESPI: Yes, I would like to look into the issue especially
10 also as it relates to Mr. Robertsson. I recall in fact that
11 Mr. Robertsson was on the witness list of the Defence. He certainly was
12 never on our witness list. And whether he was indeed an investigator who
13 took statements at that time, I need to look at it.
14 I do recall having seen a memo from Mr. Robertsson, I think
15 addressed to Mr. Kehoe in the earlier stages of the case addressing
16 indeed issues about the case.
17 So I can further explore that.
18 In relation to Mr. Franjo, I think that is his last name, and
19 also Mr. Anto Soljic, both played a role in taking witness statements
20 and, indeed, during Operation Storm. I think it was important for us to
21 point out in cross-examination that it needs to be transparent that these
22 two gentlemen who interview a witness indeed played a role and have met
23 with the witnesses. And since no other member of the Defence was present
24 during these interviews, as I see from the cover pages, I think there is
25 certainly an element of reliability of these witness statements will now
1 become evidence -- [Overlapping speakers] ...
2 JUDGE ORIE: It seems, Mr. Waespi, as if you are starting already
3 to make submissions. But from what I heard until now, apparently
4 Mr. Waespi considers it perhaps a relevant matter, whether persons which
5 were involved in the events, I am -- taking part in events. I'm putting
6 this in a very neutral way. Whether they were alone during such
7 interviews or whether there were persons present also who did not have --
8 who have not played any role during the events, that may be an issue to
9 be addressed.
10 Another matter, which also may be relevant in this respect would
11 be is, how close the subject matter of the interview was to the role of
12 the person who took the statement.
13 MR. MISETIC: Well --
14 JUDGE ORIE: That might be one of the issues to be addressed as
16 MR. MISETIC: We can --
17 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not saying that it is. But the Chamber did not
18 develop its thoughts on the matter and did not wish to do it, but since
19 the matter implicitly has been raised in cross-examination, the Chamber
20 thought that it would be wise to first give an opportunity to the parties
21 to address the matter before developing any further thoughts on the
23 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President, if I could just --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see I have to choose now and then,
25 Mr. Misetic, yes.
1 MR. MISETIC: Just to follow up on what Mr. Waespi said.
2 Mr. Robertsson indeed was on our witness list and we did wish to
3 explore some of these matters with him, but as Mr. Waespi also knows,
4 Mr. Robertsson was unreachable by us. And when we inquired with
5 Mr. Waespi to obtain contact details, the Prosecution refused to provide
6 us the contact details for Mr. Robertsson at his request, but I'm sure I
7 have an e-mail to that effect, that Mr. Robertsson had told the
8 Prosecution that did he not want the contact information --
9 JUDGE ORIE: I said a minute ago that it looked as if Mr. Waespi
10 started already making the submissions, which I considered that he should
11 not do at this moment, but I do see that in response to that, that you're
12 following his example, which you are not encouraged to further do that.
13 We can deal with the matter. You can make a -- you can express
14 any thought on this, including factual circumstances, for example, if
15 someone was involved and if someone is hired by another, could they
16 shield such a person from investigations by the other parties? Might --
17 that's already the third thought that comes now to my mind in listening
18 to you. You're free to address whatever matter you would like to do,
19 which is related to this matter.
20 MR. MISETIC: That's all I rose for. So if I understand you
21 correctly, we are allowed to address the issue of Mr. Robertsson in our
22 submission? That's all I was rising --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If -- first of all, you're always free to make
24 whatever submissions you think relevant. But I can imagine that this
25 request or this invitation by the Chamber triggered an already existing
1 need to express yourself on.
2 MR. MISETIC: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE ORIE: That is -- and the chamber is primarily seeking
4 transparency and not to develop thoughts on matters where the parties are
5 unaware that this implicit attention which was paid to the matter that we
6 had forgotten about it, or that we have not heard it.
7 Mr. Kuzmanovic.
8 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Your Honour, this cannot go without a reply.
9 If we want to talk about transparency, the Prosecution had
10 Mr. Soljic on its witness list, did not call him, and did not mention
11 that fact to any of the witnesses who were cross-examined by them.
12 Without a single shred of proof, they are engaging in character
13 assassination of our investigators, and I think that is highly improper.
14 If they had any proof, they could have provided it to us in a written
15 submission instead of asking questions of witnesses in a one-sided
16 manner. And I think that is very appropriate, in my view, to ask a
17 witness if he knows that Mr. Djurica was on the Defence witness list when
18 they know that Mr. Soljic was on their list. I think that is completely
20 JUDGE ORIE: What I intended to avoid is that we would
21 immediately receive the submissions the Chamber was inviting the parties
22 to consider to make. I noticed that, apparently, it's a matter which was
23 on the minds of both parties and that it even has a little emotional
25 Let me just -- one second.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ORIE: The parties are invited to make submissions, and not
3 the one party responding to the other but to make whatever submissions.
4 And if there is any need then to further respond to anything submitted by
5 one party by another party, then the Chamber will consider whether it
6 would be appropriate to make a second round in this.
7 What would be a time-frame in which we could receive such
9 I'm waiting for the suggestion of the parties. The end of this
10 week? Or would you need the weekend for it?
11 MR. WAESPI: Yes, I would appreciate until Tuesday next week.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Until Tuesday.
13 MR. WAESPI: In writing, I take it, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we would prefer to receive this in writing.
15 Is that agreeable by the other parties? I'm fully aware that
16 there is a lot of pressure, and there are time restraints.
17 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President, we were only consulting because
18 obviously we have a significant hearing on Wednesday that we are
19 preparing for, but we believe we can get it done by Tuesday.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. By Tuesday ...
21 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Your Honour, I --
22 JUDGE ORIE: The one party says until Tuesday, which I understand
23 to be close of business Monday. The other parties get it done by
25 MR. KUZMANOVIC: My issue with that, Your Honour, is that they're
1 raising this issue of this supposedly being improper. I don't know what
2 I'm supposed to respond to. I would like to know what I'm supposed to
3 respond to. If they are claiming that these investigators of ours have
4 done something improper or there is impropriety, I have nothing to
5 respond to, other than to say that it is our opinion that there is
6 nothing wrong.
7 JUDGE ORIE: The primary issue whether in general terms, not
8 whether someone did something inappropriate, but whether it is
9 appropriate to invite someone to take statements on events to which he
10 has been close himself. That is the issue, at least the Chamber, raised.
11 And, first of all, to start with, in general terms, that's the issue.
12 And not to say that the statement was in any way inaccurate or whether
13 from a professional point of view that it's -- whether it's appropriate
14 or it's preferable to avoid, or whatever you would like to raise. It may
15 be clear to the parties that there are rules for counsel not -- if you
16 have your own interest in a certain matter, you should refrain from
17 dealing with that matter.
18 Now, that's a rule which is applicable for counsel, and you could
19 discuss such a rule in very general terms. Not to say that if I would
20 have an interest as counsel in a certain matter that I would behave
21 inappropriately, but whether there are risks involved in that, which
22 better should be avoided, or should be avoided, or would preferably be
23 avoided. I mean, that's the level at which the Chamber at this moment is
24 seeking -- at least the Chamber was seeking the assistance of the
25 parties. But from the exchange, it turned out that there may be a reason
1 to address certain very specific matters in this case already at this
2 stage. And I think my response to Mr. Misetic was that if there was any
3 such thing, that he would not be prevented from raising that matter in
4 this context.
5 Is that clear?
6 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Yes, it is. Thank you, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Then is the Markac Defence ready to call its next
9 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Yes, we are.
10 JUDGE ORIE: And that would -- no protective measures.
11 MR. KUZMANOVIC: No protective measures.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Drazen Vitez.
13 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Correct, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Vitez, I take it.
19 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vitez, before you give evidence, the Rules
21 require that you make a solemn declaration, of which the text will now be
22 handed out to you.
23 Could you please make that solemn declaration.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
25 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
2 Please be seated, Mr. Vitez.
3 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic, I was informed that there may be a
5 problem with your microphone. We'll carefully monitor whether we hear
6 every word.
7 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Okay. If need be, I will move, Your Honour, if
8 that is it necessary.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vitez, you will be examined -- you will first be
12 examined -- I hear the problem.
13 Mr. Vitez, you will first be examined by Mr. Kuzmanovic. And
14 Mr. Kuzmanovic is counsel for Mr. Markac.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm going to move, just
17 to avoid the further problems. Might as well do it now.
18 Better? Okay. Thank you.
19 Your Honour, before we proceed I have a binder to make things
20 easier for the witness for documents. May I please have the usher give
21 the binder to the witness.
22 WITNESS: DRAZEN VITEZ
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Examination by Mr. Kuzmanovic:
25 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vitez.
1 A. Good morning.
2 Q. Would you please state your full name.
3 A. My name is Drazen Vitez.
4 Q. Could you please tell us what your current occupation is.
5 A. I still work in the Ministry of Interior. I am the deputy of the
6 head of police.
7 Q. Mr. Vitez, our conversation obviously is transcribed and we have
8 interpreters, so I will do my best to talk slowly so that the
9 interpretation can come to you, and I will also wait for your answer so
10 we don't talk over each other.
11 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Mr. Registrar, could we please have 65 ter
12 3D00888 on the screen.
13 Q. Mr. Vitez, shortly on the screen will come your witness
15 Do you recall giving a statement to the Defence team from
16 Mladen Markac, Mr. Vitez?
17 A. Yes. I did provide my statement to the team. Mr. Ante Soljic
18 and Franjo Djurica called me, and they introduced themselves as being
19 members of the Markac Defence team, and I also already knew that. And
20 they asked whether I would voluntarily appear as a witness in the case,
21 which I confirmed, and we arranged a time when I would provide my
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vitez, I observe a slight inclination to give
24 answers which go well beyond the question. The only thing you were asked
25 whether you recall that giving a statement. You give a lot of details.
1 If Mr. Kuzmanovic is interested in hearing further details, he will
2 certainly ask for it.
3 I think a simple "yes" would have answered the question
5 Please proceed, Mr. Kuzmanovic.
6 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. If we could go to the last page of this document, please, in both
8 Croatian and English.
9 Mr. Vitez, you see there on the last page, is that your signature
10 on the last page?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And this was an interview that was conducted on -- on 12 May of
13 2009, and you signed the statement on 12 May 2009; correct?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. Before coming to court today, have you had a chance to review the
16 statement that is on the screen?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And other than a correction which we'll address, does the
19 statement accurately reflect what you told the members of the
20 Markac Defence?
21 A. Yes, it does.
22 Q. At the time you gave this statement, did you give it to the best
23 of your knowledge and in accordance with the truth?
24 A. Yes. I based my statement on my recollections, and I did tell
25 the truth.
1 Q. If I asked you the same questions today in court that you were
2 asked prior to signing your witness statement that's on the screen before
3 us, would you provide the same answers today in court as you did to the
4 questions that were posed to you during the course of the interview that
5 led to the statement, subject to the change that you made in paragraph 7?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. KUZMANOVIC: If we could please -- Your Honour, I'm going to
8 move that we tender this document into evidence. I will address the
9 supplemental information sheet separately.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Need that to be filed separately, or is it
11 just a matter of correcting the statement and then --
12 MR. KUZMANOVIC: It's just a matter of correcting the statement,
13 Your Honour. I will just pull it up, and then maybe I'll move to tender
14 the statement after the supplemental is discussed.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but I mean is the change such that we need
16 another exhibit number, or is it just a matter of correcting a small
18 MR. KUZMANOVIC: It's a small detail, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... because if we can deal
20 with that, the date, and then there's no need to --
21 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Certainly.
22 Q. Why don't we go to paragraph 7, Mr. Vitez, of your statement. We
23 will address the correction in this way.
24 You had signed yesterday a supplemental information sheet after
25 our meeting for preparation. And you noted that on the last sentence of
1 paragraph 7, where it states: "On 9 August 1995, we handed over our
2 positions ..."
3 You wanted that to be corrected to be: "8 August."
4 Is that correct?
5 JUDGE ORIE: I see you nodding yes, if it is translated. Could
6 you please pronounce your answer, because the record --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I wanted to change this,
8 because it was a mistake. My unit left Gracac on the 8th, in the
9 evening, or, rather, during the night on the 8th. Or rather, not from
10 the area of Gracac but from the area of Lapac.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Your Honour, may I tender that document, please.
13 MR. WAESPI: I've no objection to the statement coming in and
14 just note, and I think you have issues before, that I probably have an
15 earlier version of the English translation. There's just a couple of
16 things which are different, but I take it the substance hasn't changed,
17 and perhaps when I quote from the statement during my cross-examination,
18 we will find out whether I have a proper English copy. The one I am
19 working for is 2D04-1872.
20 MR. KUZMANOVIC: We provided the OTP in September with the
21 official translation that we received from the CLSS, so I can't tell you
22 right now -- there is no substantive change to the statement so ...
23 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. -- the number Mr. Waespi used is that --
24 that's not one which was uploaded, or is it?
25 MR. KUZMANOVIC: One that is officially uploaded as the official
1 translation is not the number Mr. Waespi provided.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then, under those circumstances, I take it
3 that we have uploaded the most recent version as far as the translation
4 is concerned of the document.
5 Mr. Waespi, if you would verify that, I take it.
6 And since there's no objection against admission, Mr. Registrar.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit D1893. Thank
9 JUDGE ORIE: D1893 is admitted into evidence.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour. Would this be an
12 appropriate time to read a summary of the witness's testimony?
13 JUDGE ORIE: It is, Mr. Kuzmanovic. You have explained to
14 Mr. Vitez the purpose of it.
15 MR. KUZMANOVIC: I have, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
17 MR. KUZMANOVIC: During Operation Storm, Mr. Vitez was assistant
18 commander of the special police unit of the Varazdin police
19 administration. Shortly before Operation Storm, Mr. Vitez's unit was
20 ordered to take up positions at Mount Velebit
21 preparations for the offensive, he and other unit commanders attended a
22 meeting in Stari Grad on the 3rd of August, where they received specific
23 tasks related to the operation and were ordered to adhere to
24 international laws of war, as well as to proper treatment of the civilian
25 population and their property.
1 On the 4th of August, when Operation Storm began, Mr. Vitez's
2 unit broke through the first lines in the Mali Alan area in the Velebit
3 mountains where they encountered ARSK forces and heavy resistance. They
4 further advanced towards Gracac.
5 On the 5th of August, the unit reached the entrance to Gracac
6 where they remained in nearby Stikada during the 6th of August, without
8 On the 7th of August, his unit was ordered to proceed to Bruvno,
9 and from there they proceeded to Donji Lapac. His units did not come in
10 contact with ARSK forces from Bruvno to Donji Lapac. His unit remained
11 in Donji Lapac in the outskirts until the afternoon when the Croatian
12 Army arrived in the area.
13 On the 8th of August, his unit was instructed to advance toward
14 Kulen-Vakuf, and on the same day, his returned to base in Varazdin,
16 That is the statement [sic], Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kuzmanovic. Please proceed.
18 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Vitez, can you tell the Chamber, please, a bit about your
20 educational background.
21 A. I have a masters degree in economics. My area of specialization
22 is management. And before that I obtained a university degree from the
23 police academy.
24 Q. Could you please tell the Chamber about your work in the police,
25 when you began, up through the time of Operation Storm.
1 A. I joined the police in 1980. That's when I enrolled in the
2 secondary school for police officers, which I completed in 1984. I
3 worked in the area of Dogava [phoen] Selo as a patrol police officer on
4 the highway. And on the eve of the war in Croatia, I asked for transfer.
5 I wanted to go to the area of the police administration of Varazdin.
6 Soon thereafter, I became a member of the special police unit of
7 the Varazdin police administration. I became a special police officer.
8 After that, I became a team leader, an instructor after that, and then in
9 1997, after the war, my commander was retired, and I took over the unit.
10 However, it only lasted for a short while, for a year maybe. And then
11 pursuant to a ministerial decree I became the chief of the crime police
12 in the administration of Varazdin. I stayed in that position for two
13 years. And then in, 2000 pursuant to a ministerial decree, I became the
14 chief of the police administration of Varazdin. I stayed in the position
15 until the year 2008. And then the minister ordered me to take the post
16 of deputy head of police at the Ministry of Interior, and this is the
17 position that I am still in.
18 Q. Mr. Vitez, before we get into the activities before
19 Operation Storm and through your participation in Operation Storm and
20 afterward, could you explain to the Chamber what your role is currently.
21 What -- what job function you have. You have explained the title, but
22 can you explain to the Chamber what you do in that function.
23 A. My office is run by the head of police, who has two deputies.
24 I'm one of them, and I cover the border police, the uniform police, the
25 intervention police. I also cover the work of the police academy, as
1 well as the operations and communications centre of the Ministry of
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vitez.
4 MR. KUZMANOVIC: If we could please pull up D540.
5 Q. Mr. Vitez, I am going to direct your attention to a document
6 that's in evidence already, which was directed to the chief of the
7 Varazdin police administration, dated July 22nd of 1995.
8 Are you familiar with this order signed by Mr. Markac?
9 A. I'm familiar with this order, yes.
10 Q. This was an order that requested the special police from Varazdin
11 to go to the -- report to the head of the Zadar-Knin police
12 administration, to work with the joint forces of the special police;
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. And were you a part of that unit that went to Sepurine by the
16 Zadar-Knin police administration?
17 A. I was a member of that unit, yes.
18 Q. Could you explain to us when you got to the area of Sepurine what
19 happened next, as far as your unit was concerned. Up until the meeting
20 in Stari Grad, which we'll refer to in a separate question.
21 A. As we arrived in the territory of the police administration of
22 Zadar and Knin, we established contact with members of the special
23 police, and they transferred the entire formation consisting of some 140
24 men to the territory of the Sepurine military camp.
25 There was some other units there together with us. We had our
1 first meeting with General Markac, and we were given information that the
2 enemy army -- or, rather, that they had indications that the enemy army
3 might want to cut off the road leading from the bridge in Maslenica,
4 which was the only connection between the northern and southern parts of
6 and it was assumed that the enemy might attempt to break through in order
7 to break communication between the northern and southern parts of
9 That's where we carried out patrols. Everything was ready, we
10 prepared ourselves over the couple of days, and then information reached
11 us that the danger no longer existed. And then we headed towards
12 Stari Grad. And then we had a briefing on the eve of Operation Storm.
13 Q. Where were you based before the meeting in Stari Grad?
14 A. At the Sepurine base.
15 Q. Now, when you went to Stari Grad, and you talk about that in
16 paragraphs 2 and 3 of your statement, can you explain what happened when
17 you went to Stari Grad?
18 A. I went to Stari Grad together with my commander. We were
19 supposed to attend a meeting that was called by Mr. Markac, all the
20 commanders of special police units were there, and received concrete
21 tasks. We were briefed as to what to expect.
22 We were given our axis of action or directions of actions. We
23 were told what was the main axis of attack and the units that would
24 there. That was my unit for Varazdin. On our right was a unit from
1 and Knin administration that was in the direction of Tulave Grede.
2 We received maps and directions, and after that General Markac
3 addressed us and shared with us the intelligence gathered by our
4 intelligence and operations teams. We were told what to expect. We were
5 briefed about the enemy strength, their armament. And a special emphasis
6 at that meeting, as at many meetings that we had with the General before,
7 any operation was put on the behaviour of members of the special police
8 in dealing with prisoners of war, the civilian population. And, in this
9 particular case, given the fact that in the area that we were supposed to
10 enter, there were also UN -- or, rather, UNPROFOR forces deployed there,
11 especially emphasise was put on the fact that we were not supposed to
12 touch their bases. We were not supposed to open fire on them. We were,
13 rather, supposed to approach them, explain who we were. We were supposed
14 to tell them that we were the Croatian Army, that we could extend all
15 assistance that they might need, and they may be assured that there will
16 be no danger for them coming from the Croatian force.
17 Then we went back each to our unit, and during the night between
18 the 3rd and the 4th, since we were at the level of the sea and there were
19 a lot of unit there, during the afternoon and during the night -- or,
20 rather, before 1900 or 2000 hours that evening, my special police unit
21 managed to reach the height of 1400 metres above the sea level, and
22 that's where we prepared ourselves for attack. We had another meeting
23 with the complete unit. We conveyed to them what was expected from them,
24 how were they supposed to fight and engage, and what behaviour was
25 expected on their part. We conveyed to them everything that
1 General Markac had told them -- told us about the civilian population,
2 their property, the UNPROFOR forces, and their behaviour, and what was
3 expected from them.
4 And after that, we were in a carsed area -- or, rather, wooded
5 carsed area, that's where we were during the night awaiting the morning,
6 and awaiting for the beginning of the operation.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vitez, it is only now that the French
8 translation was able to translate your words. Could you please slow
10 At the same time, I saw Mr. Misetic was already on his feet a
11 while ago.
12 Mr. Misetic.
13 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
14 Just a transcript issue. Page 53, it is line 17 on my LiveNote.
15 The witness mentioned a town. It's southern parts of Croatia to, I
16 believe --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, can we just take that up.
18 You talked about to cut off the road leading from the bridge in
19 Maslenica, which was the only connection between the northern and the
20 southern parts of Croatia
21 geographical thing.
22 Could you repeat that.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said the bridge by Maslenica
24 which connected the northern part of Croatia
1 JUDGE ORIE: Biograd with an "I," I take it.
2 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE ORIE: This -- Mr. Waespi.
4 MR. WAESPI: Just a brief suggestion. For me, it's not clear
5 what the witness's function was. I know he was the assistant commander
6 of the special police in Varazdin, but the D540 was addressed to the
8 So is Mr. Vitez the commander of this unit, or is he still in an
9 assistant function? That would be helpful, I think, for people to know.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic.
11 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Sure.
12 JUDGE ORIE: I take that Mr. Waespi would like to receive this
13 information in order to --
14 MR. KUZMANOVIC: We can clarify that, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. At the same time, I think we had this morning
16 an all time record high, seven pages of an answer. The question what
17 happened then may well lead to very lengthy answers. If could you keep a
18 bit more control and to focus on what exactly you would like to know. I
19 know that, of course, in-chief leading may an issue, but --
20 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Sure, Your Honour.
21 I didn't want to lead the witness. I just wanted to let him
22 explain things in his own words, but I'll make sure -- [Overlapping
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if you please try to focus the attention of the
25 witness to what you find most relevant.
1 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I will.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And, again, Mr. Vitez, if you slow down, we can
3 catch every word you say. If you speak at the speed you developed a
4 minute ago, then we might miss some of your words which would be a pity.
5 Please proceed.
6 MR. KUZMANOVIC:
7 Q. Mr. Vitez, you heard the comment of my friend Mr. Waespi about
9 First of all, did you see D540 in your function at the time, the
10 Croatian version of D540?
11 A. Yes, I saw that version. It was shown to me by my unit
13 Q. And at the time of the events when that order came to Varazdin,
14 what was your function and capacity?
15 A. I was the assistant commander of the special police unit.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 Mr. Vitez, I'll try to break down my questions so you can still
18 answer them - and obviously in your own words - but in maybe shorter
20 You have led us up through Stari Grad, the meeting, and up to
21 your climbing into Mount Velebit
22 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Actually, why don't we pull up P1237, please.
23 Q. The cover page of this document, Mr. Vitez, is signed by you;
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. If we can go to the second page of this document, please.
2 You have already described in the second paragraph about your
3 unit positions on the 3rd of August up in the Velebits.
4 There are -- there is another paragraph following that says:
5 "We received several pager messages during the night and would
6 like to mention own two of them."
7 And it mentions conduct in the operation according to
8 international conventions, and that you received reinforcements.
9 Do you recall what the other -- you mentioned two of them. Do
10 you recall what the other pager messages referenced?
11 A. Do you mean reference being made to new men who joined the unit?
12 Q. My question wasn't clear. The paragraph starts:
13 "We received several pager messages during the night and would
14 like to mention only two of them."
15 Were there other pager messages that you received; and if so,
16 what were they, if you recall?
17 A. I don't remember the other. I know that they came during the
18 night. The first one was about the treatment of human civilians and
19 their property and the respect for the international laws of war. And
20 the second arrived maybe a year [as interpreted] before our engagement
21 informing us that the enemy forces had just been reinforced by 120 new
23 Q. Okay. I think on page 59, line 4 -- the second arrived how much
24 time before your engagement?
25 A. The second one -- no, actually, the one that cautioned us about
1 conduct came right after midnight
2 came perhaps an hour before our engagement, sometime at 4.00 a.m.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vitez. The transcript said a year before our
4 engagement, so I just wanted to make that clear.
5 You were talking, Mr. Vitez, about receiving intelligence
6 information. Could you describe for me from whom the special police
7 received its intelligence information, regarding position of the enemy
8 and strength and things of that nature.
9 A. Most of the intelligence received came from our internal control.
10 They had the task of gathering intelligence data about the enemy that we
11 were supposed to engage, their strength, their weapons, their weak
12 points, sections of their line that would be the most easiest to breach,
13 and, of course, they were in coordination with the military services and
14 the Service for the Protection of the Constitutional Order.
15 Q. Mr. Vitez, given your experience as a chief of police of the
16 Varazdin police administration and your long-time service as a special
17 police member and assistant commander, can you tell the Chamber whether
18 or not the inner control branch of the special police had anything to do
19 with discipline?
20 A. Do you mean the inner control branch that was under the special
21 police sector or the office for inner control under the minister's
23 Q. Well, why don't you explain to us the role of the first, and then
24 can you explain to us the role of the second, if you can answer those.
25 A. I will do my best.
1 In brief, the inner control office, which was attached to the
2 minister's office, was tasked with covering the work of all the employees
3 of the Ministry of Interior. That's to say, monitor their work. They
4 monitored the work of both authorised and unauthorised personnel. They
5 monitored the legality of everyone's work. They acted on anonymous
6 reports we received from citizens at large, which could have to do with
7 abuse of office on the part of some of the personnel of the ministry,
8 or --
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter can't catch what the witness
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And they initiated or launched
12 every single case, and then followed through, whether it had to do with
13 misdemeanour, breach of discipline, or criminal liability.
14 The internal control of the special police sector --
15 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Just a moment, before we get there, the
16 interpreter didn't catch a part of your answer.
17 Mr. Vitez, if could you sit a little closer to your microphone.
18 You said on page 60, line 13, they acted on anonymous reports we
19 received from citizens at large which could have to do with abuse of
20 office on the part of some of the personnel of the ministry, or ..." And
21 that's where the interpreter couldn't catch what you said.
22 A. Or on the part of a manager who was a member of the Ministry of
24 Q. Thank you. Now, you were about to explain the role of the inner
25 control of the special police sector. Please go ahead and do that.
1 A. The role of inner control within the special police sector was,
2 to my knowledge, to give an intelligence and operative briefing prior to
3 an action. But not just prior to an action. For instance, at
4 Mount Velebit
5 intelligence on the enemy forces, on their strength, assets. They
6 prepared all the maps prior to actions, but they did not solely engage in
7 preparations for combat activities. Rather, when -- when a police
8 administration engaged special police units as part of preparations for
9 actions where certain criminal groups or individuals had to be
10 apprehended and who had been dealing in drug trafficking, trafficking of
11 people or arms, they would be the ones gathering intelligence about the
12 nature of the persons involved, i.e., whether the persons were dangerous,
13 whether the persons were armed, and whether they are likely to resist
14 arrest. This was to ensure that the special police could prepare for
15 such actions well and carry -- and have at their disposal appropriate
16 resources or equipment, in order to avoid casualties.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic, I'm looking at the clock.
18 MR. KUZMANOVIC: I have one question to close this loop, Your
19 Honour, and then we can --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then please put that question to the witness.
21 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you.
22 Q. Mr. Vitez, we will going on a break here quickly. I just wanted
23 to finish this topic.
24 You've described the two roles of the two different, basically,
25 inner control mechanisms. Can you tell the Chamber what role, if any,
1 the special police internal control had with respect to either
2 initiating, investigating, or dealing with disciplinary issues, within
3 the special police?
4 A. No. The inner control branch didn't have anything to do with it.
5 The person responsible for discipline within each and every unit was its
7 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Your Honour, it's a good time for a break.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Kuzmanovic, I think your time estimate was
9 one to two sessions. May I take it that examination-in-chief will be --
10 MR. KUZMANOVIC: It will be less than two sessions, Your Honour.
11 I hope to be done -- I'm looking at my outline. I hope to be done in
12 about -- probably before the end of the day today, that we're done.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you would try to achieve that.
14 We'll have a break, and we will resume at ten minutes to 1.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.55 p.m.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic, you may proceed, but I would like to
18 inform the parties that the Chamber would like to receive the submissions
19 we earlier talked about by Tuesday, noon. Which allows us still to read
20 it on Tuesday afternoon.
21 Please proceed.
22 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Mr. Vitez, we left off when you were on Mali Alan, which you
24 describe in paragraph 4 of your statement.
25 Now, in P1237, I think which think is still on the screen, you
1 discuss in this -- or its discussed in this war path what your main first
2 task was to liberate the route Mali Alan, Sveti Rok, Obrovac. Describe
3 for the Chamber, please, what things you encountered and -- basically
4 until the end of that first day of combat and what kind of combat
5 operations you were involved in. And I will ask you further questions
6 beyond that. But just -- right now, just focus on that first day of
7 combat, please.
8 A. On the first day, when we received the order that we should
9 proceed to attack, the reconnaissance operative group, which was, as
10 always, ahead of the unit with six scouts, and its commander and
11 instructor, two explosive specialists gained access to the area, cleared
12 the area of mines, anti-personnel mines, so that the rest of the unit
13 might reach the area smoothly.
14 At around 7.00 in the morning, the first combat engagement took
15 place in the area of Vrcina. The enemy engaged us with infantry fire,
16 machine-gun fire out of their pill-boxes. The unit -- our unit was at
17 the foot of the elevation, and they had the upper hand being on top of
18 the elevation in bunkers. They were made out of logs, as we were able to
19 see later on. Logs on which piles of stone had been stacked.
20 Our reconnaissance unit asked for our artillery support. The
21 scouts who spotted the enemy guided our fire, in order to have as many
22 precise hits as possible. Since we were some 200 or 300 metres apart,
23 that's to say, that was -- that was the distance from the enemy, we
24 wanted to make sure that our own artillery fire did not engage in
25 friendly fire.
1 The enemy opened artillery fire on us but did not inflict any
2 casualties among our troops. However, our neighbouring, adjacent units
3 did sustain casualties.
4 Q. Just a second before you continue. Mr. Vitez, at the bottom of
5 this particular exhibit which is on the screen, P1237, you state:
6 "The unit practically battled for every rock at the Mali Alan
8 Could you describe the type of terrain that you were dealing
10 A. It's rugged terrain. Rocks that was not really trafficable
11 easily. We were in an open area, and that made it very difficult to
12 reach the enemy positions.
13 Two of our special policemen were taken prisoner. One of them
14 had an entry/exit wound in the lower leg. The other one was injured --
15 had injuries to his face and arms. That was Mario Sestak, the one who
16 had his leg wounded; and Goran Bahun [as interpreted], who had slight
18 There were two sorts of risk. If a shell didn't kill you, then
19 fragment of rock would.
20 It was difficult for us to advance, since we had to leave the
21 rocky shelter and head for an open area, an open space.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic, you asked for the terrain, and we
23 now know all the details about whether the in and exits wounds were at
24 the lower leg or the upper leg. That is apparently not what you were
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Mr. Vitez, you were discussing on page 64, you said, line 16, two
4 of our special policemen were taken prisoner, it was interpreted. Does
5 that mean two were wounded?
6 A. They were wounded.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 Mr. Vitez, in P1237, on the next page, please, after the capture
9 of the Mali Alan pass, there were -- there was an aircraft attack on your
10 position. Could you describe that, please.
11 A. As for the aircraft, I'm afraid I don't remember much. I know
12 that the Croatian air force aircraft rocketed their positions in the
13 morning. Whoever wrote the report made a mistake, because I don't think
14 our forces came under an air-strike. I don't remember that.
15 Q. Okay. Mr. Vitez, then you move on in this report to Gracac in
16 the morning. And there's noted BPP
17 of Gracac.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Waespi.
19 MR. WAESPI: Yes. Just another matter of clarification.
20 Mr. Kuzmanovic tells the witness, In your report; and the witness
21 responds, Whoever wrote the report. So if it could be clarified who
22 actually is the author. I know he signed the cover page of p1237, but
23 I'm still not sure who was the drafter of this report.
24 JUDGE ORIE: The matter is clear do you, Mr. Kuzmanovic.
25 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Sure.
1 Q. Mr. Vitez, are you familiar with the contents of what's in P1237,
2 this report, that came under your cover letter?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And the --
5 A. Yes, I'm familiar with it. I signed the memo, since I was chief
6 of the Varazdin police administration at the time. It was my duty to
7 forward the memo, and the report was written by the commander of my
8 special police unit.
9 Q. And in terms of the report itself, you have familiarity with the
10 issues that are discussed in this report from your involvement in
11 Operation Storm, do you not?
12 A. Of course.
13 Q. We can go back to the section of this report where you enter the
14 suburbs of Gracac, and BPP
15 in that village.
16 Can you describe to the Chamber what BPP means.
17 A. BPP
18 special police unit in order to protect themselves and to ward off
20 Q. And we've heard testimony in this case about check-points on the
21 roads that were manned by the police and/or the military police. Can you
22 describe to the Chamber whether or not outside of these barrier
23 check-points the special police had ever been engaged in holding
24 check-points as it relates to traffic?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Now, when you arrived in the area of Gracac, you were near
2 Stikada; correct?
3 A. Yes. Stikada was the name of the entire area. And the
4 settlement's name was Loncari.
5 Q. Before we get into detail about Gracac, I would like to ask you a
6 question about what you called the reconnaissance operative group.
7 Could you please describe what that group was and what their
8 function was? Thank you.
9 A. Every special police unit had its reconnaissance operative group
10 which engaged in reconnaissance for the purposes of offensive actions of
11 the special police. Every reconnaissance group was duly trained in how
12 to gather as much intelligence or information on the enemy as possible,
13 about the enemy's disposition, strength, and assets at their disposal.
14 Q. In these groups, were there any persons who were involved in
15 directing artillery fire?
16 A. Of course. There was scouts as members of the group who directed
17 artillery fire. There were also explosive specialists, who cleared
19 Q. Moving on to Gracac, you passed through Gracac on your way to
20 Bruvno; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Were you present when Minister Jarnjak came to Gracac?
23 A. Yes. I was present, together with my commander.
24 Q. Now, when you went to Bruvno, what was the reason for your unit
25 to be ordered to go to Bruvno?
1 A. The possible counter-attack of the Serbian army was the reason
2 for it. And we were ordered to go and deploy in the area, in order to
3 prevent them from attacking, or foil their attack.
4 Q. When you went through Gracac, what, if anything, did you observe
5 about any damage to Gracac?
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Waespi.
7 MR. WAESPI: Can we have a time-frame. Now we were in Bruvno, I
8 think that was the 8th of August. Now we're going back to the 5th when
9 Gracac was entered for the first time.
10 MR. KUZMANOVIC: No, I think we can get that date. The 5th was
11 the first day in Mali Alan. The 6th -- well, let the witness tell us.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 MR. KUZMANOVIC:
14 Q. Mr. Vitez, if we can have your statement, I'll refer to your
15 statement. You have it in front of you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Talks about the second day as far as Gracac is
18 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Yes.
19 Q. On the second day when you got to Gracac, in paragraph 4 you
20 arrived at Gracac. And then on the 6th prepared for activities. And on
21 the 7th went to Bruvno.
22 Now, as you were going through Gracac from the area to Stikada
23 until you got to Bruvno, what, if anything, did you observe in Gracac, as
24 far as damage was concerned?
25 A. What I can remember is damage. I saw several buildings that were
1 destroyed. But as far as I remember, they had been destroyed a long time
2 previously. There had been vegetation growing out of the ruins. I don't
3 remember any other damage.
4 Q. Now, when you got to Bruvno or began in Bruvno on the 7th, what
5 was your next task, once you got to Bruvno?
6 A. As we arrived Bruvno, we received a task, and together with the
7 units of Primorsko Gorinska, anti-terrorist unit Lucko, and the Gospic
8 unit, we were supposed to go across Bruvno and Mazin to Donji Lapac.
9 Q. Now, you had stated earlier that you had gone to Bruvno in terms
10 of trying to prevent a counter-attack. When you got to Bruvno, was there
11 such a counter-attack that occurred?
12 A. No. There was nobody there. And there was no counter-attack.
13 Q. When you got to Mazin, did you see whether there was any
14 resistance or any people at all in Mazin?
15 A. There was no resistance in Mazin. I saw elderly persons, men and
16 women, standing outside of several houses in Mazin. Our policemen
17 explained to them that they should stay in front of their houses and that
18 there would be somebody else arriving, ordinary police or somebody else,
19 to pick them up. We proceeded on our mission.
20 Q. Now, you ended up that same day in Donji Lapac; correct?
21 A. Yes. That same day, we reached Donji Lapac.
22 Q. And we've heard testimony from a witness that went along the
23 asphalt road to Donji Lapac. You -- your unit did not take that road.
25 A. No. As we ascended the winding road above Mazin, we were
1 supposed to take a dirt road along, or through a wooded area.
2 Q. Can you describe to the Chamber how you got from Bruvno until the
3 outskirts of Donji Lapac? What methods of transportation were you using?
4 A. For the duration of our advancement, we went on foot. We had one
5 combat armoured vehicle that was there to protect us, and the vehicle
6 could travel that road.
7 As we reached the first households outside of Donji Lapac, we
8 came under artillery fire. Naturally, we didn't know if it was enemy or
9 friendly fire because we had not asked for any artillery support along
10 our axis.
11 The problem was that we weren't able to reach our special police
12 staff. We weren't able to get hold of them, since we were in between two
13 high peaks, and it was impossible to establish communication.
14 Q. How long did that last, that artillery fire that that you were
15 dealing with?
16 A. Roughly half an hour.
17 Q. After the artillery fire was over, you went further onto
18 Donji Lapac itself?
19 A. Yes, we carried on towards Donji Lapac.
20 Q. You describe in paragraph 7 of your witness statement what
21 happened when you were in Donji Lapac.
22 Could you tell the Chamber briefly what happened when you met
23 with the members of UNPROFOR in Donji Lapac?
24 A. When we got to Donji Lapac, our commanders were joined by
25 General Markac, who, together with us, tried to enter their camp, or
1 their base. However, they were all manning their combat positions and
2 bunkers because they didn't know who we were.
3 When we introduced ourselves as the Croatian forces, one of their
4 officers spread the news to all the rest who were in the base. All these
5 UN soldiers leapt out of their bunkers. They were happy and hugging one
6 another. We all got into their base and had a cup of tea.
7 Q. Now, when you entered into the UN base at Donji Lapac, what did
8 you observe in the town in terms of damage, if any?
9 A. I observed two or three buildings in the very centre which were
10 on fire, or, rather, smouldering.
11 Q. How long -- how long was General Markac with you in Donji Lapac?
12 A. General Markac was with us when we entered the base. We held a
13 meeting with them. General Markac told them that we are -- were part of
14 the Croatian armed forces, that there was an operation going on, that
15 there would be further activities in the direction of the
16 Bosnia-Herzegovinian border. He told them that they were save and if
17 they needed anything that they could turn to us. And then he left the
18 area because a group of the special report had already left Boricevac and
19 was headed towards the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that
20 action was already under way.
21 Q. Now, Mr. Vitez, you spent the evening in the -- in and near
22 Donji Lapac with your unit?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you tell the Chamber, unequivocally, whether or not any
25 members of the special police were involved in the burning of
1 Donji Lapac.
2 A. No.
3 Q. The next day, you -- your unit went to the Boricevac-Kulen-Vakuf
4 area. What happened there?
5 A. Our unit arrived there. We were not engaged in attack. We were
6 the reserve and support for those who had gone in the direction of Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina
8 We were there in full combat gear all day waiting possibly to be
9 engaged, but that never happened.
10 Q. You were eventually ordered to return to Varazdin on that day?
11 A. Yes. A meeting was held with the chief of the special police
12 sector, Mr. Sacic, and all those units that had been involved in combat
13 from day one were then released.
14 Q. Now, your units returned straight to Varazdin. Can you tell us
15 when you went back, did you go back through Gracac?
16 A. No. We went back through Udbina.
17 Q. Now, after Operation Storm, did your unit take part in any mop-up
18 operations? Meaning the Varazdin special police unit.
19 A. No, we did not take part in that.
20 Q. Now, I'd like to call up document 2D00282, please.
21 Mr. Vitez -- that's a 65 ter number, sorry.
22 The document that's coming up is from the Varazdin police
23 administration. Do you know Mr. Ivan Zitnjak?
24 A. Yes, I know Mr. Zitnjak.
25 Q. Now the date of this document is the 6th of August of 1995,
1 Mr. Vitez, and obviously you were not in Varazdin at that particular
2 time. But are you familiar with the subject matter that is contained in
3 this particular letter and what the purpose of this letter was?
4 A. As for the contents of this letter, it says here that the police
5 administration of Varazdin is expected to send assistance to Zadar which
6 was only normal after the Operation Storm.
7 All the police administrations which were not directly involved
8 in combat were expected to assist those police administrations that were
9 primarily in manpower or, rather, in civilian protection. We can see
10 here that they were looking for forensic technicians, people who were
11 able to carry out on-site investigations.
12 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Your Honour, could I please have a number for
13 this document, I'd like do tender it.
14 MR. WAESPI: No objections.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
17 Exhibit D1894. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
19 Please proceed.
20 MR. KUZMANOVIC: I just wanted to clarify something in the record
21 regarding a question that I had asked earlier.
22 And probably it is because the way I phrased the question on page
23 71, line 24, the question was:
24 "Can you tell the Chamber, unequivocally, whether or not any
25 members of the special police were involved in the burning of
1 Donji Lapac."
2 And your answer was: "No."
3 Does that mean that, no, they were not involved in the burning of
4 Donji Lapac?
5 A. That meant that, no, they were not involved in the burning of
6 anything in Donji Lapac.
7 Q. Thank you. One last question.
8 Mr. Vitez, can you please -- having worked with General Markac
9 over the years in the special police, can you please give the Chamber an
10 idea of what kind of a person and the character of General Markac is.
11 A. Yes, I can provide the Trial Chamber with my personal view, since
12 I have known General Markac since 1987, on -- or 1988.
13 At that time, he was an instructor for physical training and
14 self-defence. I know that he was always a very responsible person,
15 perseverant person. There was no impossible task for him. There was
16 nothing that could not be achieved. As a General and as a manager, he
17 has always been held in very high esteem, and not only among the ranks of
18 the special police.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vitez.
20 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Your Honour, I have no further questions.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kuzmanovic.
22 Any need to question the witness?
23 MR. MISETIC: No, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay.
25 MR. KAY: No, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Before I give you an opportunity, Mr. Waespi, to
2 cross-examine the witness, I would like to seek clarification on one
4 Mr. Vitez, you said in the early stages when you had break
5 through the first lines, you had asked for artillery support. Who gave
6 that artillery support?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The artillery support was provided
8 by our special police support.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Was it your own artillery unit attached to the
10 special police unit?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. They were support for
12 everybody. They were independent.
13 JUDGE ORIE: But it was an artillery unit composed of members of
14 the special police?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And they would give support to -- if you say to
17 everybody, what do I have to understand "everybody"? Being not only your
18 police unit but also other police units? Or not only special police
19 units but also other combat units outside the special police?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They provided support to the
21 special police only. Not only to my unit, the unit that I was a member
22 of. It all depended on where they were deployed and who was it who asked
23 for support.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did the special police, during this Velebit to
25 Donji Lapac exercise, did they rely on any artillery support from any
1 unit outside the special police?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I know about my unit and about
3 my axis prompts me to say no. I know for sure that that didn't happen
4 where I was, but as for the rest of the units, I wouldn't be able to tell
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you told us that when you arrived
7 Donji Lapac there was artillery fire, but you didn't know whether it was
8 friendly fire or not. And you added to that, that you had not asked for
9 artillery support at that moment.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. We did not seek artillery
11 support. When we arrived at the entrance to that hamlet, there was
12 artillery fire. We were pounded. We had to halt and wait, and then we
13 communicated a message to our support to find out who it was who was
15 JUDGE ORIE: And that was in Donji Lapac?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you said that on your axis you did not
18 ask for any artillery support.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We did not engage at any point in
20 time, and there was no need. The area was woody and rocky, and there was
21 no need to ask for artillery support at all.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That would be true also for the passing
23 through the villages you went through? Villages and towns. You said you
24 arrived at Stikada. No need to have any artillery support there?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My unit and our axis after
1 Mali Alan, we never asked for artillery support, until the very end,
2 including Donji Lapac.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And that would include Gracac as well?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Are you aware of any impacts of artillery fire in
6 Gracac during these first days of August? You told us that you had seen
7 damaged buildings with vegetation already. But are you aware of any
8 artillery impacts on Gracac during the days you were in that area?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. I didn't see or witness
10 such an artillery attack.
11 When I entered Gracac, I did not see any artillery impacts.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And it was your units that liberated that area
13 of Gracac, or were there any non-special police units involved in the
14 liberation of Gracac and moving on to Bruvno?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All that time, I saw only members
16 of the special police, nobody else, either during the liberation of
17 Gracac or Bruvno. It was only in Lapac that I saw members of the
18 Croatian Army for the first time.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said when you -- let me just check. One
21 You earlier said your unit did not return to Gracac, but you said
22 they returned to -- after you had finished, after you had completed your
23 combat activities. I could try to find it.
24 Could you repeat that.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When we completed our operation,
1 our unit returned to the territory of the Varazdin police administration.
2 Our next action was to act as reserve in the mop-up operation on
3 Mount Petrova Gora.
4 After that, the unit went to the territory of Dubrovnik
5 Neretva county where we manned positions facing Montenegro. And we
6 returned to that area sometime in the month of October.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You told us that your unit returned not
8 through Gracac but through Udbina. Who chose the route of return, and do
9 you have any idea what triggered to choose the Udbina route?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The return route was chosen by the
11 unit command. And why we went through Udbina, the reason was practical.
12 It cut our journey by nearly 100 kilometres.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for those answers.
14 Mr. Waespi, if there's any subject, we've still got seven minutes
16 MR. WAESPI: Yes, I can start.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vitez, you will now be cross-examined by
18 Mr. Waespi. Mr. Waespi is it counsel for the Prosecution.
19 Please proceed.
20 MR. WAESPI: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Waespi:
22 Q. Good afternoon Mr. Vitez.
23 I understand that you were the assistant commander of the
24 Varazdin special police unit. And you referred to a commander a couple
25 of times. Who was the name of that commander of the Varazdin special
1 police unit?
2 A. The commander of the special police unit in Varazdin was
3 Mr. Ivica Mindek.
4 Q. Can you spell his last name, please.
5 A. M-i-n-d-e-k.
6 Q. Thank you. And for how long was he the commander of the special
7 police in Varazdin?
8 A. Ivica Mindek was our commander from 1993 to 1997, approximately.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vitez. And I take it that Mr. Mindek was then the
10 author of the report from which we -- you read excerpts about the
11 activities of the Varazdin unit.
12 A. Yes, yes.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, what was your exact function? Did you deputize
14 your commander when he wasn't available? Did you have separate command
15 functions? Did you go to meetings when Mr. Mindek couldn't go? Can you
16 explain a little bit the relationship between the commander and you, as
17 the assistant commander during Operation Storm.
18 A. Our unit had two assistant commanders. I was one of them, and
19 the other one was Mr. Horinec. My duty as an assistant commander was to
20 work with instructors. Also to design various activities for the entire
21 unit. Also to implement the training plan, the military and police
22 tactics plans, as well as some other activities that we engaged in. The
23 other assistant dealt with some of those matters as well. However, he
24 was also involved and dealt with the reserve force.
25 Q. And your role specifically during Operation Storm was what? I
1 take it you had no contacts with instructors or anybody else. Did you
2 have a specific role, a specific combat role, or advisory role, or
3 whatever? Can you enlighten me on that.
4 A. In that operation, everything was the same as in other
5 operations. Our reconnaissance squad went before the unit, and after
6 them, the commander went with his two assistants in order to control and
7 monitor the situation and developments in order to be able to lead the
8 unit into combat.
9 Q. And these two assistants would be you and your -- your colleague?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So you were basically following the commander during
12 Operation Storm.
13 A. Well, we didn't only follow them. We were always there together
14 with the entire unit, with those men who were breaking through, who were
15 first. However, we were considered the most responsible ones in the unit
16 and we never allowed ourselves to let our men go and tell them that we
17 would follow.
18 Q. Just briefly before we adjourn, I understand from various
19 documents that the unit was about 120 to 140 special policemen, your unit
20 that came from Varazdin to Knin.
21 A. Yes. There was some 100 active policemen, about 30 or so reserve
22 policemen and the rest were men who had been mobilised.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vitez.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic.
25 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Just might be an error in the question that the
1 unit came from Varazdin to Knin. I don't think there has been any --
2 MR. WAESPI: Yes, sorry, from Varazdin to the Zadar police
3 administration for the first time on the 22nd of July, 1995.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Going to -- preparing for going to Velebit.
5 Yes, that's --
6 Then one final question from me, Mr. Vitez. Varazdin, is that
7 north of Zagreb
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Varazdin is the northernmost
9 city in Croatia
10 right is the Republic of Hungary
11 MR. WAESPI: Beautiful city, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Waespi, perhaps after retirement.
13 We adjourn for the day. Mr. Vitez, we would like to see you back
14 tomorrow, not in the morning but in the afternoon. Because we adjourn
15 and we will resume tomorrow --
16 Yes, I first have to instruct you - one second, please - I have
17 to instruct you that you should not speak with anyone about your
18 testimony, whether that is testimony that you have given today or whether
19 that is testimony still to be given tomorrow.
20 Is that clear?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.
22 JUDGE ORIE: We adjourn, and we resume tomorrow, the 10th of
23 December, at a quarter past 2.00 in the afternoon, in courtroom -- no, I
24 make a mistake.
25 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I'm -- was confirmed that I didn't make a
3 We resume tomorrow, the 10th of December, quarter past 2.00 in
4 the afternoon, in Courtroom III
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.
6 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 10th day of
7 December, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.