1 Wednesday, 13 January 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
7 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-06-90-T, the Prosecutor versus
11 Gotovina et al. Thank you.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
13 The next witness to be called will be Mr. Repinc.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Mr. Dragutin Repinc.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 Now, he appears as an expert witness. The expert report was
17 filed early December.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: I believe it was on 18th of December.
19 JUDGE ORIE: It was the 18th. And in view of the 30 days
20 time-limit in Rule 94 bis, not all the parties have yet expressed their
21 views, although the Cermak Defence has. The Cermak Defence, from what I
22 understand, does not challenge the expertise or the relevance of the
23 parts of the statement -- all or any parts of the statement under
24 Rule 94 bis (B) and has expressed its wish to cross-examine the witness.
25 Yesterday, I asked whether there would be any cross-examination
1 by the Gotovina Defence. It was confirmed that there will be
2 cross-examination, which the Chamber understands as an expression of the
3 views under Rule 94 bis, under (B)(ii).
4 May I also take it that could we understand the silence in
5 relation to the qualifications of the witness and the relevance as there
6 being no objections against the qualifications and the relevance of the
8 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Then we informally received a request
10 that the Prosecution would start cross-examination only on next Monday.
11 Could we understand the silence in relation to qualifications and
12 relevance as there being no objections against those aspects of the
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, we have filed objections this
15 morning. A courtesy copy was sent around, and it has been e-filed.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then I must apologise. I often do check my
17 e-mail before coming to court. I have not done so this morning -- let me
18 just have a look.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I think a courtesy copy was just sent around.
20 I get an indication that the Defence counsel have not received.
21 MR. KEHOE: Yes, we have not received it yet. On behalf of the
22 Gotovina Defence, neither I nor Mr. Misetic have received it, and we just
23 checked our e-mail.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Even if I do not read my e-mail, I'm usually
25 briefed on any new developments by Chamber staff, and this was not part
1 of it. Let me read it for a second.
2 Yes. You do not, as I read -- the Prosecution hereby provides
3 notice that it does not accept the expert report and wishes to
4 cross-examine Professor Repinc. These are answers to the issues raised
5 in Rule 94 bis (B)(i) and (ii). It, however, doesn't express any view on
6 the qualification of the expert because a notice should contain a
7 challenge of the qualifications or a challenge of the relevance. We
8 do -- I do not find that in this notice.
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, the Prosecution does not
10 challenge the expertise of the witness, nor the relevance. We wish to
11 examine him on certain aspects of his conclusions.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then that is now where -- it's clear now where
13 we procedurally stand.
14 And are you ready to call Mr. Repinc?
15 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour. The Markac Defence is calling
16 Mr. General Dragutin Repinc.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could the witness be escorted into the
19 May I then also take it that there will be no objection against
20 the admission into evidence of the report itself, although you would
21 not -- although you do not accept the contents of the report?
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We are not under Rule 92 ter, so it's
24 presented as an expert report we could --
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Repinc.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
3 JUDGE ORIE: The Rules of Procedure and Evidence require that you
4 make a solemn declaration before you give testimony in this court, and
5 the text is now handed out to you by Mr. Usher, and I would like to
6 invite you to make that solemn declaration.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
8 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 WITNESS: DRAGUTIN REPINC
10 [The witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Repinc. Please be seated.
12 Mr. Repinc, the -- your expert report has been filed. You'll be
13 first cross-examined -- examined by Mr. Mikulicic. Mr. Mikulicic is, as
14 you certainly are aware of, is counsel for Mr. Markac.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 First I would like to inform the Chamber and my learned
18 colleagues that we are just checking, because we had some problem to
19 enter the report into the e-court, and we are just now checking that this
20 problem has been resolved. So in the meantime, with your --
21 JUDGE ORIE: I think in the meantime we can proceed. Often
22 expert reports are admitted into evidence at the end of the testimony,
23 and there's nothing wrong with that.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Examination by Mr. Mikulicic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General. I will kindly ask you to
2 state your first and last name for the sake of the record.
3 A. Dragutin Repinc.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: If you allow me, Your Honours, I would read a
5 short summary in order to inform the public about Mr. Repinc's report.
6 JUDGE ORIE: It's not usually done with expert reports. However,
7 if you would have a very short summary, I would not be opposed against
8 it, because it serves the same purpose as reading a summary of a witness
9 statement. So, therefore, if you keep it short, please proceed.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: I will, Your Honour.
11 [Interpretation] Major General Dragutin Repinc is currently chief
12 of the Administration for Planning at the Main Staff of the Armed Forces
13 of the Republic of Croatia
14 forces, of programming, and making calculations, and for bilateral and
15 multilateral military co-operation.
16 During his military career, he completed the Land Forces
17 Military Academy
18 was also adviser for operative war planning in the
19 Zagreb Operations Zone. He completed the Command and General
20 Staff School
21 school, where he also taught attendees combat unit deployment tactics up
22 to brigade level, including decision-making and drafting of combat
24 He also co-operated with the US company MPRI, and he also held
25 instruction in the field of organisation, management, and training. He
1 also introduced the American Army training system to the Croatian Army.
2 After he completed the American Command and General Staff course,
3 he worked as chief of the Operative Planning Department in the
4 Croatian Army, and at the same time he taught --
5 JUDGE ORIE: A short summary is -- giving all the details of the
6 expert, if you would say -- yes, if you, please, could keep it short.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] In his expert report,
8 General Repinc describes the specific role of Special Police of the
9 Ministry of the Interior during the combat operations which were part of
10 the Operation Storm, as well as during the operation of the search of the
11 terrain that directly followed after the military and police operation.
12 He also describes the manner and procedure of forming the joint forces of
13 the Ministry of the Interior.
14 He notes the specific role of the special police units, their
15 organisational and operational structure, the relation they had with the
16 Main Staff of the Croatian Army, and other units of the Croatian Army
17 which were engaged in the Operation Storm.
18 In his analysis, General Repinc chronologically describes and
19 analyses the course of Operation Storm, in light of the engagement of the
20 special police units of the Ministry of the Interior, the establishment
21 of the joint forces of the special police units, as well as the
22 operational and tactical tasks and duties during the course of the
23 operation, and all this within the context of the combat operations.
24 After the completion of Operation Storm, he describes the role of
25 the units of the special police joint forces in the task of searching the
1 terrain of recently-liberated areas, under the command of the Main Staff
2 of the Croatian Army.
3 He notes the terminological differences, how the mopping-up
4 operation and search of the terrain operations are defined from the
5 aspect of the military and police duties, as well as the standard
6 procedure for the implementation of the search of the terrain in
7 liberated areas after Operation Storm.
8 That was the summary, Mr. President, and now, if you allow me, I
9 would move to the examination. In agreement with my learned friend from
10 the Prosecutor's office, I was given allowance to ask some leading
11 questions that relate to Mr. Repinc's CV and biography in order to be as
12 expeditious as possible. If the Chamber agrees, I would begin.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed. Of course you'll understand
14 that especially biographical details are not in need of any repetition.
15 So if there is anything you would like to add to that, but otherwise we
16 have a biography in the first chapter of the report, which is not in need
17 of repetition.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you.
20 Q. [Interpretation] General, looking at your CV, we can see that you
21 were educated in military schools, beginning with the Military Gymnasium,
22 and then at the Land Forces Military Academy
23 completing various courses as you have described. You have also
24 described your duties in military units. My question is this: Until
25 1991, when you became a member of the Croatian Army, you were a member of
1 the former Yugoslav People's Army; is that right?
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Please tell us, in connection with this, just one detail. During
4 the existence of the former Yugoslavia
5 of Yugoslavia
6 the republics that were integral parts of Yugoslavia; did they have their
7 own separate military units that would be under the management of each
9 A. As far as I know, there was Territorial Defence, which was under
10 the jurisdiction of each republic. That is to say, each republic was in
11 charge of organising, equipping, and training Territorial Defence, which
12 existed for the needs of the defence of the whole federation, that is to
13 say, the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, as it was then
15 Q. However, the Yugoslav People's Army, as the military system of
16 the former Yugoslavia
17 A. What do you mean? In what sense? Organisationally? At its head
18 was the Federal Secretariat of National Defence, and there were military
19 areas which territorially covered the entire territory of the
20 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- Socialist Federative Republic of
22 Q. At the time when the Yugoslav People's Army and the Federation
23 still existed, was there any republican army, whether in the
24 Republic of Croatia
25 that were members of the former Yugoslavia
1 A. As I said, there was Territorial Defence, which had the duty of
2 defending the republics, but also its duty was to defend the Federation,
3 as a whole.
4 Q. Once the Republic of Croatia
5 the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, did Croatia have its
6 military component, that is to say, its own army?
7 A. At that moment, not anymore, because the Territorial Defence had
8 been placed under the jurisdiction of the federal authorities.
9 Q. And what happened with the units of the Yugoslav People's Army
10 which had been stationed in the territory of the Republic of Croatia
11 A. These units, which had then been in that area, remained in the
12 area. That is to say, they were active in accordance with the laws of
13 the then Yugoslavia
14 Q. In September 1991, we became a member of the Croatian Army. Can
15 you just briefly explain to us, how did this come about?
16 A. Well, it was very simple. After everything that was happening in
17 the Republic of Croatia
18 Yugoslav People's Army. I submitted a request to leave it. The request
19 could not be realised, so I simply left the former army, and I joined the
20 then Zagreb Corps which was operating in the area of the city of Zagreb
21 Q. And since that time, to this day, you have been a member of the
22 Croatian Army and you performed various duties?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I can see from your CV, General, that from January 1995 until
25 June 1996, you co-operated with the US firm MPRI. Please be so kind and
1 briefly describe to us what kind of company is that and what sort of
2 co-operation was that?
3 A. Well, MPRI is an American military advisory company which employs
4 former members of the US Army, officers and non-commissioned officers,
5 which offers its services on the market. These are services that relate
6 to various fields, I would say various military areas, that these
7 officers and non-commissioned officers were responsible for during their
8 military careers in such a way that their knowledge and expertise and
9 experience is something that they now provide to certain countries which
10 wish to implement this if not fully, then at least to be acquainted with
11 the basic elements of the manner in which certain areas are viewed within
12 the US
13 training, managing personnel, and so on and so forth.
14 So, actually, what this was about was that the company was
15 supposed -- through Croatian officers, not directly, by addressing the
16 Croatian troops, but through Croatian officers who worked in
17 co-ordination with them, was supposed to pass on certain knowledge and
18 experience into the Croatian military system.
19 Q. Do you know how the MPRI firm was hired or, actually, who
20 hired it?
21 A. Well, I cannot tell you all the details, but I know that an
22 agreement was signed between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of
24 they entered the Republic of Croatia
25 on the basis of certain elements that had been agreed on earlier, how and
1 in what way this company would work and what it would do for the needs of
2 the Croatian Army.
3 Q. After that experience, you also attended and completed the
4 American Command and General Staff course, then you were the chief of the
5 Operative Planning Department, and then you worked and you still work as
6 a teacher and a lecturer in the War College
7 another duty beginning in December 2005 until December 2007, when you
8 were assigned the commander of the UN mission in Kashmir. Can you tell
9 us, in a few sentences, what this was all about?
10 A. After I was elected to be head of the mission, that is to say, at
11 the end of December 2005, I took over the role of what was, in fact,
12 called commander, or chief military observer, in actual fact - that's the
13 term that was used - with the task of the mission's remit, which means to
14 monitor surveillance and reporting along the line between the Pakistani
15 and Indian forces in the general area of Kashmir and all the tasks
16 related to that; that is to say, this involved patrolling, gathering
17 information, and conducting investigations, should there be any
18 violations of the cease-fire agreement. Also, it involved sending out
19 reports to the UN Command, co-operation with the Pakistani and Indian
20 armies in that area, and all the other tasks that a mission of that kind
22 Q. And how many people did the UN mission number? How many people
23 did you command?
24 A. Well, the UNMOGIP mission was a relatively small one and had 124
25 persons, but it covered an extremely large area.
1 Q. We're now going to move on to your expert report, itself,
3 After the independence of the Republic of Croatia
4 Trial Chamber has heard much evidence about the armed conflicts that
5 ensued, the aggression that ensued in the area, and Croatia, in a way,
6 was faced before the establishment of its own republican army and, of
7 course, the planning of that army. And I'm referring here to
8 paragraph 23 of your expert report where you state that since 1991, in
9 actual fact, before the civilian and military authorities, the imperative
10 was to plan offensive operations to liberate the occupied territories.
11 Now, can you please tell us something about those operations in
12 greater detail, the planning operations that took place at the beginning
13 of 1991 or, rather, October 1991?
14 A. Well, yes. The establishment of the Croatian Army or
15 National Guards Corps and the Main Staff of the Croatian Army, after the
16 conflicts that occurred and after the part of the territory was occupied,
17 it was quite normal that our prime task was to liberate those areas as
18 soon as possible. And in view of that, the functions of the Main Staff
19 were to plan the operations -- to plan operations which were intended to
20 liberate those occupied territories in conformity with the circumstances
21 that prevailed in 1991 and all the subsequent years; that is to say,
22 looking at not only the military conditions and circumstances, but the
23 political ones as well during that period.
24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] May we have document 3D00625 put
25 up on our screens, please.
1 It's a document that you quote, General, in your expert report,
2 in footnote number 1, and it is an order from the chief of the
3 Main Staff, dated the 15th of October, 1991.
4 Your Honours, I omitted a technical detail. We provided the
5 general with two binders containing the documents stipulated in the
6 footnotes to his expert report in order to make it easier to go through
7 all the documents, and we informed our learned friends of the Prosecution
8 about that.
9 JUDGE ORIE: I spotted the binders, already, Mr. Mikulicic,
10 clearly visible for the Chamber. There were two --
11 MR. MIKULICIC: It's not easy to -- not to see them.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. There's no objection against this very
13 practical way of proceeding.
14 Please proceed.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Repinc, this is an order, as I said, from the chief of the
17 Main Staff issued at that time. It was Colonel General Tus. The date is
18 the 15th of October, 1991, and you quote it. Can you briefly tell us
19 about that? May we have your comments?
20 A. What this order shows is that it relates to the liberation of the
21 entire territory of the Republic of Croatia
22 exclusively linked to individual areas, but was comprehensive and issued
23 instructions to all the operative zones that existed at that point in
24 time. And the objective was, if I can put it that way, a radical one;
25 that is to say, liberating these areas and reaching the borders of the
1 recognised Republic of Croatia
2 that it stipulates the manner in which this operation must be conducted,
3 which is that conditions must be created to introduce stronger forces, to
4 route the enemy, to surround the enemy, without expanding into other
5 areas and without mopping up the territory.
6 So to reach the borders, surround the enemy troops, and -
7 although it doesn't say so here, it is implied - once that is
8 accomplished, then those enclaves which had been surrounded should be
9 forced to surrender or would be destroyed one by one, depending on the
10 situation. But what is important here is that there are no frontal
11 onslaughts with enemy forces, which would slow down the tempo but lead to
12 greater casualties. So that was what was stipulated in this order. And
13 urgency was required.
14 I'd also like to state that in this order, just as in a series of
15 other orders that were issued at that time from the level of the
16 Main Staff, the armed forces, in actual fact, were told that in
17 organising an operation of this kind, they must organise participation
18 and co-ordination with all the other elements which, in one way or
19 another, armed or unarmed, contribute to the defence of the
20 Republic of Croatia
21 Republic of Croatia
22 the order sets out the responsibility to co-ordinate with the forces of
23 the Ministry of the Interior.
24 And since I know that this is something that was said all the
25 time and repeated again and again, and it is defined in point 11, in
1 item 11 of that order, that the manner of conduct by members of the armed
2 forces, in conducting an operation of this kind, should be to prevent all
3 abuse, all violence, looting, crimes, and everything else, and that this
4 order should be implemented in a highly disciplined fashion.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I'd now like to tender this
6 document into evidence, Mr. President.
7 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
10 Exhibit D1913. Thank you.
11 JUDGE ORIE: D1913 is admitted into evidence.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Now may we have 3D00601, please, the next document. It is a
15 document from 1992, a directive for implementing a strategic offensive by
16 the Croatian Army. And the document is described in footnote number 4 of
17 your expert report.
18 Q. Now, following on from what you've already told us, that other
19 orders followed, other documents followed on the same subject, we're now
20 going to put this one to you, the directive from 1992, which once again
21 was issued by the chief of the Main Staff at the time, General Anton Tus.
22 To begin with, Mr. Repinc, could you just explain to us, in the
23 professional military sense, what the term "directive" means, or, rather,
24 "order"? What is the difference between an order and a directive, or the
25 similarities between the two?
1 A. Well, in the final instance, there is no major difference or
2 should not be. However, a directive is something that is issued from a
3 top level of command and control, and, in fact, in the way it is written,
4 it is -- the language used is freer.
5 MR. MIKULICIC: I'll read out the number of the document again.
6 I apologise for interrupting. 3D00601 is the number.
7 Q. And I apologise if I interrupt you. Please continue, Mr. Repinc.
8 A. As I was saying, a directive is far more general and gives leeway
9 to the commanders to whom it is issued to plan operations in their area
10 of responsibility, whereas an order is a precise document, no ambiguity
11 at all, and it must be implemented as the order was issued; that is to
12 say, that all the tasks mentioned in the order must be carried out in the
13 way stipulated by the order.
14 Therefore, what I would say is this: The amount of leeway that
15 the two allow a commander, a directive gives greater leeway to a
16 commander because it is more general. But if there is a decision and if
17 tasks have been set, as they have been in this particular case, then they
18 must be carried out because an order, as a document, should have the
19 force of law vis-à-vis those required to implement it.
20 Q. Can you tell us, please, looking at this particular directive,
21 whether you noticed any specific features which would be characteristic
22 and important?
23 A. Well, this directive, just like the previous order that we saw,
24 in fact, says the same. It is demanding that the entire
25 Republic of Croatia
1 which this should be done. It stipulates the manner in which the
2 Main Staff and the resources that the Main Staff will use to support the
3 operation zones in carrying out their tasks.
4 And another thing that I'd like to mention is that in point 12 it
5 defines that all attempts at brutality, violence, looting towards the
6 population, should be prevented and that all the tasks should be carried
7 out in a highly disciplined fashion, as befits the conduct of the armed
8 force in general.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: May I have a number for this document, please
10 Mr. President, please.
11 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
14 Exhibit D1914. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ORIE: D1914 is admitted into evidence.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] May we now have a 65 ter
17 document. 3D00612 is the number.
18 Q. And taking it in chronological order, you quote this document
19 next in footnote number 6 of your expert report, and it is an annual
20 order for training for the commands and units of the Croatian Army for
21 1994. So, first of all, we saw an order, then we looked at a directive,
22 and now we're looking at an annual order, as it's called.
23 Can you tell us what type of order this document is? What is
24 this annual order?
25 A. With the arrival of General Bobetko as chief of the Main Staff, a
1 lot of changes took place in the way in which the Main Staff functioned.
2 And by certain plans that were devised, the Ministry of Defence or armed
3 forces were directed towards the manner in which they should focus in
4 their future preparations on military operations. And within that
5 framework, annual reports began to be issued for training, and their
6 prime goal was to determine the priorities in training for the military
7 districts and for the various units.
8 They were given a general remit and topic, and then that topic
9 was a priority when the training courses were planned and implemented,
10 when exercises and drills were held in the terrain, and when training
11 plans and programmes were designed in military schools and all other
12 courses designed to train the troops and educate them, so that a system
13 would be set up whereby the units and the commands would be trained to
14 plan their operations during that period of time and to create the
15 necessary organisational prerequisites, material, and other training
16 facilities so that when a decision is made to go forward into a major
17 combat operation, the troops would be ready to carry a task out -- of
18 that kind out.
19 Q. Now, if we were to look at point 2 of that document, which is on
20 the following page both in the Croatian and in the English versions, we
21 would see the following. It says:
22 "The training of commands and units should be organised and
23 implemented on the basis of training plans and programmes for the
24 training of soldiers and units, focusing on the contents of the annual
25 topic, the defence operation of the Croatian Army, and preparedness for a
2 Now, could we have your comments to that portion of this order
3 relating to the annual tasks or the topic?
4 A. Now, with respect to this particular topic, the important thing
5 to note here is that the units were required to prepare themselves for
6 defence operations, but not to stop there, not to stop at defence, but to
7 move on to the next stage, which was that after a successful defence had
8 been planned, a counter-attack should be planned, plans should be devised
9 for counter-attacks for the military districts and for the implementation
10 of their training programmes, which meant a counter-attack which was
11 designed to resolve all the problems or, rather, to liberate the areas
12 under their responsibility, and the guards brigades or smaller units to
13 conduct counter-attacks as far as they were capable of doing within their
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Might I have a number for this
16 document now, please, Mr. President.
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document becomes Exhibit D1915.
20 Thank you.
21 JUDGE ORIE: D1915 is admitted into evidence.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Let us now look at the next document. That's 3D00613, and it's
24 the annual order for 1995, which is mentioned under footnote 7 of your
25 expert report. And I would ask if we could move on to the next page of
1 this order, please, so that we could see items 1 and 2.
2 Q. General, we have seen in the previous document, under item 2,
3 that the annual topic was the defence operation with a move to a
4 counter-attack. And in this annual order for the year 1995 we can see
5 that in item 1.2 is another annual topic which is called
6 "Offensive Operation." As laymen, we can see that there is an evolution
7 in the understanding of the use of the army, but I would ask you to
8 provide an expert comment on this, if you can.
9 A. During 1994, a great number of staff trainings were conducted, as
10 well as various exercises in which members of the armed forces and
11 members of the command were trained to be able to move from defence into
12 attack. And through these trainings and exercise, this was confirmed,
13 and obviously the chief of the Main Staff believed that we should move to
14 the next stage, that is to say, begin to plan and implement an offensive
15 operation for the liberation of the entire territory.
16 This shift of focus from defence to attack showed first, in my
17 view, that the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia
18 trained and were still being trained at the time to implement such a
19 complex operation, but this also shows that evidently the conclusion was
20 drawn that the issue of the occupied territories of the Republic of
22 liberating these areas.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have a number for
24 this document, Mr. President.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: This document becomes Exhibit D1916. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ORIE: D1916 is admitted into evidence.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. General, this Chamber has already heard evidence about the
6 operations of the Croatian Army conducted in 1995; namely,
7 Operations Flash and Storm even more so. Were these operations actually
8 a continuation of the activities of the army in terms of the activities
9 that were set out in these directives and annual orders, as we have seen
10 them? How would you describe that?
11 A. It would be absurd to claim that all the plans and orders were
12 made or issued in a context in which something was supposed to be done
13 but nothing was really achieved. So looking back on everything that was
14 being done, I believe that these were actually expert military and other
15 preparations which were supposed to lead to the operations that were
16 conducted during the year 1995.
17 Q. General, now we shall focus on the role of the joint activities
18 of the Croatian Army and police, which you describe in your expert report
19 beginning at item 37.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] And for this purpose, I would ask
21 if we could please see the document D1088.
22 Q. By way of introduction, you said what followed from the directive
23 dating from 1991 and the later years that, for the needs of defence,
24 members of the Ministry of the Interior would also be engaged.
25 Here we see a document dating from the month of December 1991
1 which was issued by the deputy minister of the interior, Mr. Josko Moric,
2 and which was sent personally to the chief of Croatian Army
3 General Staff, Mr. Tus. And this is a report on engaging members of
4 police administrations in combat operations.
5 Can you tell us, from the expert military point of view, how did
6 this actually operate, this co-ordination between the members of the
7 Ministry of the Interior, that is to say, policemen, on the one hand,
8 and, on the other, the Ministry of Defence, that is to say, the armed
9 forces of the Republic of Croatia
10 and how was the co-ordination achieved?
11 A. Well, we should perhaps start with the situation, how the special
12 police units were established and for what reasons and why did it
13 function as it did. As we have said, as there were no other legal bases
14 in 1991 for establishing any elements that would focus on anti-terrorist
15 activities and other defence tasks, the only thing that could be done and
16 that was legitimate and based in law was to establish certain forces
17 within the Ministry of the Interior which could react to the situation
18 that arose after the month of August 1990; that is to say, after the
19 rebellion of Serbs firstly in Knin and then in other areas.
20 So even earlier, there was a so-called republic unit, the
21 anti-terrorist unit Lucko, but that was the only force that was in charge
22 of resolving hostage situations and establishing public law and order and
23 carrying out anti-terrorist activities. There was also a part of the
24 so-called special police units. However, only one of them in the city of
1 actually to be activated only as necessary if there were major problems
2 as regards public law and order in the territory of the
3 Republic of Croatia
4 Around the 5th of August, 1995 [as interpreted], in accordance
5 with the situation, the training of Croatian policemen was started.
6 Around 90 members completed it. And in September, a certain number of
7 them were selected to reinforce the anti-terrorist unit of Lucko, and
8 special police units were also established in Rakici, Tuskanac,
9 Crikvenica, and other places.
10 So, first of all, as the colonel of the future Armed Forces of
11 the Republic of Croatia
12 these forces could not respond to the needs because these forces were
13 something that I would compare to the classical light infantry. They had
14 infantry weapons and light anti-armoured weapons, and therefore these
15 forces had no capability to oppose the armoured units of the former
16 Yugoslav Army and the rebelled Serbs in the Republic of Croatia
17 this is why the Law on the Interior was changed in the month of
18 April 1995 [as interpreted] in order to provide the possibility to form
19 the National Guards Corps, which happened later on, so that actually some
20 of the personnel who had completed this training could now state whether
21 they wanted still to be members of the Special Police or they wanted to
22 join the National Guards Corps. And we can actually say that the
23 Special Police was the basis of the Armed Forces of the
24 Republic of Croatia
25 So in that way, later on when the Law on Defence was changed in
1 the month of September 1991, and the Main Staff was established as well
2 as the National Guards Corps, that is to say, the Croatian Army,
3 conditions were provided to establish all other units, because, as I
4 said, without strong infantry and armoured units, without artillery
5 units, without anti-aircraft defence units and all other units, it was
6 absolutely impossible to wage war in the Republic of Croatia
7 what was happening in this period was that I would say there was a sort
8 of transfer of responsibility, in a way, for the defence from the
9 Special Police to the Croatian Army.
10 And along these lines, as the special police units were also
11 engaged in combat operations, such as liberating Pakrac and in Okucani,
12 in the area of the Plitvice Lakes
13 these units would continue to operate in the same manner but not
14 independently anymore but, rather, together with the Croatian Army, which
15 was chiefly responsible for the armed combat. And it was important how
16 to define the mutual relations between the special police units and the
17 armed forces, that is to say, the Main Staff. And what Mr. Moric, as the
18 deputy minister, stated in this memo was that these relations should be,
19 first of all, co-ordinated and there should be co-operation.
20 Q. Just for reference, you're referring to the document, the second
21 page, section 4, that talks about mutual relations; is that right?
22 A. Yes, that is correct. Actually, the request was they should not
23 command each other. However, it is also mentioned that when the police,
24 at the request of the Command of the Croatian Army, is to be engaged in
25 war operations, then the police units would be placed under the command
1 of the Croatian Army, with the obligation of the Croatian Army to
2 support, logistically and in every other way, the police unit which
3 operates jointly with the military forces. And this actually means that
4 once it was agreed from the level of the Main Staff and approved by the
5 minister of the interior that special police units could be engaged in
6 this manner, that at that moment the police units and, in particular, the
7 special police units, became part of the combat forces which were engaged
8 in combat operations, were placed under the Command of the Main Staff or
9 any other command that had to conduct these operations.
10 Something that also needs to be noted, however, is that what was
11 insisted on and requested was that these units be engaged only in
12 accordance with their combat capabilities and the remit of work for which
13 they were trained and equipped and which was their responsibility at the
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for this answer.
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I just rise to my feet. There may be an error
17 at page 22, line 23, with regard to the year, as well as page 23,
18 line 10.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Repinc, you quoted and said that around the
21 5th of August, 1995, there was a training of Croatian policemen?
22 A. In 1990. Not 1995, but rather 1990.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Also, Mr. Repinc, at page 23, line 10,
25 "April 1995."
1 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. You said that there was a change in the Law on the Interior, and
3 you mentioned the month of April 1995.
4 A. 1991. I apologise. The Law on the Interior was changed in the
5 month of April 1991.
6 Q. Thank you. Later on, the law was changed again, and this is why
7 I would like us to see the document P1148, in which, actually, for the
8 very first time, the notion of special police and the duties of special
9 police were defined, which you quote in item 42 of your expert report,
10 where you say that to fight against all forms of sabotage and terrorism,
11 to prevent the abduction of persons and means of transport, free
12 hostages, and perform other duties under the domain of the ministry under
13 special conditions, that this is the only purpose for which the special
14 police is established.
15 However, as you already described, since 1991 the special police
16 participated in combat operations. And here in item 45, you say that,
17 actually, the first action which marked the beginning of intensive
18 deployment of special police units in the area of Mount Velebit
19 area from which Operation Storm was launched in 1995 was an operation
20 called "Viper 1" or "Poskok 1," which began in late April and ended in
21 late September 1992. Could you please tell us something about this
22 action, Mr. Repinc, as well as something about the importance of the area
23 of Mount Velebit
25 A. I wish to note before that that it is true that the law actually
1 mentions for the first time special police, as defined therein. However,
2 as I said, as early as in 1990 or 1991, there was also the anti-terrorist
3 unit Lucko as well as special police units, as they were called at the
4 time. First they were called "Milicija" and then, later on, special
5 police or police. And on the 15th of November, 1991, the then minister
6 of the interior, Mr. Ivan Vekic, actually issued an order which
7 established special police units in all police administrations. And the
8 numbers were specified, how many members should there be in each police
9 administration, and the number was around 100 to 150 members.
10 And it was also defined that reserve units of special police
11 should also be established with the same number of men. So the genesis
12 originates at the time. In order to be able to operate and command these
13 units, a Special Police Detachment was also established, but it was part
14 of the ordinary police. And then, later on, beginning in 1993, a sector
15 was also established, and it then changed. And with this law, it was
16 defined that the special police was an integral part of the Ministry of
17 the Interior and an independent element of the military and police forces
18 of the Ministry of the Interior.
19 As for --
20 Q. Just to help the Trial Chamber out, you are referring to P527 or
21 D527, which is the document on the internal setup of the
22 Ministry of the Interior. And I believe that the Trial Chamber has
23 already heard about that.
24 Go ahead, please.
25 A. As far as the Viper 1 or Poskok 1 operation was concerned, it was
1 launched from the level of the Ministry of the Interior, that is to say,
2 not from the level of the armed forces, and the object was to see that
3 this very complex area be protected from infiltration by various sabotage
4 units and groups, thus jeopardising the area and cutting off
5 communication between Gracac, Gospic, and Karlobag, and to prevent these
6 forces from endangering the Adriatic motorway under Mount Velebit
7 And I'd also like to say, and I think this is important in this
8 context, that the fact that in 1992 the special police arrived at Velebit
9 and remained there for the next three years certainly enabled them to
10 become very well acquainted with the area and to function better in
11 Operation Storm, particularly on the first and second days. However, on
12 the other hand, I should like to say that it wasn't usual for the special
13 police, which had its remit of operations, to be given a certain area to
14 protect and defend for almost three years. That is something that the
15 armed forces should be charged with doing and not the special police,
16 especially as the tasks of the special police were determined. So where
17 the need arose, they were, in fact, engaged and involved. But here we
18 have a situation whereby the special police, in actual fact, entered the
19 area and then for the next three years, deploying different combat
20 tactics, it expanded the area so that at the beginning of Operation Storm
21 they would move to implement the attack on those premises.
22 Q. General, sir, in paragraphs 46 and 47 you refer to the operations
23 which in 1993 were implemented and in which the special police was
24 involved, but what I'd like to ask you now is for your comments on what
25 you say in paragraph 48, the question of capacitating the troops through
1 the civilian and police system of education and training conducted by the
2 special police.
3 A. The special police, just like the armed forces, had to evolve by
4 gaining greater knowledge and capabilities to carry out their tasks. And
5 along those lines, after the first courses were completed and after the
6 special police engaged intensively in combat operations, what happened
7 was that there was a lull in their professional development, that is to
8 say, the members of the special police's development and training, there
9 was a pause. And they wanted to put this right by having the special
10 police, who were already trained, training others, and also by sending
11 individuals to attend courses which were organised in Croatia
12 have the exact figures now, but I do know that the members were trained,
13 and also members of the Special Police Sectors, for example, the
14 Internal Control Department, was trained by authority of the Main Staff,
15 and the sector was also called to attend extra training organised within
16 the Main
17 responsibilities within joint action in the operations.
18 Now, the turning point took place, a major turning point, in the
19 training in the Special Police Centre in Kofrcan, and there, at the
20 initiative of the assistant minister, General Markac, this centre was to
21 be established. The minister okayed it. And the centre devised certain
22 plans and programmes for courses to be held there. As I say, those
23 courses were approved. And in the course of 1995, two courses were
24 organised for the leaders of the groups and units and for the commanders
25 of the special units. About 135 of them attended those two-month
1 courses. And at the courses they studied tactics, military tactics
2 principally - that's the military part - but also police tactics which
3 the special police applied principally within the frameworks of searching
4 the terrain, mopping up the terrain after an operation.
5 Now, what I want to say in this context is that if we look at the
6 teaching plan and programme, it was implemented mostly at lower levels,
7 that is to say, the level of squads, if you look at the military
8 equivalent. And we know that during Operation Storm, for example, the
9 special police functioned, I would say, almost -- well, not on a daily
10 basis, but mostly during those days it was established within five
11 battalions. But this kind of training was not implemented, and that is
12 why the commanders leading these various units for operations at that
13 level, their training was questionable because they were able to gain the
14 kind of experience they needed exclusively through combat operations,
15 whereas combat operations conducted by the military police were few and
16 far between. Operation Flash was one, and then later on there was
17 another at Maslenica and the Medak pocket, and their duration and the
18 area over which they were conducted, and the forces that were deployed,
19 were quite different to Operation Storm where, in terms of troop numbers
20 and organisation and complexity, the complexity of the tasks themselves,
21 it was something quite different, something that none of those people
22 had, in fact, experienced beforehand.
23 Q. You spoke about the training of troops, with emphasis on military
24 skills. However, during the training process, one of the subjects taught
25 was relationships related to International War Law.
1 MR. MIKULICIC: And I would now like to have Exhibit 3D00905
2 exhibited, please. Document 3D00905.
3 Q. [Interpretation] And you, yourself, refer to that document in
4 footnote 16 or paragraph 51 of your expert report, and it is a manual for
5 conduct in combat stress situations. And on page 20 of that manual, we
6 have reference to prohibited methods of behaviour and conduct.
7 Could you tell us, please, General, how far the members of the
8 special police were informed about International War Law through this
10 A. Well, it's difficult for me to say because I did not take part in
11 the training of those forces, so I can't say in what way the special
12 police were informed about the subject. However, what I would like to
13 say is that the Ministry of the Interior did issue this manual for the
14 requirements of its members, and I assume that if the ministry took a
15 step like that, then it also determined how the manual would be
16 implemented during the training sessions and how it would be implemented
17 generally in practice.
18 In this regard, I'd like to say that within the frameworks of the
19 training courses at Kofrcan that the special forces attended, within
20 those training plans and programmes, within the frameworks of the
21 theoretical topics which were taught for a period of 20 hours, they
22 included topic 2, that is to say, International War Law, and from that
23 I'm able to conclude that International War Law was studied at courses of
24 this type.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I think there may be another
1 error at page 30, line 6, in the interests of clarity of the record, a
2 reference to military police.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. General, you said that later on combat operations were conducted
5 by the military police, which -- as it says in the record. Did you
6 actually say "military police" or did you say something else?
7 A. If I said "military police," I misspoke, I made a mistake. I
8 meant to say "Special Police," and I'm only speaking in referring to the
9 special police.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Ms. Mahindaratne, for being careful.
11 Q. [Interpretation] General, in paragraph 53 of your report, you
12 speak of the strength of units, special police units. Can you just
13 briefly explain to us how they were set up and what the strength of the
14 units were?
15 A. In reading through all the various documents following the war
16 and so on, the title of the units, themselves, and what the military
17 equivalent would be to a unit of this type presents problems, even to the
18 members who organise combat operations. So we refer to brigades, we
19 speak about brigades, we speak about battalions, we speak about
20 companies, and so on and so forth; however, this cannot be deduced from
21 the organisation of the special police, itself, because within the police
22 administrations we did not have a unit that would be called a special
23 police platoon or a special police company, those terms. They were
24 simply referred to as units, special police units or a special police
25 unit. And depending on the Police Administration or Department, and I
1 think that this was on the basis of the size of the
2 Police Administration, itself, or the county concerned from which the
3 special unit was organised, those units varied from 100 to 250 members.
4 And in keeping with that type of organisation, a commander was at the
5 head of each of those units, and then the rest of the component was
6 organised by virtue of the number of members it had. This means that a
7 unit that was smaller would have fewer instructors, fewer specialist
8 training instructors, and so on.
9 But something I did not include in my report is this: In
10 principle, if you go from bottom to top, the number of special police
11 members as classical soldiers, and then their leaders, the leaders of the
12 specialist groups, which in military terms could be termed to be a squad,
13 I would say that the ratio was 1:7, which means that one leader of a
14 specialist group -- you had one leader to seven members of a special
15 police group. Whether it was six or eight, that was also possible, but
16 seven would be an average number. So above that you would have
17 instructors, specialist training instructors, and then deputies --
18 commanders and deputy commanders.
19 So a unit that had 100 members, the commander had 2 assistants or
20 deputies; and at the level of a unit of 250 men, he would have 3
21 assistants or deputies. So, in organisational terms, the unit was
22 organised in such a way as to have an equivalent number of instructors --
23 or, rather, for them to be able to conduct training within the unit, the
24 necessary number of instructors, so -- and commanders to be able to
25 command the individuals in the group. So this was how this was
1 determined in organisational terms.
2 But let me stress once again that when you had units of this kind
3 and when you tried to organise them for a set purpose later on and line
4 them up one beside the other, it was very difficult to say that two
5 units, for example, would now be the equivalent of a company, or three
6 units would be the equivalent of a battalion, or anything of that kind.
7 What I want to mention here is, and I assume we'll come to that
8 later on in due course, is that a unit, as a unit, per se, had a
9 commander, it had assistants or deputies, and the situation was
10 satisfactory for the classical tasks of a special police unit. But for
11 greater operations, larger combat operations of greater intensity, when
12 you lined up and conjoined these units and then had to command them,
13 that's where the problem arose, because there would be a shortage of
14 commanders for units of that kind.
15 Q. Yes, you're quite right, we will come to that topic in due
16 course, General.
17 Before the break, I'd just like to ask you --
18 MR. MIKULICIC: I would just like to ask for a number for the
19 65 ter document 3D00905, which is the manual titled "Combat Stress
20 Behaviours" issued by the Ministry of the Interior.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, before we enter into a new area - I'm
22 looking at the clock, it's 10.30 - would this be an appropriate moment to
23 have a break?
24 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour. I just would like to introduce
25 this document into the evidence, and then we could take the break. So
1 this is 3D00905.
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
5 Exhibit D1917. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ORIE: D1917 is admitted into evidence.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I would like to inform the parties that Judge Kinis,
9 for urgent personal reasons, will not be able to sit the remainder of
10 today's hearing, and that the remaining Judges, that is, Judge Gwaunza
11 and myself, are satisfied that it's in the interests of justice to
12 continue hearing the evidence of this expert witness, and, therefore, we
13 order that the hearing of the case will continue. And we are well within
14 the limits of the five days of Rule 15 bis, because Judge Kinis will be
15 with us tomorrow again.
16 We'll have a break, and we'll resume at five minutes to 11.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, before we continue, the Chamber has
20 wondered several times during this first session to what extent sometimes
21 the level of detail assisted the Chamber and to what extent there is some
22 repetition; for example, the ratio of troops and those in command or
23 those in leading groups. Clearly it appears in 53, and we spent time on
24 that, which is mainly repetitious, and whether it's 1:6 or 1:6.3 or 1:7,
25 to have that all explained in full detail, whereas a simple reference to
1 the ratio which can be deducted from the report, anyhow, would certainly
2 have done. Therefore, would you please keep this in mind in the
3 continuation of your examination-in-chief.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: I will try to find the proper balance on that,
5 Your Honour.
6 Q. [Interpretation] So let us continue, Mr. Repinc. And now we will
7 move to Chapter 6 of your expert report. These are the command relations
8 within the Special Police of the Ministry of the Interior of the
9 Republic of Croatia
10 Could we please see D527 on the screen. This is the
11 Decree on the Internal Organisation and Manner of Work of the
12 Ministry of Interior which you refer to in footnote 18. This Chamber has
13 had the opportunity to see this decree on the organisation; but for the
14 needs of your expert testimony, I would ask you to clarify paragraph 55,
15 if you can, and that's the way in which Colonel General Mladen Markac, as
16 the assistant minister who was in charge of special police, issued tasks
17 to members of the special police in a situation when they were not
18 engaged in combat operations.
19 A. The Special Police Unit was an integral part of the police
20 administration of a certain county. Only the anti-terrorist unit Lucko
21 was directly subordinated to the Sector of Special Police, which means
22 that all the orders which were issued to the special police units to
23 carry out specific tasks were not and could not be sent directly to the
24 commander of the special unit, but only to the chief of the police
25 administration within which this unit was, because this is the normal
1 operation, that the person who is superior should know what is requested
2 from his subordinates at every moment, so that all the documents which
3 were drafted were sent and addressed personally to the chief of
4 Police Administration, with a request that the document, whether it was
5 an order or something else, be handed to the commander of the
6 Special Police Unit. And in this way the chief of the
7 Police Administration knew if his unit had received a task from the chief
8 or deputy chief of the Special Police Sector to carry out certain tasks
9 which were outside the Police Administration, itself, and outside of the
10 remit of work and knowledge of that chief of Police Administration at the
12 Q. The situation was different when the so-called Joint Forces of
13 Special Police were established. How did the chain of command operate in
14 that situation?
15 A. When the joint forces were established and the staff or the
16 command of joint forces was established, once a special police unit from
17 the Police Administration needed to become a part of joint forces, then
18 the chain of command would go from the commander of the operation or
19 action, through the chief of staff, down to the commanders of certain
20 axes, and then further down to the commanders of the special units which
21 were parts of these axes. That means that, actually, at a moment when a
22 unit becomes a part of joint forces, then it is only commanded by the
23 commander of the action or operation or the commander of the command of
24 the joint forces.
25 Q. Let us look at the document 65 ter 3D00614. It is a document to
1 which you refer in footnote 20 in your expert report. And for the needs
2 of your expert opinion, you refer to Article 15, which reads:
3 "The commander of the special unit is responsible for the work of
4 the special unit police, to the chief of the Police Administration, and
5 the chief of the Police Administration or, exceptionally, his deputy
6 shall personally issue instruction for the performance of immediate tasks
7 under the domain of the special police."
8 Further on, you refer to Article 16, which reads:
9 "Special police units are used according to the decision of the
10 chief of the Police Administration, but if there is a need to use more
11 than 50 per cent of the personnel of the Police Administration
12 Special Unit for a period exceeding seven days, then the consent of the
13 chief of the Special Police Sector shall be sought."
14 This way of organising this from the proposed interim roles on
15 the internal order of the Special Police Sector, does that correspond to
16 what you concluded in your expert report?
17 A. Yes. This means that if a special police unit is to be used to
18 carry out tasks within the remit of its work within its police
19 administration, then the chief of this police administration issues the
20 orders to it. But if the task is to last more than seven days, and if
21 the total number of members who are engaged in the task is more than
22 50 per cent, then, actually, the request for the engagement of this unit
23 in such a way should be addressed for approval to the assistant minister
24 for special police.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I would tender this document into
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
5 Exhibit D1918. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ORIE: D1918 is admitted into evidence.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. There are other situations in which General Markac did not
9 command the special police units, and this is the situation to which you
10 refer in paragraph 57 of your expert report. Could you please comment on
11 this situation.
12 A. Well, at the moment when it is concluded or decided that special
13 police units would become an integral part of the forces which are
14 conducting a certain operation, and they are under the command of the
15 Main Staff, the chief of Main Staff may at that moment, if he deems it
16 necessary, place a part of these special forces under his own command and
17 actually command them directly or assign them to one of his subordinate
18 commanders. So if the unit finds itself in such a situation, then it is
19 not considered to be a part of the joint forces commanded by the
20 Joint Forces Staff, but this is a unit which has been excluded and placed
21 under the command -- either direct command of the chief of the Main Staff
22 or the commander to whom the chief of the Main Staff assigns such a unit.
23 Q. For the sake of reference, this is the document D1094 to which
24 you refer in footnote 21 of your expert report.
25 Let us now look at a situation about which the Chamber has heard
1 evidence, and that is the establishment of the Joint Forces Staff for the
2 needs of a specific operation. I would ask you to comment on this
3 establishment organisation from a military point of view.
4 A. Do you mean specifically in Operation Storm or generally?
5 Q. In Operation Storm.
6 A. As for Operation Storm, after the chief of Main Staff issued his
7 order on the 21st of July that in the area of Sepurine a special police
8 unit, 300 members strong, be sent there, on the basis of approval of the
9 minister of the interior and on the basis of the order which the
10 assistant minister, Mr. Markac, drafted, the Joint Forces Staff was
11 established, and then it needed to make all the necessary preparations so
12 that the joint forces could be organised and conduct the Operation Storm.
13 Q. Excuse me for interrupting you. For the needs of your further
14 evidence, I would ask for the document P554, if we could please see it on
15 the screen. It is about the establishment of the Joint Forces Staff.
16 Please go ahead.
17 A. This order was drafted in such a way that it was decided that the
18 Joint Forces Staff would have a total of 15 members. Ten of them were
19 from the Special Police Sector, whereas the other five members came
20 directly from the special police units from specific police
21 administrations. The staff, like any other military staff, should be
22 organised in such a way so as to enable command and monitoring, the
23 planning, organisation, and implementation of the operation for the
24 purpose of which it was established, which means that actually it should
25 be organised in such a way that it would cover the basic combat
1 operational systems, that is to say, the combat arms and elements which
2 are managed during the operation.
3 Q. Let me just ask you -- and excuse me for the interruption. In
4 paragraph 60, you say that the Joint Forces Staff of the special police
5 units of the Ministry of the Interior was not a military but a police
6 command, and you say that the special police units were actually a police
7 organisation and not a military one. So please have this on mind, and if
8 you can comment on it at the appropriate time.
9 A. Yes. Actually, I wanted to note that this way of organising the
10 staff, in which the staff is organised and comprised not only the members
11 of the sector but also included members from within the police
12 administrations, shows that the sector does not actually have sufficient
13 expertise to organise such a complex command and that specific persons
14 working in police administrations were more capable of working in such
15 staff than the persons working in the sector, and this is not a problem
16 at all. However, a problem which did arise during the conducting of the
17 operation was that some of the people from police administrations who
18 were now members of the staff, because of the operational needs to direct
19 the units during the operation, were withdrawn from the staff.
20 I also wish to note that in the analysis which General Markac
21 made after Operation Storm, he says that the forces which he commanded
22 and which were engaged in Operation Storm were equivalent to two
23 brigades, but they were only police ones, not military, because that was
24 2.200 men. They were engaged, and that would be one brigade. But what
25 is important was that such an organisation was managed by only 15 persons
1 who were supposed to be active, to work, to monitor, and command and
2 control these forces around the clock.
3 Another problem which arises when a staff like this is set up is
4 what happened during the operation, and that was that this small head, as
5 compared to a big body, was then further divided into two parts so that
6 the staff, itself, was divided to the basic command post, which was in
7 Seline, and the forward command post which was on Veliki Golic. So that
8 even this number of 15 members which was reduced 3 persons who had left
9 later on, so only 12 were left, was even further divided, so that
10 General Markac was at the main command post, and Brigadier Sacic, as his
11 deputy, was stationed at the forward command post on Veliki Golic.
12 It is true that on the 5th [Realtime transcript read in
13 error "15th"], in the afternoon, they linked up in Gracac. However, on
14 the first two days, it was very difficult - and I'm only saying this from
15 the military point of view - it was very difficult, with such a small
16 number of people, to monitor everything and operate normally in such a
17 way as to command the ongoing operations and plan the operations for the
18 following day.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: An error again at page 41, line 25. It's with
20 regard to the date. It says "on the 15th."
21 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] The record says --
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 5th. I said "on the 5th."
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for this intervention.
24 Q. Let us return to what I actually wanted to ask you, when you say
25 that we should take into account that this was police rather than
1 military organisation, when we are talking about joint forces, and when
2 we say that the staff, as you say in your expert report, was actually a
3 police rather than military command. What you just said, namely, the
4 issue of the ratio of the number of commanders and the size of the unit,
5 made you to draw such a conclusion, or are there any other elements that
6 you wish to comment on?
7 A. I think that it's very important to know that it's very difficult
8 to draw certain parallels between the military and the police
9 organisation in this sense, because when one goes back again to these
10 equivalents that we are talking about here, then one would see, for
11 example, that the number of persons that actually worked -- well, we can
12 compare that with the Guards Brigade or some other home guards unit in
13 terms of organisation, the number of persons within the command that were
14 part of this staff would be two to three times less compared to an
15 equivalent similar organisation, if we could draw a parallel like that.
16 But, again, I say it is very hard to make such comparisons, for
17 the simple reason that the way in which joint forces are organised in
18 compared to permanent structures of military forces are such that you
19 cannot really make such a comparison. If we were just to look at the
20 internal organisation of the staff, itself, then we would see --
21 I'm sorry, I don't see the bottom page. I don't see the bottom
22 part of the page. No, no, it's like this.
23 Q. Mr. Repinc, please allow me to intervene. When you're talking
24 about the numbers, can we look at the part in your report which is in
25 Article 68 or paragraph 68, where you say that it is evident with the
1 strain under which the staff was operating, for example, compared to the
2 Home Guards Regiment, which, according to the table of organisation,
3 would approximately have the equal number of men in the operation as the
4 members of the special police. So that Home Guard unit had 43 persons in
5 its headquarters, while the Guards Brigade, which was larger and numbered
6 almost 3.000 members, had as many as 56 members of the command. So then
7 when you compare this to the command on the formation of the staff, which
8 refers to 15 persons, then actually you can draw the conclusion that you
9 are talking about.
10 Do you agree with me on this point, Mr. Repinc?
11 A. Yes, but one would need to note that the organisation of the
12 special police was somewhat simpler, especially when we're talking about
13 the Home Guards Brigade, because it had more arms than that of the
14 special police. But we could draw a parallel with the
15 Home Guards Regiment, which had the same segments, more or less, plus
16 engineers that also the special police had, but it was not so important
17 and did not really participate in the actual operation.
18 Q. I'm interested in one more issue regarding the joint forces of
19 the special police. In paragraph 62 of your report, you say that the
20 joint or the collective special police forces is a general term for the
21 forces that performed the same task; and their size, composition, number
22 of units, and how they were led depended on the specific situation or on
23 the task that they were assigned, the enemy, the terrain, and so on and
24 so forth.
25 And then in paragraph 64, in the middle of the paragraph, you say
1 after the completion of the assigned task, the task organised forces are
2 disbanded and the troops return to their original organisations.
3 General, did you find, when you were reviewing the documents, any
4 data about the collective special police forces that were formed in that
5 particular composition, for example, for the Operation Storm, had any
6 kind of staff training or joint training, something that we would usually
7 see in military units?
8 A. As far as that is concerned, I know that for Operation Flash a
9 command was formed which was divided into two sectors. I didn't really
10 review the Flash operation, but I am sure that General Markac was a
11 commander there, that Brigadier Sacic was the chief of the staff, and
12 perhaps some other persons who were on this list were also in that
13 command. Perhaps I cannot be certain of that, but it's possible that
14 they did have some joint experience from working together, especially
15 because we're talking about an operation that didn't really last that
16 long, and you couldn't really gather that much joint experience.
17 But when we're talking about the organised -- forces organised
18 for special purposes, in order for them to be able to function
19 successfully and operate well, first of all, they need to be trained
20 together in peacetime in order to create certain regular, routine
21 relationships within the units that will comprise these special forces.
22 I think we're talking about a sort of general term here. In this term --
23 in this form in which they were used in the Operation Storm, they didn't
24 exist in that form before, which means that certain special police units
25 which comprised the forces which attacked along specific axes, if not all
1 of them, then definitely some of them never worked together and never met
2 before, nor had joint commanders during those operations. Which means
3 that during those routine relationships and mutual acquaintance between
4 the commanders, and all of that was not something that was a feature in
5 this particular case.
6 Q. Thank you for this answer. This is paragraph 65 from your expert
7 report, where you talk about the problem that arises in such a structure.
8 We can now move to the staff of those forces. And we see the
9 order on the screen, and it is quoted in your footnote number 25. And we
10 can see that the document is signed by the minister, Mr. Jarnjak - this
11 is on page 2 - and also by Mr. Mladen Markac, as the assistant in the
12 establishment of these joint forces. You are familiar with this
13 document. And I would like to ask you, for purposes of clarification, to
14 say how many members of the special police actually took part in those
15 special forces during Operation Storm.
16 A. As far as the staff itself is concerned, as it is stated in the
17 order, it's 15 persons. As for the Storm operation, according to the
18 analysis done by the assistant minister, in September there were about
19 2.200 members of the special police or an equivalent of two brigades who
20 participated in the operation. These were police units from the
21 18th County plus members from the Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit.
22 Q. Let us now look at paragraph 70 of your report, where you talk
23 about the situation when General Markac remained at the main command
24 post. And already you said that the chief of the brigade, Sacic, was at
25 the forward command post at Veliki Golic, and you said that this
1 deployment was a result of the organisation of the communications of
2 command and the relations between the -- or communication between the
3 Main Staff of the Croatian forces and the Main Staff of the special
4 forces because you could not really carry out this communication unless
5 it was done this way.
6 The Trial Chamber has already heard about the Rebus forces, but I
7 would like you to explain to us, briefly, what this is all about.
8 A. This is a system which is a simple encryption system which
9 functions between two computers, exclusively between two computers, which
10 means that those two computers have the same encryption key. And when a
11 certain text is entered, it can only be decoded with the use of the other
12 key on the other side. So the police did not have this system. It was
13 received for the purposes of the operation, and the encryption key was in
14 the Intelligence Administration of the Main Staff.
15 Major Ricko, who was sent by the Main Staff or the
16 Intelligence Administration - and this is also stated in the document -
17 he was an intelligence analyst. However, during that operation, that was
18 not his task. He was actually the person who was an administrator of
19 this encryption system in the main command post in Seline, and this
20 system, regardless of the fact that the command moved around -- and,
21 actually, it did not move from Seline but was there throughout that whole
22 period - and you can see that from the reports that were issued - with
23 the help of this encryption system and which was sent on the 4th and
24 the 5th, on the 6th and the 7th no reports were issued to the Main Staff.
25 And then, again, on the 8th and 9th, reports were sent, and in all these
1 reports that were sent with the Rebus system, the command post that is
2 stated is Seline.
3 Q. Does that mean that the Rebus system was the basic way of
4 communications between the Joint Forces Command and the Main Staff?
5 A. Yes, it was supposed to be a protected communications system in
6 order to dispatch basic documents such as reports and orders, but
7 evidently in some parts actually it wasn't used, because had it been
8 used, then General Markac would not be doing anything on the 6th and
9 the 7th because there would be no way for him to receive orders from the
10 chief of the Main Staff from D plus 1 and D plus 2, which means that some
11 of those orders did arrive via other systems. I would perhaps say
12 directly from specific persons from the Main Staff, sent to the
13 Joint Forces Staff or General Markac.
14 Q. Paragraph 71 of your report is where you conclude that the
15 process of command and control at the commencement of the operation, and
16 partly later, was such that General Markac received orders from the chief
17 of the Main Staff of the Croatian Army, transmitted them to the temporary
18 command post where the staff, headed by Brigadier Sacic, analysed them,
19 made decisions, and passed on the orders to commanders along the axis of
20 attack. In your view, how did such organisation effectively function in
21 the process of command and control?
22 A. Since the organisation proceeded in the manner that I described,
23 I came to these conclusions simply by reading all the analyses of the
24 activities of the special units which was sent to the
25 Special Police Sector. And when you read those reports, especially those
1 that refer to Operation Storm, one can conclude that the commanders
2 almost exclusively referred to the fact that the action commands or
3 orders were received mostly from Brigadier Sacic. But regardless of
4 whether they received them from Brigadier Sacic, the command structure
5 still started from General Markac down. And Brigadier Sacic, even though
6 it says that in the report, I never saw anywhere that he had such
7 authority. But evidently this structure was something that was agreed
8 upon, that was decided upon, and that Brigadier Sacic can, from his
9 level, issue commands that had been agreed upon and co-ordinated with the
10 orders issued from the Main Staff.
11 Q. Despite this -- or along this communications system, in
12 paragraph 72 you also say that the communications system was also
13 established by means of radio and wire communication. The Trial Chamber
14 has already heard about the communications system of the special police
15 forces, so I'm not going to dwell on that.
16 Let us now move to the part of your report that deals with the
17 question of the assessment of the situation before the Operation Storm
18 was embarked on. You state -- you look at the enemy's doctrine, so can
19 you please tell us something, General, about the enemy's doctrine, about
20 the situation on the other side, in the Army of the Republic of the
21 Serbian Krajina or the JNA?
22 A. What one needs to say, in view of the organisation of that army
23 and those who were in command, is that the army exclusively applied the
24 doctrine of the former Yugoslav Army, and, on that basis, they applied
25 all the rules and instructions and documents referring to the use of
1 military units in combat, in defence, or assault, which means that as far
2 as the organisation was concerned, they used what they knew pursuant to
3 what they learned and to their training and the manner in which they were
4 organised and in the way it was laid down in those rules. So if there
5 was a specific motorised brigade, it was organised precisely in the
6 manner provided by the rules on motorised brigades, with all the specific
7 points relating to replenishment, the specific characteristics of the
8 terrain, and some other elements.
9 What needs to be said, too, also, is that if, let's say,
10 generally speaking -- if it was said that a brigade in defence was
11 defending such and such an area, if it was possible, it would defend such
12 and such an area. But if it was laid down that the command of the
13 brigade between the first and the second echelon, this is what would be
14 done. If it was provided for the artillery to be placed at one-third or
15 two-thirds of the range, they would attempt to do that, if the terrain
16 and other elements made it possible to deploy forces in such a way.
17 In any case, the Army of the Serbian Krajina did not have any
18 particular special characteristics in comparison to the classic
19 organisation of the Yugoslav Army.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] May we now have document 3D00907,
21 to which you refer in footnote number 38. And it is paragraph 78 of your
22 expert report.
23 Q. Here you say that according to the doctrinary theory applied by
24 the opposite side, how the organisation of defence was set up and the
25 emphasis placed on built-up settlements, and this is to be found on
1 page 217 of this manual which in the Croatian text is 3D05-0767, and you
2 quote it in your report, and this is what you say:
3 "A populated area must be included in the system of defence. A
4 brigade can defend one large and several smaller populated areas, and
5 sometimes a part of a large populated area or town. Under all
6 circumstances, the Territorial Defence forces and all the residents shall
7 be involved in the defence of the populated area."
8 Now, can you tell us something more about this doctrine of the
9 defence of a populated area which was applied by the enemy side during
10 Operation Storm?
11 A. Well, when we're on the subject of this doctrine and the defence
12 of populated areas, then the position was, as is written down in the
13 brigade rules, that populated areas must be included in the defence
14 system. That was obligatory. Which means that the populated areas,
15 themselves, become - let me put it this way - the basis or fulcrum around
16 which the defence is organised.
17 Now, since the defence of populated areas is a very complex
18 question, especially if we're dealing with larger populated areas, one
19 needs to prepare such a populated area for defence purposes. And what is
20 regulated by the doctrine or the rules is that in preparation for the
21 defence, but in the defence itself, everybody is included; work
22 organisations, the territorial defence, the civil protection, and the
23 entire population or, rather, people living within that populated area.
24 They're all included into the system of defence.
25 And according to the other documents on the subject, we can see
1 that this was a way in which, both in the directives and in the orders,
2 it was expressly stated and ordered that populated areas be organised in
3 that way so that they could be a basic focal point for the defence. And
4 also the command posts of the units were also located in the largest
5 populated areas.
6 Now, when speaking of command posts, I should like to mention
7 that similarly it was expressly required that the command posts be
8 located next to logistics -- or a logistics company be attached to a
9 command post, or a logistics company with all its basic elements; that is
10 to say, the command and communications system, the support wings, and so
11 on, which, in fact, led to the fact that should there be an attack
12 launched against a populated area, it would be impossible not to target
13 and not to act against these elements for the simple reason that this was
14 the very basis of every defence system, to destroy the system of command
15 and control and supervision and communications. And that would lead to a
16 speedy collapse of the defence potentials and capabilities of the
18 I'd just like to say that in the directive for defence, which was
19 issued by General Mrksic, it says, for example, that the town of Knin
20 must be prepared for a defence of this kind. And it even goes on to
21 stipulate that for the defence of the town of Knin, a separate command be
22 set up for the defence of the town, itself.
23 Now, when we are talking about an area in which the special
24 police was active, then I want to say that the 9th Motorised Brigade, as
25 the strongest unit of the Lika Corps, and its command post was located in
1 the town of Gracac
2 Q. Mr. Repinc, I apologise for interrupting, but we'll come to that.
3 Let's take this step by step.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] And for that I'd like us to --
5 I'd like the 65 ter 3D00907 document to be given a number, please.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
9 Exhibit D1919. Thank you.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] And --
11 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that you would appreciate to have it
12 admitted into evidence as well.
13 MR. MIKULICIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I was going too fast.
14 JUDGE ORIE: The only thing I was doing is we have looked at --
15 how big is that document in its entirety? Because I always get a bit
16 nervous if I see "Page 217" at the bottom of the original.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: This is only a portion of the document,
18 Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And that portion is how big, approximately?
20 If it's just a couple of pages, I have no problems because then it gives,
21 I take it, a proper context.
22 MR. MIKULICIC: As I can see, it's 18 pages.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Eighteen pages. And we have looked at a very
24 limited portion of it.
25 There's no problem in admitting it into evidence, but in order to
1 avoid that we are drowning in paper, I would like you to briefly discuss
2 with Ms. Mahindaratne what is the relevant portion which you would agree
3 gives sufficient context and sufficiently informs the Chamber about
4 relevance matters and then to tender that portion. That could be this
5 full 18 pages or less. I would not even suggest that it would be more.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: I will do that during the break, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And, therefore, no final decision on admission is
8 taken at this moment, and we'd like to hear from you after the break.
9 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
11 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. General Repinc, going back to what you were saying about the
13 9th Motorised Gracac Brigade, let's have a document pulled up for that.
14 It is 3D00622, which is the document that you refer to in footnote
15 number 39. It is an order for defence which was issued by the then
16 commander of the Gracac Brigade, Colonel Jovo Kordic.
17 Now, in your report, in paragraph 78, you quote part of that
18 order, which reads as follows:
19 "2. The 9th Motorised Brigade, shall, with the support of ready
20 forces, conduct full mobilisation and organise defence in the area ..."
21 And then it stipulates which area:
22 "... with the task of relying on populated areas on the northern
23 slopes of Mount Velebit
24 Now, General, may we have your comments on this order and the
25 context in which you quoted it in your report?
1 A. Well, in the report, we see defined -- well, following on from
2 military logics, actually, the inclusion of populated areas within a
3 defence operation is something that is quite normal. But what needs to
4 be stated here is that if you do that, in that case - and this has
5 already been said - that the necessary conditions must be created for the
6 population in those areas to ensure that the population is protected, or,
7 rather, that the necessary measures be taken that should the populated
8 area come under attack, everything be organised to protect the population
9 from the attacker. By organising populated areas -- or, rather, if you
10 don't take into account the consequences that could arise from an attack
11 is something that defenders must prevent. They must do everything to
12 prevent the population being affected.
13 Q. Now let's look at paragraph 79 where you quote a second portion
14 of that same order and where you say that a logistic company should be
15 deployed to the area of Kruskovac and Gracac, a weapons ammunition depot
16 within the compound of the metal processing plant and the
17 Kruskovac Primary School, and a quarter-master depot within the RO MIG
18 compound in Kruskovac Primary School, and the conclusion you draw from
19 this, that according to this combat deployment, it is obvious that the
20 weapons and ammunition depots were located in facilities within populated
22 You said a moment ago that it was in keeping with military
23 doctrine and logics that populated areas be defended and that military
24 units should, in fact, be located there. Now, from the aspects of a
25 military unit launching an attack, on the attack, what dilemmas can arise
1 in this regard and what could you do in a populated area involving a unit
2 on the attack?
3 A. Well, I think there's this element which locates ammunition
4 depots and weapons depots in populated areas, because the logistics
5 capacities of the adversary units, whether in attack or defence, is
6 something that can be called high-value targets because they are
7 logistics bases for conducting combat and prevents the enemy. So placing
8 depots of that kind within populated areas is something that demonstrates
9 that, in actual fact, the security of the population is not taken into
10 account, the population within populated areas, and especially so if
11 depots of that kind are placed next to facilities or houses where people
13 And I have to say at this point that the Croatian Army, when it
14 came to facilities of this kind, they did not put these depots in large
15 towns such as Gracac.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] May we have a number for this
17 document, Mr. President.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
21 Exhibit D1920. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ORIE: D1920 is admitted into evidence.
23 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Let's move on now to the next paragraph, General, in which you
25 talk about intelligence assessment made by the
1 Internal Control Department, which the commanders of all the joint forces
2 were informed of as of the 2nd of August, 1995. And for reference
3 purposes, it is the intelligence assessment quoted in footnote number 49,
4 which is already an exhibit, D549.
5 What can you tell us about the enemy forces with respect to
6 intelligence assessments, the adversaries to the special police units and
7 their axes of attack, their communication from Gospic and Gracac, and so
9 A. Well, as far as the intelligence assessment is concerned, it is a
10 fairly detailed one and speaks about the deployment of the
11 9th Motorised Brigade along -- in the various battalions, but it also
12 refers to parts of the 4th Light Brigade which were to be found -- which
13 actually belonged to the Knin Corps, but one of those battalions along
14 the axes facing the repeater station Celavac were in that general area.
15 What can be seen from this intelligence assessment is that it was assumed
16 that if all the forces were engaged, all the forces that were in front,
17 that in the infantry -- looking at the infantry, the advantage would be
18 with the special police in the ratio of 1:3. But as far as heavy
19 artillery was concerned, and especially armoured mechanised units were
20 concerned, then the advantage was on the defender's side. And to this I
21 would like to add, of course, the condition of the terrain on which the
22 operation was taking place. And to this we need to add that the
23 adversary in the area had been there for a long time and that in
24 engineering terms it had seen to the area that was being attacked by the
25 special police.
1 And in that regard, if we were to follow on from military logic,
2 it was questionable whether or not the special police could, in fact,
3 route an adversary of that kind, an adversary that was in front of it, in
4 the forefront. This could only be done by a resolute manoeuvre and an
5 attack on a broad front, because by cutting off the defence line at any
6 one of its points, the line would have been destroyed because the next
7 line would be at a depth of six to ten kilometres. And breaking through
8 any point along the line would leave the flanks and wings open to enemy
9 attack. So they would have to pull out to avoid coming under siege,
10 coming under a semi-encirclement, especially the portion on the left-hand
11 side where the communications were cut off and facing Gospic, which is
12 where our forces were located.
13 On the other side, a break in communications -- in the
14 communication line would still not have led to a collapse of the entire
15 defence system if we look at the area towards Gracac, because in that
16 particular area, on the right flank, there were no Croatian units which
17 could lead to the same consequences as resulted on the left-hand side
18 facing Gospic.
19 Q. A while ago you mentioned, in paragraph 84, you refer to the
20 importance of the terrain which was in the area of the attack of the
21 special police joint forces. You said that it was relatively sparsely
22 populated and very rugged terrain, and that that was one of the main
23 reasons why the extremely difficult task of capturing that part of
24 Velebit and its slopes towards Gracac and Medak were assigned to special
25 units of the Ministry of the Interior who had spent more than three years
1 in the area. In general terms, such terrain requires some additional
2 preparation as compared to the, let me say, relatively usual military
3 tasks. Can you tell us a few words about that?
4 A. Well, as for this issue, it needs to be said that this task of
5 coming down from the slopes of Velebit into the valley, and also carrying
6 out an attack along these hills towards Mali Alan and further towards
7 Celavac and Prezid, only units or individuals who were exceptionally
8 physically and mentally prepared to carry out something like that, to
9 make such efforts, were able to do that in such a short time. So
10 everything that the special police had been doing in the previous three
11 years turned out to be decisive now in conducting an operation like this
12 one, and that was precisely the reason why the special police was
13 assigned this task, because frankly, perhaps, some guards brigades could
14 have done something like that. But other units, the brigades of the
15 Croatian Army and Home Guards Regiments, were certainly not capable of
16 making such an effort, and they couldn't have carried out the task in the
17 way that the special police did, especially during the short time in
18 which this was done.
19 Q. In paragraph 85 of your expert report, you talk about the center
20 of gravity as regards the town of Knin
21 that pointed to that. But I'm interested in the center of gravity in
22 relation to the axis of activity of the joint forces, and you say that it
23 was the town of Gracac
24 sentences the importance of Gracac in the context of the center of
25 gravity that you talk about here?
1 A. Well, looking at the geographical characteristics, we should say
2 that Gracac was and still is in a specific area and that it's a very
3 important communications hub, because the road towards Gospic leads from
4 Gracac; the road towards Obrovac also leads from Gracac, and then it
5 continues from Obrovac towards Benkovac; the road leading via Malovan to
6 Otric and further on to Knin also leads from Gracac; and so does the road
7 which leads via Bruvno to Udbine, which means that, in fact, the town, as
8 a communications hub and as a town itself, is important because by taking
9 it, all the movements that the enemy forces might make primarily along
10 the front would simply be cut off and there would be no possibility for
11 these forces to travel normally. The only direction which they would
12 still have would be the one along the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 that is to say, in the direction of Knin, if actually they wanted to find
14 themselves in that area and to be exposed to the activities of the Split
15 Military District. So, therefore, Gracac is important for this reason.
16 Another reason is that as the 9th Motorised Brigade was there, in
17 the situation in which the 9th Motorised Brigade left Gracac, then its
18 communications system would be impaired and its ability to command and
19 control all of its other units was, therefore, also impaired.
20 Another important element needs to be mentioned, and that is that
21 apart from Gracac, the other perhaps not such a center of gravity as
22 Gracac but another very important place is the repeater -- the radio and
23 relay hub of Celavac, and it was also the task of the special police to
24 take over it, because, as I said, this was the nervous system, it was the
25 hub of radio communications, also of electronic equipment, of listening
1 to our own lines. It was the very hub. And at the moment when Celavac
2 was taken, the whole communications system broke down, and that then
3 increased the tempo of the collapse of the enemy's defence.
4 Q. In paragraph 91 of your expert report, you talk about the zone of
5 operations and the boundaries delineating it and the importance of the
6 commander. Can you please comment on the issue of the zone of
7 operations? I see that you also refer here to the NATO and US concept of
8 tactical measures. And can you please relate this to special police, I
9 mean, within the context of Operation Storm?
10 A. When one reads the documents which the Main Staff was sending to
11 subordinate commanders, it is interesting to see, for example, the
12 directives which were sent to the Split Military District and the
13 Gospic Military District. And when the boundaries are mentioned, it says
14 that the right boundary of the Gospic Military District was the border
15 with the Split Military District and the other way around, even though
16 the Main Staff was very well aware of that, that between these two
17 military districts was the area where the special police was deployed,
18 and the width of the area was around 18 kilometres.
19 What should be noted is that an attacking unit can either be
20 assigned a zone of operations or an axis of attack. However, the special
21 police does not receive either of these, for example, if it said, Well,
22 the special police should conduct an attack along the axis
23 Velebit-Gracac, and, for instance, Lapac and Kulin Vakuf, or anything
25 What happened was that there was a problem which testified to the
1 fact that either the Main Staff thought this not to be so important or
2 couldn't define it; it did not determine the right and left boundaries
3 for the special police in its order, which means that actually if there
4 is no zone delineated by the boundaries, then there is no responsibility
5 for the area which would be delineated by the boundaries.
6 What is this all about? It is that a unit which is assigned a
7 certain zone of operation or an axis of operation is, in fact,
8 responsible for the area in the sense that it has to control the ground.
9 It decides how the forces would be deployed within this area, but also
10 how some other forces which might enter the area would be deployed and
11 where they would carry out activities so as not to interfere with one's
12 own units.
13 Further on, if there is no zone of operations defined, then there
14 is the problem with artillery and any other kind of fire within this
15 area, and one could ask how to resolve certain problems that could arise
16 if anyone used the systems to attack in an area where another unit was
17 deployed at the time. And at this moment, I'm talking about the special
19 It is a fact that special police was not assigned a zone of
20 operations, and in my view this also shows that special police did not
21 have territorial responsibility for any area that might be left behind
22 them after liberation. Of course, they were responsible for the areas
23 where they were in at a specific moment and the axis along which they
24 carry out an attack, but at the moment when they continue and move
25 further, then at the moment behind them, if they don't wish to do that
1 and have no sufficient forces for that, then they don't have to establish
2 check-points; they don't have to leave other forces behind them; or do
3 anything else which has to do with the monitoring of such an area. 2200
4 members of the special police -- that the special police as part of the
5 joint forces had at its disposal, was an insufficient number of men in
6 order to leave certain parts of these troops behind, because, in such
7 case, the whole system would be broken down. And the question is whether
8 there would be sufficient forces to reach the border. And the tasks
9 which it did receive was to move forward and reach the
10 internationally-recognised borders of the Republic of Croatia
11 Q. In this context, I will ask you to comment on what you just said,
12 and it's the question of the tempo of advance until achieving the final
13 task, and that is reaching the internationally-recognised border of the
14 Republic of Croatia
15 talking about a period of four to five days now.
16 Can you comment on this sort of tempo and the area that the
17 special police needed to pass through in this period?
18 A. I can only say that it was really a vast area, and what has to be
19 noted is that the members of the special police passed along it on foot
20 without the use of any combat vehicles or anything else. So great
21 efforts needed to be made in this period. When we look at reports, it is
22 evident that what I mentioned earlier, there were other problems as well;
23 namely, the staff which operated as it did was also moving, just like the
24 units themselves, and it had a very difficult task because the daily
25 operations ended very late and they were to be continued the next
1 morning, which means that moving the units, determining which forces
2 would continue towards other axes, and also who would be the commanders
3 who would direct the units, was a very complex process. And, likewise,
4 at the command level, a process that certainly resulted in occasional
5 misunderstandings, a lack of knowledge for the simple reason that if you
6 are commanded by one commander, today he commands two units and the next
7 day he commands with three other units, then, as we said earlier, we can
8 hardly talk about continuity and routine relations. There was nothing
9 like that. It just couldn't exist under such conditions.
10 Q. Let us move on to the eighth chapter of your expert report, and
11 it's the time-line of the joint special police forces of the
12 Ministry of the Interior and their participation in Operation Storm.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic, the Chamber has now listened for the
14 last, well, 15 to 20 minutes to a repetition of 90 per cent of
15 paragraphs 84, 85, 91 to 97. There is no need to elicit from the witness
16 the same evidence which we find already in the expert report. I have
17 sent this message now a couple of times. Would you please take it
18 seriously from now on.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: I will try to do, Your Honour.
20 Q. [Interpretation] In the introduction to this chapter, you talk
21 about the difference between directives and orders, and in paragraph 101
22 you conclude that as General Markac received an order that had to do with
23 the participation in Operation Storm, you conclude that he did not have
24 the freedom in the planning process as, for example, the commanders of
25 military districts, for example. On the basis of what did you draw this
1 conclusion, General Repinc?
2 A. Very simple. The order which General Mladen Markac received is
3 very explicit. It expressly states, task by task, what the special
4 forces are to do in the first and second stages. And considering such a
5 task, the only thing that General Markac needed to decide was how to
6 organise his forces, how to set them up in order to achieve the tasks
7 that he had received. And let me say that, once again, they were very
8 strict, very precise, and one just could not do otherwise from the moment
9 when the order was received on the 29th of July, 1995.
10 Q. I am referring to two orders which are already in evidence. It's
11 D535 and D536.
12 Let us now look at another document which you mention in
13 footnote 69, and that's the document 3D00541.
14 This is an order dated July 1995 and issued by the assistant
15 minister, Mladen Markac. And through the chief of the police
16 administrations, the system that you've discussed already, it is sent to
17 the commanders of the units of the special police, especially to the
18 Internal Control Department. It is the order to dispatch reconnaissance
19 operative units, numbering about 16 men, to the Logistics Base of the
20 Special Police in Lugovo Sugarje. Can you tell us what this is about?
21 A. When the process was unleashed to send 30 specialists to Sepurine
22 and the establishment of the Joint Forces Command, they obviously came to
23 the conclusion that intelligence activities ought to be stepped up, in
24 the sense of collecting additional information in addition to the ones
25 that already existed, to the information that already existed. And it
1 referred to direct contacts and enemy units up at the front-line in order
2 to establish what their activities were and to find space between the two
3 sides where the special forces could get through, and to place mines
4 there, and to reduce the number of victims, and that once an attack is
5 launched, that it could go through without being interrupted. So these
6 forces used intelligence information to plot their operations.
7 And the last report that I managed to find was a report from the
8 internal control organs dated the 3rd of August. We know that the
9 operation started on the 4th. After that date, I was not able to find
10 anywhere any documents at all of an intelligence nature which the special
11 police received from anybody, reports speaking about enemy forces or
12 anything of that kind. And I find this rather curious that in the
13 directives that were sent out to the military districts, that the
14 Main Staff in those directives set out in detail - in point 1 of those
15 directives - the Main Staff described the enemy facing those military
16 districts or their areas of responsibility, although the military
17 districts had their own intelligence organs dealing with matters of that
18 kind and certainly knew the adversary much better than the special police
19 did. However, in the order sent out by the chief to the special police,
20 there's no reference to the enemy at all, so perhaps that was one of the
21 reasons for which General Markac concluded that it was necessary to
22 gather additional intelligence information to enable the attack to go
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Counsel.
25 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] May we be given a number for
1 3D00541 now, please.
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
5 Exhibit D1921. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ORIE: D1921 is admitted into evidence.
7 Mr. Mikulicic, would this be a suitable moment for a break?
8 MR. MIKULICIC: I was just about to propose that, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I saw you looking at the clock, so I tried to
10 read your mind.
11 We'll have a break, and we'll resume at a quarter to 1:00.
12 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Mikulicic.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 But before I proceed, as it refers to the exhibit which was
17 marked as D1919, it's 18 pages' document.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
19 MR. MIKULICIC: I spoke, during the break, with Ms. Prashanthi,
20 and she has no objections that I introduce the whole document into the
21 evidence. This is 18 pages' document -- 18 pages including cover page
22 document, and I think it's relevant in that portion. So I propose that
23 the document in extent of 18 pages should be introduced into the
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then, therefore, the way as it is up-loaded,
1 D1919 is admitted into evidence. The main purpose was that everyone
2 always considers carefully what is needed and what is superfluous.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Let's move on to the portion of your report
6 dealing with the 4th of August. It's in paragraph -- chapter 8,
7 paragraph 119 and onwards. And you say that according to the order,
8 attacks by joint forces of the special police was organised or ordered in
9 such a way that it determined the main line of attack or axis of attack
10 and the auxiliary axis of attack. Can you comment on that, the axes of
11 attacks by the special police and how they were organised?
12 A. Well, I can comment the part which relates to the fulcrum and
13 basis and main authority given to the special police, the line from which
14 they were supposed to launch the attack. And since that line was a broad
15 one, then the forces launching the attack have to attack along a broad
16 axis, although military logics would dictate that a brigade, as a unit,
17 if we take a brigade as being an equivalent of 220 men, that it would
18 have a main axis of attack and perhaps two auxiliary axes. But here we
19 see that we're dealing with four axes, and this was once again caused by
20 the basic order given and the assignments given to the special police by
21 the chief of the Main Staff.
22 And the second point is one that I mentioned earlier on, and it
23 is this: Since no strategic element of surprise could be achieved,
24 tactical surprises could be achieved through the breadth of the axes
25 precisely to make it impossible for the enemy to manoeuvre its forces
1 along the communication line between Gracac and Gospic, and to
2 concentrate his forces in the area of perhaps one or two axes of attack,
3 which would make it more difficult to break through the line, much more
4 difficult than with a broad attack over a line that was longer than
5 10 kilometres.
6 Q. However, on the other hand, looking at this kind of setup, the
7 following question arises, the control and command system. How was this
8 organisation of attack with these four auxiliary axes reflected on the
9 complex system of command and control?
10 A. If a system was functioning well in its entirety, then the number
11 of axes or auxiliary axes should not represent a problem. But what was a
12 problem, given this type of organisation, was the fact that at lower
13 levels at each of the axes, a battalion command was established, looking
14 at the strength of forces, but we saw that with regard to the
15 establishment of the special police, that there were no elements from
16 which that kind of command could be established. You had the commander,
17 you had his deputies, but all of them, in principle, if I can put it that
18 way, were infantrymen. There were no other forces, no other
19 professionals who could command.
20 And the second point that I would like to mention is this: In
21 principle, when a battalion -- let's take a battalion. If a battalion
22 was launching an attack, then it should have a command post and command
23 from that command post. But here we have the following situation: The
24 commanders of the various axes and their deputies, in principle, were at
25 the same time commanders of the special units attacking in the area,
1 which means that they have a dual role. They are there to command the
2 entire axes and all the units there and at the same time command their
3 own unit. So with respect to control and command, and the monitoring of
4 everything, it makes things very difficult, especially because a
5 commander of that type does not command from one stationary post, but
6 follows his unit around, moving in front of him, which means that he has
7 to traverse a certain distance and he has to command while moving, while
8 on the move. And without the necessary structure to back him up, it
9 makes it much more difficult for him to supervise the situation and
10 monitor it.
11 And faced with a situation of this kind, the number of pieces of
12 information that that commander receives is vast. He receives all kinds
13 of information; first of all, from the commander -- well, if he is a
14 commander of a unit, himself, a special police unit attacking along that
15 axis, he receives information and intelligence from his subordinate
16 commanders who are, once again, subordinate to -- or, rather, have groups
17 subordinate to them. Then he receives information from his deputy, who
18 is in command somewhere else in another direction and on another axis,
19 having the same number of men, and all this information has to be
20 processed, dealt with, and then sent out to the Main Staff through one
21 channel, and another channel at the disposal of the staff for receiving
22 additional information, orders, and everything else, all the other
23 elements coming in when you have combat afoot.
24 Now, as I said earlier on, since there was not much experience
25 gained, the special police only had three operations to go by, they
1 didn't have more experience than that, so in my opinion the system was
2 highly complex, they had a lot to deal with, and this placed a great
3 burden on individuals who were in that kind of chain of command,
4 particularly on the first and second days of Operation Storm, but later
5 on as well.
6 Q. At the end of that first day of operations, that is to say,
7 the 4th of August, in paragraph 126 you say that the greatest resistance
8 came in the area of Mali Alan and towards Celavac, and that it was
9 particularly important to cut off the communication line between Gospic
10 and Gracac, which would make the adversary's manoeuvre impossible, and
11 the forces of the 9th Motorised Brigade were separated into two parts,
12 one defending the Gospic area and the other gravitating towards Gracac.
13 Is there anything else you would like to add to that?
14 A. No. That is precisely what happened on that first day. The
15 special forces were successful. They managed to go down the slopes and
16 cut across the communication line, which was especially important. So
17 except for dividing the forces in two, cutting them in two, there was no
18 longer the possibility of communicating and bringing in reinforcements.
19 And as far as Mali Alan is concerned, this was a very specific
20 area, complex terrain, which required very good planning and organisation
21 for these elevated areas to be able to -- to take control of those
22 elevated areas, and so the greatest losses were, in fact, in that area.
23 And it was important, because having taken control of Mali Alan, the road
24 was opened to bring in the other forces, to bring in reinforcements.
25 They no longer had to take the roundabout road, but could arrive much
1 faster using the direct route, which allowed us to continue our attacks
2 towards Celavac - and I've told you of the importance of that - and then
3 towards Prezid as well, which cut off the communication line between
4 Obrovac and Gracac and, in that way, prevented the withdrawal of the
5 enemy forces using that axis.
6 Q. Paragraph 128, that's Chapter 8.2, activities on the
7 5th of August, 1995. That's the following day of Operation Storm.
8 In paragraph 129, you talk about how the joint special police
9 forces, not allowing the enemy to consolidate its ranks and set up a new
10 defence line in the depth of territory, pressed the attack along the
11 entire front-line and soon took the entire Gospic-Gracac road and the
12 town of Gracac, itself.
13 General, you already mentioned the importance of the town of
14 Gracac and this road, but I would like to ask you now to comment on this
15 part where you say that the task of the joint forces was not to allow the
16 enemy to consolidate its ranks and set up a new defence line. And if you
17 could comment on the fact that the forces of the 9th Motorised Brigade
18 withdrew along the axis Gracac-Malovan, and they were still fighting
19 against the special police forces which were advancing while they were
21 So can you please comment on this advance which was aimed at not
22 allowing the enemy to consolidate its ranks, and also the combat
23 activities of the enemy who was retreating?
24 A. As for the activities on the 5th of August, it was normal that
25 once the road was cut off, that the forces which were still on the line
1 should be pushed back as soon as possible and not be allowed, after
2 retreating primarily towards Gracac, to consolidate their ranks along
3 another defence line and continue putting up resistance, and it was
4 possible to do this only if immediately the success was taken advantage
5 of and if the enemy was pursued. It was facilitated also by the fact
6 that the forces of the 9th Motorised Brigade were retreating but were not
7 putting up significant resistance within the town of Gracac, itself,
8 because had they done so, then the advance of the special police units
9 would have been much slower than it actually was.
10 However, it was also important that the resistance which these
11 forces were putting up be prevented and that it not be allowed to them to
12 stop and establish another line. It was important to continue to press
13 these forces, as in the previous documents and directives which were sent
14 by the chief of the Main Staff noted that in the area of Bruvno certain
15 reserve forces could be stationed of battalion strength with an armoured
16 platoon, which could then conduct some offensive operations from that
17 place in order to try to recover the defence they had lost control of
18 during these operations.
19 Q. After the liberation of Gracac - and I refer here to
20 Exhibit P384 [sic] which is mentioned in footnote 87, that's a report on
21 the combat disposition of the joint special police forces. So after the
22 liberation of Gracac, around 11.30 or 12.00 on that day, the joint forces
23 task, as you say in paragraph 136, moved from Seline and from the forward
24 command post at Veli Golic to Gracac and became operational by 16 hours
25 [as interpreted] in the Gracac Municipal Court building. You said
1 earlier that the main command for the post remained in Seline, among
2 other things, because of the functioning of the Rebus encryption system.
3 But my question is as for the newly-established Main Command Staff in
4 Gracac, how did this reflect on further activities of the special police
5 forces, and why was it moved?
6 A. The movement was caused by a very logical reason, and that is
7 that once the forces had descended from Mount Velebit
8 reason whatsoever for the forward command post to remain where it had
9 been until that point, because they could command from that area as well,
10 considering the terrain. But as I said earlier, special police, as one
11 could see during all these days, frequently moved its command post so
12 that it would be as close to the forward line as possible, to the
13 commanders, so that they would manage everything as easily as possible.
14 By moving the command post to Gracac, this opened up the
15 possibility to communicate more easily from Gracac and also to direct,
16 manage, oversee the whole situation and see what would be the way in
17 which the special forces would continue with their activities with the
18 aim of liberating the entire territory.
19 In addition to that, by having the command moved to Gracac, this
20 also opened up communication, that is to say, the ability to link up
21 later on, as Knin had already been liberated, to communicate more easily
22 with Knin, on the one hand, and, on the other, with Gospic Military
23 District Command, which was advancing in the direction of Udbine and the
24 areas leading towards Donji Lapac and other places in that area at that
1 Q. On the next day, and that was the 6th of August, 1995 - this is
2 in paragraph 138 of your expert report - the chief of the Main Staff
3 issued an order, the so-called D plus 2.
4 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] And for reference of the Chamber,
5 it's the document D552 to which you refer in footnote 93.
6 Q. Some new orders were issued, including those to the special
8 And further on in paragraph 144 of your report, you say that the
9 special police units of the Ministry of the Interior continued with their
10 advance in pursuit of the enemy along two main axes. One was
11 Gracac-Bruvno, and the other was Gracac-Malovan-Otric. And you say that
12 both roads were under control.
13 I would ask you to provide the following comment: We can see
14 from your expert report, and we have seen this in documents, that the
15 task of the ordinary police was to cut off the roads and put them under
16 control, beginning with the communications on Mount Velebit
17 Prezid and Mali Alan, and then the road leading to Gracac, and then this
18 road. How would you comment on these tasks of the special police which
19 were, in a way, focused on cutting across or cutting off roads in the
21 A. Cutting off roads was actually a consequence. I would say that
22 this wasn't the main task. It just happened by the very fact that the
23 area that we are talking about and the axes leading towards the border of
24 the Republic of Croatia
25 still, at the time, to reach the border as soon as possible. And
1 considering the efforts which the units had already made by that point in
2 time and their numbers, it was impossible to continue the attack in a
3 frontal manner where, on a wide-ranging front, one would go and mop up
4 everything ahead of these forces. But simply they advanced along the
5 routes that would lead them as soon as possible to the borders of the
6 Republic of Croatia
7 reports, almost exclusively moved along these roads together with the
8 necessary security forces which were also moving alongside of them, both
9 to the left and to the right, in order to prevent any sort of attacks or
10 any ambushes, as the military logic would, of course, require them to do.
11 Q. In paragraph 148, you say, quoting the document from footnote 98,
12 that on the 6th of August the establishment of military police in Gracac
13 began, and earlier you said that immediately upon the liberation of
14 Gracac, you said that the minister of the interior, Mr. Jarnjak, had
15 visited Gracac in the afternoon. And the situation when the civilian and
16 military police entered Gracac, immediately upon its liberation, in your
17 view, indicates what? After liberation, the civilian authorities are
18 established, and so is the military police present. What does that
19 indicate, in your view?
20 A. That indicates precisely what I mentioned before; namely, that
21 special police had its strict tasks which were connected to combat
22 operations and focused on the enemy and not on the territory, as such,
23 and, in particular, not on full control and monitoring of the territory,
24 as this was the task assigned to the Ministry of the Interior, that is to
25 say, the ordinary police together with the military police. And the
1 entry of these units into Gracac shows that they were doing their job in
2 the appropriate manner. So once Gracac was taken over, that is to say,
3 liberated on the 5th, already on the 6th the military police got there,
4 and it organised firstly in Gracac and then along certain roads. It set
5 up check-points and controlled what was happening in the area, as much as
6 that was possible considering their numbers.
7 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] If we could please see 3D00583 in
8 connection with this.
9 Q. It is the document to which you refer in footnote 98. It is a
10 report on the implementation of tasks of the 71st Military
11 Police Battalion, dated the 6th of August, 1995, from which we see that
12 the military police actually assumed its obligations.
13 It says here that the military police is active. Let us not
14 analyse this document in detail.
15 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] But if we could move to page 4 of
16 this document -- I apologise, page 2 of the document.
17 Q. We can see that reference is made there to the situation as
18 regards crime and taking over prisoners of war. And under item 9 of this
19 document, it is mentioned that around 10.00 a.m., one squad of OVP was
20 sent to Gracac and the preparations to establish a platoon of military
21 police in Gracac are underway, as are the preparations to set up platoons
22 in Plitvice Lakes
23 to which you referred; right?
24 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation] I would tender this document into
25 evidence, so if a number could be assigned to it, Mr. President, please.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objection.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
4 Exhibit D1922. Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. The next day, and this is one -- paragraph 149 of your testimony,
8 is that on the 7th of August, 1995, and then in paragraph 150 you state
9 that at 4.30 the temporary command post of the Collective Forces Staff in
10 Bruvno became operational, and then you talk about how the collective
11 special police forces began an attack in order to liberate Donji Lapac
12 and reach the wider area of the state border.
13 In paragraph 152, you talk about the friendly fire exposed --
14 that the special police forces were exposed to in Donji Lapac. We're not
15 going to dwell on that. The Trial Chamber has already heard testimony
16 about that incident.
17 What I'm interested in is now this part of your analysis where
18 you speak about the events after the liberation of Donji Lapac that have
19 to do with the continued actions of the special police forces. And you
20 talk about this in paragraph 155. Based on the documents that you've
21 seen, can you comment whether the special police forces, after the
22 liberation of Donji Lapac, stayed there or whether the joint forces moved
24 A. According to the paths taken, the -- most of the -- the bulk of
25 the forces stayed in Donji Lapac, and some of the forces went towards the
1 other villages in that area in order to reach the River Una and the
2 surrounding area in order to prevent a possible counter-attack and the
3 arrival of forces from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area that was
4 supposed to be liberated.
5 Q. When we talked about the actions relating to the liberation of
6 Lapac, Donji Lapac, and then followed by Gornji Lapac, I would now like
7 us to look at the document that you refer to in footnote 102, and that is
8 3D00781. It's the war diary -- war log of the 9th Guards Brigade, which
9 confirms the firing in the Lapac area. But you're saying that, actually,
10 it was Gornji Lapac, and where it says that on the 7th of August, 1995
11 at 1330 hours, there were 130 shots fired from the town at the troops in
12 Gornji Lapac.
13 Can you please tell us how this friendly-fire incident occurred
14 that the special police forces were subjected to?
15 A. I would like to say something about these different allegations.
16 Reading both these things, I really cannot believe that General Markac,
17 who was in Donji Lapac, mixed up Gornji and Donji Lapac, because if
18 somebody fires at you from a multi-barrel launcher, you know where that
19 fire comes from. So if there was some sort of mistake, it was probably
20 made by an erroneous entry in the war log of the artillery of the
21 9th Guards Brigade.
22 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you. I just wanted to be more specific.
23 This is the text that we are referring to, and it can be seen on the
24 second page in the e-court, the second page in the Croatian version.
25 A. But it's also possible that something else happened, and that is
1 that there was fire both at Gornji and Donji Lapac and that the action on
2 Donji Lapac was not entered into the war log. So I could say this, but
3 it would be more speculation. I did read both. And reading both again,
4 I say that I have more faith in the fact that General Markac correctly
5 stated that he was fired at from Donji Lapac.
6 Anyway, what I can say is that the actions that occurred that day
7 and earlier, while the co-operation and co-ordination among the special
8 police and the Split
9 with the Gospic military area was not as good, even though the chief of
10 the Main Staff had asked for co-ordination of actions by the military
11 police with both of the military areas. But in the war diary, also, of
12 the Gospic area there is a reference where it is said that General Markac
13 called the commander but did not manage to reach him, and so on and so
14 forth. What actually this is about is again the situation that we
15 mentioned earlier, and that is the absence of specific boundaries of
16 action between different units, especially when the attacking forces are
17 getting close to other forces and are merging with them.
18 In such a situation, and when the operation is being planned, one
19 had to establish a specific line where the fire support was delineated in
20 the manner that the approaching units cannot fire below or above that
21 line, particularly so that they would not threaten the units firing from
22 different directions.
23 It seems, on the basis of what happened, that this co-ordination
24 was not carried out. It's evident that the information was not relayed
25 about the forces of the special police being already in that area, and it
1 also indicates that the area in which the special police was operating
2 was also the same area where the Gospic forces were also acting without
3 any boundaries being set, particularly because in the reports and plans
4 drafted by the Gospic forces, it is said that they were going in the
5 direction of Gornji Lapac, i.e., that they were moving in that area.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President --
7 THE WITNESS: Donji Lapac, please.
8 THE INTERPRETER: A correction: "Donji Lapac."
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE: There could be another mistake at page 78,
10 line 22, based on what the witness has said so far and the evidence so
11 far. I'm referring to the words that he was fired at from Donji Lapac.
12 His answer, starting from line 17 of page 78, is not consistent with that
13 last line.
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes. I agree, Your Honour --
15 JUDGE ORIE: It's a reference to the statement.
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we can verify that in the statement.
18 MR. MIKULICIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, sir, what is being disputed here is this part of the
20 interpretation where it says that you believe more the fact that
21 General Markac correctly said that he was fired at from where?
22 A. While he was in Donji Lapac.
23 Q. In the transcript, what it says is that he was fired at from
24 Donji Lapac. This was the difference.
25 The second correction is -- and you corrected that yourself, when
1 you said that it was actually Gornji Lapac and not Donji Lapac. This is
2 on page 79, line 21, and this is corrected in line 23. I think that all
3 of this is now clear.
4 Now that we are making the corrections, I would like to correct
5 page 72, line 15. I erroneously stated the exhibit number as P384.
6 Instead, it should be P584.
7 JUDGE ORIE: That's corrected.
8 Mr. Mikulicic, I have a few procedural matters which will not
9 take long? But if this would be -- if there would be one or two
10 questions you'd like to add, to do so, but otherwise we'll continue
12 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I could finish within two minutes
13 just to show one more document on that topic.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I really need it not to be more than two
16 MR. MIKULICIC: Or we could do it tomorrow morning.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I would prefer --
18 MR. MIKULICIC: Perhaps it's better to do it tomorrow.
19 JUDGE ORIE: -- to deal with a few procedural matters which will
20 take me approximately two to three minutes.
21 As far as the document which was tendered is concerned, that was
22 3D00781, the war diary, you wanted to tender that?
23 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you for reminding me,
24 because it was my mistake not to ask for it.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Mahindaratne?
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: No objections.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document becomes
4 Exhibit D1923. Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: Again, my apologies.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And D1923 is admitted into evidence.
8 Mr. Repinc, we'll finish for the day. We'd like to see you back
9 tomorrow morning at 9.00, but I first would like to instruct you that you
10 should not speak with anyone about your testimony, whether that is
11 testimony you already have given today or whether it is testimony still
12 to be given in the days to come.
13 May I invite you to follow the Usher. We'd like to see you back
14 tomorrow morning at 9.00.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 [The witness stands down]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Procedural matters.
18 A filing was received from the Republic of Croatia
19 comment was due next Monday, and the Prosecution has asked for an
20 extension of time, another week, from what I understand. The Chamber
21 will, for the time being, not having seen the English translation of
22 those submissions, will suspend any time-limit for response. And once we
23 have seen what the content of it is, we'll then finally decide on whether
24 or not we'll grant the extension of time the Prosecution has asked for,
25 and also whether we'll grant it in its entirety or only for a more
1 limited period of time. But we would like to look at the submissions
2 first. That's one.
3 Then --
4 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. MISETIC: We would just -- whatever time extension is given
7 to the Prosecution, we would ask for the same time, since under the
8 original order that we were to simultaneously file our replies.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. At this moment, the time-limits are suspended
10 until further notice, and most likely the Chamber, of course, will then
11 grant extensions for all parties.
12 Then the Chamber would like to put on the record that where it's
13 granted the request from the Prosecution to further reply in relation to
14 the issue of the appropriateness of taking interviews by persons who were
15 not always at a long distance from the events which is the subject of the
16 interview, that I think it was said that you would have an opportunity to
17 orally make further -- briefly make further oral submissions. The
18 Chamber noted that where initially the Chamber said that the Chamber
19 might invite the parties for a second round, that even without such at
20 that invitation second-round submissions were made, triggered more or
21 less by a correction which was not really only a correction of the
22 initial submission, the Chamber will consider all these submissions,
23 invited or not, second-round submissions as well. So apart from giving a
24 further opportunity to make oral submissions for 10 minutes, that it
25 should be clear that even without an invitation, the Chamber will not
1 ignore those submissions.
2 Then I think, Mr. Misetic, that you would like to put on the
3 record that where we have received an internal memo the 6th of January
4 from head -- from Mr. Hepburn about the verification of an English
5 translation of Exhibit D970, we received the memo, but from what I
6 understand you would like to put on the record that you are not satisfied
7 by the explanation or at least by the content of that memo.
8 MR. MISETIC: Yes, that is correct, Mr. President. It's -- I'm
9 told now that it is D970, but there is a duplicate in evidence which is
10 P1205. We're not satisfied with the explanation. And it seems that
11 there is a bit of artistry being used here by Mr. Hepburn, because he
12 says that the term "artillery strike" is proper; however, in the context
13 he believes there is a better interpretation. Quite honestly,
14 Mr. President, we dispute that, particularly in the context of orders
15 within a chain of command, where the lower-level order uses the same word
16 as the superior order. We believe that for purposes of a criminal trial,
17 where command responsibility is at issue, that the words should be
18 translated the same, whatever translation should be used. But to take
19 the same word in Croatian, translate it twice -- in two different ways in
20 English, of course, fundamentally changes the nature of what is in the
21 original documents. And in the context of this particular sentence, we
22 believe it's more than just a minor issue, and we'd ask the Chamber to
23 take further steps on the matter, including, if necessary, inviting
24 Mr. Hepburn here to discuss the matter further. But I'd be happy to
25 pursue the matter further in that context.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The dissatisfaction is now on the record, and
2 also the reasons for it. The Chamber will consider whether or not to
3 further pursue and take the matter any further.
4 Then we will adjourn for the day, and we will resume tomorrow,
5 Thursday, the 14th of January, 9.00 in the morning, Courtroom III.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.51 p.m.
7 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 14th day of
8 January, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.