1 Tuesday, 23 March 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon to everyone in and around this
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours.
9 This is case number IT-06-90-T, the Prosecutor versus
10 Ante Gotovina et al.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
12 We will move into private session for two reasons. First, we
13 have a procedural matter to deal with, and after that we'll continue to
14 hear the evidence of the witness who is at present giving testimony, and
15 that testimony, at least this part, which will take quite a while, will
16 be heard in private session.
17 Madam Registrar.
18 [Private session]
11 Pages 27697-27732 redacted. Private session.
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are in open session.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
25 Mr. Sacic, the questions I'll put to you are dealing with the
1 special police involved in combat operations, and I'll focus on
2 Operation Storm.
3 First of all, could you describe the uniforms that were worn by
4 the special police when they took part in combat operations in
5 Operation Storm.
6 A. They had green uniforms, the active-duty police had green
7 uniforms. But sometimes a reservist might have a camouflage uniform, but
8 that was very, very infrequent. As a rule, they had solid green
10 JUDGE ORIE: Did they have any insignia which would identify them
11 as belonging to special police units?
12 A. In combat, yes. To ensure that they would not be victims of
13 friendly fire, they had some kind of ribbons tied on their shoulder
14 patch. They could be green or blue or yellow, so something like that.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Did they have any other patches or whatever that
16 could identify them as such?
17 A. They had a patch on their sleeve. There would be a sword and
18 lightning on the left sleeve, whereas on the right sleeve they would have
19 a round patch which would say "Special Police of the Republic of Croatia
20 MUP." And on their breast, there would be the words "Special Police."
21 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like to show you some pictures. Could we have
22 P324 on our screens, the second page.
23 Could you look at the picture, and could you tell us whether this
24 was someone wearing a uniform as used by the special police?
25 A. I am certain, 100 per cent.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Could we move to the first page.
2 The person who is carrying something and who's standing closest
3 to the blue truck, is that the uniform of the special police?
4 A. Well, I cannot really see the patch on the right sleeve or
5 shoulder. There should be something there. But it is a green uniform,
6 and the shoes are standard-issue special police, and I can even see that
7 there's a sort of yellow ribbon on his shoulder, so I could assume that
8 perhaps this was that uniform.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Could I take you to Exhibit P325. Could that be
10 brought on the screen, second.
11 Do you recognise those uniforms?
12 A. Yes. These are special police uniforms.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could we move to the third page of this document.
14 Same question for the person who is standing --
15 A. Yes, certainly.
16 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that you're referring to the person who
17 can be seen as the third to the left of the person with the white
19 A. They're all special police members.
20 JUDGE ORIE: If you say "they're all," may I take it that you do
21 not include the person in the white clothing?
22 A. Certainly, yes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: You do include the four persons standing left to
24 him, of which one has a kind of a red band around his head?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE ORIE: The Lucko unit, were they wearing similar uniforms
2 or the same uniforms as we have seen on these pictures?
3 A. Yes. Only if somebody had another uniform in case he was caught
4 in the rain, so the rain overcoat could be camouflaged. So,
5 theoretically, there may have been some pieces with a camouflage pattern.
6 JUDGE ORIE: So you told us that sometimes people who didn't have
7 the plain green uniform, that they might have been dressed, although
8 being a member of the special police, in camouflage uniforms, and that
9 the same could happen under rainy circumstances, where a kind of an
10 overcoat was used or at least coverage against the rain, a cover against
11 the rain.
12 Now, the Chamber has heard evidence that for some combat
13 operations, the special police was attached to the Croatian Army forces,
14 the HV forces. Would they still wear the same uniforms, or would they
15 then wear different uniforms?
16 A. The rule was to wear green uniforms always. Exceptionally,
17 individuals could wear a different uniform, such as -- in that case,
18 where they would change into a reserve uniform, but the rule was a green
20 JUDGE ORIE: Now, taking you back to the early stages of
21 Operation Storm, could you tell us, where were you between the 5th and
22 the 9th of August, 1995?
23 A. On the 5th of August, at 1600 hours, I was in Gracac, until the
24 following morning, the 6th, probably until 7.00 or 8.00. And then on the
25 6th, I suppose I set out for Bruvno.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us where you were before 4.00 p.m.
2 that 5th of August?
3 A. From the early-morning hours, that is, all day from the 4th,
4 until 12.00 on the 5th of August, I was at the top of the Velebit, on my
5 forward command post which was on Mali Golic. That's a mountain. Around
6 11.00 or 11.05, I received information that the units of the special
7 police had put under their control the road to Gracac. I immediately
8 issued instructions to my staff that they should start packing everything
9 up, all communications devices and other equipment, and that we would go
10 to Gracac, which we did. The trip lasted from about 1300 until 1600
11 hours, when we arrived in Gracac.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you said you received information that the
13 units of the special police had put under their control the road to
14 Gracac. Is that the Gospic-Gracac road, or is it another road?
15 A. No, that's another road, the road through the Velebit area, from
16 Bukva to Mali Alan, Kraljicina Vrata, that's a pass, and an old, unpaved
17 road descends to Gracac.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Can you tell us which units had taken control of
19 that road, which special police units?
20 A. About two and a half thousand special police troops must have
21 moved along that road or must have taken that road, carrying out their
22 tasks, so the road remained in the rear, and the road descended to
23 Sveti Rok, where there was a junction with the tarmac road from Sveti Rok
24 to Gracac.
25 JUDGE ORIE: If I ask you about various units, could you tell us
1 whether they were involved in this operation? The Bjelovar-Bilogora
2 [phoen] unit, could you tell us --
3 A. Yes, yes, they carried out their task honourably, courageously
4 and honourably.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Did they take the town of Loncari? Did they take
6 control of that town, as far as you're aware of?
7 A. Loncari? I don't know that place, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Does the name "Lovinac" ring a bell with you?
9 A. Yes, it does. I know Lovinac. It's a village not far from
10 Sveti Rok.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know which unit took control of that village?
12 A. There must have been more than one unit. I would have to guess,
13 but there was a unit made up of people who hailed from Lovinac. And that
14 unit was one of ours, and they may have been the ones. I cannot be
15 specific at the moment. But if you could show me a document, I believe
16 that would remind me.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Well, instead of showing you all kind of documents:
18 Lika Sen's unit, were they among those?
19 A. You mean a unit by the name of Lika Senj? No. Tigar-Gospic,
20 yes; but Lika Senj, no.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us whether the Lucko unit was in any
22 way involved or was ever located in Lovinac.
23 A. According to plan, Lucko should have been along one of the
24 directions. They descended from the top of Velebit down to Sveti Rok,
25 but whether they, indeed, entered Lovinac, I couldn't tell, Your Honour.
1 Because I did prepare for this testimony, but there is such a huge amount
2 of information, thousands of pages, so I cannot be that specific.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I'm asking you what you can tell us from your
4 memory. Of course, we have seen quite a lot of documents.
5 The Rijeka
6 morning of the 5th?
7 A. I know that. They were also on that axis. I think it was the
8 fourth auxiliary axis. They also came down from Velebit, and they went
9 to the Sveti Rok-Medak road.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Same question for the Zagreb unit.
11 A. The Special Police Unit Alpha from Zagreb, yes. Their commander,
12 Zoran Cvrk, commanded one of the axes of advance. And on that axis,
13 there was the ATJ Lucko unit, I remember. It was one of the units on
14 that axis.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Same questions for the Zabok unit.
16 A. I remember them too. They were also on that axis of advance. I
17 believe it may have been the third auxiliary axis or the fourth. The
18 others who were involved were the Special Police Unit Tigar, Tiger, from
19 Gospic, and part of the Vukovar-Srijem unit, Vinkovci, to be more
20 specific. Then part of the Sisak Moslavina unit, but I'm not sure
21 whether they were from Moslavina or Sisak proper.
22 JUDGE ORIE: The Dubrava Neretva unit, could you tell us whether
23 they were among the units?
24 A. Dubrava Neretva, no. Maybe Grof from Dubrovnik. There weren't
25 many of them, 25 only. They may have been involved as intervention unit,
1 but most certainly not under the name of Dubrava Neretva. They could
2 have been the special police unit of the Dubrovnik-Neretva
3 Police Administration, and their logo was -- or, rather, their name --
4 the name by which they were known was "Grof," which means "Count."
5 JUDGE ORIE: You'd say they were a unit from the Dubrava Neretva
6 Police Administration, but they were not called by that name, but they
7 had their own name, "Grof," as you --
8 A. Yes.
9 No, no. Their name was the Special Police Unit of the
10 Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Administration. "Grof" was an additional name.
11 They were also known as "Grof," such as with other units that were known
12 as "Tiger" or something else.
13 JUDGE ORIE: They were nicknames for the unit.
14 A. Yes, yes, that's what they liked. Everybody had their own
15 nickname, if we can call it that.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Now, when did these units, if they did, take control
17 over Gracac?
18 A. Not all these units. As far as I remember and as far as I know,
19 the center of Gracac was put under the control of the special police of
20 the Vukovar-Srijem Police Administration, more specifically the Delta
21 unit from Zupanja. And the road, access road from Ricica to Gracac was
22 under the control partly of the Bijelovarska-Bilogorska unit, and the
23 surrounding hills were under the control of the Bak unit of the Istria
24 Police Administration. They entered the area with the first echelon
25 around 1100 or 1105 on the 5th.
1 JUDGE ORIE: You're talking about the first echelon. The second
2 echelon arrived at what time in Gracac?
3 A. The task at the time was to have as few forces in Gracac as
4 possible. The second echelon went to the areas outside of Gracac, the
5 area to the south of Gracac, at the foot of Mount Velebit
6 north of Gracac, there were also some forces from the second echelon.
7 Some forces were at the crossroads from Gracac to Knin.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You told us that you went in the -- first of all,
9 when you arrived in Gracac, what did you do? What was your task at that
11 A. Find a place for our headquarters and link up with the operation
12 commander, General Markac, and assigned for my forward command post. I
13 didn't take much time. As soon as he got to Gracac, I'm positive that we
14 went to the courthouse. It's not really at the very center of Gracac,
15 but it's easily accessible on a street.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And is that where you established your headquarters
17 for the time being or --
18 A. Yes. Our communications people started working immediately.
19 They placed their emitters and receivers. The logistics people also did
20 their part of the work. There was some furniture there, and everything
21 was ready to use soon. As soon as 1800 hours, I think we were visited by
22 the minister of the interior, Mr. Ivan Jarnjak, and I reported to him.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you told us that -- you said the next day you
24 went to -- you proceeded in the direction of Bruvno. This Chamber
25 received evidence that some of the troops that -- some of the units that
1 moved on to Bruvno, that they stayed at Stikada for approximately one
2 day. Is that something you remember?
3 A. Certainly, Your Honour, that's correct.
4 JUDGE ORIE: And is Stikada just west of Gracac; is that --
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Were there any special police units that moved in
7 the direction of Gospic, leaving Gracac on that same 5th of August?
8 A. Yes, Your Honour, there were such units, and they mostly moved
9 along the main road, that is, west of Gracac, from the Sveti Rok-Medak
10 access, and further on to Licki Ribnik, where they joined up with HV
11 forces around 2200 hours which were advancing from the direction of
13 JUDGE ORIE: Now, do you know what HV forces or what HV units it
14 were where they joined up with?
15 A. I suppose they were local units from Gospic, possibly a home
16 guards regiment, but this -- I cannot really say which forces. That
17 would be guess-work.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you were operating under the command of
19 what military district, if you were under the command of any military
20 district, for this combat operation?
21 A. To me, as Chief of Staff, that was irrelevant. I was under the
22 command of the operation commander, Mladen Markac, all the time. And as
23 Chief of Staff, there was no need for me to communicate directly with any
24 military district. My commander did that at a higher level. He would
25 know the details.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Do you not know under whose operational command
2 General Markac was at the time, which -- even if you did not have to
3 communicate directly with any military district, do you know --
4 Mr. Kehoe.
5 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, just by way of clarification,
6 I think -- I don't know if you want to put this objection in front of the
7 witness. I'm not sure.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I don't know what the objection is. Therefore, I
9 don't know --
10 MR. KEHOE: Well, I think it's an undisputed fact that the
11 special police was not under any military district.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Undisputed?
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: We don't dispute it, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ORIE: You don't dispute it. Then we don't have to go into
15 that area. I leave the question as it is and move on, move on to that
16 next day.
17 It seems that your recollection is now that you didn't move the
18 next day in the direction of Bruvno, but the day after that. Is that
19 correctly understood?
20 A. Well, it seems that I was in Gracac on the 6th. In the
21 late-evening hours of the 5th, some units, as instructed by the chief of
22 General Staff of the HV, Mr. Zvonimir Cervenko -- General Cervenko, which
23 instructions were passed on to me by my commander, General Mladen Markac,
24 these units were supposed to be sent to Bruvno at night, and that's what
25 happened, because we received information that there was a tank
1 platoon -- an enemy tank platoon there and that they were planning on
2 carrying out a counter-attack. So we were worried about that, and our
3 units arrived in Bruvno around 2300 hours. And as far as I remember,
4 they -- there was no confrontation on the way there.
5 Since special police units on the 5th had carried out more tasks
6 than had been expected of them, we were in a sweep, to put it that way,
7 and that's why our commander assigned us new tasks. And I was seeing to
8 it that the prerequisites for the carrying out of those tasks be in place
9 with my collaborators.
10 JUDGE ORIE: What did the -- you said some units were sent to
11 Bruvno at night. First question: After they had arrived in Bruvno,
12 where did they go after that?
13 A. Well, they just deployed in a circular defence position in order
14 to spend the night there and in order to actually prepare everything to
15 set up a repeater there, and they were also instructed that they can go
16 on leave, of course, with all the provisions for security that are normal
17 under such wartime conditions.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And after they had done all that, could you
19 tell us, from Bruvno -- you said you moved to Bruvno on the, well, 6th or
20 the 7th. Now, how did the units move on from Bruvno on that day, which
21 whether you call it axis or whatever you call it, how did they move?
22 Perhaps I'll first ask you, how did they end up at the end of that day,
23 the 7th of August? Where did they -- what places did they finally reach?
24 A. Well, for my own coherence, I would appreciate it if you allow me
25 to start from the very beginning, if that's okay.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
2 A. So on the 6th, we prepare the documents, and we showed it to the
3 commander, to our esteemed general. And then we were to further develop
4 the -- within -- according to the orders by General Cervenko, our units,
5 our police units, were supposed to reach the border with Bosnia
7 in order to carry that out, pursuant to the proposal put forth by our
8 headquarters, our staff and our general, would be the Bruvno, Mazin,
9 Gornji and Donji Lapac, and Boricevac axis; in other words, in the
10 direction of the Una River
11 significant number of troops, I think even five or six battalions of the
12 special police, but we also had two auxiliary axis. General Markac felt
13 that we were supposed to make sure to provide for our flanks, and he
14 ordered that one battalion of the forces should head in the direction of
15 Udbine; whereas another battalion of the special police would set out
16 from Gracac, but this was already on the 6th - I am quite sure of
17 that - towards Otric in order to join up the Croatian Army forces. And
18 there was another place where they were supposed to join up the Croatian
19 Army forces. That was in Udbine.
20 And since all these plans had been drawn up, on the 7th we set
21 out very early in the morning, perhaps already at 6.00, as I already
22 described earlier. And within the usual -- the normal chain of command,
23 with clear chains of commands, the commanders along these axis were
24 subordinated directly to me and in direct contact with me. I had my own
25 mobile staff in a command vehicle, and I was periodically -- or, rather,
1 I periodically informed, about all the key elements and key issues,
2 General Markac, but he also had his own communications system and he
3 could monitor or follow everything that was going on, and he could also
4 get in touch with me whenever he needed to. But as for the ongoing
5 issues that I felt should be resolved between me and the commanders, I
6 would proceed to do that on my own, and then perhaps after a while, maybe
7 even an hour later, I would inform him of that. But sometimes, if I did
8 not consider it of sufficient significance, I would not even mention the
9 actions that were taken.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Now, the shortest route to Donji Lapac by Bruvno,
11 Mazin, Gornji Lapac, and then Donji Lapac is clear to me. Now, you said
12 some of the units would take a different direction. You mentioned
13 Udbina, and then from Udbina in the direction of Donji Lapac, after
14 having joined with the HV units. Now, would they go to -- please correct
16 A. Thank you. When these forces reached Udbina, and this was the
17 special police unit from Karlovac, I believe, and maybe part of Sisak
18 units, their destination was Udbina alone and the deployment in circular
19 defence position on the foot -- in the hills. Their task was not to go
20 to Gornji or Donji Lapac, because that would have been too difficult for
21 them. The terrain was mountainous, and it would be about 30 kilometres
22 or so, so they just deployed there. So, so much about them.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And going in the direction of Udbina, would they
24 first go to Bruvno and then, if you say so, to -- then further move in a
25 northwesterly direction; is that how they went there?
1 A. Well, they advanced from Bruvno towards Udbina. That was the
2 most logical route. And our concentrated forces advanced from Bruvno
3 towards Mazin and upward to Gornji Lapac, as I've already mentioned,
4 where one part of the troops actually split and headed towards the
5 northerly forest or wooded areas, and they were supposed to cover that in
6 an infantry advance. There was some 300, I believe, troops, infantry
7 troops. So they were then supposed, in a forced march, to reach
8 Donji Lapac or, rather, to reach the outskirts of Donji Lapac, the
9 approaches of Donji Lapac; whereas the main forces were advancing along
10 an asphalt road towards Gornji Lapac.
11 JUDGE ORIE: I take you to a map of that area to especially
12 understand the last part of your answer.
13 Could I have P190 on the screen.
14 A. I would truly appreciate that.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And I will give some further instructions as where
16 to zoom in.
17 Maps take a while, Mr. Sacic.
18 Could we zoom in and focus on the right top corner, to start
19 with. That's the left top corner, from what I am -- yes, we see. Could
20 you move a little bit further. Yes. Could we further zoom in on that
21 area step by step, please. Yes, if we could zoom in. A little bit more
22 to the north, further up. That seems not to be -- could we move the --
23 yes, Madam Registrar. Yes. Could we now move the whole of the picture a
24 little bit to the left, and let's stop there.
25 Can you see it on the your screen, Mr. Sacic?
1 A. Yes, I can, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Do you see Donji Lapac, which is approximately at
3 the middle of the map on the top?
4 A. Yes, I can see it.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Can you see Gornji Lapac?
6 A. That's right, I can see it.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, could you by -- tell us how the -- in
8 view of your last answer, and perhaps give us the names you can see on
9 the map, how the units moved from Gornji Lapac to Donji Lapac and what
10 route they took? If not all the same route, as I understood from your
11 answer, tell us how some of them moved and how others moved.
12 A. Well, I can say with certainty that we set off from Mazin --
13 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like to have the map again on the screen, and we
14 start the exercise again. Could we move -- yes. Zoom in further. Yes,
15 I think we are back again.
16 Let's look --
17 A. Yes, we are. Well, I understood your question. So the main
18 forces --
19 JUDGE ORIE: One second. You started in Mazin. I see Mazin now
20 as a --
21 A. That's correct.
22 JUDGE ORIE: -- relatively small village which is located just a
23 bit south-west of the center of the map we have before us. Please
25 A. So we set out from Mazin towards Potselo, as I can see up there,
1 and then we followed the road. It says "Zuldovaca." It's some kind of
2 mountain pass there. And then you can see there are these hairpin bends
3 in the road towards Gornji Lapac.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then?
5 A. Then our forces proceeded up the main road towards Donji Lapac.
6 JUDGE ORIE: To be clear, that's the road which goes from
7 Gornji Lapac in a northwesterly direction up to the point where it reads
8 "Donji Lapac," "D. Lapac." Did all the troops go on that main road?
9 A. That's correct -- no, not all troops. As I already said, some of
10 the troops went through the wooded area. It was a very difficult terrain
11 with no roads, and I think they forked away very soon, perhaps from
12 Mazin Polje, to the left towards this hill, Javornik, where you can see
13 the wood.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I have not found that word yet.
15 Mr. Usher, could you please provide the witness with the plan so
16 that he can --
17 A. So to the north, Javornik.
18 JUDGE ORIE: I see -- is that close to a village which is called
19 "Orahovac"? Is that --
20 A. Your Honours, I shouldn't really speak off the top of my head.
21 Perhaps the best thing would be if I could have that order or the report,
22 I could tell you exactly, because that would specify exactly the axis and
23 every village and road, because I can't really remember all those
25 JUDGE ORIE: We will try to find that order, but we'll first have
1 a break.
2 And did you mention Ajdukovic before, or is that what you
3 referred to? Could you already -- you mentioned a certain name. Could
4 we ask already --
5 A. The outskirts, the approaches to Donji Lapac, that's what I
6 mentioned. But that's easily checked in -- you can see it in the report
7 following Operation Storm.
8 JUDGE ORIE: We'll continue with that after the break. But you
9 just mentioned a name, and could I invite Mr. Usher already to give you
10 the pen to -- apparently, there was a -- could you please circle the
11 place you just mentioned.
12 A. Well, here [marks], I mentioned Javornik. Now I understood what
13 you meant. So this is that part that I circled.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll continue after the break.
15 We'll have a break, and we'll resume at 6.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 5.40 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 6.07 p.m.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sacic, I'm struggling with my screen.
19 Could one of the technicians assist me.
20 Mr. Mikulicic, if you could assist the Chamber, that would be
21 appreciated. What I found at this moment, Mr. Sacic, is an order dated
22 the 6th of August, which says -- which is under the heading "Order to
23 continue combat operations in D plus 2," and I read in paragraph 3 the
25 "Special units of the MUP, upon capturing the Bruvno and Malovan
1 saddles, continue the attack towards Donji Lapac and capture this area in
2 co-ordination with the forces of the Gospic Military District on the left
3 flank and the forces of the Split Military District on the right flank."
4 Mr. Mikulicic, my problem is that during breaks, I'm locked in
5 here, so I can't at that moment consult my e-court in my office anymore.
6 My apologies, Mr. Sacic, but my computer was not very -- any
7 further detailed orders, Mr. Mikulicic? Do you have them or --
8 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, there was an order titled "D plus 1,
9 D plus 2," and the following orders.
10 JUDGE ORIE: But isn't that D plus 1 for the first day and --
11 MR. MIKULICIC: No, D plus 1 is not for the first day. In fact,
12 D plus 1 is after the Gracac, so it will be the third day, in fact.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but I mean D plus 2, which orders --
14 MR. MIKULICIC: D plus 2 is Order D552.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I have just read from that one. Is there a
16 later or more detailed order?
17 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes.
18 On that topic?
19 JUDGE ORIE: On that topic.
20 MR. MIKULICIC: No, no. The following order is D plus 3, but it
21 refers to some other territory.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Sacic, I'll take you back to the map. I
23 just read to you --
24 A. All right.
25 JUDGE ORIE: "Upon capturing the Bruvno and Malovan saddles."
1 Now, where Bruvno is, is relatively clear to us. Now, could you
2 tell us where the Malovan saddles are?
3 A. It's a -- we cannot see it here. It's to the right, in the lower
4 right, toward Otric probably. Can we raise the map a little? In this
5 part, it should be around here [indicates].
6 JUDGE ORIE: Could we now zoom out again, but not as much as
7 we --
8 A. Can anybody help me? Otric --
9 JUDGE ORIE: If you tell us to go more south or -- what we have
10 at this moment is we see is "Udbina" --
11 A. All right. It should be Malovan. It's up here in this part from
12 Gracac to Otric, but I ask for assistance. There are people who know
13 this better. The general is laughing, sir.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Tell us whether we have to go more south or east or
15 west or north in order to find it.
16 A. Your Honour, let's go to the Gracac-Otric road, and we'll find
17 it. It should be there.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Tell us to go down, left, right, or up, and then
19 we'll try to get you there, if you tell us. And then we'll ask the
20 assistance of --
21 A. I understand. Raise it a bit, please. Good. We found Gracac.
22 Here it is.
23 Raise it some more. I would fail a geography exam. I apologise.
24 Malovan should be hereabouts [indicates], but the story about Malovan
25 doesn't matter to me at all. Of course, I know of that hill or mountain.
1 Could somebody help me?
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mikulicic.
3 MR. MIKULICIC: If I may assist.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, because I'm a bit confused about going from --
5 MR. MIKULICIC: Well, if you go -- if you go east of Gracac and a
6 little bit south, you will see, almost in the middle of the screen,
7 red-coloured letters "WK." Just above that capital letters, you will see
9 JUDGE ORIE: Just a second. Gracac, and then you
10 said further ...
11 MR. MIKULICIC: If you go from Gracac to the right side, that
12 means to the east, and a little bit -- yes, now we'll see.
13 JUDGE ORIE: "WK," is that --
14 MR. MIKULICIC: Yes, "WK" on the left side of the screen, and
15 above these letters is "Malovan."
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see it.
17 MR. MIKULICIC: Yeah, that's it.
18 JUDGE ORIE: I'm still a bit surprised.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's not very much in the direction of
21 Donji Lapac, is it? I try to understand.
22 A. It's in the direction of Otric, as I said initially, and I'm
23 proud of myself now.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's always good. At the end of the day,
25 it's always good --
1 A. And the general can be proud of me for not making a mistake here,
2 but I apologise.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Now, apparently that's not in the direction of
4 Donji Lapac, and I would like to focus on before the break. And can we
5 move a little bit further up on the map. Further, further, further,
6 further. Yes, further up, and now a little bit further to -- a little
7 bit further up and a little bit further to the left. A little bit more,
8 yes. Now further up; not too much, not too much. Yes, there we are.
9 The Bruvno saddles, do you know where that is?
10 A. Of course. It can be seen. It's on the left, in this
11 corner [indicates]. If we position it in relation to Mazinsko Polje,
12 it's north-west of that, a field. There is "Bruvanski" and, and then
13 below that.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I see "Mazinsko Polje," and --
15 A. Yes. And then go back to the left and down.
16 JUDGE ORIE: To the left and down, that is where I read
17 "Cerovac Bruvanski." Is that --
18 A. Yes, correct. And a bit further left and down.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and then we get to Bruvno, isn't it? That's --
20 A. Yes, that's correct.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, how do I have to understand this? Where
22 you told us that part of the units would go Bruvno-Mazin-Dobroselo-Gorji
23 Lapac-Donji Lapac. Now you said another -- some other units would go in
24 a different way. Is there any way you could indicate on this map, if
25 only by what area, approximately, they went through when going in the
1 direction, as I understood you well, of Donji Lapac?
2 A. Yes. Well, that would be, as I mentioned, Javornik, which I
3 circled --
4 JUDGE ORIE: That has not been saved. Could we try to do that
6 Mr. Usher, could you assist?
7 A. Can I touch the screen?
8 JUDGE ORIE: You'll get a pen, and you'll be invited. But given
9 you said -- what name did you just mention?
10 A. Javornik.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please circle "Javornik"?
12 A. [Marks]. That's this wider area.
13 JUDGE ORIE: One second, please. Now, how would these units get
14 from Javornik approximately to Donji Lapac? Could you give us an
15 indication, if you know? It seems a rather mountainous area there.
16 A. Well, that's exactly the problem. It would seem that they --
17 [marks]. This is the route they took, this should be it through the
18 forested area, but don't take my word for it. I think this must have
19 been the axis. Of course, the units had to consider the terrain, so they
20 may have strayed a bit from this line. But this is the rough axis. The
21 detailed plan of movement should be -- it should be possible to find it
22 on our maps. I don't have every detail in my memory, but it should be as
23 indicated. I apologise if I made a mistake, but the majority of forces
24 took this route [marks]. Then we had protection on our left flank. And
25 then some forces went to Udbina. Possibly, there was an auxiliary axis
1 that went like this.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Now, what I do understand, that is the majority of
3 the troops took the main road, which is the blue line you've drawn at the
4 right-hand side; whereas a smaller number of units --
5 A. They took the more difficult route, and my deputy, Zdravko Janjic
6 was the leader of those forces. That was very difficult, forbidding
7 terrain. Some 400 special police members moved along that axis.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Do I understand that they managed finally to get
9 through the difficult terrain and then approximately, as you indicated by
10 this blue line, without perhaps great precision -- what could be the
11 margin left and right of the left line? Would it have been one
12 kilometre, two kilometres, that you may have been mistaken? Or is this
13 approximately what you would consider to be the route they would have
15 A. I remember that as Chief of Staff, I drew that direction
16 personally on the 6th, and I'm certain that I took part in defining that
17 axis. So now I'll be ashamed if I made a mistake, but I remember
18 Javornik and the Javornik woods. I'm not sure whether Ajdukovic Brdo was
19 also on that axis, but I believe that this should be it.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Now, were there any other forces, whether special
21 police forces or HV forces, or whatever forces you would have
22 co-ordinated with in this area? That means the Javornik and then up to
23 the north to Donji Lapac area.
24 A. I'm 100 per cent sure that there were no other forces at the
25 time, because we were the first Croatian forces to advance here.
1 JUDGE ORIE: So there were no HV troops going in that -- through
2 that same area?
3 A. Not -- not as far as I remember, no, certainly not.
4 JUDGE ORIE: May this marked map be saved and assigned a number.
5 If there are any problems, Madam Registrar, then we will assign
6 that number at a later stage, as long as it is saved.
7 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Saving causes some problem. We should not touch the
9 screen any more from now on until the moment that the map has been saved.
10 Mr. Sacic, did you go with the units in the direction of
11 Donji Lapac?
12 A. Certainly. I took the main road, Mazin-Mazinsko Polje-Zubovaca,
13 up to those hip and bends towards Gornji Lapac.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, earlier we have received evidence that
15 units would go through Dobroselo as well. Now, the main road with the
16 hairpins goes directly to Gornji Lapac. Was there any unit that went
17 through Dobroselo?
18 A. It was their objective to reach Dobroselo. That may have been a
19 battalion of 300 men, and they, indeed, reached the place. Now, I'm not
20 sure whether they took the main road to Gornji Lapac.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I was a bit worried about your markings perhaps
22 being lost, Mr. Sacic, but apparently they're not lost.
23 Madam Registrar, the number assigned to the marked map would
24 be --
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit C4, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: C4 is admitted into evidence.
2 Yes, they would reach Dobroselo from Gornji Lapac, or would they
3 go through Dobroselo and then to Gornji Lapac?
4 A. No, no, no. The main forces went to Gornji Lapac. I'm sure of
5 that, because I was there myself. The only issue now is whether one
6 group -- or, in fact, it's certain that one group moved from Gornji Lapac
7 to the south, to Dobroselo, along the main road, and I assume that for
8 security reasons a group followed the edges of the foothills here. We
9 see the place called Divoselo. But at any case, they were going along
10 the road because the road was frequently under attack, exposed to
11 artillery attacks, so we all avoided it as much as we could.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Now, talking about artillery attacks, did you
13 receive, well, let's say, on -- from the beginning, before you entered
14 Gracac, did you receive artillery support when moving to Gracac, and
15 later from Gracac, Bruvno, Donji Lapac?
16 A. Yes, we had sustained support. We had a very developed system.
17 It was very efficient, and the commander was extremely -- the chief of
18 artillery was extremely competent and capable, Commander Josip Turkalj.
19 JUDGE ORIE: So this was artillery provided by the special
20 police. It was not any outside artillery unit, but it was the artillery
21 unit -- where were they located during these days?
22 A. Well, they had many difficulties in those days, because we
23 advanced very fast, and they had difficulty with that. And frequently
24 they were too far forward, exposed, so that I can't tell you where
25 exactly they were. But Mr. Turkalj did a brilliant job, and I know that
1 he used to complain to me. He criticised me, saying that he should have
2 been advised at least a few hours earlier of what was expected of him and
3 where, but I just couldn't do it because --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us further details about where the
5 artillery batteries moved, where they were located, if you remember.
6 A. Well, they had their own independent logistics, so they had
7 transport trucks, and there was a special unit that was escorting them, a
8 reserve unit, who were just in charge of that, and they were highly
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sacic, would you please focus your answer on my
11 question. I asked you whether you knew where the locations of the
12 batteries were. Were they -- did they stay behind? Where -- let's say
13 at the beginning of the operation, where was the -- how many artillery
14 batteries did you have?
15 A. Well, we had six 128-millimetre mortar batteries, we had multiple
16 rocket-launchers, 75-millimetre mortars, and we had a lot of
17 fire-power that was necessary in order to soften the forward line -- the
18 enemy's forward line, and they were deployed at the appropriate distance
19 from the line of contact. They operated on call either from the axis
20 commander, or the axis commander would then request that I help by
21 conveying this request for artillery support. So that's how it worked.
22 JUDGE ORIE: If you're talking about the axis commander, that
23 would be?
24 A. Well, those were commanders, in any case, of special police
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you say the commander of the specific unit,
2 and we mentioned quite a number of those units before, that they would
3 call for the artillery support?
4 A. Well, sometimes even subordinate officers, perhaps his -- the
5 commander's deputy, who at a given time found himself in tight spot,
6 militarily speaking; they ran, for instance, into a bunker or into a
7 stronghold, enemy stronghold, or perhaps they observed a rocket unit --
8 enemy rocket unit, where they needed support. So these were the
9 situations that we usually ran into, and this type of communication was
10 what we usually had.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, how were the targets described, or were
12 there any lists, or was it just on the basis of the observation of the
13 unit commander, or how did this work?
14 A. As the special police force, we were a unit that was offensive,
15 and we could advance very fast, and it was necessary for our observers to
16 see where it was, where there was a stronghold, and then we would send,
17 by coded messages, information, and with specific information as to where
18 exactly they needed to open fire. So this was the objective. We didn't
19 have any strategic shellings or actions. We only used them to clear the
20 passage. So if there was an obstacle on our way, then they would assist
21 in facilitating our movement forward.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did any pre-defined target lists exist which
23 were used when calling for artillery support?
24 A. We -- it is quite certain that Mr. Turkalj could tell you more
25 about the pre-defined targets. I really could not name them at this
1 point, nor would I want to do that.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not asking you to name them. My question was:
3 Were there any such pre-defined target lists that did exist and were
5 A. Well, I assume so. I assume, in fact, that we had -- for
6 instance, there was a railway line, Gracac-Medak, where there was an
7 occasion train that would move along that railway with enemy artillery,
8 and of course at some point I'm sure that that railway line would have
9 been a target of our artillery. I'm just giving this by way of example.
10 Perhaps there would be a military staff or headquarters somewhere that
11 would be a target, but these are concrete targets that you can probably
12 find exact information, specific information about from people who are
13 more competent than I am.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Again, I'm not primarily asking about whether such
15 targets existed and where they were, but I'm asking whether any
16 pre-defined targets, such as the one you mentioned, were available, or
17 lists -- or lists saying, "Railway," or "Crossroads." Did such lists,
18 with the coordinates --
19 A. I understand. The first -- the front-line, the enemy line, was
20 certainly the target of our artillery. I can remember that. I'm quite
21 certain of that. As for anything else that I could say now, it would
22 just be guess-work, and I really wouldn't want to engage in that.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Again, my question is not what the targets were, and
24 I'm not inviting you to guess, but whether there were any lists, short or
25 long, saying "Railway X, Y, Z," or "Headquarters of Counter-Intelligence,
1 X, Y, Z." Did such lists with the co-ordinates, did they exist and were
2 they used?
3 A. Only on the first day. Only on the first day, when we had to
4 break through the first line, there must have been such lists of
5 strongholds, enemy strongholds, such as the places where we thought that
6 there was a concentration of enemy forces. But as for others, I think
7 there were no such lists, that they were selected ad hoc when our units
8 ran into some kind of obstacle, then they would call for artillery
10 JUDGE ORIE: You say the first day, looking at the progress that
11 was made. Would that go up to Gracac, for example? I mean, for example,
12 "Crossroads in Gracac, X, Y, Z, or "Police station in Gracac," or
13 whatever target there would have been, would --
14 A. Well, on Velebit -- on the Velebit front-line, it is certain that
15 they existed, because we had strong enemy forces there that offered firm
16 resistance. But on the communication lines and on the foot of the
17 mountain, it was very difficult -- it was very important to define
18 exactly the target and then request -- for instance, if a request was
19 sent to me, then my subordinates would have to describe exactly what was
20 going on there, whether this was a strong point of resistance, whether
21 there were fortifications there, or things to that effect. So it wasn't
22 given -- it wasn't -- such support was not provided without a specific
23 reason provided.
24 JUDGE ORIE: That still does not answer my question. You said
25 there must have been lists for the first day. Now, how far would that
1 extend? And my question was whether that would cover or not cover
2 potential targets, such as crossroads around Gracac or in Gracac.
3 A. Well, for sure, for instance, at a distance of six kilometres,
4 that range, with 128-millimetre mortars and rocket-launchers, and maybe
5 at a greater distance. But at this point, Your Honours, it's really
6 difficult for me, because when I demobilised, I did a lot of other types
7 of work, and I couldn't really be more technical. I have prepared for
8 this testimony, but a lot of time has elapsed, and I couldn't be more
9 specific and technical.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us at what time on the 7th, if it was
11 on the 7th, you arrived in Donji Lapac?
12 A. Certainly. It was around 1400 hours, I'm pretty sure, maybe
13 1430, from the direction of Gornji Lapac.
14 JUDGE ORIE: And what did you observe when you entered
15 Donji Lapac, in terms of destruction? Was there a lot of destruction,
16 buildings, houses?
17 A. Well, not really. When I entered, I saw smoke. I think a
18 building was still on fire, it was burning, but some 10 or 15 minutes
19 later I found out that it was actually the police station building. As
20 for others -- other features, well, there was some trucks, torched
21 trucks, that were on the side of the road, but I didn't see any burned or
22 torched buildings. The roofs were still on, intact. There was glass,
23 there was a lot of shattered, broken glass, but I didn't see any
24 buildings destroyed.
25 JUDGE ORIE: So you'd say apart from this police station which
1 was on fire, that there was no major damage to other houses or
2 constructions, apart from windows broken, but not, well, let's say,
3 corner of a house, what disappeared, or a roof, or major damage to the
4 walls? And I'm not talking about bullet impacts, but about real holes in
5 the walls. There was --
6 A. Well, Your Honour, I didn't really see large-scale destruction.
7 I would have noticed it, for sure. There was the usual damage, usual for
8 such operations, so there wasn't major destruction. There weren't roofs
9 pulled down, and, after all, the roads were clear. They were passable in
10 Donji Lapac, so they weren't blocked with debris.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When did you leave Donji Lapac?
12 A. Well, probably already 30 to 40 minutes later, when I received an
13 order from Commander -- from the commander, from my commander,
14 General Markac, to gather my men, all the men I could, and to move on
15 forward to the state border, and to set up a blockade to prevent a
16 counter blow. This was the axis Donji Lapac-Boricevac-Gornji Vakuf.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Did you return to Donji Lapac at a later stage?
18 A. On that same evening, certainly, I'm sure not. The next day,
19 also I'm sure I didn't. Maybe on the 9th, but I think not even on the
20 9th did I go to Donji Lapac; rather, I just went to Boricevac, where I
21 had a meeting. The logistics base -- we didn't have anything in
22 Donji Lapac after I left with the brunt of the forces towards
23 Kulen Vakuf.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Did you come -- did you go through Donji Lapac at
25 any later stage, which would have allowed you to observe whether the
1 damage was still the same as it was when you arrived there on the 7th?
2 A. Well, if you can believe me, I can't recall, and I cannot even
3 try and picture this in my mind, the events after the 9th, when I was at
4 the closest point to Donji Lapac, some five kilometres off, because I had
5 great difficulties in maintaining or keeping the front-line unbreached,
6 and whenever I needed something or whatever I needed would be brought to
7 the headquarters where I was at the time.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sacic, I have no further questions for you, and
9 neither have my colleagues at this moment.
10 Looking at the clock, we have seven minutes left. Is it of any
11 use to start cross-examination, or should we give up the seven minutes?
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I'd suggest, Mr. President, to start tomorrow.
13 That might be more practical.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if there's no objection to that.
15 First of all, I'd like to ask the usher to escort the witness out
16 of the courtroom.
17 Mr. Sacic, we'd like to see you back tomorrow at quarter past
18 2.00 in the afternoon, and that would be in Courtroom -- Madam Registrar?
19 In this same Courtroom I.
20 I again want to instruct you, and I do instruct you, not to speak
21 with anyone about your testimony, whether the testimony already given or
22 still to be given.
23 Would you please follow the usher.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
25 [The witness stands down]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Could I inquire with the parties whether now knowing
2 what the examination by the Chamber covered, whether they could give
3 already an indication as to how much time they would need for cross?
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Mr. President, I believe, for me, it would be
5 about two to three sessions.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Two to three sessions.
7 Looking at the Defence, Mr. Mikulicic?
8 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, I presume I will need one session.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay?
10 MR. KAY: One session.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kehoe?
12 MR. KEHOE: Yes, Mr. President, we don't plan any questions at
13 this point. But if something develops, I'll certainly bring it to the
14 Chamber's attention.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So the overall estimate is now four to five
16 sessions, which opens a possibility that we could finish with the witness
17 in two days.
18 We then adjourn for the day, and we'll resume tomorrow,
19 Wednesday, the 24th of March, quarter past 2.00, Courtroom I.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.55 p.m.
21 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 24th day of
22 March, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.