1 Thursday, 10 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.09 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
6 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is the case IT-06-90-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina et al.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 I'd like to start today with delivering a decision. It is a
12 decision on the Cermak Defence request for leave to call two witnesses in
13 response to the re-opened Prosecution's case.
14 On the 19th of May, 2010, the Cermak Defence requested leave to
15 call evidence in response to the re-opened Prosecution case and leave to
16 call two proposed witnesses and to add them to its Rule 65 ter witness
18 On the 20th of May, pursuant to Rule 126 bis of the Rules of
19 Procedure and Evidence, the Chamber set the deadline for responding to
20 the request at the 26th of May, 2010, and informed the parties
21 accordingly by means of an informal communication.
22 On the 26th of May, 2010, the Prosecution and the
23 Gotovina Defence responded that they did not object to the request.
24 On the 27th of May, the Chamber informed the parties that it
25 granted the Cermak Defence's request and instructed the Cermak Defence to
1 file an addendum to its Rule 65 ter witness list by the 1st of June.
2 On the same day, the Markac Defence filed a late response,
3 indicating that it, too, did not object to the request. The Chamber has
4 not considered the Markac Defence's late response in reaching its
6 Under Article 21(4)(e) of the Statute of the Tribunal, the
7 accused is entitled to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses
8 on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him.
9 Pursuant to Rule 85(A) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence,
10 the Defence is entitled to present evidence after the Prosecution's
11 evidence, unless otherwise directed by the Chamber.
12 The Chamber considers that the other parties have not objected to
13 the Cermak Defence request to call evidence in response to the
14 Prosecution's re-opened case.
15 The Chamber further considers that the expected testimony of the
16 witnesses the Cermak Defence seeks to call in response relates directly
17 to that of the witnesses called by the Prosecution in its re-opened case
18 and that the time required for hearing the proposed witnesses would be
20 For these reasons, the Chamber grants the Cermak Defence's
22 And this concludes the Chamber's decision.
23 For the next item, I'd like to move into private session.
24 [Private session]
11 Page 28896 redacted. Private session.
1 [Open session]
2 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
4 Is the Cermak Defence ready to call its next witness?
5 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: May I take it that your next witness is
7 Mr. Vrticevic?
8 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour. With the Court's leave, I call
9 Mr. Vrticevic.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Vrticevic. Can you hear me in a
13 language you understand?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vrticevic, before you give evidence, the Rules
16 require that you make a solemn declaration, of which the text will now be
17 handed out to you by Mr. Usher.
18 May I invite to you make that solemn declaration.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
20 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: IVICA VRTICEVIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Vrticevic. Please be seated.
24 Mr. Vrticevic, you'll first be examined by Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay is
25 counsel for Mr. Cermak.
1 Mr. Kay, please proceed.
2 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Examination by Mr. Kay:
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vrticevic.
5 A. Good morning.
6 Q. I'd like you to look at the screen in front of you, and I'm going
7 to call up a document now.
8 MR. KAY: 2D00865.
9 Q. And the document that should be coming will be a witness
10 statement taken from you in your own language.
11 If you could just look at that page there. And do you recognise
12 as that being a witness statement that was taken from you and signed by
13 you on the 13th of May, 2010?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I'd like you now to look at the last page of that statement in
16 your own language.
17 MR. KAY: We have two versions of the English language. If we
18 could have the one in the witness's own language, please. That's the
19 most important document here. We did have both versions of the
20 document --
21 JUDGE ORIE: It will be there.
22 MR. KAY:
23 Q. Can you see there at the -- at the end of the statement taken
24 from you, do you recognise there your signature, Mr. Vrticevic? We -- we
25 seem to have gremlins in the system and it changes just as I'm referring
1 to a document.
2 MR. KAY: Can we just keep it on the last page, please. I
3 promise I will be quick.
4 Q. Do you recognise there your signature, Mr. Vrticevic, at the end
5 of this statement taken on the 13th of May, 2010?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And since that statement was taken from you and you signed it,
8 have you had an opportunity to read through that statement carefully to
9 check it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And is everything that is contained in that statement, to the
12 best of your knowledge and belief, true and correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. If I was to ask you today in court the same questions, would you
15 give the same answers and information as contained in that statement, if
16 I asked those questions today?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. KAY: In those circumstances, Your Honour, I request that
20 this be made an exhibit.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I hear of no objections from any party.
22 Madam Registrar, the number of the 92 ter statement of
23 Mr. Vrticevic would be ...
24 THE REGISTRAR: This would be Exhibit D2052, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: D2052 is admitted into evidence.
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. KAY: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
3 Q. I'm going to ask you some questions now about some other
4 interviews that took place with you, Mr. Vrticevic.
5 MR. KAY: First of all, could we have Exhibit P2731 on the
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
8 MR. HEDARALY: I'm sorry, Your Honour. We had received no
9 notification that that issue would be addressed. In the motion that
10 General Cermak's counsel filed that Your Honour referred to today, the
11 issue for which this witness was called was to rebut the previous
12 evidence and to show the whereabouts of certain people. Similarly
13 there's nothing in this 92 ter statement discussing any prior interviews.
14 In addition, the exhibits that we received for this witness,
15 until yesterday, only included the ones that were appended to the
16 statement. Only at 9.06 this morning did we receive any notice that
17 these interviews would be covered in the examination of this witness.
18 And it's just not proper. It's too late. And therefore I would object
19 to this whole line of questioning.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay.
21 MR. KAY: I could do it without referring to the exhibit, if that
22 inconveniences anyone to look at the paper. I don't mind doing that. I
23 can do it by general questions. I was just seeking to assist the Court
24 on matters that have arisen last week in this court and to ask this
25 witness for his evidence on the matter.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, is it your position that you say I would as
2 easily do without and just draw the attention of the Court to that
3 statement, or do you -- or would you prefer and therefore ask the Chamber
4 to rule on the objection?
5 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I don't require a ruling on it. I can
6 deal with it just as simply without. I was attempting to assist --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
8 MR. KAY: -- anyone who needed to be assisted; if they don't, then
9 I won't do anything more. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Well, Mr. Hedaraly, you'll understand that since we
11 can manage ourselves, the e-court system, it may that be P2731 will be on
12 the Judges' screens anyhow, but --
13 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, maybe my --
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- that apparently is not --
15 MR. HEDARALY: Maybe my objection was misunderstood. It was not
16 to refer to the document, it was to that line of questioning for which we
17 had received no notice. So if Mr. Kay puts questions to the witness,
18 whether or not he relies on the exhibit itself, I agree with Mr. Kay and
19 I agree with the Chamber that putting the document on the screen is not
20 the issue. The issue is notice about a topic that was going to be
21 addressed, and that's a notice that was not provided until 9.06 this
22 morning and until Mr. Kay asked his first question now.
23 JUDGE ORIE: But let me just see. The line of questioning -- the
24 only thing we've heard, until now, is that Mr. Kay would ask some
25 questions about some other interviews and asked P2731 to be on the
1 screen. What the questions will be and in what way they are fit into the
2 65 ter summary, I do not know; and I think we have not received, not at
3 six minutes past 9.00 this morning, any further notice. But perhaps I
4 should check my e-mail and see whether it.
5 I suggest that Mr. Kay continues his examination. And if there's
6 any matter you think is -- is not in sufficiently direct relation to what
7 is in the 65 ter summary, then we hear from you.
8 Mr. Kay.
9 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Mr. Vrticevic, do you know Jozo Bilobrk?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you work with him in the Split-Dalmatia Police Administration
13 Forensic Unit?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Were you ever interviewed by the Defence team for General Markac
16 with Jozo Bilobrk?
17 A. No.
18 Q. You were interviewed by police officers in the Republic of
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In relation to those interviews, did you withhold any information
22 from the people interviewing you?
23 A. No.
24 Q. In relation to events at Grubori on the 27th of August, 1995
25 were part of the forensic examination team that attended that village; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. On that day, did anyone ever suggest to you that weapons should
4 be planted at the crime scene so that it looked like a combat action had
5 taken place?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did Mr. Bilobrk ever pass on information to you that a suggestion
8 had been heard by him that that could happen?
9 A. No.
10 MR. KAY: Your Honour, those are all the questions that I ask of
11 the witness, and I provide him for the parties for cross-examination.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, will it be you or will it be
15 Mr. Carrier who will cross-examine the witness.
16 MR. HEDARALY: I think for Defence witnesses the other Defence
17 teams first have an opportunity. I believe, if I remember correctly the
18 procedure, Your Honour. I don't know if they have any questions.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see from the body language of Mr. Kehoe that
20 he has no questions.
21 Mr. Mikulicic -- Mr. Kuzmanovic.
22 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Yes, just one, possibly two, depending on the answer.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I --
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic, you have an opportunity to
2 cross-examine the witness.
3 Mr. Vrticevic, you are now cross-examined by Mr. Kuzmanovic.
4 Mr. Kuzmanovic is counsel for Mr. Markac.
5 Please proceed.
6 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Cross-examination by Mr. Kuzmanovic:
8 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vrticevic.
9 A. Good morning.
10 Q. Mr. Kay asked you a question about whether or not you were
11 interviewed together with Mr. Bilobrk by any members of the
12 Markac Defence, and your answer to that question was no.
13 My question to you is: At any time in the last two years did you
14 meet with or be interviewed by any member of the Markac Defence team?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. KUZMANOVIC: That's all I have, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kuzmanovic.
19 Perhaps before -- one question, rather, to complete that matter.
20 Have you ever been in any way in communication with the
21 Markac Defence? Did you receive a phone call, did you write a letter,
22 did they write you a letter, did -- was there any e-mail exchange?
23 So was there ever any contact with the Simatovic Defence --
24 the -- I'm sorry. With the Markac Defence?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
2 Mr. Hedaraly, you're ready to cross-examine the witness?
3 MR. HEDARALY: Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vrticevic, you will now be cross-examined by
5 Mr. Hedaraly, and Mr. Hedaraly is counsel for -- is counsel for the
7 Please proceed.
8 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you.
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Hedaraly:
10 Q. Good morning, Mr. Vrticevic.
11 A. Good morning.
12 Q. I have a few questions for you regarding the statement that you
13 gave to the Cermak Defence team.
14 First of all, you stated in that statement that looking at
15 contemporaneous documents that you were shown you remember that you first
16 went to Strmica on the 27th of August and then went to Plavno; is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, can you tell us whether this is something that you actually
20 remember, as you sit here today, that you went to Strmica and that you
21 then went to Plavno, or is it simply a conclusion that are you drawing
22 from looking at these documents?
23 A. No, I remembered.
24 Q. You also stated that, on the morning of the 27th of August,
25 before setting out that day to carry out your tasks, you were in a
1 coffee-shop with some colleagues while Mr. Bilobrk went to the
2 Knin Police Station to get reports; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You don't know what happened while Mr. Bilobrk went to the police
5 station; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You don't know who he talked to or what specific instructions he
8 may have received or anything of that sort, right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. According to your account, you went to Strmica first and then to
11 Plavno. Do you remember stopping by the Knin cemetery to leave the
12 corpse you had collected from Strmica on the way back?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So you remember stopping at the cemetery on the way back?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And were you with the members of the civil protection the whole
17 time while they were actually burying the corpse?
18 A. At -- on certain occasions we would be with them, on others we
19 wouldn't. And I can't recall specifically on that day whether we were
21 Q. When you say "we" in that answer, you mean you and Mr. Bilobrk?
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. So you don't know if, on that day, when you came back to the --
24 when the -- when your colleagues from civil protection buried the body in
25 the cemetery, whether you were there or whether you were maybe in town in
1 Knin having a coffee or something else, right?
2 A. I don't remember if I was present while they were burying them.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness come closer to the microphones,
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vrticevic, could you please come a bit closer to
6 the microphone because the interpreters have difficulties hearing you.
7 MR. HEDARALY:
8 Q. On your way to Grubori --
9 MR. KAY: Just looking at that question, he never mentioning
10 anything about having a coffee at the time, and maybe it should be --
11 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
12 MR. KAY: [Overlapping speakers] ...
13 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps it should be explored in a bit more detail.
14 MR. HEDARALY:
15 Q. On the days when you would not stay at the -- let me start again.
16 You said sometimes you would stay at the cemetery while the
17 bodies would be buried and sometimes you would not. On the days where
18 would you not, if you remember, what did you do, generally?
19 A. I don't know.
20 Q. On your way to Grubori, you were stopped in the village of
21 Plavno; correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You don't know why you were stopped; right?
24 A. Right.
25 Q. You don't know whether the group that was assembled there was
1 waiting for you and your colleagues and wanted to discuss a matter with
2 you; right?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. You already knew who Mr. Cermak was when you arrived at that --
5 in Plavno; correct?
6 A. I had previously only seen him on TV, and that was the first time
7 I saw him in real life, so to speak, and I didn't know what his function
9 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness repeat the last part of his
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, could you invite the witness to repeat
12 the last part of his answer.
13 MR. HEDARALY: Of course.
14 Q. Could you please repeat the last part of your answer. I'm not
15 sure we received the complete interpretation of your answer.
16 If could you repeat last portion, please.
17 A. So I had previously seen Mr. Cermak on TV. That was the first
18 time I saw him. But I didn't know what his function was or what he was
19 charged with.
20 Q. Okay. My question was simply if you already knew who he was, not
21 about his functions. But I understand your answer.
22 Now, at that -- at that that location in Plavno, there was a
23 discussion and there was some argument; correct?
24 A. No.
25 Q. There was no argument about whether journalists should film you
1 while you carried out your tasks?
2 A. That's a different matter. Yes.
3 Q. Well, it's not a different matter. I asked you whether there was
4 a discussion and some argument, and you said no. I mean, I don't think I
5 understand your answer.
6 A. Well, I didn't understand your question.
7 Q. So there was an argument there?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you reacted unfavourably to the suggestion that journalists
10 film you while you carried out your tasks; right?
11 A. Yes. I didn't agree to that.
12 Q. You didn't -- did you not want anyone filming you while you were
13 collecting bodies?
14 A. Right.
15 Q. Do you remember who made the suggestion that journalists should
16 film you and your colleagues on that day?
17 A. I don't.
18 Q. Was there also an argument regarding whether or not to carry
19 [sic] an on-site investigation?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. Do you remember even generally any discussion about an on-site
23 A. No.
24 Q. Let me show you 65 ter 7622. And that is the statement you gave
25 to the Office of the Prosecutor in March earlier this year.
1 Do you remember that interview that you had with the
2 Office of the Prosecutor on the 4th of March, 2010?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. That is your signature at the bottom of the page?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And in the course of that interview, you were shown various
7 interview notes that had been prepared by colleagues of yours from the
8 police force; correct?
9 A. Right.
10 MR. HEDARALY: If we can go to paragraph 3, the second page of
11 this statement.
12 Q. And you say there:
13 "I also reviewed the Official Note of the second interview with
14 Robert Badzim of the MUP (first page stamped with number 0673-8523).
15 This note is generally accurate, but I am willing to repeat the whole
16 story again."
17 Let me now show you that note that you referred to as generally
19 MR. HEDARALY: And that is P2734.
20 Q. And you'll see the number on the top is the same one referred --
21 that was in your statement.
22 And at the bottom, in the English, the last sentence reads:
23 "General Cermak asked Vrticevic to do an on-site investigation in
24 the village of Grubori
25 investigation he needed to notify the State Prosecutor, an investigative
1 judge, and a forensic officer to assist the investigative judge."
2 The end will appear in the English on the screen.
3 MR. HEDARALY: You have to turn the page.
4 Q. Now, in your OTP statement you said that this note was generally
5 accurate. So can you explain whether or not there was any discussion of
6 an on-site investigation on that day?
7 A. This note drafted by the gentleman who held the interview is
8 quite inaccurate. And you will recall, sir, when you interviewed me,
9 that I told you at the outset that we would not be looking at this as
10 much, that it was quite superficial, that it wasn't properly drafted, and
11 that I would be giving you the details concerning this event, if you
12 remember correctly.
13 Q. What is in your statement and what I remember and it's clear in
14 your statement you were shown three different interview notes. And that
15 one is the only one that you agreed was generally accurate when you
16 reviewed them.
17 So what I'm telling you is, are you now saying that this note
18 isn't accurate when you said on 4 March 2010 that this -- this one
19 specifically, not the other ones, was generally accurate?
20 A. I don't recall whether I said that it was accurate or inaccurate.
21 But let me repeat. I said that I would recount the events of the day
22 again, and you agreed with me, that this is what we would do during the
24 Q. Do you want to look back at the statement and see what you said?
25 Because you also signed that interview after it was read back to you,
1 correct, and you confirmed that it was accurate?
2 I mean, we can look back if you want, the portion I read you
3 about that note being -- being generally accurate. That's all I'm
4 focussing on now, not on what else happened in the interview but whether
5 you stated that this note on the screen was generally accurate.
6 A. You read the statement back to me, and I signed it; but I didn't
7 see it.
8 Q. That's right. But when it was read back to you, it was accurate,
9 in terms of what you heard, and then you signed it; correct?
10 A. It's hard to remember everything. The entire statement was read
11 back to me, and it was read back. It's difficult to follow.
12 Q. Let me move on. Let me then go back to the OTP statement.
13 MR. HEDARALY: 65 ter 7622.
14 Q. And go to the rest of your statement where you were actually
15 telling the story as had you -- as you had expressed a desire to do. And
16 this time I want to go to paragraph 9 when it comes up on the screen.
17 And in paragraph 9, you then stated:
18 "During the first interview with Badzim" -- and that's the joint
19 one, not the one we just saw but the one with you and Mr. Bilobrk
20 together, "... I remember Bilobrk stating that someone had requested an
21 on-site investigation and some argument regarding this. When I heard
22 this, it rang a bell, but I really can't remember any details."
23 Was that the truth, that you heard some general comment about an
24 on-site investigation and that when -- sorry.
25 Is it true that when Mr. Bilobrk mentioned that at the joint
1 interview, it did ring a bell but you couldn't remember the details?
2 A. I heard Bilobrk mention this, as is written here, but I really
3 don't remember that. That's why I told you so, that I didn't remember.
4 Q. Well you said it rang a --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vrticevic, the statement says that it rang a
6 bell, but you didn't remember the details. Now when you gave that
7 statement, did you say that you didn't remember the details but that,
8 when hearing Bilobrk stating about this conversation on an on-site
9 investigation, did you tell the Prosecutor that it did ring a bell but
10 that you didn't remember the details?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. If that's what is written
12 here, then I did.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I'd like to hear from you whether that's what
14 you said or not.
15 Was that, in your recollection, what was read back to you; and is
16 that what you signed for?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's hard to remember, Your Honour.
18 Who could remember that? I was recounting the whole story five or six
19 times already. It's difficult to keep track of everything. I know that
20 when we met at that particular cross-roads in Plavno, that I wasn't close
21 by. I was having a smoke with the colleagues from the civilian
22 protection, Jozo was there. I don't know.
23 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not asking about what happened at the time. I'm
24 asking you whether, when you were interviewed by the Office of the
25 Prosecution, whether you stated that hearing Bilobrk talking about or
1 stating about a conversation on an on-site investigation, that you, at
2 that moment - that is, March of this year - whether you said, Well, it
3 does ring a bell but that I don't remember the details.
4 Is that what you said or is it -- or didn't you say that?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember anymore. I can't
6 give you a yes or no answer.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Hedaraly.
8 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. As you sit here today, does the mention of an on-site
10 investigation ring a bell at all as one of the possible topics of
11 conversations you may have heard or been involved in?
12 A. No.
13 Q. When you arrived in Grubori, did you conduct an on-site
15 A. No.
16 Q. In all the cases where you carried [sic] sanitation operations
17 after Operation Storm, did you ever conduct any on-site investigations?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you ever refuse to answer any questions because it would be
20 detrimental to the generals?
21 A. No.
22 Q. In the joint interview that you had with Mr. Bilobrk, did
23 Bilobrk -- did Mr. Bilobrk mention having been interviewed by members of
24 the Defence team?
25 A. Yes. He told me that he had been with them.
1 Q. He also said that to the person that was interviewing both of you
2 together; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And in that interview, although I understand you didn't say it,
5 did Mr. Bilobrk refuse to answer questions that would be detrimental to
6 the generals?
7 A. I don't know.
8 Q. Well, we can look at it. That joint interview states that those
9 comments were made by you and him, and I understand it was a joint
10 interview, and one of the concerns you had was that it's not clear who
11 had said what. I can show it to you, if you want.
12 But my simple question is: You said you didn't say such a thing.
13 In that interview, do you remember Mr. Bilobrk saying he would not answer
14 questions because they would be detrimental to the generals?
15 A. I don't remember. The only thing I know is that Mr. Bilobrk told
16 that colleague that he had been interviewed by the Defence for
17 General Markac a while before that particular interview took place.
18 That's something I remember.
19 Q. In that joint interview, do you remember who was answering most
20 of the questions that were -- that were put to both of you? Was it both
21 of you answering together, was it mainly Mr. Bilobrk, or was it mainly
23 A. I don't remember.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. HEDARALY: Those are my questions, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vrticevic, I have a few questions for you.
4 Questioned by the Court:
5 JUDGE ORIE: First, you said that you had seen Mr. Cermak on TV.
6 Let me read what was -- what we find on our transcript.
7 You were asked:
8 "You already knew who Mr. Cermak was when you arrived at
9 that -- in Plavno; correct?"
10 Your answer was:
11 "I had previously only seen him on TV, and that was the first
12 time I saw him in real life, so to speak, and I didn't know what his
13 function was."
14 And then you were invited to repeat the last part of your answer.
15 And you said:
16 "So I" -- and there the text is a bit unclear. I take it that it
17 should read:
18 "So I had previously seen Mr. Cermak on TV. That was the first
19 time I saw him. But I didn't know what his function was or what he was
20 charged with."
21 Could you tell us, in what context did you see him on television
22 before the day you went to Grubori?
23 A. I saw him a number of times on TV, but that's all.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell me in what context? What was it
25 about that he was telling you on television?
1 A. I don't remember.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you also said that you didn't know what he was
3 charged with.
4 Why did you mention this, that, apparently, you didn't know when
5 you saw him what he was charged with?
6 A. That was how I understood the Prosecutor's question.
7 JUDGE ORIE: You said you went on that day first to Strmica. Do
8 you -- could you tell us any further details on that day? At what time
9 in the morning did you receive instructions to go to Strmica, or where
10 were you when you were informed about going to Strmica?
11 A. I don't remember exactly where I was, but my colleague Bilobrk
12 always went to the station, and he received orders about where we should
13 go and what we needed to do. I don't remember whether I was in a cafe or
14 in a car or at the cemetery. Sometimes there was no work in the morning,
15 so we wouldn't be at the cemetery because there was no need for the
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, Do you remember at what time
18 approximately you heard that you would be heading for Strmica?
19 A. I can't remember.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have any recollection on what you found in
21 Strmica? Was it the ordinary thing; one body, more bodies? What did
22 you do?
23 A. I don't remember.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Do you remember how much time it took you to -- to
25 go from Knin to Strmica?
1 A. No. No, I don't remember.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Do you remember how much time you spent on doing the
3 job in Strmica?
4 A. No.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Do you remember how much time it took you to get
6 back to Knin?
7 But, first, you did go back to Knin first; is that correctly
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, could you tell us, what did you do in
11 Knin? Did you and Mr. Bilobrk, or you alone, or Mr. Bilobrk alone, go to
12 the cemetery?
13 A. We always went together.
14 JUDGE ORIE: On that day, did you go to the cemetery?
15 A. Yes, we did. We always went there together, let me repeat that,
16 Your Honour. We never separated.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You mean you did not separate from
18 Mr. Bilobrk, or did you not separate from the -- the people who
19 accompanied you?
20 Perhaps you tell us exactly what the team was you went to Strmica
21 with. It was you, Mr. Bilobrk, and who else?
22 A. Most probably civil protection. I cannot remember the names from
23 the people from the civilian protection who were working with us on a
24 daily basis in the same team.
25 JUDGE ORIE: How many of them were with you?
1 A. They went in a van. There were two people, at least. Never less
2 than two. Two men.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did they transport the body that was found in
4 Strmica to the cemetery?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Did you accompany them?
7 A. We did reach the cemetery, but whether we waited for the burial
8 or not, I cannot remember.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Who would be in charge of the burial?
10 A. Also our colleagues from civilian protection who were working
11 with the excavator and who placed crosses and who also had to determine
12 whether the identity of the person had been established or not.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Would that be the same persons you were with that
14 accompanied you to and from Strmica?
15 A. They were a team, but sometimes they would switch. Some had to
16 go into the field and some remained at the cemetery, so I cannot remember
17 who it was because they switched places sometimes. But these were the
18 people who were there.
19 JUDGE ORIE: On that day, did the team you were with, the
20 civilian protection team, did that change after your trip to Strmica?
21 A. I think not.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Would those civilian protection -- would that
23 civilian protection team would that [sic] leave the body unburied in Knin
24 when they went with you in the field again, or would they have buried the
25 body first, whether or not in your presence?
1 A. They would bury them, regardless of whether I was present on the
2 spot or not. But whether they left them there or not, I'm not certain,
3 but I think they didn't.
4 JUDGE ORIE: By -- when you say "left them there," you are
5 referring to left them there not yet being buried? Or how do I have to
6 understand your answer?
7 A. No, no. As far as I remember, there was one man with the
8 excavator who would dig out a grave and then they would bury them in the
9 graves and they would put crosses there. So it was like that for half a
10 day or a day.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Could you explain the last part of your answer where
12 you said: "So it was like that for half a day or a day."
13 A. I didn't say that it was like that for half a day or a day. I
14 said that immediately they would dig a grave with an excavator and they
15 would place bags with dead bodies in the ground. They would put crosses.
16 And they would be received an ID number or first and last name, if the
17 identity was known.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now let me take you back to -- later going to
20 I think you stated that you told Sacic that you wouldn't want to
21 be filmed or -- when you are doing your job.
22 A. Yes, I remember that. I remember that quite well.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Now, could you tell us who were with you when you
24 did your job? That is, photographing and taking pictures of the bodies.
25 A. My colleague Mr. Bilobrk and myself were there.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sacic did not supervise your work?
2 A. Mr. Sacic brought us to the vicinity of the village in his jeep
3 and then we went to do out work. We photographed and took pictures.
4 Where he was during that time, I really don't know. But I remember that
5 when my colleague Mr. Jozo and I returned, I remember that he was waiting
6 for us next to his jeep.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, Do you remember at approximately what
8 time you finished your work?
9 A. I can't remember.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Did you then go back to Knin again?
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Did you go to the cemetery or did you go elsewhere?
13 A. To the cemetery.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Do you remember, then, what happened at the
16 A. I don't remember.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Were the corpses buried in your presence or not in
18 your presence? Do you know whether they were buried?
19 A. I can't remember whether they were buried in my presence because
20 I don't remember.
21 JUDGE ORIE: How much time does it usually take to do all the
22 paperwork which is related to the sanitation of a body?
23 A. It depends whether the body was fresh or whether putrefaction had
24 begun. It is necessary to take finger-prints on cardboard then to make a
25 list of any scars or if there are personal identification papers on the
1 body, the clothes and the footwear, the place where the body was found,
2 village or hamlet, the time and date, and then two or three photographs
3 are taken, and that's it. I'm not certain how much time is needed, but
4 maybe ten or 15 minutes. It's not easy when you have to take
5 finger-prints on your own, so a colleague usually helps with that.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have any recollection on how difficult and
7 how time-consuming it was to describe and photograph the bodies in
9 A. Can you please repeat the question?
10 JUDGE ORIE: I asked you whether you have any recollection on --
11 on how difficult and, therefore, how time-consuming, what time it took to
12 describe the bodies and to photograph them, specifically those that you
13 found in Grubori.
14 A. I don't remember how long it took or whether it was difficult or
15 not. I don't know.
16 There were many of them, so I don't remember it all.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I have no further questions at this moment.
18 Have the questions, cross-examination, or questions by the Bench
19 triggered any further need to re-examination the witness, Mr. Kay?
20 MR. KAY: There may be just one ambiguity. It may have been
21 cleared up, but I couldn't find it on the screen. But I will see if I
22 can do it.
23 Re-examination by Mr. Kay:
24 Q. You mentioned from the civil protection that there were people in
25 the field and then there was a -- a man or others at the cemetery, a man
1 a with an excavator. Was the civil protection team divided into two?
2 A. I don't know how they were organised and if they would split into
3 groups or not. But of the four or five of them, five would never go with
4 us, but two or three. And then two would always stay at the cemetery in
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. KAY: That's all I needed to ask.
8 Your Honours, there's a matter arising from cross-examination by
9 the Prosecution. 65 ter 7622. Could that be made an exhibit?
10 JUDGE ORIE: That is the --
11 MR. KAY: That is the statement to the Prosecution.
12 JUDGE ORIE: That's the joint statement.
13 MR. KAY: [Overlapping speakers] ... witness statement. No.
14 JUDGE ORIE: No, no, the -- yes, the March statement.
15 MR. KAY: [Overlapping speakers] ... which is the witness --
16 JUDGE ORIE: -- witness 3rd of March --
17 MR. KAY: [Overlapping speakers] ... witness statement.
18 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... 4th of March.
19 MR. KAY: Yes. Witness statement of Mr. Vrticevic to my learned
20 friend and his colleagues on the 4th of March.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Until now we have followed procedurally the
22 line that, to the extent certain portions were read or put to the
23 witness, that that would be then on the record, avoiding, thus, to have
24 the whole of the statement, also portions which were not put to a
25 witness, to have that in evidence. But before -- you may remember that
1 we had a similar issue with the Markac Defence. But before we further
2 explore what we did, let's first try to find out whether Mr. Hedaraly in
3 any way objects.
4 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, I don't have an objection. It just
5 raises the issue of a statement taken for the purposes of this
6 proceeding. I can guess we can have the witness 92 ter it, I guess, or
7 confirm his signature or something like. But that's my only concern. I
8 have no objection to it being in evidence. It's just I don't know how
9 the Court wishes to deal with it because of the situation that has
10 happened in the past, as the court has pointed out.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it --
12 MR. KAY: It can't be 92 ter because he said there was a degree
13 of inaccuracy about how parts were written.
14 What I'm concerned with, and it arises from Your Honour's
15 questions because paragraph 7 has a consistency in this witness's
16 evidence which I think this trial will have overlooked or not taken
17 sufficiently into account, if there are any thoughts about the evidence,
18 and in my submission that would be unfair to the accused and the witness.
19 And paragraph 6, paragraph 7, I can go through them with him, if
20 that's required in re-examination, and it arises from Your Honours'
21 questioning. But there are significant features within this statement
22 that go to the consistency of his account in the 92 ter statement.
23 JUDGE ORIE: What you're seeking as a matter of fact is a partial
24 attestation, paragraphs --
25 MR. KAY: Yes.
1 JUDGE ORIE: -- you think that should be in evidence; whereas in
2 other respects, especially paragraph 3, you consider not fit to be
3 92 ter'd, to say it in that way?
4 MR. KAY: Yes, I have problems with "generally accurate," as to
5 what that means, and I was waiting to see if my learned friend was going
6 to investigate what "generally accurate" means because that carries with
7 it that there may be ungenerally inaccurate parts which don't reflect the
8 whole but do reflect part. And, to be frank, I am not sure how much the
9 proceedings would be served by going into that.
10 I'm quite willing to do so, but I've taken a -- a view on it. I
11 don't know whether that finds favour with the Court or not, and I don't
12 want to burden us with too many aspects of evidence.
13 But paragraphs 6 and 7 are, in my submission, relevant.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I suggest the following. That -- but I'm seeking
15 the parties' advice on the matter.
16 The portion considered relevant by Mr. Hedaraly was almost
17 literally put to the witness, especially what interview the witness was
18 talking about in paragraph 3, who had taken that interview, and -- that
19 is, the Badzim interview, and what he stated in relation to that.
20 I suggest that we slowly read to him paragraphs 6 and 7 to see
21 whether he confirms what he said at the time.
22 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour, I --
23 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
24 MR. KAY: [Overlapping speakers] ...
25 JUDGE ORIE: Then we don't have to enter into all kind of
1 technical problems in view of Rule 92 ter. And then it is leading, to
2 some extent, which, of course, is not usually done in
3 examination-in-chief, but here I see Mr. Hedaraly has no problem with it.
4 Mr. Kay, I suggest that you slowly read paragraphs 6 and 7, of
5 which the content you consider to be important, to be part of the
7 MR. KAY: I'm much obliged to Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
9 MR. KAY:
10 Q. Mr. Vrticevic, I'm going to read a section from your interview by
11 the Prosecution, and if you comment as to whether it's right or wrong,
12 after I've read it. Do you understand?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. It comes from paragraph 6 of 65 ter 7622, and it says this:
15 "On the day the human sanitation was carried out in Grubori, I
16 don't remember anything unusual happening in Knin. I don't remember
17 meeting any group of soldiers or any arguments taking place in Knin. It
18 was just business as usual, if I can say."
19 To the best of your knowledge and recollection, what do you say
20 about that statement here?
21 A. That's the truth, what's written there.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 Paragraph 7:
24 "When we arrived in Plavno, there was quite a number of people
25 there already, including General Cermak, some soldiers in uniform around
1 him who looked like body-guards, and some journalists. I remember that
2 someone wanted to send journalists with us to film us while we carried
3 out our work and ... didn't want my family to see me do this horrible
4 work. I refused and so did Bilobrk. I don't remember how the issue was
6 What is your comment on -- on that statement, please?
7 A. This is also the truth, as it is recorded.
8 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour. That's all I deal with from
9 the matters arising.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Any further questions for the witness?
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, it may be that reviewing some of the
13 evidence and documentation which we'll do over -- during the break, that
14 that may cause the Chamber to add one or more questions. I'm not saying
15 it will, but we, at least, would like to consider that.
16 Under those circumstances, the Chamber would rather take the
17 break now and see, after the break, whether the witness can be excused or
19 Is your next witness ready to be called?
20 MR. KAY: Yes. We instructed that that witness be brought here
21 at the end of this session.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
23 Mr. Vrticevic, we'll first take a break. It -- there may be more
24 questions for you but not necessarily. We'll also decide after the break
25 whether you are excused, whether you are free to go or not. But if we
1 would like you to remain stand by, it would be for a limited period of
3 Is that clear to you?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: During the break - I don't know whether you will see
6 anyone else you may know - but you're hereby instructed not to speak with
7 anyone about the questions that were asked, the answers you've given.
8 You should not speak with anyone about it.
9 We'll take a break, and we resume at 11.00.
10 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 11.18 a.m.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vrticevic, I have a few questions for, and it
13 concerns a detail of your work in Grubori.
14 Further Questioned by the Court:
15 JUDGE ORIE: Who showed you where the bodies were when you
16 arrived in Grubori?
17 A. I don't remember.
18 JUDGE ORIE: But someone must have shown the bodies to you. Or
19 did you have any information as to where to find them?
20 A. I really don't remember, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you told us that when you did the job,
22 that is, photographing, et cetera, describing the body, that you were
23 there - if I understand you well - with the civil protection sanitation
24 team, and you and Mr. Bilobrk. Anyone else?
25 A. In the village, when we were processing the bodies, it was only
1 Robert and me. There were no colleagues from the civil protection there.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And how did they -- did they wait somewhere?
3 How -- how did this happen?
4 A. As far as I can remember, they were down there together with
5 other people with that group. And when we finished our job related to
6 the bodies, then they went to get the van, to put in the bodies, and then
7 we all left for Knin.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, did you photograph and describe the
9 bodies all in sequence, and was it after that that the civil protection
10 sanitation team then put all the bodies in the bag? Or did you go from
11 one body to another body; whereas, when had you finished with the first
12 one, that they already put the bodies in the bag?
13 A. As far as I can remember, when we did our job, whether I did the
14 photographing or Mr. Bilobrk, I don't really remember. Maybe I had the
15 camera. And I also don't remember who was writing the data into the
16 logs. You could probably check it; you could see the signature. But
17 what I do remember is that when we finished all that, the people from the
18 civil protection came. That was the usual procedure. First we did all
19 of our job and then our colleagues came who would then bag the bodies and
20 take them away.
21 JUDGE ORIE: So you had dealt with all of the bodies and then the
22 civilian protection sanitation team came in, to bag them and to --
23 A. Yes, as far as I could remember, that's how it was.
24 JUDGE ORIE: As far as identification is concerned, do you
25 remember, were the persons who identified the bodies with you, or did
1 they join when the civil protection sanitation team arrived; and where,
2 if they were with you, where did you find them?
3 A. I really don't remember that.
4 JUDGE ORIE: But do you remember whether they came to where the
5 bodies were, or were they taken to the van in which the bodies were
7 A. I really don't remember.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You also -- do you remember whether, at all, any
9 civilians inspected the bodies when you were present?
10 A. I don't remember. I really don't remember.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Now, on the forms that were produced for each body
12 you found - I think these are called the K-10 forms - now, there is an
13 empty space where photographs can be attached to that form. Is that what
14 usually happened, that the photographs were attached - stapled, glued, I
15 do not know - but, were, usually, the photographs attached to the forms?
16 A. I will repeat, not to you but to those who took my previous
17 statements, the films and the videos that we made there, we would usually
18 hand over. We would hand them over in the Zadar Police Administration at
19 the crime scene department, Mr. Nevic. Those films were not developed at
20 that time. Whether they developed them later or not and whether they
21 were later attached to those forms, I don't know. Because we also then
22 handed over the forms as well.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I have no further questions for you.
24 Any further questions?
25 Mr. Kay.
1 MR. KAY: It may assist on the procedure for identification, if
2 that's a matter Your Honour is concerned.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Well, what I wanted to know, as a matter of fact,
4 what the witness can tell about it. But if you want -- I mean, I raised
5 the issue. And if there's any matter you would like to clarify in this
6 respect, please proceed.
7 Further Re-examination by Mr. Kay:
8 MR. KAY:
9 Q. In relation to the questions His Honour just asked you, would it
10 assist your memory of events if you were able to look at the forms
11 written at the time?
12 A. Maybe, yes. But those forms, only if -- if I had filled them, if
13 I had signed them, then everything is as it is in the form.
14 Q. Within the KT-10 forms with which you're familiar, there is a
15 written passage on each which says who identified the body to the
16 forensic examiners, the crime technicians. Do you recollect that?
17 A. Yes. There is such a place in the form, if somebody can confirm
18 that it is such and such person.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Kay, I was more interested in whether
20 there they were taken to the bodies or whether the bodies -- whether they
21 had moved. And, of course, I've seen that almost all of them give the
22 same person, identifying the bodies, and -- only one is a bit different.
23 But since the witness has no recollection on how it actually
24 happen, who came to where, who found them, who escort them -- escorted
25 them to the place where the bodies were, therefore, that's the reason why
1 I didn't put any further questions. But it's -- it may be clear that I
2 had that one line in the middle of the KT-10 form on my mind when I asked
3 the witness these questions.
4 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour, I won't take it any further.
5 Thank you.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
7 Any further questions?
8 If not ...
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber is about to instruct the witness to
11 remain stand by for the time when the next witness will testify, to see
12 the -- whether there would be any reason to call him back. As I said,
13 the Chamber is about to do that, but if the parties would raise any
14 objections in --
15 MR. KAY: No objection, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vrticevic, we have concluded your testimony.
17 But the Chamber, nevertheless, would very much like you to remain
18 stand by, most likely for another hour or one hour and a half. So if the
19 evidence to be heard in the next -- in the examination of the next
20 witness would raise any matter which we'd like to hear from you about as
21 well, that you are still there.
22 Therefore, I again instruct you that you should not speak with
23 anyone about your testimony or to communicate in any other way and to
24 remain at the disposal of the Trial Chamber for -- to start with, the
25 remainder of this morning -- well, let's say, until a quarter to 2.00,
1 unless you will hear otherwise.
2 Is that clear?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted out of the courtroom
5 and the next witness could be escorted into the courtroom.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
8 [The witness takes the stand]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Serdarevic.
10 Before you give --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Before you give evidence, the Rules of Procedure and
13 Evidence require that you make a solemn declaration, that you will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 The text is now handed out to you by the usher, and I would like
16 to invite you to make that solemn declaration.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
18 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 WITNESS: MILE SERDAREVIC
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Serdarevic. Please be seated.
22 Mr. Serdarevic, you'll first be examined by Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay is
23 counsel for Mr. Cermak.
24 Mr. Kay.
25 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Examination by Mr. Kay:
2 Q. Mr. Serdarevic, you gave a witness to the Cermak Defence -- a
3 witness statement, and I'd like you to look at the screen in front of you
4 and you will see there an image of the document in your own language will
5 come up onto the screen.
6 MR. KAY: May we have 2D00866 on the screen, please.
7 Q. It's on the right-hand screen there.
8 MR. KAY: And, I'm sorry, can we have the signature down at the
9 bottom, please. Thank you.
10 Q. Mr. Serdarevic, do you recognise that as a witness statement you
11 gave to the Cermak Defence team on the 27th of April, 2010, but signed on
12 the 13th of May, 2010. Do you recognise your signature on the first page
13 of that statement?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. KAY: And if we could turn to the last page of the statement,
16 please, in your language.
17 Q. And do you recognise your signature there on the last page
18 against the date of the 13th of May, 2010?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Have you had an opportunity to read through this statement
21 carefully before coming to court today?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Is everything that is contained within that statement, to the
24 best of your knowledge and belief, true and correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. If I was to ask you in court today the same questions that made
2 up the answers an information in that statement, would your answers today
3 be the same as they were when you made the statement on the
4 27th of April, 2010?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. KAY: Your Honour, in those circumstances, might this
7 statement be made an exhibit.
8 JUDGE ORIE: There are no objections.
9 Madam Registrar, the number for the 92 ter statement of
10 Mr. Serdarevic would be ...
11 THE REGISTRAR: This would be Exhibit D2053, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: D2053 is admitted into evidence.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I will give a brief summary of the content
15 of this statement for the record.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Have you not given a similar summary for the
17 previous witness.
18 MR. KAY: Out of practice, Your Honour, I think, is the answer to
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I don't think that we should bother this
21 witness with a summary of the statement of the previous witness but
22 perhaps at the end of the day we could -- it could be read.
23 MR. KAY: Yes, Your Honour. I had that in mind, and Mr. Mak
24 reminded me.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MR. KAY: Mr. Serdarevic made a statement to the Cermak --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Have you explained to the witness what the purpose
3 of the reading of the summary is?
4 MR. KAY: I will do, Your Honour, yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You have not done it yet?
6 MR. KAY: I will do it now.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please.
8 MR. KAY:
9 Q. Mr. Serdarevic, I will give a brief summary of your statement to
10 the Court so that it goes on the record so that anyone listening is
11 aware, in brief terms, what's within your statement. Do you understand?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. KAY: Mr. Serdarevic was a member of the civilian protection
15 team in the MUP in August of 1995, working in the Zadar-Knin area. And
16 in his statement he describes the nature of his work. And his superior
17 was a Mr. Jelic who ran the Knin cemetery.
18 Within the statement, he describes that he was part of the team
19 that collected corpses on the terrain and transported them to the Knin
20 cemetery. There was another team at the cemetery who carried out the
21 burial of the bodies.
22 There was also a further team with which he was not involved that
23 carried out animal sanitation; collecting livestock and carcasses. He
24 describes that there were five members of the team for human sanitation,
25 that they had the use of a van by which they transported corpses in
1 plastic bags. And when they searched the field with crime police
2 officers, the crime police officers took photographs, finger-prints, and
3 wrote a description of the deceased. And they worked on a daily basis
4 with the crime police officers and also pyrotechnicians who also
5 accompanied the teams in their field-work at this time.
6 He described the routine in relation to Knin. Someone would
7 report to the police station, they would be given details of where dead
8 bodies had been located, and they would go and collect with the crime
9 police officers. And it was the crime police officers who received that
10 information first.
11 He describes working with Mr. Bilobrk, as well as Mr. Vrticevic.
12 Location for the bodies came from a variety of people, not only
13 the police but also civilians, Croatian army members, Red Cross, and
14 civilian protection teams dealing with livestock, as well as
15 international representatives.
16 He would remove the mortal remains and bury them with an
17 identification number. And he put the identification number on the
18 corpses and then put the body into the bags which was then put into the
20 He describes that the sanitation of the terrain was the exclusive
21 responsibility of the MUP civilian protection employees and not the
22 responsibility of the Croatian army.
23 On the 27th of August, 1995, in that morning, he went to Knin,
24 first of all, and -- having departed from Zadar, and came to Knin between
25 9.00 and 9.30 in the morning.
1 Mr. Bilobrk was the person who used to go to the police station
2 for information and reports and tell him and his colleagues at a coffee
3 bar where the location was and where they were to go on any day.
4 On the 27th of August, he went to the village of Strmica
5 where a single corpse was collected, which was in a decomposed state.
6 From the village of Strmica
7 corpse was left and then went to the village of Plavno
8 previously been to the village of Plavno two or three times before; and
9 on the particular day concerned, he was driving the van with four
10 employees of the civilian protection with him.
11 That was the first day that he saw Mr. Cermak, and he saw him in
12 the village of Plavno
13 Plavno, there was a group of people with parked cars. They met on the
14 bridge where people were stopped. And from the village of Plavno
15 went to the hamlet of Grubori to collect corpses that needed to be
16 collected there.
17 Mr. Vrticevic was driving the vehicle in front and led the way to
18 Grubori. He couldn't get access to the hamlet with his van, and he
19 describes entering the hamlet of Grubori where he saw some destroyed
20 houses and he found five corpses. And he gives details of what he saw on
21 that day.
22 The crime police officers who were present were the first ones
23 who approached each corpse and did their job. He thinks they carried out
24 an on-site investigation, but he wasn't sure. After they had done their
25 job, he and his colleagues began their work. And they went from one
1 corpse to another and put the identification numbers on the corpses and
2 then placed the bags containing the corpse into the van. And then, from
3 there, the corpses were taken back to Knin.
4 Your Honour, that's a brief summary of the evidence of the
5 witness, Mr. Serdarevic.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
8 MR. KAY:
9 Q. Mr. Serdarevic, just a -- a few general questions arising from
10 your statement.
11 As a member of the MUP civilian protection, did you wear a -- a
13 A. Yes. It was grey in colour.
14 Q. Was that a -- a different coloured uniform from the uniform of
15 police officers?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Whilst you were engaged on the 27th of August, 1995, on this task
18 involving the bodies in Grubori, did you hear of anyone making a
19 suggestion that weapons should be planted next to the bodies of the
20 deceased to falsify a crime scene?
21 A. No.
22 Q. On this particular day, you describe going from Knin to Strmica.
23 How long does the journey take from Knin to Strmica?
24 A. Some 20 minutes.
25 Q. Your statement records that a body was collected in Strmica on
1 the 27th of August. Can you recollect the state of that corpse on that
2 day at Strmica?
3 A. It was in a state of quite advanced decomposition.
4 Q. How long did it take to deal with the corpse that was part of
5 your tasks at Strmica? How long were you in Strmica for?
6 A. I don't know. I can't recall that. It wasn't long.
7 Q. And did Mr. Vrticevic and Mr. Bilobrk also go to Strmica on that
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Having been to Strmica and collecting the corpse there, what did
11 you do with that corpse after your visit to Strmica?
12 A. We took it to the town cemetery in Knin where we buried it.
13 Q. Was it you that did that burial?
14 A. Not I. The team working at the cemetery.
15 Q. Did you stay with them while they buried it, or did you unload it
16 from -- from the van and hand it over to them to carry out their task?
17 A. We merely turned the body over to them and proceeded on our way.
18 Q. Can you recollect the length of the journey time from Knin
19 cemetery to Plavno village?
20 A. I cannot.
21 Q. Do you know how long it usually took you to go that -- that
23 A. I never measured the kilometres involved. I don't know.
24 Q. And then from the cross-roads in -- or from the bridge in Plavno,
25 how far is it up to the hamlet of Grubori? What sort of distance, or how
1 long would it take?
2 A. I don't know. I don't know exactly, but it's not that far.
3 Q. In Grubori hamlet, did you work with the criminal investigation
4 officers, or did they do their tasks separately from you?
5 A. They did their tasks and told us that we could collect the
6 corpses one by one and take them to the town cemetery.
7 Q. Did you have any part to play in the identification of the
9 A. I didn't understand the question.
10 Q. We -- we know from records that the corpses were identified by
11 somebody, and we know your -- from your statement you have a -- a number.
12 Do you know -- did you have any part to play with any of the local people
13 concerning identification by name of the deceased?
14 A. Yes. I spoke to a woman.
15 Q. And what -- what did that woman do?
16 A. She gave us the names of the people. Only that.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. KAY: Your Honour, that's all the questions that I need ask
19 the witness.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
21 Any questions by any other of the Defence teams?
22 If not, Mr. Hedaraly. Are you ready to cross-examine the
24 MR. HEDARALY: Thank you, Mr. President. Yes.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Serdarevic, you will now be cross-examined by
1 Mr. Hedaraly. Mr. Hedaraly is counsel for the Prosecution.
2 Please proceed, Mr. Hedaraly.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Hedaraly:
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Serdarevic.
5 A. Good morning.
6 Q. I have a few questions for you based on the statement that you
7 gave and which is now admitted into evidence as D2053.
8 Now, my -- and it's already on the screen. If we can go to
9 paragraph 12 of your statement first.
10 And before I ask you about this portion of your statement, your
11 superior was Engineer Jelic; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And do you know who Engineer Jelic was reporting to?
14 A. No.
15 Q. You say in paragraph 12 that do you not know who Mr. Brkic was.
16 Does that mean you never dealt directly with Mr. Brkic? Would that be a
17 fair assumption?
18 A. Yes, that's right. I never communicated with him.
19 Q. And you don't know whether Mr. Brkic communicated with Mr. Jelic
20 or issued any orders to him or anything of that sort; correct?
21 A. I don't know about that.
22 Q. And you further state in paragraph 12 that as far as you knew --
23 and I quote:
24 "The Croatian army did not carry out the sanitation of the
25 terrain. The sanitation, human, and animal were exclusively the
1 responsibility of the MUP civilian protection, and we, the civilian
2 protection employees, carried it out. The sanitation was not the
3 responsibility of the Croatian army, nor anyone else."
4 A. As far as I know, it was not. That's right.
5 Q. Were you aware that there were mixed sanitation teams, including
6 members of the HV, that were involved in human sanitation?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Did you know that there were orders issued by HV commanders
9 regarding these mixed teams -- mixed sanitation teams?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Let me move on, then, to paragraph 15 of your statement where you
12 said that you can't give an exact number but you have buried around
13 200 bodies in the Knin cemetery. Do you remember that?
14 A. I don't know the exact number.
15 Q. Well, in your statement, you said that:
16 "I think there were more than 200."
17 Is that a -- is that a fair approximation?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And to your knowledge, before burying any of these 200 corpses,
20 was there any examination or autopsies conducted on these bodies?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. There were autopsies conducted on these bodies before they were
24 A. No. They were not autopsied, but there was a criminal
25 investigation examination, a forensic examination.
1 Q. And when you referred to these criminal investigation
2 examination, are you referring to the work that Mr. Bilobrk and
3 Mr. Vrticevic were doing?
4 A. Yes, that's right. That's what I meant by the criminal
5 investigation examination. That's what they did.
6 Q. So your understanding is that that was a criminal investigation
7 examination; correct? You don't know exactly what they were doing?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. If we then move to paragraph 19 of your statement. And it
10 relates to something you just talked about a few minutes ago at
11 transcript reference, draft reference 47, about one woman who gave you
12 details about the deceased, and she told you nothing else.
13 She wasn't -- that woman, she wasn't emotional, didn't tell you
14 anything about how her husband was killed or anything like that?
15 A. No.
16 Q. So she simply told you -- let me repeat.
17 Was she very calm?
18 A. Well, I don't know. She engaged in a normal conversation
19 with me.
20 Q. So although her husband has just been killed, she was very normal
21 and simply told you that this was her husband and didn't say anything
22 else to you as to what they had done to him or how he had died?
23 MR. KAY: I don't think the husband was a feature of the
24 evidence, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, we have to look exactly -- we have, as
1 a matter of fact, two identifying persons. Could you please assist the
2 Chamber, perhaps, by - let me just see - we're talking about D2043, at
3 least portions of it, I have, for number 537, I have a ...
4 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, it's not a matter of critical
5 interest. I can move on. The point was simply that I wanted to confirm
6 that his -- his statement, that nothing -- no more information was given
7 than the identifying details of the deceased. And that's really all I
8 was interested in.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Then please move on.
10 MR. HEDARALY:
11 Q. At paragraph 20 of your statement, I think it relates to
12 something we just talked about in one of my previous questions, when you
14 "I think they carried out an on-site investigation, but I am not
16 That's a -- that's your understanding of what they were doing,
17 but you don't know, once again, specifically what they were doing that
18 day; correct?
19 A. My understanding was that they were carrying out an on-site
21 Q. Do you know that both Mr. Bilobrk and Mr. Vrticevic testified
22 that they did not carry [sic] an on-site investigation in Grubori?
23 A. I don't know that.
24 Q. And they further stated that did not perform any on-site
25 investigations for any of the bodies that they had examined and
2 A. Well I don't know exactly what an on-site investigation involves.
3 They had a camera and a video camera with them.
4 Q. In paragraph 22 of your statement, you stated Mr. Cermak was in
5 the hamlet of Grubori on that day. Do you know -- do you remember what
6 he was doing there while you were there? Did you see him talk to anyone
7 or do anything?
8 A. I didn't know him. I didn't know who he was. I didn't know that
9 he was Cermak.
10 Q. I didn't ask you if knew who he was. You said he was in the
11 hamlet of Grubori, and I'm asking if you remember what he was doing on
12 that day in the hamlet of Grubori while you were there.
13 A. I don't know. I saw him seated.
14 Q. In paragraph 23 of your statement you say:
15 "Two or three weeks after Operation Storm, we located the bodies
16 of the killed that were not the consequence of Operation Storm."
17 I'm a little confused because Grubori was two or three weeks
18 after Operation Storm. So is that what you were referring to when you
19 said that they were not a consequence of Operation Storm?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. But then you go on to state that:
22 "In cases like that, the procedure would involve the coroner and
23 the crime police at the scene."
24 And then later on you say:
25 "If an investigative judge needed to be called to the scene where
1 a murder was committed, I do not know whose duty it was to call him ..."
2 To your knowledge, was there a coroner or an investigative judge
3 in Grubori on the 27th of August?
4 A. No.
5 Q. And when you say two or three weeks after Storm that you located
6 bodies of these people in Grubori, that they were not the consequences of
7 Operation Storm, does that mean that all the bodies you had collected
8 before were killed as a result of Operation Storm?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If -- if you didn't perform any -- yourself, if you're not
11 involved in any criminal investigation, how can you know whether they
12 were killed in -- as a consequence of Operation Storm?
13 A. Well, one could see that the bodies had been in an advanced state
14 of decomposition.
15 Q. So are you simply relating -- is it simply a time issue, that if
16 the bodies were collected shortly after Operation Storm, you considered
17 them to have been killed as a consequence of Operation Storm?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But you, in fact, don't know in what circumstances these people
20 were killed whose bodies you were collecting; right?
21 A. No, I don't know.
22 MR. HEDARALY: Just a moment.
23 [Prosecution counsel confer]
24 MR. HEDARALY: Those are my questions.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Hedaraly.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Serdarevic, I have a few questions for you.
3 Questioned by the Court:
4 JUDGE ORIE: You described that -- in your statement, that when
5 you went to Grubori you were in your van, that Mr. Vrticevic was driving
6 in front of you. Did you just follow him, or did you know where you had
7 to go? I mean, who knew the route to Grubori?
8 A. Well, they drove ahead of us.
9 JUDGE ORIE: And you just followed?
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Now, coming closer to Grubori, did you notice
12 Mr. Vrticevic still driving his car, or would he board another vehicle?
13 A. Mr. Vrticevic and Bilobrk were in the car together with another
14 gentleman I didn't know.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Were they in the car which was used by
16 Mr. Bilobrk and Mr. Vrticevic, or were they in the car that was used
17 that -- or that may have been used by that other person?
18 A. I think the car may have belonged to that other person.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Now, in your statement we read that you couldn't go
20 up all the way to Grubori. What was approximately the distance where you
21 had to leave your van behind to the village or to the hamlet?
22 A. I can't recall exactly. I don't know.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Approximately?
24 A. 100, 200 metres. I don't know.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Now, in your statement we read that you had to wait
1 for the crime police to do its job first. You also testified that you
2 talked to a lady. Now, was that after had you done the job, or was that
3 before you did your part of the job, or somewhere in the middle of it?
4 A. Before we did our job.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You -- your statement is that you had to wait for
6 the crime police to do their job. Was it when you were waiting for the
7 crime police to do their job that you talked to this lady?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Were you close to the bodies at that moment? Could
10 you see the bodies when you had a conversation with this lady?
11 A. No.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Did she tell you who the deceased persons were?
13 A. She gave us first and last names of individual persons.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Now, how did you know what name was linked to what
16 A. We didn't write the names down. We merely placed identification
17 numbers on the bodies. The names were only mentioned in the conversation
18 we had with the lady.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Let me try to understand.
20 You talked with the lady. She gave the names. You didn't do
21 anything with that. You said you placed identification numbers on the
23 When did you get these identification numbers? From whom did you
24 get them and at what moment in time exactly?
25 A. We carried them along whenever we went to work.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But at one moment or another, the
2 identification number has to be linked to the name of a person.
3 Would you agree with that?
4 A. We weren't the ones making the link. We were merely placing the
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you had the numbers with you. And without
7 knowing to whom or what the name of the person, deceased person was, you
8 just did put that number on it?
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Did you happen to know who, then, linked the name to
11 that body?
12 A. I don't know.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Did you fill in any forms?
14 A. No.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you said had you to wait for the crime police.
16 Did you have to wait until they have dealt with all of the bodies, or did
17 they call you after they had dealt with one of the bodies, then moved on
18 to the next one, and then would call you for the next one? Or how did
19 this happen?
20 A. One by one.
21 JUDGE ORIE: One by one means once they're done with the one body
22 they would call you or they would fetch you? How did they do that? Did
23 they shout at you, Come over, the job is done, or ... what happened?
24 A. They would call to us. We weren't that far.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. How far were you?
1 A. As I told you, 100 or 200 metres roughly.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you remember who then called you? Was it
3 Mr. Vrticevic? Was it Mr. Bilobrk? Who did it? Who said, Come over
4 and ...
5 A. I don't know which of the two. I don't know.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, then you went to that one body. And did
7 they wait until you were there, or did they go to the next one? How did
8 it happen?
9 A. They would wait for us to get to the body. We would place the
10 number, bag the body, take it to the car, and they would proceed to the
11 next body.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Would they go with you to the -- to the van, to the
13 car, where you did put the body, or did they not follow you?
14 A. They didn't follow us.
15 JUDGE ORIE: So if I understood you well: They did the job on
16 one body; they would call you; you would bag the body and put the number
17 in the bag; then you would bring that body to the van, they did not
18 accompany you. And when you returned, had they started then already with
19 the next body?
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: And this is what happened with all of the bodies,
22 that once they were ready, they would call you; they were there when you
23 bagged the body; then you would bring it to the van, and they would move
24 on to the next one.
25 Is that how it happened?
1 A. I didn't understand you well in translation.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Then I will repeat to you.
3 Whether that was the sequence that followed with all of the
4 bodies: One body -- well, let's say, inspected or whatever done with by
5 the crime police; they would call you; you would bag the body in their
6 presence. Then you would bring the body to the van; they would move on
7 to the next body; and then that same story repeated itself with the
8 second body. That is, once they were done, they would call you; you
9 would come; you would bag the body; put the ID in it; bring it to the van
10 while the crime police would move on to the third body.
11 Is that how it went?
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Now, there were others of which you did not know
14 exactly what they were doing there; is that correct?
15 A. No. There was nobody by the corpses.
16 JUDGE ORIE: No, but I mean in the area of the hamlet.
17 A. Yes, yes. There were some others.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Did you see any cameras? Did you see any civilians
20 A. That was close to the bridge.
21 JUDGE ORIE: And that's where they stayed?
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: They didn't follow you into the hamlet?
24 A. No.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Did no one follow you in the hamlet, apart from the
1 persons you had described, that is, Mr. Bilobrk, Mr. Vrticevic, and you
2 and the members of your team; or were there some - whether civilian,
3 whether in uniform - that followed you to the hamlet?
4 A. No.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Did they stay at the bridge? Or at what distance
6 were they -- did they stop from the hamlet?
7 A. They stayed by the bridge.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Which is at a distance of approximately how far?
9 A. I don't know.
10 JUDGE ORIE: When you had left an ID number with the body in the
11 bag, did anyone write down a -- that number, or was it in any way -- was
12 anyone making -- filling any -- filling in any forms or ...
13 A. Vrticevic and Bilobrk were writing down the numbers and so was
14 the team working in -- at the graveyard. They would list all the numbers
15 and then they would place crosses.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So when you put a number next to the body when
17 it was bagged, then they would write down that number?
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: There is one line in your statement which was not
20 entirely clear to me. I'll read it to you, and it deals with the
21 beginning of that 27th of August.
22 You said:
23 "On the 27th of August, 1995, just like every morning, we came to
24 Knin first. I did not know from where Mr. Vrticevic was departing Zadar
25 because we telephoned each other and agreed to meet at the coffee bar
1 where we always used to meet."
2 Now, the reference to Zadar is a bit unclear to me. Could you
3 tell us exactly what you meant?
4 A. We travelled every day from Knin to Zadar and from Zadar to Knin.
5 JUDGE ORIE: When did you travel to Zadar?
6 A. In the afternoon. And in the morning, we would go to Knin.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you were not sure whether Mr. Vrticevic
8 left that morning from Zadar and travelled to Knin or whether he was
9 already in Knin? Is that how I have to understand that part of your
11 A. He had also left from Zadar.
12 JUDGE ORIE: But the line starts with:
13 "I did not know from where Mr. Vrticevic was departing Zadar."
14 Could you tell me exactly what -- what you didn't know?
15 A. I don't know where exactly they were accommodated in Zadar, where
16 they were sleeping in Zadar, at which hotel. That's what I don't know.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Now it's clear to me what you didn't know.
18 Now, as far as time is concerned, you went to Strmica that
19 morning, you returned to Knin, left the body that was recovered from
20 Strmica at Knin cemetery, then you travelled to Grubori.
21 Do you remember at what time approximately you left for Grubori
22 from Knin?
23 A. I cannot remember. I don't know exactly.
24 JUDGE ORIE: How much time did the whole of the trip to Grubori
25 and the -- the work you had to do there, how much time did that
1 approximately take?
2 A. I don't know. I don't know exactly because we didn't do anything
3 else on that day. We just returned to Zadar.
4 JUDGE ORIE: You immediately returned from Grubori to Knin. Do
5 you remember how many bodies exactly you recovered in Grubori?
6 A. I think five. And on the way, when we were leaving Plavno for
7 Knin, we found another one in a brook, and we also recovered that body.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I was just -- you said it was the only thing
9 we did, but you recovered another body on your way back to Knin.
10 A. I considering -- I considered that the part of the same work.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I understand that.
12 Now, I'm trying to again to -- you said "it was the only thing we
14 You travelled to Plavno, then Grubori. How much time did the job
15 take for the five bodies, approximately? Including the time, first crime
16 police, then your part of the job?
17 A. I don't know. Perhaps two or three hours, but I don't know
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. I have no further questions for you.
20 Any further questions, Mr. Kay?
21 MR. KAY: Nothing arises, Your Honour. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
23 MR. HEDARALY: Just one matter of clarification, if I may
24 Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 Further Cross-examination by Mr. Hedaraly:
2 Q. Mr. Serdarevic, you just answered the Presiding Judge's question:
3 You said no one followed you from Plavno up to Grubori except for the
4 members of your team and Mr. Vrticevic and Mr. Bilobrk.
5 Earlier in your statement, we discussed what was in your
6 statement about General Cermak being in Grubori and you saw him seated
7 there, didn't know what he was doing.
8 Do you know how Mr. Cermak got to Grubori, if -- if you said no
9 one followed you?
10 I'm just trying to clear up the confusion.
11 A. No. Look, I don't know all of the Plavno village. For me,
12 Plavno and Grubori are all one and the same. Mr. Cermak was by the
14 Q. So in your statement at paragraph 19 and what we had explored
15 when I asked you questions earlier on where you said that he was -- that
16 you saw him in Grubori but did not know what he were [sic] doing, are you
17 now saying that he was not in the hamlet of Grubori?
18 A. As far as I know, he wasn't. He was by the bridge. Whether that
19 is also a part of Grubori or not, that's something I don't know.
20 Q. Thank you for the clarification.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Serdarevic, this concludes your evidence. We'd
23 like to thank you very much for coming to The Hague and for having
24 answered all the questions that were put to you. Although, as far as the
25 Chamber is concerned, very unlikely, there's a small chance that we'd
1 need you within the next hour for perhaps two or three more questions.
2 But it's very unlikely.
3 Nevertheless, I would like to instruct you not to speak with
4 anyone yet before we know for sure that we have no further questions for
5 you, not to speak with anyone about your testimony.
6 The Chamber would like to re-call, for a small moment, the
7 previous witness.
8 Mr. Usher, would you please escort Mr. Serdarevic out of the
10 If we don't see you back, Mr. Serdarevic, I already wish you a
11 safe return home and, again, thank you for having answered the questions.
12 Again, the chance that we further need you is minimal. Thank you.
13 Mr. Usher, could you --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And could you bring the other witness to the
17 [The witness stands down]
18 MR. KEHOE: Mr. President, I don't know what the -- how long the
19 Chamber is going to go. It's just that it's break time, and --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I know that. It would be -- it might be - if
21 it takes not more than ten minutes - that we would conclude for the day.
22 We will have a housekeeping session which can unfortunately, not be held
23 today because we -- there are a few new issues. And we -- apart from
24 that, we need someone else to assist us on certain matters who is not in
25 court today. So, unfortunately, we need to have a housekeeping session
1 tomorrow. It will not take very long. So that's not to be done after
2 the break. Therefore, I'm wondering whether we should give it a chance.
3 MR. KAY: There's the summary of the statement to be read.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 MR. KAY: It will only take three minutes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I see that. I'm also -- it's a bit of a -- of a
7 gamble. Either we finish in ten minutes from now and then adjourn for
8 the day, or we'd take a break now of 25 minutes and then hopefully finish
9 within ten or 15 minutes.
10 I'm also looking at the booth, whether there's any preference by
11 interpreters and transcribers how to proceed.
12 Could we give it a try? I'm the guilty one. If we do not finish
13 and have to take a break anyhow ... I don't see any gestures that I
14 should not proceed as suggested.
15 [The witness takes the stand]
16 WITNESS: IVICA VRTICEVIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vrticevic, I have a few more questions for you.
19 Further Questioned by the Court:
20 JUDGE ORIE: But I first would like to remind you that the solemn
21 declaration that you will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
22 but the truth still binds you. That's the solemn declaration that you've
23 given today.
24 One of the specific points I would like to re-visit is how the
25 sequence was between your work and the work of the civilian protection
1 teams who bagged the bodies and took the bodies to the van.
2 You told us earlier today that you first did the job,
3 photographing, describing, et cetera, for all the bodies, and only then
4 called civilian protection to remove the bodies.
5 Is that well understood?
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Now, we heard another witness this morning who said,
8 No, that's not how it went. It was they did that job with one of the
9 bodies; then they would call us; and then in their presence we would bag
10 the bodies. We'd then remove the body, take the body to the van, and
11 they, meanwhile, then moved to the second body. Which is a different
12 description of what happened compared to your description.
13 Could you tell us whether this, in any way, refreshes your memory
14 or ...
15 A. I will repeat, once again, that, as far as I remember, we
16 processed the bodies there at the site and then we went back while the
17 civilian protection went up there and removed the bodies. That is what I
18 remember, but let me stress that once again.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Saying that you dealt with all five bodies and
20 then, after that, the bodies were removed. As far as your recollection
22 A. Yes. As far as I remember, that's how it went. Maybe it didn't,
23 but I really remember that it should have happened that way.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Now, did you speak to any of the locals of that
25 hamlet? Did you have conversations with them? Or a conversation.
1 A. I really do not remember. In some cases, the villagers were
2 present; in other cases, they were not. There were many happenings in
3 the 20-odd days that I spent in the field. So, specifically, I do not
4 remember this.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you filled in the forms with the
6 ID numbers and the names of the identified bodies. Or -- did you do it,
7 or did Mr. Bilobrk do it, or did you do it together?
8 A. I do not remember that specific case, whether it was me or not.
9 But if these pieces of cardboard are there, I could see and then confirm
10 if that was filled in in my handwriting or not. If it wasn't me, then it
11 was my colleague Jozo.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Well, we could -- are you talking about the lists,
13 or are you talking about the KT-10 forms, which are ...
14 A. I mean the KT-10 forms.
15 MR. KAY: D2043, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's -- could we have that on our screen.
17 MR. KAY: For the record, D2043.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's ...
19 MR. KAY: It's got a P on that transcript.
20 JUDGE ORIE: I see that.
21 MR. KAY: Yup.
22 JUDGE ORIE: And that's a very long series.
23 Yes, could we move on. We have, at this moment, 289 before us.
24 Could we move ten pages, expecting that we would then have 299. No, even
25 one further.
1 MR. KAY: Page 11 --
2 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... 300. Yes, I do not
3 know --
4 MR. KAY: -- in the B/C/S.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. One further ...
6 Is that your handwriting? Can you see it?
7 A. Can I see it. It is not my handwriting.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Do you recognise whose handwriting it is?
9 A. I don't know.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Are you familiar with the handwriting of
11 Mr. Bilobrk?
12 A. I can't be sure right now.
13 JUDGE ORIE: No, but I'm first of all asking whether you're
14 familiar with that. And then the next question would be whether you
15 recognise this as his handwriting.
16 A. I can only say that this is not my handwriting. That's not the
17 way I write.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that.
19 Now, last question: When you filled in the forms, how did you
20 link the ID number to a name?
21 A. If we had no information, that is, if we didn't know the
22 identity, then we would assign the following number, the ID number. If
23 we had information on identity, we would also give a number and then fill
24 in the form with the -- the first name, last name, and all other
25 information we could gather in the field.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, here, apparently, if you look on the
2 screen, which is one of the Grubori bodies, apparently that person was
3 identified. But you have no recollection as to where that information
4 came from, who the body was?
5 A. That is correct. I don't remember that.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Were you present when the ID numbers were placed
7 next to the bodies when they were bagged?
8 A. I don't remember. But our job was always the following: We
9 would put the number on the body and then take a photo so that you could
10 see both the face or the upper part of the body and the number on the
12 JUDGE ORIE: Now, we heard evidence which said that once you had
13 done your job, that then the sanitation people would come in, put a
14 number next to the body, and then -- when it was bagged, and that it
15 would then be taken by them and put into the van. Which is, again, a
16 different sequence of -- different to the sequence you describe.
17 A. Your Honour, I have to say it once again. The numbers would go
18 with bags. Now, I can't really remember all those things. I simply
19 can't remember. Can you do whatever you want, but I don't remember.
20 Whether he put those numbers or I put those numbers, I can only say that
21 the numbers were put sequentially, that they were also photographed, all
22 that, and then everything has handed over back in Zadar. That's all.
23 JUDGE ORIE: So you say that when you photographed the bodies the
24 numbers were there, and you do not remember exactly who put the numbers
25 next to the bodies? Did you do it, or did the civilian protection
1 sanitation team put the numbers?
2 A. I don't know anymore. Sometimes we did it, sometimes the
3 civilian protection. As far as I can remember, they would also put the
4 number on the bag itself, and that's how it went to the cemetery.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Have the questions of the Bench raised any further
9 MR. KAY: No, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Then -- Mr. Hedaraly.
11 MR. HEDARALY: I don't think it has to be done with the witness,
12 Your Honour, but we have the photographs on the record with the tag on
13 it, so if the Court wanted exhibit numbers --
14 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... no, it's -- I'm aware of
15 that. It's --
16 Mr. Vrticevic, this then concludes your testimony in this court.
17 We would like to thank you very much for coming a long way to The Hague
18 and to -- for having answered all the questions put to you by the parties
19 and by the Bench.
20 You are excused. If you wish, you can speak with others again
21 about your testimony.
22 And, Madam Registrar, could you inform the VWS that the other
23 witness ... that the other witness is informed that he is -- not only
24 that he is excused, but also free to speak with whomever he wants about
25 whatever he wants to talk about.
1 Mr. Usher, could you please escort the witness out of the
3 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kay, we have eight minutes left on the tape. I
6 need three.
7 MR. KAY: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll just read a brief summary
8 now of the 92 ter statement of Ivica Vrticevic, who has given evidence
9 this morning.
10 He was a member of the Split-Dalmatia Police Administration in
11 1995, provided as assistance to the Zadar-Knin Police Administration to
12 carry out tasks of crime scene technician. And he was working on the
13 27th of August, 1995, in Knin with Officer Bilobrk, and the two of them,
14 that day, went on the following mission. Having been shown a document
15 dated the Knin police log, Exhibit D57, with entries there at one 193 and
16 198, detailing that the sanitation in the village of Strmica
17 hamlet of Grubori were ordered at 11.00 on the 27th of August, he said he
18 couldn't be in two places at the same time. But he then considered
19 documents that were written at the time, Exhibit D2042, and
20 Exhibit D2043, KTO-10 forms, and as a result of looking at those
21 documents, was able to say that on that day, that he travelled to Strmica
22 and then on to the village of Plavno
23 protection, as well as Mr. Bilobrk, and he remembered that he saw that
24 day in person, for the first time, Mr. Cermak. And he described him
25 being near the turn for a hamlet of Grubori at the end of an asphalt road
1 and where a dirty road, as it was described, was situated.
2 And he described going into the village of Grubori
3 identification of bodies that were considered by him and his colleague on
4 that day and the procedures that were undertaken.
5 And, Your Honour, that is a brief summary of his 92 ter
6 statement, Exhibit D2052.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
8 The Chamber received a table which is a response to its
9 invitation to -- to inform us where the term "postave" is used, rather
10 than "ostave." Everything in that submission is in evidence, so,
11 therefore, I think that it just assists the Chamber in finding, in the
12 original language, the language which was used.
13 The only thing is that apparently in P2732 there is a mistake in
14 the translation. Has the new, correct translation already been uploaded?
15 Because that's something that should then be done by the parties
16 apparently agree [sic].
17 MR. HEDARALY: No, Your Honour, but we can -- we have reached
18 agreement, so we can do it.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 MR. HEDARALY: Hope -- we'll try to do it by tomorrow. We don't
21 know how much -- how our ability is with the translation people, but
22 we'll try to do it by tomorrow.
23 JUDGE ORIE: So then the Chamber does not -- is not asking for
24 this aide-memoire to be -- to be filed, but, at the same time, would like
25 to have the accurate translation into evidence, and then we're talking
1 about P2732.
2 Then one last question: Is there any party which intends to seek
3 leave to present any further evidence? I'm especially looking at the
4 Markac Defence, which has -- because you have not expressed yourself on
5 the matter, as far as I remember.
6 MR. MIKULICIC: Your Honour, there is one pending questions about
7 one document that we intended to use -- [Overlapping speakers] ...
8 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... yes, yes, but I mean
9 calling witnesses.
10 MR. MIKULICIC: No, no, no, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
12 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, the Gotovina Defence this morning
13 filed an appeal on the ECMM log-book, and for that reason we preserve our
14 position and which to have the evidence remain open until that issue is
15 resolved because --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But up till this moment you have no specific
17 wish, We wish to call Witness A, B, or C?
18 MR. MISETIC: That is correct.
19 JUDGE ORIE: That's fine. Then we'll conclude for the day, and
20 we will deal with these other matters after we also have read the -- your
21 appeal, Mr. Misetic, and deal with the procedural matters tomorrow.
22 We resume and -- on tomorrow -- let me just -- since they changed
23 one of these programs, there's always difficulties in finding the --
24 MR. HEDARALY: It's Courtroom III tomorrow, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: It's Courtroom III. Thank you, Mr. Hedaraly.
1 So we'll resume tomorrow, Friday, the 11th of June in --
2 MR. KAY: Your Honour, sorry. There is one administrative matter
3 and that is whether the accused are needed for the hearing tomorrow.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Is usually, for housekeeping sessions --
5 MR. KAY: Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: -- if the accused prefer not to be present, it's
7 almost -- has become a routine that the Chamber does not insist on their
8 presence and that the Chamber accepts their absence.
9 MR. KAY: Thank you.
10 JUDGE ORIE: We stand adjourned.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.59 p.m.
12 to be reconvened on Friday, the 11th day
13 of June, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.