1 Tuesday, 8 January 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
6 courtroom. May the record reflect that we sit pursuant to Rule 15 bis
7 for the rest of the week, that is, Judge Hall being absent.
8 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Registrar, could you call the case, please.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
11 IT-04-75-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic. Thank you.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. May we have the appearances, please,
13 starting with the Prosecution.
14 MR. GILLETT: Good morning, Your Honours, everybody. It's
15 Matthew Gillett together with Matthew Olmsted, Sandra Ramirez Rodriguez,
16 and Thomas Laugel. Thank you.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
18 For Defence, Mr. Zivanovic.
19 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Defence of
20 Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell. Thank you.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
22 MR. GILLETT: Your Honour, just before the witness enters, one
23 brief matter. Yesterday I said I'd look into a document which was
24 admitted, P363, that was admitted under seal, and to explain the problem,
25 could we briefly go into private session.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Private session, please.
2 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours. Thank
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
1 [The witness takes the stand]
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning to you, Mr. Strinovic. I remind you
3 that you are still under oath.
4 WITNESS: DAVOR STRINOVIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gillett.
7 MR. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour. I completed my direct
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: I'm sorry. You did. You did indeed. So,
10 Mr. Zivanovic, for cross-examination.
11 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Zivanovic:
13 Q. [No interpretation]
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Zivanovic, one moment, please. We seem to
15 have a problem with the translation.
16 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Okay. I will repeat my introduction.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Professor Strinovic. My name is
18 Zoran Zivanovic. I represent Goran Hadzic in these proceedings, and
19 before I start putting my questions to you, I would like to convey to you
20 a request by the interpreters to slow down and allow them to follow your
21 words properly.
22 Yesterday, the Prosecutor showed you your curriculum vitae. It
23 was admitted as P33 -- 351. In your CV, you stated that inter alia the
24 exhumations and processing of mortal remains was something that the
25 specialists of forensic medicine were involved in and in only a smaller
1 number of cases those were pathologists.
2 First of all, could you please clarify the difference between
3 these two categories, i.e., between these two professions?
4 A. Yes. As I've already stated, forensic expert is primarily
5 involved in violent deaths and suspicious deaths, everything that might
6 constitute a crime. Unlike that, the main task of a pathologist is to
7 establish any diseases that existed in a human being whereas a
8 pathologists is involved in post-mortem. He concentrates on the
9 diagnosis, on what is ill, what is not healthy. That's the domain of a
10 pathologist; i.e., a pathologist deals with natural deaths caused by an
11 illness and this is the principal difference between a forensic expert
12 and a pathologist.
13 Q. Yesterday, you stated that you attended the exhumations that were
14 carried out in the Republic of Croatia and that you started doing that in
15 1995. Could you please explain the significance, if any, of the presence
16 of a forensic -- forensic expert during an exhumation?
17 A. When the process of exhumation starts, the bodies may be
18 completely preserved or they may be just skeletons depending on the lapse
19 of time. Since we are talking about individual and mass graves and
20 there's a suspicion of violent deaths, it's customary for a forensic
21 expert to attend such an exhumation because he will be involved in
22 further proceedings of the examination of the bodies or mortal remains,
23 the post-mortem, and then that person will also draft a protocol. He
24 will establish all the elements necessary for the identification of the
25 body and the possible causes of death, and for that reason, a doctor has
1 to attend every exhumation, if possible a forensic expert. If that was
2 not possible, because forensic experts had a lot of work at the time in
3 view of the number of casualties of war, a pathologist would step in
4 after having been given training for the procedure of exhumation.
5 When it comes to exhumation, it is very important to do a good
6 job, quality job. Each body has to be taken out in full and then a
7 post-mortem has to be done either very near the grave or in an
8 institution that is specialised in that. During exhumations it is very
9 important to separate the bodies from each other and that every body and
10 all the things that belong to the body should be put in the same bag and
11 that they arrive on the table of a post-mortem expert in that shape and
13 Q. Could you please tell us whether during an exhumation one can
14 observe whether the mass grave was made contemporaneously, whether it was
15 already dug out and whether bodies had been added to it? Can you see
16 that with the naked eye during the exhumation?
17 A. It's very difficult to provide an exact answer to your question.
18 It depends on a number of factor -- factors. In principle, they are mass
19 graves where bodies were buried over the course of one day or several
20 days. However, what we found during exhumations is the fact that there
21 were graves with only the remains of human bodies or objects which
22 indicated that some bodies had been buried there privately. That's what
23 we did see. And what you're asking me, whether you can put bodies in one
24 grave on several occasions, i.e., whether the bodies could be buried over
25 a space of time, of course the answer is yes. Yes. How can we see that?
1 If the lapse of time between the deposition of the bodies in the grave is
2 short, then the findings will indicate that the bodies were put there
3 more or less about the same time. It's only logical, because the changes
4 on the mortal remains will be the same. If the lapse of time was longer
5 and if the bodies are close to each other, one could draw a conclusion
6 that some of the bodies were buried earlier and some of them later.
7 I have to say the following: We can see different processes of
8 the decomposition of the bodies, and it's only logical if the bodies are
9 buried superficially, then the process of disintegration will be very
10 fast, as I told you yesterday. Within a space of several months, the
11 body turns into a skeleton. In that same grave, people who were buried
12 at the same time but were buried deeper in -- in the soil and especially
13 if the soil is humid, which is the case deeper in the grave, for example,
14 at a depth of 5 to 6 metres, a different process will have taken place.
15 The bodies will become saponified, and the tissues including skin and
16 other organs will be preserved and will present changes even after
17 several years.
18 It is possible that in one grave which is deep, several different
19 processes may be taking place depending on the depth. This doesn't mean
20 that the bodies were buried at different times. They may have been
21 buried at the same time and still the processes affecting the bodies will
22 be different and will cause different changes on those bodily remains.
23 Q. You obviously know as a member of the commission that certain
24 documents were compiled during the exhumations covering the exhumation
25 process. I'm going to read to you a document that we have. This is on
1 our list -- or, rather, on the Prosecutor's list, document 2748. I'm
2 reading from paragraph 24. We have only the B/C/S version. This has not
3 been translated into English yet. I'm reading from paragraph 24. I'm
4 going to read to you to have the English translation on the record. This
5 is on page 15 in the B/C/S version of the document. The document's
6 covering an exhumation consist of written requests, reports from the --
7 THE INTERPRETER: May it be noted that the interpreters cannot
8 see that document on the screen and it is difficult to provide the exact
9 and correct translation when somebody's reading. Now we have it.
10 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. The documentation on the implementation of an exhumation consists
12 of written requests, i.e., reports of the administration for detained and
13 missing persons sent to the authorised bodies and organisations on the
14 implementation of an exhumation, an order of the authorised investigating
15 judge for the implementation of an exhumation, the minutes of a competent
16 investigating judge about the course of the exhumation, photo
17 documentation, and in certain cases video-clips as well as a form for the
18 monitoring of the course of the exhumation which contains data on the
19 participants in the process of exhumation and the places and findings of
20 the field research.
21 Is this what is compiled during an exhumation?
22 A. Yes. I know that this is a standard procedure which exists
23 during every exhumation.
24 Q. And then we can read the following paragraph:
25 "In keeping with the decree of the government of the
1 Republic of Croatia, the administration for detained and missing persons
2 collects documentation regarding all the implemented exhumations of
3 mortal remains. The aforementioned documentation is part of the archive
4 of the administration for detained and missing persons and is safeguarded
5 in its headquarters. Only the officials of the administration for
6 detained and missing have access to the archives pursuant to the
7 instruction of authorised officials (the assistant minister and chief of
9 I'm asking you as a member of that commission, I can see that the
10 access to the documentation is very restricted. For example, we have not
11 been able to access that documentation. As far as I know, the
12 Prosecution has not been gained -- granted access either. Do you know
13 what are the reasons why the exhumation data is so protected? Why is the
14 access so restricted and granted only to the officials of the
16 A. I wouldn't be able to answer that question. What I can tell you
17 is that we as the medical part of the team were always there during every
18 exhumation and that after that we know what follows next, and that is
19 when the bodies come from processing. Again, that processing is carried
20 out by people under our control, experts who process the mortal remains.
21 They draft protocols which are then sent to the authorised bodies. Why
22 so much secrecy that you're asking me about? I really wouldn't be able
23 to tell you about. I can't answer your question.
24 Q. We have an official record from just one exhumation, and that was
25 carried out in the village of Lovas. Not at the Lovas farm but in the
1 village. That was carried out in 1996. This is our exhibit, 1D179. You
2 are going to see it on the screen in a minute.
3 The record shows that you did not attend that exhumation.
4 However, I would like you to look at the record which was compiled by the
5 court over there, and please tell us whether this is what the record of
6 the exhumations that were carried out in the Republic of Croatia looked
7 like this. I'm talking about those exhumations that were carried out
8 starting with 1995.
9 A. As for the appearance of the records from the very beginning, I
10 can't tell you anything about those because I was not involved in their
11 drafting. However, the procedure was very similar if not identical.
12 When I say the procedure, I mean who were the people who attended the
13 exhumations, how the exhumations were prepared, the exhumation itself,
14 putting the bodies in bags, marking them, and sending them to a place
15 where they would be processed. That procedure never changed. And as for
16 the specific record and whether all the records looked more or less the
17 same, I really can't tell you.
18 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, the Prosecutor also showed you one finding
19 by Dr. Clark. It was admitted under number 362. It deals with
20 exhumations carried out by this Tribunal from 1998 through 2001. Could
21 we look at that finding.
22 This is a report by the chief pathologist Dr. Clark, and on
23 page 2 he lists the experts who took part in these exhumations. What
24 catches the eye is that he does not mention forensic experts. He
25 mentions pathologists and other specialists but not experts in forensic
1 medicine. That's on page 2. In fact, on page 3 in B/C/S, in English
2 it's on page 2, the last paragraph.
3 I don't know if you are able to see this in B/C/S. It's in the
4 last paragraph.
5 A. Is this under "Autopsy Report"?
6 Q. Yes. It says the conclusions and the opinions were provided
7 exclusively by pathologists. I see that he doesn't mention experts in
8 forensic medicine at all. So I wanted to know, do you know why experts
9 in forensic medicine were excluded on that occasion?
10 A. As far as I know, that team of experts who worked with Dr. Clark
11 came from all of Europe and even the United States, and in their
12 terminology, the words "forensic medicine" are rarely -- very rarely
13 used. When they say "pathologists," that includes forensic pathologists.
14 So these people were certainly forensic pathologists and had experience
15 with violent deaths and mass graves, people with experience who performed
16 this job that we are discussing, but their terminology is a bit
17 different. They rarely refer to forensic pathologists, but this team of
18 people included, in fact, forensic pathologists as we understand the
20 Q. Specifically you did not make part of that team?
21 A. No. As I explained yesterday, when international experts
22 processed the grave from exhumation until autopsy, we and the experts
23 from Serbia were just observers. We could observe, and we could make
24 comments, but we were not directly involved.
25 Q. On page 1 of this report is a list of all the exhumations carried
1 out by the Tribunal. It's in the box. And if I understood your answer
2 correctly, you were not personally involved in any of the exhumations
3 listed on page 1.
4 A. Yes. As I said before, I did not participate, but I was there
5 later during autopsies, and I was involved later in the identification
6 when families were invited to Zagreb as a rule and final identification
7 was made, when the findings were shown to the family and when they were
8 giving our explanation of our opinion.
9 Q. I'll ask you about one more site that is not listed in this
10 report. It's the exhumation at Celije. My impression was that this site
11 was exhumed by Croatian authorities. Were you there?
12 A. No, I was not there.
13 Q. Do you know anything about that exhumation? Was it carried out
14 by the Tribunal or someone else?
15 A. I could not say off-the-cuff. If I had documents before me --
16 I'm sure there is information about how it was organised. I don't know
17 by heart.
18 Q. Unfortunately, I don't have any such papers to show you. We will
19 now move to Exhibit 360. It's a record of a meeting from June 1992. It
20 was shown to you yesterday by the Prosecution. The meeting was held with
21 representatives of Yugoslavia and representatives of some international
23 You said the meeting was attended, and it's on the record, by
24 Dr. Stankovic, forensic expert, who was at the time a JNA officer. In
25 this record, I notice that he stated at that meeting that on the 23rd,
1 24th November 1991, three teams arrived in Vukovar, and they found a
2 register of deaths at the hospital. It's on pages 6 and 7 in B/C/S and
3 English respectively. And he stated they found a considerable number of
4 bodies at two sites, the Jewish cemetery, the Sloga playground, the
5 harbour office, et cetera.
6 Do you know if these bodies have ever been identified? Did you
7 ever receive any information about that?
8 A. Yes. We had that information. In fact, we were aware that
9 during the fighting for Vukovar a large number of people were killed, and
10 since it was impossible to bury these people at the cemetery because it
11 was dangerous, people were buried on several sites. Those you mentioned
12 were among those where people were buried, because the war was going on
13 and the cemetery was not accessible. But after the war the terrain was
14 sanitised. So this team, including Dr. Stankovic, processed these mortal
15 remains, and all these bodies eventually ended up at the Vukovar new
16 cemetery. Around 1.000 bodies were buried there, and we processed them
17 again, identified and turned over the bodies to the families.
18 So as you said, they were first buried at the closest location in
19 the city itself and later at the cemetery when that became possible.
20 Q. This primary burial on those four locations, that was done while
21 the Croatian forces still held Vukovar?
22 A. When exactly those bodies were buried is difficult for me to say,
23 but I know that some of them were buried while Vukovar was still in Croat
24 hands, and others were buried in the first days after 20th November 1991.
25 Q. In this same record, I see that Colonel Starcevic was also
1 present, and he said that the JNA had evacuated and turned over 174
2 members. The acronym is CEE, which nobody knew what it meant at the
3 time. So I'd like to know whether your commission ever asked for
4 clarification of the meaning of this acronym, to whom those 174 persons
5 were turned over?
6 A. Living persons?
7 Q. We can see it on this page. It's the last paragraph, if you can
8 make it out.
9 MR. ZIVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we enlarge this a bit, in
10 B/C/S at least.
11 Q. Yes, please.
12 A. I don't know this acronym, and I don't know which people these
13 are from the hospital. All I know is that immediately after the fall of
14 Vukovar, lists were made of people who had been in the hospital who went
15 missing and were later searched for. Now, concerning the wounded from
16 the Vukovar Hospital, I would not know what this acronym CEE means.
17 Q. After this meeting, did the commission ask for an explanation of
18 the acronym? Do you know?
19 A. It was a long time ago. It was in 1992. We must have asked, but
20 I really couldn't tell you now.
21 Q. Let me just clarify this. It says here in the words of
22 Major Sljivancanin, these 174 persons included all the wounded and
23 patients from the hospital. I just want to clear this up for the record.
24 We see from the record that Major Sljivancanin was not at that meeting.
25 Does it mean that it was Colonel Starcevic who conveyed these words of
2 A. As far as I remember, Mr. Sljivancanin was not present at any of
3 those meetings. It must have been conveyed to us through Starcevic. I
4 don't remember the details but Sljivancanin did not attend any of these
6 Q. Did you get any explanation at the time, if you remember because
7 it's not in the record? Did you get any explanation why it was
8 Major Sljivancanin who was asked about these persons?
9 A. I really don't know.
10 Q. That would be all. I have no further questions.
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gillett, redirect?
12 MR. GILLETT: There's no questions on redirect. Thank you.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Strinovic, this brings your testimony to an
14 end. We thank you very much for coming to The Hague to assist the
15 Tribunal. The court officer will escort you out of the courtroom, and we
16 wish you a safe journey back home. Thank you very much.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Olmsted.
20 MR. OLMSTED: Yes, Mr. President. I can predict your next
21 question is whether we have a witness prepared to go at this time.
22 Unfortunately, the next witness who is another expert witness, is not
23 arriving until today. We apologise for this. We simply were not aware
24 until yesterday that the Defence would limit its cross-examination to one
25 session and therefore we could not make alternative arrangements. The
1 next witness has a very tight schedule and we didn't want to bring him
2 out earlier than necessary given his other commitments.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
4 Mr. Gillett, we still have the redacted version of that one
5 document for this witness pending. You will not forget that, and let's
6 say could you deal with that before -- well, let's say today?
7 MR. GILLETT: Yes, Your Honour. I don't think that will be a
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
10 If there is nothing else, court is adjourned until Thursday.
11 Thank you.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 9.44 a.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 10th day
14 of January, 2013, at 9.00 a.m.