1 Friday, 8 March 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
7 Mr. Registrar, can we have the appearances, please. Sorry.
8 Could you call the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Sure, Your Honours.
10 This is the case IT-04-75-T, The Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.
11 Thank you.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
13 May we have the appearances, please, starting with the
15 MR. STRINGER: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. For
16 the Prosecution, Douglas Stringer, Matthew Gillett; our Case Manager,
17 Indah Susanti; and legal interns, Jennifer Sorby-Adams and
18 Adrianne Michael.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: And for the Defence.
20 MR. GOSNELL: Good morning, Mr. President and Your Honours. It's
21 Christopher Gosnell for Mr. Hadzic this morning.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
23 The witness may be brought in.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning, Mr. Witness.
1 First of all, can you hear me in a language you understand?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
4 Could you please state your first and last name, date of birth
5 and ethnicity.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mate Brletic, born on the
7 13th of July, 1940, Croat ethnicity.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
9 Mr. Brletic, you are about to make the solemn declaration, by
10 which witnesses commit themselves to tell the truth. I have to point out
11 to you that by doing so, you expose yourself to the penalties of perjury
12 should you give false or untrue information to the Tribunal.
13 Can I ask you to make the solemn declaration now. The
14 Court Usher will give you the text.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 WITNESS: MATE BRLETIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much. You may be seated.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gillett.
22 MR. GILLETT: Thank you, President, Your Honours.
23 Examination by Mr. Gillett:
24 Q. Good morning, Mr. Brletic.
25 A. Good morning.
1 Q. Did you testify before this trial in the case of Prosecutor and
2 Dokmanovic in 1998?
3 A. I did.
4 MR. GILLETT: And for Your Honours, the 65 ter number of the
5 testimony is 4705, Your Honours.
6 Q. Now, sir, did you have the opportunity this week in The Hague to
7 review the audio of your testimony from Dokmanovic in a language that you
8 understand and to provide any corrections?
9 A. I did.
10 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, there is one correction that needs to
11 be made to the English transcript from Dokmanovic, and this is at
12 transcript page 1325, where it states that 70 per cent of the population
13 of Ilok were in favour of a surrender of arms to the JNA. We discovered
14 this during proofing and we informed the Defence about it, so I'd propose
15 having the witness verify what he in fact said during the Dokmanovic
16 hearing and then we'll, following that, apply to the Registry concerning
17 the transcripts from Dokmanovic, if that's agreeable.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please do.
20 MR. GILLETT:
21 Q. Mr. Brletic, is it correct that during your testimony in
22 Dokmanovic, you in fact stated that when the referendum was taken,
23 70 per cent of the population in Ilok were against a surrender of arms to
24 the JNA?
25 A. That is correct. That is what I stated and made the correction.
1 70 per cent of citizens declared against a surrender of arms, declared to
2 be against the surrender of arms to the Yugoslav army.
3 Q. Thank you. With that correction in mind are you satisfied that
4 your testimony from Dokmanovic is accurate and correct?
5 A. I am satisfied my testimony is accurate and correct.
6 Q. And if you were asked about the same matters today, would you
7 provide the same answers?
8 A. They would be the same.
9 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, the Prosecution tenders
10 65 ter testimony 4705.
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P1418. Thank you.
13 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
14 Q. Sir, I'm now going to ask you some additional questions
15 concerning the matters in your testimony.
16 First, could you tell us the approximate ethnic composition of
17 Ilok prior to the conflict in 1991.
18 A. The ethnic composition of Ilok was 12 per cent of
19 Croats [as interpreted], 14 per cent of Slovaks, and the rest were
20 Croats, 76 per cent -- 74 percent.
21 Q. Sir, in the transcript, it has said that 12 per cent of the
22 population was Croats but also that 74 per cent of the population were
24 Could you confirm which ethnicity were the 74 per cent?
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 12 per cent were
2 MR. GILLETT: Thank you very much.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 74 per cent were Croats of the
4 overall population.
5 MR. GILLETT:
6 Q. Thank you. Sir, at transcript page 1313 of your testimony in
7 Dokmanovic, you describe the procedure usually followed by the JNA when
8 it attacked villages in the SBWS. You state that they first issued
9 ultimatums, then they used heavy artillery and then entered the villages.
10 In relation to the shelling with heavy artillery, did they target
11 military objectives?
12 A. Since there were no military targets in villages, none could have
13 been targeted. Rather, it was businesses, and churches, and buildings
14 where representatives of local authorities were housed that were
16 Q. And when they entered the villages, which Serb forces would
18 A. When villages were shelled from a certain distance, the shelling
19 was done by the regular forces of the JNA. When the shelling ended, the
20 regular forces of the Yugoslav army would retreat from the village and
21 move on to other tasks. Subsequently, the reservists of the Yugoslav
22 army and -- and local Serbs would enter these villages.
23 Q. You referred to the local Serbs and paramilitaries entering
24 villages at transcript pages 1339 to 1340 from your testimony, and you
25 say that they would commit atrocities in the villages.
1 Could you describe what atrocities they would commit.
2 A. When these forces came, and we referred to them as the
3 paramilitary forces, they would come to the villages with the assistance
4 of local Serbs. They would target specific individuals, abuse them
5 physically and psychologically, which would then lead to the worst of
6 all, i.e., murders that they would commit.
7 Q. Which villages did this occur in that you're aware of?
8 A. It was the villages surrounding Ilok and Vukovar.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please be asked to repeat the
10 witness -- the villages slowly, since he is reading.
11 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
12 MR. GILLETT:
13 Q. Could you please repeat the villages that you just mentioned.
14 A. Sotin, Tovarnik, Ilaca, Nijemci, Svinjarevci, Cakovci, Boksic,
15 Miklusevci, Dzeletovci, Jankovci, Lovas, Opatovac, Bapska, Mohovo,
16 Sarengrad, Dzeletovci.
17 Q. Sir, I see that you're reading from a document, and I'd ask you
18 to answer the questions without referring to this document for the
19 meanwhile, if that's all right.
20 MR. GOSNELL: Can I ask what document is in front of the witness?
21 I didn't know that he had anything.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Witness, what -- what document do you have in
23 front of you? What is it?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a document entitled: Persons
25 killed, gone missing, and -- and those who ended up in camps.
1 So it's a list of persons from these villages who ended up in
2 camps, were killed, or ...
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Witness, I'm sure that if -- if there are
4 questions in that regard, that the -- the party questioning you will show
5 you documents that are to be eventually exhibits in -- in this case or
6 that are already exhibits in this case.
7 So I would suggest you to put that document away and wait for the
9 MR. GILLETT: Thank you, President.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Understood.
11 MR. GILLETT:
12 Q. Now, you mentioned that the JNA would first shell villages and
13 then the paramilitaries or, you've said today, reservists, would enter
14 the villages and commit crimes.
15 Did the JNA take any measures to prevent those crimes or to
16 punish the perpetrators of those crimes?
17 A. No. The JNA did not prevent the perpetrators from committing
19 Q. Were the JNA and the paramilitaries acting in co-ordination?
20 A. They most probably were.
21 Q. Do you know who these people that you referred to as
22 paramilitaries, and today you've referred to as reservists, reported to?
23 A. They reported to the JNA, in part; that was a part of the reserve
24 force of the former Yugoslavia.
25 Secondly, the insurgent Serbs reported to the government of
2 MR. GOSNELL: Your Honour, I object to this. There's nothing
3 about this in the proofing note, nothing about this in any of the
4 witness's prior statements. I realise I can address it on
5 cross-examination but now evidence has just been elicited that I -- I can
6 only say I'm surprised that there isn't notice.
7 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, in the witness's testimony, he
8 describes the actions of the JNA and then paramilitaries, which he has
9 called reservists, coming into villages. So I -- I submit the natural
10 follow-up question is to find out who these people report to.
11 I'd add there is mention in his testimony of the civilian
12 authorities having an ability to influence the actions of these -- these
13 people involved in various actions. So there is some reference to this.
14 MR. GOSNELL: Well, with great respect to that, Mr. President,
15 there isn't. And the Prosecution knows that this is directly
16 incriminating. And that element should have been communicated to us and
17 it hasn't been.
18 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours at transcript page 13 - I believe -
19 39, in his Dokmanovic testimony, to 1340, the witness mentions the that
20 the civilian authorities could have influenced members of the JNA in
21 their actions.
22 MR. GOSNELL: But, Mr. President, whether the civilian
23 authorities could influence the JNA officers is not the same issue that
24 the witness has just testified to. It's a different issue. It's about
25 control over paramilitaries or even influence. The witness testified
1 that the reference that was just given to you by the Prosecution concerns
2 an alleged level of influence by Mr. Dokmanovic over JNA officers. It's
3 an entirely different issue.
4 MR. GILLETT: Well, if I could add one more follow-up. Given
5 that the witness has said that these two forces were acting in
6 co-ordination, we would say that the two issues are linked, and it's a
7 natural follow-up to find out who the reporting chain went to.
8 Thank you.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Objection -- the objection is sustained. And we
11 would ask you, Mr. Gillett, to move on.
12 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
13 Q. Witness, did you personally see members of the JNA together with
14 paramilitary forces at any time?
15 A. I did.
16 Q. Where?
17 A. I saw them at Backa Palanka when I was going to fetch the
18 observers of the European committee, whom I was supposed to escort to
19 Ilok. There, together with the Yugoslav officers, there were
20 representatives, political leaders from an area of Vukovar and
21 Backa Palanka. Mr. Dokmanovic, Kertes, Ljubo Novakovic, and others.
22 Q. Turning to the events in Ilok, in your testimony at transcript
23 page 1309 to 1310, you described how the inhabitants of surrounding
24 villages such as Sotin, Ilaca, Nijemci fled to Ilok in September 1991.
25 What were the conditions like in Ilok when all these refugees were in
1 that town?
2 A. When these villages fell, many people headed for Ilok in the hope
3 of finding refuge there, since Ilok was peaceful at the time. It was
4 surrounded by the forces of the Yugoslav army which did not engage in
5 combat. The inhabitants of these villages were received by us and
6 accommodated. We secured food supplies for them and provided
7 accommodation for them, and this situation prevailed until Ilok itself
8 had to flee the area.
9 Q. Did you have sufficient supplies of food and electricity for this
10 increase in the population?
11 A. When these refugees, as we called them, arrived from the nearby
12 locations, problems emerged with food supplies and accommodation. We
13 overcame these problems somehow, but the JNA frequently cut off
14 electricity, which we were receiving from the Republic of Serbia. It was
15 thus in their power to cut off electricity. With these intermittent
16 power cuts, we were unable to use various appliances, and we didn't have
17 a supply of water. This was additional pressure at a time when there
18 were more than 20.000 people in Ilok, and all the various settlements
19 around Ilok amounted to more than 10.000 people; in other words, the
20 population of Ilok doubled at the time.
21 Q. Moving to after the mass exodus on 17 October 1991, what were the
22 conditions like for the Croats who remained in Ilok after this point in
24 A. The Croats who remained in Ilok were treated by the former
25 authorities of Krajina as citizens of -- second-rate citizens, in fact,
1 because the area was settled by Serbs from elsewhere in Croatian such as
2 Virovitica, Podravska Slatina, et cetera. It so happened that the
3 majority population in Ilok at the time were Serbs, whereas the Croats
4 were a minority.
5 For a while after the exodus, the JNA remained in Ilok. Yugoslav
6 officers found accommodation in those family houses that were better off,
7 where the husbands or the heads of that family had to flee or were absent
8 through some other reasons, and the women who stayed there were forced to
9 put up with these men who they had to cook for and serve them.
10 Certain men were brought in to the police station that had been
11 set up by the SAO Krajina authorities. They were mentally and physically
12 abused. They were questioned about weapons and asked to surrender
13 weapons that they didn't have. The position was that they had hidden the
14 weapons that we had in our possession while we were still in Ilok.
15 Likewise, men were mobilised at a later stage and forced to do
16 labour at the front line in the area of Nijemci. They were forced to do
17 hard labour. They were also beaten and physically and mentally abused.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. GILLETT: Could we now play video which is Exhibit P322.
20 [Video-clip played]
21 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] The reporter: We are moving to the
22 area of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem. After the press conference,
23 dear viewers, that was held today in Erdut we asked Goran Hadzic,
24 president of the Serb region of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem to
25 answer some questions for viewers of the Belgrade television.
1 "Mr. Hadzic, to what extent is the fierce fighting going on now
2 if we can put it that way, in this theatre of war? What are the
3 prospects of this war?
4 "Goran Hadzic: Fights -- the fighting is intense. The first
5 action, the first part, meaning the liberation of Western Srem, is in its
6 final stages. As I said, the fighting for Vukovar is going on. We can
7 say that our units control nearly 50 per cent of the city. We have
8 secure positions and are advancing house by house. The action of mopping
9 of Ustasha villages was also carried out in the last two days. Following
10 the mopping of Sid-Vinkovci section, a couple of Ustasha villages in this
11 section of the central part of our region were mopped up three days ago,
12 so Bogdanovci and the villages done there. Some villages surrender. In
13 Ilok, specifically, one wing is offering to surrender while the other
14 extreme faction will not let them. I will have talks regarding this
15 issue today so they can surrender their weapons and the perpetrators can
16 be held responsible before the law, and the innocent can stay and live
17 with us.
18 "The reporter: Is the territorial army the defenders of the
19 village, the Yugoslav People's Army, launching a stronger offensive since
20 as you yourself are aware there is talk about a great number of
21 complaints with regard to intense war activities, especially by the JNA?
22 "Goran Hadzic: Well, there are complaints. These are, I could
23 say, relatively justified given the attitude and possibilities. Our goal
24 is not a mass killing of Croats but punishing individuals in their midst.
25 This means we have tried everything through democratic and other peaceful
1 means to prevent this. However, even after the signing of the truce,
2 agreements and negotiations, the Ustasha continue disregarding these
3 signatures. It means I do not trust them at all. There can be no
4 negotiation with them so we will have to have some co-ordinated action
5 between the people and the army."
6 The interpreter skipped a passage because it was too fast.
7 MR. GILLETT: That's okay.
8 Q. Sir, in the video Hadzic refers to mopping up Ustasha villages.
9 What does this phrase "mopping up" refer to?
10 MR. GOSNELL: Objection. Is this a question about what
11 Mr. Hadzic meant, or is it a question about what the witness understands
12 that phrase to mean, in his own head.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please clarify, Mr. Gillett.
14 MR. GILLETT:
15 Q. Mr. Witness, from your experience, what does the phrase "mopping
16 up" refer to?
17 A. As we were looking at this footage of Mr. Hadzic, we could see
18 that he, as one of the politicians, and one of the almost military
19 commanders who had influence on the actions to clear these villages, he
20 could have done something to prevent crimes. The innocent people cannot
21 be blamed that they are ethnic Croats. When this term "mopping up" is
22 used, it is implied that they were searching for Ustashas. We never had
23 Ustashas in our ranks. We never had any troops that belonged to the
24 Home Guards Corps, the ZNG, or the police. When the Serb forces and the
25 Yugoslav People's Army raided our villages - I'll just mention one place,
1 which is Lovas - after the shelling, the residents fled towards Ilok to
2 find refuge. The army withdrew and then paramilitaries came in and
3 perpetrated a crime, almost genocide. They drove 23 men into a
4 minefield. They all got killed. There are records about this case.
5 This is genocide. This is something terrible, an atrocity. And I
6 believe that Mr. Hadzic, who was at the top of that pyramid, the
7 political and the military pyramid in SAO Krajina, could have prevented
8 that crime. He should not have allowed the commander of the police or
9 the paramilitary formations, Ljubomir Devetak from Lovas who directly
10 commanded these forces, to co-operate with Mr. Stanisic who was chief of
11 the state security of Serbia.
12 Q. Sir, if I could just ask you to focus on Ilok, which is mentioned
13 in the clip that we've just seen, Mr. Hadzic refers to Ilok and says that
14 he will have talks regarding the surrender of weapons. What is he
15 referring to in that phrase?
16 MR. GOSNELL: Objection. That is asking for speculation.
17 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, the witness was based in Ilok at the
18 time and intricately involved in the events there. Mr. Hadzic refers to
19 negotiations and the surrender of arms in Ilok, so I feel the witness is
20 well placed to comment on what that could relate to within the town.
21 MR. GOSNELL: Well, the question was: What he is referring to in
22 that phrase. And it's not good enough to say what he could have been
23 referring to. That's exactly what speculation is. It is asking the
24 witness to speculate about what Mr. Hadzic meant.
25 MR. GILLETT: Well, I submit it's not pure speculation when
1 Mr. Hadzic refers to a factual event of surrender of arms which is also
2 something commented on in the witness's testimony, and he is in a place
3 to answer whether this could relate to the same facts.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed with caution.
5 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
6 Q. I will repeat my question.
7 When Mr. Hadzic refers to having talks regarding the surrender of
8 weapons, do you know what this could relate to?
9 A. Well, he probably meant the definitive talks that the JNA was
10 having with the representatives of the civilian and military authorities
11 in Ilok and the surrounding places about the surrender the weapons. In
12 some places these agreements were observed and arms were surrendered, but
13 regardless of the fact that they were surrendered, the paramilitaries
14 came into those places and committed what they committed, what I
16 In Ilok, weapons were not surrendered. Instead, we were
17 conducting talks. Never, in the homeland war, I never saw in my area
18 Goran Hadzic or met him as part of a delegation or saw him having talks
19 with us about the surrender of weapons.
20 Q. I'm now going to turn to some additional documents concerning
21 events in Ilok.
22 MR. GILLETT: So if I could ask that we get P321 on the monitor,
24 MR. GOSNELL: I'm just wondering if the Prosecution is going to
25 make a request for additional time with this witness.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: I was looking at the clock, Mr. Gosnell, indeed.
2 MR. GILLETT: Indeed. We -- in our most recent exhibit list, we
3 noted that we'd seek 45 minutes with this witness because there are a
4 number of documents that he could comment on, and also in light of the
5 amount of available time in the schedule, we felt that we could, since
6 the witness is here, get him to comment on some relevant documents.
7 So we would seek to have that extra time to address these
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Nothing from your side, Mr. Gosnell?
10 MR. GOSNELL: This was originally a 92 bis witness. I understand
11 that technically under the Rules here once a 92 bis witness is called for
12 cross-examination they are converted to 92 ter. Under the old Rules once
13 a 92 bis witness was called for cross-examination, it was only for
15 Now I haven't objected in any way and said that they shouldn't
16 also ask clarifying questions, but I am starting to think that we're
17 converting this into a full-blown 92 ter witness, and they're taking a
18 considerable about of time to elicit a lot of information that wasn't in
19 the 92 bis statement.
20 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, Mr. President, could I just offer one
21 additional comment before Your Honours consider the issue.
22 The consistent position taken by the Defence in this case from
23 the very beginning has been that documents should come in through
24 witnesses, not bar table motions. We tried to offer a bar table motion
25 shortly before the beginning of the trial which would have covered some
1 of the most non-controversial - in our view - documents. The position
2 consistently taken is, if a witness can speak to documents, the witness
3 should do it.
4 Now, if counsel is agreeing that the documents we'd like to put
5 to this witness today can actually be admitted, be a bar table motion at
6 the end of the trial, then we'll withdraw these now and we can be
8 The Trial Chamber wants to hear the witness comment on them
9 instead, then I propose we go forward.
10 MR. GOSNELL: Well, just a small point on that, Mr. President.
11 These documents would not have come in through the witness if the 92 bis
12 motion filed by the Prosecution had been granted. So nothing is being
13 taken away here.
14 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gillett, we, and the Defence, of course -- -
17 we were on very short notice about the extra time you asked for.
18 We will allow it exceptionally. So please proceed.
19 MR. GILLETT: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 If I could get document P321 on the screen, please. And page --
21 page 4 of the English.
22 Q. Sir, this is a meeting of 9 October 1991. And you are listed as
23 present at this meeting. About halfway down the page, we see an F. Leko
24 who says that:
25 "... Hadzic has said regardless of negotiations being conducted,
1 he will level Ilok."
2 First, who was F. Leko?
3 A. Mr. Leko was, at the time, a member of the town assembly in Ilok.
4 And that's his statement. He said that he heard on radio or television
5 that Goran Hadzic had made such a public statement.
6 Q. And do you recall Mr. Leko making that statement at that meeting?
7 A. Yes. Yes, I recall that he said he had heard a speech by
8 Mr. Hadzic in which Mr. Hadzic had said that he would level Ilok.
9 MR. GILLETT: Could we now get document 05057 on the screen,
11 Q. Now, this document states that it's a copy of the agreement of
12 14 October 1991 concerning the exodus from Ilok. Do the terms in this
13 document match those in the agreement that was signed for the departure
14 of the non-Serb inhabitants of Ilok?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, Article 1 refers to the referendum. What was the attitude
17 of the JNA concerning the results of the referendum in Ilok?
18 A. When the referendum was carried out, the representatives of the
19 Yugoslav army were of course not happy with the result, because they had
20 expected that the result of the referendum would be negative. In
21 reality, it turned out to be a positive vote in favour of the exodus so
22 that all the residents of Ilok would move to the free territory of
24 Q. And why would the JNA be unhappy with the vote in favour of an
1 A. The Yugoslav army did not find it in its interest that the
2 population from Ilok and the places I've mentioned move to the free
3 territory of Croatia. There was widespread propaganda by the politicians
4 of SAO Krajina advocating the destruction of all the population in that
5 area and its replacement with Serb population, so that within near future
6 that area could be annexed to Serbia. Whereas, after the referendum and
7 the exodus, it would not remain a part of SAO Krajina. They did not want
8 the Croatian population to stay in that area.
9 Q. But I'll repeat: Why would the JNA be unhappy with that outcome?
10 A. The JNA had a completely free hand, and it had plans and designs
11 how to occupy territory. They asked us to surrender weapons. We did not
12 accept that ultimatum. Instead, we agreed that we wanted to remain
13 living in our area in peace and have a free town and a free population
14 and that the JNA may not come into town territory.
15 If the referendum had not been conducted, there would have had to
16 be a direct conflict between the ZNG and the police of Ilok, on one hand,
17 and the Yugoslav army, on the other hand. We would have been in such a
18 position that after that conflict there could be no talks. There would
19 be no one to talk to because, at that time, the Yugoslav army had 25.000
20 men deployed around Ilok, over 200 artillery pieces, over 100 tanks,
21 which means that it was preparing to completely destroy Ilok. We have
22 guarantees from militaries -- military sources that they were intending
23 to completely destroy Ilok because, on 4 to 5 square kilometres over 150
24 shells can be fired within one second. So they were able to raze Ilok
25 completely and the entire population would be killed under shelling and
1 under bombing from the air. And that would have been a genocide of the
2 kind that humanity does not remember. And that is why the people of Ilok
3 were forced to flee, to save their women and children, to prevent such a
5 Q. Okay.
6 MR. GILLETT: I'll tender this document at this time.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P1419. Thank you.
9 MR. GILLETT: Thank you. Could we get document 02094 on the
10 monitor, please.
11 Q. Sir, this is a report written by a Mato Baterovic [phoen]. Do
12 you know this person?
13 A. I do.
14 Q. Who is he?
15 A. He used to be the custodian of the museum in Ilok.
16 Q. The report refers to destruction to a number of religious sites
17 listed and I won't run through them except to note that one of them is
18 listed as Orthodox church, Gavrilo, in Sarengrad. Apart from that, do
19 you know what denomination or religion the other churches were?
20 A. They were Catholic and Serb Orthodox churches. And other
21 business premises.
22 Q. Which ones were Catholic churches? If we go back to page 1.
23 A. There was the church of Virgin Mary. There was the --
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not get all these names.
25 Could the witness be asked to repeat.
1 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
2 MR. GILLETT:
3 Q. Sir, could you repeat which churches were Catholic churches.
4 A. The Catholic churches were Our Lady's Church,
5 Saint Ivan Kapistran, Saint Paul's Church, another Catholic church in
6 Ilok, Saint George's Church in Bapska. The Orthodox church in Sarengrad.
7 The new church of Nikola Tavelic in Mohovo. All the crosses in Bapska
8 and Sarengrad and in Ilok.
9 Q. Thank you. And do you know who caused the destruction to these
10 religious sites?
11 A. This destruction was perpetrated by the Yugoslav army.
12 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, we would tender this at this time.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P1420. Thank you.
15 MR. GILLETT: Could I check with the Registrar if I have any
16 minutes remaining.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Microphone not activated]
18 MR. GILLETT: May I ask a final question.
19 Q. Sir, in your testimony at transcript page 1328 in Dokmanovic, you
20 mentioned that during the exodus on 17 October 1991, you saw him present
21 on the bridge. Did you see any other Serb officials present during that
22 exodus, and who were they?
23 MR. GOSNELL: Is the witness's answer reflected in the proofing
24 note or in any previous statement? I don't know what the witness is
25 going to say. Maybe it is. I'm just -- I would just like to know from
1 the Prosecutor whether they know what the answer is and whether it's
2 reflected in any previous statement or proofing note.
3 MR. GILLETT: The answer is something that is, I think, in the
4 testimony at some points but it's not clear, and that's why I'm asking
5 the witness to clarify this matter at the moment.
6 Q. Sir, could I ask you: Which other Serb officials, if any, did
7 you see during the exodus at the bridge when you saw Dokmanovic?
8 A. When the citizens of Ilok were leaving, tents had been placed by
9 the bridge. There were tables and chairs in the tents where refreshments
10 were offered, including sandwiches, for the representatives of the local
11 government in Backa Palanka and the representatives of the SAO Krajina.
12 Mr. Mihalj Kertes was there, as was Dokmanovic, Ljubo Novakovic,
13 the president of the assembly of the Backa Palanka, and the -- an array
14 of the Yugoslav army officers and police officers. It was also noted
15 that there was a representative of the State Security Service of Serbia
16 there, Mr. Stanisic, and his assistant, Mr. Sarac. That was the elite
17 that was present and witnessing something that we can call the expelling
18 of the population of Ilok in the presence of the Yugoslav army.
19 MR. GILLETT: That completes my direct examination for this
20 witness. Thank you, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
22 Mr. Gosnell, cross-examination.
23 Cross-examination by Mr. Gosnell:
24 Q. [Microphone not activated] Good morning, Mr. Brletic.
25 A. Good morning.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
2 MR. GOSNELL:
3 Q. My name is Christopher Gosnell. I represent Mr. Hadzic in these
4 proceedings. I'm going to ask you a few questions. If any of my
5 questions aren't clear or you need clarification, please feel free to ask
6 me and I'll try to do that. Do you understand?
7 A. Very well. Yes.
8 Q. Earlier today you testified -- you were asked a question about
9 the term "mopping up," and the answer that you gave was: "When this term
10 'mopping up' is used it is implied that they were searching for Ustashas.
11 We never had any troops that belonged to the Home Guards, the ZNG, or the
13 Do I understand from that answer that you're saying the mopping
14 up was directed at the ZNG or the police or the Home Guard?
15 A. Well, it was normal that that should be directed at mopping up
16 the members of the ZNG and the police that happened to be in the town
18 Q. But you're saying there were none there; is that right?
19 A. Well, it was normal. In all the locations that I mentioned,
20 there were members of the National Guard Corps.
21 Q. Well, your testimony earlier was: "We never had any troops that
22 belonged to the Home Guards, the ZNG, or the police."
23 Whom did you mean when you said "we" when you answered that
25 A. I think that in these villages and the town of Ilok, there was a
1 unit of the National Guard Corps formed - that's to say, the Croatian
2 army - and there were police stations there, there was the police station
3 of Ilok which had its area that it covered all the way to Tovarnik, and
4 that area over there was covered by others.
5 There was the Croatian police in Lovas, Opatovac, and there were
6 also some members of the ZNG.
7 Q. Well, your answer now makes it hard for me to understand your
8 previous answer because you said "we never had any troops that belonged
9 to the Home Guards, the ZNG, or the police."
10 Now you're saying that, in fact, you did have such troops in the
11 area; correct?
12 A. Sir, we didn't have the Ustashas and the Home Guards. Those were
13 terms belonging to the Second World War. At that time, there were units
14 of the Ustashas. But this term continued to be used by the Serb
15 population, and members of the ZNG were referred to as the Ustashas. And
16 you know this full well.
17 Q. Well, that's very helpful. That actually was my primary
18 question. Thank you.
19 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 02216 on the screen, please, which is
20 Prosecution tab 2.
21 Q. Sir, do you remember that you gave a statement to the
22 Office of the Prosecutor in November 1995?
23 A. I do.
24 Q. And do you recognise that what's on the screen in front of you is
25 the first page of that document?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. GOSNELL: Could we go to the last page, please.
3 Q. Is that your signature there on the page?
4 A. It is.
5 Q. And in signing that statement, did you mean to signify that the
6 contents of the statement were true and correct, to the best of your
8 A. Well, yes.
9 Q. And you gave answers that were as complete as possible; correct?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. And may I ask you whether the investigator suggested to you that
12 he was interested in any particular individuals when he was talking to
13 you during this interview?
14 A. Well, he was probably asking me to say something about specific
16 Q. But did he specifically ask you about Mr. Dokmanovic?
17 A. He did.
18 Q. And am I correct in saying that in this statement, as well as in
19 your testimony before the Dokmanovic Trial Chamber in 1998, you
20 identified Mr. Dokmanovic as the president of the
21 Municipal Assembly of Vukovar?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And, as far as you were concerned, that was the only role that he
24 had, or only position that he had; is that correct?
25 A. Officially he held the position of the president of the assembly.
1 When he left Vukovar, he endorsed the government of the SAO Krajina.
2 What sort of function he occupied there is something that I don't know.
3 Q. Well, you made no mention of this -- I don't know -- I have no
4 idea what you mean by "endorsed." It doesn't matter.
5 You don't make any mention of Mr. Dokmanovic having any
6 connection whatsoever to any regional government; correct?
7 A. Correct. I didn't know which functions he held later because he
8 was not in Vukovar. I had -- but that I had met him with politicians in
9 Palanka, that is a fact. He told me then, Listen, Brletic, can I enter
10 that Ilok of yours? And I told him, Yes, you can.
11 Q. Sir, let's just stick to the answers to my questions, please. I
12 understand that you want to tell the story again. But you do
13 understand -- and that's understandable, but you do understand that now
14 your testimony from Dokmanovic is in evidence before the Judges, just so
15 you do understand that. So I'm just trying to ask a few specific
16 follow-ups and one of those follow-ups that I'm interested in is --
17 additional follow-ups is --
18 A. Very well. Very well.
19 Q. Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir.
20 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Sorry Your Honour we have an error in transcript.
21 It is in line 23. Instead the word "end" it should be "enter," "Brletic,
22 can I enter that Ilok," not "end that Ilok."
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: I heard enter, indeed, in the translation, so
24 it's an error in the record.
25 MR. GOSNELL:
1 Q. Sir, do you realise that at no time in your statement from 1995
2 or at any time during your testimony in the Dokmanovic case do you make
3 any reference at all to the regional -- the Serbian regional authorities
4 in Croatia? And by that I mean the RSK, the SAO Krajina, or the SAO
6 A. I'm aware of that.
7 Q. And is it correct that you never saw Mr. Dokmanovic or anyone
8 else who you would say is connected with any of those structures
9 participating in the negotiations for the surrender of Ilok?
10 A. No, I didn't see any of them participating in the negotiations
11 concerning Ilok.
12 Q. And how many such meetings did you have? I understand that these
13 meetings occurred -- started occurring in September. How many meetings
14 did you have to discuss the fate of Ilok?
15 A. When I assumed the duty of the commander of the police station in
16 Ilok, I held talks with officers of the Yugoslav army on a weekly basis
17 and as needed; that's to say, with representatives of the Novi Sad corps,
18 Mr. Pero Grahovac. These talks were held weekly and when needed more
19 often as well.
20 As the situation grew ever-more tense and pressure was exerted by
21 the Yugoslav People's Army, to the effect that they wanted to take over
22 Ilok, to take over the power in Ilok, we took this talks to a higher
23 level. We then attended political talks in Backa Palanka, Karadjordjevo,
24 Nestin, Sid, and Vizic. These talks were held with the delegations of
25 both the military and civilian authorities.
1 Q. Let me stop you --
2 A. And the subject matter was --
3 Q. Sorry, let me stop you there. Am I correct in saying that the --
4 the -- the political authorities to whom you -- with whom you -- let me
6 The political authorities who participated in these discussions
7 was it primarily Mr. Ljubo Novakovic, the president of the Backa Palanka
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And Mr. Kertes?
11 A. Kertes was there but rarely at these meetings.
12 Q. Any other political authorities participating in any of these
14 A. There was the president of the Sid Assembly, the president of the
15 local commune of Nestin, of Vizic. Finally, we attended the negotiations
16 with General Arandjelovic in Sid. The negotiations were always conducted
17 in the Serbian territory. They were never conducted in Ilok because
18 neither the government of Sid or representatives of the army wanted to
19 hold these talks in Ilok.
20 Q. During your testimony in Dokmanovic -- well, first of all, let me
21 just ask you: You've testified earlier today that the Yugoslav army had
22 25.000 men deployed around Ilok. At what time period would you say that
23 they had reached the threshold of having 25.000 men around Ilok?
24 A. That number was reached when the exodus was being prepared. It
25 was several days before the exodus that there was a build-up of the
1 forces of the Yugoslav army, which were deployed, in part, in the
2 territory of Serbia, Principovac, Nestin, Backa Palanka and in the
3 direction of Plavna [phoen]. That was where the Ruma division was. And
4 here there was the Novi Sad corps, Valjevo Corps, and the tank corps
5 which was under the command of General Arandjelovic.
6 Q. [Microphone not activated] and Territorial Defence units from
7 Serbia as well; correct?
8 A. There were also the reservists who were part of the Yugoslav
10 Q. And one small geographic detail, isn't Principovac on the
11 Croatian side of the border between Serbia and Croatia?
12 A. Principovac was occupied by the Yugoslav forces sometime in
13 September. There were minor clashes there, and they simply occupied that
14 area. Our forces were forced to --
15 Q. And, sir, I understand that, but the question was just
16 geographic: Is Principovac on the Croatian side of the border or is it
17 on the Serbian side of the border?
18 A. Principovac is in Croatia.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell, at 28, 17, there is a question --
20 your question is not on the record. And I don't know whether it is while
21 your microphone was not on, but I think it is important that it would be
22 there, so could you repeat the question.
23 MR. GOSNELL: Yes. The question was: And did that include
24 Territorial Defence units from Serbia?
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
1 MR. GOSNELL:
2 Q. Sir, you testified in Dokmanovic, and I quote:
3 "Had we not got out then, had we stayed for another two or three
4 days, there would have been a terrible conflict and the entire population
5 would have been destroyed in that area. That was the wish of the
6 Yugoslav officers of the Yugoslav army and of the paramilitary units that
7 were together with the Yugoslav army."
8 What I'm particularly interested is those last few words. Is it
9 true that the paramilitary units were together with the Yugoslav army?
10 A. It is true. Who was among the reservists was well known. There
11 had to have been paramilitary formations as well. I wasn't able to see
12 them or to see what it was that the Yugoslav army had at its disposal.
13 Q. And terms of operations, and, first, let me ask you this: How
14 did you know, for example, about the strength of the JNA forces around
15 Ilok? What were your sources of information about that?
16 If you could briefly, sir.
17 A. Well, listen. You're a soldier. You probably know the
18 composition of the JNA. You know how it works. There are other sources,
19 too. It wasn't just the Yugoslav army that had its sources when
20 analysing the terrain. We had our own professional cadre. And we were
21 able to obtain information as -- about when the attack was imminent and
22 what sort of assets the Yugoslav army had.
23 Q. Nothing wrong with that at all, sir. Entirely to be expected.
24 But are you saying, then, that you had spies and infiltrators who could
25 give you this information?
1 A. That's only natural.
2 Q. And based on the sources that you had, did you know that, in
3 terms of operations, in terms of operational activity, that the JNA was
4 actually giving instructions and orders to these paramilitary units in
5 their operations?
6 A. Naturally, I had information to that effect. I was aware of it.
7 Q. And in your testimony in Dokmanovic, you talked at length - and
8 I'm not going to back over it - but you talked at length about the
9 relationship between the Territorial Defence and the JNA and one of the
10 points that you make there is that in some sense the civilian authorities
11 are providing funds for the Territorial Defence. They may have some
12 responsibility for issuing a mobilisation order.
13 But it's true, isn't it, sir, that in terms of operations, the TO
14 is subject to the orders of the JNA; correct?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Sir, I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about the movement
17 of the population from Ilok. And if I could, I'd just like to go back to
18 the period prior to the siege of Ilok, if we can describe it that way.
19 Were Serb civilians in Ilok --
20 A. All right.
21 Q. Were Serb civilians in Ilok leaving your town at any time during
22 the summer and fall of 1991?
23 A. It is true that some individuals of Serb ethnicity left for
24 Backa Palanka and lived there until we left Ilok.
25 What the reasons for their departure were, well, I thought that
1 it was peaceful in Ilok and that there was no pressure to bear on the
2 Serbs there.
3 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have Prosecution tab 4. Excuse me,
4 Prosecution tab 5, which is 65 ter 374.
5 Q. Sir, this appears to be a document from the municipality of the
6 city of Ilok. It's dated the 8th of October, 1991. It's directed to the
7 Army Command, the government of the Republic of Croatia.
8 Can I just ask you, when it says the government of the
9 Republic of Croatia, I take it that means the republican government the
10 Croatia, the Croat government of Croatia.
11 MR. GILLETT: Sorry, could I just note. I think the date is
12 6 October. It's not the greatest printout.
13 MR. GOSNELL: Oh, thank you. Yes.
14 Q. Is that to the Republic of Croatia government in Zagreb?
15 A. Among others. The only Croatian government was in Zagreb.
16 Q. This document is not addressed to anyone in the -- on the -- in
17 the Serb civilian regional governments, is it?
18 A. No, it isn't.
19 Q. If we go over to page 2. Let me just ask before I go on: Did
20 you have anything to do with the drafting of this document?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Do you know anything about how this document was drafted or who
23 it came from?
24 A. The mayor of Ilok.
25 Q. So you saw it before it was sent, I assume.
1 A. No. No, I didn't see it.
2 Q. If we go to page 2, paragraph 7:
3 "We invite all of those citizens of Ilok, Serbs and Croats, who,
4 in our opinion, because of individual psychological reasons temporarily
5 have left this community, to return to their homes which we have kept and
6 preserved better than our own."
7 Do I understand from this that after individuals of Serbian
8 ethnicity who left Ilok you and other town officials were protecting the
9 homes that had been vacated?
10 A. Yes. I was involved in that personally. And as the commander of
11 the police, I spoke to these individuals in Backa Palanka one on one.
12 There were meetings held there, which they always attended, and I always
13 told them, Come back to Ilok, because there had been no revenge, nor
14 quarrel between the Serbs, Croats and Slovaks in Ilok. Any such
15 conflicts were prevented, and nobody was ever persecuted for being a
16 Croat, Serb, or Slovak.
17 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I do see the clock.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Gosnell.
19 Mr. Witness, we take the first break now. We will come back at
20 11.00. The Court Usher will escort you out of the courtroom. Thank you
21 very much.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Court adjourned.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
1 [The witness takes the stand]
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed, Mr. Gosnell.
3 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. Mr. Brletic, before the break, we were talking about the homes in
5 Ilok that had been vacated by Serbs.
6 Do you remember that discussion?
7 A. I do.
8 Q. And you explained to us that, in fact, you never discriminated
9 and that you did everything possible to encourage people to come back.
10 And I understand all that. But you didn't answer the precise question I
11 asked you, which was: Did you make efforts to safe-guard the property of
12 individuals who had left.
13 A. All the property, in the ownership of Serbs, was preserved.
14 Nobody moved into those houses. When they came back, they found
15 everything as they had left it. I personally placed police at every
16 place that I had the slightest suspicion that something might happen,
17 where the owner had left for Backa Palanka or Sid.
18 Q. How many properties are we talking about that had been vacated?
19 A. Around 20 houses.
20 Q. And you testified that -- in Dokmanovic that Ilok normally had a
21 population of between 6- and 7.000 but that after the attacks on Lovas
22 and other villages, that you had an influx of refugees; is that correct?
23 A. I have already said that in the area of Ilok, namely, Ilok
24 municipality, including Bapska, San [phoen], and Mohovo villages, there
25 were 9.600 residents also. In the course of the relevant events, some of
1 the Croatian population moved to Croatia proper. Also, 9- to 10.000
2 people came and the population increased to around 17- to 18.000 before
3 the exodus.
4 Q. Well, in your testimony in Dokmanovic, and, of course, it's easy
5 to perhaps not be exact on these numbers, you said that the population
6 had increased to as many as 20.000 people in Ilok itself.
7 Does that refresh your recollection that that may have been a
8 more accurate number, that it was 20.000?
9 A. Look, we did not count people. It could be 18- or 20.000.
10 Because we did not count people. That's why I'm saying "roughly," a
11 rough number. Between 18- and 20.000, that's for sure.
12 Q. And with three times the normal population in the town,
13 conditions must have been extremely crowded; correct?
14 A. The town was really overcrowded. There were not enough beds. We
15 barely managed to find any accommodation. People slept in basements
16 because there was no adequate housing. I said we had water and
17 electricity shortages and outings even before that, and living conditions
18 were very difficult.
19 Q. And, yet, your testimony is that you personally placed police in
20 front of the 20 apartments or houses that had been vacated by Serbs to
21 prevent anyone from going inside, notwithstanding these conditions?
22 A. Yes. Because I thought there was a possibility, in view of the
23 fact that people had arrived from those villages. I could not check what
24 kind of people they were, and, of course, I had to protect a number of
25 houses that stood out. Although those people who went to Backa Palanka,
1 they came back occasionally to visit their houses.
2 Q. Well, if you did have someone who you thought was appropriate or
3 responsible, would you have considered allowing them to go into one of
4 those vacate houses?
5 A. No. Because we believed that we would resolve the problem in
6 Ilok in a peaceful way. That's why we protected property from intruders.
7 Q. Now, I want to ask you a little bit about the reasons why
8 people -- and the circumstances surrounding the departure of the
9 population from Ilok. And one of the things that you said in your
10 testimony in Dokmanovic was that you were under increasing pressure
11 because you didn't have access to medical services. And one of the
12 things you said in that respect was, and I quote from page 1310 after
13 you've said that in fact you couldn't get to the Vukovar Hospital after a
14 certain stage, you say:
15 "Our other connection was with Novi Sad Hospital which meant
16 negotiating with the JNA for our wounded to be taken to the Novi Sad
17 Hospital but this would have not been feasible because each of our
18 wounded would have been killed."
19 Do you confirm that it's your view that if your wounded had gone
20 over for treatment in Novi Sad, they would have been executed?
21 A. As for health services in Ilok, the situation was very hard. We
22 had only four GPs --
23 Q. Sir, your testimony from Dokmanovic is before the Judges in this
24 case. They've -- they have it. They can look at it.
25 I asked you a specific question, and we can make this shorter if
1 you just answer the specific question, if it's possible, please.
2 A. It's possible. I will answer.
3 With that agreement with the Yugoslav army prior to departure,
4 the agreement was that if we had any ill or wounded people, we would
5 transfer them to Novi Sad.
6 However, if fighting occurred between the forces of the
7 Yugoslav army and the forces on the Croatian side, we would have been
8 forced, in case we had many wounded, to take them to Novi Sad; but, under
9 circumstances of conflict, those wounded would not be able to get to
10 Novi Sad, and if they were caught, they would probably not survive.
11 Q. Well, to be clear about your testimony from Dokmanovic, you're
12 not talking about a situation of a soldier attempting to -- or being
13 caught in combat. What you're talking about, and I quote:
14 "Negotiating with the JNA for our wounded to be taken to the
15 Novi Sad Hospital."
16 And then your supposition or opinion which you express in
17 Dokmanovic, in the Dokmanovic testimony, is that you believed that "each
18 of our wounded persons would have been killed."
19 So clearly you're talking about the prospects of your wounded
20 being permitted, based on negotiations, to go to Novi Sad Hospital and
21 receive treatment and your belief is that those people -- those people
22 would be killed if they were to be sent there; isn't that right?
23 A. Well, sir, my answer was that it is normal in combat, in warfare.
24 There's no agreement. There is no deal. I was talking about a situation
25 before the fighting. I'm -- I'll give you just one example from the
1 Yugoslav army. They had wounded men in the Vukovar Hospital. They
2 wanted me to turn over those men to them. I went to Vukovar. I took
3 that wounded person and took him to Backa Palanka. That is what I did
4 out of my own good conscience. That's natural co-operation without the
6 Now, if, in case of a conflict I would succeed in turning over
7 the wounded to the other side, that's very hard to say. It happens very
8 rarely in war that the other side gives its wounded to the enemy.
9 Q. So your belief is that, if I understand you correctly, it would
10 not have been possible to negotiate a transfer of wounded to Serbian
11 hospitals because the JNA would have executed those individuals; correct?
12 A. Correct. Because amid a conflict, such as it would have been in
13 Ilok, that would have been impossible to do. Because some Yugoslav
14 officers with whom I co-operated, I had a good relationship with them.
15 That's why we were able to work together in peace.
16 However, immediately prior to the conflict, new officers arrived
17 who were not friendly, and that's why I said that the wounded would have
18 been executed.
19 Q. And did other -- did others amongst those who were fighting on
20 the Croatian side in Ilok share that view; if you know?
21 A. I did not check that. I was in a command position of the army
22 and the police, and I have my own opinion.
23 Q. During your testimony in Dokmanovic, you described the reluctance
24 of the JNA to permit to you leave with the population. And what you said
25 there, and I quote from page 1325 was:
1 "The Yugo army did not agree to this exodus, believing that the
2 forces of Ilok, the joint forces of Ilok, were talking the people into
3 leaving. And at that point in time they asked for some kind of a
4 guarantee from us as to why the people were leaving, and it was proposed
5 by the civilian authorities in town to have a referendum carried out who
6 is in favour of surrender and who is in favour of exodus, a complete
7 exodus, from the town of Ilok."
8 Now I understand that this referendum was held on the
9 13th of October; is that correct?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. And how, briefly, was the referendum carried out?
12 A. The referendum was held. It lasted about 12 hours.
13 Q. And were there written ballots or was this done orally somehow?
14 A. It was a written ballot. There were leaflets where each citizen
15 circled the word "in favour" or "against" in secret.
16 Q. And what was the question, or questions?
17 A. The referendum was about the exodus. Who is in favour of moving
18 out, and who is in favour of surrendering weapons.
19 Q. And as far as you were concerned, what did you understand the
20 consequences of surrender to be?
21 A. The consequences of surrendering weapons. We had agreed to
22 surrendered weapons, and I insisted on that on the same day, when the
23 exodus starts at 8.00 a.m. on the day of departure, that weapons should
24 be surrendered. And that's how it happened.
25 Q. You see, sir, the difficulty I have is I don't understand how
1 these two are mutually exclusive. Why wouldn't it have been possible for
2 you, the fighters in Ilok, to surrender their weapons and leave and then
3 have the civilian population remain behind? Was that an option?
4 A. No. The civilian population decided to go into exodus. If we
5 surrendered weapons, the Yugoslav army would have entered Ilok by force.
6 That's why we agreed. And we obtained guarantees from the Yugoslav army
7 that, as soon as the exodus starts, we would surrender weapons. And
8 there were European observers who supervised all this. And that was a
9 fair way to conduct this action, both for the Yugoslav army and for us.
10 Q. Well, you seem here to be suggesting that there were two choices:
11 Exodus, or the Yugoslav army entering Ilok by force. Wouldn't they only
12 had to enter Ilok by force if you chose to fight?
13 A. Of course they would have come in by force. If we had decided to
14 fight, the other side would have fought back, and they were stronger. Of
15 course they would have defeated us. And what would then have happened
16 after the victory the Yugoslav army, I have already said.
17 Q. What about the option of laying down weapons and the population
18 remaining behind?
19 A. We did not even consider that option.
20 Q. Why not?
21 A. Because we were aware that it was necessary to save the
22 population, that we must not, on any account, get in a clash with the
23 Yugoslav army. It would have been disastrous, fatal to the population.
24 Nobody would have survived with all that shelling and weaponry. When the
25 shelling stopped and when we start to the talk, it's difficult to agree
1 anything different. There's no saving the population or the soldiers.
2 Retaliation begins. We all know how war is waged.
3 We did not leave Ilok of our own free will. It's our wealth. We
4 had 4 million litres of wine in our cellars, just multiply one bottle by
5 ten kunas, the Croatian currency. It's a huge wealth. The other side
6 wanted it.
7 Q. Sir, I think you've missed my question, because my question
8 wasn't why not get into a clash with the Yugoslav army. My question was:
9 Why not put down your weapons and allow the forces to enter without a
10 clash with the -- with the civilian population remaining behind.
11 A. Well, listen, this was the territory of the Republic of Croatia.
12 Why allow the Yugoslav army to take it? We also had our orders from our
13 government in Zagreb. And if one side doesn't give in, conflict occurs.
14 Until then, we had negotiations with the army to leave Ilok alone, and
15 there would be no problem, until a solution is found at the level of the
16 two states. Why would it be in the interests of the Yugoslav army to
17 enter Ilok by force?
18 Q. What were your orders from the government in Zagreb?
19 A. What orders we had. The government in Zagreb. We were under
20 complete blockade imposed by the Yugoslav army and certain civilian
21 structures from Serbia. We had --
22 Q. Sir, I am sorry to interrupt again. I understand that you want
23 to put it all in context, but the context is there from your testimony in
24 Dokmanovic, respectfully. So if I could just ask you to try, if
25 possible, to focus on what orders you had from the government in Zagreb.
1 What were they?
2 A. I don't think I have to answer that question.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Witness, were there any orders from Zagreb or
4 not? With regard -- with regard to what should happened -- happen in
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, at the end of the day, Zagreb
7 left it to us to deal with that part alone. We informed Zagreb to the
8 extent of our ability of all our decisions. And colleagues followed it
9 from the area of Serbia.
10 You could see that our assembly decided to let the people of Ilok
11 leave peacefully and move to the free territory of Croatia. We did as
12 they wished, we executed that plan, and we left Ilok.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Brletic.
14 Yes, Mr. Gosnell.
15 MR. GOSNELL:
16 Q. Did you encourage civilians to leave with you?
17 A. Well, that's why we held that referendum, for civilians to state
18 what they wished to do. Nobody forced anyone. One part of the Croats
19 remained. It was a free expression of will. The majority was in favour.
20 And they went with the exodus. Some did not. Some stayed. And quite a
21 few Croats remained in Ilok.
22 Q. Sir, I'd like to take you now to the day of the exodus, as you've
23 described it, and you testified in Dokmanovic, the Dokmanovic trial:
24 "On the bridge, I did not talk to Mr. Dokmanovic because I was
25 too busy with other affairs."
1 Do you remember that?
2 A. Yes, I remember that. I remember saying that. When I said I was
3 too busy with the other affairs that were ordered to me by the
4 Yugoslav army, because the Saint Ivan Kapistran Church was being
5 targeted. That Yugoslav officer told me, There is a machine-gun nest in
6 the tower of the church. Go and get it down. I told him there was
7 nothing there, so Captain Petrovic and I personally went to the tower of
8 the church and established there was none.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Brletic, that was a very simple question: Do
10 you remember having said that. So you remembered, but you don't have to
11 repeat everything you said. We saw that in the transcript.
12 Thank you.
13 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. And would it be correct you also didn't have an opportunity to
15 observe his -- not only did you not speak to him. You also didn't have
16 an opportunity to see any of his activities that day; correct?
17 A. That's correct. I didn't either talk to him or was present with
19 Q. You don't know to whom he may have spoken during that day;
21 A. No.
22 Q. And you have no idea whether he was there on anyone's behalf or
23 in any capacity; correct?
24 A. I did -- I have none.
25 Q. Now I'd like to take you to a passage from your testimony in
1 Dokmanovic. I won't pull it up on screen but you said something very
2 striking about Mr. -- or General Arandjelovic. And you described meeting
3 him in what I believe was the definitive meeting before the surrender of
4 Ilok. Can you just confirm, first of all, when it was that you met
5 Mr. -- General Arandjelovic?
6 A. I met with him -- was it the 14th or the 15th? I don't know the
7 exact date. The delegation met. There was the referendum that was
8 carried out, and an agreement was reached as to the day when the exodus
9 would take place.
10 Q. So your meeting with Mr. -- General Arandjelovic was on the same
11 occasion that the agreement was signed for the evacuation of Ilok; is
12 that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you testified in Dokmanovic, "Can I tell you...," and this is
15 at page 1338:
16 "Can I tell you at one point in time, General Arandjelovic told
17 me personally, 'If you do not surrender weapons with all the arms from
18 tanks, all the arms you have, I am going to use tanks and howitzers and
19 aircraft and I'm going to level Ilok to the ground." And I said,
20 'Mr. General, you have one daughter. If she is there, would you shoot
21 then?' He said, 'Yes, I would. I am a general and I carry out orders of
22 the General Staff, yes.'"
23 Do you remember that?
24 A. Yes. And that's correct.
25 Q. That's all true, that occurred?
1 A. That's exactly how it happened.
2 Q. And would you say that that statement is consistent with your
3 observation of the kind of man that General Arandjelovic was; that he was
4 a tough, determined military officer?
5 A. Very tough and determined and a person who would always implement
6 his intentions. He would always materialise them. And that was a
7 serious threat.
8 Q. And your impression was that -- from this statement that his top
9 priority was that he was going to carry out his orders.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And he was not going to be obstructed by you or anyone else;
13 MR. GILLETT: Could we be a bit specific by what you mean by
14 "anyone else" for the witness, to clarify whether you mean Croat, Serbs,
15 for instance.
16 MR. GOSNELL:
17 Q. Did you sense that he was the kinds of person who would be
18 lightly turned from his object and from his orders?
19 A. Of course I did. The way he said it indicated that he was
20 serious. The conclusion was that those of us who were in Ilok had to
21 leave because in the events of combat, we would not leave there alive.
22 This was a serious conversation. He was a serious person. He said that
23 he was a soldier who obeyed the orders of the General Staff. And every
24 soldier must obey the orders of his superior.
25 Q. And present at this meeting, as I understand it, in addition to
1 General Arandjelovic was Colonel Grahovac, Captain Petrovic,
2 Major Mucalovic, Major Banic, Colonel Ostojic, and the public prosecutor
3 from Sid, as well as Colonel Milic Jovanovic who was from the
4 counter-intelligence service of the army; is that correct?
5 A. You're right.
6 Q. Was the president of the Backa Palanka municipality,
7 Ljubo Novakovic, also present at that last meeting?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And what was General Arandjelovic's attitude towards the one
10 civilian present at this meeting?
11 MR. GILLETT: Sorry. I don't know if the witness can talk about
12 his attitude. Maybe he could be asked about his behaviour towards the
14 MR. GOSNELL: Attitude as reflected through actions.
15 Q. Sir --
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Microphone not activated]
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know why you're asking me
18 this now. The position of General Arandjelovic was to sign the agreement
19 and act upon it. Which civilians were there did not matter. The only
20 civilian was from the legal profession. And he, together with Grahovac
21 and the president of the commission charged with the referendum, and I
22 was present in part. We drafted the agreement and signed it before
23 General Arandjelovic. He then reviewed the agreement, agreed with it,
24 and said that it should be signed.
25 MR. GOSNELL:
1 Q. So he was the one in control of -- or representing the Serb side
2 at this meeting and making the decisions; correct?
3 A. Yes. He was a general, and all his subordinates were obeying
5 Q. You testified today at page 17 of the transcript that you heard
6 Mr. Leko, a certain Mr. Leko, make a statement about what he had heard
7 Mr. Hadzic say. Can I, first of all, ask you: Was Mr. Leko at this
8 meeting that we're describing, this final meeting at which the agreement
9 for the evacuation of Ilok was determined?
10 A. No.
11 Q. So when did Mr. Leko make this statement that you described
12 earlier today?
13 A. He stated that at a meeting of the town council in Ilok, because
14 he was the councilman.
15 Q. Was he Croat?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did he say where he had heard Mr. Hadzic make this statement?
18 A. He only said that he had heard it over the radio or television.
19 I'm not sure. I don't recall.
20 Q. And you hadn't heard that statement, is that correct, of
21 Mr. Hadzic?
22 A. No, I hadn't heard it.
23 Q. So you're in no position to say here today whether it was said by
24 Mr. Hadzic or not, are you?
25 A. I cannot confirm that.
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 MR. GOSNELL: Your Honour, may I just have a moment to consult.
3 [Defence counsel confer]
4 MR. GOSNELL:
5 Q. Sir, did you know that at some point in time in 1991 there were a
6 large number of Serbs forced out of the areas in or around Western
8 A. I was not aware of that. The area which was under my authority
9 did not see any forced movements of the population.
10 Q. Well, I'm asking whether you know that that's the case, not
11 whether it was in your area of jurisdiction.
12 A. I did hear information that some of the Serbs from Virovitica and
13 Podravska Slatina either departed forcibly or voluntarily. But I cannot
14 claim either way.
15 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, I'm not sure how this arises from the
16 direct examination today or in Dokmanovic at this stage.
17 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, under the Rules, it doesn't have to.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, Mr. Gillett.
19 MR. GILLETT: I understood that in cross he would be addressing
20 the matters within the scope of this witness's evidence or else matters
21 of credibility. And that's what I'm trying to understand in this line of
23 MR. GOSNELL: Well, the rule adds a third category. And that is
24 matters of relevance to the Defence case.
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please continue.
1 MR. GOSNELL:
2 Q. And do you have any idea of the numbers involved? Of internally
3 displaced persons that we're talking about.
4 A. I have no idea of the number of people displaced.
5 Q. And you yourself faced a very difficult influx of refugees in
6 Ilok, as we've discussed. The population of the town trebling; is that
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. And did you welcome that development of having a large number of
10 refugees flowing into an overcrowded city?
11 A. How would I have welcomed it? Of course I didn't. I wasn't
12 happy about it.
13 Q. And you tried to cope with the situation as best you could; isn't
14 that right?
15 A. That's right.
16 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President. No further questions.
17 Q. Mr. Brletic, thank you very much for your answers today.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gillett, anything in re-direct?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 MR. GILLETT: A couple of questions. Thank you, Mr. President,
21 Your Honours.
22 Re-examination by Mr. Gillett:
23 Q. Mr. Brletic, during your cross-examination testimony at
24 transcript pages 22 to 23, you said that it was normal that mopping up
25 was directed towards ZNG or police or Home Guard. Did this process of
1 mopping up also have an impact on civilians?
2 A. It did have an impact on civilians. When they did not locate
3 members of the ZNG or police, then the civilians were processed. There
4 was some sort of duress used against them and actions that were not
5 appropriate, in order to find out information about weapons or certain
6 information about the field.
7 Q. What do you mean when you say "duress" or "actions that were not
9 Could you elaborate?
10 A. When the forces got in, either the reservists or individuals of
11 Serb ethnicity, they vented their anger on the civilian population. They
12 mistreated them, physically abused them, some were beaten; and, in some
13 cases, some were even killed.
14 Q. Sir, during the cross-examination, you mentioned that
15 Mihalj Kertes was involved in some of the negotiations, and that's at
16 transcript page 27. Who was Mihalj Kertes and what was his position?
17 A. Mihalj Kertes was an inhabitant of Backa Palanka. He was in
18 the -- in the paramilitary formations of Krajina at the time. He wore a
19 uniform of Krajina. He was the man who enjoyed the full confidence and
20 trust -- trust of the person number one in Serbia, President Milosevic --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness please repeat his last
23 MR. GILLETT:
24 Q. Could you please repeat your last sentence of your answer there.
25 A. I said that he did not take part in the talks, in the military
1 talks between Backa Palanka and Ilok. He was present when we held talks
2 in the local commune in Backa Palanka where there were also
3 representatives of the Serbs' residents of Ilok who had fled the area.
4 Q. Now during cross-examination you were asked why you didn't
5 surrender your weapons and the population remain in Ilok. What would
6 have happened if you had taken that course of action?
7 A. Had I surrendered weapons before the exodus, the military forces
8 of the Yugoslav army would have entered Ilok. Naturally, we wouldn't be
9 able to mount any resistance. They would have taken Ilok.
10 Now what would have happened isn't something that I can surmise
11 now. At the time, we knew that these forces should not get into Ilok
12 because we would not be able to leave for the free territory of Croatia.
13 Q. Well, you said earlier that of the Croats who remained, who chose
14 not to leave, they were abused. What did you mean by "they were abused"?
15 A. They experienced abuse the same way as those did who had
16 surrendered themselves to the control of the SAO Krajina earlier on.
17 They suffered physical and mental abuse. They were taken to -- to the
18 police station for processing. They were kept there for seven or eight
19 days and then released. And then brought in again, et cetera. This was
20 the way pressure was brought to bear upon them to leave the town of Ilok
21 and the surrounding areas. Some of them did leave; and, at one point,
22 the remainder of the Croatian population left in an organised fashion to
23 the territory of Croatia. But, on that occasion, I don't know where the
24 order had come from and they did not leave in an organised fashion but
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. GILLETT: No further questions on re-exam, Your Honours.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Brletic, thank you very much for coming to
5 The Hague to assist the Tribunal. This is the end of your testimony.
6 You are now released as a witness. The Court Usher will escort you out
7 of the courtroom. And we wish you a safe journey home.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Are there any other matters to take care of?
11 MR. GILLETT: None from this side, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay then. Court adjourned.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.54 a.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Monday, the 8th day of April,
15 2013, at 9.00 a.m.