1 Monday, 10 June 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
7 Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
9 This is the case IT-04-75-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
11 May we have the appearances, please, starting with the
13 MR. GILLETT: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. It's
14 Matthew Gillett, together with Matthew Olmsted, Kai Hong Leung, and our
15 Case Manager, Indah Susanti. Thank you.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. Mr. Zivanovic, for the Defence.
17 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Defence of
18 Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell. Thank you.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
20 The witness may be brought in.
21 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
23 MR. GOSNELL: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.
24 I have an oral request for the Prosecution which arises from a
25 proofing note which was circulated last night at 7.30. There is a
1 portion of the Stanisic and Simatovic transcript which is relevant to
2 this witness's testimony that has not been disclosed to us.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 MR. GOSNELL: The pages are 6921 to 6922. Technically it doesn't
5 fall within the page range of the witness's testimony, but it -- it is a
6 matter that is relevant to the witness's testimony and it was mentioned
7 two days after the end of his testimony. So just for the -- to avoid any
8 delays later on, I just wanted to put that on the record now and make
9 that request, please.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, Mr. Gillett.
11 MR. GILLETT: Yes, thank you.
12 Yeah, we just received an e-mail about this and it wasn't
13 immediately clear that it related to this witness but we'll look into it,
14 and I wouldn't immediately see a problem with disclosing that. We just
15 wanted to double-check that we hadn't misunderstood anything.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
17 MR. GOSNELL: It may assist the Prosecution to know that it's
18 referenced at footnote 48 of the Stanisic judgement. Footnote 48 of the
19 Stanisic judgement. Thank you.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
21 Good morning, Mr. Witness. Can you hear me in a language you
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Could you please tell us your name and your date
25 of birth.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Milomir Kovacevic. 19th
2 of February, 1963.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
4 Mr. Kovacevic, you are about to make to make the solemn
5 declaration by which witnesses commit themselves to tell the truth. I
6 must point out to you that by doing so, you expose yourself to the
7 penalties of perjury should you give false or untruthful information to
8 the Tribunal. Could you now please read the solemn declaration the court
9 usher will give you.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
11 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 WITNESS: MILOMIR KOVACEVIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much. You may be seated.
15 Mr. Gillett, your witness.
16 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
17 Examination by Mr. Gillett:
18 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kovacevic. Can you hear me loud and clear?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Sir, did you give a statement to the Prosecution in 2003?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. GILLETT: I'd ask that 65 ter number 2506 be placed on the
23 monitor. And if there's no objections, I have a printed copy for the
24 witness for ease of reference.
25 If I could get the usher's assistance to hand that out. Thank
1 you very much.
2 MR. GILLETT:
3 Q. Now, sir, if you look at this statement, do you see your
4 signature at the bottom of the page?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And were you given an opportunity to read the statement in your
7 own language before you signed it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And when you arrived in The Hague this weekend, were you again
10 given the opportunity to read through the statement and make any
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, there are, I understand, a number of corrections, so I'm
14 going to run through those.
15 Firstly, if we look at paragraph 4 of the statement, there, you
16 said that in 2003 you were never investigated for anything other than a
17 traffic accident. Now that was incorrect, wasn't it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And, in fact, you had been investigated and convicted at first
20 instance for fraud prior to signing this statement; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, looking at paragraph 16 of the statement, in this paragraph,
23 you describe volunteers being in Borovo Selo in April 1991. To clarify,
24 were you yourself in Borovo Selo at that time?
25 A. No.
1 Q. And how did you learn of the presence of these volunteers in
2 Borovo Selo?
3 A. I learned of their presence in the village when I saw them in
4 training in Bubanj Potok.
5 Q. And how did you learn that they were in Borovo Selo when you were
6 in Bubanj Potok? Who did you learn that from?
7 A. From my colleagues.
8 Q. And which colleagues were they?
9 A. My colleagues from the police brigade.
10 Q. After returning -- sorry. Referring to the volunteers in
11 Borovo Selo in April 1991, after that, you then say: "And men from the
12 DB of Serbia were also present there."
13 What do you mean by the word "there"?
14 A. What I meant was that they were across the border, that they were
15 not in Serbia.
16 Q. And across the border in which country?
17 MR. GOSNELL: Objection.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the Republic of Croatia, which
19 was then part of what was known as the Socialist Federal Republic of
21 MR. GILLETT:
22 Q. If we look now to paragraph 18, in this paragraph, you describe
23 an incident where you picked up a truck and a man called Paja talked to
24 some people who said that they were from the DB. Where did this
25 conversation take place?
1 A. This was not an incident. It was just an event. First he was
2 with the police brigade in Banovo Brdo and then in the Bubanj Potok
4 Q. And the conversation that occurred, do I take it that occurred in
5 the Bubanj Potok barracks?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In relation to the fact that the men were from the DB, did they
8 tell you this directly, or did you hear this from Paja?
9 A. My colleague Paja, who was in charge of the depot in the police
10 brigade, he told me that those were his colleagues from the DB.
11 Q. So I take it the following sentence in paragraph 18, where you
12 say, "They said from that moment on I was to obey their orders only," was
13 also relayed by Paja and not said directly to you?
14 MR. GOSNELL: Objection. Objection.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: One moment, Mr. Witness.
16 MR. GOSNELL: That's leading, Mr. President.
17 MR. GILLETT: Sorry, Your Honours, from the context of
18 paragraph 18, I thought there was a basis to ask that. But I can ask it
19 in a more open way, if you prefer.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please do.
21 MR. GILLETT:
22 Q. Mr. Witness, who said or how did you find out that: "They said
23 from that moment on, I was to obey their orders only"?
24 A. When they approached the car, they said that from then on we were
25 to obey their orders ...
1 Q. And who did they say that to?
2 A. Paja was there, I was in the car, so they said that to both me
3 and Paja.
4 Q. And who was Paja -- sorry, I think that came out just slightly
5 before. Apologies. I'll move on.
6 MR. GILLETT: I believe the witness already told us who Paja was.
7 Q. Witness, in paragraph 39 of your statement, if you look at
8 paragraph 39, you state that Rade Leskovac was the local police commander
9 in Vera. Now, is that correct, that Rade Leskovac was the local police
10 commander in Vera?
11 A. No, we clarified that. He was not the commander of the local
12 police. He just controlled the work of the civilian services in the
13 village of Vera.
14 Q. And what was the relationship between the police commander in
15 Vera and Rade Leskovac?
16 A. Mr. Rade Leskovac was the president of the Serbian Radical Party
17 for Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, and since hailed from Vera, he
18 was the one who controlled work in Vera, and the other places where the
19 Serbian Radical Party was in power.
20 Q. And what, if any, was the relationship between Rade Leskovac and
21 the police commander in Vera?
22 A. As I've already told you, Rade Leskovac hailed from Vera, and he
23 knew those people who were there, both in the Territorial Defence Staff
24 and, later on, they were with the local police, when the local police was
25 set up.
1 Q. Moving to paragraph 44 of your statement, in this paragraph, you
2 describe a meeting between Hadzic, Stojicic, and others in Pacetin, and
3 did the meeting occur solely in Hadzic's house, as you say in the
4 statement, or also in other places in Pacetin?
5 A. I've already told you that I can't remember whether everything
6 took place in one house. I believe that they went to the local commune
7 building in Pacetin. However, I can't be sure of that. I can't
9 Q. Other than those corrections and clarifications, are there any
10 other corrections that need to be made to the statement?
11 A. No.
12 Q. And do you affirm the accuracy and truthfulness of its contents?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And if you were asked about these same matters today, would you
15 give the same information?
16 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, Mr. Gosnell.
18 MR. GOSNELL: I have a submission to make before the witness
19 answers and I think it should be done in the absence of the witness.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Witness, the Court -- the Court Usher will
21 escort you out of court for a brief moment. We have to discuss some
22 procedural matters.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
25 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, my learned friend has correctly
1 posed the question required under Rule 92 ter, namely that if the witness
2 was asked about the same matters today would you give the same
4 Now, it's entirely in the Prosecutor's hands to ask that question
5 and to invite the witness to give an answer even if that answer, as it
6 turns out, is likely to be false or incorrect. They can do that and I
7 won't object if they wish to persist in putting that question.
8 But normally when witnesses have appeared under Rule 92 ter and
9 there are subsequent statements that substantially modify the content of
10 the statement being tendered, the Prosecution has gone through each and
11 every modification with the witness. And I can tell you, Mr. President,
12 that that has not occurred in this case. And we know that from looking
13 at the proofing note -- or, sorry, what's called "Summary of additional
14 information," which is for the record 65 ter 02767, and if we -- if you
15 look at that document and we could call it up, it's Prosecution tab 6.
16 Mr. President, this summary of additional information is not only
17 a proofing note, it's signed by the witness. The witness put his
18 signature at the end and when you follow this document through
19 paragraph to paragraph, you can see that he has gone through, along with
20 the lawyers and the investigator or whoever else was present,
21 paragraph by paragraph the 92 ter statement that's now being tendered and
22 he makes certain modifications in respect of that 92 ter statement. We
23 see explicit reference to the 92 ter statement in paragraphs 12 -- excuse
24 me, paragraphs 10, and paragraph 13, where he says at para at 20 and at
25 para 52. And then at paragraph 15, para 70, 71. But even when there's
1 no explicit reference, Mr. President, you can see that he is modifying
2 the 92 ter statement that is now being tendered. And so these are
3 changes to the statement that's now being tendered, and the Prosecution
4 has asked, "Would you give the same testimony today," well, if we didn't
5 have that -- this statement, perhaps it's true, the witness can answer
6 that question yes. But having this statement in hand, knowing that this
7 statement has been given by the witness, it's not an answer that the
8 witness can truthfully answer yes.
9 And the same problem arises from the witness's testimony in
10 Stanisic and Simatovic. Because over the course of four days, the
11 witness gave substantially different answers than appear in the statement
12 that's being tendered in this courtroom today. And you don't need to
13 take my word for that Your Honours. That is what the Stanisic
14 Trial Chamber said when it said that his oral testimony was inconsistent,
15 both internally and vis-a-vis his Rule 92 ter witness statement. And I
16 won't read the rest of the sentence, but that's at paragraph 26.
17 So there you have not only me but a Trial Chamber saying his
18 testimony deviates substantially from the 2003 statement which is
19 precisely the statement that is being tendered here in court today with
20 only three or four very minor modifications or amendments having been put
21 by the witness. And I can assure that the inconsistencies being referred
22 to by the Trial Chamber in Stanisic cover a much wider range of topics.
23 Now, if the Prosecution wants to put the question and have the
24 witness answer yes, of course, that can happen, but I -- I'm not sure if
25 it is appropriate for the Prosecution to do that.
1 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, if I could just respond briefly.
2 The paragraphs of the 2009 proofing note that my learned friend
3 has just referred to, firstly paragraph 13 does refer to a statement and
4 the witness adds additional information. Then again in paragraph 15, he
5 explains and provides additional information. We did not consider that
6 additional information to be critical in this case. Of course, if the
7 Defence wants to lead that information, it's -- it's well within its
8 rights to do so.
9 In terms of the other issues that came up in the Stanisic and
10 Simatovic transcript, that, we would submit, is a matter for
11 cross-examination and can go to the weight of the evidence coming from
12 this witness. And there is significant amounts of additional information
13 that he provided during that testimony that goes beyond what is in the
14 statement, but we seek to tender this statement for the purposes of these
15 proceedings as we see it as the most relevant piece of his evidence.
16 I should say also in -- he has testified twice at this Tribunal.
17 And in another case, his -- in both cases his evidence was admitted, and
18 in another case the Trial Chamber took a different approach to his
20 So I would submit that given the statement that we have, it's
21 appropriate to proceed on the basis of that, and then it's entirely in
22 the Defence's hands to cross-examine on any issues as it sees fit, and
23 the Chamber can take that into account in assessing the weight to be
24 given to this witness's evidence.
25 I would also say that we did submit the statement as the 92 ter
1 statement in a motion in January 2013, this year, and at the time the
2 Defence had no objection. Now if we had known there was going to be a
3 significant objection, we would have taken perhaps a different approach
4 to this witness. As it stands, this is the basis on which we plan to
5 proceed, and then there will be adequate opportunity for
6 cross-examination of this witness.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gillett, you told us that the Trial Chamber
8 in the other case has taken a different approach to his evidence. What
9 was that approach?
10 MR. GILLETT: Well, bearing in mind, of course, that Your Honours
11 are not bound by the findings of any other Trial Chamber, I believe in
12 Stanisic and Simatovic, the Trial Chamber did not place weight on this
13 witness's evidence having admitted it.
14 In the Perisic case they did say that they could place weight on
15 this witness's evidence, where it was corroborated by other, for
16 instance, documents or other evidence.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
18 Mr. Gosnell.
19 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, the requirement under
20 Rule 92 ter (A)(iii) is not that the statement is correct or only that it
21 is correct or accurate, also that the witness can say that it is what the
22 witness would say if examined. And in this case that's not just a
23 hypothetical. Because we have a very -- we have a verbatim record of
24 what the witness would say if examined from the Stanisic and Simatovic
25 case, and it's not the Defence`s responsibility to look out for the
1 Prosecution's interests in responses to 92 ter motions. They could have
2 spent half an hour or 45 minutes, as I believe that they should have
3 done, going through the Stanisic and Simatovic transcript, if they didn't
4 want to tender the Stanisic and Simatovic transcript, to ensure that each
5 and every substantial deviation from the 2003 statement was corrected and
6 complied with the second prong of Rule 92 ter (A)(iii). They could have
7 done that.
8 And, Mr. President, they've done it before. They've spent time
9 going through the other statements that were available to make sure that
10 it is what the witness would say if examined. And it's not good enough
11 for the Prosecution to simply say, Well, we happen to have this
12 statement, we've chosen this one. It's not inaccurate. That's enough.
13 It is not enough, Mr. President. Rule 92 ter (A)(iii) requires
14 another condition, and I would respectfully suggest that the purpose of
15 Rule 92 ter was never to allow partially correct or incomplete statements
16 where the party tendering the statement knows full well that it is not
17 what the witness would say, if examined.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: And, Mr. Gosnell, what -- what would your
19 conclusion be? What is it you want to ask for specifically?
20 MR. GOSNELL: Well, Mr. President, the question of remedy is a
21 bit complicated. I think an appropriate approach would have been for the
22 Prosecution to go through the Stanisic testimony to the extent that they
23 consider appropriate to at least make a good faith effort to bring the
24 witness's statement in line with the second requirement of
25 Rule 92 ter (A)(ii). And that's the part where we get into the
1 Prosecutor's discretion. That's the part where they can choose, and it
2 wouldn't be appropriate for the Defence to say, Well, you've chosen A but
3 not B, C, but not D. But at least there should be where you have a
4 glaring and substantial change some effort to bring it in line. Now
5 we're open to other remedies, but in the first instance, we say that it's
6 the burden on the Prosecution to make sure that the second requirement of
7 92 ter (A)(iii) is met.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: The Trial Chamber is of the view that the -- to
12 put the question to the witness or not is the Prosecution's --
13 Prosecution's call, and, for the moment, all the rest is to be seen in
14 cross-examination, Mr. Gosnell.
15 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: The witness may be brought in.
17 [The witness takes the stand]
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please be seated, Mr. Kovacevic.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed. Mr. Gillett.
21 MR. GILLETT: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
22 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, my last question before you left the room was: In
23 relation to your statement, with -- if you were asked about these same
24 matters today, would you provide the same information?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. GILLETT: At this time, Your Honours, we would tender 2506.
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2027, Your Honours.
4 MR. GILLETT:
5 Q. Mr. Kovacevic --
6 MR. GILLETT: And thank you, Your Honours.
7 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, at paragraph 1 of your statement, you say that you
8 worked for PRK Beograd from 1st July 1988 until December 1994.
9 And then, at paragraph 6, you say that during this time, you were
10 also assigned to a police unit and carried out assignments for them.
11 When you were assigned to the police unit during this time, how
12 were you paid?
13 A. I had a fixed part of my salary at my company, and while I was
14 actively engaged, I received per diem at the police brigade.
15 Q. Looking at paragraph 7, in the last sentence of this paragraph,
16 you refer to receiving special training and you refer to it the numbers
17 VES 12701 and 11706. What do those numbers designate?
18 A. VES 12701 is driver of motor vehicles in the then Yugoslav
19 People's Army; whereas 11706 is scout saboteur.
20 Q. Moving to paragraph 21 of your statement, there, you mention that
21 arms from the truck that you drove were loaded onto a ferry at a place on
22 the Danube bank between Backa Palanka and Odzaci.
23 MR. GILLETT: Could we please get P1723, which is 65 ter 6329.1,
24 on the monitor, please. That's P1723. Now, if we zoom in the upper
25 right-hand corner -- sorry. This is -- is this 6329.1? There are two
1 versions of this map.
2 Thank you.
3 Q. Now, Witness, on this map, do you see Odzaci?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. With the usher's help, could you please mark a line on the map to
6 show the road that you took with your truck and the weapons to the point
7 where the weapons were offloaded onto the ferry.
8 A. We took the motorway from Bubanj Potok in Belgrade through
9 Novi Sad, via Begic, Celarevo, Backa Palanka, Obrovac and Bac, towards
10 Odzaci, and there we took a left turn towards the bank of the Danube
11 using a dirt track.
12 Q. Starting at Bac, could you draw a line on the screen showing the
13 road that you took towards the Danube or the direction you took?
14 A. [Marks]
15 Q. And could you mark with an X the spot, the approximate spot, on
16 the Danube where the weapons were offloaded.
17 A. [Marks]. I've said we went from Backa Palanka towards Bac and
18 Odzaci. I cannot mark the exact place, but I can mark it approximately.
19 Q. Okay. Could you make that into an X, that last mark that you
20 just made.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. Thank you. And we understand that's approximate.
23 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, I'm now going to look to a different
24 paragraph but it will relate to the same map, so I won't tender it right
25 at this minute.
1 Q. At paragraph 38, you state that your unit was billeted in the
2 town of Vera. If we look back at the map, could you put a circle around
3 the village of Vera? We can zoom in, if you need.
4 A. No need.
5 Q. Okay. In the same paragraph, you state that your unit was sent
6 towards Pacetin, Bobota, Brsadin, Marinci, and Bogdanovci. I won't get
7 you to mark the locations since they're on the map, but could you tell us
8 what your unit was doing in these locations?
9 A. At the place where I was billeted, the village of Vera, there was
10 a part of my unit, and I have already named certain members, and the Ruma
11 Artillery Battalion was also stationed in village called Veri.
12 My task was to drive my commander both to the observation point
13 at the Brsadin silo, and the other assignments we received.
14 Q. And when your unit went to these towns, such as Pacetin, Bobota,
15 Brsadin, Marinci, Bogdanovci, what was your unit's task?
16 A. Well, when we went to Pacetin, individual members had the task of
17 carrying out observation. Sometimes they would go into active combat,
18 et cetera.
19 MR. GILLETT: We'd tender the marked version of P1723. As long
20 as the markings have not disappeared.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: They're still there. Admitted and marked.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P2028, Your Honours.
23 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
24 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, at paragraph 36, you say that Zarko Sljukic
25 maintained radio contact with Badza. How do you know that?
1 A. I was present, and in the car I was driving, which was Lada Niva,
2 an all-terrain vehicle, I listened to their conversations. And I also
3 drove him to meetings with Badza.
4 Q. In paragraph 39 of your statement, you refer to Rade Leskovac,
5 and you've mentioned him previously today. You also mention him being at
6 meetings with Hadzic. How did these two persons interact, as far as
7 you're aware?
8 A. Well, the relationship between Mr. Goran Hadzic and
9 Rade Leskovac, as far as I knew, was one of co-operation. Now whether
10 they were close or not, I wouldn't know.
11 Q. And you state in this paragraph that Rade Leskovac had absolute
12 control in Vera. What do you mean by that?
13 A. I mean to say that he controlled the work of the territorial
14 staff in Vera and he knew most of the residents of Vera village, and his
15 opinion was held in high regard.
16 Q. Returning to the meeting in Pacetin that you describe in
17 paragraph 44 of your statement, you say in that paragraph that the
18 meeting concerned plans for the liberation of Brsadin.
19 Can you tell us when this meeting occurred approximately? Was it
20 before or after the fall of Vukovar?
21 A. Before the fall of Vukovar.
22 Q. And you say Goran Hadzic was present at this meeting. Had you
23 seen Hadzic prior to that meeting?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Aside from in person, had you seen him in any other format, such
1 as media or the newspapers?
2 A. No, because at the time I didn't watch television. I was in the
3 field, where we had no electricity, nothing, so we couldn't watch
5 Q. Did you know who he was prior to that meeting?
6 A. Before the meeting, I did not know who Goran Hadzic was. I was
7 told later by people with whom I worked that Mr. Goran Hadzic was a
8 member of the the Serbian Democratic Party, of Croatia. That's it.
9 Q. And on that occasion in Pacetin, how was he treated by the other
10 people present?
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
12 MR. GOSNELL: Objection. No foundation has been established that
13 there was any such observation at all by the witness.
14 MR. GILLETT: Well, Your Honours, in his statement he says Hadzic
15 was there and it was a meeting, so I presume there were other people
17 MR. GOSNELL: That misunderstands the objection. The mere fact
18 that the witness indicates that he was there doesn't necessarily mean
19 that he observed any interaction.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Technically you're right, Mr. Gosnell. So if you
21 could rephrase, Mr. Gillett.
22 MR. GILLETT:
23 Q. Mr. Witness, did you observe how Goran Hadzic was treated by
24 other people present at this occasion in Pacetin?
25 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, objection again. The reason why I
1 raise the objection is because the witness could just as well have seen
2 them only arriving and that's why there's a lack of foundation. As of
3 this point. So I don't think that the question that has just been put
4 should be put until, first, it's been established that the witness
5 observed any interactions, namely, the meeting. That's the point.
6 MR. GILLETT: Perhaps I could ask it in a different way to
7 clarify with the witness.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Let's see where that brings us.
9 MR. GILLETT: Okay.
10 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, where did you see Mr. Hadzic in Pacetin on this
12 A. I saw Mr. Goran Hadzic when he was shaking hands with certain
13 people who were arriving, including my commander, and after the greetings
14 and such, they left for a meeting, which I did not attend, and I could
15 not see their interaction and what went on later.
16 Q. And where were they when they were arriving?
17 A. I cannot remember exactly now where they were. I brought my
18 commander there. He got out of the car. I saw Mr. Goran Hadzic and some
19 other people. My commander went up to them and shook hands. I remained
20 seated in the car with the men who came with me at my command.
21 Q. Turning to paragraph 45 of your statement, you describe a meeting
22 in Dalj concerning a final meeting on final operations. Now did this
23 meeting occur prior to or after the fall of Vukovar?
24 A. That meeting was held before the fall of Vukovar.
25 Q. And can you recall the approximate date?
1 A. Well, I can't remember the date, but I think it was in the second
2 half of October 1991.
3 Q. I'm now going to ask you a few questions about Frenki Simatovic.
4 Firstly, have you ever seen Frenki Simatovic in person, yes or
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And where was the first time that you saw Frenki Simatovic in
9 A. At the barracks in Bubanj Potok.
10 Q. When was this, approximately?
11 A. I can't remember exactly, but I believe it was in the summer of
13 Q. What was he doing at Bubanj Potok barracks?
14 A. Mr. Frenki Simatovic came to the Bubanj Potok barracks to inspect
15 the units who were there in training, and he held meetings with
16 individual commanding officers and the Command Staff.
17 Q. And why were you at Bubanj Potok at this time?
18 A. At that time, I was in training at Bubanj Potok and doing target
20 Q. What other units were present at Bubanj Potok at this time?
21 A. There were members of the MUP of the Republic of Serbia and the
22 Yugoslav People's Army stationed in the barracks that received the
23 regular reinforcements, including conscripts doing their regular military
24 service and volunteers who reported themselves, volunteering to go to the
1 Q. I'm now going to ask you some questions about meetings in Erdut.
2 At paragraph 47, you mention that Stojicic spent a lot of time
3 with Arkan in Erdut. Did you ever see Arkan in Erdut in person?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can you describe the circumstances in which you saw him in
7 A. Well, I saw Mr. Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan, under different
8 circumstances, when I brought my commander for meetings to Erdut, and
9 also during one verbal incident between Colonel Vaskovic [Realtime
10 transcript read in error "Baskovic"] and Arkan.
11 Q. Referring specifically to this verbal incident between Raskovic
12 and Arkan, can you remember approximately when this was?
13 MR. GOSNELL: Sorry, Mr. President, before this goes too far,
14 there's a correction for the transcript. I don't believe the name is
16 MR. GILLETT: Indeed. It's come out as Baskovic and I believe it
17 should be Raskovic.
18 MR. GOSNELL: Well, that's not what the statement says.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Vaskovic.
20 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, this specific incident is not
21 something described in the statement. It's additional information going
22 beyond the statement. Thank you.
23 Q. And --
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: So do I take it that now it is it Vaskovic?
25 MR. GILLETT: Vaskovic.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
2 MR. GILLETT:
3 Q. Now, could you describe what happened in this incident between
4 Vaskovic and Arkan.
5 A. Well, this verbal clash between Colonel Vaskovic and
6 Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan, occurred over an incident involving a
7 commander from the Serb Volunteer Guard in the area controlled by
8 Lieutenant-Colonel Vaskovic, and the lieutenant-colonel wanted to have it
9 out with Mr. Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan, saying that if a similar incident
10 happens again, he would use force, if necessary, to prevent it.
11 Q. What was the incident about? What were they discussing?
12 A. Well, there were several reasons for that verbal clash. One was
13 that soldiers from the Ruma Battalion occasionally went by buses to their
14 native places and came back two or three days later, going through
15 check-points controlled by the Serbian Volunteer Guards who mistreated
16 them. And there were incidents of looting by the Serb Volunteer Guard.
17 Q. Approximately when did this conversation take place between
18 Vaskovic and Arkan?
19 A. That conversation between Lieutenant-Colonel Vaskovic and
20 Mr. Zeljko Raznjatovic occurred sometime in the second half of
21 September 1991.
22 Q. And who else was present at the time?
23 A. Captain Zeljko Sucic and Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan. I was
24 standing on the side, together with two men from the security detail of
25 Lieutenant-Colonel Vaskovic. And there were other members of the Serbian
1 Volunteer Guard, including that commander who was involved in the
2 incident that was the subject of the clash between Lieutenant-Colonel
3 Vaskovic and Arkan.
4 Q. How did Arkan react to Vaskovic's words?
5 A. Quite loudly. And quite brazenly.
6 Q. What did he say?
7 A. At one point in time, he said, in a raised voice, addressing
8 lieutenant-colonel, he said, You don't know who I am and you don't know
9 who stands behind me.
10 Q. Did he say who stands behind him?
11 A. I can't remember. But I believe that he did mention the Ministry
12 of Defence and the State Security Service of the Republic of Serbia.
13 Q. Aside from this conversation or argument between Vaskovic and
14 Arkan, were there other occasions where you went to Erdut with your
15 commander, Vaskovic?
16 A. On several occasions.
17 Q. And can you recall any other specific meetings in Erdut that your
18 commander Vaskovic was involved in?
19 A. Well, Mr. Vaskovic was not my commander. My commander was
20 Major Zarko Sljukic. And, on several occasions, I drove
21 Mr. Zarko Sljukic, and on some other occasions I drove Mr. Vaskovic to
22 the centre in Erdut.
23 Q. And which centre is that?
24 A. That was the centre where the Territorial Defence of Western
25 Slavonia, Baranja and Srem was, and that's where the Serbian Volunteer
1 Guards were also billeted.
2 Q. Referring to Arkan and his men, you mention him on several
3 occasions in your statement, what type of equipment did Arkan's men have?
4 A. Well, the Serbian Volunteer Guards were much better equipped than
5 the Yugoslav People's Army. They differed [Realtime transcript read in
6 error "deferred"] in terms of uniforms. They had automatic weapons, M70
7 and M70A. Later on, they were also issued with Heckler Koch automatic
9 Q. The transcript says, "They deferred in terms of uniforms." Could
10 you repeat what you said about uniforms?
11 A. The Yugoslav People's Army, at that time, wore olive-drab
12 uniforms. At first, their uniforms consisted of olive-drab shirt,
13 jackets and trousers. They also sported caps with five-pointed stars.
14 And then, in combat, they also had helmets.
15 Later on, the Yugoslav People's Army members were issued with
16 camouflage uniforms.
17 Q. And what about the uniforms of the Serbian Volunteer Guard? How
18 did they differ from the JNA uniforms?
19 A. Well, the Serbian Volunteer Guards had olive-drab overalls and
20 they sported berets with a three-coloured flag of the Republic of Serbia
21 on them.
22 Q. At paragraph 52, you mentioned that you heard Arkan, Raznjatovic,
23 tell his senior and junior commanders that he did not want to see a
24 single prisoner.
25 Where was it that you heard him say that?
1 A. I spent a lot of time at the silo in Brsadin where the
2 observation post of all the units that were deployed in the area was,
3 including the Novi Sad Corps which also included a Russian battalion that
4 we belonged to. When Vukovar was being liberated, in battle for Luzac,
5 he said to his unit members that he did not want to see any prisoners.
6 Q. Do you know where he was when he said this?
7 A. That was in a house just before Luzac. There was an ongoing
8 battle to liberate Luzac. I can't remember the name of the place. I
9 only know that was not far from Luzac.
10 Q. In paragraph 43 of your statement, you refer to mopping-up
11 operations that Arkan's men were involved in. How did Arkan's men treat
12 civilians during these mopping-up operations?
13 A. In those battles that I participated in, and where houses were
14 mopped up, there was some armed resistance coming out of those houses. I
15 never saw them treating civilians in any way. I don't know how his men
16 treated civilians, because I did not witness any such occasions.
17 Q. In paragraph 45 of your statement where you -- sorry.
18 Paragraph 44, where you describe a meeting, you refer to Major-General
19 Bratic. Who is Major-General Bratic?
20 A. Mr. Mladen Bratic was the commander of the Novi Sad Corps. He
21 was killed in late October at the entrance to Borovo Naselje, near the
22 Brsadin silo. A mortar shell killed him.
23 Q. What was he doing when he was killed?
24 A. He attended or, rather, he observed the placing of the pontoon
25 bridge across the Bobota channel.
1 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, we're going to play now a video,
2 65 ter number 4883.1. And if I could ask that we start being going to
3 straight to time code 46 minutes and 45 seconds and pausing there. Thank
5 Q. Do you recognise this person?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Who is it?
8 A. The late Mr. Mladen Bratic.
9 MR. GILLETT: If we could now play the clip from the start, which
10 is 45 minutes and 30 seconds, and continue through to 46 minutes and
11 3 seconds.
12 [Video-clip played]
13 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] The commander of the Novi Sad
14 corps, General Mladen Bratic was buried in Belgrade. General Bratic was
15 killed near Borovo Selo. He -- Momcilo Golijanin said goodbye to him.
16 He said that his example was the example of the duty that he did towards
17 his homeland."
18 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
19 Q. Do you recognise anyone in this shot?
20 A. Yes, two persons, Mr. Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan, and
21 Mr. Goran Hadzic.
22 Q. And first, could you describe where Arkan is standing and what he
23 is wearing.
24 A. Arkan is standing in the middle between Mr. Goran Hadzic and
25 another uniformed person, and he is wearing a uniform.
1 Q. And could you describe -- you've described where Mr. Hadzic is
2 standing. Could you describe what he is wearing?
3 A. Mr. Hadzic is on the right-hand side to the right of
4 Mr. Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan, and he is wearing civilian clothes.
5 MR. GILLETT: Could we continue to 46 seconds -- 46 minutes and
6 13 seconds.
7 [Video-clip played]
8 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] The president of the Executive
9 Council of Novi Sad, Djordje Basic, said goodbye to the Novi Sad Corps
10 commander, and at the very grave, it was the commander of the
11 1st Military District, Colonel Zivota Panic ..."
12 MR. GILLETT:
13 Q. Do you recognise anyone in this shot?
14 A. I recognise General Blagoje Adzic.
15 Q. Could you describe where he is standing so that we can identify
16 him on the transcript?
17 A. General Blagoje Adzic is standing between an officer and a foot
19 Q. And what is he wearing?
20 A. He's wearing a uniform with a hat on his head.
21 Q. So am I correct that he is the person right in the centre of this
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. GILLETT: Could we now continue playing the clip at pause at
25 46 minutes and 59 seconds.
1 [Video-clip played]
2 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Zivota Panic who parted from his
3 late comrade-in-arms. He stressed once again General Bratic's courage,
4 skill and decisiveness to control the dark powers of fascism from the
5 very first combat lines.
6 "Today a commemoration session was held in the Dom garde in
7 Topcider on the occasion of the death of General Mladen Bratic, commander
8 of the Novi Sad Corps. In addition to the family members, the session
9 was attended by members of the Presidency of Yugoslavia, Jugoslav Kostic,
10 Sejdo Bajramovic, Federal Secretary for National Defence, Veljko
11 Kadijevic; chief of the Main Staff, Blagoje Adzic; Prime Minister of
12 Serbia Dragutin Zelenovic, and others .
13 "Lieutenant-General Vladimir Stojanovic, chief of command staff
14 of the 1st Military District that Mladen Bratic --"
15 MR. GILLETT:
16 Q. Do you recognise anyone in this shot?
17 A. Yes, I recognise two persons, two generals.
18 Q. Who are they? And could you describe where they are sitting?
19 A. On my left, the first to my left is Blagoje Adzic, and next to
20 him is General Veljko Kadijevic.
21 MR. GILLETT: If we could continue now and pause at 47 minutes
22 and 5 seconds.
23 [Video-clip played]
24 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] ... gave his life while
25 courageously commanding his units from the first combat lines for his
1 merits ..."
2 MR. GILLETT:
3 Q. And aside from people you have already identified, do you
4 recognise anybody else here.
5 A. Yes. General Zivota Panic, wearing a camouflage uniform.
6 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, we would tender this video-clip
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
9 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2029, Your Honours.
10 MR. GILLETT:
11 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, looking at paragraph 52 of your statement, you
12 refer to seeing Vojislav Seselj in Vukovar in 1991. What was he wearing
13 when you saw him there?
14 A. He was wearing a JNA uniform and he sported a helmet on his head.
15 MR. GILLETT: Could we play video, and this is an admitted
16 exhibit, P1744, starting from 13 minutes and 30 seconds.
17 [Video-clip played]
18 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] VS: Their courage is nothing
20 "R: How significant is the liberation of Vukovar for Serbia?
21 "VS: The significance is extraordinary. This is the greatest
22 Ustasha stronghold. When Vukovar falls, Ustasha won't save either Osijek
23 or Vinkovci. Our forces will be unstoppable. Vukovar is the key point
24 that must be taken, that must be concurred, and that will be the end of
25 Ustashas. If Vukovar falls here and Slunj in Srpska Krajina, Tudjman's
1 Ustasha regime in Zagreb is over and done with, and Ustasha understand
3 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
4 Q. First, do you recognise the surroundings where Seselj was
6 A. I cannot recognise the place where they are. Mr. Seselj had an
7 automatic rifle, M70, in his left hand.
8 Q. And how does his appearance in this video compare to when you saw
9 him in Vukovar?
10 A. Mr. Seselj wore the same uniform, a uniform of the JNA, as I've
11 already told you, and he had insignia on the left shoulder. We change
12 our insignia every day. It would be either white or red or blue. It
13 depended on the situation. He also sported a helmet and an automatic
14 rifle with ammunition belt around his waist.
15 Q. Moving to a different topic, at paragraphs 68 to 69 of your
16 statement, you mention that Arkan's men controlled the flow of goods from
17 Croatia to Serbia and that the sale of goods taken from Slavonia was not
18 registered properly.
19 First, do you know who Mihalj Kertes was?
20 A. Mr. Mihalj Kertes was the chief of the federal customs
21 administration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Actually he was
22 the director of that service but that was later. Before he became the
23 director of the customs administration he was employee of the Federal
24 Secretariat of the interior of Yugoslavia. And before that, when the
25 Yogurt Revolution, as it was called, broke out in Novi Sad, in Vojvodina,
1 he gained political fame. He became famous as an individual.
2 Q. What was the relationship between Mr. Kertes and
3 Slobodan Milosevic?
4 A. The relationship between the late President Slobodan Milosevic
5 and Mr. Mihajl Kertes, based on what I knew and what I could conclude,
6 was rather close. They had a rather close relationship.
7 Q. You've said that Kertes was in charge of customs. Did your work
8 involve dealing with customs and borders?
9 A. Well, as I continued working in 1992, 1993, and 1994, I had quite
10 a lot of contacts when I transported goods for the Serbian Republic of
11 Krajina and Republika Srpska.
12 Q. Are you aware of the Dafiment bank?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Who was the head of this bank?
15 A. The late Mrs. Dafina Milanovic.
16 Q. And what relationship did she have with Slobodan Milosevic, if
18 A. As for the relationship between the late Mrs. Dafina Milanovic
19 and the late President Milosevic, I am not aware of that. But since the
20 Dafina Banka was incepted and started working without the necessary
21 deposit and permission by the National Bank of Serbia, there was probably
22 a relationship between the late President Slobodan Milosevic and -- or
23 somebody from the government and that bank.
24 Q. Are you aware of the operations of the Dafiment bank in relation
25 to events in Slavonia, Baranja, Western Srem, if any?
1 MR. GOSNELL: Objection. That's, despite the last two words,
2 clearly leading.
3 MR. GILLETT: Well, Your Honours, I tried to introduce in as open
4 a way as possible. I'm not sure if there is a more specific way I could
5 introduce it than that.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Are you aware of the operations of the Dafina
7 bank, if any.
8 MR. GILLETT: Perhaps I could ask it in a slightly different way,
10 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, are you aware of whether there were any operations
11 at the Dafiment bank or activities by the bank that relate to events in
12 Slavonia, Baranja, Western Srem?
13 A. As far as I knew, some of the funds that were provided by the
14 Dafina bank through the State Security Service and the late
15 Mrs. Clara Mandic was used to purchase weapons for the Serbian Volunteers
16 Guard and later on for the Red Beret units.
17 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, at paragraph 30 of your statement, you describe
18 going for training at Bubanj Potok and you mention the various units that
19 were there, including the volunteers from the SRS.
20 MR. GILLETT: Could we get 4773.1 and play that.
21 [Video-clip played]
22 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Presenter: You and Mr. Poplasen
23 are our guests this evening. There were a lot of calls and a lot of
24 questions. One of them was about the volunteers and members of your
25 party who from the first day of the war were present in Croatia as
1 volunteers in the Republic of Croatia, but our viewers believe that this
2 has dwindled down as if some of your members are not really interested in
3 the fate of the Serbs in Republika Srpska. Is that correct? Are your
4 volunteers still there? Are they still prepared?
5 "Vojislav Seselj: Your impression is wrong. There still are
6 volunteers there under the Chetnik Vojvoda Slavko Aleksic in the Jewish
7 cemetery, in Ilijas, under Vojvoda Manda Maksimovic in Majevica. There's
8 a number of volunteers, together with Vojvoda Brne in Ilidza,
9 Vojvoda Radovic leads them in Pod village, and so on and so forth. They
10 are there. There would be a lot of more of them at the moment when the
11 command of the Serbian army asks us to send out volunteers. It is very
12 difficult for us to send out volunteers, much more difficult than it was
13 in 1991, 1992, and 1993. When we sent out and deployed volunteers at
14 that time, we had good co-operation with Slobodan Milosevic. He provided
15 us with uniforms, arms, buses, the barracks in Bubanj Potok, all the
16 technical equipment that we needed, and it functioned much better then
17 than it does now. Because of the treason of Slobodan Milosevic, the
18 Serbian Radical Party is facing a lot of difficulties when deploying
19 volunteers. Our volunteers are now sent out in civilian clothes, and
20 when the commands of the Serbian commands invite them in the areas that
21 are sparsely settled and where our assistance is needed the most. Those
22 volunteers are driven by buses through the corridor through Banja Luka.
23 The Serbs there already know that. We can't speak about any numbers, of
24 course. It is much more difficult for us to provide buses or bare
25 necessities that are sent out with the volunteers. The volunteers are
1 issued with weapons and uniforms when they arrived where they are
2 deployed. That's what makes our situation complicated. In any case, we
3 send out as many as the command of the Serbian army wants us to send."
4 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
5 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, first, do you recognise the male who is speaking
6 in this video?
7 A. The person who was depicted in the video-clip is
8 Mr. Vojislav Seselj.
9 Q. In response to the presenter's questions about volunteers sent to
10 Croatia and Bosnia, he mentions that the Serb Radical Party used the
11 barracks at Bubanj Potok; is that correct?
12 A. Well, the Serbian Radical Party did use the barracks in
13 Bubanj Potok. The speech, i.e., the guest appearance by
14 Mr. Vojislav Seselj, probably happened in 1993 or 1994 on
15 Republika Srpska television.
16 A lot more activity and a lot more volunteers were sent to
17 Bubanj Potok in 1992 and 1993 because, in 1991, the Yugoslav People's
18 Army in Serbia had problems with mobilising people. Quite a lot of the
19 people who were supposed to respond to the call-ups by the Secretariat of
20 the National Defence in municipalities did not want to answer those
21 calls, and that's why the Serbian Radical Party organised its own members
22 who volunteered to fill up the ranks of the units of the Yugoslav
23 People's Army.
24 Already in 1991, in Serbia and in Croatia, in Slovenia and in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, certain peoples and national minorities evaded
1 mobilisation calls to join the Yugoslav People's Army.
2 MR. GILLETT: Your Honours, could I tender this before the break?
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
4 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P2030, Your Honours.
5 MR. GILLETT: Thank you very much. And I see the time.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Gillett.
7 Just before taking the break, an intervention in the -- in the
8 record, at page 33, line 15, Mr. Zivanovic is mentioned as intervening
9 but it's just part of the translation of the video-clip, so I think that
10 should be corrected.
11 MR. GILLETT: Thank you for clearing that up.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Kovacevic, we take the first break, half an
13 hour, and come back at 11.00. The court usher will escort you out of
14 court. Thank you.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 [The witness stands down]
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Court adjourned.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
20 MR. GILLETT: Just a quick note while the witness is being
21 brought in. In relation to the Defence request at the start of the last
22 session, we've sent through the requested pages.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
24 [The witness takes the stand]
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed, Mr. Gillett.
1 MR. GILLETT: Thank you.
2 Q. Now, final couple of questions, Mr. Kovacevic, in relation to
4 At paragraph 17 of your statement, you say -- you refer to
5 April 1991 and members of the police brigade coming to your house and
6 telling you to put on your uniform to help with transporting weapons.
7 What uniform were you wearing at this stage?
8 A. The uniform I wore at that time was the uniform of the
9 Secretariat of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. It consisted
10 of a blue top, blue shirt, a tie, trousers, shoes, and a belt, with a
11 belt across the chest, and also a cap with a five-pointed star.
12 Q. What shade of blue was the uniform?
13 A. Light blue.
14 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 25, you then refer to being given a new
15 blue camouflage uniform in July 1991. And you say that it had, I quote,
16 "several nuances." This is the second-last sentence.
17 Could you explain what that means, "it had several nuances"?
18 A. We were given new uniforms that consisted of a blue shirt, light
19 blue, where you could roll up the sleeves to wear it like a summer
20 uniform, and trousers of the same colour, lighter or darker blue, boots,
21 that was the summer uniform. And in addition to that, we got a winter
22 uniform consisting of a blue jumper, a shirt, and lined trousers, plus a
23 blue beret.
24 Q. And to clarify, were these summer and winter uniforms, the same
25 blue camouflage that you referred to in your statement?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Okay.
3 MR. GILLETT: I've no further questions on direct, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
5 Are you ready, Mr. Gosnell?
6 MR. GOSNELL: Good morning, Mr. President. Sorry for that
7 rearranging exercise.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: No problem at all.
9 MR. GOSNELL: Am I correct I can refer to the witness's name, to
10 the witness by name?
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, of course.
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Gosnell:
13 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kovacevic. My name is Christopher Gosnell and
14 I represent Mr. Hadzic in these proceedings. I will have some questions
15 for you. If my questions do not appear to be clear, then please feel
16 free to ask me for a clarification and I'll do my best.
17 Do you understand?
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. GOSNELL: Now, Mr. President, I'll be referring to the
20 witness's statement rather frequently and to facilitate that and to show
21 other documents in parallel, I would suggest that I hand hard copies to
22 the court usher for distribution to the Legal Officer and the Judges.
23 If there's no objection?
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gillett.
25 MR. GILLETT: Just to clarify, which statement is it?
1 MR. GOSNELL: This is the statement that has now been admitted.
2 MR. GILLETT: Okay. The same one. Thanks.
3 MR. GOSNELL:
4 Q. Now, Mr. Kovacevic, at paragraph 6 of your statement, and I -- I
5 will not ask that this be put in --
6 MR. GOSNELL: Actually, could the court usher please take the
7 witness's -- the statement that is in front of the statement. I would
8 like to ask questions, at least for some period, without the statement in
9 front of the witness.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Kovacevic, you've testified and your statement says that
11 you were reassigned to the reserve forces of the -- and this is at
12 paragraph 6 for those following along - that you were reassigned to the
13 reserve forces of the SUP of Serbia and that that occurred in April of
14 1990. Are you sure that that date is correct?
15 MR. GILLETT: Sorry to interrupt, but if there are going to be
16 specific references to paragraphs of the statement, I'd submit it is
17 fairer to the witness to have it in front of him to read the whole
18 paragraph in order to answer the questions. It's fine to put the factual
19 propositions to the witness without the statement, but if there are going
20 to be specific paragraphs referred to, it seems preferable to allow him
21 to read the context surrounding those statements.
22 MR. GOSNELL: It's a very simple question. It concerns the
23 witness's own activities. I don't think there's anything in the context
24 that will illuminate or could assist him in providing a full and proper
25 answer --
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Well, Mr. Gosnell, if and when you refer to a
2 specific paragraph in the statement, I do think it's fair that the
3 witness can -- can read it.
4 MR. GOSNELL: Well, then let me not to refer to the statement at
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay.
7 MR. GOSNELL:
8 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, when did you join the MUP reserve forces -- or the
9 SUP reserve forces?
10 A. In 1990 when there was a redistribution, until then I was in the
11 reserve force of the Yugoslav People's Army, and in April 1990, I was
12 reassigned to the reserve force of the SUP of Serbia. After that, I
13 underwent training, and for a while I was in the secondary school for
14 internal affairs in Kamenica, then in a higher school for internal
15 affairs in Zemun, and later, again for training, at the police brigade.
16 Q. And what activities did you perform, if any, between April 1990
17 and April 1991 in the context of your service in the MUP reserves?
18 A. As I said before, when we were first reassigned to the reserve
19 force of the SUP of Serbia, we first went for basic training to the
20 secondary school for internal affairs in Kamenica where we learnt the
21 rules of service. At the Secretariat for Internal Affairs of the
22 Republic of Serbia, we attended lectures devoted to the rules of service
23 and legislation, criminal law, and others. And then we learnt to handle
24 weapons, both pistols and the automatic weapons used by the police, which
25 was called milicija at the time.
1 Q. And how often were you attending these lectures or participating
2 in this training in the course of year between April 1990 and April 1991?
3 A. The first course lasted 40 to 45 days at the school in Kamenica.
4 Later, we did target practice with the police brigade in
5 Trebevicka using blanks and then target practice using live ammunition at
6 the Bubanj Potok barracks. Then we went for training at the higher
7 school for internal affairs, learning police work, and we had exercises,
8 drills, lasting seven to eight days, together with active-duty policemen
9 learning both patrol work and the work of the riot police, in providing
10 security at various public gatherings, football matches, et cetera.
11 Q. And after that first training of 40 to 45 days that you say you
12 had at Kamenica, how frequently were you participating in training or
13 lectures? You say you were in the reserves. Was it just weekends? Were
14 you there for weeks at a time?
15 Can you help us understand how frequently you were doing that
16 training and that -- those lectures.
17 A. We received summons from the reserve force of the SUP, that is to
18 say, the police brigade. But after the training in Kamenica and the
19 training at the higher school for internal affairs and the target
20 practice, it was not so intensive anymore until 1991. And in 1991, it
21 became a bit more frequent.
22 Q. Well, in the period between April 1990 and 1991, think back, do
23 your best, and tell us precisely, if you can, how frequently you were
24 training or otherwise engaged with the MUP reserve force.
25 A. As I've said, it was as we received summons from the Secretariat
1 for Internal Affairs. We were more actively engaged from 9 March 1991,
2 when those demonstrations in Belgrade happened. I was summoned on the
3 9th of March, and I was with the police brigade, working on assignments
4 given to our unit, securing various buildings, going on patrol, manning
5 check-points, et cetera.
6 Q. And who was your commander either during the training or
7 afterwards when you were deployed, as you've just described? Can you
8 remember the name of your commander or commanders?
9 A. I was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Company, 1st Platoon of
10 the Police Brigade at Banovo Brdo. Our commander was --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please enumerate these names
12 more slowly.
13 MR. GOSNELL:
14 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, could you just repeat the names, because the
15 interpreters did not catch the names?
16 A. Battalion commander was Mr. Filipovic. Company commander was
17 Mr. Plavsic. Later, Mr. Milenko Despotovic, and my own commander,
18 platoon commander was Mile Topic.
19 Q. Did these individuals have ranks?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you remember what their ranks were?
22 A. At that time, the police force had different ranks from those in
23 the Yugoslav People's Army. Mr. Filipovic had the rank of senior
24 inspector, which would be the equivalent of major today in the current
25 police force. Whereas Mr. Milenko Despotovic had the rank of inspector.
1 And Mr. Mile Topic, my platoon commander, also had the rank of inspector.
2 Q. And at the time of your service with the MUP reserves, did you
3 have a military booklet?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And was your service with the MUP reserves recorded in your
6 military booklet?
7 A. Our war-time assignment would be marked at the back, and our
8 participation, our engagement of 45 days at the front line in Croatia.
9 Q. So that's the 45 days that you say you were stationed in Vera.
10 Is that what you're saying was recorded in your military booklet?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. But you're saying that your previous engagement or your
13 engagement from July 1990, as you've said, in the MUP reserves, that
14 would not be recorded in your military booklet. Is that what you're
16 A. No. These were drills, and, as such, they were entered into our
17 personal files.
18 Q. What personal files?
19 A. Those were, in fact, personnel files that we received from the
20 Secretariat for National Defence. Your name and surname would be there.
21 Your date of birth. Dates of service in the Yugoslav People's Army. And
22 the characterisation we received in the army and our VES, which is
23 military evidentiary speciality. The training, in other words.
24 Q. Well, I'm asking you about your service in the MUP reserves. Are
25 you saying that your service in the MUP reserves was being recorded in
1 the personnel files of the Secretariat for National Defence?
2 A. Yes. And they were made available to the Secretariat for
3 Internal Affairs. And the desk officer in charge of the reserve force
4 kept our personnel files.
5 Q. And were you receiving pay from the MUP or the SUP of Serbia
6 during this period of April 1990 through April 1991?
7 A. When we went from military drills at the beginning in 1990, that
8 was refunded by my company, the department stores of Belgrade. And
9 beginning with 1991, we received our main salary from our employer plus
10 per diem for the time we spent at military drills from the MUP of Serbia.
11 And when we were on the front line, we received additional per diem.
12 Q. When did you receive your first per diem from the Serbian MUP?
13 A. I received my first per diem from the Serbian MUP in 1991,
14 sometime in the middle of March 1991.
15 Q. Is there any possibility at all that you could be confused during
16 the period of 1990 and 1991 as to whether you were in the MUP reserves or
17 whether you were in the JNA reserves?
18 A. From April 1990 until mid-April that year, I was a member --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: From that time on, I
20 was a member of the reserve force of the MUP of Serbia.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was then a member of the reserve
22 force of the JNA. Until then.
23 MR. GOSNELL:
24 Q. When you say "until then," you mean until April 1990; correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 1D435, please, which is Defence
2 tab 35.
3 Sorry, and can we not broadcast this document. And to be on the
4 safe side, Mr. President, I suppose we should go into private session.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Private session, please.
6 [Private session]
11 Page 5432 redacted. Private session.
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
5 MR. GOSNELL:
6 Q. And, Mr. Kovacevic, I think it would be helpful for you to have
7 the entire context so I'm going slowly read -- do you speak English?
8 A. A little.
9 Q. I will slowly read the relevant portion of your testimony from
10 Perisic and it will be translated to you. But you can follow along if
11 you wish. It's the second paragraph on the page in front of you.
12 And here's what you said in the Perisic case, and this was back
13 in 2009 at page 6053:
14 "The situation and the events that transpired in the SFRY
15 happened at the time when I was a truck driver for the department store
16 company, and as soon as I received the summons, I reported to my war-time
17 unit in 1991. My service followed there from, on the basis of my
18 war-time assignment, and later on I was transferred to the reserve forces
19 of the MUP of Serbia."
20 And then you're asked a question:
21 "I'd like to highlight specifically, how were you employed in
22 1994 and 1995?"
23 And your answer, sir, was:
24 "In 1994, in -- or, rather, in earlier January 1992, or in the
25 month of December, I was transferred from the reserve forces of the JNA
1 to the reserve forces of the MUP of Serbia; to be specific, to the police
2 brigade of the MUP of Serbia."
3 Now I read that passage, it seems to suggest that you transfer
4 from the JNA reserves to the MUP reserves, not in April 1990 but in
5 December 1992. Am I wrong?
6 A. No. I said that I had been transferred in 1990, whereas in 1992,
7 I was engaged in the MUP of the Republic of Serbia where I controlled
8 check-points around the city of Belgrade. My assistant brigade
9 commander, Mr. Slobodan Vukelic, was my superior at the time. I received
10 my orders from him as a lorry driver, and we performed tasks both for the
11 JNA and the SDB with our cargo trucks that we had in the MUP of the
12 Republic of Serbia.
13 Q. Then why did you testify in the Perisic case that you were
14 transferred in 1992?
15 A. I can't remember whether I said in 1992 or not. I only know that
16 I was transferred to the MUP in 1990.
17 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 04643, please, which is Prosecution
18 tab 12.
19 And if we could please go to transcript page 6788, please.
20 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, you seem to have had difficulty identifying
21 properly the date on which you say you were transferred from the JNA
22 reserves to the MUP reserves, because you gave yet another date in your
23 testimony in the Stanisic and Simatovic case. And it's coming up on the
25 And, again, I will read so that you have the entire context.
1 "Q. And do you say that you were working in the reserve forces
2 of the --"
3 Let me go back to one previous question and answer.
4 "This, just to be clear, was in 1991, towards the end of 1991; is
5 that right?
6 "A. It was not towards the end of 1991, it was sometime in the
7 summer of 1991, before the death of the command of Borovo Selo defence,
8 Vukasin Soskocanin.
9 "Q. And do you say that you were working in the reserve forces
10 of the JNA or the reserve forces of the MUP of Serbia at this point?
11 "A. At that point, I was transferred to the reserve force of the
12 MUP of Serbia.
13 "Q. And at what point do you say you were working or you were
14 transferred to the reserve forces of the MUP of Serbia?
15 "A. Once I deliver my military booklet, you will see that I was
16 transferred in April of 1991. I was listed with the Zemun municipality,
17 the Office of National Defence there."
18 Now, so this seems to indicate, Mr. Kovacevic, does it not, yet a
19 third date for your transfer from the JNA reserves to the MUP reserves.
20 In Stanisic, you seem to be saying you were transferred in April 1991,
21 not April 1990.
22 A. Officially, as I've already told you, in 1990, I was sent for
23 training. There was a training course in Kamenica and in the school of
24 the interior. My official engagement started in 1991 when I was invited
25 to attend a drill and when I was issued with a uniform of the MUP of the
1 Republic of Serbia. I was also issued with personal weapons, a pistol,
2 M53, and a rifle, Zastava 72.
3 Q. Now you seem to be, in answering this question, offering to
4 provide your military booklet. Is that correct, that you were offering
5 to provide your military booklet to substantiate what you were saying
6 back in the Stanisic case?
7 A. My military booklet is still with the Ministry of Interior of the
8 Republic of Serbia with the police brigade there. And there's also my
9 personnel file with Mr. Zivorad Jovanovic. Both the Trial Chamber and
10 the Defence can request for these two to be delivered to them, as well as
11 my file where you can see where I was issued with the uniform, when I was
12 issued with my personal weapons and so on and so forth.
13 Q. Well, that's a little bit different from what you said in the
14 Stanisic case, isn't it? Because there, you seem to be offering to
15 provide the booklet. Doesn't that imply that you've got the booklet at
16 that time? It's under your control?
17 A. I did not have my military booklet. It is in the MUP of Serbia.
18 I said then that I could provide it to the Trial Chamber. I can obtain
19 the military booklet. I cannot obtain my file or the file for the
20 weapons that I had been issued with. However, anybody, including myself,
21 can get hold of my personal booklet.
22 Q. And in early 19 -- in early July 1991, you were told that you
23 would be going to train in Bubanj Potok; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Was Bubanj Potok a JNA camp?
1 A. Bubanj Potok was a JNA military post and barracks.
2 Q. And when you arrived there, you were told that you would be
3 assigned to a unit called the police brigade; right?
4 A. Yes. A small correction: I was not told I would be assigned. I
5 was already a member of the police brigade. I had already been issued
6 with a uniform and personal weapons; a pistol to be more precise.
7 Q. And in addition to your unit, there were also JNA conscripts, JNA
8 volunteers training at Bubanj Potok; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And there were members of the SRS, the Serbian National Renewal,
11 and the White Eagles. They were also all training at Bubanj Potok.
13 A. As I've already told you, in 1991, when people got call-up papers
14 for the JNA, only very few people responded and those were the people who
15 were on the records of the Secretariat of Defence. So some parties,
16 including the Serbian Radical Party and the Serbian National Renewal, and
17 the Mirko Jovic's party, organised their own members who then volunteered
18 as members of the reserve force of the JNA.
19 Q. And that training continued, as you testified earlier today at
20 page 21, in 1992 and 1993; correct?
21 A. Yes. That training continued in 1992 and in 1993. As I already
22 stated in my statement, the government of the Republic of Serbia had
23 issued a decree which was applied at check-points around the city of
24 Belgrade and in the city itself. Persons who were of military age and
25 who were capable of serving in the Army of the Serbian Krajina and the
1 Army of Republika Srpska were brought to police stations and from there,
2 they would be taken to the Bubanj Potok barracks where they were trained,
3 equipped, and deployed in various areas or, rather, in the areas from
4 which they hailed respectively.
5 Q. And aside from volunteers who had been brought by the SRS, the
6 SNO, or the White Eagles, did you hear about any other groups of
7 volunteers who were trained at Bubanj Potok?
8 A. The Serbian Radical Party and the Serbian Renewal Movement and
9 the Matica of the Serbian emigrants did not bring people to the
10 Bubanj Potok barracks directly. They suggested that people went to the
11 Secretariat of National Defence in their municipalities and then they, in
12 turn, assigned them either to the Bubanj Potok barracks or some other
13 barracks for training. Around Belgrade, those were in Stara Pazova, in
14 Zemun and Belgrade municipalities. Those who hailed from those
15 municipalities were usually assigned and sent to the Bubanj Potok
16 barracks, so one cannot say that the Serbian Radical Party or the Serbian
17 Renewal Movement brought them directly to the Bubanj Potok barracks.
18 Rather, they suggested that if their men were to volunteer, that they
19 should report to their own Secretariat of Defence in their municipalities
20 and then the secretariats would send them to undergo training either in
21 the Bubanj Potok barracks or some other barracks. It all depended on
22 what municipalities they came from, or rather, where they resided at that
24 Q. And did they train separately along -- in accord with their --
25 with the affiliation that you've mentioned, namely, SRS, SNO and
1 White Eagles, or did they train together with everyone else, like any
2 other JNA volunteer?
3 A. They didn't have any separate training as members of the parties.
4 It didn't depend on their affiliation with the -- either SRS or the SN --
5 they trained together with the regular JNA forces, whereas us, MUP
6 members of the Republic of Serbia, had our own separate training. We did
7 not train together with them.
8 Q. And those various volunteers, were they attired in JNA reserve
9 uniforms, regardless of their affiliation, party affiliation?
10 A. In the Bubanj Potok barracks, they were all attired in JNA
12 Q. Now I go back to a question I asked a little bit earlier. Aside
13 from the three groups that you've mentioned of party-affiliated
14 volunteers, did you hear about any other group of volunteers who trained
15 at Bubanj Potok? And let me put it to you precisely. Did you ever hear
16 about Arkan's men, the Serbian Volunteer Guard, training at Bubanj Potok?
17 A. The Serbian Volunteer Guard, as far as I knew, were not in
18 training in Bubanj Potok. They were recruited from other sources. I
19 don't know how and where from.
20 There was another unit under the command of the late
21 Giska Bozovic. It had been set up by the Serbian Renewal Movement. They
22 were independent from both the Serbian Volunteer Guard and the JNA. They
23 set up their own unit.
24 Q. Now, in your statement - and, if necessary, we can call it up -
25 at paragraph 27, you refer to Zarko Sljukic as lieutenant-colonel.
1 Did he have the rank of lieutenant-colonel at that point in time,
2 in July 1991?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Now, why did you put down that designation, lieutenant-colonel?
5 A. Mr. Zarko Sljukic, in either 1993 or 1994, I can't remember the
6 exact year, became lieutenant-colonel.
7 Q. Now you say in your statement at paragraph 36, and we can turn to
8 this, that the unit was transferred to Croatian territory across the --
9 MR. GILLETT: Sorry to interrupt. But, yeah, if we are going to
10 keep referring to paragraphs of the statement, then in line what
11 Your Honour said earlier, I think it would be fair to put it in front of
12 the witness so he can read for himself, and that will facilitate
14 MR. GOSNELL: Well, that's why I said we can turn to this.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Does the witness have the statement in front of
17 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, could I ask that we display it on
18 the screen?
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: We can.
20 MR. GOSNELL:
21 Q. So at paragraph 36, it says:
22 "The unit was transferred to Croatian territory across the Danube
23 by ferries at night. This all happened at the end of July and in early
24 August 1991. We crossed into Croatian territory near Erdut in the
25 morning and went to the Croatian SUP training centre, which had already
1 been taken by Serbian forces."
2 Now that Croatian SUP training centre that you refer to, is that
3 the training centre that later came to be occupied by Arkan, amongst
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And am I right in understanding this paragraph that you're saying
7 that you went to the training centre on the same day that you arrived in
8 Croatia, on the ferry?
9 A. Yes. We arrived in the course of the night.
10 Q. And then that same morning, or the following morning, that's when
11 you went to the training centre; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And how big was your unit at this time? Did it have a large
14 convoy of vehicles? What -- what are you referring to when you say "your
16 A. In terms of numbers, that unit had some 50 to 60 men. That was
17 its composition.
18 Q. So do I understand that it was only the men who crossed in
19 ferries? No vehicles came with you.
20 A. Three vehicles crossed, a Lada Niva, and two Puch vehicles.
21 MR. GOSNELL: Could we call up 1D446, please, which is Defence
22 tab 34. And if we could zoom in, please, a little bit tighter on the
23 location where we see the bridge crossing the river. I think there's
24 only one bridge that crosses the river. There we go.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This is the Bogojevo bridge.
1 MR. GOSNELL:
2 Q. Can you indicate on this photograph -- and perhaps he can do so
3 the pointer and make a mark. Can you indicate on this photograph where
4 it was that you left Serbia from and where it was that you arrived on the
5 Croatian side?
6 A. We were on the left bank of the Danube. I can't remember where
7 exactly. But I know that it -- where we crossed the Danube river was
8 about 1 to 2 kilometres from the bridge itself.
9 Q. Did you engage in any fighting on the morning of your arrival, or
10 that night?
11 A. No.
12 Q. What did you do during the time between your arrival and the time
13 that you go to the training centre?
14 A. As far as I can remember, it was a long time ago, almost 20 years
15 ago, we crossed from one bank to the other. We spent about two or three
16 hours there, waiting for everybody to gather, and that's when we headed
17 for the training centre in Erdut.
18 Q. And that was the very day, wasn't it, that the JNA rolled across
19 the bridge that we see on the photograph in front of us and took control
20 of most of the area that we can now see in this photo; is that correct?
21 A. When the JNA crossed the bridge, that territory had already been
22 liberated. I can't remember when that was. I don't know when the JNA
23 liberated the bridge.
24 Q. Are you saying the bridge wasn't in the control of JNA forces on
25 the day that you arrived in Croatia?
1 A. I didn't say that the bridge was not in JNA control when we
2 arrived in Croatia. I said that I didn't know who was in control of the
3 bridge when we arrived in Croatia. Later on, as I was deployed in the
4 area, it was the military police and the Serbian Volunteer Guard that
5 controlled the bridge on the Croatian side.
6 Q. We'll come to that claim.
7 But we have information, Mr. Kovacevic, that the JNA rolled
8 across that bridge on the very same day that it took control of this
9 territory, including the training centre.
10 So what I'm asking you is: If the JNA controls this bridge on
11 the same day that it controls the training centre and you go to the
12 training centre on that day, why didn't your unit just drive across the
14 MR. GILLETT: Well, just to interject. I didn't recall the
15 witness confirming that he could say it was the same day that the JNA
16 controls the bridge that they went to the training centre.
17 MR. GOSNELL: Well, is the Prosecution contesting that the
18 training centre was taken control of on the same day that the bridge was
19 taken control of?
20 MR. GILLETT: Well, the question presupposes that the witness has
21 confirmed that he goes to the training centre on the same day that the
22 JNA controls the bridge which the witness, I believe, said he could not
23 specifically recall.
24 So there is an implicit assumption in the question which the
25 witness hasn't confirmed.
1 MR. GOSNELL: That's true, Mr. President. The witness hasn't
2 confirmed it, but I indicated to the witness that we heard evidence to
3 that effect and that was the basis for the question.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: You're right, Mr. Gosnell. That's, indeed, what
5 you asked the witness.
6 So please continue.
7 MR. GOSNELL:
8 Q. Mr. Witness, do you -- Mr. Kovacevic, do you have an answer? Why
9 didn't you just cross the bridge along with JNA forces?
10 A. I can't answer your question, unfortunately. My unit that
11 crossed the river consisted of us reservists and active policemen who
12 were on temporary contracts in the MUP of the Republic of Serbia. They
13 had joined from the MUP of the Republic of Croatia, because they were of
14 Serb ethnicity.
15 Now, as to why we didn't use the bridge, I didn't know then, I
16 don't know now. My officers who were there just carried out orders that
17 they had received. Why we didn't use the bridge, for what reason, I did
18 not have any specific knowledge about that.
19 Q. Was there a landing area where you were able to disembark your
21 A. Yes. Those were three all-terrain vehicles, one Puch and Lada
22 Nivas. And as we stopped at the bank of the Danube, we unrolled them.
23 Those are vehicles that can drive on all terrains except water.
24 Q. Now at paragraph 36 you say that the training centre had already
25 been taken by Serbian forces. Which Serbian forces specifically had
1 taken the training centre, as far as you were able to learn or observe?
2 A. As far as I was able to see at that moment, we were there, there
3 were the Serbian Volunteer Guards and some other men. Maybe they were
4 members of the Territorial Defence of Western Srem and Baranja; I
5 couldn't know. We stayed there for just two or three days before we were
6 transferred to Vera village.
7 Q. Were JNA personnel present there too?
8 A. Yes, there were some.
9 Q. Who and how many?
10 A. I cannot tell you exactly who they were and how many because
11 personnel came and went every day. So I can't know how many of them
12 there were. I can't even tell you how many members of the Serbian
13 Volunteer Guards and others were there.
14 Q. You say that you spent two to three days there. That's some
15 period of time. Did you remain there continuously for those two to three
16 days, or what were your activities?
17 A. We prepared for transfer. We were packing our equipment, our
18 gear. We were expecting some more gear that we needed to move to the
19 village. Commanding officers had their own preparations, meetings,
20 et cetera.
21 Q. Was your commander Sljukic there?
22 A. No. Commander Sljukic was assigned to me at Vera village, when
23 we arrived.
24 Q. Who was your commander at the time that you arrived at the
25 training centre?
1 A. The commander of that unit was Stevo Pavkovic, who had joined the
2 MUP of Serbia coming from Zagreb, from the MUP of Croatia. And he was a
3 native of a place called Srb in Croatia.
4 Q. Did you see Badza at the training centre for those two to three
5 days that you were there?
6 A. No, I didn't see him. However, my commanding officer went to
8 Q. Well, I'm now confining my question to those two to three days
9 that you were there.
10 Did anyone appear to be in charge at the training centre when you
11 were there?
12 A. It seemed to me that somebody was running the centre, because
13 there was organisation. There was a schedule for breakfast, lunch,
14 dinner, and activities were organised according to a roster.
15 Q. Well, I'll come back to this question a little bit later.
16 But after the two to three days that you spend at the training
17 centre, as I understand it, you go to Vera and you're based in Vera for
18 45 days approximately; is that correct?
19 A. Yes. That's where I was billeted in a house at the very entrance
20 to the village. In the centre of the village, you take a right turn to
21 get to that house, and that was the third or the fourth house from the
22 end of the village on the right-hand side.
23 Q. Did you ever hear that that was, in fact, the house of a Serb who
24 had left Vera, was away, and gave permission for the house to be used?
25 A. I was not billeted in a house belonging to a Serb who had left
1 Vera. I was billeted there together with another three or four men, and
2 there was a 65-year-old lady in that house too.
3 Q. Now, 45 days, as I understand it, you arrived in Croatia around
4 the beginning of August. Forty-five days would take us up to the middle
5 of September; is that correct?
6 A. My stint lasted until the fall of Vukovar. That means up to the
7 20th or the 21st. Perhaps three or four days after the fall of Vukovar.
8 Q. Well, that wasn't my question. My question was: If you stayed
9 in Vera for 45 days and you arrived in Croatia at the beginning of
10 August, that means that the end of the 45 days occurs around the middle
11 of September; correct?
12 A. I spent 45 days in the village of Vera. Officially, it was
13 entered in my military booklet that I arrived in that area sometime early
14 in September or October, whereas the period when we actually arrived
15 beginning with the -- early August was not written into the military
16 booklet. I spent 45 days there, and after those 45 days, I was
17 transferred to Brsadin.
18 Q. Yeah, that was my -- that was going to be my next question.
19 Did you spend the remainder of your time before you left Croatia
20 based in Brsadin, after Vera?
21 A. It's not exactly until the end. When the final operations to
22 liberate Vukovar started, I joined the units that started from Brsadin
23 via the woods in Luzac towards Vukovar.
24 Q. Well, when did you leave Brsadin?
25 A. I cannot remember exactly, but I think it was sometime after the
1 9th of November. Because I remember the 9th of November was some saint's
2 day, Saint Mitar's Day, so it was around 9 or 10 November.
3 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have the witness's statement back on the
4 screen, please. And if we could go, please, to paragraph 38.
5 Q. Now, Mr. Kovacevic, you say that -- here that from Vera, your
6 unit was sent towards Pacetin, Bobota, Brsadin, Marinci, and Bogdanovci.
7 "When Brsadin and Brsadin silo were liberated, they became a base for the
8 JNA and all the units located in that area, the JNA, police, and
10 Now when do you say that Brsadin village was liberated?
11 A. I cannot recall exactly when it was liberated. Brsadin village,
12 I mean. Because I was not involved in the operations to liberate Brsadin
13 or the Brsadin silo. So I could not pin-point it in time.
14 Q. How many kilometres is Brsadin from Vera, where you were based?
15 A. I cannot tell exactly because we came from Vera village to the
16 observation post at Brsadin silo by dirt tracks, not the regular road.
17 Q. Isn't it true that Brsadin was never in Croatian hands?
18 A. Whether it was in Croatian hands or not, I don't know. All I
19 know is that the Brsadin silo was occupied by Croatian forces, whether
20 the Home Guards Corps or the Croatian MUP, I'm not sure.
21 Q. Well, you say you don't know, and yet here in your statement at
22 paragraph 38 in black and white, you say:
23 "When Brsadin and the Brsadin silo were liberated ..."
24 Now this is a statement that you not only signed but now three
25 times you've come before Trial Chambers and said that, under oath, this
1 is correct and accurate information. Is it correct and accurate
3 A. I said I did not participate in the liberation of Brsadin or the
4 Brsadin silo, but I told you exactly that when the Brsadin silo was
5 liberated, my unit and other units came there, and a centre for
6 observation was formed there towards Vukovar, Luzac, and the rest.
7 Q. Why did you say something in your statement that you don't know
8 whether is true or untrue? In fact, you don't seem to know anything
9 about it at all and yet there it is in your statement.
10 How can that happen?
11 A. I said I was not directly involved in the fighting to liberate
12 Brsadin and the Brsadin silo. I know preparations and agreements were
13 made with units of the Novi Sad Corps and the Territorial Staff of
14 Slavonia, Western Srem, and Baranja. I don't know about the course of
15 that operation. I was not involved. I don't know how it was carried
16 out. All I know is that later when the Brsadin silo was liberated,
17 several days later we moved and installed equipment at the Brsadin silo,
18 equipment for observation and communication with all of the units
19 deployed in the area.
20 MR. GOSNELL: I think our time is up for this session,
21 Mr. President.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yes, indeed, Mr. Gosnell.
23 Mr. Witness, we take our second break. We'll come back at 12.45.
24 The court usher will escort you out of the courtroom. Thank you.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 [The witness stands down]
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Court adjourned.
3 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed, Mr. Gosnell.
7 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President. If we could turn to
8 paragraph 16 of the witness's statement.
9 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, in your statement at paragraph 16, you say that
10 people in Croatia started arming themselves, which under the constitution
11 they had a right to do. Now I have a few questions for you, and I think
12 these can be answered yes or no.
13 When you say that they had had a right to do this under the
14 constitution, does that mean that you understood the constitution to
15 confer a right on all citizens to take up arms to defend the territorial
16 integrity of the country?
17 A. Under the constitution, every citizen of the then-Socialist
18 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was required to defend the territorial
19 integrity of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
20 Q. And an attempted cessation by a republic was a threat to that
21 territorial integrity; correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And when a citizen takes up arms in defence of the country,
24 they're considered a part of the TO, correct, unless they managed to join
25 the JNA?
1 A. Well, before the war in the Socialist Federal Republic, in
2 addition to the National Defence, we had civilian protection, and the
3 Territorial Defence of the SFRY.
4 Q. Now my point is, if you take up arms in defence of the country in
5 a time of crisis, including an attempt by a republic to secede, if you
6 don't manage to join the JNA as a volunteer, you're part of the TO.
7 Isn't that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And the TO was considered part of the armed forces of the SFRY;
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And TOs, regardless of their exact regional base or description,
13 were understood to be subordinate to the JNA units in whose zone of
14 responsibility that TO unit is operating. Isn't that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. This is something that anyone who does their compulsory JNA
17 service, as you did, would know. Isn't that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, if we could go to paragraph 41, please, of the statement, I
20 want to ask you a few questions about the chain of command in relation to
21 your unit, as you were able to observe it.
22 And at paragraph 41, you say:
23 "Some of our orders concerned police work, such as bringing in
24 looters, while other orders had to do with combat action.
25 Radovan Stojicic, Badza, commanded our units. We received orders for
1 combat action from the JNA but Radovan Stojicic, Badza, had to be
2 informed of these orders and approve them before we were allowed to act
3 upon them. Our commander, Zarko Sljukic, received his orders from
4 Lieutenant-Colonel Vaskovic, from the Ruma division and from his deputy
5 Mrdja, also a lieutenant-colonel, when we were active in their zone of
6 responsibility. He received some of the orders from Major-General
7 Bratic, commander of the Novi Sad Corps. The late General Bratic and his
8 deputy maintained contact with us. As far as we were concerned,
9 Radovan Stojicic, Badza, was above Bratic because he could decide not to
10 carry out an order from the JNA and because we submitted daily reports
11 directly to Radovan Stojicic ..."
12 I just want to clarify one or two points that arise from that
14 Now, first of all, we can agree, I think, that Badza has no
15 authority, command authority over anyone in the JNA; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And did you ever hear of any occasion when Radovan Stojicic,
18 Badza, refused to carry out an order that he had received from Bratic or
20 A. I never heard directly that the late General Radovan Stojicic,
21 Badza, refused an order from the late General Bratic or from Biorcevic
22 because at meetings and briefings, my commanding officer, whom I was
23 driving, always went.
24 Q. And isn't it the case that, in fact, the situation was that under
25 normal circumstances, Radovan Stojicic, Badza's position was that orders
1 had to pass through him, orders from the JNA had to pass through him, to
2 your unit commander. Isn't that the situation?
3 A. Well, some orders were directly received from the Yugoslav
4 People's Army while we were in the area of Vera and Brsadin. Other
5 assignments that had to do with police work, we received from
6 Mr. Radovan Stojicic, Badza. He issued those orders to my commander and
7 the commanding cadre of my unit.
8 Q. Well, to the extent that orders did pass through
9 Radovan Stojicic, Badza, that doesn't reflect that he has a higher
10 authority than the JNA. It just reflects the chain of command, doesn't
12 A. Well, according to the rules of service in the Yugoslav People's
13 Army, the chain of command should have been completely different. While
14 serving in the Yugoslav People's Army and serving as a driver to my
15 commander, when I was doing my military service in Capljina, I learned it
16 differently during training.
17 However, in the field mission in Western Srem and Baranja, the
18 situation was rather messy. Because, in addition to the Yugoslav
19 People's Army, there was the Serbian Volunteer Guard of
20 Mr. Zeljko Raznjatovic. There was also the Territorial Defence of
21 western --
22 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, I'm sorry to interrupt you. I will come to Arkan,
23 but at the moment, I just want to focus on the chain of command of your
24 unit. So let's just focus on that, please.
25 MR. GOSNELL: Could we please bring up 04643, which is
1 Prosecution tab 12.
2 Could we have page 6807, please.
3 Q. Now, sir, the passage is coming up on the screen in front of you
4 but I'll begin reading while that happens.
5 You were asked:
6 "Q. So JNA, the JNA commander, such as Major-General Bratic,
7 commander of the Novi Sad Corps, would give orders to your unit
8 concerning combat, and those orders had to be approached by Stojicic;
10 "A. They would be passed on to the commands of our units."
11 Is that how it was, that such orders were given to Badza and
12 Badza would pass those orders down to you? Your unit.
13 A. Well, from what I learnt while driving my commander to a meeting
14 with Badza, our commanding cadre received orders from Badza, whereas in
15 the field, we would make certain adjustments in co-operation with the
16 Yugoslav People's Army, where we were involved together in combat
17 operations, depending on the situation.
18 Q. So are you saying that sometimes you received direct orders from
19 the JNA commanders in the field, and sometimes you received orders
20 through Badza from the JNA?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And the fact that the JNA officers may take care and expend
23 effort to consult with Radovan Stojicic at meetings, that in no way
24 undermines the command relationship between the JNA and Radovan Stojicic,
25 does it?
1 A. No.
2 Q. And you did your basic training and your compulsory military
3 service with the JNA. Do you know that if someone commits a crime while
4 serving in the JNA or the TO that they are subject to military
6 A. Well, if a person commits a crime, that person falls within the
7 military jurisdiction. In my view, the problem in the area was the fact
8 that it was still the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia where the
9 state itself or, rather, the Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic
10 of Yugoslavia never proclaimed a state of war or -- or a state of
11 emergency, in any of the territories.
12 Q. Well, as a matter of fact, sir, they did. On the 1st of
13 October of 1991. But regardless of whether you have a declaration of
14 war, when you have individuals who are serving in the TO or the JNA and
15 commit crimes while so serving, isn't it understood by everyone that
16 those individuals would be subject to military criminal jurisdiction?
17 A. They fall within the authority of military jurisdiction. But, in
18 that territory, there were no military courts that may have undertaken
19 certain steps in those matters.
20 Q. Now let's move to Arkan.
21 Did Arkan or other members of the Serbian Volunteer Guard attend
22 daily meetings with senior JNA officers, as far as you know?
23 A. Well, as far as I know, there were cases when they attended
24 meetings of the command cadre of the JNA. Activities were discussed in
25 certain territories at those meetings, and so on and so forth.
1 Q. Not just some cases. Such meetings were held every evening, were
2 they not?
3 A. I didn't know that they took place every evening. I wasn't there
4 every evening. I didn't go to the centre where the Serbian Volunteers
5 Guard members were billeted. We did go, however, when the commander told
6 us to do so. As to what the command of the Serbian Novi Sad Corps and
7 the Territorial Defence did, I don't know. I don't know if they held
8 daily meetings or not.
9 MR. GOSNELL: Could we go back on the document on the screen to
10 page 6801, please.
11 Q. Now, down at the bottom of the page, your answer during the
12 Stanisic case was:
13 "A meeting was held every evening, attended by JNA officers, as
14 well, deployed in the area, and agreements were reached between
15 Mr. Radovan Stojicic, Badza, commanders of the Serbian Volunteer Guard,
16 the territorial units deployed there, and our units."
17 Does that refresh your memory that there were meetings every
18 evening at which these issues were discussed?
19 A. Well, daily reports were handed over every day. But it was not
20 my commander Sljukic that I drove there. Stevo Pakovic [phoen] also went
21 there. Captain Sljukic went there. Whatever obligations they had,
22 certain officers went to those meetings, or they reported in writing to
23 the command as to what had been done during the day, what had been
24 accomplished during the day, and so on and so forth.
25 Q. Well, I'm not sure I understand your answer. Do you confirm your
1 prior testimony or do you now say it's not true or accurate?
2 A. What I'm saying is that meetings were held every evening. And
3 whether my officers attended them or whether they delivered written
4 reports and dispatches to the superior command, I don't know. In any
5 case, reports had to be delivered every day or, alternatively, officers
6 from my unit would go to attend those meetings. Very often my commander,
7 Zarko Sljukic attended those meetings as well, but that depended on his
8 whereabouts at that moment.
9 Q. And in practice, Arkan and the JNA acted together in operations
10 on a daily basis; isn't that right?
11 A. Well, they did not act together on a daily basis. I mean, the
12 Serbian Volunteers Guard and the JNA. There were cases when the JNA only
13 opened artillery fire, and that excluded infantry attacks or similar
14 things. In concert with the JNA and other units, plans were drafted for
15 joint activities.
16 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 026 -- let me restate that number.
17 02767, Prosecution tab 6, page 2.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: While we're waiting for that, Mr. Gosnell. The
19 transcript of the other case you were showing, the previous one, which
20 case was that?
21 MR. GOSNELL: That's the Stanisic and Simatovic case.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Stanisic and Simatovic. Thank you.
23 MR. GOSNELL:
24 Q. Now, sir, coming up on the screen in front you is a statement
25 which you gave on 24th and 25th of August, 2009. I say it's a statement
1 because at the end you signed it. And paragraph 12, which is about to
2 come up on the screen, says:
3 "Since the war started, the JNA and the SDG co-operated on a
4 daily basis. JNA artillery would shell villages and towns and then the
5 SDG would enter the village like infantry."
6 Does that remind you that that's the way it was?
7 A. I said that there were no daily combat activities in the area.
8 There was artillery fire which was returned by the Croatian Guards and
9 the MUP, particularly from Nustar. Fire was opened from there on the
10 Brsadin silo where we were, and on village Vera.
11 Q. Okay. So try to focus on my question. Are you saying that
12 what's in your statement is incorrect?
13 A. What I'm saying is that this is correct. When there was combat,
14 when there was attack on settled areas, the infantry of the JNA
15 participated in co-operation with the Territorial Defence and the SDG.
16 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 04640. Prosecution tab 9, please.
18 Q. Now, Mr. Kovacevic, do you remember previously giving testimony
19 about having seen Jovica Stanisic at the Erdut training centre? I don't
20 ask you to recapitulate your evidence, just do you remember having given
21 evidence about it.
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. GOSNELL: Could we go, please, to page 2166.
24 Q. Now, sir, what I'll suggest to you is that you've given radically
25 different accounts about this, and I'm less interested in the differences
1 in your accounts as I am in trying to understand why and how your
2 accounts changed. And this is going to lead me, just so you know, to a
3 discussion about your notes which we discovered from the Prosecution last
4 night at 7.30 apparently have been destroyed.
5 But as a preamble to that, I want you to look closely at the
6 passages I am about to put to you to see how your testimony has changed.
7 Now, at page 19 and I'll read it -- excuse me, at line 19, and
8 I'm going to read this so listen carefully. This was during your initial
9 appearance when you gave your direct examination testimony in the
10 Stanisic case and that was in August 2009. So it was after your Perisic
11 testimony. And you said -- or the question that were asked was:
12 "Can you tell the Court when you did see him for the first time?
13 "A. I cannot remember the exact date, but I think I saw him for
14 the first time in 1991.
15 "Q. And where did you see Mr. Stanisic at that time?
16 "A. I saw him for the first time in the centre of Erdut.
17 "Q. Can you please describe the occasion or the event at which
18 you did see Mr. Stanisic in Erdut in 1991?
19 "A. I drove my superior to a meeting in Erdut to see Mr. Badza.
20 I was standing next to my car together with Captain Zeljko Sucic when a
21 vehicle came by."
22 Before we go further, can I just ask you, that should be Sljukic;
23 isn't that right?
24 A. No. Mr. Zarko Sljukic had already gone to Mr. Radovan Stojicic,
25 Badza, and Captain Zeljko Sucic remained standing by my car together with
1 two soldiers who were on his escort detail.
2 Q. So this is a separate person from Sljukic. It's a person named
3 Sucic. Is that your testimony?
4 A. Yes. At that moment he was by the car, together with me and the
5 other two soldiers I've mentioned.
6 Q. And continuing on, you say:
7 "Some people came out and Captain Sucic told me that
8 Jovica Stanisic has arrived.
9 "Q. Did you hear from Captain Sucic or from anyone else about
10 the purpose of Stanisic arriving in Erdut?
11 "A. He did not say anything about that. I supposed it was
12 because of a meeting or an agreement that was to be discussed.
13 "Q. Was Mr. Stanisic arriving on his own or with other people?
14 "A. I think there were other -- three or four people
15 accompanying him."
16 MR. GOSNELL: Now if we could please have 04643, which is
17 Prosecution tab 12.
18 Q. Now, you'll remember, Mr. Kovacevic, that there was an interval
19 of one year between your direct examination and your cross-examination in
20 the Stanisic case. And when you returned after that one year, at
21 page 6765, here was the testimony that you gave on cross-examination.
22 Down at line 23:
23 "Q. Right. You never saw him," and this is referring to
24 Jovica Stanisic, "in Erdut at any time, did you?
25 "A. I never saw Mr. Jovica Stanisic at Erdut.
1 "Q. Well, when you gave evidence a year ago in this court, on
2 oath, you claimed that you'd seen him in Erdut in 1991. And yet you have
3 a very clear recollection today of not seeing him in Erdut. What's the
5 "A. In 1991, as I was driving my superiors to the meeting in
6 Erdut, I was told that Jovica Stanisic was there as well. However, when
7 I got back home from my testimony, I went through my notes and realised
8 that this was not true. And once my notes are delivered to the
9 Prosecution, this will become quite apparent."
10 Now can I just ask you, sir, is that correct, that after your
11 testimony in August 2009, you returned home, you reviewed some notes, and
12 you realised that the testimony that you had given was incorrect?
13 A. You're saying here August 1991. It was actually in 2009.
14 In August 1991, I didn't return home. I returned home after
15 having appeared in The Hague in 2009. That's when I got home.
16 Q. It's possible there was a mistranslation, Mr. Kovacevic. Indeed,
17 after you returned home in August 2009, did you review your notes and did
18 reviewing those notes indicate or suggest to you that you had made an
19 error in your testimony?
20 A. When I reviewed my notes in 2009, I realised that I had not seen
21 Mr. Jovica Stanisic personally in 1991 in Erdut. I realised that I had
22 heard from Captain Sucic that Jovica Stanisic was also attending that
24 Q. Well, sir, you never testified that you yourself saw -- or you
25 never testified that you yourself identified the individual whom you saw
1 as Mr. Stanisic. What you testified to in your direct examination in
2 August 2009 was that you saw some individuals arrive and that this
3 Captain Sucic told you that one of them was Jovica Stanisic; correct?
4 A. Yes. A vehicle arrived. It was Puch vehicle. It was blue.
5 Three or four persons got out. Captain Zeljko Sucic told me that one of
6 them was Mr. Jovica Stanisic.
7 Q. Well, let's go to page 6770. And sometimes Judges are better at
8 putting questions than counsel, and Judge Orie puts the matter, I would
9 suggest to you, rather succinctly. And here's how he puts it, starting
10 at 6770:
11 "Mr. Kovacevic, Mr. Jordash seeks the following to be clarified.
12 Last year in this courtroom you said," and then he repeats what you said,
13 "'and Captain Sucic told me that Jovica Stanisic had arrived.' That's
14 your testimony of last year.
15 "Now, today, you tell that the visit of Mr. Stanisic to the Erdut
16 camp, that you heard about that in a conversation that you had with
17 Miletic in the village of Vera. These are two different stories. What
18 Mr. Jordash want to know is whether you -- which one, if any, is the
20 And then your answer:
21 "Captain Zeljko Sucic told me at the time that
22 Mr. Jovica Stanisic had arrived and then he went on to attend the
23 meeting. Then, as he came out of the meeting and returned to our camp,
24 Mr. Zeljko told me that he was mistaken, that Mr. Jovica Stanisic had not
25 been present there at the time. Now I learned later on from
1 Mr. Veljko Miletic, who regularly attended meetings at Erdut and Dalj,
2 that Jovica Stanisic had been present, though I myself did not see him."
3 If we turn the page, 6772, Judge Orie suggests to you that that
4 is the opposite of what you had said during your testimony in 2009. And
5 then you respond:
6 "At that point this was the statement I made. Then, as I
7 returned to Belgrade and looked into my notes - and I had made notes on a
8 daily basis - I realised that this piece of information was untrue."
9 Now I find your explanation a bit puzzling, but does it come to
10 this, that you mistakenly testified in 2009 that Sucic told you that it
11 was Stanisic who was arriving, and then you go through your notes and you
12 see that something else happened, namely that Sucic initially tells you
13 that Stanisic has arrived. Then he contradicts himself and tells you,
14 no, it wasn't Stanisic, but then someone else named Veljko Miletic tells
15 you that indeed it was Stanisic on that occasion.
16 Is that -- does that sum it up correctly?
17 A. I said that when we were in Erdut, Captain Sucic told me that
18 Mr. Jovica Stanisic had arrived. I personally didn't see him there.
19 Later on, I was told that he had not attended the meeting. However, when
20 we returned to Vera, in a subsequent conversation with Mr. Veljko
21 Miletic, I learned from him that Mr. Jovica Stanisic had actually
22 attended that meeting. I did not see him personally. But based on what
23 Mr. Zeljko Sucic told me that he was, and then that he wasn't, and then
24 Mr. Miletic who had also attended the meeting, told me that
25 Mr. Jovica Stanisic had actually attended the meeting.
1 Q. So the difference that you realised or the error that you
2 realised you had made was you forgot to mention to the Chamber that Sucic
3 had later corrected himself and you forgot to mention that Miletic was
4 the source of the information about Jovica Stanisic; is that correct?
5 A. Yes. First, Mr. Zeljko Sucic said Jovica Stanisic has arrived.
6 I personally didn't see him. In a subsequent conversation he told me
7 that Jovica had not attended the meeting. Later, I spoke to
8 Mr. Zeljko Miletic who confirmed that Mr. Jovica Stanisic had indeed
9 attended that meeting.
10 In other words, I was not in the building. I could not see for
11 myself whether Jovica was there or not. I only learned from
12 Veljko Miletic that Mr. Jovica Stanisic had attended the meeting.
13 Q. Here is the key question: Think back. What was it in your notes
14 that reminded you that that was the way it really was and that your
15 initial testimony had been erroneous?
16 What was in those notes that jogged your memory so specifically?
17 A. Well, I can't remember exactly what my notes contained. It was
18 four years later. In any case, I made notes every day of what had
19 happened that day of the conversations that I'd had with certain persons
20 and officers with whom I closely co-operated in the area where I was.
21 Q. When did you start making these notes and when did you finish
22 making these notes?
23 A. I can't tell you when exactly I started making those notes,
24 because I can't remember. And I finished making them in 1995 or perhaps
1 Q. And you're saying that you made notes on a daily basis.
2 A. Well, perhaps not every day, but while I was in Western Slavonia
3 and Baranja, I did make notes every day or every second day. And later
4 on, depending on what I was involved in, on what happened. I did not
5 make regular notes if I was in Serbia, if I was involved in some duties
6 that concerned the Army of Yugoslavia or the MUP of Serbia.
7 Q. And you made a note of any significant personages who you met in
8 the course of your time in Croatia; is that correct?
9 A. Well, there were all sorts of notes about my officers or, rather,
10 my superior, about Mr. Veljko Miletic, who was the deputy commander of
11 the 91st police station in Pakrac. There were also notes about
12 Mr. Savo Milovanovic, who was the commander of the Territorial Defence in
13 Brsadin, about Mr. Rajko Brtolinac [phoen], who was also the commander of
14 the Territorial Defence on Bijelo Brdo, and so on.
15 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 064 -- correction, 04642.
16 Prosecution tab 11. And if we could please turn to page 6743. Well,
17 perhaps we could start on 6742, please.
18 Q. Now, while this is coming up, Mr. Kovacevic, I'll start reading
19 so it can be translated. And you're being asked questions about your
20 notes. And apparently you were told by the investigator of the
21 Prosecution to keep your notes before the Perisic case.
22 Is that correct, that a Prosecution investigator told you to keep
23 your notes?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And at the bottom of 6742, you indicate that you brought your
1 notes with you when you gave your statement to the Office of the
2 Prosecutor in August of 2009. And you say:
3 "The Prosecutor didn't ask to see them and I took them back."
4 And then if we turn the page, you say that you didn't bring them
5 with you to the interview with the Prosecution. Is that correct, you
6 didn't take the notes with you to the interview with the Prosecution?
7 A. In 2009, I did not take my notes for the interview with the
8 Prosecution; whereas, in 2003, when I was giving my first statement, I
9 had the notes with me.
10 Q. But you had brought the notes from Belgrade to your hotel room in
11 The Hague; isn't that right?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Well, let's go down the page:
14 "Q. When you brought the notes in August of last year, did you
15 offer them to the Prosecutor or did you keep them secret?
16 "A. The documents were in my hotel room, and the proofing dealt
17 with a completely different subject which made me completely forget about
18 having these notes with me."
19 So did you bring the notes with you to The Hague or not?
20 A. I had not brought the notes with me at that time.
21 I only had some bullet points on paper. If I had brought the
22 notes at that time, I would have handed them to the Chamber, because the
23 Presiding Judge Orie had asked for hem.
24 Q. Well, that was later. Judge Orie hadn't asked for them yet as of
25 that date. So you're saying that this was a lie. It wasn't true. You
1 hadn't brought the notes with you to the The Hague for the session, the
2 interview, in August 2009?
3 A. My notes were not with me in 2009. I only had with me the
4 statement I had given in Belgrade and bullet points concerning some
5 events that were in issue in that case. But the notes, that is to say,
6 the diary, was not with me.
7 Q. All right. Let's see how you describe your notes in your
8 testimony, and again this is your testimony during the Stanisic case,
9 under oath, on the 1st of September, 2010.
10 And what you say there is:
11 "I do have the notes and they are at my home to this day.
12 However, I didn't record anything of importance. If I saw Mr. Stanisic
13 or Frenki Simatovic or anyone else on a particular day, I didn't think it
14 was necessary for me to record that. I actually recorded things relating
15 to my time on the front or about delivering certain goods, and I copied
16 these dispatch notes in order to have them with me."
17 Now, Mr. Kovacevic, given that description of your notes, how on
18 earth did that jog your memory that you had given false testimony in
19 August 2009 in the Stanisic case?
20 MR. GILLETT: Sorry --
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gillett.
22 MR. GILLETT: -- to intervene. Just in fairness to the witness,
23 because there are different descriptions of the objects in question, and
24 in relation to what my learned colleague was asking about before, the
25 note -- the notes being brought in August 2009, his description is "the
1 documents were in my hotel room," and then where he refers to the notes
2 being at his house, there is an intervening question. And the witness
3 doesn't read English, so I feel it would be fairer to put that all to the
5 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, it's as clear as day when you read
6 the transcript that the notes and the documents are the same. There's no
7 difference. Nothing else is being discussed here. It's the notes.
8 MR. GILLETT: Well, the witness, today, has made a distinction
9 between notes and bullet points and other documents. That's why I think
10 it is fairer to give a specific recitation of what he said previously and
11 what the questions were.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: And what -- what would -- what would be fair to
13 the witness, Mr. Gillett, in your position?
14 MR. GILLETT: Simply to note that when my learned colleague
15 refers to his description, that he notes there was also this description
16 of documents being in the hotel room, which is in relation to the initial
17 question posed in Stanisic and Simatovic, and then a subsequent question
18 asks him about whether he has the notes and that's where he says:
19 "I do have notes and they're at my home to this day."
20 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, it really is clear in the context
21 that there is only one set of notes/documents being referred to here.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: By all means, there is little use right now to
23 put that particular question to the witness because the answer is -- has
24 been given or the possible answer has been given. And it will be
25 something the Court has to take into account with -- with the transcript
1 and with everything that has been said.
2 Please continue.
3 MR. GOSNELL: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, do you understand my question?
5 A. No, I did not understand you.
6 Q. Well, I -- I just read out a description of -- that you gave in
7 your testimony in the Stanisic case of your notes. Shall I repeat your
8 description of the notes?
9 A. No need.
10 Q. All right. And the question is this: Given your description of
11 the content of your notes, namely that they concerned things relating to
12 your time on the front or about delivering certain goods, you didn't
13 think it was necessary to report or record even seeing, as far as you
14 knew at the time, such personages as Mr. Stanisic or Mr. Simatovic, how
15 is it possible that those notes would have jogged your memory about this
16 convoluted explanation about the information you received from Mr. Sucic
17 and Mr. Miletic?
18 A. It's not convoluted. The information I got from Mr. Sucic
19 because I was with him. And as far as Mr. Miletic is concerned, I served
20 together with him, we spent time in the same place for more than 40 days.
21 Q. That -- that wasn't my question, and perhaps my question was too
22 compound and complex, and I apologise for that, Mr. Kovacevic.
23 It's simply this: What in those notes could have jogged your
24 memory about who informed you of what and caused you to realise that you
25 needed to recant the testimony that you had given in 2009?
1 A. I cannot tell you precisely now. I don't know how you want me to
2 explain this.
3 Q. You had those notes in September 2010, didn't you?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you see them after you returned from your testimony in
6 The Hague, in 2010?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you remember that before you were dismissed as a witness by
9 the Trial Chamber in the Stanisic and Simatovic case, they instructed you
10 to supply those notes to the Tribunal?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And we learned last night that the notes have been destroyed; is
13 that correct?
14 A. I don't know if the notes were destroyed or they disappeared. I
15 just can't lay my hands on them anymore. I can't find them. Because
16 upon returning from The Hague, I continued to work in my regular job in a
17 public transport company, and I travel a lot, so it happens often that
18 I'm not home for stretches of two months.
19 Q. Well, I just asked you, and it's at page 82, line 10 and 11,
20 whether you saw them after you had returned from The Hague and after you
21 had received this instruction from Judge Orie to supply the notes.
22 Is there some reason why you didn't immediately, once you did
23 return to your home and you saw the notes, why didn't you immediately
24 supply them to the Tribunal?
25 A. There is a reason. I was at home for only two days before
1 leaving on -- on a trip.
2 Q. Judge Orie instructed you to put the notes in an envelope, seal
3 the envelope, and address it. Even if you didn't have time to deliver
4 it, you couldn't have picked up the telephone and called an official from
5 the ICTY to come and pick them up from you?
6 A. Yes, that's correct. However, upon returning from The Hague, I
7 spent only two days at home before leaving on a trip. I can't remember
8 whether I travelled to Russia or to Siberia. So I was not able to pack
9 it right away. I thought I would do it when I come back from that trip,
10 but then I forgot.
11 Q. The Trial Chamber has indicated that, in the Judgement at
12 page 26 -- excuse me, at paragraph 26 that there were many efforts by the
13 Trial Chamber to receive these notes. Were you aware of these efforts?
14 A. Well, possibly I knew -- I probably knew because Judge Orie had
15 ordered it. However, after I left on that trip, my wife told me that
16 they called me once from the field office in Belgrade reminding me to
17 deliver those notes, but I couldn't find those notes later. Maybe my
18 wife put them away somewhere, or my children. In any case, I couldn't
19 find them.
20 Q. Didn't you understand that it was a matter of the utmost
21 importance once you had located those notes again to provide them to the
22 Tribunal, in accordance with an order of the Judges of this Tribunal, to
23 you personally?
24 A. Yes. But, as I explained, after returning from The Hague, I
25 spent two days at home. On the third day, I left on a trip, and during
1 the first two days I had no time to do it. I just had some rest and
2 left. And after that, it slipped my mind. And later, once my wife told
3 me somebody from the field office called me, but at that point in time, I
4 was no longer able to locate those notes.
5 Q. And do you have any other explanation for us about where they
6 might have ended up, how they may have been destroyed? Anything else at
7 all? Or is that it?
8 A. I don't know whether it was during cleaning or tidying up my wife
9 threw them away, or perhaps my son did. Because it was an old notebook.
10 Q. So somehow that notebook had survived between 1995 and 2010,
11 September 2010, in your possession safely. You saw them. And then
12 suddenly your wife tosses them in the dust bin and they're taken away?
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Asked and answered, Mr. Gosnell, I'm afraid.
14 MR. GOSNELL: I'll move on, Mr. President. Thank you.
15 Could we have --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let us just clear up one thing.
17 I'm not saying my wife put it in the dust bin because in October 2010 we
18 were moving house, and perhaps during the move or after the move, my --
19 my wife just threw that away.
20 MR. GOSNELL:
21 Q. Did you assist in this moving of house?
22 A. No. Because I wasn't there. I was again on the road.
23 Q. You let your wife move all your belongings, without you being
24 there to assist?
25 A. Yes, because I was on the road. My son who was, at that time,
1 20, was helping her, along with the workers who were paid to move us.
2 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have the statement back on the screen,
3 please, which is P2027.
4 Q. Now, I want to ask you about the meeting that you claim you
5 attended or that you have testified about that occurred at what you
6 describe as Mr. Hadzic's house in Pacetin.
7 Do you remember when that happened? And since there's only one
8 meeting in Pacetin, I think we both know what we're talking about.
9 A. I cannot remember exactly when it was. All I know is that it was
10 before the fall of Vukovar.
11 Q. And was it after or before the offensive on Brsadin silo?
12 A. Well, I seem to remember that it was before the offensive on the
13 Brsadin silo.
14 Q. And as I understand it, your testimony now is that instead of
15 there being a single meeting at Mr. Hadzic's house, there is an initial
16 meeting at Mr. Hadzic's house and then a second meeting somewhere else;
17 is that correct?
18 A. When we arrived at Pacetin, I drove my commander to Mr. Hadzic's
19 house. And then later, they moved, I think, to the local commune
20 building at Pacetin.
21 Q. Did you say that that commune building was nearby the house?
22 A. I can't remember exactly whether it was nearby the house. But
23 from what I remember, I believe it was in the centre of Pacetin village.
24 Q. And who was at Mr. Hadzic's house on this occasion?
25 A. According to what I learned from my commander who was there,
1 Radovan Stojicic, Badza, and other persons were there.
2 Q. What other persons?
3 A. I can't remember exactly who else was there. There was my
4 commander. The late Radovan Stojicic, Badza. I cannot remember if
5 Mr. Bratic or someone else or Rade Leskovac were there. I can't remember
7 Q. You say you were told that Radovan Stojicic, Badza, was present.
8 Does that mean you didn't see him yourself with your own eyes?
9 A. No.
10 Q. And by your commander, are you referring to Mr. Sljukic?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. GOSNELL: Could we have 1D441, please. Defence tab 27.
13 Q. While that's coming up, could you describe the house that you
14 identify as being Mr. Hadzic's house? What was it like?
15 A. The house is right by the street. It had a metal gate, as far as
16 I remember. A large gate, metallic. And another gate in a brick wall
17 and two small windows looking out into the street.
18 Q. Now, you say that there's a gate, and then another gate. Does
19 that mean a gate for a driveway so that cars can enter?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So two metal gates leading to two driveways; is that correct?
22 A. One gate was about 2 and a half or 3 metres wide, and there was a
23 narrow gate for pedestrians only.
24 Q. And how many buildings were part of this house of Mr. Hadzic that
25 you describe? One building? Two buildings? More?
1 A. I did not enter the courtyard. I could only see from the street
2 that it was a house going more into depth than it was wide. And how many
3 rooms it had, I couldn't tell.
4 Q. I suppose while you were waiting outside -- well, let me ask you:
5 Was there anyone else waiting outside -- were you waiting outside the
7 A. I was parked, perhaps, 50 metres from the house.
8 Q. Why so far away?
9 A. There were already one or two cars parked there when I arrived.
10 Q. One or two cars are parked there, and then you have to park
11 50 metres away? I don't understand.
12 A. Yes. Since the cars were already parked by the pavement, I
13 parked 20 metres away, perhaps, from them. So I was about 50 metres away
14 from the house.
15 Q. On the screen in front of you is an overview, an aerial view of
16 Pacetin. Are you able to identify where Mr. Hadzic's house was located?
17 A. On this map, I could not tell because I came by the dirt track
18 from the direction of Vera.
19 Q. This is a village with -- it appears you could miss in the blink
20 of an eye. There are two cross-roads. What difference does it make
21 whether you came on a dirt track or came from any direction at all?
22 A. Well, that village has two major intersections and about three or
23 four streets, all in all. I cannot pin-point exactly where it was, but I
24 believe that I took a right turn at the first intersection from the dirt
25 track that took me to about halfway through the village.
1 Q. And Vera is to the north of Pacetin; correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That's the direction you came from, correct, to the north, or
4 from the north?
5 A. Yes. But I did not take the asphalt road but the dirt track.
6 Q. Why didn't you take the asphalt road?
7 A. We did not because it was targeted from the village of Nustar.
8 Q. You're saying the dirt road wasn't equally targeted?
9 A. No. The dirt road was not targeted. Only the asphalt road.
10 Q. Isn't the front line to the south of this image, along the river
11 Vuka? At least for some stretch of the front line.
12 A. The infantry weapons was not an issue. It was targeted from
13 artillery weapons. And tanks.
14 Q. Are you in any way capable of identifying the road, the dirt
15 road, that leads into Pacetin that you say that you took that day? Take
16 a close look at this image and see if it helps you.
17 A. Whether we arrived between the plots of land on this dirt road, I
18 can't remember exactly. But we did arrive from Vera along a dirt road.
19 Q. So you can't identify either Mr. Hadzic's house or the second
20 location where you say there was a second meeting; is that correct?
21 A. The second location was in the centre of the village.
22 As for Mr. Hadzic's house, I don't know its exact location. If
23 you were to show me a photo of the house, I'm sure that I would recognise
25 MR. GOSNELL: I see that's the time for today, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: It is, Mr. Gosnell. Thank you.
2 Mr. Kovacevic, this is the end of the today -- of the hearing
3 today. We -- you will come back tomorrow at night -- at 9.00. You're
4 not released as a witness, and that means that, in the meantime, you
5 probably know the drill, in the meantime, you can't discuss your
6 testimony with anyone, and you're not allowed to talk to ...
7 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Thank you, Madam Registrar.
9 We'll talk about -- we'll talk about the exact timing in a
11 But between now and the moment you come back, you cannot talk to
12 anybody about -- discuss your testimony with anybody, nor can you talk to
13 any of the parties.
14 Do you understand?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Now, as for the moment you would come
17 back, it is not tomorrow at 9.00. Tomorrow we have two videolink
18 witnesses that we have to start with. So either you will come back
19 tomorrow at the end of the hearing, somewhere in the end of the hearing,
20 or even on Wednesday, on Wednesday morning. We will see about that.
21 Thank you. The court usher will escort you out of the courtroom
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness stands down]
25 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
2 MR. GOSNELL: Sorry to detain us any longer, Mr. President. But
3 we gave a foreshadowing of this request in an e-mail on, I think, Sunday,
4 and now I can say confidentially that I certainly could use an additional
5 hour for this witness.
6 So our application would be one additional hour for
7 cross-examination, thus increasing from three to four.
8 I'm not quite sure where we stand now, in terms of time.
9 JUDGE DELVOIE: 2:18. Two hours, 18 minutes.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Anything from the Defence on that request -- from
12 the -- sorry, from the OTP on that request?
13 MR. GILLETT: No. We take no position on that. Thank you.
14 JUDGE DELVOIE: The request is granted.
15 Nothing else? Court adjourned.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.05 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 11th day of June,
18 2013, at 9.00 a.m.