1 Monday, 3 April 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Witness, the Chamber reminds you that you are still
7 bound by the declaration you made to tell the truth, the whole truth, and
8 nothing else but the truth. Do you remember that?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 WITNESS: WITNESS MM-079 [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: The witness was still being led under direct.
13 MR. WHITING: That's correct, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Whiting.
15 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Examination by Mr. Whiting: [Continued]
17 Q. Good morning, Witness. Can you hear me and understand me in a
18 language that you understand?
19 A. Good morning. Yes. Yes, I can.
20 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, could we go into private session,
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 3060-3067 redacted. Private session.
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
21 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Witness, could you describe Milan Martic's office, please.
23 A. It was not a very big office, like 20 metres square, so we were
24 feeling rather cramped when we sat down at the table. On the opposite
25 side, Mr. Martic sat down, and I think he was wearing his ceremonial
1 uniform, not a camouflage uniform. A ceremonial uniform means a white
2 shirt with a tie.
3 His desk was opposite from us, between two pillars, and next to
4 him was a very large man wearing a camouflage uniform and a gun, and he
5 was such a big man, so tall, that we were all fascinated. He was sitting
6 behind Martic's back.
7 Q. You said that you were fascinated. Can you describe what
8 impression Mr. Martic made on you on this occasion?
9 A. Well, what should I tell you? This whole procedure, the body
10 search, the way they escorted us upstairs, the way they introduced us to
11 him, we all agreed later within our group that Martic wanted to create the
12 impression of being the man who has everything under control, who has to
13 approve everything, who has to give his permission for us to do our job in
14 that territory, a man who has to be obeyed, in other words.
15 Q. Witness, could you tell us what -- what was discussed at the
16 meeting? What did -- and in particular, what did Milan Martic say to you
17 at this meeting?
18 A. I would first like to mention that Martic gave us a briefing about
19 the situation in the area, the number of the population, the area that his
20 police is covering, the problems that had arisen. That was the background
21 he gave. And then he gave us a briefing about the political and security
22 situation in that territory. And speaking about the political aspect, he
23 said that the Serb people had expressed their readiness and willingness
24 not to live in Croatia and that they were united in this demand, that they
25 wanted instead to live within Yugoslavia, and if they had -- if they were
1 to continue to live in Croatia under the pro-Ustasha government of
2 Mr. Tudjman, they would be a minority, that he was not about to allow
3 Krajina to become a repetition of the Jasenica concentration camp from the
4 World War II, that the Serbs of Krajina wanted to live in one single
5 country with all the other Serbs from Yugoslavia, including Serbia, and
6 that by no means would the Serb people live under the Ustasha authorities
7 in Croatia.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. The concentration
9 camp was called Jasenovac, not Jasenica.
10 MR. WHITING:
11 Q. Witness, in that last answer you used the term -- in describing
12 what Milan Martic said on that occasion you used the term Ustasha on
13 several occasions. Did Milan Martic use that term in talking about the
14 Croatian government?
15 A. He didn't use the term Ustasha describing the government, but he
16 talked about the Ustasha system, Ustasha structures, and the Ustasha
17 people, men. He said that Tudjman was a former general of the JNA who had
18 allowed some notorious Ustashas to become members of his government, of
19 the leadership.
20 Q. Did you tell Mr. Martic about your discussions with -- that you
21 had had with the Croatian authorities?
22 A. He was taking the chair while giving us this briefing about the
23 general situation, and he also said that the Serb people had expressed
24 their readiness and desire to establish some sort of district or region
25 that would unite all Serbs in Croatia and enable them to protect their
1 interests because they didn't want to be a minority in Croatia. Instead,
2 they wanted to live in a unified state of Yugoslavia with all other Serbs.
3 Mr. Martic used the word "Yugoslavia" a lot, and our group was a bit taken
4 aback by that, because there was not a single Yugoslav emblem in his
5 office. There were some photos of some historic Serbian figures like St.
6 Sava, and even that was on calendars. And I said on of my group, "There's
7 nothing Yugoslav around here." And Mr. Martic said, "Does that bother
8 you?" And we didn't comment on that any more, because after all, we were
9 on a peace mission.
10 Later on, the leader of our group, number 2, described our mission
11 and our tasks and said that the previous day we had a meeting at the MUP,
12 the Ministry of Interior of Sibenik. And I apologise in advance if I
13 cause some confusion now, because the word "secretariat" had already been
14 replaced in Sibenik by the word "ministry." The term "secretariat" was
15 associated at that time with Belgrade.
16 Anyway, the lead are of our group said that we had met with a
17 deputy of the Croatian minister who briefed us on the current situation in
18 all of Croatia and said, among other things, that their main problem was
19 Krajina and the Serbs living there, especially those following Martic.
20 And as the deputy minister put it, Martic had established some sort of
21 parapolice force that acted independently of the laws of Croatia, which
22 they did not recognise. And the lead are of our group, number 2 on this
23 list, told Martic all this. He also said that the Croatian deputy
24 minister offered Martic the job of the Secretary of Interior in Knin in
25 exchange for his commitment to act within the laws of the Croatian state.
1 The leader of our group also said that assistance was available to us from
2 the army and the Croatian authorities because the position of our group
3 was that we were on an official mission on the territory of Croatia.
4 At that point, Martic told us that as far as the Autonomous Region
5 of Krajina is concerned, we had to address him for assistance because if
6 we went out into the field on our own, we could get into trouble and that
7 he was responsible for our safety on the territory of SAO Krajina.
8 It was a preliminary meeting designed to give us an opportunity to
9 describe to him our mission and our purpose, because we were supposed to
10 contact each of the conflicting parties in that region and to try to
11 prevent incidents. That was the gist of that meeting. If I omitted
12 something, it must be a minor detail. After all, so many years have
13 passed since.
14 Q. Witness, thank you. That was a very thorough and complete answer.
15 I do have a couple of questions about what you've told us. Specifically,
16 what was Martic's reaction, if any, to what you told him about the offer
17 from the Croatian authorities that he could become the -- the Secretary of
18 Interior in Knin in exchange for his commitment to act within the laws of
19 the Croatian state? How did he react to that, if he did?
20 A. Well, at the very outset when he told us about his role and his
21 position there, and when he said that the Serb people would no longer live
22 in Croatia, that he was there to protect the Serbian people and to
23 organise the police force, made it very clear that we could expect no
24 other answer from him. He had already established a police force to
25 protect Serb people, because they were in danger, not the Croatian people.
1 Whatever he said later, it was in that same context.
2 Q. Now, you've described that Milan Martic briefed you on -- on what
3 was happening in the Autonomous Region of Krajina, or the SAO Krajina, and
4 about his role in organising the police force. Did you learn then or
5 later whether Milan Martic had control over the entire police within the
6 SAO Krajina or just part of the police? Did you learn anything about
8 A. Yes. He said that he had organised that police force as a united
9 police force for the whole of SAO Krajina. And now I'm remembering that
10 we told him -- we remarked upon the fact that he had dismissed some ethnic
11 Croat policemen, and to that he responded that every police officer could
12 stay on the force as long as he respected the laws of Yugoslavia. At that
13 point, Krajina did not have a separate legislation. That sounded rather
14 odd to us, because even while Yugoslavia existed, each republic had its
15 own legislation, and there was no law in Serbia that could be enforced in
16 Croatia and vice versa.
17 Anyway, he said that any police officer willing to observe the of
18 Yugoslavia could stay on the force, which the Croat officers didn't want
19 to do, and that's why they had to go. They had to leave the Secretariat
20 of the Interior in Knin. And he went on to say that there was a shortage
21 of staff and that's why he was forced to organise the reserve police force
22 in certain places.
23 And the task of the reservists was to help citizens organise their
24 defence in Serb-populated areas. But on the ground it was rather
25 impossible, because you had one Serb village, then one Croatian, then two
1 Serb villages, then another Croatian, and it wasn't clear what kind of
2 defence organisation he meant. Maybe village guards or barricades or
3 checkpoints that we later saw on the ground, but it was organised with the
4 help of the Secretariat of the Interior in Knin. That much we know.
5 Q. Witness, I just want to be sure I'm clear on your answer at the
6 beginning here. You said when I asked you if Martic had control over the
7 whole police, you said, "He said that he had organised that police force
8 as a united police force for the whole of SAO Krajina." Just to be clear,
9 are you saying there that Milan Martic had control over all of the police
10 in the SAO Krajina?
11 A. Yes, he did.
12 Q. And then I just want to clarify what may have been either a slip
13 of the tongue or a translation error in your answer. You were telling us
14 about how Milan Martic talked about how he wanted the laws of Yugoslavia
15 to be enforced in the SAO Krajina, and then you said, "That sounded rather
16 odd to us because even while Yugoslavia existed, each republic had its own
17 legislation, and there was no law in Serbia that could be enforced in
18 Croatia and vice versa." Did you mean Serbia or Yugoslavia in that part
19 of your answer?
20 A. I will try to make it clearer. It might take some time though.
21 Yugoslav legislation was of a general nature, and it applied to all six
22 republics and two autonomous provinces. Within that legislative
23 framework, each republic adopted its own laws depending on its own needs
24 and requirements to protect its interests, be it the Criminal Code or some
25 other legislation. But every republic had its own legislation, whereas
1 the Yugoslav legislation had the character of legislative framework, an
2 instruction or a guideline for enacting republic laws, and it was odd to
3 hear Martic emphasise Yugoslavia and Yugoslav interests at that time, that
4 the Serb people wanted to continue living in Yugoslavia rather than
5 Croatia. He would use the terms "Yugoslavia" and "Serbia" interchangeably
6 sometimes, but clearly after the secession of other republics, which left
7 only Serbia and Montenegro, it became clear what he meant.
8 Q. Now, in that meeting was there any discussion about the
10 A. I think it was said at the meeting that Serb people had organised
11 themselves of their own accord in some places where they thought they were
12 in danger, that Serb forces, with the help of the police, organised those
13 night guards and checkpoints on roads leading to Serb-populated areas.
14 And indeed, we saw that later on the ground.
15 On the other hand, it's true that Croats organised those same
16 guards and checkpoints in Croat-populated places. It may sound bizarre
17 because there were many mixed settlements and there was a whole lot of
18 those barricades and checkpoints. The barricades were sometimes heaps of
19 rocks or signs saying that Croats or Serbs, depending on which side
20 erected that were not allowed to pass. And on both sides there were
21 policemen wearing uniforms. Some wore civilian clothes, but all carried
22 weapons. When they saw us coming, they tried to throw their guns into the
23 nearest brush or shrubbery, and the whole situation was a bit ridiculous,
24 and it made our role a bit farcical as well.
25 Q. Witness, at that meeting was there any discussion about visiting
1 areas within the SAO Krajina and about how that would be done?
2 A. Yes. Martic himself demanded that we visit the hot spots of
3 crisis where some sort of incident between Serbs and Croats was expected
4 to occur any minute. Bratiskovac, Kistanje, Rupe are some of the place
5 names. Cetinje. On the Benkovac side there was Benkovac and Obrovac.
6 But at the beginning, at least, I was in charge of Knin. And I only ever
7 visited Benkovac once or twice, so I couldn't tell you any more about
9 Q. Was there any discussion about, when you -- when you visited these
10 areas, whether you would be allowed to do it on your own or whether you
11 would have to have somebody with you?
12 A. No. In those areas that Martic held under his control, we had to
13 be escorted by his police for our own safety and in order to be able to
14 assess the situation on the ground. That's what he said. At any rate, we
15 didn't go anywhere alone. However, when there were incidents between JNA
16 members and the populous, we would not inform Martic. And when we visited
17 Serb-populated villages and hamlets, we didn't go through Martic because
18 Knin was not at all on the way, and it would take a long time to go back
19 to Knin, get his approval or assistance and then go back to the village.
20 But as far as Knin is concerned, and as far as I am concerned, I would
21 always first go to the secretariat to see Martic or one of his men and to
22 get them to accompany me on my visit to wherever.
23 Q. Did you ever have contact with a man by the name of Milenko
25 A. Yes, I did.
1 Q. And who was he at that time, if you know?
2 A. I don't know what his official position was. Three or four times
3 I went towards Cetinje, Kistanje, Kijevo with him. We tried to avoid
4 asking a lot of questions but just accompanying him around I was able to
5 see what his role was. It seems to me he was one of the leading people in
6 Knin, and most likely he had been in charge of Civljani and Cetinje
7 because they had a police station there. I saw that the people knew him
8 there and called him commander, komandir, so most likely he had been the
9 commander of the police station there.
10 On the three occasions we went out on the ground together to calm
11 down conflicts between Kijevo and Civljani, Cetinje, Vrlike, because there
12 were barricades there we had to go and remove them. We would do that by
13 say, and at night they would erect the barricades again. And so it went
14 on day by day.
15 Q. Witness, do you know what relationship Milenko Zelenbaba had with
16 Milan Martic?
17 A. I can't say that because I did not have occasion to see them
18 together, but most probably Zelenbaba was subordinate to Milan Martic,
19 because whenever I said there was a problem there and I had to go there,
20 Zelenbaba would receive orders from his superior, Martic, to accompany me
21 on the ground. However, I did not see for myself their interaction.
22 For a time, I saw Zelenbaba. Later on I didn't see him in uniform
23 any more or in the police station, so I can't say what happened to him
24 later on.
25 Q. By the way, on Friday you described for us how the ministries of
1 the interior at the federal level and the republic level were organised
2 into a public security branch and a state security branch. Do you know if
3 Milan Martic organised the Ministry of the Interior or the Secretariat of
4 the Interior, I should say, in Knin in the same way, having a public
5 security branch and a state security branch? Do you know about that?
6 A. As regards the organisation within the secretariat, in my
7 conversations with my colleagues, we commented among ourselves that on the
8 territory of the SAO Krajina and Knin, Martic had also organised a
9 constituent security service. It was my colleagues who went there more
10 often who said that -- or, rather, those who contacted Martic more often.
11 But we would always comment on this among ourselves when we returned to
12 our base. We would go for a walk outside the hotel to comment on the
13 events of the day. We also remarked on the fact that the State Security
14 Service of Serbia had got involved in organising the State Security
15 Service on the territory of the SAO Krajina. On one or two occasions I
16 saw Stanisic in Knin, but only in passing.
17 This was something I saw when I went to see Branko Polizota. On
18 the third or fourth day of my stay in the Krajina, in Sibenik I went to
19 see him, and he said that they had information that the Serbian service -
20 I am quoting his words - "Was involved in activities in the SAO Krajina.
21 This would mean we always used the acronym to describe that service.
22 Branko Polizota told me that Serbia had organised the work of the state
23 security on the territory of the SAO Krajina. At first I did not believe
24 this, but later on my colleagues from my group confirmed this in our
25 conversations, and I myself saw Stanisic in Knin on one or two occasions.
1 We said hello in passing. And then I saw him around a second time.
2 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, could we go into private session,
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
5 [Private session]
11 Pages 3080-3088 redacted. Private session.
24 [Open session]
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't see the transcript on the
1 monitor any more.
2 MR. WHITING: Are we in open session?
3 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. We have just been told.
5 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Witness, we're become in open session, so please take care not to
7 mention names. Now, with respect to the various conflict areas that you
8 have spoken about, were you able to observe what the role of the JNA was,
9 if any, when these conflicts occurred?
10 A. The JNA was located at all those points that could become hotbeds
11 of crisis or were already hotbeds of crisis, and they had their mobile
12 units fully equipped and fully armed in that area. Our mission was to
13 protect the population on both sides, and we had no authority over the
14 area in order to tell them where to deploy their forces. But at the
15 request of citizens, we could intervene in case of incidents between the
16 population and the army, only with a view to protecting the population,
17 not with any authority to influence with the position of the JNA or their
18 location in the area.
19 Q. Witness, excuse me, maybe I wasn't clear or there was something
20 with the interpretation. I wasn't asking about what your role was with
21 respect to the JNA. What I was interested in was you -- excuse me. Were
22 you able to observe what the -- when these conflicts erupted that you
23 talked about and that you would go visit the area, would you able to
24 observe what did the JNA do with respect to these conflicts? What role
25 did they play with respect to the conflict?
1 A. That depended on the situation on the ground and the area and the
2 incidents that occurred between the two ethnicities. The army would
3 position themselves between the sides. That's at least what happened at
4 the very beginning.
5 Later on, we talked among ourselves within the group and remarked
6 upon the fact that the army was in a way determining the boundaries of SAO
7 Krajina by positioning themselves on certain lines, and we witnessed that
8 on the ground. If there was an incident, a clash between one village and
9 another and barricades were set up, the army would come in immediately and
10 set up their checkpoint. At the beginning, around Knin, Croats had their
11 own checkpoint and barricade outside Drnis. First there was a police
12 checkpoint outside the village, and then 500 metres ahead there would be
13 another barricade manned by Croat volunteers or the ZNG, and they were
14 hidden purportedly defending this border. The army was not present there
15 at the beginning.
16 Still further up there would be a Serb barricade. But later on
17 when the SAO Krajina began to develop as a political entity, JNA started
18 setting up its own checkpoints. At first they were not formal
19 checkpoints. The army would simply set up their tents and control
20 traffic, entries and exits from the SAO Krajina. They would list all the
21 vehicles and all the persons that crossed that boundary. That lasted for
22 a couple of months this activity of the JNA when they were creating the
23 borders of the SAO Krajina. And towards the end of our mission, our group
24 commented on the fact that the JNA was doing that. We were not able to
25 say with certainty whether the JNA was trying to -- to determine the
1 boundaries of this region or to protect the Serb population. We couldn't
2 tell. Although it's true that both in the area of Croatia and the area of
3 SAO Krajina there were military checkpoints and military units stationed,
4 for instance, overlooking Rupe, there was a military presence and the army
5 was fully equipped in combat terms.
6 Q. Now, in that answer you said when you were talking about the army
7 setting up their tents and checkpoints, you said that lasted for a couple
8 of months this activity of the JNA when they were creating the borders of
9 the SAO Krajina, and then you said, "Towards the ends of our submission."
10 So did you say a couple of months and, if so, what months are you talking
12 A. Well, I couldn't tell you which months, but at the beginning there
13 were military checkpoints but only mobile ones. There would be a vehicle,
14 a couple of soldiers and one officer. And these checkpoints were mobile.
15 However, later on there were standing checkpoints manned by troops who had
16 their tents nearby because they had to sleep somewhere.
17 I can only tell you about the time that we spent there. I cannot
18 tell you about the later months, because I wasn't there to see it.
19 Q. Okay. That's what I wanted to get clear on. Okay.
20 Now, I want to ask you about -- about the -- if you could describe
21 the Serb checkpoints, please. Can you tell us -- or barricades as --
22 could you tell us how -- how were they manned? What people were at the
23 check -- at the barricades on the Serb side?
24 A. Well, the barricades would be manned for the most part by local
25 people, and there would be some reserve policemen in uniform, some sort of
1 blue uniform. In fact, that was the regular police uniform. However,
2 major checkpoints such as the one in Civljani would also be manned on the
3 Serb side by policemen in camouflage uniforms. Between Drnis and Kosovo
4 Polje there was a major Serb checkpoint. Most of the men were in police
5 uniforms. And we could notice that some of the men were dressed in
6 regular uniforms, whereas other men seemed to be dressed in uniforms that
7 they had borrowed and that didn't fit them, and we thought that they were
8 local -- local people who just got hold of a uniform.
9 Our vehicle, I must say, was conspicuous, so that every time
10 reservists would withdraw and the local men would come forward and would
11 say that, "We are local people. We are just defending the Serb people,"
12 and we pretended that we hadn't noticed anything. And they really did
13 feel they were in danger.
14 Q. Witness, did you observe any signs or posters at the Serb
16 A. At the beginning, especially around Skradin, in hamlets populated
17 by Serbs, barricades were set up and signs "This is SAO Krajina," "Martic,
18 we are with you," "Long live the Serbian people," "Long live SAO
19 Krajina," "We are united," all sorts of slogans, drawings, the cross with
20 the four S's, but all that was in the hamlets where the checkpoints were
21 set by local people with the help of Martic's police. In larger places
22 where traffic was busier, they didn't put up these signs. Around
23 Bratiskovac, around Skradin, Kistanje, you could see those signs, yes.
24 Q. Witness, at these barricades did you ever talk to the Martic's
25 Police about removing the barricades?
1 A. That was the purpose of our mission. We had to talk to the local
2 people, the villages, and we told them that, first of all, it was illegal
3 for them to put those barricades, that they should instead try to ensure a
4 peaceful co-existence and cooperation with the Croats. The policemen wore
5 sleeve patches with the inscription "Martic's Police." And we talked to
6 them as well. They were cooperative in contacts with us. They said they
7 would try and get it across to the local residents that they should not
8 put up these barricades and not behave in that way, but it was all empty
9 talk. And as soon as we turned our backs, none of that would happen.
10 Q. You told us before that you went to -- on one occasion you went to
11 Benkovac and you went to Obrovac. Can you tell us what you saw in
12 Benkovac and Obrovac, where you went and what you saw?
13 A. On that occasion I went there with my leader, under number 2,
14 because I was not familiar with that terrain. Of course, he had his own
15 driver and his own escort, so there were four of us in the car.
16 As soon as we got to the centre of the village, we would get out,
17 visit the police station. We found several policemen there. We would
18 discuss the problems with them. They would refrain from entering into
19 arguments or discussing the real issues on the ground but would always
20 refer us back to Martic.
21 We saw then that the sign on the building had been removed and
22 changed. The citizens would show us that as well, saying, "You see? We
23 are in power here. We have our own authorities here, our own organs."
24 The policemen, though, refrained from entering into any kind of
25 discussion, although we insisted and kept asking questions, asking about
1 the situation on the ground, but they evaded our questions and kept
2 referring us back to Martic, telling us he was the one who would inform us
3 about the situation on the ground the same thing happened in Benkovac and
4 Obrovac. I was there once or twice, but it was purely a waste of time.
5 We didn't achieve any goals there.
6 Q. And are you able to recall how the sign changes on the police
7 station in Benkovac and Obrovac? You said they had taken down the old
8 sign and put up the new sign and said, "You see? We are in power here."
9 What was the change in the sign?
10 A. We weren't there when the change was made, but you could see the
11 traces on the building because the signs were not the same size. The
12 previous sign had been bigger, so the colour was different around it. It
13 used to be OU -- well, what it said was, the new sign, what the new sign
14 said was "OUP," meaning the organ or the Department of the Interior, and
15 then it said, "SAO Krajina."
16 Q. Okay. Thank you. Your Honour, could we go into private session,
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the session please move into private session.
19 [Private session]
11 Page 3096 redacted. Private session.
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
23 Mr. Whiting.
24 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Can you tell us what Milan Martic said about the prisoners and
1 about the topic of prisoners?
2 A. After we told him that Vukosic had said that the Croatian side was
3 ready for an exchange of prisoners and we proposed that Martic accept
4 that, he immediately opposed it. He said that they were all members of
5 the ZNG, that they had been arrested while under arms at the barricades
6 and the lines, that they were pro-Ustasha, pro-Croatian. He wanted to
7 show that they were guilty, that they had been captured as members of the
8 ZNG while armed.
9 Q. Did he tell you what was going to happen to these prisoners?
10 A. On that day, his reply was negative. He said they would be tried
11 before a court of Yugoslavia as members of the ZNG and as fighters of
12 Croatian paramilitary units, that they would have them tried, and that the
13 court's judgement would be carried out. He, on that day, did not accept
14 any exchange of prisoners.
15 Q. What was your reaction when he told you that they would be tried
16 before a court of Yugoslavia?
17 A. We let him know that they could not be tried before a Yugoslav
18 court, that they could only be tried before a Croatian court or the court
19 of some other republic, not of Yugoslavia. They could be tried before a
20 Serbian court. But Yugoslavia did not have its legislation, and it did
21 not have its courts as a federation. It was the republics who had courts.
22 Q. And -- and did he have any response to that when you told him
24 A. He said that in any case, they would be tried because they were
25 members of the ZNG, because they had carried weapons, they had been at the
1 barricades and the lines where they had been arrested, and he rejected any
2 exchange of prisoners. No numbers of prisoners were mentioned either by
3 Vukosic or by Martic. It was always all for all. And we didn't even know
4 how many prisoners there were on each side.
5 Q. Did you talk to Mr. Martic about where the prisoners were being
7 A. Yes, we did, because Vukosic had told us that there was no
8 prison -- there were no facilities in Knin for detention. And we asked
9 where he was keeping the prisoners. He said that there were several
10 premises where prisoners could be kept pursuant to all the regulations of
11 the laws of war. We did not insist on him showing us those premises, and
12 he showed no desire to let us see those prisoners.
13 Q. The -- the next day did you have a meeting with the person who is
14 at number 10 on your list?
19 (redacted) Again, he
20 insisted at that we try again, that we try to get this exchange. He said
21 he was afraid for the lives of the prisoners and the conditions they were
22 living in because, as far as he knew, there were no appropriate facilities
23 in Knin. He was afraid they might be maltreated by Martic's police.
24 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, if we could just have a redaction at
25 the sentence that's on my line 3 of page -- no, sorry, line 2 of page 42,
1 the sentence starting "On the next day."
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the sentence starting "On the next day," at
3 line 2 of page 42, please be redacted.
4 MR. WHITING:
5 Q. Now, after that did you have any further meetings with Milan
6 Martic on this topic?
7 A. On the same day after our meeting with person number 10, or the
8 very next day, we again went to see Milan Martic. I went with person
9 number 4, and we were to discuss this issue. We did not find Martic in
10 his office, so we waited a little. We were told by some of his men that
11 Martic would not be in on at that day, that he was busy. So we used the
12 time to tour Knin, and then we went back not having finished the job.
13 Q. Did there come a time when you did meet with Milan Martic on this
15 A. Yes. It was the very next day after this unsuccessful visit. I
16 went again with person number 4, and on that occasion we did find Martic
17 in his office. Since we were authorised by person number 2 to present our
18 demands more strongly and to insist with Mr. Martic, we did so. We
19 managed to persuade Martic to agree to the exchange, which at first he
20 opposed. He waved his hand and said, "All right. Organise it." And then
21 he appointed a person with whom we were to agree the technical details of
22 the exchange of prisoners.
23 Q. Did the exchange subsequently take place?
24 A. Yes, it did, on the day after that. On the previous day we had
25 agreed the method and time. Perhaps I said it was around noon, but now I
1 remember it was 4.00 p.m., 1600 hours, because I can now connect it with
2 some subsequent events which took place after the exchange.
3 We agreed to have the exchange at 1600 hours at Kosovo Polje.
4 They were to fly a white flag above the checkpoint held by Martic's
5 policemen, and we would also fly a white flag on the checkpoint held by
6 the Croatian police units.
7 Q. How many prisoners were exchanged at that time?
8 A. On that day, an hour and a half or two hours prior to the
9 exchange, I and person number 4 took over two prisoners, and person number
10 10 had another two in the car. We then set out towards Drnis or, rather,
11 the agreed spot in Kosovo Polje. I remember that we talked along the way,
12 and one of the prisoners said his name was Plavso. I talked to him. He
13 said he had been born in Knin. The other one was from a village in the
14 vicinity. I no longer recall the name of the village.
15 Q. So there were four prisoners brought from the Croatian side, and
16 they were exchanged for how many prisoners from the Serb side?
18 I and person number 4. I apologise. I and person number 4 took those
19 four persons, and as there was a distance between the checkpoint held bit
20 Croats and the checkpoint held by Martic's police, we stopped halfway
21 between the two. And then Martic's police brought four persons in
22 civilian clothes. We greeted Martic's policemen with the prisoners,
23 thanked them and everybody was polite.
24 MR. WHITING: Could we redact that first line.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Would the first line -- first sentence of line 2 at
1 page 44 please be redacted.
2 MR. WHITING:
3 Q. Witness, after the prisoner exchange did you have occasion to talk
4 to any of the prisoners that had been held in Knin and had just been
6 A. Later on, we took two prisoners in our car where my colleague and
7 I were, and two went with person number 10. We brought them to Drnis, to
8 the police station in Drnis. Along the way I asked the man where he was
9 from, one of them, and he said he was a Croat from Knin, that he had been
10 arrested two days previously in front of his house.
11 Q. That one who said he had been arrested two days previously in
12 front of his house, could you tell how old he was, or did he tell you how
13 old he was?
14 A. The time was short, I mean the time of the drive. We did not
15 spend a lot of time together. I think it's less than a kilometre. All he
16 said was that he had been arrested two days previously in front of his
17 house, that he had never participated in any Croatian units. He showed
18 me, lifting up his T-shirt, how he had been beaten and maltreated by
19 Martic's men in the prison. He told me they had been held in the basement
20 of the SUP building.
21 Q. When he lifted up his T-shirt, were you able to see anything?
22 A. Yes. I saw bruises on his back. He said that he had been beaten
23 by Martic's policemen.
24 Q. And did the other man, the other prisoner who had been released,
25 did he tell you anything?
1 A. No. I repeat that the drive was very brief. It was less than a
2 kilometre. We didn't have much time. Later on we learned because both
3 sides were concealing the real truth from us. We learned from person 10
4 that he knew that there were three prisoners, not four, when we went see
5 person 10 on the next day talking about the exchange, he said, "I didn't
6 know about the fourth man. I knew about three." And I said, "Why didn't
7 you tell us?" And he said, "Well, if I told you that, I would have to
8 tell you how many I had." That's how it was.
9 Q. Now, did either of the prisoners in your car tell you anything
10 about the conditions under which they had been detained?
11 A. Well, the same prisoner told me that he had been in the basement
12 of the building, that the conditions had been very bad, that he had been
13 given some sandwiches to eat, that he was interrogated every day. The
14 entire conversation took five or six minutes, as long as it took to drive
15 to the Drnis police station where we handed them over.
16 Q. Did person number 10 later tell you anything about what the other
17 two prisoners had said or what he had observed?
18 A. He didn't tell me anything. They didn't want to share information
19 with us.
20 Q. So did you learn anything about what had happened with the other
21 two prisoners in terms of their detention, their conditions of detention,
22 or where they had been detained, or anything that had happened to them
23 while they were detained?
24 A. On the next day when we went to see person number 10, he thought
25 we knew where Martic was holding prisoners, and he said, "Did you see that
1 room?" And we said, "No." And he said, "Well, the conditions are
2 unbearable. It's a basement. It's dirty. It's damp." He said, "I don't
3 know how he managed to transform that area into a detention unit, because
4 the conditions were very bad," and that was the end of the topic.
5 Q. Now, during your time that you were in the area, during that
6 approximately one month or so, did you have any meetings with Milan Babic?
7 A. No. Our group as a whole did not have a meeting. On one occasion
8 I, when visiting the terrain with person number 2, plus a driver and a
9 security man, when we were in Knin we set out towards Sinj, to the place
10 where Milan Babic was born, and person number 2 said it would be a good
11 idea to see him and discuss the situation with him.
12 We found his mother there, and she told us he wasn't there. We
13 asked some neighbours, and they also said that he wasn't there, that he
14 hadn't been home for two days. So we went back not having seen him. I
15 will really wasn't told by number 2 what the purpose of that trip had
17 Q. Just the last question before the break. Can you tell us why
18 didn't you try to have a more formal official meeting with Milan Babic the
19 way you had done so with Milan Martic?
20 A. Well, Milan Babic was a political figure. We were members of the
21 security branch of the Ministry of the Interior. (redacted)
2 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I think it's time for the break. Out
3 of an abundance of caution, I think it would be prudent to redact the
4 sentence -- the second sentence of the answer, the last answer, "We were
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: "We were members"?
7 MR. WHITING: It's the second sentence of the last answer. It
8 starts off as, "We were members," and I don't want to read the rest of it,
9 but --
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
11 May the sentence in the last answer starting with "We were
12 members" please be redacted. It will start at line 6 on page 47.
13 MR. WHITING: And I think this is a convenient time, Your Honour,
14 for the break.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
16 Court will adjourn, and we will reconvene at half past twelve.
17 Court adjourned.
18 --- Recess taken at 12.02 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.34 p.m.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Whiting.
21 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Witness, we're still in open session, so if you could refer to
23 your sheet if you're referring to any names. If you could remember.
24 Thank you.
25 I want to ask you about a new topic now. Did there come a time
1 when refugees appeared in Sibenik?
2 A. Yes, unfortunately. I can't remember the exact date, but it was
3 around the 10th of June.
4 Q. And what happened on that date? What did you see?
5 A. That morning when I left my room and went into the lobby of the
6 hotel, I saw a large group of people strangely dressed, carrying bags,
7 plastic bags, suitcases. Some of them were in the lobby.
8 Q. Did you find out who these people were?
9 A. I did go to the reception desk, and I asked the receptionist --
10 rather, the chief of reception, a man called Ivica, who they were. I did
11 not assume they were refugees. I asked who they were, whether they were
12 staying at the hotel or what, and then the gentleman told me that those
13 people are Croats, refugees from Knin and that area. He told me that a
14 lot of them were put up at the hotel, he said something around 600,
15 whereas others were placed in other hotels or with their own relatives.
16 But he said that all Croats had left the so-called SAO Krajina.
17 Q. Witness, did you that day or the next day have a conversation with
18 the person who is number 10 about this?
19 A. I met with person number 10 on a daily basis, and we had an office
20 allocated to us in the building of the Ministry of the Interior of
21 Croatia, and we would either run into each other on the way there, or we
22 would agree to have a coffee together. I don't know about that period
23 after the refugees appeared, whether we talked to them together, but I did
24 talk to them on my own. I interviewed a lot of people and asked them what
25 they had fled from, who they had fled from. I had the impression that if
1 we had worked individually, people would accuse us of being -- of siding
2 with one or the other side.
3 I met with person number 10 the next day in connection with this
4 issue, and I and person number 3 went to the place of person number 10 to
5 talk about this case.
6 Q. What did person number 10 tell you, if anything, about these
8 A. He informed us that there was a large number of refugees, Croat
9 refugees, from the area of SAO Krajina. All those who were physically
10 able to leave Krajina did so. Only elderly people remained in Krajina,
11 people who didn't want to leave their homes. He told us that around 600
12 such refugees were put up in our hotel, that there are other refugees in
13 other hotels, and yet other refugees were placed in private homes. And he
14 told us that Croatian authorities would have this problem with Martic and
15 SAO Krajina, because as person number 3 put it, all this was the result of
16 the crimes of Martic and his police force.
17 Q. So did person number 10 tell you why these refugees, these Croat
18 refugees, had left the area of the SAO Krajina?
19 A. Well, he told us about some cases where people were forced out,
20 expelled. Other people had got into trouble with Martic's police. They
21 were beaten up. Yet other people had their cattle poisoned, properties
22 ruined. And then he suggested that we talk to the refugees ourselves to
23 hear it from them, and that seemed indeed the best idea, because we could
24 not ignore the problems of the refugees. And one of my colleagues and I
25 decided to interview the refugees to find out why they had left their
2 Q. Before that happened, did you meet with Milan Martic and talk to
3 him about this -- these refugees?
4 A. No, we did not. I did not.
5 Q. Did you ever meet with Milan Martic and talk to him about these
7 A. Yes, we did. After interviewing the refugees, after number 3 and
8 number 11 and I had this meeting with the refugees in the conference room
9 of the hotel where we were staying.
10 Q. Well, then let's take it in order. Let's talk about that meeting
11 that you had with the refugees first and I'll ask you questions about your
12 meeting with Milan Martic. So the meeting with the refugees in the
13 conference room of the hotel, could you describe what happened at that
15 A. Since number 10, together with number 11, organised and prepared
16 this meeting with the refugees, we were told that the meeting would take
17 place that day or the next day around 15 or 1600 hours in the conference
18 room of that hotel.
19 Q. How many refugees would you say came to this meeting?
20 A. Well, 350 or 400 people attended that meeting. I can only assume
21 that that was the number, because that was the capacity of the room. Most
22 of those people were young, and some of them had brought children with
23 them because they had no one to leave them to.
24 Q. Did the refugees or some of the refugees tell you what had
25 happened to them?
1 A. Yes, they did. Person number 3 was supposed to be the moderator
2 of that meeting. However, the refugees insisted that I be the moderator
3 instead. A number of them told us about the various reasons that made
4 them flee from that region, mainly Knin, because most of them were from
6 At first, seven or eight young people, 30-ish or so, took off
7 their clothes showing traces of beatings and explained that the
8 Martic's -- the Martic police force had beaten them, and I saw the bruises
9 on their bodies, but I couldn't help them much at that moment except to
10 advise them to try to get damages through courts.
11 Q. Witness --
12 A. To that they responded that the situation was one of war.
13 Q. Witness, the -- these seven or eight young people, you say they
14 took off their clothes. Did they take off all of their clothes or just
15 part of their clothes?
16 A. Some stripped to the waist, some would just roll up their shirts
17 or T-shirts, because it was summer and it was warm. Enough for us to see
18 that they had been beaten. They had some bruises.
19 Q. And were these seven or eight young people, were they all men?
20 A. Yes, all men.
21 Q. And can you just say where on their bodies, if you can remember,
22 did you see the bruises?
23 A. Mainly above the waist, on the back, and on the upper arms above
24 the elbow.
25 Q. Now, after these seven or eight men showed you their bruises, did
1 other refugees tell you anything about what had happened to them?
2 A. Other refugees gave us -- told us their stories. I had my notes
3 from that meeting somewhere that I used later in writing up my report.
4 They said that Serbs and Martic's men had cut their orchards. One or two
5 people said that their pigs or chicken had been poisoned. Yet others said
6 that they were Martic's neighbours, and they used to be on good terms with
7 him and his family, but lately when they would ask him for help, he would
8 respond that they shouldn't expect anything, and if they could live by the
9 laws of SAO Krajina then they could stay, but if not, they should go.
10 There was no room for them there.
11 Q. Did any of the refugees talk about encounters with Martic's
13 A. Some of them said that they had encounters with Martic himself,
14 that his men had beaten them. Yes, there were a few such individuals.
15 But it was a large crowd at that meeting, and they were beginning to talk
16 at the same time. Everybody was eager to tell their own story. And we
17 were frantically trying to take notes and tried to find out eventually
18 what really happened.
19 Q. And did any -- any of the refugees talk about anything that had
20 happened to their houses?
21 A. Yes. Several people said that their houses had been burnt down by
22 Martic's men. They said it was done as revenge because they were Croats,
23 because they didn't want to live in SAO Krajina, that they maintained they
24 were citizens of Croatia, and so.
25 Q. And did any of the refugees talk about Martic's Police coming to
1 their houses?
2 A. Yes. There were cases of that kind. Several people said that
3 Martic's policemen went door-to-door telling people to leave Knin, that is
4 the SAO Krajina.
5 Q. The notes that you have referred to that you took at this meeting,
6 what happened to those notes?
7 A. Since I moderated that meeting together with my colleague, number
8 3, we wrote a report that same day, on three pages, I think, and submitted
9 it to person number 2, who was supposed to pass it on to our government in
10 Belgrade. What was later on about it I really can't tell you, because my
11 job ended with submitting that report. I did ask to be kept informed, and
12 he did tell me that he had to go to army headquarters and send the report
13 to Belgrade from there. So I don't know what was eventually sent, whether
14 some amendments were made to what we wrote, but we wrote the report in
15 hand and signed it. We had no other equipment.
16 Q. And after you -- after you wrote that report and submitted it,
17 what happened to the notes that you had taken at the meeting?
18 A. Well, we were all armed with writing pads and pencils when we went
19 to those meetings. Not only with the refugees, but throughout my stay in
20 Knin I constantly took notes in that writing pad, which I took with me
21 when I went back to Belgrade. I used it later on my visits to Slavonia
22 and Baranja, and later when I visited Doboj. And that writing pad with
23 Official Notes that were confidential was kept in my office in Belgrade
24 until the moment when the building was taken over by the Secretariat of
25 the Interior of the republic. And I lost my entire desk including the
1 contents, including the writing pad. All the other things in my drawers
2 were personal effects.
3 Q. Now, after this meeting that you had with the refugees, did you
4 have a meeting with Milan Martic?
5 A. Yes. The next day, as agreed with person number 2 -- I think it
6 was with person number 3, but I'm sorry, I cannot be quite sure. We went
7 to see Martic. I think I was with person number 3, because we had
8 attended those meetings together.
9 Q. And did you talk to Milan Martic about the refugees who had
10 appeared in Sibenik?
11 A. Yes. That day, Milan Martic received us, and we had talks with
12 him in his office touching upon the issue of refugees, which was in fact
13 the main point we intended to raise that day.
14 Q. What did he say about these refugees?
15 A. Actually, we spoke first telling him about the meeting that we had
16 had with the refugees and the reasons they had given us for leaving their
17 homes and fleeing. In fact, I conveyed to Martic all that I had heard
18 from refugees.
19 Q. And what was his reaction?
20 A. His reaction was first to reject all these allegations as untrue
21 and incorrect. He said these are all mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers,
22 sons, whose family members were parts of the ZNG and the Ustasha units, as
23 I said, that they were on the Croatian side against the Serbs, that all of
24 them had a family member who was that. Then he said that they all refused
25 to obey the laws of the SAO Krajina and that they did not want to live
1 with the Serbs. He said they were all pro-Ustasha, that they were all
2 hostile to the Serbs. I think that's what he said.
3 Q. And how did he -- well, before I ask that question, let me ask
4 this: Did he -- did you specifically tell him about observing injuries on
5 some of the refugees and, if so, did he have any reaction to that?
6 A. Yes. I told him about everything from the meeting. As for the
7 injuries, he said, "Well, they can injure themselves, inflict injuries on
8 themselves and then show this and say that somebody had beaten them." He
9 said Martic's Police beat no one without a reason. When I said about the
10 orchards that had been cut down, he said, "They cut them down themselves
11 in order to blame Martic's men." When I said that five or six houses had
12 been torched, he said, "Well, everybody knows what houses were torched,
13 the houses of those who were directly members of the ZNG or leaders of the
15 When I told him that he had caused fights among neighbours, he
16 said, "That's what they say. I told them if they wanted to stay they
17 could stay, but anyone to stayed had to respect the laws of the SAO
18 Krajina." He said they rejected that and left.
19 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, could we go into private session,
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
22 [Private session]
11 Pages 3114-3129 redacted. Private session.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day of April,
24 2006, at 9.00 a.m.