1 Monday, 30 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.14 p.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon once again, sir. You may already be
7 aware of it, but again as I have said before it's my duty to remind you
8 that the declaration you took at the beginning of your testimony to tell
9 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the truth, still binds
10 you at this stage.
11 Good afternoon, Mr. Whiting.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: My condolences.
14 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Remind me, are we with you?
16 MR. BLACK: Yes, we're with me, Your Honour, for just a little
17 while longer, I hope.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Black.
19 WITNESS: ZORAN LAKIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Black: [Continued]
22 Q. Good morning, Mr. Lakic.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon.
24 MR. BLACK: Good afternoon. Yeah, the whole morning escaped me.
25 Here we are at 2.15.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
2 MR. BLACK:
3 Q. I just have some more questions for you today; I hope it won't
4 take too much longer.
5 To begin with, on Friday you testified that you knew Goran Opacic
6 personally, and I was wondering if you could describe him for us
7 physically, how tall he was, what colour his hair was, et cetera.
8 A. I knew Goran Opacic personally, and his family, too. His brothers
9 and his father; I didn't know his mother. He is about 1.80 metres tall.
10 He completed a political high school or a police high school, and he was a
11 police officer in Sinj or in Split.
12 As the relevant events unfolded in Krajina, he returned there. He
13 hails from a village in Benkovac municipality.
14 Q. Okay. Focusing just for a second and getting on sort of his
15 physical characteristics. What colour hair did he have?
16 A. I think it was black, but his hair was closely clipped most of the
17 time. He had a crew cut, I believe, and that's why I don't really
18 remember the colour of his hair.
19 Q. Okay. I understand. And just one more question about this. Do
20 you remember if he wore glasses?
21 A. He wore glasses after he got wounded. He's seriously disabled
22 now. It was toward the end of the war. I don't think he wore any at the
23 outset of the war. In 1993 he was seriously wounded and his eyesight was
24 impaired and that was when he started wearing glasses.
25 Q. I see. Did this -- what kind of other wounds did he have? Was he
1 still able to walk around and things like that, or was it just his eyes
2 that were wounded mostly?
3 A. He was able to walk around. I believe that it was only his eyes
4 that were injured.
5 Q. Okay. Thank you for that. You also testified that Opacic was
6 something of a bragger who tried to make himself into a hero, but that in
7 reality he -- I think you said he ran away whenever there was a dangerous
8 situation. Is that right? Did I understand you correctly?
9 A. Well, listen. Opacic was one of the first police officers to come
10 to the territory of Krajina from Croatia, as far as I know, and he was
11 quite highly rated and respected by his peers on the police force. He has
12 a very athletic physique, he's very dexterous and intelligent, and as such
13 he managed to win the confidence and trust of his colleagues.
14 Q. Okay. For instance, did you know that the RSK Ministry of the
15 Interior awarded Goran Opacic a security service plaque due to
16 his "demonstrated bravery, self-sacrifice, or exceptional contribution to
17 the successful operation of the internal affairs service"?
18 MR. BLACK: And that's a quote from Exhibit 462, Your Honours.
19 Q. Did you know about that, sir?
20 A. I didn't know that.
21 Q. Do you know whether Goran Opacic was later given an award in 1997
22 by the chief of the Serbian State Security Services, Jovica Stanisic? Do
23 you know anything about that?
24 A. I didn't know about that either. I don't remember. I didn't work
25 for these services. Goran Opacic spent most of his service during wartime
1 on the police force.
2 Q. Okay. Let me just show you a clip. Actually, it's something
3 that's on Sanction.
4 MR. BLACK: So if we could all turn to our regular e-court screens
5 and we'll broadcast the Sanction. Hopefully this will work. Okay. Let's
6 go ahead and play the clip, please.
7 [Videotape played]
8 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "To mark the day of the special
9 operations unit of the Republic of Serbia state security, the chief of the
10 Republic of Serbia State Security Service, Mr. Jovica Stanisic, will
11 present awards. Radomir Ratkovic. Sima Ratkovic. Nikola Pupovac."
12 MR. BLACK: Sir, I'm going to go ahead and fast-forward a little
13 bit, but there are more awards to people being handed out.
14 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Miomir Popovic. Goran Opacic."
15 MR. BLACK:
16 Q. Sir, can you confirm that that's Goran Opacic there who just gave
17 three kisses with Jovica Stanisic?
18 A. Yes, that's Goran Opacic.
19 Q. Thank you. There he receives a reward. And I'll just
20 fast-forward to one last part of the same clip.
21 [Videotape played]
22 MR. BLACK:
23 Q. Sir, are you able to recognise any of the men there or the men
24 besides Jovica Stanisic, who we've already seen?
25 A. I've never seen Jovica Stanisic in person, only through such media
2 As for the others, I am not familiar with them because I was not a
3 member of the police force and did not have occasion to socialise with
4 people working for the service.
5 Q. Okay. I understand. Thank you. Just a couple more seconds of
6 this clip.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before we move off. Who is Jovica Stanisic
8 there? I know we saw him a little bit earlier but it was fast moving and
9 those of us who are slow on the uptake couldn't see.
10 MR. BLACK: It appears from the dialogue that he's in the person
11 in the middle, Your Honour, and he's about to speak and I think that will
12 clarify it.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
14 [Videotape played]
15 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "We have now actually given out the
16 highest awards that can be earned in the work of this kind, and these are
17 the awards for valour. Each one of you that received this award, be it
18 Opacic in the Knin area, or Djurica in the Banja area, and even that story
19 about us as men who tried to help their people ... each one of them is the
20 same, particularly in terms of the way it came about. But in essence, it
21 speaks of the heroism of our people and what we have put into our unit and
22 into those who will carry on the tradition of this unit."
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I just ask a question for clarification?
24 MR. BLACK: Please, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: How is Opacic's name spelled, with a T or a C in
1 the middle? It has been spelled differently on this clip.
2 MR. BLACK:
3 Q. Mr. Lakic, can you clarify that for us? How do you spell Goran
4 Opacic's surname?
5 A. O-p-a-c-i-c.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are we able to --
8 MR. BLACK: Rewind.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
10 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I believe in the transcript, which is a
11 transcript that someone -- I don't actually know in the OTP or in the
12 language part made the transcript, and I know that it does have a T in
13 there but I believe that's just -- they didn't hear it correctly. He was
14 able to confirm that it was the person that we're interested in. I can go
15 back to it if you'd like.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: I just wanted to know whether the person whose name
17 is spelled with a C who's referred to being in Knin, is it a different
18 person, Opacic and not Opatic.
19 MR. BLACK: I believe it is the same person who we saw and that
20 the witness identified as --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Opacic.
22 MR. BLACK: Yes.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
24 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. Could this please be admitted
25 into evidence? It's just this clip that we've seen with the transcript.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: The clip with the transcript is admitted into
2 evidence. May it please be given an exhibit number.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit Number 992.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
5 MR. BLACK: Thank you very much. And we're done with that then.
6 It can be taken off of our screens.
7 Q. Mr. Lakic, at the end of the day on Friday, I was showing you a
8 few documents, and I just want to show you a couple more. And the first
9 one is Exhibit 614.
10 MR. BLACK: If we could please see that on the e-court.
11 Q. Sir, this is another document like some of the ones we saw last
12 week, which is based on an interview with someone who claims to have
13 participated in the combat activities in the village of Skabrnja. And as
14 you see in that first paragraph, this person says that he saw members of
15 the TO and volunteers killing civilians in the village. I just want to
16 point you to a couple of particular passages.
17 MR. BLACK: If we could scroll down, please. That's perfect.
18 Q. You see there in the first photograph in quotes there, sir, in the
19 second sentence it says -- actually, I don't need to read it out
20 specifically. But it says there that members of the TO and volunteers
21 brought a group of about 20 civilians from a basement. It says: "One of
22 them had a PAP."
23 What does that refer to, do you know, Mr. Lakic, a PAP?
24 A. Semi-automatic rifle. I believe that's what it means. That's
25 just a type of infantry weapon.
1 Q. Okay. Thank you very much. And then this -- the document
2 continues to say that they -- they took a person behind the BOV and they
3 shot him. Then they brought an old woman and two old men and made them
4 lie on the ground and shot them in the back of the head. In the next
5 little paragraph they talk about two men ages 35 and 45 being interrogated
6 and then shot.
7 Sir, did you have any information about TO members participating
8 in incidents such as are described in this document?
9 A. I learned about this document - let's call it a document because
10 this is simply a note, it doesn't qualify as a document - some four or
11 five months after the action. This is an interview between a security
12 officer or a security organ and his source. I don't know who the source
13 is. I was never familiarised with any such situations as the one
14 described here or with these persons being participants because they could
15 not possibly have been in Skabrnja at the time. And this isn't something
16 I'm telling you that I -- because I heard about it. I'm telling you
17 because it's a fact.
18 Q. Well, okay, that was going to be my next question. Having seen
19 all the documents that we reviewed on Friday as well as this document, is
20 it still your position that TO members did not participate in the fighting
21 in Skabrnja on the 18th of November and did not commit any crimes there?
22 A. Not only am I stating this, I am quite positive about it. Except
23 for the medical unit and the minibus that was used for evacuating the
24 population, not a single unit of mine was there on that date, the 18th of
25 November, in Skabrnja.
1 Q. You mentioned the medical unit. Do you remember who was part of
2 that medical unit, how many people it had, and what were their names, if
3 you remember?
4 A. According to the establishment of the Territorial Defence, the
5 medical unit had seven to eight men who worked in 24-hour shifts, or
6 rather, they worked in shifts around-the-clock. They were always on the
7 stand-by. Three or four of them were active on that day, and the
8 commander of the medical unit was a lady, Nada Pupovac. At that point in
9 time, she was in the area of Skabrnja and she took part in providing
10 medical assistance to the population and in facilitating their evacuation.
11 Q. Okay. Thank you. I'd like you to look at one more document with
12 regard to the Skabrnja operations, it's Exhibit 107.
13 MR. BLACK: If we could see that on our screens, please.
14 Q. And actually, Mr. Lakic, this is a document we looked at briefly
15 before. It's the officer's notebook of Mr. Bogunovic. So I'll just bring
16 that back on our screen for us.
17 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Has the one been a document as an evidence piece
18 or is it just -- 614, okay.
19 MR. BLACK: Yes, Your Honour, it was already previously admitted,
20 so I'm sorry I didn't mention that.
21 Could we turn, please, to the page 02006878. Thank you.
22 Q. And focus first at the top left-hand corner, Mr. Lakic, and again
23 I know that it may be hard to read this a little bit because it's
24 handwritten but ...
25 At the very top there you see that it gives the date 20th of
1 November, 1991, and it refers to the analysis of the mopping-up operation.
2 And it looks like it says NSZG. This refers, doesn't it, to analysis of
3 the operation against Nadin, Skabrnja, and Zemunik Gornje. Is that right?
4 A. I don't know what this abbreviation means. I've never used it. I
5 don't know.
6 Q. Okay. I'm just going to point to a couple different passages.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I interrupt? My document ends at 6869, and
8 when I go back to the source I get the handwritten one which I think is --
9 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, it should be on page 3 of the English. I
10 apologise for not saying that.
11 Q. Mr. Lakic, we may have to scroll down just a bit, but you see --
12 you can see it there the name Djurica. Yeah, that's fine right there.
13 And actually it's the next entry below that. Can you read the next
14 underlined name there? You have Djurica and then some sort of bullet
15 points and then another name. Can you read that one?
16 A. Jovic or something or other. It's quite illegible. But I don't
17 recall there being a Jovic. Or perhaps Dobic in Latin script. I wasn't
18 familiar with all the JNA commanding officers and their names.
19 Q. Okay. That's fine. It's one that I'm also unable to decipher.
20 MR. BLACK: If we could scroll down a little bit, please.
21 Q. I think if we'll just focus on the last two and see if you find
22 this. It says there: "Arsons and looting less than in some of the
23 earlier operations and there were cases of uncivilised killings."
24 Do you see that?
25 A. Yes, I see that, yes, if that's what it really says because I
1 can't make out all the words.
2 Q. Okay. Well, if that is in fact what it says, this would suggest
3 that at least the JNA command on the 20th of November, 1991, was already
4 aware of crimes committed in Skabrnja or Nadin or Zemunik Gornji; correct?
5 A. Well, they must have been aware of that or they must have known
6 because the information to the effect that there was killing and that
7 there were victims reached us quite soon.
8 Q. Okay.
9 MR. BLACK: If we could now look at the right-hand side of this
10 page and actually scroll up to the top a little bit, please. That's fine
11 right there. Thank you.
12 Q. You see there, sir, where --
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: On what page will that be?
14 MR. BLACK: On the fourth page in English. Thank you, Your
16 Q. Now, Mr. Lakic, you see there it refers to an analysis made by the
17 commanding staff, and then you see Bosko Drazic, and then the next entry
18 down is Zoran Lakic, refers to you; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. BLACK: And, Your Honour, in the English it says Zoran Lekic,
21 but I think there's just a difficulty in deciphering the handwritten
22 script there.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you very much.
24 MR. BLACK:
25 Q. Do you remember attending a meeting around this time, around the
1 20th of November, with Drazic and other commanders who were involved in
2 the Skabrnja operation?
3 A. I attended a great many meetings for various reasons. This is
4 probably one of the working meetings of the JNA to which we were invited.
5 Q. Okay. Now, let me just focus you on a couple of the bullet points
6 under your name there. The second one says: "Ten days ago Drazic took
7 one platoon from the TO units."
8 Do you know what that's a reference to? What does it mean by he
9 took one platoon from the TO units?
10 A. Specifically I don't know what it refers to as far as Drazic goes.
11 But you have to know that on the 1st of November the Territorial Defence
12 and the Yugoslav People's Army and the TO staff were completely
13 transformed, restructured. There were structural changes in units. On
14 the 1st of November, the TO brigade was set up, too, under the command of
15 active officers of the JNA. Now, what this specifically refers to, I
16 don't know.
17 Q. Okay. Look at the next bullet point down. It's also a little
18 hard to read, but I think it says: "Three civilians were transported from
19 the point 16 and killed in," and then there's a word that is
20 illegible, "needs to be investigated."
21 Do you remember raising this at a meeting, that you knew that
22 three civilians had been transported from a point 16 and then killed?
23 A. I received information to the effect that three civilians, or,
24 rather, persons wearing civilians clothes -- so we had that information.
25 And I asked that inquiries be made as to the whereabouts of these people.
1 I didn't know who had taken them away, and I really don't know what their
2 fate was. But I did ask for the matter to be inquired into.
3 Q. Okay. So -- so by this time you already had information about
4 civilians being killed in Skabrnja; correct?
5 A. No. I received such information only, or rather, only detailed
6 information after the sanitization of the -- of the ground. It was only
7 after that that I received information.
8 Q. Okay. Well, you must have had some information --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Let me just find out. If the information is not
10 detailed, it doesn't tell you of any crimes being committed? If you get a
11 very cryptic report that three civilians have been taken by the -- some of
12 your commanders, your troops, and killed, unless it is detailed, that
13 doesn't tell you that people have been killed?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. My medical corps commander --
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: By this time, by this time, you were aware that
16 three civilians had been transported and killed. Whether or not the
17 report you got was detailed, whether or not the report you got was before
18 or after sanitization, but you heard this information. Is it not so?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't receive information about
20 three civilians having been killed. I merely received information that
21 their whereabouts were not known, and that's when I asked that this be
22 inquired into. May I continue?
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, the problem before you continue is that
24 you're now talking about whereabouts. This report talks about killing.
25 And this is the part of the report that comes under your name. "Three
1 civilians were transported from the point 16 and killed ... needs to be
2 investigated." This is -- there is a fundamental difference between "and
3 killed" and not know the whereabouts.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We received information that
5 allegedly they had been killed, but nobody was able to confirm this. For
6 this reason, I requested that the matter be investigated because we had
7 unconfirmed information of their -- of their having been killed; however,
8 we didn't know where they ended up, what became of them.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Once again, that's a departure from this report.
10 This report doesn't say they were allegedly killed; it says they were
11 killed. You are now introducing "alleged." What needs to be investigated
12 may perhaps be who did it, but it seems that the report is definitive as
13 to what happened to them. They were killed.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know why I asked that
15 the matter be investigated, and that's according to this report. I can't
16 think at the moment of any other reason for me asking that it be
17 investigated other than that.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I've just suggested to you the other reason could
19 be to investigate who killed, not whether the killing did in fact take
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is minutes of a working
22 meeting. It's a very abbreviated form without full-blown sentences. I
23 probably said investigations into the facts should be made and that
24 perpetrators should be detected, but this is -- these are minutes which
25 were just jotted down. I don't remember the whole story in detail, but it
1 was clear that something had to be done to determine the facts and to take
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: I appreciate that very much. I appreciate that
4 very much. But having said that, you would agree with me that if at the
5 time of writing these notes there was no certainty about what became of
6 these people, that uncertainty would have been reflected in the minutes?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I presume that it should have been
8 in this way.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: It should have been put this way; is that what you
10 say? Sorry. I presume ...
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well ...
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, if it should have been in this way, then that
13 way can only mean that they were killed and that you knew at the time that
14 they were killed. Are we agreed on that? You may not have known of the
15 circumstances under which they died, but that they died you seem to have
16 known. According to this minute; I'm not saying that the minute is right.
17 I'm saying if the minute is right.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I said, at that moment I was in
19 possession of unconfirmed information; it wasn't confirmed. I didn't know
20 where, whom, or when.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Okay.
22 Yes, Mr. Black.
23 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Sir, earlier -- in the last few minutes I think you started to
25 explain something and you mentioned your medical corps commander, and I
1 just wondered if you wanted to give us some information about that or
2 something that you heard from your medical corps commander. I'm not sure,
3 but is there something you wanted to add about that?
4 A. I don't know who was the person giving me information. Under
5 chaotic circumstances on the 18th, I spoke to tens of people and received
6 information from all over the place. I solely relied on information of my
7 subordinates from the commander of the medical unit, and the first
8 information was received by the commander of the medical detachment that
9 there were victims, among them civilians. JNA then blockaded the whole
10 place. They conducted their investigation. They determined the facts,
11 and only in subsequent days I could receive further information. I was in
12 no position to achieve or get first-hand information only through
14 Q. Okay. What was the name of the medical corps commander who you've
16 A. Commander Nada Pupovac, commander of the medical unit.
17 Q. Okay. Thank you. Turning your attention back now to the
19 MR. BLACK: Still on page 4 in English, Your Honours.
20 Q. If you skip down a couple of bullet points you see there it says
21 the OB, or the security organ, "should take steps to identify those who
22 committed crimes, robberies and barbarities." And then the next one
23 says: "There are individuals who do not deserve," and the next line,
24 "however, we do not have other soldiers for such operations."
25 So, sir, it's clear from this entry as well that you knew at this
1 time that there had been crimes, robberies, and barbarities in Skabrnja;
3 A. I knew from my commander, yes, I knew, from the medical squad
5 Q. Okay. And then the second-to-last bullet point you say that
6 Rekenji did a wrong thing in Polaca. And I'm just wondering, is that a
7 reference to the fighting in Polaca in May 1991 or is that -- or can you
8 explain what the reference is there to Polaca, if you remember.
9 A. This is Captain Rekenji of -- ethnic Hungarian, Rekenji. I don't
10 know what this refers to. He was a commander of the tank unit. I presume
11 that we discussed damage inflicted on buildings and facilities in Polaca
12 inflicted by JNA tanks. And this refers to Rekenji; he's an ethnic
14 Q. Okay. Thank you.
15 MR. BLACK: Could we turn to the next page in B/C/S, please, and
16 it's also the next page, page 5, in the English, Your Honours. And I'm
17 looking for where Lieutenant Tadic speaks. There we go, on the right-hand
18 side. Thank you very much. It's wonderful to have an usher who can
19 navigate through the B/C/S.
20 Q. Sir, look at what Lieutenant Tadic says there. And I'll just read
21 through a couple of these and follow along with me. He says: "Special
22 units did not mop up the houses in front of the tank. They were all
23 wearing Chetnik insignia, and they cannot be used in any other future
24 operation. When Cedo KV tried to stop the killing, they wanted to kill
1 And then a few bullet points down it says: "He kills a man as
2 soon as he sees him. He kills dogs."
3 And then another bullet point down: "Some of the soldiers in the
4 company started looting."
5 Sir, were you privy to this kind of information, this kind of
6 feedback from the operation about people wearing Chetnik insignia and
7 killing people upon sight, the difficulty of people to intervene, were you
8 aware of this kind of information?
9 A. This Lieutenant Tadic, I don't know him. He's probably an officer
10 of the JNA. I never had occasion to meet him. I don't recall him, to
11 tell you from the beginning.
12 Q. Okay.
13 MR. BLACK: If we could -- I think we could turn to the next page,
14 please, 6880, it's the same page in English, and go to the top left-hand
15 corner. It's a continuation of what Lieutenant Tadic is saying.
16 Q. If you look down to about the fourth bullet point it says: "Only
17 one man was wearing Ustasha uniform. More than 20 killed. They were
18 about to kill a woman and a child, saying: 'Ustasha bastards.' The MP
19 soldier did the same."
20 And then if you skip down a couple it says: "Lieutenant-Colonel
21 Dabic was present during maltreatment of civilians. When I ask him: What
22 do you think you're doing? He asks me what my nationality is."
23 Mr. Lakic, do you remember things like this being discussed among
24 the commanders? Did you hear about incidents like these?
25 A. I know Lieutenant-Colonel Dabic. We knew what happened. We had
1 preliminary information without any investigation having taken place a
2 couple of days after the event. The terminology that was used, referring
3 to the Croatian army and the terminology of Croatian army towards us,
4 dates back from World War II. No wonder that we referred to them in this
5 way and that they referred to us in accordance with their terminology.
6 Q. Okay. I'm going to stay with this document, but I'm going to ask
7 you some questions that go a little later in time because this notebook
9 But before I do, is it correct that after the 18th and 19th of
10 November, 1991, some inhabitants remained in Skabrnja. Is that correct?
11 A. I don't really know that. This is not within the territory of the
12 municipality of Benkovac, and this was outside my zone of responsibility.
13 Q. Okay. So if I were to put to you that between about the time of
14 the operation up until February 1992, that more than 20 people went
15 missing or were killed from Skabrnja, I guess -- will you be able to offer
16 any information about that, or is that something you just don't know
18 A. After the 18th when my tasks were exclusively to secure my
19 territory, after November 18th, 1991, with reference to the Skabrnja
20 territory, I had no tasks, any responsibilities, and -- nor did I gather
21 any information from that territory. I was solely tasked with securing
22 the territory of the municipality of Benkovac.
23 Q. Okay. Well, let me just point you to one particular passage and
24 then we can be done with this document for today. It's -- the page in
25 B/C/S is 02006900, and it's an entry for the 10th of December, 1991.
1 MR. BLACK: It's an page 7 in the English version, Your Honours.
2 Yeah, there it is on the -- right there on the screen.
3 Q. Sir, under the entry for the 10th of December, 1991, the third
4 bullet point says: "In Skabrnja TO members kill one elderly person each
6 Did you receive information about people, elderly people or
7 otherwise, being killed in Skabrnja in December 1991?
8 A. After the Skabrnja action, seven days after that, maybe ten - I
9 cannot be specific - duty to give that territory was given to the brigade
10 of TO, not my unit. The brigade of TO was an autonomous unit under the
11 command of the JNA and led by officers of the JNA. So it had nothing to
12 do with me, the TO of Benkovac. That brigade was mobile, and the
13 Lieutenant Pavo Samardzic -- Lieutenant-Colonel Pavo Samardzic was the
14 commander. And it had nothing to do with the TO which was there to defend
15 the civilians. As opposed to this brigade, my units were not mobile,
16 which means they were connected with the territory of their villages.
17 That brigade was mobile and they operated in certain areas, but I do not
18 have any information about its operations. I believe hat this could be
19 the brigades I'm talking about.
20 Q. Thank you. We're done with that document. And I just have one
21 more document to ask you about, sir.
22 Before I do, in 1995 did you have meetings with representatives of
23 the European Community Monitoring Mission, specifically around April of
25 A. Well, with the representatives of the UN, European Community and
1 all structures of the UN, I maintained daily contacts.
2 Q. Okay. Well, let me show you one document.
3 MR. BLACK: The ERN is R0243812, if we could see that on e-court,
5 Q. And, Mr. Lakic, I'm sorry, this is a document in the English so I
6 apologise for that. But I'll read out to you the part that we're
7 concerned with. And what the document is, as we wait for it to come on
8 our screen, it's an ECMM daily report from -- dated the 26th of April,
9 1995. Oh, wow, we have it in B/C/S. I didn't realise that. That's
10 great. So you can follow along with me more easily.
11 MR. BLACK: And if we could scroll down, please, to the first big
12 paragraph, "Political Situation," exactly.
13 Q. First of all, you'll see, sir, about the second or third sentence
14 it says: "There will never be a way of reintegration of Croats into the
15 RSK, but there's still Croats living and working in the area of Benkovac,"
16 and you talk about Croatian officers and many soldiers. Well -- and
17 actually, I'll just ask you a question about a different part. If you
18 look further down --
19 MR. BLACK: In fact, could we go to the next page of the
20 translation, please. It's still on the same page in English, Your
22 Q. I hope this is clear. Maybe it's a sentence that went from one
23 page to the next. But there is a sentence that says: "He is afraid" --
24 and it's talking about you. "He is afraid about a new war with Croatia,
25 but if it is necessary, the ARSK will use heavy weapons they never used
1 before, rocket-launchers to reach Zagreb and Split and special chemical
3 Do you remember making such remarks to the ECMM, sir, about --
4 that if it was necessary that the SVK would use rocket-launchers to reach
5 Zagreb and Split?
6 A. I don't know who this gentleman who drafted the report is quoting.
7 At that time was chief of police. My weapons and my knowledge about the
8 weapons of the Army of Serbian RSK were non-existent. I did not know
9 whether they had such weaponry or not. I am sure, I am certain, that I
10 never stated this. This is beyond question. It says "officers of the
11 army," as far as I can see.
12 Q. Yeah, well, let's go back to the first page. I'm sorry, I went
13 too quickly and maybe I didn't make this clear.
14 MR. BLACK: If we could go to the first page of the translation
15 and scroll down a bit.
16 Q. Do you see in the first paragraph, sir, it says that they had a
17 meeting -- arranged a meeting with the chief of the militia in Benkovac,
18 Zoran Lakic, and his deputy Gojko Calac which was held in a friendly
19 atmosphere. So that's a reference to you, correct, as you said as head of
20 the police. Correct?
21 A. Yes, I was head of the public security station at Benkovac at the
22 time, but I am sure that I never discussed chemical weapons or rockets
23 because still I don't know what we had at our disposal. Maybe this was a
24 provocative question of the person I discussed these things with, whether
25 we had those weapons or not. But I'm sure that I never said that because
1 we -- it states here we discussed something that I did not know anything
3 Q. Okay. Thank you for that explanation.
4 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, could this be admitted into evidence.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence. May it
6 please be given an exhibit number.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this becomes Exhibit Number 993.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
9 Yes, Mr. Black.
10 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Mr. Lakic, thank you for answering my questions. No further
12 questions at this time.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Black.
14 Mr. Milovancevic, any re-examination?
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
16 Re-examination by Mr. Milovancevic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Since that before my question we had your answer
18 of my learned friend concerning this document, 993, I would like to -- for
19 this exhibit, 993, to be brought back on the screens. Do you remember
20 this document?
21 A. Yes, I remember this --
22 Q. -- discussion with the ECMM?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Please, let's not overlap in our questions and answers because of
25 the interpreters.
1 A. Thank you.
2 Q. Can you recall that possible discussion on military issues, as you
3 explained to the Prosecutor, was in your opinion in the form of a
4 provocative question by the ECMM people.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you see this document before you?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Let us take a look at the
9 bottom of the page, the last paragraph.
10 Q. The second sentence in this paragraph there is the following text
11 which reads: "Head of the police asserted firmly that Germany and the
12 US of A are guilty with regard to the situation in the RSK. It will never
13 be possible for the Croatians to reintegrate into the RSK, but there are
14 still Croats who live and work in the area of Benkovac. For instance, in
15 the ARSK there are six to eight Croatian officers and a large number of
17 Can you see this text?
18 A. Yes, I can.
19 Q. That's April 1995. Is that correct, Witness?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. This piece of information as interpreted by the ECMM, that
22 Croatians within the RSK are part of the Army of RSK, this is correct?
23 A. Yes, this is correct. I know some of the Croats.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] We no longer need this
1 document. Thank you.
2 Q. I will broach another subject. Do you recall when the Prosecutor
3 showed you some photographs showing facilities destroyed in Skabrnja; do
4 you recall that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you recall an answer put to you -- a question put to you as to
7 when you visited Skabrnja with regard to the destruction?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. At a certain point, maybe you remember that, you started saying
10 that you visited Skabrnja in 1992, and then His Honour Moloto interrupted
11 you saying that you are being examined concerning 1992 and 1993, not 1991.
12 Do you recall that?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. You visited Skabrnja on the 18th of November, 1991, as you stated
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. When did you visit Skabrnja after that?
18 A. In 1992, the end of 1992, when units of JNA, TO were
19 re-established into the brigade of border police sometime in November
21 Q. On that occasion, in November 1992, did you notice the condition
22 of the buildings, houses, in Skabrnja?
23 A. Yes, my first impression was that the damage to buildings were the
24 same as one year earlier.
25 Q. Thank you. You spoke about these -- about the destruction and you
1 said that the damage was the same as one year earlier. Could you describe
2 summarily what kind of damage was that.
3 A. Damage to the roofs from mortar shells, maybe 1 or 2 square metres
4 of roof tiles. There were holes in walls from artillery and tank fire,
5 but we had information that Croatian forces from the direction of Prkos
6 they would shell JNA while it was in Skabrnja in 1992. But these -- the
7 level of damage was not drastic. The damage was not the same as was shown
8 on the pictures.
9 Q. Do you recall in trying to answer the Prosecutor's questions you
10 mentioned some battles in 1993. Do you recall that?
11 A. Yes. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Where did these battles take place and what bearing had that on
13 Skabrnja, could you explain that, in 1993?
14 A. 23rd of January, 1993, in the wider area of Northern Dalmatia
15 there was an overall aggression of Croatian forces against the Serbian
16 territory in Northern Dalmatia, whereby Croatian forces, units of Croatian
17 army and other units at their disposal, attacked the territory of the
18 municipalities of Benkovac, Obrovac, and Gracac, and partly the Knin
19 municipality territory. The main axis of their attack was the territory
20 of the Benkovac municipality, the axis of airport at Zemunik towards
21 Smiljcic and Debelo Brdo the other axis of their attack was Zeleni Hrast,
22 Islam Grcki, Kasic, Smiljcic, Debelo Brdo. One of the axis of their
23 attack touched upon the territory of Skabrnja, and in the battles, very
24 fierce battles that unfolded over the next one month or so at the point of
25 contact with Croatian forces, there was such intense shelling that even
1 fortified buildings would have been extensively damaged. So these were
2 the battles of 1993.
3 Q. Thank you. You mentioned the attack of the Croatian forces
4 against this territory. Did this attack have a common name?
5 A. I can't remember. I can't remember the term. I used to know it,
6 but I cannot recall it right now.
7 Q. Was that attack directed at the area of Maslenica?
8 A. Yes, you are right, Maslenica.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we have Exhibit 30 on our
10 screens, please. This is a document concerning photographs that were
11 taken on the 25th of November, 1991. I have either provided the wrong
12 number or you may have been mistaken.
13 Can I ask the assistance of my learned friend Mr. Black concerning
14 the number of the folder containing photographs that were made by the
15 security station. I believe you used that same folder in your
16 cross-examination. I must have written the wrong number.
17 MR. BLACK: I think it's Exhibit 270.
18 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
19 Q. When the Prosecutor showed you some of the photographs made in
20 Skabrnja - and we have the document here and I will have a couple of
21 questions concerning that as well - as -- can you tell us in your opinion
22 when was the serious extent of the damage you can see in the photographs
24 A. It must have been inflicted after 1992. In the course of 1993,
25 when there was fierce fighting and destruction on a large scale on both
1 sides, because Skabrnja changed hands, it was at one point under the
2 control of the Serb forces and others of the Croat forces.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please take a look at
4 some of the photographs here.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, your opposite number is on his
7 MR. BLACK: I'm sorry to interrupt. There may have been
8 confusion. 270 were photographs that were taken by the Benkovac security
9 station, and that's why I mentioned that one. The exhibit with
10 photographs of destruction which I showed to the witness is Exhibit 272.
11 So I apologise for the confusion. I'm not exactly sure which one counsel
12 wants to use, but those are the two.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Counsel, which one do you want to use?
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I'm grateful to my learned
15 friend Mr. Black. I was only interested in the cover page of this
16 document, the document that we have on our screens right now. I will not
17 be needing it afterwards.
18 Q. Witness, can you read out the text for us.
19 A. "Massacre committed by the Chetnik formations on the civilian
20 victims on the 18th of November, 1991."
21 Q. And below that.
22 A. "Copies out of the original photo documentation discovered in an
23 abandoned automobile of the Zastava 101 make in Benkovac on the 6th of
24 April, 1996."
25 Q. Thank you. Do you recall that among the photo documentation that
1 was found in the disused automobile there were also photographs shown to
2 you by the Prosecutor of both the victims and buildings destroyed?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. It says here that the subject of the report is the massacre
5 committed on the civilians by Chetnik units on the 18th of November, 1991.
6 What sort of Chetnik units are being referred to here, can you tell us
7 anything about it?
8 A. Well, see, this is the terminology dating back to World War II.
9 The Serb side referred to the Croatian side as Ustasha most often; and
10 they responded in equal measure, by referring to all the members of the
11 Serb forces as Chetniks.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Milovancevic, just for my own
14 clarification, that previous question you said, that's at line 16: "Do
15 you recall that among the photo documentation that was found in the
16 disused automobile there were also photographs shown to you by the
17 Prosecutor of both the victims and buildings destroyed?"
18 Were these among the same package or are these two separate
19 exhibits actually? I thought Mr. Black talked of Exhibit 270 and 272.
20 This, I think, is 270 that is on the screen; and the one that contains
21 photos of destroyed property is 272. He can correct me if I'm wrong.
22 MR. BLACK: No, that's exactly right, Your Honour, and they are
23 two separate exhibits with separate origins, as testified by witnesses.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just the question where you say "among," "among the
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you are correct.
2 It was a mistake on my part. I fully accept what you said. These were
3 two separate exhibits.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] And I misrepresented that.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes that in the last answer by
7 the witness he said: "Referring to all the members of the Serb forces,
8 including the JNA as Chetniks."
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Can you tell us the following. We would find interesting the
11 following. According to this report, the photo documentation was found in
12 an abandoned automobile of the Zastava 101 make in Benkovac on the 6th of
13 April, 1996. Do you know the -- whether the photo documentation compiled
14 by the SUP Benkovac in the 1991 to 1995 period or, rather, when this photo
15 documentation left the area or until what point was it in the hands of the
16 SUP Benkovac?
17 A. It was on the 4th of August, 1995, that all the staff of the SUP
18 Benkovac left the area.
19 Q. It says here that the documentation belonging to the SUP Benkovac
20 was found in this car almost a year later, in 1996. You see that here?
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. Thank you. As far as the photographs depicting damaged buildings
23 are concerned, and I mean those buildings that suffered extensive
24 damage --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry to do this to you, Mr. Milovancevic.
1 Once again, can you just direct me where it says that the documentation
2 belongs to the SUP of Benkovac. You -- we haven't paged through. We are
3 still on page 1 of this document, isn't it?
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was not
5 commenting on the cover page here; I was, rather, referring to Mr. Black's
6 question wherein he referred to the photo documentation that he said was
7 made by the SUP Benkovac in 1991. And this was the same documentation
8 that was found in the abandoned car. I wasn't specifically referring to
9 the document we have on our screens. We can go into that document, but I
10 was merely referring the witness back to the questions that had been put
11 to him and the answers that he gave.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Your question was: "It says here that the
13 documentation belonging to the SUP Benkovac was found in this car almost a
14 year later, in 1996."
15 When you say "it says here," what are you referring to?
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you're right.
17 This is not what the cover page reads. Allow me, please, to rephrase
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please do.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I was making inferences. Thank
22 Q. It says here that this is a copy of the original photo
23 documentation retrieved from an abandoned car of the Zastava 101 make in
24 Benkovac on the 6th of April, 1996. Do you see that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you recall the Prosecutor showing you photographs as part of
2 the documentation that was authored in the SUP Benkovac in 1991?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. This is my question: Can you rule out the possibility that the
5 damage inflicted on the 18th and 19th of November, 1991, is shown in this
6 photo documentation in the condition in which they were in 1993 after the
7 Maslenica operation?
8 A. Well, I must say that the two conditions in which the buildings
9 could be found were incomparable --
10 MR. BLACK: Objection, Your Honour. Objection, because I think
11 what's happening here is Defence counsel is conflating two things. He's
12 taking the date from one exhibit and he's transferring that date on to
13 another exhibit. And witnesses came and testified about where these came
14 from. It's clear that the photos of destruction didn't come from the
15 Benkovac SUP, they don't bear the stamp of the Benkovac SUP, as do the
16 photos in Exhibit 270. In this question --
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Having said that, can you just give me the sense of
18 that question. I don't understand it.
19 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I understood the question as trying to
20 show that because Exhibit 270 was found in a car in 1996, Exhibit 272 must
21 have been somehow doctored with or tampered with or the date of it is
22 uncertain. That's why I object, because it's confusing two exhibits and
23 the dates regarding two exhibits.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: In any case, Mr. Milovancevic, there is a physical
25 impossibility in my mind to your question. Can you rule out the
1 possibility that the damage inflicted on the 18th and 19th of November,
2 1991, is shown in this photo documentation in the condition in which they
3 were in 1993 after the Maslenica operation? How can a damage that is
4 inflicted on -- in 1991 appear in a condition of 1993?
5 Before you answer my question, maybe you can respond to the
6 objection. Do you want to take a break?
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps that would
8 be convenient, and then we can continue.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Remember the objection when we come back.
10 Court adjourned. Come back at 4.00.
11 --- Recess taken at 3.28 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Black.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's my turn --
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues]...
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] -- and I have to respond to
17 what my learned friend Mr. Black said. I apologise.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: My apologies. You don't have anything to apologise
19 for, Mr. Milovancevic, I must apologise. Thank you. I'm very sorry.
20 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my colleague
22 Mr. Black is right as far as these exhibits are concerned. These are two
23 sets of photographs. I withdraw my earlier question. I will rephrase it
24 fully by your leave.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Lakic, you do remember the Prosecutor showing you a set of
3 photographs taken in the area of Skabrnja. Do you recall that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you also recall another set of photographs which
6 dealt with the extent of damaged inflicted on Skabrnja?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You said that in 1992 you were in Skabrnja and you saw the
9 condition of the buildings there. Is that right?
10 A. Yes, I was there.
11 Q. This is my following question: Is it possible that the damage to
12 be seen in the photographs shown to you by the Prosecutor was inflicted in
14 A. Yes. Mostly certainly in 1993 and the years to follow, in the
15 actions in 1994 as well.
16 Q. Thank you. Do you remember the Prosecutor asking you about
17 whether the Croatian MUP forces were in Skabrnja on the 18th of November,
18 1991? This is one of the questions, too.
19 A. Yes, I remember.
20 Q. Which armed units on the 18th of November, 1991, in the area of
21 Yugoslavia and in the area of Croatia - therefore, in the area of
22 Skabrnja - constituted regular armed formations?
23 A. The regular armed formation in the Republic of Croatia at the time
24 was the Yugoslav People's Army officially speaking. Therefore -- also as
25 well as the TO. The -- Croatia started establishing its armed formations,
1 which was contrary to the federal laws and regulations governing armed
3 Q. Thank you. How would you qualify the formations with which
4 clashes occurred on the 18th and 19th of November, 1991, in Skabrnja?
5 A. Those were irregular formations, paramilitary formations.
6 Q. Do you remember the Prosecutor asking you about a document which
7 is generally called the Zadar Agreement; that is to say, the agreement
8 between the JNA representatives and the Croatian representatives in Zadar?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Do you recall the Prosecutor showing you one of the items of the
11 agreement, I believe it was item 11, although I don't -- I may be
13 A. Yes, I remember.
14 Q. Let us look at the Zadar Agreement. This is Exhibit 990; that was
15 at least how I noted it down. I may be mistaken again.
16 Do you recall seeing the text of this document yesterday? You
17 read out the title of it as well.
18 A. That was on Friday. Yes, I do remember.
19 Q. Yes. Thank you for correcting me. That was on Friday.
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please scroll down to
21 see the items, scroll down a bit more, please. Yes, that is fine. Thank
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: What page are we looking at in the English version,
24 Mr. Milovancevic?
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is page 1 of
1 the document. We are interested in the very beginning of the document.
2 The passage at the top, can we see the beginning of it. Yes, that's fine.
3 Q. Can you read out the first paragraph, please.
4 A. "On the 9th of October, 1991, at the Zemunik military airport,
5 representatives met of the command of the Knin Corps, commander of the
6 Zadar garrison, and representatives of the Zadar Municipal Assembly and
7 command for the defence of the Zadar region concerning the joint
8 obligation toward an absolute cease-fire and ceasing of all military
9 operations, lifting the blockade of the town of Zadar and military
10 facilities and pulling out of manpower, technical, materiel, and combat
11 resources of the JNA."
12 Q. Thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Slow down. Slow down.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Please read out the sentence below the main heading. I will refer
16 you to it. Below the text that you read out it says: "The agreement
17 implies the exercise of the following joint obligations."
18 Please read out item 4.
19 A. Item 4: "Remove forthwith all physical obstacles such as
20 minefields and barricades erected by the units of the armed forces of the
21 Croatian army and JNA units."
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Let us scroll down a bit more.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Slow down. My interpreter is struggling to keep
25 pace, gentlemen. Thank you very much.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Please read out items 5, 6, and 7 of the agreement, but please
3 read at a slower pace so that the interpreters can follow.
4 A. Of course. Item 5: "On the contact line, on the line of
5 engagement, and around military facilities in the town of Zadar and the
6 surroundings, disengage forces which -- to a distance which will,
7 depending on the lay of the terrain and the level of settlements there,
8 will exclude mutual friction and activity. The command for the defence of
9 the Zadar region shall be duty-bound to secure military facilities from
10 any activities from armed formations, groups, and individuals.
11 "6. Freedom of movement shall be secured for all members of the
12 armed forces of the SFRY and members of their families."
13 Item 7: "Introduce right away all PTT connections in all
14 military -- or restore all PTT connections to all military facilities and
15 dwellings of the -- their staff and make sure that their units and
16 facilities of the armed forces of the SFRY have water, electricity, food,
17 and other necessary supplies, which will be adequate in terms of the
18 situation in the town of Zadar."
19 Q. Thank you. And the last provision of the agreement I would like
20 you to read is item 8.
21 A. Item 8: "Make sure that pull-out of all the materiel and combat
22 resources of the JNA can be carried out smoothly as well as the evacuation
23 of all of the private property of the persons moving out of Zadar."
24 Q. Thank you. Do you recall the Prosecutor asking you whether you
25 know that such an agreement between the Croatian side and the JNA forces
1 was reached in early October 1991?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you recall the Prosecutor asking you whether the agreement was
4 in fact acted upon; and in the context of that, he showed you a document
5 referring to some 260 trucks that pulled out military equipment?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Whether what was agreed upon on the 9th of October, 1991, between
8 the Croatian side and the JNA, was it enforced when it comes to Zadar, the
9 Zemunik airport, and the area that you were in?
10 A. Only in part.
11 Q. Do you recall the Prosecutor asking you what was the real reason
12 of the intervention in Skabrnja or the conflict in Skabrnja? Was it an
13 attack against the largest Croatian village to send a signal to other
14 Croatian villages and inhabitants; do you recall that?
15 A. Yes, I do recall.
16 Q. Please take --
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Let us take a look -- and this
18 document is no longer needed. So let's take a look at Prosecution 65 ter
19 document 2066 or Exhibit 785. Let it be retrieved on the e-court. That
20 is supposed to be a report of the 9th Corps command from 20th of November,
22 Q. Could you please read out in the top left corner who is the author
23 of the document.
24 A. This is the 9th Corps commander, strictly confidential, number
25 696-1, dated 20th of November, 1991, headquarters at Knin. The addressee
1 is the VPO command and the 5th Military District command.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] May we scroll down, please.
4 You can stop here. Thank you.
5 Q. Could you in this document, in the second paragraph under item 1,
6 read out the text of that paragraph.
7 A. Yes.
8 "On no occasions so far, despite our insistence, members of the
9 ECMM have enabled representatives of our command and command of the Naval
10 District to visit barracks, facilities, and families of the members of the
11 armed forces of the SFRY that have been in total -- subject to a total
12 blockade for several months now. Almost nothing has been done to lift the
13 blockade of the barracks and dislocated facilities and to allow normal
14 supply of same moving around the cities of Sibenik and Split and to
15 guarantee basic human rights and create minimum conditions for their
17 Q. Thank you. I should ask you to read out from this document
18 something from item 3.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Please scroll down so that we
20 see the bottom of the page.
21 Q. The first two lines, please.
22 A. Item 3: "Also we state that combat activities have not ceased,
23 combat activities against our facilities. We would like to stress the
24 most recent case of fire being aimed at the Rade Koncar barracks in
25 Sibenik during the night 19th and 20th November, 1991."
1 Q. The next sentence.
2 A. "In the past four days, the Zemunik airport has been the target of
3 continued attacks from the Croatian side which result in damage to
4 invaluable technical equipment and people are being injured."
5 Q. Thank you. Just so that the -- this document is dated 20th of
6 November, 1991.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Let us go to the last page of
8 this document, page 3 in the B/C/S version, to see who this -- who signed
9 this document. It's 041-4439 --
10 Q. Oh, it's in front of you. Who signed this?
11 A. General-Major Vladimir Vukovic, the commander, signed this
13 Q. Could you tell us, who did he command?
14 A. General Vladimir Vukovic was the commander of the 9th Corps, which
15 was headquartered in Knin, the 9th Corps of the JNA.
16 Q. As far as you know about the situation out on the ground and
17 around the Zemunik airport, does this document reflect reality?
18 A. Yes, completely.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you stick to your answer to the Prosecutor's and my
20 question about what were the reasons for the Skabrnja action?
21 A. I stick to my statement in full.
22 Q. Thank you. In relation to the fighting in Skabrnja on the 18th
23 and 19th of November, 1991, do you recall the Prosecutor showing you a
24 report signed by the then-Lieutenant Ernest Radjen about the sanitization
25 of the terrain; do you recall that?
1 A. Yes, I do recall.
2 Q. Could you tell us, given that you are a reserve officer and that
3 you were engaged in war, could you explain what in military terms the
4 sanitization of the area means.
5 A. In military terms, the term "sanitization" implies physical
6 removal of remains after a military action, remains of the killed members
7 of both sides, of animals, everything, and of equipment so that it -- it
8 is prevented for equipment to be further destroyed. That would be it.
9 Q. Do you recall the Prosecutor showing you certain items of Ernest
10 Radjen's report, items 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13?
11 A. Yes, I do recall.
12 Q. Which refer to civilian victims. Could you see from these items
13 that apart from civilians that there were killed members of the ZNG or
15 A. Yes, I did notice that.
16 Q. In combat situation, what would it mean to you that civilians and
17 armed personnel are inhabiting the same space and area -- what
18 consequences would it lead to?
19 A. In armed and military operations, armed personnel may use
20 civilians as -- for protection. In concrete terms, in street fighting,
21 armed combat within settlements a soldier who may be captured uses
22 civilians to manoeuvre himself out of that particular area. This may be
23 one of the reasons.
24 Q. Thank you. Is this allowed? Is it in keeping with morality and
25 customs of war standards?
1 A. Use of civilians to these purposes is by no means allowed; I'm
2 certain of that.
3 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Can I ask a question here.
4 You have said it's not allowed. How would the other side be
5 required to behave under the customs and laws in relation to war, having
6 seen a situation where the enemy seizes civilians and uses them as a
7 shield in order to manoeuvre the way -- or for some reason, what is the
8 duty in those circumstances? What's the right?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in all these actions, to my
10 knowledge, actions of that type, of that type, and fights in villages and
11 towns and cities, what is required is to leave some time for the civilians
12 to withdraw. In this specific case, ample time was left for the civilians
13 to withdraw because more than 1500 civilians of Skabrnja withdrew in the
14 direction of Zadar without any consequences. So these civilians either
15 willingly stayed behind or were members -- were used by members of the ZNG
16 as a human shield. They could have evacuated as well.
17 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: That's precisely what I'm saying. Having used
18 them as human shields, what was the other side supposed to do in the
19 circumstances in order to satisfy the customs and laws of war? Could you
20 respond by firing at the ZNG when they were using the civilians as
21 shields, or under the circumstances should you avoid returning fire or
22 attacking under those circumstances? Or are you saying that you're
23 allowed to because of the fact that you have given a time for evacuation,
24 and that time-limit is passed and evacuation has not taken place in
25 relation to the civilians?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only justified answer to your
2 question would be that those civilians who stayed behind with the members
3 of the armed forces of Croatia did that on their own volition or pursuant
4 to a command of the armed forces of Croatia.
5 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Let's assume that they were acting under the
6 command of the armed forces of Croatia, let's assume that they weren't
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what I would have done.
9 I did not command that action. But I think that I would not allow any
10 fire being opened against civilians if I were in such a position, I mean I
12 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: You're speaking tactically really, of what you
13 would do in the heat of the moment out there on the field in the
14 situation, but what I was trying to get from you further is what you would
15 be required to do, what is the right way to behave and strategically
16 conduct the war under those circumstances, as opposed to what would not be
17 permissible. If you think you have nothing further to add, but I really
18 wanted a bit more.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I had at my disposal
20 the information that all these civilians opened fire; even women opened
21 fire at us. So if a civilian stayed behind with military personnel and
22 opened fire, then all of them are soldiers. If a civilian were to be
23 abused, I believe that I would not go through with such orders if I were
24 ordered so by my superiors.
25 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I take it that you're not able to answer, to
1 tell me what the situation ought to be?
2 Yes, thank you.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I take a slightly different point on this
4 topic. When this question was first put to you, it came as a hypothetical
5 situation. If you look at page 41, line 10, the question was: "In combat
6 situation, what would it mean to you that civilians and armed personnel
7 are inhabiting the same space and area? What consequences would it lead
9 Your answer was: "In armed and military operations, armed
10 personnel may use civilians as for protection, in concrete terms, in
11 street fighting, on combat within settlements, a soldier who may be
12 captured uses civilians to manoeuvre himself out of that particular area
13 is maybe one of the reasons."
14 You realise that you were discussing with counsel at the
15 hypothetical level? Right.
16 Now, I'm rather concerned that a little later you will now make it
17 evidence --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, what am I going to -- you said -- right. At
20 page 42, starting from lines -- line 3 I'll just read the whole paragraph.
21 "Well, in all these actions, to my knowledge, actions of that
22 type, of that type, and fights in villages and towns and cities what is
23 required is to leave some time for the civilians to withdraw. In this
24 specific case, ample time was left for the civilians to withdraw because
25 more than 1500 civilians of Skabrnja withdrew in the direction of Zadar
1 without any consequences. So these civilians either willingly stayed
2 behind or were members or used by members of the ZNG as a human shield.
3 They could have evacuated as well."
4 Now you are testifying, you are no more on a hypothetical level,
5 sir. My question is: Is this your evidence or are you just supposing?
6 Are you speculating that people were used as human shields in this
7 specific case?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is a presumption. I don't know
9 the real reason, but those civilians who stayed behind --
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, if it's a presumption, Mr. Milovancevic, I'm
11 sure you'll agree it can't be part of the evidence. We can't move from
12 hypothesis and suddenly make a hypothesis fact. Would you agree?
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the presumption on
14 the part of the witness was referred -- was put in response to the Bench's
15 question, not mine. In response to Judge Nosworthy's question,
16 elaborating upon a stance towards civilians, he expressed this
17 presumption. It wasn't in response to my question. I have not finished
18 my re-examination.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I agree 110 per cent with you, Mr. Milovancevic.
20 Nonetheless, the witness is a Defence witness and I just want to clear
21 this little point with the Defence team as to whether you would accept
22 that in answering the Judges' questions, the witness has moved from a
23 hypothesis and has brought down the hypothesis to what now appears to be
24 evidence and that that is not permissible.
25 I would like -- I would like to get your view on how you expect
1 the Chamber to treat this part of the evidence or this part of the record.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the question by
3 Her Honour Nosworthy was of a principled nature, and the response was
4 partly of a principled nature and partly connected with the specific
5 situation. What I'd like to hear, when the Bench examines the witness,
6 then I, as counsel for the Defence, do not control the witness and the
7 witness is in the full jurisdiction of the Bench and the Bench should
8 decide whether additional questions are going to be put to the witness or
9 should the Defence continue. So in this part, I could not lead the -- and
10 examine the witness, so I cannot really answer your question. And in my
11 further re-examination, if it pleases the Bench, I will re-visit this
12 issue so that we could eventually find out whether the witness is
13 hypothesising or whether it refers to reality. I will work up on this
14 thesis furthermore.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated].
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for His Honour.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: I beg your pardon.
18 Witness, do you accept that you have moved from a hypothesis to
19 what purports to be testimony?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as the facts in Skabrnja, we
21 can answer a question that was put forward as a hypothesis. But in
22 principle, as regards the principled question, do you read me?
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Go ahead.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In principle, the position and the
25 war customs and laws say that civilians may not be abused as a human
1 shield or for any other purpose. But if a civilian uses weapons and
2 together with a soldier is joined in the same fight or military
3 activities, then they are to be regarded as soldiers. Of course, it has
4 to be proven on a case-by-case basis.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's true, but don't add more facts. Here the
6 question just was: A civilian is being used as a human shield, and what
7 would the other side do or what would the other side be expected to do in
8 terms of the laws of war? But I'm happy with your answer. You have said
9 that insofar as it relates to Skabrnja, that was a hypothesis. So I
10 accept that. Thank you so much.
11 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Mr. Milovancevic, please, can we get back to your
14 starting point, this sanitization report. What report were you talking
15 about or referring to? We can get that on the screen maybe or learn the
16 number of --
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, of course. I
18 believe that this would be good in this situation. I am talking about
19 Exhibit 109 is the report prepared by Ernest Radjen on sanitization. It's
20 supposed to be dated 1st of December, 1991.
21 Q. Questions pertaining to the report of Ernest Radjen are connected
22 with the document that you can see on the screen. Do you recognise that
23 as the document shown by the Prosecution?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. Under 2, item 2 of this document, reference is made to
1 a 35-year-old man wearing ZNG uniform on the road with a bullet-hole in
2 the area of the head. Under 3 -- do you see that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Under 3, in the courtyard of a privately -- private home, a man,
5 65-year-old civilian, two women aged 65 to 70, in the basement of a house
6 three elderly people. Under 4, in the courtyard of a private -- two men
7 25 to 30 years of age in ZNG uniform, one man aged around 60, most
8 probably father and sons, were armed, Kalashnikovs RVM 57, 1-2 Zoljas and
9 most probably hit by shrapnel. One elderly person, woman, in the house.
10 Can you see that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Under 5, in a courtyard of a private home two elderly men,
13 civilians, most probably killed by mines MB, and there is an impact site
14 in the courtyard. Can you see that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Under 7, on the door of one house, one man aged 55, one civilian,
17 two women, 50, 55 years of age in the -- on the ground floor; one woman
18 aged around 70 in the corridor on the first floor. The house was pierced
19 by a shell, most probably a tank shell. Can you see that?
20 A. Yes, I can.
21 Q. Under 9, in an unfinished house on the ground floor three men, one
22 aged between 35 and 40; two men aged around 45; and one female person aged
23 around 55. The youngest man was most probably member of the ZNG. Can you
24 see that under 9?
25 A. Yes, I can.
1 Q. In item 10, victims are also referred to and the last line reads:
2 One man aged around 40 in the video rental in the ZNG uniform, and that's
3 how item 10 ends. Do you see that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. I will refer you to two more items, 12 and 13.
6 Item 12, large garage bearing the sign Andrija Artukovic barracks,
7 containing military equipment, radio-sets, ammunition, ROB, some 30
8 pieces, three female persons aged around 60 to 65, and one male person
9 aged about 60 in front of the garage, a civilian. Do you see that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Finally item 13, in the courtyard one female person aged
12 around 60, and in the house two male persons aged around 35, most probably
13 members of the ZNG. Do you see that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. This is the question: Does the presence of civilians in the
16 houses where there were armed persons and out of which it was possible to
17 open fire, would that sort of activity from those houses endanger
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions concerning this document.
21 Mr. Lakic, for two days roughly we spoke of the events that took
22 place on the 18th and 19th November, 1991, in Skabrnja, and I'd like to
23 know the following: Did Mr. Martic have any sort of role to play in
24 connection with these events; do you know?
25 MR. BLACK: Objection, Your Honour. Objection, Your Honour, this
1 does not arise out of my cross-examination. This is brand new evidence
2 which could have been asked on direct examination.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] If Mr. Prosecutor is not
5 interested in the answer to this question, I will withdraw it, Your
6 Honour. In our -- of course, our position is quite known with regard to
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
9 Are you done with your cross-examination -- your re-examination?
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I have one more question, the
11 last one.
12 Q. When did you leave Krajina and why?
13 A. I left Krajina in 1995, specifically on the 4th of August, 1995.
14 I left due to the armed aggression that the Republic of Croatia carried
15 out against the remaining Serb population in Krajina. That was the main
16 sort of reason -- or actually, the only reason at that point in time.
17 The people who had lived in Krajina for centuries left Krajina.
18 It was not the objective of the Serbian people to create a exclusive pure
19 Serb state in territory of Krajina and Croatia. For centuries we had
20 lived together with Croats. In such -- even in such calamity the Serb
21 people wanted to continue living with Croats in the area. However, it was
22 not permitted to do so and the Serb people from the territory of Krajina
23 and Croatia, due to some fabricated positions and force had to leave an
24 area where it had been present for centuries.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
3 Questioned by the Court:
4 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Witness, I have two little questions.
5 First, you mentioned Goran Opacic. Can you tell us if Goran
6 Opacic had a nickname or an alias name?
7 A. I don't recall whether he had a nickname. He may have had one. I
8 held a relatively high position in the area of Benkovac, and I did not
9 communicate with him by referring to his nickname. We -- I used his full
10 name, but he may have had one.
11 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Okay. The full name was, once more? What was the
12 full name?
13 A. Goran Opacic.
14 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Okay. I didn't mean you having used the nickname,
15 but maybe you would have known.
16 Then the second question is about the lady commander of the
17 medical unit. What was that name again and how is the family name
18 spelled, please?
19 A. Her name was and is Nada Pupovac, P-u-p-o-v-a-c.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: And where was she from or is she from?
21 A. Your Honour, she hails from a village near Benkovac, the village
22 of Perusic. Perusic.
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Do you know where she lives today?
24 A. Today she lives in Belgrade.
25 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you very much. Those were my questions.
1 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: No questions. Thank you, Judge.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Judge.
3 Mr. Lakic, why were the TOs abolished in November 1992 again?
4 A. Your Honour, the Territorial Defence was first restructured on the
5 1st of November, 1991, and there was the TO staff with the local communes
6 and there was the TO brigade under the JNA command.
7 In November of 1992 --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's right. That's what I'm interested in. In
9 November 1992 ...
10 A. After the peace agreement -- agreements under the auspices of the
11 United Nations, the JNA formations no longer existed in the territory of
12 Croatia and Krajina. The border police brigade was established,
13 headquartered in Benkovac, with the sole task of, together with the
14 members of the UN forces, securing the borderline opposite Sibenik and
15 Zadar, or rather, I'm sorry, Biograd and Zadar in the territory of
16 Benkovac municipality.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you done?
18 A. I -- if I can add something --
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, no, no --
20 A. I apologise.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: My problem is you have told me nothing about why
22 the TO was abolished in November 1992. I hear what you're telling me
23 here. That doesn't tell me why the TO was abolished in November 1992.
24 Just give me that reason.
25 A. At the same time, the personnel of the JNA was withdrawn and the
1 Territorial Defence was disbanded as part of the armed forces. The
2 territory of Krajina was covered and controlled by UN forces. That was
3 the reason.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Was Darko Miljatovic a member of the Serbian
5 army in November of 1991?
6 A. Do you mean Darko Miljaljevic, the same person that I mentioned
7 when answering Prosecutor's questions?
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed, yes. Oh, it's Mijaljevic, I'm sorry.
9 A. Darko Mijaljevic was an officer, first of the Territorial Defence
10 and later of the Serbian Army of Krajina through to the end of the war. I
11 think that he ended up with the rank of a captain.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yeah, but -- [Microphone not activated].
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: As of -- I beg your pardon.
15 As of November 1991, of which forces was he a member, the TO or
16 the JNA?
17 A. As far as I remember, he wasn't a member of the TO forces. I
18 think he was a reserve JNA officer and a commander of special squad or
19 something of the sort.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
21 Thank you very much. That concludes my questions.
22 Any questions arising, Mr. Milovancevic?
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. Thank you.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
25 Mr. Black.
1 MR. BLACK: None, Your Honour. Thank you.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
3 Thank you, Mr. Lakic, this brings us to the end of your testimony.
4 The Chamber would like to thank you for taking the time off to come and
5 testify. Thank you once more. You are excused. You may stand down.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, is -- can we go into private
10 session for a short while, please.
11 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
25 Next witness, Mr. Milovancevic.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the witness please make the declaration.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
5 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, ma'am. You may take a seat.
7 Thank you.
8 Mr. Milovancevic.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 WITNESS: NADA PUPOVAC
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examination by Mr. Milovancevic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Madam.
14 A. Good afternoon.
15 Q. As Defence counsel for the accused, Milan Martic, I will now start
16 my examination-in-chief. As we speak the same language, let us please be
17 mindful of the fact that we have to make a pause between question and
18 answer so that the interpreters can do their job.
19 Can you please tell us your full name.
20 A. Nada, nee Pupovac, Drmanic, 10th of March, 1959, in Benkovac, now
21 the Republic of Croatia, previously Yugoslavia, then in Croatia as one
22 federative unit of Yugoslavia.
23 Q. Thank you. That will suffice.
24 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: The interpreter didn't catch what the witness
25 said after her surname. There's something missing after she gives her
1 name. Maybe you could try and get it from her for the purposes of the
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, Madam
5 Q. Can you please tell us once again so that it is stated clearly in
6 transcript your full name?
7 A. Nada Drmanic, nee Pupovac, born on the 10th of March, 1959.
8 Q. Thank you. That will suffice. What is your ethnicity and your
9 faith, Madam?
10 A. Serb and I am of Orthodox faith.
11 Q. Where precisely is the place where you were born located, what is
12 it called and where is it?
13 A. I was born in the municipality of Benkovac, in the town of
14 Benkovac. And I lived in Perusic, a village on the outskirts of Benkovac.
15 It is in Northern Dalmatia.
16 Q. That will do. Thank you. What is your educational background and
17 where did you work?
18 A. I am an administrator by occupation [Realtime transcript read in
19 error "Office of the Prosecution"] and I worked in the Jugoplastika Split
20 company in the Benkovac branch office and in --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat which year she stopped
22 working there for private reasons?
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Thank you.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, sorry, the interpreter wants to know in
1 which year she stopped for private reasons.
2 I see it says: "I am an administrator by Office of the
3 Prosecution." I want to know if that is correct.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may put a
5 question concerning this.
6 Q. When you said that you are by occupation an administrator,
7 specialised in administrative law affairs, does it mean that you completed
8 high school?
9 A. Yes. And I worked in the warehouse in the branch office of
10 Jugoplastika in Benkovac for 12 years.
11 Q. Thank you. You also said that you worked there until 1990, am I
12 right, and then for private reasons you stopped working there?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You say that you worked in the Jugoplastika branch office in the
15 packaging sector. Does it mean that you did not do the job you were in
16 fact schooled for, you did something else?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you. The village of Perusic, where you resided until 1992,
19 how big is it?
20 A. It is 2 kilometres long and it has 110 homes, out of which 20
21 houses were those of Serbs and the rest were Croatian population.
22 Q. I suppose that this particular -- this -- the information you gave
23 us dates from 1990?
24 A. Yes. In Perusic today, there isn't a single house standing. They
25 weren't destroyed during the aggression, but after the aggression, and I
1 mean the Storm in 1995, they were destroyed in three days following the
3 Q. You said that the village was inhabited by both Croats and Serbs.
4 Can you tell us something about the inter-ethnic relations there up until
6 A. Until 1990 we lived in an atmosphere of tolerance. There was the
7 maspok, the mass movement in 1971, where there was an attempt to destroy
8 Yugoslavia. And in 1990 the multi-party elections were held where the
9 Croatian Democratic Union won.
10 Q. Thank you. We will be dealing with that at a later stage.
11 You said that the relations were marked by tolerance, and you
12 mentioned the year 1971. What was it that prompted you to speak of that
14 A. In 1971 Ustasha signs and symbols appeared in the village which
15 reminded Serbs to the period between 1941 and 1945 when Ustasha were
16 destroying Serb people and setting up camps. In that period, my family
17 suffered as well. My mother was tied up by combined forces of Ustasha and
18 Germans, which caused her to have a miscarriage. She lost her first child
19 that way.
20 Q. Thank you. Did you know why it was that in 1971 certain problems
21 emerged and how did the Serb population react to them?
22 A. The Serbian population organised village guards where men wanted
23 to organise their -- to protect their families. One could hear different
24 songs being chanted to the effect that they were thirsty of Serb blood,
25 and so on and so forth.
1 Q. You're speaking of the period marked by the so-called maspok back
2 in 1971. Did I understand you correctly?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did I understand you correctly when you said that the Serbian
5 population back in 1971 stood guard?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Why did they organise village guards?
8 A. Because the fear of what the Ustashas meant came to life. It was
9 something that had been experienced previously.
10 Q. This political process, as you described it, was it brought to a
11 stop? What was life like?
12 A. After that the activity of the services which prompted this
13 movement was halted and tolerance was re-introduced.
14 Q. When you gave us your personal details, you told us where you
15 worked and how long. After this particular employment, did you engage in
16 any social activities, like for instance the youth movement?
17 A. I was an active member of the youth movement of Yugoslavia. I was
18 a member of the youth association in the Benkovac municipality. I
19 participated in many social actions and spear-headed many youth labour
21 Q. Thank you. You told us that your village is located in the
22 municipality of Benkovac. What was the make-up of the municipality; do
23 you know?
24 A. Yes. The municipality of Benkovac had 51 per cent Serbs and the
25 rest were Croats. There were some Muslims and ethnic Albanians. There
1 were 50 villages, and Benkovac town was 70 per cent Serb; 20 villages were
2 Serb; and two hamlets, Biljane Donje and Trlenje [phoen]; then there were
3 10 exclusively Croat villages; and 13 mixed villages.
4 Q. You mentioned interpersonal relationships within your village.
5 Would your characterisation of these relations be valid for the territory
6 of the municipality of Benkovac?
7 A. Yes, it would.
8 Q. When you say that relations were normal until 1990, do you mean
9 that after 1990 there was a change in these relations?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you tell us when and why.
12 A. The multi-party elections in the then-Croatian unit of the Federal
13 Yugoslavia ended by HDZ and Ustasha party taking power. At that point,
14 they wanted to break up Yugoslavia with the help of foreign states that
15 wanted that. HDZ armed their sympathisers. Insignia and symbols
16 re-emerge which did not serve the interest of Yugoslavia. For instance,
17 the flag of the Croatian units within the Federation which was then red,
18 white, and blue with a five-pointed star. But at that time what emerged
19 was the flag, the red, white, and blue, with a chequer-board symbol which
20 revokes Ustasha symbols.
21 Q. Thank you. Before the break, which is scheduled for 5.15, I will
22 ask you a brief question. In the first half of 1990, what was the
23 official flag of the federal unit of Croatia within Yugoslavia?
24 A. Official flag was red, white, and blue with the five-pointed star
25 in the middle.
1 Q. Thank you. So if I understood you correctly, flag with the red,
2 white, and blue fields, with a five-pointed star, red star, in the middle.
3 Is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Is this a fine time to take a
6 break, Your Honours?
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: It is the right time indeed, Mr. Milovancevic. We
8 will take a break and come back at quarter to 6.00.
9 Court adjourned.
10 --- Recess taken at 5.13 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 5.46 p.m.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Witness, you mentioned 1990 as a year where relations are
15 disturbed. How would this manifest itself in the everyday life in your
16 village, in Benkovac, in Zadar?
17 A. Well, the worst case that happened was in May. Member of the
18 Serbian Democratic Party was knifed one evening in the centre of the
19 town. After that, we had cases where families that would move from
20 Benkovac and Zadar would be taken off buses. We had a family of Stegnjaja
21 that was taken off a bus and was later found -- their bodies decapitated
22 and a man's head was put on a woman's body and a woman's head on a man's
24 Q. Thank you. Which period are you referring to. You mentioned the
25 family Stegnjaja?
1 A. I'm talking about 1990. There were no war activities. It was
2 after the multi-party elections. This all happened in August, and the
3 first case incident happened in May.
4 Q. Thank you. You mentioned Stegnjaja family. Could you tell us
5 what happened and how it transpired and where.
6 A. They were taken off a bus.
7 Q. Please, between your answers let us make a pause to help the
8 interpretation service.
9 Tell us, please, what happened with the Stegnjaja family.
10 A. The Stegnjaja husband was Serb, the woman was a Croat. They were
11 on a bus between Benkovac and Zadar through the place of Zeleni Hrast,
12 which is just beyond Islam Latinski. The bus was stopped by
13 paramilitaries that was created by the HDZ in the then-Yugoslavia. The
14 people on the bus watched Stegnjajas being taken away. Two days later
15 their bodies were found decapitated.
16 Q. The details that you are mentioning, how did you find out about
18 A. My neighbour, an elderly woman, was shocked at the time. She
19 still suffers high blood -- high blood sugar levels and shock because she
20 witnessed that.
21 Q. You just said that the first case was in May when somebody was
22 knifed, and the case in hand you are mentioning it took place in September
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Please be slower in your responses. So you said they were taken
1 off a bus. Where would they -- where were they taken away?
2 A. Their bodies were found in some bushes by the roadside, and they
3 were buried at the Kasic cemetery, the village of Kasic in Ravni Kotari.
4 Even their remains were not laid in peace because their bones were
5 disinterred and the tombstones were broken down.
6 Q. Please focus on the event. These people were murdered?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You said that the husband and wife had their heads severed and
9 that the woman's head was placed on the husband's body and vice versa. Is
10 that what you're testifying to?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What was the surname of these people?
13 A. Stegnjaja, the Stegnjaja family.
14 Q. What was the reaction of the local population to these events?
15 A. Of course they were upset, distressed at -- during that period in
16 the summertime police station in Benkovac had target -- been target of an
17 attempt to disarm and then Serbs would be without protection in the
18 Benkovac area, because HDZ were -- had control over paramilitary
19 formations and wanted to appoint their armed staff.
20 Q. Would -- did this incident have ramifications of everyday life in
22 A. Yes, of course it had. People could not commute to work. People
23 could not sleep. Village guards had to be organised. There was much
24 trepidation because many people had survived World War II under Ustasha
25 occupation and suffered the emblems of the chequer-board.
1 Q. Does Cirkovic Tomislav ring any bells?
2 A. Yes, that was the man who was married in my village two houses
3 down the road from my house.
4 Q. Just a moment, please. The period of August/September, of which
6 A. 1990.
7 Q. What do you associate this person and this wedding?
8 A. Because this was the first time that armed people took part in the
9 wedding ceremonies. I could not move around the village for the first
10 time because I was held at gun-point.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, I'm not quite sure we are getting
12 a mistranslation. You're talking about a wedding, and the witness hadn't
13 spoken about a wedding according to the transcript. How does it come in?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did mention --
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I ask a
16 number of questions to elaborate upon this?
17 Q. You mentioned Tomislav Cirkovic --
18 A. It's not Cirkovic but Curkovic.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: My problem is when facts come from your side for
20 the first time before they've been mentioned by the witness. I don't mind
21 you asking a few questions, but, you know, let's get the testimony from
22 the witness.
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since I was
24 listening to the witness, let me ask a few questions so that we avoid a
25 situation where I would be leading the witness or I would be testifying.
1 Q. So the name of this man Curkovic, what event do you associate with
2 that name in 1990?
3 A. At his wedding ceremony, all members of the HDZ had -- were -- had
4 Kalashnikovs. They were firing rounds and to prove that they were armed.
5 At the same evening, they blocked the road towards Benkovac and they held
6 me at gun-point and returned me back home. I couldn't reach Benkovac.
7 Q. Thank you. You say that that person lived two houses down the
8 road from your house in the village and he was married that day. Who
9 toted Kalashnikovs and how did you find out that they had Kalashnikovs?
10 A. I could see it from my house. The wedding guests were members of
11 the HDZ, which transpired afterwards because everybody knows everybody
12 else in the village.
13 Q. Were there rounds fired and why, on that occasion?
14 A. Yes. Thank God not at us, and they blocked the Benkovac-Perusic
15 road which leads to Kolarina which is a major Serb inhabited village.
16 Q. What were your feelings about that event?
17 A. Well, you can't really be indifferent when somebody held you at
18 gun-point and inserts a round into the barrel.
19 Q. Thank you. Does the mention of "redarstvenici" mean anything to
21 A. Well, in the -- there's "redarstvenici," disarmed policemen in
22 Benkovac. They were left without weapons. Two redarstvenici, Sisgora and
23 Curkovic, lived in my village. They lived there and commuted under arms
24 in full combat gear.
25 Q. Am I much mistaken if I say that you are referring to the second
1 part of 1990. Is that right?
2 A. Yes, I'm referring to summer, August and September of 1990.
3 Q. Which year?
4 A. 1990.
5 Q. Could you tell us what the term "redarstvenik" mean at that time,
6 what it referred to?
7 A. It referred to an Ustasha soldier of HDZ's paramilitary formations
8 in the then-country of Yugoslavia.
9 Q. Thank you. You said that there were two such lads who joined the
10 redarstvenici or police formations from your village?
11 A. Yes, Sisgora and Curkovic.
12 Q. You were -- you said you were -- they were armed. What kind of
14 A. Automatic rifles, bombs, grenades, whichever was part of the
16 Q. What did they wear?
17 A. In camouflage fatigues, as any other soldier. They wore the
18 insignia of the Ustashi army with an Ustashi emblem.
19 Q. At the time in autumn of 1990, the mention of the textile factory
20 in Vuksic, does it mean anything to you?
21 A. I was seeking employment, and I was told that in Vuksic it would
22 really be -- well, at the time it was really hard to find a job. And they
23 told me that the factory in Vuksic had vacancies. First you had Vuksic, a
24 Serb village, then -- first you had Kolarina, a Serb village, and then
25 Vuksic, a mixed village, and there they had a textile factory.
1 As I entered the premises of the factory, I came across a scene
2 which harked back to the Ustasha rule. I saw thousands and thousands of
3 flags on the premises. At first, I couldn't make out which flags they
4 were. I realised that they were not the official flags of the Socialist
5 Republic of Croatia, which existed in the then-Yugoslavia. These were
6 Ustasha flags sporting the Ustasha sign, that of a chequer-board. I
7 turned around and left the area without pursuing my intention to get
8 employed there.
9 Q. Did I understand you to say that you went to that textile factory
10 with the intention of getting a job there, but that as soon as you saw the
11 flags you gave up the idea?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. Does the mention of barricades ring a bell in this first half of
15 A. Well, the first barricade that was erected in my village was in
16 the month of October during the grapes harvest. One was erected in front
17 of my house at the end of the village, and this meant that we no longer
18 were able or free to go through the Croat part of the village. The
19 barricade was erected by a man, a villager, I personally knew.
20 Q. What did the barricade consist of?
21 A. Those were disused car tires. From that date on, unknown people,
22 members of the HDZ, started coming to the village and holding meetings
24 Q. As of the period when the barricades were erected, did you go to
25 Zadar and what about the other villagers?
1 A. I myself did not go to Zadar, but the Serbs who lived in other
2 parts of Croatia and who were native of the area of Benkovac started
3 returning to Benkovac because back where they lived they were asked to
4 sign loyalty oaths to the Croatian authorities. Their houses were
5 destroyed. We know that in Zadar more than 140 dwellings were destroyed,
6 some of those were residential homes, others were business premises.
7 Q. Pause there, please. You made two points now, one was the loyalty
8 oaths, as you call them. Who asked whom to sign these loyalty oaths?
9 A. It was the party that won the majority of seats, the HDZ, who had
10 their own followers in all the businesses, and they asked employees to
11 sign such loyalty oaths. Those who would not sign them had to leave that
12 particular area because they were afraid that night-time would engulf them
13 or that they would just simply disappear.
14 My own family went through a similar type of torture in 1991. I
15 haven't seen that part of my family for 16 years now and haven't been in
16 touch with them all because of cases such as the one I described.
17 Q. You said that people were required sign loyalty oaths. Did it
18 mean that whoever signed such loyalty oaths at one's work-place would
19 remain in employment?
20 A. No, no. Even those people who signed such oaths did not stay
21 there because they were forced out of their homes so that other people who
22 never lived there could move in.
23 Q. You've just told us that there were people who signed loyalty
24 oaths, but still this wasn't enough. They were moved out of their homes.
25 By whom?
1 A. By the HDZ authorities who styled themselves or posed as the
2 regular authorities.
3 Q. Witness, why did the people who signed loyalty oaths to the HDZ
4 have to leave? Why were they expelled?
5 A. Because they were Serbs.
6 Q. I will appeal to you again to make a short pause before answering
7 my questions because we will -- this will prove too taxing on the
9 You've just told us that people were terribly frightened of the
10 repercussions of not signing such oaths. Why?
11 A. They were afraid that they would be killed. The Ustasha
12 authorities did not -- were not too selective about the means that they
14 Q. You have taken the solemn declaration and you are testifying to
15 certain events. You say that those who would not sign such loyalty oaths
16 at their work-places were exposed to the danger, to the threat, of being
17 killed. Is that what you're saying?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Who would kill them, the people who didn't sign loyalty oaths?
20 A. The HDZ authorities headed by Franjo Tudjman, who was alive at the
22 Q. You said that those who refused to sign such oaths were very much
23 afraid. What did they do next?
24 A. They went back to the municipality of Benkovac. They had to leave
25 their place of residence under pressure.
1 Q. The people who went back to the municipality of Benkovac, what was
2 their ethnicity?
3 A. Serb, and we had one ethnic Italian.
4 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Just on the point of interest, did you have any
5 Croats who refused to sign oaths to the HDZ who were asked to sign oaths?
6 Did any refuse?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have any such knowledge. I
8 don't have any information to that effect.
9 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much.
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. The events you've been describing took place in 1990. I'm
12 interested in what the situation was like in 1991. In the area of
13 Benkovac, were there any JNA units and were there any such units in
15 A. Sir, there had to be the Yugoslav People's Army since that was the
16 army of the state that existed at the time, the sovereign and
17 internationally recognised state.
18 Q. Thank you. What was the situation like in mid-1991 concerning the
19 JNA in the area?
20 A. In all the areas where Croats were in the majority, the JNA came
21 under attacks, its members were being killed and captured. They had to
22 find ways to protect themselves.
23 Q. Were you a member of the JNA at the time?
24 A. No, not at the time.
25 Q. How did you come by the information?
1 A. A unit was being pulled out of Zadar into Benkovac which was
2 commanded by Perisic, and he himself and his unit had been in Zadar
3 encircled and without water-supplies for a long time. The Zemunik
4 airport, it was encircled for a long time, under siege.
5 Q. Can you tell us how far the Zemunik airport is from Benkovac and
6 also the distance between Zadar and Benkovac.
7 A. The distance between Zadar and Benkovac is about 30 kilometres, I
8 believe, whereas the airport and Zadar are some 4 kilometres away. The
9 first village, a mixed Croat/Serb village, is Zemunik Donje and then
10 Skabrnja. The road to Benkovac is across Biljane Donje -- or, rather,
11 Skabrnja, Biljane Donje, and Zemunik Gornje, the Croat part all the way to
12 Smiljcic. All these roads were blocked at the time.
13 Q. These are all roads leading to and from the Zemunik airport. Is
14 that right?
15 A. Yes. These were the roads that were being used, and they all
16 converge at Zemunik Donje.
17 Q. When you say that the roads leading to and from Zemunik were
18 blocked, can you tell us who effected the blockades and how.
19 A. The blockades were set up by Croats and their paramilitary forces.
20 The main points from which they could control not only the airport but
21 also the Benkovac-Biljane road and Benkovac-Biljane Gornje road toward the
22 Ravni Kotor villages and the Biograd-Benkovac road was Razovljeva Glava.
23 From Nadinska Gradina one could also control a large area, and from there
24 60-millimetre mortars were used to fire upon Benkovac, and I'm speaking
25 about the vantage point of Nadinska Gradina, and the distance is some 3
1 to 4 kilometres as the crow flies.
2 Q. Thank you. Where did you get this information from? Where did
3 you get all these details concerning Razovljeva Glava, Nadinska Kosa, the
4 events at Benkovac and Zemunik?
5 A. I was a member of the Territorial Defence in Benkovac under the
6 command of Mr. Zoran Lakic. I was the commander of the medical corps, and
7 I held the post at the time when both roads leading to the Zemunik airport
8 were supposed to be -- got rid of the blockade.
9 Q. As a member of the TO, what were your specific duties?
10 A. At the time, my task was -- or, rather, let me explain this in
11 greater detail. I was a member of the civilian protection when I worked
12 for my company, and I went through Red Cross training and thereupon I took
13 part in various exercises. This is how I came to be involved in the TO.
14 Q. Thank you. You said that you went -- attended various Red Cross
15 courses and took part in exercises and competitions and that this was how
16 you came to be involved in the TO. So would I be wrong in inferring that
17 you were a nurse within the TO forces?
18 A. No, you wouldn't be wrong.
19 Q. As a member of the Territorial Defence, specifically as a member
20 of the medical corps, you said that you belonged to the unit under the
21 command of Mr. Zoran Lakic?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You also stated that it was in this capacity that you took part in
24 two attempts to lift the blockade of Skabrnja?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell us when the first attempt took place and what
3 A. On the 30th of September, 1991, there was this first attempt from
4 the direction of Devici to enter Nadin peacefully with a view to lifting
5 the siege of Nadinska Glava and freeing the road leading to the airport,
6 to open up food-supplies and so on. At the time the army had already been
7 withdrawing from the area.
8 Q. Thank you. Thank you. At that point in time, on the 30th of
9 September, 1991, who led the action of deblocking Nadinska Glava?
10 A. It was the JNA, the army of the country that was in existence at
11 the time.
12 Q. Thank you. How did you come to be involved in the action?
13 A. As soon as the JNA set off toward Nadin from Devici it came across
14 land-mines. There were anti-tank mines, personnel mines, and trip mines.
15 A tank came across a tank mine. There were people wounded. One of the
16 JNA members got killed. I was pulling out those wounded from the tank
17 with my team, and I got into a minefield in the process. We managed to
18 pull out, but that was where we had to stop. We couldn't advance. A
19 soldier by the name of Strbac got killed. There was shelling at the
20 airport. The first victim was Svetozar Cubrilo. He got killed in the
21 shelling that came from the direction of Zadar.
22 Q. Thank you. You said that the JNA set off toward Nadinska Glava,
23 that a tank came across a mine --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And that you actually set off to assist them.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You spoke of the tank mines, personnel, and trip mines. How did
3 you come to know about that?
4 A. I found myself in the middle of a minefield as I was trying to
5 pull out two of the crewmen out of a tank.
6 Q. Can you tell us and describe for us how it was.
7 A. As I set out, I didn't expect as many minefields to be there. But
8 later on it turned out that the Benkovac-facing side was laid with mines,
9 completely. I'm not speaking of Nadinska Kosa, of the high ground there,
10 I'm speaking of the surrounding area.
11 Q. Pause there. You said that the [indiscernible] side up to the
12 road was mined. Who did lay the mines?
13 A. Paramilitary forces of Croatia, of today's Croatia.
14 Q. Thank you. How did you manage to reach the destroyed tank and how
15 did you pull them out and how did you get out of the minefield?
16 A. I had to stop until after the sappers have cleared the minefield
17 so that we can pull out.
18 Q. Were there people injured in the tank?
19 A. Yes, two. One lost a leg.
20 Q. Whose was this tank, of which army was that soldier?
21 A. Of the Yugoslav army, both the tank and the soldier.
22 Q. Thank you. Did you at that time -- or, better said, which unit
23 did you belong to, JNA or the TO?
24 A. To the TO, but they were under the command of the JNA.
25 Q. On the 30th of September, 1991, when you were approaching
1 Nadinska Kosa, apart from coming across minefields were there any fire
2 opened at you?
3 A. There was fierce fire fighting. The army wanted to avoid
4 casualties because those involved were citizens of Yugoslavia and in the
5 ranks of JNA there were Slovenes, Siptars, Muslims, Hungarians, et cetera.
6 The fact was that the tank unit was commanded by Stjepan Rekenji.
7 Q. Thank you. Who opened fire and from where, opened fire against
8 the unit of the JNA?
9 A. Fire was opened by the paramilitary unit residing at Nadin at the
10 time --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Correction: Paramilitary unit of Croatia.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. What was the end result?
14 A. Military retreated to their base. Later on the situation was
15 attempted to be resolved, the situation with the airport by an attempt to
16 negotiate a way from Zemunik through Skabrnja, but that attempt failed.
17 Q. Witness, could you tell us how did you learn about a peaceful
18 attempt on the 30th of September? Who is the source of that information?
19 You said that the JNA set out in tanks and you referred to it as a
20 peaceful attempt. Could you describe that?
21 A. Well, the JNA, it was much more powerful than they were. They
22 could neutralise them, but they did not want to bring about casualties in
23 their own people so they retreated because they wanted to find a peaceful
25 Q. Thank you. You just said that you took part twice in the action
1 aimed at lifting the blockade of the airport in the direction of Skabrnja.
2 When was this second attempt?
3 A. The second attempt was on the 18th of November, 1991.
4 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us, when did you learn that this action
5 is going to take place, how did you learn about that, and briefly describe
6 your involvement in that action.
7 A. There were no special preparations. I was notified to be on
8 stand-by, that I will be stationed at Trljuge, hamlet of Biljane Donje
9 village. We were ordered to be on stand-by if there were any casualties
10 or to help with any possible evacuation of the population.
11 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us who said that and when?
12 A. Zoran Lakic told me that because he maintained radio communication
13 with me on a permanent basis.
14 Q. You mentioned Zoran Lakic as the commander of the Territorial
15 Defence of Benkovac?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. Therefore, commander of the Territorial Defence of Benkovac told
18 you to be ready for the 18th November, 1991, because of the forthcoming
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Where did you go and with whom? How did it all start and when on
22 the 18th of November?
23 A. A unit of the JNA and the Territorial Defence of Benkovac set out
24 jointly to lift the blockade of the Zemunik airport from Trljuge down the
25 road which leads to the airport and en route through Zemunik Donje they
1 advanced. We stayed behind in Trljuge. That's a hamlet of Biljane Donje.
2 And after half an hour, Lieutenant Stefanovic could be heard. He was
3 speaking into a bull-horn and we could hear it because it was close by.
4 He tried to appeal for the road to be cleared; in response, we heard
5 machine-gun fire. And then we were notified that we should go to the
6 hamlet of Ambar within the village of Skabrnja.
7 I set out in a blue van marked with a red cross through the
8 Croatian part of the Zemunik Gornje village. People were on the their
9 balconies, on terraces, both young and old. Nobody offered any
10 resistance, as it was planned peacefully. But when I reached Ambar I was
11 met with a terrible scene. Lieutenant Stefanovic had been killed and a
12 soldier, I believe Samir was his name, he was a Muslim, tried to help him
13 and was hit right next to him.
14 Q. Thank you. You said that you heard gun-fire and you were
15 summoned. Who summoned you and by which means?
16 A. By radio communication, both Lakic and the JNA, Yugoslav People's
17 Army, that was situated at Skabrnja.
18 Q. Could you tell us approximately when was it when you reached the
19 hamlet of Ambar and when you were met with the situation where Lieutenant
20 Stefanovic and Muslim soldier Samir were killed?
21 A. The action started at 7.00 and it -- I was there in ten minutes'
23 Q. At the moment when you received the call and when you heard
24 machine-gun fire to come to Ambar you were, as you said, at the hamlet
25 Trljuge. What is the distance between the two places?
1 A. Maybe 300 metres, not -- even less as the crow flies.
2 Q. When you said you reached to Ambar, was there fire going on or was
3 it peaceful?
4 A. There was still fire-fights. They shot at me as well, although I
5 wore an armband, white armband with the Red Cross symbol, and I had a bag
6 with me with material. And they -- I came across young soldiers who were
7 in tears because they were shocked by the death of that lieutenant. They
8 were very fond of him.
9 Q. Thank you. I forgot to ask you something. I will do that now.
10 You said that you set out into that action as a member of the TO, as a
11 member of the medical corps. You mentioned a blue van?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How many people of the medical corps were there? What was your
14 uniform? What was your equipment?
15 A. There were three women within the medical corps and one man who
16 drove the van. We had a stretcher in the van. We had bags, first aid
17 bags, and everything else was done by an out-patient clinic at Smiljcic.
18 Unfortunately, the woman who is now incarcerated in Croatian
19 prisons is there without justification because she never set foot in
20 Skabrnja. She was convicted of the crimes in Skabrnja, Ms. Banic never
21 saw Skabrnja, and she's now incarcerated in Croatian prisons, as opposed
22 to me who was in Skabrnja.
23 Q. You answered something that you were not asked about, but since
24 you mentioned it, you mentioned that there were three women in the medical
25 corps and the driver, a man. And you said that Madam Banic was convicted?
1 A. In absentia she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
2 When she was re-tried, she was handed down a sentence of 13, then 10
3 years. I witnessed via videolink from Belgrade, and finally she was
4 convicted and sentenced to six years in prison, but it's unfair because
5 even six minutes prison sentence is too long if a person is innocent.
6 Q. May I interrupt you. Let's close the book on this issue.
7 You said that: "Ms. Banic was not with me and she was convicted."
8 What does it mean? She was convicted for allegedly being in Skabrnja. Is
9 that right?
10 A. She was accused of killing people in Skabrnja. This is terrible.
11 We were not in the service of any military to kill; we were there to help
12 people, be it Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Turks.
13 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: When you say "we were there to help people," are
15 you referring to yourself and Ms. Banic?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated].
18 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Nada Drmanic and
20 Ms. Banic is in Croatian prison right now.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Your remark makes me suspect you didn't understand
22 me. My question was simply: Were you there helping people with Ms. Banic
23 in Skabrnja?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, sir. You understood me right.
25 Ms. Banic was not in Skabrnja.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Thank you.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. You said, sir [as interpreted], how many people was the medical
4 unit composed of. Could you tell us how many soldiers on the part of the
5 JNA took part in this action, do you know that, and what resources were
6 sent there?
7 A. As far as I could see, but I cannot tell you a specific number, I
8 wasn't a JNA officer. There was some 200 soldiers in all, infantry,
10 Q. When you reached the Ambar hamlet, could you describe what were
11 your actions then. How did you establish that the lieutenant and the
12 soldier were killed?
13 A. I was there, and I felt his pulse. There was no pulse. And my
14 team drove him to Smiljcic, and other teams took over from there. I
15 remained there because it was difficult to approach this area because of
16 the fire opened by the Croatian side. I stayed there because it was -- be
17 easier for me to provide help, assistance, and aid, if necessary.
18 Q. You said that you pulled out the killed lieutenant of the JNA,
19 Stefanovic. Where did you pull him out from?
20 A. He was on the APC, on the road towards Skabrnja 50 metres into the
21 hamlet of Ambar. There were several anti-tank mines that had been
22 dismantled by the time that the medical unit reached that spot.
23 Q. For the Bench and the Prosecutor to understand what it is all
24 about and for me to be clear, could you explain what was this APC.
25 A. That's armoured personnel carrier, military armoured personnel
2 Q. Was it inside or outside?
3 A. Outside. When he was killed, he was hit in the neck. He was the
4 one who appealed for peaceful agreement.
5 Q. Where did you find the killed soldier?
6 A. Next to lieutenant. Because that soldier tried to help the
7 lieutenant, but that Croatian side shot and hit him as well.
8 Q. That soldier was next to the killed lieutenant. Where were they?
9 I apologise if I'm asking silly questions.
10 A. They were on the APC on the road towards Skabrnja.
11 Q. Thank you. Witness, I ask you these questions because I am not
12 supposed to put to you leading questions.
13 I've just heard from you that the killed lieutenant was on the APC
14 and that the soldier was on that APC next to the lieutenant. Is that
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Who pulled these people out? You, yourself, or were you assisted
18 by anybody?
19 A. My team and I and a soldier, Mr. Boksic, a Croat, was among those
20 soldiers. That Boksic came from Makarska and we knew that because his
21 cousin is a well-known footballer.
22 JUDGE HOEPFEL: May I interrupt you, Mr. Milovancevic. I'm not
23 sure if the witness said she pulled them out of the APC. Wasn't it that
24 you said that in your question?
25 Witness, can you describe that once more, where were these people.
1 In the translation I got it said "on the APC. We pulled them out" or so,
2 but this was then already answering the question. Can you describe it?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When we reached that spot, we found
4 people trying to pull them out of the APC, but because of the intense
5 firing on the part of the Croatian side it was difficult to take them out.
6 We did what we can -- could. We pulled them out of the APC, tried to
7 provide them with first aid, but they had already died because neither of
8 them had any pulse.
9 JUDGE HOEPFEL: So they were in the APC and still they were
10 killed? Isn't this an armoured vehicle?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, I've made myself quite clear.
12 They were in the APC, but jutting out of the APC was the lieutenant
13 holding the megaphone and calling on to the other side to reach an
15 However, the other side, the Croatian paramilitaries, did not
16 respond peacefully. They returned fire and hit the lieutenant.
17 JUDGE HOEPFEL: But, Witness, it's not necessary to say you made
18 yourself quite clear. If there is a question, there is a question,
19 apparently it's then not so clear. And I'm not sure clear in that one
20 point now.
21 What did you see? Did you see the lieutenant speaking through the
22 megaphone? Then you can describe the position he took. Otherwise, it's
23 maybe something you heard. Can you explain it?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, I and all of us who were
25 present in the area heard him speak over the megaphone because that's how
1 loud it was.
2 Now, the soldiers who were there told me how the things happened.
3 They were near the APC, and we arrived quite soon because we were
4 stationed nearby. It didn't take us long to reach the spot.
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
6 Please, Mr. Milovancevic.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Witness, I want to make one thing clear to you. We don't know
9 what happened there and have to establish precisely how things happened.
10 Sometimes things appear clearly; other times they don't. And please
11 answer our questions because we want to arrive at what actually happened
12 there. That is the point of the whole exercise. Thank you.
13 Let me ask you the following. In view of the description you gave
14 us - and with this I will try to end this line of questioning - were the
15 lieutenant and the soldier partly in the APC and partly outside of it?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. This is my next question --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry. I thought the witness said earlier,
19 Mr. Milovancevic, that it was the lieutenant who was jutting out of the
20 APC. You didn't say that about the other soldier. I'm not sure whether
21 now are we --
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I see what you
23 mean. Allow me to put several questions to clarify this. I've put a
24 great deal of questions to the witness and perhaps managed to confuse her
25 in the process.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: No, you haven't managed to confuse her. You're
2 managing to confuse the Chamber, Mr. Milovancevic.
3 The problem is that you put words into the mouth of witnesses, and
4 I've tried to warn you against this. The witness said at page 81, line 22
5 to 25: "Sir, I've made myself quite clear. They were in the APC, but
6 jutting out of the APC was the lieutenant holding the megaphone and
7 calling on to the other side to reach an agreement. However, the other
8 side, the Croatian paramilitaries, did not respond peacefully. They
9 returned fire and hit the lieutenant."
10 Now, there's nothing confusing and confused about that statement;
11 it's quite clear. Now, when you suggest to the witness that the soldier
12 was also jutting out, you are testifying.
13 So please phrase your questions in question form; don't tell her
14 something to agree with. Ask her the question and let her answer.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you're quite
16 right. In view of the answer you've just read out, my last question was
17 quite superfluous, and I -- this answer of the witness has kind of slipped
18 out of my attention and that wasn't my intention.
19 Q. Where were the JNA soldiers stationed or placed as you arrived
21 A. They were next to the APC, and this is in Dalmatia where you had
22 walls there and they would seek shelter behind them.
23 Q. You said that you established that both of those killed had no
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What happened next?
2 A. A short lull ensued, and at around 12.00 when they - and when I
3 say "they," I mean the Croatian side - resumed fire, the Yugoslav army had
4 to fire back. They had to protect themselves because they were pitted
5 against paramilitary forces.
6 Q. Thank you. You said it took you some ten minutes to arrive there.
7 You pulled the men out. What was the conduct of the JNA? How did the
8 other side behave? When did the fighting end?
9 A. A half an hour later on there was a lull, but then at 12.00 they
10 opened fire against the JNA once more.
11 Q. Thank you. As soon as the firing stopped for the first time,
12 where were the JNA soldiers, those you administered medical assistance,
14 A. They were in the shelters that they were able to find. You had
15 those stone walls along the road, and that was the only shelter that they
16 could use because the army was along the road.
17 Q. From which direction did the fire come that hit the JNA?
18 A. From the area of Razovljeva Glava and they had support from Prkos,
19 Zemunik Donje and Galovci. So they had infantry fire coming from
20 Razovljeva Glava and they had artillery support from these other
22 Q. You say that the forces in Skabrnja had artillery support from
23 Prkos and Galovci?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Who provided the support?
1 A. The Croatian paramilitaries again. Those were Croat villages
2 below Skabrnja, Zemunik Donje, Galovci, and Prkos, those were the
4 Q. Witness, when you say that the forces in Skabrnja had artillery
5 support, what does it mean in actual fact? What was the target of the
6 artillery fire from Zemunik Donje, Galovci, and Prkos?
7 A. Their target was purportedly the JNA. What they did in actual
8 fact was to also fire upon the houses of their own people, because it
9 wasn't always the case that they in fact hit the target. Shells fell all
10 over the place.
11 Q. You said that after you evacuated the two persons who were killed,
12 half an hour later there was a lull. Did your unit withdraw from the area
13 or not? What happened on the other side?
14 A. I stayed behind whilst my team went away transporting the two
15 killed. I stayed there because I didn't want to expose myself to fire and
16 I wanted to be there close at hand to assist any wounded, if any.
17 Q. You said that after 12.00 fire was resumed. Who opened fire and
18 upon whom?
19 A. It was the Croatian paramilitaries who opened fire upon the JNA
20 soldiers, soldiers of the country that existed. The JNA naturally
21 returned fire. Under the constitution and law, in such situation, the
22 attacked side is entitled to defend itself.
23 Q. What did the JNA do? What happened? Can you briefly describe
25 A. The army came under fire from all houses. It was hard to tell
1 where the fire came from. The fire came from the bell-tower of the church
2 from Razovljeva Glava. The artillery support also opened fire and the
3 army of course had to neutralise the enemy.
4 Q. Thank you. You said that the army came under fire and that it
5 responded. Which JNA forces were in Skabrnja at the time?
6 A. Well, the JNA had infantry troops who returned fire, and tanks
7 also opened fire in the direction of Galovci from where artillery fire
8 came upon them.
9 Q. You said that the tanks were placed along the road and foot
10 soldiers - and I mean the JNA soldiers - where were they?
11 A. They were behind -- sheltered behind the wall alongside the road.
12 Those were the walls of the courtyards of the houses along the road which
13 could best be used as shelters.
14 Q. Did the JNA soldiers come off the road during the fighting?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you know why this was the case?
17 A. Those were their orders, and the goal was to avoid any casualties.
18 Q. You said that the fighting resumed at 12.00. What happened then?
19 Did you move forward?
20 A. Yes, we were moving along the road in Skabrnja. There were bodies
21 of those dead and wounded civilians, and we started pulling out and
22 evacuating wounded Croats. I pulled out two -- three or four old men. I
23 pulled out a young man who was wounded; I believe his name was Ivica. I
24 dressed his wounds and pulled him out. There were also dead civilians
1 JUDGE HOEPFEL: May we learn what that means, "pulled civilians
2 out," out of where? Where was that? What do you mean?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Pull out," well that's the term we
4 used in wartime. This meant that we pulled persons out of the combat
5 zone. In this specific case, these were villagers whom I took toward the
6 van and transported them on to Smiljcic where they would be provided
7 further medical assistance.
8 Now, as for the dead civilians, I don't know who pulled them out.
9 Whoever was alive and wounded was taken by us to Smiljcic, where they
10 would be provided further aid.
11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Now, when you say that you gave medical assistance to people, were
13 there any JNA soldiers wounded there?
14 A. Yes. Well, it was a war.
15 Q. Can you tell us what the action of pulling out the wounded
17 A. Well, I had to pull out persons, be it a Serb, Muslim, or Croat,
18 whilst being exposed to fire. I was pulling the persons behind the walls
19 where I took shelter, and then tried to somehow place them on my back and
20 drag them to the van. We came under fire, the van came under fire,
21 despite the fact that it had the red cross mark on it.
22 Q. With regard to this, I have a specific question. You see a
23 wounded person in front of you. In what way do you approach the people
24 and what do you do next? Were you alone or did you have the assistance of
25 someone else?
1 A. Well, you see, first of all I had to hurl myself into shrubbery
2 there, so as not to be hit. And then, as I would try to reach the wounded
3 person, I would have to pull down a part of the wall to actually get hold
4 of the person. It was horrific.
5 Q. The wounded you pulled out were transported to Smiljcic, you say?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Why there?
8 A. We had a physician there who was able to provide them with
9 adequate medical assistance and, where necessary, the persons were further
10 transported to the hospital in Knin in order for shrapnel to be extracted
11 or for any other surgery to be carried out. This was something I had
12 nothing to do with anymore. My duty was to pull the person out of the
13 combat zone and provide -- administer aid as far as I was able to. The
14 rest had to be done by the physician.
15 Q. Thank you. In addition to the wounded civilians you assisted,
16 what of the other civilians you came across in the village?
17 A. The civilians mingled with the MUP members, ZNG members, the
18 members of 159th Brigade or whichever brigade they were. They were
19 mingling with the civilians in the cellars of the houses. You couldn't
20 tell who was a civilian or who wasn't. Every able-bodied man in Skabrnja
21 carried a weapon, carried a rifle.
22 Q. Witness, what do you base in statement of yours on?
23 A. Well, I myself saw civilians shooting out -- firing out of houses
24 and they would throw their own civilians out of these cellars, out of
25 these homes, in order to protect their own lives.
1 Another person stated as much. This was a person who was a
2 disabled. He was in wheelchair, and I provided him some food that
3 evening. And he said that there was this one man who did not allow
4 civilians to be pulled out of the village. His name was Miljanic. He
5 wouldn't allow them to be evacuated from the village. Instead, he forced
6 them to come into harm's way, into the fire. They even killed a family
7 there because they wanted to negotiate with the army. As much was told to
8 me by a man who was in a wheelchair. I believe he was a police officer
9 before that. He wasn't that old, but he was an invalid.
10 Q. We've come to the end of day, but let us just clarify who was this
11 man who was bound to the wheelchair? Where was he from?
12 A. He was a villager from Skabrnja, an invalid, who was bound to his
13 wheelchair. We protected him, took him out of the combat zone, and
14 provided him some food that evening.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I believe, Your Honour, that we
16 have finished for the day.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
18 Ma'am, we have come to the end of the day. Will you please be --
19 make sure that you are back in court tomorrow at quarter past 2.00 in the
20 afternoon so that we can continue with your evidence. For the time being,
21 you are excused.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. There's just one little
25 housekeeping matter here that we need to deal with.
1 The Trial Chamber will now renders its decision on two Defence
2 motions concerning Witness MM-105. On the 16th of October, 2006, the
3 Defence filed a motion for the admission into evidence of the statement of
4 Witness MM-105 pursuant to Rule 92 ter. In its written response of the
5 26th of October, 2006, the Prosecution did not object to the admission of
6 this statement. The Trial Chamber orders that the statement of
7 Witness MM-105 be admitted into evidence pursuant to Rule 92 ter subject
8 to the witness: (a) appearing in court for cross-examination and any
9 questioning by the Judges; and (b) attesting that the statement accurately
10 reflects his declaration and what he would say if examined in chief in
12 Further, the Trial Chamber orders the Defence counsel to place --
13 I beg your pardon. I'm sorry. Further, the Trial Chamber orders the
14 registrar to place the statement of Witness MM-105 under seal and orders
15 the Defence to file a redacted public statement by expunging the following
16 paragraphs: 3, 20, 22, 23, 30, 35, 38, 40, 47, 48, and 49.
17 On the 16th of October, the Defence filed a motion requesting the
18 protective measures of pseudonym and closed session for Witness MM-105.
19 In its written response of 30th of October, 2006, the Prosecution did not
20 oppose the protective measures of pseudonym and, if requested, image and
21 voice distortion; however, the Prosecution objects to the use of closed
22 session for this witness.
23 The Defence submits that Witness MM-105, who regularly travels to
24 Croatia, would fear for his safety while in Croatia if it became known
25 that he testified. The Trial Chamber considers that the risk to
1 Witness MM-105's security asserted by the Defence may rightly be described
2 as very low and finds that pseudonym will be the appropriate protective
3 measure. The registrar is ordered to assign a pseudonym to
4 Witness MM-105.
5 With regard to the request for closed session, the Trial Chamber
6 finds that the Defence has not shown an objectively grounded risk to the
7 witness's or the witness's family's security or welfare. The Trial
8 Chamber reminds the parties that closed session is an extraordinary
9 measure of witness protection. Therefore, there is a more onerous
10 obligation upon the requesting party to establish the risk asserted. The
11 personal circumstances of Witness MM-105, as expressed by the Defence, do
12 not meet this standard. The request for closed session for Witness MM-105
13 is therefore denied.
14 Should the Defence wish to apply for other protective measures in
15 relation to this witness, it should do so in writing by 12.00 tomorrow,
16 submitting further reasons for such a request.
17 Thank you. That brings us to the end of the order and also the
18 end of the day. The matter stands adjourned to tomorrow at quarter past
19 2.00 in Courtroom II, this same courtroom.
20 Court adjourned.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.06 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 31st day of
23 October, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.