1 Tuesday, 10 November 2015
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
9 IT-09-92-T, The Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 No preliminaries were announced. Could the witness be escorted
12 in the courtroom.
13 And I think you indicated you'd needed another 15 minutes,
14 Mr. Traldi.
15 MR. TRALDI: I think so, Your Honour, and I'll endeavour to be as
16 consistent with that as I can.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. TRALDI: Could we just for efficiency and to assist me in not
19 going too far over the time I predicted, could we have 65 ter 06682.
20 [The witness takes the stand]
21 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Marjanovic. May I remind you that
22 you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've given at the
23 beginning of your testimony.
24 Mr. Traldi will now continue his cross-examination.
25 WITNESS: OSTOJA MARJANOVIC [Resumed]
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Traldi: [Continued]
3 Q. Good morning, sir.
4 A. Good morning.
5 Q. Now we see here an article from Kozarski Vjesnik, 21
6 November 1993. Looking at the third column in the B/C/S in the centre
7 and the bottom of page 1 in the English we read about the attack on
8 Prijedor on the 30th of May. We read:
9 "After several hours of fighting, the attack was repulsed, the
10 attackers routed and partly destroyed. In these actions several soldiers
11 of the Serbian army and five policemen were killed."
12 Just two quick questions about this. First, this is a reflection
13 that the army did not go from Slavonia to Gradacac as you suggested
14 yesterday at T40988, that it fought in Prijedor at the end of May 1992;
16 A. Would you allow me to say a couple of things.
17 On the 30th May, when the attack happened, I was in my apartment
18 all day.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, could you please answer the question. If
20 there's anything to be added, then at the very end of your testimony you
21 have an opportunity to do so within certain limitations. But, at this
22 moment, you should focus on answering the questions.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not the entire 43rd Brigade was in
25 MR. TRALDI:
1 Q. We see here a reference to several hours of fighting. Does that
2 refresh your recollection as to the length of the conflict on the 30th of
4 A. An intervention group Karlica was stationed in Prijedor, and they
5 were involved in the fighting.
6 Q. That's an intervention group of the 43rd Brigade of the VRS;
8 A. Yes. But they were on leave in Prijedor at that time.
9 MR. TRALDI: Your Honours, I tender this document.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just for me to clarify. You said they were on
11 leave. Is it not being suggested to you that, in fact, they were the
12 people fighting in Prijedor at the time?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the course of the attack on
14 Prijedor, they, of their own initiative, engaged the attackers.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
17 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 06682 receives exhibit number
18 P7634, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: P7634 is admitted.
20 MR. TRALDI:
21 Q. Now, the army, meaning the VRS, also attacked Hambarine and
22 Kozarac in late May 1992; right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is it your evidence that that was also done by a couple of people
25 on leave?
1 A. No. That's the former JNA. Some units were set up - I don't
2 know which - but after the attacks on the reservists at Hambarine, they
3 opened fire with some launchers or mortars.
4 THE INTERPRETER: The witness did not clearly say what kind of
6 MR. TRALDI:
7 Q. If you know, what kind of launchers, sir?
8 A. I don't know.
9 Q. And an ultimatum to hand over the people who'd done the attack on
10 the reservists was issued by Commander Zeljaja; right?
11 A. I don't know about that ultimatum. I know there was an ultimatum
12 to all the paramilitary organisations to surrender their weapons.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, could you please answer the question. The
14 question was whether that ultimatum was issued by Commander Zeljaja.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
16 MR. TRALDI: Can we have 65 ter 33381, page 64.
17 Q. This is another portion of your Stakic testimony. Line 18,
18 you're asked, "What did you hear about the shooting there," and from
19 context it's the shooting you've just described on the reservists. "Who
20 was shooting at whom? What was the demanding question? Can you
21 explain -- can you give us more details?"
22 You respond:
23 "Oh I can just tell you what I heard from my neighbours. There
24 was the killing of reservists at the check-point in Hambarine. I believe
25 there were several wounded as well, and for a certain period of time the
1 dead bodies were just lying there and access was denied to them. And
2 later on, the army took over and dealt with the whole thing in
3 military ...?"
4 Turning to the next page:
5 "... way so to say."
6 And you were asked:
7 "Do you know who was it who asked for the perpetrators for the
8 weapons to be handed over? What did you hear?
9 You responded:
10 "I heard that it was the army who insisted on the surrender of
11 the perpetrators. And they also said that nothing would happen. The
12 ultimatum was rejected. I believe that at the time the commander was
13 Zeljaja, the commander of the garrison. I believe his name was
14 Radmilo Zeljaja."
15 Do you stand behind the portions of your Stakic testimony that
16 I've just read back to you?
17 A. It was a long time ago. I couldn't confirm it or deny it.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Do you stand by what you said at the time or do you
19 say, I ...
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The order was given by the
21 Executive Board of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor together with the
22 Crisis Staff.
23 JUDGE ORIE: So does that mean that you stand by it or not?
24 Because it was just read to you, what you said.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Traldi.
2 MR. TRALDI:
3 Q. Now, sir, when you said the order was given by the
4 Executive Board and the Crisis Staff, which order did you mean?
5 A. Well, this proclamation was prepared for all local communes to
6 collect all the weapons that had been distributed at that time. I was
7 accidentally present in the Secretariat for the Economy when, from Cerik
8 near Prijedor, people came bringing weapons. And at that time they
9 reported to the secretary of the Secretariat for the Economy who had some
10 role in this, and people from Kozarac came to say they are not going to
11 surrender their weapons.
12 Q. Sir, just to finish quickly by returning to the graves. Now, you
13 know the Tomasica, Redak and Jakarina Kosa grave-sites were all found on
14 RZR Ljubija property; right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You acknowledge it's possible that the VRS could have been
17 involved in the burials at Tomasica; right?
18 A. I can't say that.
19 MR. TRALDI: Can we have 65 ter 33385, page 212.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could I put the last question again to you but in a
21 different form.
22 Is there any reason for which you can exclude that the VRS could
23 have been involved in those burials?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is no reason, either for or
25 against, to exclude or to include.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
2 MR. TRALDI:
3 Q. Did anyone from the 43rd Brigade every speak to you about mass
4 graves on RZR Ljubija property?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did anyone from the military court ever speak to you about mass
7 graves on RZR Ljubija property?
8 A. This talk was in Prijedor.
9 Q. When you say "this talk," are you referring to the interview with
10 staff of the Office of the Prosecutor of this Tribunal held last year?
11 A. I suppose what you said is correct.
12 Q. So it's correct, then, that no one from the Banja Luka Military
13 Court during the war ever spoke to you about mass graves on RZR Ljubija;
15 A. I am certain that they did not.
16 Q. Now, sir, last topic. A JOY drill is a drill that drills
17 circular holes into rock; right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. In 1992, you knew precisely two of these machines existed as far
20 as you knew in Prijedor municipality; right?
21 A. In the Ljubija mine.
22 Q. Both of the drills that you knew of were owned by RZR Ljubija;
24 A. These two and there were more. It's mining equipment.
25 MR. TRALDI: Can we have 65 ter 33390.
1 Q. Now, this is the kind of hole a JOY drill creates, right, the
2 circular hole in the rock we see here?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 Q. And it's identified as a picture from the Jakarina Kosa mass
5 grave-site. You know about the exhumation there in 2001, don't you?
6 A. Yes, I heard about that.
7 MR. TRALDI: Can we have 65 ter 33399.
8 Q. As it comes up, you also know there have been additional
9 exhumations as Jakarina Kosa this year; right?
10 A. I don't know.
11 Q. So you haven't heard that during the course of this year, as we
12 see in the article on the screen, hundreds of human remains have been
13 found during the re-exhumation of the Jakarina Kosa site in Prijedor this
15 A. I did not follow this. Believe me, I don't know. I know about
16 funerals taking place at the cemetery not far from my own building.
17 Q. Now, the Chamber has received evidence, P3282, page 49, that the
18 Jakarina Kosa site was under military control when it was created, that
19 military explosives and other military equipment were found there. As
20 the head of RZR Ljubija, you'd have to have known that the Jakarina Kosa
21 site was under military control in the summer of 1993; right?
22 A. No, I didn't know that.
23 Q. Now, the Chamber has received evidence that for some bodies,
24 parts were found in the mass grave at Tomasica; parts were found of the
25 same body in the Jakarina Kosa site.
1 Now, you've testified just now that only two JOY machines you
2 were specifically aware of in Prijedor municipality in 1993 were owned by
3 RZR Ljubija. So these are people who had been buried at one spot on
4 company property, dug up, reburied, to your knowledge probably with
5 company equipment, at another spot on company property. Is it still your
6 evidence that you somehow remained ignorant of this entire process?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. TRALDI: Your Honours --
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Traldi.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- ask one question to the witness.
12 Sir, I know that at the beginning of your testimony you told us
13 about your career and how long you have been involved in the mining
14 duties. Up to which moment have you been the director of the mine?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From 1991 to 1996 I was the general
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Was there a reporting system in the mine about
18 major and important events taking place under your authority and under
19 your responsibility?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You didn't know if possibly an army unit or any
22 other entity tried, either successfully or not successfully, to get
23 control of parts of your company?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That enterprise at the time was not
25 active. It was not producing anything. The director of the enterprise
1 at Jakarina Kosa, the director of the unit at Jakarina Kosa, was --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat the name.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you please repeat the name. Who was the
4 director of the unit at Jakarina Kosa?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Dragoljub Kitonjic.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And please continue the sentence. What did you
7 want to say about this person?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to say that he did not
9 report to me about anything. He didn't inform me about anything.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And were you satisfied with this behaviour of
11 this man?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was because the less I know, the
13 more I'm worth in war.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you said when it was put to you there were
16 two drills. You said there were more. They were opened by the
17 RZR Ljubija as well?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. For different diameters of
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
21 Mr. Traldi, I did not intervene when you earlier put to the
22 witness that he said there were only two. The witness said there were
23 more than the two, but apparently they were all owned by the same
25 But would you please be very precise in putting to the witness
1 what he said.
2 MR. TRALDI: Well --
3 JUDGE ORIE: He said there were more.
4 MR. TRALDI: Yes, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
6 MR. TRALDI: I'd tender the last two documents, 65 ter 33390 and
8 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 33390 receives exhibit number
11 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted.
12 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 33399 receives exhibit number
13 P7636, Your Honours.
14 MR. TRALDI: Sorry, Your Honour, I'd requested imprecisely.
15 There not being a translation yet, I should have clearly requested that
16 it be MFI-ed pending the provision of one.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And that's for the second one. And the first one?
18 MR. TRALDI: The first one was a photograph of the rock with the
19 circular hole.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Although there was some title under it, wasn't
22 MR. TRALDI: At the top it says "Jakarina Kosa mass grave-site,"
23 I recall, and there's a date.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
25 MR. TRALDI: And we can translate those few words if the Chamber
1 deems it necessary, of course.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, or Mr. Stojanovic, any need to have that
3 title over that first photograph to be sent for translation? It's on the
4 transcript and it has been translated for the accused and everyone who
5 speaks B/C/S.
6 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] As far as we are concerned,
7 Your Honours, it's not necessary.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Then 65 ter number 33399 is marked for
9 identification as P7636.
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. TRALDI:
12 Q. Now, when you said, sir, that you were satisfied that the head of
13 the Jakarina Kosa area for RZR Ljubija didn't inform you of anything
14 because the less you knew, the more you were worth, you say that because
15 you didn't want to know what the military and police were doing with
16 mobilised equipment on RZR Ljubija company property because you knew they
17 were committing crimes; right?
18 A. How can you say that I knew? You cannot say that to me.
19 MR. TRALDI: I have no further questions for this witness.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Traldi.
21 Mr. Stojanovic, any further questions for the witness?
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] A few, Your Honour.
23 Could we please have P7385 in e-court. Could I please have
24 page 3, both in B/C/S and in English. It is the last paragraph in the
25 B/C/S version.
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 JUDGE ORIE: Your microphone is on, Mr. Stojanovic. When
3 consulting, I would switch it off.
4 Re-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] For the record, I would just like to say that
6 it's pages 41029 and page 41027. That's where there was this dilemma
7 regarding this document, Mr. Marjanovic. Again, I would like to draw
8 your attention to the last paragraph and the first sentence in the B/C/S
9 version of the document.
10 If you remember -- I'm going to ask you that you perhaps read out
11 the first sentence once again, as you did yesterday.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: What page in English, Mr. Stojanovic?
13 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's in the central
14 part of the page that is before you. It is the seventh paragraph.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Already in the beginning of the
17 month of June, that is to say, only some ten days from when the fighting
18 took place in time the complete direct security of buildings, property
19 and persons was taken over from the military and police."
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: It is the same sentence
21 that we did a sight translation of yesterday and it is ambiguous in the
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, the interpreters inform us that
24 where the same sentence was read, that the original is ambiguous, though
25 I do not know yet where exactly the ambiguity is, but -- and then there's
1 another small matter. One second, please.
2 Yes, it reads, and that what's I heard, "only some ten days from
3 where the fighting took place in time," that's what was said, but I think
4 it reads "in town," not "in time."
5 Please proceed, Mr. Stojanovic.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And all that was not read by Judge Moloto but by
7 the witness, just for the record.
8 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. I would like to try to resolve this definitely. When you read
10 this document, when you look at it, Mr. Marjanovic, in this concrete
11 case, who took over what from whom? That is to say, the security of
12 buildings and property.
13 A. The Ljubija mine.
14 Q. From whom did they take over?
15 A. From --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We did not hear the
17 witness's answer.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please repeat your answer, Witness.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The security of the Ljubija mine
20 took over the security.
21 JUDGE ORIE: And then from whom? Could you explain to us from
22 whom they took over the security.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the army and police.
24 JUDGE ORIE: And then could you tell us when the army and the
25 police had started their responsibility for security in the mine?
1 Because if the Ljubija takes over again, then there must have been a
2 moment when the army and the police had occupied or had ...
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After the 30th of May, after the
4 attack at Prijedor.
5 JUDGE ORIE: When after? I mean, a week, two weeks, the same
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. The 31st of May specifically.
8 JUDGE ORIE: And could you explain to us why the army and the
9 police on that day took over or at least were the ones who then secured
10 the mine area?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I assume that it was
12 done for reasons of security.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Whose security?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The security of buildings and
15 people who worked in those plants.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And you were not -- you were aware of that?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not aware of that. I have
18 already said, Mr. President, that during those five or six days I was at
19 home because there was a curfew and people were not allowed to go out.
20 What I said a moment ago is an assumption, that it's for the sake of the
21 security and safety of the people who were there; also that they were
22 trying to secure the property involved, the machinery, et cetera. That
23 is what I assume.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But you haven't seen that happening yourself,
25 did you?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No, I did not see that.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Did you give instructions that the mine -- the
3 security of the company would take over again after ten days? Was it you
4 who ordered that to happen?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. We had a security service
6 within the mine and it was headed by Dusan Tubin who organised this part
7 of the work.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You didn't know about it or ...
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that moment, I did not know; but
10 later on, I found out from him, 10 or 15 days later.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stojanovic.
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'd like to ask maybe the Prosecution about this
15 Mr. Stojanovic asked the witness to tell us what this
16 paragraph says and he says the Ljubija mine took over from the army and
17 the police the responsibility for security. I don't see in the English
18 paragraph even the name "Ljubija mine." And I know that the interpreters
19 did say that the original is ambiguous, but it does seem as if not only
20 is it ambiguous but the English is incomplete if, indeed, the B/C/S does
21 refer to Ljubija mine, because on the English page, the entire page, I
22 don't see Ljubija mine.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Traldi.
25 MR. TRALDI: From the discussion, my response may be superfluous.
1 But having been asked, I don't locate the words "Ljubija" in the relevant
2 B/C/S paragraph either. I'd understood it that after it was read and
3 sight-translated by the booth, Mr. Stojanovic had asked the witness to
4 explain what it meant and the word came up in that context rather than
5 appearing in the relevant B/C/S part of the document.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: That was not superfluous for me. Thank you so
8 MR. TRALDI: I'm relieved, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic.
10 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Q. Just one more question in relation to this document.
12 Whose report is this, if you remember? Who is writing this
13 report, this annual report, that we have before us?
14 A. I don't remember. I do not remember who wrote this. I assume
15 that it was Dusan Vlacina, my technical director.
16 Q. Is that someone who is an employee of the Ljubija mine?
17 A. He was an employee, yes; but I'm not sure that he wrote it. He
18 was the director there.
19 Q. Thank you. In order to identify what it is that I'm saying, I
20 would like to refer to the transcript from yesterday, page 41990, lines
21 17 through 20.
22 Mr. Marjanovic, when you spoke about the cleansing of Prijedor,
23 you mentioned the word "expropriation" in the old town. Could you please
24 explain to us what this was actually about and what kind of process this
25 is, this expropriation of that part of Prijedor, that area?
1 A. That area was populated by Muslims who had rather dilapidated
2 houses. The Executive Council of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor made
3 a decision that they move out of that area. It is in the immediate
4 vicinity of the Sana river and a part of it called Berak, and that a
5 sports centre should be built there.
6 For four or five years this went on, the expropriation of that
7 area. That means that general interest had to be determined and then a
8 deal should be struck with the owner of the immovable property involved.
9 Most of these people, friends of mine, they got money and they built
10 houses in the immediate vicinity, but practically the actual work
11 involved for building the construction centre hadn't been started
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, you referred us to yesterday's
14 transcript, 41990, but I think that must be a misquote. Could you give
15 the exact page reference.
16 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Just a
17 moment, please. Page 40990, lines 17 through 20.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Stojanovic.
19 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. I shall end with a question that has to do with the question that
21 was put to you today.
22 Mr. Marjanovic, do you have any reason, any information or any
23 indirect knowledge, to the effect that the Army of Republika Srpska was
24 involved in any way in the burial of persons in Tomasica and
25 Jakarina Kosa?
1 A. I do not. None whatsoever.
2 Q. Mr. Marjanovic, on behalf of the Defence of General Mladic, I
3 would like to thank you for the effort that you have made in view of the
4 condition of your health, and you stayed on today as well.
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have thus
6 completed the examination of Witness Marjanovic.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Stojanovic.
8 Before I give an opportunity for further questions to the
9 Prosecution, again, you said, in answering the last question, that you
10 have no reason, no information, no indirect knowledge to the effect that
11 the Army of Republika Srpska was involved in any way.
12 Now, do you have any knowledge, do you have any reason, do you
13 have any information to the effect that they would not have been involved
14 in it, or is it that you just don't know?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not that kind of knowledge either,
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
18 Please proceed -- Mr. Traldi, any further questions?
19 MR. TRALDI: Just two.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please.
21 Further cross-examination by Mr. Traldi:
22 Q. First, sir, Mr. Stojanovic asked you a moment about the cleansing
23 of the Stari Grad neighbourhood. You referred to plans to build a centre
24 there. Yesterday you'd called it a sports centre; today you referred to
25 a construction centre. It's no accident and no coincidence that the
1 demolition of those houses in that Muslim neighbourhood happened very
2 shortly after the VRS attacked that neighbourhood, is it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Yes, it is an accident; or yes, it is not?
5 A. First of all, correction. I never said it was a construction
6 building. I said it was a sports centre. And I did not say that these
7 buildings were destroyed by accident after the attack on Prijedor.
8 Q. And today, at temporary transcript pages 15 and 16, you mentioned
9 the head of the security service at RZR Ljubija, Dusan Tubin, and that he
10 was who you claimed to have learned about the taking over of the
11 responsibility for securing the company premises from. You agree, then,
12 that he and not you would be the authoritative source on these issues;
14 A. Probably.
15 MR. TRALDI: That completes my questions for this witness.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Traldi.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Marjanovic, this concludes your testimony in
19 this court. I'd like to thank you very much for coming a long way to
20 The Hague and for having answered the questions that were put to you, put
21 to you by the parties, put to you by the Bench. I wish you a safe return
22 home again.
23 And I earlier said that if there was anything which you wished to
24 further explain, that you have an opportunity at the end of your
25 testimony. Is there any leftover now as part of an answer to the
1 questions that were put to you that you'd like to bring to our attention?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Your Honour, I wish to say
3 that yesterday I was interrupted during my remarks by the Prosecutor. I
4 tried to explain something then and that would have explained quite a bit
5 and clarified quite a bit.
6 The 43rd Brigade and the 5th Kozarska Brigade were the legal
7 units in Prijedor. There were paramilitaries, at least 15 or 20 units.
8 I can even give you some of the names. Almost every village had a unit
9 of its own that appeared and tried to represent themselves as a unit, and
10 their primary aim was to loot.
11 That is what I wished to say then, and I was roughly interrupted
12 by the Prosecutor.
13 JUDGE ORIE: I think you were interrupted at the moment where you
14 dwelled away from the question. But the 43rd brigade certainly was part
15 of the questioning, so, therefore, does this trigger any need for further
17 MR. TRALDI: Very briefly, though I defer to Mr. Stojanovic if he
18 has any.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, you're the calling party. Anything
20 you'd like to ask from the witness in relation to what he just told us?
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just one question in relation to
22 what he said.
23 Further re-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
24 Q. Well, Mr. Marjanovic, I've thanked you already but my apologies
25 once again.
1 Now, these paramilitaries, as you call them, how long did they
2 operate in the territory of the municipality of Prijedor?
3 A. To the best of my knowledge, all the way up until the end of
5 Q. Thank you.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Traldi.
7 Further cross-examination by Mr. Traldi:
8 MR. TRALDI:
9 Q. Sir, you said a moment ago every village had its own unit.
10 That's how it was supposed to work under the Law on All People's Defence
11 and the Territorial Defence system; right?
12 A. In the former Yugoslavia that was the principle that existed.
13 But this was a time of Yugoslavia's disintegration and there was a lack
14 of authority and power and government of any kind. I don't want to go
15 into any further explanation.
16 Q. You weren't involved in the 43rd Brigade; right?
17 A. No. I was assigned to the air force of the Army of
18 Republika Srpska.
19 Q. And you consequently have no personal knowledge of the
20 43rd Brigade's exercise of authority over Territorial Defence units in
21 Prijedor; right?
22 A. My knowledge and my sources of knowledge are the workers from the
23 Ljubija mines. Most of them were assigned to the 43rd Brigade, so it was
24 in contact with them that I learned things.
25 MR. TRALDI: That completes my questions.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Traldi.
2 Now, we had a bit of an extended examination. I again repeat
3 what I said before, that I thank you for coming, for having answered all
4 the questions, and I wish you a safe return home again. You may follow
5 the usher.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Allow me just to greet all of those
7 present in this courtroom.
8 JUDGE ORIE: There's no reason to do that, and certainly not if
9 this is an indirect attempt, an indirect attempt to greet the accused.
10 You may follow the usher, I said. You may leave this courtroom.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I meant that I was supposed to -- I
12 meant that I was supposed to say good-bye to everyone as I would leave.
13 That was all.
14 JUDGE ORIE: You may follow the usher.
15 [The witness withdrew]
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, wouldn't it be wiser to take the break
17 now and not to start for five minutes with the next witness.
18 MR. LUKIC: I agree, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we'll take the break now and we'll resume
20 at quarter to 11.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.25 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.47 a.m.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, the next witness can be escorted in the
24 courtroom. No protective measures. It would be Mr. Strbac, if we are
25 well informed.
1 MR. LUKIC: That's right, Your Honour.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Strbac. Before you give evidence,
4 the Rules require that you make a solemn declaration, the text of which
5 is now handed out to you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
7 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 WITNESS: SAVO STRBAC
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Strbac. Please be seated.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Strbac, you'll first be examined by Mr. Lukic.
13 You'll find Mr. Lukic to your left. Mr. Lukic is counsel for Mr. Mladic.
14 Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
15 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Strbac.
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. You already corrected me once with good morning. You said "good
20 day," but English people say good morning until noon.
21 A. Well, it's a bit different in our language.
22 Q. Would you please say for the record your full name.
23 A. My name is Savo Strbac.
24 Q. Where did you live before the outbreak of the conflict in the
25 former Yugoslavia?
1 A. I was born in Dalmatia in a village called Rastivic in the
2 Benkovac municipality. That's where I went to school. Then I continued
3 in Benkovac, finished high schools, read law in Zagreb. I graduated from
4 the law faculty in 1972. I returned from university to work in Benkovac
5 in a few companies. At the same time, I clerked at the court. I believe
6 it was in 1976 when I passed the bar and then I worked for a few years as
7 a judge in the municipal court in Benkovac. And when I was appointed by
8 Zagreb to the municipal court in Zadar, I worked there for a few years.
9 Q. My question was a bit narrower. We have on the record that you
10 worked in the municipal court in Zadar.
11 A. It was the district court in Zadar, a higher level court.
12 Q. At what position did you work in that court?
13 A. I was a trial judge presiding over first-instance and appeals
15 Q. Did you organise an NGO?
16 A. I did. My NGO is called Veritas. It's full name is Veritas
17 Documentation and Information Centre, and I established it together with
18 a group of citizens from the then-Republic of Serbian Krajina towards the
19 end of 1993. It still exists today, and I am still leading that
20 organisation which now is based in Belgrade.
21 Q. Why did you decide to set up that NGO?
22 A. I've said before that I worked until October 1990 as a judge and
23 already on the next day, on 1st November 1990, I started working as a
24 lawyer. I had my own law practice. A few days before, I swore the
25 lawyer's oath and became a member of the bar association of Croatia. I
1 resigned by my own decision from the post in the district court in Zadar
2 because it was obvious that some bad times were coming, and instead of
3 presiding over normal criminal cases, they started bringing me heaps of
4 cases against Serbs involving very petty things.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Is that the reason why you founded Veritas?
8 A. Not yet. At that time I became a lawyer, as I said, and in the
9 same courtroom where I used to preside over large chambers, I started
10 defending those Serbs that I was supposed to try. They were not all
11 Serbs, to be frank. There were also some Croats who did not want to
12 submit to the new regime.
13 At that time I was confronted with many other problems. It was
14 already obvious that there would be some kind of war and that there would
15 be many dead on all sides. The writing on the wall was a civil war of
16 which I had heard a lot from my elders from the Second World War.
17 And in the meantime I read a book written --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, witness. Witness --
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. The interpreters are asking you to slow down a little, especially
22 when you mention names and titles.
23 Could you now please repeat the name of the book.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "The Roadlessness of Historical
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could I also urge you to answer the questions
3 because the question was why you founded the NGO. Now we know why you
4 left the judiciary, what you then did, et cetera, but we still have no
5 focussed answer on you founding the NGO. So could you please limit
6 yourself to directly answering the question that is put to you.
7 Please proceed, and now I would be pleased if it would be an
8 answer, a direct answer, to the question.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was about to say that. In that
10 book by Franjo Tudjman, I encountered one piece of information that in
11 the concentration camp of Jasenovac in the Second World War, 30 to 35.000
12 people were killed, and I was taught at all levels of education that
13 700.000 people were killed in fact. And when you are confronting a very
14 new situation that smells of war and even after the war began, because I
15 founded my organisation in 1993, then I said to myself now with my
16 collaborators I will start to gather evidence, contemporaneous evidence,
17 about the suffering of my people.
18 That was the most immediate reason to found a non-governmental
19 organisation because, at that time, in 1993 I was living in an
20 unrecognised state called the Republic of Serbian Krajina, and my friends
21 from around the world who were touring theatres of war on all the three
22 sides suggested to me, in a way, that nobody opens the mail of an
23 unrecognised state and that's why I should start an NGO, and through that
24 NGO, spread information about the suffering of my people.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Who did Veritas collaborate with?
2 A. With all international organisations, in fact, all those who were
3 involved with human rights and war crimes and which had offices in the
4 Serbian Krajina or the former Yugoslavia, including the ICTY; that is to
5 say, the ICRC; UNPROFOR when they were present with the civilian and
6 military components; the OSCE, the monitoring mission of the European
7 Community; the International Commission for Missing Persons; and domestic
8 organisations from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia who were
9 investigating war crimes and involved with human rights, because already
10 from July 1991, I conducted the first exchange of prisoners between
11 Serbia and Croatia, and since then, I've been involved with exchanges,
12 prosecutions, et cetera.
13 Q. I'm making a pause to give a breather to the interpreters.
14 I would like to go back to 1990 now and the establishment of the
15 HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Union. Do you remember when the HDZ was
17 A. Well, in the public eye, it was in February 1990 with a very
18 pompous founding assembly in the largest hall in Zagreb called Lisinski.
19 Of course, I remember it. The Croats remember it well but I believe the
20 Serbs remember it even better in Croatia because at that founding
21 assembly we saw something that we thought we'd never see again; that is
22 to say, all the iconography of the Croatian Ustasha from the Second World
23 War, the same coats of arms, the same symbols, the same songs. People
24 who had run away from Yugoslavia, run away from the law, and found
25 shelter abroad had returned, and this sent cold shivers down our spines
1 and chilled our blood, I mean the Serbs.
2 Later I thought a lot about that problem and found out that, in
3 fact, the HDZ was established a year earlier in secret, in a shed in some
4 obscure place. I remember well what it looked like on the ground because
5 I worked in Zadar --
6 Q. Do you know when they chose the military option and started
8 A. All of us who lived in those times, like me, in that area found
9 out early on. In the beginning of 1990, when in every village, every
10 hamlet, HDZ boards were being set up, they had already started wearing
11 uniforms and arming themselves. From the court building, I had the
12 opportunity to see the distribution of arms through the window because we
13 shared that courtyard with the Zadar police, and then we, judges and
14 prosecutors and clerks, would come out to watch.
15 It was an old building like this one, maybe even older. The
16 third, fourth floor, we were rather high up. We got out of the building
17 to see exactly what was going on, so you see some perfectly new people,
18 new uniforms, whole boxes of weapons being distributed, and later I found
19 out it was going on all throughout Croatia.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'm addressing both you, Mr. Strbac, and you,
21 Mr. Lukic: Simple questions are put to you. You give lengthy answers
22 with, to some extent, highly irrelevant information. Whether you saw
23 something happening from the third floor or the fourth floor and whether
24 it was an old building or a new building isn't really the gist of what
25 Mr. Lukic, I think, wants to elicit as evidence from you.
1 So could I urge you not to deliver long speeches, all perhaps
2 very interesting information, but Mr. Lukic is limited in his time. He
3 puts questions to you and I take it that he would like to have answers.
4 If you take so much time, at the end, Mr. Lukic may run out of time and
5 not receive answers to questions remaining. So I am seeking your
6 co-operation in limiting yourself to what is asked.
7 And, Mr. Lukic, it's for you also to keep tighter control over
8 what happens, because simple questions, one full page of answer with,
9 again, sometimes an answer to your question; sometimes even not. Could I
10 urge you to assist this Court in doing its job.
11 Please proceed.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Q. We lawyers and university professors are usually too verbose so I
14 would kindly ask you to shorten your answers a bit.
15 The Court received information here about the HDZ winning the
16 election in Croatia so I'm not going to dwell on that. This is what I'd
17 like to ask you now: After the victory in the elections, what did the
18 HDZ do? What did they do first?
19 A. Well, there are no simple questions. I cannot just give a yes or
20 no answer to this question. Purges started in the police, in all
21 companies. In the police, they thought there were too many Serbs so then
22 they were being laid off. I mean, I defended them so I know how many
23 were laid off. Then in companies, likewise, there were too many Serbs.
24 For example, in the fire brigade in Zadar, all the Serbs were laid off
25 because somebody said if there was a fire, the Serbs won't want to
1 extinguish it, and so on and so forth.
2 On the approaches leading to industrial towns where people from
3 the neighbouring villages worked, people were thrown out of buses, sent
4 back home on foot, and then they would be laid off after five days
5 because the legal requirement was to call in at work, and if you would
6 not appear for five days, then you would be laid off.
7 Q. Just a moment, please.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Could I, just to help you, the simple answer
9 therefore would have been: The HDZ started purging the police,
10 companies, and other institutions from Serbs. That's the short answer.
11 If Mr. Lukic is interested to know whether it was done by throwing people
12 out of buses or in any other way, or whether the five days, he'll ask
14 So let's try to keep matters as simple as possible, even if it's
15 not a yes or no.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Were insignia on uniforms changed and official emblems on
20 A. Yes, they were.
21 Q. What kind of insignia were used then?
22 A. Instead of the five-pointed star that was the emblem for the
23 military and the police, the police used the chess-board first, the one
24 from the Second World War at that.
25 Q. What is the chess-board emblem linked to?
1 A. The Ustasha movement for the independent state of Croatia.
2 Q. Thank you. How did Serbs react? For example, policemen.
3 A. Well, the Zadar policemen, Croats and Serbs, wrote a petition to
4 the federal authorities. They sought protection from such insignia and
5 emblems and they were warning that new policemen were being admitted into
6 the force, people with criminal records.
7 Q. What happened to those policemen who were warning about these
8 things that were happening, that is to say, having criminals brought into
9 the police?
10 A. Disciplinary proceedings were instituted against them and often
11 they would result in these people getting laid off.
12 Q. Did you take part in these proceedings?
13 A. I defended them the most, and there were a few more lawyers.
14 However, I had a leading role because I had a great deal of experience as
15 a criminal lawyer.
16 Q. How many cases of this kind did you have?
17 A. Certainly more than a thousand.
18 Q. What happened in respect of the position of the Serbs according
19 to the constitution? Was the constitution changed? Just tell us
21 A. On the 22nd of December, 1990, the Croatian Parliament
22 promulgated a Christmas constitution, and the Serbs were no longer a
23 constituent people. They became a national minority.
24 Q. How did Serbs react to that?
25 A. Along parallel lines, just as Croats were making decisions about
1 separation from the SFRY, Serbs in Croatia made decisions to separate
2 from Croatia and they established, first of all, the SAO Krajina and then
3 there were these three SAO Krajinas. These are Serb independent regions.
4 And then in December, they all became part of the Republic of the Serb
5 Krajina. They united to become that republic.
6 Q. At that time in official circles in Croatia, was there an
7 anti-Serb campaign?
8 A. Everything was an anti-Serb campaign, at least that's how we
9 felt, and I believe that everything was directed against Serbs. And it
10 was. You know, when the head of state, the president, greets Croat men
11 and women to congratulate them on the Christmas holidays and when he says
12 that he is happy that his wife is not a Jew or a Serb, that is something
13 that Serbs would not welcome. On the contrary. They would become
15 And my professor from university who later became a minister, the
16 minister of defence, he said that Serbs had heads that were much smaller
17 than Croat heads and that they were of a different shape, and so on. And
18 it's not just anybody who is saying this. This is a university professor
19 who later became a minister.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please
21 be asked to slow down. Thank you.
22 JUDGE ORIE: You are again invited to slow down. And perhaps,
23 again, your first answers after I asked you to focus were really meeting
24 my request. The later answers, less, however.
25 Please proceed.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. I know that your natural way of responding is one of eloquence,
3 an extended manner, if you will, but as the Judge told you we don't have
4 all that time. So please give the briefest answer as possible and at the
5 same time speak more slowly.
6 In your view, this is what you said to us: At how many levels
7 did this anti-Serb campaign exist?
8 A. I quoted Jovan Raskovic who divided this into three levels: The
9 everyday level, or the aggression of the consciousness. That was in the
10 street, at work, different pressures. Then there was the administrative
11 level. That was in companies, in socio-political organisations, in the
12 army, the police, et cetera, for example, those layoffs. And the
13 political level, that is, the minimizing of Serb rights, like
14 representing the population numbers as lower, and then that led to a
15 decrease in political rights.
16 Q. We are still in 1990. I'll go back.
17 You started telling us about how you started your own law
18 practice and how you left the court, and you explained to us why you
19 decided to take that step. You said that you represented policemen.
20 Just tell us what kind of proceedings were these, the policemen who were
21 laid off?
22 A. Well, these were disciplinary proceedings. In the police, there
23 were disciplinary courts. They were rather well-organised. And then
24 also before regular courts in criminal cases, misdemeanour cases, civil
25 cases, and so on.
1 Q. Now let us talk about ordinary companies for a while. Were there
2 companies that laid off people?
3 A. Well, 90 per cent of them, they did that straight away. And I
4 can give examples all day long. But let's say now I remember the shoe
5 factory in Gradacac, its name was Simecki, and their head office was in
6 Zagreb. 550 employees did not receive salaries for months and ultimately
7 they were laid off. My office and I filed 550 complaints asking for
8 compensation. Of course, we did not win a single case.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you again move away from the questions.
10 The question was about companies that laid off people.
11 Now you said almost all of them did. You gave an example. And
12 then you started telling us about proceedings which was not part of the
14 Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
16 Q. That would be my next question. However, since you've already
17 answered my question, I think that the name of the place that you
18 referred to was misrecorded.
19 A. This is obviously somebody from Bosnia. Somebody wrote Gradacac
20 but this is Gracac, in Lika.
21 JUDGE ORIE: There's no reason to in any way make your
22 suggestions or what caused mistakes and whether that is the background of
23 those who are either transcribing or interpreting for us. Would you
24 refrain from such comments.
25 Please proceed.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. You spoke to us about these layoffs after five days. In order to
3 explain this to us, could you explain the ethnic composition of the
4 population in terms of Croatia?
5 A. For example, Lika and Dalmatia, where I lived the most and I'm
6 most familiar with that area, for the most part, this industry was
7 concentrated in locations that were outside the Republic of the Serb
8 Krajina, that is to say, outside the areas where Serbs lived.
9 Q. So, Serbs went to work by travelling?
10 A. Every day. Taking buses to Split, Sibenik, Zadar.
11 Q. And at one moment, what happened? What did the Croatian side --
12 A. I've already said. On the approaches to towns, there were some
13 kind of armies, police forces, armed with these new emblems of Croatia,
14 with the chess-board emblems. And then they would get them off buses and
15 send them back to their villages, their homes, on foot. They would do
16 that for five days, and then on the fifth day they would get laid off
17 because, according to the law, whoever did not appear at work for five
18 days would be laid off.
19 Q. How did you travel to work in 1990 and 1991?
20 A. Well, I had Zadar licence plates. I used my own car. I went
21 through barricades every day. And once the registration of my car
22 expired, then I travelled by bus; but then at the end of August 1991, the
23 buses weren't running any longer either, so then I just couldn't go
25 Q. Why did you go through barricades? How come they allowed you to
1 do that at all?
2 A. I had an ID of the Croatian bar. And before that, I would agree
3 with the police before I would travel. Then they would give orders to
4 these people at these posts that were basically machine-gun nests to let
5 me go through, and then they would let me go through.
6 Q. People, ordinary people, did they mind these restrictions on
7 movement? Were there cases when somebody would leave and then not
9 A. Barricades were there for already one year but people could still
10 not accept that. People went to the seaside, to places where they had
11 gone for years. So a person would go to take a swim in the sea and would
12 get arrested. And then I went there to defend such persons and get them
13 out of jail.
14 Q. How did Serbs react to arrests of Serbs?
15 A. In one specific case when Croats arrested five persons who went
16 to the seaside to take a swim, then my people, that is to say, in
17 Benkovac, arrested eight Croats. And then they asked for an exchange and
18 then I handled that exchange. It was my first exchange, in 1991.
19 Q. Could you briefly tell us how you organised this exchange.
20 Through whom?
21 A. I was given power of attorney from the families of the arrested
22 Serbs and I defended them. We were supposed to have a court hearing, and
23 I suggested to the investigative judge who was my colleague because we
24 were judges together in that very same court, well, I said, "Let's see."
25 I mean, nobody's guilty there, and I asked him to suggest to the Croatian
1 police to release the arrested Serbs and I would tell the people in
2 Benkovac to release the arrested Croats. They agreed to that after
3 consultations with Zagreb and then there was an exchange on the border
4 between the municipalities of Benkovac and Zadar.
5 Q. Now I will ask you something about the illegal import of weapons.
6 Was there any illegal import of weapons into Croatia and what do
7 you know about it?
8 A. I've already said that I looked in the courtyard of the Zadar
9 court how weapons were distributed from trucks that had entered the
10 courtyard. There was arms distribution all over the place. Later on, we
11 found out from where these weapons were imported. Now everyone knows it
13 First of all, weapons were imported from Hungary. The army
14 filmed a documentary about it, and I first watched it in January 1991 but
15 it was filmed in the October of the previous year, 1990. In that
16 documentary, in that film, you can see the protagonists of that movie,
17 such as Mr. Spegelj, who later became a minister of defence in the
18 government, talking.
19 Q. When this illegal import of weapons was discovered, what did the
20 Croatian authorities do?
21 A. In the beginning, weapons were distributed to members of the HDZ
22 along party lines. At that time, Croatia was still a Yugoslav republic,
23 so federal authorities took the decision on disarming throughout the
24 SFRY, disarming of all paramilitary units. Croatians asked for 48 hours'
25 grace, and during those 48 hours, they convert all these paramilitaries
1 into members of the police so that the police force increased within a
2 few days to 71.000.
3 Q. And how many did they have before?
4 A. 18.000.
5 Q. What happened with the weapons in Serbian police stations, in
6 areas where Serbs were the majority in settlements and in police
8 A. It was on 17 August 1990 that the Croatian police set out into
9 Benkovac, Obrovac, Gracac, Korenica, Knin, and other Serb majority areas,
10 to disarm these police stations. The police also had its reserve force
11 and reserve police weapons were kept in the depots attached to police
13 They managed to do that in Benkovac. It was in the small hours
14 after midnight. Then people from Benkovac warned the others. And that's
15 when the log revolution, as it is known, started. The Serbs rebelled.
16 They set up logs on the road, or rocks, as roadblocks to prevent further
17 incursions into their police stations.
18 Q. Let's move briefly to 1991 to see the development of interethnic
19 relations in 1991. Let's say the beginning of May in Zadar. What
20 happened there?
21 A. "The Glass Night," we all know where that name comes from, 1938
22 in Germany. Something similar happened in May 1991 in Zadar when people
23 started flowing into the city in buses, in an organised way, and
24 unmistakably attacked all Serbian businesses or offices of Serbia-based
25 companies damaging or destroying them. There was a lot of glass
1 shattered everywhere so it was called The Glass Night, although it
2 happened during day-time.
3 If you allow me to add, on the same day at the other end of
4 Croatia, in the east --
5 Q. That was my next question. What happened at the other end of
6 Croatia on the same day?
7 A. Borovo Selo, the Borovo village, populated by Serbs, a delegation
8 from Croatia was supposed to come for peace talks on that day, but
9 instead of coming in peace, the Croats came in with a full busload of MUP
10 officers who started shooting at Serb houses, and the Serbs returned
11 fire. There were people dead and wounded and captured, and many
12 theoreticians consider that to be the beginning of the conflict in
13 Croatia, although there was an incident earlier on that I considered to
14 be the beginning and that was 31st March of the same year at Plitvice,
15 which is the Plitvice case.
16 Q. While we are talking about Plitvice, what happened there?
17 A. Plitvice were at that time kept by members of the Territorial
18 Defence from Serbia. Plitvice Lakes are a famous tourist spot. And
19 Croatian policemen arrived as tourists at a hotel. They had their
20 weapons concealed and disassembled in suitcases. They assembled these
21 weapons and launched an attack. One Serb policeman and one Croatian
22 policeman were killed in the incident. Goran Hadzic was captured, taken
23 prisoner on that occasion.
24 Q. Let me return to your own region, something that you were
25 involved in.
1 First of all, do you know who is Dragisa Vranjes?
2 A. Yes, certainly.
3 Q. What is special about his fate?
4 A. He is a Serb born in Cetina village, Knin municipality, and he
5 was working in Switzerland. Sometime in July 1991 he was travelling from
6 Switzerland to Belgrade and then on to Croatia by bus. They took him off
7 the bus somewhere on the way to Zagreb, near Zupanje.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Could you again please slow down.
9 THE WITNESS: Okay.
10 [Interpretation] And that's where all trace of him goes cold. We
11 know he set out from Belgrade and then nothing.
12 Around 15 August, there was an exchange of prisoners between Knin
13 and Sibenik and one of the prisoners says that he is sure that Dragisa
14 was in the Sibenik prison because he had a very deep voice. He was a
15 very large man and had a bass voice. This man heard Dragisa being
16 tortured and beaten and screaming and moaning. They paraded him around
17 town as a Chetnik from Cetina. So Dragisa, after all that torture, fell
18 silent one night.
19 Since we were dealing with that case, one lawyer friend of mine
20 and I, we wanted to find out from anyone who might know, including his
21 family, whether he had actually ended up in Sibenik.
22 Q. Could you remember the name of your colleague?
23 A. Radomir Kuzet.
24 Q. So how did you get involved in this?
25 A. At the request of the family and Milan Martic and Jovan Raskovic
1 and Milan Babic and everyone who meant something in Krajina, we were
2 asked to find out what happened to that man. It's a very long story. In
3 any case, we were told by the chief of police that he had died from a
4 heart stroke on the 24th in a hospital and that he was buried at an
5 out-of-the-way cemetery. And in our presence the body was exhumed. We
6 transported it to Knin. And after the post-mortem, it was impossible to
7 transport the body to his village because the road was blocked on that
9 Q. Just a moment. So, first of all, where was the roadblock?
10 A. Kijevo village. It's a Croatian place.
11 Q. Who blocked the road?
12 A. The Croat police. In Kijevo, as in many other places, the Croat
13 police established new police stations with the chequer-board symbol, and
14 they blocked the road. You couldn't use it. You couldn't reach the
15 other villages. And as far as I know, and today it's accepted knowledge
16 among historians, the JNA set out to lift that blockade. There was
17 shooting from both sides. There were people wounded and arrested and
18 taken prisoner. I don't know if any were killed. But that was in the
19 early days. That was the beginning of the JNA's turning against the
20 Croats. There were 18 such police stations in different places that had
21 never had a police station before.
22 Q. How did policemen react to the request that Dragisa Vranjes
23 passed through Kijevo to be buried in Cetina?
24 A. They were unable to go on. They had to turn back. They were
25 supposed to take him from Civljane to Cetina. These are neighbouring
2 Q. Were you involved in any way after Dragisa Vranjes' body was
3 taken to Knin? Did you participate in further negotiations or did your
4 role end there?
5 A. You mean only Dragisa and his case?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. Well, we had finished with him. We turned over the body to his
8 family. But it's interesting that he was not in a casket. He was just
9 wrapped in a sheet. And his family was unhappy. And as soon as his body
10 was taken out of the car, the family attacked us lawyers because the body
11 in the sheet weighed only 60 kilos, whereas the man, while he was alive,
12 weighed 120 kilos. Anyway, it was summer. The earth was dry. He had
13 been buried before, and the soil simply melted all his fat. There
14 remained only skin and bones. That's perhaps a curiosity.
15 Q. You said this was the moment when the JNA turned against the
17 A. Not only that --
18 Q. Take it easy. I'll put my questions. That was the beginning of
19 the conflict; right? Did there come a time when JNA barracks were
21 A. There was an appeal already --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Zec.
23 MR. ZEC: Very simple. If we can have a date when this was
24 happening, the JNA against Croats in Kijevo.
25 JUDGE ORIE: There is a suggestion that you'd seek --
1 MR. LUKIC: I don't know if it's in the transcript, but that's
2 what witness said but I'll ask him.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Yes, please.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. This incident in Kijevo village, the conflict surrounding the
6 passage of Dragisa Vranjes's body --
7 A. If I remember correctly, it was on the 26th of August.
8 Q. Which year?
9 A. 1991.
10 Q. Let's return to the blockade of JNA barracks. When was that --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness be asked not to start
12 answering when -- and it's too fast.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. The interpreters are asking you, when I put my question, to wait
15 a little before answering, to make a pause between question and answer.
16 That's my mistake. I should have told you this at the beginning.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And wait for a question to be there, to start
18 with. So don't answer if there's no question yet.
19 Please proceed.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. To the best of your memory, when did the blockade of JNA barracks
23 A. It began already in 1991 with the arming drives, when the party
24 soldiers were converted into police officers. It was still the army, the
25 federal army, and federal laws prohibited different armies. So the
1 Croats had the clever idea of making it police force, not an army. JNA
2 soldiers received appeals to leave their barracks. Croat soldiers,
3 indeed, left, but Serb soldiers and other ethnicities remained in the
4 barracks, remained in the army, the federal army.
5 And I remember, I think it was on the 5th of May when the
6 president of Croatia, Tudjman, at an assembly in Trogir, made a public
7 appeal to start attacking the JNA. And after that appeal, there was this
8 notorious incident in Split when a soldier of the JNA, a Macedonian boy,
9 was strangled atop his APC and an all-out attack started in
10 mid-September, 15 September. Throughout Croatia barracks were blocked.
11 JNA troops were attacked.
12 Q. All right.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, I'm looking at the clock. We started a
14 bit early. Usually, I ask the witness to follow the usher before I make
15 any comments, but you've used now almost an hour, and we'll be rather
16 strict in time because much of the questions are background rather than
17 related to what seems to be the core of the case. And apart from that,
18 even if it's background, and you know that the Chamber never has
19 prevented the Defence from also presenting background information,
20 although foreground is first to focus at, but then we lose ourselves in
21 quite many details, which really do not assist the Chamber in any way.
22 So, therefore - and I'm saying this in the presence of the
23 witness who, from his professional background, should know that as well -
24 if you want your testimony to be effective in this courtroom, try to
25 focus on the questions.
1 And you, Mr. Lukic, if there's anything on the foreground we
2 should know, give that priority at this moment so that we get a fair
3 balance between what is background and what is information related to the
4 core of this case.
5 You may follow the usher. We'd like to see you back in 20
7 [The witness stands down]
8 JUDGE ORIE: We'll take a break, and we'll resume at ten minutes
9 past 12.00.
10 --- Recess taken at 11.48 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.10 p.m.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mladic, the behaviour I noticed when I entered
14 this courtroom is totally inappropriate. You should refrain from dealing
15 with the public gallery in the way you did. Let that be clear. And it's
16 the last warning.
17 [The witness takes the stand]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, you may proceed. And please keep in mind
19 what I said before the break.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. We talked about people who were being laid off. Were there
22 people from Bosnia among them?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What happened to them?
25 A. Yes. So they did not treat them on the basis of republic
1 affiliation but ethnic affiliation. As far as I know, many people from
2 Bosnia worked in Croatia because there were a lot of industrial
3 facilities. For example, I know that many of them worked at the
4 steelworks in Sisak at the refinery, and if they were ethnic Serbs, they
5 were dismissed.
6 Q. To the best of your knowledge, would they remain in Croatia or
7 would they leave; and if so, where?
8 A. They would leave. They would go back to their place of birth, if
9 they had someone there.
10 What also happened was that these people who were born in Bosnia
11 would be gathered together and then taken further down south to some
12 islands and then they would return them to Bosnia from there.
13 Unfortunately, some of them lost their lives on their way back to their
15 Q. We talked about blockades of JNA barracks in Croatia. Did you
16 know General Mladic in 1991?
17 A. Well, I'm trying to remember now. Yes, yes. Several times.
18 Yes, I saw him several times. Yes, yes.
19 Q. We'll go back to all of that.
20 First I'd like to ask you about the Bjelovar barracks now. What
21 do you know about the fate of the barracks there?
22 A. On the 29th of September, as far as I remember, after a blockade
23 of the barracks that went on for several days, the barracks surrendered.
24 The officers lined up all the troops, and they surrendered. They
25 realised that they could not put up a resistance any longer.
1 Upon entering the barracks, some Ure Simic, who was head of
2 Crisis Staff, ordered that these three main officers be executed.
3 According to my information, he executed them himself. He fired two
4 bullets at each and every one of them. As a matter of fact, there are
5 criminal proceedings currently underway against him in Croatia, precisely
6 because of that murder.
7 Q. What happened to the warehouse in Bedenik?
8 A. I think it was about 15 kilometres away from the barracks in
9 town, and that's where an officer, Tepic, didn't want to hand over this
10 warehouse to the Croatian army or police. He mined it and blew it up.
11 People say that there were 170 tonnes of explosive there, and, of course,
12 he blew himself up too and with him was a soldier of his who didn't want
13 to obey him and who didn't want to leave him, who stayed there with him.
14 The other casualties involved were about 11 Croat soldiers.
15 Q. You say that two officers were killed --
16 A. Three. Three officers were killed.
17 Q. Sorry about that.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We cannot follow because
19 the two speakers are speaking at the same time.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Again, you should make a pause between question and
21 answer, and between answer and question. All the other matters I raised
22 before are still valid as well.
23 Please proceed.
24 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. [Interpretation] My mistake. I should have paused.
1 Could you please tell us what happened with the other soldiers
2 from the Bjelovar barracks, except for these three who were executed.
3 A. Six of them -- actually, six local people who, as far as I know,
4 were civilians who were working in the army, they were taken away to the
5 police station in town, and after four or five days, they were taken out
6 and executed.
7 As for the rest, the soldiers who were doing their regular
8 military service, and there was some NCOs there as well and there were
9 more than 250 of all of them, they were taken to some sports halls.
10 That's where screening took place, triage. Young soldiers were allowed
11 to go home. As for the rest, depending on ethnicity, they were either
12 arrested and then exchanged later or taken to other places.
13 Q. We talked about the position of the JNA but now we're going to
14 discuss the position of civilians in 1991. For example, could you tell
15 us what happened to Serbs in Gospic? Where is Gospic in relation to the
16 place where you lived?
17 A. In Lika.
18 Q. In Lika. Okay.
19 A. Gospic is in Lika. I had a law office in Lika, in Korenica. And
20 my wife is from Lika so I'm familiar with the area, just as I'm familiar
21 with Dalmatia. Serbs in Gospic fell victim in 1991. According to the
22 data collected by my organisation, it is 124 victims. So I'm talking
23 about civilians. An investigation took place before the Prosecutor's
24 office of The Hague Tribunal. However, before issuing the indictment,
25 the whole case was referred to Croatia. Croatia tried five people and
1 three were found guilty of these crimes and convicted.
2 Q. These Serbs who were killed in Gospic, is that the general
3 population? Had some people left? Could you please tell us more about
5 A. Most people stayed. How do we put this? These were loyal
6 citizens of the newly established authorities. And some of them even
7 carried weapons. There was civilian protection there. They guarded
8 bridges, for instance, and so on. Unfortunately, they were killed, too.
9 Q. Slavonska Pozega, what do you know about that? Just briefly.
10 A. Slavonska Pozega, an order was issued there as well, also at the
11 end of October. I think it was the 29th again, but October, not
12 September. And it was the Crisis Staff of Pozega, so it's Croats, they
13 issued a written order to evacuate 26 villages that had a Serb population
14 predominantly or exclusively. They pretended that the population could
15 return but they just wanted to cleanse the area of enemies, Chetniks.
16 The people never went back. As soon as they left, their houses were
17 torched, their property was looted, and the few old people who stayed
18 behind were killed.
19 Q. These people who moved from their homes, where did they go?
20 A. Through Bosnia. Some people stayed in Bosnia, and some -- most
21 of them went to Serbia. And after that, they went all over the world.
22 Q. Just tell us something else. We said the 29th of October.
23 What's the year?
24 A. 1991. We're still talking about 1991.
25 Q. What happened to Serbs in Bilogora?
1 A. The same. Two days later, the 31st of October, the Croats
2 carried out some operation that they called Otkos-10 and then I think
3 they mowed down about 26 villages, according to the same principle, like
4 before in the Pozega valley. People would be expelled. Their homes and
5 properties would be looted, and people had no place to go, to return. If
6 somebody stayed on, then they would get killed. Again, we're talking
7 about over 60 victims. And as for the previous case, it involves 70
9 Q. Did you take part in exchanges of people who were taken prisoner
10 in these areas?
11 A. Yes, but only from 1993 onwards, so it wasn't at this time.
12 Q. What do you know about camps for Serbs in Croatia?
13 A. Already in the Autumn of 1991, the most notorious camps were in
14 Western Slavonia, Pakracka Poljana and Ribarska Koliba, or Marino Selo.
15 Those are the names of the camps. They're right next to one another.
16 According to the information collected by Veritas, over 300 persons went
17 through these camps. Most of them are still missing. Currently, a
18 Croat, Tomislav Mercep, is being tried for crimes in these camps. The
19 proceedings are taking place before a Croatian court.
20 In addition to that camp, there were camps that Croats called
21 places where detainees could stay, and that would suggest a motel or a
22 hotel and it is actually camps like Lora and Kerestinec that were behind
23 that misnomer. People were tortured like during the times of the
24 Inquisition in the Middle Ages.
25 Before Croatian courts, there are proceedings for both Lora and
1 Kerestinec. There are already three cases concerning Lora. One has been
2 completed; there's a final judgement of conviction. One is under way
3 right now, the trial is underway. And the third one is still in the
4 investigation stage.
5 As for Kerestinec, there was also a conviction. However, it has
6 been quashed and there is a retrial now.
7 Q. Let us go to General Mladic now. When did you first meet General
8 Mladic; do you remember?
9 A. Well, this is the way it was. Sometime in October, Mladic's men
10 from Knin came, because he was commander of the Knin Corps at the time,
11 they came to see me in Benkovac. And since I was a reserve officer, they
12 brought me call-up papers and they said that they are appointing me some
13 president of some court, and that already on the following day, I should
14 organise a trial for some deserters.
15 Q. All right.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I ask you: Which year are you talking about?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1991. All of this is 1991.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I also?
20 Can you then answer the question that was put to you: When did
21 you first meet Mr. Mladic?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, right now. Right now. Now
23 I've been telling you about how I went to the command in Knin where the
24 command post is and where Mladic was and --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's not the question that was put to you. The
1 question put to you is when did you meet Mr. Mladic. That's what I'm
2 asking you to please answer. What the Presiding Judge has been telling
3 you all this morning, to please focus on the questions an answer the
4 question and not tell a story. The answer to the question must tell us
5 time or date. "I met Mr. Mladic on such and such a date."
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Should I give you an answer now?
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not recall the date. It was
9 October 1991.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Q. What's the name of this man who came to pick you up?
13 A. Hasotic is his last name. Yes. Mesud Hasotic. He was assistant
14 commander for morale, so he was Mladic's assistant commander.
15 Q. Would you know what his ethnic background was?
16 A. Yes. He's a Muslim at the time, yes, and today.
17 Q. Who was supposed to be tried?
18 A. Serbs, some Serbs there who fled from the positions there.
19 Q. Did the trial happen?
20 A. Fortunately, it didn't, because I didn't know under what
21 legislation I was supposed to try them. They returned to their positions
22 and there was no need.
23 Q. Was that court established?
24 A. Never. If you mean military court or court-martial, such a thing
25 was never established.
1 Q. Since that trial never happened, what were you told about your
3 A. First I went to Banja Luka where there were many eminent lawyers,
4 to talk to them, to see if there was a possibility to create some
5 legislation, courts for me to test my knowledge and experience, and we
6 concluded together it was not possible to organise any trials except
7 before the regular courts that already existed in the SFRY system. And
8 the next day, Hasotic told me, "Go home. You are the most useful and the
9 best when you are working on your own on these exchanges," because I was
10 the only connection between Krajina and Croatia.
11 Q. Did you ever go with General Mladic for an exchange?
12 A. I think it was already in December 1991 when one exchange with
13 Croats from Gospic was blocked. We had reliable information that in
14 their prison, under a special regimen, there were some members of the JNA
15 who had been taken prisoner in the barracks in Gospic, and they would not
16 reveal them, either to us or to the ICRC.
17 Then Mladic came as reenforcement on our team and we dealt with
18 that problem successfully. The Croats, upon seeing Mladic, and because
19 he was very delicate and wise in his conduct with them, confessed that
20 they were holding some JNA officers under special regimen, and in the
21 period that followed we organised that exchange. I think one of the
22 officer's names is Dusko Bajic.
23 Q. Did anyone else, any other officer, accompany you at these
24 exchanges when Mladic was not there?
25 A. Hasotic, as the assistant commander for morale, I suppose it was
1 part of his job description. Sometimes Tolimir went. He was also one of
2 Mladic's assistants in Knin, and I think he was a security officer.
3 Q. Do you remember who headed the Croatian delegation?
4 A. In this specific case, the Croats from Gospic were headed by a
5 certain Dr. Jerkovic, who was president of the Crisis Staff. Yes,
7 Q. How did he introduce his delegation?
8 A. On our delegation, we had a man from Gospic, Slobodan
9 Pogramilovic, and he noticed that the boss, Jerkovic, gave all the others
10 some different names. So we passed a note to Mladic, and I think it was
11 thanks to that that Mladic at one point addressed people by their real
12 names and then they were disarmed, so to say, and they admitted to
13 something they had had no intention of admitting.
14 Q. Was it then that it was revealed Dusko Bajic was held by them?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness, again, is
16 starting to answer before the question is finished.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Again, you started answering before the
18 interpretation of the question was finished.
19 The question was: Was it then that it was revealed Dusko Bajic
20 was held by them?
21 Could you answer that question, please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, he was. It was then that it
23 was revealed.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Did Croats bring arrested Serb civilians to these exchanges?
1 A. Very frequently.
2 Q. Did Serbs bring Croat civilians to exchanges?
3 A. Both sides held some civilians. However, on the Croat side, in
4 that year, 1991, people were rounded up in the street and arrested in
5 their apartments just for the purpose of exchanges, not that they were
6 arrested because of some misdemeanour. They just didn't have enough
7 people for exchanges so they would round up people in the streets and in
8 their apartments and bring them to the exchange. That was a very
9 frequent occurrence in 1991.
10 Q. Were there cases where one civilian was exchanged more than once?
11 A. Yes. In Zadar, for instance, I remember a man called Pavle
12 Opsenica, a JNA officer who was retired just before the war broke out.
13 He had a Croat wife and children and an apartment in Zadar. They brought
14 him for an exchange twice. He would be brought to Knin and both times he
15 returned to his family. The third time they came to pick him up, but he
16 wasn't taken to an exchange but towards Zagreb. It is known that he had
17 reached Mount Velebit and then he went missing. Nobody knows what
18 happened to him.
19 Q. We have one more topic outstanding and then we'll probably
20 conclude before the time we had announced. Knowing about your
21 volubility, I allowed for some extra time.
22 We'll be discussing UNPROFOR now. In your view, what was the
23 role of UNPROFOR in the Republic of Serbian Krajina?
24 A. As for the role that was intended for them, that's written in the
25 UN Security Council resolutions.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Zec.
2 MR. ZEC: I'm really struggling to understand what is the
3 relevance of this topic to this case.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, a question about relevance.
5 MR. LUKIC: We saw many reports written by UNPROFOR. We should
6 understand their acts and conducts in the field, what was its role. It's
7 not only what was written on the paper.
8 JUDGE ORIE: In the Krajina, in that period of time? That's --
9 MR. LUKIC: In the Krajina, and we also dealt with the same topic
10 in Bosnia. I think we dealt in -- for Bosnia in a lengthy manner,
11 challenging their --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Time-frame and that period -- time-frame and that
13 location, what does it add? What is the relevance for us? I mean, of
14 course we want to understand whatever happened in the world over the last
15 20 centuries, but the question is whether it assists us in doing our job.
16 MR. LUKIC: Time-frame should be 1992 to 1995.
17 Sorry, Your Honour. I didn't hear you.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought we are now talking about 1991.
19 MR. LUKIC: 1991. By now I changed the topic, I think.
20 JUDGE ORIE: In your next questions, please keep them focussed,
21 not "what is your understanding of this or that" because that's opinion
22 you're asking for. Be focussed and ask for factual knowledge of this
23 witness, because the witness has presented to us already many, many facts
24 where he apparently has not been a witness himself. I didn't stop you
25 there or didn't stop the witness there. I take it that most likely,
1 although it is unclear, it's on the basis of his documentation. But
2 let's try to focus and treat him as a witness of fact - that's how he was
3 introduced - and then on relevant matters. Keep that in mind.
4 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Strbac, how much of your life did you
6 dedicate to the study of the events in the Republic of Serbian Krajina?
7 A. All this time, since I started my law practice, that is to say,
8 1st November, 1990, I never stopped. And throughout the war, I
9 co-operated with all the international organisations that were
10 represented in Krajina, and I know all about it, the UNPROFOR, the ICRC,
11 the Europe Community Monitoring Mission. All this is my immediate
13 JUDGE ORIE: First of all, it's not an answer to the question
14 anymore because it was how long did you work on it. Second, you gave
15 that answer already to a previous question which Mr. Lukic asked you,
16 that is, with whom you co-operated. I really have to insist that it's
17 focussed, that it's factual, and that it is relevant.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
20 Q. [Interpretation] So I asked you in your view, what was the role
21 of the UNPROFOR? How did it affect the status of the Republic of Serbian
22 Krajina? And I'll later ask you about specific actions.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Just a minute.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The question was answered.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Well, Mr. --
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ORIE: I interfered last time mainly because you were
3 asking for opinion. That's what you're doing now as well. So could you
4 please proceed, Mr. Lukic, with questions of fact that are relevant.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. When was the Nos Kalik operation; do you know about it?
7 A. I do. It was on the 2nd of March, 1992.
8 Q. What was it?
9 A. At that time, UNPROFOR forces were still in the process of being
10 deployed in Krajina. The Croats took advantage of that moment, and they
11 launched a first operation against the Serb village, Oskanik [phoen].
12 And there was Territorial Defence and army involved. About 20 residents
13 were arrested. They were later exchanged, but they had been badly beaten
14 in prisons before.
15 Q. Up to June 1992, was UNPROFOR already deployed?
16 A. Mostly, yes. They deployed according to that leopard-skin
17 system, or ink stains, as we say, across the Krajina.
18 Q. What was the Miljevacki Plateau operation, and what was the role
19 of the UNPROFOR?
20 A. It was another Croat operation against one part of the Krajina.
21 It was on the 21st of June, 1991.
22 MR. ZEC: Your Honours, we are talking about June 1992. General
23 Mladic is in Bosnia. We are talking about Croatia. I still don't
24 understand why this is relevant.
25 MR. LUKIC: Acts and conducts of UNPROFOR, that's what we are
1 talking about, the same UNPROFOR. The seat of UNPROFOR in Bosnia is in
2 Zagreb, Croatia. That is their headquarters.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, but that doesn't mean that everyone who
4 was there, the acts and conduct of those persons, companies, entities,
5 whatever, becomes relevant. I mean, it's not that if you are at the same
6 time more or less in the same geographical area, that that makes it all
7 relevant. Could you please focus your question on matters which are
8 clearly relevant.
9 MR. LUKIC: I'm focussing on the questions that are clearly
10 relevant for the Defence.
11 JUDGE ORIE: But then tell me what the relevance is, apart from
12 that they were there at the same time in the same area. That may be true
13 for all kinds of things or persons or groups or whatever. Focus on what
14 they did, what the witness personally knows about it, and then that, by
15 putting the questions, that it is clear to us that it's relevant.
16 Otherwise, we'll have to stop you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Strbac, what was your knowledge, what was your information,
19 about how UNPROFOR acted in that situation? Were they supposed to
20 protect the Serbs, the Serb residents there? What did they actually do?
21 A. We Serbs were expecting UNPROFOR to protect us, and that's why we
22 sort of relaxed. However, they did not protect us. They said it was not
23 their role. It was not their mandate to protect anyone using weapons,
24 and all they could do on the ground - and that's how they behaved - was
25 to write reports and send them to their headquarters. And then the
1 Security Council adopted certain resolutions which again were not
2 observed on the ground.
3 In this specific case, on the Miljevacki Plateau, 43 members of
4 the Territorial Defence were killed. Some were killed even after being
5 taken prisoner. And UNPROFOR's sole help to us was in taking them out of
6 the pit into which they had been thrown two months later. They were so
7 mutilated, these bodies, that 12 have still not been identified.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I'm afraid that the witness is referring to his
9 documentation. We don't know anything about that. Again, he is more or
10 less appearing now and your questioning him as if he were an expert on
11 cultural or historical background. He is introduced as a witness of
13 I also now understand that the gist of what you want to elicit -
14 but correct me if I'm wrong - is that UNPROFOR at the time did not
15 intervene to protect the Serbs. I don't know whether there's any dispute
16 about that, first of all, that they did not intervene at these occasions.
17 If there's no dispute, then try to seek agreement on that --
18 MR. LUKIC: Let's see if the Prosecution does not dispute.
19 JUDGE ORIE: I beg your pardon? No, not let's see. You should
20 have inquired. It is the task of the parties to seek contact with the
21 other party to see whether there's any dispute about matters of fact. I
22 wouldn't expect Mr. Zec now to immediately know this, but that's your
23 task which you should have performed before.
24 Mr. Zec.
25 MR. LUKIC: Through my questions, and ask the Prosecution if they
1 agree with me before direct examination of this witness?
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, look at the rules. You should have done
3 this even before the start of the trial. Parties should try to agree, to
4 the extent possible, on what is in dispute and what is not. Don't tell
5 me now that this is a task that only falls upon you in court. That's
6 just ignoring what the rules are telling you and it's ignoring what we
7 have said a lot of times.
8 I don't know whether Mr. Zec would agree that UNPROFOR has, in
9 these attacks, not intervened. I leave it apart from why not or whether
10 they could not or whether they did, but whether they did not intervene in
11 such attacks.
12 MR. ZEC: It all depends on specific situations. In general, we
13 can agree that sometimes UN was unnatural in attacks, but we would
14 know -- need to know a little bit more what Mr. Lukic is referring to,
15 what operations.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So if that would have been discussed before,
17 we would have saved a lot of time.
18 Mr. Lukic, you may proceed at this moment.
19 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
20 JUDGE ORIE: I think you have another -- you said you would take
21 less time but --
22 MR. LUKIC: Quarter past 1.00, I think.
23 JUDGE ORIE: I think you have approximately until a quarter past
25 MR. LUKIC: I'll finish by that time.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Please proceed.
2 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
3 Q. [Interpretation] The Medak pocket operation, when did it take
4 place, and was it likely for the role of UNPROFOR to be changed?
5 A. I didn't hear your question.
6 Q. Operation Medak Pocket, did it seem that things would change
7 after that in terms of how UNPROFOR acted, how they acted in cease-fires,
8 and so on?
9 A. May I? May I answer?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Zec, you are on your feet, then you're down
11 again, on your feet. Do you want to object, yes or no?
12 MR. ZEC: Again, the same objection, Your Honours. We are well
13 above 1991 and I don't see the relevance.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see that. I'm not going to stop Mr. Lukic,
15 although I urged him several times to examine the witness in such a way
16 that it would assist the Chamber. The Chamber is also not inclined to
17 spend the next 15 or 20 minutes on discussing what is relevant and what
18 is not relevant. Mr. Lukic knows, I think, meanwhile what would assist
19 us and what would not.
20 Mr. Lukic, you may proceed.
21 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Can you tell us whether in 1993 you had a role
23 in the exchange of prisoners? Tell us about the period after the
24 Medak pocket.
25 A. I listened to the discussion. I'm speaking on the basis of my
1 very own experience because I took part in all these actions as president
2 of the commission for the exchange of the dead and prisoners of
3 Republika Srpska Krajina. So it's my very personal knowledge, not only
4 through my organisation, Veritas.
5 The Medak pocket occurred in --
6 Q. Just tell us the year.
7 A. 1993, September 1993. I personally received in one day 51
8 bodies. These were civilians who were killed in the Medak pocket. In
9 this Medak pocket, it was the first time that UNPROFOR had an armed
10 conflict with one of the warring parties and that was the Croatian side.
11 And there were casualties on the Croatian side and the UNPROFOR side. On
12 the UNPROFOR side, it was Canadians.
13 In addition to the 51 bodies that I took over, the UNPROFOR
14 people on their own got 18 bodies from houses that were still
15 smouldering, and they handed them over to me personally.
16 Q. Just tell us when Operations Flash and Storm took place. Just
17 the dates.
18 A. Flash, the 1st and 2nd of May, 1995, and Storm, on 4th of August,
19 that same year, 1995.
20 Q. As regards all these operations of the Croat forces, what did
21 General Jean Cot say, the UNPROFOR commander whose headquarters were in
23 A. Actually, he provided a definition in 1993 when he visited the
24 Medak pocket, he said what scorched earth was. So these were scorched
25 earth operations. That means when there is nothing left, no animals, no
1 human beings and when property is destroyed. So Medacki Dzep, the Medak
2 pocket, was carried out according to that principle, and the operations
3 that preceded it and those that followed later.
4 Specifically with regard to Medak pocket, he said that after
5 having visited the terrain for an entire day, three villages and several
6 hamlets, he did not find any human beings or any animals, and he said
7 that the destruction was planned, systematic, and total.
8 Q. Just one more case, that is, Grubori, and we'll end on that note.
9 What was the participation of UNPROFOR in that case? When did that take
11 A. After Operation Storm, the 25th of August, UNPROFOR was still
12 there on the ground. There were other UN teams there as well. In
13 addition to their presence, or rather, in spite of their presence, the
14 Croats entered the village of Grubori and carried out cleansing. That's
15 what I'm pointing out. Cleansing. That means that they cleansed Grubori
16 of human beings. They found six or seven old people and they killed
17 them. The UNPROFOR people found them as they were dying, as blood was
18 still seeping from their slit throats, and their houses were still
19 burning. And the Croats said to UNPROFOR that they were fighting the
20 Chetniks still, and these were actually just very old people. In the
21 Gotovina et al case, this was discussed at length, before this Tribunal,
22 that is.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Zec, what you heard about Grubori, any dispute
24 about that?
25 MR. ZEC: No, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: We wasted another few minutes. No dispute about
2 this matter at all.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. LUKIC: I am glad that we heard that there is no dispute,
5 so ...
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, if would you have known, if you would
7 have studied the charges brought against some of the accused in that
8 other case that was mentioned, you could have thought that possibly the
9 Prosecution would have no dispute with you about that matter. At least
10 it was worthwhile to explore it. And would you, rather, take my comments
11 seriously than to make the kind of observations as you did last time.
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. [Interpretation] What happened in Grubori? Was it recorded; and
15 if so, who did the recording?
16 A. The UNPROFOR people had cameras on the ground and they kept
17 recording this, and they sent this footage somewhere and one could see
18 that. I also had an opportunity to see that. Later on, all of this was
19 put together by a person called Bozidar Knezovic who lived in Croatia. I
20 don't know what his ethnicity is. Some people say that he's Montenegrin
21 and --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, let me stop you there. Do you have any
23 personal knowledge, apart from what you saw on videos, about what
24 happened in Grubori?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My knowledge comes later with
1 regard to exhumation and identification of bodies from these locations.
2 That is what I deal with, talking to their families, interviewing them,
3 the post-mortems, and so on.
4 JUDGE ORIE: So the simply answer is you don't have any direct
5 observation. You were not asked about exhumations. You were asked about
6 what happened in Grubori and you have no first-hand knowledge of that.
7 That's one.
8 Second, there seems to be not that much dispute about what
9 happened in Grubori. Please proceed, Mr. Lukic, with factual questions
10 relevant for us, matters which are not in dispute. I mean matters that
11 are in dispute; I misspoke.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Strbac, thank you for having answered our questions. This is
14 all that the Defence had for you at this moment. Thank you.
15 A. You're welcome.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
17 You, indeed, stayed even within the time you claimed. That's
19 Mr. Zec, what would you preferably do? To take the break now and
20 then start cross-examination after the break, or would you already start
21 for five, six minutes at this moment?
22 MR. ZEC: I'm at your convenience, Your Honours. I can start
23 with some questions, but either way if you feel the break is more
24 appropriate, we can do it as well.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Then perhaps in order not to interrupt the flow of
2 evidence, we take the break first.
3 Witness, we'd like to see you back in 20 minutes from now.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 JUDGE ORIE: We take a break, and we resume at 25 minutes past
7 --- Recess taken at 1.04 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 1.24 p.m.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Zec, as some guidance for cross-examination, if
10 the Prosecution considers a certain matter not very relevant, then it's
11 also not that relevant to spend a lot of time on it in cross-examination.
12 Of course, maybe irrelevant matters may raise a need to test credibility
13 and reliability of a witness, but to explore large fields which you
14 consider irrelevant might not be the best way to approach.
15 MR. ZEC: Understood, Your Honours.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 [The witness takes the stand]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Strbac, you'll now be cross-examined by Mr. Zec.
19 You'll find him to your right.
20 The same guidance applies; that is, focus on the question. Do
21 not go beyond that. If Mr. Zec wants to know more detail, he'll
22 certainly ask you for it.
23 Please proceed, Mr. Zec.
24 MR. ZEC: Thank you, Your Honours.
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Zec:
1 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Strbac.
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. You already told us that you worked as a judge in Benkovac, and
4 in 1990 that you had -- that you were defence counsel. In late 1991, you
5 were a member of the Benkovac Territorial Defence; right?
6 A. I was a member of the Territorial Defence a lot before that but
7 including 1991.
8 Q. Thank you. I'm trying to focus my question and I'd really
9 appreciate it if you could also focus your answer.
10 MR. ZEC: Can we have 65 ter 33422.
11 Q. And you have seen this document before, Mr. Strbac. This is a
12 list of the Benkovac TO from September 1991.
13 And we would need to look at item 26. In the English, we need
14 the second page.
15 Item 26, there is "Savo Strbac, Chief of Intelligence." This is
16 you; right?
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. ZEC: I would tender this document, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Document 33422 receives exhibit number P7637,
21 Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted into evidence.
23 MR. ZEC:
24 Q. You were a member of the SAO Krajina commission for exchanges;
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. From 1993, you were the secretary of the government of the
3 Republic of Serbian Krajina; right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You served in the RSK government under Milan Martic; right?
6 A. We have to clarify that a bit. Milan Martic was in the
7 government for a while, in the government where I was secretary, Ministry
8 of Interior. So he was not my prime minister; he was just a minister in
9 government. And then in the beginning of 1994, he became president of
10 the Republic of Serbian Krajina.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: The question, then, was did you work under him?
13 Did you or did you not work under him?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is so broad, "under him." He
15 was not my direct superior.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. You did not work under him. That's
17 the answer. Thank you so much.
18 MR. ZEC: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Now I would like to focus to your evidence about the role of the
20 JNA in Croatia.
21 You were aware, were you not, that the JNA was acting as a buffer
22 zone between the conflict parties to a certain moment. You know that;
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And from a certain moment, the JNA stopped to act as a buffer
1 zone but openly supported the Serb side in the conflict; right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And that moment was approximately when General Mladic came to
4 Croatia; right?
5 A. Well, now one has to look at dates, when it was that he arrived
6 and when this happened. I don't know the exact date of his arrival, but
7 I know approximately when the JNA supported one side, stood on one side.
8 Q. Sorry for interrupting you. Perhaps we can call a document, 65
9 ter 6754, just in terms of efficiency, we can maybe going through faster.
10 This is an interview with Milan Martic from 1994.
11 MR. ZEC: Can we have page 10 in both languages.
12 Q. So Milan Martic said:
13 "General Mladic came in June or July 1991, managed to create
14 self-confidence to Serbs, and openly stated that Serbs were right. Until
15 that moment JNA and its officers were a buffer zone between us and
16 Croatians ... Mladic openly said ... that the Serbs were right."
17 So this is right, right, that the JNA served as a buffer before
18 General Mladic's arrival and then openly sided with Serbs; right?
19 A. Not right. The buffer continued up until September, and I
20 co-operated with people who -- I mean, in addition to the JNA,
21 representatives of the federal SUP were there in the buffer zone. I
22 co-operated with them on a daily basis in Dalmatia, so I knew them. This
23 is what Mladic said. But I'm telling you what I know about that.
24 Q. That's fine. We're going --
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Zec, could you tell us to whom this interview
1 was given?
2 MR. ZEC: This is, Your Honour, an interview with Milan Martic by
3 documentary, "Death of Yugoslavia," so that's when they interviewed Milan
4 Martic, among others, and this is the transcript.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
6 MR. ZEC: And I would tender this document into evidence.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar -- all ten pages? Because it's only
8 a small portion which you read to the witness.
9 MR. ZEC: The excerpt is fine.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Excerpt is fine.
11 MR. ZEC: Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: So then you should upload the excerpt, and we
13 reserve a number for it for the time being.
14 MR. ZEC: Will do. Thank you.
15 THE REGISTRAR: The excerpt of 65 ter number 06754 receives
16 exhibit number P7638, Your Honours.
17 MR. ZEC:
18 Q. Now I want to focus a little bit --
19 JUDGE ORIE: That number is now reserved for an excerpt still to
20 be uploaded. Could we receive that within, let's say, one or two days?
21 MR. ZEC: Yes, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
23 MR. ZEC:
24 Q. Mr. Strbac, now focussing a little bit more on the operations of
25 the units under the command of General Mladic, you were aware that in
1 late 1991 units under the command of General Mladic were engaged in
2 offensive operations in the area of Krajina towards the sea; right?
3 A. Yes, there were some operations towards Sibenik, I remember.
5 MR. ZEC: Can we have P4909.
6 Q. And this is an order by General Mladic of 16 September 1991. It
7 is entitled: "Order for Attack - Operational Order Number 1."
8 So in item number 2, it says:
9 "I decided the following: In a co-ordinated action with the
10 Knin, Benkovac, and Obrovac TO forces, launch a general attack towards
11 the sea ..."
12 So, first, we see here Benkovac TO. You were aware of this
13 operation because this is your unit, the Benkovac TO; right?
14 A. I said that I knew that then, in September, there were certain
15 operations, and it can also be seen from this first paragraph what the
16 reason was, why this order was issued; that is to say, to de-blockade the
17 barracks and institutions of the JNA.
18 JUDGE ORIE: The question was whether you knew about this because
19 the order deals with your unit. That was the question.
20 THE WITNESS: Okay.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like to have an answer. That was the question.
22 Would you please answer that question.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm answering for the third
24 time. Yes, there were these operations in September. Now I see what the
25 date is and --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, the question was not whether there were
2 operations. The question was whether you knew about this operation
3 because it was your unit that was involved. That's the question. If you
4 don't want to answer it, fine, then we'll move on. But that was the
5 question which you have not answered three times.
6 Do you have an answer?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I stand by the answer that I
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, which was not an answer to the question.
10 Mr. Zec, you're invited to proceed.
11 MR. ZEC: Thank you, Your Honours.
12 Q. When this order was implemented, the Serb forces led by the JNA
13 attacked areas in the Krajina towards the sea, including the town of
14 Drnis, among others; right?
15 A. I cannot give you an answer to that question. Now you asked me
16 specifically about Drnis. Well, I don't know. Drnis was far away from
17 Benkovac. I really don't know. Maybe yes; maybe no.
18 Q. Well, you already said that you know all the operations towards
19 Sibenik so you can confirm that Drnis is located from Knin, towards
20 Sibenik, about halfway through; right? And that's the operation that you
21 were referring to; right?
22 A. No. I was not referring to Drnis. Drnis is in the hinterland
23 and now I'm talking or I did talk about places along the coast. That's
24 why I'm not sure about Drnis. It depends which route you take from Knin
25 to Sibenik. There's several routes.
1 Q. Now, you can confirm, can you, that Drnis was a Croat majority
2 town. It's about 75 per cent Croat; right?
3 A. I know that the population was mixed, but now I hear what the
4 proportion is. Now I hear it from you. Maybe yes; maybe no. I don't
6 Q. Now, this Chamber has received evidence that military operations
7 under the command of General Mladic included forcible removable of
8 non-Serb population from the areas where the 9th Corps was active, and
9 this can be found in P4166, e-court page 42. And then this is what
10 happened to Drnis among other places: Croat populations had to leave
11 Drnis after it was attacked; right?
12 A. Well, I don't believe that the entire Croat population moved out
13 of Drnis. Now, how many people moved out, you know, after all of these
14 operations, people went in different directions. Some people went
15 towards Bosnia; some people towards Serbia; others, towards Sibenik. I
16 really don't know how many left Drnis then.
17 Q. You know that Drnis became part of the SAO Krajina; right?
18 A. That's right.
19 MR. ZEC: Can we see P4913. And this is an interview with
20 General Mladic in late October 1991.
21 It should be P4913. In English, we have a good document but not
22 in the B/C/S. Okay. Can we now have second page in the B/C/S. And if
23 we can zoom to the article which is a bit to the right, the lower part of
24 the page, and the title is "Mladic: Drnis will be called Ratko."
25 So in the second of this article, it says:
1 "Asked when the people of Drnis would return to their homes and
2 what the current situation was in occupied Drnis, Mladic said: 'Drnis
3 used to be a very wild town. It is now tame and it will stay like that.'
4 When a journalist made a comment that Drnis is a Croatian town, Mladic
5 said: 'It was before but never again. Drnis is a part of the SAO
7 So, this is a reflection of the reality. General Mladic's
8 objective was to ensure that Drnis be part of the SAO Krajina; right?
9 A. I don't know. I really don't know how to answer this question of
10 yours. I see this interview for the first time, and I have never heard
11 that Drnis would be called Ratkovo. I guess it's on the basis of his
12 name. But it is a fact that Drnis was in the Republic of the Serb
13 Krajina all the way up until the fall, that is to say, August 1995.
14 Q. That's another town that was majority Croat. It was 92 per cent
15 Croat; right?
16 A. Possibly.
17 Q. Ten days after General Mladic ordered attack on Sinj, as we've
18 seen on the order that I showed you, he met Croat represents from Sinj.
19 And we have a video that he went and I'm going to show you a portion of
21 MR. ZEC: If we can have 65 ter 33408d and this is an excerpt of
22 a video dated 26 September 1991.
23 Your Honours, the CLSS has kindly checked the accuracy of the
24 translation and we can play it once. The transcripts have been provided.
25 And I also want to note that we will play this clip in two portions.
1 First we will play 1 minute and 26 seconds from the beginning, and then
2 the last 22 seconds. We marked that on the transcripts that have been
3 provided so the Trial Chamber can see what's going to be played.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Let's have a look at it.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Zec, I have the impression that the court
6 reporter would be happy if you would slow down a bit.
7 MR. ZEC: Thank you, Your Honours, and I apologise.
8 [Video-clip played]
9 "THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Everything movable has to be pulled
10 out. You know that we've already mined all our buildings and
11 installations in all the occupied areas. We are not going for
12 withdrawal. I will open up the road by force. It's not difficult for
13 me. I wouldn't like to do it. You know how I do it. I have to say all
14 this destruction so far does not come even close to what's going to
15 happen if anyone's recklessness or deliberate action infringes upon this.
16 I don't want you to understand this as a threat. I am a soldier. I
17 carry out my tasks. I am a soldier. I carry out my missions. If people
18 had listened to me, there would have been no Kijevo. If people had
19 listened to me, Vrlika would not have happened. If people had listened
20 to me, Hrvace wouldn't have happened. If people had listened to me,
21 Sibenik wouldn't have happened."
22 MR. ZEC: Can we now see the last 22 seconds of this clip.
23 Again, it is marked on the transcript for the translators what will be
25 [Video-clip played]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Is there any technical problem or ...
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 MR. ZEC: I think it's coming up.
4 [Video-clip played]
5 "THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] In that case, you can count on
6 having Sinj. In the contrary case you can tell the residents of Sinj and
7 those who are deciding on their fate.
8 "The other man: We won't be conveying that message to them. We
9 will do everything and you will keep that message to yourself. We will
10 do everything.
11 "Mladic: That there will be ... that they can just wait for me
12 in a destroyed city."
13 MR. ZEC:
14 Q. Mr. Strbac, here General Mladic threatened to destroy Sinj if his
15 demands were not met; right?
16 A. Obviously.
17 Q. And this was also his approach to Kijevo, Vrlika, Sibenik, which
18 he says need not have been destroyed if they just listened to him; right?
19 A. Everybody heard this in this video.
20 Q. General Mladic --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are being asked a question, not being asked
22 whether everybody heard. Please answer the question that is being put to
24 MR. ZEC:
25 Q. Mr. Strbac.
1 A. I would now need to ask for the video to be repeated. I think
2 I've heard it well. I didn't hear every word very clearly, but if you
3 did, then that is so.
4 JUDGE ORIE: But upon your recollection where you heard most of
5 it, you agree with Mr. Zec that General Mladic threatened to destroy Sinj
6 if his demands were not met, and that his approach to Kijevo, Vrlika,
7 Sibenik --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] His terms, yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Okay. We take that, then, for agreeing with
10 Mr. Zec that that's what Mr. Mladic said.
11 Please proceed.
12 MR. ZEC:
13 Q. General Mladic also sought to fulfil his objectives in these
14 areas by cutting off utilities, such as water, electricity; correct?
15 Right? Do you want me to repeat the question?
16 A. Yes, please do.
17 Q. General Mladic also sought to fulfil his objectives in these
18 areas by cutting off utilities, such as water, electricity, to people
19 like Sinj; right?
20 A. Again, are you asking me again if I had heard it from this video
21 or whether I know it from my experience? You are still asking me what
22 Mladic said in this video. Which of the two?
23 Q. I'm asking you as a man who met Mladic and participated in
24 negotiations with General Mladic. So this was his style. He would even
25 sought to -- he would even cut utilities to people in trying to fulfil
1 his objectives; right?
2 A. That I don't know. I did not hear that, but I know the reverse
3 is true. Barracks had their water supplies, everything cut off, when
4 they were under blockade. I don't know what you're asking. I cannot
5 confirm that.
6 MR. ZEC: Let's have a look at 65 ter 33408a. This is another
7 portion of the same event that we've just seen. And, again,
8 Your Honours, thanks to the CLSS we can play it only once.
9 [Video-clip played]
10 JUDGE ORIE: We do not receive English interpretation at this
11 moment, so could we start again. Transcripts being provided and
12 verified, could we also receive English translation?
13 MR. ZEC: And I can repeat 65 ter if it is helpful to the
14 translators. It is 33408a.
15 THE INTERPRETER: We've got it. Apologies for earlier.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Apology accepted. Let's play it again.
17 [Video-clip played]
18 "THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] We would need to make arrangements
19 on this and start as soon as possible, because it's in the interest ...
20 I'm not turning anything on, not the water or anything else at all or the
21 bridge or anything else until this ... I won't open the bridge until we
22 also do Dalmatia like this, everything, and I'm not turning your power
23 on. All of this, what I say here, goes also for Dalmatia and beyond,
24 nothing that has been attacked."
25 MR. ZEC:
1 Q. And this is the truth: General Mladic fulfilled his objectives
2 by cutting off utilities; right?
3 A. I cannot confirm things in this way. I know that we were
4 sometimes left without electricity, both sides, very often at that time.
5 Who cut off to whom depends on across whose territory the transmission
6 and supply lines went. I don't know what he means here. I'm answering
7 you to the best of my recollection and knowledge.
8 Q. I was asking you specifically about General Mladic because you
9 knew General Mladic; you participated in negotiations with him. This is
10 the way he fulfilled his objectives; right? If you don't know, that's
12 MR. ZEC: I would tender these clips and move on.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Let's first hear whether the witness has an answer
14 to the question. Do you have an answer? Do you not know? Do you not
15 know? Tell us.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I hear for the first time what
17 Mladic said at this meeting, and it's silly for me to comment upon what
18 he said at some meeting which I didn't attend. If you are asking me if
19 this happened in practice, I'm telling you that very often we, in
20 Benkovac and Knin and the people in Zadar, were frequently left without
21 electricity. Who cut off power to whom, whether it was caused by
22 shelling that hit some sort of transmission line, I don't know. All I
23 know is that I often suffered blackouts.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Apparently, the answer is that you don't know.
25 Mr. Zec, you tendered this document, this video.
1 Madam Registrar.
2 MR. ZEC: And the one before.
3 JUDGE ORIE: And the one before. They are separate 65 ter
4 numbers. Are they provided on one or on two separate discs? Two discs
5 to be fetched.
6 Madam Registrar.
7 MR. LUKIC: Sorry, if I may before you continue --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 MR. LUKIC: Obviously, this is a pretty high 65 ter number, and I
10 don't know if we have this one, the complete video. We should see what
11 actually were demands of General Mladic I think, so we need the whole
12 video at least to see it and why he put those requests, so what was the
13 reason, what was the source of these requests. We cannot see it from
14 these clips.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, first of all, was the clip in its
16 totality disclosed to the Defence?
17 MR. ZEC: It was, Your Honours, and I think Mr. Lukic is
18 referring to the portion of the first clip that I played, but we skipped
19 a bit so I think he is referring to that and we have no problem if we --
20 JUDGE ORIE: I must say it caught my attention as well that where
21 it takes even more time to stop it, to restart it, where only 15 seconds,
22 I think, were taken out, I do not know why you took those 15 seconds out,
23 or 20. But if Mr. Lukic would like to have those in, or do you want to
24 have other portions as well, Mr. Lukic?
25 MR. LUKIC: We really have to go through the video.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I suggest that we admit what is tendered
2 now and that you have an opportunity, well, let's say, this week, to
3 suggest any additions, and then we would finally decide on what the clips
4 are that will be -- that may replace the ones tendered now and admitted
5 now because there is no objection against those portions in itself.
6 Madam Registrar.
7 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 33408d receives exhibit number
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And the next one?
10 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 33408a receives exhibit number
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 Mr. Zec, therefore, the failing -- the left-out portion of the
14 first one we looked at, you'll finally include that as well, and
15 Mr. Lukic can make whatever suggestions to add something to further
16 contextualise what you have shown to us.
17 Both are admitted into evidence. That's P7639 and P7640.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. ZEC: Thank you.
20 Q. Mr. Strbac, this Chamber has also received evidence of General
21 Mladic threatening to embark on the destruction of Zadar. This is P19459
22 [sic], page 3. And, in fact, this is exactly what he did. He embarked
23 on the destruction of Zadar; right?
24 A. I cannot just confirm the statements you are making. Yes, there
25 was shelling of Zadar. There were some casualties, just as there was
1 shelling from the other side of my town, Benkovac, also causing
3 MR. ZEC: Let's take a look at 65 ter 31642.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we do that, Mr. Zec, 19459 is given a P
5 number but that's already 19.000. Was it a -- is that a 65 ter number or
6 is it an exhibit number?
7 MR. ZEC: A moment ago, Your Honour, I referred to P1959, if
8 that's the --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Then that's the correct number, P1959.
10 Thank you so much.
11 MR. ZEC: Thank you.
12 And now I called up 65 ter 31642, and this is a combat report by
13 General Mladic of 4 October 1991. Can we have page 2 in both languages.
14 Q. And it says: "... continue with offensive operations towards
16 You can see it. It's item 3. It says: "I have decided to
17 continue with offensive operations towards Zadar." It says: "Strike the
18 town of Zadar with direct fire artillery weapons ..."
19 So this destroyed the town, Mr. Strbac; right?
20 A. Well, I have to say, I am not illiterate and I am reading this,
21 but all this was intended to get to the units that were being blocked in
22 the city of Zadar. Why don't you read that? That's in the same or the
23 next item.
24 JUDGE ORIE: It's for Mr. Zec himself to decide what he reads to
25 you. If you say in this context, "I want to add something" or if
1 Mr. Lukic asks you any questions about that, but you don't have to
2 comment on what Mr. Zec read to you.
3 Could you please answer the question.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it's true, what's been read.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
6 MR. ZEC: Now, if we can see a map of Zadar just to get some
7 locations. So this is -- 65 ter 33370.
8 Q. Now, Mr. Strbac, this peninsula that we see on the map, that's
9 the historic part of Zadar; right?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone.
12 MR. ZEC: If we can zoom to the peninsula, please.
13 Q. The national museum is approximately north of the centre of the
14 peninsula. On this map, it is marked as Narodi Muzej; can you see it?
15 A. I must say I don't.
16 Q. If you look centre of the map, just north, if you follow, it
17 should say on the map "Narodi Muzej." It's marked.
18 A. Well, if I don't see it here, I know I was in Zadar. I worked
20 Q. You see --
21 A. No, I can't locate it because I just don't see well enough.
22 Q. If you see "Budska Obala," it's north, and it's a third down
23 where it says "Budska Obala," just a little bit south, it's
24 "Narodi Muzej"; right?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. Now, the national theatre is approximately in the centre of this
2 peninsula; right? It's not marked, but you can tell us that the national
3 theatre is approximately in the centre.
4 A. All right.
5 Q. Now, the church of Saint Sime is to the right, towards the end of
6 the peninsula. It is marked on the map and it says "Sveti Sime"; can you
7 see that? It has a mark across -- toward the exit of the peninsula. You
8 see it?
9 A. I can see it, yes.
10 Q. The Prince Palace is just across that church.
11 A. I see Saint Sime. Right.
12 Q. Prince Palace, that's across the church Saint Sime; correct?
13 It's not marked but you can confirm, right, it's just across the road?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. ZEC: Can we see now 65 ter 33421, and this is a list of
16 damages in the historical part of Zadar. Page 2 in both languages.
17 Q. And it says: "Inventory of Damages, damaged facilities and
18 places hit during the bombardment of the historic centre of Zadar from
19 30th September to 7 October 1991," and there's a list of 79 hits in the
20 historic part of Zadar.
21 For instance, if we can turn to page 4 in both languages.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue, Mr. Zec, could you tell us what
23 part of the indictment you're dealing with at this very moment?
24 MR. ZEC: We're dealing with acts and conduct of General Mladic
25 during his time in Croatia, which is also what the witness was talking
1 about as to what he was doing this Croatia. So I wanted to --
2 JUDGE ORIE: That was background, I take it, then? That's
3 background information about -- background in relation to the charges
4 brought against the accused.
5 MR. ZEC: But it also goes to this witness's evidence because his
6 evidence was that he was meeting with General Mladic during these
7 negotiations about exchanges in a way to say that General Mladic was
8 trying to do the good thing in Croatia. Now I'm challenging the basis
9 for his knowledge as to what was happening, what was reality of the
11 JUDGE ORIE: I see that point. At the same time we are going to
12 a level of detail, I think, which I criticised the Defence for going
13 into; that is, well, this is background information but then you lose
14 yourself in details rather than to strike a fair balance between what is
15 background and may shed some light on the personality of the accused. I
16 see that point really well. But I gave you some guidance at the
17 beginning of the cross-examination that you should avoid to do things
18 which I think this Chamber has made critical comments about when the
19 Defence did it.
20 So details like this street, et cetera, et cetera, it's clear to
21 the Chamber that the Defence very much wants to emphasise what was done
22 to the Serbs in 1991 by the Croats and how they responded to that and
23 what their impact was, and I now see that apparently the Defence -- the
24 Prosecution is doing more or less the opposite, is to say what was done
25 to the Croats by the Serbs included Serb activities under the command of
1 the accused. And what we should try to do is to strike the fair balance
2 between what is background and what is foreground and not to spend too
3 much time and too much detail on what, at least for us is clear, the
4 emphasise of the parties is about.
5 If you have one or more questions, we have another two minutes to
7 MR. ZEC: If I can perhaps finish just a few of these -- I try to
8 use the map only because to help you to see what I'm trying to point to.
9 Q. So we are now on page 4 of this list, and it says -- it refers to
10 the shell that hit the church of Saint Sime and there are details of the
12 MR. ZEC: English page 5; B/C/S page 4.
13 Q. Items 52, 53, two hits at the national theatre. Details
15 English page 11.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you refer to the paragraphs. It's much
17 easier to find.
18 MR. ZEC: I will.
19 Q. So it says here, paragraphs named as 21 to 26 and it refers to
20 six shells hit Prince's Palace.
21 MR. ZEC: English page 8; B/C/S page next, please.
22 Q. Items 52, 53, or paragraphs 52 and 53 --
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It should be the next page in English, and in
24 B/C/S, we are far away from that.
25 MR. ZEC: So English page 8; B/C/S page 8.
1 Q. Two hits at the national theatre. So this was a well-known
2 event, Mr. Strbac, that forces under the command of General Mladic
3 shelled the town of Zadar, and that's what was well known; right?
4 A. What do you mean, it was common knowledge? I wasn't at Zadar. I
5 was in Benkovac and counting the shells falling on Benkovac. On the
6 other hand, we have reports as to what happened in Zadar. We have one
7 here. I can believe it or not believe it.
8 Q. And you talked to us about the acts and conduct of General Mladic
9 while you're meeting him, and the reality is that this is also what he
10 was doing in Croatia. He was attacking towns, and all the whole town he
11 was -- it was attacked as I just showed you in this document; right?
12 A. I cannot answer in that way and confirm your statements. I'm
13 repeating this once again.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Zec, it's a quarter past 2.00.
15 MR. ZEC: Yeah, I would tender the order, map and the list,
16 Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
18 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 31642 receives exhibit number
20 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted.
21 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 33370 receives exhibit number
23 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted.
24 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number 33421 receives exhibit number
1 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted into evidence.
2 Witness, we'd like to see you back tomorrow morning at --
3 Mr. Tieger?
4 MR. TIEGER: The witness can be excused. I just wanted to offer
5 one comment before we --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 Witness, we'd like to see you back tomorrow morning at a quarter
8 past -- no, wait for one second. I still have to give you some
9 instructions, that is, that you should not speak or communicate in
10 whatever way with whomever about your testimony, whether that is
11 testimony you've given today or whether that is testimony still to be
12 given tomorrow. And we'd like to see you back at 9.30 tomorrow morning.
13 THE WITNESS: Okay.
14 [The witness stands down]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Zec, before we continue, I very much urged the
16 Defence to put factual questions where the witness was very much inclined
17 to tell whatever happened at places where he had never been, most likely
18 on the basis of documentation he had. Now, the witness seems to take
19 that very seriously because any question you ask him now about what
20 happened, his response is "I wasn't there so I can't tell you." At the
21 same time, of course, if that is true, or if he says, "Well, I met
22 Mr. Mladic at that moment," and if you then put to him orders where
23 there's no basis yet established for whether he would have known about
24 these orders to be issued or whether these orders were implemented, the
25 witness is exactly doing, I think, what I advised him to do; that is, to
1 limit himself to factual knowledge. But by insisting on those questions,
2 you may want to do the same as the Defence did, but perhaps that doesn't
4 And all of that apparently is at least not the core of the case,
5 that is, the events which happened in the time-frame of this -- the
6 time-frame of the indictment. And I'm saying this to you because if both
7 parties start doing it the way -- and it was criticised when the Defence
8 did it, this is similar criticism, then we can spend here a long time in
9 Court on matters which do not assist. I'm not saying that the act and
10 conducts in previous periods is totally irrelevant, but to ask the
11 witness all kind of things because he once meant Mr. Mladic, of course,
12 might not really give the answers that you would like perhaps to receive
13 and which perhaps would assist the Chamber. I leave it to this at this
15 Mr. Tieger.
16 MR. TIEGER: I just want to add one point of clarification,
17 Mr. President, and not to suggest that the Prosecution won't take onboard
18 the Court's comments. But in respect of the brief discussion about
19 evidence of acts outside the indictment, there was mention of its
20 possible relevance as background or reflections of personality, I would
21 simply note that more classically such evidence is offered for such
22 matters as motive or intent or modus operandi, and certainly with respect
23 to the latter two, those are appropriate bases for the relevance of the
24 material that was discussed in the course of the cross-examination, we
25 would submit, and just to shed light on both its relevance, its
1 application, and the basis for proffering it.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I said I made a few comments on relevance. I gave a
3 few examples. I also stressed, as I did with the Defence, that we would
4 not prevent you from presenting evidence on that but to strike a fair
5 balance between what is background. Background, of course, may also
6 include some of the elements you added, which I certainly did not exclude
7 earlier when I was talking about their relevance.
8 But it's good that the parties think about these matters, and
9 they have time to do that until 9.30 tomorrow morning because we adjourn
10 until Wednesday, the 11th of November, 9.30 in the morning, in this same
11 courtroom, I.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.23 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 11th day of
14 November, 2015, at 9.30 a.m.