1 Tuesday, 1 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- On commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Could the witness be brought in. Thank you.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 WITNESS: BINAZIJA KOLESAR [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, Mrs. Kolesar. If I could remind
10 you of the --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
12 JUDGE PARKER: -- affirmation you made at the beginning of your
13 evidence which still applies.
14 Mrs. Tuma.
15 MS. TUMA: Thank you.
16 Examined by Ms. Tuma: [Continued]
17 Q. Good afternoon, Mrs. Kolesar.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 Q. And we will continue where we were yesterday. We ended
20 yesterday's testimony by -- that Mrs. Kolesar mentioned the shelling of
21 the hospital and the city and the surrounding areas. That offered --
22 created difficult circumstances under which the medical staff and the
23 patients were while they were working or being in the hospital.
24 Can you please tell us if you know of any specific incident that
25 happened when the hospital was targeted by the shelling? Thank you.
1 A. There were several such occasions. What all of us remember, for
2 example, are the airstrikes on the hospital. In one of such attacks a
3 bomb fell on the hospital. It was our estimate that it was 250
4 kilogrammes. The bomb pierced all of the floors of the new hospital
5 building, all the way down to the underground level, to the basement
6 level, but did not explode. At that point, we were using rainwater. And
7 this is an incident that all of us remember.
8 In addition to that, missiles were fired on the hospital from
9 aeroplanes as well. And when that happened, we went to check the
10 building, and we realised that one part of the hospital building had caved
11 in and was unrecognisable.
12 During that period of time, we got used to those daily attacks on
13 the hospital, but nevertheless, we had to carry on with our work.
14 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. When it comes to the first incident you
15 mentioned here, the 250-kilogramme bomb, did you happen to remember when
16 that was in time?
17 A. I think it was on the 4th or 5th of October. October 1991.
18 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. Were there any efforts made from the
19 hospital side in order to get the shelling to cease, and in what way then?
20 A. Our director, Dr. Bosanac, is -- incessantly sent out appeals and
21 protests or pleas asking that they cease attacking hospital, shelling
22 hospital. We wanted to ensure that the hospital remained operational in
23 order for us to be able to receive the new wounded.
24 For example, we would admit the wounded and put them in a certain
25 portion of the hospital which would be shelled tomorrow, and that was of
1 course very disruptive. So these appeals or pleas were constantly sent
2 out to various persons.
3 Q. Do you know to whom it was specifically sent to?
4 A. I couldn't really say that I know precisely where they were sent,
5 but it is most likely that every day they were sent out to several places.
6 Dr. Bosanac was in charge of that, and she knew to whom they ought to be
8 Q. Okay. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. And you have told us the great
9 difficulties you did have in the hospital when it comes to taking care of
10 the wounded persons and so on during this time period. Then we are
11 talking about up until mid-November. And were there any kind of
12 evacuation or could the hospital handle with all the wounded persons?
13 A. The hospital had to take in all the wounded persons. There was no
14 alternative. The last large convoy, as I stated yesterday, was on the
15 19th of October. Sometimes we were able to take several wounded persons
16 at a time to our auxiliary hospital, if I can call it that, which was
17 located in Borovo Naselje. This hospital was also located in the atomic
18 shelter. However, the road to that area was soon thereafter blocked and
19 that became impossible. And from -- from a certain period of time
20 onwards, it was only possible for the wounded persons to be taken to our
21 hospital, and from there we couldn't send them anywhere else.
22 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. When it comes to the 19 October
23 evacuation, who did facilitate that evacuation?
24 A. I suppose it was the JNA, because it was the JNA vehicles that
25 drove away civilians on the 19th. And on the 20th their vehicles drove
1 away our wounded.
2 Q. Now we're talking about October, the 19 October. Were there any
3 other organisations --
4 A. Yes, yes, the 19th. 19th of October was the day when the convoy
5 was organised by Medicins Sans Frontieres. They managed to arrive. I
6 don't know what kind of negotiations they had with the JNA and how it was
7 made possible for them to get to us, but the fact is that over 100
8 wounded, or specifically 112 wounded, were evacuated on that occasion,
9 which was a great assistance to us at the time.
10 Q. Were there any other in the same sense facilitated evacuation done
11 of the 19 October up until the mid-November?
12 A. No.
13 Q. I will now return back to the scene, so to say, of the hospital.
14 And were there any -- were the hospital itself defended in any way?
15 A. I don't know. What do you mean? How can one defend a hospital?
16 I have to put that question, because I really don't know how can a
17 hospital defend itself. There are only medical staff members working in
18 the hospital, so therefore I don't know who would be able to defend the
19 hospital or who would be able to attack it when there are only medical
20 staff there and the wounded.
21 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. Were there any defenders outside the
22 hospital, around the hospital?
23 A. I can't answer that question, because I didn't leave the hospital
24 compound during that period of time, October and November. Therefore, I'm
25 unable to tell you what was going on in the street, whether there were
1 defenders there or not. I really do not know that.
2 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. And how long did the shelling continue
3 on the city of Vukovar? When did the city of Vukovar fell?
4 A. I think that this area where the hospital is located was not
5 shelled any more after the 17th. I don't know whether that date can be
6 taken as the fall of Vukovar. Most likely yes. So that was on the
7 17th of November.
8 Q. Okay. Thank you. I will now move on to what happened on specific
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mrs. Tuma, could I just interrupt for a moment. I
11 want to clarify something in the transcript that isn't clear to me.
12 We've heard in evidence, Mrs. Kolesar, of two times when wounded
13 were evacuated, one on the 19th of October, and the next time was the
14 19th and 20th of November. Well, evacuation may not be the word you'd use
15 for the 19th and 20th of November.
16 On the 19th of October, was it the JNA that moved the wounded or
17 was it Medicins Sans Frontieres?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The evacuation was conducted by the
19 organisation called Medicins Sans Frontieres. However, I suppose that
20 they had to agree with the JNA on their route for entering Vukovar.
21 Otherwise, it would have been impossible for them to enter Vukovar.
22 Therefore, it was organised by Medicins Sans Frontieres. And as for their
23 passage, how their passage was arranged, I can only give you my
24 assumptions. I don't know anything more about that.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
1 I'm sorry to have interrupted, Mrs. Tuma.
2 MS. TUMA: That's fine, Your Honour.
3 Q. I would like to move on, as said, to specific dates, and I will
4 start with the 17th November 1991. Do you remember what happened during
5 that day in the hospital?
6 A. I mostly remember that day by the fact that there was no attack on
7 the hospital. It was very quiet, which was something that we were not
8 used to. The work went on normally in the hospital. There was nothing
9 peculiar going on. There were even no new wounded persons coming in. So
10 it was calm. There was no shooting, and there were no newly wounded
11 persons arriving.
12 Q. Were there any other persons arriving into the hospital during
13 that day?
14 A. I didn't see them. I didn't see anybody who was not part of the
15 hospital staff.
16 Q. And how about civilians? Were they arriving to the hospital
17 during that day?
18 A. As soon as it was calm, as soon as there was a lull in the
19 shelling, there would be groups of civilians arriving in the hospital, a
20 large number of civilians coming in from the centre of the town, from all
21 the shelters in the inner urban area. So in the inner urban area there
22 were atomic shelters, and there were also shelters in various private
23 homes, basements, and so on. People believed that the hospital was an
24 oasis of peace where they would be guaranteed salvation, and they were
25 coming to the hospital en masse. It was impossible to prevent them from
1 coming to the hospital. They did not disturb the wounded. They simply
2 occupied various floors of the hospital, or, rather, corridors on all the
3 floors above the basement.
4 In my estimate, there were a thousand people there. Perhaps more,
5 perhaps less, but at any rate there was a huge number of people there.
6 They were children coming in with their sacks, completely beyond
7 themselves, and they were able to find peace there and salvation.
8 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, you just mentioned there was children with their
9 sacks. Were there any other kind -- can you mention other examples among
10 those 1.000 about or more people that arrived to the hospital during that
11 day, what kind of people it was?
12 A. Those were the people who in the previous three months or, rather,
13 previous 80 days lived in basements. They looked exhausted to me,
14 terrified. I must say that they had to be hungry and thirsty, that they
15 survived on a bare minimum prior to that. They perhaps expected that they
16 would find better conditions in the hospital, but the hospital in fact
17 lived under same conditions as they did.
18 I don't know how to describe a man or a woman or a child to you
19 who spent more than 80 days under abnormal conditions. This is how those
20 people looked.
21 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. Now we will move on to the next day, and
22 that is on the 18th of November. Can you by your own recollection tell us
23 what happened? We can start with the morning. Were there any specific --
24 or what happened in the morning of the 18th November, if there were
25 anything, so to say?
1 A. Nothing remarkable went on in the hospital except that we were
2 given a task in view of the preparation of the evacuation of the wounded,
3 which was supposed to take place on the 19th of November. We were
4 supposed to compile a list of the wounded. In my view, that list was
5 needed in order to ensure transportation, to arrange transportation, in
6 order to see how many wounded would need transportation in ambulances and
7 how many were able to use some other vehicles and how many were able to
8 sit and so on.
9 So that was our task on the 18th. And it was mostly dealt with by
10 the doctors, because no one else was able to assess what was the most
11 appropriate way to transport a sick person.
12 In addition to that, the staff of the hospital also had to be put
13 on a list. Their names had to be put on a list in order to see what means
14 of transportation were needed. People also had to indicate where they
15 wanted to go. Some wanted to go to Serbia, and some wanted to go to
16 Croatia. Based on that, the lists were compiled.
17 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. I will start with the list you was
18 talking about about the wounded and the sick in the hospital. Who did
19 compile that list? Was it anyone who gave order about that?
20 A. Most likely our director issued an order to the doctors asking
21 them to do that. They had to do it so that she would be able to tell what
22 was needed for evacuation. Without that list, she was unable to say, "I
23 need ten ambulances or ten buses." She had to have some information in
24 order to ask for a certain number of vehicles.
25 Q. Can you please tell us, Mrs. Kolesar, how that was done, so to
1 say? What measures were taken from the medical staff in order to compile
2 that list? Were there any specific medical staff involved in it? Can you
3 please explain the procedure, how it was done, please.
4 A. For example, I remember that the list was compiled by Dr. Matos,
5 Dr. Tomic. Perhaps somebody else was involved, but I don't know who
6 exactly. It had to be done by several doctors, but right now I can't
7 remember their names.
8 In addition to that, they also had to examine a wounded person and
9 see their medical charts in order to assess what was needed for them. So
10 they couldn't just use the existing documentation. They had to see the
11 actual patient. And this wasn't a job that one could do in half an hour.
12 They actually had to go to see each patient, assess whether he or she was
13 able to sit up or not, and then decide on which list to put that person on
14 the list of the person who could sit up or those who needed ambulances.
15 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, were you involved in that process in any way to
16 compile the list?
17 A. Only in the technical portion of the job. When the list was
18 compiled, a clerk who worked in the surgical ward and I copied the list
19 or, rather, typed the list on a typewriter, and I helped her in that. So
20 the list that was originally written down by physicians was then retyped
21 on a typewriter.
22 I personally didn't give this list to anybody. This was probably
23 done by our administrative clerk. My job was only to speed up the
25 Q. Do you remember how many names were on this list?
1 A. No. I can't remember, but there were nearly 400 wounded persons.
2 Now, as to who was on which list, I really couldn't tell you that. I
3 don't remember.
4 Q. The number 400 wounded, what do you mean by that, Mrs. Kolesar?
5 Can you please explain that?
6 A. Four hundred wounded and ill persons is the category that covered
7 all those who needed medical assistance because they were either -- they
8 had been either wounded or ill. Among those 400 there were newborn
9 babies, women who had just delivered a baby. There were people with
10 various internal disorders, psychiatric patients, and the wounded.
11 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. This list, was that given to a specific
12 person or any person? Do you have any knowledge about that?
13 A. I assume that our clerk, upon a request from the director, gave
14 the list to the director, because the director was the one who initially
15 requested the list. So I suppose that it was turned over to her.
16 Q. And after that, what was the purpose of the list?
17 A. Most likely in order to know the transportation needs. There was
18 no other purpose for that list. It served no other purpose except to
19 organise an evacuation.
20 Q. And who was supposed to organise that organisation, that
22 A. Once again Dr. Bosanac, in negotiations most likely with the JNA,
23 because who else could she have negotiated with? The city was occupied,
24 occupied by the JNA, so there was nobody else that she could have
25 negotiated with.
1 As for the course of negotiations, I know nothing about that. I
2 had no authorities, nor did I play any role in that regard.
3 Q. The International Red Cross, were they in any sense involved in
4 this process?
5 A. We were told that the International Red Cross would be involved in
6 the evacuation, but we didn't see them before the 19th. I still fail to
7 understand what their role would be. With the exception of a lady who
8 came along with a box of medicines to be used in order to help patients
9 during the evacuation, there was no one else. That was on the 19th.
10 This lady gave me the box, and I asked one of our employees to
11 bring the box to the pharmacy.
12 Q. I'll go back to the 18th. We're still on the 18th, Mrs. Kolesar.
13 In the hospital during that day on the 18th when the lists were compiled,
14 were there presence of any military in the hospital?
15 A. Well, personally I have a dilemma. I think some of them got in on
16 the 18th, but probably, since it had been agreed that no one would be
17 going in, it is quite likely that all those that I saw got in on the 19th,
18 into the hospital.
19 Q. What do you remember today, Mrs. Kolesar, about -- concerning
20 the 18th? And that day you were talking about a list were compiled about
21 the -- concerning the wounded in the hospital? Do you have any memory on
22 that day that any kind of presence of military in the hospital that you
23 saw yourself?
24 A. There were no soldiers in the hospital. Perhaps there were
25 soldiers around the hospital. We had been advised not to leave the
1 hospital building. Therefore, I was in no position to see whether there
2 were perhaps soldiers outside the hospital building or in the yard.
3 Inside the hospital itself, one certainly couldn't notice any soldiers.
4 On the 18th, we had to prepare the wounded to be evacuated, the
5 evacuation that had been agreed to take place on the 19th. All their
6 wounds had to be dressed. They had to be seen to. They had to be given
7 their personal documents to keep on them when taken elsewhere so that
8 wherever they ended up people would know who they were and what their
9 backgrounds were, what had happened to them. All the documents had to be
10 prepared, and it was down to the patients to keep these documents.
11 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. It's quite a long time ago, of course.
12 It was 1991 this event happened. I will ask you about the son, specific
13 person, about the son of Dr. Ivankovic. Can you tell you anything about
14 him in course of those days?
15 A. Dr. Ivankovic's son came to the hospital. My recollection is
16 slightly blurred, and I might be wrong, but it could have been either on
17 the 18th or the 19th. Both his parents worked at the hospital, and he
18 came to see them. I personally saw him alone -- standing alone talking to
19 his mother. I can't say with certainty whether it was on the 18th or
20 the 19th, but I can say that there were no other soldiers around them at
21 the time when he was visiting his mother.
22 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. In what way was this person dressed when
23 he was visiting the hospital?
24 A. Goran wore a camouflage uniform. He had no cap on, and I didn't
25 see anything else. He was there sitting in this room wearing a camouflage
1 uniform, and he was there in order to talk to his mother.
2 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, when you mention Goran, is that the first name of
3 the son of Dr. Ivankovic?
4 A. Yes, that's his first name.
5 Q. Thank you. And, Mrs. Kolesar, when you mention also camouflage
6 uniform, can you by that say what kind of army he then belonged to, by
7 looking at the camouflage uniform?
8 A. No. I'm entirely unfamiliar with that. I did not see any
9 giveaway insignia that might have helped me to identify the uniform.
10 Q. Is there anything else that you would like to add what happened on
11 the 18 November, Mrs. Kolesar, that you remember?
12 A. The way I remember it, there were no incidents. We were biding
13 our time until the next day when we hoped our wounded would finally be
14 released from this difficult situation and taken away from the hospital
15 that had in the meantime become inadequate to keep them there.
16 Q. Were you told on that day if the International Red Cross should be
17 involved in any sense in the evacuation that should take place the next
19 A. We'd been told that the International Red Cross would be our
20 protection in a way, that the International Red Cross would be there for
21 the evacuation and that they would see to it that the evacuation was well
22 organised and conducted.
23 Q. How about the ECMM? Were they in any sense involved?
24 A. Perhaps they were, but none of us, at least those of us inside the
25 hospital, ever laid eyes on them. I don't think there's a single person
1 who could say we saw the European Monitors there, whatever their name was.
2 Then again, they might have been somewhere in the surroundings of the
3 hospital. It's just that we didn't see them.
4 Q. I would like to move on now to the 19 November and talk
5 specifically about that day. What were -- what was happening on the 19?
6 On the 18 you prepared for evacuation. What was happening on the 19 then?
7 A. The 19th was a massive disappointment because the evacuation had
8 to be postponed. We were hoping to finally get out of that hell. We were
9 hoping that we would be allowed to finally leave and go somewhere, but it
10 turned out not to be possible. For reasons unknown to me, the evacuation
11 was postponed, so we had to go back to treating the wounded, dressing
12 their wounds, making sure they received therapy, feeding them, and giving
13 them water to drink.
14 On the 19th, on the afternoon of the 19th, our janitor Bogdan
15 Kuzmic came into the hospital. He was there to pick up a nurse who had
16 known nothing about her parents' fate for three months, because they had
17 remained in a section of town that had been occupied by the JNA long
18 before. He said he would come back and fetch her one hour later, and he
20 On the 19th, the evacuation of civilians also commenced, the
21 civilians who were in the hospital having previously left their shelters.
22 All the civilians who entered the hospital on the 17th were evacuated.
23 Their evacuation was most likely also organised by the JNA, but they had
24 their own lists drawn up by the Red Cross officer for the town of Vukovar,
25 Zeljka Zgonjanin. I'm not sure who had commissioned her to draw up those
1 lists. I can't say anything about that, but she was given a room in our
2 surgical clinic where she compiled those lists and checked them. None of
3 us had anything to do with that, that's her.
4 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, you said that none of you did anything to do with
5 that. What does that mean? Was it that evacuation of the civilian that
6 entered --
7 A. What I'm trying to say is that we were not involved in the
8 evacuation of civilians. It just wasn't necessary. They could all walk.
9 They got in much the same -- they got out much the same way they got in.
10 Vehicles came for them and they were taken somewhere. I have no idea
11 where. The fact is they left the hospital.
12 Q. When was this done during the day of the 19?
13 A. I think, and I can't be certain, it's been a long time, that this
14 began in the afternoon hours and went on. It was November. That's one
15 thing you must take into account. It was dark very soon, and I think the
16 evacuation went on well into the night. That's the way I remember it. At
17 any rate, on the 19th, all of them were taken away from the hospital.
18 Furthermore, on the 19th in the afternoon, Bogdan Kuzmic returned
19 and took that nurse to her parents' place. I was told that he had again
20 returned to the hospital and took away three other persons belonging to
21 our medical staff. That's at least what people told me later on. This is
22 not something that I personally witnessed at the time.
23 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, you mentioned about -- that it was a massive
24 disappointment that there was no evacuation done on the 19th November of
25 the wounded and sick. Were you or your staff informed about the reason
1 for that?
2 A. No. No. All we now was the evacuation was postponed, and we were
3 told that it would probably take place on the 20th, but no explanations
4 were provided. We could only speculate that no vehicles were available,
5 something like that, but these were mere assumptions. We didn't know what
6 the reasons behind it were. We knew that it was postponed and that we had
7 to wait for the next day.
8 Q. And did you have any knowledge about on the 19 who should
9 facilitate, who should perform the evacuation of the wounded and sick out
10 of the hospital?
11 A. We knew that the JNA would be organising that and that the
12 International Red Cross would be monitoring and checking the whole
13 process. That's what we had been told the day before. We expect it had
14 would happen on the 19th, but then this is what we were told.
15 Q. Also on the 19, you said here that the massive -- the massive
16 number of civilians were evacuated after -- out of the hospital until the
17 dark hours. By that means did you see any military? Was there any kind
18 of military presence inside the hospital at the time during that day on
19 the 19 November?
20 A. With the exception of certain individuals coming in, going out,
21 like Kuzmic, I did not see anyone else. I did not meet anyone else.
22 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. I would like to move on to the next day,
23 and that is the 20th of November. And before going into specific
24 questions, I would like you, Mrs. Kolesar, to once again look on your made
25 chart on your right-hand side, and I would like the Court and the parties
1 to look at number, and the court officer here, that is the ERN number that
2 we had yesterday. It's 04639058. Okay.
3 Just a moment, Mrs. Kolesar. What is going to be prepared.
4 A. Very well.
5 Q. In the night, during the night, Mrs. Kolesar -- just a moment,
6 please. During the night between the 19th and 20th November, where were
7 you sleeping then?
8 A. I wouldn't exactly use the word sleeping. I was trying to get
9 some rest. That's what I was doing. I used the room that we refer to as
10 unclean in the hospital. It was in the internal ward. It was the -- our
11 own lingo that we used. We called it the unclean room. The window panes
12 had been shattered, and it was cold, but at least we could lie down on
13 some crates that were in the room. My husband and I spend the night
14 there. We tried to rest there.
15 Before I left this room I was supposed to report my whereabouts,
16 just in case any new wounded came in. I had to speak to the duty
17 anaesthesiologist so that he would know where I was in case new wounded
18 came in. We had to know where to put them. I spent the night in this
19 unclean room on the ground floor.
20 Q. And in the morning, Mrs. Kolesar, what happened? We take step by
21 step. What happened in the morning on the 20th November?
22 A. The next morning, it's difficult to say what time it was exactly
23 but it was still dark, it might have been around 7.00 a.m., Dr. Kust came
24 to fetch me, telling me that I had to go down to the surgical clinic. I
25 followed him there. The door of the plaster room inside the surgical
1 clinic --
2 Q. Could you show on the chart here where that room was located?
3 A. Yes. It's right here.
4 Q. Can you please --
5 A. There's a dot here.
6 Q. Can you also please mark it with a number, please, Mrs. Kolesar.
7 You can say number 1.
8 A. All right. [Marks].
9 JUDGE PARKER: It occurs to me, Mrs. Tuma, that there have been
10 very many positions marked and none of them numbered, and it may be now is
11 a good time to number what is there.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Fine.
13 MS. TUMA: Yes, we can do that.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mrs. Kolesar, you have marked with a number 1 the
15 entrance which you've just done. I wonder whether you could mark with a
16 number 2 the -- and put a circle around it, the new building, the main new
17 building of the hospital.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's marked.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Put a circle around the number 2, please.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
21 JUDGE PARKER: And if you could mark with a number 3 the old
22 building and put a circle around 3, please.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
24 JUDGE PARKER: Could you mark with a number 4 the atomic shelter
25 and put a circle around that.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
2 JUDGE PARKER: With a number 5, the underground corridor.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. With a number 6, the hospital yard.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
6 JUDGE PARKER: With a number 7, the main entrance to the hospital.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. With a number 8, the second entrance
9 that you mentioned, the one at Cesta Road.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
11 JUDGE PARKER: With a number 9, the surgical clinic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
13 JUDGE PARKER: And with a number 10, two number 10s, each one
14 being where the canvas Red Cross signs were.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Marks].
16 JUDGE PARKER: Sorry, number 10.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. I'm placing
18 the number 6 here, and there's the yard behind the building. There's one
19 between the two buildings, and there's a lawn behind one of the buildings.
20 I've marked both with the number 6.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Both those yards are lawns.
23 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues]....
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And I'm using number 10 to mark
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 As I recall it, Mrs. Tuma, they are the main features that were
3 described and marked yesterday by the witness.
4 MS. TUMA: That is correct, Your Honour. Thank you so much for
6 JUDGE PARKER: And I thought it could be useful to get those
7 identified at this point.
8 MS. TUMA: Excellent, Your Honour. Thank you.
9 JUDGE PARKER: So you're asking now about the entrance to the
10 surgical clinic, and you carry on from there.
11 MS. TUMA: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Yes, Mrs. Kolesar. You just marked the room. Was it so? Yes.
13 And what happened now? We go back so we can start over again. What
14 happened now in the morning on the 20th November?
15 A. I entered this room with Dr. Kust, the so-called plaster room.
16 During the war it was used as an operations room. I found Dr. Ivankovic
17 right there. Also, there were two persons wearing JNA uniform inside, one
18 of them a camouflage uniform and the other being something that struck me
19 as the regulation JNA uniform.
20 Dr. Ivankovic said that the person wearing the standard regulation
21 JNA uniform was a doctor who wished to inspect a number of the wounded.
22 He had a list with their names, so off we went.
23 The first name on the list was the husband of one of our nurses.
24 Of course there was no way for me to know which bed he was in, or maybe
25 Dr. Ivankovic assumed that I would be able to track them down immediately.
1 I had to ask around. I had to consult nurses working in different
2 rooms around the hospital where this person was, and they pointed me in
3 the right direction.
4 So we passed the surgery corridor, the polyclinic. We passed
5 through the underground corridor and reached the old hospital. The person
6 they were looking for was in one of the rooms in that building, and then
7 he was called so that -- I'm listening.
8 Q. Sorry to interrupt you, Mrs. Kolesar. Before I forget the
10 A. The lady doctor came out with him, the one who was in charge of
11 this patient. She told the doctor that his eye had been injured. They
12 took the bandage off so that he could inspect it himself, and then we just
13 continued our round.
14 We did manage to find some of the people from his list, and he
15 examined them. There were some people we weren't able to find, but he
16 wasn't really adamant that he should tick off all the names on the list.
17 After this inspection or whatever you might choose to call it, we returned
18 to this room that we referred to as the plaster room.
19 Q. Okay. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. We'll stop there and I would like
20 to go back with some questions about this, this phase, so to say, on the
21 morning of the 20th of November.
22 You say there was one of the people in the room you were just
23 explaining that were hand -- that did have the list. Was it so?
24 A. Yes, the doctor.
25 Q. And what kind of list was that?
1 A. This was not the list containing the names of the wounded that we
2 had compiled. This was just a small list or a short memo, something that
3 could have been based on one of our own lists. But I don't know in what
4 way. I have no idea who produced this short list that the doctor had.
5 The fact is, he asked to see a number of our wounded. Based on what or
6 what the criteria were for the names selected, I have no idea. Perhaps to
7 determine how they would be taken away or perhaps to look at their case
8 histories. I have no idea what he had in mind, what the purpose was of
9 this inspection, but he certainly wasn't very persistent. He wasn't
10 adamant that all the names and all the people should be checked. He just
11 rushed straight through it. We did a pretty quick job, and we were being
12 escorted throughout by an armed soldier.
13 Soon after, we were back to the plaster room. We covered the
14 entire area and all the rooms where the wounded were, virtually all of it.
15 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, when you said that -- I'm going back now to what
16 happened in the morning and the examination of the patient. How many
17 about were there time to examine? How many did the -- the doctor examine
18 from that specific list, how many wounded?
19 A. Very brief, perhaps 15 to 20 minutes. It's hard to say. The time
20 that we needed to get to the end of the underground corridor, to locate
21 the wounded on the list, to take the bandages off, examined their wounds,
22 and that was it. The list wasn't short, so the whole endeavour didn't
23 take long.
24 Q. Did you see any member from the ICRC or the European Monitors at
25 the hospital in the morning when this event took -- did happen?
1 A. No, no one.
2 Q. Did you see Dr. Vesna Bosanac, Mrs. Bosanac at the time? This is
3 in the morning?
4 A. At that time when this examination went on, I didn't see her then.
5 Following this, upon my return to the plaster room, an order had already
6 been issued to assemble all medical staff from all rooms in the plaster
7 room. All males and all the wounded who were able to walk had to leave
8 the premises and walk towards the courtyard.
9 So by the time we got back another order had been issued, and
10 medical staff started streaming into the plaster room slowly. I say
11 slowly because some of them were on the floors sleeping there. Some of
12 them were in distant premises. So it took time for all of them to
13 assemble in the plaster room.
14 In addition to that, the wounded persons who were able to walk,
15 male persons who were in the hospital for whatever reason, started leaving
16 the hospital building.
17 Q. Okay, Mrs. Kolesar. We can stop there.
18 A. Just a second, please. In the meantime, a doctor who wanted to go
19 to Belgrade claimed that he didn't know that there was a list of staff
20 members who wanted to go to this place or that place. I knew the office
21 that Dr. Bosanac used, and I went there. I saw Dr. Bosanac sitting there.
22 With her there was our government commissioner, Marin Bilic, Bili, and
23 there was another uniformed and armed person there.
24 I approached the -- I approached Dr. Bosanac asking for the list,
25 and she told me where it was, and I took it. That was the first and last
1 day -- last time on that day that I saw Dr. Bosanac. I don't know what
2 happened to her afterwards. She didn't come out of the building with us
3 and didn't go into the courtyard. That was the last time I saw her.
4 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. I would like now to go back in what
5 happened. You said that you returned back to this plaster room, was that
6 correct, after the examination of the patients?
7 A. That's right.
8 Q. And who were in that room at that time when you returned back?
9 A. In that room there was a man wearing a camouflage uniform and the
10 doctor who examined the patients with me and some of our doctors. Our
11 doctors, some of them knew this person. Later on I learned from
12 Dr. Njavro that his name as Ivezic. So some of our doctors knew him
13 perhaps from medical school or elsewhere. People started coming in and
14 all of us assembled there. We were all waiting to hear the news, to hear
15 when the evacuation would start and so on.
16 So I suppose once all of us in assembled, all medical staff, male
17 and female, Dr. Ivezic addressed us, telling us said Dr. Bosanac was no
18 longer director and that he was now the person in command of the hospital.
19 Following that, another person addressed us. I'm not sure about
20 his rank. I suppose it was major. At any rate, Mr. Sljivancanin
21 addressed us and gave a speech. Let's call it a speech.
22 I don't know whether you're interested in the content of this
23 speech. I don't think it's anything interesting.
24 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, I would like to interrupt you here now. Now we are
25 talking about -- you're talking about what happened in the plaster room.
1 First you went out, examined with the wounded together with a doctor from
2 the list, and then you returned back to the plaster room. And who were
3 there? There were medical staff in that plaster room? Were there also
4 Sljivancanin present in that room at that time?
5 A. Most likely, yes, because I didn't see any other soldiers coming
6 in except for the one wearing a camouflage uniform who introduced himself
7 as Veselin Sljivancanin and told us that the evacuation of the wounded had
8 already started, that we would wait for the buses, and nothing else. So
9 it was a speech which took -- I couldn't say how much time.
10 Q. Did Sljivancanin gave any orders or instructions in that room?
11 A. No. We did not receive any specific instructions except that we
12 were to wait for -- or, rather, while all of us were in the plaster room,
13 the males had left the hospital. We were told that we could get our
14 belongings and go to the yard to wait for the buses there.
15 Q. All you said here, Mrs. Kolesar, that the wounded should leave as
16 well the hospital. When was that said and by whom?
17 A. If you are referring to the wounded who were able to walk, I don't
18 know who issued that order. All I know is that we were told that all
19 those wounded who were able to walk and all males should go out into the
20 yard. The wounded who were unable to move remained in their beds
21 expecting evacuation, awaiting evacuation.
22 Q. So all the wounded that could walk and all men should go out of
23 the hospital; is that correct?
24 A. That's right. Not only they were supposed to go out, but they
25 actually did go out. All men simply walked out. It wasn't up to them to
1 decide. We had a male nurse who knew the premises really well. We were
2 supposed to tell them, to give them a person, to assign a person to them
3 who knew the hospital really well, and that person toured the hospital
4 with them to ensure that no one stayed back. So the hospital had been
6 Q. Did you see that, Mrs. Kolesar, that all men and all the wounded
7 that could walk went out of the hospital?
8 A. I can't say that I saw all the men going out, but as we were
9 preparing to go into the plaster room some men passed by us. They were
10 going out through the emergency room entrance. They went out through that
11 entrance into the yard, and I don't know where they were taken from there.
12 Q. Can you please show us on the chart here, Mrs. Kolesar, what you
13 were just said about some of the men and the wounded?
14 A. All right. So the basement of the old building, underground
15 corridor, atomic shelter, all of the areas of the new building which were
16 used as patient rooms, all of these were areas from which the wounded who
17 were able to walk came out as well as men. They all came out to the
18 emergency room entrance. There was another door that they could have used
19 through the gynaecological clinic. I don't know if they use that had door
20 or not, but most of them went out through the surgical clinic entrance.
21 While we were assembling there, we were able to see a group of
22 people standing one behind the other facing the road marked with number 8.
23 Q. And this group of people, Mrs. Kolesar, what was it compiled of?
24 A. This group comprised, let's say our employees, our husbands who
25 were in the hospital, people from the working group, and so on.
1 Q. What gender was it on those people that were standing in that
3 A. Men.
4 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. What happened next?
5 A. Following that, we were told that we could get ready to leave. As
6 I have told you, there were staff members of both sex among our group. We
7 started getting ready to leave the hospital. And as I was getting ready,
8 I saw in front of the surgical clinic the remaining portion of the medical
9 staff, which comprised only women and their children. They stood there
10 awaiting evacuation.
11 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, where were the men then? Did you see them at that
12 specific time when you saw the children and the women?
13 A. At one point those men were no longer there, but I have to go to a
14 period of time prior to that when one of our nurses saw her husband
15 leaving the hospital and that he also was in the line with others. While
16 we were in the plaster room, Mr. -- and when Mr. Sljivancanin told us that
17 we could leave, she asked where our husbands were. Then Mr. Sljivancanin
18 said that we should compile a list, and another nurse did that, and she
19 put a list in his hands. We were then able to leave the plaster room.
20 We didn't know where our husbands were. We didn't know why we
21 compiled the list, but list was, nevertheless, compiled and given to
22 Mr. Sljivancanin.
23 Once we picked our belongings, then we saw the other female staff
24 members. All of us walked towards the yard marked with number 6, which
25 was in front of the emergency room. There were very many of us there. I
1 couldn't give you the number. We were told to wait for the buses which
2 would take us to our destinations.
3 Q. Okay, Mrs. Kolesar. We can stop there for a while. You said that
4 there was a nurse. Do you remember her -- her name, by any chance? Whose
5 husband were in the line.
6 A. The nurse who noticed that the men were going somewhere was called
7 Mara Bucko. She was a long-time staff member, and her husband, along with
8 many other husbands, was also at the hospital.
9 Q. What did she do?
10 A. What do you mean?
11 Q. Did she approach any person about her husband?
12 A. No, no. We stood together in a group and she simply approached
13 Mr. Sljivancanin, asking him where our husbands were. So she didn't, in
14 fact, go to stand close to him but, rather, addressed him while standing
15 among us. And then she told that he should write up a list and that was
16 done very quickly, and the list was turned over to Mr. Sljivancanin.
17 Then we went into the yard together with all other staff members.
18 We waited for the buses. Naturally, we had no idea at the time where our
19 husbands were and where were the wounded who were able to walk. There was
20 no way for us to know what was actually happening.
21 We all believed that the evacuation had just started. We had no
22 idea where they were and how come they were not with us.
23 Q. That -- I'm referring back to the list that Mr. Sljivancanin asked
24 that should be put together. Who were there on that list? What kind of
25 categories of people were put on that list?
1 A. Mostly our husbands. So the husbands of medical staff. And only
2 medical staff spouses, those who were in the plaster room. The other
3 staff members who were not assembled in the plaster room did not have an
4 occasion to put this question. So at the time, we did not know what was
5 going on. We didn't know -- not know why we were asked to draw up this
6 list, and we didn't know what was going on with our husbands.
7 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, can you -- have you any knowledge about how many
8 names were on that list with the husbands of the medical staff?
9 A. I didn't see the list because another person wrote down the names.
10 I can't tell you the exact number of names that was on the list, but I can
11 tell you the names of the persons who later on returned and whose names
12 were on the list. But I can't tell you whether all of those people
13 returned because I don't know that. Some of the persons returned later,
14 but I couldn't tell you whether all of the persons from the list returned.
15 Q. Okay. During this process, did you see any presence of the ICRC
16 or ECMM at the hospital?
17 A. As we were waiting in the compound for the buses, we didn't see
18 anyone. We were only able to see that the JNA ambulances entered the
19 compound. We assumed that the evacuation of the wounded who needed to be
20 transported in ambulances had started. There were many JNA ambulances
21 which passed us.
22 Q. And did you see any representative from the ICRC or ECMM during
23 this time, this process at the hospital?
24 A. In the hospital compound where we were, none of them were present,
25 either next to the surgical ward entrance or in any other part of the
1 compound where we were. No member of either organisation was there, at
2 least as far as we could see.
3 Q. Were you awaiting them to be present there?
4 A. Naturally we did, especially once some of the wounded had left
5 without us seeing anyone. Therefore, we didn't know what was going on.
6 We didn't know whether they were standing somewhere outside of the
7 compound. We didn't know why some of the wounded had left, why and where
8 to. That was just something we didn't know.
9 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, you just mentioned the JNA ambulances. Can you tell
10 us more about that? How many ambulances did arrive? Did you see it? And
11 what did they do at the hospital?
12 A. We saw the ambulances pass by. I personally didn't count them.
13 But since the ambulances came to the emergency room entrance, we who were
14 standing in the yard were physically unable to see the evacuation of the
15 wounded. The doctors remained in the compound, those who were supposed to
16 accompany the wounded, and the nurses who were on duty at the time. Those
17 who were seriously wounded needed medical attendance en route while they
18 were transported. Therefore, some of the doctors remained there to do
19 that, whereas others who were not on duty stood with us in the compound
20 awaiting the buses.
21 Q. Okay. Thanks a lot.
22 A. I would like to ask for something.
23 Q. Yes, please?
24 A. It was probably my mistake that we skipped over one portion. Some
25 of the wounded who were examined by Dr. Marko Ivezic, who were unable to
1 walk, there were perhaps four to six of them, were taken out prior to
2 anybody else. This was done by the nurses who worked on orders of
3 Dr. Ivankovic. Where these people were taken, in what vehicles, I don't
4 know because I didn't see that. All I know is that they were taken from
5 the place where they were. So this pertains to the wounded examined by
6 Dr. Ivezic. I apologise that I omitted to say this earlier when I was
7 describing the events.
8 Q. That's fine, Mrs. Kolesar. When it comes to who was -- in what
9 way were -- was Mr. Sljivancanin active in the hospital when you were in
10 any way in contact with him? Now we're talking about the time frame that
11 you were together with the other standing outside on the yard, what you
12 did see yourself.
13 A. Later on in the yard, I never saw Mr. Sljivancanin. I only saw
14 him in the surgical clinic. We listened to what he had to say. He
15 department listen to us. We listened to him. So we saw him as a person
16 addressing us, telling us something, the person of importance, probably.
17 There was no reason for us to talk to him or approach him, at least not
19 Q. You said right now that he was a person of some importance. By
20 what means then? Can you expand on that a little bit, Mrs. Kolesar?
21 A. It was my impression that with everything that was going on there
22 he was actually the person issuing orders and telling people what to do.
23 He was the one who said, "Draw up a list," and he was the one who
24 said, "You can go. You can get ready to leave," and so on. I can't tell
25 you anything beyond that.
1 At the time, at the moment where our husbands were is brought in
2 from somewhere else, I also approached Mr. Sljivancanin asking for help,
3 but we will get to that once we start talking about the moment when our
4 husbands were brought in and taken off the buses.
5 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar.
6 JUDGE PARKER: That, Mrs. Tuma, may be a convenient time, I think.
7 MS. TUMA: Excellent, Your Honour. Thank you.
8 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at five minutes past 4.00.
9 MS. TUMA: Okay.
10 --- Recess taken at 3.42 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 4.09 p.m.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mrs. Tuma.
13 MS. TUMA: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Okay. Mrs. Kolesar, we left when -- before the break here when
15 men and women were separated and you were out standing on the yard. And
16 how did you find out where your husband was at the time?
17 A. As we were standing outside the hospital, one of the husbands
18 approached us. His nose was bleeding and his mouth was bleeding too. He
19 was all covered in blood. He walked in our direction and told us, "Your
20 husbands are over there."
21 We asked, "What do you mean by over there?" And he said they were
22 on a bus near the place that I marked as number 8.
23 We were now allowed to go and get them. When I say "we," I mean
24 the persons who wrote down the names of their husbands on
25 Mr. Sljivancanin's list, the list that was handed over to him. I was one
1 of the people who went.
2 I saw my husband on that bus. He was no longer wearing the same
3 clothes as when he had left. He was wearing a track suit, but he no
4 longer had the winter coat on. He looked slightly lost.
5 I got onto the bus. The bus was guarded by a soldier carrying a
6 rifle. He asked me what I was looking for. I said, "There's my husband
7 there." And he said I couldn't go and talk to him or take him away. Some
8 of the women were allowed to take their husbands away.
9 On my way back, I asked Dr. Ivankovic and Dr. Stanojevic to help
10 me. They said there was nothing they could do. I spoke to
11 Mr. Sljivancanin. He said, "If he's on the bus, they will let him go."
12 So I went back but to no avail.
13 The nurse we mentioned a while ago, Mara Bucko, and I talked to
14 Mr. Ivezic [realtime transcript read in error "Ivankovic"] asking him to
15 try and help us. He said he needed people to help him, to work for him,
16 asked if we were willing to go back and give him a hand. He -- we said
17 that we -- that he should first let us go and then we would eventually
18 come back. He came with us and he helped to get our husbands released
19 from the bus.
20 They looked a bit strange. At first it was impossible to find out
21 where they had been or what had happened. My husband, for example, was
22 limping. He said that he had been hit on his knee. They had to run a
23 gauntlet, as it were, made up of paramilitaries who beat them. They were
24 then put on a bus and told that they would be executed. But eventually
25 they brought them outside the hospital probably the execution bit was just
1 an attempt to intimidate them.
2 Our husbands who got off the buses - of course this is something
3 we only found out later on - were the only men who had been taken away and
5 MR. LUKIC: Excuse me.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that there is an error in the
8 transcript on page 34, 33, rather, line 17. I think the witness mentioned
9 Dr. Ivezic. What the transcript reflects is Dr. Ivankovic. Maybe this
10 needs clarifying. Thank you.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Dr. Ivankovic. You can mention both
13 of them, as a matter of fact. I spoke to both of them. I spoke to
14 Dr. Ivankovic, which may not have been included in the transcript, or
15 Dr. Stanojevic for that matter. But Dr. Ivezic is the one who helped us
16 to get our husbands off that bus.
17 MS. TUMA:
18 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. You mentioned earlier here about this
19 incident, that you were allowed to go. You started your answer by saying
20 that. Who did allow you to go away in order to find out where your
21 husbands were?
22 A. No one, really. We weren't being watched by guards. We were
23 standing in the courtyard. We were free. I'm not sure if I would have
24 been allowed to leave and go back to town, for example, not that I tried,
25 but no one stood in my way although I didn't even try to leave the
1 hospital compound as it were. All this time I remained in the area
2 between the hospital and the road where the bus was, but no one stood in
3 my way.
4 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. You also said the bus were guarded by a
5 soldier with a rifle. Can you tell us what kind of soldier that was, if
6 you know that by your own knowledge? Describe him, uniform.
7 A. My impression is it was a uniformed soldier. I think it was a
8 camouflage uniform, but I can't be certain. He was carrying some sort of
9 rifle which I couldn't describe. But I'm certain that he was carrying a
11 Q. Was there more than one soldier? You said a soldier. You said it
12 was just one soldier?
13 A. On the bus, you mean?
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. I only saw one guard. As for the area around the bus, I can't say
16 that I saw anyone else. But it's difficult to remember now whether I
17 noticed anyone else wearing a uniform. I must say I wasn't exactly
18 looking around. I had one aim in mind: The bus and my husband. I wasn't
19 in the mood to look around much and see who else was there. I can't say
20 whether there were any military or paramilitary persons there. I had my
21 mind set on getting to that bus and getting to my husband, and it's all I
22 can really talk about.
23 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. And you said also that you spoke to
24 Mr. Sljivancanin. Can you tell us more about that? Why did you seek him
25 out, or why did you spoke to him?
1 A. I believed that he was someone who could help me, that he was the
2 person to speak to because he was the one that we'd given the list with
3 our husbands' names to. As they were already on the bus, he looked like
4 someone who might be able to tell them to release those people. It seemed
5 like perfectly reasonable thing to do, for me to go and speak to him. He
6 did not refuse to help me, but he did not help me either. He just said if
7 he's on the bus, he will get out. That is what he said, and that is what
8 eventually happened.
9 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. Now we'll move on to your husband. You
10 saw that he was injured, that he had blood on himself and that a nose and
11 a mouth was injured. What did he tell you what has happened to him?
12 MR. LUKIC: Objection, Your Honours.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My husband was not injured.
14 JUDGE PARKER: I think your objections being dealt with,
15 Mr. Lukic.
16 MS. TUMA: Thank you. Thank you for that.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely. The first person to
18 leave the bus was the person who was bleeding. I didn't really notice
19 that any of the other persons there were bleeding, that their noses were
20 bleeding, but my husband was limping. His right knee had been hit. He
21 probably saw what was going on, wherever they had been. He had used his
22 arms to protect his head but he was hit -- or, rather, kicked in the
23 stomach and in the knee. He suffered the consequences of this blow until
24 the day he died. He always complained about this injured knee. It kept
25 giving him a lot of trouble.
1 I can't say how the others fared, I can only talk about what I
2 saw. But they certainly told other people about how they'd been kicked
3 and hit.
4 MS. TUMA:
5 Q. Did your husband tell you who did or whom did hit him and in what
6 way and where?
7 A. According to their accounts, our husbands were first taken to the
8 barracks. Their names were called out according to the lists that we had
9 provided. They got off the bus one by one, and they needed to get to the
10 other bus that was to drive them back. A gauntlet was formed there, as
11 the expression that springs to mind, made up of -- I'm not sure whether
12 those people were paramilitary soldiers, regular military personnel, or
13 whoever, and he didn't know either.
14 They had to run this gauntlet, in a manner of speaking. And as
15 they were running, they were all kicked and beaten. Some more and some
16 less, but all of them were hit at some point.
17 Why were they beaten and kicked I have no idea, and probably he
18 didn't have one either.
19 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. Were there other husbands on the -- that
20 bus when we're talking about? Were they also released at this specific
21 time, as your own husband?
22 A. Most were. I did hear, though, that there were two persons who
23 never left that bus. Two persons, and these are their last names, Zeljko
24 and Adzaga, the former a cook and the latter someone's husband or someone
25 who worked in the hospital compound. I'm not sure. Those two never left
1 the bus, and nobody knew what had become of them at the time. However,
2 later their bodies were identified at Ovcara.
3 Also, based on what I heard, one of our male nurses was taken away
4 on that bus. Eventually he ended up in the camp at Mitrovica. That's
5 about all I know about who was on that bus and who got away. I'm not sure
6 about their exact number, and I'm not even sure whether all of those who
7 were actually on the list were on the bus as I've said already.
8 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. What happened later on after this point
9 of time with you and your husband?
10 A. My husband and I were standing in the place as all the other
11 hospital employees within the hospital compound. At the time the buses
12 arrived, we left the main hospital entrance, number 7, down the path some
13 distance from the hospital where we remained and were told to wait for the
14 buses. We spent quite a lot of time waiting in the buses eventually
15 arrived. We were then loaded onto these buses, and at some time, it may
16 have been half past 1.00 or 2.00, we left and drove to the centre of town.
17 We passed through the centre of town and turned off towards a
18 neighbourhood known as Sajmiste. The bus pulled over outside the
19 Velepromet warehouse. I didn't know the reason why we stopped there. We
20 remained there for some time. No one left the bus and no one got onto the
21 bus, at least on my bus.
22 After a while, we continued our journey. First we took a right
23 turn, the road lead to go Bogdanovci, then we made a semicircle, because
24 we were told at one point that we can proceed down that road, so we drove
25 back to the same road as previously and made another turn towards
1 Negoslavci. We stopped at Negoslavci. I assume the reason was to let
2 through the military vehicles en route from Negoslavci for the centre of
3 town. And the other reason was we were told to wait for the convoy
4 carrying the wounded to catch up.
5 So we stayed there for some time, and eventually the military
6 medical vehicles were there. A column of vehicles was formed. There was
7 a vehicle with some sort of a rotating light driving in front of us. It
8 wasn't night really, but it was late afternoon and it was already quite
10 We got to the village of Negoslavci. One thing I can't fail to
11 mention is Negoslavci, unlike what we saw on our way through Vukovar, was
12 a village that was still intact, no houses having been destroyed. It had
13 the public lighting in perfectly good working order, and everybody
14 appeared to be leading a perfectly normal existence, unlike what we had
15 witnessed in Vukovar itself, which was a town full of ruins. Occasionally
16 we would also spot dead bodies by the roadside. And the town itself had
17 been destroyed beyond recognition.
18 The area around Velepromet, which is more or less the same area as
19 the barracks, was perfectly intact. Maybe there was a house missing a
20 roof tile or something like that, but for the most part it was perfectly
22 We then left Negoslavci. I was thinking that maybe once we
23 reached the main road we would turn off and drive towards Croatia, but we
24 took the turn leading to Serbia, and we drove all the way to Sremska
25 Mitrovica. We stopped in Sremska Mitrovica. Again, I can't say why.
1 People were already exhausted because we'd been driving a long
2 time. Some people were thirsty. Some needed a cigarette. Some needed to
3 use the toilet. People would go into private houses nearby where the bus
4 stopped, but then we continued our journey and eventually reached the
5 sports hall, the gym, and that was where we first noticed people in white,
6 those who were supposed to be in Vukovar, who were supposed to be
7 escorting us. But that was where we first came across them.
8 They told us not to leave the buses. They told us to compile
9 lists with exact numbers of people on the buses and so on and so forth,
10 despite which several people got off the buses and went into the hall.
11 One of our young doctors found her mother, daughter and two
12 children there. One of our nurses found her husband there. And they all
13 returned to our bus.
14 As we'd been told not to leave our buses, we were driven from this
15 gym or sports hall to the compound of the medical hospital. We were
16 offered tea.
17 In the medical station building, we found out that our wounded
18 were already there who had been brought in by ambulance. They were just
19 lying around in rooms and in corridors inside that building. The staff
20 that was with them throughout was still with them.
21 We went back to our buses. We were being watched by guards. And
22 we spent the night on the buses.
23 We realised that not all of our wounded had been brought in, had
24 been brought to Sremska Mitrovica from the hospital on that afternoon and
25 that more vehicles would be going back to Vukovar in the course of the
1 afternoon to fetch the remaining -- the remaining wounded. There were
2 still about 70 of those in the hospital, and at the health station there
3 were already about 120 of those. And indeed after some time, the
4 remaining wounded were eventually brought in.
5 There was a column of ambulances and buses that formed, and we
6 left Mitrovica and drove off in the direction of Bosnia. We were
7 surprised to see that the buses with men and those wounded who were still
8 able to walk were missing. We knew nothing about what happened become of
9 those buses, nor was anyone able to tell us about that.
10 On our way to Bosnia, there was some sort of a spa there. We
11 stopped there and noticed that medical vehicles from Croatia started
12 arriving as well as buses with Croatian registration plates.
13 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, I would like to interrupt you there. I'm sorry.
14 What were your final -- which were your final direction? Where did you
15 end up and on what date?
16 A. Most of those who were in the hospital opted to go back to
17 Croatia. We didn't know where we were being taken nor did we really have
18 a say in it, but our destination was Croatia. Some of the staff working
19 with us at the hospital opted to go to Serbia and were given a special bus
20 to go there.
21 We were perfectly happy that at some point we finally crossed the
22 bridge over the Sava. We reached Slavonski Samac, and we knew that we
23 were now on Croatian territory. Most of us reached our destinations the
24 next morning.
25 What I wanted was to go to Zagreb since my two daughters lived
1 there. It was on the 22nd, in the morning hours, that my husband and I
2 eventually reached Zagreb. In the meantime, however, on the 21st, in
3 Mitrovica, my mother had died. I didn't stay there to attend her funeral,
4 but the military personnel from the military medical station took over the
5 task of organising the funeral, and she was eventually buried at the
6 Mitrovica cemetery.
7 Q. You don't need to go into that, Mrs. Kolesar. Thank you.
8 A. On the 22nd of November, we arrived in Zagreb. I have been living
9 in exile ever since.
10 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. Just a few clarifying questions, please.
11 You told me that you were on a -- on a bus that left the hospital compound
12 together with your husband and others. How many buses were -- left the
13 hospital compound for that purpose, about?
14 A. Five, I think.
15 Q. Were they full --
16 A. I'm nearly certain there were five buses. Full. There weren't
17 enough seats for everybody, but it was all right. We didn't mind.
18 Q. And how many about people could it be in total on those buses?
19 A. If you bear in mind the fact that usually you can fit as many as
20 50 people on any one bus, then it would have been about 50 people. I
21 really can't say at this moment. It was five times 50 people, five
22 busloads of people totaling about 250 people, including doctors, nurses,
23 our husbands, our children, newborn babies, nuns who were carrying those
24 babies, pregnant women, and so on and so forth.
25 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. You mentioned earlier about those buses.
1 Did you see bus that were carrying you and the other as you just
2 mentioned? When you were at the hospital compound or the hospital yard,
3 did you see any other buses for any other purposes at the time?
4 A. Only those buses that we got onto left the hospital area and the
5 bus that drove back to Serbia, the one bus that went back to Serbia. All
6 the other vehicles that may have been outside in the courtyard, the
7 military ambulances, I didn't see those. We encountered no military
8 vehicles in the centre of town on our way to Negoslavci.
9 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. Just also one -- the last
10 clarification -- clarified question. You mentioned here people in white,
11 the first time that you said you encountered the people in white. What
12 was that? Can you explain the people in white, what that stands for?
13 A. When I say the people in white, I mean the so-called working
14 group. We didn't know how the evacuation would unfold. They had been on
15 standby as there were about 190 wounded who weren't able to walk. They
16 were on standby to help transport the wounded. And even those who were
17 able to walk but still needed to be assisted. They wore white coats and
18 they were on standby for the transport or, rather, for the evacuation.
19 Q. Okay. Mrs. Kolesar, thank you so much for this.
20 MS. TUMA: I have no further questions, thank you.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 MS. TUMA: And before that -- I'm sorry to interrupt, Your Honour.
23 I would like to tender into evidence that chart that Mrs. Kolesar has been
24 marking upon, and I would like to tender into evidence both the original
25 one that has not been marked as well as the one that has been marked by
1 Mrs. Kolesar.
2 JUDGE PARKER: The --
3 MS. TUMA: Thank you.
4 JUDGE PARKER: -- sketch plan prepared by Ms. Kolesar and
5 separately the marked sketch plan will be received in evidence.
6 MS. TUMA: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Those will be Exhibits number 48 and 49, Your
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Mrs. Kolesar, there will be, I expect,
10 some further questions of you. First Mr. Vasic.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. You're right.
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Vasic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mrs. Kolesar.
14 A. Good afternoon.
15 Q. Let me first introduce myself. I'm attorney-at-law Miroslav
16 Vasic, defending the accused Mrksic.
17 A. Good afternoon.
18 Q. Before we start cross-examination, in view of the fact that both
19 of us speak the same language, I would like to ask you to make a pause
20 before answering my questions so that we can give a chance to interpreters
21 to interpret what we say so that everybody else can follow.
22 A. I understood.
23 Q. First of all, I'd like to start from the end, from the point where
24 you just concluded with my learned friend, when you arrived in Zagreb.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You said that on the 22nd of November, you arrived in Zagreb where
2 you reunited with your daughters, you and your husband.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you tell me whether at some point in time upon your arrival in
5 Zagreb you gave a statement to Croatian authorities relating to the events
6 in Vukovar in October and November of 1991?
7 A. I must say I don't remember that.
8 Q. Did you perhaps, in June of 1992, so one year after your arrival
9 in Zagreb, give a statement to Mr. Mladen Loncar?
10 A. Mladen Loncar came to the hospital where I worked, and he asked
11 for my statement.
12 Q. The statement focused on the events that you described today to
13 this Trial Chamber?
14 A. Probably.
15 Q. Thank you. Do you remember giving a statement to the OTP
16 investigators also about the events you described today?
17 A. All of us who left Vukovar were called to give a statement, but
18 this didn't come about until 1995.
19 Q. Yes, thank you. You are quite right. Another question concerning
20 this. Do you know whether your husband gave a statement to The Hague
21 Tribunal investigators?
22 A. Since I said that all of us who left Vukovar were asked to give a
23 statement, that means that he was most likely asked to give it too.
24 However, he's dead and I can no longer verify it with him.
25 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Kolesar. Now I would like to go back to something
1 that preceded the events we discussed today. Would you agree with me that
2 prior to these events Vukovar was a multi-ethnic city in which citizens of
3 various ethnic backgrounds lived in harmony?
4 A. I could hold no other opinion.
5 Q. I know that you were not involved in politics, but I suppose that
6 just like all other citizens at the time you were informed about the
7 political situation in your city.
8 A. I don't think I can be considered to be not interested in what is
9 going on around me, so, yes, I displayed some interest, was interested in
10 what was accessible to me. I took in what I was interested in, change in
11 the authorities, the various state changes and so on, but I took in only
12 what I was interested in.
13 Q. In your opinion, was there a change in multi-ethnic relations
14 after the first multi-party elections in which the HDZ party won, the
15 Croatian Democratic Community party?
16 A. I must say that in Vukovar the SDP party won in the elections. I
17 don't know whether you were aware of that. It wasn't the HDZ that won the
18 elections in Vukovar.
19 Q. Yes, madam. That was going to be another of my questions. I was
20 interested in the elections at the republic level.
21 A. At the republic level, yes, the HDZ won. I think it also gained
22 some seats in Vukovar, but as far as I know it was the SDP that won the
23 elections -- in the elections.
24 Q. You're quite right. I think that it was that party that won.
25 A. But nobody's status changed after the elections in Vukovar.
1 Q. After the victory of HDZ in the elections at the republic level
2 was there any change in the constitution?
3 A. I think that is a normal result of election and normal consequence
4 in the creation after new state.
5 Q. Do you know whether those constitutional amendments also altered
6 the status of the Serbian nation in the Republic of Croatia, which ceased
7 to be a constituent nation, and that was the status it had according to
8 the previous constitution?
9 MS. TUMA: Your Honour. Your Honour, I would like to object to
10 this or ask a question of the relevance of those questions about the
11 constitution. Mrs. Kolesar, she was a nurse at the hospital. Will she be
12 able to give answers on the constitutional questions in this sense?
13 JUDGE PARKER: I think two issues there, Mrs. Tuma, first whether
14 Mrs. Kolesar is in a position to comment on that. The second is
15 relevance. And you've mentioned both. Is there anything you wanted to
16 say especially about relevance?
17 MS. TUMA: Yes, about the relevance, that -- I would say that
18 Mrs. Kolesar, she is -- she was at the time working as a nurse at the
19 hospital, and in that capacity can she give -- have any knowledge about
20 the constitution of Croatia at the time?
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mrs. Tuma.
22 Please continue, Mr. Vasic, and we will learn quickly whether
23 Mrs. Kolesar really knew anything about what was happening to the
24 constitution. If she didn't, as Mrs. Tuma has pointed out, there's not
25 much point in trying to ask her questions, but we will find out.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was about to say the following: I
3 certainly didn't take the constitution into my hands and read it.
4 Therefore, I didn't know what you're asking me about, whether there was an
5 alteration you described. I simply wasn't interested in the constitution,
6 not to that extent. I know that a new constitution was passed. That's
7 all I know.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Thank you, madam.
10 A. You mentioned that in Vukovar the SDP party one in the elections,
11 the party of democratic changes. Can you tell us who was elected
12 president of Vukovar municipality?
13 A. I think that Slavko Dokmanovic was the president of municipality.
14 And as for other offices, I really don't know who was a member of various
15 committees and so on. I also don't know his term of office, and I can't
16 go into this. My position and my job did not suffer any consequences from
17 the changes that took place at the political level.
18 Q. Yes, I understand what you're saying, madam. Thank you for your
20 At the time, you lived in Ivan Goran Kovacic Street; is that
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you know that at the time in your street members of Croatian
24 ethnic group organised defence groups?
25 A. I really wouldn't know that. I didn't see anybody in my vicinity
1 wearing any uniform. I didn't see any members of any organisations, and I
2 passed through my street on a daily basis, yet I am not familiar with
3 anything of the sort you're describing. I did not come across anybody who
4 didn't live in that street.
5 Q. Wasn't your husband a member of one such group, defence group,
6 whose members didn't bear arms but were still members of the group
7 established for that purpose?
8 A. No, sir.
9 Q. Did you ever speak to your husband about the statement he gave to
10 the OTP investigators?
11 A. No. I didn't discuss my statement, and we simply did not discuss
12 our statements.
13 Q. You never discussed it.
14 A. No.
15 Q. But you know when he went to give a statement?
16 A. We went together.
17 Q. Was your husband's first name Mihajlo?
18 A. Yes.
19 May I ask something? My husband is dead. Can we not discuss him?
20 Can he not be part of your questions? I would kindly ask that. He died
21 four years ago, and please spare me the questions about him if at all
23 Q. Accept my sympathy, madam. I asked something that I thought you
24 might know about, and then I had to proceed with my questions because you
25 said you didn't know about that. I will not go into any of your painful
1 memories unless absolutely necessary in this trial.
2 Today, you told us that you were head nurse in the surgical ward
3 of the Vukovar Medical Centre during the relevant period of time.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You told us about the multi-ethnic composition of the hospital
6 staff. Can you describe it further for us?
7 A. I couldn't give you the exact ratio, how many Serbs, how many
8 Croats. I never was interested in statistics. All of us worked together,
9 and these matters were not necessary in my view, at least within the scope
10 of my work.
11 Q. After the event in Borovo Selo, did you perhaps notice that Serb
12 doctors and nurses were leaving their jobs because they were afraid of the
13 return of Ustashas who would slit their throats?
14 A. After the Borovo Selo incident, I have to tell you that I didn't
15 go to Borovo Selo, Trpinja, or Brsadin. Based on the statements of people
16 who were supposed to come to work, who were regular employees, it seems
17 that they were unable to come to work because of the roadblocks in those
18 villages. The propaganda spread around was such that it urged them to
19 leave their jobs. I'm now relating to you what they told us.
20 Therefore, those who didn't come to work had to have some kind of
21 an excuse, because anybody who failed to show up for work for several days
22 in a row could lose a job. So all of them came up with some excuses.
23 Some of them came to work. Some did not come to work, claiming that they
24 were prevented by roadblocks.
25 I have to tell you that all the way up until the 20th of November
1 we had at least 30 nurses in the hospital doing the same job with us, Serb
3 Q. Madam, do you remember whether you said to the OTP investigators
4 that after the killing of Croatian policemen in Borovo Selo on the 2nd of
5 May, 1991, Serb doctors and nurses started leaving their jobs in the
6 hospital citing that they were afraid of the return of Ustashas who would
7 come back and slit their throats?
8 A. I am telling you that I conveyed the words of the persons who
9 failed up -- who failed to show up for work and used these excuses. This
10 is what they gave us as an excuse for not coming to work, when they called
11 to give their excuses.
12 Now, as to whether -- as to what they were told in their villages
13 and what they heard is something I can't tell you anything about.
14 Q. But they gave you these excuses.
15 A. Yes. These are the excuses they gave. As to how they came with
16 these excuses is something that you should ask them.
17 Q. At around May 1992 [as interpreted], did the Serb patients also
18 stop coming to the Vukovar Medical Centre, or at least did their numbers
20 A. I have to answer by putting a question to you. If you yourself
21 lived in Borovo Selo and if there was a roadblock there and if there was
22 somebody at the roadblock preventing you from proceeding further, how
23 would you go to the hospital?
24 MS. TUMA: Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mrs. Tuma.
1 MS. TUMA: Yes. Thank you. Is says here on the transcript at
2 around May 1992, and that is line 20. At around May 1992. Is it 1992
3 or -- is that the correct year? It's just a question.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] No, that's a mistake, but I can repeat
5 my question. I think it has to do with 1991.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mrs. Tuma. And thank you, Mr. Vasic.
7 I'd understood it as 1991, but maybe my mind was just anticipating yours.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] It's been corrected. Thank you, Your
10 Q. You believe that the only reason for the decrease in the numbers
11 of Serb residents coming to the hospital were the roadblocks.
12 A. What else could it have been? We had doctors working in the
13 hospital, Serbs, especially in the surgical ward. So what would the
14 patients be afraid of in the hospital? You didn't ask me this, but I will
15 tell you this.
16 The surgical ward had to admit the wounded patients, and police
17 had to secure the surgical ward. Other wards did not have any security
18 personnel, but there is a rule, and I couldn't tell you anything more
19 about this rule, that if we do admit wounded persons, then there must be
20 police there to protect them, to guard them.
21 Q. I assume these guards were armed.
22 A. I can't say whether there was someone walking around the surgery
23 ward carrying a gun. I don't think that sort of armed presence was
24 required. The fact that they were there was quite enough.
25 Q. Thank you for that answer. You mentioned roadblocks that
1 prevented patients from coming to the hospital. Were the roadblocks being
2 set up by both sides at the time, by Serbs wherever they happened to be
3 the majority group and by Croats alike? What about the ones at
4 Borovo Naselje?
5 A. I must say that I personally never saw a single roadblock, not in
6 Borovo Naselje, not in Boro, not in Brsadin, not in Sotin or any other
7 place because I didn't go anywhere. In July I had to Vinkovci. I went
8 through Bogdanovci, Marinci, and Nustar, and there were no roadblocks
9 along that particular road. I did not go to any other place, not even to
10 Borovo Naselje. I didn't need to go there. It was that simple. I
11 couldn't even describe a roadblock for you let alone how one is set up.
12 Q. Thank you. What about the health ministry of the republic in
13 Croatia in the immediate aftermath of the 2nd of May events that we
14 discussed? Did they in fact issue an order to establish a Crisis Staff at
15 the Vukovar Medical Centre? You spoke about that, didn't you?
16 A. Yes, that is true. That was probably just after. The surgery
17 ward was not sufficiently prepared to take in all the wounded, and in my
18 view it was necessary. I can't tell you if it was an order from the
19 health ministry because I simply don't know, but I know that a Crisis
20 Staff was established. Its task was to prepare the hospital for possible
21 attacks and the need to move the wounded from the wards to the atomic
23 Q. You will agree that at the time this decision was made and
24 implemented there was still no armed clashes. The soldiers were still in
25 the barracks. Tensions were running high between the ethnic groups but
1 there was no armed conflict after the 2nd of May.
2 A. I'll disagree -- I'll disagree with you on one point. It's just
3 simply not true that there were no soldiers around. I'm telling you this
4 as an ordinary citizen who on my way back home from work regularly came
5 across military vehicles, APCs, what have you.
6 I was under the impression that those vehicles were heading for
7 Borovo, Trpinja, or Brsadin, someplace in that general area. We came
8 across a lot of those in town at the time, but like you stated, there were
9 no particular clashes at this point.
10 Q. The preparations being carried out at the hospital, you said that
11 these were only preparations for something that might happen, but didn't
12 this escalate the conflict?
13 A. A hospital is certainly no place where a conflict might escalate.
14 It becomes very important once the external conflict does escalate, but it
15 certainly couldn't be called that. You must understand that a hospital
16 must be ready for all eventualities. We didn't know what was in store for
17 us, and once things started happening it would have been too late for us
18 to do anything about it had we not started preparing in a timely fashion.
19 Q. Thank you, madam. You talked about members of the MUP who had
20 been wounded and about their colleagues who provided safety at the
21 hospital. What about the presence of these MUP members? Did that not
22 cause disquiet among the Serbs in the hospital, especially after the
23 2nd of May?
24 A. I don't think so. Those people, too, were citizens of Vukovar,
25 and I think people of Serb ethnicity from Vukovar were familiar with these
1 people. I don't think anybody was afraid of them, and it wasn't the way
2 they acted while inside the hospital. They didn't act as if they had come
3 there to protect us from something. They acted in a perfectly normal way,
4 and there was no reason for them to act in any other way.
5 Q. At this point in time, changes occurred in the Ministry of the
6 Interior of the Republic of Croatia, and very many Croats were recruited.
7 Are you familiar with this fact?
8 A. Well, you must believe that I know about everything if you're
9 asking me this, but this is not something that I have ever heard.
10 Q. Do you know anyone named Tomislav Mercep?
11 A. Yes. From the previous - what should I call it? - life, he was a
12 person who worked for a firm called Borovski Gradjevina. It's a
13 construction company. There were very few people who did not know him.
14 Q. Did he at one point become the secretary for the Defence
16 A. Probably so, but I didn't go there myself. There was no need for
17 me to go there. I assume that might have been the case.
18 Q. Was Mr. Mercep a generally known person in Vukovar?
19 A. I told you I knew this person from his civilian life. What
20 happened to him later on, where he went later on, I have no idea. We --
21 our jobs had nothing in common, so I was in no position to keep tabs.
22 Q. During your stay in Vukovar in the autumn of 1991 and the summer
23 of 1991, did you at any point, you or any member of your family, need to
24 leave Vukovar?
25 A. No. I told you that I once went to Vinkovci in a private vehicle.
1 Q. Are you familiar with the fact that --
2 A. But I didn't go anywhere else. I didn't go anywhere further
3 afield. Even if authorisation was required to leave town, I had no reason
4 to apply for one. I don't know if that was a requirement. If so, I don't
5 know what it looked like or what it was used for.
6 Q. Did you in fact hear that someone did go and apply for
7 authorisation and obtained one and from whom?
8 A. These were stories, rumours like the rumour about the Croatian
9 soldiers coming into town to slit throats. I heard the same kind of story
10 about these permits, passes. I can't answer this question because I don't
11 know who prevented anyone else from leaving town. It's simply something
12 that I'm not familiar with.
13 Q. What about May 1992? Did you listen to radio Vukovar --
14 THE INTERPRETER: 1991, interpreter's correction.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. -- at that point in time?
17 A. I did then and I still do.
18 Q. Did you know that on the 4th of May, 1991 its name was in fact
20 A. I don't know. I can't say. I can't say that it wasn't, but I
21 don't know that it was.
22 Q. Do you know if the manager was changed or replaced?
23 A. I don't know that either.
24 Q. You were asked by my learned friend in chief about Mr. Rade
25 Popovic being replaced by Mrs. Vesna Bosanac who was appointed by the
1 workers' council, and she became the chief of the Crisis Staff. Isn't
2 that right?
3 A. Yes, but the same thing applied to Mr. Popovic before her, because
4 the Crisis Staff was set up while he was still around.
5 Q. And she continued these preparations that he had begun in May?
6 A. Yes, by all means.
7 Q. Did her husband do the same sort of thing, the same sort of
8 preparations in Borovo Komerc? Is this something you're familiar with?
9 A. I have no idea. He was a civil engineer. He worked in the Borovo
10 construction company but I know nothing about his specific duties.
11 Q. My apologies. I was pausing because I realised that the
12 distinction between questions and answers was not entirely clear in the
14 Did you know that in some parts of Vukovar, I'm talking about June
15 and July 1991, explosive device were is planted in Serb-owned flats? Is
16 it true that a Borba newsstand was mined? Is this something that you knew
18 A. Being a citizen of Vukovar, if nothing else I would have heard the
19 explosions. Whose newsstand was it? Whose kiosks? Whose flats were
20 those? If this is true I wasn't aware of that. If there's a powerful
21 explosion of course you're likely to hear it. I don't believe the bit
22 about flats, but if you say so, well -- I don't know. I really can't say.
23 Q. You didn't hear stories, people talking about whose flats those
25 A. No.
1 Q. What about Borovo Naselje in July 1991? Did you hear anything
2 about ethnic Serbs being cleansed from the area by members of the ZNG
3 National Guards Corps?
4 A. First I hear of it.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you know that the army was stationed in the Vukovar
6 barracks long before these events that we are discussing now?
7 A. Yes. The barracks was always there, but how many soldiers there
8 were or what exactly the role of the barracks was is not something that I
9 can talk about.
10 Q. Do you know that in the summer of 1991 the ZNG, the National
11 Guards Corps, laid siege to the barracks?
12 A. I know nothing about that. I'm not sure why I should be
14 Q. Well, the barracks is in the town of Vukovar. I thought that
15 perhaps you would have learned something about it.
16 A. Yes, you're absolutely right. The barracks is in the town of
17 Vukovar, but why would it matter to me whether it was blocked by someone
18 or not? It made no difference whatsoever for me to be aware or know
19 something like that.
20 Q. Did you ever hear about the National Guards Corps?
21 A. Yes. Of course I was aware of the National Guards Corps.
22 Q. This -- the National Guards Corps was established under the aegis
23 of which political party? Do you know that?
24 A. I have no idea.
25 Q. What about its members? Which ethnic group did they belong to?
1 A. I knew of some National Guards Corps members who were actually
2 Serbs. They were perhaps in the minority. And most of them were Croats,
3 in case that's what you were asking.
4 Q. Do you know about at one point in time in Vukovar the legally
5 elected president of the Municipal Council was replaced by Croatia's
6 government commissioner?
7 A. Yes, I know that the government commissioner was appointed. I
8 don't know when exactly, but I knew him personally because he was my
9 children's schoolmate. That's how I learned about it. But I learned
10 nothing about the way he was appointed or why.
11 Q. Can you tell us which political party he belonged to?
12 A. No, I can't say.
13 Q. Did you know that at one point the electricity and water supplies
14 and phone lines were cut off in the barracks, after which the barracks was
15 subjected to an attack by the National Guards Corps? This was something
16 that happened in Vukovar, so I thought maybe you would know something
17 about that.
18 A. Yes, it may have happened in Vukovar, but why would I be
19 interested? I heard all sorts of stories that made no difference to me
21 Did this happen? When did it happen? It's not something that I
22 can specify for you, or who the barracks was attacked by.
23 Q. Thank you, madam. I suppose you don't know whether these events,
24 in fact, occurred before the JNA intervention in Vukovar.
25 A. I have no idea what you're talking about.
1 Q. I'm talking about the attack on the barracks. Did this happen
2 before the JNA stepped in or after? I suppose you don't know since you
3 said you didn't know who had launched the attack.
4 A. You probably must think I'm pretty limited mentally, but I really
5 have no idea what you're asking me. Which attack? The attack on the
7 Q. I'm asking you if the attack on the barracks was launched before
8 the JNA attacked Vukovar.
9 A. I usually see the 25th of August as the starting date of the
10 aggression against Vukovar. Are you referring to a period before that
11 time? In that case, that is not something that I can talk about.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm not sure if this is
13 a convenient time to break.
14 JUDGE PARKER: That will do well, then, Mr. Vasic. We will resume
15 at 5.45.
16 --- Recess taken at 5.19 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 5.47 p.m.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. I would like to go back to August 1991. From August until 18th of
21 November, 1991, did you write down the names of the newly admitted wounded
22 persons into the three notebooks that were kept as records in the
24 A. All of the wounded had to be registered in the official register
25 book. From their personal details on to their diagnosis, everything else
1 had to be registered. In addition to that, if they had a surgery that
2 also needed to be noted down and any anaesthetic received, and if they had
3 a plaster put on, that had to be registered as well.
4 In order to make our job easier, we established these notebooks,
5 so that if somebody came from another part of the town to inquire about
6 whether a person was admitted, we had to have some lists, some notebooks
7 that stayed close to us so that we wouldn't go and fetch the official
8 register book every time. These were the so-called auxiliary books that
9 we kept close to us so that we could answer any inquiries. So all of the
10 information concerning the wounded persons were entered into several
11 register books.
12 Q. So you noted down all of this information into all books.
13 A. Yes, that's right. From official register books down to all other
15 Q. Can you please tell us, what details were entered into these three
17 A. Everything that was of importance for a particular person,
18 anything that could be used in order to identify a person, to know more
19 about a person. For example, name, residence, date of birth, place of
20 birth, whether the person was civilian or was from police, for example,
21 and so on. So if somebody came from police to inquire about a person,
22 then we could provide all the information needed.
23 Q. So you would also note down whether the person was a member of the
24 ZNG or JNA?
25 A. Absolutely.
1 Q. Did you also register diagnosis or injuries?
2 A. Well, why else would we need register books, because diagnosis is
3 an essential part. Without diagnosis there can be no injuries.
4 Q. Yes. I absolutely agree with you. It's just that you omitted to
5 mention that in your answer.
6 A. I apologise.
7 Q. So if you had these books on you, then you were able to provide
8 all information about a certain patient, whether he was a member of the
9 ZNG, JNA police force, name, other details and so on.
10 A. Yes. I expect that somebody would be kind enough to return these
11 notebooks back to us because it is extremely important for us to know more
12 about injuries, and our doctors would be able to use these notebooks for
13 their further work so that the picture of everything that was going on
14 would be finally full and clear.
15 Q. You said that on the 17th of November the combat operations
16 ceased. Can we agree that no further patients were admitted into hospital
17 after this day?
18 A. There were no newly wounded persons. However, persons who needed
19 to have their wounds re-bandaged came to the hospital for treatment.
20 Q. In the beginning of cross-examination I asked you about the
21 statement you gave in Zagreb to Mr. Mladen Loncar. In that statement, did
22 you say that on the day of evacuation there was a total of 100 -- 290
23 patients and wounded, 190 of whom were those in beds and 100 were those
24 who were able to move?
25 A. I'm unable to recall that fact. I can't confirm it. This is
1 something that I stated based on my then recollection. But the fact is
2 that we believe that on the day of the fall of Vukovar there was about 400
3 wounded in the hospital.
4 Q. Yesterday, you said that in the 400 you counted also newborn
5 babies and so on?
6 A. Yes, that's right. So this number reflects the wounded and the
8 Q. So that's why I'm asking you whether it is possible that there
9 were 290 wounded. This is the figure that you gave in Zagreb.
10 A. There were about 400 of them in total. I know that we had 14
11 newborns. I don't know how many pregnant women. We also had persons in
12 the internal diseases ward and so on. So we had to put this down on paper
13 and say this many wounded and this many other patients.
14 Q. So do you remember this statement that you gave in Zagreb? Do you
15 remember stating this?
16 A. I can't remember the figure I gave. How can you expect one to
17 remember that after 14 years? I probably did have a figure that we used
18 in our assessments, but I wouldn't be able to confirm the figure you gave
19 me just now.
20 Q. Do you remember discussing this in Zagreb with Mr. Loncar, the
21 total figure?
22 A. I'm sure we discussed all events in Vukovar. I wasn't the only
23 person who was able to give the figure. There were many of us who knew
24 the figure.
25 Now that 14 years have passed, it is difficult to say this is
1 exactly how things transpired. Those who are able to say that are quite
3 Q. Would you want me to show you your statement?
4 A. No, no need. What would I do with it? I'm not claiming that I
5 didn't state that. I'm not claiming that. Now, as to how accurate that
6 figure is, it's hard to say.
7 Q. Thank you. I'd like to ask you now something relating to the
8 patients in the hospital and the evacuations. You said that in October of
9 1991, a convoy was organised by Medicins Sans Frontieres who took away
10 112 patients.
11 A. Yes, 112.
12 Q. All right. 112 patients were evacuated from Vukovar Hospital. Is
13 the name of Ivan Zivkovic familiar to you? He was a soldier treated in
14 your hospital.
15 A. No. It doesn't sound familiar.
16 Q. Do you know whether he was included in the convoy that left
17 Vukovar and went to Vinkovci?
18 A. I don't remember the name from the list. And why do I claim that
19 there were 112? I received this information subsequently from the then
20 officer of the JNA who was a liaison officer escorting the convoy.
21 Perhaps sometime in 1995 or 1996 he brought the list of names to me, the
22 list that he compiled personally. He was an officer of the JNA. This is
23 why I know the exact figure. Had I known you were interested in the
24 names, I could have brought the list with me.
25 Q. You mentioned the list. Do you have it with you in The Hague?
1 A. No. What would I do with it here?
2 Q. Can you tell us who was the officer who gave you the list? Was he
3 from the medical corps?
4 A. I wouldn't know. For a long time I didn't even know his name, but
5 he called me on the phone, gave me his name. He has left the JNA in the
6 meantime. He has a master's degree in economics, runs a private firm, and
7 I don't know his name just now off-the-cuff.
8 Q. If you know his name, we can go into private session.
9 A. I don't know the name. I don't know it by heart. It's quite hard
10 to remember all of these things. Why would I try to remember them if I
11 can write them down?
12 Q. Where do you have all this information? In your house?
13 A. Why are you interested in this?
14 Q. I would like to know when you would be able to deliver this to us.
15 A. If you conclude your cross-examination tonight and I go home
16 tomorrow, I would be able to provide it to you the day after tomorrow.
17 Q. Thank you. Let us go back to this soldier, Ivan Zivkovic. He was
18 wounded and was treated in the hospital, guarded by the ZNG. Are you
19 aware of this? Do you remember this?
20 A. No. There was not a single wounded person of any ethnic
21 background who was guarded by anybody. No, we had no such cases.
22 Q. Do you know the name of soldier Sasa Jovic who was a patient in
23 your hospital?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Was he there together with other two members of the JNA in your
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Up until the 19th of November, were they guarded by Damir
4 Samardzic known as Veliki Bojler, ZNG member?
5 A. That is possible, but I am not aware of that. I know the nurse
6 who took care of them. As for who guarded them, I wouldn't know. I don't
7 think there was any need for anyone to guard them. And if somebody was
8 assigned to do that, that was none of my business. I took care of nursing
10 Q. Can you tell us who was the nurse who took care of them?
11 A. Nurse Ilonka Novak [phoen].
12 Q. Did you ever see any ZNG members guarding any wounded persons?
13 A. No. No soldiers were there alone, so they couldn't guard just one
14 person. They had to guard everybody else who was there. So if there was
15 a person there, then that person was guarding everybody who was in there.
16 Q. These three soldiers, Jovic, Sasa, and the other two, were they
17 kept separately? Were they placed in a separate room guarded by Dvor
19 A. They did indeed have their own room. They were quite lucky to
20 have it. We were able to provide a room to them. Not because somebody
21 had to guard them but that -- so that they could have their peace, that
22 they could have a calm environment and that they could have a nurse taking
23 care of them. They were not placed in that room in order to isolate them.
24 What I can tell you is that room in which they were was shelled
25 and destroyed. Fortunately, they had been taken out of their room. And
1 then their room was shelled another time. Another shell landed in their
2 room, and fortunately they were not there. The remaining time they spent
3 together with all other patients until the 18th of November. They smoked
4 the same cigarettes as everybody else did and had a much less comfortable
5 situation afterwards.
6 Q. Was some kind of Serbian lobby accused for everything that was
7 happening there?
8 A. No, nobody was accused. But if a shell landed several times in
9 the same place, then naturally people started wondering whether somebody
10 was providing information.
11 Q. Who constituted this Serbian lobby? Who represented the Serbian
12 lobby in the hospital?
13 A. I don't think there was Serbian lobby. We just had Serbian or
14 Serb staff members.
15 Q. So these suspicions that you had were erroneous.
16 A. I can't say that there were any suspicions. Nothing of that
17 nature was organised. It could have been a Croat who reported this. So,
18 yes, I can have my suspicions, but I can't prove them.
19 Q. Is the name of soldier Slavomir Bestin [phoen] and Milan Biber
20 familiar to you, these two names? Those were the people who were admitted
21 on the 25th of August?
22 A. I can't claim that such people weren't admitted, but you can
23 hardly expect me to remember all of the people. I can't say that they
24 were not among the wounded.
25 Q. Can you tell us how many JNA members were wounded and admitted in
1 the Vukovar Hospital?
2 A. I wouldn't be able to give you the exact figure. I can remember
3 only those who stayed longer in the hospital; for example, the three you
4 mentioned. We had more contacts with them. Those who spent only one day,
5 we don't remember. I didn't have special records pertaining to the JNA.
6 I don't think that anybody else kept such special records.
7 Q. Those soldiers who spent only one day in the hospital, what
8 happened to them afterwards?
9 A. I suppose that you're asking me about these who were wounded on
10 the 25th. The wounded who were admitted at the time were perhaps
11 evacuated, or perhaps the army came to fetch them, or they were taken to
12 the hospital in Vinkovci if their injuries justified that.
13 Q. Were they perhaps taken to Zagreb?
14 A. Probably not that far. They were most likely taken to the nearest
15 hospital so that the other hospital would then decide what to do with
17 Q. I'm waiting for the interpretation to finish before continuing.
18 A. Yes, I'm aware of that.
19 Q. The name of soldier Nedeljko Turekalo [phoen], is it familiar to
21 A. No.
22 Q. All right. You don't remember this soldier. Let me ask you then
23 those that you do remember, Jovic, Sasa, and the other two.
24 A. May I put a question? How can anyone expect someone to remember
25 the names so well? I can remember the name of a person whom I knew
1 before. Yes, I would remember such a name. But somebody who I meet for
2 the first time, it is very difficult to remember that name for a long
3 period of time regardless of who the person belonged to, the JNA, the
4 National Guards Corps, and so on.
5 Q. I'm just trying to determine what you know. I'm not asking you
6 to remember something you can't remember. So let us go back to the ones
7 you remember, soldier Sasa Jovic. Do you remember whether he was
8 exclusively treated by Dr. Njavro?
9 A. Not just he but all three of them, because they were in the same
11 Q. Who assigned Dr. Njavro to treat the three of them?
12 A. I don't know. And is there anything bad about him treating them?
13 That's my question.
14 Q. I didn't say there was anything bad about it. I'm just putting a
15 question to you.
16 Do you know the name of Branko Stankovic?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Tomo Jakoljevic [phoen], a patient of your hospital?
19 A. I know Tomo Jakoljevic from before. He was our plaster
20 technician. We used to work for years together.
21 Q. Do you know what happened to him later?
22 A. He was wounded in his leg. I think that a leg was amputated
23 around his ankle. After the treatment was concluded, he was transferred
24 to our I will call it auxiliary hospital, which was a hospital for the
25 wounded who no longer required intensive care. This hospital was located
1 in Borovo Komerc.
2 Q. Is he still alive?
3 A. I don't know that.
4 Q. Can you tell me who was in charge of that hospital in Borovo
6 A. Our doctors were there. Who was in charge and took care of the
7 food and so on, I wouldn't know that, but we had our team of doctors
8 there, an orthopaedist and several other specialists. Not surgeons but
9 other specialists and nurses. They were able to bandage patients there,
10 provide therapy, and so on.
11 Q. You said that after the 17th of November there were no more new
12 patients arriving in the hospital. What about civilians and members of
13 the MUP and ZNG? Did they start arriving in great numbers?
14 A. Civilians in great numbers, yes.
15 Q. What about the ZNG and the MUP?
16 A. I don't know about the ZNG, and the MUP people arrived because
17 their building had burned down. It had been shelled and destroyed. It
18 burnt to the ground. They had to come to the hospital. Some of them were
20 Q. When did these people from the MUP come to the hospital?
21 A. I can't be specific about the date, whether it was the 17th,
22 the 16th, or the 18th. I really don't know. I don't even know how many
23 of them arrived.
24 Q. You did not see a single ZNG member arrive in the hospital in
1 A. You mean coming just like that saying, "Here I am," no. I didn't
2 see a single one. I don't know what such a person would be doing wearing
3 a uniform in the hospital to begin with.
4 Q. For example, if this person wanted to change his clothes. Do you
5 know that some of the ZNG members changed their clothes in the hospital?
6 A. I don't know about the ZNG members doing that. I know about some
7 of the guards.
8 Q. What did they put on?
9 A. Their civilian clothes. Some clothes. I don't know where they
10 got them. Some put on their track suits, whatever was handy.
11 Q. Did some of these persons who arrived after the 17th of November
12 put on white coats?
13 A. I find that difficult to believe. I can't say. White coats were
14 usually worn by people who were in charge of transporting the wounded. I
15 really can't say whether any one of those who arrived put on a white coat.
16 There were a lot of people there, too many for me to say whether any of
17 them at any given point in time put on a white coat.
18 Q. Were they in a position to be involved in the transport of the
20 A. If they'd been assigned by someone.
21 Q. So it's possible that they had been assign by someone to do that.
22 They were physically able to help with the transport of the wounded.
23 A. Yes, but if so, I was certainly not aware of that.
24 Q. Did you ever believe that some of the people who put on these
25 white coats were later killed because of that, that it cost them their
1 lives? Did you ever state anything like this to anyone?
2 A. I can't remember. I don't know whether I could have said
3 something like that but it's possible.
4 Q. What could have led you to believe something like that?
5 A. Can I tell you? I read something to the effect. I read an
6 article written by Dr. Ivankovic in which he states in no uncertain terms
7 when the medical staff entered the plaster room it was only then that you
8 could see who was who. That's his statement, so I'm using it to conclude
9 that this may, after all, have cost someone their life. Prior to finding
10 out about this statement, it would never had occurred to me.
11 Q. I apologise. Did you know that any of these newly arrived persons
12 pretended that they were wounded by putting bandages on?
13 A. There is no way anyone can pretend to be wounded like that. You
14 can only be classified as wounded if someone looks at you and writes up a
15 diagnosis. You can't put on a plaster cast just like that or conduct a
16 medical examination. There must be a document to the effect showing that
17 you were in fact wounded. But if you were in the hospital, it means you
18 had a document to show that you were wounded.
19 Q. Do you know the name Josip Bradaric?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You refer to him in your statement?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was he a member of the MUP?
24 A. I really can't say. I think he was in the police before the war,
25 but I can't be certain about it.
1 Q. Do you know that the medical workers cut him up and stitched his
2 wounds so as to make it look as if he'd been wounded?
3 A. I don't know. My personal impression was that one of the tasks
4 that Dr. Ivezic had was to check whether people were really wounded or
5 not. I was very pleased that the first person he looked at did have an
6 obvious wound, an injury to the eye, plus a statement by the doctor who
7 dressed his arm.
8 All I can say about this is what I saw with my own eyes. If
9 somebody actually self-inflicted a wound, then only they would know, but
10 I'm certainly in no position to ascertain that.
11 Q. When you spoke to the OTP investigator in June 1995, did you tell
12 them that you were afraid what would happen if somebody found out that
13 Josip was not really wounded?
14 A. Of course I was afraid. Imagine there's an inspection, and he
15 doesn't have a bandage, has nothing on at all, but I was very pleased to
16 see that he did have all of these things.
17 Q. How did it occur to you to begin with that he may not have been
18 wounded if he was registered as wounded?
19 A. It's not Mr. Bradaric I'm talking about. I'm talking about the
20 rumour. This again is a rumour. Somebody wants to pretend they are
21 wounded. So I'm playing along these lines. But if the wound is there, if
22 the diagnosis is there, then I'm very pleased.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Can we please go into private session
25 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
1 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Do you know if Dr. Tomic compiled any lists?
15 A. Yes. He was one of the doctors who did. He is available. You
16 can call him and ask him what he did.
17 Q. Did you know that Miroslav Kosir took off his MUP uniform, put on
18 his civilian clothes and left the hospital on the 19th?
19 A. Yes, indeed. Miroslav Kosir is still a neighbour of mine.
20 If I may be allowed to add, he got a change of clothes. He was a
21 guard at the hospital carrying no weapons. He was unarmed. His family
22 entered the hospital with the group of civilians. He changed into
23 civilian clothes, and he left the hospital with them. He ended up in a
24 Serb camp. He didn't go straight home but at least he survived.
25 Q. Are you talking about the evacuation that was conducted by
1 Zeljka -- and organised by Zeljka Zgonjanin?
2 A. Yes, that's the one.
3 Q. When asked by the OTP investigators about the wounded, did you not
4 state that at the hospital it was difficult to say at the time who was
5 really wounded and who was just pretending?
6 A. I may have said it, but I don't remember whether I did or not.
7 It's very difficult to remember exactly what I said at the time and if it
8 has been taken out of context. What can be said is that each wounded
9 appearing on the list that we have discussed need have been diagnosed as
10 wounded. No doctor could have placed them on one of the lists if they
11 were not really wounded. And then a doctor would make the usual rounds
12 and establish whether all of them were authentically wounded. The rest of
13 us were only in a position to hear rumours, if that.
14 Q. Did Colonel Ivezic come with that list in order to express his
15 suspicion that some of these persons on the list were in fact not wounded?
16 A. I would just love to know what exactly his remit was, whether to
17 verify the authenticity of the list and if the people were wounded or not.
18 If so, the ones that he looked at and saw for himself that they were
19 indeed wounded, I would love to know what happened to those people and
20 what sort of a doctor he was.
21 Q. Does the name Josip Covic, a ZNG member, ring a bell?
22 A. Josip Covic. I really can't say. I don't know.
23 Q. What about the name Vilem Karlovic [phoen]?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Just to wrap it up, you're not claiming that members of the ZNG
1 and MUP did not in fact change their clothes in the hospital. You're just
2 saying you don't know whether there was or there wasn't.
3 A. I'm not aware that any ZNG members changed their clothes, but I
4 happened to work in the vicinity of people who were wearing police
5 uniforms, who were unarmed, who were, for example, guarding Dr. Vesna
6 Bosanac's door and the entrance of the emergency ward. They were unarmed,
7 and yes, of course, I did see them in civilian clothes.
8 Q. What about the names Emil Cakalic, Mladen Muklarik [phoen]? Do
9 these ring a bell? Were they patients of the hospital?
10 A. I know Emil Cakalic from before. He used to have a lab technician
11 with us, and later he was a health inspector. I never saw him among the
12 wounded or among the patients. He may have been in the hospital at the
13 time, but that does not necessarily imply that we ran into each other.
14 Q. Was he on the list of wounded people that you had tied up?
15 A. I can't remember that. I would need to go back to the list in
16 order to verify that.
17 Q. There's one thing that's not in the transcript. I was talking
18 about Emil Cakalic.
19 A. Regardless of the fact that he was a health inspector. If he was
20 wounded, then there had to be some sort of a medical history or a
21 diagnosis. He couldn't just walk in there saying I'm wounded.
22 Q. I'm not saying this. I'm just asking whether you know this or
24 A. No.
25 Q. Was each doctor individually responsible for any evacuation lists
1 they compiled?
2 A. Yes, I believe so.
3 Q. And the lists were not compared or coordinated for greater
5 A. No. How could they have been compared? Each doctor had his own
6 group of wounded to go through, and this was their own personal
7 responsibility. The only thing that could have been the case is for a
8 different group of doctors to go and run the same check.
9 Q. You mentioned that the evacuation was schedule for the 19th of
10 November, 1991, and was postponed for one day. Do you know whether the
11 evacuation was in fact postponed to give the military a time to clear the
12 mines near the town walls?
13 A. I have no idea where these town walls are supposed to be. If you
14 tell me that, perhaps I could answer your question.
15 Q. Between Marinci and Sinovci.
16 A. I really don't know.
17 Q. On the road to Vinkovci.
18 A. Well, that may well be the case. I go to Vinkovci every day but
19 I'm not familiar with this location. Once I'm back, I'll try to find out.
20 Q. Did you know that a convoy that left for Vinkovci in the afternoon
21 was returned and eventually drove to Sremska Mitrovica because they came
22 under fire by the Croatian side, which was coordinated by the ECMM?
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please speak one at a time to
24 ensure accurate interpretation.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. From the town of Vukovar itself, yes.
2 A. I don't know that a convoy ever left. I only heard some stories
3 that there were some JNA medical vehicles. They left for Bogdanovci and
4 then drove back to the hospital. That was the story I heard, but I know
5 nothing else. I'm not familiar with any details. I wasn't part of this
6 convoy, and I can't tell you anything. Rumour has it that the wounded
7 were there, that our employees were there, that they went there and turned
8 back and then drove on to Mitrovica, but those who were actually a part of
9 the convoy should be able to provide more detail.
10 Q. Do you know who was part of convoy?
11 A. One person I know is Stefan Biro. I don't know about the others.
12 Q. Thank you. Do you know that in the afternoon of the 19th of
13 November food and water arrived in the hospital?
14 A. No. I didn't see that. I didn't hear that anybody went to fetch
15 the food and water.
16 Q. Do you know that before the 18th of November the entire command
17 structure of Vukovar defence left the city?
18 A. Yes, I know that.
19 Q. Do you know that Mr. Borkovic, known as Mladi Jastreb [phoen] cut
20 the telephone lines of the hospital and that he did the same thing in
21 relation to the MUP building?
22 A. No, I don't know about that.
23 Q. You told us about the three notebooks, about register books. In
24 addition to those, were any other records kept?
25 A. We had the records of the deceased in the hospital, which was done
1 by the police inspector Tomislav Hegedus. While we were able to bury the
2 deceased or those who were killed, they were buried either in the old
3 hospital graveyard or on the stadium.
4 While this was conducted, he kept the records of those who had
5 been buried.
6 MS. TUMA: Your Honour. I'm sorry, I have to interrupt here.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mrs. Tuma.
8 MS. TUMA: The witness here named one witness here. Just a
9 moment, please.
10 [Prosecution counsel confer]
11 MS. TUMA: I'm sorry. I withdraw that. I'm sorry. So please
13 JUDGE PARKER: I take it you were concerned there might have been
14 naming of a protected witness.
15 Sorry for that it seems, Mr. Vasic. Carry on.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. The person I mentioned has
17 not yet been located or identified. We don't know whether this person was
18 killed. Therefore, the inspector was tasked with keeping the record of
19 those who had been buried. So if I knew about somebody who was buried, I
20 had to remember the number so that later on when normal conditions were
21 reinstated we would be able to stay person buried under such-and-such name
22 was such-and-such -- under such-and-such number was of that identity.
23 However, due to numerous attacks in the area, we were unable to
24 continue with the burials. We ran out of space. So a location closer to
25 us was picked which was the port authority near the Danube River. We
1 started burying the deceased and those who were killed there. However,
2 two or three persons were killed as they were burying people, and we had
3 to stop with that activity. So the deceased or those who were killed were
4 simply placed in the entrance of the port authority building which was
5 across the road from the hospital. Unfortunately, in those last few days
6 before the fall of Vukovar, we were unable to do anything else.
7 The other type of record was kept by another inspector who again
8 for the purposes of police kept record of those who were wounded. So
9 that, for example, if a wounded member of ZNG or police force was
10 admitted, then inspector would take over that person's weapon and
11 belongings. All of that would be duly recorded, and thus us civilians
12 didn't have to deal with that. He as police inspector took care of that.
13 Inspector -- this inspector is no longer alive either. I don't
14 know whether he has been identified.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. The documentation that you mentioned, did you bring it with you or
17 did that remain in the hospital?
18 A. Everything remain in the hospital.
19 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us whether Mrs. Vesna Bosanac, in
20 addition to being director of the hospital and chief of the Crisis Staff,
21 was she also a member of the Crisis Staff of the Vukovar defence?
22 A. I wouldn't be able to tell you that. I don't know. I think that
23 Dr. Ivica Matos was a member. I know this from him. I heard it from him,
24 because he would convey various orders to us. "We have to prepare the
25 shelter. Is the hospital ready," and so on. He conveyed this to us as
1 member of the Municipal Staff.
2 As for Dr. Bosanac, he was -- she was the chief of the Crisis
3 Staff ex officio, not because she was appointed to that position.
4 Q. Did she inform the staff about the content of the appeals sent by
6 A. I don't know about that.
7 Q. These appeals, weren't they sent out on behalf of the hospital
8 Crisis Staff?
9 A. They were signed by Dr. Bosanac.
10 Q. Did Dr. Jure Njavro have exclusive right to perform surgeries on
11 the wounded ZNG members? Do you know anything about that?
12 A. Exclusive right? No, I don't think that such a thing existed. He
13 was appointed chief surgeon. Have for the exclusive right to operate, no.
14 Everybody performed surgeries. He was perhaps the one who set up teams
15 and allocated work. And as for him being the only person authorised to
16 operate on people, no.
17 Q. Who appointed him chief war surgeon?
18 A. The director did.
19 Q. Did she consult somebody before doing that?
20 A. I wouldn't be able to say.
21 Q. Cuckovic, does that last name mean anything to you? He was a
22 wounded -- or he was a worker in the hospital.
23 A. We had several workers with that last name. Throughout the
24 occupation, we had a plaster technician, Djuro Cuckovic, and his son was a
25 driver in the hospital. The son's name was Dusko.
1 On the 19th of November, the nurses who were on the ground floor
2 of the hospital facing the courtyard called me because they had recognised
3 Dusan Cuckovic. He wore a camouflage uniform and was digging through the
4 trash. We didn't know why he did that. I didn't see him enter the
5 hospital building even though his father worked in the surgical clinic.
6 Q. Do you know that ZNG uniforms were found on the -- on the refuse
8 A. Well, I don't know about that but that is possible. We had to
9 discard things somewhere. It is improper to keep unsanitary things in the
10 hospital. And I personally didn't go through the trash so I wouldn't be
11 able to tell you what exactly was there.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we go into private
13 session once again, please. I have two more questions --
14 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] -- for the witness.
16 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Finally, I would like to put questions
9 to the witness relating to the statement she gave to the OTP
10 investigators. Could the usher please distribute hard copies to all the
11 parties. This document is marked in the electronic database. The English
12 version is 2D010048, and B/C/S version is 2D010036. Could we be shown
13 these documents on the screen, please.
14 Q. Mrs. Kolesar, do you have a copy before you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Could you please take a look at the English version of this
17 statement and verify whether your signature is at the bottom of each page.
18 A. I have Croatian version before me and there are no signatures on
20 Q. That's because the English version is the original. Just a
21 minute, please.
22 Madam, can you please take a look at the screen.
23 A. There's nothing on the screen.
24 Q. We have to wait a bit.
25 JUDGE PARKER: I understand, Mr. Vasic, that both the English and
1 the B/C/S version are with the witness, but coming up now on the screen is
2 the English. There was a delay while the witness's screen was being
3 connected technically.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have to ask the
5 witness whether she can see the English version on her screen.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can see the English version, and
7 if BK stands for my signature, it could be. It doesn't have to be. We
8 would need a graphologist to examine this. And as to why there are only
9 initials BK here, it's hard to say.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Could we be shown 2D010056 on the screen. This is the last page
12 of this document and it reflects your full signature. Can you see it,
13 Mrs. Kolesar?
14 A. Yes. This up here is my signature.
15 Q. Thank you. Is this the statement you gave to The Hague
16 investigators on the 19th and 20th of June, 1995?
17 A. Most likely it is.
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't have any further
19 questions for the witness. I would like to tender this statement into
21 JUDGE PARKER: On what basis do you wish to tender the statement,
22 Mr. Vasic?
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] In my cross-examination I asked the
24 witness many things about topics covered in the statement, and she
25 provided answers that differ from the ones in the statement. On those
1 occasions, I told her I was quoting from her statement.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, I'm afraid you won't be able to sit down
3 or you may not be able to at this moment. The appropriate procedure for
4 you now under the jurisprudence of this Tribunal is for you -- if the
5 witness has given an account that you believe to be different from what
6 she said in the statement to show her the passage in the statement and
7 then ask for her comment on the difference, and do that for each important
8 difference that you wish to bring to the Chamber's attention. And
9 normally, as the Appeals Chamber has indicated, by that means the record
10 of your cross-examination will reveal each of the material differences you
11 have identified between the present evidence and the earlier statement,
12 and by that means all parties and the Chamber have a full record of any
13 differences when we come to the end of the trial and have to look at the
14 ultimate questions.
15 And as the Appeals Chamber has indicated, normally the statement
16 itself is not properly admitted into evidence. So it's important that you
17 identify item by item the material differences and have that recorded.
18 So I'm sorry. It's -- if you want to do that, it will mean going
19 through the particular passages in the statement. And I hope that all
20 counsel will note that, so that if they need to do that with this or any
21 other statement or other document that they will appreciate the proper
22 procedure to follow.
23 Are you ready to do that if you wish to now, Mr. Vasic, or would
24 you prefer to do that in the morning? Sorry, tomorrow afternoon. I just
25 don't know whether you're prepared to do that now, and I wouldn't want
1 to --
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we could do it tomorrow
3 afternoon then.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Given the time that we have now.
6 JUDGE PARKER: I think that will help you be more specifically
7 prepared for it and should save time in the long-run.
8 We must, then, adjourn now a few minutes early but hopefully with
9 the object of saving time ultimately.
10 Mrs. Kolesar, I'm afraid I must ask you to return tomorrow
11 afternoon to continue your evidence. We will be commencing again at 2.15.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.52 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 2nd day
14 of November, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.