1 Wednesday, 9 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Agha.
6 Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
8 morning to everyone.
9 I assume my learned friends will call a new witness. However,
10 before this I ask leave to be allowed to speak about protective measures.
11 So I ask that we go into private session. I wish to put forward the joint
12 position of all the Defence teams as regards the protective measures
13 granted to witnesses, and in particular the next witness.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, please proceed.
15 [Private session]
16 [Part of Private Session made public by order of Trial Chamber]
11 Page 1337 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 1338 redacted. Private session.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE PARKER: It is well-known that proceedings in this Tribunal,
8 essentially public, and for that reason in most cases witnesses give their
9 evidence in the ordinary way and their identity and that therefore of
10 their family is well-known to the public and all.
11 It is equally well-known that in trials in this Tribunal there are
12 a variety of circumstances in witness -- in which witnesses are or for
13 sound reasons feel that they are threatened in their personal security or
14 in the personal security of their families. For that reason, the Rules
15 provide that applications may be made for protective measures, the purpose
16 of that scheme is to ensure the personal safety of witnesses and their
17 families. To justify protective measures, the party applying, whether it
18 be Defence or Prosecution, for protective measures must satisfy the
19 Chamber that there are sound reasons that go to the personal security of
20 the witness or the witness's family to justify those protective measures.
21 Because of the nature of a number of those reasons, the Rules
22 allow for applications to be made by either party ex parte, and there are
23 cases where Defence witnesses require protective measures for reasons
24 which are not disclosed to the Prosecution, just as there are cases where
25 Prosecution witnesses require protective measures on the same basis.
1 In this case, application was made. The Defence responded,
2 although as has been indicated by Mr. Lukic basically without detailed
3 knowledge. But the Defence did not object to the protective measures that
4 were sought in respect of this and the other witnesses that have been
5 mentioned, that is, P-21, 29, 31, 32.
6 The material offered ex parte by the Prosecution satisfied the
7 Chamber that there were reasons which justified the protective measures
8 that have been ordered. They were reasons dealing with the present and
9 future personal security of the witness and/or the witness's family. The
10 Chamber saw nothing which went to the merits of the case or, in
11 particular, to the credibility of the witness. The Chamber is conscious
12 that those are issues which are important that the Defence be aware of in
13 the case of a Prosecution application. For that reason, the Chamber was
14 persuaded to grant the measures and to do so on the ex parte application.
15 We are not, of course, for those reasons minded to make any
16 variation to the orders that have been made. We would add that in the
17 particular case of the next witness, Mr. Agha has been helpful enough to
18 indicate very briefly the essence of the reason which justified in the
19 case of this witness a change from the position obtained when the witness
20 gave evidence some seven years ago, and that is personal harassment and
21 harassment of the children of the witness. We would ask the Prosecution
22 as a matter of helpfulness and courtesy if they could look at the reasons
23 relating to these reasons -- to these potential witnesses, and if they
24 feel that they can make those available to the Defence on the confidential
25 basis that they are part of an ex parte motion, we would encourage that
1 just as a means of enabling the Defence to see that these were matters
2 that went to personal security and were not dealing with the merits of the
4 Now, we encourage that; we do not make an order to that effect.
5 We encourage it because of the cooperative spirit shown by Mr. Agha and
6 because there will be some cases where information can be made available
7 on a confidential basis without producing any significant problem for the
8 witness. That having been said, we would not make any change to the
9 formal orders that have been made.
10 Mr. Agha, are you ready for your next witness?
11 MR. AGHA: Yes, I am, Your Honours. This witness, as we know, has
12 protective measures.
13 JUDGE PARKER: We will go into open session. If the witness could
14 be called. Thank you.
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Could I indicate for the record that there is no
18 reason why the decision of the Chamber on that application should be in
19 private session. It may be included in the open transcript.
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
22 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation].
23 JUDGE PARKER: Would you read out the solemn declaration on the
24 card that is shown to you now.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
1 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
3 MR. AGHA: May we go into private session while we deal with the
4 pseudonym, et cetera?
5 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
6 [Private session]
11 Page 1343 redacted. Private session.
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
11 MR. AGHA:
12 Q. Now, in early 1991 you were working as a doctor in Vukovar
13 Hospital. What was the situation like in Vukovar in early 1991?
14 A. It was a completely normal situation, normal living circumstances,
15 typical for a small town.
16 Q. And what were the conditions like at the hospital at that time?
17 A. Completely normal working conditions for a hospital of that size
18 and hospital that satisfied all the needs of the residents of that area.
19 Q. And was it a mixed area ethnicity-wise?
20 A. Absolutely.
21 Q. Now, in spring of 1991, was there an event which changed the
22 atmosphere in Vukovar?
23 A. In early May 1991, an incident took place, following which many
24 other changes occurred in Vukovar, at least I can trace those changes back
25 to that incident.
1 Q. And what was that incident, in brief?
2 A. It was an incident which took place in Borovo Selo on the 2nd of
3 May. If I can describe it properly, it was a police intervention in
4 Borovo Selo which resulted in the killing of about 11 policemen.
5 Q. And were these policemen of a particular ethnicity?
6 A. I couldn't say that with certainty. I couldn't say that all of
7 them belonged to the same ethnicity. I don't think I would be accurate in
8 saying that. Most of them were Croats. Now, as to whether there were
9 other ethnicities in that group, I couldn't say with certainty.
10 Q. Now, how did this incident affect the atmosphere in Vukovar after
12 A. People started feeling insecure. I think that the relations
13 between people also changed. There was a lack of trust among people. It
14 is generally difficult to describe that situation in just a few words, but
15 people were scared. They didn't know what to expect. They didn't know
16 what would ensue, and they didn't know what attitude to take in relation
17 to the situation.
18 Q. And did these tensions continue to grow as 1991 wore on between
19 the different communities?
20 A. Absolutely, yes. As I said, relations between people changed.
21 They ceased being so friendly and open. One could feel the tension in
22 daily contacts in stories exchanged by friends. The situation was, I
23 would say, very strange.
24 Q. Now, after the incident you mention in May 1991 where the police
25 officers were killed, did this -- after this time, did this have an affect
1 on the staffing levels at the hospital?
2 A. Absolutely, yes. In the course of May and June there was a
3 decrease in the number of staff members. Many people stopped coming to
4 work on both sides. And the number of personnel decreased significantly.
5 Q. Now, when you say "both sides," what do you mean?
6 A. When I speak of people, it's hard for me because I do not
7 distinguish among them only on the basis of their ethnicity. I just see
8 them as people. Unfortunately, in this case I have to say "both sides."
9 And when I say "both sides," I mean both Serbs and Croats.
10 Q. Now, despite elements of both sides leaving the hospital, creating
11 the staffing shortages, but did also elements of both sides remain at the
12 hospital and continue to work?
13 A. Absolutely, yes. I think that was the personal choice of every
14 individual. I don't think that anybody was forced to make the decision.
15 I think that it was a personal choice in each case, whether to leave or to
16 stay. That is my personal opinion.
17 Q. Now, did there come a time in 1991 when the city of Vukovar itself
18 came under attack?
19 A. The first attack that I remember, attack of a larger scale,
20 although even prior to that there were instances of shelling, but the real
21 attack on this city took place on the 25th of August, 1991, when the town
22 was shelled for the first time, the town of Vukovar.
23 Q. And what kind of weaponry was used to shell Vukovar? Was it heavy
24 or light arms fire or aircraft? What kind of weaponry was used?
25 A. I must say that perhaps I won't be fully accurate in this case
1 because, after all, I'm a physician and I'm not very familiar with
2 weapons. But what I can claim with certainty is that on the 25th of
3 August bombing took place. I personally saw airplanes because I was
4 outside and I was personally at risk from those planes.
5 In addition to that, I can say with certainty that shells were
6 fired because shells landed in the vicinity of my house as well. Now, as
7 to the type of shells, it's hard for me to say. I think that that falls
8 in the category of heavy weaponry, and I apologise in advance if I made
9 any mistakes because I'm not competent in this area. You know, when they
10 fire at you, then things are difficult for you. You find everything hard.
11 Q. Who was shelling Vukovar?
12 A. The JNA.
13 Q. Do you know why they were shelling Vukovar?
14 A. To tell you the truth, it wasn't clear to me. Why would anybody
15 want to shell Vukovar? There was no need to do that. We led a normal
16 life. It was just a regular life of a small, unremarkable city. I
17 personally saw no need in that.
18 Q. Now, you mention that the shelling was heavy artillery or shells.
19 How extensive was it? Was it once a week or once a day?
20 A. Initially in June and July, it would take place perhaps once a day
21 or once every two days. It's hard to be quite specific. But as the time
22 went by, as the days streamed by, the intensity grew on a daily basis. So
23 that towards the end, that is to say in November, we had a feeling that
24 not a single minute went by without shelling and firing. In order to
25 depict this clearly to you, I will say to you that the quiet constituted a
1 greater problem for us because it started bothering us, we were so unused
2 to it. And once the shelling would commence, then the situation would go
3 back to normal for us.
4 Q. Now, you mentioned it was the shelling of Vukovar. Now, obviously
5 Vukovar is a city. In particular, where you worked, the hospital, was
6 that also shelled?
7 A. Yes. I can say that with certainty because I, myself, was in the
9 Q. And was it also shelled quite extensively?
10 A. In the last month or two, on a daily basis. I don't know whether
11 a minute went by when it was not shelled.
12 Q. Now, you say you were working at a hospital. So were there any
13 kind of markings to indicate that this building was in fact a hospital?
14 A. Yes, there had to be markings. We had a clear and visible marking
15 with a red cross on it. It was placed in the meadow in a plateau, or
16 rather, on the lawn between the buildings. And it was clearly visible
17 from the air.
18 Q. Yet these markings didn't stop the bombings?
19 A. Unfortunately, no.
20 Q. Now, you mentioned that the hospital was extensively shelled. How
21 much damage was actually done to the hospital?
22 A. From the moment the attacks started, the building would be damaged
23 on a daily basis. Initially, the damage was only on the upper storeys of
24 the hospital. And occasionally, certain parts of each of the upper floors
25 would cave in.
1 Q. So from August when you mentioned the attack starts, I think
2 August the 25th you mentioned, what were the working conditions like in
3 the hospital for a doctor and patients?
4 A. In August, the conditions were already somewhat difficult in view
5 of the situation that existed in town. But we could still carry on with
6 our daily activities in the hospital.
7 Q. And did these conditions improve or not improve as time progressed
8 into September and October and November?
9 A. No. The conditions deteriorated daily and it became more and more
10 difficult to ensure normal working conditions.
11 Q. How much running water did you have?
12 A. We had running water on a daily basis sometime until September [as
13 interpreted], when the normal water supply to the hospital was terminated.
14 Q. And how did you manage for water after the supply was terminated?
15 A. Initially, we had cisterns, water tanks, that would arrive in the
16 hospital. Later on it became impossible to transport water in this way
17 because people were injured and died doing that. We had a case when one
18 person who had transported water to the hospital was killed in the
19 hospital compound. Unfortunately, we had to transport water in various
20 containers from the Danube and from nearby wells and we had to do it
21 during the night to bring the water to the hospital.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you kindly.
25 I have a correction for the transcript. Page 14, line 11. I
1 think that the witness stated that they had running water until September
2 or October, and the transcript reflects only September. The witness
3 said "September or October 1991."
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
5 Could you clarify that, Mr. Agha.
6 MR. AGHA:
7 Q. Witness, learned Defence counsel has indicated that when I asked
8 you a question as to how long you had running water, you replied that it
9 was September or October. But the transcript only reveals September. So
10 can you please clarify when running water to the hospital ceased.
11 A. It's hard to be specific about the date. I apologise, but I will
12 always point out when I am not quite sure about the time reference. I
13 hope you will understand this. When you spend three months shut in one
14 area, whether something happened ten days before the date or 15 days after
15 it, it really wouldn't mean much to us under those circumstances. I know
16 the date is very important for you, and thus I have to apologise for not
17 being available to be quite specific. It was either in late September or
18 early October. I hope you will have understanding for this. It's not
19 that I want to exaggerate or diminish something, but please be
20 understanding about me not being able to be quite specific about time
22 Q. Now, Witness, you say that the supply of water was terminated. Do
23 you know how it came to be terminated?
24 A. It was discontinued because the water supply structure, the pipes
25 that brought the water to the hospital, were damaged. The pipeline was
1 damaged by shelling, and as a result of that there was no water supply in
2 the hospital.
3 Q. Now, you've indicated that the water supply was terminated. What
4 about electricity? Did you have functioning electricity supply throughout
5 the period you were in the hospital?
6 A. Likewise, until a certain period of time we had regular
7 electricity supply in all parts of the hospital. But once again, in view
8 of all the factors I listed just prior to this, due to damage to the
9 electrical supply equipment, we did not have continuous supply of
11 Q. So how was, actually, the hospital able to operate, carry out
12 operations, et cetera, without sufficient electricity?
13 A. In those cases, all hospitals have special generators in order to
14 supply the indispensable rooms so that they could function. In this case,
15 we used generators to supply operating rooms with electricity.
16 Q. And were medicines able to freely come in and out of the hospital
17 during this period, between August and November 1991?
18 A. No. The moment normal communication with Vukovar was terminated,
19 we had only the medication that was already in the hospital. There was no
20 regular new supply arriving.
21 Q. And when was Vukovar, in your view, cut off?
22 A. In late September.
23 Q. And who was it cut off by?
24 A. The JNA.
25 Q. Now, Witness, I'd like to move slightly to a different
1 circumstance, and this is your personal living circumstance when the
2 attacks started, which you mentioned was around the 24th of August. Now,
3 on -- in August, where were you living?
6 Q. And did you travel there daily to the hospital from home?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And how did you travel? Did you drive? Did you walk? What was
9 your means of reaching the hospital and back home?
10 A. In view of the fact that I needed some 20 minutes walking to the
11 hospital, I mostly went on foot.
12 Q. And how long did this take you to reach the hospital from your
14 A. It depended from day to day. We always had to consider what was
15 the good time to leave, because the shooting had already start in town.
16 So sometimes we had to wait and sometimes we had to run, so it would take
17 us only ten minutes. But on other days it could take up to one hour.
18 Q. Now, did there come a time when you took your children out of
20 A. Yes. I took them from Vukovar in early September. I asked our
21 director to allow me to leave. The conditions in town were such that we
22 as medical personnel were indispensable. I asked the director for two
23 days' leave so I could take the children out of town.
24 Q. And who was the medical director?
25 A. Dr. Bosanac.
5 MR. AGHA: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Now, why was it necessary to take your children out of Vukovar?
7 A. My husband and I decided that it was impossible for children to
8 remain in town and be safe. I have to tell you that there was no basement
9 in our house. Already at that time, there was several direct hits on our
10 house and we had no place to take our children to. I went to work to the
11 hospital every day, and we would take our children to the basement of our
12 neighbour's house. Several days after that, after we started leaving our
13 children in our neighbour's basement, that basement was hit as well.
14 There was no safety for our children.
15 Q. So at that time, were most other families living in their
16 basements, if they were lucky enough to have one?
17 A. Absolutely, yes.
18 Q. And why had they been forced to move into their basements?
19 Because I assume these are residential properties where people are living.
20 A. Due to frequent shellings and hits on houses, private houses,
21 where people lived.
22 Q. Now, when you took your children to safety, your husband
23 accompanied you. That's correct?
24 A. That's correct, yes.
25 Q. Now, Vukovar was clearly a dangerous place, so did your husband
1 and yourself return?
2 A. Yes. After we had taken our children away, we returned to the
4 Q. And did there come a time when your husband also left?
5 A. Yes. He left in late September, and he didn't return anymore. I
6 stayed in the town.
7 Q. Why didn't your husband return?
8 A. Because all communications had already been cut off. There was no
9 longer any possibility to return to the town.
10 Q. Now, as you clearly explained in your evidence, Vukovar was a
11 dangerous place to be and your children had left and your husband had also
12 left. So my question to you is: Why did you stay?
13 A. This was a decision I had to make on my own after consulting my
14 family. My job is a special kind of job. It's special in normal times,
15 but it was especially important at moments like those. It was a very
16 difficult decision to make. I had my family, my children, my husband. I
17 also had my profession and the oath I had taken that I would responsibly
18 do my job. You have to think very hard at such moments. You have to
19 think about what you will gain and what you will lose. But if somebody
20 had trusted me, believed me, that I was only going to take away my
21 children, but if that person said, Please come back because we need you,
22 what was I to do? And what prevailed was my job and my need to help
23 people. I think my family understood me and supported me and helped me to
24 make this decision.
25 Q. And did anyone in particular at the hospital ask you to return?
1 A. I wouldn't say asked me. It was Dr. Bosanac personally who asked
2 me, yes, to come back.
3 Q. Now, were your parents also living in Vukovar during this period?
4 A. Yes. My parents stayed in our house and lived in Vukovar.
5 Q. And how close to your house was your parents' house?
6 A. We lived together.
7 Q. And after your husband had left, did you still continue to visit
8 your parents?
9 A. Yes. I visited my parents whenever it was possible. It was every
10 few days until -- maybe I won't be quite precise, but until sometime in
11 mid-October perhaps.
12 MR. AGHA: Now, with the Court's permission, I'd like to show the
13 witness a map so that she can identify certain locations on it. So I
14 would kindly ask the court officer if he could put on the screen so the
15 witness could see the map with ERN 04626622.
16 Now, Your Honours, just before this map comes up on everyone's
17 screens, it is actually a map which the Prosecution has referred to before
18 but it has not been exhibited. It's in the booklet of maps which the
19 Chamber and, I believe, the Defence counsel were provided with.
20 Now, with the permission of the Court, it's my intention that I
21 ask that this map when it eventually appears - and it's the last one in
22 the booklet - be exhibited in its blank format and then thereafter I would
23 invite the witness to draw on the same map and then that can be given a
24 fresh exhibit number. So in this way, we will always have the blank map
25 as an exhibit to be called up for future reference.
1 I believe the map is now on everyone's screens.
2 Q. Witness, do you see this map in front of you?
3 A. No.
4 Q. And that is -- no, it hasn't come on your screen?
5 MR. AGHA: I wonder whether the court usher can be of assistance
6 in perhaps --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can see it now.
8 MR. AGHA: It's arrived.
9 So does the Chamber and the Defence also have this map? It's
10 clear for everyone?
11 Q. Now, this is the map which I mentioned earlier which, with the
12 Court's permission, I would like to have exhibited just in its blank
13 format. It is an overview of the map of Vukovar.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: And this will be exhibit number 59, Your Honours.
16 MR. AGHA: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Now, Witness, if you could just find your bearings on that map.
18 And I would invite the court usher to give you a pen and you will be able
19 to draw on that map. And what I will invite you to do in a moment or two
20 is to make some markings on the screen with that pen.
21 So firstly, the hospital itself is already marked. Now, could you
22 roughly mark whereabouts the area where your house was. Perhaps if you
23 put a circle with an "A" there.
24 A. I could say that it was somewhere in the middle between the
25 barracks and the hospital. The map is on a rather small scale, but it's
1 around here.
2 MR. AGHA: May I ask Your Honours that we could go into private
3 session just for this part where these indications are made, the house.
4 And also I will hopefully zoom in a little bit so that the witness can see
5 more clearly for the area.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
7 [Private session]
11 Page 1358 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 1359 redacted. Private session.
17 [Open session]
18 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honour.
19 MR. AGHA:
20 Q. Now, Witness, we finished dealing with the map, and I'd like now
21 to take you back to the period after which your husband and children have
22 now left Vukovar. Now, did there ever come a time after that when you
23 shifted from your house to another place for overnight accommodation?
24 A. Yes. In September, even before my husband left Vukovar, he spent
25 a few days in the hospital with me. I definitely moved to the hospital,
1 lived there, and worked there, and spent the whole day there.
2 Q. And where did you sleep?
3 A. I slept together with the hospital staff in the ward, which was in
4 the old part of the hospital. Later, together with all the others, in the
5 basement of the hospital.
6 Q. Why did you feel the need to move to the basement of the hospital?
7 A. For safety, both the safety of the patients and the staff. Parts
8 of the building were completely destroyed and could not be used.
9 Q. So did that mean that you couldn't stay on the second and first
10 floors of the hospital?
11 A. No, we couldn't.
12 Q. Why not?
13 A. In view of the fact that those parts of the hospital had already
14 been shelled. On one such occasion, the shell hit part of our ward. I
15 could no longer guarantee my patients' safety [Realtime transcript read in
16 error "parents'"]. I couldn't leave them there physically because we
17 couldn't be sure that the same part of the hospital would not be attacked
19 Q. Now, as the battle progressed, was there an increase in the number
20 of patients who was admitted into the hospital?
21 A. After August, the number of patients increased considerably; it
22 grew daily. There were days when there were between 50 and 80 patients a
23 day. The number was sometimes so large, and I can't be precise about it,
24 but it was over 50.
25 Q. And what kind of patients were these? Were they fighters? Men?
1 Women? Children? Civilian? What kind of people were they?
2 A. Absolutely all kinds. Children, civilians, women, men, anyone who
3 was injured or sick, anyone who needed help, medical assistance.
4 Q. And did this include any wounded or injured JNA soldiers?
5 A. As far as I know, yes. I think there were three members of the
6 JNA who were treated in our hospital.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a small intervention in the
10 transcript. Page 26, line 15, I heard the witness say she could no longer
11 guarantee her patients' safety. The transcript says her parents' safety.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, patients.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 MR. AGHA: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
15 Q. Now, these JNA wounded who were brought into the hospital, were
16 they treated worse than any other patients or better than? How were they
18 A. Absolutely the same as every patient and every human being who
19 needed medical assistance.
20 Q. And were they kept separately from the other patients?
21 A. As far as I know, they were in a separate room, the three of them
23 Q. And was that room guarded or was there any closed-offness to that
25 A. Yes. It was under supervision.
1 Q. And why do you think that was?
2 A. Because of the specific situation we were in. These were wartime
3 conditions. The JNA was seen -- I apologise for the expression, but they
4 were seen as an occupying force, as the other side, the opposing side.
5 And it could happen that people who had been injured or people who had
6 been wounded in any way had a negative attitude towards those people. But
7 they were just simply people who had been wounded and who needed
8 assistance, and we had to be absolutely professional. It was our job to
9 provide assistance and also to protect them. If they were our patients,
10 we had to guarantee their safety.
11 Q. Now, earlier you'd explained in your evidence that it wasn't
12 possible to live on the first or second floors of the hospital because it
13 had been shelled. Now, what kind of anti-aircraft or other weapons did
14 you have in the hospital from which you were firing?
15 A. I have never heard that we had anything of that kind.
16 Q. So far as you're aware, then, the hospital wasn't firing at the
18 A. No.
19 Q. Now -- as now I'd like to move to the part where we're drawing
20 towards the end of the battle. And was there anyone in the hospital who
21 was speaking to the JNA about the bombardment of the hospital or the
22 conditions in the hospital? Did anyone complain?
23 A. Could you please clarify your question a little bit. I may not
24 have understood every part of it correctly. Do you mean what persons
1 Q. Yes. If we could start -- breakdown the question. I apologise,
2 it was a bit lengthy. Who negotiated with the JNA regarding what was
3 happening at the hospital?
4 A. As far as I know, it was Dr. Bosanac who negotiated.
5 Q. And so far as you are aware, she was keeping the JNA informed of
6 the conditions at the hospital and what was happening there?
7 A. Absolutely.
8 Q. Who was Dr. Njavro?
9 A. Dr. Njavro was a surgeon, the chief of our surgery ward at the
11 Q. And he was also involved in treating the injured?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. Now, I'm coming again to the period where the battle is nearly
14 over. When did you first learn that there would be an evacuation of the
16 A. It was in the last days that there was talk of that, on the 18th.
17 I might pinpoint that as the day the town fell. And there began to be
18 talk of evacuating the hospital.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Agha, if you're now moving on to a distinct
20 segment, that's probably a convenient time for the first break.
21 MR. AGHA: Yes, Your Honour, that would be.
22 JUDGE PARKER: There have been some redactions, so we must resume
23 at 11.00. We'll adjourn for a time.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Agha.
2 MR. AGHA:
3 Q. Witness, just before the break we were coming to the actual part
4 of the evacuation at the hospital. Now, just before I come to that, do
5 you know roughly how many people died in the hospital during the battle?
6 A. As far as I am aware, some ten days before the fall of the town
7 there were over 600 people who died in the hospital.
8 Q. And where were these people buried?
9 A. Initially, while it was still possible, the corpses were taken to
10 the local cemeteries. However, in the last days, due to the intensity of
11 the attacks, it was impossible to continue with that practice. According
12 to my information, the bodies were taken to a spot near the hospital. I
13 think that it was called the old port building where they placed the
14 bodies of those who died and were killed.
15 Q. Now, you mentioned just before the break that it was Dr. Bosanac
16 who was involved in negotiations with the JNA. Now, slightly prior to the
17 JNA coming to the hospital, did many townspeople come to the hospital?
18 A. Yes. That lasted for several days or several evenings. It was
19 around the 17th of November. Simply speaking, a large number of residents
20 started spontaneously coming to the hospital. It's hard to estimate the
21 number of people. It would be impossible to describe that scene. They
22 spontaneously came to the hospital compound, entered the hospital. I
23 would call it a state of chaos.
24 Q. Approximately how many people came?
25 A. I don't think I will be wrong if I say that there were about 1.000
2 Q. And were -- what kind of people were these? Were they former
3 combatants, women? What sort of people?
4 A. Those were women, children, elderly. Had you seen them, you would
5 have seen distorted faces of sorry-looking people, looking miserable.
6 Everybody who remained in town came to the hospital.
7 Q. And why did they come to the hospital?
8 A. The notion of a hospital before the war and after the war, it
9 coincides with the notion of security, a place where one comes seeking
10 refuge. That was the only place that remained in town, the hospital. And
11 in the minds of all people, that represented a place where they could
12 still seek salvation, protection, anything. That was what the hospital
13 meant to them.
14 Q. Now, you mentioned on the 18th about Dr. Bosanac mentioning the
15 evacuation. What were you actually told about the evacuation? How would
16 it be carried out?
17 A. We were told that the evacuation would be carried out under the
18 supervision of the International Red Cross.
19 Q. And who would be responsible for the patients' care during the
21 A. It would be absolutely us as their doctors and nurses. But in
22 addition to that, the International Red Cross was supposed to supervise
23 the entire process of evacuation.
24 Q. Now, when did the JNA first arrive at the hospital in November?
25 A. I saw them for the first time on the 19th of November.
1 Q. And how much resistance was put up to the entry of the JNA into
2 the hospital?
3 A. None at all. There was no resistance whatsoever.
4 Q. Now, you were in the hospital that time yourself. What was the
5 prevailing atmosphere in the hospital when the JNA entered? What was the
7 A. It's hard to convey sentiments. But all of us were afraid. We
8 didn't know what was going to happen, how it was going to happen. We
9 didn't know what was going on at all and where the Red Cross was, the
10 Red Cross which was supposed to be there and to supervise the process. We
11 didn't know who was in charge of us, of the entire hospital. It's very
12 hard to describe these feelings to you, but I think that what dominated
13 among everybody was the fear and insecurity.
14 Q. Now, can you explain why you personally felt this fear and
15 insecurity if, as you mentioned earlier, that you believe the JNA had come
16 to liberate you? Why would you be afraid of them?
17 A. The notion of liberation -- excuse me, but who were they supposed
18 to liberate us from? We led a normal life. We didn't call upon anybody
19 to come and liberate us. To liberate us from whom? From myself? From my
20 friends? From my home? This notion of liberation is something that I
21 understand differently. On the other hand, if somebody shoots at you for
22 so many months, can you then perceive that as liberation or as something
23 else? Certainly not liberation.
24 Q. So what something else did you perceive it as?
25 A. Once again, I have to emphasise that I don't know how to define
1 and I don't know what proper word to use to describe that. Once again, I
2 apologise if I use an inappropriate term, but I consider that occupation.
3 Q. Now, you mentioned you first saw the JNA enter the hospital on
4 19th November. What were the conditions like in the hospital then when
5 they entered?
6 A. The conditions that you wouldn't believe people would be able to
7 survive under, let alone work under those conditions.
8 Q. Were any comments made by any of the JNA regarding these working
9 conditions that you heard?
10 A. I happened to stand behind a group of soldiers who entered the
11 hospital and who looked at the area. I think that the best description I
12 can give you is the comment they uttered. Is it possible to live and work
13 under these conditions? Is it possible that they really stayed here? I
14 think no further comment is needed.
15 Q. Now, where did you stay between the night of the 19th and the 20th
16 of November?
17 A. I was in my office together with other staff members.
18 Q. And I would now like to turn to the morning of the 20th of
19 November. So on the morning of the 20th November, did a particular staff
20 member come and seek you out?
21 A. In the morning on the 20th of November at around 7.00 in the
22 morning, Nurse Binazija came to my room, accompanied by a JNA member.
23 Q. Now, what role did Nurse Binazija play in the hospital, and do you
24 remember her second name?
25 A. Nurse Binazija Kolesar was the head nurse in the surgery ward at
1 the time.
2 Q. And when she came to you with this other person, what did she want
3 you to do?
4 A. When she came into my room, she had with her a list on a sheet of
5 paper. She read out two names and she asked those two people to leave the
6 room and stand outside.
7 Q. So I would just like to clarify this. You mention that Nurse
8 Kolesar came to you with a JNA person. Now, did she take you anywhere
9 first or did you remain in that same place when you had this discussion
10 about the two names?
11 A. No. We didn't go anywhere else. It was right there in that
13 Q. And then what happened after these two names were called out?
14 A. The gentleman who accompanied her asked me to describe the type of
15 injuries that these persons had, what type of injuries those were, and he
16 asked to look at them.
17 Q. And did you explain to him the type of injuries they had?
18 A. Yes, that was my duty.
19 Q. Do you remember the names of these two patients and what their
20 injuries were, roughly?
21 A. Yes. This had to do with Mr. Holjevac and Mr. Bradaric. Shall I
22 describe the injuries to you?
23 Q. Very briefly.
24 A. Mr. Holjevac had a fractured right arm above the elbow and a
25 plaster on it. Mr. Bradaric had an injury of an eardrum, slight injury in
1 his eye resulting from dust, and a cut on his arm.
2 Q. Now, how many patients did you have under your care at that time?
3 A. 25.
4 Q. And were you asked about all 25 of these patients?
5 A. No. Just the two of them, the two names that I gave you.
6 Q. And from what were the names being called?
7 A. From a sheet of paper that Mrs. Binazija held.
8 Q. Now, when these two patients were called out, where were they told
9 to go?
10 A. They were told to get ready and to leave the room. They were told
11 to go to another part of the hospital.
12 Q. Now, after this brief meeting between the nurse, your patients,
13 and the JNA member, where did you then go?
14 A. Nurse Binazija told us that all medical staff was supposed to
15 assemble in the premise of the surgical clinic or the plaster room. At
16 any rate, in a certain area that belonged to the surgical ward.
17 Q. And did you go there?
18 A. Yes, all of us went there.
19 Q. Who chaired this meeting, if you like? Who was in charge of this
21 A. The person who chaired the meeting was Mr. Sljivancanin.
22 Q. How do you know it was Mr. Sljivancanin?
23 A. Mr. Sljivancanin introduced himself upon meeting us.
24 Q. And very briefly, what did he tell the assembled meeting?
25 A. The meeting lasted perhaps half an hour or 45 minutes, around that
1 time. And during that time, he spoke to us in general about the political
2 situation, about the breakup of Yugoslavia, how that came about. He told
3 us that he understood us as medical staff, he realised that we just did
4 our job and that it was natural that we did so, and that he wouldn't take
5 that against us. It was along those lines. I cannot convey verbatim his
6 words, but the discussion mostly focussed on that. I have to admit that I
7 didn't follow closely his words throughout that time because my thoughts
8 were simply not organised, and I didn't fully follow everything that the
9 gentleman said.
10 Q. Who, in your view, after this meeting was in charge of the
11 hospital? Was it still Dr. Bosanac?
12 A. No. At the meeting we were told that Dr. Bosanac was no longer
13 our director and that they had taken over the hospital and were in charge,
14 if I can put it that way.
15 Q. And who was it who said this?
16 A. Mr. Sljivancanin.
17 Q. Now, you mention that this meeting was going on for about 45
18 minutes. Now, whilst this meeting was in progress with Mr. Sljivancanin,
19 did you notice anything unusual happening in the corridor outside?
20 A. Yes. At one point in time, as I was standing towards the back of
21 the room near the door which was opened and which faced the corridor of
22 the reception area of the surgical ward, I turned around and left the
23 room. And at that moment I saw a group of my patients who were being led
24 away by the JNA soldiers.
25 Q. How many medical staff were accompanying your patients with the
1 JNA soldiers?
2 A. There was not a single member of medical staff accompanying them.
3 All of us were in that meeting at that moment.
4 Q. And how many members of the Red Cross or other monitors did you
5 see accompanying your patients?
6 A. None. I didn't see any.
7 Q. And did you think these patients were being led away by the JNA in
8 an ordinary fashion?
9 A. It all happened so quickly that it didn't seem to us like a normal
10 course of an evacuation as we believe it should take place. It simply
11 happened too quickly, as if something was being concealed.
12 Q. And while this removal of the patients was taking place, you say,
13 where were most of the hospital staff?
14 A. All of them were in the meeting with Mr. Sljivancanin.
15 Q. So what were you able to conclude about the timing and the manner
16 in which these patients were being removed?
17 A. At that time it was difficult for me to comprehend why this was
18 unfolding in this way or where these people were being taken and why we
19 were not present there, we as those who cared for them until that time.
20 We simply didn't know where they were going. Nobody told us anything
21 about that. But we were still hoping that everything would be all right,
22 that everything should be all right.
23 Q. Now, I'd like to be very clear about this. Most of these people
24 who were being led away by the JNA while the hospital staff was in the
25 meeting, what were they? Were they civilians? Were they patients? What
1 largely was their make-up?
2 A. The people who were led away were precisely the patients of the
4 Q. How many firearms did they each have on them?
5 A. I can guarantee you that not a single of my patient had a single
6 piece of weaponry on him.
7 Q. And did some of these patients also have medical appendages on
8 them or other means to assist them in their recovery?
9 A. No.
10 MR. LUKIC: Objection, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that this line of questioning
13 of my learned friend is a typical example of leading questioning. Because
14 on page 37, line 16, there was a question that was leading in a way but
15 could be acceptable. And the Prosecutor asked the witness for her
16 impression, and she answered in very specific terms; namely, that at the
17 time it was very difficult to comprehend what was happening. She gave her
18 own conclusion. Following that, all of the questions that were put after
19 that were such that they called for a contradicting answer from the
20 witness, and I think that it is inappropriate because the witness has
21 already given us her conclusion at the relevant time.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Many of the questions, Mr. Lukic, are seeking more
23 precise detail about specific issues. So in that respect, I can't agree
24 with you. But I can certainly agree that the last couple of witnesses --
25 questions and some earlier ones were leading in form.
1 So, Mr. Agha, if you could be more careful.
2 MR. AGHA: Yes, Your Honour.
3 Now, with the Court's permission I'd like to show the witness a
4 sketch plan, and this is a sketch plan of a part of the hospital drawn by
5 the witness or at least produced under her guidance. And it's ter number
6 is 226. So if I could kindly ask the court officer to put that on the
7 screen, that would be very helpful. And for further precision, the ERN
8 is 00596037, if that helps.
9 So does the Chamber as well as the witness and the learned Defence
10 counsel have this on their screen, this plan?
11 Q. So, Witness, was this sketch together with markings, numbers
12 connotating to words, positions, was this drawn up under your guidance?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. Now, what actually is it a sketch plan of?
15 A. Of the basement area of the hospital where we stayed during the
16 war together with our patients.
17 Q. Now, on this sketch plan on the lower part, there are numbers
18 correlating to words. For example, number 1 is by a corridor. Now, are
19 all these correct?
20 A. Yes, as far as I can see they are.
21 Q. Now, can I kindly ask you, with the assistance of the court usher,
22 because I'd like you to do a little drawing on this sketch, to make a
23 marking for me, please.
24 I apologise for the delays, Witness.
25 Now, you can see the sketch of the hospital. Now, which number
1 room was it that Mr. Sljivancanin held his meeting? Can you please circle
3 A. Number 17.
4 Q. And can you please indicate with the marker where you were
5 standing, perhaps if you could put an "A" where you saw these patients
6 being led out.
7 A. Here.
8 Q. And if you could kindly just draw with an arrow and perhaps mark
9 it with a "B" the direction in which the patients you saw were coming
11 A. [Marks].
12 Q. And can you then show the direction in which they were being taken
13 to, please, by the marker and mark that "C."
14 A. It's towards the exit, here.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. AGHA: Now, may I ask that this sketch be saved with the
17 markings on and be tendered as an exhibit.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 MR. AGHA: Thank you, Your Honour. That's all with this
20 particular sketch.
21 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
22 THE REGISTRAR: This will be exhibit number 61, Your Honours.
23 MR. AGHA:
24 Q. Now, after the meeting with Mr. Sljivancanin, where did you go
1 A. I went to the room where I stayed; that is, my office.
2 Q. And from there?
3 A. From there we returned to another meeting, which was held together
4 with Mr. Ivankovic.
5 Q. Who was Mr. Ivankovic?
6 A. Mr. Ivankovic was a surgeon in our hospital.
7 Q. Did any of his relatives also come to the hospital between the
8 18th and 20th of November, so far as you are aware?
9 A. According to what I heard, his son came together with the members
10 of the JNA.
11 Q. Was his son a member of the JNA?
12 A. As far as I know, he was a member of a paramilitary unit, but I
13 cannot assert that with certainty.
14 Q. And what was his name?
15 A. I don't know his name.
16 Q. Now, coming back to the meeting with Dr. Ivankovic, what was told
17 to you at that meeting?
18 A. At that meeting we were told that as doctors we could decide
19 whether to remain at the hospital, whether to go to Serbia or to Croatia.
20 Each one of us could make a decision about his or her future.
21 Q. And how long, roughly, was that meeting?
22 A. It lasted ten or 15 minutes, not longer.
23 Q. And where did you go after that meeting?
24 A. After that meeting I went back to my office, that is the place
25 where I had been living, to collect my things. And then I went out to the
1 place where those of us who had decided to go to Croatia were supposed to
3 Q. After that meeting with Dr. Ivankovic, what other interactions did
4 you have with your patients?
5 A. I no longer had any contacts with my patients, in view of the fact
6 that the hospital was already empty. It had been emptied of all my
7 patients I found, or rather saw. Only Mrs. Zahora who was also a patient
8 of mine, a lady.
9 Q. So when you went to check on your patients, what did you find?
10 A. Empty beds and empty rooms.
11 Q. Had you made a list of your patients?
12 A. Yes. Several evenings before the evacuation was planned, I made a
13 list of the patients I had been taking care of.
14 Q. Who told you to make that list?
15 A. We were told -- the request came from Dr. Bosanac. She said we
16 should each make a list of our patients. She didn't tell that to us
17 personally, but that's what was conveyed to us.
18 Q. And what was the purpose of making this list?
19 A. In such situations, it's professional for every staff member to
20 care for the people they had been taking care of up to that point. We
21 envisioned a transport of patients, and each doctor was supposed to be
22 close to the patients they were looking after in order to be able to
23 assist them during the transport.
24 MR. AGHA: Now, with the permission of the Court, I'd like to put
25 up an exhibit which actually -- a proposed exhibit, which actually is that
1 list. And for the benefit of the court clerk, it has a 65 ter number
2 of 227 and ERN 00381949.
3 Q. Witness, do you have the list on your screen?
4 A. Yes, I see it.
5 Q. And is that a copy of the list which you made before your patients
6 were removed from the hospital?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And how many patients are listed?
9 A. 25.
10 Q. And who actually is number 25?
11 A. The technician, a member of the medical staff.
12 Q. So he wasn't actually a patient. Is that right?
13 A. No. It says next to his name that he is a medical technician.
14 Q. But the other 24 were patients?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Now, did all of these patients on this list have genuine injuries
17 which you were treating?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Could you kindly identify the numbers of the -- those on your list
20 who did not have genuine injury.
21 A. If you can show me the next page of the list. I'm sorry, could
22 you go back. Yes, now you can go on. Can you go on? Further.
23 Number 16. For 17 I have a special explanation to give. Can we go
24 further? 19. 20.
25 Q. Now, Doctor, referring to the names, or at least the numbers you
1 have picked out, number 16, 19, and 20 who were not injured, can you
2 explain why they were put on your list of patients.
3 A. Maybe it's difficult to explain. I'll ask you to try and
4 understand. To explain this to someone who is listening now is very
5 difficult. I apologise. The feelings are coming back to me of a time I
6 don't like to speak about, but I will try to convey to you what I felt
7 then and how we felt at the time and why I did this because it was purely
8 my own decision. And --
9 JUDGE PARKER: Would you just --
10 MR. AGHA:
11 Q. Witness, may I ask you --
12 JUDGE PARKER: Would you just pause a moment and collect yourself.
13 Yes, Mr. Vasic.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, bearing in mind that we
15 are looking at this list and we are in public session, I only wanted to
16 express my fears for the identity of the witness.
17 MR. AGHA: Could we perhaps go into private session for -- just
18 while we deal with the list, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
21 [Private session]
11 Pages 1380-1384 redacted. Private session.
12 [Open session]
13 MR. AGHA:
14 Q. Now, after you discovered that most of your patients had gone,
15 where did you then go?
16 A. I went to collect my things, and then I left through the same
17 exit. I went to the emergency ward, which is in the area in front of the
18 new building. We awaited evacuation there, or rather, we awaited our
19 departure towards Zagreb there.
20 Q. And were you then indeed evacuated?
21 A. In that area we waited for some two hours. I left with a group of
22 staff members, and we went to stand in front of the former court building
23 where the buses waited for us.
24 Q. And while you were waiting to get on the buses, how many soldiers
25 did you see and of what kind, could you distinguish?
1 A. At that time there were many soldiers in the hospital yard; they
2 had arrived. That was the first time I saw people who did not have clear
3 JNA insignia.
4 Q. What kind of insignia did they have?
5 A. They had insignia with four letters S. They also had white
6 feathers on their sleeves. Those were not regular army insignia.
7 Q. So how would you describe these troops as?
8 A. They looked terrifying.
9 Q. And as well as these kind of troops, could you also distinguish
10 whether there were regular JNA soldiers also there?
11 A. Yes. There were regular soldiers there who were moving in that
12 area, entering the hospital, or just standing in that open area.
13 Q. So you were able to distinguish between the two kinds of soldiers,
14 the regular JNA and the other, as you have called them?
15 A. Absolutely, yes.
16 Q. Now, when you were evacuated, how many patients roughly came with
17 you in the convoy?
18 A. Based on my information, about 54.
19 Q. And in your view, how many patients should there have been?
20 A. Between 300 and 400, definitely.
21 Q. And do you know the whereabouts of these missing patients? Did
22 they catch you up later en route?
23 A. No. At the time we didn't know anything about their fate. We
24 were hoping that they took perhaps another road and followed us, but at
25 that time we knew nothing about them.
1 Q. And to your knowledge have most of them been found alive?
2 A. You mean in general?
3 Q. In general.
4 A. Out of those 300, unfortunately most of them are not alive.
5 MR. AGHA: I have no further questions for this witness.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
7 Mr. Vasic.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I wonder
9 whether I should begin with cross-examination or are we perhaps ready for
10 a break? That's why I'm looking upon you for guidance.
11 JUDGE PARKER: I was assessing that at the moment you rose. We
12 think alike, Mr. Vasic, yes. I think it would be perhaps a good time at
13 the moment to have a break and that enable the witness to rest for a
14 little while before we continue.
15 We will resume at a quarter to 1.00, Mr. Vasic.
16 --- Recess taken at 12.14 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.47 p.m.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic will now have some questions for you.
19 Yes, Mr. Vasic.
20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Vasic:
22 Q. Madam, let me introduce myself. I am Miroslav Vasic,
23 attorney-at-law, defence counsel for Mr. Mrksic. In view of the fact that
24 both of us speak the same language, I would kindly ask you to make a pause
25 before answering my questions, so that the interpreters are given a chance
1 to interpret that and so that I can turn off my microphone and thus
2 protect your voice.
3 Today you told us that Vukovar was a multi-ethnic town, didn't
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. You also said that in 1991 the relations that were up until that
7 time harmonious started deteriorating and becoming less harmonious. Is
8 that right?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. Did the relations start deteriorating even before the events in
11 Borovo Selo that you described today?
12 A. My personal opinion is that the deterioration was more pronounced
13 following that, but that is just my personal opinion.
14 Q. Do you know that there were first multi-party elections held in
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. At that time, were you a member of any political party?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Do you know that in the elections at the republic level in Croatia
20 it was the Croatian Democratic Community that won?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Croatian Democratic Union, was it a party of persons who had
23 nationalistic orientations and views?
24 A. Just like back then, I am not engaged in politics nowadays either.
25 I never followed political developments so closely as to be able to say
1 that that party was a party of Croats who held nationalistic views.
2 Q. Do you know that in Vukovar in the local elections, the party that
3 won was the SDP?
4 A. I think so.
5 Q. Following that, Slavko Dokmanovic, who was a Serb, was elected
6 president of the Municipal Assembly in Vukovar. Is that right?
7 A. I believe that's right.
8 Q. Do you know whether before May 1991, before the events you
9 described in Borovo Selo, the National Guards Corps had already been
10 founded in Croatia?
11 A. I don't know about that.
12 Q. You mentioned the events of the 2nd of May in Borovo Selo. Can
13 you tell us why the police, or rather, the MUP of Croatian members went to
14 intervene in Borovo Selo? Do you know what caused it?
15 A. I can only convey to you what I learned from reading papers at the
16 time. This intervention was a result of some kind of an unrest, a riot,
17 in Borovo Selo. But whether that is a correct interpretation or not, I
18 really wouldn't be able to say.
19 Q. You said that there was some residents who rebelled there. Can
20 you tell us what they rebelled against, what was the reason for their
22 A. They would be better placed to answer your question, those who
23 rebelled. I'm unable to answer it.
24 Q. Given that the first multi-party elections were held in 1991 in
25 the territory of the entire former SFRY, I assume that you, as a citizen,
1 followed the political and social developments in the country. Do you
2 know that after these elections the constitution of Croatia was amended?
3 A. Yes. But I don't know to what extent and I don't know precisely
4 which portions of the constitution were amended.
5 Q. Do you know that these constitutional amendments also changed the
6 status of the Serbian people, who until that time were a constituent
8 A. No.
9 Q. Do you know that following the events in Borovo Selo, Slavko
10 Dokmanovic, as president of the Municipal Assembly, publicly called upon
11 all residents of Vukovar to decrease tension and find a peaceful
12 resolution to all of the problems?
13 A. Yes, to the extent that one was able to hear that on the radio.
14 Q. Shortly thereafter, did Slavko Dokmanovic cease to perform duties
15 as municipal president and was a government commissioner appointed by the
16 Croatian government for Vukovar, a person who was a member of the HDZ?
17 A. Excuse me. Which period of time do you have in mind?
18 Q. I'm referring to end of June, early July 1991.
19 A. I know that a commissioner was appointed, a commissioner for
20 Vukovar. Whether it was precisely then, during that period of time, if
21 you say so, then most likely it was.
22 Q. The commissioner, was he a member of the HDZ, despite the fact
23 that it was the SDP that had won the elections in Vukovar?
24 A. I have to reiterate that neither then nor now am I interested in
25 any political developments or political parties.
1 Q. All right. You were not interested in politics. Do you know that
2 as early as May there were groups organised in the streets of Vukovar
3 comprising members of Croatian ethnicity to defend Vukovar? Did you see
4 something like that?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Do you know that as early as the 4th of May, 1991 the name of the
7 Vukovar radio station was changed and its director replaced?
8 A. Yes, I'm aware of that.
9 Q. From that day on, was the radio station called Croatian Radio
10 Vukovar and was its Serb director replaced by a Croat?
11 A. Yes, it was called Croatian Radio Vukovar. As for whether a Croat
12 replaced a Serb, I have to tell you that I do not divide people upon that
13 basis, upon them being Croats or Serbs.
14 Q. Neither do I, Madam. However, I am describing the situation that
15 existed at the time.
16 A. I understand that.
17 Q. Do you know that in the economic sector of Vukovar a director was
18 also replaced -- directors were also replaced?
19 A. Directors were frequently replaced, and I don't think that I could
20 say that it existed only during that period of time. This is something
21 that frequently happened.
22 Q. In the institution where you worked, pursuant to the order issued
23 by the Croatian government, the previous director was replaced by a new
24 one. Isn't that right?
25 A. Whether that was done pursuant to the government order, I wouldn't
1 be able to say, but the director was replaced.
2 Q. And instead of the former director, who was a Serb, a new director
3 came, a Croat. Isn't that right?
4 A. I would say that Dr. Bosanac replaced Dr. Popovic.
5 Q. I wasn't going to ask you --
6 A. I apologise.
7 Q. I didn't want to mention any names in view of the protection
8 measures, but all of us know what this pertains to.
9 You told us that in the institution where you worked, the
10 employees were of mixed national backgrounds. Following the events in
11 Borovo Selo, did the Serbs employed in your institution start leaving and
12 in large numbers, too?
13 A. I would say that, yes, there were Serbs who were leaving, but also
15 Q. From the people who were leaving and who were Serbs, did you hear
16 that they did so because they feared for their own safety?
17 A. I wouldn't put it in those terms.
18 Q. Be so kind and tell us what was the reason for the departure of
19 physicians who were Serbs.
20 A. I think that everybody has a right to assess whether they feel
21 good in a certain place or not, whether they want to leave their jobs or
22 the area where they live. However, we didn't discuss whether they were
23 leaving because of their personal safety. It was up to each individual to
24 determine whether they felt safe or not. In direct contacts, we did not
25 have such exchanges, such conversations.
1 Q. Was there a decrease in the number of Serb patients coming to your
2 institution during that same period of time?
3 A. To tell you the truth, the patients kept coming and we never asked
4 anybody what their nationality was when admitting them.
5 Q. Tell me, please, following the events in Borovo Selo were the
6 wounded MUP patients admitted to the institution where you worked?
7 A. What do you mean? Admitted as patients or housed in the hospital?
8 Q. What I said was whether the wounded members of the MUP were
9 admitted as patients.
10 A. Naturally. Everybody who was injured was admitted.
11 Q. These wounded MUP members, were they also guarded by the police
12 during their stay in the hospital, armed police?
13 A. I wouldn't be able to answer your question because I didn't work
14 in that ward.
15 Q. You must know that after the 2nd of May a Crisis Staff was
16 established in the hospital pursuant to the order of the Republic of
18 A. Yes, there was a Crisis Staff.
19 Q. I will get to that topic later on as well. But tell me, was it
20 the task of the Crisis Staff to put the hospital on alert and ensure that
21 it was prepared to admit the wounded?
22 A. As for the specific tasks and job descriptions, I wouldn't be able
23 to tell you that because I was not a member of the Crisis Staff. However,
24 the hospital functioned under different conditions. And I think that that
25 was their task to adjust the function of the hospital to the newly created
1 circumstances. However, I myself was not a member of the Crisis Staff.
2 Q. Yes, you guessed correctly; that was precisely the question that I
3 was about to put to you.
4 Now, please tell me whether during that period of time
5 preparations were conducted to use the atomic shelter that existed within
6 your institution?
7 A. If you are referring to the month of May, then no.
8 Q. Let us go back to something that I asked you earlier and that has
9 to do with the wounded MUP members treated in the hospital. Did their
10 presence in the hospital lead to the reduction in the number of Serb
11 patients coming to the hospital at the time?
12 A. Not in my ward.
13 Q. Following the events in Borovo Selo, for a while there was no
14 escalation of the conflict. Isn't that right?
15 A. According to my information, no.
16 Q. In early June 1991, were the roadblocks set up in the area leaving
17 Borovo Selo and entering Vukovar?
18 A. I was unable to see that, therefore I can neither confirm nor deny
20 Q. Do you know the person called Tomislav Mercep?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Excuse me. For the transcript let me repeat. Mr. Tomislav
24 Do you know what his duty was in Vukovar municipality in May and
25 June 1991?
1 A. I am not sure I'll be able to give you the title correctly, but I
2 think he was in charge of the defence of the town. I apologise if the
3 description is not correct because I'm not absolutely sure.
4 Q. Did you perhaps hear that in March 1991, that is before the
5 conflict in Borovo Selo, Mr. Tomislav Mercep reviewed the ZNG in
7 A. No.
8 Q. Can you tell me when did you first hear of the ZNG?
9 A. I did hear about the ZNG, but as for the time period I really
10 couldn't pinpoint the time.
11 Q. And did you hear under the auspices of what political party the
12 ZNG was established?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Do you know that throughout June in Vukovar, where you lived,
15 explosives were set in houses owned by Serbs that the kiosks of the
16 newspaper Borba were blown up, a Serb newspaper?
17 A. I did hear about that.
18 Q. Did you hear that there were rumours going around that in this
19 period some citizens of Serb ethnicity went missing in Vukovar?
20 A. Yes, there were rumours going around about that.
21 Q. In view of the fact that you lived in Vukovar for a long time, you
22 must know where the barracks is, the JNA barracks, where it was?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. You also know that this barracks in Vukovar was there long before
25 any tensions or conflicts arose, several dozen years before that?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. Did you hear that in the summer of 1991 at one point the barracks
3 was surrounded and blocked by members of the ZNG?
4 A. I'm not sure about that, no.
5 Q. Did you hear that at one point the barracks was attacked by
6 members of the ZNG?
7 A. I'm not sure of that either.
8 Q. In view of the fact that Vukovar is a relatively small town and
9 that something like the blocking of a barracks and attacks on a barrack
10 does not happen every day, I have to ask you whether people talked about
11 this in Vukovar.
12 A. At that time various stories went around, but what you don't see
13 you don't believe.
14 Q. You told us today that the attack on Vukovar began on the 25th of
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You will agree with me that there had to be a reason for the
19 A. There really should be a big reason to do something like that.
20 Q. If you didn't hear about the blockade of the barracks and the
21 exclusion of water and electricity from the barracks, on the 24th of
22 August, 1991 were two JNA planes shot down while flying over the town?
23 A. I have to mention that I was not in town those -- in those days.
24 Q. Did you hear about this event on your return?
25 A. You could hear that in the media.
1 Q. On your return to town, did you come across ZNG defence lines?
2 A. In the military sense? No.
3 Q. Did you come across checkpoints held by members of the ZNG?
4 A. In the area where I lived, in the centre where I moved around, no.
5 Q. I was referring to the entrance into Vukovar.
6 A. On the 25th I went in, yes.
7 Q. So when after the 24th of August you were on your way back into
8 Vukovar, did you run across any checkpoints held by members of the ZNG?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And the people manning those checkpoints were armed, were they
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. On your return to Vukovar, were you aware who was the commander of
14 the defence of Vukovar?
15 A. Well, quite truthfully, no.
16 Q. Let us go back now to the atomic shelter that has already been
17 mentioned. Tell me, how many beds were in this atomic shelter when it was
18 prepared to receive the wounded?
19 A. I can't give you the precise number at this moment. I can only
20 recall and count the number of beds I remember, but I may be wrong about
21 the number. Initially, I think ten or 15, but please don't hold me to
22 this; it may not be correct.
23 Q. Tell me, over a prolonged period of time were patients from your
24 hospital evacuated to Vinkovci on a daily basis?
25 A. In one period when it was still possible, yes.
1 Q. Tell me, are you aware that throughout the time of these events
2 from August to November 1991, a helicopter landed on the stadium near the
3 hospital which arrived from Croatia bringing in medicines, food, and other
4 necessities for the hospital?
5 A. Yes, I did hear about that.
6 Q. Are you aware that in October, more precisely on the 18th of
7 October, 1991, a convoy was organised under the auspices of the Medecins
8 Sans Frontieres and that they evacuated 112 wounded from the hospital?
9 A. I think that that is correct, yes.
10 Q. Today you mentioned certain wounded JNA soldiers. I would like to
11 ask you whether you knew Ivan Zivkovic, a wounded JNA soldier admitted to
12 the hospital?
13 A. No, I did not have access to the wounded soldiers.
14 Q. Does that mean you have no knowledge of his evacuation?
15 A. No, I don't.
16 Q. Can you tell me who had access to the wounded soldiers and who
17 might know about the questions I was about to ask?
18 A. It depended on the type of injuries they had. It was the doctors
19 that these patients needed. At the time, they did not need my specialty.
20 Q. If the injuries were caused by projectiles or shrapnel, we should
21 ask the doctors in the surgical ward. Is that correct?
22 A. Yes, absolutely.
23 Q. You mentioned Dr. Njavro. You said that he was the chief surgeon.
24 Do you know when he was appointed chief surgeon and by whom?
25 A. I can't be certain about the precise time, but I think it was when
1 the Crisis Staff was created. I cannot say with certainty what date it
2 was really.
3 Q. You told us in connection with those three soldiers that you knew
4 they were in hospital and that they were in a separate room. Did you know
5 that they were guarded by Damir Samardzic in a room under orders from
6 Ivica Arbanas, who was the commander of the ZNG?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Do you know that there was an order issued by the ZNG that
9 surgical interventions on wounded members of the ZNG could be conducted
10 only by Dr. Njavro?
11 A. I don't think I can agree with this. I may be wrong, but I know
12 that all colleagues participated in the work and that no attention was
13 paid to anything like that. It was according to need. But perhaps you
14 should ask other surgeons about that.
15 Q. When speaking of wounded patients in the hospital, can you tell me
16 how the list of wounded was made.
17 A. You mean in general? The admittance of all patients to the
18 hospital? Did you mean that? Could you please be more precise in your
20 Q. I'm referring to the period from August to November 1991, how the
21 wounded and other patients went to the hospital were listed.
22 A. Initially while each ward was working individually, each ward had
23 its own documentation. When we became a single hospital, a single ward,
24 then there was one entrance and the admittance was organised so that there
25 was only one admittance to hospital. But it could happen for a patient to
1 come to you personally bypassing the reception desk. I think that's a
2 proper description.
3 Q. And then the register book would be updated if a patient bypassed
4 the reception desk?
5 A. Oh, yes, that had to be done.
6 Q. I assume that this information was entered into the register book?
7 A. I don't think they were all entered. There were omissions from
8 time to time, and we would intervene. It might happen for an omission to
9 be made.
10 Q. But there were register books?
11 A. Absolutely. There had to be.
12 Q. To facilitate information about the condition of the patients,
13 apart from this register book, did you keep any kind of notebooks?
14 A. Every patient had to have a temperature chart, just as in the
15 protocol of every hospital, with the patient's name and their medical
16 history. It's the standard documentation a patient has to have.
17 Q. Tell me, as for the anaesthesia register books, you said that
18 initially each ward had its own register book. Now, did the -- did there
19 exist a register book for all of those patients who were given
21 A. That's how it was supposed to be.
22 Q. In addition to the documents we mentioned, were there perhaps
23 notebooks where they entered by hand a patient's name, wound, address, the
24 date of admittance, status, and so on, in order to provide information to
25 those who came inquiring about the patients? Do you know perhaps who kept
1 such notebooks?
2 A. There was nothing of the sort in my ward.
3 Q. What about the hospital itself, at the level of the hospital, do
4 you know about that?
5 A. There -- every patient must be registered and have its own
6 document -- have his own documentation. As for these separate notebooks,
7 I don't know.
8 Q. I'm asking you this because Witness Binazija Kolesar told us that
9 such notebooks were kept and that this information was entered. That's
10 why I asked you about that. Did you hear this from her and did these
11 notebooks exist?
12 A. If she says so, then that's how it was. She was the head nurse in
13 the surgical ward and she took care of a lot of things, including
14 administrative matters. If this is what she said, then it must be that
16 Q. Thank you.
17 Do you know whether in addition to these register books,
18 temperature charts, medical histories, and notebooks any other records of
19 patients existed in the hospital?
20 A. Based on my information, we had to record patients in a daily --
21 in a central document where patients were daily recorded.
22 Q. You are probably referring to the central register book where all
23 the patients who enter the hospital are recorded?
24 A. That's how it should be. That's what the rule is, but as I've
25 already mentioned there were some problems with it.
1 Q. Do you know whether the hospital, or rather, the hospital Crisis
2 Staff had electronic communication with the Ministry of the Interior of
3 Croatia, Ministry of Defence, or Ministry of Health of Croatia?
4 A. I know that there were telephone contacts, but with whom exactly I
5 really couldn't say, as I was not a member of the Crisis Staff.
6 Q. Do you know that there was a radio link between the hospital and
7 the ZNG unit commanders?
8 A. I can give the same answer I gave to your previous question.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 Today you told us that from the 17th of November there were no
11 combat activities in Vukovar, that they ceased.
12 A. That happened between the 17th and the 18th.
13 Q. And then the citizens of Vukovar started streaming towards the
14 hospital; that's what you said.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. They came to the hospital because at that time the hospital was a
17 safe place, as the artillery fire had ceased, the bombing and everything
18 else that affected the hospital. Is that right?
19 A. One could say so.
20 Q. In addition to civilians, a large number of ZNG and MUP members
21 also came to the hospital for the same reasons, expecting to find safety
23 A. I personally didn't see them.
24 Q. You say that you personally didn't see them, but did you hear of
25 their arrival?
1 A. Not at the time.
2 Q. When do you think you heard about them arriving in the hospital?
3 A. In my previous examination I never mentioned something like this.
4 Q. Madam, did you give a statement to the investigators of the
5 Prosecution on the 14th and 22nd of June, 1995?
6 A. I did.
7 Q. You signed the statement, and following that you came to testify
8 in a trial here?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. After that time, when you came to testify here you were shown your
11 1995 statement. Is that right?
12 A. You just had to tell me which statement exactly you had in mind.
13 That's what you should have told me.
14 Q. I had in mind the statement you gave in June of 1995 where you
15 stated that as the fall of the remaining part of the town was inevitable
16 at the time, the soldiers dropped their weapons and put on civilian
17 clothes. Many of them put on plasters and bandages to pass themselves off
18 as the wounded.
19 A. But there was -- there was several additional words there that
20 indicated that this is something that I had heard.
21 Q. When you are referring to this additional clarification, you are
22 referring to the clarification given in October of this year. Is that
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Some time ago I asked you about when you heard that the members of
1 ZNG and MUP arrived in the hospital?
2 A. I apologise if I did not understand your question. But this is
3 something that I heard once we arrived in Zagreb and once all of us
4 started discussing the events in Vukovar. We did that upon our arrival in
5 Zagreb. I hope this clarifies the issue.
6 Q. Does that mean that some people from the hospital were aware of
7 the arrival of the ZNG and MUP members? You talked about this, so
8 somebody must have known about this.
9 A. I can't explain that. I can't tell you whether somebody from the
10 hospital knew about that. I'm just telling you what we discussed later
11 on. There were many of us, a thousand people at least, and we discussed
12 about what had happened to each of us individually. Now, who specifically
13 mentioned this, I wouldn't be able to tell you that. There were just
14 stories going around. As for whether somebody from the hospital knew
15 about this, I really wouldn't be able to say.
16 Q. If those were just stories, stories shared by a large number of
17 people, can you explain us, then, why did you believe it necessary to
18 mention this to the Prosecutor in 1995 and why was this included in your
20 A. I was then asked by them, just as I'm now asked by you.
21 Q. But you will agree that in your 1995 statement you never mentioned
22 about just hearing this. Was that how you described it at the time?
23 A. I believe that I stated it precisely in those terms, even back
24 then. This is why I'm very careful today because I want to ensure that I
25 understand everything correctly, and I ask for clarifications in order to
1 be able to give accurate answers.
2 Q. Upon giving your statement to the Prosecutor, was the statement
3 read out to you in Croatian and did you affirm that you understood the
4 statement and that you accepted it as your own?
5 A. It's been a long time, and whether the statement was read out to
6 me, it probably should have been; most likely it was. But I also must
7 mention that it is possible that I overlooked certain things or failed to
8 mention them. This is why I'm being extra careful today in seeking
9 clarification. When you describe emotionally traumatic events that
10 affected you deeply, then you will certainly agree with me that it is
11 possible to overlook a word here and there that might be important but
12 that, due to your excitement, you are simply unable to recollect right
14 Q. At any rate, you are able to confirm that you did sign this
16 A. I did sign it.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't know if this is
18 the proper time for adjournment. Should I cease bothering the witness
19 with additional questions?
20 JUDGE PARKER: I don't know that "bothering" is the right word,
21 Mr. Vasic, but we certainly have reached the time when we must adjourn for
22 the day, and I was waiting for you to appear to reach a point where I
23 wouldn't disturb a line of questions. So we will break now.
24 I must ask you if you would return tomorrow to continue your
25 evidence. We must adjourn now for the day.
1 We continue the hearing tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank you.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
3 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 9th day of
4 November, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.