1 Friday, 18 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. May I remind you, ambassador, of the
7 affirmation you made at the beginning of your evidence which still
9 Mr. Lukic.
10 WITNESS: HERBERT STUART OKUN [Resumed]
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
12 Q. Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to everyone.
13 Mr. Okun, we shall now continue our cross-examination. I went
14 through yesterday's transcript and there is a detail there that I didn't
15 quite understand. I will be going back to that. I know it will probably
16 be difficult for you to remember every single detail from long ago. I
17 shall try to refresh your memory. I read yesterday's transcript. I'll
18 ask you some questions about the timeline which to me is essential.
19 Surely you understand that it's very important for me to pin down -- to
20 pinpoint certain events. On page 27 of the transcript, and on page 65, I
21 asked you when in your estimate the event took place that we saw in the
22 footage. You said between 1230 hours and 1300 hours. Before that, you
23 said that the other event was between 12.40 and 12.45. Now, that doesn't
24 seem totally. What we saw on the screen, was that before what happened
25 with the rifle and how much time had elapsed between the two? If you can
1 specify, please. So the conversation that we saw on the video and the
2 rifle incident, as it were.
3 A. Yes. I could clarify that, of course, not to the minute. We
4 weren't there with a stopwatch. The entire visit lasted, it's recorded --
5 as recorded in my diary notes from 11 a.m. To 1 p.m. The -- and we were
6 driving around and stopping and visiting. So there was driving, there was
7 visits to places like the JNA barracks, the refugee camp that you've
8 discussed, and then we stopped also just to get out of the APCs and look
9 around. You mentioned yesterday going to a hilltop to get a view of the
10 city with binoculars which I didn't recall because we were driving. Now,
11 the video that we saw showed us, I believe, entering the city because you
12 could see the houses were rather small and it wasn't really an urban
13 settlement. You might refer to it as a -- suburban but wasn't -- you
14 know, the city.
15 And so we drove in and we got out. We alighted and visited the
16 JNA barracks and I've described that. I told you we were there for, you
17 know, 15 minutes, perhaps more, perhaps less. We drove around more to see
18 the town, a lot. I noted that's reported in my diary where I say in the
19 diary, just to recall our memory for the Court, "much of town seen
20 nonetheless." You see, much of the town. So this was driving.
21 And we then drove to the -- we visited the refugee centre. We
22 spent some time there and it was -- now, remember, Major Sljivancanin was
23 with us for almost all of this time. We didn't see him every second
24 because he was obviously in his own military vehicle. But as I've already
25 described to you yesterday, in answer to your questions, once he appeared
1 on the scene, as it was clear he was the senior officer present with us,
2 and was what we call -- would call an escort officer, the escort officer,
3 so that he and Mr. Vance then maintained what I described yesterday to you
4 as a running dialogue. That is to say they didn't have just one separate
6 Q. Excuse me --
7 A. Please let me finish. Please, let me finish. I'm almost
8 finished. They had several conversations and, as I reported to you
9 yesterday, as Mr. Vance kept asking to see the hospital and as we neared
10 the hospital, the conversations became first an argument, then an
11 altercation, and finally a shouting match, where -- and at that point, it
12 was at that point, the climax of the obstruction that Major Sljivancanin
13 actually raised a weapon. So I hope that gives you the timeline.
14 Q. I've heard all of that already but what I haven't heard is an
15 answer to my question. Can you please specify how much time elapsed
16 between what we see in the video and this final moment? Could you specify
17 that in terms of time, please?
18 A. Major Sljivancanin's lecture that we actually saw where he was
19 saying, standing and giving his little speech to us? Because we saw him
20 more than once. That's my point, Mr. Lukic.
21 Q. Well, then, maybe this is a good time to go back to the video
22 which I was going to do any way.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, for the first time the
24 Defence teams are using this new technology. That's one thing I need to
25 say at the outset. My case manager will now be doing what we are actually
1 used to the technical services doing for us. Can we now please show the
2 portion of the video that we saw? And if the Chamber wishes to follow the
3 transcript, which I have challenged, this is 69, although perhaps it will
4 be better to just watch the video. However, I would like to have a hard
5 copy placed in front of Mr. Okun. A brief portion of that video or rather
6 the dialogue. That is what we shall now be revisiting. Thank you.
7 Q. Mr. Okun, I marked the page that refers to this portion of the
8 video. If you could please watch the footage and follow the transcript at
9 the same time.
10 [Videotape played]
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. I will now go back to my previous question. This is the dialogue
13 that I'm interested in, the exchange. You're quite right; there were
14 several scenes that were shown. But this is the first exchange that we
15 see as proof that a visit to the hospital was being discussed. You
16 testified in chief that there had been conversations before this point in
17 time and Mr. Vance was already angry. Can you specify how much time
18 elapsed between this point in time shown on the video and the rifle
20 A. Yes, I can. Approximately. You can hear Mr. Vance quite angry at
21 the very end of the video, saying, let's go downtown, because he had
22 already asked to visit the hospital. He did that many times and the
23 answer was always negative. We heard Major Sljivancanin giving this
24 excuse about the mines. So we then travelled more around town and stopped
25 and, you know, there was another conversation, stopped. So there was
1 probably -- 11.00, we entered, we drove in 11.15, the barracks, 11.30.
2 This was all happening between 12, 12.15, maybe even 12.30, and 1 p.m. As
3 I said there was a running conversation being maintained and this was part
4 of it but near the climax because you can see Mr. Vance very angry, you
5 can see major Sljivancanin lecturing him and telling him in no uncertain
6 terms that it was impossible to reach the hospital. So this was towards
7 the end of their shouting match.
8 Q. Of course, I can't question the fact that you knew Mr. Vance very
9 well. My understanding is you were more than colleagues, you were
10 friends, even partners. In this footage, you claim that you see him very
11 angry, based on your familiarity with him. Can you please confirm that,
13 A. Yes, very definitely. You can see it on his face.
14 Q. Please, after this, you went to the place where the incident
15 occurred. You testified in chief that there was a square right in the
16 middle of the town. You could see bridges from there and you could see a
17 roof which you were told at the time was the roof of the hospital. This
18 is what you said two days ago, wasn't it?
19 A. I said we were in open area. I said a small square. It could
20 have been round. It was an open area where streets intersect. I mean
21 that's -- you know, the town, Mr. Lukic, you have to understand, was
22 thoroughly destroyed, so that the driving around, one didn't get exactly
23 the picture. It wasn't The Hague, you know, where you know where streets
24 meet. We were in a shattered city, the likes of which I had never seen,
25 so there was rubble around us and destroyed vehicles, that sort of thing.
1 I remember it was very sunny. The sun had come out at that point, at the
2 final -- at the climax with the weapon, and that was as close as we got to
3 the hospital, and I've described that already.
4 Q. You said you saw something that were you told was the hospital
5 roof; isn't that right?
6 A. That was -- we were told, yes, we were told there is the bridge.
7 We never crossed the bridge, you see. We never reached the hospital so I
8 can only recount what we were told. Now, whether it was accurate or not
9 is not for me to say since we were denied passage to the hospital, we were
10 denied passage across the bridge. We were stopped, held, at that point.
11 We went no further.
12 Q. Can you please just tell me, am I wrong on this one? My client
13 submits, and so do I since I was there, that Vukovar is a town in the
14 plains and that if you stand at a point anywhere inside the town, there is
15 no way you can see the hospital roof across the river and that the bridges
16 can only be seen if you're standing right next to them. There is no
17 single location right there in the middle of town or a square from which
18 you could see the bridges. Would I be wrong in stating my case in this
20 A. Well, it's a flat town that is the east -- Eastern Slavonia is an
21 agricultural area. I would not describe it like the Netherlands, it's not
22 completely flat. You yourself, Mr. Lukic, may I reminds you, said to me
23 that the Major Sljivancanin took Mr. Vance to the top of a hill, gave him
24 binoculars to look at the town so your statement now that it was
25 completely flat, I'm afraid is incorrect and inconsistent with what
1 Major Sljivancanin told you and what you said yesterday in court was
2 inaccurate and incorrect. So when I answer your question, I have to say
3 the truth, what happened. The hotel was pointed -- excuse me, not the
4 hotel, excuse me. The hospital was pointed out to us and the bridge
5 across that little stream which is -- I learned now is called the -- I
6 believe Vuka River but it's a stream, really. It's very small. Was also
7 indicated to us.
8 Q. I agree that it was indicated to you. My position, however, and
9 the position of my client is that this was pointed out to you from the
10 only elevation in the town called Milovo Brdo. An exceptional feature of
11 this moment was the fact that Mr. Vance used binoculars to get a better
12 view from there. Now, this is my position.
13 Can you please describe that rifle for us, what size, what
14 calibre, what type, what make?
15 A. No, I cannot, Mr. Lukic. And you know that. One would have to be
16 an armaments expert to describe the calibre, the type, the registration
17 number. It was a long weapon. May have been a rifle. It could have been
18 a shotgun gun, although I doubt it since it was a military weapon. I
19 would suspect that it was probably a semi-automatic, long weapon. Either
20 a Uzi or an AK47, something like that probably, standard issue in the JNA,
21 but I think probably Major Sljivancanin is a better person to answer that
22 question than I. I can only report what I saw, namely that a long weapon
23 was elevated and pointed at us.
24 Q. On page 62 of your diary, you have it in front of you, you
25 describe the view while ago on your way to the hospital, you're quite
1 decided about this. You can't see the centre of town but you can see most
2 of the town anyway. Did you go, did you proceed to go to the centre after
3 you recorded this?
4 A. We drove all around, we drove all around the city, as you know --
5 please let me finish my answer. As you know, Vukovar is a city of some
6 50, 60.000 people, so naturally it had suburbs, it has a centre, it has an
7 area outside the centre. We -- as I noted, much -- we saw much of the
8 city. We may indeed have been at the centre without anybody telling us.
9 That's quite possible. You have to remember, Mr. Lukic, that we were
10 driving around, getting in, getting out of the APC, in a heavily destroyed
11 urban area, and one doesn't write down every street corner one sees. I'm
12 sure you understand that.
13 Q. I'm saying this because on the 16th, on page 27 of the transcript,
14 you testified you were describing the spot where this rifle incident took
15 place. We were standing in a square or rather a small square in the
16 middle of the city. That is why I understood that you had at one point
17 reached the centre of Vukovar without necessarily recording the fact in
18 your diary.
19 A. Well, I've -- you used the word small square where -- which I
20 used -- as I just explained, it was an open area. It was an open area.
21 The sun was shining. That's where the hospital -- that's where he raised
22 the rifle, in that area.
23 Q. The dialogue that we saw in the video a while ago and I have
24 provided you with a transcript so you can have a look, please, if you
25 like, can you please just tell me if you agree with me: We see
1 Mr. Sljivancanin utter some words and there is no reference to the bridges
2 being mined or indeed damaged. There is very clear reference to the
3 existence of minefields between us, as it were, Operations Group South and
4 Operations Group North on the other hand. It was based on that dialogue
5 that I drew the following conclusion. I'm not sure if you agree. This
6 stream, as you called it, the Vuka, was the boundary between the two
7 operations groups. Was that your impression? Because my conclusion is
8 based on the fact that we see Mr. Vance saying, "Can we then please get in
9 touch with someone from Operations Group North" when expressing his desire
10 to go to the hospital. Did you know at the time that there was a
11 distinction between the two operations groups and that Mr. Sljivancanin
12 was talking about mine obstacles? These are two questions, in fact.
13 A. We did not know of the distinction until it was made during the
14 violent altercation between Major Sljivancanin and Mr. Vance. We had been
15 told, and I so noted in my diary, at the Negoslavci briefing, that the
16 briefer, who it turns out to be Colonel Mrksic, was the commander of the
17 southern front. That -- he was introduced that way, in a normal
18 procedure. That was the last that I recall of north versus south.
19 Indeed, why would we be receiving the briefing from the commander of the
20 southern front if he wasn't the commander of the entire situation, you
21 see. I mean if, for example, there was a jurisdictional dispute within
22 the JNA, as to who had control, we would expected the commander of the
23 northern front to brief Mr. Vance. That is to say, if there was a
25 So we -- Colonel Mrksic was introduced and it was not an issue.
1 He briefed us, we proceeded to the city. The first we heard of this --
2 what you refer to as the northern command was during the violent
3 altercation between Major Sljivancanin and Mr. Vance, when he stated, that
4 is the major stated, that he could not take Mr. Vance, he could not permit
5 us to visit the hospital because it lay in the area of the northern
6 command. We understood that to be a phoney excuse because we had already
7 heard and were hearing several other phoney untruths from
8 Major Sljivancanin, mines, bridges, there was one after another and that
9 is why you could see on Mr. Vance's face this very distraught look, and
10 when the phrase "northern command" was mentioned - I believe it's in the
11 transcript - Mr. Vance says, and we read in the transcript, "Well, take us
12 to the northern command." In other words, he was trying to do everything
13 he could to get to see the hospital, which obviously he was prevented from
14 being allowed to do. One pretext after another was brought forward, and
15 the question of whether Major Sljivancanin said the bridge is mined or the
16 roads are mined or there are mines in front of us, he may have said all
17 three, you see. This was a running conversation, Mr. Lukic.
18 Q. However, in this particular dialogue there is nothing about
19 bridges being mined or damaged, this particular portion that we have just
21 A. No, but I recall him saying the bridges were mined.
22 Q. Can we please try to draw another conclusion based on the video?
23 If you like, we can play it again, although that might prove a difficult
24 request for my associates. Maybe we can just replay this one moment,
25 please focus on the video, not on the transcript. Based on the footage
1 that we are about to show you, can you see that Mr. Vance is talking to
2 anyone else or is he only talking to Mr. Sljivancanin and nobody else?
3 [Videotape played]
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Stop the tape, please.
5 Q. When you were asked yesterday whether Mr. Vance or indeed anyone
6 else from your delegation regarding their desire to visit the Vukovar
7 Hospital, whether they spoke to anyone else during this entire visit,
8 because now we are going to try and find out who else was there, you said
9 that all your requests were being directed to one person, your host,
10 Mr. Sljivancanin. Does this video perhaps remind you that Mr. Vance or
11 you spoke to someone else about this desire to go and visit the hospital?
12 A. No. My recollection is that Major Sljivancanin, as escort
13 officer, was the primary person that Mr. Vance spoke to, but you can hear
14 him say in the video, "I need to talk to my colleagues, I need to consult
15 with my colleagues." He would probably have come back to me, you see, I'm
16 standing somewhere behind him and then he says, "Let's go downtown."
17 There were people around us. There were many press, you can see, the
18 video; indeed, we would not have the video unless there had been press.
19 So there were people around. Now, somebody may have asked Mr. Vance a
20 question as we got back in to the armoured personnel carriers. That's
21 conceivable. You know the way journalists are, they shout questions out
22 at you. But the specific answer to your specific question is that we were
23 under the control, in the hands, of Major Sljivancanin and he was the
24 principal interlocutor, the principal person with whom Mr. Vance discussed
25 this matter.
1 Q. All right. Now we will stay on the same topic and I would like to
2 see the second video footage, which is quite brief.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this comes from the same
4 report, only five minutes later, and it shows a brief dialogue or, rather,
5 a monologue of Mr. Sljivancanin addressed to Mr. Vance. I was unable to
6 give you the translation in advance to the interpreters, but I did give
7 them the transcript in B/C/S, and I hope they will be able to help us with
9 THE INTERPRETER: "The forces who were there and surrendered and
10 escaped and have already been evacuated from Vukovar. We did give you a
11 vehicle and everything you need and then you can go there and we'll show
12 you where the hospital is."
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] If we can play it again because we
14 didn't hear the last part of the sentence.
15 [Videotape played]
16 THE INTERPRETER: We can't hear the audio feed.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We will return to this footage after
18 the break. It's a very brief recording and we will take a look at it
20 Q. Mr. Okun, I heard you say just now that there were journalists
21 following you throughout this visit. Do you remember that? Do you
22 remember that the journalists, and a lot of crews, TV crews, accompanied
23 you during this visit?
24 A. They accompanied us again during, I repeat, during the visit, yes.
25 They came and went, I'm sure. I don't think we had the undivided
1 attention of the crews. That would be natural. I have no way of judging.
2 You'd have to ask them whether they were with us the whole time.
3 Q. However, in your diary, in two places, you mentioned journalists.
4 First, in Sid, as you visited that place, you stated that there was a
5 large number of Yugoslav journalists present there, and I think you said
6 something to the effect that the JNA would use it to their advantage for
7 their propaganda purposes. And then, as you were describing your visit to
8 Velepromet, you wrote verbatim "many foreign journalists present." So
9 this is something that you noticed and I'm now reminding you that in two
10 places in your diary you recorded that there were many journalists
11 accompanying you during your visit; is that right?
12 A. Yes, it's in the diary. I've already reported to the Court.
13 There is no dispute about that. There were many press of the printed
14 press, we've seen the video so clearly there were video teams there, and
15 there were both Belgrade journalists and foreign journalists, as I noted
16 in my diary.
17 Q. Now, by using the wonders of new technology that are available to
18 us in the courtroom, we are going to play for you a video, and I would
19 like to ask you whether you remember this person, this individual, and
20 here I'm referring to the person to the right of Mr. Vance, wearing a hat.
21 So we are not interested in Mr. Vance or in Mr. Sljivancanin but in this
22 third person. We are going to try to zoom in now. We have three, a total
23 of three frames, and we are going to show all three to you to see if it
24 can be discerned in any of them. Could we see the second frame now,
1 I have in mind gentleman who can be seen just below this
2 microphone which occupies a large portion of the photograph. Can we
3 enlarge it a bit more?
4 A. I can see it. Thank you. I can see.
5 Q. I think we have yet another frame, freeze frame.
6 [Videotape played]
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Right here.
8 Q. I'm now referring to the person completely to the right, perhaps
9 this is the best shot. Do you remember this person?
10 A. No, I do not. That is to say do I remember him, I see him in the
11 picture so I'm sure he was standing there but he played -- Mr. Vance was
12 talking to Major Sljivancanin, as is clear from the pictures. I don't
13 know who that person was.
14 Q. Let me ask you this: Are you the person wearing the blue UN cap?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Or am I mistaken?
17 A. The person wearing the blue UN cap is Colonel Purola, that's
18 H-e-i-k-k-i P-u-r-o-l-a. It's a Finnish name, Heikki -- Colonel Heikki
19 Purola. He was our military adviser on the team and at that time he was
20 the senior military adviser to the Secretary-General of the United
21 Nations. The Secretary-General loaned us Colonel Purola for several of
22 our missions because, as we've discussed extensively, the principal
23 purpose of our mission was to see whether the conditions for UN
24 peacekeeping operation could be established, to discuss the peacekeeping
25 force, to secure the agreement of the parties concerned. And
1 Colonel Purola, being an expert in these matters, naturally accompanied us
2 on the peacekeeping side. So that is Colonel Purola.
3 Q. I'm now going to tell you the identity of the man that I inquired
4 about. If I mention his name, perhaps it might refresh your memory. This
5 is Colonel Nebojsa Pavkovic, who at the time had been sent by the office
6 of the federal secretary for National Defence, Mr. Kadijevic, to follow
7 the events in Vukovar. So this is Nebojsa Pavkovic. Does this name mean
8 anything to you in relation to the events of that day, not later on?
9 A. No, it means nothing in -- either in regard to events of the day
10 or to any subsequent event.
11 Q. We don't need this frame any longer.
12 Yesterday you said that accompanying you from Belgrade were the
13 JNA officers, who had been sent by the organisers of your visit. I'm
14 going to put a simple question to you. Perhaps it's of a theoretical
15 nature and I hope the Prosecutor won't mind me putting this question. You
16 did say that you were an adviser to NATO. So tell me this: Can a major
17 refuse to comply with the orders issued to him by a colonel who is his
18 immediate superior?
19 A. Well --
20 Q. Just give us typical examples.
21 A. In normal military practice senior officers give the orders to
22 those beneath them. That's quite common, as you say, in a theoretical
24 Q. I have another theoretical question. Somebody who is in charge of
25 a certain area, area of his responsibility, can he move into somebody
1 else's area of responsibility and bring with him people, visitors, without
2 receiving a permission of the person in command of that area of
4 A. Yes, he can.
5 Q. But he needs the permission presumably of the person in charge of
6 that area of responsibility?
7 A. Two points, Mr. Lukic, in answer to your contention. First, he
8 wouldn't really, because situations on the ground determine realities. No
9 army would ever win a battle if it stuck irrevocably to its battle plan
10 arranged before the battle occurred. Second point, Mr. Vance had made it
11 known well before the trip that the purpose of the mission was to visit
12 Vukovar that day, and he had specifically mentioned the hospital. So it
13 was known to those who arranged the trip.
14 Q. Do you know that in that group of officers accompanying you from
15 Belgrade, there was also a colonel in charge of security of Mr. Kadijevic,
16 federal secretary of defence?
17 MR. LUKIC [Interpretation] The Prosecutor will know that this man
18 was Mr. Sljivancanin's direct superior in the area of security matters.
19 Q. Does the name Dragoljub Djukic mean anything to you, or perhaps
20 the person who occupied that post for security matters? Was there a
21 Colonel Djukic accompanying you from Belgrade?
22 A. The name means nothing to me. He might have been there. As I
23 noted in my diary, we went in a JNA motorcade. There were several
24 vehicles. It was a motorcade. So he could well have been in one of them.
25 Mr. Vance and I were in an armoured personnel carrier, which, as we all
1 know, has very limited space.
2 Q. I'm going to mention another name, and perhaps it will be of
3 assistance if I tell you that he was a colonel who, at the time, was head
4 of the liaison office for liaising with foreign visitors and so on. This
5 person frequently attended the meetings between you and Mr. Kadijevic and
6 it might also be helpful if I told you that he spoke excellent English and
7 frequently served as an interpreter. His name is Colonel Petar Stojic.
8 He frequently also interpreted.
9 A. No, that -- he's not a really familiar person or name to me. One
10 doesn't normally ask interpreters their names. I'm sure he was a very
11 good interpreter or General Kadijevic would not have made use of his
12 services. But the name is not known to me.
13 Q. We can see him in some parts of the footage but -- not as he's
14 interpreting but, rather, coming in and out of various shots. And he will
15 be able to confirm this when he comes here to testify.
16 If I were to tell you that this person wrote down the schedule for
17 the visit of Mr. Vance, he did it personally, and if I were to tell you
18 next that he claims that the visit of the hospital in Vukovar was not
19 discussed back in Belgrade but, rather, only emerged once you arrived in
20 Vukovar, what would you say to this?
21 A. I would say that he's not correct, that it was widely known, and
22 it's made clear in the diaries, how concerned Mr. Vance was about the
23 hospital. He has his opinion. He's entitled to it.
24 Q. All right. Since you say that, let us go back to your diary. The
25 first time I see the hospital mentioned in your diary on that day was
1 during your visit to the small hospital, as you called it. You say,
2 "CRV's request to visit the main hospital has been refused." This is the
3 first and only time that you record in the diary this reason for visiting
4 Vukovar, which you deem to be very important. Am I right in claiming
6 A. As I have said previously, the diary journals are not a
7 stenographic record of everything seen or heard by me after October 1991;
8 what you have said in the diary, what you've read from the diary is true.
9 The fact remains that the principal purpose of the visit, as is recorded
10 in the diaries by what we were told, was to visit the hospital. Now,
11 whether Mr. Vance mentioned that at point A or point B or point C or point
12 X or point Y, it was known.
13 Q. You have mentioned all of these things several times already, and
14 your position is quite clear. Let me just remind you of what you said and
15 what was recorded in line 19. You said "It's made clear in the diaries
16 how concerned Mr. Vance was about the hospital." All I say is that the
17 hospital is mentioned only once in your diary and at the end of your
18 visit. Is that right? That was all I asked. It's a very clear question.
19 A. And I'll give you a very clear answer. The reason we have pursued
20 this, and, as you've said, I've made the point several times, is that I've
21 been asked the question several times, Mr. Lukic. So let's be clear on
22 that point. I trust we are clear on that point.
23 Now, you asked the question again and I answer again, the diary is
24 correct. It says what it says. It's in front of you. It's in front of
25 me. I read, "Vance's request to visit main hospital rejected." "Weak
1 excuse by JNA." JNA here is synonymous with meaning Sljivancanin.
2 Period. "Scene ensues," that is the violent -- that is -- that summarises
3 the climax of the obstruction -- of the obstructive efforts to keep
4 Mr. Vance away from the hospital. That is the answer. Now, if you want
5 to go over that question again, I'm happy to read it to you. It's up to
7 Q. You told us that you could understand our language a little bit
8 based on your knowledge of Russian. Did Mr. Vance perhaps speak our
9 language? Can you tell us that?
10 A. Not a word.
11 Q. If I were to tell you that Colonel Stojic personally, and not my
12 client, decided, since he was in charge of scheduling your visit and we
13 will hear this later on from him, so it was Colonel Stojic who decided
14 that it wasn't safe to go to the hospital, what would you say to that?
15 A. I would say to that that our interlocutor was Major Sljivancanin.
16 What you say is your contention, your allegation, your assertion. It may
17 be accurate. It may not be accurate. But I cannot judge that because I
18 did not know that at the time. Indeed I'm hearing it now for the first
20 Q. That's why I asked you whether you and Mr. Vance spoke Serbian. I
21 just wanted to establish whether you were able to hear that personally,
22 directly. We will hear from other witnesses about this later on.
23 Mr. Okun, you will agree with me, won't you, that you were not the
24 only person - you and Mr. Vance - visiting Vukovar at the time. There
25 were many other people accompanying you, both members of your delegation
1 and journalists?
2 A. That's correct. Our team was a small one. There were numerous
3 journalists. How many, I could not say. But certainly, you know, I would
4 say half a dozen at the minimum. I can't give you any more accurate
5 figures but there were -- yes, there was certainly more than Mr. Vance and
7 Q. Would you agree with me that during that time, during the Vukovar
8 operation, public opinion, and by this I have in mind international media
9 outlets, closely followed the events in Vukovar and that they didn't
10 really favour the JNA in their reports, they didn't really have a
11 favourable opinion of it. I think that you followed media reports quite
12 closely. I think you said that.
13 A. Well, as I've said before - as you again repeat the question, I'm
14 happy to answer it - the events in and around Vukovar were widely reported
15 in the press. You say accurately that the bulk of the western press was
16 critical of the Serb position, and therefore of the JNA. That is also
17 accurate. We did not rely on press reports alone, although naturally we
18 read the daily newspaper. Most people in the world do that. You may even
19 read a newspaper yourself, Mr. Lukic. That is why we were there to find
20 out the facts for ourselves, and that is why, as you see in the diaries,
21 we had meeting after meeting after meeting with Milosevic, with the
22 prime minister, Markovic, with General Kadijevic, with admiral Brovet,
23 precisely to ascertain the real situation, not just that being reported in
24 the foreign press. And, of course, we, as is normal, would receive
25 summaries of the Yugoslav press, of the Belgrade press.
1 So we did our best to keep ourselves informed of public opinion,
2 of journalistic opinion, but above all we relied on what we saw with our
3 own eyes and what was told to us by other parties and we compared notes
4 and reported this back to the Security Council. And as I've mentioned,
5 and I think it's worth mentioning again, our reports are public documents
6 and they were made at the time. So you can see quite clearly what
7 Mr. Vance's and my views were, and we so reported our views to the
8 Security Council on a timely basis through the good offices of the
9 Secretary-General of the United Nations.
10 Q. The break is near. You're asking me not to interrupt you. I
11 fully respect your approach, your effort to fully clarify certain things.
12 However, this is a question and answer session, and at the outset you
13 provided very clear answer to my question. But that was only the initial
14 part. I wanted to know about the international media and the way they
15 treated the JNA. I have no doubt about your intention to get timely
16 information on all these aspects. You gave me a clear answer. You said
17 that there was a critical approach by most of the world's media and that
18 was my reading of your answer.
19 I'm talking about influential international media monitoring the
20 Yugoslav crisis and particularly the military operations involved. So,
21 please, if you can answer me yes or no, what about influential
22 international media? Were they more inclined not to favour JNA and were
23 they, rather, critical of JNA operations?
24 A. They were critical.
25 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, is it maybe now time to break?
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic. We will break now and resume
2 at half past.
3 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You remember what we spoke about before the break, sir. We spoke
8 about the way the media, the international media more specifically,
9 treated the JNA. Do you remember that at the time, on international TV
10 stations, bits of footage were frequently shown, showing what they
11 referred to as Chetnik-type persons, showing persons who did not appear to
12 be members of any regular military unit?
13 A. I have no doubt they did show people like that. I can't [Realtime
14 transcript read in error, "can"] vouch for what appeared on every
15 television station around the world, but I'm pretty sure they showed that
16 sort of thing.
17 Q. I don't believe my colleague from the OTP will call this
18 speculation. Was there anything else you wished to say, sir?
19 A. Yes. If I might correct the -- my answer as it appears on the
20 screen, I said I can't -- that is to say cannot -- vouch for what appeared
21 on every television station and on the screen it says "I can vouch." So I
22 hope that could be corrected. I would be -- it would be quite a feat to
23 be able to say that you can vouch for everything. Thank you. I'm sorry.
24 It's just on the screen.
25 Q. I'm glad that sometimes witnesses are also able to give us a hand
1 with the transcript.
2 My next question is about your personal status as a Professor of
3 international relations. Therefore, I do not think this constitutes
4 speculation. Would it not be a first-rate sensation throughout the world
5 that an officer of the JNA uses a rifle or a raised tone of voice when
6 speaking to a personality, a well-known person like Cyrus Vance?
7 A. It might. It might not. There were lots of things happening at
8 this time in Croatia. Osijek was under siege. Dubrovnik was under siege
9 and being shelled. Incidently, the attacks in and around Dubrovnik, at
10 Pakrac and Dubrovnik probably received the most attention. It was the
11 single most reported item across some period. So Mr. Vance's visit was
12 not the only thing going on in Yugoslavia or in Croatia at the time, and,
13 in addition, there were also -- excuse me. And there were also other
14 actors on the stage. The EC, the monitors, Lord Carrington. I don't say
15 that to downplay or in any way underestimate Mr. Vance's importance. I
16 mention it in answer to your question, to indicate that there were many
17 other important events occurring at that time, which were covered by the
18 international press, both in Yugoslavia and in the rest of the world. I
19 might just recall one case, but it makes the point, I think. The Soviet
20 Union, that is to say the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was in the
21 last weeks of its existence. This is a world-historic event, the collapse
22 of the system inside the Soviet Union. I don't think anybody would
23 disagree. And that sort of thing was also being covered in the press. So
24 there were many other things going on at the time.
25 Q. I will now try to remind you perhaps this is something you don't
1 even know. Something that happened on the next day was a lot more benign
2 than what you describe, in terms of the actors on the stage, as well as in
3 terms of facts, the alleged clash between my client and a representative
4 of the International Red Cross - without the rifle, though, there was only
5 an altercation - received a lot of media exposure, and made it into the
6 Prosecutor's opening statement. Do you agree with me when I say that the
7 Vukovar operation, at least in those days when it was drawing to a close
8 was very much in the public eye of the international media? Please say
9 yes or no.
10 A. It was to a degree in the public eye. I've already reported to
11 the Court that there were journalists present.
12 Q. So it is your opinion that brandishing a rifle, as
13 Mr. Sljivancanin purportedly did, would not have received so much
14 publicity if the rifle was brandished at Mr. Vance? Am I understanding
15 your answer correctly?
16 A. That's a matter for the press to answer. You might wish to call
17 the journalists who were on the scene. All I can report to you,
18 Mr. Lukic, is what I saw that day.
19 Q. What I'm trying to say is that I personally, and I've seen a great
20 deal of footage in different videos, as I believe had my friends from the
21 OTP, never saw this incident reported by any of the TV stations. What's
22 more, I never came across any newspaper articles covering this --
23 MR. MOORE: I object to the form of this question. This isn't a
24 question. It's a personal opinion expressed by the counsel.
25 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Mr. Lukic, that is a well-founded point.
1 You might ask the witness whether he's seen any TV coverage showing the
2 matter but unless you come and get in the witness box, which isn't
3 recommended, you shouldn't be giving all of that in your question.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] That much is certain, Your Honour. I
5 will comply with your instruction. Maybe my question was a bit too
6 lengthy and it was based far too much on my own observations.
7 Q. Did you ever come across any newspaper articles in those days
8 covering this incident involving the rifle that was raised at Mr. Vance?
9 Can you tell us anything about that?
10 A. I don't recall seeing it. Of course, I again, as we discussed
11 earlier, I wasn't in Yugoslavia to monitor the television screens. And
12 also, as you can see from the diary, the days were so full of intense
13 activity that it would have been very difficult, actually, to find more
14 than a few moments free. I had very little free time, as you can note
15 from the diaries, and as I tell you today. Have I answered your question?
16 Q. Do you perhaps know if the American embassy, and you were a
17 citizen of the United States, still are, or anyone from the UN ever filed
18 an official complaint about the fact that one of their representatives was
19 threatened or attacked? Was there a complaint ever filed with the
20 Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs? I'm not talking about your
21 discussions with Kadijevic but rather about official relations between two
23 A. "Did the United Nations file a formal, written complaint" is your
24 question. My answer is not to the best of my knowledge. I repeat again
25 that we reported the overall situation regularly to the Security Council,
1 and you can find the general picture expressed there.
2 Q. As far as I know, in all these trials, reports to the UN are a
3 matter of judicial notice. Therefore, I don't believe that I should
4 comment on this any further or tender any of those into evidence but this
5 is something that I verified yesterday and I believe we shall have an
6 opportunity to tender these documents and show them to the Trial Chamber
7 even if your absence.
8 Sir, you said that some of your information was also based on the
9 printed media. The footage that we saw yesterday is from TV Belgrade. We
10 May assume a certain amount of bias in relation to the JNA on their part,
11 I think. Would I be right in saying that at the time, as were you
12 watching the news, TV news, you would have been more inclined to believe
13 such stations as CNN or TV France as opposed to TV Belgrade?
14 A. No. You would not be correct.
15 Q. That probably means that I am mistaken on this point. Why would
16 you think that the RTS for example was more objective in its coverage of
17 the Vukovar front than the BBC? Just to name one example.
18 A. Well, I don't really think that my speculating about the
19 journalistic ethics and morals of one television station against another
20 is particularly relevant to what I saw with my own eyes in Vukovar on
21 November 19th, 1991, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
22 Q. You probably realise that what I've been trying to do is to
23 challenge what you say you witnessed, and that's why I'm asking all these
25 A. Yes. I understand that, Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Q. I would like to ask that
2 another video of this same visit, Mr. Vance's visit, be shown now. This
3 is a BBC video. This is another 65 ter document that we received from the
4 Office of the Prosecutor. This is a very short recording. It lasts about
5 three minutes, even less. What I wish to say now is this is a report in
6 English. It will easy for you to understand. The problem I'm facing at
7 the moment is I don't have a B/C/S transcript of the report for which I
8 would like to apologise to my clients. In due course we shall have the
9 conversations translated and disclosed to my client. So this is a BBC
10 report. It's in English. It's very brief. Can we please have a look?
11 This is Exhibit 315 from the OTP 65 ter list. It's a video marked as V
12 0000802-1. Can we please now go ahead and have a look.
13 [Videotape played]
14 "... two parts of this shattered town by the Danube. His hosts
15 were federal army commanders and he went with them in an armoured column
16 no closer to the centre than the inner suburbs, which have also been
17 damaged. But it wasn't all Mr. Vance had come to see. He was here to see
18 if it was possible to set up a peacekeeping force [unintelligible], and
19 today in Vukovar by his presence to help save lives if possible.
20 "Make arrangements for the people in the northern command to see
21 the hospital.
22 "He was told it wasn't possible because it wasn't safe. But he was
23 taken to the reception centre where thousands of refugees, mostly Croats,
24 are taken in after surviving the two-month siege.
25 "'I was living in the basement,' she said, 'a mortar shell fell on
1 the house and I was injured.'
2 "While he was there a bus arrived bringing more people in from the
3 ruins. This is where the survivors find out if their relatives are dead
4 or alive."
5 "Well, I think this is tragic to see the conditions these people
6 have been living under and suffering of them.
7 "And here is what Mr. Vance didn't see, the centre of Vukovar or
8 what remains of it with the federal army firmly in control and some
9 fighting still going on.
10 "Under fire, civilians were still coming out of their cellars. It
11 seems that not all the Croatian soldiers had surrendered. The federal
12 army and Serbian irregulars were dealing with them."
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have this marked for
14 identification, unless the OTP have any objections. It's their own
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be MFI 72.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I think it can be marked as an exhibit at this
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will -- in any event that will
20 be Exhibit D72.
21 JUDGE PARKER: May I make the point, Mr. Lukic, that the earlier
22 video clips that you showed have, as far as I know, not been exhibited,
23 unless they are part of something that is already an exhibit. So you
24 might want to give attention to that before you finish.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm bearing that in mind, Your Honour.
1 The short clips that we saw, the freeze frames, were taken from the --
2 some of the materials that have already been tendered. I will probably be
3 dealing with that later on.
4 Q. I believe you understood this clip in its entirety, the sound, at
5 least, of this recording. In your opinion, and you were there, do you
6 think this offers an objective view of what was going on in Vukovar on
7 that day. The journalist's name is Martin Bell.
8 A. Yes, I think it is generally correct, and I'm -- I've never seen
9 it before, incidently. I'm seeing it today for the first time. And I
10 notice he calls the town "shattered," which confirms what I wrote in my
11 diary. He says in there we did not see the downtown. He says that on the
12 video, and I so reported that in my diary. There are pictures at the
13 refugee reception centre, and you'll notice Mr. Vance talking to some of
14 the civilian victims of the siege and I reported that in my diary. So,
15 yes, I think it's consistent. You see the reuniting of the families. I
16 would say it's generally consistent and again we could see -- I could see
17 in the video the awful destruction that had been wrought on Vukovar.
18 The principal impression, Mr. Lukic, I might just add, to give you
19 the full picture of the day and of these films, the principal impression
20 one came away with from Vukovar, the overall impression, the general
21 impression, was of the destruction. That's the sort of thing that was
22 constant. It was with us every moment because we were driving around in
23 an urban city that was virtually destroyed.
24 Q. What is new to me in this video is the bit where Mr. Bell is
25 reporting from what he calls the centre, and we can hear sounds of
1 shooting. You did hear that, right?
2 A. I saw it on the video. I heard no sounds of shooting myself
3 personally during that day. Or I should say I don't recall hearing any
4 sounds of shooting. We got in and got out of the APCs. You could see
5 Mr. Vance getting back into one of our APCs in that BBC picture. Nobody
6 ever said to us, you know, keep your head down, duck, there are bullets
7 flying, there is opposition in the town. No. Nobody ever said that to
8 us. We felt quite secure in the hands of the JNA and of
9 Major Sljivancanin.
10 Q. That is perhaps the key to my position. You were not physically
11 present where the shooting took place, were you?
12 A. Well, on the assumption that there was shooting, we heard sounds
13 of it, we did not see actual scenes of combat on the picture. The sounds
14 we heard could have easily been made by JNA soldiers shooting their rifles
15 into the air to celebrate the fall of Vukovar. I'm not alleging that.
16 I'm not suggesting it. But it could have happened. Because we are
17 talking about sounds, not about combat. Martin Bell said you can hear the
18 sounds and he said there is still some resistance in the city. I would
19 not challenge what he says. But what I'm saying to the Court is that
20 during our entire time in Vukovar, I did not hear sounds of firing.
21 Q. Can you just confirm this, please? You saw the footage that we
22 saw yesterday, and the footage that was shown two days ago, and the BBC
23 footage right now. Did you notice yourself in any one of these clips, any
24 one of the frames shown?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You described the scene in Negoslavci. We saw that. Martin
2 Bell's BBC report, he is covering the visits of Mr. Vance. We don't know
3 if he was there all the time but he did report on the visit. There isn't
4 a single reference to any altercation, raised voices, or arguments, or
5 rifles being raised. There is not a single reference to it. Would that
6 seem to be correct to you, sir?
7 A. That's possible. I haven't seen the whole film. I hear you say
9 Q. I'm just asking you about the bit that we saw. Nothing else.
10 A. No. On the video clip, this excerpt from something that you
11 showed us, he does not mention the altercation.
12 Q. I asked you several times about the timing of your visit, the
13 precise schedule, and you gave us information from your diary, and you
14 said that the visit to Vukovar took place between 11 and 1300 hours on
15 that day, following which you went to Belgrade and so on. I'm going to
16 read something to you in the official language.
17 [In English] "Afternoon of 19 of November 1991, JNA units under
18 the command of the Mile Mrksic took control of Vukovar Hospital."
19 A. Excuse me, what was the date you gave?
20 Q. On the afternoon of the 19th of November. [Interpretation] Do you
21 know whose claim this is?
22 A. No.
23 Q. I just read out to you paragraph 29 from the indictment against
24 Mr. Sljivancanin, namely that the JNA entered the hospital in the
25 afternoon hours on the 19th. This is the case of Mr. Moore and his team.
1 A. So I understand you to be saying, if I understand you correctly,
2 Mr. Lukic, that the Prosecution says -- maintains that the JNA was in
3 control of the hospital beginning at 12.01 p.m. The afternoon starts at
4 noon. We are not here to count the seconds or the nanoseconds, but
5 afternoon begins at noon. That's what you're saying they said. Yes. I
6 understand that -- what you are saying about what they said.
7 Q. This timing, and the exact timeline of when the JNA entered the
8 hospital will be discussed here later on, and we will not focus on that
9 now. But to go back to what you told us before the break, and when I
10 asked you about areas of responsibility and what your position is
11 concerning areas of responsibility in wartime, I understood that your
12 position is that these matters are not that significant in formal terms.
13 A. No. I said the opposite. I said they are significant formally
14 but that in reality, in action, they may be overridden. Excuse me, sir,
15 but since you ask, I would like to give you the correct answer.
16 Q. He was in charge of your security. This is what you said and this
17 is what in large portion is in accordance with my case. What I'm claiming
18 is that during your visit in Vukovar, he was at no time responsible for
19 the safety of the Vukovar Hospital. This is our position. And I hope
20 Mr. Moore is not going to give me the looks he gave me just a little ago.
21 I'm not going to ask you to speculate, but bearing in mind the
22 distinguished status that you have as a diplomat and as a politician, let
23 me ask you this: You mentioned the US constitution, the army, and similar
24 issues and I will put you a simple question. If a delegation came to the
25 US, same level as your delegation that visited Vukovar, and if one of your
1 people learned that there were enemies within that group, say members of
2 al Qaeda, would they have allowed you to go into a building without first
3 checking whether the building was safe?
4 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry, I do object. I don't look in any way.
5 It's just pure speculation.
6 JUDGE PARKER: I think the ambassador can cope with that sort of
7 speculation, Mr. Moore.
8 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour. I would answer to that, and
9 I must say that it is only speculation -- I'm not a politician, by the
10 way, Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Sorry for that.
13 A. It's nice of to you give me that honour but I'm a working
14 diplomat, or I was. I've described Major Sljivancanin as we saw him that
15 day, you know. He didn't come with a curriculum vitae, and give us
16 anything like that. I've already told you in answer to your questions
17 that I wasn't aware of the other colonels who you say were on the scene.
18 I don't deny it. I just wasn't aware of them because as I have said in
19 response to your repeated questions, Major Sljivancanin was the escort
20 officer. He was the man you can see in all the film that you've shown
21 talking with Mr. Vance so that is why we remember Major Sljivancanin.
22 Q. What about the reply to my question? Would you have banned the
23 entrance into the building?
24 A. Well, you ask a speculative question. We can spend a lot of time
25 speculating on this or that building. I really don't know. It's pure
2 Q. The Presiding Judge thought that you would be able to answer the
3 question but if not, I'm not going to insist on this.
4 JUDGE PARKER: I let the question.
5 THE WITNESS: Excuse me, I have answered the question, please,
6 Mr. Lukic.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ambassador. Thank you.
8 I have, Mr. Lukic, let you go with that question, but don't try
9 and make more of the concession I gave you than should be.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] My apologies if you believe that I
11 wanted to abuse the situation, but I believed that a person of the
12 reputation and of the experience as this witness would be able to give me
13 an answer. But I can see that he's a true diplomat.
14 Q. Another question that has to do with the factual situation: These
15 Chetnik-type individuals that you mentioned in your diary as being in the
16 collection centre or refugee centre, did they seem to welcome you there,
17 these people?
18 A. They neither welcomed us, nor attacked us in any way. They were
19 lounging around. They were, as I've described, many rough -- I
20 quote, "Many rough customers, armed irregulars, et al." They didn't
21 interfere with us. They didn't facilitate our visit. They were there,
22 just mingled with the JNA troops. It was, you know, it was daytime. They
23 were smoking, almost all of them were smoking, rough chaps with --
24 unshaven types, slovenly uniforms, but in something like a uniform but
25 they did not welcome or disabuse -- or abuse our presence.
1 Q. Yesterday on page 34 of the transcript, when answering the
2 question of Mrs. Tapuskovic, you uttered something that seemed interesting
3 to me. When she asked you about the mines placed around the barracks in
4 Croatia, you said that you personally didn't go and check that because
5 otherwise you would have been blown up had you entered the minefield. Do
6 you remember saying that?
7 A. May I answer?
8 Q. Yes, please.
9 A. Yes. We did not check on every occasion a minefield. We did on
10 certain occasions check. I can give you examples to answer your question.
11 About a week or so later, en route to visit the besieged city of
12 Osijek, which I mentioned previously, we were taken through the mines. We
13 were handed over from the JNA to the Croatian army, and at one point
14 during that visit, the road that we travelled on, which we assumed was
15 safe, again we were travelling in -- on that occasion in an ECMM vehicle.
16 We travelled in a vehicle driven by the European monitors, but we were
17 under the control of the JNA and later when they handed us to the
18 Croatians, and in fact the road that we were travelling on had been mined.
19 Somebody mined it to blow us up because there was a thin wire stretched
20 across the road, and fortunately the driver of our car spotted it before.
21 So -- and we went out and we -- they showed us the mines on either side of
22 the road. That's in my diary. You can check it.
23 So that was one occasion whether we checked on mines personally.
24 The other -- second occasion, and I'll only mention this, is that we had
25 to assume that there were mines around the Tito caserne in Zagreb because
1 it was being blockaded and we went into the caserne the next day, in
2 fact - that's in my diary; we could discuss that - for the lengthy meeting
3 and very useful meeting that we had with General Raseta. So you know, the
4 issue of mines was, I suppose, all around. Croatia was a battlefield in
5 many areas. And those were just two of our personal experiences. Again,
6 I say since we were taken in to the barracks by the Croatians in Zagreb,
7 they probably knew where their mines were. They must have laid them
8 themselves or been aware of it. They were controlling the situation
9 inside -- in and around the Tito caserne. So we were probably led through
10 the -- some mines. But I can't vouch for it. I didn't, you know, go
11 around with a mine detector sweeping the ground, sniffing dogs or
12 something. That really wasn't my job.
13 Q. My next question has to do precisely with this topic that I just
14 raised. It might be helpful if you turn to page 93 of your diary, which
15 records the conversation with Kadijevic.
16 Do you know that that evening, after you went to Belgrade, in the
17 immediate vicinity of the Vukovar Hospital, three soldiers were killed by
18 a mine, their bodies charred? There are many reports describing this.
19 This happened en route between the bridge and the hospital. I directed
20 you to your diary because you record there that Mr. Kadijevic informed you
21 about the death of two soldiers. He said two. Do you have any other
22 details regarding this?
23 A. Not really. What's in the diary would be the relevant comment on
24 your question. I note on page 93 that you refer to, I thank you for
25 refreshing my memory, that Mr. Vance interrupted General Kadijevic, most
1 unusual, most unusual for Mr. Vance, and it shows the emotion that he felt
2 even two days after the incident at Vukovar. Two days after he still felt
3 so strongly about the obstructionism and the lies he had been told n his
4 opinion, by the JNA and specifically by Major Sljivancanin, but he
5 interrupted General Kadijevic and described the obstruction of his Vukovar
6 visit briefly but strongly. That's a quote. Vance describes obstruction
7 of his Vukovar visit briefly but strongly. So I think that indicates
8 pretty clearly that Vance even two days later was very angry about the
9 treatment he had received at the hands of Major Sljivancanin and the JNA
10 in Vukovar on November 19, 1991.
11 Q. I must say, Mr. Okun, that I have a hard time dealing with my
12 questions and your answers. My question was very simple. Did you hear
13 that on that road leading to the hospital, three soldiers were killed that
14 night? Did you hear that or not?
15 A. We heard that from General Kadijevic. That we heard.
16 Q. [In English] Thank you. [Interpretation] In your testimony, you
17 frequently said that my client had lied to you in describing the barracks,
18 the number of shells that handed, the bridges and so on. What you
19 observed during the four hours of your visit --
20 A. Two hours, excuse me.
21 Q. All right. Two hours of visiting Vukovar and the vicinity. My
22 client, as the security officer who had been there in the preceding two
23 months, had better information than you did about the safety and security
24 in the area. Would you agree with that?
25 A. So I hear you say.
1 Q. And that is your reply?
2 A. Yes, I'm aware of your assertion.
3 Q. My client and you agree on one issue. Perhaps even more, but one
4 seems relevant. As we were watching the video clip, he said, and as did
5 you, that the United States and Yugoslavia fought on the same side during
6 the Second World War.
7 A. Yes, indeed. That is a fact. Well, to be accurate in truth, we
8 fought on the same side with those, Marshal Tito and others, who fought
9 against Nazi Germany. So in that respect, we were also fighting against
10 the occupied territory of Yugoslavia, but broadly speaking we certainly
11 fought with the anti-Nazi forces.
12 Q. I'm asking you this because of something that has to do with your
13 departure from Vukovar. My client says, and you can tell me if he's
14 mistaken, that Mr. Vance and he shook hands and that on that occasion
15 Mr. Vance said something like this: "Major, I can see that you're fond of
16 history. If you ever do write about these events, then please write the
17 truth. This is just one battle."
18 Do you remember that this is how Mr. Vance and my client parted?
19 A. I don't remember it specifically, Mr. Lukic, but what you say is
20 broadly consistent with the behaviour of Cyrus Vance. He is a very
21 senior, a very practised man, and a very polite person. He's a very
22 courteous individual, so that he shakes somebody's hand is clear.
23 I'm interested to hear that you say that Mr. Vance said to
24 Major Sljivancanin, upon departure, if I understood you correctly, you
25 quoted Mr. Vance as saying something like, "If you ever write about this,
1 please tell the truth." And that, which I thank you for refreshing my
2 memory again, is consistent with Mr. Vance because he believed that
3 Major Sljivancanin had not told him the truth in Vukovar. That is
4 precisely why he said to the major, "if you write about it, please tell
5 the truth," meaning do not behave, do not talk, the way you've talked to
6 me, because you have not told me the truth. And I think that's a pretty
7 obvious conclusion that one can draw from that, because it would not
8 necessarily be the kind of thing that you would expect a mediator to say
9 to his escort officer, "Please tell the truth." I mean, he would say that
10 if he believed he had not heard the truth and that, of course, is what
11 Mr. Vance believed.
12 Q. You never once heard, nor did I personally say to anyone there in
13 Vukovar - I'm not referring to your meeting with Kadijevic later - that
14 the information you were receiving was not true. Did you ever say to
15 Sljivancanin that what you were hearing there was not true, you or
16 Mr. Vance?
17 A. Mr. Vance made clear by his actions as well as his words that he
18 disbelieved Major Sljivancanin. I've told you and I need not repeat, that
19 they had a shouting match, that their voices were very loud, that in all
20 my years with Mr. Vance I had never seen him so angry.
21 Q. You and Mr. Vance went to see Mr. Kadijevic. You told us the
22 details that you remembered about that visit. You told us that again. Do
23 you remember that on that occasion, Mr. Vance received a gift from Mr.
24 Kadijevic, namely a pistol?
25 A. No, I don't recall our -- I don't recall his receiving a pistol
1 but it's quite conceivable that he did. He and General Kadijevic had good
2 personal relations. They respected each other. Indeed, on a subsequent
3 mission, after General Kadijevic retired - he was replaced by General
4 Adzic - it was learned that he had cancer, and he was hospitalised. The
5 cancer was very serious. He was not expected to survive. Mr. Vance and I
6 visited him in the hospital a few days before his death. That serves
7 again to give you an example of Cyrus Vance, how he acts, how he behaves,
8 his respect for people.
9 Q. I suppose that before you entered the courtroom the Prosecution
10 showed you the video clips that we saw here during the trial. You just
11 told us that you never saw this BBC clip before. I supposed that the
12 Prosecution showed you the video material that they have.
13 A. What I was shown by the Prosecution, the video material, was the
14 drive-in to the city, the first item that was shown, and the exchange
15 between the major and Mr. Vance, the one about which we have the
16 transcript. I did not see the BBC picture.
17 Q. This is one of my final questions. In any one of these video
18 clips that you saw, can my client be seen with a rifle?
19 A. Not that I saw. I did notice him wearing his side arm in one of
20 the video clips, but he did not normally carry a rifle. That's partially
21 one of the reasons why it seemed so unusual at the time.
22 Q. Mr. Okun, I'm about to conclude my cross-examination but I have
23 one final question, which is a result, as it were, of the questions that
24 I've asked so far. You said that your visit to Vukovar was followed by a
25 group of journalists from a number of different media. You were being
1 escorted by a number of different persons, JNA officers, perhaps you can't
2 confirm this because you don't know their names but you were surrounded by
3 people throughout. How do you explain the fact that you seem to have been
4 the only person to see my client with a rifle? This was never once
5 pointed out in any of the reports or mentioned anywhere else.
6 A. Well the answer to that, Mr. Lukic, is I would say really quite
7 clear. There were people, they came and went from time to time. We've
8 established that. I did not say that Major Sljivancanin -- I've never
9 said and it isn't true that he raised -- elevated the rifle to his eye
10 like a marksman. What I've said is that he brandished this long weapon,
11 and it was a very quick gesture, no more than a couple of seconds, but
12 brandish the weapon he did, and it may have been just in a moment of high
13 emotion on his part. You can ask him that yourself. I'm sure you will.
14 He may have been a bit out of himself because it was a long day, he had
15 been discussing the visit and the visit to the hospital with increasing
16 ferocity with Mr. Vance. We've covered that thoroughly. We went from a
17 discussion to a debate, they went from a debate to an argument. They went
18 from an argument to an altercation. They went from a verbal altercation
19 to a shouting match. I've reported that several times. So this may have
20 been the major just being overcome by emotion and he may have wanted to
21 just to indicate by the rifle, you know, let's end this thing.
22 Now, I've also said and reported to the Court in answer to a
23 previous question, that neither I nor Mr. Vance expected him to shoot. I
24 didn't think he was going to shoot me at any time and I'm quite certain
25 that Mr. Vance didn't think he was going to shoot him. But raise the
1 rifle he did.
2 And to be very specific on your question of why you say nobody
3 else reported this, again, I can only say we were dealing and the
4 journalists, of course, all of them, have been dealing with this situation
5 of widespread violence, you know, thousands of people had died. We were
6 travelling in a shattered city, utterly destroyed, cities were still under
7 siege. That was the reality of Croatia at that time. I'm only describing
8 the reality of what we saw. We can obviously people argue about who did
9 what to whom but that's what people were aware of, is the -- was the
10 violence. Indeed we reported on that. That was one of our jobs in
11 establishing the peacekeeping operation. I've just jotted down, if I may,
12 two sentences, to read to you from a report we made -- the
13 Secretary-General's report of December 11, the first report after this
14 incident. It's his report to the Security Council on the cease-fire and
15 on peacekeeping. Two sentences. I quote, "It is the view of my personal
16 envoy --" that's Mr. Vance. "It is the view of my personal envoy that all
17 sides, and especially the irregular forces, have been wanting in observing
18 the Geneva Agreement in respect of the cease-fire. It also appears to be
19 the case that the cease-fire violations by JNA have been more numerous and
20 certainly more violent." That is in UN document S/23280, I repeat,
21 S/23280, dated 11 December 1991, in section 1, page 7. You can find it
22 easily. It will take you a minute. I found it, and I'm not very good on
23 the Internet, but I found it on the Internet last night. That was what
24 was going on, violence everywhere. And the most violence, as Mr. Vance
25 reported, was being perpetrated by the JNA. That was reported at the
1 time. We don't have to rely on memory 14 years later. That's what we
2 said what we saw at the time. That's what was reported to the Security
3 Council. I don't need to read it again. I can, if you wish.
4 Q. Let me conclude. We have not seen a single report, a single
5 video, or a piece of TV coverage, no official report, no unambiguous
6 description of the event in your diary, yes or no, please?
7 A. You are asking me to confirm whether you have seen something. I
8 don't know that I can confirm what you have seen. I can tell you what I
9 have seen. I have not seen it, yes. I have not seen this incident on
10 television, nor have I seen lots of other incidents on television.
11 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I've finished with my
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
14 Mr. Moore, would you expect to be long in re-examination?
15 MR. MOORE: I would anticipate I will be 15 minutes.
16 JUDGE PARKER: I think we might manage to do that 15 minutes now,
17 Mr. Moore, by the look of things.
18 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE PARKER: That would enable the witness to finish before we
20 break for lunch.
21 Re-examined by Mr. Moore:
22 Q. Ambassador, you've been asked many questions, having been shown
23 videos and you've been told about various other officers, a Colonel
24 Djukic, a Colonel Stojic. When Mr. Vance asked to go to see about the
25 bridge, to see about the hospital, and was told, as we can see in the
1 transcript where he says, "Well, maybe somebody else can," after being
2 refused, did you see Major Sljivancanin speak to any other officer
3 present, to ask for permission, clarification, or whether it was possible?
4 A. No. I never saw him speaking to any other officers, although it's
5 possible he did out of my eyesight but at that time it was a dialogue, an
6 increasingly unpleasant dialogue, between Mr. Vance and the major. That
7 is to say during the entire visit.
8 Q. I want to deal specifically with the video that we have seen at
9 the very start. Have you got the transcript there?
10 A. I believe so.
11 Q. I wonder if we can just play the video. I'm referring
12 specifically to the video that is --
13 [Videotape played]
14 MR. MOORE: Can we fast-forward this, I wonder, to the next part.
15 [Videotape played]
16 MR. MOORE: Just stop there, please.
17 Q. This should be on page 47256 of the transcript. Do you have that,
19 A. I have it, I think, correctly on 04247244.
20 Q. That is correct. That's the start but if one turns over for 7245
21 this is actually the part that one is coming to --
22 A. I see.
23 Q. -- in relation to the northern command to see the hospital?
24 A. Yes, but the remark of the major that the JNA originates from the
25 army that fought fascism in the Second World War, that we just heard.
1 Q. Yes. If you can just go to 7245, please?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And quite a good reference point is where we heard the words
4 "northern command."
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. If we can play that, please.
7 [Videotape played]
8 MR. MOORE: Stop, please.
9 Q. Now, there is the reference. Have you got the point?
10 A. Yes, I have it.
11 Q. Which is number 14, well, maybe somebody else can. Vance speaking
12 to Sljivancanin. Did Sljivancanin refer to any other person when he gave
13 that indication to Vance?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Thank you very much. Thank you.
16 You have been asked about a man, small man as being described, his
17 name is Pavkovic, the Defence showed you the video. Did you see him play
18 any part in the decision-making process at that time?
19 A. No, not at all.
20 Q. Thank you. May we now move on to the cross-examination in
21 relation to the Badinter Commission? You've been asked various questions
22 about that, the various opinions that were requested and subsequently
23 arrived at.
24 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, to assist the Court, overnight we have
25 obtained hard copies in relation to opinion 1 that was cross-examined on.
1 Perhaps if that could just be given out at this time and it should also, I
2 hope, appear on the electronic version. The number is O117/1654. And if
3 a copy can be given to the ambassador, please. There should be copies, I
4 hope, for the Court. Copies, I hope, for the Court. That is opinion
5 number 1. And then there are hard copies now for also what is called
6 opinion number 11. I'd ask for copies to be given out in relation to
7 that, please, because it will help the sequence of questions and
8 understanding, I hope. Again, copies are available. That number is
10 I attempt to do this in, I hope, a fairly direct way so that we
11 don't waste too much time.
12 Q. Can we now turn, please, to opinion number 1. Do you have that,
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And it's on the electronic screen. It refers to Lord Carrington,
16 November the 20th, 1991. Can we just deal with the first question and
17 then perhaps we can go through the document as a whole, Ambassador.
18 A. Please.
19 Q. The frontispiece, please, thank you very much. "We find ourselves
20 with a major legal question. Serbia considers that those republics which
21 have declared or would declare themselves independent or sovereign have
22 seceded or would secede from the SFRY which would otherwise continue to
23 exist." Have you got that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. "Other republics on the contrary consider that there
1 is no question of secession but the question is one of a disintegration or
2 breaking up of the SFRY as the result of the concurring will of a number
3 of republics. They consider that the six republics are to be considered
4 equal successors to the SFRY without any of them or group of them being
5 able to claim to be the continuation thereof."
6 And then basically we have the question posed by Carrington. "I
7 should like the arbitration committee to consider the matter in order to
8 formulate any opinion or recommendation which it might deem useful."
9 Now, can we move, then, on, please, to the next page, 655? It
10 basically outlines various criteria, and then going on to 1656, and these
11 are the notes. It's number 2. "The arbitration committee notes that ..."
12 Have you got that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. "A, although the SFRY has until now retained its
15 international personality, notably inside international organisations, the
16 republics have expressed their desire for independence." I'm not going to
17 deal with the other republics. I want to deal with number 2, please,
18 where it refers to in Croatia. Do you see that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. "In Croatia, by a referendum held in May 1991, followed by a
21 declaration of independence on June 25th, 1991, which was suspended for
22 three months and confirmed on October the 5th, 1991."
23 Now my final part of what may be a lengthy question but just to
24 help all parties, if you turn the page, please, to 71657, where it gives
25 the opinion of the arbitration committee. May I read it? "Consequently,
1 the arbitration committee is of the opinion, A, that the Socialist Federal
2 Republic of Yugoslavia is in the process of dissolution; 2, that is
3 incumbent upon the republics to settle such problems of state secession as
4 may arise from this process in keeping with the principles and rules of
5 international law, with particular regard for human rights and the rights
6 of peoples and minorities." And then it goes on basically saying working
8 You were asked about opinion number 1. Now, would you be kind
9 enough, please, to look at the second document, opinion number 11?
10 MR. MOORE: My learned friends should have a B/C/S version as well
11 as the English.
12 Q. The date, if we go to page 359858 appears to be Paris, the 16th of
13 July 1993. Have you got that, ambassador, the very -- the page again is
14 9858, the very end of the English document.
15 A. Yes, I have it.
16 Q. Thank you very much. May I deal with one or two parts, please?
17 What exactly was the function of the arbitration commission, as you
18 understood it at that time?
19 A. Well, as we were told by Lord Carrington, by other people from the
20 EC conference, and by Judge Badinter himself, the purpose of the
21 arbitration commission was to settle the legal and constitutional
22 questions concerning the break-up of Yugoslavia. These were disputed
23 points and so the EC felt it important to have this very distinguished
24 body adjudicate legal and constitutional matters. That was our
1 Q. Thank you very much. May we go to page 98 -- sorry, 9857, please?
2 Again I try and deal with it in relatively precise terms. If we look at
3 paragraph 3, but the second paragraph, which is a short paragraph, it's
4 actually a one-sentence paragraph, reading, "As the commission indicated
5 in opinion number 1," do you have that, ambassador? It's page 9857. Page
6 9857, "As the commission indicated --
7 A. Yes, I have found it, thank you.
8 Q. Thank you it should be on the lek version as well. "This is a
9 question of fact. That is to be assessed in each case in the light of the
10 circumstances in which each of the states concerned was created." If we
11 deal, then, with paragraph 4, dealing just with republic, the republics of
12 Croatia and Slovenia, "The issue is the same as regards the republics of
13 Croatia and Slovenia, both of which declared their independence on the
14 25th of June 1991 and suspended their declarations of independence for
15 three months on the 7th of July 1991, as provided by the Brioni
16 declaration, in accordance with the declaration the suspension ceased to
17 have effect on the 8th of October 1991. Only then did these two republics
18 definitively break all links with the organs of the SFRY and become
19 sovereign states in international law. For then, then, the 8th of October
20 1991, is the date of the state secession."
21 Now, could you turn the page, please, to 9858, the final page in
22 the hard copy. It's paragraph 10. It should be highlighted, I hope.
23 MR. MOORE: Would Your Honour forgive me for a moment, please?
24 [Prosecution counsel confer]
25 MR. MOORE: Well, we were hoping to have it highlighted but we use
1 Sanction as opposed to electronic version, and hard copy, but we'll deal
2 with it in any event. Can we deal with paragraph 10, please. There we
3 are. "The arbitration commission consequently takes the view that the
4 dates upon which the states stemming from the SFRY succeeded to the SFRY
5 are 8th of October 1991 n the case of the Republic of Croatia and the
6 Republic of Slovenia," and then recites other dates.
7 Q. When you were cross-examined in relation to the arbitration
8 commission, are these the documents that you were referring to or not?
9 A. Yes, they were.
10 Q. And the conclusions that you find in these documents, do they
11 change the conclusions that you gave in your evidence without the
13 A. No. I believe they are identical because you may remember I was
14 repeatedly asked on a theoretical basis, abstract questions about control
15 of territory and that sort of thing, stable population, and I said in
16 response to Madam Tapuskovic, that these were matters this were decided on
17 individual merits, and you see that in the arbitration commission's report
19 Q. Thank you. And then thirdly, and finally, my question, I hope, is
20 you've been asked by Mr. Lukic repeatedly about the allegation that you
21 have made about the gun being turned on yourself and Mr. Vance. How
22 significant an incident was that to you at the time when, as you say,
23 Sljivancanin lifted a long firearm towards yourself and Vance?
24 A. Well, we thought it was important. I've already reported to the
25 court that neither Mr. Vance nor I expected him to shoot us. It was
1 perhaps, again, his purpose, I don't know, but perhaps it was his purpose
2 to say, "It's over, Mr. Vance," you know, "this is the end, no more
3 conversation. You're not going to get to see that hospital." And so
4 that's the way we took it.
5 MR. MOORE: I have no further questions, unless the Court have
7 JUDGE PARKER: Are you tendering these documents, Mr. Moore?
8 MR. MOORE: I will be tendering those documents. I think there is
9 no objection to that particular course. That being the case, may we deal,
10 then, please, with what I will call opinion number 1, 1171654, in the
11 English version, concluding on 1657.
12 JUDGE PARKER: That will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P73.
14 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much. And the final document is
15 opinion number 11, which is 9856 until 9858 in the English version.
16 JUDGE PARKER: That will be received.
17 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P74.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 Ambassador, you'll be pleased to know that that is the end of the
20 evidence, the questioning has concluded, the Chamber is grateful for your
21 attendance and your assistance.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.
23 JUDGE PARKER: We will rise now.
24 We will resume at 1.45.
25 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.59 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 1.51 p.m.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, General. Would you please read
4 aloud the affirmation on the card that you have.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. I solemnly declare
6 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
7 WITNESS: IMRA AGOTIC
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
10 Mr. Agha?
11 MR. AGHA: Your Honours, the witness is a 92 bis witness and
12 pursuant to order of this Court the transcript has been submitted to the
13 Court. Can the transcript be given an exhibit number if the Court would
14 like to deal with it in this way.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, it will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P75, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
18 MR. AGHA: Your Honour, two issues regarding the testimony of the
19 witness. The first is that sometimes it is the practice of some Trial
20 Chambers for the advocate to read out a brief summary of what was evidence
21 contained in his transcript for the public consumption and so that the
22 Chamber is aware of the essence of the evidence. That summary does not
23 become a part of the evidence because his evidence is in fact the
24 transcript. So I was wondering if the Court would like to deal with this
25 in a similar manner or just move straight to other issues.
1 JUDGE PARKER: A summary would be useful. Thank you, Mr. Agha.
2 MR. AGHA: The second issue is Your Honours, is the exhibits which
3 are associated with the transcript of the witness and it is the submission
4 of the Prosecution that perhaps these exhibits could be briefly run
5 through by the witness so that they can have their own exhibit numbers in
6 this particular trial.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. Thank you.
8 MR. AGHA: By way of a background, the witness was chief of the
9 security command of the 5th Air Force Corps of the JNA based in Zagreb
10 until he resigned in the JNA in July 1991. The witness had worked in the
11 JNA security service for about 20 years. After leaving the JNA, the
12 witness joined the Croatian National Guard now referred to as the ZNG, in
13 August of 1991, where he was appointed as Chief of Staff and commander of
14 the ZNG until 21st September 1991. After this time, the Main Staff of the
15 Croatian army was formed with General Anton Tus as Chief of Staff.
16 From 8th of October 1991, the witness has appointed as chief
17 Croatian negotiator with the JNA, reporting directly to President Tudjman.
18 In this position, the main role of the witness was to negotiate the
19 withdrawal of the JNA from Croatia. In his capacity of chief negotiator,
20 the witness was directly involved in negotiations surrounding the shelling
21 and evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital with General Raseta that of the
22 JNA, as well as the ECMM.
23 The witness retired from the Croatian army in December 1992, in
24 the rank of a four-star general. Thereafter he served as the adviser to
25 the president of Croatia on national security issues. He is currently in
2 Now, in his earlier testimony, the witness gave evidence
3 concerning the reporting structure within the security services of the
4 JNA. The witness's evidence was that the JNA operated under a single
5 unified chain of command. However, officers in the security service of
6 the JNA had two parallel chains of command. The first chain of command
7 was to the commander of the unit to which they were attached. However,
8 when they were dealing with professional matters which exclusively
9 concerned security issues, they reported directly to their superior in the
10 security service. With regard to a commission of a war crime, if the
11 security officer became aware of this, and considered that he ought to be
12 engaged, he would use his sources to investigate the matter and then
13 report back to the commander of his unit and, if necessary, up the chain
14 of command to the security service.
15 With regard to mass deaths, these had to be reported right up the
16 chain of command from the bottom to the top. Although the witness was a
17 part of the air forces' security service, the reporting methods were the
18 same for the land forces' security service. And this usually entailed
19 reporting on a daily basis up the chain of command or immediately if the
20 event was of an emergency nature.
21 The witness then in his evidence ran through various documents
22 which were tendered as exhibits in his prior testimony about various JNA
23 reports relating to killings of civilians in villages such as Skabrnja,
24 Nadin, and Bruska, between November 1991 and March 1992. Pertinently, the
25 1992 report found that the Benkovac police had no material evidence for
1 the finding that the massacre was a result of Ustasha sabotage an and that
2 the case should be reopened. This, according to the witness, was an
3 example of things being manipulated on the ground to forcefully place
4 blame on the Croats in order to justify JNA intervention on the side of
5 the rebel Serbs.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Agha please slow down a little for the
7 benefit of the interpreters.
8 MR. AGHA: I apologise. I've been asked to slow down a little.
9 The witness then gave evidence of the JNA actually siding with the
10 rebel Croatian Serbs. In May of 1990 according to the witness, pursuant
11 to the orders of the JNA, weapons of the Croatian Territorial Defence were
12 moved to warehouses under JNA control. The effect of this order was to
13 disarm Croatia.
14 The JNA, however, through its security administration, began
15 secretly arming the Serbs living in Croatia between the autumn of 1990 and
16 spring of 1991 especially in the area of Eastern Slavonia. To carry out
17 this covert arming the cooperation of the JNA commanders was necessary.
18 Croatia, realising that it was defenceless, began purchasing
19 weapons from outside of Yugoslavia and prepared to protect itself from any
20 aggression, through its police which formed the backbone of the ZNG, which
21 was created in May 1991.
22 According to the witness, the ZNG, however, lacked training, arms,
23 and which meant at its inception there were only weapons for about 30 per
24 cent of its men.
25 Whilst the witness was in the security service, it was had headed
1 by Aleksandar Vasiljevic, who initially was in favour of holding
2 Yugoslavia together at all costs but who later followed the line of the
3 Serb leadership that if Yugoslavia could not be retained in its entirety,
4 it had to be retained in an abridged form, a so-called Greater Serbia.
5 According to the evidence of the witness, the initial plan, plan
6 A, was for the JNA, which it did initially through its security service,
7 to arm the Croatian Serbs, who, with the support of the JNA, would
8 overthrow the Croatian leadership and the JNA would take control of
9 Croatia. However, in the second half of 1991, due to the international
10 factor, this plan was modified to the extent that the JNA would only take
11 over Croatia up to the so-called Virovitica-Karlovac-Karlobag line.
12 Later, according to this witness, this plan was again modified to include
13 the JNA, together with the Serb insurgents taking over territory in
14 Croatia which was predominantly occupied by Serbs.
15 Plan C. This was a far-reduced area and the modification,
16 according to the witness, in the plan was brought about by strong Croatian
17 resistance, the lack of manpower of the JNA, and international pressure.
18 The witness then went on to give evidence concerning the takeover
19 of villages in Croatia by the JNA and the Croatian Serbs, pursuant to this
20 plan C.
21 According to the witness, the JNA tactics in taking over villages
22 in Eastern Slavonia and other parts of Croatia was to shell the village
23 with a view to forcing the villagers to flee and then to attack the
24 village. Thereafter, constant pressure was placed on non-Serbs living in
25 the village by the newly installed Serb authorities to leave the area.
1 According to the evidence of the witness, this tactic was most prominently
2 used in central Dalmatia, Eastern Slavonia, and the Ilok region. In
3 particular, according to the witness, the villages of Ilok, Boksic,
4 Gradjanac [phoen], Rakovica, Jovarnik, and Nijemci were all taken over.
5 The village of Saborsko was razed to the ground and many other
6 Croatian homes were destroyed once their inhabitants had fled. The
7 ancient city of Dubrovnik on the coast was also extensively shelled by the
8 JNA, notwithstanding the witness's complaints to both General Raseta of
9 the JNA and the ECMM.
10 Turning now to Vukovar in particular, as chief Croatian
11 negotiator, the witness had many discussions with General Raseta who
12 represented the JNA in respect of the city of Vukovar. These negotiations
13 were very often carried out in the presence of the ECMM who acted as
14 mediators and usually centred around the position of the sick and the
15 wounded at Vukovar Hospital. General Raseta used to seek orders on issues
16 arising from the negotiations from his superiors in Belgrade who included
17 the deputy SSNO, Admiral Brovet, and the Chief of Staff, General Adzic.
18 With regard to Vukovar, when the witness complained to General Raseta
19 about the shelling of Vukovar and the hospital, and requested that it
20 cease, General Raseta consulted General Zivota Panic on at least one
21 occasion, in whose area of responsibility the hospital was located.
22 General Panic told Raseta that he was present at his observation
23 post and that the hospital was not being hit and that the Croatian side
24 was lying.
25 According to the evidence of the witness, he complained daily to
1 Raseta about the shelling of Vukovar and the hospital but the JNA
2 continually denied that the hospital was being shelled.
3 The witness also complained to the ECMM about the shelling of the
4 hospital. However, they were powerless to do anything.
5 Regarding the evacuation of the hospital, negotiations were
6 conducted with General Raseta by Dr. Andrija Hebrang who was the Croatian
7 Minister of Health. On 18th November, an evacuation agreement was entered
8 into between Croatia and the JNA regarding the evacuation of the hospital.
9 Under the agreement, both Croatia and the JNA agreed to recognise
10 the neutrality of the hospital during the evacuation. The JNA, however,
11 according to the witness, did not abide by the term of the agreement.
12 Shortly after the evacuation of the hospital, the witness learned that
13 many of the patients who were supposed to have been evacuated had not
14 reached their destination. The witness protested daily to General Raseta
15 to return the missing patients. General Raseta, however, claimed that he
16 did not know where the missing patients were. The JNA never gave the
17 witness an explanation of what had happened to the missing patients, even
18 when the Croatian Prime Minister wrote to the JNA asking where the balance
19 of the evacuated patients were, there was silence.
20 Now, that in essence is a summary of the evidence which the
21 witness gave under oath in the Milosevic case, of which this Trial Chamber
22 has admitted the transcripts into evidence.
23 Now, Your Honours, turning to the question of those exhibits which
24 were tendered along with the transcript, the Prosecution would like
25 briefly to run through some of those so that they may be exhibited
1 separately in this trial. And the Prosecution submits that in order for
2 this to be done as expeditiously as possible, that the Trial Chamber would
3 take notice that the foundation for most of these exhibits has already
4 been established in the transcripts. So with the claim's leave, I would
5 like to try to move through them as expeditiously as possible.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
7 MR. AGHA: The first exhibit which I would kindly request the
8 Court officer to put up has 65 ter number 182 and ERN 02949534. In the
9 English. And 02949536 in the B/C/S.
10 Examined by Mr. Agha:
11 Q. General, may I ask you to look at the screen in front of you.
12 Does this document show your CV accurately?
13 A. Yes. It's an accurate reflection, but an addition needs to be
14 made. I retired on the 1st of March 2005, and I am no longer with the
15 Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia.
16 MR. AGHA: May I request the Chamber to receive this exhibit.
17 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
18 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P76.
19 MR. AGHA: The Prosecution would kindly ask the Court officer if
20 he could put on to the E-Court 65 ter number 488, with English translation
21 03029202, with B/C/S 02077103.
22 Q. General, are you able to see this document?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And is this the document whereby General Adzic of the JNA on the
25 14th of May requests that the arms from the TO warehouses be moved and put
1 under JNA control?
2 A. That's correct. This is precisely the document that I did not get
3 to see at the time. However, upon JNA -- the JNA's departure from the
4 Republic of Croatia we succeeded in obtaining the very document that is
5 shown here now. This is a telegram which was a very common way of
6 exchanging messages in the JNA.
7 Q. And general, you'll see in the final paragraph that the addressees
8 of the order are requested to submit a report when the order has been
9 executed; is that correct?
10 A. Correct. And there is a very tight deadline to file a report and
11 to carry out the tasks. This deadline, we might say, is in reference to a
12 time when, on the 13th of May, 1990 specifically in Republic of Croatia,
13 the new government was in office, so the idea behind this document is that
14 Croatia had to be disarmed.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. AGHA: May I kindly ask that the Chamber exhibit this
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P78.
20 MR. AGHA: And if I may kindly ask the Court officer to --
21 JUDGE PARKER: Should that not be 77?
22 THE REGISTRAR: I stand corrected, Your Honours. That will be
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
25 MR. AGHA: May I now kindly request the Court officer, if he could
1 kindly put on the E-Court 65 ter number 183, bearing English ERN 02011570,
2 with B/C/S 02011572.
3 Q. General, are you able to see this document?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And is this a document which evidences that, in fact, the order
6 has been complied with regarding the removal of weapons from the TO to
7 warehouses under JNA control in respect of the Split TO area?
8 A. Yes. That is what the document evidences. This was a common way
9 of reporting on a task that has -- that had been assigned, and this was
10 done in full compliance with the existing deadline.
11 MR. AGHA: May I ask the Chamber that this document also be
12 tendered as an exhibit.
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P78.
15 MR. AGHA: May I kindly ask the Court clerk if he could put up on
16 the E-Court document bearing 65 ter 111, with ERN 01187789, which is
17 English, and, which, I believe, also covers the B/C/S. Actually, I beg
18 your pardon, the B/C/S, I'm informed kindly by my case manager, is
19 actually 01187790.
20 Q. General, do you have before you on your screen a copy of this
22 A. I do.
23 Q. And is this chart an accurate reflection of the setup of the
24 security administration of the JNA at the time when you were still a
25 member of the JNA?
1 A. Yes, that's correct. This structure existed within the JNA
2 security service from the federal secretariat down to certain levels.
3 This chart does not show lower levels, at least when it comes to the air
4 force and the corps level. The levels before that are not shown here, and
5 this is what the structure looked like down to this level. The lower
6 levels of the air force are identical to those of the land forces.
7 MR. AGHA: Can I kindly ask the Court clerk if he may give the pen
8 to the general so that he may mark on the chart the actual position which
9 he occupied.
10 Q. So, General, the Court clerk will pass you a pen, and if you could
11 kindly circle the position you held, that would be helpful.
12 A. I was chief of the security department of the 5th air corps
13 headquartered in Zagreb up until the 1st of March 1991, at which point I
14 was relieved of my duties. And this is what I marked in red.
15 Q. Thank you, General.
16 MR. AGHA: I think probably I've overrun myself here. I should
17 have asked the Chamber if it would kindly admit into evidence the blank
18 chart with an exhibit number and then the circled chart with a separate
19 exhibit number. If that is possible to do it now.
20 JUDGE PARKER: We will first exhibit the marked.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that -- the unannotated chart will
22 be Exhibit P79.
23 JUDGE PARKER: The other?
24 THE REGISTRAR: And the one that's annotated now will be Exhibit
1 MR. AGHA:
2 Q. Thank you, General.
3 MR. AGHA: And thank you, the Chamber. May I now kindly ask the
4 Court clerk to put up 65 ter number 109 bearing English ERN L0063753.
5 Q. Now, General, do you have a copy of that document before you?
6 A. No. I have the previous one.
7 MR. AGHA: If it assists the Court clerk the B/C/S number is
9 Q. Are you able to see a copy of the document now, general?
10 A. I have the same document that I had before, the organisational
11 structure of the JNA security service.
12 Q. If you could bear with us a moment, General. I'm sure it's a
13 technical hitch. I understand that you now have this document, General.
14 A. Yes. I have the cover page.
15 Q. And are you able to move up and down the various pages?
16 MR. AGHA: Perhaps the Court clerk could assist the general.
17 Q. Now, General, is this document an example of the reporting of the
18 security chain up its various chain of command, a security report of major
19 Branislav Ristic dated 27th of November 1991, concerning the killings of
20 civilians by Serbs, volunteers, in Srebrinje [phoen] village, to his
22 A. This is the so-called note on the work methods applied within the
23 JNA security service. This was prescribed in accordance with the
24 instruction on documentation, and it was used in order to report within
25 the service, not beyond the service. So it was not sent toward the
1 command structure but, rather, to other professional services within the
2 security service. This was the typical procedure for reporting.
3 When we had to inform the command structures, we wrote documents
4 that were somewhat different and we didn't provide all of the information,
5 such as the source, and the method applied. We simply briefed them on the
7 Q. So, General, this is an example of a report going up the security
8 administration chain of command?
9 A. Yes, correct.
10 MR. AGHA: May I kindly request that the Chamber exhibit this
12 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit P81.
14 MR. AGHA: I wonder if it should not be 80, rather than 81?
15 JUDGE PARKER: No, 81.
16 MR. AGHA: I apologise to the Court clerk.
17 JUDGE PARKER: The last document was in two forms, 79 and 80.
18 MR. AGHA: I'm obliged, Your Honour.
19 Could I kindly ask the Court clerk to put up 65 ter number 110,
20 English translation L0063757, and B/C/S 02007349.
21 Q. General, do you see a copy of that document?
22 A. Yes. I do have it on the screen.
23 Q. And is that document an example of the reporting of the same
24 incident except up the military chain of command rather than the security
25 apparatus chain of command?
1 A. This is an official note written by an authorised official of the
2 military police upon completing on-site investigation of the event
3 investigated. In this case, it was a massacre in Skabrnja. Once again,
4 this was a typical example of notes written by the officials of the JNA
5 and military police. It was usually accompanied by other documents such
6 as photographs, sketches, objects found or perhaps their photographs.
7 This document, however, constitutes the substance of the event
8 investigated on site.
9 Q. And according to this document, it would appear that many of the
10 civilian casualties were elderly women; is that right?
11 A. Yes, that's correct. There was a large number of the persons
12 killed there, most of them were elderly.
13 MR. AGHA: And may I ask the Chamber if this document may be
14 received as an exhibit?
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P82.
17 MR. AGHA: And may I kind kindly ask the court clerk to put up 65
18 ter 185 bearing English ERN L0064662, with B/C/S 02007347.
19 Q. Witness, are you able to see the document?
20 A. Yes, I can see it on the screen. I can see it on the screen, the
22 Q. And is this a similar report to the last exhibit showing reporting
23 of potential crimes up the military chain of command of the JNA?
24 A. As is stated here, this is an official note in its old form that
25 was previously used in the JNA security service. These are some --
1 probably forms that are left -- that were left over and were used by the
2 security officers of the 180th Motorised Brigade. These two officers,
3 Rosic, Simo and Ostjic, Milivoj, say that they informed the 9th Corps in
4 Knin about the event in Skabrnja described in the previous document by an
5 officer of the military police.
6 Q. Now, according to this document and one of the earlier documents,
7 this event in Skabrnja and Nadin villages was on the 18th and 19th of
8 November 1991 and the alleged crimes were by Serbian volunteers; is that
10 A. Based on the description of events in this official note given by
11 authorised officials, yes. It seems correct, namely that this was done by
12 the volunteers from Serbia and members of the Opacic group which comprised
13 people residing in that area around Skabrnja, Benkovac, and Nadin. The
14 security organs state this and inform their superior within the security
15 service about this.
16 Q. So taking these last few exhibits, would it indicate that the JNA
17 command were kept well informed of the events that were happening on the
18 ground, vis-a-vis crimes committed by the Serb volunteers against the
19 Croatian civilian population?
20 A. Clearly, based on my assessment and also based on the later
21 analysis of such cases, this seems to be an unbiased reporting about the
22 events composed at the time whether the events occurred. In addition to
23 that, it states that the command of the 9th Knin Corps was informed about
24 these events.
25 MR. AGHA: May I kindly ask that this document also be exhibited?
1 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
2 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P83.
3 MR. AGHA: And may I kindly ask the court clerk if he would put up
4 65 ter number 200, bearing English ERN 02006782, and B/C/S ERN 02006782.
5 Q. Are you able to see this document, General?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And what, in brief, is this document about?
8 A. This is just the first page or the cover page of the document that
9 I described as a typical, regular, and prescribed document of writing
10 reports within the security service of the JNA. We can see here that the
11 security organ of the 180th motorised brigade, navy captain Simo Rosic,
12 hereby informs his superior within the security organ of the 9th Corps of
13 the data provided by his associate, Ranko, concerning the events in the
14 village of Bruska on the 23rd of October 1992. The content of this report
15 was on the second page typically.
16 MR. AGHA: Could the Court clerk kindly show the second page for
17 the general to see?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the second page of the same
19 document. Could we see the third page, if we want to discuss the
21 MR. AGHA: Yes, please. If the Court clerk might kindly show the
22 third page.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This is the third page, which
24 says that this is a report on the killing of a large number of civilians
25 who were predominantly members of the Marinovic family. They were killed
1 in Bruska, and in the media in Croatia, or rather what was broadcast in
2 Croatia indicated that this had been perpetrated by the Ustasha forces,
3 which is how the Serbian side always referred to Croatian forces. It is
4 clear that the security organ obtained different information than what was
5 reported by the police station in Obravac [phoen]. Can I see the bottom
6 of the document, please?
7 In the note we see that the security organ writes that the public
8 security station in Benkovac concluded the work on this case when the
9 civilians were killed in Bruska, by concluding that the crime had been
10 committed by the Ustasha sabotage terrorist group, which was a synonym for
11 the Croatian side. The security organ writing this note indicates that
12 the work on this case needs to be continued in order to clear the Serbian
13 side, which is completely illogical in view of the previous conclusion
14 where it was stated that this had been conducted by Serbs because of some
15 old-standing feud. So I conclude that this must be some kind of a slip of
16 tongue because in the last sentence, it should state that this was -- this
17 ought to be done in order to clear the Croatian people of this crime.
18 MR. AGHA:
19 Q. So, according to this you, this document is a blatant attempt to
20 falsify what was actually happening on the ground by the police on the
21 Serbian side?
22 A. Yes. This is the conclusion of the security organ. I have no
23 reason to disagree with it because later investigations of this case
24 conducted after the war came to the conclusion that this crime had not
25 been perpetrated by Croats.
1 MR. AGHA: May I request that the Chamber receive this exhibit?
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P84.
4 MR. AGHA: And if I may kindly ask the Court clerk to put up
5 document 65 ter, 201, with English translation 02006785 and B/C/S
6 02006785. And if we could please skip to the second page of that
8 Q. General, is this actually a conclusion that the last report in the
9 exhibit was in fact correct, that the allegations made against the
10 Croatian civilians was indeed false?
11 A. Yes. That's correct. And this confirms the previous conclusion
12 stated earlier by the security organ. Additionally, they add that a
13 member of police force called Bozo Miljkovic was transferred from this
14 area to Serbia. In his view, this person knew all the details of the
15 Bruska massacre.
16 MR. AGHA: August may I ask that this document be received as an
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P85.
20 MR. AGHA: And if I may kindly ask the Court clerk to put up 65
21 ter number 202 with English 03025515 and B/C/S 00501726.
22 Q. Now, general, this is a document in essence coming from the
23 security organ and it's a report of the situation in the Sisak/Bajana
24 [phoen] region. In essence, what is the report actually saying? It's
25 from group leader Lieutenant Colonel Tarbuk to his superior in the
1 security organ.
2 A. Yes. Correct. This is a telegram or a dispatch, as we used to
3 call them in the JNA, in which Colonel Tarbuk informs about the action
4 which took place on the 31st of July 1991, against the police station in
5 Tarkavcani [phoen]. Based on this, we can conclude that the action had
6 been pre-planned and there was an attempt to justify it by staging
7 shootings in the nearby Serbian villages in order to justify this action.
8 I believe that this was done in order to eliminate the police station of
9 the Ministry of the Interior of Croatia from that area because they wanted
10 this area to be ethnically pure. What is interesting is that this is the
11 first half of July 1991, when not a single barracks in Croatia was blocked
12 and when there were no -- there was no combat raging in the territory of
13 Croatia which was the case later on.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, the date was 13th of
15 July 1991.
16 MR. AGHA:
17 Q. So in your view, general, is this a document which is, in essence,
18 saying that situations were deliberately being created on the ground by
19 people of Serb ethnicity to drive out the Croatian population?
20 A. This is clearly the type of a case, and, if I may add, this was
21 perpetrated with the support of the JNA, because Slobodan Tarbuk was a
22 security officer of the JNA, of a military district of the JNA, and later
23 on a prominent JNA officer in that area. However, in early July 1991, we
24 can see that the JNA supported a creation of such a situation in that
25 area, namely an attack on the legal Croatian police station. Not only did
1 they support such action but also participated in it because Slobodan
2 Tarbuk, here, is identified as a leader of the group.
3 MR. AGHA: May I kindly request that there document be exhibited,
4 Your Honours.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P86, Your Honours.
7 MR. AGHA: And if I may kindly ask the Court clerk to put up 65
8 ter number 370, bearing ERN 01185467.
9 Q. Now, when this document comes on your screen, General, you'll see
10 that it's a map and it's a map with markings on it which you explained in
11 your testimony in the Milosevic case, which has actually been received
12 into the evidence and is fully described and explained what the markings
13 are in your transcript. So I would simply like you to confirm that this
14 is indeed the map which you made and the markings you made on it, if you
15 could kindly do that.
16 A. Correct. This is the same map that I elaborated on and marked or
18 Q. Since an adequate explanation of the various highlightings is made
19 in the transcripts, without any further explanation I would request that
20 the Chamber receive this document as an exhibit.
21 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
22 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P87.
23 MR. AGHA:
24 Q. Now, general, we are now going to look at an exhibit which
25 concerns your activities as a negotiator with the JNA. So if I may kindly
1 ask the Court clerk to call up 65 ter 203, bearing ERN 10 -- sorry, my
2 mistake, start again. 01846579 in English and ZA008765 in B/C/S.
3 General, are you able to see this agreement and can you briefly
4 explain to the Court in essence what it is about?
5 A. This is an agreement signed by the Croatian side and the JNA. The
6 agreement was sponsored and mediated by the ECMM in Zagreb. It was signed
7 on the 8th of October 1991. In actual fact, this was the first day of
8 negotiations between the Croatian side and the JNA, the objective being to
9 have an agreement implemented that had been reached by representatives of
10 Croatia and Serbia on the 4th of October 1991.
11 There are several items that we can see here but the most
12 important one is the first one, about a cease-fire to take effect at 1800
13 hours on that same day. A few items then remain, and, if necessary, I
14 will be glad to explain them. One of the important items is that talks
15 should start immediately about offering assistance to those wounded and
16 ill who were in the Vukovar Hospital. This occurred the next day. They
17 started trying to reach a solution in order to solve that crisis and we
18 are well aware of the results.
19 If I may, another important point here is that there should be
20 immediate talks on evacuating or withdrawing, rather, JNA units from
21 Croatian territory. The barracks should be deblockaded and the units of
22 the JNA should be withdrawn from Croatian territory. These were the
23 essential, the crucial, points of the agreement, which is not to say that
24 the other points were not important.
25 Q. And general, can you confirm that you have signed this document
1 and what the date of the document is?
2 A. The document was signed on the evening of the 8th of October 1991.
3 It was signed by General Andrija Raseta, Colonel Stjepan Adanic, who was
4 assistant to the Croatian defence minister. I signed the document in my
5 capacity as official negotiator on behalf of the president of the Republic
6 of Croatia and we see the signature of the mediator, the Dutch ambassador,
7 Dirk Jan van Houten, who chaired the meeting.
8 MR. AGHA: And may I request the Chamber that this document be
9 received as an exhibit.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P88.
12 MR. AGHA: And may I kindly ask the Court clerk to call up 65 ter
13 507 with English translation 03029257 and B/C/S 02077090.
14 Q. Are you able to see the document, General?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you'll see this document is dated 12th of October 1991, which
17 is four days after the cease-fire agreement and it's signed by the chief
18 of the General Staff, Colonel General Adzic.
19 Now, what in essence is this document saying?
20 A. This was a common document, at least as far as the administration
21 for moral guidance was concerned, or as we used to call it, the JNA's
22 political administration. This administration would send these documents
23 to their units down the chain of command. It is typical that this one was
24 signed by the chief of the General Staff which was not frequently the
25 case. Usually it was the chief of the police administration who signed
1 their own reports. But in this case, greater weight is lent to the
2 assessments and tasks detailed in this document. When I familiarised
3 myself with this document during my testimony, what struck me as
4 characteristic, that this was on the 12th of October 1991 which is four
5 days after the signing of the cease-fire in Zagreb, the document that we
6 looked at a while ago. The document specifying that there should be
7 immediate talks arranging a JNA withdrawal from Croatian territory. In
8 this document signed by General Adzic we see that the JNA would not be
9 allowed to leave the Republic of Croatia. This is four days after the
10 previous, original agreement, and yet what we see stated here is of a
11 quite different nature. This is a form of a directive that he passed on
12 to the JNA units, about forcible evacuation of the barracks and combat
14 Could you please scroll down to the bottom of the document?
15 Q. And general I would like to draw, indeed, as you are, your
16 attention to the final paragraph, and, in essence, this seems to be
17 ordering that the volunteer units and TO be put under the single unified
18 command of the JNA. Now, is that your understanding?
19 A. Could we just please show the entire document? In the last
20 passage, it starts, "All armed units, regardless of whether components of
21 the JNA, Territorial Defence or volunteer units, must act under the single
22 command of the JNA, meaning the JNA commands in a certain area are hereby
23 being made responsible for all units in the area, and here I mean Serb
24 units, needless to say. Both volunteer units and Territorial Defence.
25 Responsibility here is meant as absolute responsibility, if you ask me.
1 Q. Now, General, we earlier looked at some documents regarding a
2 certain massacre in on 18th November, 19th November, which is dated after
3 with this document which is dated 12th of October 1991. So it's quite
4 clear, I think, from this document that the JNA were actually commanding
5 the TO and Serb volunteer detachments and had full knowledge of the crimes
6 which were going on. Now, would that be a correct assessment?
7 A. I don't know if the JNA were commanding the TO and Serb volunteer
8 detachments. They should know whether those units obeyed them or not.
9 But it is clear that they had orders from their superiors, in this case
10 the chief of the General Staff, to command those units. That is beyond
11 doubt. Whether those units on the ground obeyed them and followed their
12 orders is not something that I can say. It appears that there were cases
13 of poor coordination where their orders were disobeyed by those on the
14 ground. At least when talking about this period of time. This seems to
15 be an error by the JNA command because they had failed to create the right
16 sort of conditions for those units on the ground to effectively obey them
17 as they had been ordered to do.
18 Q. But nevertheless, in your view, the actions of those units on the
19 ground would be the responsibility of the JNA officers, whether or not
20 they choose to act upon their conduct?
21 A. Bearing in mind what it means to receive an order from your
22 superior, that appears to be the case. But if you look at the Bruska
23 case, if you look at Nadin and Skabrnja, it is clear that the JNA seems to
24 be reaching different conclusions from those reached by the police when
25 investigating certain incidents so the conclusion seems to be that they
1 had not been obeying them. I suppose the JNA knew that. The necessary
2 thing was to establish a system and for the system to function according
3 to orders received from the chief of the General Staff.
4 MR. AGHA: May I kindly ask that that document also be tendered as
5 an exhibit.
6 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
7 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P89.
8 MR. AGHA: And may I ask the Court clerk to put up the next
9 document which is 65 ter 204 and unfortunately there is only an English
10 copy of it and it bears ERN 01846645.
11 Q. Now, General, this is a document dated 24th of October 1991, which
12 I understand had been read over to you in a language you understand before
13 you testified, and it is a document whereby you are complaining to the EC
14 mission in Zagreb regarding the shelling of Dubrovnik. Would that be
16 A. Yes. That's the very document. I saw the document in the
17 Croatian original too and this is a document that I wrote at the time.
18 This is one of the many requests, appeals, calls for help, I'm not sure
19 what I should call them, that I sent to General Raseta to ECMM mediators
20 in Zagreb, or whoever else, to stop firing on Dubrovnik.
21 MR. AGHA: May I kindly ask for that document to be exhibited.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P90.
24 MR. AGHA: And if I may ask the Court clerk to kindly put up
25 document 65 ter 205, bearing ERN ZA002320 in English and B/C/S ZA002319.
1 Q. General, do you have a copy of this document?
2 A. Yes. I have it on the screen.
3 Q. And this is a document which you sent in your capacity as a member
4 of the negotiating committee to the EC monitoring mission concerning the
5 evacuation of the wounded from Vukovar Hospital on 12th of October 1991;
6 is that correct?
7 A. Yes. This is the first convoy that was organised straight after
8 the signing of the cease-fire agreement that we discussed a while ago, the
9 one dated the 8th of October. Difficulties arose for numerous reasons,
10 but, above all, because an appeal had been sent on account of our concern
11 that the wounded were left in the care, quotation marks, care, of the JNA.
12 We had great concern about what would become of them. Here it was
13 written, "The 12th of October 1991, at 1240 hundred hours" because we had
14 been receiving reports from the convoy on the ground to the effect that
15 there was a great danger of the wounded being massacred by units that were
16 in the area and under their control. That is why an appeal was sent to
17 the European Commission to send in their own observers.
18 Q. And can you just clarify, general, who you mean by "their"
20 A. Having crossed the confrontation line between Croatia and this
21 other side, both on its way to Vukovar and on its way back, the convoy was
22 passing through an area that was under the control of units that were not
23 our units. Therefore, it was moving through a hostile environment and
24 that's why we were concerned about their fate.
25 Q. And this hostile environment was one controlled by the JNA; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Correct. It was common, at least that's what had been set out in
3 our request, that all activity in the area, or if they had a request of
4 their own, to do with the activity in Croat-controlled territory, that
5 there should be European community observers in Zagreb as a token of some
6 sort of neutrality. There was the guarantee that we requested in this
7 case for those wounded who were being evacuated.
8 MR. AGHA: May I ask the Chamber if this document can be
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P91.
12 MR. AGHA: If I could ask the Court clerk to kindly bring up on
13 the screen 65 ter number 206, English translation ZA002321 and in B/C/S,
15 Q. General, now, is this a document which you received from
16 General Tus on the 18th of October, concerning the hospital in Vukovar and
17 the fact that it was suffering heavy artillery attacks and in the last
18 couple of days there had been 83 wounded?
19 A. Correct. It's a letter sent by the chief of the Main Staff of the
20 Republic of Croatia to the European mission and me personally, in order to
21 inform me about events in Vukovar, specifically the continuing attacks
22 against the hospital and the situation prevailing in the hospital. The
23 letter contains a plea or a request, if you like, to try to get the
24 European mission to intercede with the JNA for these attacks to cease
25 because of the serious situation in the hospital. There is also a request
1 to speed up the evacuation of the wounded and above all to cease the
2 attacks against the hospital.
3 Q. And did these attacks cease?
4 A. Based on those talks, I can say that appeals were being sent out
5 on a daily basis by Dr. Vesna Bosanac, by phone. Some were sent to me,
6 some were sent to other Croatian authorities. Some were sent to the chief
7 of the Main Staff.
8 She begged. She cautioned. She called that the firing on the
9 hospital be stopped. She claimed the firing was intense and daily. If I
10 may, I will also tell you about a specific case when I tried to intercede
11 with General Raseta. In an angry tone, because I had been frustrated
12 already with all these appeals that were arriving from Vukovar on a daily
13 basis, I asked that he speak to the General Staff immediately to stop
14 firing on the hospital. The negotiations broke down because they had been
15 interrupted by the mediators. As usual, Raseta went through to a
16 different room. He spoke to someone on the phone and came back, telling
17 the ECMM people and me that just a minute before he had been talking to
18 General Zivota Panic, who was at an observation post from which he had a
19 clear view of the hospital and whatever else was going on in Vukovar.
20 General Panic assured him that there was no firing on the hospital and
21 that the hospital was not being targeted, these being the very words that
22 Raseta used in his report to us, stating in no uncertain terms that the
23 Croatian side was lying. On that same occasion, however, he also
24 mentioned that he had been told by General Panic that there was firing or
25 rather shelling from the hospital itself against their own, that is the
1 JNA positions. This was a paradox and a patent untruth because there
2 simply were no weapons in the hospital, especially no artillery weapons.
3 That much was certain. This indicated to me at the time that
4 General Panic was near Vukovar and in charge of operations one way or
6 On the other hand, he justified any firing on the hospital by the
7 fact that their own positions were allegedly being shelled from inside the
9 MR. AGHA: May I ask that this document be exhibited?
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P92.
12 MR. AGHA: And can I ask the court clerk to call up document 65
13 ter 207, with English translation, 03369959, and B/C/S 03269959.
14 Q. And this document, General, concerns the actual proposed
15 evacuation on the 18th of November from the hospital, and it discusses a
16 particular route that should be taken, and also requests the presence of
17 the International Red Cross and monitors. It is written by Franjo
18 Greguriv -- can you tell us please who Franjo Greguriv is?
19 A. Franjo Greguriv was the Prime Minister at the time in the
20 so-called coalition government comprising all political parties. The
21 government came into office early in August 1991, replacing the previous
22 government that had been composed solely of members of the HDZ. This
23 document indicates that it was written on the 17th of November 1991 by
24 which time it had become obvious that Vukovar's resistance had either
25 ceased altogether or had become negligible. On the 18th of November 1991,
1 unfortunately, Vukovar was occupied in its entirety. This is exactly 14
2 years ago. Again, new importance is given to the evacuation of the
3 wounded and ill. There was concern about their fate. That is why a
4 high-ranking official such as Prime Minister addressed General Raseta to
5 start evacuation talks. He also proposed the requirements and conditions
6 that you can see on the face of this document.
7 MR. AGHA: May I ask that this document also be exhibited.
8 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
9 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P93.
10 MR. AGHA: And can the Court clerk kindly put up document 65 ter
11 208, which is B/C/S 03031386 and English 00381397.
12 Q. Now, General, is this the copy of the evacuation agreement in
13 respect of the hospital which was signed on 18th November 1991?
14 A. That's correct. This is the agreement which came about based on
15 the Croatian request, and was linked to the previous document that we saw.
16 It was signed by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Croatia,
17 Dr. Andrija Hebrang, General Raseta, and the person who acted as a
18 mediator in negotiations was either Ambassador van Houten or Ambassador
19 Cheny [phoen] who substituted for Ambassador van Houten. I don't know
20 which one of them was present. I can't tell based on the signature. This
21 is the agreement specifying how the evacuation of the wounded and ill from
22 the hospital would be organised.
23 Q. And did the JNA abide by this evacuation agreement?
24 A. I can say that there was a lot of hesitation, routes were changed
25 on many occasions, and finally the evacuation was conducted via a route
1 that was an alternative one. The JNA did not comply entirely with the
2 agreement. The Croatian side proposed that, in view of the urgency of the
3 situation, the evacuation be conducted via the Danube, which was without
4 any obstacles, and was -- or via helicopters. However, they refused to
5 accept that.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. AGHA: May I ask that this document also be exhibited, though
8 my colleague has drawn to my attention that it's already marked for
9 identification as number 40.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. So the document marked for identification as
11 number 40 will now become Exhibit 40. Yes.
12 THE REGISTRAR: That's duly noted, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic?
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] That's precisely why I got up.
15 Defence expressed reservations concerning this document, and we still
16 stand by them. We have some concerns concerning the authenticity of the
17 signatures here, and I hope that eventually we would be told everything we
18 want to know following which we would either withdraw our objections or
19 would continue to challenge this document. I hope that we will be
20 provided such pertinent information as soon as possible. For the time
21 being, could this document be just marked for identification?
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Agha, are you content for that at the moment.
23 MR. AGHA: At this stage I will press for its admission.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Then you will have to explore with the witness
25 whether he can identify the signatures.
1 MR. AGHA: Indeed, I will, Your Honour.
2 Q. General, is that evacuation agreement still on your screen?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, if I can kindly ask the Court clerk to take us to the
5 signature block and perhaps blow that up, can you recognise any of those
6 signatures there and which ones?
7 A. The signature on the left is definitely the signature of
8 Minister Hebrang. The one on the right I'm almost fully certain is a
9 signature of General Andrija Raseta because this is how he used to sign
10 his name. The document -- the signature in the middle is that of the
11 mediator, and I believe that this was the French ambassador, Cheny who was
12 the deputy of the presiding chairman of the European mission, Ambassador
13 Van Houten. Occasionally, he used to chair negotiations. It seems to me
14 that precisely during that time, Ambassador van Houten was ill and was in
15 the former military hospital in Zagreb, where they -- where he underwent
16 kidney treatment. This is why I believe the signature to be that of
17 Ambassador Cheny.
18 Q. If I may interrupt you for a moment you were obviously working
19 closely with the Croatian Defence Minister Hebrang so you would be
20 familiar with his signature; is that correct?
21 A. Yes. I saw it hundreds of times.
22 Q. And you also had numerous dealings with General Raseta as your
23 counterpart so you would be familiar with that signature as well, I take
25 A. Yes. Let us try and compare the signature on the document dated
1 the 8th of October 1991 with this signature, if technically feasible, and
2 I think the situation will be clear to us. We have the signature of
3 Raseta on the document of the 8 October, the one that was just exhibited.
4 MR. AGHA: Now, would the Chamber care to make a comparison or is
5 this sufficient.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic?
7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can I be given an
8 opportunity to say something that my learned friend from the Prosecution
9 is probably familiar with? Namely, General Raseta, the one mentioned
10 here, gave a statement to the OTP investigators, in which he said that
11 there had been negotiations but that they failed to reach an agreement,
12 and that he never signed such an agreement. This is one of the basic
13 reasons that prompted the Defence to verify these claims. Perhaps my
14 learned friends can confirm that they do indeed have such a statement and
15 that this was stated there.
16 [Trial chamber confers]
17 JUDGE PARKER: We have reached the point, Mr. Agha, and Mr. Vasic,
18 when we must break because the tape is about to finish, and it seems to
19 the Chamber to be an ideal opportunity, given the weekend that lies ahead,
20 for there to be further discussions between you with regard to the
21 information that had been indicated earlier, I believe, by Mr. Moore,
22 would be made available to the Defence about this document.
23 And when we resume on Monday, no doubt, the Chamber will learn
24 from you the outcome of your discussions and any information that might be
25 further available, and it -- if there is no satisfactory resolution of
1 that, it will be in Mr. Agha's hands whether he pursues further at the
2 moment the question of these signatures and this document or whether some
3 other proof will be offered. And we will deal with that then.
4 So, for the moment, the document, despite what I said a little
5 earlier before hearing Mr. Vasic, will remain marked for identification
6 only as 40, and we hope that it will be proved possible by Monday to deal
7 with this issue in a satisfactory manner.
8 I'm sorry, General, but we have run to the end of our time for
9 today and we will resume again on Monday. We must ask you to return then,
10 and we resume on Monday at 2.15.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.24 p.m., to
12 be reconvened on Monday, the 21st day of November,
13 2005, at 2.15 p.m.