1 Tuesday, 22 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: If I could remind you, General, of the affirmation
7 you made at the beginning of your evidence, which still applies.
8 WITNESS: IMRA AGOTIC [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
11 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Borovic:
13 Q. I am Borivoj Borovic and I represent Radic. My first question is:
14 While you were in the Yugoslav army were you in favour of the concept of
15 an independent Republic of Croatia?
16 A. While I was in the Yugoslav People's Army I was for Yugoslavia. I
17 was never in favour of an independent Republic of Croatia. I'm not that
18 now. I am in favour of the Republic of Croatia, though, the way it is
19 structured now.
20 Q. At the point in time when you decided to back such a state,
21 Croatia was part of the common Socialist Federative Republic of
22 Yugoslavia, is that true?
23 A. Yes, it was a part of it. But it was already very close to a
24 different concept of the order of the SFRY.
25 Q. When you moved to the Croatian side from the JNA, was the idea on
1 the independence of that Croatian republic already formed?
2 A. You mean did I form that idea? Yes. I agreed with that concept
3 September and wanted to assist with the implementation of that concept
4 because the political structures which had been elected in Croatia had
5 already, to a large part, conceived this idea and it was ripe.
6 Q. Thank you. When was the first time that an independent Republic
7 of Croatia was formed, independent state of Croatia was formed, can you
8 help the Court?
9 A. Are you thinking of the NDH, the independent state of Croatia
10 Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska, the one that was formed in World War II?
11 Q. Yes, if you say it's the first time it was formed, then, yes.
12 A. That was its name. The first time it was formed, on the 10th of
13 April 1941, and it was a state that is not referred to any more by anyone
14 in Croatia and nobody holds that to be part of the positive foundations of
15 the present Republic of Croatia.
16 Q. Perhaps we could give some more information to the Chamber during
17 World War II, an independent state of Croatia was formed, the NDH?
18 A. Independent state of Croatia which was formed in 1941 was
19 inaugurated on the tanks of fascist Germany and Italy.
20 MR. AGHA: Your Honours, I would like to object to my learned
21 friend's line of questioning because, although yesterday many of the
22 questions had a political flavour, I believe, these questions have very
23 much a historical flavour and I believe the witness, being a military
24 witness, is really not in a position to deal with them adequately and
25 perhaps they should be left to a historian.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, a slightly different question: What
2 is the relevance of this history, so many years earlier, to the events in
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since I don't have a
5 lot of questions on this topic, but this is directly linked with the newly
6 formed independent state of Croatia, and what was happening to the Serbian
7 people and what was in the consciousness of these people who were carrying
8 out certain steps in order to protect themselves from things that were
9 very similar to the things that already happened in 1941. This is the
10 essence of why I am going into this.
11 JUDGE PARKER: You may continue on that line, with the proviso
12 that it is stretching relevance and so do not waste too much time on it,
13 but also bearing in mind what Mr. Agha has very rightly pointed out, the
14 Chamber will hear this evidence from the general, but without any
15 expectation that he has any historical expertise so that he will simply be
16 doing his best and if something is beyond his knowledge, he will
17 undoubtedly indicate that.
18 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. As a soldier, did you hear that during World War II in the
20 territory of Croatia, the largest concentration camp was established in
21 that territory, named Jasenovac in the Balkans -- the largest
22 concentration camp was established in the Balkans and it was named
24 A. Yes, I knew about it but I didn't know it was the largest one in
25 the Balkans.
1 Q. Do you know that between 700.000 and 1.2 million Serbs were killed
2 there according to estimates that were made after the war?
3 A. I have heard different figures. However, you mentioned the lowest
4 one, which was historically disputed, and the number of casualties is
5 much -- is actually much lower and this is something that was established
6 by historians.
7 Q. The creators of that state, were they people whose military
8 formations were called Ustasha military formations?
9 A. A number of the people who formed the state did have Ustasha
10 military formations. However, there were other people whose formations
11 were called SS units. And I also don't know what the Italian fascist
12 forces were called in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
13 Q. Does that mean that the Ustashas, the SS divisions, and Hitler's
14 soldiers were allies in World War II?
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. Would you be kind enough to tell us what the flag, if you know, as
17 a soldier, of that state looked like, the state from 1941 to 1945? What
18 were the symbols on that flag?
19 A. As far as I know, it was a red, white and blue flag, traditional
20 Croatian flag, with a coat of arms. As it was -- as it was popularly
21 called, "the chequerboard," but it was different than the flag of the
22 modern Republic of Croatia.
23 Q. But the present modern state of Croatia also has the chequerboard
24 on its flag?
25 A. The chequerboard is on the flag but it's different. The order of
1 colours is different than the order during the NDH time and the historical
2 coats of arms are different.
3 Q. What about the military insignia on the uniforms of Ustasha
4 formation and formations of the ZNG? Are they similar or not?
5 A. I don't know what the insignia was in Ustasha formations.
6 Q. Thank you. And my last question on this topic, I'm going to take
7 into account, of course, the suggestion of the Trial Chamber. Do you know
8 who Andrija Artukovic was?
9 A. Yes, I do. That was a man who was one of the ministers in the
10 government of the NDH. After the war he fled the area and he was tried as
11 a war criminal in Zagreb and was sentenced to a long prison sentence or a
12 death sentence, I really cannot remember which one.
13 Q. Thank you. Was he held accountable for war crimes against the
14 Serbian people?
15 A. He was held to account for war crimes committed during the NDH
16 under his leadership. I don't know against whom the war crimes were
17 committed because there was also a large number of Croats who were
18 casualties in a large number of camps throughout the former Yugoslavia as
19 well as in Croatia, even though the largest number of casualties were
21 Q. Thank you. Can we then agree, if I assert from the opinion of the
22 Defence, that in order to prevent a repeat of the events from 1941, Serb
23 people did have reason to take steps to protect themselves, including to
24 seek protection from the JNA when their rights were jeopardised? Do you
25 have an answer to that question?
1 A. That question was very topical as of 1989, as soon as the
2 introduction of a multi-party system was announced on the territory of the
3 former Yugoslavia. I tried to convince with a series of arguments my
4 colleagues, which thought along those lines, and were afraid that some
5 kind of system would be restored in which some of the peoples would be
6 threatened. I hope that I managed to save a large number of people who
7 did not opt to have a Croat system which would be against any particular
9 Q. Your duties as chief of security of the 5th Corps, that was
10 your -- one of your posts; is that correct?
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. Was one of your duties to protect from terrorist activities?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. In view of the duties that you were performing, do you know when
15 anti-terrorist, anti-sabotage units were formed in the army of Yugoslavia?
16 What year was that?
17 A. It's been ten, 15 or 20 years when that was done. There were no
18 such units in the air force so I was not responsible for them, but I know
19 that they were thinking along those lines after there were hijackings of
20 planes internationally, also after the incursion in 1972 of a group.
21 Q. Excuse me, I think it was 1974. Are you thinking of Radusa?
22 A. As far as I can remember, it was 1972 but if you say it was 74,
23 very well. So sometime in that area, they considered the formation of
24 such units.
25 Q. Thank you very much. I apologise for interrupting you. My
1 question actually was the following: In 1974, in a place called Radusa
2 was there an incursion by a Ustasha sabotage unit into Croatia?
3 A. As far as I know, there is no such place.
4 Q. Radusa?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Would you be kind enough to tell us what was the place where the
7 Ustasha units came for the first time?
8 A. These were not Ustasha units. It was a so-called
9 terrorist/sabotage unit which entered the territory of the SFRY near
10 Maribor, near Gornja Radgona, they crossed the road and made it to Bugojno
11 not to mountain Radusa. There was no place called Radusa.
12 Q. Thank you very much so would you agree that it was an Ustasha
13 sabotage group and that the incursion of that group was the cause or the
14 reason why the JNA formed these anti-sabotage, anti-terrorist units?
15 A. This was not the first group that entered the territory of
16 Yugoslavia. Since 1945, throughout history, there were more such groups.
17 It's possible that this is one of the reasons but I don't know if it's the
18 main reason.
19 Q. Very well. Thank you.
20 Did you hear of a person called Miro Baresic?
21 A. Yes, I have heard of him.
22 Q. It's not in the transcript.
23 A. Yes, I've heard of him.
24 Q. Thank you. Would you tell the Trial Chamber who that is?
25 A. That is a member of an emigre organisation in the west. It was
1 abroad. He moved through a large number of countries in the west.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. In 1991, he was killed in Lika, under circumstances which have
4 still not been clarified.
5 Q. So you say he was a member of an emigre organisation. Which
6 emigre organisation?
7 A. He was a member of a Croatian emigre organisation but I don't know
8 what was the name of it.
9 Q. Thank you. Since you have information that he was killed in 1992,
10 my question is: Was he killed as a member of a Croat paramilitary
11 organisation in the area or was he perhaps a member of some other
12 formation that was in the territory of Croatia?
13 A. He was killed in 1991, sometime in the summer of 1991, in the area
14 of Ravni Kotari. As a member of the reserves -- reserve forces of the
15 Ministry of Internal Affairs. As far as I know he was not under my
17 Q. Thank you. Members of the reserve forces of the Ministry of
18 Internal Affairs, were they not, according to your replies, also members
19 of the ZNG?
20 A. A large number of the ZNG members were part of the same from the
21 ranks of the reserve forces of the MUP, the Ministry of Internal Affairs
22 of the Republic of Croatia, but not all of them. You could say that a
23 smaller number became members of the ZNG.
24 Q. Thank you. And would you agree with my information that Miro
25 Baresic was a Croatian Ustasha and that he killed the ambassador of the
1 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia named Rolovic? Do you know about
2 that incident, that case?
3 A. I don't know if he was a Ustasha because the Ustashas in 1945 were
4 vanquished and so there were none of those later on. But that he referred
5 to the -- whether he referred to the Ustasha movement or was sympathetic
6 with it, I don't know. He was a younger man born after the war, and as
7 far as I know, from the information we received in the service, that went
8 round the service, he was one of the people involved in the assassination
9 of Ambassador Rolovic.
10 Q. And do you know about the fact that he was proclaimed a member of
11 the international terrorist organisation after that and that an
12 international wanted poster was issued for him? He was wanted
14 A. Well, after every killing, the perpetrators are sought and wanted.
15 Miro Baresic as far as I remember, was tried in Sweden, I believe, and so
16 he did -- was held accountable for his crime.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. AGHA: Your Honours, I apologise for interrupting my learned
19 friend but I'm wondering what the relevance are of these questions
20 regarding the actual indictment which concerns a very limited crime of the
21 alleged murder of 200-odd people from a hospital.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Agha, as we have indicated on occasion so far,
23 the Prosecution undoubtedly has one view of what is relevant to this
24 offence or these offences, the Defence a different one. The Chamber has
25 to allow to both sides some reasonable opportunity to present the case as
1 they see it. If something is evidently not relevant, certainly we will
2 intervene. At the moment, this area of discussion, at least insofar as it
3 deals with events in 1991, is not one which the Chamber is able to rule
4 out as not relevant. So you will understand that we fully appreciate that
5 it is not what you see to be relevant but I suspect that your ideas and
6 Mr. Borovic's would be quite apart on the issue.
7 So please carry on, Mr. Borovic.
8 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Q. Mr. Agotic, you said yesterday when asked by my colleague,
10 Mr. Vasic, a question, that in Croatia in the period in 1991, the Yugoslav
11 People's Army was considered the occupation army; is that right, an
12 occupying force, that that's how they were viewed?
13 A. Yes, that's correct.
14 Q. Do you know when the Yugoslav People's Army was established and
15 when it set foot on -- in Vukovar for the first time and when the barracks
16 were attacked? Do you know what year that was?
17 A. I don't know.
18 Q. All right. Very well. How can you explain to us then the fact
19 that all the barracks of the Yugoslav People's Army and all the men in
20 those barracks were on the territory of Croatia and how was it that they
21 according to you they could suddenly become an occupying force, an
22 occupational army? So what triggered this off and who proclaimed,
23 suddenly proclaimed the Yugoslav People's Army to be an enemy army when it
24 had been there for 50 years?
25 A. The Yugoslav People's Army on the territory of Croatia was not
1 proclaimed by the Croatian leadership an occupying force, but it was the
2 army which took sides in the conflict that broke out on the territory of
3 the former Yugoslavia, and it took one side, in actual fact, a long time
4 ago. Or we could almost say before the armed conflicts actually broke out
5 and the barricades were erected on the territory of Croatia.
6 And if I might be allowed to add, and if you're interested in
7 hearing, I can also tell you that the chief of the General Staff in June
8 1990, that is to say not 15 days after the Croatian authorities were
9 elected at democratic elections, and we must bear that in mind all the
10 time, that they were democratic elections and whether the Chief of Staff,
11 Colonel General Adzic, before a large number of officers, high-ranking
12 army officers at the Pleso airport, when asked by one of the generals
13 present, a JNA general present, he was asked -- they asked him, "How are
14 we going to cooperate, General, with the new Croatian authorities?"
15 Because up until now, we had very good relations with the structures in
16 power and the people on the territory of Croatia. General Adzic's answer
17 was this: He said, "I have no cooperation with Tudjman. Tudjman should
18 be said get out of that seat, get out of your chair." So that was the
19 programme of the Yugoslav People's Army vis-a-vis the Croatian authorities
20 and powers that be.
21 Q. All right. Thank you. May I make a comment and say that Tudjman
22 at that time advocated a pure nationalistic programme, that is to say a
23 programme by virtue of its goals represented in fact a programme pursued
24 by the NDH, the independent state of Croatia, dating back to 1941.
25 A. Well, you have every right to your opinion but I'm quite certain
1 that that is not correct.
2 Q. All right. Never mind. We don't want to enter into the realms of
3 politics. I will respect the guidelines given by the Chamber and stop
4 there. But I do have to ask you this: Were you ever a communist
6 A. Yes, from 1963 until the end of 1990.
7 Q. And after that, were you a member of the HDZ, the Croatian party?
8 A. I was not a member of any party afterwards, after the League of
9 Communists of Yugoslavia was abolished which was the 15th of January 1991
10 or thereabouts, when all the officers of the former JNA were asked to
11 state their views whether they were in favour of the League of Communists
12 of Yugoslavia or not. And I said I was not and I have remained
13 non-party-affiliated to the present day.
14 Q. I see. Did you personally or indirectly take part in struggles
15 against members of the Yugoslav People's Army, not former Yugoslav
16 People's Army but the Yugoslav army?
17 A. I took part indirectly because I was in charge of the structures
18 that organised defence, defence from the Yugoslav People's Army and from
19 anybody who wanted to launch an attack on Croatia.
20 Q. Thank you. Now, you also -- you said indirectly. How many times
21 did you command the attack on the barracks of the Yugoslav People's Army,
22 command operations of attacks against the barracks of the Yugoslav
23 People's Army, for instance?
24 A. Not once. I was never in command of anything like that because
25 that was the position of the political leadership of the Republic of
1 Croatia whereby the barracks should be blocked, and then in the second
2 stage the warehouses, that the warehouses should be taken over to arm
3 Croatia and to take control of them.
4 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you mentioned the example of the Bjelovar
5 barracks and directly asked by my colleague Mr. Vasic, you said that you
6 had heard that the commander of the barracks in Bjelovar was killed or
7 rather taken -- my question to you is after he was arrested by the
8 Croatian National Guards Corps was he liquidated, was he executed? That's
9 a direct question.
10 A. I don't know if owe was executed but I do know that an
11 investigation was conducted after the Bjelovar barracks had been taken
12 over and that individuals were held responsible before the Croatian
14 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, is the following piece of information
15 correct, that during the blockades and during the time when the barracks
16 were seized from the Yugoslav People's Army it was under your direct
17 command that 36 soldiers of the Yugoslav People's Army were killed? Is
18 that correct? Is that true?
19 A. I don't know how many soldiers were killed but that there were
20 casualties on both sides, a relatively large number of casualties, that is
22 Q. Thank you. And how many casualties on the other side would you
23 say there were?
24 A. I can't say how many casualties there were on the Croatian side.
25 I know there were quite a lot, especially among the civilian population in
2 Q. Thank you. As the commander of the Croatian National Guards
3 Corps, the ZNG, did you receive the following information: Do you know
4 how many foreign nationals were members of the Croatian National Guards
6 A. I don't have that information to hand but I do know that some
7 foreign citizens were among the ranks of the Croatian army and a smaller
8 portion in the ZNG as well. But in the Croatian army, there were indeed
9 perhaps several hundred, a couple of hundred.
10 Q. Do you know which countries they came from, those mercenaries?
11 A. First of all they were not mercenaries because everybody was paid
12 in the Croatian army, everybody received a salary if they were in the
13 Croatian army. But they would come in for the same salaries, sometimes
14 even for foregoing their salaries, from England, from Holland, from
15 America, from Argentina, from Australia, from a large number of countries,
16 in fact.
17 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether there were any such foreign
18 nationals in the ZNG Corps in Vukovar in 1991?
19 A. Well, I don't know whether there were any amongst the defenders of
20 Vukovar. However, a large number of Croats in the foreign legion came in
21 to defend the country and, amongst other things, Vukovar, too.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, do you know how they joined the Croatian National
23 Guards Corps, since you were the commander -- a commander and they
24 belonged to the foreign legion, what was the procedure for membership?
25 Could you explain that to us a little, please?
1 A. Well, the procedure wasn't very complicated. If you wanted to
2 join up with the National Guards Corps, you had to state your decision to
3 fight for the defence of Croatia and you would have to contact the
4 Ministry of the Interior. They had their personnel department. And
5 contracts would be signed, agreements reached, with the members joining up
6 with the international guards and they would receive a regular monthly
8 Q. Do you know how high that salary was?
9 A. As a colonel of the former JNA, since my rank was acknowledged and
10 recognised although we didn't have ranks afterwards, my first salary was
11 somewhere in the region of 30 to 32.000 dinars. The then Yugoslav dinars.
12 Q. And what about these people from the foreign legion that joined up
13 with the ZNG? What were their salaries?
14 A. As far as I know, our salaries were the same. I don't think there
15 were any differences.
16 Q. Thank you. So at the time, on the territory which belonged to an
17 area where these war events were taking place, in Vukovar, we had members
18 of the Croatian National Guards Corps; is that right?
19 A. In Vukovar itself, a very small number, but yes, there were
20 members of the ZNG.
21 Q. And members of the MUP of Croatia?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Any HOS members?
24 A. I think that in Vukovar itself, there weren't any HOS members but
25 in the defence of Vukovar, indirectly, along the front lines there were
1 members of the HOS.
2 Q. And what were the names of the members of the paramilitary
3 formations and units - you told us something about that - that were led by
5 A. They were the defenders of Vukovar, organised by the Secretariat
6 for National Defence of the Vukovar municipality.
7 Q. Did they not have a separate name?
8 A. As far as I know they didn't. Perhaps he had a name for them or
9 somebody calls them by some special name but they had no different
10 official name except to be called the defenders of Vukovar.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, in Mercep's units, were the members mostly
12 Croats, the majority were Croats, were they?
13 A. Yes, the majority were Croats although there were people of
14 different ethnicities.
15 Q. And what conclusions can we make here in court, if we have a short
16 sketch of this conflict where on the one side we have members of the MUP
17 of Croatia and the Croatian National Guards Corps, members of the HOS,
18 Mercep's volunteers, and on the other side, on the other hand, you just
19 have the representatives of the Serb people who had not been militarily
20 organised and established? What comment can you make? Did somebody need
21 to help them out perhaps? Did they need assistance? To be quite
22 specific, did they need the assistance of the Yugoslav People's Army? To
23 be quite specific, to deal with this enormous military force which
24 numbered a very many units as you've just told us here in court?
25 A. No. They did not need any assistance because those who were
1 organised to defend Croatia were not organised in order to take over these
2 people in Croatia or to expel them.
3 Q. Thank you. Do you know that the Prime Minister was in Vukovar in
4 August 1991, in August 1991?
5 A. Of what government?
6 Q. The Croatian government.
7 A. I don't know about that. I'm not aware of that, but I think that
8 Dr. Franjo Greguric was in Vukovar once while you were still able to
10 Q. Do you know the reason for the Prime Minister of the Croatian
11 government to go to Vukovar, a town that was in that status?
12 A. Well, the Prime Minister can move around the entire territory of
13 his country, and I can tell you that Prime Minister Greguric was the
14 president of the coalition government which was comprised of all the
15 parties in the Sabor, or Croatian assembly, including Serb ministers,
16 Serbs from Croatia.
17 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether during that period of time, Franjo
18 Tudjman visited Vukovar at all?
19 A. I don't think he did during August and later certainly not.
20 Q. Thank you. I think he visited it in July, according to my
21 information, but if you're not aware much that, let's move on.
22 Do you know or are you aware of the fact that in Vukovar, from
23 August until the end of November, so from August to the end of November is
24 the period we are looking at, there were special permits that were in
25 force which were issued by Mercep which prohibited free movement of
1 citizens around the town of Vukovar or, more exactly, permits without
2 which nobody was able to enter or to leave Vukovar? Are you aware of
4 A. No. I was not aware of that. I didn't know that that was the
5 manner in which he regulated the question of movement around Vukovar.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, if I tell you that the director of the hospital
7 and the employees of the hospital confirmed the fact that these permits
8 did in fact exist, were in existence, may I have your comments as to who
9 could have given permission for permits like this to exist when the
10 Croatian National Guards Corps existed, when MUP existed? Who could have
11 given Martic [as interpreted] the go ahead to limit movement of the
12 population in Vukovar in that way? Who could have given him that
14 A. If that is true, that that was so, then I think he could have
15 organised it himself.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, Mercep was the name.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He organised defence. Now, how he
18 could have done that I answered that yesterday and said that it was no
19 pleasure doing that.
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour, it seems
21 that transcript reads Martic, instead of Mercep. Line 11, page 18. Could
22 this please be corrected? Thank you.
23 Q. Did you hear of the 204th Vukovar Brigade?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Yesterday you didn't enumerate it when you gave testimony about
1 brigades. Can you tell us what was the composition of this brigade? What
2 was its area of responsibility, and what can you tell us about it?
3 A. The 204th Brigade of Vukovar, or the 104th -- or the 124th
4 Brigade, which is still in existence, it was never lined up as a brigade.
5 And in order for it to acquire the status of brigade and the status of
6 defenders of the town, it was ordered by the commander of the operations
7 zone, the then colonel and later General Karl Gorinsek, to establish a
8 brigade. The Main Staff gave one numeric denomination and he gave another
9 one, and this is why this brigade is known under two names or two numbers.
10 I didn't enumerate it because, as a brigade, neither then nor now was it
11 in existence as a brigade of the town of Vukovar. This is why I didn't
12 include it as a brigade. I said that the defenders of Vukovar were those
13 who were an active factor in the defence of Vukovar.
14 Q. All right. But we didn't hear what was its area of responsibility
15 and action. In which area was it active? Do you know that? And was it a
16 brigade of the ZNG regardless of the fact whether it had a status of a
17 brigade or not?
18 A. No. It was a brigade of the Croatian army which comprised
19 defenders of Vukovar, meaning that all of those who defended Vukovar later
20 on were included into the 204th or 124th brigade.
21 Q. All right. Can you then explain to us, you have just referred to
22 this force as the "Croatian army," and I think that your explanation was
23 not quite a convincing one. Can you please tell us why, in 2003, the
24 Croatian government legalised that status as late as 2003, if it was
25 according to you a legal Croatian force? Why would the government
1 legalise it only in 2003?
2 A. Please do not assess my answers as convincing or not. It is up to
3 the Trial Chamber to do that. Our job here is to establish the truth and
4 this is why I tried to give very fair and accurate answers and I ask that
5 you have the same attitude.
6 204th Vukovar Brigade was never established as such. In order for
7 the status of Vukovar defenders to be legally regulated, they had to be
8 listed as members of a brigade or a unit. This is why it wasn't done
9 until 2003, and I believe that their status has not been finally legalised
10 until to date.
11 Q. All right. Can we then conclude that the 204th Vukovar Brigade at
12 that time was a paramilitary formation because it had no legal status, yes
13 or no?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Since your answer was no, would you please explain it?
16 A. I told you that the task of those setting up the 204th brigade was
17 to defend Vukovar.
18 Q. All right. So the defenders of Vukovar, can they attribute a
19 status to a formation or is it something that is done by somebody at the
20 level of the republic or higher level? Can any group of people attribute
21 a status to a military formation in any modern country?
22 A. No. This is done by the Minister of Defence and the Main Staff.
23 This is why I said that in 1991, sometime in October when they started
24 establishing brigades in the Croatian army outside of the ZNG, I told you
25 yesterday that there were four and later seven ZNG brigades, whereas all
1 other brigades were brigades of the Croatian army. It was then that they
2 started establishing them. However, the Vukovar Brigade in the
3 administrative sense was not -- its status was not legally finalised until
4 much later.
5 Q. All right. The situation is quite clear to me. And it is up to
6 the Trial Chamber to judge.
7 My next question is do you know who Marin Vidic, Bili, was?
8 A. Marin Vidic, Bili, yes, I know who he was.
9 Q. Would you be so kind and tell us what you know about him?
10 A. Marin Vidic, Bili, was the commissioner of the government of the
11 Republic of Croatia for the municipality of Vukovar. By occupation he's
12 an engineer of agriculture and until then he had lived in a village. I
13 believe the flame of the village was Lovas.
14 Q. All right. Thank you. Do you know what authorities he had as a
15 government commissioner in Vukovar during combat activities?
16 A. I'm not aware of all of his authorities but I know that presidents
17 of municipalities and government commissioners were at the same time
18 chiefs of staffs, Crisis Staffs, in that area.
19 Q. All right. At the time when you joined the ZNG and headed it, can
20 you tell us who were the members of the Crisis Staff in Vukovar?
21 A. I don't know the members but I know that the Crisis Staff was
22 headed by the government commissioner for Vukovar.
23 Q. And by saying so, you mean precisely the person we just mentioned?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you know whether in that Crisis Staff, there was also the
1 director of the Vukovar Hospital, during that period of time?
2 A. I'm not aware of that. But I know that there was a director of
3 the hospital who cooperated very closely with the government commissioner
4 for Vukovar municipality.
5 Q. Since I'm not aware of that, of this type of cooperation, would
6 you please explain what do you mean by close cooperation?
7 A. In view of the existing circumstances, the hospital had special
8 needs. It needed all kinds of supplies. It needed to be protected. At
9 the request of the director of the hospital, this was implemented on a
10 priority basis by those who were in power, and in this case, it was the
11 government commissioner for the municipality of Vukovar. He was the one
12 authorised to do that.
13 Q. All right. Thank you. Do you know who guarded the hospital? Was
14 it the members of the ZNG or the MUP? Was it the volunteers or members of
15 the Croatian army or members of the paramilitary units among whom you
16 included HOS? Who guarded the hospital?
17 A. I don't know who guarded the hospital during that period of time.
18 Most likely some kind of defence units established at the time.
19 Q. So it seems that you don't know.
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. Did you hear of Dr. Njavro?
22 A. Certainly.
23 Q. Was he a member of the ZNG?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Do you know whether he was a member of the reserve police forces
1 of Croatia?
2 A. I don't believe he was. He was a physician and they were not
3 militarily organised except military doctors.
4 Q. All right. Thank you. I think that we have information
5 concerning what I'm about to ask you. Did you appoint Mile Dedakovic
6 known as Jastreb and Branko Borkovic to take over the ZNG members in
8 A. Yes. I did instruct them to do that but not to take over the ZNG
9 members, but rather to assume the leadership of the defence of Vukovar.
10 Q. So the jurisdiction that they have, what forces did they have
11 jurisdiction over?
12 A. All forces who defended Vukovar.
13 Q. Does that mean that they did not have under their command only the
14 ZNG but also the policemen, members of HOS, Mercep's men, units of
15 volunteers, as you called them, and so on?
16 A. As I said, I don't think that HOS members were present in Vukovar.
17 Q. But had they been, would they also be under their command?
18 A. Yes. Whoever was armed and was involved in defence of Vukovar
19 came under the command of Mile Dedakovic, Jastreb, who was appointed to
20 that post.
21 Q. Thank you. I think that you gave testimony about the members of
22 the ZNG who were actually members of the MUP of Croatia. Does that mean
23 that, by saying so, you are putting the MUP of Croatia under your control
24 whereas formerly you were stating that you were under the MUP of Croatia?
25 A. No. The ZNG members were not under the MUP of Croatia. However,
1 for administrative purposes, for salaries and for health protection and
2 retirement insurance and so on, they were put on the records of the MUP of
4 Q. To tell you the truth, I don't quite understand this. It seems
5 that this was some kind of an administrative manipulation. They were not
6 members of the MUP of Croatia, however they were on their payrolls and
7 were established as a separate, independent formation. Can you explain
8 this clearer, please?
9 A. Members of the ZNG from the 28th of May 1991 were within the
10 composition of the Ministry of the Interior of Croatia as an independent
11 armed formation. In addition to that, the Ministry of the Interior had
12 reserve forces of police and regular police force, which had some 20.000
13 members. Additionally, MUP also had the state security service within
14 it. So those were the organisation that is existed within the then MUP.
15 Q. All right. So when the time comes for the members of the ZNG to
16 have all those units under their command, was it done pursuant to your
17 order or an order of somebody above you?
18 A. I proposed the head of the defence of Vukovar, and the order was
19 signed by the Supreme Commander of Croatia, to have him appointed as head
20 of the Vukovar defence.
21 Q. Thank you. One of the witnesses here told us that the
22 commissioner in addition to all other authorities and tasks, was
23 authorised to cut off water supply, electrical supply, to control all of
24 those needs that existed in the town of Vukovar. Do you have any such
25 information namely that he was authorised to have all of that under his
1 control in Vukovar?
2 A. I don't know what kind of authorities he had. However, I know
3 that the Crisis Staffs in the territory of the Republic of Croatia
4 regulated those issues for the entire area.
5 Q. So that means that that fell under the jurisdiction of Crisis
6 Staffs of all towns, including Vukovar?
7 A. Most likely that's how it was.
8 Q. Does this mean that this issue as well fell within the
9 responsibility of Marin Vidic, Bili, who was the chief of the Crisis
11 A. Most likely that's how it was.
12 Q. In the towns that I mentioned to you, the barracks that had been
13 blocked and taken away, seized from the JNA, all of these things is
14 something that you have knowledge about. Was the electricity cut off to
15 those barracks such as, for example, the one in Bjelovar, before the
16 barracks were attacked? Was the electricity and water cut off?
17 A. Yes. Electricity, water supplies, and egress was controlled.
18 This is what we called the blockade.
19 Q. Was the same system applied in Vukovar even though during that
20 period of time you your self were not in charge but do you know about the
21 system? Was this system applied in Vukovar as well?
22 A. I think that Vukovar was a bit of a special case in view of the
23 location of the barracks in Vukovar. I didn't visit the barracks until
24 after the war, after the peaceful integration, and I think that I saw that
25 this barracks was impossible to put under siege. The barracks in Vukovar
1 was not especially important. It wasn't particularly large.
2 Q. I didn't mean the cases in Gospic, Bjelovar and so on but what I
3 had in mind were the cutoffs of electricity, water and so on?
4 A. If the Crisis Staff was able to implement that, then, yes, the
5 same system would be applied in Vukovar as well.
6 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that they -- the people in the barracks
7 could not have turned off water and electricity for the hospital? It had
8 to be done somewhere else?
9 A. I don't know how the supply system is regulated Vukovar.
10 Q. Trust me. I know that it is impossible to do it from the barracks
11 in Vukovar.
12 Yesterday you spoke about the Spegelj affair and I wouldn't like
13 to go back to it now. Did you say how long after this operation -- did
14 you say how many -- how many Kalashnikovs there were in the ZNG?
15 A. Yesterday I replied that there is information indicating that
16 about 40.000 Kalashnikovs were imported in that Spegelj operation. When
17 the ZNG was established, there were somewhere about 8.000 Kalashnikovs.
18 Q. All right. In order not to repeat what was said yesterday, I will
19 stop here. I will ask you something else. Did you personally ever
20 propose to Tudjman to buy weapons?
21 A. In August of 1991, I briefed him and told him that we had many
22 more people than we were able to arm.
23 Q. Was that the period of time when there was an embargo on importing
24 and procuring weapons? Was it during that period of time?
25 A. That was immediately prior to the introduction of the arms
1 embargo. It was introduced on the 1st of September 1991.
2 Q. Yesterday you said that during the embargo, you managed to procure
4 A. I said that during the embargo, we armed the Croatian army from
5 the JNA barracks and depots.
6 Q. Did you procure weapons from Hungary during that period of time?
7 A. I can tell you that the members of the defence department were in
8 charge of procuring weapons and equipment. I know that in the units most
9 of the weapons originated from the JNA.
10 Q. Thank you. In response to a question by my learned friend
11 Mr. Vasic, you said that when weapons of the Territorial Defence were
12 blocked by the Yugoslav People's Army, you felt that they had seized the
13 weapons, that it wasn't theirs, that it belonged to someone else and that
14 that was how you treated that. Am I right?
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. If now members of the ZNG seize weapons from barracks belonging to
17 the JNA, how would you call that? Would you call that illegal procurement
18 of weapons? Is that seizing somebody else's property? What do you say to
20 A. I say that that would be taking your own property, which was also
21 financed by Croatia within the former SFRY. It was in the situation of
22 having to defend them -- itself. There was no way of obtaining weapons
23 and it was the only way to get them. The other way would be to just go to
24 church and to pray.
25 Q. My assessment is that it would have been better for you to have
1 gone to church and prayed than to have seized weapons. But I apologise.
2 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise for making
3 a personal comment.
4 Q. These weapons that were in the barracks of the JNA, did they
5 belong to the peoples of other republics? Was that their property also?
6 A. In the distribution ratio, you could see that Croatia owned 20 per
7 cent of all JNA property.
8 Q. So that means that you had taken more than your fair share?
9 A. We did not take 20 per cent, and, as I said, actually, we were
10 owed 27 per cent.
11 Q. Well, we will leave that up to the Court. I'm going to cut this
12 short so that we will be able to go on time for our first break.
13 We looked at Exhibit 84 relating to the village of Bruska and then
14 you mentioned in the remarks, and this was something that was on the ELMO
15 for a long time, you said that there was a mistake there and that it
16 stated there that not all Croats were Ustashas. Is that what it says?
17 A. It doesn't say that.
18 Q. Could you please tell me what it says, then?
19 A. The comment by the major is that an investigation needed to be
20 carried out again in order to take away the stigma from the Serbian
22 Q. So the investigation needed to be conducted again?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. Because this has been admitted as an exhibit, and there were
25 several comments, you noted at the end that the Croat people were not
1 mentioned there at all, but what was mentioned were member of a sabotage
2 unit of Ustashas who allegedly committed that crime. Why did you comment
3 that that referred to the entire Croatian people?
4 A. Mr. Borovic, we are talking about different documents. The
5 document that I commented on refutes the -- or the security organ refutes
6 the assessment by the public security station or the police station in
7 Benkovac, that the massacre was not carried out against the Marinkovics in
8 the Bruska village by members of the terrorist sabotage group but that the
9 massacre was a result of a quarrel dating back a few years ago with a
10 family from some village that is mentioned and that they used this
11 opportunity and committed a massacre against these nine people. So it was
12 noted that this was not an act by an Ustasha sabotage terrorist unit but
13 that it was a fight amongst people. They happened to be Serbs in this
14 case so I believe that my comment was quite correct, the comment that I
15 made at the time.
16 Q. There is also Exhibit 85, that is the next document, where Pupovac
17 and Skoric are mentioned as persons suspected of having committed the
18 massacre; is that correct? Do you know what happened ultimately with
19 Skoric and Pupovac? Were they tried, convicted? How did this case end?
20 A. I don't know. But it states there that the police officer - I
21 think his name is Mladenovic - would know best who actually committed the
22 massacre and this police officer was transferred to Serbia.
23 Q. Very well. Thank you. If I were to tell you that on the 4th of
24 November 2003, this is on page 28521, lines 9 to 12, a witness stated in
25 the case of Slobodan Milosevic the following: "It does need to be
1 remembered that one of the biggest ethnic cleansing in the whole of the
2 Balkans during this period was that involving Serbs who had to flee
3 Krajina in the early summer of 1995. The name of the witness is
4 Lord David Owen."
5 My question is: I have this transcript from the Milosevic case in
6 English. If necessary, I can furnish that to the Prosecution but this is
7 exactly what the witness said. What would be your comment about the
8 events relating to the so-called Storm? Did you participate in Storm and
9 in general what is your position in relation to that?
10 A. The Storm operation -- before the operation I was a commander of
11 the Croatian air force which was actively participating in the Operation
12 Storm. I think that Operation Storm was an operation by the Croatian army
13 which liberated territories occupied until that time. This was some 30
14 per cent of the territory. And that it was implemented in a very
15 professional and proper manner, Operation Storm as such.
16 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that the witness, Lord David Owen, who
17 testified in the case of Slobodan Milosevic --
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, how is this relevant to events in
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. It's
21 relevant precisely because the witness directly participated in these
22 events. He was chief of the Croatian army air force, and it's relevant as
23 it relates to his credibility as someone who is personally interested in
24 explaining the events from his own point of view, because the position of
25 the Defence - and may the witness excuse me - is that there are witness --
1 witnesses to the event in which the witness was a commander. These
2 witnesses refer to that event as ethnic cleansing. If at the time he was
3 the commander of the air force, at the time when 300.000 people were
4 expelled from Croatia, and some witnesses stated that this was a matter of
5 ethnic cleansing, then we are proofing the position of the witness as it
6 relates to the ZNG and the Croatian army, because we heard the witness say
7 that this was a legal operation, that it was a brilliant military
8 operation. Then that is the position of the witness in relation to events
9 in 1991.
10 [Trial chamber confers]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, the Chamber sees no sufficient
12 relevance in events so many years after to the activities and the events
13 of 1991, the subject of the indictment. So if you would leave that topic
14 alone, thank you.
15 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I think that actually
16 these questions would suffice. I have one more question and then it will
17 be, I think, time for the break.
18 Q. Sir, as somebody who commanded the air force, did you participate
19 in military operations in Bosnia outside the borders of Croatia?
20 A. I personally did not, but helicopters of the Croatian air force
21 made more than 100 sorties, transporter choppers flew over 100 flights to
22 Bosnia in order to evacuate the sick and the wounded.
23 Q. And was there any transfer of -- or transport of weapons?
24 A. No. There was no transport of weapons, but only the transport of
25 medical supplies. And if there was room, also food was carried.
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
2 It is time for a break and I would also like to inform you that I have no
3 further questions for this witness. Thank you.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Borovic.
5 We could actually run for another quarter of an hour, Mr. Lukic.
6 Would that suit you? We see you champing at the bit.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good
8 afternoon to all the parties.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Lukic:
10 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Agotic. I am Novak Lukic and I am
11 representing Mr. Sljivancanin. I will be asking some questions now. The
12 interpreters keep telling me off all the time that I talk very fast, so
13 I'm going to try to respect also their request and also, as Mr. Vasic
14 earlier said, please make a pause before you begin answering my questions
15 in order to give the interpreters a chance to complete their
17 I heard from your CV that you are -- you have a masters in
18 political sciences?
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. I would like to know what was the topic of your thesis and when
21 did you graduate?
22 A. I graduated in the -- in early 1985, and my topic was
23 non-alignment as a factor of security and efficacy of the defence of the
25 Q. From your testimony yesterday, and also on Friday, I understood
1 that you were assistant chief of security at the 5th Air Force Corps,
2 already in 1974; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. And that you became the chief and spent six years there, from 1985
5 until March 1991?
6 A. Yes. That is it, more or less.
7 Q. I assume that in those five years, that you spent as chief and
8 having in mind that for a long time before that you were in the same
9 sector, in the same service, you were able to form a clear picture of your
10 service and your section in that period.
11 A. Yes. I was able to form a clear picture.
12 Q. I would like to check one thing in respect of a question posed
13 yesterday. Am I wrong when I say - and perhaps you didn't answer properly
14 or, if you did, then it's my mistake - that you, as chief of the 5th Corps
15 security service, were directly subordinated to the chief of the air force
16 headquartered in Belgrade?
17 A. Yes, that is correct. The headquarters were in Zemun.
18 Q. And according to the command chain of command, you were
19 subordinated to the commander of the 5th Air Force Corps?
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Yesterday and during the examination-in-chief and also through the
22 transcript from the Milosevic case, this was recorded, and also in your
23 answers given to my learned friend Mr. Vasic but still I would like to
24 double-check. You said that the authority of the security service, as it
25 relates to the security services at the JNA command, were regulated
1 according to the rules of service of the armed forces of the SFRY adopted
2 in 1984, according to the information that I have, and these authorities
3 of the security service - and now I will refer to the testimony of the
4 Prosecution military expert - were limited to expert or technical matters,
5 according to Article 57 and 58 of the rules of service?
6 A. Well, I don't know exactly which articles they were but that's how
7 it was.
8 Q. Well, I don't want to read the regulations. The Trial Chamber
9 will be able to learn about this when we call the military experts. I
10 also assume that you are quite familiar with the first item or article of
11 these rules. I am only briefly going to read that regulation or a part of
12 the regulation. It's quite a large paragraph. "The organs of security,
13 as expert organs, carry out state security tasks, amongst other things in
14 order to uncover and prevent activities aimed at undermining or toppling
15 the constitution of the SFRY, the social system, and aimed at threatening
16 the security of the country, if such activities are carried out within the
17 armed forces or against the armed forces from within the country or from
18 abroad, and also in order to prevent activities aimed at violating the
19 confidentiality and secrecy of tasks and assignments of the JNA." I think
20 that this was also in force in the time period encompassed by the
21 indictment. In order for the Chamber to be quite clear about this, and I
22 believe that they are already quite informed about this question, but what
23 or who comprised the armed forces of the SFRY at the time?
24 A. They were comprised of land forces, the air force and
25 anti-aircraft defence service, as well as the navy. These were the
1 Yugoslav People's Army and Territorial Defence, organised in each republic
2 and province.
3 Q. One answer that you gave to Mr. Borovic prompts me, in relation to
4 this information that he sought regarding the emigre groups. You said
5 that as part of the service, and that's how I understood it, you received
6 information also about the activities of these emigre forces in relation
7 to the killing of ambassador Rolovic in Oslo. That is what you said. My
8 question is was this one of the tasks of the service to inform itself
9 about external and not only internal things that are relevant for the
10 defence of the country?
11 A. Yes. But first of all, about those elements which may endanger
12 the security of the JNA or the unit in which the security organs were
14 Q. This information that was sent, that is sent by the authorised
15 organ in accordance with the hierarchy of the security organs or the
16 security administration, was this something that acted as a kind of
17 directive in the work of the security organ?
18 A. Yes, that is correct. They formed directives, guiding the work of
19 such organs.
20 Q. I gain the impression that you were well informed about the
21 Vukovar battlefield from the moment I assume that you were given the
22 assignment of organising the individuals who were to be sent to command
23 these towns' defence. When did you actually send Dedakovic or Borkovic,
24 or rather whether you've already given us the answer I apologise for
25 asking you again but I don't think I heard your answer when did you
1 propose that Dedakovic and Borkovic be sent to Vukovar?
2 A. I think that that was on the 28th of August 1991 or a day or two
3 after that date.
4 Q. And to the best of your knowledge, when did they actually leave?
5 When did they go there?
6 A. Well, we could say that it was on the 30th of August, that they
7 arrived in Vukovar on the 30th of August and reported perhaps on the 1st
8 of September. But that's give or take a day or two, just a day or two's
10 Q. I asked you when you made the proposal to Tudjman but you answered
11 the question, so there is no doubt about him giving permission to your
12 proposal; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Does the name Ante Aric ring a bell at all?
15 A. Ante Aric, that's the first time I've heard of that name. Perhaps
16 you've got the surname wrong? I know Ante Karic, perhaps, if that's who
17 you meant.
18 Q. Was he in Vukovar perhaps?
19 A. No, no, no.
20 Q. Did you receive feedback information from Dedakovic, Borkovic,
21 with respect to the Vukovar operations and, if so, how frequently?
22 A. I did receive information. They would call up on the phone to
23 report on the situation, and to ask for assistance, more or less, in the
24 form of manpower, equipment, later on medicines and so on, but no written
25 reporting, no written reports.
1 Q. How often, if you can tell us roughly?
2 A. Well, approximately sometimes twice a day, sometimes once in three
3 days, depending on how often they were able to report. But Vukovar wasn't
4 the only problem and I was taken up with various affairs but roughly
5 speaking that would be it. That would be the intensity of the reporting.
6 Q. Do you have any direct information about the fact that Dedakovic
7 talked directly to Tus and to Tudjman and that he asked them to send
8 weapons first of all ammunition for heavy weapons, the 120 calibre and 158
9 calibre, millimetre calibre, do you know anything about that?
10 A. I know that he contacted a number of people, certainly General Tus
11 and certainly the president of the country. Now what he asked for
12 specifically, I really can't say. I don't know. But that he had need of
13 ammunition and weapons, that is quite certain.
14 Q. Did you -- he ask for NORA?
15 A. I know that he asked for artillery support from the units that
16 were in the encirclement of Vukovar. He asked for tanks, too. However,
17 we were not able to give him those things. So I don't know what -- he
18 asked for -- everything that could help him in the defence of Vukovar
19 would have been welcome.
20 Q. I think we are going to take a break but my last question before
21 we do so: Could you tell us what the NORAs are, what are NORAs?
22 A. They are heavy howitzers, as far as I know. I am not very
23 well-versed in artillery, the people from the land forces would know that
24 better than me. But it is a sophisticated, very modern type of weapon,
25 howitzer, long range, solid-calibre weapon, very precise, high precision
1 weapon but I don't know the details, the NORAs. Ask me about planes. I
2 will tell you that.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May we take a break now?
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
5 We will resume at ten minutes past four.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.13 p.m.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, I don't know whether the interpreters
9 managed to get to you in the break, but I did notice that you are quite
10 right when you say you speak quickly, and it would, I think, help them a
11 great deal if you yourself paused after an answer, before asking the next
12 question, and so forth. I'll give Mr. Borovic a coaching lesson next
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Well, I've been here for four years
15 now, at the Tribunal, and I still haven't managed to learn. I've been
16 hearing those criticisms for four years.
17 Q. Mr. Agotic, I'll continue from where we left off and I was asking
18 you some questions about information and whether you received feedback
19 information from Dedakovic and Borkovic, in fact. Now, tell me this,
20 please: Was it your idea and where do you get information about Dedakovic
21 and Borkovic as people who you wished to commend for the defence of
22 Vukovar? Did you know them previously or did you receive any
23 recommendations to that effect?
24 A. I knew both Dedakovic and Borkovic from before, especially
25 Dedakovic. Both of them were from the air force, air force men, that is
1 to say corps units. Dedakovic, for a year or more, went to the 5th
2 Military District from the 5th Corps. A year or more ahead. And when he
3 was placed at our disposal, having left the JNA service, sometime after
4 the 20th of August, and demands and requests from Vukovar to send for the
5 organisers of a defence, I thought that he was the right man for the job.
6 Q. Do you happen to know that just like you, he asked the JNA to
7 relieve him of his duties in the JNA, or rather he deserted -- did he
8 desert from the JNA? Do you know anything about that?
9 A. As far as I know, he asked in writing to be let go from the JNA,
10 for his service there to cease.
11 Q. Very well. Thank you. I'd now like to ask you a couple of
12 questions linked to a protected witness, so may we go into private session
13 for a moment, please?
14 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
15 [Private session]
11 Page 2087 redacted. Private session.
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. At the time, did you also receive information -- I'm talking about
18 the period when Dedakovic and Borkovic were on the territory of Vukovar.
19 Did you receive from them information or hear about the fact that they had
20 contacted my client through a Motorola and there are video recordings
21 about that? Did you receive any information to that effect, that
22 Sljivancanin appealed to them to surrender?
23 A. I don't remember exactly whether that was a contact with
24 Sljivancanin himself, but that contacts of that kind during the war on the
25 territory of Croatia, that is to say contacts through Motorolas, that is
1 true, there were contacts of that nature.
2 Q. Specifically, and I'm talking about the Vukovar events, did they
3 inform you that the JNA representatives directly in the field were
4 proposing an end to the fighting and surrender and cessation to any
5 further military activities directly on the ground there in on the
7 A. At the time, when this came about, I no longer was in command of
8 them on the -- in the sense of daily commanding, because I was engaged in
9 negotiations with the JNA. At the time the daily contacts were maintained
10 by the chief of the Main Staff of the Croatian army and his assistant,
11 General Stipetic. What I do know is that there were certain stories along
12 those lines, that there were proposals coming from the other side that
13 they surrender.
14 Q. Have you refreshed your memory perhaps? Do you remember receiving
15 information from them about how many armoured JNA vehicles were destroyed
16 or how many JNA members captured or how many soldiers were killed during
17 the operations according to their information?
18 A. Yes. There was information to that effect, that a large number of
19 armoured vehicles were destroyed. There was the Trpinska Cesta, that
20 road, and that the adversary suffered heavy losses. There were figures
21 which I don't recall at present. How far this was true, I don't know.
22 How much it was bravado, I don't know. That's another matter.
23 Q. I just asked you about the information, and I received my answer.
24 Thank you.
25 Now, do you know that during that time, and when I say that time,
1 what I mean is the period of the Vukovar events themselves, October,
2 November 1991, at that material time, that on the territory of Croatia
3 there were JNA soldiers and officers who had been captured, captured in
4 the true sense of the word, that were kept in detention in certain
5 detention units?
6 A. Yes. I do know about that, that there were such people.
7 Q. Was one of the tasks of the security organs in the unit to collect
8 as much information as possible about soldiers who had disappeared, who
9 had gone missing, soldiers from the unit or soldiers from another unit who
10 had been captured by the other side? Is that one of the tasks of a
11 security organ?
12 A. According to the rules of service governing the certificate
13 security services this is not mentioned as one of the specific tasks.
14 However the security organ adjusting itself to the situation it finds
15 itself in, may be assigned such a task or the organ can assess that they
16 should be involved in a task of that kind. That is quite certain. That
17 would be true, yes.
18 Q. According to you, would you say that the JNA had the mandate and
19 authority to liberate from prison either on the basis of an exchange, to
20 get its soldiers and commanding officers back?
21 A. Each of the conflicting parties endeavours to do that, and JNA
22 does so as well. And that's what the agreement signed on the 6th of March
23 1991 referred to. It referred to the exchange of prisoners.
24 Q. The 6th of November 1991. Now, Mr. Borovic asked you something
25 about the blockade of the barracks, and you said that one of the tasks of
1 blocking the barracks was to control all incoming and outgoing traffic.
2 Now, did the soldiers, JNA soldiers and commanding officers who were
3 blocked in the Marshal Tito barracks, for example, in Zagreb, or in some
4 other barracks that had also been blocked, were they able to enter and
5 exit the barracks freely whilst they were under blockade up until the time
6 they left the territory?
7 A. No, they were not able to enter and exit freely.
8 Q. Yesterday you mentioned a high-ranking officer of the garrison in
9 Gospic who had been taken prisoner and detained by the Croatian side.
10 Does Major Relja Tomic mean anything to you, the name?
11 A. That's not the man I had in mind. I don't remember that
12 particular name and surname. I had in mind a Macedonian, in fact, I think
13 he was a general. I don't know whether he was Macedonian but his surname
14 ended in s-k-i, the letters s-k-i.
15 Q. I'll return to the subject of exchange of prisoners in a little
16 while. But tell me this, please: In this courtroom we have heard that
17 the commanders of the defence of Vukovar, Dedakovic and Borkovic, were
18 later arrested and persecuted. Do you know anything about that and what
19 the reasons for that were? Why proceedings were taken, I'll put it that
20 way, why proceedings were taken against them?
21 A. I know that once they left Vukovar, and once Vukovar fell, that
22 they were in a difficult situation, in disgrace, and the investigating
23 organs of the military police investigated to see whether they had
24 sabotaged the defence of Vukovar or whether they intentionally made the
25 defence of Vukovar ineffective. I know, but I know this from the media,
1 from the information media, that published news about that, and excerpts
2 from the interviews conducted, that they asked about me too, whether I had
3 not, as a former member of the security service taking part in a
4 planned -- in making the defence of Vukovar ineffective, whether this -- I
5 had taken part in the planning of that. However, that was a wartime
6 situation. Everything happens in wars, and that is how I understood this
7 particular episode as well. Later on, Borkovic and Dedakovic quite
8 normally went about their service. Dedakovic actually retired and
9 Dedakovic went on to do some more work.
10 Q. What would your position be or attitude be and does that emanate
11 from the answer you've just given us that Josip Manolic five days ago on
12 Croatian television made a statement and said that he considers those two
13 men to be deserters and traitors? So is that one of the lines that you
14 spoke about and the policy towards these two individuals?
15 A. I don't know about that statement that you say Manolic made.
16 However, I do know that Dedakovic and Borkovic did invest a great deal of
17 effort to set up the defence and it is their merit to a great extent that
18 the defence kept up for as long as it did. Now, how Manolic refers to
19 them and what he calls them, perhaps he has some arguments to back up him
20 doing so.
21 Q. Who was Vinko Zunic?
22 A. I don't know. The name doesn't sound familiar.
23 Q. In that same programme he was introduced as a commander of the
24 defence of Bogdanovci and during that material time and he said that he
25 left Bogdanovci on the 10th of November 1991. Is that roughly the period
1 when Bogdanovci were left with what the man said? Does it sort of tally?
2 A. As far as I know, the commander of Bogdanovci's defence was a
3 certain man called -- well, he was called Lasta or swallow, Matkovic, and
4 at the time, when I visited Bogdanovci, I was with him on that occasion.
5 I think that was the 30th of September or -- yes, the 30th of September
6 1991, and that date does coincide with the time Bogdanovci fell.
7 Q. I might pronounce the name wrongly again, but Tomislav Berhechter,
8 does that ring a bell at all?
9 A. No.
10 Q. At the time, you told us what position you occupied and as far as
11 I understand it you did nonetheless have some kind of direct contact with
12 the political leadership of Croatia, did you not, at least in the sense of
13 receiving information, which they gave you ex officio. Do you happen to
14 know that at that time, it was the position of the political Croatian
15 leadership that they should not allow the civilian population to leave
16 their territory, specifically to leave the territory of Vukovar, because
17 this could be taken to be ethnic cleansing? In the political echelons of
18 power in Croatia, were there any ideas along those lines?
19 A. Yes. And the demands were that the population should not move out
20 from certain areas. However, not because this would imply ethnic
21 cleansing of any kind but because of their support to the defenders. And
22 following on from military logic, if the weaker side defends itself and
23 the civilians have completely left a certain area and territory, then the
24 defence is far less effective and far weaker.
25 Q. Thank you. I'm now going to ask several questions of you which
1 have to do with your answers yesterday about the October evacuation. All
2 of us here in the courtroom are interested in those events.
3 Yesterday I understood that, according to you, in October there
4 was one convoy which came to the barracks, couldn't get to the hospital,
5 was sent back and then returned several days later and then the evacuation
6 was carried out. This is how I understood your testimony about that
7 evacuation. Is that right?
8 A. Yes. That's how it was. That was the first convoy that was
10 Q. If I were now to give you my information, which is that this first
11 convoy organised by Medecins Sans Frontieres arrived indeed on the 14th of
12 October to the barracks in Vukovar, and when it was supposed to continue
13 on to the hospital, the defenders or, rather, Borkovic and his men, did
14 not allow them to pass through the territory which they held between the
15 barracks and the hospital. Their military position was that the JNA would
16 follow the convoy, and that that was in fact the reason the convoy was
17 sent back. A completely different convoy with different vehicles arrived
18 four days later, once again organised by Medecins Sans Frontieres, and
19 they did reach the hospital. Does that refresh your recollection of it?
20 A. It is possible that Borkovic reacted in that way and it is likely
21 that he did. Quite likely, because such a development of events and such
22 a logic were reasonable. Whether different vehicles arrived four days
23 later, I don't know. But I don't think that that was the case, because
24 this organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres, who were the organisers, who
25 were the sponsors, and those responsible for the convoys, barely managed
1 to get together the vehicles that were used the first time. So in my
2 view, it wasn't very likely that they were able to obtain a different set
3 of vehicles. However, if you know better, I'm not going to deny this. I
4 don't know all of the details. I know that there were many complications,
5 stop, go, and so on. I mentioned yesterday Lieutenant Colonel Milenkovic,
6 who inspected the convoy and then the nurse was taken off the convoy
7 because there were some suspicions regarding her. I know that there were
8 a lot of complications.
9 Q. Please tell me: You were a security organ, and if there is a
10 suspicion that somebody was entering the territory under your control and
11 wanted to take advantage of that in order to transport a person that
12 should not be transported or supplies that should not be transported, what
13 is the job of the security organ? Should the security organ conduct an
15 A. This can be done either by a security organ or by the police. At
16 any rate everybody protects themselves and wants to know who is entering
17 the territory they control. However, if we are talking about Medecins
18 Sans Frontieres, if we are talking about the European monitors, then these
19 are the organisations which should verify that the purpose of the convoy
20 is strictly observed, that it is used only for those limited purposes, not
21 for transporting arms and the -- such organisations as Medecins Sans
22 Frontieres and the Red Cross should take care of that.
23 Q. I absolutely agree with you. A soldier of JNA was supposed to be
24 transported in that convoy against his will to Zagreb. He gave some
25 information to somebody in the Vukovar Hospital and once the convoy was
1 inspected, he was found and he was taken off the convoy. Was there
2 perhaps a fear that something like that could be attempted?
3 A. I don't know about that case. Yes, there is a possibility that
4 that happened. Every side has their own scheming, so if they succeed in
5 it ...
6 Q. Thank you. If needed, I will ask that the Exhibit that we
7 discussed be placed in front of you. I think the one we discussed
8 yesterday or the day before, which is the agreement dated the 8th of
9 October 1991 about cease-fire, if I can call it that, and unblocking of
10 barracks. If you want, it can be placed in front of you, but since you
11 were one of the signatories of this agreement I assume that you know very
12 well that it also set forth that the barracks should be unblocked and that
13 the movement of people and goods should be unhindered. This is what it
14 regulated, is it right?
15 A. Yes, something along those lines.
16 Q. You also gave evidence about a document, Exhibit 92.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We can place it in front of the
19 Q. Since this is your document I believe you're quite familiar with
20 it. This is a letter to Mr. Anton Tus dated the 18th of October, 1991,
21 meaning after the period, and the letter was directed to you and to the
22 European mission. It discusses the evacuation, the October evacuation, of
23 the hospital. The second paragraph of that document or, rather, the last
24 passage is something that I'm interested in.
25 It discusses the alleged removal of equipment from the airport in
1 Pula. General Tus says there: Can you please read out the last passage,
2 read it out loud?
3 A. "At the Pula airport, they are taking out the airport equipment,
4 not owned by the Yugoslav army, and the kidnapped plane of the Uganda
5 airliner, Boeing 707 is used to transport it elsewhere outside of the
6 Republic of Croatia."
7 Q. I'm interested in the following passage. Would you please read it
8 out, the next one?
9 A. Yes. "We kindly ask that you put an end to this and similar
10 action. Otherwise, we shall shoot down such transport planes which we
11 haven't done so far for fear that they might be transporting family
12 members of JNA members leaving the airports in Pula and Zadar."
13 Q. All right. This happened after the agreement. What is your
14 position concerning the order of your superior to shoot down the planes
15 transporting the family members of the JNA servicemen leaving airports?
16 It sounds quite ominous to me.
17 A. I think that this is a misinterpretation of what is stated here.
18 What is stated here reads as follows: "Should similar action continue,
19 the removal of equipment and so on" because the JNA had already started
20 withdrawing at that point, "We shall open fire which is something we
21 haven't done so far, for fear that the family members of the JNA
22 servicemen were in the planes." This means we didn't shoot the planes
23 because we didn't want to shoot down the planes carrying the families of
24 JNA servicemen leaving these airports and it was a well known fact that
25 they were leaving the airports. This is how Tus and I interpret this
2 Q. All right. Then I misinterpreted it but it is up to the Trial
3 Chamber to evaluate this.
4 Now I would like to turn briefly to Exhibit 101. You spoke about
5 this document as well. This is a letter sent by Iljo Kobas, professor.
6 I'm interested in one or two items from this document. Based on this
7 document, we can't see when it was dispatched. There is only some
8 information given up in the upper portion which I think is when it was
9 faxed. My question is: When did you receive this letter? Do you
10 remember when it arrived?
11 A. I see the date here, the 15th of March 1992, at nine in the
12 morning. I can see this in the upper portion after the ERN number. Most
13 likely it was on that day, because this is what the fax machine printed on
15 Q. In the letter, it says that according to the information, the JNA
16 had left the village and the Chetniks entered from the village of Cakovci.
17 Do you know where this village Cakovci is located in relation to the
18 village of Boksic?
19 A. The village of Cakovci is in Eastern Slavonia, near Vukovar. The
20 village of Boksic is most likely located next to it but I don't know this
21 precisely. I have no reason to distrust the letter of the secretary, Iljo
22 Kobas, because I'm sure he was familiar with the situation because he was
23 a local man. He was in the vicinity of Cakovci. Not in the immediate
24 vicinity but he -- Zupanja was one of the nearby free cities near Vukovar,
25 and it seems that he learned this from the refugees who had arrived in
1 Zupanja and where they found accommodation.
2 Q. That's how I understood it too. Please tell us this: Do you know
3 when the JNA left the village of Boksic or that area? Do you remember
5 A. We did not have that territory under our control at the time.
6 This is three months after the occupation of the eastern part of Slavonia.
7 It seems it is clear that the source of the information was somebody from
8 Boksic, a refugee who came and gave information to Iljo Kobas, the
10 Q. Another interesting place mentioned in the document is Lipovac.
11 Would you agree with me that Lipovac is at the border between Croatia and
12 Serbia or, at the time, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and that Lipovac
13 was a place where frequently exchanges were carried out of war prisoners
14 and through which civilians passed. Mr. Grujic participated in it, Amir
15 Masovic, and General Mladenovic [as interpreted]. Are you familiar with
16 these exchanges?
17 A. Yes, certainly.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I said General Radinovic. The name
19 Mladenovic is wrong.
20 Q. The Serbs who had been deported from Serbia and Bosnia also passed
21 through Lipovac?
22 A. Yes. Lipovac has a fate typical for border towns.
23 Q. All right. I will turn to another topic.
24 What was the reason you were replaced from the post of chief in
25 March of 1991? Did you receive an -- official or unofficial information
1 about this?
2 A. I received information, or notice, from my commander of the 5th
3 Corps. He said to me that my chief of the security department of the air
4 force had informed him that I was to turn over the keys to my deputy. At
5 the time I asked the commander to establish the reasons for my removal,
6 telling him that in three months he himself would be replaced unless he
7 objected to my removal. And I was wrong. He was removed after four
8 months, on the 2nd of July. This was Major General Marijan Rozic. I was
9 removed from my post or what triggered it, because the reasons for it were
10 much deeper, was that I opposed the assessment of my superior, General
11 Rakocevic about the reasons for events in Pakrac in March of 1991 and the
12 role of JNA in those events. You probably remember, based on later
13 developments, that I was actually right. My superior at the time stated,
14 and the media carried it, that a large number of Serbs in Pakrac had been
15 arrested, killed, expelled into forests, whereas in fact something quite
16 different had happened. They also said that the JNA protected the Serb
17 population there. I said that that wasn't true. The commission which
18 investigated this and which was headed by Tupurkovski established that
19 that wasn't true. The role of the JNA in the Pakrac events was found to
20 be precisely what I described it to be, which was a setup by the security
21 services. That was the reason why I was removed from office, and I was
22 happy that it happened that way.
23 Q. You spent more than five years in that post. Can you tell us
24 specifically or not so specifically, during that period of five years, or
25 perhaps even a longer period, seven to eight years, how many pieces of
1 security information or intelligence information you passed on to your
2 superiors, to your commanders, or those who were your immediate superiors
3 in the professional chain of command, about the activity of Croatian
4 immigration in your area of responsibility?
5 A. I did not supply a single piece of intelligence information
6 because I was not a member of intelligence service.
7 Q. All right. But as a security organ, if you received some
8 information, would you put it in a drawer?
9 A. As a security organ, I would pass on security information but not
10 intelligence information. In that sense, it was my duty to evaluate the
11 information I received and to collect such information in any way and then
12 include my comment and propose measures and send it to my superior.
13 Simultaneously, if there was any information of interest to the command
14 superiors, to the military organisation, I was to inform the relevant
15 superior about that.
16 Q. I understand all that and that is derived from the rule that we
17 discussed. If you acquired some intelligence information, would you react
18 in any way to that information in relation to anyone?
19 A. Could you please be more specific? Are you thinking about
20 intelligence data or security-related data of interest? If it's an
21 intelligence information, then I would forward it to the intelligence
23 Q. Yes. There is what I wanted to hear. That was my question.
24 A. Intelligence information is dealt with by the intelligence
25 personnel, so this is a separate structure within the command.
1 Q. Did you ever submit any kind of report to the security organ
2 relating to Croatian nationalist extremists amongst your ranks?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. Did you do that from 1990 or 1989 onwards, when the authorities
5 changed, when the changes began?
6 A. Everything that happened in my domain, within the 5th Corps, and
7 had any even suggestion of nationalist overtones would be passed along the
8 security service line and would reach my superiors. That would be the
9 usual way of dealing with it.
10 Q. You probably know that in October, on the 12th of October 1990,
11 two trailer trucks of Tazmatrans [phoen] arrived with large quantities of
12 weapons from Hungary. You're probably aware of this. If nothing else you
13 would have learned about it from the media.
14 A. Yes, I'm aware of it. Not from that date perhaps, but this was
15 something that was discussed a lot.
16 Q. The Pleso airport is a military and civilian airport, that's what
17 it was at the same time?
18 A. Yes, it was a mixed airport then and now.
19 Q. Did you know at the time that on the 13th of October 1990, an
20 airplane landed from the German Democratic Republic bearing weapons at
21 that airport?
22 A. I don't know whether that was from the GDR and I don't know
23 whether there were weapons there. I know that an airplane landed, a
24 Kikasev [phoen] plane, but I don't know about what you said.
25 Q. Well, before the break, you said that I should ask you about
1 airplanes so this is what I'm doing now?
2 A. Yes, yes, go ahead.
3 Q. Are you aware that on the 21st of November, an airplane landed
4 from Panama bearing an arms delivery? These were 5.000 pieces of
5 Zbrojovka pistols?
6 A. You mean 1990?
7 Q. Yes. The 21st of November 1990. Yes, I'm talking about 1990.
8 A. No. I don't know about that particular instance but I know that a
9 certain quantity of pistols was obtained by organs of the Ministry of
10 Internal Affairs in that period, around Christmas, New Year, 1990.
11 Q. Did you know that weapons arrived on the 28th of November 1990, by
12 plane from Frankfurt?
13 A. No, I'm not aware of that but there is the possibility of that. I
14 didn't know that. I didn't have a way of knowing that. I wasn't involved
15 in that.
16 Q. Not a flight controller?
17 Q. Well, flight controller would control flights but would not know
18 anything about the cargos?
19 A. Well, there are customs organs, there is also organs of the MUP
20 that monitor the transport that planes bring in.
21 Q. And then there was a Ugandan plane, a Boeing 707, it was mentioned
22 in a document we looked at before. According to my information, on the
23 13th of January 1991, it made a forced landing. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but
24 it was landed by force by the air force to Pleso airport?
25 A. I don't think that this was in January. Perhaps this was sometime
1 in September 1991. Perhaps it was in July, August, or September of that
2 year. It's hard for me to remember but it was not January. I am aware of
3 that incident because this was something that was immediately covered by
4 the media.
5 Q. So you heard about it from the media; is that correct?
6 A. Yes. This Kikasev plane is something that I learned about from
7 the media.
8 Q. And you, as a senior JNA officer and still are -- that's what you
9 were at the time -- how did you react to the killing of a JNA soldier in
10 Split, soldier Sasa Gresovski [phoen] at the barracks in Split?
11 A. I personally at that time, and also now, consider that to be a
12 very uncivilised act, a gesture. To prevent somebody in that way in the
13 implementation of his assignment, that person, that young soldier, was
14 assigned duties there, but at the time, passions were so high and this
15 happened. These people were brought to trial, they served their sentence,
16 and they were held responsible for their acts.
17 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the counsel's
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Now I have to ask you a question. I think you either responded to
21 a question by the Prosecutor or to my colleague Vasic about it. It
22 relates to the A, B, and C plans, and these are borders -- options A and B
23 and you also drew some boundaries, Karlovac, Virovitica, Karlobag. I know
24 that these ideas actually stem from the position of certain political
25 parties from Serbia, specifically I'm talking about the positions of
1 Vojislav Seselj. However, I did not see any single military document that
2 would mention this. This is not mentioned in any military documents.
3 Mr. Kadijevic or other people who were very much aware of clear JNA
4 positions in that regard were not aware of that either. Do you know of
5 any documents where this boundary is actually mentioned?
6 A. According to regulations, I didn't actually see that document
7 because of my position. However, all the recollections and the writings
8 of those who participated in the events at the time made it quite
9 realistic to me to make such assessments which I stated at that time.
10 Q. Thank you. How did you react when you say the famous TV footage
11 of Spegelj stating - Spegelj actually at the time was defence minister;
12 isn't that correct, to make it clear to the Trial Chamber - That every
13 JNA officer was covered by five people and each one of them would be cut
14 down at home if necessary. When you saw that footage, how did you react?
15 This was in February 1990; isn't that correct?
16 A. This actually happened on the 25th of January, 1991, as I recall.
17 I had a general view about that footage and I still hold that view, that
18 this was a setup by the JNA security service, that they used some
19 statements by Spegelj, which he had made in his own company, among his
20 acquaintances, either for psychological effect or for some other purposes,
21 this was used by the service. That was my opinion at the time, and I
22 still maintain that view.
23 Q. Well, we will bring people to the courtroom who have direct
24 knowledge about that footage. I put the question to you. You have
25 answered. So I'm satisfied with your answer.
1 Even laymen knew at the time that the Croatian defence ministry
2 transferred a large number of conscripts or transported or moved, shifted,
3 a large number of conscripts to the police reserves. Are you aware of
5 A. I know that now but at the time I didn't know it.
6 Q. This is a general question: Who makes the reserve forces'
7 distribution or deployment on behalf of the JNA? Who would replenish
8 units for -- that require that?
9 A. As far as I know, this is done by the secretariat for defence.
10 They make lists of conscripts. They mobilise them, send them to serve
11 their regular military terms, and they also assign them to their combat
12 units once they have completed their term of office -- of service. And
13 they do this on the basis of the requirements of units for certain
14 specialised services or duties.
15 Q. Are plans then initiated at the Secretariat for National Defence?
16 A. Well, I was not really informed about that at that level, because
17 my duties were different. So this is not something that I really learned
18 anything about and what methods were used in order to recruit conscripts.
19 Q. Well, perhaps then you don't know the answer to the question, but
20 I will put it any way: Who has the priority when replenishment of units
21 is concerned? Are they military units, police, reserve police or
22 Territorial Defence units?
23 A. As far as I'm concerned, the priority goes to the JNA.
24 Q. When you testified in the Milosevic case, and I also heard a
25 similar view expressed by you here, you said "the so-called Spegelj
1 affair." Then you said -- this was already in the transcript on page 11,
2 when you testified on the 30th of June 2003, you said the so-called
3 illegal channels used by Spegelj. What I'm interested in is: Why do you
4 use the word "alleged" or "so-called"? Do you believe that everything
5 Spegelj did was legal?
6 A. Spegelj was the Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia, in
7 charge of organising the defence of the Republic of Croatia, and also he
8 was entrusted with assessing, along with other subjects from the political
9 leadership, the danger. He made the estimate that we know he made. The
10 political leadership agreed with it, and then he set out to enable the
11 defence to be able to carry out the defence tasks, to defend the Republic
12 of Croatia. In that sense, weapons were required. He tried to obtain
13 weapons through this federal Secretariat for National Defence. He did not
14 receive the weapons. Barricades were already set up on the territory of
15 Croatia. So what else could he do other than import weapons from abroad?
16 As far as the Croatian authorities were concerned, these were legal tasks
17 and legal channels.
18 Q. Now I'm asking you, as a JNA officer at that time, whether these
19 were legal tasks and legal channels?
20 A. I, as a legal JNA officer, were -- think that these were -- the.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Is not sure whether the witness said legal or
22 illegal channel.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. In those terms, did you -- would you please repeat your last
25 answer? It was not recorded in the transcript.
1 A. I myself, as a JNA officer at the time believed them to be illegal
2 channels at that time.
3 Q. This information about the illegal channels to procure weapons,
4 was that something you found out through the media or did you find that
5 out through your regular activities in your job?
6 A. I myself, as chief of security of the 5th Corps, was not
7 authorised, nor did I have anything to do in relation to civilian
8 authorities. There were -- detachments of counter-intelligence groups
9 were formed for that purpose earlier and I mentioned that, and they worked
10 very intensively on that. By that time, all the information was really --
11 I was cut off from all information in that respect at that time. Also I
12 was not duty bound to know about that through official clan else. I dealt
13 with counter-intelligence and other matters within the 5th Air Force
15 Q. I understand but now I see that you're looking at your duties
16 quite formally. In the beginning, though, I read out Article 1 of the
17 rules of service of the security services, what the basic tasks of the
18 security organs are.
19 A. Yes. I agree with that rule, and I acted in accordance with that
20 rule but in later articles of the same rules of service, it is stated that
21 a member of the security service of the JNA does not act in relation to
22 civilian structures, and so these detachments were then in a way working
23 against the regulations in the rules of service but they received
24 instructions for that in writing.
25 Q. So did they have any sources in the civilian sector?
1 A. According to the rules of service, no, they did not.
2 Q. And did you have such sources?
3 A. No. We did not. What kind of a service would it be, and what
4 kind of an organised state would it be, which -- in which the services
5 would each have sources in one another?
6 Q. I'm not talking about civilians as physical persons, and I'm not
7 thinking about the civilian services as such. What I'm asking you is that
8 were civilians as such sources for the security organs?
9 A. I said no because the security services were obliged to work along
10 a network. It's a certain thing was of interest in relation to a civilian
11 structure, with persons who were outside of the JNA, then this was a
12 matter that was dealt with by the civilian security organs.
13 Q. Tell me, please, your unit, was -- did it need a replenishment of
14 men, reinforcements, because members of the reserve force had been
15 transferred to the police force and the figure mentioned is between 20.000
16 and 30.000 men in a very short period of time?
17 A. What unit of mine are you thinking about, the 5th Corps?
18 Q. Yes, the 5th Corps.
19 A. No it didn't have any problems with manpower. We received
20 relatively small numbers from civilian structures and that is a well-known
21 fact. The air force is replenished, 80 per cent of it was replenished
22 with the men it had from its own forces.
23 Q. Yesterday you answered questions linked to Mr. Bogdan Vujic and I
24 don't want to ask you any more about that except to ask you whether the
25 name Slavko Tomic means anything to you?
1 A. Well, I did know some people with the surname Tomic from the
2 service but I can't remember whether I actually knew Slavko Tomic. If you
3 could tell me a little more about him perhaps that would ring a bell but
4 there were several Tomics in the security service and the air force.
5 There were men with the name of Tomic in the 5th army security department.
6 There was a Tomic there. What his first name was, I really can't say.
7 Q. What about Bogoljub Kijanovic? Does that seem familiar?
8 A. No.
9 Q. I think that there were a couple of questions, and through the
10 transcript in Milosevic trial you answered several questions about the
11 Keljmendi case, I think, and your answers are part of the exhibits. I'm
12 just going to ask you whether you know that at that period, after the
13 Keljmendi case, there were three similar cases of different barracks on
14 the territory of Yugoslavia with the killing of soldiers, Albanian
16 A. No. I don't know about any killings but I do know from
17 information that warnings were issued that that danger did exist, and that
18 that possibility was a real possibility.
19 Q. And also in the Milosevic trial, I'm not going to ask you about
20 this, but you were asked about the national, the ethnic structure of the
21 leading personages in the security service. You claimed that there were
22 people of all ethnicities and that Vasiljevic, the deputy, was a
23 Macedonian; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I'm now going to move on and ask you something about your career
1 before and after these events.
2 To the best of my knowledge, after the school of national defence
3 that you attended, you were appointed president of the division committee
4 of the SK on the air force and air defence system, is that true?
5 A. No. That is not correct. I was just a member of the committee,
6 the League of Communists committee in the SK and RVO, that is to say the
7 air force. But before that while I was doing my duty in Bihac and for a
8 time the provisional president and secretary of the committee, when the
9 politician was reassigned somewhere, for a few months, as a captain.
10 Q. Within the frameworks of your career then, does that mean that you
11 held no party political functions? Is that right? Is that what you're
13 A. I did. I was a member of the committee of the League of
14 Communists' committee. That's a high party function in the PVO and -- air
15 defence and a secretary of the 117th fighter platoon. Now I was --
16 whether I was secretary of the basic organisation of the League of
17 Communists, I don't know, but as a rule the security organs were not
18 appointed and elected to committees. Well, some of them were but not to
19 the top echelons.
20 Q. No. That wasn't my question. I wasn't interested in that. I was
21 interested in whether you, at the time, and you said you were a member of
22 the committee, and that that was indeed a political appointment, a
23 political post, whether you agree with me that one of the basic
24 principles, fundamental principles of the League of Communists of
25 Yugoslavia and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, was brotherhood and
1 unity, the principle of brotherhood an unity; is that right?
2 A. That's right. That was at the foundations of the former
4 Q. You said yesterday that you were in favour of preserving
5 Yugoslavia. Well, what do you consider that principle of brotherhood and
6 unity is? What was your position? In a sentence, explain to the Trial
7 Chamber what that postulate means that was used so much in the former
8 Yugoslavia, this concept of brotherhood and unity?
9 A. It meant a state of equal nations and nationalities as they were
10 called within the frameworks of one and the same state. Enjoying equal
11 rights, equal responsibilities and duties, and that means that nobody,
12 that is to say no single nationality or ethnic group could be jeopardised
13 and threatened due to their ethnicity.
14 Q. I think that one -- that was one of the basic premises of the
15 constitution, was it not?
16 A. Yes, that was one of the postulates of the constitution itself.
17 Q. I'm not going to dwell on constitutional questions and historical
18 issues. We'll hear testimony about that from other witnesses in due
20 But I'm going to make an observation and you will tell me if I'm
21 wrong. Yesterday during the -- your testimony and on Friday during your
22 CV we see yourself and you see yourself first of all as a soldier. You
23 wanted to stress that professional function of yours. And on the other
24 hand, most of your career on the basis of most of your career I see that
25 as a soldier you were always next to political structures, very much
1 involved. Am I wrong in thinking that, in getting that impression?
2 A. No you're not wrong because a good soldier must think politically
3 as well.
4 Q. As a soldier, you took the oath, the JNA oath, did you not?
5 A. Yes, I did.
6 Q. Part of your career, your military career, was following one
7 policy in politics and another portion was the opposite, a completely
8 different policy and politics. One was communist and one, if I can put it
9 in the following terms, was anti-communist; is that right?
10 A. No, that's not right. My present political orientation, and
11 involvement, for this kind of policy was a continuation of the beliefs I
12 held earlier on, about equality, a democratic setup for states and a
13 civilised behaviour and conduct for states and individuals, and that's
14 what I endeavoured to achieve then and succeeded and that's what I'm doing
16 Q. To tell you the truth, I'm most interested in that transitional
17 period, that is to say once you left the JNA and when you joined the
18 Croatian political option, not joined in the sense -- well, we heard that
19 you were not a member but you became close to the ruling oligarchy of the
20 day in Croatia. Now, am I wrong in claiming that the HDZ as the ruling
21 party was anticommunist?
22 A. At that time.
23 Q. At the time.
24 A. Well, then and now too. You're not wrong. That's quite correct.
25 Q. Is it also correct that in already back in 1990, in your office,
1 you had prominently displayed the books, the works, of Franjo Tudjman, the
2 dictionary of the new Croatian language, and Tudjman's other book; is that
4 A. That is absolutely incorrect.
5 Q. Well, I'm just testing the facts that I have been informed of.
6 A. You have been informed wrongly.
7 Q. Well, we'll put that to you later during the Defence case. But to
8 continue, on the basis of your biography, your CV, you asked permission to
9 leave the second -- to leave the JNA on the 2nd of July 1991; is that
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. When did you officially leave the JNA pursuant to that request, a
13 short while afterwards or --
14 A. I left the same day. At 7.30 I wrote my request, and at half past
15 1.00, I was told that I could go, was free to leave.
16 Q. Well, we received information as to when you took up your
17 appointment as the Zenga chief but I'm interested in what you offered your
18 services to the Croatian authorities. When was that?
19 A. I never offered my services. They called me to join up and I was
20 very happy to do so after all the events that had taken place that I have
22 Q. Very soon you were appointed as chief of the Main Staff of the ZNG
23 and very soon after that you became the principal negotiator on behalf of
24 the Croatian government with the JNA; is that right?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. I think we all agree that in view of the high security position
2 that you occupied with the enemy, if I could put it that way, that you
3 then had to be investigated by the people who had invited you to join up;
4 is that right?
5 A. Well, nobody told me about any investigations, if they did check
6 me out, then that's up to them. I accepted the invitation and started
7 working straight away.
8 Q. Well, I'm asking you about your security position, the one you
9 held. A general question, just like the Prosecutor asked you. Is it
10 logical to investigate somebody who was to be appointed to such a high
11 position with the enemy? Is that logical?
12 A. Yes, that would be logical.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 A. Whether to investigate the individual or to have an opinion of him
15 already formed. What was it in my case, I really can't say.
16 Q. Tell me, am I wrong if I say that you during the previous period,
17 that previous period, de facto had to prove yourself to your new
18 employers? Would that be right?
19 A. Well, I didn't try to do anything like that. I always acted in
20 accordance with my view of the world and my principles, generally
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, might I be -- ask the
23 Court for a pause now, a break? I don't have too many questions but I
24 would like to stick to the timetable and continue with my questioning in
25 this order.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
2 Mr. Agha, might I inquire whether you would expect to be long in
4 MR. AGHA: No longer than 30 minutes, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
6 We will resume at ten minutes to six.
7 --- Recess taken at 5.29 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 5.52 p.m.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Agotic, well, we are drawing to the end but I just have a few
12 more questions and please just give me as short answers as possible, yes
13 or no preferably, to give the Prosecution time to complete its
15 I asked you whether you took the oath of office when you joined
16 the JNA, the solemn declaration, you said you had done that. Is it true
17 that you, just like all the other security organs, when you joined up with
18 the security service, that you signed a written statement binding -- with
19 a confidentiality clause which was binding upon you, that you would keep
20 the services secrets, that that was one of the principles? Do you
21 remember that?
22 A. Well, I don't remember having signed anything but, yes,
23 realistically speaking that would be realistic to suppose that that's how
24 it was.
25 Q. Am I wrong in saying that you have gone back fundamentally on both
1 those things?
2 A. No. None of that is correct. I claim that they parted ways with
3 me, not with me trampling on them and parting ways with them, because
4 that's where I was where I spent my whole life until 1990.
5 Q. Tell me, is it correct that on the 31st of July 1991, in the
6 Yugoslav People's Army, in Yugoslavia, you were decorated with the
7 brotherhood and unity decoration?
8 A. Could you repeat the date, please?
9 Q. My information tells me that it was July 1991; is that right? And
10 I was a little taken aback when I saw that.
11 A. Well, I'd like to see that because quite obviously that is
12 something after my departure but I don't believe that is so. That's the
13 first time that I have heard about this. But I would be happy if that
14 were the case, if I were indeed decorated.
15 Q. Very well. Let me go on. So you don't know that you received a
17 A. I was decorated a number of times up until that date. That is to
18 say JNA decorations, but not that particular decoration on the 31st of
19 July 1991. I hear that for the first time. So please let them know that
20 they can send it to me at my address.
21 Q. Well, my information is that that led to a great revulsion amongst
22 your colleagues because you had already left the JNA. So that's why I had
23 to ask you that question, that there it was an uproar on the part of your
25 A. I don't know. 31st of July, you say? Well, I left on the 2nd. I
1 don't know. Perhaps somebody took it in the right way, in the proper
3 Q. You got the Banja Lucica, Zrinksi decorations. They were awarded
4 to you by the Croatian leadership; is that right?
5 A. I received a number of decorations. I don't know which, because I
6 don't attach too much importance to one or another decoration.
7 Q. You were given the medal for the Operation Storm? I read that in
8 your CV.
9 A. Yes. Medals were given for operations Flash and Storm.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would just like to
11 raise a legal matter now, which is linked to the following questions.
12 That is to say I have few questions which emanate exclusively from written
13 exhibits which were admitted and are to be found in the transcript of the
14 Milosevic trial, that were admitted and introduced by the Defence. Those
15 documents we received yesterday pursuant to Rule 68 from the Prosecution,
16 when we read the transcripts we saw that Mr. Milosevic asked a certain
17 number of questions and put forward or tendered three documents and those
18 documents were admitted into evidence as part of the exhibits of that
20 Now, it is my opinion that those documents by way of the rules of
21 service, should be an attachment to the transcript. So I consider that
22 those exhibits should be admitted into evidence because, when you read
23 about those exhibits and documents and you don't know what these refer to,
24 you will not be able to weigh up his evidence without them. And they are
25 documents which are linked to matters raised by Mr. Borovic for 1995, and
1 once again it is my opinion that pursuant to Rule 90(H) -- have I got that
2 number wrong? Yes, I think it is 90 (H), that when the witness is
3 cross-examined with respect to credibility, cross-examination will be
4 linked to the subject matter of the evidence in chief and matters
5 affecting the credibility of the witness and where the witness is able to
6 give evidence relevant to the case, et cetera. I have three documents
7 which I wish to admit into evidence and which were admitted into evidence
8 in the Milosevic trial, and the transcript that was admitted here as an
9 exhibit. And I have one question for each of these documents that I'd
10 like to ask the witness.
11 Q. Now, on the basis of what you told Mr. Borovic, that that is
12 outside the frameworks of the examination, then I have no further
14 MR. AGHA: Your Honours, if the Prosecution --
15 JUDGE PARKER: Just a minute, Mr. Agha. You started off,
16 Mr. Lukic, by saying that you were raising a matter. Did I understand you
17 wanted answers again or were you simply putting on record your position?
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Since the subject linked to the 1995
19 events, you told Mr. Borovic that they were matters that were outside the
20 framework of the indictment, and the questions that I wish to ask emanate
21 from the documents which were introduced into -- in that trial, admitted
22 as evidence in that trial, related to those matters. I'm asking you
23 whether I can tender those documents into evidence and, in relation to
24 that, I'd like to ask him a few questions because they are linked to the
25 transcript which is an exhibit in this -- these proceedings.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Can I indicate answers to one or two parts of what
2 you have put, Mr. Lukic?
3 First, the fact that the transcript of evidence in another trial
4 is tendered doesn't bring with it any documents that became an exhibit in
5 the course of that transcript. Hence, it was that Mr. Agha went through
6 and specifically tendered exhibits that he thought were relevant to the
7 evidence in this case, and I think judging from the cross-examination,
8 Defence counsel have been in general agreement with Mr. Agha's selection
9 of those documents.
10 The decision has been given that the events of an entirely
11 separate operation some years later, in 1995, have no direct bearing upon
12 the facts of this case and appear to the Chamber to have so -- no
13 sufficient weight on the issue of credibility to justify their exploration
14 in this trial.
15 Now, from what I understand you to say, the exhibits that you're
16 interested in, from the Milosevic trial, relate to those events in 1995
17 and not to events in 1991. If that's the case, were you to move to tender
18 them, on that basis alone, I would expect that the Chamber would not
19 receive them. However, the Chamber has not seen these documents, has no
20 idea whether there might be some other relevance or not. So you keep that
21 in mind. If you think there is some particular relevance in one of those
22 documents or more of them, we don't want to cut you off altogether, but if
23 it is simply dealing with the events of 1995, our earlier ruling will
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I understand. In that case, I would
1 just like to show the witness one document, the document was given to us
2 by the Prosecution yesterday so we didn't have time to scan it. I have
3 prepared copies for the Chamber and for the witness, also for the
4 Prosecution. The document dates from 1993.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. Now, Mr. Agha was wanting to say
6 something. I may have dealt with the matters that were in his mind.
7 MR. AGHA: I think, Your Honour, you have dealt with those matters
8 which were in my mind and we can address this document separately on its
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I assume that the witness is familiar
12 with the document because, in the Milosevic case, when the witness
13 testified, the document was introduced.
14 Q. Mr. Agotic, I'm going to ask you the following. Well, my
15 colleague, Mr. Borovic, already asked you: My question will be the
16 following: Are you familiar with this, let me put it that way, incident
17 in relation to Busovaca? Your name is mentioned in the document. I'm
18 interested if you have any information that during the war in Bosnia,
19 Croatia assisted in any way in the logistics sense and you, also, in view
20 of the job that you were performing were assisting the forces of the HVO.
21 Do you know about this incident or this event in Busovaca and this HVO
22 helicopter? Before you begin, I would like to clarify for the Trial
23 Chamber where Divulje is. This is mentioned at the end of the document.
24 A. Divulje is in Split -- is near Split in Croatia.
25 Q. Well, would you please tell us what you know about this event,
1 what happened? Could you please tell the Trial Chamber?
2 A. Did we assist logistically the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 during the war, specifically the HVO? Yes. We did. Both the HVO and the
4 B and H army. We did help them by evacuating the wounded, supplying
5 medical equipment, material, food, and, like I said, there were over 100
6 transporter flights by helicopter to this end. There were also a number
7 of flights except for one time in June 1992 when there was an accident.
8 This was a combat flight. And a comrade of mine or a companion of mine
9 was killed in that action. He was downed somewhere in the area of
10 Derventa that in an artillery operation where the Croatian side was being
11 shelled. That is when a pilot was downed with his plane. There were no
12 other combat flights other than that one. But there were these other
13 logistical flights that I described. There were more than 100 of them.
14 In this particular area, around Kiseljak, there were a lot of
15 wounded and they were evacuated. The procedure was as following. The HVO
16 or the B and H army, when they were in combat, would request such
17 assistance and the procedure was that I, with the approval of my
18 superiors, would approve such flights with this -- this condition that it
19 had to be announced 48 hours before. What is mentioned here, this crew
20 Katovic, Brkic, and this other person, they actually carried out a series
21 of flights, Sejo Hodzic, they carried out a series of flights above
22 Bosnia, the ones that I described. But it was all done with the approval
23 of the Croatian side. However, no material was supplied that was of a
24 combat nature or ammunition. That was not supplied with the official
25 permission of the Croatian authorities.
1 Q. Based on this information, it can be concluded that in this
2 flight, 190.000 762-millimetre ammunition was distributed to Tomislavgrad,
3 and that the European Community, actually the observers of who approve
4 such things it were informed that allegedly the ill or the sick were being
5 transported. Since they didn't know and didn't have time, it was alleged
6 that these sick persons were in a coma and that there was not enough time
7 to check. But anyway, maybe I can provide this document for you and you
8 can read it for yourself?
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Agha?
10 MR. AGHA: Your Honours the Prosecution would submit that not only
11 is the line of questioning being adopted by the learned Defence counsel
12 but also the document itself lacking in relevance to the particular
13 charges in the indictment, namely that it's dated in 1993 and refers to
14 the theatre of operations in Bosnia, not even in Croatia. So we would
15 object to that on the grounds of relevance.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I explained why I wanted to ask this
18 question. According to me, this question refers to Rule 90(H) and it is
19 my right to cross-examine about matters that have a bearing on the
20 veracity of the witness, and in that sense, the credibility of the
21 witness. So I'm not in that case in any way limited by the indictment.
22 So in that sense, I believe that the document from 1993, in which the name
23 of this witness is mentioned, and some other relevant facts are mentioned
24 in respect of his knowledge, can be relevant in the establishing of the
25 credibility of this witness.
1 Facts were established in many cases from the present, if they
2 have any kind of bearing on the credibility of the witness, and they don't
3 necessarily have to be relevant to the actual indictment.
4 JUDGE PARKER: And what is the point about credibility that you
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to state the fact derived
7 from this document that, at that time, he was very informed about the
8 purpose to which the so-called humanitarian flights were used in 1993,
9 because that can be concluded on the basis of a sentence from this
10 document from 1993. In that sense, I want to touch upon his credibility
11 as a military person who discussed about his knowledge of events in the
12 period from the indictment concerning the Vukovar events.
13 JUDGE PARKER: I have difficulty following that, Mr. Lukic,
14 frankly. Are you saying that this flight in 1993 was typical of flights
15 in 1991, and that it shows that the evidence given by this witness about
16 events in 1991 therefore is not reliable, or what? Or are you saying
17 simply, well, this was a flight that was conducted in some dishonest way
18 in 1993; therefore, the evidence of this witness about everything in 1991
19 should come under suspicion?
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] What I'm saying, Your Honours, that it
21 can be concluded on the basis of this document that HVO forces in
22 Herceg-Bosna, not in Croatia but in Herceg-Bosna, enjoyed logistical
23 support from Croatia in 1993 and used information in respect of the
24 European monitoring commission by deceiving them as regarding the use of
25 humanitarian convoys. We talked about the convoy from October today and
1 he expressed his clear position on why humanitarian convoys were used, and
2 I wanted to actually compromise the testimony of the witness in that
3 respect based on this document. These are my arguments, exclusively
4 relating to that part of his testimony.
5 JUDGE PARKER: So you want to put to the witness that in 1991,
6 convoys or a convoy - I think we've heard only of two - for humanitarian
7 reasons were used for some military purposes instead? Is that what you're
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] What I'm saying is that there could be
10 suspicions on the part of the JNA that a convoy or a part of the
11 convoy or a vehicle or a person were being used counter to the purposes of
12 the convoy itself. That is my main assertion.
13 [Trial chamber confers]
14 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber is of the view, Mr. Lukic, that we see
15 no sufficient relevance. What occurred in 1993, some significant period
16 of time later, in respect of a different theatre would provide no
17 foundation for the JNA to have suspicions or views in 1991 in respect of
18 what was occurring in Vukovar. So the ruling is not demonstrated
19 relevance to credit or to the facts of the case.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in that case, I have
21 completed my cross-examination of this witness. Thank you.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
23 Yes, Mr. Agha?
24 Re-examination by Mr. Agha:
25 MR. AGHA:
1 Q. Now, General, I'd like to touch upon various points arising from
2 your cross-examination which hopefully you can deal with and clarify for
3 us. Now, the first topic I want to look at is that of security officers
4 and their organs on which you were cross-examined. Now, during
5 cross-examination, you stated in your evidence that a security officer was
6 not authorised to hand over a civilian suspected of committing a crime in
7 relation to the JNA and that they could detain that person with the
8 investigative organs, until those investigative organs arrived. Now, are
9 you familiar with the rules of service for the security organs in the
10 armed forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1984?
11 A. Yes. I'm familiar with the rules of service, and this was not
12 provided under the rules. Or actually it was provided for under the
13 rules, but in the way that I explained.
14 MR. AGHA: Now, with the leave of the court and the assistance of
15 the Court clerk, I'd like to call up a document for the general to view
16 and this is 65 ter 394, bearing B/C/S ERN 00909817 and English ERN
18 Q. Now, when this document appears, General, it is actually the rules
19 of service of the security organs in the armed forces of the SFRY 1984,
20 and -- do you have it before you?
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. And can I kindly ask the Court clerk to take us to page 19 and
23 paragraph 46?
24 Now, General, do you have a copy of paragraph 46?
25 A. I have pages 36 and 37 and not the pages that we need. We need to
1 see paragraph 46.
2 Q. It's page 19 in the English, if that's of assistance. Page 19.
3 A. You can go by the actual paragraph, so it would be paragraph 46 or
4 item 46.
5 Q. Item 46.
6 A. Now I see it.
7 Q. Now, in that paragraph, it says "authorised officers of security
8 organs have the right to use physical force for the purposes of overcoming
9 resistance by a person who is taken into custody or," and this is the
10 important part for us, "or for the purposes of repelling an attack against
11 themselves or a person for whom they are providing security. In carrying
12 out within their competence authorised officers of security organs may
13 use," and again importantly, "firearms only if they have no other way of
14 protecting people's lives."
15 Now, would your interpretation of that rule be that a security
16 organ is obliged to also protect the people whom it is detaining?
17 A. If being given such an assignment, then yes, because the rules of
18 service do provide for that. It doesn't say which people, but it does say
19 the lives of people. So that can also refer to prisoners, which is quite
21 Q. And in so doing it specifically provides that the security
22 officers can resort to force, if need be?
23 A. That is correct. That's how it's regulated.
24 Q. And may I ask the Chamber that this document be exhibited?
25 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit 107, Your Honour.
2 MR. AGHA:
3 Q. Now, as a senior military officer, what would you define the
4 capabilities of the Guards Brigade as, in terms of their ability to
6 MR. LUKIC: Excuse me, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would just like to ask whether this
9 exceeds the ambit of the cross-examination because none of the defence
10 teams asked any questions about the capabilities of the Guards Brigade.
11 Throughout the whole time, in view of his position, the witness did
12 provide answers which were more than just the answers of a factual
13 witness, but were answers more suitable to be covered by an expert
14 witness. We do intend to bring expert witnesses on these topics. But
15 also throughout the cross-examinations, there were no questions posed
16 regarding the capabilities of the Guards Brigade.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Agha?
18 MR. AGHA: As indicated earlier in cross-examination, the question
19 arose as the ability to detain and the regulation which has just been
20 exhibited also refers to the ability to protect. The obligation, indeed,
21 to protect. So my question stems from whether the Guards Brigade or the
22 security organ within it had the ability to protect.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Protect what?
24 MR. AGHA: Protect persons whom it was detaining or who it had
25 under its control, was providing security from.
1 [Trial chamber confers]
2 JUDGE PARKER: We don't see this as arising, Mr. Agha.
3 MR. AGHA: Thank you, Your Honours.
4 Q. I move now, General, to a second matter which arose out of your
5 cross-examination and that is in respect of Mr. Bogdan Vujic. Now, in
6 your cross-examination, you referred to a security officer named
7 Colonel Bogdan Vujic whom you had contact with. In your evidence, one of
8 his tasks was to identify irredentist threesomes, so would it follow that
9 Colonel Vujic had an expertise in identifying specified individuals from
10 within a particular group?
11 A. That's correct. Colonel Vujic worked on the implementation of
12 Albanian nationalism and irredentism in the ranks of the JNA and he had a
13 lot of experience in those activities.
14 Q. So if, say, the JNA wanted to determine whether there was any
15 combatants within a group of civilians, would that be an area in which
16 Colonel Vujic would have expertise and the ability to deal with?
17 A. Colonel Vujic had many years of experience and both in his
18 professional capacity and in life experience, he was familiar with the
19 situation in the army and in the civilian structures because he had a lot
20 of contact with civilians in the course of his work, while dealing with
21 the cases that I spoke about. How he dealt with the problem now, during
22 this last war, I don't know. However, I had a very solid opinion of him
23 based on what I knew and on my meetings with him at the time.
24 Q. Now, you've already mentioned in cross-examination that you
25 regarded him as an honourable officer. Did you also regard him as a
1 professional officer who would carry out his duties according to the law?
2 A. That is correct. I considered him to be a good, professional
3 soldier. A professional takes arguments into account, and I think that he
4 did take arguments into account.
5 Q. Now, I want to come now to a different area which was addressed in
6 your cross-examination, and this concerns the Vukovar defenders. Now,
7 roughly, in October and November 1991, how many Vukovar defenders were
8 there? A rough estimate.
9 A. Well, never more than 1.500, 600, up to 1.700 within Vukovar,
10 within the encirclement.
11 Q. And within that time frame, roughly how many or what was the
12 strength of the JNA forces which they were facing?
13 A. It's difficult for me to say with any precision but I do know that
14 from Vojvodina, the Dadik [phoen] Brigade was brought in, which, if it was
15 in full strength had four and a half, maybe 5.000 men. That's how many
16 men the brigades of the JNA numbered. On the other hand, units were
17 brought in from the Novi Sad corps, and there were several units, what
18 strength and rank they were is difficult for me to say but I do know that
19 the units of the Novi Sad Corps took up the area of Baranja, north of the
20 Drava river. They took control of the area to the south of the Drava
21 River, east of Osijek, towards Erdut, Dalj, Sarvas, Aljmas, and the
22 villages which spread towards Vukovar and the southeast. So most
23 probably, in my estimate, it would be about 15.000 JNA soldiers who were
24 engaged in the north and more southerly, the Guards Brigade, and the corps
25 unit. Now, how many artillery units there were on the other side of the
1 Danube, which assisted and reinforced them, in addition to the air force
2 from the Batajnica airport and the air force from the Tuzla airport, is
3 difficult for me to say, to give you any figures. But it was significant
4 support both in artillery terms and in air force terms.
5 Q. And how would you compare the fire power which the Vukovar
6 defenders had with that of the JNA?
7 A. Incomparable because the defenders of Vukovar had mortars, that
8 was the strongest type of weapon, whether it was a 120-millimetre mortar,
9 I'm not quite sure. They had no artillery. They had firearms. And on
10 the JNA side, there was the Guards Brigade unit, which was well armed and
11 well capacitated and trained because it numbered the best soldiers that
12 the JNA had, the best-trained men. So that any ratio would be
13 unrealistic. They couldn't be compared. The ratio of forces couldn't be
15 Q. But what about the armour, in terms of artillery, tanks and this
16 kind of weaponry?
17 A. Well, I number that amongst the overall JNA forces, and I know for
18 sure very reliable information from a foreign military representative,
19 military envoy, who told me in 1992 or 1993 perhaps, that he had monitored
20 this, it was a British colonel, air force colonel, and that he monitored
21 the fire from the left banks of the river in the battle of Vukovar, and
22 that on the other side, there was no counteraction because it is only the
23 artillery that can be deployed to neutralise this. As regards the
24 armoured weapons, I can't say how many numbers but the general public
25 heard about large numbers of tanks destroyed, large numbers of tanks
1 deployed, but I never delved into an estimation of how much of what there
2 was. And the JNA will be best placed to tell you about that. But I do
3 know, Mr. Prosecutor, that Vukovar was targeted with planes of the highest
4 calibre, a bomb fell on the hospital itself. It was a 250 kilogram bomb
5 which was the largest bomb that the JNA had amongst its arsenal of weapons
6 which did not explode, and that is proof positive that the hospital was
8 Q. Now, General, turning to another area of your cross-examination,
9 you were asked numerous questions about various JNA barracks located in
10 Croatia. Now, with regard to the Vukovar barracks, roughly on what date
11 was this deblocked by the JNA?
12 A. As far as I know, that barracks was never blocked because it was
13 stationed on that kind of terrain, that is to say the southeastern reaches
14 of Vukovar, that general location, and it had an open space in front of it
15 towards villages which were predominantly inhabited by a Serb population,
16 which was well-disposed towards JNA units. They even supported them. And
17 so those barracks was never in a classical blockade as were the other
18 barracks on the territory of the Republic of Croatia which were under the
19 control of the Croatian authorities.
20 Q. So even when the barracks was in JNA control, was there still
21 shelling of Vukovar or was there not?
22 A. Well, an automatic indicator that when the first convoy arrived
23 for the evacuation of the casualties in the barracks, it was under the
24 control of the JNA, and it was only then that the strongest shelling
25 started, which led up to the fall of Vukovar. So there is no dilemma
1 there whatsoever. My answer is positive, the affirmative.
2 Q. Can you deduce from that that the mission of the JNA in Eastern
3 Slavonia was beyond the deblocking of the Vukovar barracks?
4 A. Correct. The JNA did have that assignment. Deep penetration with
5 its elite units into the depth of the Republic of Croatia with the aim of
6 achieving the variant that I termed variant A and then later on after the
7 plan was corrected it was plan B. They resorted to plan B, and having
8 encountered resistance from the Croatian side they remained in the area
9 nor a long time, there was pressure from the international community, and
10 then they agreed to plan C, which implied for these particular unit which
11 attacked Vukovar and the Eastern Slavonia the realisation of the plan to
12 take control of the eastern part which was later called Sector East, upon
13 the arrival of UNPROFOR.
14 Q. Now, General, another area I'd like to move to is that of the
15 first evacuation which came up numerous times in cross-examination. Now,
16 you mention in your evidence that there was a successful first evacuation
17 in October, when Medecins Sans Frontieres accompanied the convoy to and
18 from the hospital in Vukovar with its patients. Now, what was the fate of
19 those patients on that convoy which was accompanied by Medecins Sans
21 A. Those casualties, most of them were seriously wounded persons with
22 amputated limbs, I think about 110, 112, I can't guarantee the number, but
23 they were, after a lot of trouble and several days, taken to hospitals on
24 the Croatian side and were put up, most of them, in the hospital at Nasice
25 and the rest were transported to the hospitals in Zagreb. Some of those
1 individuals from the first convoy I know myself personally, and some of
2 them survived, others succumbed and died immediately after the evacuation.
3 Q. Now, on the questions of evacuations, it would seem that the next
4 evacuation was on 20th November 1991.
5 MR. LUKIC: Objection, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic?
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like my -- the Prosecutor to
8 remind me who of the Defence team mentioned the evacuation of the 20th of
9 November and then I'll give up my objection.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Agha?
11 MR. AGHA: My understanding, Your Honour, is that during the
12 various cross-examinations of the learned Defence counsel there was some
13 confusion as to how many evacuations there actually were and when they
14 took place, so the purpose of the question is to clarify that there were
15 in fact two evacuations, one which is in October, which we've just
16 discussed, and that there was only one more second one, which was the 20th
17 of November.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. That may be pursued, Mr. Lukic.
19 But you're on notice, Mr. Agha, you can't go much beyond that
20 without satisfying the Chamber about Mr. Lukic's objection.
21 MR. AGHA: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. So, General, moving now to the second evacuation, which was on the
23 20th November 1991, based on the evacuation agreement which you've already
24 discussed in your evidence. Now, this evacuation went without the Red
25 Cross, without the Medecins Sans Frontieres or ECMM monitors and had a JNA
1 escort with about 300 patients, what was the fate of that convoy?
2 MR. LUKIC: Objection, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Agha, you've immediately gone beyond whether
4 there were two evacuations.
5 MR. AGHA: I apologise, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. You've won, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. AGHA:
8 Q. So, Witness, we'll move away from the second or however many
9 evacuations there were and come to a different area of your
10 cross-examination. And this concerned the director of the hospital. Now,
11 during cross-examination, you mentioned that the director of the hospital
12 was in close contact with the commissioner of Vukovar. Who was the
13 director of the hospital?
14 A. As far as I know, it was Dr. Vesna Bosanac, a lady.
15 Q. You also mentioned during your cross-examination that the hospital
16 had special needs such as supplies to be protected. How often, if at all,
17 were you contacted regarding the needs of the hospital?
18 A. Dr. Vesna Bosanac, precisely, from the hospital. I didn't contact
19 anybody else, nor did anybody else contact me, because from the 8th of
20 October, when I was with her for the first time onwards, sometimes during
21 the day she would call me up two or three times. At other times, she
22 wouldn't call for several days but would contact the chief of the Main
23 Staff, the Minister of Health, because they informed me about that, and
24 every time emphasising the grievous problems she had with the large number
25 of casualties, not having enough medical supplies, the fact that the
1 hospital was fired at, was shelled. So that I was very often on the phone
2 with her.
3 Q. Now, you also mentioned in your cross-examination that you had
4 reports from Dedakovic and Borkovic, sometimes on a daily basis, during
5 the siege of Vukovar, requesting for equipment, manpower and so forth.
6 Did they ever report to you about the shelling of Vukovar and about the
7 hospital and its requirements and needs?
8 A. Yes. They didn't say specifically send me such and such, because
9 they knew that I wasn't able to do that. But they did inform me about the
10 difficult situation and about the shelling of the hospital, and even their
11 assessments. It was difficult to count but I would hear of their
12 assessments that during the course of one day in Vukovar, as many as 5.000
13 projectiles fell on the town, artillery ones, mortar ones, et cetera, with
14 a large number of projectiles targeting the hospital and hitting the
16 Q. Now, General, finally I'd like to come to the topic of the
17 so-called arming of Croatia and the Spegelj affair which has been delved
18 into during cross-examination.
19 Now, you've mentioned to the Chamber that -- and I think the
20 Chamber has accepted that you have the ability to answer questions with a
21 political flavour as well as military. So I want to ask you, under the
22 SFRY constitution, the SFRY was obliged to provide weapons to each
23 republic for the police and the TO. Now, in 1990-1991, how many weapons
24 was the SFRY providing Croatia for its police and TO, roughly?
25 A. SSNO didn't provide the police with weapons, and the Territorial
1 Defence. It gave permission and authorisation that -- for production in
2 factories of the former Yugoslav republics, that weapons could be procured
3 if they were paid for and based on a plan, to arm the Territorial Defence,
4 each republic set aside 0.5 per cent of its GDP for procuring resources
5 and maintenance of resources and training as well, and from the point when
6 in mid-May 1990 there was an order by the head of the General Staff
7 decreeing that weapons be confiscated, of the Territorial Defence of the
8 Republic of Croatia, not a single bullet, not a single weapon, was issued
9 by the SSNO, was given to the Republic of Croatia after 1990 and 1991.
10 Q. Now under the SFRY constitution, if the federal government was
11 failing to provide arms to a republic, which it was entitled to, for
12 example, the police, or TO, what if any right did the republic have to
13 acquire weapons themselves?
14 A. I don't know whether the republic had any right based on some
15 written law and regulation to acquire weapons from other sources. That is
16 to say from abroad. However, the development of the political situation
17 was such that the chances of having the federal secretary return Croatian
18 weapons to Croatia, or to turn the tap on for procurement from the
19 warehouses of the former Yugoslavia, were equal to zero. Therefore, if
20 Croatia thought that it would be jeopardised, it had to arm itself, and
21 that is how it solved the problem. It solved the problem in the way it
22 did. I did not take part in that but we can see the way in which this was
23 resolved later on.
24 Q. What about the police force of a republic? Whose responsibility
25 is it to arm the police force?
1 A. To arm the police force was, in the former Yugoslavia, a unified
2 process and this was done by the Ministry of the Interior of the republic,
3 and it was in charge of supplying and equipping its military police units.
4 It was not only from domestic sources but procurement from abroad as well.
5 However, for as long as Yugoslavia functioned as a united whole, I do
6 believe that that was done with the knowledge of the ministry, the federal
7 Ministry of the Interior, the Yugoslav Internal Affairs Ministry. Now,
8 whether that was like that afterwards and when that was -- principle was
9 upset, I think it was probably after the elections in 1990 when there was
10 greater distrust among -- between the federal and republican organs.
11 Q. Now, General, that completes the examination-in-chief of the
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Agha.
14 There was one question of Mr. Agha's, General, to which the answer
15 is unclear. You said that after the order for confiscation of weapons in
16 May of 1990, there was not a single weapon or bullet issued to the
17 Republic of Croatia. Was that -- you went on then to add words, after
18 1990 and 1991. And they are the words that confuse the Chamber. Are you
19 saying that there were no weapons and bullets issued after the end of the
20 period 1990-1991, or are you saying there were none issued after the
21 confiscation order in 1990? Could you help to clarify that, please?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't know when the
23 last weapon or branches of the Ministry of the Interior or Territorial
24 Defence of the Republic of Croatia weapons as consignments reached Croatia
25 in an organised fashion, and with the knowledge of the federal secretary
1 for National Defence and the chief of the General Staff, and I have in
2 mind here the period of up to the 15th of May 1990. However, when on the
3 15th of May 1990, the chief of the General Staff issued orders that all
4 weapons of the Territorial Defence of Croatia be placed under the control
5 of the JNA, from that moment on, not a single lethal weapon or explosive
6 or device reached the Republic of Croatia through regular channels, the
7 regular channels of supply through the federal secretary or the other
8 usual ways from the factories and production line that existed in
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. That clarifies that question.
11 Now, General, you'll be pleased to know that that concludes the
12 questions and your evidence. The Chamber is grateful for your attendance
13 and your assistance, and you are now able to return to your ordinary
14 activities. Thank you very much, indeed.
15 Given the hour, clearly we will adjourn now rather than call a
16 fresh witness. We will resume tomorrow at 2.15.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.55 p.m., to
18 be reconvened on Wednesday, the 23rd day of
19 November, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.