1 Monday, 5 December 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Will you please read aloud the affirmation on the
9 card that is now given to you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
11 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 WITNESS: IRINEJ BUCKO
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
15 Mr. Moore.
16 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
17 Examined by Mr. Moore:
18 MR. MOORE:
19 Q. Witness, would you be kind enough, please, to tell us your full
21 A. Bucko, Irinej.
22 Q. And it's right that you were born on the 24th of August in 1942;
23 is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. That you did JNA service, national service, I think, in --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. -- in 1963? And that you worked as a military carpenter in
3 Slovenia; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. That you got married in April 1963?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And that you built a house in Vukovar and you have lived there
8 since 1970; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And can you tell us, please, the name of the district in which you
11 live or lived in Vukovar?
12 A. Sajmiste.
13 Q. You live in Sajmiste. Thank you very much.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. When did you leave Sajmiste?
16 A. Ah, you mean when I left Sajmiste? In September.
17 Q. And what year is that?
18 A. 1991.
19 Q. And did you live in that district from 1970 until 1991?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you very much.
22 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I notice there may be a slight problem.
23 I know we have had problems with our electrics. Does Your Honour wish me
24 to continue, or I can just delay at this stage.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Please keep going, Mr. Moore. We've got one set of
1 equipment working but none of us has the other.
2 MR. MOORE: Very well. I'll just proceed if I may, then.
3 Q. I think it's right to say that you describe yourself as a
4 volunteer in the defence of Vukovar; is that right?
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. And you decided to start that, to assist them, from approximately
7 July 1991?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. What made you join the defence of Vukovar or volunteer to defend
10 Vukovar in July 1991? Can you tell us what it was?
11 A. It's my town.
12 Q. Yes. And was there anything happening that made you join the
13 defence volunteers?
14 A. The fact that I was born there and I love my town. I had to fight
15 for my town.
16 Q. I think you're of Croatian ethnicity; is that right?
17 A. I'm Ruthenian, but of Croat religion, Greek Catholic.
18 Q. And what about the Serbs? What were they doing in July 1991?
19 A. Sorry?
20 Q. What were the Serbs --
21 A. Well, they probably shelled the town, didn't they?
22 Q. All right. Let's see if we can move on to August 1991, please.
23 Do you remember --
24 A. August, yes. In August, I was unemployed. My company had gone
25 bankrupt. I spent all of my time at home. In August, but it wasn't in
1 August that it started. It started on the 2nd of May in Borovo Selo, when
2 they killed our police officers in Borovo Selo. On the 8th of May, the
3 shelling of Vukovar began. Planes started shelling Vukovar. I mean the
5 Q. Mr. Bucko -- can you please? I know you want to give your
6 evidence in large blocks of evidence but I need to ask you some questions.
7 Can you listen to the questions and then give the answer after that?
8 Would you mind?
9 A. Fine, fine.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Do you remember the town of Vukovar being
11 bombed from air planes?
12 A. Yes, yes. I was at home.
13 Q. Do you remember the date when that first happened?
14 A. 25th of August.
15 Q. That's obviously 1991; is that right?
16 A. Yes, yes, of course. It's the same year all the time, isn't it?
17 Q. Yes, it is. And what were you doing militarily at that time?
18 A. At the time, I was at home.
19 Q. Yes, but you told us that you were part of the volunteers of
20 Vukovar. Were you active at that time in August?
21 A. I had only just started.
22 Q. And what effect did the bombing, the aeroplane bombing, have on
23 the town?
24 A. Well, what effect? When someone bombs you, you know what sort of
25 effect that has.
1 Q. Well, unfortunately I can't give the evidence. Could you tell the
2 Court, please, what effect it had on the city of Vukovar?
3 A. What sort of effect? Dreadful effect. Planes were flying over,
4 dropping their bombs.
5 Q. And did you see where the bombs landed?
6 A. I was in my garden.
7 Q. Yes. But apart from your garden, did you see where the bombs
8 landed, which districts?
9 A. They used the planes to fly from near the water tower, which is
10 near where I lived. They would turn around, fly straight back, and drop
11 bombs on Vukovar, all over the place.
12 Q. Mr. Bucko, I want to ask you, please, about the -- what I will
13 call the fall of Vukovar. Approximately 17th, 18th, 19th of November.
14 Now, do you remember that happening?
15 A. Vukovar fell on the 18th.
16 Q. And what did you do when Vukovar fell?
17 A. What did I do? When Vukovar fell, I was at the Count Eltz palace,
18 inside the building.
19 Q. And what had you been doing in the building?
20 A. We were told to stay there and watch the museum exhibits, the
21 valuables displayed in the museum.
22 Q. And I think it's right to say that you left the museum exhibits,
23 and is it right you then went to the hospital?
24 A. It wasn't at this point in time. I stayed in the hospital, or,
25 rather, I came there in September. In September, that was also I think
1 the last time I went there to visit my wife, and I went back to the
3 Q. All right. Thank you. But can you tell us about your return to
4 the hospital about the 17th, 18th, 19th of November?
5 A. On the 18th, 19th of November, I came on the 19th, on the morning
6 of the 19th, in the morning, at about eight or nine.
7 Q. And this we are talking about the hospital; is that right?
8 A. The hospital, yes. I arrived in the hospital on the morning of
9 the 18th.
10 Q. Is it the morning of the 18th or the morning of the 19th? Can you
12 A. No, no, no, no. On the 18th, Vukovar fell. On the 19th, I
13 arrived in the hospital. No.
14 Q. Thank you. And were you able to get into the hospital?
15 A. No. I wasn't able to enter the hospital. I used the door which I
16 thought would have been easier, the emergency door, and I went all the way
17 up. All the glass had been shattered so we just walked straight into the
19 Q. What was hospital like? Can you tell the Judges, the learned
20 Judges, what you found?
21 A. Oh, it was great suffering.
22 Q. And is it right that your wife was at the hospital at that time?
23 A. She was a nurse there.
24 Q. And did you meet your wife when you went to the hospital?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And did you have a conversation with her about the whole
2 situation, what was happening?
3 A. Yes, yes, yes.
4 Q. And what did you and your wife do?
5 A. Nothing. I said we were done for and we should just sit and wait
6 to see what would happen to us.
7 Q. So did you stay sitting there or did you go somewhere else?
8 A. I stayed there. She took me down the stairs, and then she went to
9 speak to a nurse called Biba and asked her to give me a white overcoat to
10 put on. She said there would be an evacuation of the sick and wounded,
11 and that we would be taking them to join a convoy.
12 Q. When you speak about a person called Biba, that is Biba Kolesar;
13 is that right?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. And who suggested you put on a white coat? Was it Biba or was it
16 your wife?
17 A. No. My wife. Who else would have been able to give me orders?
18 Q. And did you do as you were told? Did you put on your white coat?
19 A. I didn't really like the idea but, yes, I did.
20 Q. All right. Thank you. At that time, did you see anyone from the
21 JNA at the hospital?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can you tell the Court, please, your first meeting with people
24 from the JNA at the hospital?
25 A. Well, I met Mr. Sljivancanin and Dr. Ivankovic.
1 Q. Yes. Well, let's just deal with the day that you had met Biba,
2 your wife had told you to put on a white coat, and you did put on a white
3 coat. What happened after that?
4 A. What happened? I came on the 19th, I spent the night in a small
5 room with those nurses. The next morning was the 20th, right? And what
6 happened? They said a convoy would be there to take the wounded away.
7 Q. Thank you very much. Can you just please wait? I want to just
8 deal with the 19th. So we are talking about the 19th. You've met Biba.
9 You're with your wife?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What happened on the 19th?
12 A. Yes, the 19th.
13 Q. Can you remember?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Just deal with the 19th, please.
16 A. Yes, the 19th only.
17 Q. Can you tell us what happened on the 19th after you had put on the
18 white coat?
19 A. What happened? I don't know what happened. I know what we were
20 told to do on the 19th. Some people had the white overcoats and some
21 didn't. Everybody was waiting for the 20th to arrive. We were standing
22 there in a corridor on the way to the plaster room and the basement. We
23 were just standing there. Those people came, not sure what to call them
24 really, Chetniks. They came as far as the door to the emergency ward.
25 Once inside, they asked to speak to Dr. Ivankovic. I have no idea where
1 he was. A man sprang to his feet and started shoving them out of the
2 room. At this time, Ivankovic comes along, walks up to them, and they
3 start sort of reporting to him, saying, "I am the duke," and the others
4 said I'm his assistant," and the other two men were just standing there
6 Q. And did you hear what they said to Dr. Ivankovic?
7 A. Yes, but there was another lady with them there.
8 Q. Well, let's deal with the lady and then we'll deal with the
9 discussion. Did you recognise the lady?
10 A. That's fine. No. I didn't recognise the lady. Lidija recognised
11 her. I think the lady lived in Radiceva street and her husband was a
12 journalist. I can't be sure but I think it's 100 per cent.
13 Q. Thank you for that. The name of the journalist, do you know the
14 name of the journalist that she was married to?
15 A. Stankovic, I don't know the first name, though.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, you told us that certain people came up to speak
17 to Dr. Ivankovic. Do you remember telling us that?
18 A. Yes, yes, I remember.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... what they said?
20 A. They introduced themselves. One of them said he was the duke and
21 the other said he was his assistant. Those two were standing there silent
22 and they said your sons would be -- will be here to see you.
23 Q. And did you hear whether Dr. Ivankovic replied to those two men?
24 A. He kept silent.
25 Q. Thank you. Now you've told us that you saw some people you
1 described as Chetniks coming to the hospital. Did they come on the 19th?
2 A. Yes, yes, on the 19th, yes.
3 Q. And what way were the Chetniks behaving on the 19th?
4 A. They were behaving in a bad way, saying things like, "Get me an
5 Ustasha so that I can slit his throat."
6 Q. And when they were saying things like get me an Ustasha, I can
7 slit his throat, what effect did that have on the patients or other people
8 who heard it?
9 A. It had a dreadful effect on us. Those of us who were standing
10 there in the corridor waiting for the convoy. Some people embraced them,
11 saying, "Here come our saviours."
12 Q. And what about the others? Did they embrace them as saviours
13 or --
14 A. The others were embracing them. They came out of their rooms and
15 embraced them. There was a nurse called Bilic. I remember that
16 specifically. She was hugging them.
17 Q. And how often were the Chetniks saying that they were going to
18 slit --
19 A. I don't know that sort of thing.
20 Q. Well, just let me ask the question and then you can tell me that
21 you don't know it. But how often were they saying, or making threats
22 against Ustashas?
23 A. They yelled this several times but this didn't happen yesterday so
24 it's very difficult for me to remember how many times exactly.
25 Q. Thank you very much. Now, you've told us about the Chetniks and
1 the shouting of threats. Did that stop eventually?
2 A. Stop? What do you mean stop? A soldier came. He walked by. He
3 got a Kalashnikov and he said, "Get out all of you. Otherwise I'll just
4 shoot you."
5 Q. And when you use the word "all" meaning Chetniks, how many
6 Chetniks -- please let me finish this. How many -- how many Chetniks were
7 in the hospital at that time, please? Approximately.
8 A. At the hospital, four of them.
9 Q. And did they leave?
10 A. They did whether the other man drove them out.
11 Q. And what were your feelings at that time when you saw the
13 A. Our feelings, we were waiting for the convoy hoping that tomorrow
14 would be a better day.
15 Q. When were you expecting the convoy to arrive?
16 A. We were expecting it sometime the next morning. We thought about
18 Q. Can you tell us what you did in the evening of the 19th? Can you
19 remember where you were?
20 A. Yes, I do. I do. I was down in the shelter where the wounded
22 Q. And where were you sleeping, if at all?
23 A. I wasn't sleeping. I was in that room.
24 Q. And how many people were in the room with you?
25 A. Hold on a minute. My wife, Ilonka, Magda, and myself.
1 Q. And what about them? How were they feeling at that time?
2 A. Not much. We were just waiting for the next morning and hoping
3 that we would be on our way.
4 Q. I want to deal with the morning of the 20th, all right, Mr. Bucko?
5 A. That's fine.
6 Q. Let us deal, then, please, with that morning. Did you ever leave
7 the room on the morning of the 20th?
8 A. Yes. I walked up and down the corridor and I came out briefly,
10 Q. And when you were out in the corridor, did you see anyone that
11 caused you concern?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And whom did you see?
14 A. When I left, when I was outside it might have been around 8 or
15 9.00 in the morning, there were soldiers there and buses had arrived.
16 Q. I want to deal, please, with the period before the buses. So
17 let's just deal -- let's just deal with the time that you are in the
18 hospital, the morning of the 20th.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did you see -- you told us you went out in the corridor. Did you
21 see anyone in the corridors that you knew?
22 A. Yes, I did.
23 Q. And did you have any conversations or they have any conversations
24 with you in the corridor?
25 A. I spoke to them.
1 Q. Well, you tell us, please, who it was that you were speaking to.
2 A. I spoke to Mr. Major Sljivancanin. I'm sorry.
3 Q. And was he alone or was he with anyone else?
4 A. He was there with Dr. Ivankovic.
5 Q. And what was the conversation that you had with Sljivancanin and
6 Ivankovic? Can you remember?
7 A. I realised what was going on outside. I wanted to address him to
8 tell him something.
9 Q. Thank you. And what did you -- what conversation did you -- what
10 did you talk about?
11 A. I told him that I was blameless, that I was a civilian, and that I
12 wanted to leave.
13 Q. And who did you tell this to?
14 A. To Ivankovic.
15 Q. And when you told it to Ivankovic, was Sljivancanin with him
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And when you said this to Ivankovic, did either Ivankovic or
19 Sljivancanin reply?
20 A. Ivankovic replied that he was no longer in charge, that these men
21 were now in charge.
22 Q. And when he said, "These men," whom did he mean?
23 A. He meant the gentleman, Major Sljivancanin.
24 Q. And did Sljivancanin say anything to you?
25 A. Yes, yes, he did.
1 Q. And what did he say to you?
2 A. What he said? He said, "You think you're any better than the rest
3 of them?"
4 Q. And did he explain what he meant by that?
5 A. He said, "You all think you were any better than those who had
6 been killing people?"
7 Q. Did you make any reply to that question by Sljivancanin?
8 A. No, I didn't. I just turned away and I was off to look for my
9 jacket to have something to wear.
10 Q. Now, where was your wife at this time? Can you remember?
11 A. In the plaster room.
12 Q. Now, you told us about two minutes ago that when you went out, you
13 realised what was going on outside. What was going on outside?
14 A. It was quite something. They were taking the wounded away,
15 putting them on vehicles, and there was another bus at the other end of
16 the yard outside the hospital. It was in -- I can't remember the name of
17 the street, but it was at the back of the hospital, the street that I
19 Q. Did you see them taking away the wounded or placing the wounded in
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And can you describe to the learned judges what you saw?
23 A. What I saw?
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, an objection. We
1 haven't objected so far. We understand how the Prosecutor is putting
2 questions. But this last question clearly stated, "Did you see the
3 wounded people being loaded on to vehicles?" I think this is too leading.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, had it been on its own, you would be
5 entirely correct, but if you look back to the previous answer, you'll see
6 those words are there, and the Prosecutor has merely brought the witness
7 back to that particular part of the answer, I think.
8 Please carry on, Mr. Moore.
9 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
10 Q. Can you describe the Court what you saw happening with the
11 wounded, please?
12 A. What was happening? Anybody who was able to move and civilians,
13 those poor people, were put on buses.
14 Q. And what about the wounded? We were talking about the wounded.
15 Can you tell us what was happening to them?
16 A. Those who were seriously wounded were taken off beds or pushed in
17 their beds and then put on stretchers and placed into trucks.
18 Q. When you use the word, "Truck," is that the same as an ambulance?
19 Can you just clarify what you mean by the word "truck", please?
20 A. No. A truck is a military vehicle. A truck can be anything. But
21 in that case, they had military vehicles.
22 Q. And how carefully were they putting the wounded on to the trucks?
23 A. Carelessly, not really paying attention.
24 Q. Can you describe to the Court a little more fully about the
1 A. Yes, yes, I can. I didn't see next to the buses a single doctor
2 or a nurse. I didn't see anybody there who was able to help.
3 Q. Let's then just deal with you and your wife now. All right?
4 A. Fine.
5 Q. Did you leave the building? And when I say, "you," I just mean
6 you yourself.
7 A. I left the building by myself, the hospital building.
8 Q. Now how did you leave?
9 A. Simply. The first time I met them, I just continued on to my
10 room. I took my jacket and then I was about to turn when I realised that
11 there was a soldier standing behind me.
12 Q. And what happened with the soldier?
13 A. He grabbed me by my shoulders and pushed me outside.
14 Q. And when he pushed you outside, were there any other soldiers
15 there or not?
16 A. When he pushed me outside, he told me to keep on going straight
17 and there were two more people there checking people.
18 Q. And those people who were checking, were they soldiers or not?
19 A. Civilians. No. No, no. The ones checking were soldiers and they
20 were checking civilians.
21 Q. And where did you go?
22 A. We went to a bus.
23 Q. And did you get onto the bus?
24 A. Yes, yes. We got on the bus, yes, all of us. The bus was full.
25 I was the last one to get on.
1 Q. Were you told to sit in the bus in any particular way?
2 A. There in front of the hospital they didn't tell us anything, no.
3 Q. Were you able to look out of the bus?
4 A. Yes, through the glass.
5 Q. And how many buses did you see at that time?
6 A. Right there, in front of the hospital, there was just our bus. No
7 other buses.
8 Q. Did you see any women on that bus?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Did the bus leave the hospital area?
11 A. They closed the door before the bus started.
12 Q. And the bus started and where did it go to, please?
13 A. It was about to start, hadn't started yet, it was about to start.
14 Q. Did anybody on the bus -- when I say "anybody," did anyone speak
15 to you on the bus?
16 A. Yes. Nobody spoke to us. There were two soldiers who had
17 Kalashnikovs and then the driver spoke to us, but in a bad way.
18 Q. And when you say the driver spoke to you in a bad way, what did
19 the driver say to you all?
20 A. What he said? He got up and he said, "I'm a Montenegrin. I have
21 neighbours, Montenegrins, Croats, Serbs. They live all around me. We all
22 get along. What about you? You Ustashas --" I made a mistake. I meant
23 Ustashas. "You killed all of our children, your hands are all bloody.
24 All of you have bloody hands."
25 Q. Did you eventually leave the hospital in the bus?
1 A. We did. We set out somewhere. We didn't know where.
2 Q. And when you were travelling in the bus, was there anyone on the
3 bus that you were surprised to see on the bus with you?
4 A. What do you mean surprised? I was surprised. Yes. A man got up
5 and he started banging on the window shouting, "There is my brother
6 outside." He was a soldier. And he said, "They captured me. I was
7 wounded. In the hospital they spilled blood on me and said that I had
8 slit throats and killed." However, the bus driver didn't stop the bus.
9 He said, "Only your brother can save you."
10 Q. And had you seen the man outside the bus before this man inside
11 the bus calling out?
12 A. Yes. I saw but he was wearing different clothes. I could see
13 faces. These two were brothers who had been there. There was a dark one,
14 a dark, big guy, I think his name was Faca. His father was called Milan
15 Husnik and they were two brothers.
16 Q. And you said that you had seen him wearing different clothes.
17 What clothes had he been wearing that were different?
18 A. A cap.
19 Q. And what sort of cap had you seen him wear before?
20 A. Previously, he had sajkaca, which is a typical Serbian folk hat.
21 Q. And where had you seen this man wearing the cap?
22 A. It was in Kras street near Sajmiste. I realised immediately where
23 we were because I had lived in Sajmiste.
24 Q. Did the bus eventually stop somewhere?
25 A. It stopped, but in the barracks.
1 Q. Are those the JNA barracks in Vukovar?
2 A. JNA, yes. The army that used to be in Vukovar.
3 Q. And when the bus stopped in the JNA barracks in Vukovar, did you
4 see if there were any other buses there also?
5 A. Of course I saw. There were four buses there. We drove past them
6 and parked so that our bus was the first one, in the front. We were the
7 first one, and then there were five buses.
8 Q. Did anyone get off your bus when it stopped?
9 A. Yes. One got out. Since I was seated I was one of the last ones
10 to get in so I sat next to the door. There were officers there and all
11 kinds of people and he talked to them. He whispered something to them,
12 and then they took him behind our bus towards other buses and I don't know
13 where they took him afterwards.
14 Q. Can I talk to you, please, or should I say, could I ask you some
15 questions about him getting off the bus? You told us that there were
16 officers there.
17 A. [No interpretation]
18 Q. Where did the officers come from when the bus stopped?
19 A. Well, that was a plan, that they had prearranged. They stood
20 there next to buses.
21 Q. And how many officers did you see, as far as you could estimate?
22 A. I couldn't estimate. Two or three. I don't know how many. I
23 just knew that they had insignia. That's how I knew that they were
25 Q. And are you and were you able to tell the difference between what
1 I will call regular JNA officers and reservist officers?
2 A. Of course I can. I did my military service.
3 Q. Well, were these regular or irregular officers?
4 A. Regular officers of the JNA.
5 Q. You have told us now about three or four regular JNA officers.
6 Did you see any other soldiers at the JNA barracks when your bus stopped?
7 A. Yes. The soldiers, soldiers, plain soldiers, were mixed up with
8 the others.
9 Q. And when we talk about the others, are you able to estimate how
10 many others we are talking about?
11 A. I don't know how many there were; a dozen.
12 Q. And what was the atmosphere at that time when the buses stopped?
13 A. It was a sorry atmosphere.
14 Q. What do you mean by "sorry"?
15 A. They kept hitting on the buses, there was yelling, cursing,
16 saying, "We will slit the throats of Ustashas. Let's have Tudjman fuck
17 you." Things like that. It was terrible to listen to.
18 Q. And did any of the JNA officers stop those people when they were
19 uttering threats and behaving that way?
20 A. They didn't lift their finger.
21 Q. And what effect did it have on you to be told that they were going
22 to cut the throats of the Ustashas?
23 A. People felt no effect whatsoever. And do you know why? Because
24 these people were civilians. They were not guilty at all. They simply
25 loved their city and they sacrificed themselves for their city.
1 Q. And how were the people behaving outside?
2 A. Don't even ask me that.
3 Q. Well, I regret to say I have to ask you. Could you give me the
4 answer, do you think?
5 A. I can. These people wearing sajkaca and fur hats, they had
6 pals and -- poles in their hands, and bats, and they kept hitting the bus,
7 the people. As people were getting off the buses, they kept hitting them,
8 slamming them, kicking them, and then a captain came.
9 Q. Can I deal with the people who were being hit? What were they
10 being hit with, please?
11 A. All kinds of bars, whatever they had in their hands, pieces of
12 wood, planks, pieces of bars, they just kept hitting people on their
14 Q. Did any of the people who were hit, did any of them fall to the
16 A. Yes. Certainly. All of them fell.
17 Q. And what happened when they fell to the ground? Did the beating
19 A. I don't know when it stopped. The beating went on when an officer
20 got onto our bus.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic?
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have an
23 objection to make to the transcript, page 21, line 15. When my learned
24 friend asked whether anybody fell, the transcript reflects the witness as
25 saying, "All of them fell." We don't believe that this is what the
1 witness said. We think that he said that some fell. Perhaps my learned
2 friend could clarify this with the witness. Thank you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
4 Yes, Mr. Moore.
5 MR. MOORE:
6 Q. I would like to just ask a question again to make the picture
7 clearer. You have told us that people were being hit and some fell to the
8 ground. Was it some who fell to the ground or all who fell to the ground
9 as a result?
10 A. These people were getting off the bus in the following way. I
11 will describe it to you now. A captain got in our bus and two soldiers.
12 He held a piece of paper in his hands. And right at that time the sixth
13 bus drove there. It was empty. And then the man said, "The persons whose
14 names I read now should get off the bus and get on to the empty bus."
15 This is what happened. He first called out my name. I was on
16 that first bus. And he was unable to pronounce my name, as though he was
17 stuttering. That's how he read it out. And then he said, "You go onto
18 the other bus." And I got off that bus and I got on the other bus and I
19 sat on this other bus. And then from my bus, Selebaj came out with his
20 father, the two of them. And this is how we kept sitting there.
21 Then, two military policemen came, a captain brought them along,
22 some captain. They got on the bus, and the captain said, "Don't beat
23 them." Then they started pushing people from other buses into our bus and
24 this is when the beating erupted.
25 Q. Can I just stop you? You've told us that an officer said, "don't
1 beat them." Did the beating stop when the officer said that?
2 A. No. He said to those policemen, as they were getting on, they
3 were beating them and pushing them into the bus, and he said, "Don't beat
4 them. Don't beat those getting on the bus."
5 Q. And was the officer being serious when he was saying, "Don't beat
6 them, don't beat them"?
7 A. There is no way for me to know that.
8 Q. And when the beating was happening, did the officer try and stop
9 them beating you all?
10 A. He got lost.
11 Q. And why did he get lost?
12 A. Disappeared. We didn't see him any longer.
13 Q. And what happened with the men who were being beaten?
14 A. What happened? They beat them outside and then the policemen
15 continued with the beating.
16 Q. And through this period, did any of the JNA officers attempt to
17 stop those beatings?
18 A. Nobody. Nobody even attempted to.
19 Q. You told us that you got onto an empty bus, and I think you've
20 told us that others got onto the empty bus. Is that right or not?
21 A. Yes. That's correct.
22 Q. Who was first onto the empty bus?
23 A. I was the first one.
24 Q. Did you see the others getting on?
25 A. I did.
1 Q. Did you see if any of the others were beaten before getting on?
2 A. Sure they beat them. A man came in with a head that had been
3 fractured. There was blood pouring all over.
4 Q. How many people eventually got on to that empty bus?
5 A. Well, 15, more than 15, more than 15, but definitely 15.
6 Q. How long was it before that empty bus -- I'll call it empty bus,
7 or the bus that you were on, left the JNA barracks?
8 A. Well, didn't leave, didn't leave the place. He closed the door
9 and then those who were wearing coats, who were supposed to be loading the
10 wounded, they got beaten more than anybody else. They beat them all over.
11 Q. And where was that happening?
12 A. On the bus. The police beat them.
13 Q. Now, is that your bus or another bus that you could see?
14 A. The one that I was on. I didn't see any other buses. That was
15 the sixth bus, the one that had been empty and was now full of people.
16 Q. So did that -- did your bus then leave the JNA barracks?
17 A. Yes. It did. But unfortunately we didn't know where they were
18 taking us.
19 Q. Now -- and do you remember the drive back on the bus?
20 A. I remember that all of a sudden I realised where we were, near my
22 Q. And did you see anything happen when you were on the way back in
23 the bus?
24 A. Nothing was happening. They were just yelling, doing whatever
25 they wanted. They were yelling at us, "You killed, you slit throats, you
1 killed our children." They were saying all kinds of things.
2 Q. Can you tell --
3 A. Unspeakable things.
4 Q. Can you tell the court what sort of things they were saying they
5 were going to do to you?
6 A. Kill us; what else?
7 Q. It's right to say that the bus went back and stopped near the
8 hospital; is that correct or not?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And when the bus stopped, did you get off the bus?
11 A. We didn't. The bus stopped, and then the man who was all bloody
12 got off the bus and then the soldiers or the police got hold of him and
13 then they took him somewhere. I don't know, to the hospital or some place
15 Q. Did you hear what they said to the man with the bloody head?
16 A. They didn't say anything then. Prior to that, they yelled, and
17 when we were there, he got off, he passed by, and then I didn't hear or
18 see. I didn't know.
19 Q. Did you meet your wife again that day?
20 A. She came to the bus and she started banging on the bus. She
21 wanted to get on the bus to help me but that was impossible.
22 Q. Did you eventually get off the bus?
23 A. Mr. Sljivancanin came, and Bogdan, the doorman, and another
24 major. I didn't know him but perhaps I would recognise him if I saw him
25 again. And then they said, "Get off. You used to be soldiers."
1 Q. And did you get off the bus?
2 A. I got off first. They said, "line up by the sidewalk."
3 Q. And did you line up by the pavement?
4 A. All of us who were on the bus lined up.
5 Q. And what happened then, please?
6 A. He, Mr. Sljivancanin, asked Bogdan whether he knew me, whether he
7 recognised me.
8 Q. And what did Bogdan say?
9 A. That he doesn't know me.
10 Q. And did Mr. Sljivancanin say anything after that?
11 A. He said to me, "Do you know Bogdan?"
12 Q. And did you answer?
13 A. I said I didn't.
14 Q. And then what happened?
15 A. Mr. Sljivancanin said, "Fuck off."
16 Q. And did you?
17 A. Yes. I did. Needless to say, since he told me.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe the interpretation on page
19 26, line 14, is not consistent with what the witness said. Can we have
20 more accurate interpretation, please? It's page 26, line 14.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Good luck, Mr. Moore.
22 MR. MOORE: Thank you for that.
23 Q. Can you just tell us again what Major Sljivancanin said to you
24 when you said you had not recognised Bogdan? Can you remember the phrase
25 he used?
1 A. "Get out of here, get lost," in a very, very rude way. That's
2 what he said. I'm not sure what he meant.
3 Q. What about the others from the bus? What happened to them?
4 A. I don't know. When I left, they didn't follow.
5 Q. Do you know the names of some of the people who were on the bus?
6 A. Of course I do. Kolja, Sime.
7 Q. Just before we go any further, Kolja, do you know what Kolja's
8 family name is? Well if it's Biba --
9 A. Kolesar.
10 Q. Thank you. What other names, please? Sime was the ambulance
12 Q. And anyone else?
13 A. Sic.
14 Q. And who was Sic?
15 A. Sic?
16 Q. Yes, Sic.
17 A. Well, this other person, someone I met on the bus.
18 Q. Had you known Sic beforehand?
19 A. I know his wife worked in the hospital. Of course I knew her. We
20 went to visit them.
21 Q. And anyone else who had got on the bus?
22 A. Sime's brother.
23 Q. And what is Sime's brother called?
24 A. I think Jakov.
25 Q. And do you know any other names?
1 A. The one with blood on him, the one who had got off.
2 Q. Do you know his name?
3 A. Adzaga.
4 Q. Now, you've told us about a man called Bogdan. Can you tell the
5 Court, please, who Bogdan was?
6 A. Bogdan was the doorman at the hospital. He knew everyone.
7 Q. And do you know what Bogdan's political allegiance was, which side
8 he preferred?
9 A. I can't say, can I? I never talked to him. I knew he was the
10 doorman, the receptionist, because I would go and see my wife there. So I
11 saw him work there.
12 Q. When you left, you'd been told to "mrs," did you see what was
13 happening to the other people on the bus?
14 A. No, no. I don't know what happened later. We all got off and
15 those who were being checked, I really don't know because I had left
16 already. I have no idea what became of them, where they ended up. I was
17 told to "mrs" so I did.
18 Q. Where did you go after you'd been told to leave?
19 A. I went to the gate. I met my wife there.
20 Q. And after you had met your wife, what did you do?
21 A. We went inside the compound where everybody was standing inside
22 the hospital perimeter, outside the gate and all around the hospital.
23 Q. Did you eventually leave Vukovar?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And how did you leave Vukovar?
1 A. It was a sad thing. They herded us on to those buses and they
2 asked us who wanted to go to Novi Sad and who wanted to go to Zagreb.
3 Q. Did you want to leave Vukovar at that time?
4 A. How could I possibly have wanted to leave after defending my town?
5 Q. Where did you eventually go?
6 A. Where? To Mitrovica. I can tell you about the route, if you
8 Q. I want to deal with this briefly. Were you in a bus or other
10 A. In a bus.
11 Q. And was it in a convoy or not?
12 A. Come on, what sort of a convoy are you talking about? Those were
13 civilian buses.
14 Q. And how many buses were there?
15 A. I can't say. I can't say how many were in front or behind us. I
16 couldn't even turn around to look.
17 Q. Do you remember your evacuation or not?
18 A. I do. Of course, I do. I'll remember it for as long as I live.
19 Q. Well, can you tell the Court, please, about the evacuation?
20 A. Of course I can. Gladly. We left the hospital and headed
21 somewhere. When we reached the Negoslavci road, we knew where we were
22 going. It sure wasn't Zagreb; that I knew for sure.
23 What happened? They drove us past Sajmiste on to Negoslavci but
24 that's not exactly the road to Zagreb. They were driving and driving,
25 driving slowly, nicely, and then we arrived.
1 Q. And where did you eventually arrive?
2 A. We arrived in Mitrovica.
3 Q. Now, you have told us about two meetings with Major Sljivancanin?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. How do you know the person that you were referring to was called
7 A. Ah, that was nice. He came, I don't know when. It wasn't the
8 first time, on the 20th. He had to be at the hospital on the 19th because
9 people were already saying things about him at the hospital, what he was
10 like, that sort of thing, and people were saying that he had introduced
11 himself upon arriving there. That guy.
12 Q. And can you -- can you describe to the Court the person that you
13 called Sljivancanin? Can you tell us the height?
14 A. Very tall, wears a mustache, very tall, quite a strong man.
15 Q. And the man that you described as Sljivancanin, what rank did he
16 have? Could you tell?
17 A. I think he was a major, but I'm not really sure about my ranks
18 because I did my military service long, long time ago.
19 Q. And the man that you described as Sljivancanin, how did he behave
20 when you met him? Can you give us an impression of his attitude?
21 A. He was strutting like a peacock, and he kept talking.
22 MR. MOORE: I have no further questions. Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
24 Mr. Domazet?
25 Mr. Domazet will have some questions for you now, Mr. Bucko.
1 JUDGE PARKER: That's fine, Your Honour.
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Domazet:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
4 A. Good afternoon.
5 Q. I'm Vladomir Domazet, counsel for Mr. Mrksic. I will be asking
6 you some questions today. One thing I'd like to ask you is to pause after
7 my question, wait for the answer -- for the question to appear on the
8 screen and then start your answer. We both speak the same language and
9 the interpreters need to keep up.
10 A. That's fine.
11 Q. You testified in chief today that everything began with Borovo
12 Selo on the 2nd of May 1991. Would I be right in saying that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you know what exactly happened on the 2nd of May? You only
15 mentioned about your police officers, as you said, being killed.
16 A. Your police officers, yes, Croatian police officers.
17 Q. Very well. That's precisely what I'm asking you. Do you know
18 what exactly happened and how it came about?
19 A. How it came about? I don't know. I wasn't there myself. I was
20 outside the hospital when they brought their bodies. People were saying
21 that they had been on their way to some negotiations.
22 Q. So you heard people say that they had been on their way to
23 negotiations and they were killed along the way?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you hear how many police officers were on their way or how
1 many buses or how many lorries?
2 A. I can't say. I wasn't there.
3 Q. Why these negotiations? What was the objective of these
5 A. Don't ask me stuff like that. I'm no politician.
6 Q. But you said yourself that you heard that they were on their way
7 to some negotiations. I suppose the source also indicated who the police
8 would be negotiating with. I thought you'd know something about that.
9 A. I am a resident of Vukovar, sir.
10 Q. I'm not sure if you were an ordinary citizen, Mr. Bucko. Even so,
11 you should have some information for me. You said there were some
12 negotiations. I'm asking you how did you know that there were
13 negotiations happening anywhere?
14 A. You should ask those people over there seated at the other end of
15 the courtroom.
16 Q. I'm sorry, Mr. Bucko, it's you I have to ask these questions if --
17 A. I have nothing to say. I wasn't there. I'm no historian. I'm no
18 politician. How can I talk about these things?
19 Q. That's fine. We'll just move on. Can you tell me what happened
20 after the 2nd of May 1991?
21 A. Nothing. You know what happened? You know what it's like when
22 your house is attacked by someone?
23 Q. Which house -- did those police officers come to the houses of
24 those who whether firing on them or what?
25 A. No, they didn't come. The JNA had been firing on them. We have
1 to make this perfectly clear and there is no need to beat about the bush
2 on this subject.
3 Q. Which incident are you talking about, sir?
4 A. The one at Borovo Selo, the one you asked me about.
5 Q. You mean the JNA were firing on those police officers?
6 A. The JNA, no, not the JNA. Whatever soldiers were there. I don't
7 know who was there. I'm not here to apportion blame. Whoever was there
8 was firing but I wasn't there myself. Keep that in mind.
9 Q. But I wasn't asking you about that incident. I said let's move
10 on, we are done with that.
11 A. You're just trying to twist things around to have it your way.
12 You can't treat me like that. And just to make this clear I'm not
13 prepared to go on answering your questions anymore. I'm totally fed up.
14 Q. Mr. Bucko?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. After the 2nd of May or perhaps later on in June, can you tell me
17 about the things that were happening in Vukovar and its surroundings? You
18 still lived in Vukovar. You were still in Sajmiste. You answered
19 questions about this from my learned friend. Please answer the one that
20 I'm asking you to.
21 A. But perhaps you should -- you should tell me more specifically
22 about what you want me to talk about, in terms of what happened, and what
23 you want me to say and what you don't want me to talk about.
24 Q. Quite specifically?
25 A. That's much better.
1 Q. Were there barricades being erected in certain neighbourhoods in
2 Vukovar, in the surroundings of Vukovar in Borovo Selo, in Borovo Naselje?
3 A. I'm from Sajmiste myself. I can talk about my street, and my
4 vicinity, my neighbourhood, my local commune, where I was. What was
5 happening elsewhere? How on earth am I supposed to know? I went from my
6 house to the hospital and from the hospital back to my house, and that was
7 the extent of my war, just so you keep that in mind. And don't try to get
8 me to say anything else.
9 Q. Mr. Bucko, what do you mean by I'm trying to get to you say
10 something else?
11 A. You're trying me to say something in your favour but I can't talk
12 about things that I don't know. I took an oath. I swore that I would
13 tell the truth. Don't ask me to tell about things I don't know about.
14 Things in Borovo, things in Berak. How should I know? Where I was, there
15 was this Slavonia street, Istarska street, Lola Ribar [phoen] street.
16 There were no barricades there. I can't talk about barricades. There
17 were no barricades where I was. I have no idea where the barricades were.
18 Don't make me stand up and leave and refuse to talk to you any longer.
19 You're asking me about places where I was not physically present. I'm
20 specifying the locations you can ask me about. Those are things I know
21 about. Please stop asking me about things I don't know about because I'm
22 not prepared to go on on that basis.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bucko, would you pay attention to the Chamber
24 for a moment? You are here to try and help us to understand what you know
25 about events that occurred in Vukovar. We were not there, the Judges, but
1 we have to try and learn what happened. You were there so that we must
2 learn from you what you know. And you will assist us a great deal if you
3 can tell us what you know.
4 Now, the way that you are asked to assist us is to listen to the
5 questions that are put to you by the different counsel. They will be
6 questions about things that are important in this trial.
7 If you know something about the things you are asked about, tell
8 us what you know. If you don't know anything about what you're asked,
9 just say, "I'm sorry, I don't know about that." You will then be asked
10 about something else. There is no need for you to get upset about
11 questions just because you don't know the answers. It's only if you are
12 asked and you tell us you don't know the answers that we know what it is
13 you know about and what it is that you don't know anything about.
14 So if you could understand that process, it may not be one you are
15 used to, but there is no concern or worry about you saying, "Look, I don't
16 know anything about that." So if you could try and help us from now on by
17 listening to the questions put to you by counsel and answering them as
18 best as you can and telling us when you can't answer them, and we will be
19 very grateful to you.
20 Mr. Domazet, if you could carry on. Thank you.
21 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Bucko, my question was about the barricades.
23 Do you know anything about any barricades, the existence of any
24 barricades? If so, please share that with us.
25 A. I heard about barricades but I have no idea who erected those
1 barricades. I know there were none where I lived, my neighbourhood, my
2 street. That's all I know. So the answer is no.
3 Q. Can I take it, based on your answer now and previously, that at
4 this period, you did not venture further than your own street and the
5 streets nearby?
6 A. The whole area is maybe one kilometre across. Those are very
7 narrow streets. It's a small neighbourhood, consisting of four streets
8 all together, and then the town continues at the far end. This is a small
9 hill. The barracks. If you know the location of the barracks, you know
10 what sort of a place I'm talking about. Have you ever seen anyone
11 erecting barricades in front of a barracks?
12 Q. You're describing the area for us. You were describing a handful
13 of streets. Would I be right in saying that at this period in time you
14 only moved about your own street and the neighbouring streets, and you
15 didn't venture any further?
16 A. Yes. That is correct. I didn't venture any further.
17 Q. But you did mention that you were also going to the hospital. As
18 far as I know it's not that far away.
19 A. Yes. Me and my wife, I was unemployed, so I would drive my wife
20 to work for as long as we were able to drive, not when the shelling began
21 it was no longer possible to go.
22 Q. You used your own personal vehicle to drive your wife to work and
23 you would drive back home, right?
24 A. No. The first time she arrived at the hospital, on the 25th of
25 August, she received a phone call on the 25th of August, an ambulance came
1 to fetch her. They put her on the ambulance and she was taken to hospital
2 because she was supposed to work there. She left. She would be there for
3 24-hour shifts. Sometimes she would call, sometimes she couldn't. I
4 drove to get her when I could. When it was impossible to drive I stopped
5 going. The situation became really serious. I went two or three times.
6 Just so that you know where I was at the time, I fixed the windows of the
7 hospital because that's my job.
8 Q. We'll get to that, sir.
9 A. But usual just trying to get me to say something that wasn't the
10 case. You're just trying to twist things your way. I'm physically unable
11 to lie.
12 Q. We want to hear the truth from you, nothing but the truth, sir.
13 A. Yes, precisely. I swore to tell the truth.
14 Q. Please don't interrupt me.
15 A. That's fine. I'm sorry.
16 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think there is a
17 good time for a break.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It is a good time. As counsel know, the Judges
19 must now meet in a Plenary Session for the rest of the afternoon. That's
20 regrettable but these things occur.
21 Mr. Bucko, I'm afraid we have now to adjourn, and we will resume
22 again tomorrow at 2.15.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whenever you like, Your Honours,
24 that's fine.
25 JUDGE PARKER: I beg your pardon. It's tomorrow morning at 9.00.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's fine, I fully agree.
2 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... to be there.
3 Tomorrow --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't mind. I didn't mind
5 anything in Vukovar at the time so I don't mind anything here now.
6 JUDGE PARKER: That's a splendid spirit. If you could remember
7 overnight that we will try and get through your questioning as quickly as
8 possible, and you will help that process if you listen to the questions,
9 answer them shortly, and if you don't know an answer, say so, and we can
10 move on quickly, and that should give you the least worry and hassle, and
11 it will help everybody to get to the end of your evidence as quickly as
12 possible, which I'm sure is what you would like to happen.
13 We will adjourn now and resume tomorrow -- Mr. Moore?
14 MR. MOORE: Your Honour may I just seek the Court's guidance?
15 This is the last week of this particular session. Clearly there will be
16 cross-examination from my learned friends. I believe that it may take the
17 most of tomorrow but hopefully will conclude.
18 We have two other witnesses. We believe that they will take
19 approximately a day to a day and a half for each witness, which means that
20 we will come to the latter part of Thursday.
21 We have another witness available but not brought as yet. Given
22 the timings, I am a little loath to commence a witness first thing on
23 Friday morning if we are finishing that day. And it's really to help that
24 witness that I ask whether the Court would perhaps take the view that we
25 should conclude with this witness, the two others, and then not bring the
1 other perhaps on a wasted journey. But we can bring him if needs be.
2 JUDGE PARKER: I take it Defence counsel would not object to that
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. No objections from
5 us. We wish to complete our cross-examination, and there is no need for
6 the OTP, for my learned friend, to be bringing a witness whom we cannot
7 finish by Friday.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Vasic.
9 Mr. Moore, your prayers are answered.
10 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.50 p.m., to
12 be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of December
13 2005, at 9.00 a.m.