1 Wednesday, 7 December 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Would you please read aloud the
7 affirmation on the card that is given to you.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: WITNESS P-032
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please be seated. Mr. Agha.
13 MR. AGHA: Yes, Your Honour, this is a protected witness so if we
14 may please go into private session, briefly.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
16 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
2 MR. AGHA:
3 Q. Now, as you were growing up in Vukovar during the 1980s, how did
4 the citizens of Vukovar get along?
5 A. How they got along? Normally, as far as I know. I was still a
6 child at the time, attending elementary school. Everything was fine.
7 Q. What do you know about the Borovo Selo incident?
8 A. On the 2nd of May, 1991, when the policemen were killed, 12 of
10 Q. And what impact did this incident have on the local community in
11 Vukovar, between the Serbs and the Croats?
12 A. What kind of an impact? Simply speaking, we wanted to join them,
13 to stand by them, to fight for our people, for defence of homeland, for
14 the city, for its residents, because once they were killed it was clear to
15 us what would happen.
16 Q. And what role did you play in the defence of Vukovar?
17 A. I joined right away, as soon as they were killed. I joined the
18 reserve, and we started with guard duty.
19 Q. And how old were you at this time, roughly?
20 A. 17 and a half.
21 Q. And did you join the ZNG?
22 A. Reserve forces of the ZNG.
23 Q. And were any of your other family members also in the reserve
25 A. My brother and I.
1 Q. Now, when in your view did Vukovar come under serious attack?
2 A. 27th and 28th of August, 1991.
3 Q. And who attacked Vukovar?
4 A. The JNA, the former Yugoslav People's Army.
5 Q. And how extensive was this attack?
6 A. The planes made sorties and bombed. They also fired from tanks
7 and all kinds of things.
8 MR. AGHA: Now, if we could please go into private session
9 briefly, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
11 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honour. And
2 this will be Exhibit 131, Your Honour.
3 MR. AGHA:
4 Q. Now, Witness, at this time, whereabouts were people living in
5 their homes? For example, your parents.
6 A. In basements. The whole time, throughout the war, in basements.
7 Q. Now, while you were defending Vukovar, how much weaponry did the
8 defenders have compared to the JNA forces who were attacking you?
9 A. Very little. Compared to what they had, we had nothing compared
10 to their weaponry.
11 Q. Now, Witness, I want to move to the time when the city was about
12 to fall, in November. Now, roughly when did you learn that the city was
13 about to fall and that the defenders would be withdrawing?
14 A. On the 17th, in the evening, I went to my parents', in the
15 basement. My father told me then that the defenders had withdrawn and
16 that they would try to break through the siege, because he himself had
17 heard that Vukovar was about to fall.
18 Q. And just for clarification, is this the 17th of November?
19 A. On the 17th of November, I visited my parents, and Vukovar fell on
20 the 18th of November.
21 Q. Now, after you visited your parents on the 17th, what did you then
23 A. I went back to the positions where I had been previously, and I
24 told the defenders that Vukovar was about to fall. However, they didn't
25 believe me. I took the telephone to call other locations, to see what we
1 should do, but nobody responded. Nobody responded to our call. It was
2 clear to us then that everybody had withdrawn and that Vukovar was
4 Q. Now, did you try and break out into free territory?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Why did you choose to remain in Vukovar?
7 A. I was afraid of going to attempt to break through. Five of us
8 remained, and it was agreed that we would go into breakthrough. However,
9 I told them I'm not going to do that and you do as you want. I said that
10 what ammunition I had on me I would use and leave one bullet for myself,
11 in case Chetniks start towards the town. However, in the meantime, the
12 situation turned around and it was the army which entered first.
13 Q. And what did you do on the 18th?
14 A. That was on the 18th, in the afternoon.
15 Q. And on the 19th?
16 A. On the 19th, in the morning, we set out while it was still dark.
17 We set out towards the hospital.
18 Q. And why did you decide to go to the hospital?
19 A. We didn't know where our parents were, or rather, where my parents
20 were. My friend who was with me had left his wife and children in the
21 basement, so we agreed to go towards the hospital, to see if they were
22 there. And this is where we were heading at the time.
23 Q. And what weapons did you have on you as you headed towards the
25 A. When I headed towards the hospital, I had no weapons. We had left
1 the weapons behind in a basement of a house.
2 Q. Now, on the 19th, as you made your way towards the hospital, what
3 conditions were the buildings in, as you went there?
4 A. Destroyed. Destroyed. I don't know how else to explain to you.
5 It was a terrible sight.
6 Q. What else did you see?
7 A. On our way through the centre, we saw bodies strewn on the streets
8 of Vukovar, dead bodies. They were just lying there, not moving.
9 Q. Now, as you were making your way to the hospital, were you stopped
10 by a military vehicle?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And how many soldiers were in the vehicle?
13 A. Four.
14 Q. And who got out of the vehicle?
15 A. Mr. Sljivancanin.
16 Q. And what did he say to you?
17 A. He asked us where we were headed. We told him we were on our way
18 to the hospital. And then he said, "Get into our van. We'll take you
19 there. We'll give you a ride."
20 Q. Now, when you arrived at the hospital, what part of the hospital
21 could you see?
22 A. I was standing at the gate, or, rather, we were standing at the
23 gate. I had a sideways glance of the hospital. I saw a part of the main
24 gate, but for the most part I saw one of the hospital's sides, lateral
1 Q. And did this include the first and second floors?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And what condition was the part of the hospital which you could
4 see in?
5 A. Destroyed.
6 Q. Now, roughly what time in the morning was this on the 19th?
7 A. It was about 6.00 in the morning.
8 Q. And while you were at the gate of the hospital, roughly how many
9 soldiers did you see?
10 A. Six.
11 Q. Were they regular JNA or paramilitaries?
12 A. Paramilitaries.
13 Q. And what did Sljivancanin order them to do?
14 MR. LUKIC: Objection, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This question is very leading.
17 JUDGE PARKER: It is indeed.
18 MR. AGHA: I can rephrase.
19 JUDGE PARKER: You should, Mr. Agha, and be more careful.
20 MR. AGHA:
21 Q. What did Mr. Sljivancanin tell the soldiers there to do?
22 JUDGE PARKER: Even that, Mr. Agha.
23 MR. AGHA:
24 Q. Did Mr. Sljivancanin say anything to the soldiers?
25 A. Yes, he did. He told them to keep an eye on us and that he would
1 be sending someone to take us back to Velepromet. They kept an eye on us
2 there. They offered us cigarettes. The whole thing took about ten
3 minutes. And then an APC drove up and took us back to Velepromet.
4 Q. And did you stop anywhere on the way to Velepromet?
5 A. Yes. They asked us if we had any weapons and we said that we did.
6 They asked us where the weapons were; we told them that too. And then we
7 drove to that place. We entered the basement, got the weapons out, and
8 surrendered them.
9 Q. And then you were taken to Velepromet. What is Velepromet?
10 A. Velepromet is a warehouse, a storage facility, and once Vukovar
11 had fallen, they assembled all the civilians there.
12 Q. And who searched you at Velepromet?
13 A. The paramilitaries.
14 Q. And in Velepromet, where were you taken and by whom?
15 A. We were taken to the death room.
16 MR. AGHA: Now, just before we move on, can I kindly ask the court
17 clerk to again show Exhibit 59 for the witness to see. This is the same
19 Q. And, Witness, if you could let us know when the map is on your
20 screen, please.
21 Now, on this map, you can see Velepromet marked and the JNA
22 barracks marked. Roughly how far was Velepromet from the JNA barracks?
23 A. About 500 metres.
24 Q. And who was in control of the JNA barracks at this time?
25 A. I have no idea who was in control of the JNA barracks.
1 MR. AGHA: Now, that's all with this map, so if we can take it
2 from the screen, I would not ask for it to be exhibited since it's already
3 59 and the Court can refer to it for its own reference later.
4 Q. Now, Witness, coming back to Velepromet, you said, I believe, that
5 you were taken to the room of death. Why was it called the room of death?
6 A. When we arrived at the Velepromet, they took us straight there.
7 They searched us. They beat us a little. And then they threw us into
8 that room.
9 Q. Now, how many people eventually were put into this room, roughly?
10 A. Between 50 and 60 persons.
11 Q. And roughly how long did you stay in this room?
12 A. Three days.
13 Q. Were you aware of any people being taken out of this room and
14 being maltreated?
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Agha, I would point out that that again is a
16 very leading question. You're working through an area I would anticipate
17 of considerable sensitivity. Would you please take care in the way you
18 lead the evidence from this witness. Thank you.
19 MR. AGHA: I apologise to the Chamber.
20 Q. What happened to some of the people in the room?
21 A. I don't know what happened, but whoever left the room once never
22 came back.
23 Q. What sounds or anything did you hear when people left the room?
24 A. There was a police officer there. He was sitting inside the room
25 when we came. He had a gashing wound across his face inflicted by a
1 knife. We asked him what had happened, and he said he'd been interrogated
2 and his face was slashed by a knife.
3 After sometime his name was called out again, and he went out for
4 interrogation. We heard kicks being administered. We heard them beating
5 him. He was begging them to stop, but they just went on with it.
6 Finally, we heard a gurgling sound and then silence.
7 Q. Now, when you were hearing this -- these beatings and the gurgling
8 sound, how did this make you feel?
9 A. I was scared. I was only 17 at the time. I was afraid of the
10 worst. I was afraid that someone would take a knife to me. That's what I
11 was really afraid of. Nothing was worse than that.
12 Q. And roughly on what date was this happening?
13 A. The 20th, the morning of the 20th.
14 Q. And did there come a time when you were taken out of the room?
15 A. Not at this time, but later we were taken out of the room.
16 Q. And who took you out of the room?
17 A. The person introduced himself as a military policeman. I
18 considered him to be a paramilitary military policeman. He took me out
19 and another nine persons.
20 Q. And what did you think was going to happen to you when you were
21 taken out of this room?
22 A. I thought the worst would happen to us, that they would take us to
23 be interrogated one by one and that we would never be back.
24 Q. And where were you, in fact, taken?
25 A. We were taken to a different room.
1 Q. And how many others were with you?
2 A. 20.
3 Q. And who interrogated you?
4 A. No one interrogated us at this point in time. This military
5 policeman that walked up to me and asked me what sort of weapons I had
6 had. I told him that I'd had a rifle. He asked me how many people I'd
7 killed, how many Serb children I had slain, how many Serb ears I had used
8 to make a necklace for myself, and how many fingers, severed fingers, I
9 had used to make a necklace. I told him I'd done no such thing and that I
10 would never have been able to do anything like that.
11 Q. And who was watching this interrogation?
12 A. All those standing behind me, a total of 19 persons, all of them
14 Q. And what happened to your hands during this interrogation?
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I think this is also a leading
18 question. I think this is another leading question. Just like the
19 previous one which was also leading in nature.
20 JUDGE PARKER: The one particularly about the hands is merely
21 directing attention to whether there was something particular in the way
22 they were dealt with, and I would not regard that as leading. But the
23 questions preceding that were, particularly the one where there was a
24 question whether -- who interrogated you. There had been no mention of
25 interrogation to that point, Mr. Agha.
1 Now, you will have to pay much more attention to your questions.
2 MR. AGHA: I apologise, Your Honour. I'm trying to move quite
4 Q. So what happened to your hands during this interrogation?
5 A. When he asked me all these things, he told me, "What do you mean
6 you didn't do all these things? Who was it then who killed all of our
7 soldiers?" And he started insulting me. He cursed my mother, my Ustasha
8 mother, as he said, and he said that it would not just end like that, that
9 we would have our come-uppance, our rightful come-uppance. He fussed
10 around looking for handcuffs, and since he had no handcuffs on him he
11 found a length of wire and tied my hands behind my back.
12 Q. Did anyone else appear during this period?
13 A. Yes. Another paramilitary came. The military policeman told him
14 that I was a ZNG member. They called this man Topola. He gave me a
15 bullet to bite, to swallow. He told me it was his birthday. He then
16 left. Before he did, he looked at the 19 persons who were with me. He
17 then came back and said, "Here is another bullet for you. Just to make
18 sure you have a safe journey." I had to swallow that bullet too, right
19 there in front of him.
20 Q. And who else was watching?
21 A. All 19 of them.
22 Q. And what else did this paramilitary do to you?
23 A. When he gave me those bullets to swallow, he cracked me on the
24 head. He cursed my Ustasha mother. He said, "You deserve no better than
25 this." He had run out of bullets so he just turned around and left.
1 Q. Now, I want to move to a period when you're back in the room of
2 death after this interrogation.
3 Now, did there come a time when you were released from the room of
5 A. No. They took us back to that place.
6 Q. And after you had been taken back there, did there come a time
7 when you were released from that room of death?
8 A. They didn't release us until there were too few of us remaining
9 there. At the outset, there were 50 or 60 people there, and at this point
10 in time there were only 38 of us left.
11 In the meantime, a paramilitary captain appeared, at least that's
12 how he had introduced himself. He said he would be taking us back to the
13 barracks since the Chetniks had already killed too many people.
14 Q. Now, you say there was only 38 of you out of 50 or 60. What
15 happened to the other people?
16 A. The other people were taken out of the room and abused outside the
17 room. We could hear all these sounds. Then these people were taken away
18 and never came back.
19 Q. Now, you say this paramilitary captain came and took you out of
20 the room. How was he able to do this?
21 A. I don't know how he was able to do this, but while we were
22 standing outside, he addressed his men, the soldiers, telling them to keep
23 an eye on us, not to lay a finger on any of us but to take us straight to
24 the barracks. He said that what had happened could no longer go on.
25 Q. Now, after you reached the JNA barracks, where were you then
2 A. They took us to Sremska Mitrovica.
3 Q. And what kind of place was this?
4 A. This was a civilian prison.
5 Q. And how were you treated when you arrived?
6 A. While we were still on the bus, everything was normal. When we
7 reached Mitrovica, when we reached the prison itself, they took us off the
8 bus, and we were forced to run a gauntlet with seven or eight police
9 officers standing on either side beating us as we were passing, kicking
10 us, and hitting us, using their truncheons, cursing our Ustasha mother all
11 the while. They were saying, "Fuck you and fuck Franjo Tudjman who
12 trained you for all of this" and that we would have our come-uppance.
13 Q. Now, did there come a time when you were taken for interrogation?
14 A. While we were lying on the ground, on the playground, our hands
15 behind our heads and our heads down on the concrete, they were asking us
16 questions about what we had been doing and where we had been. We answered
17 all these questions. They were beating us, throwing us around, and then
18 they took us to a gym where they stripped us naked. They were making sure
19 that we had no knives or other weapons on us. And they beat us again.
20 When we left the gym, they took us to another location closer to the
21 prison itself. They told us to lie down on the ground, on the grass,
22 hands behind our heads and heads down to the ground.
23 Q. Now, whilst you were in this prison, did there come a time when
24 you were asked to write anything down?
25 A. No. We had not been asked to write anything down before we
1 reached the prison gates. We gave no statements. It was only on the 20th
2 of January that I was interrogated, and I was told to write down a
4 Q. And how many statements did you write?
5 A. One.
6 Q. How truthful was this statement?
7 A. Not truthful at all.
8 Q. Why didn't you give a truthful statement?
9 A. They kept telling us that we had killed many of their people. I
10 can't remember the specific figure that was being used. They told us to
11 specify this in our statements, how many people we had killed, who I had
12 been fighting for, what I had been fighting for, and what weapons I'd had.
13 I was reluctant to tell him about that because had I told him about
14 everything, they would have abused me even more severely.
15 Q. Now, how long, roughly, did you stay in Sremska Mitrovica prison?
16 A. Four and a half months.
17 Q. And on your release, what -- did there come a time when anything
18 was said to you?
19 A. On our release, they told us that we would be exchanged, to get
20 our things. When we boarded the buses, they told us that we were being
21 taken to an exchange. The trip from Mitrovica to Nemetin was not a
22 pleasant one. We were made to keep our hands behind our backs and head
23 down between our knees. At Nemetin, a mere several hundred metres before
24 the place where the exchange was to take place, a man got onto the bus and
25 introduced himself as a captain. He said, "If we catch you again, if we
1 capture you again, not even the Geneva Conventions will be any use to you
2 because the next time we get you, we have the right to kill you."
3 MR. AGHA: I have no further questions for this witness, and this
4 completes my examination-in-chief.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 Mr. Vasic?
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Vasic:
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good morning
9 to everybody in the courtroom.
10 Q. Good morning, Witness. Let me introduce myself first. My name is
11 Miroslav Vasic. I'm one of Mr. Mrksic's lawyers. Since both of us speak
12 the language, that both of us understand, would you please make a pause
13 after my question before you commence with your answer so that the
14 interpreters can interpret our exchange and so that everybody else in the
15 courtroom can follow us. This is also important in view of the protective
16 measures granted to you so that your voice doesn't seep through my
17 microphone. So please always make a pause after my question is completed.
18 First of all, I'd like to turn to a technical issue. In June of
19 1995, did you give a statement to the investigators of The Hague Tribunal?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. This statement was typed and then shown to you, and then read out
22 to you in the language that you understand, following which you signed it;
23 is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. Today, we have heard from you about where you were
1 born and when. In view of the fact that you were a minor at the time when
2 you found employment, I would like to know whether it was a full-time
3 employment or were you just a contractor there? What kind of a job was
5 A. I was a seasonal worker.
6 Q. Thank you. You also spoke about the composition of the residents
7 in your neighbourhood. I would like to know whether the people you
8 socialised with and had contacts with were people of various ethnicities.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I assume that the relations between the people who lived there
11 were good prior to the eruption of the conflict in Vukovar.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Your relations with your friends of other ethnicity, did they
14 change at one point in time?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Could you explain to us the reason for that?
17 A. Because I was in a camp at Velepromet.
18 Q. I'm interested in the time just prior to the eruption of conflict
19 or around that time. Did the relations between you and your friends
20 change during that period of time?
21 A. Do you mean during the war itself or before the war? Because
22 before the war, I had friends who were Serbs and Albanians, all the way up
23 until the war.
24 Q. Would you please tell us when did the war begin, according to you?
25 A. The 27th and the 28th of August, 1991.
1 Q. And after the war, your relations with your Serb and Albanian
2 friends were no longer good or not as good; is that right?
3 A. Well, they are no longer in Croatia. They left Croatia.
4 Q. Can you tell us whether you know when they left Croatia?
5 A. As soon as they got Croatian papers, as soon as the agreement was
7 Q. What about during the conflict? Were they in Croatia then?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you know that in the spring of 1991, members of the Serbian
10 community started moving out of Vukovar?
11 A. I didn't notice that. I usually went out in a village which was
12 near Vukovar. I didn't normally go out to locations in Vukovar. Rather,
13 I went to this village. (redacted)
15 Q. I have a favour to ask you. If you plan to mention any locations
16 in your answer which might reveal your identity, then please warn us so
17 that we can go into private session.
18 Now I would like to ask you whether you know a person called
19 Tomislav Mercep.
20 A. Not personally, but otherwise yes.
21 Q. Based on the source, do you also know what post he held in spring
22 and summer of 1991?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Did you ever hear that he had organised armed formations in
25 Vukovar and Bogdanovci?
1 A. I heard about Bogdanovci. I heard about Bogdanovci, but not
3 Q. Did you hear that on the 10th of March, 1991 Tomislav Mercep
4 conducted a review of the units in the village of Bogdanovci?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Do you know that Tomislav Mercep at one point in time was the
7 commander of the defence of Vukovar?
8 A. No.
9 Q. You didn't hear this even while you were a member of the ZNG?
10 A. Later on, I heard of him, but not at the time.
11 Q. Let us now turn to May of 1991. In examination-in-chief, you
12 described to us the event in Borovo Selo. Do you know that on the 2nd of
13 May, 1991 several dozen of police members of Borovo Selo entered the
14 village after the barricades had been removed and following political
16 A. As far as I know, 12 policemen went there and got killed. I don't
17 know about the rest.
18 Q. Did I understand you well? Are you actually saying that all of
19 the policemen who went there got killed and that it was only 12 of them
20 who went there?
21 A. I don't know how many policemen went there, but based on what I
22 understood, there were 12 of them and all 12 got killed. I wasn't there
24 Q. Yes. I know that. You said that you hadn't been there. But I
25 would like to know whether you have ever heard that the conflict in
1 Borovo Selo was terminated once the JNA units placed themselves between
2 the forces of the local population in Borovo Selo and Croatian MUP, and
3 thus prevented greater casualties. Did you ever hear that?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Did you hear that in June and July of 1991, certain persons,
6 namely Serb residents of Vukovar, started disappearing?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Did you hear that during that same time, there were explosions in
9 the city of Vukovar? Did you know this even though you yourself went to
10 Borovo Naselje?
11 A. I heard detonations but I didn't know where they were coming from,
12 from which part of town.
13 Q. Did you hear that it was the newsstands of the Borba publishing
14 agency that were being blown up as well as the houses owned by Serbs?
15 A. As far as I know, it was the newsstand of Vjesnik that was blown
16 up first and only then the newsstand of Borba.
17 Q. Did you hear anything about the houses?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you hear stories that in the course of July 1991, in
20 Borovo Naselje, an operation was conducted to drive out the residents of
21 Serb ethnicity?
22 A. No.
23 Q. At that time, you were already a member of the ZNG; is that right?
24 A. I was, but not throughout the entire day. Only at night.
25 Q. You were a member of the ZNG but only at night? Did I understand
1 you well?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can you elaborate on this?
4 A. I only stood guard at night, in the building.
5 Q. And while you stood guard, you were armed; isn't that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps this is a good
8 time for a break.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic. There have been one or two
10 redactions so we will need to have a half-hour break.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.19 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.53 a.m.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Let us continue our conversation. Can you tell me if you know
16 where the barracks in Vukovar is?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you know that in the summer of 1991, the barracks was under
19 siege by the ZNG?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you hear that the commissioner of Croatia's government for
22 Vukovar ordered for the water and electricity supplies and the phone lines
23 of the barracks to be cut?
24 A. I heard about the water and electricity supplies, but I have no
25 idea who -- whose order it was pursuant to.
1 Q. Do you know that following that the barracks was subjected to
2 attacks by the ZNG, who were using small arms, infantry weapons and
4 A. No. I didn't know that.
5 Q. Did you hear about the fact that members of the JNA, in the summer
6 of 1991, came under attack at the Vukovar post office, that they were
7 fired on when they came to get the money for the barracks?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Very well. How did it occur to you that -- to join the ZNG
10 following May and what had occurred in Borovo Selo?
11 A. Since those people had been killed, I wanted to join the reserve
12 forces of the ZNG in order to defend my country, or, rather, in order to
13 defend my town.
14 Q. Would you agree with me that at the time when you say you joined
15 the reserve forces of the ZNG following the incident at Borovo Selo, there
16 were no clashes in the town of Vukovar itself?
17 A. There had been no clashes before the police officers were killed,
18 or perhaps there had been some clashes and perhaps not. I can't say. I
19 didn't go to town much. I stayed in the village. And then when the
20 police officers were killed, I joined the ZNG. But up to that point, I
21 had not heard of any incidents. I had not heard of any clashes between
22 Croats and Serbs in the town itself.
23 Q. Very well. From the time you joined the ZNG and onwards, May,
24 June, July, were there any clashes in Vukovar in those months?
25 A. I don't know. I don't remember.
1 Q. You told us that the conflict started on the 27th of August, 1991?
2 A. Yes, the 27th and the 28th.
3 Q. That is why I'm asking you if you would agree with me whether at
4 the time you joined the ZNG, there were no clashes in Vukovar. The
5 incident you're talking about occurred on the 2nd of May in Borovo Selo,
6 but after that there were no further clashes for a while, can you agree
7 with that, that all the way up until August 1991 there were no clashes?
8 A. I don't know. I can't remember everything. It was a long time
9 ago, after all.
10 Q. I do believe you. Once you'd made your decision to join the ZNG,
11 where specifically did you go? Where did you report?
12 A. I went to see Josip Tomasic [phoen] and he told me that they could
13 not take me on because I was too young. Several days later, I again went
14 to see him and he decided to take me on.
15 Q. Where was this gentleman when you went to see him? Where was he
17 A. In his house.
18 Q. Was his house at Sajmiste?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Can you tell us where it was, in which neighbourhood?
21 A. Just across the way from my building.
22 Q. This gentleman that you are now talking about, did he keep any
23 lists of ZNG members?
24 A. I don't know.
25 Q. How do you know that he decided to take you on, to allow you to
2 A. He told me to go home and that I would be receiving a phone call
3 that same night and that someone would tell me where to meet.
4 Q. Did he tell you that some sort of a code word would be used or did
5 he give you the name of the person who would call you?
6 A. He said nothing. He said nothing about any code words or anything
7 like that. He said that a place would be set and a time for our meeting.
8 Q. Did you know who called you, who telephoned you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you meet that person at a certain time and in a certain place,
11 like you said?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. When you met this person, the person gave you a weapon and some
14 military equipment. Wasn't that the case?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Please tell us, then, what happened when you met this person?
17 A. He told me, "Here is my pistol. You can have it. Stay here and
18 stand guard right here because we have no weapons to give you." No
19 weapons had arrived or uniforms.
20 Q. Did he give you any instructions as to how you were supposed to
21 stand guard and what it meant in practical terms?
22 A. He told me to keep my eyes open and to see whether any APCs or
23 military people were starting to arrive from the direction of the barracks
24 towards the Slavija.
25 Q. Did he tell you anything about the military personnel who were in
1 their flats?
2 A. He said nothing about that.
3 Q. If my understanding is correct, you stood guard outside in the
4 street, didn't you?
5 A. Yes. In the building.
6 Q. Were you in the building or out in the street, since you were
7 supposed to keep a watch to see if any vehicles would be arriving? I
8 suppose you had to be outside the building to actually see something like
10 A. The building faced the street, so -- and the road from the
11 barracks leads just past the building.
12 Q. Does that mean that there was a window through which you could see
13 the street outside?
14 A. No.
15 Q. How did you then observe? How could you see who was passing along
16 that road?
17 A. I was standing at the entrance.
18 Q. Before you received this weapon, had you received any training by
19 the ZNG? Had you been taught how to use the weapon?
20 A. No.
21 Q. You said in your statement that you had not done your regular
22 military service with the JNA yet. Were you in fact able to use this
23 pistol once you'd been given it?
24 A. I was never in the JNA. I was still too young for regular
25 military service. I got this weapon from this gentleman, who then showed
1 me how to use the weapon.
2 Q. Can you tell us why you needed a pistol for this assignment?
3 A. Just so I wasn't barehanded.
4 Q. The pistol was loaded, it had bullets in it, didn't it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Were you ordered to shoot in certain kinds of situations while
7 standing guard?
8 A. No.
9 Q. You told us that you were underage at the time you joined the ZNG.
10 Were there any other underage persons at the time who were members of the
12 A. I don't know. We did not have a barracks where we were all
14 Q. You told us that your brother too joined the ZNG. Did you do this
15 together? Did he join before you or after?
16 A. He joined several days before I did.
17 Q. Was he an adult, technically speaking, when he joined?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. How much older than you is he?
20 A. He's two years older.
21 Q. You said that on this occasion you were given a pistol. You
22 testified in chief that at one point you also had a rifle. Can you tell
23 us when precisely you were given this rifle?
24 A. I was given the rifle when the war in Vukovar officially started.
25 Q. Who gave you the rifle and where?
1 A. The same gentleman that I've mentioned.
2 Q. This is the same gentleman who took you on as a member of the ZNG,
3 isn't it?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Where did he give you the rifle?
6 A. His place.
7 Q. You were underage at the time. Did anyone tell you that to join a
8 paramilitary unit like this at the time was against the constitution of
9 the SFRY?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Were you aware of the fact at the time that by joining an
12 organisation like this and by carrying a firearm, you were committing the
13 crime of armed rebellion punishable under the then-law of the SFRY, the
14 Criminal Code?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Tell me, please, up until the 27th or 28th, what kinds of
17 assignments did you have as a member of the ZNG?
18 A. I worked during daytime and I stood guard at night.
19 Q. Did you ever hear that, among the ZNG members, groups had been
20 organised to execute people at night?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Tell me, when did you join a ZNG unit for the first time?
23 A. I joined the reserve forces of the National Guards Corps, the ZNG,
24 on the 3rd of May, 1991.
25 Q. All right. That was the ZNG. What I want to know is when did you
1 come for the first time to a ZNG unit. When did you start serving in a
3 A. On the 27th of August.
4 Q. Did somebody then invite you to join? And would you also please
5 tell us where did you join a ZNG unit.
6 A. Nobody invited me to join. There was the shelling of the town,
7 the town was bombed by planes, and I went into a basement, and after a
8 certain period of time, the same person told me that I should get my
9 things and go to the front line.
10 Q. Prior to this, did you hear that on the 24th of August two
11 planes of the air force had been shot down above Borovo Naselje?
12 A. I heard that the planes were downed, but I don't know on what day
13 and where.
14 Q. All right. I will now ask you about the line, the front line,
15 where you went to serve. If you believe that this can lead to your
16 identity being revealed, then please warn me so that we can go into
17 private session.
18 A. Ask away.
19 Q. Thank you. You said that you went with the gentleman whom you
20 have mentioned to the front line, to the combat line. Would you please
21 tell us where this line was located on the 27th of August?
22 A. It was the Stjepan Supanc elementary school.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
24 Exhibit 59, which is map number 6? My learned friend from the Prosecution
25 has already shown this map to the witness earlier today.
1 Q. Can you see the map now?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the usher to give
4 the witness a pen so that he can mark the line on the map as it was on
5 the 27th of August, 1991.
6 Could we zoom in in the downtown area, please.
7 Q. Can you please mark with a cross the spot or the area where the
8 line was, where your unit was deployed?
9 A. Yes. [Marks].
10 Q. You put a circle and a letter A?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us, do you know where other units
13 were located, other units of the ZNG, in this area, the area where you
14 yourself were and also in the neighbourhood called Sajmiste?
15 A. No. I had no information regarding that.
16 Q. Did you change the deployment position of your unit throughout
17 that period of time while combat operations in Vukovar lasted?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We will not be needing this map any
21 longer but, Your Honours, I would like to have it exhibited.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you.
24 Q. On the 27th of August, 1991 you took up positions at the school.
25 Can you tell us how many members of your unit were deployed there at this
2 A. Eight.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Excuse me, Your Honour, the last map marked will
4 be Exhibit 132.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
6 Q. Were these positions secured in the military sense?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You dug out trenches, you put sand sacks there, you also had
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And in addition to that, you had an observation post, didn't you,
12 at your positions?
13 A. No.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps we better go into private
15 session, Your Honour, because I'm about to ask who else was a member of
16 the unit, in addition to the witness.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
18 [Private session]
11 Page 2987 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 2988 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 2989 redacted. Private session.
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honour.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. You say that at one point in time you heard Tomislav Mercep was
2 the commander of the town's defence. Can you tell us when you heard this?
3 When was the first time you heard this?
4 A. Must have been September or October.
5 Q. After Tomislav Mercep was called back to Zagreb, did you hear that
6 the commissioner, Marin Vidic, was in charge of the town's defence?
7 A. I don't remember.
8 Q. Do you remember that at one point in time Mile Dedakovic, aka
9 Jastreb, was the commander of the town's defence?
10 A. I heard something about that but I don't remember the month or
11 anything. It wasn't for me to know who was there and who wasn't. All I
12 had to worry about was the front line and the commander was there for
13 everything else.
14 Q. Does that mean that you did not know where the orders were coming
15 from to your unit?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Do you know that during combat operations, in addition to the ZNG
18 and the MUP units, HOS units were also involved in these operations?
19 A. I didn't know about that.
20 Q. Throughout these combat operations, at the line that you were
21 holding, you never met a single member of the HOS? Is that what you're
23 A. Yes. Not one.
24 Q. Who was Stjepan Rados? Are you familiar with the name?
25 A. I'm not familiar.
1 Q. During your time at the front line, did you at any point hear
2 that the Vukovar defence Main Staff had all left Vukovar?
3 A. No.
4 Q. What about the road from the barracks to the hospital? Did that
5 road pass the location at which you were holding the front line?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. On the 13th of October, 1991 did you perhaps receive an order to
8 remove the barricades, to clear the road of the barricades so -- not to
9 clear the barricades although a humanitarian convoy was supposed to pass
10 there, so that you would not disturb the lines of defence?
11 A. No. No one told us anything about that.
12 Q. Do you know that this humanitarian convoy did not pass the --
13 along the road near your checkpoint?
14 A. I don't remember. After we stood guard, we would rest in the
15 cellar. This may have happened while I was in the cellar but I don't
16 know. I heard nothing about that.
17 Q. Thank you. You mentioned a cellar. Is that in the elementary
18 school or elsewhere?
19 A. In the school.
20 Q. Thank you. Do you know which unit was stationed at the palace of
21 Count Eltz?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Thank you. There is one thing I'd like to clarify now. This is
24 in relation to the 17th of November, 1991. I'll try to do this in such a
25 way that we can do it in public session.
1 You told my colleague that on the 17th of November you went to
2 that place you mentioned. You told him that you went there in the evening
3 hours. Do you remember telling the investigator of the OTP in your
4 statement in 1991 that on -- 1995, that on the 17th, you went to that same
5 place in the morning hours?
6 A. I said that in my testimony here also, that I went there on
7 the 17th in the morning and not in the evening.
8 Q. Why did you tell us today that it was in the evening hours?
9 A. Frankly, I don't remember saying that.
10 Q. What about your unit at the time? Did it still have any links to
11 Vukovar's main defence staff?
12 A. We had the field phone that we were using, but we no longer had
13 any Motorola. There was no electricity to recharge the batteries, and all
14 we had left was the field phone.
15 Q. You told us about what you heard on the 17th of November 1991,
16 when you went to that place. What I'd like to ask you now is: You told
17 us about this person who conveyed this piece of information to you. Can
18 you tell us if that person too was a member of any military unit during
19 combat operations in Vukovar?
20 A. No. That person was not a member of any unit.
21 Q. Throughout this time, was this person in the cellar where you
22 found him on the -- on 17th of November, 1991?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So you say that this person told you on that day that everybody
25 from Vukovar's main defence staff had left in a bid to escape to Vinkovci
1 and break through the siege?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did he tell you where he got the information?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can you tell us this in public session or should we go into
7 A. It doesn't matter.
8 Q. Then please tell us.
9 A. A policeman came to visit them, and he told them all weapons and
10 any Croatian items that they had, meaning anything with chequer-board
11 symbol and flags, should be removed because Vukovar was about to fall. He
12 said that if they found anything on anyone, he couldn't vouch for what
13 would happen to them.
14 Q. Thank you. You did not receive this information via telephone
15 from your superior command, did you?
16 A. No. My commander was absent. I don't know where he was.
17 Therefore, we didn't know.
18 Q. Can you tell us since when was your commander absent?
19 A. Since the morning hours. He only came in the evening, saying that
20 nobody was manning the lines and that the -- that Vukovar was about to
21 fall and that we had to withdraw.
22 Q. Did he tell you then that you could withdraw to the hospital or
23 that another option would be to attempt to break through the siege and go
24 to Vinkovci?
25 A. He told us whoever wants to go into breakthrough can go. Those
1 who do not want that should go into basements. Some went into
2 breakthrough; some didn't.
3 Q. On that occasion, he didn't mention a possibility of having
4 members of the ZNG go to the hospital where they were awaiting an
6 A. No.
7 Q. Can you tell us, then, why did you go to the hospital on the
8 19th of November?
9 A. I went to the hospital because, on the 18th, in the morning, my
10 parents were no longer in the basement. I didn't know where they were, so
11 I headed towards the hospital.
12 Q. Why hospital? Why that place specifically?
13 A. Because my neighbour worked at the hospital, a lady neighbour.
14 Q. Therefore, you assumed that they had gone to the hospital
16 A. I didn't assume anything. It's just that my neighbour and I
17 headed towards the hospital, because we didn't know where they were. We
18 thought that they might have gone there. But they were not there.
19 Q. And before the hospital, did you first go to the municipal
20 building where the main defence staff of Vukovar was, to acquire some
21 information about what to do?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Before going to the hospital, did you first go to the MUP building
24 where a ZNG unit had been stationed as well as a MUP unit?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You told us that before going to the hospital, you went -- you
2 left the school where you'd been manning the line, and you went to your
3 apartment. Why did you go there first?
4 A. I went home to change clothes. My jeans were dirty, and I put on
5 another T-shirt.
6 Q. Did you wear yellow shoes manufactured in Borovo on that occasion?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. That was on the 19th in the morning. Isn't it true that the JNA
9 units had entered that part of the town already on the 18th?
10 A. Yes, they did.
11 Q. Weren't you afraid of moving about armed in the part of the town
12 that at that time was under the control of the JNA forces?
13 A. At the time, there was no one.
14 Q. Did you go to your apartment with a weapon, wanting to have a
15 change of clothes and prepare to shoot if you came across anyone?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. When you left your apartment, armed, you went to the hospital,
18 taking the main road; is that right?
19 A. Yes. But first we hid our weapons.
20 Q. Tell me, please, where did you hide your weapons and how far is it
21 from the place where you changed your clothes?
22 A. Several hundred metres from my apartment.
23 Q. You were not alone, weren't you?
24 A. No.
25 Q. The person who was with you, did that person also have a change of
1 clothes and did that person also leave their weapon in the same location
2 as you did?
3 A. He didn't change his clothes. He just hid his weapon.
4 Q. The person who was with you, is he a Serb?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Why did that person go to the hospital? You gave us your reasons.
7 Why did this other person go there?
8 A. He was looking for his wife and children.
9 Q. While en route from the place where you hid your weapons to the
10 hospital, how many people did you come across before crossing the
11 Vuka River?
12 A. We hid our weapons in a place where we didn't see anything else.
13 While we were crossing the Vuka River, there was nothing either.
14 Q. All right. So you didn't meet anyone?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Why did you change your clothes and discard your weapon before
17 going to the hospital?
18 A. Because it was torn and dirty.
19 Q. Was it because wearing clean clothes you wouldn't appear as
20 somebody who took part in combat?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Why did you discard your weapon?
23 A. We didn't want to have it on us while going to the hospital.
24 Q. Did you ever hear that starting on the 17th of November and until
25 the 20th of November, members of the ZNG and MUP who remained in Vukovar,
1 came to hospital en masse, discarded their weapons there, changed their
2 uniforms, took off their clothes and put white coats on, trying to pass
3 themselves as help workers at the hospital?
4 A. I wasn't informed about that.
5 Q. You weren't informed about that during the relevant period of
6 time. However, after the events, did you hear this from anyone?
7 A. Once I left the camp, I heard about this.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't know if this is
10 an appropriate time for our break.
11 JUDGE PARKER: We had thought to go another five minutes, but is
12 that inconvenient?
13 It is? Very well. For you, Mr. Vasic, we'll break now.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at 20 minutes to 1.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 12.11 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.43 p.m.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. We will continue where we left it before the break.
21 You said that following your departure from Mitrovica, or your
22 release from Mitrovica, you learned about the fact that the members of the
23 ZNG and MUP had changed clothes in the hospital and put on white clothing
24 in order to look like help workers. Please tell me, who told you this?
25 Was it one of your fellow soldiers or any medical staff people who told
1 you this?
2 A. When we left Mitrovica, he came to Zagreb, and in the corridor I
3 heard a conversation. They were saying that they had changed clothes. I
4 don't know the names of these people, because I met a lot of people at
5 that time.
6 Q. Thank you. At one point you said that you had one wounded person
7 at your defence line or combat line. Is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And this wounded person, did he ever reach the hospital, and if
10 so, how was he transported there?
11 A. He didn't go to the hospital. It was a slight wound. He remained
12 at the positions.
13 Q. Who treated him there at the line?
14 A. The commander just bandaged his arm.
15 Q. Is this one of the three persons who went to break through the
16 siege, as you've described to us?
17 A. No.
18 Q. In addition to the three persons who went to break through the
19 siege, if I understood you well, only two others remained, which was you
20 and your friend; is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And one of you was wounded. Can you tell us who?
23 A. That person had withdrawn earlier. None of the two of us was
25 Q. Before the 19th of November, did you ever visit the hospital? I
1 mean after the war broke out.
2 A. No.
3 Q. In 1995, when you gave your statement to the OTP investigators,
4 did you tell them that prior to the 19th of November, you had been
6 A. I was wounded but not badly.
7 Q. Are you the person who had a slight wound and who was treated by
8 the commander and who remained there at the positions?
9 A. No.
10 Q. If my math is correct, then your unit had more than one wounded
11 member; is that right?
12 A. When I was wounded, I could still move, but he was hit in the arm.
13 Q. You said he was hit in the arm. I assume that he too would have
14 been able to move, wouldn't he?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Let us try to sum up. Your unit had more than one wounded, did it
18 A. I didn't consider myself to be wounded. It was just a slight
19 injury or a cut, if you like.
20 Q. You didn't count that as a wounding, in your testimony today, but
21 why did you refer to that as a wound when you talked to the investigators
22 of the OTP in 1995?
23 A. Because I had been hit by shrapnel.
24 Q. Thank you. When you spoke to your fellow fighters, you said there
25 was an option to attempt a breakthrough, an escape, or there was an option
1 to stay behind. Why did you not go and attempt to break through?
2 A. I was very young and I was scared.
3 Q. Were you not scared to walk around on the 18th and 19th, walk
4 around the streets of Vukovar, given the fact that the JNA had entered the
5 town on the 18th and that they were armed? Or that you were armed?
6 A. Regardless of the fact whether I had a weapon me or not, I still
7 was scared. I had no idea what would become of me.
8 Q. Just another fact that needs clarifying with regard to this and
9 then we'll move on to a different subject. You said that on the 18th the
10 JNA entered the area and got as far as the Vuka River. Isn't that a fact?
11 A. I wrote in my statement that the JNA entered the town, but I never
12 said how far they got.
13 Q. Can you tell us now, if you know, which point they reached on the
14 18th of November?
15 A. I don't know.
16 Q. When you informed your fellow fighters on the 17th, on the evening
17 of the 17th, did you know which lines of defence had been pierced and how
18 far the JNA had advanced?
19 A. When I told my fellow fighters that Vukovar was about to fall, at
20 that time I had no idea if they -- there was still any roads open for us
21 to escape.
22 Q. Yes. But did you know how far the JNA had advanced at this time?
23 A. They still hadn't reached town on the 17th, not any of the
24 neighbourhoods that were part of the town proper.
25 Q. What about the 18th of November, 1991?
1 A. They were advancing from every direction.
2 Q. That's between your neighbourhood -- your positions and the
3 Vuka River, isn't it?
4 A. I'm not sure if they got as far as the river, but that certainly
5 was the case where I was.
6 Q. You said today that the next day, on the 19th of November, you
7 passed through that area where you now say that the JNA forces had already
8 arrived. You said you were moving down the main street and that you did
9 not come across a single soldier up until the point where you reached the
10 Vuka River; is that right?
11 A. It was on the 18th that they entered the town. I don't know how
12 far they got. But on the 19th, my fellow fighter and I headed for the
13 hospital on the morning of the 18th and we met no one along the way.
14 THE INTERPRETER: On the morning of the 19th, the interpreter's
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Just a minute, please. My
17 apologies. Thank you.
18 Q. Let us move on to the part of your testimony that concerns
19 Velepromet. First of all, can you please describe where the room was that
20 you were brought to on the 19th of November, 1991?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Please do so, if you can. If you can describe from the entrance
23 on, as it were, where exactly was that room and what sort of a building
24 was this?
25 A. You took the entrance and went straight.
1 Q. This is what I'm interested in. If you take the main gate of
2 Velepromet, which side of the main gate was the building in which you were
4 A. Once I'd entered, I just kept on walking straight and I never took
5 any turns.
6 Q. Are you talking about the entrance to the building or the main
7 gate of Velepromet?
8 A. Once you pass the main gate, you walk straight across the
9 courtyard, in order to reach that room.
10 Q. Was that room in a brick building or in a hangar?
11 A. In a brick building.
12 Q. You said today that the room was referred to as the "death room."
13 Why did you not say that to the investigator in 1995 when you spoke to him
14 about this?
15 A. I said it was called the death room because whoever entered was
16 captured and those who left the room never came back.
17 Q. Did you share this with the investigators back in 1995?
18 A. I don't remember.
19 Q. Would it refresh your memory if I gave you a copy of your
20 statement to go through and check? Perhaps you can try and find any
21 references that you may have made to this death room, as you now appear to
22 be calling it.
23 A. This building was a warehouse, a storage facility. We nicknamed
24 it the death room.
25 Q. I understand that. But what I'm talking about is did you share
1 this with the OTP investigator or did you not? That's all I'm asking. Do
2 you remember the fact that you forgot to share that with the investigator
3 back when you talked to him in 1995? That's all I'm asking.
4 A. I don't remember.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Can I have the usher's assistance,
6 please? I would like to show the witness his own statement.
7 Q. Would you please look at page 3 and part of page 4? You talk
8 about Velepromet. The last portion of page 3 and the beginning of page 4.
9 Have you had a look?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you find any reference that you made to this room that you
12 were kept in as "the death room"?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did you tell the OTP investigator that out of the 60 people who
15 were there, only 38 made it and the rest disappeared?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Does your statement not indicate that the rest of them went
18 missing after they had been taken outside, or does your statement only
19 indicate that the 38 persons including you were transferred to the
21 A. Whoever came out never came back. There were 38 of us remaining
23 Q. Does your statement not say that whoever went out never came back?
24 A. I can't remember all the things that I wrote.
25 Q. Is there a need to go back to your statement? Maybe you would
1 like to have a copy to check.
2 A. If it's no problem, I'd like to.
3 Q. Of course. Just a minute, please.
4 A. Please repeat your question.
5 Q. Did you tell the investigator that whoever went out of that room
6 never came back?
7 A. Yes, indeed. I did state that.
8 Q. Was that written down in your statement?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you please be so kind and read that portion aloud.
11 A. "There were between 50 and 60 of us in that room. I was not
12 abused, but I saw the soldiers of the JNA and later the Chetniks beat a
13 police officer from Vukovar. I did not know his name. They took him away
14 from that room, and when he came back, he had wounds on his face. Later,
15 and I can't remember when, JNA soldiers again took him outside the room
16 and we heard him screaming with pain. He never came back to our room."
17 Q. Is that all? Is that all you wish to read in relation to my
18 question? That's what I mean.
19 A. My statement does not reflect anything I said about the
20 whereabouts of other members.
21 Q. All right. Now, tell me something about this portion that you
22 just read out to us. You mentioned this policeman, and when questioned by
23 my learned friend you said that you heard him make gurgling noises and you
24 heard how he was killed. Would you agree with me that based on what you
25 said to the OTP investigators, this is not reflected in your statement?
1 All your statement says is that you heard him scream with pain.
2 A. I saw him sitting in the room where we were, and I remember what
3 he had on his face, from his ear, and going on to other parts of his face.
4 I don't know why this is not reflected in my statement. But I remember
5 asking him about what had happened to him, and he simply said that he was
6 a policeman. Later on, they came to get him once again. I can't remember
7 what time it was. I didn't have a watch. They took him out of the room.
8 They closed the door. They beat him. He begged them not to beat him.
9 They insulted him. They cursed his Ustasha mother. And then all we heard
10 was this gurgling and then a silence.
11 Q. You will agree with me, won't you, that this is not how you
12 described it to the OTP investigators. Rather, you said to them that you
13 had heard screams and that you didn't see the blood until after you'd left
14 the room; is that right?
15 A. That's what is written in my statement, yes, that he was screaming
16 with pain, because he was beaten, and then gurgling and silence.
17 Q. Did I understand you well, you said that your statement indicates
18 that there was gurgling and then silence? Is this what your statement
20 A. No, this is not stated in my statement.
21 Q. Thank you. Today you mentioned several times that they cursed
22 your Ustasha mother. They did this both in relation to you and this
23 policeman. Would you agree with me that you did not mention being
24 insulted in this way when you gave your statement to the OTP
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you. Do you know that Velepromet, back during combat
3 activities, was, throughout that period of time, under the control of the
4 local Territorial Defence of Vukovar?
5 A. I don't understand your question.
6 Q. Do you know that Velepromet that we have mentioned here in the
7 courtroom, back during the combat activities, and also on the day when you
8 arrived there, was under the control of the local forces, Serb local
9 forces, of the Territorial Defence of Vukovar, the Vukovar TO?
10 A. Vukovar TO? Is that Territorial Defence? Or the paramilitaries?
11 Q. Yes. The local Territorial Defence of Vukovar, Serb Territorial
12 Defence of Vukovar.
13 A. They were in Velepromet, at least they were the ones who captured
15 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, where this other room was located,
16 the room where you were transferred on the 20th of November, 1991, if you
17 can tell us this in relation to the entrance into the yard of Velepromet,
18 its compound?
19 A. It was in the same building.
20 Q. When they moved you into this other room, did you go into the yard
21 of Velepromet?
22 A. No, I didn't.
23 Q. Tell me, this man from Vukovar who questioned you, was he also a
24 member of these local Serb forces?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You read out your statement in which you say that nobody
2 mistreated you. Is that right? Is that true?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. When you headed out to Sremska Mitrovica on the 22nd of November,
5 on the previous night you had been transferred to the barracks. While
6 still at the barracks, did they give you any cigarettes or food for you to
7 have while travelling to Sremska Mitrovica?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. After you were interrogated in Sremska Mitrovica, were any
10 criminal proceedings instituted against you?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Do you remember the name of the person questioning you, the person
13 for whom you wrote your statement in Sremska Mitrovica?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you talk to the investigators of the OTP in 1995 and tell them
16 about how you were questioned in Sremska Mitrovica and the statement that
17 you wrote there?
18 A. Would you please repeat your question?
19 Q. Certainly. Did you say to the investigators of the OTP in 1995,
20 when giving your statement to them, did you tell them that you had been
21 questioned in Sremska Mitrovica, that you gave a statement and signed it
22 at the request of the law enforcement organs?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Would you agree with me that you did discuss your stay in Sremska
25 Mitrovica with the investigator on that occasion?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you fail to mention this fact to the investigators because you
3 believed it to be irrelevant, or was it because, as you stated here, the
4 statement that you gave in Sremska Mitrovica was not truthful? Was that
5 the reason why you failed to mention this fact?
6 A. He neither asked me about this nor did I remember to mention it to
8 Q. When was the first time you remembered this?
9 A. I didn't even remember that until I came here to this trial.
10 Q. Can you tell us what was it during this trial that refreshed your
11 memory and made you remember this after 14 years?
12 A. Nothing. He simply asked me whether I had written anything while
13 I was in the camp.
14 Q. Excuse me, I didn't understand. Who asked you this?
15 A. The gentleman sitting close to me.
16 Q. You mean our learned prosecutor?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you mention it to him today for the first time, that you had
19 given the statement?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Then tell us, please, when did you mention this to him and under
22 what circumstances?
23 A. Two days ago, when I arrived here. He gave me my statement and
24 said that I should try to remember the events. However, I did not then
25 remember about the statement. And then he asked me whether I had written
1 any statements while in Mitrovica and then I told him that I did. He
2 asked me what kind of a statement, what did you write there? I told him
3 that I wrote down sheer lies, untruths.
4 Q. Thank you. It's all clear to me now.
5 Just another question concerning your exchange. Can you tell us
6 who organised your exchange and who escorted you to the place where you
7 were exchanged?
8 A. Since we had nothing to read, we didn't have a radio either, we
9 didn't know about who had organised the exchange. Rather, our guard,
10 military policeman, came in and told us to pack our belongings, to take
11 everything we had, saying that we were going to be exchanged.
12 Q. And that was all you know -- and this is all you know about the
13 exchange, nothing more than that?
14 A. Nothing more than that.
15 Q. Thank you, sir, for your answers.
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you. I have no
17 further questions.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
19 Mr. Borovic.
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Borovic:
22 Q. Good afternoon, my name is Borivoj Borovic. I'm Defence counsel
23 of Miroslav Radic.
24 First question: What do you know about a person who was your
25 commander? Who is the man? What did you know about him prior to the
1 events? And did you talk with him in the course of these combat
3 A. All I know is that he was from Vukovar. I didn't know other
4 things about him.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you know what rank he held?
6 A. No. We had no ranks.
7 Q. Thank you. When did you receive your first training in handling
8 an automatic rifle and where?
9 A. I don't remember when, but it was at the school, Supanc school.
10 Q. Would you please repeat the last bit of your answer?
11 A. It was at the Stjepan Supanc school.
12 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that this is where you also did your
14 A. No.
15 Q. Where did you shoot, then? Could you please try to be more
16 responsive? You are giving answers that resemble that of a robot. Would
17 you please give us more detailed answers, if you can? If not, that's
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, I seem to remember time and time again
20 witnesses being urged to give a yes or no answer. We've at last got a
21 witness who knows how to answer a question and now you want him to change
22 and become like the others.
23 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. But I
24 think -- it might be refreshing to have Mr. Bucko back to just give us a
25 wake-up call.
1 I will now continue. I think this is fine the way the witness has
2 chosen it to be.
3 Q. On the 17th, the morning of the 17th, when you came to your
4 parents' place, where exactly did you find them?
5 A. In the cellar.
6 Q. Did they have a phone in their home?
7 A. Yes. But the lines were down.
8 Q. Thank you. Can you please explain that portion of your statement
9 to the investigators, and I believe you repeated that in your testimony
10 today, about your father informing you that all of the Main Staff had fled
11 Vukovar? How would he have been in a position to know that, staying in
12 his cellar with the phone lines down? How did he learn that particular
13 bit of information?
14 A. When I came home on the morning of the 17th, my father told me
15 that Vukovar was about to fall, that all the people had fled, and that I
16 should try and escape as well. I have no idea where he got the
17 information from until I came back from the camp.
18 Q. But you seemed quite specific in your statement. You didn't say
19 my dad told me so and so. But, rather, my dad told me that people from
20 the Main Staff of the ZNG had fled or left. How did he know that? How
21 did he know about people from the Main Staff? I'm not talking about
22 everybody else, but specifically how did he know that the Main Staff
23 people had fled?
24 A. The police officer came along, a member of the MUP. He told us
25 that Vukovar was falling and that everything we had, all the weapons,
1 should be discarded, and that people were making an attempt to escape.
2 Q. Thank you. When did that police officer come and where?
3 A. He came to their cellar, to share that with them.
4 Q. Thank you. When did he come to their cellar, if you came on the
5 morning of the 17th? How long previously was he there?
6 A. I don't know.
7 Q. Thank you. You said your mate went to the hospital to see if his
8 wife and children were there and you went to the hospital to see if your
9 parents were there; is that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. Did your mate tell you whether he found his wife in
12 the hospital, and did you find your parents?
13 A. All we told each other was that we would go to the hospital to
14 look for our folks.
15 Q. Yes. I heard you say that. But once you got to the hospital, did
16 you try to actually track those people down, or was it just an excuse you
17 came up with when the soldiers asked you where you were headed?
18 A. We were on our way there. We both agreed that we would go there
19 and seek out our family. That was what we had agreed upon.
20 Q. Thank you. Did any of your ZNG members wear uniforms?
21 A. Not where I was, not one.
22 Q. Thank you. And did you see any other ZNG members not where you
23 were but rather elsewhere wearing a uniform?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. Could you please be so kind and describe a ZNG member
1 wearing uniform?
2 A. Shirt, trousers, jacket, cap, boots.
3 Q. Thank you. What about the colour?
4 A. Green and black.
5 Q. What about the insignia on the cap?
6 A. A chequer-board.
7 Q. Thank you. Did they have any marks of distinction on their
8 sleeves? Any insignia?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Thank you. I believe you testified today about where you dropped
11 the rifles that you had discarded.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you. When you reached the hospital, did you tell the
14 soldiers that you would voluntarily be surrendering your rifle or did they
15 in fact take you back to the place where you dropped your weapons for you
16 to hand them over to them? How exactly did it go?
17 A. When we reached the hospital, we were standing outside, waiting
18 for someone to drive us to Velepromet. It was then they asked us whether
19 we had any weapons and where and whether we were prepared to hand them
20 over to them. We agreed.
21 Q. Thank you. Did you tell them that you were members of the ZNG?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Thank you. What did you tell them? What did you tell them about
24 where you'd got the weapons? What did you tell them about the sort of
25 paramilitaries you were with all the weapons and all that? Did you talk
1 about that?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Thank you. How many rifles did you surrender?
4 A. Two.
5 Q. Thank you. That is just for the two of you. What about the
6 others who were in the same group? Where did their weapons end up?
7 A. They brought the weapons along for the breakthrough.
8 Q. Generally speaking, where was this breakthrough supposed to take
9 place? What was the escape route? Did you, the ZNG members, have any
10 plans for what the route should be for your attempted escape?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Thank you. Did you hear anything about going to the banks of the
13 Danube and leaving Vukovar on ships?
14 A. No.
15 Q. You sure about that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Was your elder brother born in 1971 and your younger
18 brother in 1975? I'm not mentioning their names.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. Were they in Sremska Mitrovica too, as far as you
21 know, the same time you were there?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you. Do you know if they too gave any statements in
24 Sremska Mitrovica?
25 A. I don't know. I don't know about that.
1 Q. Thank you. Did you ever see them afterwards, once you'd left
2 Sremska Mitrovica?
3 A. I didn't see him but I saw his name on the list. He was being
4 released, the younger brother, because he was underage.
5 Q. Thank you very much. You testified today about when you were
6 standing outside the hospital gate and you saw six paramilitaries walk
7 by. Is that so?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Can I have the usher's assistance,
11 please, if you would be so kind. This is the statement that the witness
12 gave to the investigators. I will try to finish by the end of today's
13 session, Your Honours, and I will speed things up a little now.
14 Q. Would you please be so kind, sir. This is the statement that you
15 gave the investigators. The part that was highlighted, under number 1,
16 can you please read that out for me?
17 A. "As we were waiting for the transport, I saw six soldiers, two of
18 them wearing camouflage uniforms, and four wearing JNA uniforms."
19 Q. Thank you. Quite obviously people wearing JNA uniforms were no
20 paramilitaries, which is the discrepancy between your earlier statement
21 and your testimony today. Having read this, do you retract what you said
23 A. No.
24 Q. You also testified today that you saw a paramilitary captain, and
25 you said yourself on page 15, lines 9 and 10, that was how he had
1 introduced himself. In your statement to the investigators, you make no
2 reference at all to this. You give a different account. If you could
3 please go back and read the statement, the relevant portion, next page,
4 page 3, highlighted in green. How does it read exactly in connection with
6 A. "Sometime around midnight on the 21st of November, 1991, a
7 captain entered our room. I don't know what his name was. He was small.
8 His hair was brown. And he had no moustache or beard."
9 Q. Can you tell that the description is different here? This man
10 never introduced himself as a captain of the paramilitaries. So which is
11 true? Your statement, the statement you gave then, or your testimony here
12 today? Do you notice this distinction, the discrepancy between the two
13 versions or accounts?
14 A. I was never in the army, but --
15 Q. Thank you. My next question: Back in 1995, were you a member an
16 element of the Croatian army known as Domobrani, the Home Guards?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you. In which capacity?
19 A. I was a soldier.
20 Q. Did you have a rank?
21 A. A specific position, you mean?
22 Q. Which one?
23 A. I was a lance corporal.
24 Q. Thank you. Do you know that back in the Second World War, there
25 was a military unit called Domobrani, the Home Guards, and there were
1 other names that were used to refer to this unit, such as the Ustashas or
2 the SS? Is this something you're familiar with?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Thank you. What was the symbol displayed on your uniform when you
5 were a member of the Home Guards in 1995?
6 A. The water tower.
7 Q. Thank you. What about the 3rd of May, 1991, when you joined the
8 reserve forces of the ZNG, as you testified today? How many regular
9 members of the ZNG were there in Vukovar at the time?
10 A. I don't know.
11 Q. Thank you. But we do agree, don't we, that you were a member of
12 the reserve forces and that the regular forces were present too, weren't
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you. You members of the ZNG, following your communication
16 by using the field phone, did you know where the other units of the ZNG
17 were around Vukovar, their specific whereabouts?
18 A. Yes, we did.
19 Q. Would you please be so kind and share briefly with the Court what
20 the specific locations were and the neighbourhoods in question?
21 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have two or three
22 questions to go. Therefore, if you could please bear with me. I know
23 that we are overstepping the mark, but I need a minute or two.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] OSA, 1, OSA 2, OSA 3, Sajmiste.
25 Q. Thank you. You're just talking about your own neighbourhood,
1 aren't you, the one that you were covering?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What is it you did not say in Sremska Mitrovica, something that
4 perhaps you can tell us today, since you're saying that your statement in
5 Sremska Mitrovica was entirely untruthful? What is it that was so
6 important and that you avoided saying back in Mitrovica? If I may just
7 add this: You said this was in relation to the weapons you had and the
8 composition of the army.
9 A. When I was taken to be interrogated, the gentleman who gave me a
10 piece of paper and a pen told me to write down everything, where I was,
11 what I did, what my position was, what sort of weapons I had, who my
12 commander was, which position I was at, and how many of us there were.
13 Q. Thank you. Did you conceal all these facts or did you explicitly
14 state these facts in your statement?
15 A. I didn't tell the truth.
16 Q. My last question: What do you do today? Do you have a job? If
17 so, where?
18 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, before the witness
19 answers, although it's my last question, if we could please go into
20 private session for this answer.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
22 [Private session]
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.52 p.m., to
12 be reconvened on Thursday, the 8th day of December,
13 2005, at 9.00 a.m.