1 Thursday, 2 February 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.22 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. If I could remind you once more of
7 the affirmation you made at the beginning of your evidence, which still
9 WITNESS: JOSIP COVIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
12 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
13 Good afternoon to all.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Bulatovic:
15 Q. Mr. Covic, good afternoon to you, sir. I am Mr. Momcilo
16 Bulatovic, attorney-at-law, counsel for Mr. Sljivancanin. I will be
17 asking you questions on behalf of the Defence team of Mr. Sljivancanin. I
18 will try not to repeat any of the questions already asked by my
19 colleagues. If you have any explanations to offer, please do so by all
20 means. But one thing I do need to ask you is please make a pause between
21 my question and your answer. Let's try not to overlap for the benefit of
22 the interpretation unit and everyone else. I hope you understand that,
24 Mr. Covic, do you remember how many statements you gave in
25 relation to the events in Vukovar in 1991?
1 A. As for the number of statements, I don't really know. However,
2 all I ever said were things that I personally experienced and saw. I told
3 the truth and nothing but the truth.
4 Q. Mr. Covic, I did not ask you about the substance of your
5 statements. I asked you about their number. Can you please remember who
6 you gave these statements to, statements in relation to your experience in
7 Vukovar back in 1991?
8 A. Specifically I gave statements to a gentleman from this Tribunal's
9 Office of the Prosecutor.
10 Q. How many, please, if you can tell me?
11 A. It was a two-day session, two-day interview session. And after
12 that we met yet another time, we went through my previous statement in
13 order to enter some corrections. There were errors in typing, that sort
14 of thing. So it was these gentlemen from the OTP who took care of that
15 and I fully agree with their work.
16 Q. Can you tell me exactly when it was that you gave your statement,
17 the two-day session, and when was it that you entered the corrections and
18 amendments just to check whether everything was recorded faithfully and
20 A. I can't really give you the exact dates, but this might have been
21 about a month or a month and a half ago that we entered those corrections.
22 Q. Would you agree with me if I told you that you gave your original
23 statement in 2003?
24 A. If that's what the statement says, then it must be the case. The
25 5th of October, 2003.
1 Q. November, you mean?
2 A. No, no, October.
3 Q. Mr. Covic, do you remember giving a statement on the 14th of
4 March, 1995?
5 A. No. I gave no statements on that day.
6 Q. Did you not give any statement whatsoever in relation to human
7 rights violations, civilian suffering, all the victims, and everything
8 that you suffered in Vukovar back in 1991?
9 A. I'm not sure what your question is based on or in relation to. It
10 may be one of the statements that I gave to our various associations and
11 institutions in Zagreb. After the camp, my experience at the camp, there
12 were a number of people who requested statements from me; of course, I
13 provided those. I shared my story with them. I told them the long and
14 the short of it. I told them about the aggression against Vukovar and
15 about the numbers of dead and injured.
16 Q. Does the name Kezele Mara ring a bell?
17 A. No. First I hear of it. I don't know that person.
18 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the usher to
19 please show Mr. Covic a statement to look at. Just to check whether he's
20 familiar with this statement. The statement contains a number of
21 corrections, and I would just like to see whether he produced any of these
22 corrections himself. This is dated March 1995.
23 Q. It's in English?
24 A. Yes, it's in English. But let me just look at the date. No, I
25 don't think so. Possibly one of our institutes and associations that we
1 provided statements to, I don't know. I spoke for Radio Zagreb twice, so
2 this may be one of the reports or some such that they put together at the
3 time. I know nothing about this transcript.
4 Q. Can the witness now please be given the same statement in B/C/S,
5 just to see if there is any information there that you may or may not have
6 provided to the person taking this statement.
7 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, these are statements
8 that were served on us by the OTP as statements given by today's witness.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will stick to my previous answer.
10 This record, this lady Marija Kezele, she might have pieced this together
11 by compiling the various things that I said for Radio Zagreb and the
12 statements provided to those associations.
13 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Covic, am I take that to mean that you never actually spoke to
15 a person named Mara Kezele?
16 A. I really can't say. The simple answer is I don't know. Where we
17 stayed as refugees there was a lady who came twice and talked to me. So
18 this may have been Mara Kezele. Perhaps you should know.
19 Q. Where did she talk to you?
20 A. During my days as a refugee staying at the military academy in
22 Q. Mr. Covic, in addition to this statement that I've shown you, both
23 in English and in B/C/S, there is a list there, please try to find it.
24 A. Yes. I have it now. The list is right here, but one thing I can
25 tell you for sure is that I was not the one who produced this list. If we
1 follow the same logic, I can perhaps assume that this same lady, having
2 talked to a number of us victims, put this list together.
3 Q. Mr. Covic, if you have the Serbian version or, rather, the
4 Croatian version of this list in front of you, is it the Croatian version
5 you're looking at?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. The Croatian version, please. Could you go to page 8? I think
8 he's looking at the English, isn't he? Could you please look at this
9 paragraph down there, the names have been underlined. Can you please read
10 that out?
11 A. "The names of the local Chetniks have been underlined. The
12 witness saw them commit crimes against Croatian prisoners. As for the
13 others, he heard about them from neighbours, other residents and
14 acquaintances, but he did not personally see them commit any crimes".
15 Q. This is a list that was I attached to your statement which leads
16 me to conclude that you provided information on people whose names can be
17 found on this list. People who committed crimes. Some of this
18 information was based on hearsay; you heard from other people that some of
19 these people committed crimes. Therefore, the names underlined on this
20 list are the names of people who you personally saw committing crimes.
21 Could you please look at all the names that are underlined and tell me if
22 you know any of these people or should I ask you the questions?
23 A. As for the names underlined on this list, the first person I
24 recognise is Capalo, Mirko Vojnovic. I saw him personally on his way
25 into --
1 Q. You have explained that earlier on.
2 A. Indeed, I have. There is another person, Jezdimir Stankovic. I
3 know this person. His nickname was Kesega. They called him Kesega around
4 Vukovar. When we were standing in Velepromet outside those hangars he
5 personally walked up to me, he knew me by sight. He is the son of the
6 former manager of Vukovar radio and Vukovar's newspapers before the war.
7 He had me lined up against the hangar wall, he picked up my wallet, or,
8 rather, the money from my wallet. He threw my personal documents away,
9 discarded them. I turned my head around and asked him to give me back my
10 documents at least and asked him why he had thrown them away. He kicked
11 me with his boot in the back. And said, "There you go. There, you have
12 your documents." So that's what happened, and then he left. He was a TO
13 member, but he was not wearing any sort of uniform. He was just wearing
14 plain clothes, normal clothes.
15 I can perhaps go through the list again. There are no other names
16 that I recognise of people that I saw there. Probably there will be other
17 witnesses who will be better able to do this for you.
18 Q. Mr. Covic, please look at the name under number 5.
19 A. Peko Pavlica. There is another man I know. His name is Pero
20 Pavlica. This man was at the hospital entrance.
21 Q. You explained that already. So you don't know this man?
22 A. I know a man named Pero.
23 Q. So this might be an error or a typo?
24 A. Yes, that's quite possible.
25 Q. Mr. Covic, the statement in Croatian that you have in front of you
1 that I have shown you, have you ever seen this statement before?
2 A. No. I've never seen it before. This is the very first time I'm
3 looking at it, and I must say I'm even quite surprised that such a
4 statement exists.
5 Q. This statement says that you actually signed it. Do you remember
6 that, that's what the statement reflects?
7 A. I don't know about that. It was only when I talked to those
8 ladies who came to see us. I can't remember. They were taking notes.
9 I'm not sure if I signed anything or not.
10 Q. Mr. Covic, I thank you for this answer, but I would now like to
11 move on to something else.
12 What about number 30? The name is Boro Bogunovic?
13 A. No, I'm sorry.
14 Q. Have you ever heard of this person?
15 A. No, no, I haven't. I don't know. I can't say anything, really.
16 I don't wish to make a statement, if I simply don't know. The only
17 intention I have is to tell the truth, so if I don't know this person,
18 there is nothing I can say. No idea where this person was or what he did.
19 I don't know. I'm sure I don't know this person.
20 Q. Mr. Covic, let's move on to some of the things that happened in
21 Vukovar that are of relevance to me and to Mr. Sljivancanin's defence.
22 You testified in chief that the so-called Croatian army at the
23 beginning had some hunting weapons and a number of artillery pieces. Is
24 that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What sort of artillery pieces? Specifically, what kind and what
3 A. I only heard about the artillery pieces from some acquaintances
4 during my time as a refugee and in the camp. They told me that there had
5 been a gun of some kind positioned at the Trpinja road. I wasn't told
6 this explicitly, but my assumption that those had been anti-aircraft
7 guns. Later on two tanks were captured, two JNA tanks. They had not
8 sustained any substantial damage, so our defenders used those tanks for
9 the town's defence. And that's about all I know about any heavy weapons.
10 Q. Yesterday you said that the Vukovar's defenders had been receiving
11 artillery support from Vinkovci. Is that the case?
12 A. Yes, whenever this was possible, needless to say. But after we
13 had been encircled for three months it was becoming increasingly
15 Q. Can you please tell me, if you know, of course, how did this
16 artillery come to be deployed around Vinkovci? What do you know about the
17 origin of all this artillery?
18 A. I really don't know. I'm sure there will be other witnesses who
19 will be able to help you with this. I think if you go and ask Mile
20 Dedakovic you'd probably be better off because he was in command of those
22 Q. Did you hear anything about the Varasdin barracks and what
23 happened there?
24 A. Yes, I heard about that. I heard that Croatia's defence greatly
25 benefited from this because they managed to seize a lot of heavy weapons
1 there which they used for the defence. I'm not sure about any details.
2 Q. Did you ever hear these weapons were taken to Vinkovci and used to
3 support Vukovar's defence?
4 A. Nobody ever told me explicitly, but I imagine that this might have
5 been the case.
6 Q. Yesterday in answer to a question by Mr. Borovic you say said
7 something about some logistical work that you did as part of Vukovar's
8 defence. I think my colleague asked you a question about that, but I
9 don't think your answer was complete about your support, logistical
10 support you provided for the artillery there. I want to know a bit more
11 about your role there, if you could please provide a more detailed
12 explanation. What sort of logistical work did you do to support Vukovar's
14 A. My answer was not about artillery.
15 Q. I'm asking about artillery.
16 A. In the area where I was staying with our boys, the defenders,
17 there was no artillery. All they had were hand-grenades which they used
18 against tanks to defend from tanks.
19 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Covic. When you talk about what sort of
20 weapons Vukovar's defenders had, you mentioned hand-grenades. Did they
21 have any mines and, if so, what kind?
22 A. Yes, they did have mines, and they laid these mines in order to
23 prevent the attackers from getting through, thus aiding the town's defence
24 to a great extent and making it possible for us to hold out for three
1 Q. Can you please tell me where was it exactly that Vukovar's
2 defenders laid these minefields, the locations that you're familiar with?
3 A. They lay these minefields in areas that -- where attacks were
4 expected. Our lads did a pretty good job. It was a great help to us.
5 Q. Were those personnel mines, anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines
6 or what kind of mines?
7 A. Mostly anti-tank mines.
8 Q. Was it laid down in accordance with a certain system, by people
9 trained for that type of combat or was it dispersed throughout without any
11 A. You said -- you put that well. It was done without a plan. The
12 minefields were dispersed around in those areas where tanks could have
13 come across and where an attack could be expected. These young fellows
14 thought this through and placed it appropriately.
15 Q. Mr. Covic, do you know that the defenders of Vukovar laid a road
16 through a cornfield that was a secret type of road. Do you know anything
17 about that?
18 A. Yes, that's right. A road ran through a cornfield. Mostly by
19 night; that's when people travelled on that road. However, it wasn't
20 possible to send weapons down that road, it was mostly medicine and
21 equipment needed for the hospital that was sent down that road. People
22 who stayed alive owing to that medication and equipment that came down
23 that road ought to be very grateful for the fact that this road existed.
24 I know this for a fact, because I spoke to a man who travelled that road
25 bringing medical supplies.
1 Q. Mr. Covic, in your statement given to the OTP as well as in this
2 other statement which you say you had never given, although they are quite
3 similar, you mention your activities supporting the defence of Vukovar,
4 saying that you also transported the wounded. I would like to know how
5 you transported them, in what type of vehicles?
6 A. Unfortunately, we transported the wounded very rarely. If there
7 was a lull in the bombing or shelling, then we would go and find a car or
8 some other kind of vehicle, place a wounded person inside, and then rush
9 to the hospital; however, those were rare occasions. Most often it was
10 done by us carrying the people on our backs, in a very simple way. I
11 personally saved the lives of two young men in this way. This is how we
12 transported them most often. Very seldom we had a vehicle at our
14 Q. Did ambulances arrive from the hospital to transport the wounded?
15 A. No, because they couldn't move around, they couldn't reach us. We
16 had no way of communicating with the hospital to inform them about the
17 fact that we had casualties. No, we had to transport these people.
18 Q. All right. And since you were a person providing logistical
19 support and advice to the defenders of Vukovar, you communicated with
20 them, you talked to them and they informed you about what was going on.
21 Do you know then how the defenders of Vukovar established communication
22 with the others from those defence lines that you drew yesterday?
23 A. You mean defence lines?
24 Q. Yes. The ones that you drew yesterday.
25 A. The defence lines were there. However, those of us who were in
1 the rear, we had no communication with them.
2 Q. Well, how did you, people who were in the rear, know about what
3 the people at the defence lines needed?
4 A. Well, people would stay at the lines in shifts, you know. One set
5 of people would be there and the others would come back and it was then
6 that I was able to advise them.
7 Q. Mr. Covic, you told us that you provided logistical support
8 telling them to dig deeper trenches?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The lines that you drew to us yesterday on the map of Vukovar, the
11 one shown to you by my learned friend, Mr. Borovic, were there trenches
12 drawn along that entire line?
13 A. There were very few trenches dug out there because that area
14 consists of urban settlement. There were streets and houses there, so
15 there were very few trenches for that reason. However, towards the end of
16 Bogdanovci, towards the hunting lodge, that's the area from which the
17 tanks threatened intensely, and I was there with the defenders when that
18 part of the town was shelled very intensely. This is why I asked them to
19 dig out trenches as deep as possible along that line, which was about 500
20 metres long, in order to save lines. People keep thanking me to this day
21 for giving them this advice. It was because of that that they survived.
22 Q. Did you go to see how they dug out trenches? Did you go to give
23 them any suggestions there on the ground?
24 A. Yes, I did. I went there to see what they had done. I told them
25 to dig deeper and also to dig wider, so that when there was a rain of
1 shells they could hide themselves. I also told them that in areas where
2 there were trees they should dig in a certain way to ensure better
3 protection. This is how I helped them and advised them. The defenders
4 were a bit angry at me for pushing them to do that. However, today
5 they're grateful to me for this, because they believe that this is the
6 reason why more of them survived.
7 Q. Did you give them any advice concerning how to lay down anti-tank
9 A. No, they knew about that. There was no need for me to give them
10 any advice. They knew how to lay the anti-tank mines, and I told them if
11 this is the way to do it, that's fine. If not, then you can change it.
12 Q. This last thing that you just said, you said if this is the way to
13 do it, that's fine, if not, then you can change it. What were they
14 supposed to change?
15 A. The location of an anti-tank mine, that's what they were supposed
16 to change. This is an elevated area, and there are parts which are not
17 accessible to tanks, because they are too elevated. This is why it was
18 important for them to lay down mines in the areas that were lying a bit
19 lower, thus accessible to the tanks. It was just a simple piece of
21 Q. You also said that you went to the main defence staff of Vukovar?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You said that you went there in order to draw for Borkovic, the
24 commander, also known as Mladi Jastreb, certain things on maps. Would you
25 please explain for us how come you were invited to do that?
1 A. He invited me to come because once he took over the position from
2 Mile Dedakovic, he realised that as he was not from Vukovar -- you know,
3 he was from a place from a village near Zagreb, so he was not familiar
4 with Vukovar. In this building where he was, he learned that before the
5 war I was a member of the TO staff, and thus he believed that I was well
6 acquainted with all of those issues, and since he did not know the town
7 well, he asked me to explain to him where our defenders were, and from
8 which locations the main assaults on Vukovar were launched. I explained
9 that to him, I drew it on the map for him, and thus provided him
10 assistance of which I am proud to this day.
11 Q. Mr. Covic, do you know that somebody else from Vukovar, a national
12 of Croatia, also had a rank of a reserve officer?
13 A. Yes, there were such people, but I wouldn't be able to give you
14 any names because it's been 15 years now. But I know that there were such
15 people. I know that there were a couple of people who were reserve
16 officers and who assisted in other defence areas.
17 Q. All right. These other people whom you know, did they also
18 participate in the defence of Vukovar, just like you did?
19 A. I suppose that these people who I know, in view of their age, were
20 able to provide advice. They were people of advanced age, thus they were
21 not able to bear arms actively. However, they were able to provide other
22 types of assistance.
23 Q. As a reserve officer of the Yugoslav People's Army, did you have a
24 wartime assignment?
25 A. No. I did not have a wartime assignment. I had it back in 1968,
1 and that has nothing to do with the issues we're discussing here. That
2 was back during the period of time when an attack was expected on
3 Yugoslavia as a result of problems in Czechoslovakia.
4 Q. You said that you received notices to attend various types of
5 manoeuvres and exercises. Do you remember when was the last time you were
6 asked to come along?
7 A. It was in 1986 when I was called the last time. However, I had --
8 I developed pneumonia and because of that I requested to withdraw from the
9 TO staff. That was the end of my involvement with the TO staff back then.
10 Q. All right. Let us conclude. So in 1986 you ceased being a member
11 of the TO staff. Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You spoke to us about the assistance that the defenders of Vukovar
14 received and there was some misunderstanding there. Varasdin was
15 mentioned and then Zadar, so let us clarify that. Let us not mention any
16 cities but rather have you tell us from which towns the assistance arrived
17 to the city of Vukovar, what were the numbers of people who arrived and
18 what type of assistance?
19 A. Zadar was mentioned here probably by mistake. Probably somebody
20 misheard it. It was impossible for anybody to arrive from Zadar. You
21 know where Zadar is, it's on the coast, and it was impossible for somebody
22 to come there to assist people in Vukovar. It was mostly people from
23 Varasdin who came to assist in Vukovar, mostly policemen from Varasdin and
24 then also some people came from Nasice, from Nustar and so on. Some
25 people came from Vinkovci, Zupanja, and those locations that were closer
1 to Vukovar and fortunately were not occupied at that time.
2 Q. Mr. Covic, can you tell us about the numbers of people who
3 arrived. When you put all of these locations together, how many people
4 arrived to assist in Vukovar?
5 A. Based on my assessment, I'm not sure, but I think between
6 one-third and one-half. I don't know the exact number. All I know is
7 that people arrived from Zadar -- no, I'm sorry, not from Zadar; I made a
8 mistake. People arrived from Varasdin. There were 150 of them. These
9 are the people who went to Stajicevo with me and were then exchanged from
10 there, from the camp in Stajicevo, and it was then that I learned the
11 exact number of them who had come to defend Vukovar.
12 Q. And what is the exact number, the one that you just gave us?
13 A. There were 150 of them in the camp with us. I learned about the
14 number accidentally. On one day eight persons from Varasdin were killed.
15 They slept in a basement. And I don't know who killed them. Was it
16 locals, members of the TO, or perhaps some of the Seselj's men. But
17 anyway, somebody approached them, threw a bomb into the basement and
18 killed all of them.
19 Q. Mr. Covic, I didn't quite get an answer that I was looking for
20 from you.
21 A. I'm telling the truth.
22 Q. I am asking you to give us the total number of people who came to
23 help you, including the 150 from Varasdin, Nustar, Nasice, Vinkovci and so
24 on. What is the exact figure?
25 A. I don't know the exact figure. That's why I didn't give it to
2 Q. All right. Mr. Covic, let me ask you this: Do you know whether
3 there were any foreign nationals who assisted in the defence of Vukovar
4 during that period of time?
5 A. As for foreigners, there were none, no. After the aggression on
6 Vukovar -- or, rather, that was the first aggression carried out in
7 Croatia. Therefore, there were no foreigners in Vukovar.
8 Q. Mr. Covic, I will now ask you about the names of some people to
9 see whether you know them, whether you heard of them. And please tell me
10 in relation to each name whether you know the person and whether you know
11 something else about them. Franjo Kracak?
12 A. No, I don't know.
13 Q. Martin Pliso?
14 A. Likewise, I know nothing. It could be perhaps --
15 Q. No, no, the name is not on that list. There is no use looking at
16 that list. Stipe Pole?
17 A. No. Doesn't ring a bell. Doesn't mean anything to me.
18 Q. Ivica Arbanas?
19 A. No, nothing.
20 Q. Ante Roso?
21 A. Ante Roso, no. No, nothing.
22 Q. Marijan Bodruzic?
23 A. Once again, no, nothing. I think that that last name indicates
24 that it's not a family that comes from Vukovar. You know, I worked for
25 the electric utility company. I knew a lot of family names living in
1 Vukovar, and I don't remember hearing that one.
2 Q. What about Ante Bodruzic?
3 A. Nothing. No, I don't know that.
4 Q. Petar Juric?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Velimir Djerek?
7 A. No, nothing.
8 Q. Stjepan Sucic?
9 A. Stjepan Sucic is a person from Vukovar; I know him. I knew his
11 Q. What else do you know about him, if anything?
12 A. I know that he was also a defender, but unfortunately that street
13 before the war, it was called Zelena Street. When that street fell, his
14 parents were killed. And --
15 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry, I just wish to object for one moment. What
16 is the purpose of a rehearsal of a lot of names? There doesn't seem to
17 be any relevance at that time in relation to what appears to be a memory
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic, could you indicate briefly the
21 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honour. It is
22 with pleasure that I can indicate this. All the names I have mentioned
23 were people who were in charge of certain units of the so-called Croatian
24 army, the National Guards Corps and the Vukovar defenders detachment at
25 the period in time relevant to this indictment.
1 This witness being heard here today was in involved in providing
2 logistical support for Vukovar's defenders in the way described. I find
3 it is impossible that he has never heard any of these names. All the more
4 because some of these people held important and prominent positions within
5 those institutions and units that were in existence at the time. By way
6 of clarification, Ivica Arbanas was the commander of the National Guards
7 Corps in Vukovar.
8 So much for relevance. But I was about to move on to a different
9 set of questions anyway. However, I did notice the witness looking at his
10 watch at one point, and in view of his poor health, I believe he may feel
11 a need to take a break at this point, Your Honour.
12 Thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may be allowed to say
14 something. I was looking at my watch and wondering why so many names. I
15 thank the President because that was precisely what I was thinking about,
16 why so many names, why go on with so many names. Who on earth would
17 remember after all this time, especially since most of these persons
18 appear to be quite young. How would I know these people? And I must say,
19 I also agree that a break would be desirable.
20 JUDGE PARKER: It is very early yet for the break. Are you really
21 feeling the need for that? You are.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I feel fine today and, if
23 necessary, we can do as you see fit, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much for that. We will carry on.
25 Mr. Bulatovic, the objection made, I think, has shown to be displaced by
1 the justification you have given.
2 Now Mr. Moore.
3 MR. MOORE: Yes. Of course I understand the reply given now that
4 I see the relevance, but it is the corollary to the relevance that I
5 submit is the essential issue. If, as my learned friend now appears to be
6 saying that these are important people, is he going to be saying to the
7 witness that he is not a person who performed the task or was in Vukovar
8 or was involved in any way that they have alleged? He is entitled to be
9 able to know exactly what the purpose of the question is and a chance to
10 answer that, I would submit.
11 JUDGE PARKER: I would have assumed Mr. Bulatovic is coming to
12 that. He seems to have just about finished his list of names or
13 sufficient of it. And we'll see where he moves to now.
14 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. I'll dwell on this one name that you appear to be familiar with,
16 Mr. Sucic. The reason I'm dwelling on this name is because, Mr. Covic, in
17 your statement, you described who Mr. Sucic was. Are you familiar with
18 this person's nickname?
19 A. No. The only thing I do know is that he was one of the defenders
20 and he was one of my son's friends. That is actually the reason I know
21 him. And when this happened during the first heavy attacks on Vukovar,
22 when part of Zelena Street and Radnicka Street fell and his parents were
23 killed, he came to stay with us. He told us the sad story of how his
24 parents had been killed.
25 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Can I have the usher's
1 assistance, please? I would like to show Mr. Covic the statement he gave
2 to the OTP. Unless he already has a copy in front of him, which is
4 Mr. Covic, could you please go to page 3? Paragraph 6. Have you
5 found that? Could you please look at the sentence that begins "the
6 Sajmiste commander." Have you found that? Could you please read it out?
7 A. Yes, indeed.
8 Q. Please read it for us.
9 A. "The commander of Sajmiste was Sucic, also known as Crni, but this
10 is the very first time I hear the nickname."
11 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Covic. Let me ask you this: This is a
12 statement you gave to the OTP. Did you sign this statement at the time?
13 A. This statement I don't know. I don't think I have ever seen this
14 statement, but all I can say is about Mr. Sucic, if you ask me.
15 Q. Mr. Covic, allow me to remind you that this is the statement you
16 gave to the OTP back in 2003. I am now about to show you the original
17 statement, the English version, if the usher could please help me with
18 this, just to see whether this is your signature, the signature being
19 shown to you now.
20 A. Yes, this is my signature. I confirm that. It's mine.
21 Q. Can we therefore conclude that you did state what you have just
22 read out to us, this allegation that's part of your statement. It's not
23 something that was made up by someone, is it?
24 A. It's possible that my son told me about what Sucic was doing at
25 the time, but that's about all I knew about him.
1 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Covic, let's move on, please. When did
2 your son join the break-through attempt?
3 A. I don't know the exact date, but I believe this occurred on the
4 3rd of November. At this time our neighbourhood had already fallen, the
5 6th Proletarian Division neighbourhood. When the lads withdrew, they
6 showed me the weapons. They all had a hand-grenade left, one each to kill
7 themselves should they be captured and a handful of bullets, and my son
8 was among the first to join the break-through attempt.
9 Q. You talked about these people who kept an hand-grenade just in
10 case. Was that all they carried on their way to the break-through or were
11 these people who stayed behind in Vukovar carrying a single hand-grenade?
12 I'm a little bit unclear about this. Can you please explain?
13 A. I really don't know why you are so unclear about this. It's very
14 simple, really. These young people were anticipating that if they were to
15 be captured they would be killed. They reasoned that they would never
16 surrender. In case they were caught or captured, they would use the
17 hand-grenade to kill themselves.
18 Q. Let's move on to the hospital, Mr. Covic.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic, before you do, you put this list of
20 names to the witness. You, in explanation to the Chamber, have suggested
21 the relevance of it. You haven't put that relevance to the witness to get
22 his comment or observation on it. And it's that relevance which is the
23 critical part of your defence case on this point.
24 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you are entirely
25 right. My understanding, however, was that the witness knows nothing
1 about this, that he's never heard of these people. I have already shown
2 him these names, for example, Ivica Arbanas, who was the commander of the
3 National Guards Corps, asking the witness whether he knew anything about
5 JUDGE PARKER: Your point, as I understood it, was, it would first
6 be does he know or does he accept that they are names of defenders; and
7 secondly, if they are, how is it that he doesn't know those names, if he
8 was there involved in some way in supporting them with advice or providing
9 food or the other things that he has mentioned. And I think those
10 matters, if that is your position, ought to be put to the witness.
11 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please.
12 Q. Mr. Covic, you said you're not familiar with Blago Zadro, or,
13 rather, you are. He was the commander of Borovo Naselje?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I asked you about Ivica Arbanas who was the commander of the
16 National Guards Corps. Have you ever heard that name?
17 A. Regrettably I must say I am greatly surprised by your questions.
18 My duty here before this Chamber is to testify about crimes that I
19 witnessed. As for this defence strategy, I don't think it is best served
20 by questions like these. Whether I've heard of these people, where they
21 were, I must say I find your questions rather strange. I'm sorry, but I
22 have to say that.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Covic, do you remember the name Ivica Arbanas?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't remember the name.
25 These were people who were quite young at the time and I didn't know most
1 of them. It was by pure chance that I knew Mr. Sucic. I see this
2 nickname being used here, Crni. I don't think I've ever heard that
3 before. So that would be my answer, Your Honour.
4 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Covic, have you ever heard of the Eltz palace, the palace of
6 Count Eltz?
7 A. Yes, of course I've heard of it and I know where it is.
8 Q. Were there any members of the National Guards Corps or any of
9 Vukovar's defenders positioned there?
10 A. More for the most part the people there were civilians, as I said
11 yesterday in answer to one of the questions I was asked. There were those
12 enormous cellars there, and I mean, go figure, a single bomb dropped by a
13 plane killed 12 people. There were a handful of defenders there who stood
14 by and watched all the firing coming from across the Danube, from an area
15 known as Dunavac, all this shelling of Vukovar, and they were there to
16 take care of people, to look after people.
17 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I'm sorry for interrupting, but the issue
18 is perfectly straightforward and my learned friend is doing a wonderful
19 minuet around the point.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Don't worry, Mr. Moore, I'm still there. It hasn't
21 gone away. Mr. Bulatovic is still pursuing his point, I'm not quite sure
22 in which direction, but if he doesn't, I will have to take over and do it.
23 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it appears there is
24 a bit of confusion between myself and the witness. We'll try to do better
25 than this. I'll try to change tact now, since Mr. Covic doesn't seem to
1 like the nature of my questions.
2 Q. Mr. Covic, you were quite often at the headquarters of the
3 National Guards Corps?
4 A. No, not often. I stated very clearly that I was there once. I
5 gave a statement. You should be better able to remember what I said
7 Q. You said you were there you helped them read some maps, that sort
8 of thing, so what I want to know is: Do you know how many people in
9 addition to Borkovic were there who were in command of the Croatian
10 forces, the National Guards Corps and all the remaining units, those who
11 were at the headquarters itself?
12 A. There were several of them, but I didn't know anyone else.
13 Q. Were you ever in touch with any of the commanders except this one
14 single time when you talked to Mr. Borkovic?
15 A. It was only when I was in touch with Mr. Borkovic and we only met
16 once. As for the other people, I was not in touch with anyone else, and I
17 did not talk to anyone else. I have idea who they were.
18 Q. What about your logistical activity? Did it not come down to the
19 area in which your son happened to be, Sajmiste?
20 A. Yes, my activity covered that area. It's a very sad truth it was
21 only us, three parents of three defenders, were there to feed them, and
22 you are perhaps able to imagine what this looked like. There was no
23 water, there was hardly any food to be had. We gave them some vegetables,
24 but there was precious little to be had to begin with.
25 Q. Did you ever have a chance to communicate with Stjepan Sucic?
1 A. It was only once that I had a chance to talk to him. He came to
2 see my son, and he told us that his parents had been killed. But that was
3 the only time I met Mr. Sucic. Later on, after my return to Vukovar, I
4 met him several times. And he gave me a detailed account of everything,
5 but I don't think that's of any relevance here.
6 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I don't think there is any further
7 need to ask about these witnesses, Your Honours. It is quite clear that
8 the witness stayed in very limited area.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. The impression gained by the Chamber is that
10 he knew only two or three of the names that you read to him, but at the
11 time, it is his evidence, he had contact with only two of them and then
12 each on one occasion and he didn't have dealings with any other
13 commanders. And the people there were young people whom were not social
14 acquaintances, not known to him.
15 Now, that's where the position lies as far as can be seen at the
16 moment. If you want to do more about it, you may; but otherwise move on,
17 as you were proposing.
18 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] No, no, that's all right. Thank
19 you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Perhaps just one more question, and then we can have break. Not
21 because of me, but because of the witness, if you should need one. The
22 witness told us that he went to visit the trenches, to check how they had
23 been dug out and also to inquire about the minefields and so on. Did the
24 witness go there on his own initiative or did somebody ask for his
25 assistance and urge him to go there and inspect all these locations?
1 A. Nobody told me to go there. It was my personal wish. I wanted to
2 go there for the simple reason that I wanted to help those young defenders
3 survive, to ensure that they survived in greater numbers. They didn't
4 know how to protect themselves and that's why I advised them and I'm proud
5 of having done that.
6 Q. All right. We have concluded with that.
7 Let us now turn to the hospital. Would you please tell me when
8 you arrived at the hospital? What time was it exactly? We heard several
9 things, so let us just clarify that. What date it was and what time of
10 the day.
11 A. We came to the hospital on the 19th in the early morning hours. I
12 don't think there is any need for me to repeat. I have already explained
13 how we approached the hospital and how much time we spent there.
14 Q. Mr. Covic, I'm just interested in the time-frame to make sure that
15 there are no misunderstandings. On the 19th, when you left the hospital,
16 what time it was?
17 A. In the early part of the night. I'm not sure what time it was,
18 this is just my estimate, and that's exactly what it is, an estimate. I'm
19 not sure what time it was. I didn't have a watch on me. However, it was
20 night-time when we were transferred to Vupik first and then Velepromet.
21 Q. When you arrived in Vupik, do you remember what time it was then?
22 A. We arrived in Vupik sometime at around midnight, perhaps
23 10.00 p.m., 11.00 p.m., just before midnight, but I'm not sure about the
24 exact timing. However, it was early that evening when we came to the
1 Q. You said yesterday that you stayed at Vupik for half an hour and
2 then you went to Velepromet. Then that must have been after midnight?
3 A. Yes, something like that. We didn't stay there long. 45 minutes
4 or so. And then very soon thereafter they separated 50 of us and then
5 they started ordering us to cross the street quicker.
6 Q. Does that mean, Mr. Covic, that it was on the 20th when you
7 arrived in Velepromet, after midnight?
8 A. It's possible, but it's not very likely. I think that we came to
9 Velepromet before midnight.
10 Q. Can you be more precise?
11 A. No.
12 Q. You said that on the 20th at about 5.00 in the morning you were
13 put on buses and taken to Sremska Mitrovica?
14 A. Yes, that's correct. It was still dark.
15 Q. All right. Let us now examine this. During that period of time
16 while you stayed in Velepromet in a location that you described to us,
17 except for the two officers that you have mentioned, two officers of the
18 JNA, did you see any other JNA officers?
19 A. I saw an officer. I don't know which two you have in mind.
20 Q. All right. I'll remind you, just in order to avoid any
21 misunderstanding. As you told us, one was involved in that -- in that
22 occasion when there were two Chetniks, and then the other one came when
23 you were on the buses. Is that right?
24 A. Well, let me tell you this: At that precise moment when we were
25 ordered to go to the buses, the office, which was across from the hangar,
1 a lieutenant came out of that office. A lot of people were taken to that
2 office and mostly they went in pairs or in groups of three. They would be
3 taken out of that office and taken behind the hangar and killed there.
4 The only thing I remember is that that JNA officer was a lieutenant and he
5 had two stars on his uniform.
6 Q. Can you describe that in a bit more detail?
7 A. No, it was night-time. I don't remember any details. I just
8 remember seeing, based on his uniform, that he was a JNA officer, and
9 again based on the two stars on his shoulder epaulet, I concluded he was a
10 lieutenant. He went in one direction and we went in the opposite one. We
11 boarded the buses and then were driven to the camp.
12 Q. Do you remember how many buses there were?
13 A. There were very many buses. I can't tell you how many exactly.
14 Once we arrived in Mitrovica, we stayed there for an hour by the prison,
15 by the camp there, and then we were taken to a field which was about 500
16 metres or one kilometre away. And there were very many buses there as
17 well. Later on we learned that some of the buses took people to Begejci
18 and some took to our place, to Stajicevo.
19 Q. You mentioned a person with the last name Fot during your
20 testimony, Darko Fot?
21 A. Yes, he is my nephew -- no, I'm sorry, I made a mistake. Kopf,
22 Ivica is my nephew, whereas Darko Fot and his parents were god-parents to
23 my wife.
24 Q. All right. You gave evidence saying that you saw Darko Fot in the
25 evening. I don't remember exactly what time it was.
1 A. It was when we were taken to Vupik. He was there.
2 Q. How long after you had arrived did you see him?
3 A. I told you, when we arrived in Velepromet we stayed there for not
4 more than 30 minutes and probably much less. And during that period of
5 time he acted as I have described to you here and as I stated in my
7 Q. All right. It was on the 19th, in the evening, in Velepromet?
8 A. Yes, the night of the 19th.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, do you think,
11 Mr. Bulatovic?
12 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] No problem, Your Honour. I think
13 this is a good time. I don't have many more questions left, but we can
14 take a break now.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I think the witness has had a fairly good
16 [microphone not activated].
17 We will resume at five minutes to 4.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 3.35 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 4.01 p.m.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Bulatovic.
21 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Thank you. Mr. Covic, let us now turn to another topic, since we
23 have concluded with the previous one concerning Velepromet. You said that
24 there were a lot of buses who took you away from Velepromet, but you don't
25 know exactly how many buses. Would you please tell us, did these buses
1 enter the compound of Velepromet, or did they park in the street?
2 A. Some were in the Velepromet compound. However, I remember that
3 one stood outside, outside the gate. There were a lot of buses, and it
4 was difficult for them to all fit in, so there were at least two buses
5 outside of the compound and perhaps even more.
6 Q. All right. Thank you. It was night-time, I assume that you stood
7 in front of the hangar and that you were among the first ones to board the
9 A. Yes. The administrative building of that company stands between
10 hangar and another building, and in front of it was a large area, and this
11 is where the buses were parked.
12 Q. How long did it take for you to board the buses?
13 A. It didn't take long. Half an hour at the most. And then we
14 headed onwards.
15 Q. All right. So you left the compound.
16 I would like now to show the witness photograph number 04672115.
17 This is a photograph which was shown yesterday to the witness. It depicts
19 Do you see it, Mr. Covic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you please take a pointer or a pen, perhaps the usher can help
22 you. Would you please draw on this photograph the location where the
23 buses were, the buses that you boarded?
24 A. As I have told you, the buses were on the opposite side. And this
25 whole area, there is a road here --
1 Q. And in which direction the buses travelled?
2 A. In the direction of Negoslavci. However, I can't show you that on
3 this picture. The road is here and then we turned and started travelling
4 towards Negoslavci.
5 Q. All right. Would you please put an arrow and a number one next to
6 it and circle the number one.
7 A. [Marks].
8 Q. Since I assume that there were a number of buses there, do you
9 remember which bus you boarded?
10 A. I think that I boarded the second or the third bus, counting only
11 the ones which were in the compound, and then there were prisoners here
12 too, and most likely I think that I stood approximately here.
13 Q. All right. Why don't you put number 2 next to that circle?
14 A. [Marks].
15 Q. From the moment when you boarded the bus and until you left the
16 compound, you said that that didn't take long. Do you remember how long?
17 A. As I have told you, half an hour at the most, perhaps 20 minutes.
18 Q. This area that you mentioned, was it lighted?
19 A. No, there was no illumination, it was dark. The whole city was
20 without electricity. Even though this was close to the barracks, but
21 there was a power outage in the city of Vukovar.
22 Q. All right. I think we just need to clarify one more thing. Where
23 did you board the buses? Was it in front of the hangar, or in this
24 location that you marked with number 2?
25 A. This location that I marked with number 2. This is where I
1 boarded the bus.
2 Q. Mr. Covic, I'm trying to create an image in my head based on this
3 photograph and what you said yesterday. Can you tell us, from the place
4 where you stood in front of the hangar to the place, to the spot where you
5 boarded the bus, what's the distance between these two spots?
6 A. It takes five minutes to cover that distance, or less than five
7 minutes. I've been referring only to the time it took for everybody to
8 board buses, and this is what I said lasted about 20 minutes. That's how
9 long it took for everybody to board buses.
10 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I tender this
11 photograph with all the markings put by the witness into evidence.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour, this exhibit will receive the
14 number 151.
15 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Covic, reluctantly I have to go back to the statements you
17 gave to the Tribunal representatives back in 2003. You said at the
18 beginning of the statement on page 1 or 2 that you gave the statement
19 voluntarily and that you were going to describe everything you saw and
20 experienced based on your best recollection. This statement that you gave
21 to the OTP as well as the addendum, which you created here when you came
22 to The Hague, and the statement that you gave to Mara Kezele, the one that
23 you have said you've never seen, and we shall investigate this further
24 later on. In none of these statements did you ever mention the existence
25 of the third officer in addition to those two that I asked you about.
1 Therefore, let me put this question to you. This officer whom you
2 described as a lieutenant, it was dark -- it was dark. Could this have
3 been a member of the Territorial Defence, perhaps?
4 A. Well, that's possible. It's quite possible. You are Defence
5 counsel, and you should know better whether this was a member of
6 Territorial Defence or somebody else.
7 Q. All right. So you think that it's possible. Let me ask you this,
8 Mr. Covic: I omitted to ask you this earlier, and please forgive me for
9 going back to this issue. Do you know a street called Sremskih Odreda is
11 A. No, I don't know. It.
12 Q. It's in Vukovar, in the neighbourhood called Sajmiste?
13 A. No, that whole area towards Negoslavci was referred to as
15 Q. So you have never heard of this street, Sremskih Odreda Street?
16 A. I don't remember that street.
17 Q. Did you ever hear about a shelter in that street, Sremskih Odreda
19 A. No, I don't remember that. I don't remember the street. I don't
20 remember the shelter.
21 Q. Just another question, Mr. Covic. Do you remember what you
22 signed, which of the statements you gave to the OTP you signed, what was
23 the language of that copy? Did you make a request to sign something, or
24 did you just sign whatever document was put in front of you?
25 A. I signed the one that we discussed. And everything that I said,
1 everything that I spoke about, and all of this is in relation to that, I
2 feel the better about that, because all I told was the truth, and I was
3 glad to sign the statement.
4 Q. But I'm asking you about the language of the statement which you
6 A. The statement was in our own language, Croatian. You have it
7 right here.
8 Q. So this is the one you signed?
9 A. Of course.
10 Q. Can you see the signature there?
11 A. Yes. It's right there. This is the statement that I signed.
12 It's in Croatian. The statement is written in Croatian.
13 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wish to avoid any
14 misunderstanding about this line of questioning.
15 What I'm after is this: This witness's statement in Croatian,
16 page 13, specifically, says that the witness confirms its authenticity,
17 but it also clearly states that only the B/C/S of the statement is signed.
18 However, the B/C/S statement that we have was not signed, or at least we
19 are not in the possession of a copy that was signed. We just want to make
20 sure that this is no mistranslation or anything like that.
21 If we look at the statement in English, you can also find the
22 remark that only the B/C/S version is to be signed, as it reads. But we
23 do not have a B/C/S statement of this witness that is signed. This is a
24 matter which we shall try to clarify in cooperation with our learned
25 friends from the OTP.
1 Your Honours, I have no further questions for this witness, and I
2 thank you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Bulatovic.
4 Mr. Vasic?
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 I'm not sure if this is a good time but the Defence would wish to
7 raise a matter or, rather, a request. It's something to do with my
8 learned friends from the OTP and something to do with the statements of
9 this witness that we have been provided the documents in relation to this
10 witness, yet we have heard today that this witness did not provide these
11 statements, nor were they shown to him during the proofing sessions. I am
12 talking about the statements given to Mara Kezele. My learned colleague
13 Bulatovic discussed these with the witness in the course of today's
15 This may be a good time to raise these matters because my learned
16 friend is about to start his redirect, and what the Defence wants to know
17 is what the source is for these statements, where do these statements come
18 from, who did the OTP obtain these statements from. It seems that the
19 Defence has been led astray on this issue. We were given statements that
20 were supposed to be this witness's statements and yet today we have
21 learned that these statements were never shown to this witness, nor has
22 the fact that he was indeed the person that provided these statements been
24 In order to judge the witness's credibility, I think it might be
25 necessary for my learned friend to indicate the source for these documents
1 to us so that we can verify whether the statements were indeed made by
2 this witness or not.
3 That's all I wish to say, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. You will recall that the
5 witness was able to identify his signature on one of them, one version of
6 them. Yes.
7 Mr. Moore.
8 MR. MOORE: May I just deal with the concern by -- of Mr. Vasic.
9 I take it that Your Honour is stating that this signature of the statement
10 relates to what I will call the OTP documentation, that is my
11 understanding of the signature, though it is in Croatian as opposed
12 to B/C/S.
13 JUDGE PARKER: You realise the Chamber doesn't have any of these
14 documents so that we are not sure, but he did recognise his signature.
15 I understood it was on a B/C/S or Croatian version.
16 MR. MOORE: Well, that is certainly my understanding, and I know
17 my learned friends have got a copy of it and the signature is there. I
18 don't think they're suggesting he didn't sign it, but perhaps if I can
19 just clarify that. The point seems to be it was not signed in B/C/S, but
20 clearly there is a document signed in Croatian.
21 I think my learned friend accepts that. Is that right or not?
22 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm afraid my
23 learned colleague has not understood my point. I am talking about the
24 statement that was done in English, the statement given to the OTP. We
25 have a signature there whereby the witness confirms that the statement has
1 been read out to him in Croatian and represents an accurate reflection of
2 his testimony.
3 What I said a while ago, there is something called witness
4 acknowledgement, and just above you can see that only the B/C/S version is
5 to be signed, unlike the English version. And the English copy reflects
6 the same thing. But we do not have a B/C/S statement that was signed as
7 seems to be indicated here in this portion of the statement that relates
8 to the witness's confirmation.
9 Since I am the one raising this issue, I would like to add this:
10 As for the statement provided by the witness to a person named Mara
11 Kezele, there is no signature there, but if we go through the documents
12 given to us, it is indicated that the statement was given in Zagreb on the
13 14th of March, 1995 and that the witness signed it. We don't have that,
14 however. We have a draft of a translation of this document, whereas I
15 clearly asked the witness today about this, and the witness said that he
16 did not remember ever talking to a person named Mara Kezele. He knows
17 nothing about the person, knows nothing about the statement, and knows
18 nothing about the list which was based on his own account, at least based
19 on what this person Mara Kezele tells us. We don't have a statement that
20 was signed. And that was the statement that Mr. Vasic was talking about.
21 Because this was the statement that was furnished to us by the OTP as the
22 statement of the witness, and I believe that is the gist of all this
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Bulatovic.
25 Mr. Moore, can I say is it preferable to re-examine before there's
1 some attempt to resolve this, or do you want to resolve? I am in your
2 hands there.
3 MR. MOORE: The witness should be re-examined in relation to what
4 I will call the witness acknowledgement in respect of the -- what I call
5 the English 2003 statement, and that can be read out or put to the
6 witness, whether he agrees it's his signature and the content of that.
7 In relation to what I will call the 1995 document which was
8 furnished to my learned friends, they have cross-examined that statement.
9 I did not adduce it in evidence. They cross-examined on it. They have
10 got the evidence in relation to it, this witness's evidence. And I'm not
11 going to re-examine in relation to that. Because, quite simply, he gives
12 no evidence in relation to it.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
14 Re-examination by Mr. Moore:
15 Q. Mr. Covic, would you be kind enough, please, to look at something
16 that should be on your screen, page number is 03437611. I'd like you to
17 look at the screen, if it's possible.
18 Mr. Covic, just forget about the documents. Just close the
19 documents for a moment. Thank you very much. Just look at the screen for
20 a moment, will you? Thank you very much.
21 Now, you should --
22 JUDGE PARKER: It's a very blank affair, Mr. Moore.
23 MR. MOORE: We've got it here.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Now you've got something.
25 MR. MOORE:
1 Q. You've got the screen in front of you, Mr. Covic, and you've got
2 a -- the last page of your statement. Do you see that? On the screen.
3 A. Yes. It's in English, but I can see it all the same.
4 MR. MOORE: Could Your Honour forgive me one moment, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Is this the one we're talking about?
6 Or the other one?
7 MR. MOORE: There is nothing on either of his screens.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yeah, I have it now. November
9 2003, yes.
10 MR. MOORE:
11 Q. Thank you very much. If we just look at this particular page, do
12 you see a signature there that is your signature?
13 A. Yes. This is my signature, and I put it there.
14 Q. And we've got the date which is, I believe, the 5th of --
15 A. Yes, yes. The 5th.
16 Q. The 5th of November, 2003. Thank you.
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Just below your signature, we have an English translation, and it
19 reads as follows, I'll read it in English, and the interpreters hopefully
20 will interpret it for you.
21 "This statement has been read over to me in the Croatian language
22 and is true to the best of my knowledge and recollection. I have given
23 this statement voluntarily and am aware that it may be used in legal
24 proceedings before the International Criminal Tribunal for the prosecution
25 of persons responsible for serious violations of international law
1 committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991 and I may
2 be called to give evidence in public before the Tribunal."
3 And there seems to be a signature below that again. Do you see
5 A. Yes, yes. That's my signature too.
6 Q. Is it right that this statement that you gave to the office of the
7 Prosecution, or Prosecutor was, as it says, read over to you, that it was,
8 to the best of your ability and your recollection, true?
9 A. Yes. I've seen the record. I had seen the record, I then signed
10 it, and this is an accurate reflection of what I spoke to those gentlemen
11 about on the given date, the 5th of November, 2003, and I must say I'm
12 quite happy with it.
13 Q. Thank you very much. I just want to show you one final document,
14 which is our page 03437616. It has been shown to you by the Defence. To
15 assist the registry, it is a handwritten list. Now, can that be brought
16 onto the screen, please? Unfortunately it's a very poor copy, as far as I
17 can see, but can you see it all right?
18 A. Yes, I can see it.
19 Q. Did you write that document?
20 A. I said at the time that I didn't, because this is not my
22 Q. Thank you very much, indeed, Mr. Covic. I would like to move on
23 to some other topics, please.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It would appear desirable that those two documents
25 be marked for identification, Mr. Moore, so that the record will enable
1 reference to what it is the witness has seen and is saying on the one hand
2 is my signature, and on the other hand is not my handwriting, should that
3 be relevant at some time.
4 MR. MOORE: I, for my part, wasn't going ask for them to be marked
5 for identification. The witness has given his evidence. If the Court of
6 its own motion wishes for it to be done, of course the Court can do so.
7 JUDGE PARKER: They will each be marked for identification,
8 Mr. Moore.
9 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The first document will be
11 received under reference number 152 marked for identification; while the
12 second document, which is the handwritten note, will receive the number
13 153 marked for identification.
14 I thank you, Your Honour.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] My apologies for interrupting my
18 learned friend during his redirect, but it is now that the Defence is
19 utterly confused.
20 Can we please have some clarification about this document 03437676
21 marked for identification as 153. When was this document provided?
22 Because we have never seen this document before.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Was it not cross-examined on, Mr. Vasic?
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have never seen a
25 list like this. It was never served on us. A handwritten list. What my
1 colleague, Mr. Bulatovic, based his cross-examination on is a typewritten
2 text and bears no resemblance at all to this copy. ERN for this document
3 is 00367756 and 00367757. This is the list which is part of that document
4 that the witness failed to recognise on cross-examination and bears no
5 resemblance whatsoever to the document that we are looking at now.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. I think what that
7 demonstrates is that I should have been alert to have that marked for
8 identification when it was being used so there would be no confusion as to
9 which document. But we are clarifying the matter bit by bit.
10 The last document which is marked for identification 153,
11 Mr. Moore, seems to be a stranger and is not the document which was put to
12 the witness, it would appear.
13 MR. MOORE: The handwritten document, if I may use that
14 phrase, 7616, is in 65 ter exhibit list, at exhibit number 14. That's --
15 that's the record that I have. And I've checked with our case manager,
16 and it was served. I'm equally rather surprised.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Being served is one thing. The point is, it's not
18 the document that the witness was dealing with. The witness was being
19 cross-examined on a typed document, not on this handwritten one, or hand
20 printed one, so that at the moment it's not a document that was properly
21 put to the witness in re-examination - no fault of your own - nor is it a
22 document that needed to be marked for identification. What you haven't
23 dealt with is the typed list that Mr. Bulatovic was cross-examining on, if
24 you wanted to.
25 MR. MOORE: But they are the same exhibit. My understanding is
1 Exhibit 14 is -- or compiles a typed list and a handwritten list. It is
2 one and the same exhibit.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Are you saying the names are the same?
4 MR. MOORE: As far as I recollect, they are. But I need to just
5 have that checked absolutely thoroughly. But as far as I am aware, they
7 JUDGE PARKER: And are you saying that they each were provided in
8 the 65 ter list as part of the one document.
9 MR. MOORE: My understanding is that's correct. They are the same
10 exhibit. One is in a typed form, and one is in the handwritten form.
11 One -- one seems to be a typed version of the earlier, if it be earlier,
12 handwritten version. The witness has said -- I've worked on the basis
13 that the handwritten will be the earlier document and consequently I have
14 asked the witness whether he has seen this document or whether it's his.
15 He says it's not in his handwriting. So as a consequence, I did not deal
16 with the typed version because it has no relevance if it does not flow
17 from the handwritten.
18 But my understanding, as I say, is it is one and the same
20 JUDGE PARKER: And are these all Exhibit 14 in the 65 ter, or
21 Exhibit 14 in this trial?
22 MR. MOORE: May I just clarify?
23 [Prosecution counsel confer]
24 MR. MOORE: Yes, they are the same. But they have a different --
25 a different ERN number. But the typed -- the typed and the handwritten
1 are the same exhibit, and served on the Defence. The document that the
2 Defence referred to, I'm told, is the same typed list, but with a
3 different ERN number. So it seems to be that the source is the
4 handwritten, which this witness says is not his, and therefore the typed
5 clearly does not follow.
6 With regard to the ERNs, there are two ERN numbers, Exhibit 14, my
7 learned friends have had, that is handwritten and typed, but they have
8 cross-examined on the same list but with a different ERN number. That is
9 my understanding.
10 JUDGE PARKER: I think the Chamber will receive both typewritten
11 lists marked for identification and then we will have all three, and
12 people may want to do something about that in the future. At least they
13 will be marked for identification.
14 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, do we have two typed lists?
16 MR. MOORE: That is what seems to be the case. There is 65 ter
17 Exhibit 14, which has got at page number 7616 a handwritten copy of a list
18 and it just says "Velepromet" and then particularises various individuals.
19 Attached to that is a typed list which says "Velepromet, list of
20 criminals/evil-doers." That is the same exhibit, Exhibit 14, on the
21 65 ter list, which was served. My understanding is that what the Defence
22 are cross-examining on is a typed list which I believe I cannot -- I have
23 not checked exactly, deals with the same topic, the same names, but in a
24 slightly different form with a different ERN number. But the source
25 document is the same.
1 JUDGE PARKER: And that different ERN number is?
2 MR. MOORE: I will just get that for you, if I may. Would Your
3 Honour forgive me.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MR. MOORE: The number that I have been given are 00367756 and 57.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Well, that is a list which is quite different from
7 03437616, the handprinted one. That list contains 32 numbered names and
8 information such as captain of this and so on. The handprinted contains
9 27 numbered names. And there is some other information on the right-hand
10 side which seems to be additional names. So there is much more on the
11 handwritten document than on the typed.
12 MR. MOORE: Well, the typed that I have, and I know my learned
13 friends have, which are 756 and 757 have 51 -- 51 names.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Is page 757 a continuation of 756?
15 MR. MOORE: I am assuming it is. Because at the very bottom of
16 756 you come down 31, 32, and then you go over, and you go 33, 34. It
17 also has got number 2 at the top.
18 So 756 and 757 are consecutive numbers, I would submit clearly the
19 list, and my understanding as I say, and I have not gone through in the
20 minutia that I offered, but my understanding, one is the typed version of
21 the other. I see someone nodding in agreement with that.
22 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, I'm going to do something we don't
24 normally do.
25 Mr. Covic, you have on the screen in front of you a handprinted
1 list of names. Do you see that?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a list that you remember?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember the list at all. I
5 am certain that I did not produce this list myself. Whoever did, the list
6 still wasn't shown, not to me. I can go through the names, and my
7 conclusion is I may know perhaps two or three persons from this list, but
8 not more. That would be my answer.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
10 If, now, we could receive marked for identification 0367756 and 7,
11 the two typed pages referred to by Mr. Moore, received as one exhibit.
12 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will be marked for
14 identification with number 154.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. And could I say that our quick
16 examination indicates that those two pages together contains all the names
17 that are on the handwritten --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: As far as we can observe in a quick observation,
20 the two typed pages contain in total the same names that are on the one
21 handprinted page. But we've not had time and I propose to do a detailed
22 comparison for ourselves.
23 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, just in relation to that typed -- not
24 typed copy, handwritten copy, I did ask the witness whether it was his
25 handwriting and he said it was not his handwriting.
1 JUDGE PARKER: I am aware of that, and I've gone a little further,
2 but the witness in effect says he knows nothing of it. Yes.
3 Now, Mr. Vasic.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for assisting
5 us to clarify this. However, it seems to me that we should look at the
6 matter from another angle. Namely, these two lists, based on what I was
7 able to see, resemble each other. However, the names and the order of
8 names is quite different. Some names are underlined in one text and not
9 in the other, and at the end of the list there is a comment concerning the
10 underlined names, the comment that is missing in the handwritten version.
11 Moreover, it is true that my learned friend provided to the Defence under
12 number 14 on the 65 ter list a handwritten text.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] However, nowhere in the title of the
15 document or in the document itself can we find anything which would allow
16 us to link it to this witness, Mr. Covic. No, on the contrary, it is
17 stated that this is a list provided by the former prisoners or inmates.
18 Following that, when we received this typed up version shortly
19 before Mr. Covic came to testify, we were told that this is a document
20 accompanying the testimony of Mr. Covic. So there was no way the Defence
21 could have linked the two documents, which, as I said, are not identical.
22 Thank you.
23 JUDGE PARKER: I think everything you've said about the list is
24 borne out by our quick observation, Mr. Vasic. We are in the position at
25 moment where the witness has been examined on the names, and he indicated
1 two or three names which he actually identified, or names with which he
2 was familiar, and he indicated how he knew those names. He has confirmed
3 that when looking at this handprinted list. He says he thinks he knows
4 two or three names only on the list, otherwise he does not know the
5 document or the names. So whatever you may have been told about the list,
6 it is not the evidence of this witness that that is his list.
7 We have no evidence -- these lists have only been marked for
8 identification in case at some later time it becomes an issue. They are
9 not evidence against your clients in the case at this stage, as you
11 Well, I think that's about as far as we can go with this list at
12 the moment.
13 I'll ask Mr. Moore if he has further re-examination.
14 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much, I do.
15 Q. Mr. Covic, yesterday you were asked about various individuals and
16 you said that you "saw the son of my wife's uncle, Stjepan Petrovic, and
17 he ended up at Ovcara."
18 Do you remember giving that evidence? And I'm reading from the
20 A. Yes. Unfortunately, I do remember, and frequently I go back in my
21 mind to what I experienced. I found him in the hospital, in the hallway.
22 I asked him to be with me, saying that we would help each other. However,
23 he told me that he was coming with me down to the basement where the
24 wounded persons were to thank the nurses for treating him.
25 His parents had some health problems too. He said he would come
1 back immediately. I begged him not to leave, to stay with me.
2 Unfortunately, he left and never came back. He was killed at Ovcara. He
3 was found among the corpses and he was buried individually.
4 It is very difficult for me to remember that event. He was a very
5 special man in Vukovar. He was a museum curator.
6 Q. After the hospital, you have said you saw him in the hospital when
7 you were there, did you ever see him at any time after that?
8 A. When he went down there to thank the nurses, we remained there
9 waiting for him to come back. We got on the last trucks and he wasn't
10 there. Once I left the camp, after the hospital and everything else, I
11 went to his parents and his brother, and I learned from them that he had
12 been killed at Ovcara.
13 Q. Thank you very much. I want to deal, if I may, with another
15 To assist my learned friends, on the transcript it's page 3525.
16 You have told us about the 50 men being isolated and then lined up
17 in front of the hangar. Do you remember your evidence about that? Just
18 yes or no, please.
19 A. Yes, I remember.
20 Q. And you went on to tell the Court that of those men they were
21 being taken away and you said you then heard shots, that they were killed;
22 you assumed they were killed. Now of the 50 people who were there, you
23 told us that you didn't know many of their names. Do you remember that?
24 A. I remember.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. But I want to deal with their faces. Did you recognise any of
3 their faces as people that you knew before that day?
4 A. I knew most of the people by sight. I knew names of only several
6 Q. Thank you.
7 A. There was a person next to me called Fager [phoen] whom I knew
8 because he was my neighbour and so on. Since it was night-time, I could
9 just conclude that I knew some faces.
10 Q. I want you to listen, please, very carefully to the question.
11 I've asked you if you knew the faces before that night, and you said you
13 What I want to ask you is this: Did you see any of those faces
14 after you came out of the hospital and went back to Vukovar? Do you
15 understand the question?
16 A. No, I didn't see.
17 Q. Didn't see what?
18 A. I didn't see the people who were taken behind the hangar towards
19 the brick factory.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] On page 50, line 8, I believe that my
23 learned friend made a mistake when he said hospital, because he spoke
24 about people being grouped in groups of 50. And that must have been at
1 MR. MOORE: My learned friend is absolutely right. Of course it's
2 the hangar. I'll ask the question again. There is not a problem.
3 Q. Mr. Covic, you've told us about the 50 people in the line, you
4 said that you recognised many of the people, their faces. You've told us
5 that. Yes?
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, objection. Defence
9 objects because Mr. Covic yesterday didn't say that he recognised the
10 faces. He said that he didn't recognise them, and this is now a leading
11 question from my learned friend.
12 JUDGE PARKER: The question of what the witness identified about
13 these 50 men was clearly raised in cross-examination. Mr. Moore is now
14 pursuing that issue in re-examination. I think he has quite properly
15 asked whether he was -- the witness is able or was able to recognise any
16 of the faces of the 50 men at the time. That's an attempt to get to some
17 clarification as to what the witness did know about these 50 men. If you
18 read the transcript of the cross-examination, it was left, as I recall it,
19 in a somewhat unclear state.
20 So, Mr. Vasic, I cannot uphold your objection on this point.
21 Yes, Mr. Moore.
22 MR. MOORE: To assist my learned friend, it's page 3525, and it's
23 lines 17 to 19. When my learned friend Mr. Vasic's colleagues asked: "You
24 could identify those people?
25 "No, I didn't say that, I don't know their names. I knew many of
1 them by sight."
2 Q. So I will ask the question again, Mr. Covic. You said that you
3 knew many of these people in the line by sight. And then you've told that
4 they were taken away and you believe killed. What I want to know is: Did
5 you ever see any of those people again, the ones who had been taken away?
6 A. No. I didn't see them, unfortunately. Not even later upon my
7 return from the camp.
8 Q. Thank you very much.
9 MR. MOORE: I have no additional re-examination. Thank you.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Moore.
11 Mr. Covic, you will be pleased to know, I'm sure, that that is the
12 end of your questioning. The Chamber would thank you for coming to
13 The Hague and for the assistance that you have given us. You are now free
14 to return to your home.
15 This would appear to be a convenient time to take the next break.
16 And I understand that the next witness is a protected witness?
17 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, yes. And Mr. Smith will be dealing with
18 that witness. I am told it will take 15 minutes, so it is a good waste --
19 a good use of time.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. We will resume at 20 minutes past 5.00 with
21 the protective measures in place. And we welcome Mr. Smith to this trial
22 and to the bar table.
23 Mr. Covic, I thank you once again, and when we rise you will be
24 shown out. Thank you.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 --- Recess taken at 4.59 p.m.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 --- On resuming at 5.24 p.m.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir. Would you please read aloud
5 the affirmation on that card?
6 WITNESS: WITNESS P-012
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly swear that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, please sit down. If you could keep
11 rather forward, it's important that the microphone in front of you picks
12 up what you say clearly. You will understand that what you say will not
13 be heard in your own voice outside this courtroom, and that your own
14 image, your own face will not appear outside the courtroom. People cannot
15 see it anywhere else. Mr. Smith will have some questions for you.
16 Yes, Mr. Smith.
17 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honours. I would just like to first
18 thank you for the welcome to the courtroom. The familiar accents and the
19 familiar faces on the Defence side certainly make the transition quite
21 Examination by Mr. Smith:
22 Q. Witness, I will first show a piece of paper to you, and it will
23 have your name, your date of birth and the place where you were born. And
24 can you tell the Court whether in fact that's correct?
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic?
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I apologise
2 for interrupt the very beginning of the examination. Unfortunately in the
3 transcript, page 52, line 25, there is something that shouldn't be there.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, we have spotted it. It will be
6 Yes, Mr. Smith.
7 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honours.
8 Q. Witness, do you see that piece of paper in front of you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Are those details correct?
11 A. Yes. Completely.
12 MR. SMITH: I ask that that pseudonym sheet, Your Honours, be
14 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, as soon as it's seen by counsel.
15 Mr. Smith, because of the voice distortion system, it's necessary
16 that your microphone be switched off as soon as you finish your question.
17 If you could try and remember that.
18 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honours. I have been warned earlier,
19 and that was my first glitch.
20 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sure it won't be your last.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the pseudonym sheet will be exhibit
22 number 155 under seal.
23 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
24 Q. Witness, you have received protective measures in this case in
25 relation to your name, your image and your voice, so you can speak quite
1 freely. Do you understand?
2 A. Yes, fully.
3 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I ask that we now be in private session
4 to elicit a few personal details from the witness so that we don't have to
5 break in and out as his evidence transpires.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
7 [Private session]
11 Page 3618 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 3619 redacted. Private session.
5 [Open session]
6 MR. SMITH:
7 Q. Witness, in 1991 did you live in that neighbourhood you just
8 mentioned for the whole period of time before you left Vukovar?
9 A. No. Up until mid-August, when the shelling and bombing of
10 civilian facilities started, up until that time they attacked only public
11 facilities, water-tower and some other public buildings where they
12 believed the Croatian soldiers to be stationed but they spared civilian
13 facilities. In mid-August, they started bombing our neighbourhood and our
14 civilian facilities throughout Vukovar.
15 Q. You said they were bombing your neighbourhood. Who is "they," and
16 can you describe the damage, if any, in your neighbourhood as a result of
17 the bombing?
18 A. The planes belonged to the Serbian army or, rather, to the
19 Yugoslav People's Army. The damage was quite significant. The roof was
20 destroyed on my building and also the neighbouring building. And then
21 that neighbouring building was on fire.
22 Q. Can you describe your building? Was it a single house or was it
23 an apartment block?
24 A. It was a residential apartment building with four apartments. I
25 lived on the ground floor. The building was built quite poorly. They
1 used concrete blocks to construct the building, and it wasn't really
2 constructed properly. It was -- it could not withstand bombing.
3 Q. Thank you. And if I can remind I just not to use the names of the
4 people that are living -- were living in that building, that apartment
6 But in relation to the building nearby that you said that was
7 bombed, can you describe that damage, please?
8 A. The neighbouring building also lost its roof. That was the house
9 next to our building, and the entire house was set on fire.
10 Q. Once your building was attacked, what did you decide to do?
11 A. It was in the evening, quite late. Perhaps 10.00 p.m. when the
12 bombing started. When the situation calmed down a bit, I called Vesna
13 Bosonac, who was my director. Above me a lady paediatrician lived in the
14 building, so both of us talked to Vesna Bosonac. She sent a hospital car
15 to pick us up and to take us to the hospital. However, we refused her
16 offer. We told her we would come on the following morning because we had
17 to gather some personal belongings that we would need with us. Therefore,
18 in the morning, before the bombing and shelling started, we went to the
19 hospital on our own.
20 Q. And why did you call her? Was it to leave your apartment?
21 A. We wanted to leave the apartment because we believed it was
22 impossible to go from work to -- from home to work. All of us were
23 employed, all of us had our work obligations, and since the bombing
24 started it was impossible for us to go from home to work every day.
25 In addition to that, we were also scared. We believed our
1 building to be constructed quite poorly, and we were proven to be right
2 later on because most of those buildings were completely destroyed during
3 the war.
4 Q. Was your building a military target of any -- of any sort? Were
5 there weapons in your building? Were you or others that lived in that
6 apartment block in any defence or military formation?
7 A. There was no weapons either in my building or anywhere else in the
8 neighbourhood. There were no military facilities there either. There
9 were just civilians who lived there. Most of them worked either in Vuteks
10 or in the medical centre, Velepromet, and Gradjevinar company. Those were
11 prominent companies before the war.
12 Q. And did Dr. Bosanac allow you to stay at the hospital? Is that
14 A. Naturally she allowed us. (redacted)
6 Q. And perhaps if you can just describe to the Court whether the
7 kitchen was in the main building of the hospital or some other smaller
9 A. No. The kitchen was in the old hospital building. There were
10 three wards there, neuropsychiatry, ophthalmology, ear, nose and throat,
11 and there was the paediatric ward upstairs. The washing room was still
12 being used, and the cellar, and there was another section which is
13 specialist surgeries for eye operations and ear, nose and throat
15 Q. And about how far was this smaller building from the main hospital
17 A. The smaller building was about 50 metres away from the other one.
18 Q. And were those two buildings connected, and if they were, can you
19 explain how?
20 A. Yes. There was an underground corridor connecting the two
21 buildings. The new building and the old building. There were two other
22 small rooms, rather small, in the corridor, and that was the nuclear
24 Q. And this underground corridor that connected both buildings, can
25 you tell the Court the two openings of the corridors, where they opened
1 out in the smaller building and in the larger building?
2 A. In the larger building that depends on where you're looking from.
3 But the openings were at the ends of both buildings.
4 Q. And in relation to the emergency entrance at the hospital, where
5 was the opening in relation to that of the main building?
6 A. The opening of the emergency ward was opposite the main entrance.
7 At the opposite end of the building.
8 Q. And if you can -- if I can run through the different floors of the
9 buildings, in the basement of the smaller building, what were the two
11 A. The two areas inside the smaller building were actually -- there
12 were actually three areas: Neuropsychiatry, the ground floor; the first
13 floor, the eye specialist and the ear, nose and throat specialist; and on
14 the third floor, there was the paediatric ward.
15 Q. Thank you. And the kitchen and the laundry, was that in the
17 A. The kitchen and the laundry were in the basement. But the kitchen
18 used to be in a different building, which was demolished by shelling as
19 early as September. It was entirely demolished so we had to set up a
20 makeshift kitchen in those rooms in the cellar and each of these was no
21 more than 20 square metres large.
22 Q. And other than the shelling of the kitchen, was there any other
23 shelling or attack on the hospital during those months that you were
25 A. During those months, heavy shelling continued, terrible shelling.
1 It would only stop at night or die down a little, perhaps. But during the
2 day there would be a continuing artillery fire at the hospital. There
3 were air strikes too, occasionally.
4 Early in October, if memory serves me, two bombs landed on the
5 hospital. Although there was a huge piece of canvas in the hospital's
6 courtyard with a red cross on it to indicate it was a hospital. They
7 didn't take that into account at all. One of the bombs landed on the new
8 building piercing through five ceilings before finally landing in the
9 basement in this corridor connecting the two buildings, the old and the
10 new. It landed right between the legs of a patient there. The other bomb
11 fell perhaps 10 metres, 10 to 15 metres from the main entrance. It
12 created an enormous crater, smashing all the doors, door-frames and
13 windows on all sides. The only windows that were not shattered were those
14 on the opposite side of the building. Likewise, the old building was
15 entirely demolished, the windows, the doors, the whole thing. These could
16 no longer be used. You could no longer be there in general. Therefore,
17 we all decided to go down to the cellar.
18 Q. You mentioned that from the time you were at the hospital,
19 basically mid-August until the 20th November there was heavy shelling and
20 continuing artillery fire. Can you explain to the Court how constant that
21 was or whether in fact it was irregular. Was it a daily thing or was it
22 on a weekly basis? Can you explain a bit further?
23 A. The shelling was constant, day and night. At night it would be a
24 bit weaker, the intensity would be lower, and the same applied to most
25 mornings. I would go about my work at night or early in the morning when
1 the shelling was less heavy. Although I did this, on two different
2 occasions a shell landed right behind my back and on -- I was thrown by
3 this explosion into the air and landed five metres further away each time.
4 My hearing has been impaired since, because my right ear-drum isn't
5 functioning properly on account of these explosions, as a result.
6 Q. And during this period, during this three-month period, was the
7 hospital functioning as a hospital, and if so, about how many patients
8 were inside, if you are in a position to estimate?
9 A. I think the hospital continued to function throughout until the
10 fall of Vukovar. There were about 700 patients and staff. Once the --
11 those seriously wounded had been treated and helped, they would be taken
12 to the warehouse or the nuclear shelter at Borovo Komerc because they had
13 received some medical assistance and their lives were no longer in danger.
14 This was done in order to make room for new wounded because every day
15 about 80 wounded would be brought in.
16 Q. And was the hospital used for any other purpose apart from helping
17 the sick?
18 A. No. Not at all. No other purpose. It wasn't used for anything
20 Q. And are you aware, during that three-month period, there was some
21 Croatian defence of Vukovar?
22 A. No. There were no Croatian defenders at all. There were people
23 from the MUP, the Ministry of the Interior, two officers guarding the
24 hospital entrance. They were positioned -- two of them were positioned at
25 the entrance to the emergency ward, guarding the entrance, and across the
1 way there were two guarding the old building, the one I have mentioned.
2 However, members of the National Guards Corps would come every now
3 and then. There were about 10 of them who were there throughout, at the
4 hospital I mean. They would rotate, they would bring in their -- some of
5 their own who had been wounded or perhaps when they were resting they
6 would come to the hospital to visit some of their wounded mates. They did
7 go into the hospital compound, but they were not allowed to enter any of
8 the wards armed because those six officers that I have mentioned, six MUP
9 officers, disarmed them on their way in, and they were given back their
10 weapons on the way out.
11 Q. And from working in and throughout the hospital, as you have
12 described, over these three months, can you give the Court an estimation
13 of the numbers of national Croatian guards that you mentioned that were
14 visiting other patients at any one time? Can you give some sort of
16 A. Yes, I can. There were about a dozen at any given point in time.
17 Some were bringing in wounded, some were there to visit some of the
18 wounded. I don't think there were at any time more than 10 a day.
19 Q. Was the hospital ever used as a military facility to store weapons
20 or as an attack staging-post or anything of that nature?
21 A. Certainly not. The hospital did what it was supposed to do and
22 there was only medical work being performed there. That was all it was
23 used for.
24 Q. You mentioned that you left Vukovar on the 20th of November, 1991.
25 I'd like to talk about the day before you left now. When we look at the
1 19th of November and you think back, can you tell the Court anything
2 unusual that happened that day?
3 A. The unusual thing that occurred was Vesna Bosonac came. She
4 visited all the units in the early afternoon hours, all the work units, in
5 order to inform us that Vukovar had fallen. Just after she had left, I
6 can't say if it was an hour or two later, perhaps, the army came in as
7 well as the paramilitaries, they entered the hospital. Vesna Bosonac, as
8 she was doing the rounds of all the work units, clearly told us that
9 Vukovar had fallen and that all would be allowed to go wherever they
10 wanted to go. Those who wished to go to Serbia could go to Serbia, and
11 those who wished to go to Croatia could go to Croatia. She said a list
12 would be drawn up and that's what eventually happened.
13 After Vesna had left, soldiers and the paramilitaries came in. I
14 was also in charge of building a fire in the kitchen. You can imagine how
15 unpleasant it was. I was building this fire, and there was a man standing
16 right behind my back carrying a machine-gun. It was really a most
17 unpleasant situation.
18 Q. And just before we talk about this man in the kitchen, you said
19 the army came in. Which army came into the hospital, and do you know the
20 paramilitaries that came in, the name of the groups?
21 A. For the most part most of the paramilitaries were local Serbs.
22 They were not carrying -- they were not wearing the regular military
23 outfits. Some of their clothes were perhaps part of a military uniform,
24 the caps perhaps or so, but there were a number of real soldiers among
25 them. Real soldiers could be distinguished from the rest by the fact that
1 they wore olive olive-drab uniforms, the JNA uniforms. And they were a
2 great deal more orderly than the paramilitaries.
3 Q. Thank you. If we can back to the man that had the machine-gun
4 that was present as you were setting fire to the -- setting the fire in
5 the kitchen, can you explain what happened there?
6 A. He didn't do anything. It was just a very unpleasant feeling
7 because I had this machine-gun pointed at my back. This was a regular JNA
8 soldier. He wore the standard-issue JNA military uniform and a helmet.
9 Q. Did you continue to set the fire? Did he stay for a long time, or
10 did he leave?
11 A. Yes, I did. He lingered, and he monitored my actions throughout,
12 but he didn't do anything.
13 Q. During that afternoon or evening, did you come into contact with
14 any other JNA soldiers, and if you did, can you explain how that happened?
15 A. Regrettably, there was a very unpleasant encounter. I was taking
16 a break, it was between 3.00 and 4.00, there was still daylight. I left
17 by the exit of the old building into the courtyard. I reckoned that
18 Vukovar had fallen and the war was no longer on. I nearly started crying
19 because I had just reached the conclusion that I would probably be
20 compelled to leave my town, the town where I grew up and spent my best
21 years. I was asking myself the question all the time: Who on earth has
22 the right to drive me out of my town?
23 Within the hospital compound there were Jovica Komadinic, a
24 doctor, his wife Gordana. His wife was a Croat and he was a Serb.
25 Dr. Sego was there too - her married name was Antic - with her husband.
1 And hen later another lady doctor arrived. Njegic, the paediatrician.
2 There was a soldier walking in my direction. He said his name was
3 Captain Sasa. He was smiling. He was accompanied by two Chetniks with
4 beards. They were led by Bogoljub Riznic. I was his boss. He was a
5 truck driver at the hospital. Captain Sasa said that they were the
6 liberators. My reaction was quite gruff. I wasn't just being brave, but
7 I reckoned the war was over. There would be no killing and no torturing
8 people, so I was quite open when I told him -- what I told him when I gave
9 him a piece of my mind. What sort of liberators are you? What have you
10 liberated us from? Are liberators supposed to be doing the sort of thing
11 that you're doing, destroying the entire town? He just smiled at me and
12 answered that it wasn't the JNA that did this, but the Chetniks, and he
13 pointed out two of those to us, those men with beards, unshaven men with
14 cockades. They just smiled. I showed my revolt by making a sign at
15 them. And before that he said that unless the Croatian army surrender
16 their weapons, they would proceed and go all the way to Zagreb. After
17 that I sort of cocked a snook at them, at one of them, the man who had
18 introduced himself as Captain Sasa. I told him that the Croatian army and
19 Tudjman would never surrender their weapons to them.
20 Q. And so how did that encounter end up? What did Captain Sasa or
21 any of these other men do after you said that?
22 A. It was after I told him this that I realised that perhaps I
23 shouldn't have. The Captain Sasa was taken aback. He was surprised at my
24 courage, the courage I had to face him and tell him that. Probably he
25 liked me, in a way, because I stood up to him. So he ordered that driver,
1 whose boss I used to be, to give me a packet of cigarettes because I was a
2 hard smoker at the time.
3 Q. Thank you. And you referred to earlier a Mr. Riznic, I think it's
4 Bozo Riznic. What was he doing there with Captain Sasa? Were you able to
5 understand what his role was, and who he was?
6 A. Bozo Riznic was one of my underlings. He was a truck driver and I
7 used to be his boss. When Captain Sasa arrived, when the army stormed in,
8 Captain Sasa took him to all the work units, and when I was with him he
9 took him to the laundry room to show him where the two MUP officers from
10 the old building had hidden their weapons and the uniforms after they
11 changed into civilian clothes, and he happened to know this because his
12 wife had worked in the laundry room.
13 Q. And can we just talk about Captain Sasa for a moment? What
14 military group was he from?
15 A. From the JNA. He introduced himself as Captain Sasa. He held the
16 rank of captain. He was looking very neat, very orderly. He had a thin
17 moustache, he was clean-shaven, and he generally looked quite well. A
18 real soldier. He had the appearance of a proper soldier.
19 Q. And the uniform he was wearing, was it a JNA uniform?
20 A. Yes. JNA uniform.
21 Q. Now, in relation to -- I think you mentioned two other Chetniks.
22 Are you referring to them as paramilitaries or some other people?
23 A. The paramilitaries of course because they weren't wearing military
24 uniforms, they were very disorderly, they had the remains of food in their
25 beards, crumbs. They were extremely slovenly, sloppy. This was 15 years
1 ago, so my memory is not as good as it was. Maybe they wore the military
2 trousers, the uniform, and not the jacket. But they certainly weren't
3 members of any regular military force.
4 Q. Can you describe to the Court the relationship between those two
5 paramilitaries whom you referred to and Captain Sasa, whether there
6 appeared to be a relationship, whether they appeared to be his boss or
7 Captain Sasa appeared to be their boss? Can you give some understanding
8 of how they're related.
9 A. It is certain that Captain Sasa was their superior because they
10 did whatever he told them to do. He told Riznic to give me a carton of
11 cigarettes. And when he told me that it was the Chetniks who had
12 demolished the city, he pointed at the two of them and he smiled, just
13 like they did. They just stood there. They weren't doing much because
14 all they were doing at the time was just having a good laugh at all the
15 things that he was saying.
16 Q. And after that conversation occurred, did they subsequently find
17 the weapons that you referred to?
18 A. Yes, yes. They did.
19 Q. And did you see Captain Sasa again later that night?
20 A. Yes. About three-quarters of an hour before the last encounter I
21 came to the kitchen all agitated and depressed because of the things that
22 Captain Sasa had told me, that they would go all the way to Zagreb unless
23 the Croatian army surrendered their weapons. I was complaining about my
24 foul mood and about my dissatisfaction to one of my colleagues there who
25 was the boss of the kitchen section, the food section. (redacted)
10 (redacted) They started talking about politics, as
11 it were. We were slightly gullible because we failed to understand what
12 he was driving at with all these stories, so some people were a bit too
13 relaxed, should I say.
14 Q. If I can just stop you there for one moment.
15 MR. SMITH: Your Honours, I think a nickname was mentioned --
16 JUDGE PARKER: There is a nickname mentioned and there is a
17 description of his recording a song for Radio Vukovar, each of which I
18 think should be redacted.
19 MR. SMITH: That would be appreciated, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Sir, do understand, we're just ensuring that
21 anything that might identify you is removed from the written record.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. I got carried away for
23 a moment there. I will try to give adequate answers from now on.
24 MR. SMITH:
25 Q. The answers were quite adequate; it was just a slip of the tongue.
1 Witness, you mentioned that Captain Sasa was with Nedeljko
2 Vojnovic. Can you explain to the Court who Nedeljko Vojnovic was?
3 A. (redacted)
7 And you also referred to a Bogdan Kuzmic that was with Captain
8 Sasa. Who was he?
9 A. Bogdan Kuzmic was a hospital employee; he was a janitor. He
10 worked at reception. However, as early as June he left work and went to
11 the barracks.
12 Q. And what was he wearing? What was Bogdan Kuzmic wearing?
13 A. Bogdan Kuzmic was wearing a military uniform. He wore a helmet
14 and he had that military long coat. And I'm no longer sure. It's been 15
15 years since, but it looked very much like a military uniform, the full
17 Q. You mentioned that Captain Sasa started to discuss politics. Can
18 you briefly describe what happened and how it finished?
19 A. He spoke against Tudjman, he said that they were the liberators
20 and then we opposed that. We said that they were not the liberators; we
21 didn't call them and come and liberate us.
22 It was a spontaneous conversation about war. One of them, I don't
23 know how he ended up in the kitchen, I guess because Vukovar had fallen,
24 so he was in the kitchen. His name was Slobodan. He was a Serb, but he
25 served in the Croatian army. He said while he was at the positions he was
1 a bit tipsy. And he kept on talking and Captain Sasa listened to him, and
2 10 minutes after they left, people came to fetch him. They took him away
3 and he never came back.
4 Q. When you say "people came to fetch him," are you able to say who
5 those people were?
6 A. I think, I'm not sure, that it was Bogdan Kuzmic, I'm not sure.
7 At any rate, a person came to fetch him. A person came, called out his
8 name, he responded, left the room, and never came back.
9 Q. And do you know Slobodan's surname?
10 A. No, no. Because he came to the kitchen. We ourselves kept
11 wondering who he was. He introduced himself as Slobodan, said that he was
12 serving in the Croatian army at the front. He didn't say anything else.
13 I don't know. Nobody knows how he ended up in the kitchen, but after
14 Vukovar fell people kept streaming towards the hospital. They believed
15 the hospital to be the safest place after the city had fallen.
16 Q. And since leaving Vukovar have you ever heard of Slobodan again as
17 being alive?
18 A. No, no. Absolutely not. Whoever was taken away, and it wasn't
19 just Slobodan who was, whoever was taken away while Captain Sasa was there
20 that evening and Kuzmic, Slobodan, and there were 10 people in that
21 category. I can give you their names, if the Chamber wishes me to.
22 Q. Perhaps if we keep going through your testimony you will have an
23 opportunity as the time arises.
24 A. All right.
25 Q. Now, you mentioned that lists where drawn up in the hospital to
1 see who wanted to go where, who wanted to go to Croatia, who wanted to go
2 to Serbia. Is that correct?
3 A. Yes, correct. The head of the kitchen drew up a list of the
4 kitchen staff and the head nurse did the same for various wards. The
5 lists were given to nurse Biba, who was the head nurse at the hospital.
6 Her full name was Benazija Kolesar.
7 Q. And was it your understanding that as a result of those lists you
8 would be evacuated on the following day?
9 A. Yes. That was my understanding, that everybody could go wherever
10 they wanted to. Vesna Bosonac said that evening that we could go where we
11 wanted, whoever wanted to go to Serbia could go there, whoever wanted to
12 go to Croatia could do the same, so I believed that to be a settled
14 Q. After your conversations with Captain Sasa and others, did you
15 finally get to sleep on the night of the 19th to the 20th?
16 A. No. Nobody did. Myself included. Everybody was really agitated,
17 we had spent the previous three months in the hospital working a lot,
18 16 hours a day, with the shelling and bombing going on. During those
19 three months, I even prayed to God for a shell to hit me and kill me
20 immediately. Therefore, the people there were all agitated. They
21 realised that there was no war any longer and that they could go back to
23 Q. Did you get some sleep that night?
24 A. A bit. But mostly I was awake.
25 Q. In the morning on the 20th what was the first activity you were
1 involved in?
2 A. In the morning at around 7.00 we distributed breakfast. After
3 that we waited to be told what to do next. I think that at around 9.00
4 they came to us and told us to go to the main emergency entrance, which is
5 what we did.
6 Q. And who was "they"? Who told you?
7 A. Some of us. It's been 15 years, I don't remember any longer. But
8 it was a member of medical staff who had come from the main building.
9 Q. And how did you get from the smaller building where the kitchen
10 was in the basement to the main building?
11 A. We took the underground corridor, passed through the laboratory,
12 went into the hallway of the clinic, and reached the main surgery
13 entrance. Prior to that we passed next to the Crisis Staff and the
14 plaster room where Major Sljivancanin gave a speech to the medical staff.
15 Q. In the underground corridor, was that empty or full? Can you
16 describe the situation there?
17 A. The corridor was empty except for us who were streaming out.
18 Those were mostly technical services. Kitchen, laundry room and so on.
19 Auxiliary services. We passed through. We were not considered medical
20 staff. I saw Mr. Sljivancanin at the door.
21 Q. Was the underground corridor ever used for patients to stay
22 because of overcrowding?
23 A. It was used throughout the war. Even though it was not an atomic
24 shelter, there were only two rooms that were considered atomic shelter.
25 They were next to the corridor, whereas the corridor was just a regular
1 type of a corridor where seriously wounded persons were. They had special
2 beds there. As I was leaving and going through the corridor, I realised
3 that there were almost no patients there left. Almost everybody had been
4 taken out.
5 Q. And were those patients there the night before?
6 A. Yes, they were.
7 Q. And about how many patients were in that corridor, can you
8 estimate, say, the night before?
9 A. In that corridor there were perhaps a hundred or so patients.
10 People were not evacuated only from that corridor, but also from the
11 corridor of the clinic and that of the internal diseases ward. All
12 corridors had serious patients -- seriously wounded patients lying there.
13 Q. You said at this time Major Sljivancanin was giving a talk to the
14 medical staff. Did you see him or did you just go -- were you aware that
15 that was the case?
16 A. I didn't know that. When we came to the main building, we had no
17 idea what was going on there. They told us to go to the main entrance of
18 the surgical ward or, rather, the emergency ward, and I saw
19 Mr. Sljivancanin at the door of the plaster room. I saw many of my
20 friends and colleagues who were medical staff there. I saw him giving a
21 speech to them.
22 Q. Had you ever met Major Sljivancanin before?
23 A. No, never.
24 Q. And how did you know it was him then?
25 A. I saw him during that day; I saw him another three or four times
1 that day. Later on I saw him in our papers and I realised that that was
2 Mr. Sljivancanin. In addition to that, he also introduced himself several
3 times, saying that he was Mr. Sljivancanin.
4 Q. When you got to the main building, you went through the corridor,
5 passed the plaster room. Did you leave the hospital?
6 A. I didn't. Or, rather, I did leave the hospital. However, I went
7 through a gauntlet. I had to go through a gauntlet created by regular
8 army soldiers who searched our personal belongings. Then they directed us
9 towards the five buses, which stood in Gunduliceva Street. I believed
10 that we were going to a place where they would examine us, or talk to us.
11 I had no idea where they were taking us.
12 Q. And why did you believe that?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 MR. SMITH: I apologise.
15 Q. And why did you believe that?
16 A. I don't know. They separated us aside, the men. I believed that
17 they would be questioning us about weapons, whether we had any weapons and
18 so on. That's what I expected. I didn't expect anything bad to happen.
19 Q. And which exit did you leave from the main building of the
20 hospital before you went through this -- I think you say a gauntlet of
22 A. I went out through the entrance of the emergency ward or surgical
24 Q. Is that the -- is that the location where the ambulances come into
25 the hospital with emergency patients?
1 A. Yes, yes. Trauma patients were brought there, people with
2 fractured bones, people who were in car accidents, and so on. This was
3 the entrance for people who were seriously wounded and trauma patients.
4 Q. And when you talk about regular army soldiers, you mentioned
5 earlier JNA soldiers, paramilitaries. Which group did these soldiers
6 belong to, or any other group for that matter?
7 A. They were members of the regular army, the Yugoslav People's Army.
8 Q. You mentioned there were a number of soldiers there. Can you give
9 an estimate of about how many soldiers were involved, JNA soldiers were
10 involved in this searching process as you left towards the buses.
11 A. As far as I remember, there were five on one side, and five on the
12 other side.
13 Q. So without going through the particular names of people that went
14 on the bus with you, can you tell the Court what you believe the ethnicity
15 of the people that went on to the buses with you was?
16 A. Almost all of them were of Croat ethnicity. Perhaps there were a
17 few Ruthenians there, and Serbs. There were some there. However, the
18 majority were Croats.
19 Q. And what types of groups were you aware of went on to these buses?
20 You worked at the hospital. Were there other hospital workers going on
21 the buses, and were there any other types of groups that were being put
22 onto these buses?
23 A. Four or five buses - I'm not sure exactly how many there were -
24 were already full. As I have told you, we were among the last ones to be
25 informed and among the last ones to go to the buses. Therefore, I didn't
1 see what happened prior to that. I was among the last ones to board the
3 Q. On the bus were there any soldiers or guards, people keeping you
4 on the bus?
5 A. Just a driver of the bus. There was a soldier at the door
6 guarding us. So there were two soldiers, but regular soldiers.
7 Q. And when you say "regular," are you referring to JNA soldiers
9 A. Naturally, the JNA soldiers. Because they were different from
10 other people. They wore the olive-drab JNA uniform and they looked
11 decent, they looked orderly, just like regular soldiers do.
12 Q. The driver on the bus, could you say whether he was a civilian
13 person or a military person?
14 A. Military person.
15 Q. And was he a paramilitary or was he a JNA soldier or what group
16 did he come from?
17 A. A JNA member.
18 Q. You mentioned that the bus was guarded by a JNA soldier. Did he
19 also travel on the bus when you left the Vukovar Hospital or did he stay
20 at the hospital?
21 A. To tell you the truth, I don't remember that. I went to the back
22 because the bus was so full. Originally it was supposed to carry 50
23 people, and there were perhaps 70 to 80 of us on the bus. Therefore, I
24 simply didn't look any longer whether he went with us to the final
25 destination or not.
1 Q. And when the bus left, did you -- did it travel with the other
2 buses or did you go by yourself?
3 A. All together, all five or six. I don't know whether there were
4 five or six buses, but all of them left together.
5 Q. And I think you said earlier you thought you were going for some
6 sort of interrogation, is that correct, or interview?
7 A. Yes. Yes. That's what I said and that's what I meant.
8 Q. And whilst you were travelling on the bus, were you ever told
9 where your final destination was going to be by say the bus driver?
10 A. No, nobody said anything. We just kept looking at each other,
11 wondering where they were taking us.
12 Q. And can you tell the court how you were -- what you were thinking
13 and how you were feeling at that time?
14 A. Not yet. I still wasn't feeling any fear. I thought they were
15 taking us somewhere for questioning. I didn't think anything bad would
16 happen to us.
17 Q. And can you tell the Court where the bus finally ended up?
18 A. Finally that bus, along with all other buses, ended up in the
19 Vukovar barracks.
20 Q. And when you say the Vukovar barracks, which barracks are you
21 referring to?
22 A. The JNA barracks.
23 Q. And how did you know it was the JNA barracks?
24 A. How did I know? I grew up in that city. I knew every square inch
25 of the city.
1 Q. And when you arrived at the barracks did the buses park outside or
2 did they go inside?
3 A. The buses entered the compound and parked in a semicircle.
4 Q. And once they parked, can you explain to the Court what you saw
5 inside the barracks, what you saw outside of the buses?
6 A. Once the buses parked, the local Serbs started approaching the
7 buses. I thought, well, thank God, some of them were my friends, and I
8 thought that they had not taken part in these evil events. All of them,
9 however, showed up at the barracks. In addition to them, there were some
10 volunteers from Serbia, Arkan's men, and Seselj's men, but among them
11 there were also some local Serbs.
12 Q. These local Serbs, were they armed or in any sort of uniform?
13 A. They were armed. They had knives that they threatened us with.
14 They went from bus to bus threatening to slaughter us, kill us and so on.
15 They were dressed in different clothes. Some had fur hats, some had
16 beards, some had the top part of a uniform or the bottom part, not a full
17 JNA uniform, but perhaps just a portion of it. Those were paramilitaries.
18 Among them were some JNA soldiers too.
19 Q. When you say Arkan's men were there and Seselj's men as well, were
20 they armed?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And what about the JNA soldiers?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you tell us the number of these local Serbs and Arkan's men
25 and Seselj's men, about what size that group was?
1 A. In my assessment, about a hundred or so of them. And they all
2 gathered around the buses. Some were coming up, some were leaving. It
3 was quite a large group.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith, I am trying to judge the time. We've
5 had a disrupted time programme again today because of the earlier witness.
6 And we've really just about run the time we can run now. If you could
7 identify a convenient time to stop, it may be now, as I sense you're about
8 to get into something more significant.
9 MR. SMITH: That's correct. I think now is a good time.
10 Thank you, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. I think what we'll do then is adjourn
12 for the evening. We will resume tomorrow at 2.15.
13 If you understand that, sir. We're finishing for the day now and
14 we'll continue tomorrow.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I understood that.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.41 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Friday, the 3rd day of
18 February, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.