1 Wednesday, 8 March 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. May I remind you of the
7 affirmation you made at the beginning of your evidence which still
9 We will continue now with the evidence.
10 WITNESS: HAJDAR DODAJ [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
13 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Bulatovic: [Continued]
15 Q. Good afternoon to everyone in the courtroom; good afternoon,
16 Witness. We are today the 8th of March, and let me avail myself of this
17 opportunity to wish everyone Happy International Women's Day.
18 Let us pick up where we left off, and those were the events of the
19 hospital. I will ask you a couple of more questions concerning the
20 hospital. Let me remind you of the need to make a brief pause before the
21 answer for the sake of the interpreters, not for my sake, so that the
22 record may be a true reflection of what we are saying.
23 I'd ask you during your stay at the Vukovar hospital, did you see
24 Vesna Bosanac? Do you know who she is?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell me how many times?
2 A. I don't know exactly how many times I saw her, but I used to see
3 her at the hospital. She was the administrator, wasn't she.
4 Q. Maybe you saw her at the MUP as well. Did she used to come there?
5 A. I saw her at the hospital, not the MUP.
6 Q. I'm asking you about the MUP.
7 A. No, I didn't see her at the MUP.
8 Q. Do you know perhaps anyone else from among the staff of the
9 hospital? Did you get to know anyone?
10 A. I got to know a lot of them, but I don't remember their names.
11 Q. Do you know Dr. Njavro?
12 A. Maybe I saw him but I didn't get to know him.
13 Q. How have Binazija Kolesar?
14 A. No, no. I said no.
15 Q. Have you heard of Marin Vidic, Bili?
16 A. I have heard of him. I even think he was at the military
17 investigations prison in Belgrade.
18 Q. Do you have any knowledge, direct or otherwise, that he was at the
19 hospital at the time when you were there?
20 A. There were many people at the hospital. I really don't know all
21 their names. Whether Vidic, Bili was there or not I really can't say.
22 Q. Let me take you back to the part of your testimony related to your
23 stay at the MUP or your tenure at the MUP. You said you don't know
24 whether Vesna Bosanac had ever come to the MUP for an interview or
25 anything. Do you know that anyone else from the hospital came to the
1 police station while Stipe Pole was the chief for an interview, a
2 discussion, or anything like that?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You described yesterday your position and the position of your
5 colleague Mr. Zlogledja, and in response to Mr. Borovic's questions you
6 said there were about 100 members of the MUP.
7 A. I didn't say a hundred.
8 Q. Well, tell me how many then.
9 A. I really don't know. What do these figures have to do with
10 anything? How many civilians, how many policemen. What does all that
11 have to do with Ovcara?
12 Q. Witness, you are here to answer my questions. I am questioning
13 you, not the other way around, and it is up to the Trial Chamber to decide
14 whether something is relevant or not, and if it isn't relevant they will
15 stop my questioning.
16 A. I really cannot give you a number. Maybe there were more than a
17 hundred, maybe less than a hundred.
18 Q. I can live with that answer as well. Can you tell us this: Where
19 and at which positions the other members of the MUP were deployed while
20 you were occupying the position of Sunce facing the Danube and your
21 colleague Zlogledja facing Luzac?
22 A. I don't know where they were deployed.
23 Q. After this break-through which you call a failed attempt to leave
24 Vukovar, do you know what happened to those members of the MUP? Did they
25 stay in Vukovar or did they manage to get out?
1 A. I told you some of them managed to get out. Others stayed behind.
2 I told you yesterday that Zlatko, Kuscevic, Hrkic, and I went back to the
3 hospital. What happened with the rest, I don't know whether they managed
4 to break through or not. I don't know. Some of them came back to the
5 hospital as well.
6 Q. Do you know how many of them in addition to the four of you, more
7 than a hundred or less than a hundred, returned to the hospital?
8 A. I don't know.
9 Q. Do you know that there were some other groups of people who were
10 involved in what you call the defence of Vukovar who tried to get out of
11 Vukovar did not succeed and returned to the hospital?
12 A. I have no such information. Maybe, maybe no.
13 Q. You said Zlogledja yourself discarded your weapons at the
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you tell me how far that is from the hospital?
17 A. I don't know. In terms of metres or kilometres, I have no idea.
18 I know it was dark.
19 Q. Do you know what the others who returned together with you,
20 members of the MUP or others did with their weapons?
21 A. I don't know. They must have thrown it away, just like I did.
22 Q. I suppose some of them were in uniform.
23 A. That's possible too. I really don't know.
24 Q. I'm asking you to tell me only about the things you know. If you
25 don't know something, that's no problem. Do you know that some of them
1 entered the hospital in uniform?
2 A. I doubt it.
3 Q. On that day, on the 20th in the morning when you left the
4 hospital, among the people who were outside the hospital who were being
5 inspected by the troops, by the army in the way you described, did you see
6 any of the MUP members whom you knew wearing a uniform?
7 A. Next to me there was a man from Varazdin wearing the uniform
9 Q. You now mention this Varazdin man and you answered my colleague's
10 question about the involvement of policemen from Varazdin?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And at one point you said that many from the territory of the
13 entire Croatia defended Vukovar.
14 A. Well, they must have. They were from Varazdin after all.
15 Q. Apart from those policemen from Varazdin, from which other towns
16 in Croatia were there policemen who were involved in the defence of
18 A. I don't know. I only know about the man from Varazdin.
19 Q. We have a -- we need to clarify something. So you don't know from
20 what other towns or areas people came to defend Vukovar except those men
21 from Varazdin?
22 A. No. I have no such information.
23 Q. Do you know anything about the fact that in addition to those men
24 from Varazdin, Croats, some foreigners also fought on the side of the
25 Croatian state, of the Croatian forces.
1 A. No, I really don't know about that.
2 Q. Did you hear while you were at the hospital that there were some
3 foreign nationals at the hospital?
4 A. No, I haven't.
5 Q. You did not hear about that?
6 A. No.
7 Q. You say that after that you were taken away. We discussed
8 yesterday the time you spent outside the hangar. You described the spot
9 where the four of you stood. What I want to know is this: While you were
10 standing there, this indefinite amount of time which you said was an hour,
11 two hours, or maybe more or less, it doesn't matter, did you see that
12 apart from you standing there there was another group of people standing
14 A. I told you there were some children standing outside the door of
15 the hangar, four or five children. I know some children had been there.
16 What became of them, I really don't know.
17 Q. Did you possibly see an officer of the Yugoslav People's Army
18 entering the hangar, taking somebody out, and leaving that person standing
20 A. No, I didn't see that. I saw an officer come up to the door, look
21 in and close the door back.
22 Q. I'm now talking about Ovcara, the hangar at Ovcara, and I'm asking
23 you about officers. Now I'm asking you about any member of the armed
24 units present there. Did any member of armed units present there
25 take anyone out of the hangar?
1 A. Not that I saw.
2 Q. They transferred you in the way you described to Negoslavci.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You said you spent three days there.
5 A. I think it was three days.
6 Q. In some basement?
7 A. Yes, basement.
8 Q. Tell me, how many of there were you in that room?
9 A. Apart from the four of us, I think there were about 20 civilians
10 and one wounded person from Varazdin on a stretcher.
11 Q. All right. Now, tell me, were you able during the night to talk
12 amongst yourselves?
13 A. While the active-duty soldiers were inside, yes, we talked. Not
14 to the civilians though.
15 Q. But amongst yourselves?
16 A. Yes, amongst ourselves. Yes, we did talk.
17 Q. During the whole time, was there at all times a member of the
18 Yugoslav People's Army together with you inside?
19 A. Three of them.
20 Q. All the time?
21 A. Yes. In the evening they would play music to those people,
22 civilians. They would dance with them, hit them.
23 Q. You told us about that. Have you heard about a man called Sinisa
25 A. I know he was a journalist. I know -- in fact, I think he was
1 taken out of the Vukovar Hospital. I didn't know him really, but I heard
2 of him. He was an anchor at Radio Vukovar, a presenter. He had a
3 Band-Aid on his eye, and when he was leaving the hospital he turned back
4 and made a gesture to say hello, but a soldier hit him in the back with a
5 rifle-butt. Later I didn't see him anymore. I didn't see him at the
6 basement either.
7 Q. That's precisely what I want to ask you. That man whom you heard
8 was Sinisa Glavasevic, did you see him at Negoslavci?
9 A. No. No, I can't say I did.
10 Q. There is a little point in the transcript that we need to clarify.
11 What did you say Sinisa Glavasevic was taken out the hospital?
12 A. In the morning of the 20th, like we were. I didn't know him
13 personally but somebody told me it was Sinisa Glavasevic.
14 Q. Mr. Dodaj, I'm going to ask you some things that we need to
15 clarify from the personal details you provided in all of your statements.
16 I see that you are retired.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I'm going to ask you from 1991 onwards, from the point you were
19 released from prison in Valjevo, what have you been doing?
20 A. Before?
21 Q. After.
22 A. What I did?
23 Q. What did you do for a living?
24 A. I did not do any manual work because the doctor told me I should
25 not lift more than five kilos.
1 Q. You didn't understand me. I'm not asking about that. What was
2 your occupation? What did you do? Were you employed anywhere?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Can you tell me, then, how you came to be retired?
5 A. Because I was a member of the 204th Brigade. I had been released
6 from a camp, a prison, and that's how I got the status of a retiree.
7 Q. Are you drawing an allowance, a disability or other allowance or
8 an indemnification on account of the time you spent in prison?
9 A. Indemnification?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. And who would be giving me that indemnification?
12 Q. The Republic of Croatia.
13 A. Well, it wasn't them who beat me.
14 Q. I really don't know. I'd like to ask you something.
15 A. Are you suggesting that I got a higher rank from them and that's
16 why my pension is higher than it would have been?
17 Q. A rank?
18 A. Yes. The rank is the equivalent of what in the JNA would have
19 been staff sergeant.
20 Q. As far as I understand, the time you spent there counted towards
21 your career in the army or the time you spent fighting as a soldier?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you stay in touch with any of the people with whom you had
24 spent this entire time in prison and then in the camp?
25 A. Yes. I have stayed in touch with Zlatko only.
1 Q. Are you in touch frequently?
2 A. We speak on the phone about two or three times a year, but we have
3 not yet managed to visit each other. I hope to go and see him soon.
4 Q. Do you remember the last time you met Zlatko Zlogledja?
5 A. It was back in 1998 here in The Hague. As for the last time I
6 spoke to him on the phone, I think it was just before Christmas. I called
7 to say Merry Christmas.
8 Q. Back in 1998 when you met here, were you staying at the same
10 A. Yes, we were.
11 Q. How many times did you spend together here?
12 A. I don't know. It's difficult to say. Perhaps about a week or
13 less. I can't say. About a week, I guess.
14 Q. Did you see him every evening, every day?
15 A. Yes. We saw a lot of each other.
16 Q. Do you know Zlatko Zlogledja testified before the court in
18 A. No, he didn't. He is a mentally destroyed man, a broken man.
19 Q. When you say devastated or "mentally destroyed," what exactly do
20 you mean when you say that?
21 A. He has trouble sleeping. His legs keep swelling, and he has
22 trouble with his spinal column too.
23 Q. You live near Bjelovar?
2 Q. How many inhabitants?
3 A. At last local elections I think the count was about 520. That's
4 about as much as I know.
5 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, just a brief comment. In relation to
6 the -- the specific details of where the witness lives, despite the fact
7 that he's not a protected witness, I just wonder whether they could be
8 redacted from the transcript. I'm not sure whether it's completely
9 necessary that the specifics of his address are made public.
10 JUDGE PARKER: That would appear not to be of any problem to you,
11 would it, Mr. Bulatovic?
12 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, no problem at
14 JUDGE PARKER: Well, we will redact it looks like line 25 of 10
15 and 1 and 2 of 11 would probably do the job, would it, Mr. Smith?
16 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Bulatovic.
18 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Dodaj, during your testimony in chief or in cross-examination,
20 you said a particular sentence. You said that back in 1991, you weren't
21 interested in politics at all. What I want to know is: Did you get
22 involved in politics at any point in time after 1991?
23 A. Yes, I did. I am the president of the HSP branch in my own
25 Q. Would you please explain the Court what the HSP party is?
1 A. It's the Croatian party of rights. If I may just be allowed to
2 add something.
3 Q. Let me ask my question and you can add whatever you like.
4 Throughout the fighting in Vukovar back in 1991, the HSP, did the
5 party have any armed units of its own?
6 A. I don't know that. What I wanted to tell you is when I became a
7 member. That was later on. It was during the local elections.
8 Q. Which year was that?
9 A. 2004, I think. 2003 possibly. I'm not sure when the local
10 elections took place.
11 Q. Who is the president of that party?
12 A. In my village, you mean?
13 Q. No. The party president, the top man.
14 A. Ante Djapic.
15 Q. He is now the mayor of Osijek, right?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. Do you know that party preserved the traditions of the party from
18 which it was originally created?
19 A. I don't know that.
20 Q. Do you know who the founding father of the party was back then, as
21 it were?
22 A. I know that at the outset there was Paraga. There was someone
23 else back in 1860-something.
24 Q. In addition to that, I'm in possession of certain information and
25 you can confirm that or deny that, you were one of the leaders of your
1 party at the local level.
2 A. Yes. I did tell you that I'm the party president of that
3 particular local branch. But, Your Honours, I'm really unsure about what
4 that has to do with my testimony here, my membership in the party or
5 anything like that.
6 Q. Mr. Dodaj, the same applies as before. Should I ask any questions
7 that are not allowed, the OTP are likely to react and stop that from
8 happening, as is the Trial Chamber.
9 I'm about to ask you some other questions, but again it's about
10 your political involvement. And I'm nearing the end of my
11 cross-examination as well. Are you a member of the local board for
12 self-government in Bjelovar municipality?
13 A. Yes, I am.
14 Q. Can you tell us more about that?
15 A. But I didn't make the list or, actually, you could say that I did.
16 Q. Are you the president of the board for sports and culture in
17 Severin municipality?
18 A. Yes, as well as president of the local football club in my
20 Q. Have you heard of Ante Pavelic?
21 A. Yes. I was told back at school that he was a war criminal.
22 Q. A war criminal.
23 A. I don't know whether he was or not, but that's history, isn't it?
24 Am I being tested here or is this a history lesson?
25 Q. No, but I'd like to ask you something else. Do you know that Ante
1 Pavelic first founded your party. Dobroslav Paraga then continued his
2 work and after them came Ante Djapic. Did you know about that?
3 A. No, I didn't know about that, but I can tell you about my own
4 involvement. I got support for my membership by a lot of the local Serbs.
5 I am president of the football club, and there are many Serb -- Serbian
6 lads involved in the football club. I get on with them just fine.
7 Q. Are you familiar with the statute or platform of your political
9 A. No, and I'm not interested.
10 Q. And it's pointless for me to indicate to you that according to
11 your party statute only Croats can become members, I suppose?
12 Your Honours, this concludes my cross-examination.
13 A. That is just not true.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Mr. Smith.
15 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honours. Just a few questions in
17 Re-examination by Mr. Smith:
18 Q. Witness, you said that when you were released from prison that you
19 were given the status of a member of the 204th Brigade; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And was that for your service, the time that you spent in Vukovar
22 for those two months that you were on guard duty?
23 A. The two months that I spent in Vukovar, plus the time I spent in
25 Q. And when you were in Vukovar in 1991, did you know whether the
1 204th Brigade existed at that time?
2 A. No.
3 Q. I'd just like to ask you a couple of questions about your
4 knowledge of the defence of Vukovar. In response to my learned friend's
5 questions on whether or not certain parts of Vukovar were defended, you
6 said in relation to Bogdanovci, Luzac, Mitnica, Borovo, and the
7 fair-grounds that they were probably defended. Do you remember saying
8 something to that effect?
9 A. I may have said something to that effect, possibly.
10 Q. And just to understand your knowledge of the extent of the defence
11 of those areas, in relation to Bogdanovci, do you know how many men
12 defended that area?
13 A. I don't know. I don't know in relation to Bogdanovci or other
14 parts of Vukovar. I can't give you a figure. It wasn't much of a
15 resistance in terms of what the military had. Had the army wanted to
16 break into Vukovar much sooner, I believe they could have.
17 Q. Thank you. And I would like to show you your 1994 statement that
18 you gave to the Croatian authorities now. The B/C/S copy will be passed
19 to you.
20 Do you have the copy of that statement that you gave the Croatian
21 authorities in 1994 in front of you?
22 A. Yes, I do now.
23 Q. Now, in cross-examination it's been put to you that there was a
24 couple of matters that have been left out of that statement but have been
25 mentioned in your testimony over the last couple of days. I would just
1 like to ask you how many pages does that statement contain?
2 A. Five.
3 Q. And if you look at the top right-hand corner of that statement, do
4 you agree with me that the statement or the note was made on the 11th of
5 February, 1994?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And if you look further down, do you agree with me that you gave
8 this information to the police on the 1st of February, 1994, some ten days
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you look at the last page of that Official Note, and can you
12 tell me whose signature appears at the end?
13 A. I can't. What it says is Drazen Divic [phoen]. I'm not sure if
14 he is the one who signed this.
15 Sir, I was questioned on Bjelovar for two days from 7.00 a.m.
16 to 3.00 p.m., and I don't think they could possibly have fitted the entire
17 thing into these four or five sheets of paper.
18 Q. Thank you. And does your signature appear on that statement at
20 A. No. I can't see my signature anywhere.
21 Q. And after you gave -- after you gave that statement, was the
22 Official Note ever read back to you? Were you called back to the police
23 station to read what was -- what they recorded?
24 A. No.
25 Q. If you can look at page 4 of that statement. Perhaps page 4 in
1 the B/C/S, paragraph 5. And if you can read down, not out loud, but just
2 look at that to paragraph -- to page 5, paragraph 1. And do you agree
3 with me that there's about 20 lines of information that contains your
4 experiences in Vukovar from the 19th of November till the time that you
5 were taken to Topcider in -- near Belgrade?
6 A. That's how it seems.
7 MR. SMITH: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Smith.
9 You'll be pleased to know, Mr. Dodaj, that the evidence that you
10 were asked to give is now at an end, so that you are now free to leave and
11 go back to your home and your affairs. The Chamber would like to thank
12 you for coming to The Hague and for the assistance that you've been able
13 to give to us. You are now able to leave with the court officer who will
14 show you out.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
18 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour. The next witness is a
19 protected witness with voice distortion. That may mean that --
20 JUDGE PARKER: It does mean.
21 MR. SMITH: It does. Okay.
22 JUDGE PARKER: We must break now to enable the voice distortion
23 system to be set up and tested. That would normally take 15 to 20
24 minutes. I'm looking at the time, conscious that there was a redaction in
25 that last programme which would require a half-hour break to enable the
1 tapes to be dealt with. I think, looking ahead, the most practical course
2 would be to call this now the first break of the afternoon. It might mean
3 that at the end of the day we finish a little bit early as the tapes run
4 out, but I don't think we need an additional break in the course of the
6 So we will adjourn now and resume at 25 minutes past 3.00 and have
7 one further break after that at about an hour and 35 minutes after we
9 --- Recess taken at 2.58 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 3.31 p.m.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Would you please take the card
13 that's given to you and read aloud the affirmation.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
17 WITNESS: WITNESS P-011
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Smith has some questions for you.
20 Yes, Mr. Smith.
21 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Examination by Mr. Smith:
23 Q. Witness, as you understand, you're a protected witness before the
24 Tribunal. Your name and your image will not be publicised. Also, your
25 voice is to be distorted. Because of that, we need to have a good break
1 between the question and answer, so we'll go at a reasonably moderate
3 Witness, I'm going to produce to you now a document, and this
4 contains your name, date of birth, and your place of birth, and can you
5 tell the Court whether or not those details are correct.
6 A. It's all correct.
7 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour. I seek to tender that
8 document under seal.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will be tendered --
10 will be admitted under seal under the reference 239.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Smith. Thank you.
12 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Witness, you were born and raised in Vukovar; is that correct?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. And you graduated as an economist?
16 A. Yes, senior economist.
17 Q. And then at the age of about 22 you got your first job in Vukovar;
18 is that correct?
19 A. Something like that.
20 Q. And when did you complete or when did you undertake your national
21 service with the Yugoslav army?
22 A. 1984.
23 Q. And for about how long did you do your national service?
24 A. Around ten and a half months.
25 Q. And can you tell the Court what your training was -- was in in the
1 national service, what your speciality was?
2 A. Engineering training with pioneer vocation.
3 Q. And specifically what types of activities does that involve in
4 layman's terms?
5 A. Well, that implies putting up all sorts of obstacles in combat,
6 especially laying mines.
7 Q. And after you finished your national service, what did you do
8 after that in terms of employment? Just generally.
9 A. I found a job for a short while at the Borovo shoe factory and
10 later the forwarding company of Rijeka.
11 Q. And in 1991, did you still hold that position in that company?
12 A. Yes. That was the company where I had a permanent job.
13 Q. And was that company in Vukovar?
14 A. The head office was in Rijeka, but the branch was in Vukovar.
15 Q. And if we talk about the beginning of 1991, say in January, what
16 was life like in Vukovar? What were the relations like between the ethnic
18 A. I would say that life took its normal everyday course, but some
19 changes began to occur already, and you could not avoid politics in
20 everyday life.
21 Q. And can you describe to the Court what types of changes that you
22 noticed in the beginning of 1991 from the political point of view?
23 A. Well, the first change we felt was the change in the state. The
24 Croatian state became established, and as a result of that people started
25 taking sides, and that's where the rift occurred. Some people were in
1 favour of keeping the state that used to be and others favoured the newly
2 established state, and that had its echoes in all layers of society. And
3 all the media got involved, the television, the press, and everything
4 else, all the mass media.
5 Q. And are you able to say which ethnic groups or which people were
6 supporting the Croatian state and which groups were supporting the former
7 Yugoslavia state?
8 A. Well, the state of Yugoslavia was supported by the remnants of the
9 still-active Communist Party in that area, and new parties came into being
10 after the establishment of the new state, primarily the HDZ, the Croatian
11 Democratic Union. They were in favour of separating from the old
13 Q. And you explained, politically speaking, what changes were
14 occurring in Vukovar. What about socially speaking? Were -- how were the
15 ethnic groups mixing as a result of these changes occurring?
16 A. Well, I think that happened, but I didn't belong to any particular
17 group, so it's difficult for me to elaborate on that.
18 Q. And what about in terms of violence? In 1991, when was the first
19 time that you became aware of violence in Vukovar or in or around Vukovar?
20 A. Well, some things started to happen that were out of the ordinary,
21 bombings, explosions. Some kiosks were blown up. Clashes began in Borovo
22 settlement and Borovo village. And these events increasingly became the
23 focus of public attention, not only in Yugoslavia, perhaps internationally
24 as well.
25 Q. And you talked about clashes in Borovo settlement and Borovo
1 village. Who were the clashes between?
2 A. I can't make a judgement, but from what I know it was a clash
3 between the legal forces of the Ministry of the Interior and the opposite
4 side or, how shall I put it, some hostile forces from inside Borovo Selo.
5 I can't say who it was exactly who first attacked a policeman doing their
7 Q. And when you talk about hostile forces from inside Borovo Selo, do
8 you know what ethnic group those hostile forces belonged to?
9 A. Well, I can only assume that those were Serbs who did not want to
10 recognise or accept the Croatian state.
11 Q. And how did -- how were you able to make that assumption? Where
12 were you getting your information from?
13 A. That's the sort of thing that you could learn in the public
14 domain, from TV, from newspapers. That's how I learned about them.
15 Q. And when did this -- when did these clashes occur at the Borovo
16 settlement at Borovo village approximately?
17 A. From what I remember, it was the 2nd of May, 1991.
18 Q. And do you know what the results of those clashes were, whether
19 there were any casualties or deaths?
20 A. Yes, there were casualties. A figure of 25 was mentioned.
21 Q. And when you say 25, was that 25 deaths or 25 woundings? Can you
22 be a little more specific?
23 A. I think there were 25 dead, but I can't be sure.
24 Q. You also mentioned that there were some bombings and explosions
25 occurring in and around Vukovar. Do you know who was -- who was causing
1 these bombings to occur, or these explosions to occur?
2 A. I don't know that, but I heard about it because news of that
3 travelled very far, far enough for me to learn about it without leaving my
5 Q. And when -- when did these bombings and explosions start?
6 A. Well, we can say that it was during the summer after the incidents
7 in Borovo village.
8 Q. And during that summer did your wife and children -- did they
9 leave Vukovar?
10 A. Yes. That happened after the shelling started, of the centre of
12 Q. Perhaps if we can talk about the shelling. When did that -- when
13 did that first start, to your knowledge, and do you know who was doing the
14 shelling at that time?
15 A. From what I remember, the shelling began on the 7th of July that
16 year, 1991, but who was responsible I really don't know.
17 Q. And you said the centre of Vukovar was being shelled. Do you know
18 more specifically what places in the centre of town were being shelled at
19 that time?
20 A. I remember some. For instance, close to Hadisa in the street that
21 was all the Borisa Kidrica then, or the place that was a square next to a
22 school building. There was a cross called the Becar cross. That was the
23 target of some shelling.
24 Q. And do you know the reason why those locations were shelled?
25 A. It's difficult for me to answer that question. I don't know
1 whether it was intimidation or something else. I can't answer that.
2 Q. And after the shelling you said that your wife and children left
3 Vukovar. Where did they go and how was it organised that they leave?
4 A. That was organised by the Croatian Democratic Union party. They
5 organised the departure of my wife and children in the form of a trip to
6 the seaside that would last until things calmed down.
7 Q. About how many people do you know went on this -- this form of
8 trip to the seaside?
9 A. Well from, what I saw several buses left, and it took place over a
10 couple of days. So it was rather a large number of residents who left. I
11 mean women and children.
12 Q. And do you know whether the residents were from all the different
13 ethnic groups that lived in Vukovar, or was it just one particular one?
14 A. At that time, nobody really cared who was of which ethnicity. At
15 least I didn't, so I can't comment.
16 Q. And about -- you may have said this already, but about what date
17 did your wife and children leave?
18 A. I know the exact date. The 7th August, 1991.
19 Q. And why was this trip organised?
20 A. I've already mentioned that. Because of the shelling of the town
21 and the danger that started looming over us.
22 Q. And as a result of the shelling of the town, did any people within
23 the town begin to defend themselves or form some sort of defence?
24 A. Yes. At that time, some volunteer units began organising
25 themselves and teams that were to put up a local defence.
1 Q. As far as you're concerned, when did you finish working in your
2 job? You said at the beginning of 1991 you were working. When did you
3 finish working?
4 A. I think it was already August 1991. I don't think we were going
5 to work anymore. But we still kept in touch by phone or otherwise.
6 Q. And how long was the trip planned for for your wife and children?
7 When were they expected to come back?
8 A. The idea was for them to stay there for about two weeks, and they
9 were to return on the 25th.
10 Q. Now, did they return, and if they didn't, why didn't they return?
11 A. They never returned, because on the 24th -- or, rather, the 25th
12 in the morning, the final battle for Vukovar began. The shelling was so
13 relentless and bad that the buses that had already set off for Vukovar
14 at 8.00 that morning were stopped near Kutina.
15 Q. And how far is Kutina away from Vukovar approximately?
16 A. A little over 200 kilometres.
17 Q. And you said that Vukovar was shelled for the first time on -- I
18 think you said the 7th of July. Up until the 24th to the 25th of August
19 when you say the final battle began, what sort of activity, military
20 activity, was occurring between that period?
21 A. As far as the shelling is concerned; the shelling started even
22 earlier, in the beginning of July, and my wife and children left town on
23 the 7th of August. Military activities took place throughout that time,
24 and the conflict escalated with each new day until it turned into a
25 full-blown war.
1 Q. And from your perspective, who was the conflict between?
2 A. The conflict was between the joint forces of the JNA, including
3 all forms of, I would say, paramilitary units that participated in the
4 concerted action of conquering Vukovar that was aimed at crushing the
5 entire Croatian state.
6 Q. And what about the other side? You talked about a local defence
7 of Vukovar. Who was on the other side?
8 A. You mean the local defence from which side?
9 Q. Just referring to your answer where you said the final battle from
10 Vukovar -- for Vukovar began. You said the JNA and the paramilitaries had
11 a concerted action to conquer Vukovar. Who was the battle with?
12 A. Well, that's precisely what the conflict was about. They were the
13 fighting the Home Guards Corps, the Ministry of the Interior, and all the
14 combatants who joined in the defence of Vukovar on the side of Croatia.
15 Q. And did you join in to the defence of Vukovar?
16 A. Yes, I joined Vukovar's defence.
17 Q. And why did you join it?
18 A. It was a moral duty, and at one point it became legal duty too.
19 The entire municipality of Vukovar was mobilised, and the clashes lasted
20 for so long with no lull or reprieve that I decided I had to do something
21 and contribute to the town's defence.
22 Q. When were you aware that a -- some sort of defence of the town was
23 being set up? When were you first aware?
24 A. I first became aware of this early that summer, but I didn't join
25 until much later. I still expected that everything would soon be back to
1 normal, that life would soon be back to normal, a life dignified enough
2 for human beings.
3 Q. Can you explain in a little more detail the -- the nature of the
4 attack of Vukovar on the 24th to the 25th of August? You said that's when
5 the final battle commenced. What was happening in Vukovar on those couple
6 of days?
7 A. When I say the final battle, I mean the severe shelling, firing by
8 all possible weapons, all possible calibres, from the air, from the water,
9 and from all the surrounding areas of Vukovar. I mean this indiscriminate
10 shelling where the targets are not necessarily of military nature.
11 Everything that was part of the town was fair game for shelling. This
12 means that neither animals more people were spared, regardless of their
13 species or occupation or gender.
14 Q. Now, here are you talking about the 24th to the 25th, or are you
15 talking about the whole time you were in Vukovar until you left?
16 A. The severe shelling started on the morning of the 25th, possibly
17 the evening of the 24th, and went on and on. From that day, the town was
18 being shelled severely on a daily basis, and it only kept intensifying, if
20 Q. And what date did you leave Vukovar? What date did you leave the
22 A. I never did. I joined the town's defence instead. And I remained
23 in Vukovar until the day the town eventually fell.
24 Q. And what date did you join the town's defence?
25 A. It's difficult for me to get the time-line right after so much
1 time, but it was sometime in mid-September. We were called to a meeting
2 at the Vukovar municipality building. This meeting was organised by the
3 command of the town's defence. They told us that if we so wished we could
4 get involved in the town's defence. It was from that day on that I was
6 Q. And who told you that you could get involved? What were the
7 individuals' names?
8 A. The commander who told us this was Branko Borkovic, also known as
9 Mladi Jastreb. He was the deputy commander, and the commander-in-chief
10 was Mile Dedakovic, also known as Jastreb or Stari Jastreb. Another
11 person present was Danijel Rehak. He held a post with Vukovar's national
12 defence office.
13 Q. The transcript didn't pick up the last name. You said the other
14 person present in addition to Dedakovic and Borkovic was who?
15 A. Danijel Rehak. He held a post with the national defence office.
16 He used to be the secretary.
17 Q. And about how many others like you were called for the meeting
18 that day?
19 A. The way I remember, there were about 50 persons in attendance.
20 Q. And did you have a choice to join the defence or was it
22 A. Mobilisation itself was compulsory, but still we were told that if
23 there was anyone who did not wish to join the town's defence, no grudge
24 would be held against them and they were still free to leave the area with
25 no consequences.
1 Q. And on that day did you accept to join?
2 A. Yes, and I was given an assignment.
3 Q. And perhaps if you could explain that to the Court, the nature of
4 the assignment you were given, and who gave it to you?
5 A. It was the deputy commander, Branko Borkovic, who told me that I
6 would be in charge of the miners group, the engineering aspect of their
7 work, laying obstacles along the front line.
8 Q. And do you know whether this miners group existed before you
9 arrived, and if it did, for about how long?
10 A. I know that it had existed, but I didn't know for how long.
11 Q. And when you say "miners group," I assume you're referring to the
12 laying of landmines.
13 A. Yes, and infantry and anti-tank mines.
14 Q. And whilst we're on the topic of, say, command structure, did the
15 command structure of the defence of Vukovar change over time whilst you
16 were there?
17 A. Can you please clarify that for me?
18 Q. Did Branko Borkovic always hold the deputy commander position
19 whilst you were in Vukovar, or did that change?
20 A. The only change was in relation to the commander himself, Stari
21 Jastreb. He left sometime in early October, and Branko Borkovic took
22 over. My position or my relation to the command remained unchanged until
23 the very end.
24 Q. And you took over -- you were placed in charge of the miners
25 group. Can you tell the Court the size, how many men were in that group,
1 and in a practical way how you went about your tasks?
2 A. I had about ten men in my group, but this changed over time
3 depending on the conditions that prevailed. Jastreb would give us orders,
4 and we would carry out assignments wherever needed.
5 Q. And these assignments, were they to place landmines around the
7 A. Yes, predominantly.
8 Q. And can you be, say, a little more specific as to where the
9 landmines were being laid?
10 A. Wherever there were clashes or along the roads leading into the
11 town or any other place that the enemy might have used to approach the
12 town. Wherever the enemy was expected to come from.
13 Q. And when you say "the enemy," who were you referring to there?
14 A. I'm referring to all the forces around Vukovar firing at Vukovar,
15 including the JNA, all their subordinate units and all the paramilitary
16 units that were involved in the attack on Vukovar.
17 Q. From that can we gather that landmines were placed all around the
19 A. Not all around the town. Not in the town itself but along the
20 confrontation lines and the front lines, yes.
21 Q. And how long did you do this job? How long did you have this
23 A. The assignment ceased on the 16th or the 17th, on the eve of
24 Vukovar's fall, or better yet, when the command was disbanded, when it
25 stopped operating.
1 Q. And you said that you placed the landmines along the confrontation
2 lines. Did the confrontation lines change over the time that you had this
3 assignment, over that two-month period?
4 A. Yes. They shifted. Some did and some didn't.
5 Q. And when you say "they shifted," did they shift further away from
6 Vukovar or towards Vukovar, the centre?
7 A. They shifted towards the centre of town. The circle around us was
9 Q. And what type of landmines were you using? Just in a general
11 A. We were using all the standard mines used by the JNA,
12 anti-infantry and anti-tank mines of different kinds.
13 Q. And if you could just provide the Court with an example as to how
14 you would lay an anti-tank mine and how would you lay an anti-infantry
15 mine or group of mines.
16 A. There are several ways to lay those, but under those conditions we
17 usually just scattered them as quickly as we could. We would scatter rows
18 of mines. Anti-tank mines, for example, about four rows of those,
19 sometimes two, depending on what we could manage. The distance between
20 two rows would be about one metre normally.
21 When we laid anti-personnel mines, they would be laid in areas
22 where the enemy was expected to approach, and that's how the entire area
23 would be blocked.
24 Q. And if you can explain about how many anti-tank mines and how many
25 anti-personnel mines would be grouped together at one location
2 A. Depending on the area to be covered. Sometimes ten mines,
3 sometimes 20, and sometimes 50, depending on the size of the area.
4 Q. And over that two-month period, about how many different locations
5 did you lay landmines?
6 A. Over 50, I believe, but it's difficult to say exactly.
7 Q. And did you ever lay those mines in areas where there were
9 A. No. Only along the confrontation line and wherever there was
10 combat. Along the line separating us from the enemy.
11 Q. And did you keep a record of the locations where you laid the
13 A. By all means. I kept my own record, and I would place local
14 commanders in charge and told them to keep such records, too, and bring
15 them regularly to their respective command posts.
16 Q. And whose decision would it be to decide where the mines would be
17 laid, and how would those decisions come about?
18 A. Those decisions were taken by Jastreb in cooperation with the
19 local commanders. The order would come from Jastreb alone.
20 Q. And you said that you laid mines in about 50 different locations
21 during that time. About how many mines in total were used in those 50
22 locations approximately?
23 A. About 1.000 mines, roughly speaking.
24 Q. And what was the purpose of the laying of the mines? What did you
25 believe the commander intended?
1 A. It wasn't for me to judge what the commander's intentions were. I
2 was there to carry out my assignment. My thoughts on this didn't matter.
3 What mattered was for me to carry out my assignment.
4 Q. But what were your thoughts? What was the purpose of the mines?
5 A. The purpose of the mines was to lay obstacles along certain lines
6 in order to keep the enemy from breaking through our lines. The purpose
7 was to protect the town, if you like.
8 Q. You talked about the shelling of the town over this two-month
9 period. Whilst this mine-laying activity was going on, can you tell the
10 Court the nature of the shelling and how frequent it was of the town?
11 A. The objective was to crush the defenders' resistance, and the
12 shelling was on an enormous scale. Thousands and thousands of shells were
13 raining down on a daily basis over a limited area. It's difficult to even
14 describe. The purpose was to wipe any life out of the area or perhaps to
15 wipe the entire area off the face of the earth.
16 Q. Can you tell the Court what parts of the town were hit by the
17 shelling and the nature of the damage?
18 A. The centre of town itself and all those areas in Vukovar that were
19 not under their control, all the buildings were being shelled regardless
20 of any protection, degree of protection that they enjoyed. The same
21 applied to the hospital, to the kindergarten, to the school. Nothing was
22 sacred at this point. Everything was fair game, and everything was a
23 target. The targeting was not selective. Rather, it was random and
24 frequent as well as indiscriminate. Perhaps as many as 1.000 shells per
25 hour were being fired.
1 Q. Can you describe the nature of the damage in the centre of town?
2 Were there parts of the centre that weren't destroyed or damaged at all?
3 Was it light damage? Was it heavy? Can you explain further.
4 A. Every day the damage became greater and greater. I wasn't aware
5 of a single building that was intact and that was not hit by any sort of
6 missile, bullet or shell. Even the hospital itself, the workers' hall,
7 which was plumb in the centre of town burnt down as well. In the area in
8 which we were taking, in that particular environment, there was not a
9 single building that was still standing that hadn't been hit, that hadn't
10 burned town or been damaged in some way.
11 Q. And you talked about the centre of town. What about the suburbs
12 of Vukovar? Were you able to say what sort of damage was caused in the
13 houses in the suburbs?
14 A. The same sort of damage as elsewhere. Units were organised in
15 those areas, the purpose of which was to defend the town. They weren't
16 spared the shelling either.
17 Q. And the nature of your job, laying the mines, did that take you
18 all around the town?
19 A. Unfortunately, it did. At least those areas that one could still
20 move about.
21 Q. Were you able to determine what direction the attack was coming
23 A. All directions. It was coming from all sides, from across the
24 Danube and all the surrounding villages; for the most part, those villages
25 that were predominantly Serb villages. But shelling was coming from all
1 sides, from all around.
2 Q. And are you able to say what weaponry was used to attack the town?
3 A. Based on what we heard, based on what we experienced every day,
4 this was heavy shelling by tanks, by guns, by mortar shells, by rifles,
5 machine-guns, all possible sorts of weapons including planes that were
6 dropping bombs, some as heavy as 250 kilogrammes. There were cluster
7 bombs being dropped too. All the weapons that were available to the
8 former JNA.
9 Q. Do you know how often the planes were dropping bombs over Vukovar?
10 A. I'm not sure how often, but the planes were flying overhead all
11 the time, and it's difficult to say how frequently.
12 Q. And how were people living in that two months whilst Vukovar was
13 under attack? How were the residents living?
14 A. The conditions were appalling. The electrician at this supply had
15 been cut off as well as the water supply and our food. Everything was
16 very difficult. The only way to organise ourselves was to assemble at
17 collection centres or in cellars, and that's what most of the residents
18 did. Even so, the suffering of everyone there was beyond words,
19 especially if you bear in mind what the elderly and the children had to go
21 Q. And during that two-month period, are you able to say whether all
22 of the ethnic groups that previously lived in the town of Vukovar were
23 still there or was there a predominance of one over the other?
24 A. Your question is somewhat difficult to understand. Can you please
25 repeat that for me?
1 Q. The town of Vukovar before the war, what was the ethnic
2 composition approximately of, say, Serbs, Croats and Muslims?
3 A. I don't really know, because I never researched that particularly,
4 but there were Croats and Serbs. And as far as I know, there were
5 actually 23 different ethnic groups in Vukovar, but it was not my life's
6 work to investigate who belonged where.
7 Q. And the question is: Did that stay the same, that mixture, during
8 the time that Vukovar was being shelled between that two -- over that
9 two-month period?
10 A. It stayed the same more or less because, unfortunately, both Serbs
11 and Croats got killed and suffered a lot, although many people left and
12 joined the attack on Vukovar, especially those who left to third places,
13 but that's not something I can tell you much about.
14 Q. And from your role in the defence of Vukovar, are you able to say
15 what the size of the defence was? About how many men were involved in the
17 A. That, too, is a difficult question, but from my perspective, as
18 someone who has seen a lot, there were certainly at least a thousand
19 people involved in the organisation of the defence, but that's my
20 estimate. Maybe you can get confirmation from somebody else who had
21 better insight.
22 Q. And from your observations around the town, about -- what type of
23 weaponry did the defence of the town have?
24 A. The defence of the town of relatively few weapons, mostly infantry
25 weapons and two or three tanks that we captured during the fighting. The
1 rest were a few mortars or two or three cannons, and all the rest were
3 Q. And from your observations of the weaponry of the JNA and
4 paramilitaries that were attacking the town compared to the amount of
5 weaponry that the defence had, what would their -- can you give a
6 relatively proportion between the two sides?
7 A. Well, it takes a military analyst to answer that question, but
8 judging by the number of shells that hit us and the damage done to the
9 town, the ratio was 1 to 100 maybe, or maybe even worse for us.
10 Q. Where were the headquarters of the territorial -- sorry, where
11 were the headquarters of the Croatian defence.
12 A. The same place as before the war. Where the military department
13 used to be. And the command was in the nuclear shelter.
14 Q. And the nuclear shelter, did that have a particular name?
15 A. I don't know. It's the nuclear shelter of the military
16 department. I don't know if it had a name.
17 Q. And about how far away was that from the hospital?
18 A. About a kilometre.
19 Q. Is that closer towards town or further away from the centre of the
21 A. It was a kilometre away from both, but the -- the hospital was
22 further away from the military department. In fact, it depends on where
23 you're looking from. Could you maybe rephrase the question?
24 Q. I think that's fine for the moment. Perhaps if we can move to the
25 fall of Vukovar. When -- when do you say that Vukovar fell?
1 A. Well, in my mind the Vukovar -- Vukovar fell when the command
2 ceased to be.
3 Q. And can you tell the Court when that was and how you found out
4 that the command ceased?
5 A. That night of the 16th, we were involved in a mission, carrying
6 out an assignment, and we suffered losses, both dead and wounded, and upon
7 coming to the headquarters that day, to the command, I found it was empty.
8 There were no commanders.
9 Q. And once you discovered that, what did you decide to do?
10 A. I returned to my men, to my fellow fighters. I explained to them
11 what had happened. I said the commanders had left their positions, and in
12 a way informally demobed them, saying that they were free to do as they
13 saw fit. If they wanted to, they could try to break through enemy lines
14 and escape. I said that I personally had no where to go because my
15 parents were still in Vukovar, and at that moment I was not prepared to
16 leave the town yet.
17 Q. And during this time when you were with the defence, where were
18 you staying? Where were you sleeping at night?
19 A. We had our command position, command post, in the former building
20 of the school for on-the-job training in the basement of that building.
21 Q. And after you demobilised the men in your unit, where did you go?
22 MR. SMITH: I think Mr. Lukic has got something to say, Your
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have a small correction
1 to the transcript. Page 38, line 18. When the witness was explaining
2 that he told his group that they were free to leave the town, he said that
3 he gave them one local man, and that is not on the record, and I would
4 like that clarified.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters apologise. We did not hear that
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith, you may think it useful to clarify that.
8 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Witness, when you demobilised the men, did you provide them or did
10 you direct them to a local man from Vukovar, and if you did, what was the
11 reason for that?
12 A. Yes. I gave them a man who knew the area well and who could help
13 escort them out of the town.
14 Q. And did they -- did they leave the town as far as you're aware?
15 A. Now I know that they did, because they were later captured.
16 Q. And you stayed in the town because your parents were still there.
17 Am I right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So once the men had left, what did you decide to do and where did
20 you go?
21 A. I went home to be with my parents.
22 Q. And you said this was on the 16th that the command had disappeared
23 or had gone. How long did you stay with your parents?
24 A. No. I said that in the night between the 16th and the 17th the
25 command ceased to be, and I joined my parents on the 17th.
1 Q. And how long did you stay with your parents?
2 A. That day and I think the next day as well. Let's say two days.
3 Q. And what did you decide to do after that?
4 A. Somebody spread the news that people had to gather at the hospital
5 and that some sort of evacuation would take place.
6 Q. And did you go to the hospital?
7 A. Yes, with my parents.
8 Q. And do you know what date that you arrived at the hospital?
9 A. Well, if my memory serves me right, that would have been the 17th
10 of November, 1991.
11 Q. And how long -- how long did you stay at the hospital before you
12 left there?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: The witness may have
14 said 19th.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, essentially it was one day.
16 MR. SMITH:
17 Q. Is that correct? Did you arrive at the hospital on the 19th, and
18 then you stayed there one day and then you left?
19 A. It's not that I left. I was driven away on the 20th in the
21 Q. If we can talk about the day that you arrived at the hospital.
22 Did you place your name on any sort of list at the hospital?
23 A. Yes. My parents recommended me to be put on the list of the
24 wounded, and indeed I had been wounded more than once.
25 Q. And can you explain how you were wounded?
1 A. Well, I was wounded in the fighting four times by shrapnel of
2 mines or explosives.
3 Q. And when you stayed at the hospital, where did you stay?
4 A. For a while I was between the buildings, in the yard, and later I
5 was in the basement, and spent the night on one of the floors of the
7 Q. And during that time that you were at the hospital before you were
8 taken away, did you see any soldiers there?
9 A. Yes. That day, the 19th, when I arrived in the morning, the army
10 arrived around midday, including one officer on top of an armoured
11 vehicle, and from that point on guards were put in place and entry and
12 exits were restricted. It was all under surveillance.
13 Q. And can you describe briefly the officer you saw on top of the
14 armoured vehicle?
15 A. There was a major in our army, the JNA. The major and the
16 soldiers who were with him.
17 Q. And can you tell the Court what happened to you the following day
18 when you were taken away from the hospital? How did that day start, and
19 what happened?
20 A. Well, it started in the morning around 7.30 or 8.00 a.m. The
21 soldiers who were present were shouting that everybody should leave the
22 premises of the hospital, everybody who could move. I obeyed, and all of
23 us found ourselves outside the hospital where we were searched by the
24 soldiers and directed towards the buses that were to take us away.
25 Q. You said the soldiers who were present were shouting. Can you
1 describe the soldiers? You earlier referred to JNA soldiers and
2 paramilitaries attacking the town. Can you give us a sense of who these
3 people about in terms of their grouping?
4 A. Well, in my eyes they were all the JNA and people working with the
6 Q. And these soldiers that were ordering people out, what were they
8 A. I can't remember now. There was a variety of clothing, but
9 basically all the same.
10 Q. And you said you were directed towards on the buses -- towards the
11 buses. Did you get on one of those buses?
12 A. Yes. I boarded one of them.
13 Q. And were you the only one on that bus, or did you board with other
14 people from the hospital?
15 A. No, I wasn't alone. The bus was full.
16 Q. And who were the people in the bus? Did you know them?
17 A. The people on the bus were those who happened to be at the
18 hospital at the time. I knew some of them.
19 Q. And the ones that you knew, were they defenders of the town, or do
20 you know what they did during that two months?
21 A. Those that I knew had been involved in the fighting, in the
23 Q. And are you able to say the names of those people that were on the
24 same bus as you?
25 A. Zeljko Jurela; then Damjan Damjanovic, if I'm not mistaken; then a
1 person named Kemal, and his nickname was Kemo. Those are the ones that
2 I'm still sure about.
3 Q. Were you told where you were being taken?
4 A. No. No, they didn't tell us.
5 Q. And was the bus that you were on guarded at all?
6 A. Yes. There were two men with their light machine-guns trained at
8 Q. And did those men, did they stay on the bus or were they just
9 guarding outside -- outside?
10 A. They were on the bus. They never left the bus.
11 Q. Do you remember what they were wearing, those men?
12 A. Well, they looked like men serving -- doing their military
13 service, conscripts wearing uniforms.
14 Q. And about how many buses were out the front of the hospital or in
15 the group that you went towards?
16 A. I remember three, perhaps four buses standing outside the
17 hospital, but at that time I wasn't particularly paying attention to that.
18 Q. And what were you thinking about at that time? What did you think
19 was going to happen?
20 A. I can't remember anymore what I was thinking about, but as we were
21 about to leave town, I thought maybe they would let us reunite with
23 Q. How long were you seated on the bus before they left the hospital?
24 A. It didn't take a long time. Ten, 15 minutes, not more.
25 Q. And where did you go on that bus?
1 A. The buses were facing opposite the road, so first they made a
2 U-turn, and then we headed for the barracks near the fair-grounds.
3 Q. Can you briefly describe the route that you took on those buses to
4 the fair-grounds? Or near to the fair-grounds, sorry.
5 A. Right. I can try street by street. First we passed through
6 Gunduliceva Street, then Marko Oreskovic square, Bozidar Adzija Street,
7 Dimitrije Tucovic Street, then Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj Street, Kras Street,
8 and last the fair-grounds all the way up to the barracks.
9 Q. And when you arrived at the barracks, what happened?
10 A. The buses made a half circle on the perimeter of the barracks, and
11 we stood there waiting. I didn't know what we were waiting for.
12 Q. And at the barracks, about how many buses did you see there?
13 A. As I said, three, maybe four, but another two or three came a bit
15 Q. And were there any people at the barracks when your bus arrived
16 there and the circle was formed inside it?
17 A. Yes. The barracks was packed with troops of the JNA. Reservists
18 maybe, or some other forces, I don't know, but it was crawling with
20 Q. Can you put an approximate figure on the number of these troops
21 that were there?
22 A. Several hundred.
23 Q. And once your bus had parked, what were these troops doing?
24 A. Some of them approached the buses, tried to see if they knew
25 anyone or made threatening signs at individuals. It seemed like a
1 curiosity for them.
2 Q. Were they saying anything? You said they were using threatening
3 signs. Was anything being said by these troops?
4 A. They did some of that, too, but since we were inside the buses, we
5 couldn't hear all the words. However, some voices carried through the
6 glass, and we could hear some slurs and some threats.
7 Q. And you state that they were threatening individuals. Which
8 individuals were they threatening on your bus; do you know?
9 A. Specifically, they were threatening Kemo and Damjan Samardzic, as
10 well as Zeljko, Zeljko Jurela. Rade Jakovljevic, also known as
11 Frizider -- Radivoje Jakovljevic, also known as Frizider, was foremost
12 among those making threats.
13 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I think it might be time for the break
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Smith.
16 We will resume at 20 past 5.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.01 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 5.26 p.m.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
20 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Witness, before we broke you said that you were seated on the bus
22 and that some of these soldiers were making threats towards some people
23 that you knew on the bus. What were the nature of these threats?
24 A. They were death threats. When I look at the transcript, I see
25 Rakovljevic, but he's actually not Rakovljevic, he's Jakovljevic. And his
1 nickname is Hladnjak which translates as "fridge."
2 Q. Thank you. And how long were you at the JNA barracks for?
3 A. An hour or two.
4 Q. Was anyone taken off your bus in that hour or two that you were
6 A. I don't remember. I don't think anyone was.
7 Q. And what about the other buses? Were you able to see whether
8 anyone was taken off the other buses?
9 A. It was difficult to see from where I was.
10 Q. And what was the atmosphere like outside the buses? You said
11 there was threats being directed to a few people on your bus, but what was
12 the general atmosphere or the mood of these soldiers?
13 A. I'm not sure how I should describe that. There was a lot of
15 Q. And what was the mood in the buses? How were you feeling at that
17 A. I'm not sure how to put it. I felt empty inside.
18 Q. Are you able to describe the commotion a bit further that these
19 soldiers had or the atmosphere that seemed to be prevailing around the
21 A. I don't know. I don't think that I am -- they were probably happy
22 because they had managed to take control of the town, but that's about as
23 much as I can tell you.
24 Q. And when you say you were feeling empty, why were you feeling
25 empty at that time?
1 A. We didn't know what would become of us. We knew that we were lost
2 in space and time.
3 Q. Were those two guards on the buses that you mentioned earlier,
4 were they giving any indication as to where you were going to go?
5 A. No. They weren't telling us anything.
6 Q. When the buses left, where did they go?
7 A. They left the barracks and turned left in the direction of
8 Negoslavci. They drove us along that road, and some kilometres before
9 Negoslavci they turned off into a field. They took a left turn and came
10 across some sort of a shortcut which they took to take us to Ovcara.
11 Q. When you were being taken to Ovcara, were you told by anyone where
12 you were going -- where you were going to go?
13 A. No, no one told us where we were going. Therefore, we didn't know
14 where we were going.
15 Q. Whilst you were being taken to Ovcara, what did you think was
16 going to happen to you and the others in the buses?
17 A. I didn't know what was going to happen to us. They were taking us
18 somewhere we didn't know, and we had no idea what would happen to us.
19 Q. And can you explain to the Court Ovcara? Is it a village? What
20 is the location?
21 A. It's a farm. There was a pig farm at Ovcara, a good one. People
22 used to live there, but most left at some point, and the only thing
23 remaining there were the farm buildings.
24 Q. Had you ever been to Ovcara before this day?
25 A. Yes. Yes.
1 Q. And about how many times had you been there before, and what would
2 you do in that area?
3 A. I drove by a couple of times. Sometimes I was on my own and
4 sometimes with my parents. I went to that particular area several times
5 for its natural beauty, for its landscape. There was a village nearby
6 called Grabovo with a pond where you could go fishing. I was familiar
7 with the area.
8 Q. And about how far in terms of kilometres was Grabovo from Ovcara?
9 A. Not more than five kilometres as the crow flies. The road takes a
10 bit longer than that.
11 Q. And what happened when you arrived at Ovcara?
12 A. When we arrived, the buses lined up and were emptied. A column
13 was formed which was then sent to an outbuilding there, a hangar.
14 Q. About how many buses arrived at Ovcara on that day?
15 A. About six.
16 Q. And when you say a column was formed, who formed this column?
17 A. The column was formed, the buses were emptied, and this was done
18 by the same people who secured the transport, by the people who were on
19 the buses.
20 Q. And when you say the people that were on the buses, in relation to
21 your particular bus, who are you referring to?
22 A. I mean us, the detainees. We were being unloaded from those buses
23 and directed towards that building, the hangar.
24 Q. Were the buses unloaded separately or consecutively -- sorry,
25 separately or at the same time?
1 A. Separately, though one by one.
2 Q. And do you remember which bus you were in?
3 A. The third one, the way I remember it.
4 Q. How long did it take for the buses -- the buses to be unloaded?
5 A. About ten minutes, perhaps, or less.
6 Q. Was that ten minutes for each bus or ten minutes altogether?
7 A. About ten minutes until I got off.
8 Q. Now when your bus arrived at Ovcara, were there any people there?
9 A. Yes. There were soldiers standing outside the building.
10 Q. Can you give an indication of the number of the soldiers and the
11 type of soldiers?
12 A. Those were reservists and JNA troops, the mixture of those two.
13 There were probably some paramilitaries there too. Several dozen people.
14 Over 50 possibly.
15 Q. And when you say that a column was formed between the bus and the
16 outbuilding, the hangar, what happened when that column was formed, if
18 A. When we arrived outside the door to that hangar, we were stripped
19 of all our valuables and belongings. Our pockets were searched. All our
20 valuables were taken off us, and we were forced to lay all of our
21 belongings down on the ground, including any fur coats or jackets. All
22 valuables and documents were placed on a pile and then people were taken
23 inside the hangar.
24 Q. Can you tell the Court as the people in the buses were being
25 formed into a column between the buses and the hangar what the soldiers
1 were doing at that time?
2 A. I can't say what everybody was doing, but those soldiers, rather,
3 all those inside the hangar met us in a gauntlet and beat us on the way
5 Q. When you say you were beaten in a gauntlet, can you describe how
6 you particularly were beaten?
7 A. I was struck by an iron bar over the head several times, and I
8 received several blows to my side. I was maybe kicked, or perhaps another
9 implement was used. Perhaps I was punched. It's difficult to say.
10 Q. And were you hit inside the hangar or outside the hangar?
11 A. Inside.
12 Q. And you said that, "And the soldiers beat us." Who else did you
13 see being beaten apart from yourself?
14 A. Just us, the detainees. I'm not sure who else.
15 Q. About how many other people did you see being beaten?
16 A. I don't know how many, but all those who were brought there were
17 made to run the gauntlet. Everybody was beaten and kicked on the way in.
18 After that, people were individually mistreated. That's after all of
20 Q. If we can just talk about the gauntlet for a moment. About how
21 many soldiers were involved in the gauntlet?
22 A. It's difficult to say, but I think about 20 on either side, but
23 there was a lot of dust in the air and a general hustle and bustle, so
24 it's difficult to say. At that time, no one was calm enough to count the
25 soldiers. You just ran right through it as fast as you could and were
1 beaten on the way. But I think about 20 people. There may have been 20
2 people, possibly more.
3 Q. And you said that everybody was beaten and kicked on the way in.
4 Can you tell us where the gauntlet was? Was it inside or outside the
6 MR. BULATOVIC: Objection.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Bulatovic.
8 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, on page 50, line 20,
9 the witness has already said that he was beaten inside the hangar and that
10 the gauntlet itself was inside the hangar. He said so twice, in fact.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
12 Carry on, Mr. Smith.
13 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
14 Q. Witness, was the gauntlet inside or outside the hangar?
15 A. That's not in dispute. It was inside.
16 Q. Once -- once the men on the buses had run through the gauntlet,
17 what happened after that, once the buses were emptied?
18 A. Individual mistreatment began. People were beaten and
19 interrogated. The area was closed off. Many people were severely
20 injured. All sorts of implements and tools were used to beat people,
21 rifle-butts, baseball bats, wooden crutches used as an aid by those
22 seriously wounded. The abuse continued inside with varying intensity.
23 Q. When you say that the abuse continued inside, was there any abuse
25 A. I can't say. I was inside. I didn't see what was happening
2 Q. For about how long were you in the hangar?
3 A. We were there for several hours, until night-time. Until it got
4 dark. Two or three hours perhaps.
5 Q. You've talked about the beatings and the gauntlet when you first
6 came off the buses, and then you talked about the beatings that occurred
7 after that. Which -- which beatings were the most severe?
8 A. The most severe beatings were in those cases where people were
9 beaten to death inside.
10 Q. Do you know of anyone that was beaten to death inside the hangar?
11 Do you know their name?
12 A. Individually, Kemo, Kemal also known as Kemo, was beaten so badly
13 that he died there. He was kicked, stamped on, beaten with rods or,
14 rather, rifle-barrels. I suppose he died there, but I can't be certain.
15 I'm not positive. I can't be positive.
16 Q. And do you know Kemal's full name?
17 A. I'm not sure. The nickname was Kemo. I know what he looked like.
18 If you showed me a photograph, I'm sure I'd be able to identify him.
19 Q. You said that people were beaten to death inside the hangar. Can
20 you tell the Court the other instances that you believe occurred?
21 A. I'm not sure if everybody met the same end as Mr. Kemo, but Dado
22 Djukic was another person who was beaten severely with his wooden crutch,
23 the crutch that he used as a walking aid. I'm not sure he could have
24 possibly survived. He was seriously wounded. He had suffered gunshot
25 wounds to both his legs, and he used crutches to walk. He was beaten
1 severely, but I'm not sure how the whole thing ended.
2 Q. Are you able to say how many people were inside -- detained inside
3 the hangar?
4 A. It's difficult to say with any degree of certainty, but if one
5 looks at the number of vehicles, and based on what I saw there, there must
6 have been about 300 people detained there.
7 Q. And these 300 people, from the ones that you knew are you able to
8 say what ethnic group they belonged to?
9 A. I can't answer that question. One can only assume that most were
11 Q. And why do you say that?
12 A. Well, that's simple. I never distinguished among people based on
13 their ethnicity.
14 Q. And of the -- about how many individuals inside the hangar did you
15 know individually?
16 A. I knew quite many of them. I saw a number of them there, and I
17 can tell you who they were.
18 Q. You can take your time and tell us who they were, and speak slowly
19 so that we can get the name fully recorded on the transcript, please.
20 A. Stanko Duvnjak, a police officer, a member of MUP. Milan Grejza,
21 a MUP inspector. Zeljko Jurela, a defender of Vukovar. Zvonko Varenica,
22 a car mechanic who worked for the hospital's maintenance. Slaven
23 Vukojevic, nicknamed Zambata. Drago Krizan. Vladimir Djukic, nicknamed
24 Dado. Kemo. Oh, I've mentioned him before. I don't know his name, but I
25 knew him before the war. He lived in Vukovar. Damjan Samardzic, another
1 person who was on the bus.
2 That's all I can remember for the time being. If I could have a
3 list, probably I would be able to remember other names and people.
4 MR. SMITH: I ask that the annex to the indictment be produced to
5 the witness, and if that could be placed on the ELMO starting with the
6 first page and then going consecutively through.
7 Your Honour, I think we have a little problem here at the moment,
8 so we might leave it and come back to it.
9 Q. Witness, we'll bring a list to you a bit later so you can have a
10 look at the other names that you saw in the hangar.
11 You said you were in the hangar for at least a couple of hours; is
12 that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And in that couple of hours how -- how regular was the beating?
15 Was it constant or was it irregular?
16 A. It happened intermittently. There were breaks, there are lulls,
17 and then the whole thing would take off again with greater force, but it
18 all depends on which individual case we're talking about.
19 Q. Do you know why particular people were being beaten?
20 A. I can't say why, but it was obviously an act of revenge or
21 something like that. It's difficult to say why people were beaten. But
22 as they were interrogating people, I noticed them focusing more on those
23 who were not from Vukovar, and they seemed even more determined when
24 questioning those people.
25 Q. You said that there were, from your calculations, approximately
1 about 300 people in the hangar. About how many of these people were
2 beaten in the hangar? Can you give an approximate figure or percentage?
3 A. It's difficult to say, but everybody was beaten on their way
4 through the gauntlet, but it's difficult to say in relation to each
6 Q. You said that on arrival at the hangar there were JNA soldiers,
7 reserve soldiers, and paramilitaries there. Inside the hangar, can you
8 tell the Court whether any of those soldiers had gone inside the hangar,
9 and if they did, who?
10 A. That's a difficult question. They were all the same to us, those
11 people that we were up against inside. There were probably some
12 White Eagles there. There were some people wearing Chetnik insignia.
13 There was some neat looking people, orderly looking people, proper JNA
14 soldiers. It was a jumble really. There was some locals there from the
15 Vukovar area as well as those who were probably from elsewhere.
16 Q. And whilst you were in the hangar, were you questioned by anyone?
17 You said others were questioned, but were you?
18 A. I wasn't questioned myself, but my name was put on a list. The
19 list was compiled by a soldier who went around taking names down. So my
20 personal details were recorded.
21 Q. And what did this soldier look like? How was he dressed? How did
22 he look?
23 A. He was wearing military uniform, camouflage uniform, with a flak
24 jacket on his chest. He looked very soldierly and orderly. He went
25 around and took everybody's names down.
1 Q. You said that he recorded your personal details. Did he record
2 anything else other than your name?
3 A. The date of birth, father's name probably. I don't really
4 remember. All the personal details.
5 Q. Did there appear to be anyone in charge of the soldiers, the
6 reservists, and the paramilitaries that you've stated were inside?
7 A. Yes. That was the impression. There was a person carrying a
8 whistle, dressed in olive-drab, with a windcheater on. You couldn't tell
9 the rank. This person was using that whistle to orchestrate those people
10 who were there, as it were. That at least was the general impression or,
11 rather, that is how it was.
12 Q. You said this person was wearing a windcheater; is that correct?
13 A. Yes. The military kind.
14 Q. Are you able to say how old this person was and the type of build
15 he had, whether he was thin or regular or otherwise?
16 A. He was of robust build, a bit on the stout side, wearing a
17 moustache and aged about 50.
18 Q. Are you able to say what colour his hair was?
19 A. Dark, perhaps black.
20 Q. Now, you said he was using the whistle to orchestrate those people
21 who were there, as it were. What do you mean by that? What was he doing?
22 A. He was using the whistle to call the soldiers off, those who were
23 mistreating the detainees. They would then calm down, the intensity of
24 the beatings would abate for a while, and then soon enough they'd be back.
25 Q. At any one time are you able to say about how many soldiers were
1 involved in the beatings inside the hangar?
2 A. It's difficult to judge. About 50, perhaps, about a hundred. I
3 really can't say.
4 Q. And when these detainees were being beaten, what were the rest of
5 the detainees doing?
6 A. Everybody was just somewhere, and there was nothing for any of us
7 to do. We just waited to see what would happen next.
8 Q. And were the detainees, were they standing? Were they seated?
9 Were they on the ground? Can you explain how they were in these one or
10 two hours?
11 A. Some were standing. Some were lying down on the ground. Most of
12 them were seated, and some were being moved by those people from one spot
13 to another, changing their positions, as it were, inside the building.
14 Q. Apart from the detainees that were placed in the hangar and the
15 soldiers, was there anything else in the building, any machinery, any --
16 anything other than those people?
17 A. There was only hay in the part of the building where we were. In
18 the front part of the building there was a desk, the kind you usually see
19 in schools, just a regular desk, and there was a length of rope attached
20 to it, and there were some detainees behind that.
21 There was another section of the building that we didn't go to,
22 it's quite a long hall, and there was some sort of a vehicle there, a
23 piece of machinery, something like that.
24 Q. And what was the atmosphere like for you when the beatings were
25 continuing in the hangar?
1 A. It was dreadful. We were just waiting, feeling an enormous fear
2 and feeling that an evil would strike us. It's difficult to explain.
3 Q. And when the beatings were continuing against the detainees, were
4 the other detainees trying to stop the beatings?
5 A. No. They couldn't even budge, let alone speak up.
6 Q. And the -- the soldier with the whistle, did he say anything to
7 the detainees during that time?
8 A. I didn't notice him saying anything to anyone.
9 Q. At any stage were any of the detainees taken outside of the
11 A. Some were taken outside.
12 Q. And can you explain how that happened?
13 A. Two soldiers would come, approach a person and say, "You're coming
14 with us." I can't give you any more details. I saw them take out Sinisa
15 Glavasevic and one young man from the defence.
16 Q. And were detainees taken out individually or in groups? Can you
18 A. Individually.
19 Q. And can you tell the Court how you left the hangar?
20 A. After that time that I cannot define that I spent there, they
21 started taking out people in groups, in an organised way. The groups
22 would include ten or 20 people. They were lined up and taken out the same
23 door through which they had been brought in. And that went on until I was
24 taken out myself.
25 Q. When the first group was taken out, are you able to say whether it
1 was light or dark outside?
2 A. It was getting dark while we were still inside, and the lights
3 were on. Probably a power unit and a generator were working outside for
4 the lights inside to work.
5 Q. And about how many groups were taken out before you were taken out
6 of the hangar?
7 A. Two groups, I think. I think I was in the third one.
8 Q. Can you tell the Court who took your group out and what happened
9 once you got outside the hangar?
10 A. We were brought out by soldiers or, rather, soldier, the same
11 soldier who took out the first and the second group. I think it was the
12 same person.
13 Q. And what was this soldier wearing?
14 A. He was a regular soldier, with epaulettes of a regular soldier.
15 Q. And the colour of the uniform?
16 A. Olive-grey, the colour of the JNA.
17 Q. Did this soldier say anything to you when he took you out?
18 A. He told us that we were going to be transferred to another hangar.
19 MR. SMITH: Mr. Vasic, I believe, has something to say.
20 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry, Mr. Vasic. Yes.
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 On page 60, line 2, I think the witness was talking about an
23 ordinary soldier and the translation says "regular soldier." I'm not sure
24 that's correct. An ordinary soldier does not necessarily belong to
25 regular units. Could the -- could the -- my colleague clarify it with the
1 witness perhaps? I think the translation, the interpretation, is not
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
4 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Witness, was he an ordinary soldier or a regular soldier? How
6 would you put it?
7 A. Do you think I was in a position to ask him whether he was
8 ordinary or extraordinary? He was a soldier of the JNA and that was
10 Q. Thank you. And once you left the hangar, where did you?
11 A. We were put in a military vehicle, a JNA vehicle, and transferred
12 towards Grabovo. Almost halfway, in a depression the vehicle braked,
13 lowered its speed, turned left and turned towards the swamp that was part
14 of that farm between Ovcara and Grabovo.
15 Q. Perhaps before we discuss what happened at this point, can you
16 give us an understanding of the time that passed from the time that the
17 first group was taken out until you left the hangar? Approximately how
18 long was that?
19 A. I think it was ten to 15 minutes, the time that it took for one
20 group by another to leave.
21 Q. And can you describe the military truck that you were placed on,
22 or the military vehicle?
23 A. It was a regular ordinary vehicle, freight vehicle of the JNA,
24 capacity two tonnes, maybe, covered with a tarpaulin. Nothing special,
25 apart from the fact that it was military vehicle, an army vehicle.
1 Q. And apart from your group that got on the truck, did that soldier
2 that came to get you from the hangar, did he also travel with you?
3 A. No. He had joined the driver, and there was practically nobody
4 with us in the back of that vehicle.
5 Q. And what was the lighting like outside at this time? Was it light
6 or dark? Can you explain?
7 A. I've already said that it was getting dark while we were still
8 inside the hangar, but there was moonlight. Although it was dark outside
9 there was moonlight, so there was some visibility.
10 Q. And did you know any of the other people in your group that were
11 placed in the truck?
12 A. Yes, I knew some.
13 Q. And what were their names?
14 A. Zeljko Jurela was one. And one man from Sotin. His name eludes
15 me right now, but I'll remember it.
16 Q. Did you know a Mato Perak?
17 A. Yes, yes. That's the person. Mato Perak from Sotin.
18 Q. And as you were travelling out in this military truck, was there
19 any discussions between either yourself and Zeljko, Mato, and any of the
20 other detainees placed in the truck?
21 A. Not much, but when Mato, who was trying to peer through the
22 tarpaulin and wanted to get out, Zeljko stopped him by saying, "Don't.
23 They'll kill us all." He was trying to dissuade him.
24 Q. You said that the soldier that took you out of the hangar said you
25 were being taken to another hangar. Whilst you were in the military
1 truck, did you believe that to be the case, that you were going to another
3 A. Well, partly I did believe that because I knew there were other
4 hangars in Grabovo, but I wasn't sure there were some in this area. In
5 the army, it's possible to make some sort of makeshift accommodation using
6 tents, even in a clearing.
7 Q. What did you decide to do as the truck was travelling?
8 A. I decided to jump. I gripped something above me and jumped, and
9 then I looked back to see if anyone would follow, if anyone would do the
10 same, or if the vehicle would stop. That was another possibility.
11 Q. And why did you decide to jump?
12 A. It's a moment I cannot describe, because I was in a state of shock
13 after all the beating and everything that had happened, all the bad things
14 that we had been through. It was just an instantaneous decision. I did
15 what I did. I jumped.
16 Q. And after you jumped, where did you go?
17 A. I set out in the direction of Vukovar, passing by the pig farm,
18 heading for Vukovar.
19 Q. And as you set out in that direction, did you hear anything?
20 A. Yes. I heard several shots. There was the sound of the vehicle
21 stopping, braking. The noise of the vehicle subsided. I heard a short
22 volley of fire and several individual shots from the direction from which
23 I was going.
24 Q. About how long after you jumped off the truck did you hear this
1 A. A minute, two.
2 Q. Did you see the truck when the shooting was occurring?
3 A. No. No, I couldn't see it anymore. It was still night. It was
4 still dark.
5 Q. And after you heard that, where did you go?
6 A. I tried to keep the direction I had decided on, heading for
7 Vukovar. And before a place called Ljutik, I passed through a cornfield
8 and by the fair-grounds and continued in the vicinity of Bogdanovci
9 village heading for Vinkovci.
10 Q. And where did you go after what?
11 A. As I said before, I was heading for Vinkovci, which I thought was
12 still under the control of our forces, and I was trying to get to the free
13 territory of the Republic of Croatia. My aim was to join my family.
14 Q. And were you able to get to the free territory or not, and if you
15 didn't, where did you end up?
16 A. I ended up a prisoner, because passing through Ceric village, I
17 turned back. And after several hours of hard walking and trying to get
18 out of there, I was exhausted and thirsty. I tried to find some water
19 somewhere, and since it was already dawning, I thought I would get water
20 somewhere, and I thought there were maybe some civilians in the basement
21 that was quite close in front of me, or maybe that it was empty. However,
22 what I did was I woke up some reservists of the JNA instead, and that's
23 when I was taken prisoner.
24 Q. Did you intentionally wake them up or was that by accident?
25 A. By accident. I was going there to get some water. I asked in a
1 loud voice, "Is there anyone there?" Hoping that there would be ordinary
2 people there, not the army.
3 Q. And you said that you were taken prisoner. What happened when
4 that happened?
5 A. They put me in a smoking house from which I tried to escape
6 several times, but the third time I attempted an escape a soldier who
7 stood guard there fired from his automatic rifle, told me, "If you try
8 this once again, I'll shoot straight through you."
9 Q. And how long were you kept prisoner there after you tried to
10 escape for the third time?
11 A. That night was a short one, because it was practically sunrise
12 when I got there, and it was day just an hour or two after I got there.
13 And then they took me to some sort of command post they had.
14 Q. And can you describe the command post, who was there? Were there
15 any soldiers present?
16 A. There were soldiers outside that command post, which was in fact
17 an ordinary house converted into a command post, and there were soldiers
18 there. They interrogated me, threatened me, beat me, and they took some
19 things from me.
20 Q. You say they interrogated you. What were they asking you?
21 A. What I had been doing, where I had been. I can't remember all the
22 things they asked me anymore.
23 Q. And you said they beat you. How severely did they beat you?
24 A. Right. They beat me severely enough so that I started bleeding
25 from my head, and then the beating stopped shortly afterwards.
1 Q. And how long was the beating for?
2 A. Not long. Five to ten minutes. I don't know.
3 Q. And how long did you stay at this headquarters for before you were
4 taken somewhere else?
5 A. Well, for a very short while, maybe 15 minutes before they put me
6 on a truck, an army truck. And I had a soldier for an escort. He kept
7 his automatic rifle or light machine-gun trained at me all the time.
8 Q. And what type of soldier was he? You talked about paramilitaries,
9 reserves, regular soldiers. Can you describe what group he belonged to or
10 what he wore?
11 A. He wore military clothing, but I told you before that I couldn't
12 tell by the clothes who belonged to which group, but it was a JNA uniform.
13 I don't know whether he was a regular or paramilitary. At that time,
14 there was no pattern. He was a soldier in any case, either a regular
15 soldier or mobilised as a reservist.
16 Q. And where were you taken and what happened to you at this place?
17 A. They took me to a place calmed Stari Jankovci, and there I was
18 handed over to the military police. I believe there was a captain there
19 who questioned me. And after that, he sent me to the basement where two
20 policemen beat me up. And there were some other prisoners down there who
21 had been brought earlier.
22 Q. And how did you know they were the military police?
23 A. Well, in the JNA, they were recognisable by white belts worn like
24 suspenders. So they had this olive-grey uniform with white suspender
1 Q. Can you describe the beating that you received at -- at this
3 A. They beat us with truncheons, those other men, and me in
4 particular. The beating was done by truncheons until the victim would
5 fall to the floor.
6 Q. Did they say anything to you, the military police, before they
7 beat you up?
8 A. I don't remember them saying anything. Maybe they did, maybe they
9 didn't. I don't know.
10 Q. And did you receive any injuries from this beating?
11 A. No particular injuries, but I was all black and blue all over my
13 Q. You said you were taken to a basement and that's where you were
14 beaten. What type of premises was it?
15 A. It was a house converted into some sort of accommodation for JNA
16 troops, maybe like a command post for the military police or headquarters.
17 Otherwise, it was a normal farmhouse.
18 Q. Were you questioned at all by anyone whilst you were in the
19 basement of this house?
20 A. Not in the basement, but in the ground floor of the house. That's
21 where I was questioned.
22 Q. And who questioned you, can you describe him, and also, what was
23 the question about?
24 A. Well, it was an officer who questioned me. I think he was a
25 captain by rank, a JNA captain. And the questions had to do with my role
1 in the defence of the town, the laying of mines in minefields, where I
2 put, how many mines, et cetera.
3 Q. And how do you know he was a JNA captain?
4 A. He wore the signs of his rank.
5 Q. After the questioning, what happened to you?
6 A. After the questioning, he handcuffed me to the radiator and that's
7 where I spent the night.
8 Q. And the next morning did you go anywhere?
9 A. The next morning those of us who were kept there were all put in a
10 van and transported to Sid.
11 Q. And how many others of you were kept there, and do you know what
12 they had done to end up at that place as well?
13 A. I don't know. They used to live in Vukovar, and what they had or
14 hadn't done I don't know. In any case, they were prisoners, three of
15 them, or maybe even four. One was even a member from Dzakova, and several
16 of us were taken to Sid.
17 Q. What sort of vehicle took you to Sid, and who was driving it, and
18 what happened when you got there?
19 A. It was an ordinary vehicle, not an army one. It's like a
20 Volkswagen van. And we were driven to the police station in Sid.
21 Q. And how long did you stay at the police station there?
22 A. Several hours.
23 Q. And were you questioned at the police station, and if you were,
24 what about?
25 A. Yes. We were questioned about what had been going on there, who
1 had been where.
2 Q. And when you say "what had been going on there," are you referring
3 to Vukovar generally or anything in particular?
4 A. It was questioning in general terms, but my particular
5 interrogator asked me how many people had been killed at Ovcara, because
6 he seemed to remember me from there.
7 Q. The person that was doing the interrogating, was he a police
8 officer, someone in the army, or from some other group, or a civilian?
9 A. He was dressed in civilian clothes. I suppose he was an
10 inspector, maybe of the MUP. That means civilian police.
11 Q. How long did the discussion continue for in relation to how many
12 people had been killed at Ovcara? How long did that discussion go on for?
13 A. It was very brief, because I denied knowing him at all, and that
14 was the end of the conversation.
15 Q. And why did you think that he seemed to remember you from being at
16 Ovcara? Why did you think that?
17 A. That's not what I thought. He claimed that he remembered me from
18 Ovcara, and he wanted to know -- he wanted me to tell me -- to tell him
19 how many people had been there and had been killed there, and I couldn't
20 tell him that.
21 Q. Did he tell you what he was doing at Ovcara?
22 A. No. The only thing that he said was that the two of us had seen
23 each other at Ovcara, which led me to believe that he must have been
25 Q. You said that you were at the police station for a couple of
1 hours. After that -- after that time there, where did you go?
2 A. Again, some JNA soldiers came to fetch us, and as we were leaving
3 the cell, they beat us first and then threw us into a truck, a JNA truck,
4 and covered in blood and beaten up as we were, we were driven to
5 Sremska Mitrovica.
6 Q. And where were you taken to at Sremska Mitrovica?
7 A. Well, we were taken to the civilian prison of Sremska Mitrovica.
8 Q. And how long did you stay in this prison?
9 A. Until the 4th of February, 1992.
10 Q. And whilst you were at the prison, were you interviewed at all in
11 relation to your involvement --
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith, I'm judging that your next question will
13 lead to several, and I'm looking at the time and the tape. I think we
14 have to call it an evening at this point.
15 MR. SMITH: There's no objection from the Prosecution, Your
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
18 We will, therefore, adjourn at this stage and resume again
19 tomorrow at 2.15.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.49 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 9th day
22 of March, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.