1 Wednesday, 26 April 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. May I remind you, sir, of your
7 affirmation, which still applies.
8 Mr. Moore, private session?
9 MR. MOORE: No, we can stay -- we can go into open session for a
10 short part.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
12 WITNESS: WITNESS P-014 [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examination by Mr. Moore: [Continued]
15 Q. Witness, may I just deal, please, with the matters that occurred
16 at the hangar at Ovcara, and the attack upon the prisoners. Do you know
17 to whom the TO and volunteers were subordinated at the time of the
18 mistreatment? Do you know who they were subordinated to?
19 A. Mr. Moore, at the time I didn't know whom the volunteers and the
20 TO members were subordinated to.
21 Q. Have you subsequently discovered to whom they were subordinated?
22 A. All I could do was to assume at that time that they had to have
23 been subordinated to someone.
24 Q. Did you find out who they were subordinated to, subsequently?
25 A. Unfortunately, I did not acquire that explicit knowledge. It was
1 just left at the level of an assumption.
2 Q. Can I refer you, please, to a document. It is as follows: It is
3 0327-1248. It is, in the tab that my learned friends and the Court have
4 got, it's tab 2. I now have a copy of it in B/C/S. Can we deal with it,
5 please? It is dated, top left-hand corner, the 21st of November. Is that
7 A. [In English] Yes, yes.
8 Q. And the time is 1800 hours, strictly confidential. Is that right?
9 A. [In English] Yes.
10 Q. Now, you mentioned this particular document at the very start of
11 your evidence.
12 A. [In English] Yes.
13 Q. In relation to the subordination and other matters. Can we look,
14 then, at the first page to whom it is addressed. Could you read out,
15 please, to whom it is addressed.
16 A. This is a regular combat report sent to the command of the 1st
17 Military District, and the office of the Federal Secretary for National
18 Defence. So this is a regular combat report sent by the Operations Group
19 South to these two groups.
20 Q. And can we go to the final page, please, to see where it is
21 actually originating from. So can you turn the page, please, and read out
22 the actual endorsement at the bottom.
23 A. Mr. Moore, are you talking about the signatory of the document, or
24 the text that is just above the signatory?
25 Q. No, I'm talking about, if you look at the B/C/S version, you can
1 see a stamp, and there is writing --
2 A. [No interpretation].
3 Q. Would you mind reading that out, please.
4 A. Yes, thank you. I understand now. It states there "Commander of
5 Operations Group South, Colonel Mile Mrksic." But as far as the signature
6 is concerned, it appears to me that this was signed by someone else on his
7 behalf. Because to the left of the P, underneath the stamp, it states
8 "for," so I would imagine that this is probably the signature of the Chief
9 of Staff of the Operations Group South, Miodrag Panic, although I have not
10 seen his signature on other documents. So the assumption is based on this
11 word, "za," "for." The person signed in the name of or on behalf of
12 Colonel Mile Mrksic, because I believe that this is not Mile Mrksic's
13 signature. It is most probably the signature of Lieutenant-Colonel
14 Miodrag Panic.
15 Q. Thank you very much indeed. Can I now deal with the document
16 itself. Can we go to front page. We will go to number 2. The heading is
17 "South Operative Group Detachments." And I want to deal, please, in the
18 English version, with the sentence dealing in relation to the -- the
19 wounded. So the first part relates to in the course of the 20th, 21st of
20 November, civilians were transported to Sid and Sremska Mitrovica. It is
21 the next sentence I would like to deal with, please. Would you be kind
22 enough to read that out.
23 A. The next sentence states: "The wounded were transported during
24 the night between the 20th and the 21st of November to Sremska Mitrovica.
25 From Sremska Mitrovica, they were sent to the agreed place of delivery in
1 Bosanska Raca.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Can we then move on, please, to the next
3 entry, starting, "In the course ..." Would you be kind enough, please, to
4 read out this part of the document dealing with subordination and
6 A. Thank you. "In the course of 21st November, 1991, and further to
7 your order strictly confidential number 115-151 dated 20th November, 1991,
8 we have regulated all resubordination units issues regarding volunteer
9 units and returning the subordinated units back to their original
10 structure." And it ends by stating, "Preparations have been undertaken
11 for the Vukovar Territorial Defence to take over vital objects in
13 Q. And just to remind ourselves, this was issued at 6.00 in the
14 evening of the 21st; is that right?
15 A. Could you please scroll it a little bit once again. So that I can
16 see the top of the document. Yes, at 1800 hours on the 21st of November,
18 MR. MOORE: Might I make application, please, for this document to
19 be made an exhibit.
20 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document will become Exhibit
22 Number 368.
23 MR. MOORE:
24 Q. I want to deal with the actual incident itself. I think it's
25 right to say that, as a consequence, you suffered depression. Is that
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Well, I'm not going to ask you any further questions in relation
4 to this matter. Others may, I don't know.
5 MR. MOORE: I have no further questions. Thank you very much.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Moore.
7 Now there will be some questions first from Mr. Vasic.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good morning
9 to all those present in the courtroom.
10 Cross-examination by Mr. Vasic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness. I would first of all like
12 to ask you, in view of the fact that we speak the same language, to make a
13 pause after my question, and before you begin your answer so that the
14 interpreters could completely interpret my question and then your answer.
15 Also, because of the protective measures that you have, and so that your
16 voice is not heard through my microphone, I would ask you to follow this
18 First of all, I would like to cover some purely technical matters
19 relating to the statements you've provided so far. I think that your
20 identity will not be disclosed with this because we will just focus on
21 certain aspects and not on the contents of the statement itself. Can you
22 confirm that on the 30th of December, 2002, you testified before the
23 investigators of the investigative court in Belgrade in the case 578/98?
24 A. Mr. Vasic, I'm not sure that that is the correct date.
25 Q. Just one moment, please. Yes, you are right. I apologise. The
1 date is the 24th of September, 2001. Is that correct?
2 Could you please repeat your answer, because it was not recorded
3 in the transcript.
4 A. The answer is the 26th of September, 2001.
5 Q. Thank you very much. After that, as a witness, you provided a
6 statement to the internal affairs organs on the 27th --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not get the complete date.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. -- 2003; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I will repeat the date. It is the 21st of July, 2003.
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. Thank you. After that, on the 23rd and the 24th of September,
14 2003, you spoke with investigators from the OTP, after which the statement
15 was drafted that you signed; is that correct?
16 A. Yes. I signed it on the 1st of October, 2005.
17 Q. Thank you. After that, on the 5th of November, 2003, you
18 testified before the investigative judge of the special section of the
19 district court for war crimes in Novi Sad; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, I testified before that organ, but I did that at the military
21 court in Belgrade.
22 MR. MOORE: Can I just interrupt my learned friend for one moment,
23 and I'm sorry to repeat what he's done to me. And that is that there is,
24 on line 6/14, the suggestion is that the document was signed on the 1st of
25 October, 2005. I think that should be 2003. Can we just clarify that,
1 please? It's 2005 on the statement.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you to my learned friend. I
3 think the witness did say 2005, but maybe he made a mistake, and we will
4 ask him again.
5 Q. When did you sign the statement provided to the OTP?
6 A. It was my mistake. I apologise. It was 2003, excuse me.
7 Q. Thank you. Then on the 23rd of November, 2004, you testified at
8 the main hearing before the trial chamber of the special war crimes
9 section of the district court in Belgrade; is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. After that you again appeared as a witness in another case, also
12 before the special court in Belgrade, on the 10th of November, 2005?
13 A. Yes. That was the main hearing in the trial of Sasa Radak.
14 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, in response to a question by my learned
15 friend, you explained how you were given the assignment of temporary
16 commander of a unit and how this unit was mobilised at several attempts,
17 and then in early -- in November 1991 it arrived in the Vukovar area. You
18 also told us what was the basic purpose of that unit. So what I would
19 like to know, if you can tell us, in your unit how were the combat
20 activities secured when it arrived in Vukovar?
21 A. When the unit arrived in the Vukovar area [indiscernible] arrived
22 in the Dubrava farm sector, and that was in the night between the 8th and
23 the 9th. Two-thirds of the unit was deployed to their positions while
24 one-third of the unit was carrying out the immediate security of the
25 complete battalion. This was in the course of that day. Immediate
1 security in the continued implementation of combat activities was carried
2 out in accordance with the rules of work for the Light Artillery
3 Battalion, which I actually provided as an attachment. So we carried out
4 this task primarily with our own forces.
5 Q. Thank you. As part of this security, can you please tell me how
6 the morale political security of your unit was implemented, using which
7 forces, and to whom were you subordinated in this segment?
8 A. In order to carry out morale political security as one of the
9 activities that needed to be realised in the battalion units, the most
10 responsible ranking officer in the brigade was Captain Jovan Novkovic, who
11 was appointed assistant commander of the Light Artillery Battalion for
12 anti-aircraft defence for morale. This was before the second
13 mobilisation. So subsequently. And until then he was really not familiar
14 with that particular composition of the battalion. In view of the fact
15 that the main content of morale security work at that time was actually to
16 inform about events in the country in the JNA in general, and then in the
17 units in the encirclement, then a large part of that work was actually
18 carried out by me. Why? Because my members, those who were exclusively
19 from the reserves, had arrived from Sumadija, the towns of Kragujevac --
20 mostly Kragujevac, and then Mladenovac, Lapovo, and all the other parts.
21 And one of the main questions that they put to me was why we were sent
22 here in the first place. And the -- they wanted an answer to that
23 question exclusively from the commander of the unit, so that the assistant
24 commander for morale had a lesser role in this in view of the fact that
25 his responses did not have the same practical significance in maintaining
1 the combat readiness of the unit which, in a way, was shaken right from
2 the beginning because that particular unit was mobilised three times.
3 Q. Just to clarify, this assistant commander for morale was the
4 assistant commander of the 80th Brigade; is that correct?
5 A. No, he was the assistant commander for morale in my battalion.
6 This had nothing to do with the 80th. You asked me how morale security
7 work was conducted in my battalion. In my battalion, the battalion's
8 assistant commander for morale, by order, was Captain Jovan Novkovic.
9 Q. I asked you that because in your previous answer you said that, as
10 part of the brigade, the deputy commander for morale was this Jovan, so
11 that's why I asked you whether we were talking about the 80th Brigade.
12 A. No, he wasn't assistant commander in the 80th Brigade, but in my
13 battalion. There was a reserve officer in that function in the 80th
14 Brigade, but I don't know him.
15 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell me about the intelligence
16 activities in your unit. How was that implemented?
17 A. The intelligence activities in my unit were conducted on the basis
18 of tasks, which I received at the command post of the Light Artillery
19 Battalion of anti-aircraft defence at Sajmiste from Lieutenant-Colonel
20 Lesanovic. That's where I received all the elements relating to that type
21 of security. Other communication with any other organ in that area was
22 something that I did not actually initiate. I did not have any
23 communication with them. So if I were to tell you that on that day, the
24 20th, I received an assignment from Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic to carry
25 out special security of the command post in view of the possible pull-out
1 of the remaining forces, the Croat forces, and the possible infiltration
2 of sabotage and reconnaissance groups, this means that we were also
3 processing these types of assignments together. But actually this was not
4 something that was frequently discussed.
5 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I'm sorry to express concerns again.
6 9/19, our understanding that the translation may be incorrect. That was
7 Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic of the guards and that guards was mentioned
8 but not translated.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
10 Mr. Vasic, do you accept that? If not, if you could clarify the
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. You talked about Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic. Is that the
14 lieutenant-colonel whom you mentioned in your answers to the questions by
15 my learned friend yesterday?
16 A. Yes, that is the same person.
17 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry, my learned friend has to surely clarify
18 whether the word, "guards," was used or not.
19 MR. VASIC:
20 Q. Did you mention that Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic was from the
21 Guards Brigade?
22 MR. VASIC: And the witness clearly mentioned that yesterday, and
23 that's why I didn't insist on that.
24 Q. Could you please repeat your answer because it hasn't been
1 A. I mentioned Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic, who was the head of the
2 ARJ of the PVO, who was at the command post of the Light Artillery Rocket
3 Battalion of the PVO of the Guards Motorised Brigade at Sajmiste.
4 Q. You said that Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic mentioned to you the
5 issue of security of the command post because of the pull-out of the Croat
6 forces from certain parts of Vukovar. Are you trying to say that
7 Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic was the person under whose jurisdiction
8 activities carried out against the Croat forces were -- was? And in the
9 field, that is.
10 A. I'm not trying to say that he was the competent person, but he
11 informed me of the entire situation on the ground as regards the
12 activities of the anti-aircraft units. My unit that was deployed in the
13 area of Ovcara was in a very specific situation in that regard. Because
14 we were expecting that the largest number of the groups that had stayed
15 behind would go along the axis where our battery is, from the nearby
16 woods. And that battery had an unprotected right flank. That's what the
17 context of our discussion was. We discussed the issues of the units I
18 commanded over, and the questions we posed to him did not pertain only to
19 that but of general political nature, as recorded in my notebook.
20 Therefore, he would inform me of the conclusions discussed at his meetings
21 with Colonel Mrksic encompassing the issues I mentioned.
11 Page 7740 redacted.
4 (redacted) I have a few more questions concerning this
5 topic. Perhaps we could go into private session for that.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
7 [Private session]
11 Pages 7742-7793 redacted. Private session.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.35 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 27th day of
6 April, 2006, at 2.15 p.m.