1 Wednesday, 3 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. May I remind you, Colonel, of the
7 affirmation that you made at the beginning of your evidence, which still
9 Mr. Smith.
10 MR. SMITH: Good morning, Your Honours.
11 WITNESS: RADOJE TRIFUNOVIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Examination by Mr. Smith: [Continued]
14 Q. Good Morning, Colonel. Yesterday when we finished our discussion
15 we were talking about the war diary and the document register which was
16 kept by the command of Operational Group South. Perhaps if we can turn to
17 tab number 10, please where we have a copy of the war diary. And this is
18 65 ter number 70.
19 Witness, do you have that document in front of you?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And if you can briefly explain what this document is.
22 A. This is the war diary. All important orders and decisions must be
23 written down and made into a document. Certain oral orders or orders
24 transmitted orally are recorded in the senior officer's working notebook,
25 which is an official document. Important information reports, any orders
1 received, information on developments obtained from other sources, from
2 duty officers, from any of the relevant bodies, developments important for
3 any unfolding operations, all these are entered into the war diary.
4 Given the fact that I entered most of the information myself, I
5 can confirm that all the developments that occurred during the operation
6 were entered accurately into the war diary, all those that I knew about.
7 Q. Thank you. And if we look at the original version of the diary,
8 does your name, your signature appear on most entries on the right-hand
10 A. Yes. This is what I've just told you about. I personally entered
11 most of the information. You can see Major Gojkovic, Major Gojkovic's
12 name here too, but he was involved with other assignments later on,
13 whereas Major Skoro would sometimes join me on this task. However, for
14 the most part it was me who was entering the data.
15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... all important orders and
16 decisions must be written down and made into a document. When you stated
17 that, were you referring to the war diary or some other document?
18 A. All important orders and decisions in the form of written
19 documents are recorded in the register book which is kept in the general
20 administrations office. It is not necessary for each and every document
21 to be entered into the war diary.
22 Q. As a matter of practice, any order that you thought was important
23 or report that you thought was important, as well as events, would you
24 have recorded them in the war diary as a matter of general practice?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You referred earlier to an officer's notebook, the senior
2 officer's working notebook. Were all senior officers required to keep a
4 A. The working notebook is an official document. Oral orders or any
5 oral reports are recorded in this working notebook, which is then used as
6 an official document. It is a valid document and it is used to show that
7 an order has been received or a report. However, within the command
8 system everyone must carry out any decisions and orders given by the
9 commander, any tasks set out by any commander. Therefore it is not always
10 necessary for the commander to put this in writing. It is sufficient
11 sometimes to have oral communication, the person receiving the order takes
12 this down in his notebook and acts upon it. This can be done in direct,
13 personal communication, but in addition to this, meetings and briefings
14 may also be held.
15 Q. The purpose of the officer's notebook, was the purpose to pick up
16 orders that didn't get recorded in a written form to have them recorded in
17 that -- in a written form, in a -- more of a short-form way? Sorry, that
18 question wasn't very good, but is the purpose of the notebook to record
19 orders that perhaps are less formal?
20 A. Yes, I understand what you mean.
21 Q. And was it the -- was it an obligation for an officer to keep the
22 notebook by rules and -- army rules?
23 A. The working notebook is always considered an official document
24 used by every officer to enter. Any sort of information can be used as a
25 memo, as a memo pad. This is where an officer takes notes, any questions
1 or issues being raised, assessments. This is like a memo pad. This is
2 used by an officer to have something to consult later, to remind him of
3 important issues. It's like anything else, but within the system of
4 singleness of command, within the army, the working notebook has an
5 official status and has the status of an official document. What I'm
6 saying is that orders given to subordinate officers may be entered into
7 this notebook and as such may be used as proof of an order being given
8 later on at some later stage. But anything else can be entered. It's up
9 to each individual officer. Mostly these are used as memo pads.
10 Professional plans, weekend plans sometimes are entered into this working
12 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... that more important orders
13 should be formulated as written documents. Was that the practice of
14 the -- the Operational Group Command in Vukovar? Operational Group South?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. After -- after an officer retires, what happens to the notebook?
17 Is he required to hand that notebook in to the authorities, the army
18 administration, or not?
19 A. Yes. There is an obligation, this is a document kept in this
20 administration office, and when people sign out, as it were, for example
21 when retiring, the notebook is returned. For example, I did this in
22 April, as you can see. I'm not sure how long they're kept for though.
23 I've never read that anywhere.
24 Q. Thank you. If we can go back to the war diary again, please. And
25 if we can look at the first page with the entry starting the 2nd of
1 October. I see that the entries in the war diary include the date --
2 sorry, the place, date and time, the description of the event and the
3 signature of the person entering the information as well as a remark. Was
4 that information expected to be recorded in the war diary in relation to
5 events and orders, important orders?
6 A. Yes, that was certainly expected. What these questions mean is if
7 you look at the rules in relation to how war diaries should be kept, this
8 looks perfectly all right.
9 Q. And you made the entries into the war diary. Was it your
10 responsibility to keep the war diary accurate, as best as you could?
11 A. Yes, needless to say. However, as far as the scope of any
12 information entered is concerned, or how far in-depth one goes, it can be
13 a broad range of information, and it can be narrowed down to the bare
14 bones. One thing that is certain, it must be 100 per cent comprehensible
15 and accurate.
16 Q. The -- you said yesterday that the Guards Brigade Command became
17 the Operational Group Command, Operational Group South, as of the 8th of
18 October. If we can go to that entry in the diary, page 17 in the English,
19 and if we can have look at that, please. The first entry on the page in
20 English. Do you see the entry for the 8th of October, 10 past 8.00 in the
22 A. Yes. I'm not there yet. Bear with me, please. I'm going through
23 the Serbian copy, I think I have just reached the 7th. Right, the 8th.
24 The 8th of October.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... recorded an event and if you
1 can briefly explain what happened on that day in relation to the takeover
2 of Operational Group South.
3 A. This piece of information was obviously entered by Captain First
4 Class Skoric, a meeting was held at the OG command, the OG. And then the
5 agenda, number 1, "OG duty takeover. Number 2, preparation and
6 organisation of combat activity. Number 3, other issues. Colonel Bojat
7 thanked everyone for their cooperation and wished them success with
8 thanked everyone for their cooperation and wished them success with their
9 future actions. He focused on some important issues concerning the
10 organisation and conduct of combat operations." You were talking about
11 this box alone, right.
12 Q. From that day forward, from the 8th of October, did the war diary
13 become the war diary of Operational Group South or still the war diary of
14 the Guards Motorised Brigade?
15 A. In order to provide an accurate response, I would need to have the
16 original order. In which the command of the 1st district organises the
17 system of command and appoints Colonel Mrksic as commander of the first
18 group or rather the command of the brigade as the command of the
19 operations group. I can't specifically remember that order right now, and
20 as far as I remember it was never entered into the war diary, but it must
21 have passed through my hands, it must be somewhere in the register book.
22 The commander must have been told. Or perhaps not, it's really difficult
23 for me to answer this question.
24 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... in any event, after the 8th
25 of October was there any other war diary produced or was this the only war
2 A. Yes, this was the only one.
3 Q. Earlier you said that to provide an accurate response you would
4 need to have the original order in which the command of the 1st district
5 organising the system of command. Are you referring to the 1st Military
6 District there?
7 A. Yes, precisely. I may have misspoken, but that's what I mean, the
8 1st Military District. That is the superior command. The superior
9 command of the guards brigade, ever since their arrival in Vukovar, and
10 this had been decided by the federal secretary. I suppose it must also
11 have acted as the superior command of Operations Group South, in view of
12 all the later orders and developments.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... it's 65 ter number 70 at tab
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour the war diary will become Exhibit 401.
17 MR. SMITH:
18 Q. Colonel, if we can now look at tab 23 and this is a new document
19 that was received after the 65 ter list was submitted and the ERN numbers
20 are English 0467-3069 to 0467-3142, and B/C/S 0467-3122, 0467-3133.
21 Witness, have you found this document?
22 A. The register book. 23, tab 23, is that the one you mean? Yes,
23 I've found it.
24 Q. Now, this register book, is this the document register you were
25 referring to yesterday?
1 A. Precisely.
2 Q. And if we look at the entries in the register book, can you
3 briefly explain what each of the entries mean -- sorry, not each of the
4 entries but the criteria of the entry? On the left-hand side we have
5 number, and then we have the following column, then the degree of secrecy
6 and the date of entry, if you can explain each of the criteria, please,
7 that are recorded in the documents.
8 A. The register book contains a number of forms, the forms are
9 standardised and it is clear which kind of information is expected to be
10 entered. If I understand your question, you have the degree of secrecy,
11 date of entering, the name of the sending command and the name of the
12 receiving command, number of document and name of document. The name of
13 document is the address, as it were. It's the name - is this an order?
14 is this a report? - but that's all that's actually stated in the register
15 book. As far as the summary of what the information is about is concerned.
16 Now, according to a logic inherent in all things, if this register
17 book is received by the Chief of Staff, by the chief of the security
18 organ, or by a commander, and there seems to be something that has
19 relevance for the entire operation, this would necessarily be entered into
20 the war diary as well. Or rather, whichever body happens to receive it
21 would probably go through it, this would normally be the commander, and
22 then take appropriate decisions on what to do next. Whether there should
23 be an oral order or if there is a report or some sort of a warning,
24 whether this should perhaps be taken down, each could do this in their own
25 notebooks, but they might as well use the war diary for this purpose.
1 Q. So this -- this is the document register that you referred to
2 yesterday that recorded all outgoing and incoming orders and reports; is
3 that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And by your answer previous, we're talking about written reports
6 and orders?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And this register, whose responsibility -- I think you -- perhaps
9 you haven't. Whose responsibility --
10 A. Everything that's written down, every written document is
11 recorded. Not just orders and reports, everything that is sent or indeed
13 Q. Whose responsibility was it to keep this register up to date?
14 A. The head of office of the general administration. This is
15 normally attached to the staff and this chief is directly subordinate to
16 the Chief of Staff.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, could Mr. Smith kindly try
18 not to overlap with the interpreters to ensure an accurate record.
19 MR. SMITH:
20 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I've been told to slow down, which I will.
23 And where was the war diary kept?
24 A. The war diary was kept in the operations room. It was always kept
25 on the duty officer's table in the operations centre. When things
1 happened and I wasn't there, the duty officer of the operations centre
2 would take down in his notebook any information received while I wasn't
3 present to record this in the war diary. So the only person doing this
4 was the duty officer of the operations centre, and duty officers would
5 normally be the most responsible persons from the brigade command.
6 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender the document register
7 with the ERN numbers as stated.
8 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
9 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 402, Your Honours.
10 MR. SMITH:
11 Q. Witness, if we can now turn to some earlier documents, and if we
12 can turn to tab 8, please, which is 65 ter number 452. Witness, do you
13 have that order in front of you?
14 A. Tab 8. Yes, I see that.
15 Q. That is an order from Colonel General Blagoje Adzic to the Guards
16 Motorised Brigade. Can you briefly state what that order is ordering?
17 A. This document was sent to the command of the Guards Motorised
18 Brigade, but also to the command of the 1st Front. From a terminological
19 point of view, the command of the 1st Military District, that should be
20 somewhere too, not the 1st Front. This strikes me as terminologically
21 erroneous in the norms governing the work of the military structure and
22 organisation; that's how it should be. However, as operations unfold this
23 was obviously at some point renamed the front command. I'm sorry for
24 providing this additional explanation.
25 All in all this document was sent to the brigade command to
1 resubordinate itself by 1600 hours, until the completion of the task, and
2 there is very little I can comment on.
3 Q. Have you seen this document before?
4 A. I've seen it.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the purpose of this document
6 to resubordinate the Guards Motorised Brigade to the 1st Military
7 District; is that correct?
8 A. The order is clear, and it was abided by.
9 MR. SMITH: I seek to tender that document, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: The document will be Exhibit 403, Your Honours.
12 MR. SMITH:
13 Q. Witness, if we can look at the next tab, tab 9, which is 65 ter
14 number 453. Are you familiar with this document?
15 A. Yes, I am.
16 Q. And, briefly, can you state what the document -- the purpose of
18 A. The title reads, "Order on the engagement of officers from the
19 office of the SSNO from the Guards Motorised Brigade." And the order
20 specifies which officers are to be included in what way and when. My
21 comment, this regards the function of control by the superior command in
22 order to gain insight into the situation and the degree of implementation
23 of the tasks distributed. And it was decided that the two officers should
24 be engaged, Colonel Pavkovic and Colonel Terzic. The function of control.
25 In item four it reads, "Submit reports, remarks and recommendations to
1 me intermittently and as needed."
2 Q. Thank you. And this document was issued by the Federal
3 Secretariat for the National Defence, the Colonel --
4 A. Yes. The head of cabinet of the central secretary.
5 Q. And this was a high-level command than the Guards Motorised
6 Brigade; is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And in your answer it wasn't recorded but the author of this
9 document was -- what was his name?
10 A. The author of the document concerning the engagement of officers
11 from the office of the SSNO, it was ordered by the chief or head of
12 cabinet of the SSNO, Colonel Vuk Obradovic and at the time Colonel Nebojsa
13 Pavkovic was his deputy. The Federal Secretariat for National Defence had
14 his own cabinet, his own office, and as far as I can remember, the Guards
15 Motorised Brigade at the time before being resubordinated via this order
16 to the 1st Military District, was subordinated to the cabinet of the
17 federal secretary.
18 Q. The purpose of this assignment be to make sure that the brigade
19 command, the guards brigade command was doing their job properly? Would
20 that be the purpose?
21 A. The purpose of any control in essence has that meaning, but it
22 also has a wider context to be looked at; to monitor the situation on the
23 ground, to provide assistance, and to personally see what the problems
24 are; to communicate with the superior command so that issues could be
25 dealt with more efficiently and quickly. I believe the authority of the
1 cabinet of the federal secretary was such to provide a basis to deal with
2 a lot of issues that the Guards Motorised Brigade or the Operations Group
3 South may have had during the operation.
4 Whether, indeed, this was so on the ground, that is something that
5 can be discussed later.
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Colonel Pavkovic and Colonel
7 Terzic be engaged with the Guards Motorised Brigade command, did that
8 imply that either Pavkovic or Terzic --
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. -- had any command responsibilities within the Guards Motorised
11 Brigade or not?
12 A. No.
13 Q. And did that also apply to the command of Operational Group South?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Subsequently --
16 A. The authority of command, neither of them had it.
17 Q. Subsequently were Commander Pavkovic and Terzic present in -- in
18 Vukovar with the command of Operational Group South?
19 A. Yes, they were.
20 Q. Sorry, that was my mistake, I meant Colonel Pavkovic and Terzic.
21 And what were the functions of Colonel Pavkovic in Vukovar? What
22 did he do?
23 A. I don't know what tasks he may have been given by his superior.
24 As far as I know from my commander, Colonel Mrksic, he never used to
25 receive any tasks. He monitored and specifically what I can tell you is
1 that most of the time he was in the area of combat activities in the town
2 of Vukovar, basically every day with the commanders of assault
3 detachments. He monitored the situation and as to whether he always
4 reported the situation to commander Colonel Mrksic, that I don't know. I
5 would suppose so. But he was there most of the time in the field. While
6 Colonel Terzic was not in the field, he was constantly at the command.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. SMITH: I seek to tender --
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] It seems to me that we can see in the
12 transcript what the witness said, and that is that Colonel Pavkovic seldom
13 informed or reported to Colonel Mrksic. Perhaps this can be clarified by
14 my learned friend.
15 JUDGE PARKER: What -- what needs to be clarified, Mr. Vasic?
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in answering one of the
17 questions the witness said that Colonel Pavkovic occasionally informed
18 Colonel Mrksic that he was mostly in the field, but that the actual
19 reporting was quite seldom, appeared seldom. I don't find that in the
20 transcript on page 14.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Are you saying some words were omitted? I'm sorry.
22 I hadn't gathered that.
23 MR. SMITH: Perhaps I can clarify with the witness, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
25 MR. SMITH:
1 Q. Witness, you stated that Colonel Pavkovic never received any tasks
2 from Colonel Mrksic and that most of the time he was in the field and that
3 he monitored the situation and it's not clear whether or not he reported
4 or he gave information to Mrksic often or -- or seldom -- seldomly. Can
5 you please explain how often you believe Pavkovic informed Mrksic as to
6 the situation in the field?
7 A. As far as I can remember, very seldomly. Exceptionally seldomly.
8 Q. In any event, you spent most of your time in the headquarters; is
9 that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. SMITH: I seek to tender that exhibit, Your Honour. It's
12 Exhibit Number -- 65 ter number 453.
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 404, Your Honours.
15 MR. SMITH:
16 Q. Witness, if we can look at tab 11, please, 65 ter number 454. It
17 is a document dated the 1st of October, 1991, and it's entitled, "Order
18 for blockade and attack." And it's signed and the author appears to be
19 Mile Mrksic, the colonel.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. At this stage, the stage that the order was issued, the -- Colonel
22 Mrksic was not the commander of Operational Group South, but the commander
23 of the Guards Motorised Brigade as of the 1st of October; is that correct?
25 A. He wasn't commander of Operations Group South, but rather the
1 commander of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
2 Q. And the document discusses tasks to be undertaken by the Guards
3 Motorised Brigade, but I'd like to refer you to paragraph 2 of the order.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. If you can briefly read out the first four or five lines of
6 paragraph 2.
7 A. "The Guards Motorised Brigade will conduct a blockade and assault
8 on Vukovar with the use of assault detachments within the operations group
9 with the task in cooperation with Vukovar TO units (Petrova Gora
10 detachment of the TO the armoured battalion of the 544th Motorised
11 Brigade, break up enemy forces in the operations zone, take the town and
12 establish an inspection regime." Is that enough.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... and in relation to that
14 statement were the TO, the Vukovar TO units and the Petrova Gora
15 detachment, were they subordinated to the Guards Motorised Brigade at that
16 stage or not? Because I see the word, "With the task in cooperation with
17 these units." At this point in time, the 1st of October.
18 A. It concerns cooperation. The Guards Motorised Brigade at the time
19 was not part, that is the Guards Motorised Brigade was then included
20 within Operations Group South. And within the OG South there were the TO
21 units of Petrova Gora, the armoured battalion of the 544th Motorised
22 Brigade. That's why the command of the OG and its commander, Colonel
23 Bojat, issued this; that's why it concerns coordination.
24 Q. Thank you. And the Petrova Gora TO, Territorial Defence, what was
25 your understanding, what did that comprise of? About how many men?
1 A. To be honest, I can't be precise as to the manning strength. Some
2 of the documents were not at my disposal in the preparation for the
3 testimony, and a lot of time has passed for me to be able to remember.
4 Each detachment of the TO had about 100 to 150 --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, 150 to 200 men.
6 A. Whether the figures inside the TO Petrova Gora were such at the
7 time, I don't know.
8 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... what was it, generally?
9 A. I know. I know that the Petrova Gora detachment, once the Guards
10 Motorised Brigade arrived to the area of Vukovar, was the only TO unit in
11 the town of Vukovar of that level, of detachment level. There were some
12 smaller units in the nearby villages, and in certain parts of the southern
13 part of Vukovar, and they were at the level of company or platoon, when we
14 came to Vukovar that particular TO detachment was commanded by Milorad
15 Vujovic, and he remained in that position. He was subordinated to
16 Colonel Bajo Bojat being the commander of the operations group. And he
17 was trying to prevent the interference of the Croatian forces towards the
18 barracks. That's all I know about the Petrova Gora TO unit.
19 Q. Thank you. You said that the commander of the TO detachment was
20 Milorad Vujovic. Are you sure his first name is Milorad?
21 A. Miroljub Vujovic.
22 Q. Thank you. And what was the ethnic make-up of this Petrova Gora
23 detachment, if you know?
24 A. Mostly Serbs.
25 Q. Also in the order, if we look further down, the tasks are being
1 directed to assault detachments. And if we look at paragraph 5 it's
2 entitled, "Unit tasks." And it has assault detachment 1 and explains the
3 units or subunits that are incorporated into that assault detachment. Do
4 you see that?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. You explained yesterday what an assault detachment was. In
7 this -- in this composition of assault detachment 1 it refers to the first
8 battalion; is that correct? And other units. 1st Motorised Battalion?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. Who was the commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion of the guards
12 A. The commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion and the assault
13 detachment number 1 was Major Borivoje Tesic.
14 Q. And Captain Radic, do you know which assault detachment he was
15 attached to, if any?
16 A. He was within the assault detachment 1, and his commander was
17 Major Borivoje Tesic.
18 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender that document. It's 65
19 ter number 454.
20 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document will become Exhibit
23 MR. SMITH:
24 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 12, please. It's 65 ter
25 number 462. Now, this is a document dated the 12th of October, 1991.
1 Could you briefly describe who that document --
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. -- was to and who it was sent by?
4 A. The document was issued by the command of the 1st Military
5 District, highly confidential, on the 12th of October. Deliver
6 immediately, and the caution regards the system of command and control and
7 order and discipline in the units. To the command of the 12th Corps, the
8 1st Proletarian Guards Division, and something that is illegible. I think
9 it says Operations Group South, but the photocopy is quite poor. I
10 suppose it was the Operations Group South, because we indeed received this
12 Q. And the command of the 12th Corps, the 1st Proletarian Guards
13 Division, who did they belong to, what unit did they belong to? Were they
14 in Operational Group South or some other unit?
15 A. As you can read from the document, this was a document issued by
16 the command of the 1st Military District. The 12th Corps was under their
17 command, as well as the guards motorised division, and the guards brigade,
18 pursuant the previous decision by the chief of the general staff. And
19 this is as late as the 12th of October, that means the Operations Group
20 South was included as well.
21 And all the units in the area were under the command of the 1st
22 Military District.
23 Q. The 12th Corps, were they attached to any operational group?
24 A. The 12th Corps is a larger, higher ranking unit than the
25 operations group. It was one of the strongest units inside the 1st
1 Military District; it cannot be subordinated to an operational group.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. And the caution pertains to all the units. The examples stated,
4 as far as I know, do not concern the guards brigade. This was an issue
5 that the command of the guards brigade dealt with quite efficiently.
6 Q. And if we read the -- if you can read the first paragraph of the
7 order, please.
8 A. Of the caution, item one: "There are units which are mixed and
9 disorganised, from various organic compositions, in the areas where combat
10 activities are carried out. The full resubordination was not carried out,
11 the established system of command and answerability for the resubordinated
12 units /is lacking/. Larger groups can be found wandering the other
13 areas, /illegible/ the residents and organs of authority."
14 Q. And would you agree with me that the purpose of this order was to
15 ensure that all units within the Operational Group South Command and the
16 command of the 12th Corps were subordinated under one command? Is that
17 the purpose of the order?
18 A. Yes, I agree with you. All units and those subordinated pursuant
19 to orders, should be included in the formation and should be under full
20 command of their superior commander. I agree with that.
21 Q. I think you explained earlier, but were there any such problems in
22 the area or the zone of responsibility of Operational Group South of
23 soldiers appearing to be not under clear command? At that stage, the 12th
24 of October.
25 A. As I said a minute ago, within Operations Group South there were
1 no such instances. This issue had been dealt with previously,
2 efficiently, and the entire area of responsibility was under the control
3 of the military police units. We formed check-points on all roads in and
4 out of the settlements within the combat area, and nothing could -- of
5 this nature could take place, nothing as regards the issues discussed in
6 this caution.
7 Q. When were these check-points set up in and out of the settlements?
8 This is the 12th of October. Were they set up sometime earlier or just as
9 of that date?
10 A. Immediately upon our arrival to Vukovar and the command post at
11 Negoslavci had to be secured based on the principles that were in use at
12 the time, it was secured completely, including the entire territory. We
13 were inspecting the territory and for that we used the first police
14 battalion that was given the task, and that can be seen from the decisions
15 by the commander. Therefore, that had been dealt with from the start.
16 Q. And then when you say the entire territory was secured, are you --
17 are you referring to the territory, the zone of responsibility of
18 Operational Group South or some other area?
19 A. Only the area of responsibility of Operations Group South.
20 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... used in paragraph 3, and if I
21 perhaps read, it states, "I hereby order that you ensure the full
22 re-subordination and answerability of the command structures for the
23 subordinated and attached units."
24 Can you explain what your understanding is of the term, the "full"
25 subordination, of command structures and the attached units. What does
1 the term, "full," mean, relating to Vukovar at the time or Operational
2 Group South?
3 A. Had there been no problems relating to the procedure of
4 resubordination, then it shouldn't have had this in the first place. I
5 assume that there were cases in accordance with the order of the superior
6 command in certain units. When full responsibility by the superiors was
7 not carried out to place them under full command and in accordance with
8 the lines of subordination, but from practice I know that it's not only
9 the commanders that are responsible for such a situation. Well, actually,
10 they are always responsible, but there were difficulties created for them
11 that had to do with the dissatisfaction and lack of motivation amongst
12 units who were from one unit resubordinated to another. There was even
13 such a feeling amongst the officers themselves.
14 So this was an attempt to emphasise the responsibility of senior
15 officers for the resubordination of these units, particularly in case of
16 volunteer units. There were a lot of problems in that case to place them
17 under the command of the JNA. I wasn't as specific, perhaps, as required,
18 but that's all that I needed to say.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... as of the 12th of October,
20 what types of groups were expected to be subordinated? And I'm referring
21 to, say, the other JNA units, Territorial Defence units, and volunteers.
22 A. Well, this is an entry from the war diary regarding Operations
23 Group South, detachment of the Kragujevac Territorial Defence came on the
24 8th of October, it was immediately placed under command, the commander of
25 Lieutenant-Colonel Milo Dinov [phoen], there were no problems. On the
1 13th of October, the sabotage unit of the 93rd Protection Regiment,
2 Major Stupar assigned by the commander in quite a precise way, no problems
3 on the 9th and the 10th, the 3rd armoured battalion of the 211th Brigade
4 resubordinated, tasked, assigned an area of responsibility, no problem.
5 The 20th Partisan Brigade from Pozarevac on the 14th of October arrived in
6 an organised fashion, took up the region brigade commander, accepted his
7 assignment from commander Mrksic, no problems there. And then when the
8 80th and these other TOs came, it was the same situation. There were no
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... and certainly by the 12th of
11 October, 1991, were all armed units no matter what type, were the
12 volunteers, TO, or other JNA units not in the Guards Motorised Brigade
13 that were present in Operational Group South zone of responsibility, were
14 they expected by this order to be under the full command of the command of
15 Operational Group South? Is that the substance of the order?
16 A. The substance of the order is to implement full resubordination,
17 which units was regulated bit commander of the 1st Military District in
18 the order, and it proceeded more or less as was noted in the war diary.
19 As each unit arrived that's how this was regulated in terms of full
20 command. The resubordinated unit was tasked and was treated as an
21 organisational formation unit. That was the essence of all later
22 cautions. All units that were resubordinated were to be treated as if
23 they were organisational formational units, because it always would happen
24 that some questions were not fully treated the question of standard, food,
25 other issues relating to the units. However, these units in this case all
1 received specific assignments.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... particular order, are you
3 able to say whether Colonel Mrksic implemented it, from your observations?
4 A. Yes, he did.
5 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document, 65 ter
6 number 931.
7 JUDGE PARKER: This will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 406, Your Honour.
9 MR. SMITH:
10 Q. Witness, if we can look at tab number 14, please, and this is a
11 document dated the 15th of October, 1991. And it's an order from the 1st
12 Military District to Operational Group South and others. The Operational
13 Group South command and others. Do you see this order?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Are you familiar with it?
16 A. Yes, I am.
17 Q. If you can read out paragraph 1 of that order, please.
18 A. "Establish full control in the area of responsibility of the
19 units. Pay special attention to the functioning of the military authority
20 in all the settlements and do not permit the local organs of authority to
21 interfere and exert influence, until the civilian control of the liberated
22 territory is established."
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... and what is your
24 understanding of what was being ordered there?
25 A. It was customary in the area where combat operations were underway
1 to place everything under military command. In this case, as I see here,
2 there is a request to pay attention to the functioning of the authorities
3 in all the settlements and not to permit any kind of influence or
4 interference by the local organs of authority. A JNA unit, once it enters
5 an area or a zone, the host there would be the president of the local
6 commune, the president of the municipality, and unless you dress him in a
7 uniform and place a rifle on his back, it is very difficult for him to
8 adapt to the situation and to accept that this was an area of combat
9 operations, that it was war, and that he too is expected to participate.
10 So from experience I know that all of those local authority organs, not
11 that they were obstructing the work, but they were not actually offering
12 any assistance. So naturally, according to the principles, everything was
13 being placed under military authority, so they were supposed to be placed
14 under military authority too.
15 Q. So this was an order to establish full military control over the
16 area of Operational Group South's zone of responsibility; is that correct?
17 A. That's correct. But not only in the area, this was an order for
18 all commands that were subordinated to the 1st Military District, and also
19 it refers to the Operations Group South.
20 Q. In paragraph 2 of the order it refers to paramilitary compositions
21 and volunteers which refused to put themselves under the command of the
22 JNA are to be removed from the territory. Are you aware of any problems
23 in Operational Group South's zone of responsibility as to volunteers not
24 placing themselves under the command of Operational Group South? Or other
1 A. As far as I can remember, yes, there were, but it wasn't a
2 wide-spread thing. There was an order by the commander to subordinate
3 commanders in this sense, and that later the situation improved. So later
4 there was no need to have those units removed. But there were problems,
6 Q. Thank you.
7 A. There were emphatic reactions on a number of occasions, but these
8 units were not ultimately removed.
9 Q. And what -- what were those problems and when did they -- when did
10 they start and how long did they go on for?
11 A. Each volunteer unit, by the logic of the thing, once it entered an
12 area of combat operations, would try to have autonomy, to command itself,
13 and do whatever it wanted to. All of the volunteer units did not have any
14 idea in advance of what the JNA was and what discipline meant in the
15 guards brigade. So when they were placed under the command of a
16 commander, for example, a company commander, and were told how they were
17 supposed to act, then they would start to object, you would get questions,
18 dissatisfaction and so on and so forth.
19 But it would sometimes lead to the question being asked of whether
20 they should be returned to where they came from and removed from the
21 territory. Let me tell you right away, these units were formally under
22 the control of the JNA. Regardless of how strict this command was, but as
23 far as the -- the guards brigade I assert that the command was pretty
24 strict. Still it was not possible to achieve any kind of effective
25 command over these units. In some tasks they were quite efficient, they
1 carried them out, but it is my impression that they also obstructed a lot
2 of things.
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the operational group --
4 sorry, what was the responsibility of the operational group commander,
5 Operational Group South commander, in relation to volunteers that did not
6 want to place themselves under the command, under his command?
7 A. According to this, it was his responsibility to remove them, but
8 as I said, I remember that there were some problems, they were not
9 pronounced problems, and as far as I can remember no unit was removed.
10 But he was supposed to, under this order, to remove them. But I think
11 that these matters were regulated in the Operations Group South with an
12 oral and a written order, and I don't think that there were any problems
13 there. Had there been any problems, there would be another written
14 document in which the commander of the brigade would order that such and
15 such a unit be removed in the area of responsibility. But, since there is
16 no such entry in the war diary either, I don't think that there was such a
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for Mr. Smith.
19 MR. SMITH:
20 Q. In the order it states that commanders must make sure that the
21 destruction of the damage of religious, cultural, and historical
22 facilities in the liberated areas doesn't occur. Were there any such
23 problems in the Operational Group South zone of responsibility of these
24 facilities being destroyed?
25 A. I really have no reliable information as to whether this happened
1 or not. I didn't see any report, nor did I hear from anyone that this
2 kind of thing happened.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document. It's
5 Exhibit 461, 65 ter number.
6 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
7 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 407, Your Honours.
8 MR. SMITH:
9 Q. Witness, if we can look at tab number 15, please, and it's 65 ter
10 number 463. Do you see this document?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And are you familiar it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In fact, on this document, and others, is it the case that you, in
15 fact, drafted this document?
16 A. Yes, I drafted the document.
17 Q. And how can you tell that you drafted the document?
18 A. On the basis of the initials in the left corner of the document,
19 "drafted by Major R. Trifunovic, typed by warrant officer 2nd Class D.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... directed to.
22 A. As far as the author is concerned, I explained yesterday how this
23 decision was made. The commander, together with the organs of the command
24 by applying any of the methods of work of the command in adopting
25 decisions. And it was sent to the assault detachment 1, assault
1 detachment 2, assault detachment 3, assault detachment 4, the Partisan
2 Brigade TO, the 2nd TO in Sremska Mitrovica, the 3rd Battalion of the
3 Armoured Brigade, the Armoured Brigade of the Guards Brigade, the Sabotage
4 Detachment of the Protective Brigade, the 1st Battalion of the Military
5 Police. LSAT PVO Deputy Commander for logistics, the commander of the
6 Engineers Company, and the original document to the operations and
7 training organ.
8 MR. SMITH: Sorry, I'm speaking a little bit fast, Your Honour.
9 Q. Witness, this was a -- an order by Colonel Mrksic on the 15th of
10 October, 1991. And it states "to continue the assault operations on
11 Vukovar"; is that correct?
12 A. Yes. That's correct.
13 Q. If you can look at paragraph 2, where it says unit tasks, it
14 refers to assault detachment 1 and it states what units assault detachment
15 1 comprised of. And one of those units it states is a volunteers company
16 from the current combat deployment. Do you know who that volunteers
17 company was that was subordinated to assault detachment 1?
18 A. I cannot really say, but there are only two possibilities. One is
19 that this was a company from the immediate sector, actually from any of
20 the villages in the operations zone, because sometime in mid-October there
21 was an order to carry out a mobilisation of the local population. In
22 order to bring the forces up to par on the front lines. So mobilisation
23 was carried out in Negoslavci, in the village of Berak, in all of the
24 villages in the zone of operations. That's one possibility.
25 The other possibility is that that was one of the companies of
1 volunteers that were arriving from different parts or different towns such
2 as Sabac, Stara Pazova, Smederevska Palanka, Sremska Mitrovica, and so on.
3 I am talking about possibilities, but I don't know exactly which company
4 it was I see that it is also mentioned there in the 2nd Assault
5 Detachment, so this is what the possibilities are, either they were from
6 the broader area or from the immediate area of the zone of operations.
7 Q. Are you aware of a volunteers unit with the name Leva Supoderica
8 operating in the zone of responsibility of Operational Group South?
9 A. Yes, I am.
10 Q. Was that -- was that unit subordinate to the command of
11 Operational Group South?
12 A. Yes, in a very broad sense. It was subordinated to the commander
13 of assault group 1, and by virtue of that fact, to the commander of the
14 operations group.
15 MR. SMITH: [Previous translation continues] ...
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. We will break now for 20 minutes.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
20 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour. Your Honours, earlier I
21 tendered 65 ter number 931, that was a mistake. It should be 65 ter
22 number 462, and that relates to Exhibit 406.
23 Document number 13, which is 931, hasn't been dealt with yet, but
24 will be later.
25 Q. Witness, before the break we were talking about the order from
1 Colonel Mrksic to continue assault operations on the 15th of October,
2 1991. And we spoke about the units that are attached to assault
3 detachment 1. And then you stated in answer that the Leva Supoderica unit
4 was subordinated to the commander of assault group 1. When you say
5 assault group 1, are you referring to assault detachment 1 or in fact --
6 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
8 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I don't think the witness mentioned
9 the assault group. I think he said this was subordinated to assault
10 detachment 1, and I think we've got this distinction clarified already.
11 Thank you.
12 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, from the transcript at page 30, line --
13 JUDGE PARKER: I recall both being mentioned.
14 MR. SMITH: At line 20 it's recorded --
15 JUDGE PARKER: It's not clear in my mind yet.
16 MR. SMITH: Yeah.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Smith.
18 MR. SMITH:
19 Q. Just to clarify, Witness, you stated that at some point in time
20 the Leva Supoderica unit was attached to -- well, who was it attached to?
21 Assault detachment 1 or assault group 1? Can you clarify?
22 A. Assault detachment 1. I don't know whether I've actually
23 mentioned the assault group. I may have misspoken, but I don't think
24 we've got that far yet. Assault detachment number 1.
25 Q. Thank you. And we'll look at further documents relating to that
2 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document, which is
3 number 463.
4 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document will become Exhibit
7 MR. SMITH:
8 Q. Witness, if we look at tab number 16, please. This is a document
9 that's dated the 19th of October, 1991 from the 1st Military District
10 command, and it's addressed to a number of compositions, one being
11 Operational Group South. Do you agree?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. Are you familiar with this document?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In the document it refers to, after subparagraph 2, the words --
16 refers to a term called, "Ustasha." "The probable intentions of the
17 Ustasha authorities in Croatia are to" -- and then it goes on to explain
18 what the intentions of that group was. Do you see that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What does the term, "Ustasha" mean, what do you believe that term
21 to mean in the context of this document?
22 A. The term Ustasha is a term already encountered in the orders and
23 decisions of the superior command. The ones that we have already seen.
24 I'm not qualified to explain why this term was introduced here. There
25 must have been a logic behind this, something along the lines of all the
1 Croats who did not oppose the JNA were not Ustashas, and those who were
2 opposing the JNA were Ustashas. But this wasn't a term made up by someone
3 from Operations Group South. It must have been someone from the superior
4 command, rather. What the reason was for that, I really have no clue.
5 Q. I understand that, and can you explain what the historical
6 connotation of the term Ustasha is?
7 A. The historical connotation dates back to World War II when some of
8 the Croatian forces, or rather some of the Croatian people joined the axis
9 powers. And those Croats committed crimes in areas populated by Serbs.
10 I'm no expert myself, I think they actually called themselves Ustashas,
11 Ante Pavlic, and those people. However, as far as I remember, I was still
12 young, and we were taught at school that these people were members of some
13 Croatian units who fought with the Germans, and these units committed
14 crimes against the Serbian population, especially in areas belonging to
15 the Republic of Croatia.
16 Q. Thank you. The order refers to a number of things, but
17 particularly it refers to strict measures to be taken against
18 undisciplined behaviour. And if we look at paragraph 3 of the order,
19 the -- it discusses a situation where some troops consumed large amounts
20 of alcohol and as a result of that a warning is issued that it may lead to
21 serious incidents. Do you see that, that part of the document, the order?
22 A. Yes, yes. I apologise. Number 3. I see that.
23 Q. Now, in paragraph 4 it orders the addressees or the commands of
24 the various zones of responsibility to take out measures. Can you read
25 out paragraph 4, please?
1 A. "In order to prevent looting, the abuse of citizens and murder,
2 even that of prisoners, all armed persons and groups which are not part of
3 the JNA or the TO, Chetniks and such, shall be disarmed and taken in.
4 Their leaders shall be incarcerated and legal steps shall be taken against
6 Q. At that point in time, and we're talking about the 19th of October
7 now, are you aware of any incidents of looting and murder of citizens or
8 prisoners in Operational Group South's zone of responsibility, bearing in
9 mind that this order came from the command of the military district?
10 A. I wasn't aware of any such incidents within Operations Group South
11 at the time.
12 Q. As a result of this order from the 1st Military District, are you
13 aware whether there were any follow on orders from Colonel Mrksic to the
14 subordinated units in his zone of responsibility, Operational Group South
15 to implement the higher order?
16 A. I can't be specific, but I believe that the work of Operations
17 Group South with regard to all these issues was responsible, which would
18 lead me to assume that an order was actually written down, or
19 alternatively that the commander informed the commanders and the brigade
20 command about these problems at a briefing. If there was nothing in
21 writing, then I'm certain this was at least noted down in their own
22 working notebooks. I am certain that this order was complied with as far
23 as these aspects are concerned. Apart from everything else, these are the
24 sort of measures that had been known to have been applied before in order
25 to prevent murder and looting.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document, and it's
3 65 ter number 464.
4 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
5 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 409, Your Honour.
6 MR. SMITH:
7 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 17, please. And this is 65
8 ter number 5. This is a document dated the 29th of October, 1991. And
9 it's a decision of Colonel Mrksic, Operational Group South commander, for
10 the continuation of assault of the operation in Vukovar. Do you see that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Are you familiar with the document?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. If we look at paragraph 2, it issues an order to the Assault
15 Detachment 1, and within that it states that the Leva Supoderica unit, or
16 detachment, is part of Assault Detachment 1; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Do you know the composition of the Leva Supoderica detachment, who
19 those men were, and how many?
20 A. Some were from the Leva or Desna Supoderica, from those areas.
21 Those were TO men. And some were members of the radical party who arrived
22 as volunteers in the operations area under Operations Group South, roughly
23 at this time meaning between the 15th and 20th of October, and onwards.
24 Q. And do you know who the commander of that detachment was?
25 A. I do. Leva Supoderica, you mean? Commander Lancuzanin, also
1 known as Kameni.
2 Q. You mentioned that some were members of the radical party. Which
3 radical party are you referring to?
4 A. The radical party. The radical party. It had branches throughout
5 this area, in Serbia, in Eastern Slavonia, as well as in other republics
6 of the SFRY at the time. I don't know which particular branch this
7 happened to be. They may have arrived from Serbia or maybe they were just
8 locals. I don't know.
9 Q. And who was the head of this radical party, if you know?
10 A. Specifically for this detachment, you mean? The radical party, as
11 a political party, you mean?
12 Q. Yes, the radical party.
13 A. Vojislav Seselj.
14 Q. In Assault Detachment 1 it refers to the Petrova Gora TO; is that
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. From that do we conclude that the Petrova Gora TO was attached
18 to -- was subordinated to Assault Detachment 1?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. SMITH: I seek to tender that document, Your Honour. It's 65
21 per number 5.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 410, Your Honour.
24 MR. SMITH:
25 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 18, please. This is 65 ter
1 number 583. This is an order from Colonel Mrksic dated the 9th of
2 November. The translation has an incorrect year, but 1991 in the
3 original. And the number, military number is 349-1.
4 A. Precisely.
5 Q. Are you familiar with this document?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In the order he -- Colonel Mrksic orders that a command be formed
8 in Negoslavci village with Major Vukasinovic as a locality commander, and
9 Captain Bozic as a Deputy Commander. Major Vukasinovic and Captain Bozic,
10 what units did they belong to, what specific units?
11 A. Major Ljubisa Vukasinovic was a member of the brigade command. He
12 was attached to the security organ. He was not with the unit, he was with
13 the brigade command. I think he was the most senior administrator in the
14 security organ. Since he was a member of the command, it was only logical
15 for a man attached to the command, even more so since he was a security
16 officer, to be the commander of the place where the command was physically
17 located. Mile Bozic was Deputy Commander of the 1st Battalion of the
18 military police and Sretko Jankovic was at the time. As for these other
19 commands, their commanders were assigned in keeping with the principle of
20 command responsibility prevailing in their respective areas. The
21 commanders within the area of combat operations around Vukovar were all
22 assigned based on their respective responsibilities in terms of each of
23 the operations areas within the town itself.
24 This order is a direct result from another order from the superior
25 command, and was the result of a need to have these matters sorted out.
1 There was the previous order from the military district command demanding
2 that military authorities be established on account of the problems
3 encountered in the work of the civil authorities and because some of the
4 military actions that had been taken had been hampered.
5 Q. Thank you. If we look at paragraph -- if we look at paragraph 4
6 it states that, "I appoint as commanders for Vukovar town the commanders
7 of the assault detachments for the part of the town within their
8 operations zones."
9 A. Yes. I think this is very specific, regardless of how it looks.
10 The operations area is the same thing as the area of responsibility, when
11 we talk about the actual functioning of military authorities.
12 Q. And in this order he also orders that commands be set up in Berak
13 village and also in Ovcara, and Jakubovac village and Grabovo village
15 A. Yes. Commanders of some parts of an area, and the commander of
16 one part of the sector was Colonel Slobodan Misovic; he was the
17 commander. He was in charge of this whole area, and he was the appointed
18 commander. And these here are commanders, deputy commanders for all the
19 brigades under him. And these people were in charge of the sectors
20 surrounding Ovcara, Jakubovac, and Glogovac. They were appointed
21 commanders of these respective areas. Whether the commander of the
22 partisan brigade was Mis [phoen] or Slobodan, but that seems to be in
23 relation to all these three villages and maybe to the entire sector
24 because there was another hamlet there, I believe.
25 Q. And what was your understanding for the reason for setting up
1 smaller commands or subdividing some areas of Operational Group South into
2 smaller subordinate commands? What's the purpose of this order? Why was
3 this done, if you know.
4 A. I don't understand this, at least not the way you phrased the
5 question. Each commander is responsible for his own area, the one that
6 was assigned to him within the operations area, for his own sector.
7 However, in purely practical terms it was sometimes the case that his
8 responsibility boiled down to merely carrying out combat operations. In
9 settled areas, for example, in Negoslavci, the local authorities would
10 sometimes act unsupervised. Obviously there were -- had to be a curfew,
11 movement would have had to be restricted. Able-bodied men who could have
12 been involved in the fighting should have been placed under his command,
13 only the commander could have done this. The local commander, if he had
14 been authorised to do so, but there are certain rules, the rules of
15 service, and of our rules, which state precisely what the tasks are and
16 the duties of a local commander, so that it doesn't boil down to the
17 responsibility of carrying out combat operations within his own sector.
18 He had to have full authority over all the other issues: Order,
19 discipline, food, the local population, the prisoners, the wounded and
20 everything else that the situation entailed.
21 Q. So in summary --
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours. I
25 apologise to my learned friend, but I think there is something in the
1 transcript, a possible misinterpretation on page 39, and the line number
2 is 20. It says here that only the commander can do this, and I think the
3 witness actually said the local commander. So that's a difference. The
4 witness was talking about the local commander, and I believe it might be a
5 good idea for my learned friend to have this clarified. The English
6 transcript only says commander and not local commander.
7 JUDGE PARKER: I think the problem may be in the punctuation. If
8 you ignore the full stop, the witness is saying this could have been
9 placed under his command, only the commander could have done this, the
10 local commander, if he had been authorised to do so, but there are certain
11 rules, et cetera. I think it's clear enough that the witness made it
12 clear that he was speaking of the local commander.
13 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
14 Q. Witness, does this mean that this was an order enforcing complete
15 military authority over any civilian authority that may have existed in
16 any of those areas?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The town commanders or village commanders that are referred to in
19 this order, who are they subordinate to?
20 A. They are subordinate to whoever appointed them.
21 Q. And --
22 A. In this case, Commander Mrksic.
23 Q. If we look at further down the order, it also instructs that there
24 should be prevention of any ill treatment of the population and local
25 inhabitants and unauthorised entry and searches of apartments and houses.
1 Do you see that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. As of the 9th of November were you aware whether or not, in fact,
4 that was occurring in Operational Group South's zone of responsibility,
5 and in particular, these areas, or not?
6 A. There were such incidents, but to a lesser extent. However,
7 unless military authority had been established and an appropriate system
8 of command, it might have been the case that looting occurred among the
9 local population, neighbour to neighbour, so to speak. But it could have
10 been a military civilian. So it was only logical for these issues to be
11 dealt with like this. So if Misovic was the commander, he had to take
12 appropriate measures such as the ones outlined in the order of the
13 commander of Operations Group South. You know what locals are like, they
14 go from one place to another to fetch something, to give somebody grief
15 over there just because at some point in time a long time ago they had
16 harmed them in some way or something.
17 Q. I know it's speculation on your part, but you said that it could
18 have been a military civilian that was involved in the looting. Is that a
19 mistranslation? It's either a military person or a civilian person; is
20 that correct?
21 A. Military or civilian, everybody was susceptible to sanctions,
22 potentially imposed by the local commander. Whenever it came to issues
23 like unauthorised entry, ill-treatment e searching houses, only the local
24 command he would have been in a position to get this sort of thing under
25 control and to mete out appropriate punishment, and he himself would have
1 been responsible to the commander of the operations group.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. SMITH: I seek to tender document 583, Your Honour. That is
4 the last document.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, to the registry record this document
7 was already admitted -- tendered and admitted on the 27th of April, 2006,
8 as Exhibit 374.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much for that.
10 MR. SMITH:
11 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab 19, please, which is 65 ter Exhibit
12 Number 956. It's a document dated the 14th of November, 1991, with
13 confidential number 394-2. And it's an order from Colonel Mrksic
14 regulating the issue of the control of the territory and the support unit.
15 Do you see that document?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. If we look at paragraph number 5, Colonel Mrksic orders further
18 that full control be established in relation to movement in and out of the
19 settlements, identification of persons who wish to remove into a
20 settlement and immediate arrest of all suspects, interview them, and based
21 on the gathering of information, react decisively.
22 Now, who is this order directed to?
23 A. The commanders and commanding officers of the units there as well
24 as the local commanders.
25 Q. So, in fact, is that all subordinate commanders in the operational
1 group zone of responsibility? Because it doesn't specify particularly.
2 A. The order was issued by the commander of the Operations Group
3 South. That means that it includes all commanders within the Operations
4 Group South, and it also concerns itself with local commanders or
5 commanders or particular settlements. That means the order encompassed
6 all commanders within the area of responsibility.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. SMITH: I seek to tender this document, Your Honour. It's
9 Exhibit 956 -- sorry, 65 ter 956.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 411, Your Honours.
12 MR. SMITH:
13 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 20, please, 65 ter number 4.
14 It's a document dated the 15th of November, 1991 at 2000 hours. The
15 number is 405-1, the military number, and it's an order for
16 resubordination by Colonel Mrksic. Do you have that order in front of
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. Are you familiar with that document?
20 A. Yes, I am.
21 Q. And what is the effect of that order, the effect of that
22 resubordination order? What is he asking or ordering to occur?
23 A. The order is clear that the Territorial Defence detachment of
24 Stara Pazova is to be resubordinated to the 80th motorised Brigade and
25 that all subordination issues will be regulated by the commander of the
1 80th Motorised Brigade. As to why he decided to resubordinate the Stara
2 Pazova detachment to the 80th Brigade, I don't know. Perhaps there was a
3 task envisaged for the 80th Brigade to be carried out. I apologise, it
4 had already been given a task defined by the decision of the 14th of
5 November, and the correction of the decision of the 15th of November.
6 Therefore, I believe there was a need to reinforce, to strengthen the
7 unit, and so he decided.
8 Q. And the 80th Motorised Brigade, based on this order, on the 15th
9 of November, 1991, who was that brigade subordinate to, based on this
11 A. Pursuant to this order, the 80th Motorised Brigade was within
12 Operations Group South, and it was resubordinated to OG South by a
13 previous order by the commander of the 1st Military District. I believe
14 that took place on the 7th of November. By that order it was
15 resubordinated to OG South, at that time the 7th or the 8th, and it had
16 been given a task inside the zone of operations. As to what the task was,
17 I can't say, but the commander decided to resubordinate the Stara Pazova
18 TO detachment to the brigade to improve efficiency in carrying out the
19 assigned task, so I believe. He had his reasons. Therefore, it fell
20 under OG South.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. SMITH: I seek to tender this document, Your Honour. It's 65
23 ter number 4.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit Number 412, Your Honours.
1 MR. SMITH:
2 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 21, please. This is 65 ter
3 number 601. And it's an order from the 1st Military District command
4 signed by Zivota Panic, lieutenant general, and it's an order to a number
5 of commands, including Operation Group South. And this order relates to
6 the resubordination of units within these commands' areas of
7 responsibility, the effect of resubordination of them. If you can read
8 paragraph 1 of the order, please.
9 A. "Through or by inspecting the implementation of my orders I
10 personally ascertained that certain tasks had not been carried out or they
11 were carried out superficially. The resubordinated units were taken --
12 took insufficient care, the unit commands were not informed on the
13 situation in the territory, and on the results achieved. The tasks
14 weren't handed down to detachment commanders, or they are given little
15 time to forward the tasks to their subordinates. The establishment of the
16 military authority and the settlement commands establishment was not being
17 carried out completely. In order to overcome these shortcomings, I hereby
19 Q. Thank you. And if we look at, say, paragraph 2, the first
20 sentence of paragraph 2, can you read that sentence, please?
21 A. "Immediately start establishing military authorities and the town
22 commands in the liberated territories and settlements. The military
23 authority in town commands" --
24 Q. Thank you. If you can read paragraph well -- sorry, paragraph 1
25 which explains in more detail what the 1st Military District command
1 ordered these other commands to do.
2 A. "Admit the directly subordinated and attached units with full
3 responsibility and treat them as establishment composition until a task is
4 carried out. Apply the same treatment to the attached and resubordinated
5 units of the JNA, the TO and the volunteer units, provided they are put
6 under the command of the JNA, regardless of whether they are to be engaged
7 in the carrying out of combat tasks, to control the territory or in order
8 to establish military authority. Pay particular care to the logistical
9 support of the attached and resubordinated units. Commanders mentioned
10 here, inter alia the commander of OG South are answerable to me for the
11 execution of this task."
12 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... to pay particular care in
13 relation to that, to where he states that particular care should be taken
14 to the logistical support to the attached and resubordinated units, would
15 this also refer to the TO units and the Leva Supoderica unit?
16 A. Yes. This is an order by the 1st Military District command, and
17 it specifies here that particular care should be given to logistic
18 support. The logistics support for the Operations Group South was quite
19 well-organised. And all the establishment units were included, as well as
20 those that were attached and volunteers' units, as well as TO units. The
21 entire system functioned adequately.
22 Q. And what type of logistical support would that be? What types --
23 what types of support, in practical terms?
24 A. I will try to be as precise, although one can offer various
25 definitions. The function or the task of the rear battalion is to supply
1 ammunition, fuel, materiel, parts, including maintenance of the
2 aforementioned. Then to supply food, equipment, and I mean uniforms,
3 medication and medical issues in general, to regulate the traffic, and
4 some additional tasks assigned to logistics, including, on occasion,
5 construction. Those would be the basic functions.
6 Q. Would that include ammunition as well, and weapons?
7 A. The supply of weapons and ammunition, I have already mentioned
8 that, I believe.
9 Q. And what is your understanding as to why this particular order was
10 issued? Probably clear from the order, but just in brief terms, why was
11 this issued from the 1st Military District at this time?
12 A. I can base my assumption on the date here, and I conclude that in
13 spite of the warning issued previously, the practice or the situation
14 continued in terms of inadequate reception of units and inadequate
15 accommodation and work conditions for those units that have arrived. This
16 focuses particularly on logistics, because it was a sensitive issue. If a
17 unit is resubordinated and if they are not received the way they should,
18 there is dissatisfaction, poor morale, lack of motivation, the wish to
19 return. That's what took place in the armed forces, including the JNA
20 units. And I believe within the command of -- the operations group had
21 been dealt with completely, and that at the time there was no
22 dissatisfaction that could concern this particular order on the 16th of
24 Q. And there you are referring to the zone of responsibility of
25 Operations Group South; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. The area of responsibility of OG South.
2 Q. And within this order there is a warning given in paragraph 3 as
3 to if this full control isn't -- isn't met or attained, and can you read
4 out paragraph 3, please?
5 A. "I strongly forbid that the liberated or captured territory be
6 deserted or left outside of the control of the units of the JNA or the TO.
7 The commanding officers who fail to comply with this task are to be put
8 under the most severe disciplinary measures."
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender that document. It's 65
11 ter number 601.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 413, Your Honours.
14 MR. SMITH:
15 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 22, please. This is 65 ter
16 number 932. It's a document dated the 16th of November, 1991 at 6.00.
17 The military number is 407-1. It's a combat report signed by Colonel
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And it's a report that's being sent to the 1st Military District
21 command and the Federal Secretariat for National Defence; is that correct?
22 A. That is correct.
23 Q. Are you familiar with this document?
24 A. Yes, I am.
25 Q. In the document it relates to an issue of the problem of
1 motivation of certain elements of the volunteer units and the TO members,
2 with regards to the participation in the combat, are still present. Do
3 you see that, it's in paragraph 2?
4 A. Yes, I've found it.
5 Q. What was your understanding of that problem at that time? Are you
6 aware of that problem, with motivation of some of the TO and the
7 volunteer-unit members to participate?
8 A. I was aware of that.
9 Q. And can you explain a little what that problem was?
10 A. The problems that affected motivation. The first one was the
11 general exhaustion of the units by being deployed for extensive periods of
12 time in the combat zone in Vukovar. Some units had spent as many as 45
13 days there. If we are to bear in mind that the guards brigade was
14 replenished by additional troops and including the troops that had already
15 been at the barracks, the time spent in Vukovar extended up to two months.
16 There was constant combat activity inside the town and people were under a
17 lot of stress due to unexpected events that could occur day and night. It
18 all affected the troops negatively, although on occasion there were
19 rotations during cease-fire periods that were regulated by some higher
20 echelons. That was the first reason for poor motivation.
21 The second one was that it didn't seem to -- it didn't seem that
22 it will end any time soon. Everyone thought that the whole thing would
23 last far shorter. There were also problems that were regulated by the
24 Federal Secretariat as concerns reservists. They stipulated that it can
25 spend only 45 to 60 days in their respective units and their dead-lines
1 were about to run out. The people kept asking how long or how much more
2 they were to stay. There were no guarantees provided and no dead-lines
3 set for their return. There were also regular conscripts there of Serb or
4 Croatian ethnicity who had already been sent home after having served
5 their military term, who were supposed to have been sent home. And all
6 these reasons, plus the military situation resulted in all the problems
7 pertaining to poor motivation.
8 Q. At that point in time, the 16th of November, this -- your
9 understanding of this report is that Colonel Mrksic is reporting on lack
10 of motivation as opposed to lack of discipline in this report?
11 A. Yes, the lack of motivation. I don't know whether you saw where
12 it's mentioned here that these problems have been persistent as of the 4th
13 of November when the dead-lines were set for the conscripts to be sent
14 home, for the reservists to be relieved as well, and the entire operation
15 wasn't going the way it was planned. And that's when they began feeling
16 this lack of motivation problem and the brigade command was well aware of
18 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document, it's
19 900 -- 65 ter number 932.
20 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
21 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 414, Your Honour.
22 MR. SMITH:
23 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 24 - we've dealt with tab
24 number 23 - and this is 65 ter number 444. It's a document dated the 18th
25 of November, 1991. It's from the 1st Military District command signed by
1 Lieutenant-General Panic. And it's an order directed to, amongst others,
2 Operational Group South. In paragraph 1 of that order, I would ask you to
3 read that paragraph out, please.
4 A. "I hereby order: 1. OG South carry out detailed and complete
5 preparations and in coordinated action with tactical group north; take the
6 hospital and the Ministry of the Interior building and mop up the
7 remaining Ustasha forces in the liberated part of the town on the morning
8 of the 19th of November, 1991, by 1000 hours. Continue to clear up
9 Mitnica and downtown Vukovar until it is completely safe and secure to
10 move around the town." I've concluded with item 1.
11 Q. Thank you. So it's an order to take the hospital. Which hospital
12 was that referring to, or what's your understanding of which hospital that
14 A. The town hospital of Vukovar.
15 Q. And if we look at paragraph 3, if you can read that out, please.
16 A. "While carrying out these assignments and in all other operations
17 in the area in which the units of the 1st Military District are engaged on
18 smashing Ustasha forces, observe all aspects of the Geneva on smashing
19 Ustasha forces, observe all aspects of the Geneva Conventions on the
20 prisoners of war."
21 Q. In relation to that order that the Geneva Conventions on the
22 prisoners of war be respected, do you know whether any follow-up on orders
23 in writing was sent to the subordinates -- subordinate units in
24 Operational Group South's command?
25 A. I can't recall. I don't think it was on the 18th. I don't think
1 it was written on the 18th, but on the 19th, and I have in mind a written
2 document regulating the evacuation from the hospital. I don't seem to
3 remember whether it was written on the 18th or the 19th.
4 Q. Thank you. We'll look at that document later. But if we can move
5 to paragraph 5, it's further ordered that the behaviour of soldiers in the
6 carrying out of these activities should be appropriate. And if you can
7 read the paragraph 5 out, please.
8 A. "All units are to carry out comprehensive and thorough
9 preparations for combat against Ustasha forces, and commanders at all
10 levels will be responsible for this. During preparations, on the 19th of
11 November, 1991, most resolutely prevent any disobedience, unsoldierly
12 appearance and behaviour. Commanders at all levels will ensure realistic
13 and favourable conditions for this task to be published. All officers and
14 soldiers who fail to follow this order shall pay a fine of up to 20 per
15 cent of their salaries. Inform all soldiers and officers of this.
16 "To ensure the requested soldierly appearance and behaviour,
17 repeat relevant basic military skills and procedures."
18 Q. If I can stop you there. And this duty or responsibility has been
19 further expanded upon in paragraph 8, to ensure that the operations are
20 carried out correctly. And if you can read paragraph 8 out, please.
21 A. "Every unit must fully control the situation on the territory in
22 its area of responsibility. Commanders at all levels will be responsible
23 for this. Wartime laws have not entered into force and therefore - as
24 always - nobody has the right to retribution and other kinds of revenge,
25 which some local TO units carried out. In future, arrest those who commit
1 any such acts and undertake appropriate legal measures."
2 Q. And further in paragraph 9, the order relates to ensuring that
3 volunteers, et cetera, are placed under the command of the JNA in these
4 combat operations. Can you read that paragraph out, then I'll ask you
5 some questions about it, please.
6 A. "All units and formations (volunteers, local communes, et cetera)
7 participating in combat operations in the territory of the 1st Military
8 District must be under the command of the JNA or else they will be
9 disarmed and taken away while extremists will be arrested and appropriate
10 legal measures will be undertaken."
11 Q. In ordering these operations and the taking of the Vukovar
12 Hospital, do you think it was reasonable that all of these warnings in
13 relation to how soldiers were to behave in these operations and do you
14 think it was reasonable that they were placed in this order as a
15 commander, from your experience?
16 A. All these things had to be noted. The regulations that we
17 discussed yesterday define all of these matters, who is being
18 resubordinated, how they're being resubordinated, what would be the
19 relationships and who is responsible for what. In the specific case, and
20 in order to prevent problems and failings in practice, this is quite
21 understandable and normal. It's justified to write something like this,
22 especially in accordance with the principle that the command monitors the
23 situation and reacts on the basis of received reports in order to direct
24 everyone towards the objective, and the objective is clear.
25 Q. In relation to this document on the 18th of November, 1991, it
1 states that the Croatian armed forces are defeated in the area of combat
2 operations carried out by the 1st Military District units. It then
3 states, "However, the war did not end with the fall of Vukovar, and an
4 even more fearsome and brutal war against Ustasha forces is now ahead of
6 Do you agree that at the time that this order was written that
7 Vukovar, in terms of the town, had fallen, to the -- to the JNA and other
8 armed forces under Operational Group South's zone of responsibility?
9 A. Yes. The town was practically -- well, not in the hands of, but
10 it was captured on the 18th and control was established in the town by
11 Operations Group South. What is mentioned about the war continuing, I
12 think that all that came later, such as possibilities of sabotage,
13 blockades and subsequent resistance, these were things that had to be
14 warned about. But as far as the objective of going through the front
15 lines and everything in those terms, the operation was concluded. Once
16 the operation was concluded though some other problems cropped up and then
17 the commander was obliged to deal with those problems in the proper way.
18 Q. Lieutenant-General Panic envisaged that -- in this order that
19 there may be a possibility that there might be retribution and kinds of
20 revenge against captured prisoners or civilians. Do you think that was an
21 unreasonable assumption on his part as a basis of this order, that revenge
22 may, in fact, occur and the situation of captured prisoners, et cetera, in
24 A. I do believe that it was reasonable, such a possibility did exist.
25 Possibility of retribution, and one had to be aware of that possibility.
1 So this kind of thinking is quite reasonable, I believe.
2 Q. Had you heard of any acts of revenge or retribution in the area of
3 Operational Group South, the zone of responsibility, prior to this order
4 being issued on the 18th of November?
5 A. When we're talking about the 18th, as far as I can recall, a part
6 of the Croatian forces from the Mitnica had surrendered, and there were no
7 serious incidents. A part of the forces had surrendered from the central
8 sector of Vukovar, and there were no more serious incidents there either.
9 Certain officers who were in contact and in the area of combat activities
10 attended and observed this withdrawal and kept reporting to the commander.
11 Other than small verbal provocations or mild physical assaults, there were
12 no more serious incidents in the process, as far as I know, on the 18th.
13 Q. Thank you. However, in this order from the 1st Military District,
14 which of course is a larger area than Operational Group South's zone of
15 responsibility, it states that some local Territorial Defence units had
16 carried out some acts of revenge. Do you see that? This is just about --
17 in paragraph 8, and then it states, "In future, arrest those who commit
18 these acts."
19 A. Yes, I see it now.
20 Q. My question is, do you know where these acts of revenge had been
21 carried out, if not in Operational Group South's zone of responsibility?
22 A. This was not in the area of responsibility of OG South. We're
23 talking about local TO. So this refers to the settlements in that area.
24 The OG South zone, other than the place where the command post was, and
25 the village of Berevce [phoen] and this area around Jakubovac, all of that
1 was the outlying area. The rest of the zone of responsibility encompassed
2 the town itself. So the area of responsibility of OG South did not
3 actually have any local units that could create such problems. Everything
4 was under control in Negoslavci, in Berak, at Ovcara, and Jakubovac. On
5 the 18th also everything was under control, the units were pulling out of
6 Mitnica on the 18th, there were no problems there either. On the 18th
7 there were no problems.
8 Q. However, in the town of Vukovar itself there were TO units and
9 volunteer units attached to assault detachments, that's correct, isn't it?
10 A. Yes, there were.
11 Q. One last question on this topic. You said that it was reasonable
12 that this warning was given in relation to guarding against acts of
13 revenge by TO, TO personnel against civilians or prisoners that were
14 captured, why in light of the situation in Vukovar, namely the town had
15 fallen by the 18th of October -- or November, why do you think it was
16 reasonable to issue this order in light of the situation that was
17 developing? Or this warning, I mean?
18 A. This was a warning for everyone, not just for Vukovar. And it
19 didn't relate just to the situation in Vukovar. If I were to answer your
20 question now, you know when such a large town is liberated or large parts
21 of a town of that size, and the members of the Territorial Defence who are
22 from that town are present, and when someone is surrendering and the
23 Croatian side was actually surrendering in different parts of the town and
24 then later in some other locations, it's normal to expect some sort of a
25 reaction, because one side shot the other, and the other -- and the other
1 side shot them back. So it was to be expected that there were some --
2 there would be some problems or some incidents, and that's why it was
3 natural to expect some problems like that to occur and to deal with them.
4 Q. If we can look at paragraph 9, please, if you can read that out.
5 Paragraph 9.
6 A. "All units and formations (volunteers, local units, and others)
7 participating in combat operations in the territory of the 1st Military
8 District must be under the command of the JNA or else they will be
9 disarmed and taken away, while extremists will be arrested and appropriate
10 legal measures will be undertaken."
11 Q. This order was addressed to, amongst other groups, Operational
12 Group South command. Are you aware whether Colonel Mrksic had seen this
14 A. I think that he did see it. It's recorded in the log. I think
15 that there's an entry also in the war diary. He should have been informed
16 about all of the orders, either by somebody from the operations body or
17 from the officer on duty or from the general administration office.
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to my learned friend but I
21 think that the witness said that the commander, Colonel Mrksic, wrote an
22 order on the 18th or the 19th on the basis of this order. I don't
23 remember precisely. So I think that the question as to whether
24 Colonel Mrksic did or did not see this order is a leading one because how
25 could he have written an order to OG South without having seen the order
1 first, and the witness already answered this.
2 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I -- I can only respond that I didn't say
3 to the witness Colonel Mrksic saw it or he didn't see it, just simply is
4 he aware whether he did see it.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. I think that's so, Mr. Vasic. And the answer
6 is that the witness thought that he did, and it was recorded in the log.
7 And perhaps the war diary.
8 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document, it's 65
9 ter number 444.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will become Exhibit
13 MR. SMITH:
14 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab 25, please. This is 65 ter number
15 575. And it's a warning submitted -- sent by the 1st Military District
16 command with military number 1614-167. It's dated the 18th of November,
17 1991. And it's submitted to, it states, amongst others, the command of
18 Operational Group South. If you can briefly read that order, then I'll
19 ask you some questions about it, please. That warning.
20 A. Yes. "Since the Ustasha forces are surrendering in Vukovar and
21 Borovo while simultaneously citizens, women, children and old people are
22 fleeing Vukovar and Borovo, in that respect and upon the request of the
23 SSNO, Federal Secretariat for the National Defence, I hereby draw your
24 attention to ensure fair treatment, maximum vigilance, and protection of
25 our own units. In the course of the evening take measures to secure the
1 units and individuals so as to prevent sabotage activities and unwanted
2 accidents. When receiving the refugees, strictly adhere to instructions
3 which were given earlier, and the detainees are to be secured with enough
4 troops along with all the other necessary measures."
5 Q. Thank you. This order is a more specific order, a warning, than
6 the previous one in that the addressees are -- there's only two addressees
7 on this one and the partisan guards motorised division and Operational
8 Group South; is that correct? As well as the 12th Corps. Is that
9 correct? It's a more specific -- there is a more specific addressee list?
10 A. Yes, more specific.
11 Q. That relate to the particular problems of the protection of
12 citizens, women and children, in the Vukovar and Borovo area. At this
13 time, on the 18th of November, were you aware of any detainees, any
14 prisoners of war, whether they be civilians or combatants, being taken
15 into the custody of Operational Group South units on the 18th?
16 A. Yes. Already on the 18th at noon in the area of the town and the
17 Mitnica area, there were already many civilians; women, children, the
18 elderly. There were also the wounded there, as well as members of the
19 Croatian forces with weapons who had surrendered. And that's when the
20 decision was made, because the previous day assistance was requested by
21 the 1st Military District in terms of transport, so already on that day,
22 the 18th, they needed to be transported, these wounded, the population,
23 women and children, the wounded, the elderly, i.e. the civilians. They
24 wanted to leave. Those who had surrendered and who had carried weapons
25 were to go to Sremska Mitrovica. As far as I can remember, there was an
1 attempt on the 18th to transfer these people through Nustar and Sid via
2 Vinkovci, whereas these other people who had been carrying weapons and who
3 had surrendered who were soldiers were supposed to be taken to Sremska
4 Mitrovica where they were supposed to be interrogated.
5 As far as I can remember though, on the 18th there were a lot of
6 problems primarily because the Croatian authorities did not want to
7 receive the people who were being sent to Croatian territory, and I think
8 that on the 18th even they came back and then there were many problems on
9 the night of the 18th and 19th, how to care for these people, where to put
10 them up, how to provide food for them, and so on and so forth.
11 Q. There was -- there is a later document that relates to that
12 particular problem with the Croatian authorities, and we can talk about
13 that then. But you state that on the night of the 18th and 19th there
14 were many problems, how to care for these people, where to put them up.
15 But my specific question is, to your knowledge were there any detention
16 centres that were keeping these people, either prisoners of war or
17 civilians in the town of Vukovar as of the 18th and 19th?
18 A. I don't know what it means, this detention centre, that's not
19 clear to me. There were places, certain buildings or facilities where
20 people were assembled, and where a selection of the people was made. As
21 far as I know, those locations were Velepromet, the barracks, in town, and
22 the military farm at Ovcara. The farm at Ovcara, as far as that goes, I
23 think that's -- that the people from Mitnica were there on the 18th.
24 We're talking about the 18th, and they were transported. Whether after
25 that when they were returned by the Croatian authorities as to whether
1 they returned to the same location or if they were taken to some closer
2 locations out of those three that I mentioned, that's something that I
3 don't know.
4 Q. Just in relation to the 18th, not any future date like the 19th or
5 20th, but as of the 18th do you know whether people were being detained in
6 the area of Velepromet, the barracks or Ovcara or not?
7 A. I remember that from Mitnica and apart from the town centre were
8 assembled at those locations, assembled. Assembled and guarded. They
9 could not have been detained because they were not arrested, they didn't
10 stand trial or anything. They were gathered there and that the selection
11 was supposed to have been carried out. So probably the selection was
12 carried out then on the 19th. I don't know.
13 Q. And in relation to this warning, are you aware whether Colonel
14 Mrksic had received it?
15 A. All warning, all orders, had to pass through the hands of the
16 commander or the Chief of Staff. In what way? Either the administration
17 office would place them on the desk of the commander or this would be done
18 by the Chief of Staff or the chief of operations. The commander of OG
19 South was informed about all important questions. He wasn't informed
20 about minor problems, so it's understandable that he shouldn't be burdened
21 with such things.
22 Q. In relation to the warning, it requests that the commanders adhere
23 to instructions which were given earlier about receiving refugees; they
24 ask them to strictly adhere to them. Had you seen those instructions?
25 A. Earlier instructions -- earlier warnings, are you talking about
1 earlier warnings or earlier orders? Well, there were such things. We did
2 receive several warnings before that from our superior command relating to
3 taking care of the prisoners. It was just a question of how specific
4 those warnings were so that we could act on them. You needed to be quite
5 specific regarding such a serious matter.
6 Q. Thank you. And what -- I'm just reading off the document, it says
7 "strictly adhere to instructions." What do you understand that to mean,
8 what types of instructions?
9 A. I understand that those are the warnings that were sent that we
10 talked about earlier, or perhaps some other ones that we don't have here
11 with us right now, but there were such warnings.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender that document, Exhibit
14 Number -- sorry, 65 ter number 575.
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will become Exhibit
18 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, it's 25 seconds short of 12.30, so
19 perhaps the time to break.
20 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at 10 minutes to 1.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 12.29 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 12.55 p.m.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
24 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 26, please. This document
1 doesn't have a 65 ter number, so the ERN numbers are for the English,
2 0467-2867, to 0467-2868. And for the B/C/S 2467-2867 to 2467-2868.
3 Witness, do you see that document in front of you? It's a
4 document dated 1800 hours on the 18th of November?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. It's a report from Colonel Mrksic to the 1st Military District.
7 Do you agree?
8 A. I do.
9 Q. And in that report it summarises activities up until approximately
10 that time, 6.00 in the afternoon on the 18th of November. Would you agree
11 with that? Activities undertaken by Operational Group South units?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In that report it's the Mitnica evacuation and the Mitnica
14 surrender is -- it discussed as to what happened on that particular day in
15 relation to that surrender. Do you agree?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And the report is quite detailed as to how the surrender took
18 place, the meetings that led to the surrender and what was being done to
19 resolve that situation. Is that right?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. And in that -- in that report it states that activities on the
22 sorting out through, and the transport of civilians and the Ustashas are
23 going on. Do you agree?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender that document. It has
1 no ERN number.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 417, Your Honours.
4 MR. SMITH:
5 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab 27, please. This again has no 65
6 ter number. The English ERN is 0467-2869 to 0467-2871 and the B/C/S is
7 0467-2869 to 0467-2871. Witness, this is a report to the 1st Military
8 District command and the cabinet of the Federal Secretariat for the
9 National Defence, it's dated the 19th of November at 1800 hours, and it's
10 signed by Colonel Mrksic. Do you agree?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Are you familiar with that document?
13 A. Yes, I am.
14 Q. When we look at this document in this regular combat report, the
15 last paragraph of paragraph 1 or of the last subparagraph, paragraph 1, it
16 states, "According to the statements of a corporal and two soldiers who
17 were in the Vukovar Hospital there are many of the hospital staff who are
18 members of the HDZ and the Ustasha forces hiding and concealing themselves
19 in various ways."
20 Do you see that information?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And how was that information obtained? Are you able to add
23 anything further? How was that received at the headquarters?
24 A. Once the hospital had been taken these three members of the army
25 were set free. They were taken back to the command post at Negoslavci.
1 I'm not sure if Dr. Vesna Bosanac was with them or whether she came before
2 or even slightly later. But she was the hospital director and she was the
3 one who had them released. I myself spoke to Sergeant Jovic, who said
4 that throughout their time at the Vukovar Hospital in addition to the
5 wounded civilians, women and elderly, there were people carrying arms
6 taking shelter and hiding there. They started concealing themselves by
7 putting on hospital overcoats in order to conceal their uniforms and pass
8 themselves off at patients, that was at least was the soldiers reported.
9 And that's accurate; I mean what is accurate is that they said this.
10 Q. And who was -- were you at that meeting with Dr. Bosanac?
11 A. No. I do know, how much, that Dr. Vesna Bosanac came to the
12 command post. I didn't see her myself, I was in a room somewhere and she
13 probably went straight to the commander's room.
14 Q. Thank you. And when you say the commander's room, who are you
15 referring to?
16 A. The commander of Operations Group South, Colonel Mrksic.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... paragraph 2
18 entitled, "Operational Group South units," it states that "during the day
19 liberated areas mopped up and the civilians were being pulled from and
20 evacuated from parts of Vukovar and there was work on sorting through the
21 Ustasha forces from the central part of Vukovar." It further states, "The
22 pulling out activities were hindered by big numbers of civilians and was
23 the work -- and as was the work of provision of accommodation and security
24 for them." Also states "this activity was also hindered by the fact that
25 the Ustasha government refused to admit a big number of civilians sent to
1 Zupanja yesterday, so they were subsequently sent back to us again."
2 Do you know why the Croatians, the Croatian government refused
3 these refugees?
4 A. I do not know that. I can only assume what one of the reasons
5 might have been. They were hoping for an exchange, perhaps, at a later
7 Q. If we go further down the report, it states that, "At this moment
8 Operational Group South units fully control all parts of Vukovar and the
9 Mitnica settlement." Do you agree that it states that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. It further states that, "Strict controls of movement within and of
12 leaving the territory of the zone of responsibility of Operational Group
13 South were established." Do you see that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In terms of having strict controls of movement, what would that
16 mean in practical terms, how was that done, what was your understanding?
17 A. What is here defined as control of movement within the area of
18 responsibility of the operations group, this applied throughout. There
19 was a document from the command warning about this issue and saying that
20 the issue should be treated in keeping with its objective importance and
21 that's why we can read this here. This issue of control of letting people
22 through of check-points, of police supervision of the entire territory,
23 and movement -- movement by members of Operations Group South, and
24 specifically here in relation to members of the Croatian forces who had
25 surrendered. That sort of thing. One needed to have a very convincing
1 reason for leaving one's area of responsibility or one's operations area
2 at this point in time.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. It worked like this in people's minds: This thing is now over, so
5 let's all just go home. I think that was the general line of reasoning
6 behind this. I think this is perfectly proper, what we can see here and I
7 think that it was done in keeping with all these rules.
8 Q. You testified earlier that as a result of another document you had
9 seen that check-points had been set up some time earlier before this date.
10 Is that right?
11 A. Yes. Much earlier. There were check-points along the main roads
12 leading out of the operations area. These started functioning immediately
13 after the arrival of the guards brigade. The regime became stricter and
14 more specific after the 15th of October. No one was allowed in or out
15 without a proper permit, a pass or authorisation issued by the commander
16 himself. Nobody could leave the area. And there was no room for any
18 Q. Thank you. And further in the report it states that city commands
19 were set up pursuant to an earlier order on the 7th of November. Can you
20 briefly state that, read what it says in relation to those city commands.
21 It's just above paragraph 4.
22 A. Yes, I see that. "Pursuant to your order", there was another
23 order on the 9th of November, the one that was based on this one dated the
24 7th of November, and now we might want to look at that again. The village
25 of Negoslavci. Yes. This is now a report that is in relation to the
1 commander's previous order in relation to these issues. Negoslavci,
2 Major Vukasinovic [as interpreted] Ljubisa; village of Berak, Colonel
3 Borisa Gluscevic; Ovcara Jakubovac Grabovo, Lieutenant-Colonel Slobodan
4 Misovic. Upon his departure from the zone of responsibility of Operations
5 Group South Lieutenant-Colonel Milorad Vojinovic was appointed. There you
6 go. That's it.
7 So this is a report on how the superior commander's orders were
8 carried out. And further for Vucedol and Mitnica, Major Stupar for
9 Petrova Gora and the western part of the graveyard; as far as the Vuka
10 River, Major Borivoje Tesic; for the area between Sajmiste street east and
11 Mitnica, Major Adem Bajic.
12 Q. If I can stop you there. If we can back to the village commands
13 that he reports that were set up or the city commanders that appears in
14 the translation, you spoke a little fast, but in relation to the village
15 of Negoslavci, Major Vukasinovic was appointed as the commander; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And in relation to the village of Berak, Colonel Gluscevic, if you
19 could pronounce that?
20 A. That's right. That's right.
21 Q. And then in the village of Ovcara, in the village of Jakubovac,
22 and the village of Grabovo, Lieutenant-Colonel Slobodan Misovic?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. And upon his departure from the zone of responsibility for
25 Operational Group South, Lieutenant-Colonel Vojinovic, Milorad, was
1 appointed. Do you agree that the document states that?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. So the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Vojinovic we relates to
4 him as being appointed as being the city or village commander of Ovcara
5 village, Jakubovac and Grabovo. Do you agree?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And that's on the basis of this document?
8 A. No, this is a report. It's a regular report. This report is
9 meant to inform everyone about the order, you know the previous order, but
10 there is a new order that was produced on the 20th.
11 Q. Certainly this order doesn't -- when we look at these appointments
12 of city commands, it doesn't appoint Vojinovic as commander of Operational
13 Group South, does it? It's just a bit unclear in your earlier answer.
14 A. The village of Ovcara, this is a report to the superior command.
15 There was an order from the commander and there is the report dated 1800
16 hours, the 19th of November. There was an order before this report,
17 preceding this report, in relation to the villages of Ovcara, Jakubovac
18 and Grabovo. Lieutenant-Colonel Misovic was appointed local commander.
19 Upon his departure from the area of responsibility of Operations Group
20 South and upon the departure of the 20th Partisan Brigade from the area of
21 responsibility. Since he was the commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Milorad
22 Vojinovic was appointed on the 19th.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, on -- at 6.00 on the 19th of November, 1991, the
24 date that this report was made, who was the commander of
25 Lieutenant-Colonel Vojinovic? Who was his commander of this date, based
1 on this document?
2 A. Colonel Mrksic. The commander of the operations group.
3 Q. If we can look further down the report, under the heading the 19th
4 of November, 1991, and this is just above paragraph 4, towards the end of
5 the document there is a paragraph that relates to Operational Group South
6 command was engaged in admitting a number of delegations, missions, and
7 journalists. And it further states that at about 10.00 of the 19th a
8 delegation of the UN mission led by Cyrus Vance, the personal
9 representative of the UN Secretary General arrived at the Operational
10 Group South headquarters. Do you see that in the report?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And it states that the Secretary General was interested on the
13 activities of the liberation of Vukovar and the treatment of prisoners and
14 the wounded. And then it follows on his visit to the Vukovar barracks.
15 Do you see that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Were you at that meeting with Cyrus Vance?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And who else was present at that meeting?
20 A. Colonel Mrksic, Major Sljivancanin, Colonel Gluscevic, Major
21 Trifunovic, and Major Tatic [Realtime transcript read in error "Tadic"].
22 Q. In the transcript we have Colonel Mrksic, Major Sljivancanin,
23 yourself, and Major Tadic, but the other colonel's name wasn't recorded.
24 A. Colonel Borisa Gluscevic, it's not Major Tadic, it's Tatic.
25 Q. About how long did that meeting take?
1 A. I don't remember. But not more than 45 minutes.
2 Q. The report states that Mr. Vance was interested in the treatment
3 of the civilian prisoners and the wounded. Can you provide us with some
4 more information about what his concerns were?
5 A. It's been a long time, although I was there at the meeting, it's
6 still difficult for me to look back and remember all the details of our
7 discussion. I remember the general outline. Vukovar was now under JNA
8 control. The UN presence was established, the thing to do was to see how
9 we could now deal with any problems that might have arisen, issues
10 regarding prisoners, civilians, the wounded, that sort of thing. That was
11 the subject of the meeting. The subject matter discussed. I think he was
12 quite happy with the commander's report on the progress of operations on
13 that last day. On the surrender of the Croatian forces and the way they
14 were treated. Once he had received this report I remember when I look at
15 this report and I remember how it happened, he wished to go straight to
16 the Vukovar barracks and see for himself what exactly was going on, so he
18 Q. Was the specific application of the protection to the Geneva
19 Conventions discussed in relation to civilian prisoners and combatant
20 prisoners? If you remember. If you don't, just say so.
21 A. Yes. That was the subject discussed, the wounded, the patients,
22 what to do with them, and so on and so forth. He received confirmation
23 here that the issue had been dealt with.
24 Q. Thank you. Continue.
25 A. Help was expected from the 1st Military District to deal with
1 these issues, to tackle these issues. Somebody else was supposed to come
2 along. There were other issues concerning the operations group command
3 was not qualified to deal with all these various issues. Of course help
4 was expected, because help had been requested.
5 Q. And what particular help was requested, and who requested it? If
6 you know.
7 A. The command of the guards brigade, more specifically the
8 commander. The same applied to all sorts of logistical issues.
9 Monitoring the transport from all sides. Also in view of the imminent
10 evacuation of the hospital and the wounded, teams were to be sent out to
11 deal with these steps. There must be something in the war diary about
12 this, namely that such requests were made, either orally by the commander
13 or by Telex, I can't quite remember. Or maybe he used our communications
14 equipment to ask for help. I know that the war diary was kept and I know
15 that these were the expectations. There is the order by the commander of
16 the 1st Military District saying that logistics units would be involved in
17 dealing with certain issues within the operations group, as well as
18 security bodies. I think there was a document like that produced by the
19 1st Military District that was part of the register book that was entered
20 there, on how the wounded were to be treated, and this was definitely
21 something that was eventually received by the command of the guards
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... in this document it states
24 that at 1600 hours in the region of Velepromet there was a delegation of
25 the Red Cross of Yugoslavia. Do you see that?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. And what was Velepromet being used for at that stage, to your
3 knowledge? This is on the 19th of November at 6.00.
4 A. It was one of the facilities used to assemble people. There were
5 people coming from various parts of the town and at that point it was
6 impossible to separate people to the distinguish between this or that
7 group. Therefore, they had to be collected in certain -- at certain
8 points and what we had at our disposal was Velepromet, Ovcara and the
9 barracks. The Red Cross delegation went to Velepromet, I presume to see
10 what the situation was with the people there.
11 Q. And when you say that these were certain points that you had
12 at "our disposal" and you refer to Velepromet and Ovcara and the barracks,
13 who are you saying are "our" disposal, who is "our"?
14 A. The Operations Group. They were inside the Operations Group zone,
15 and those facilities provided the conditions necessary to have so many
16 people in one place.
17 Q. Were these three places in the Operational Group South's zone of
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document. I have
21 provided the ERN numbers previously. Perhaps I'll give them again
22 0467-2869 to 0467-2871.
23 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
24 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 418, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Before we leave that document, Mr. Smith, one
1 matter that interests the Chamber. The appointment of village and area
2 commanders that has been referred to, in what area did Velepromet come,
3 under whose command?
4 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
5 Q. Witness, you heard the Judge's question, and earlier you talked
6 about an order where there were village and town commands set up, and also
7 you discussed that the order also mentioned that assault detachments were
8 placed in areas in the town of Vukovar. Do you remember giving that
9 evidence from the document?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. So in relation to those town commanders and the village
12 commanders, the commanders of the units that were placed in charge of
13 them, which village or town command did Velepromet fall under?
14 A. I believe it fell under the area of responsibility of the assault
15 detachment number 2. I believe it fell under their area, and in that
16 regard the commander of the assault detachment number 2 was responsible.
17 Q. Thank you. And Assault Detachment 2, who was the commander of
19 A. Based on the previous commander's orders, Colonel Boja Bojat, who
20 was the previous Operations Group South commander, Lieutenant-Colonel
21 Branislav Lukic had been appointed on the 3rd or the 4th of October.
22 Pursuant to that order, Major Bajic, the commander of the battalion was
23 not replaced. I don't mean to imply that there was dual command of the
24 Assault Detachment in place at the time, but as to why he was appointed
25 commander for that part of Vukovar, well, I presume that's because he was
1 a battalion commander. And as regards combat activities in the entire
2 area of responsibility, those were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Lukic.
3 Q. Thank you. And just to finish this topic, the town and village
4 commanders in place at this point at the 19th of November, 1991, who were
5 they subordinated to?
6 A. To the commander who appointed them, being commander of OG South,
7 Mile Mrksic.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I think -- I now tender that document.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It has already been received, Mr. Smith.
11 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
12 Q. Witness, if we can turn to tab number 28, please. And this is 65
13 ter number 602. And there is a document, an order dated the 20th of
14 November, 1991, the time is 6.00 in the morning, and it's typed at the
15 base of the document that it's an order from Mrksic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Are you familiar with that order?
18 A. I am.
19 Q. In relation to that order it asks that, first paragraph, "In the
20 course of the 20th of November, 1991," it orders that the continual of the
21 mopping up of the liberated areas and the facilities of Vukovar from the
22 remaining parts of Ustasha formations and take measures necessary for
23 establishing full control in the town.
24 "Simultaneously evacuate and transport civilians, the wounded and
25 the sick from the hospital in Vukovar."
1 Do you see that in the first paragraph?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. There are other further orders that we can discuss, but in
4 relation to the evacuation of the wounded and the sick from the hospital
5 in Vukovar, nothing further is mentioned in that order about that
6 activity, is there?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. Were there any follow-up orders from Colonel Mrksic in relation to
9 how that evacuation of civilians was to be carried out from the hospital
10 of Vukovar, the Vukovar Hospital?
11 A. As far as I can remember, the existing written orders, which would
12 specifically deal with these issues, I don't believe there were any such
13 orders. As for any oral orders that may have been issued, I'm not
14 familiar with those.
15 Q. And paragraph 2 it states that return artillery battalions from
16 the -- and perhaps if you can -- perhaps if you can just read out
17 paragraph 2 in relation to the resubordination issued there, order issued.
18 A. "Return artillery battalions from the 1st proletarian mechanised
19 division of the 453rd mechanised brigade which were subordinated to the OG
20 South to their original formations. Return AJD 105 millimetres which was
21 supporting the OG South to the 80th Motorised Brigade formation and
22 continue with the support pursuant to the plan of the 80th Motorised
23 Brigade command." That was item 2.
24 Q. In relation to the Howitzer battalion being returned to the 80th
25 Motorised Brigade, did that originally come from the 80th Motorised
1 Brigade, that Howitzer battalion.
2 A. Whether they came to the 80th Motorised Brigade? I didn't
3 understand the question. Whether they were already under or within the
5 Q. My question was, did the Howitzer battalion, was that originally
6 with the 80th Motorised Brigade, and then, by this order, it's simply
7 being returned?
8 A. Yes, by establishment it did.
9 Q. And further in the order it states that all necessary measures in
10 Operational Group South, units to -- sorry. I'll repeat that. It
11 states, "Take all necessary measures in Operational Group South to secure
12 and control the territory in the area of responsibility." Do you see
13 that? And if you can read out just the last paragraph or the last
14 sentence above paragraph 4 in relation to the responsibility of town
16 A. "The town commanders in the OG South area of responsibility are to
17 take all necessary measures for the full functioning of the military
18 authorities, pursuant to order - strictly confidential number 349-1 of the
19 8th --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, the 9th of November,
22 MR. SMITH:
23 Q. And this is at 6.00 in the morning on the 20th of November, 1991.
24 At this -- at this point?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Based on this document, who was the 80th Motorised Brigade
2 subordinated to, based on this document?
3 A. The Operations Group South.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document. It's 65
6 ter number 602.
7 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 419, Your Honours.
9 MR. SMITH:
10 Q. Witness, if we can turn to --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. SMITH:
13 Q. This is 65 ter number 577 and it's an order from Colonel Mrksic,
14 the Operational Group South commander, regulating the issue of
15 resubordination. And if you can briefly read that order out, please.
16 A. "Regulating the issue of resubordination: Order. In order to
17 unify command for future activities, resubordinate: The armoured
18 battalion of the 554th Motorised Brigade to the 80th Motorised Brigade.
19 All issues regarding resubordination will be regulated by the command of
20 the 80th Motorised Brigade.
21 "Until they receive a new task, the armoured battalion of the
22 544th Motorised Brigade will be carrying out tasks in compliance with the
23 decision of the 16th of November, 1991."
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. SMITH: Your Honour, I seek to tender this document, and it's
1 65 ter number 577.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 420, Your Honours.
4 MR. SMITH:
5 Q. Witness, if you can turn to tab 30, please. This is 65 ter number
6 67. It's a report, a regular combat report from Colonel Mrksic,
7 Operational Group South commander, and it's addressed to the 1st Military
8 District command and the Federal Secretariat for the National Defence
9 cabinet. And it's dated --
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. It's dated the 20th of November at 6.00 in the evening.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In relation to this report, it reports on some of the activities
14 of Operational Group South, and would you be able to read out paragraph 1,
15 please, as to some of the activities conducted?
16 A. [No interpretation].
17 [Interpretation] "Upon your request we are forwarding the report
18 on realization of tasks. You set in your order strictly confidential
19 number 1614-82/81 of 18 November, 1992. Since in the task to the OG South
20 you are directed that the OG South during the morning by 1000 hours on the
21 19th of November, 1991, takes over the hospital and the MUP and clears
22 Vukovar of Ustasha forces. This task was carried out by 1100 hours on the
23 19th of November, is you, and safe movement through town and control
24 protection service were secured. The clearing up of the Mitnica
25 settlement and certain streets and buildings in the centre of Vukovar
2 Q. Thank you. Your Honour, I have some further questions about that
3 topic. It's a quarter to 2.00.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Smith. Yes.
5 We resume tomorrow at 9.30 in the morning. We will now adjourn.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 4th day of May,
8 2006, at 9.30 a.m.