1 Friday, 5 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. The affirmation you made at the
7 beginning of your evidence, Colonel, is still in force.
8 Mr. Vasic.
9 WITNESS: RADOJE TRIFUNOVIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good morning
12 to everyone in the courtroom.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Vasic: [Continued]
14 Q. Good morning, Witness. I asked you yesterday to make a pause
15 after my question, and I will do so after your answer, and it would be
16 good for us to do that today as well, because of an accurate
17 interpretation and the transcript.
18 Yesterday you told us something about the documents at the command
19 of OG South, the war diary, the record or log-book of orders received, and
20 also the briefing book. So what I would like to know is who controlled
21 the entry of data in all of these records?
22 A. The Chief of Staff and the commander.
23 Q. And was it the main task of the Chief of Staff to take care of the
24 accuracy of the documents being maintained by the command?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you. My learned friend and I showed you some documents,
2 some orders from the 1st Military District and orders from OG South, so
3 would you agree with me that the commander of OG South, after he received
4 orders from his superior command, and after they were processed at the
5 OG South command, did he transfer then all of those orders into his own
6 orders, orders of the OG South, which he then transferred to, or conveyed
7 to his units?
8 A. Yes. About 80 to 90 per cent of such orders were then passed on
9 to subordinate units.
10 Q. In view of this percentage would you agree with me that all the
11 important key orders were then drafted as orders of OG South?
12 A. Yes, yes, I would agree.
13 Q. I think that perhaps it would be fair to look at Exhibit 429
14 again. I assume that yesterday you were tired when you were making that
15 diagram, so I wanted to ask you something. That's the diagram of the
16 command post. This is just to clarify any uncertainties. Thank you.
17 For the sake of clarity, what I would like you -- what I would
18 like to ask you is the following: The way you've sketched this, it looks
19 as if you directly went from one room to another. Was there any kind of
20 passage or corridor there?
21 A. Yes. There was a corridor between the operations room and these
22 other rooms. I apologise, but after 15 years I really cannot be so sure
23 about the sketch of the desks, the chairs, the rooms. I dropped the
24 corridor, but I didn't do it on purpose. I was tired, you're right. I
25 was tired, so that's why I didn't indicate where it was.
1 Q. Yes. That's why I thought it would be good to come back to this
2 question so that perhaps we could clarify some things.
3 Could you please tell us, this descent into the lower rooms or at
4 the lower level, was that at the end of the corridor; do you remember?
5 A. Yes, probably that's how it was. It would seem that the way down
6 led from the corridor. I'm not really precise, Mr. Vasic. In this case I
7 cannot be precise. This is on the basis of my recollection, so it's more
8 or less like that. There was a corridor, the entrance was from the
9 corridor leading down, yes. I remember that now.
10 Q. And did you enter all the other rooms from a corridor, the
11 operations room on one side and then on the other side, the left side, all
12 the others?
13 A. I think not the operations room, but the entrance to the other
14 rooms was from the corridor. The operations room was entered directly
15 from the street, from the porch, and then there were the auxiliary
16 buildings where the generators were that served the staff command.
17 Q. Thank you. I would like to ask you first, could you indicate
18 where this corridor was on the diagram?
19 A. Well, these offices and the working rooms, I could erase that and
20 I could say that the corridor was about one metre wide, so I could extend
21 this by one line and that's what that looked like.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like some
23 instructions from you. If we add the corridor on this diagram, I'm afraid
24 then that we won't be able to see anything. So is it necessary to redraw
25 the diagram anew, or can we just make an annex to it and keep the annex
1 under the same exhibit number.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, to answer your question, I need to know
3 what use you need to make of it. At the moment the evidence is clear that
4 this is a sketch, that it is inaccurate, that there is a corridor between
5 the operations rooms and the smaller rooms to the top of the diagram, that
6 the entrance to downstairs is at the end of the corridor, and there is
7 also an entrance to those rooms in the corridor. Unless you need to have
8 some precise marking of something for some other purpose, I don't think
9 you need to alter this at all. The evidence is all there on the record.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for that
11 instruction. So I will not dwell on this diagram anymore. Thank you.
12 Q. Sir, can we now look at some entries of the war diary, this is
13 Exhibit 401, and I would like to ask you to find the entry for the 4th of
14 October, 1991, at 12.00. This is on page 12 of the English version, and
15 page -- have you found it?
16 A. Well, you didn't tell me the page number. Could you please give
17 me the date?
18 Q. 4th of October at 12.00. I'm trying to find it in the B/C/S.
19 A. Yes, 4th of October. Okay.
20 Q. Thank you. 12.00. Could you please read what it states there?
21 A. "1145."
22 Q. I apologise, I was looking at the English translation, and I think
23 there is a mistake in the date with this entry, let me just check. But
24 you can read this entry, this was of the 4th of October at 1145.
25 A. "The commander of the OG South issued an order to Lukic Branislav
1 to immediately or directly command and coordinate all activities in the
2 axis of attack of the 2nd Assault Detachment."
3 And this is number 2020/1173 to the command of the 453rd
4 Mechanised Brigade.
5 Q. Mr. Lukic Branislav is the person we mentioned already who took
6 over the command of the 2nd Assault Detachment; is that correct?
7 A. To immediately command and coordinate all activities along the
8 axis of attack of the 2nd Assault Detachment. That's what was stated and
9 that's what I noted down. The document was registered at the command of
10 the brigade. 453rd Brigade.
11 [Defence counsel confer]
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Thank you. Could you please look at the entry for the 8th of
14 October? At 2310 hours, and in English that is page 18. And for you
15 that's the page ending with 452; that's the ERN number. Have you found
17 A. Yes, I have.
18 Q. Could you please read it out?
19 A. "Colonel Dr. Vuk Obradovic called and asked if the Ustasha units
20 were surrendering and how many had surrendered. He requested that the
21 commander of the OG South be told that on the 9th of October he was
22 working according to his plan (the original decision) regardless of the
23 situation and conduct of the Ustashas.
24 "We should not count on major air force support."
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. Yes, the commander was informed.
2 Q. And can you see on the basis of this entry that Vuk Obradovic had
3 frequent contacts by telephone with the OG South command, as a unit that
4 it sent -- that sent daily reports out very frequently?
5 A. Yes, very frequently.
6 Q. Could you please now look at the entry for October 9th at 8.00?
7 This is page 19 in the English, and in your copy, Witness, it's page
8 ending with 453.
9 A. Yes, I've found it.
10 Q. Thank you. Could you kindly read it?
11 A. "The commander of the 1st Military District arrived at the
12 OG South group command and ordered the OG South to hold the belt area from
13 the River Vuka to the Danube. He specified the areas of responsibility
14 and gave information on the remaining units of the 1st Military District.
15 He had information on the state of the infantry in the area of
16 responsibility of the 1st Military District."
17 Q. Thank you very much. So could it be concluded on the basis of
18 this entry that on the October -- on October 9th it was specified that the
19 operations zone of OG South, in the north up to River Vuka and the River
20 Danube, and that on the 18th of November OG South was only then ordered to
21 cross the bridges and to occupy the rest of the town?
22 A. He didn't bring any documents which would regulate this. He came
23 the day after the guards brigade commander was appointed as commander of
24 OG South, and it says here that he was informed of the situation and that
25 he informed the command about the situation in the field. At that point
1 this was a specific task to hold the strip from the Vuka River to the
2 Danube, that's what was orally said to him. I don't know, I mean he had
3 the plan which was then specifically developed.
4 Q. Yes, do you remember whether the orders for combat operations of
5 OG South were in line with what we're talking about now, that it was the
6 assignment of the unit -- that the assignment of the units was split into
7 two stages, the second stage of which was to get to the River Vuka?
8 A. Phase two.
9 Q. Yes, that it was phase two.
10 A. Well, if you would like us to go back to the decisions from that
11 period, that's what it specifically says. The first stage would be to
12 reach such-and-such a point, and then the second stage would be to reach
13 such-and-such a point. We could go into that specifically.
14 Q. Can we please now go to Exhibit 410? Would you please blow it up
15 a little? Thank you very much.
16 This is a decision to extend the attack. Can you see that?
17 A. I can see that on the screen. I haven't found it -- among my
18 documents in the binder that I have.
19 Q. Thank you very much. This is a decision by Operations Group South
20 dated the 29th of October, 1991, to extend the operation in Vukovar; is
21 that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Item 1 says: "I hereby decide."
24 A. Item 1: "I hereby decide to simultaneously and energetically use
25 all forces with the air force support and artillery support and to
1 infiltrate some forces to extend the attack along the entire front line.
2 The main axis of the attack will be along Sajmiste
3 Street-Dalmatinska Street-Alija Alijagica Street and the republic square.
4 The auxiliary axis will be at Vucedol (Mala Dubrava) and the neighbourhood
5 of Mitnica with the following objective:
6 "At stage 1 of the operation, take control of the neighbourhood
7 of Mitnica and cut it off from the rest of the town, take control of the
8 neighbourhood of the 6th Proleterske Divizije, and the part of town near
9 the streets of Ognjena Price and Alija Alijagica. After that, at stage 2
10 of the operation, reach the River Vuka and the River Danube.
11 "Operations disposition or operative disposition: Five assault
12 detachments ..."
13 Q. Based on this order, can we agree that stage 2, which was the
14 final stage of this operation, was to reach the banks of the Vuka and the
16 A. Well, that follows unequivocally from the commander's decision,
17 doesn't it.
18 Q. Can we know please go to 401, Exhibit 401? This is the war diary.
19 And can you please find the entry in reference to the 10th of October,
21 For the benefit of my learned friends, the page number in English
22 is 20.
23 I assume you have found it already sir, haven't you?
24 A. Yes. 0700 hours, the 10th of October, is that what you mean?
25 Q. Thank you. Can you please read that entry for us?
1 A. "We received an order by the command of the 1st Military District
2 to set up check-points to check the flow of food and medicines organised
3 by the Republic of Croatia for civilians in Vukovar."
4 Q. Do you remember that this order by the 1st Military District
5 ordered the setting up of a check-point to monitor the food and medicine
6 convoy so that no weapons, ammunition or explosives entered the town of
8 A. As far as I remember, I think that is precisely what the order
10 Q. Do you perhaps also remember that once the convoy was checked it
11 should be allowed to smoothly enter Vukovar?
12 A. Yes, that's right. The order was quite precise. The convoy was
13 to be let through, and the supplies were to be distributed to the
15 Q. You were asked yesterday by my learned friend about the convoy,
16 about that note in that report saying that the JNA units from the barracks
17 were in no position to guarantee the safety of a convoy in Croatian
18 territory under the control of the Croatian forces?
19 A. That's the report you mean, right?
20 Q. Bearing all this in mind, what I want to know is, do you perhaps
21 remember what the real problem was? Perhaps the real problem was that the
22 Croatian forces refused to open up their lines and remove their obstacles,
23 separating them from the JNA units. They simply refused to let the convoy
24 through, and that was the real reason why the convoy didn't go on and
25 reach the centre of Vukovar eventually?
1 A. I can confirm that the reasons were precisely the ones that I
2 stated in my report. But I think what you are suggesting is true, roughly
3 speaking. There is something I wrote in my report that is related to this
4 particular difficulty, as far as I remember.
5 Q. Yes, by all means. What you wrote in your report is logical and
6 suggests that the JNA units were in no position to guarantee the security
7 of the convoy in the territory held by the Croatian forces. Would that
8 seem to be a fair inference?
9 A. Yes, that much is certain. There is no doubt about that at all.
10 Q. Could you please go back to the war diary, Exhibit 401, and go to
11 the 17th of October at 6.30. The page reference is 27 for the English.
12 A. The 17th of November.
13 Q. The 17th of October, 6.30.
14 A. I've found that.
15 Q. Could you please read that out for us?
16 A. "Order strictly confidential No. 1614-82."
17 I think Skoric is the one who made this entry. So it's a little
18 difficult for me to make out.
19 Q. The English says the 16th of October, 1991.
20 A. Fair enough. The order states that: "... despite the enormous
21 losses suffered by the Ustasha forces they are still opening heavy
22 artillery fire, also from the areas of the villages of Ilok ..."
23 There's something just before Ilok, I'm not sure.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, could the speakers please
25 kindly be asked to speak one at a time.
1 A. "... and Sotin. The Ustashas withdrew in groups and fled to the
2 woods, especially on the right bank of the Danube between Opatovac and
3 Jakubovac. The Danube between Opatovac and Jakubovac. Therefore " -- I
4 can't read this. Perhaps --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, could the speakers kindly be
6 asked to speak one at a time. Thank you.
7 JUDGE PARKER: You keep speaking in as the witness is speaking,
8 and the interpreter can't hear both of you.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours. I
10 will try to take that into account.
11 Q. You said you couldn't read this, right?
12 A. Very well.
13 Q. I'll try to read this, and you check whether that's accurate.
14 A. Fair enough.
15 Q. "It was therefore ordered that command of the 12th Corps and the
16 1st Proletarian Guards Motorised Division from all command posts ..."
17 A. That in all, yes, right. Can I do this?
18 Q. That they should set up command posts in all the villages?
19 A. Yes, that's it.
20 Q. If you look at this order by the 1st Military District, does it
21 not seem that it outlines actions that should be taken against the
22 Croatian forces in Ilok and Sotin? Those Croatian units firing at JNA
23 units sometime around mid-October 1991?
24 A. If I look at the substance, that is not my assessment of what it
25 means. Secondly, as far as I know, the operations group command never
1 received an assignment like this in any of the orders received. Not at
2 any point in time, throughout the Vukovar operation.
3 Q. So this assignment is in reference to members of the 12th Corps
4 and the 1st Proletarian Guards Motorised Division, right?
5 A. That's my understanding of this particular entry in reference to
6 the order from the 1st Military District. If you have the specific order,
7 perhaps I might be able to interpret it more closely.
8 Q. Thank you very much.
9 MR. SMITH: A brief objection, Your Honour. Or intervention, as
10 Mr. Vasic would put it.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
12 MR. SMITH: Just in relation to the transcript, at page 10,
13 line 12, I think the -- there's been a translation error as it was being
14 read out what the diary contained, the entry in the diary. And the entry
15 in the diary states that despite enormous losses the Ustasha forces
16 suffered they're still resisting heavy artillery attacks, and in the
17 transcript it's read that they are still opening heavy artillery fire.
18 That that was the witness's answer. But it seems to be a misreading of
19 the diary entry.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 Mr. Vasic, you've heard that.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I have taken note, Your Honour.
23 Perhaps we can ask the witness to read this again.
24 Q. I think the witness read exactly what went down in the transcript.
25 But let us please go back to the 17th of October, 6.30. Would you please
1 be so kind as to read out the first segment again, because that's what the
2 objection is about. Can you please do that again for us?
3 A. I'll certainly do my best. I'll probably do better now, as
4 opposed to the first time around.
5 "Order strictly confidential number 1614-82/dated the 16th of
6 October, 1991." The order states that: "Despite the enormous losses
7 suffered by the Ustasha forces they are still resisting heavy artillery
8 attacks." End of segment.
9 Q. Thank you. We've got that cleared up now.
10 Can we please go back to the 19th of October? It says between 01
11 and 10.30. For my learned friends' reference, page 28.
12 Have you got that, Witness?
13 A. 01.
14 Q. Yes, that means --
15 A. Just a minute. 0030, yes.
16 Q. 19th of October, 0100 to 1030?
17 A. 0030 to 0100.
18 Q. Yes, the next entry, please.
19 A. The next one is 0100 to 1030. Is that the one?
20 Q. Yes, please go ahead.
21 A. "The Ustasha forces are opening artillery fire on the Vukovar
22 barracks sector."
23 Q. Thank you. This entry must have been based on the report you
24 received from the Vukovar barracks, right?
25 A. Yes. This was probably received by the operations duty officer.
1 I suppose I wasn't there myself. He just made a note in his notebook, and
2 probably he told me the next morning about that particular entry.
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. I may as well have been there. It's possible. But the way
5 information was entered into the war diary, the technical aspects, as far
6 as the times when I wasn't there was concerned when one of the duty
7 officers was there, it was done like this, but that was night-time only,
8 because over the day all the operatives were there, and we were the ones
9 entering all the information.
10 Q. Thank you. You've explained that already. I just meant to stop
11 you to ask you this: Is it your conclusion that perhaps it was the duty
12 operations officer that took this down, given the time of the entry?
13 A. That's possible. It's possible that the duty operations officer
14 told me the next morning, and then I made an entry.
15 Q. Thank you. Can we please -- we're still with this exhibit, and I
16 would like to have the page marked as 0293-5446 run up on the screen, if
17 possible, please. 0293-5446. That's what we were looking for at the
18 beginning, it's the entry for the 4th of October, but the English
19 translation seems to contain a confusion about these two dates, so I
20 couldn't find the B/C/S reference. I have provided the B/C/S page, so
21 this is in relation to 1200 hours. For the benefit of my learned friends,
22 it's page 12 in English.
23 Have you found that, Witness?
24 A. No, I haven't. The date, the war diary.
25 Q. In the war diary, the date is the 4th of October at 1200 hours.
1 A. It's not 12, it's 1145, I'm not sure what you mean. 4th of
2 October. The authorisation by Colonel Bojat, right?
3 Q. The page that is on the screen. Can you see that page? It's the
4 next entry on that page.
5 A. In my document there is a page missing.
6 Q. I think it was just put together in the wrong way, and that was
7 the reason that I took so long to find it.
8 A. Well, my apologies then.
9 Q. The page number is, the last digits are 446. It's the second
10 entry. You have it on the screen.
11 A. Yes, I do have it on the screen, 446. Yes, right. It's right
13 Q. Could you please read that out for us?
14 A. 1200 hours, 1100 hours, 1200 hours. "Reconnaissance organs of the
15 1st Motorised Battalion report that there is an Ustasha headquarters
16 underground in the old and new hospitals."
17 Q. Thank you very much. You made this entry based on a report you
18 received from someone in the 1st Motorised Battalion, right?
19 A. Yes. And the note says: "All command bodies have been informed."
20 Q. Thank you very much. Sir, could you please now go to the 19th of
21 November, 1400 hours. For my learned friend, page 41.
22 A. The 19th of October?
23 Q. The 19th of November, 1400 hours.
24 A. 1314, yeah.
25 Q. Could you please be so kind, sir?
1 A. "The command of OG South was informed that the Ustasha authorities
2 refused to take in a convoy comprising 16 buses carrying civilians that
3 had been sent to Zupanja. These were sent back to the area of
4 responsibility of OG South."
5 Q. Is this reference to that same convoy carrying civilians on their
6 way out of Vukovar and then returned by the Croatian authorities who
7 refused to have them, which is what you testified in chief yesterday?
8 A. Yes, that's what it appears to be in reference to. We sent
9 reports to our superior command, and I outlined the situation in a more
10 detailed manner. I referenced all the check-points and the specific times
11 when the buses were sent back. But they refused to have them. And it was
12 like that over the three days. The situation did not change. So this
13 information is accurate.
14 Q. And the returns of the convoys posed great problems to the command
15 of OG South because they needed to be secured, people fed and
16 accommodated, and moved across the territory as well as establishing new
17 rules -- new routes to exchange them?
18 A. Precisely so.
19 Q. Thank you. We will leave aside the war diary for a moment.
20 I wanted to ask you something about the functioning of the
21 command. We saw from the war diary that there was telephone communication
22 with the chef de cabinet of the SSNO, Mr. Vuk Obradovic, and I suppose
23 there were other telephone connections with the command of the 1st
24 Military District. I'm interested in knowing where were such reports
25 recorded, the ones that were received via telephone from the 1st Military
1 District and the SSNO, and the reports sent by the command of OG South to
2 these superior commands. Where were such reports recorded?
3 A. I will be quite precise. In that part of the communications
4 centre, there was Major Tatic there and two warrant officers as well.
5 They would take those phone calls, depending on who it was that was
6 sending their report, and taking into account the importance of such a
7 telephone call, the matters were regulated the following way: If it came
8 from the cabinet of the commander or Chief of Staff, or the head of the
9 operations organ, and provided none of those people were there, the chef
10 de cabinet, if information was such degree that wasn't deemed of utmost
11 urgency, it was then transferred later and conveyed to the people who were
12 supposed to know of that. Otherwise, if any of those people were present
13 there, they would take the phone call.
14 Usually entries were not made if calls were made from the
15 1st Military District. Rather, if matters were urgent, we would try to
16 find the right officer who would take that information down. When it
17 comes to the subordinates who sent out reports, they used codes.
18 At the communications centre there was a form which the radio man
19 would have to fill out by using the code book. But some of the
20 conversations were not coded either. The person reporting had to state
21 the person to whom that should be transmitted, be it the commander or
22 someone else, and the radio man was supposed to do that. He had his own
23 notebook where he kept his notes, I told this to Trifunovic, I told that
24 to Mrksic, and so on and so forth.
25 This is the way communication went, because the dynamics of the
1 situation in the operations room was such that at a given time some of the
2 officers would be there, and they could take phone calls. I'm not talking
3 about the way of sending out coded messages, but just I'm explaining the
4 phone calls.
5 Q. Any such information received on the phone, be it from the
6 superior command or one of the subordinate units, any important order or
7 information would be taken down the way you explained by the people who
8 were tasked with communications at the command?
9 A. If there was important information and the Chief of Staff or
10 commander were not there, all they asked -- the person calling would only
11 ask when would such-and-such person be there, and then they would call
12 later. Because something -- some of the documents and orders were
13 strictly confidential and were not to be told to the radio man but only to
14 the commander himself.
15 Q. During your testimony in chief, when you read out the report of
16 OG South command for the 19th of November, we saw that there was mention
17 of local commanders assigned by the commander there. And you stated that
18 based on that document, for Ovcara, Jakubovac and Grabovo,
19 Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic was appointed, and you said that he was
20 appointed on the 19th of November?
21 A. Could you please refer me back to the document to see which date
22 exactly. When it comes to the change of command inside a certain area,
23 the commander would also appoint a new commander.
24 Q. That is Exhibit 418, tab 27. What we are interested in is on
25 page 2 of the report with ERN number 0467-2870. This is the report of
1 the 19th of November?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Therefore, on this page, in item 3 it states that village of
4 Ovcara, village of Jakubovac, village of Grabovo Lieutenant-Colonel
5 Misovic, Slobodan would be appointed commander and upon his departure from
6 the zone of responsibility. So Lieutenant-Colonel Slobodan Misovic and
7 upon his departure from the zone of responsibility of OG South,
8 Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic, Milorad was appointed?
9 A. He was appointed by an order, and this is a report, and if -- you
10 can see for yourself it's not a particularly clear report. It was drafted
11 poorly by the operative. So this was just reporting on the order of his
12 command, of his appointment.
13 Q. Since this report encompasses the period between the 18th of
14 November at 6.00 p.m. Until the 19th at 6.00 p.m., it covers 24 hours. Is
15 it possible that Mr. Vojnovic had been appointed commander on the 18th,
16 particularly having in mind that on the 18th of November his unit in that
17 area was securing the captured members of the Mitnica brigade?
18 Therefore, my question is: Could it be that this order appointing
19 him the local commander was made on the 18th of November?
20 A. I believe he was appointed on the 20th, since the date on the
21 order is the 20th. Maybe I drafted the order on the 19th for the 20th,
22 and as it is stated in the report, it says that he will be appointed.
23 Yes, on the 20th at 6.00 the order was issued appointing Vojnovic
24 commander. Perhaps he ordered that I draft that in the evening on
25 the 19th. He said put it in the report that Vojnovic will be appointed
1 and draft the order appointing him. The order is on the 20th at 6.00.
2 And we can then assess that that was the time when he received the order
3 and that was the time of effective appointment.
4 Q. Could you tell me what the number of the order is?
5 A. I don't know the number of the order. I made a note in -- during
6 the proofing. That order concerns itself with local commanders within the
7 area of responsibility and that they should take full responsibility for
8 the affairs pursuant to the order of the 19th. It could be the 19th. I
9 apologise. Maybe it was drafted on the 19th. I can't find it now.
10 Q. I need to be fair, and I have to put it to you that the
11 20th Partisan Brigade in the areas of Jakubovac, Ovcara and Grabovo
12 withdrew on the 17th of November, and I put it to you that the area was
13 taken over by the 80th Motorised Brigade on the 18th.
14 A. That is correct. Maybe they were told this orally, and then the
15 order followed on the 19th.
16 Q. So you said that they may have been ordered orally on the 18th,
17 and that he received the order on the 19th?
18 A. Yes, I believe so. And I found it in one of my notes that it was
19 drafted on the 19th.
20 Q. After the 16th of November, do you remember that the 80th
21 Motorised Brigade, and I have in mind the period between the 16th and
22 the 20th of November, by orders of the commander of OG South, the Stara
23 Pazova TO detachment was resubordinated to the 80th Brigade, as well as
24 the unit from the 40, 400 -- 44th brigade [as interpreted] as well as the
25 tactical group of the 95th Motorised Brigade.
1 It seems I will have to repeat to have it recorded for the
3 The armoured battalion of the 544th Motorised Brigade and the
4 tactical group of the 195th Motorised Brigade were resubordinated to carry
5 out tasks in the area of Ovcara, Jakubovac and Grabovo; do you remember
7 A. I don't remember exactly what units were resubordinated to
8 the 80th. I only remember the armoured battalion. And it didn't take
9 place in a single day.
10 Q. Yes, as I said, it lasted more than one day. That is, between
11 the 16th and the 20th of November.
12 A. I remember they were being reinforced. That is that the commander
13 resubordinated certain units. I don't remember which exactly. But that
14 could be easily established, based on the notes or orders.
15 Q. Could we please see on the screen 65 ter number 577, ERN for the
16 B/C/S 0327-1247, and for the English 0327-1247. 0327-1247, yes.
17 Can you see it on the screen?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. This is an order. Could you please read it out for us?
20 A. "Regulating the issue of resubordination - Order: In order to
21 unify the command for the forthcoming actions, resubordinate: The
22 armoured battalion of the 544th [as interpreted] Motorised Brigade to the
23 80th Motorised Brigade. All issues pertaining to resubordination will be
24 regulated by the command of the 80th Motorised Brigade."
25 Item 2: "Until a new task will be issued, the armoured battalion
1 of the 544th Motorised Brigade will carry out its tasks in keeping with
2 the decision of the 16th of November, 1991."
3 Q. Could you also state the date of the order?
4 A. At 8.00 on the 20th of November.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, would I like to tender
7 this document.
8 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
9 Mr. Smith.
10 MR. SMITH: It has been tendered, Your Honour. It's exhibit
11 number 420.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Is that at a tab?
13 MR. SMITH: Yes, Your Honour, tab 29.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours, and I thank
15 my learned friend for his assistance.
16 Could we have Exhibit 372 shown on the screen, please?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, Mr. Vasic would make it much
18 easier for everyone in the courtroom should he refer to the tab numbers
19 used previously by Mr. Smith.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, I don't know whether you heard that.
21 You did?
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
23 MR. SMITH: Just to help, Your Honour. This document doesn't have
24 a tab number, but it relates to a previous witness.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Smith. That is
1 correct. We've tendered this document with the previous witness.
2 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, do you have that document in front of you?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Could you please tell us, can we read there that the tactical
5 group of the 195th Motorised Brigade is being resubordinated to the
6 80th Motorised Brigade on the 19th of November at 1800 hours?
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, 800 hours.
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. This tactical group, was it resubordinated to the 80th Motorised
11 Brigade to secure the area of Ovcara, Jakubovac and Grabovo, as well as to
12 be prepared to mop up the terrain in the area of Mala Dubrava forest and
13 the settlement of Mitnica?
14 A. By order of the operations group, it was clearly defined. These
15 were the tasks assigned, and in item 3 in the forthcoming actions other
16 tasks are specified to be received by the commander of the 80th Motorised
17 Brigade. I believe that is sufficiently clear. Therefore, the commander
18 had to carry out these tasks. As for some others, well, he could decide
19 on his own on that.
20 Q. Did you know that the tactical group numbered over 450 troops?
21 A. Yes, the figure is there between 350 and 450, including all the
22 detachments and groups that were coming in. Therefore, I may conclude
23 that this one was no exception.
24 Q. If we also have in mind the armoured battalion mentioned a minute
25 ago, would the figure then amount to around 1.000 soldiers being
1 resubordinated to the 80th Motorised Brigade in the last three or four
3 A. If we have in mind the tactical group and the battalion, then that
4 figure is not as high. I don't know what other units were there.
5 Q. The TO detachment of Stara Pazova?
6 A. Then the figure is right, because an armoured battalion can have
7 up to 300 or 400 troops, plus the other units, it could be as many
8 as 1100.
9 Q. Thank you. Yesterday in your testimony in chief you mentioned a
10 group of security officers who came in the evening of the 19th to
11 Negoslavci. You said they briefly met with the commander. Could you
12 confirm to us that the encounter was so short that they were not even
13 offered any coffee?
14 A. No, they didn't have any coffee.
15 Q. Then you said they went to Vukovar, and you never saw them
16 afterwards; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, it is. I didn't see them.
18 Q. I know a lot of time passed, and that it's not easy to remember,
19 but who was your duty operations officer on the 18th, 19th and the 20th of
20 November, 1991? Can you remember that?
21 A. It is impossible for me to remember that. Even when such things
22 are defined by daily orders, at that time we would take turns or we would
23 replace each other if there was any need to do so. I really can't say.
24 Q. Yes, of course, it is difficult to remember after 15 years. Do
25 you remember whether on the 19th of November you were in the operations
1 room for as long as the commander was there? Rather, my question is: Did
2 you leave after he did on the 19th?
3 A. When they came on the 19th, and when they were sent to go to
4 Vukovar, I was there. When I went to take a rest, well, I don't know. I
5 don't know whether I left after the commander had, because then at 2000
6 hours the duty operations officer was there, and that all the officers
7 from various units came in, and tasks could be carried out, new
8 assignments issued, and then people could take their rest.
9 Q. Thank you. On the morning of the 20th, were you at the command
11 A. Yes. I was always there in the morning, as early at 7.00 or 8.00.
12 Q. Was the commander in the operations room with you on the 20th, in
13 the morning?
14 A. I believe so.
15 Q. And in the morning and in the course of the day, he didn't leave
16 the command post and the operations room?
17 A. Yes. Yes. He didn't go out until lunch. Perhaps out in the
18 terrace a little bit.
19 Q. Until lunch, you say. Is that the time that you mentioned
20 yesterday that in the late afternoon or towards the evening he went to the
21 logistics base in Berak?
22 A. Yes, that's correct. I remained behind to draw the map and make
23 the calculations, and all the attachments to the map, and the commander
24 went out. I don't know what time it was, 1600 hours, 1700 hours, it was
25 November, it was already dark at that time.
1 When he came back, he didn't tell me where he was coming from, and
2 I didn't ask him. But I find -- found out from the senior officers that
3 he was either in the medical facilities or in Berak. He could have only
4 been to those two places.
5 Q. And you said that he returned sometime after midnight?
6 A. Yes. After midnight. I had already completed the map. Colonel
7 Pavkovic was with me until about 11.00 and then he went somewhere, and I
8 stayed behind to wait for the commander, because of the map.
9 Q. Thank you. You also replied to a question by my learned friend
10 that you heard that Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic had come to the command
11 sometime between 21 and 2200 hours?
12 A. Yes, that is correct. I did hear that.
13 Q. In view of what you said a little bit earlier, he could not have
14 met Colonel Mrksic because at the time, as you said, you heard that
15 Colonel Mrksic was at Berak and not at the command?
16 A. All I heard was that he wanted to meet the colonel, the commander.
17 But I don't know whether he did manage to see him or not. I really didn't
18 find that out. I wasn't interested in the reasons why he came.
19 Q. But from what you say, the commander was not at the command post
20 at that time?
21 A. He was not in the operations room in Negoslavci. Perhaps he was
22 in a neighbouring house somewhere there, or he was there for some time and
23 then he went down there. I don't know what his movements were. Once he
24 left the operations room, I didn't follow where he was going.
25 Q. But according to what you said that you heard, he wasn't there, he
1 was either at the medical facility or at Berak?
2 A. Yes. At the time I think he was not there at the premises that I
3 had made a diagram of.
4 Q. You said that you heard that at that time he was either at the
5 medical facility or at the command post in Berak?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So he was not at the command post that you sketched, and he could
8 not have met Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic there. That's what I'm asking
10 A. Yes, that is correct.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
12 MR. SMITH: My objection is that the witness has stated earlier
13 that he was told that he was at the command post -- sorry, at Berak or at
14 the medical centre, but he wasn't sure where he was. He said he may have
15 been outside of the command post, and I just -- such questions are just
16 asking for speculation on the witness's behalf, and I'm not sure whether
17 they're that useful.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, please, Mr. Vasic.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Thank you,
20 Your Honour.
21 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, I must state my client's position in relation to
22 his movements on the 20th of November. He claims that after the regular
23 meeting at the command in the afternoon he went to Belgrade on the 20th of
24 November, 1991 in order to prepare for a meeting with the federal
25 secretary that was held on the 21st of November, 1991 in the morning. And
1 he was not in Negoslavci in the evening of the 20th of November. What
2 would you say to this assertion by my client? I am obliged to state his
4 A. As far as I recall, I am sticking to an entry in the war diary
5 that he left in the morning at 8.15 on the 21st. My exact recollection,
6 though, is that he left in the morning and that the night before I was
7 working on the map. That means that he could have left on the 18th also
8 if that is what it states in -- in the war diary. I assert that I made
9 entries in the war diary in a responsible way, and when I look back those
10 two facts indicate to me that on the 20th he was there, because the night
11 before the departure I was busy with these things that I told you about.
12 Q. And what would your comment be if I were to tell you that possibly
13 you have mistaken the dates and that perhaps you worked on the map on
14 the 23rd of November in order for him to go to see General Zivota Panic at
15 the 1st Military District command on the 24th, and it was not for the 20th
16 and the 21st, because there was a protocol reception at the federal
17 secretary's at that time. There was no briefing.
18 Secondly, on the 20th Colonel Pavkovic was accompanying or
19 escorting the convoy for Sremska Mitrovica, so he wasn't in Negoslavci.
20 So is there a possibility that you are perhaps mistaken about the dates
21 that you worked on the map?
22 A. I could not have mistaken the dates of my work on the map, because
23 I was working on information for such an important briefing. The entry in
24 the war diary, and you know that I constantly asked myself if it was
25 possible that I had made a mistake or that I slipped and made an erroneous
1 record, but everything to date indicates that this wasn't so. As for all
2 the events, I recall them because I go back one by one, so this is
4 Q. Could we please look at Exhibit 401; this is the war diary. So
5 could we look at the entry for the 21st of November at 8.00.
6 For my learned friends, this is page 41 of the English. The B/C/S
7 version, that's on the last page.
8 Would you please read the entry for the 21st of November, at 8.15?
9 A. "The commander of OG South and a group of officers went to a
10 reception by the federal secretary in Belgrade."
11 Q. Thank you. So based on this entry, you could say that the
12 commander and some other officers went at the same time to Belgrade for
13 the meeting with the federal secretary; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, on the basis of this entry, you could conclude that.
15 Q. Thank you. And in view of the time of the entry, the time of the
16 departure, on the 21st of November, 8.15, could you tell us how the
17 commander left for Belgrade, what means of transport did he use?
18 A. I think that he went by helicopter.
19 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to show you a document.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Is this the same topic, Mr. Vasic, or are you
21 moving to something different?
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that your
23 question comes at the right moment. I am moving to a new topic, so
24 perhaps it would be better if we were to take our break now. Thank you.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
1 We will resume at five minutes to 11.00. That's a slightly longer
2 break than usual.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. So let us pick up from where we left off before the break.
8 On the subject of the topic we covered just before the break, the
9 departure of the commander for Belgrade, could we please look at
10 Exhibit 422. That's the order of the resubordination of Mr. Trifunovic
11 dated the 21st of November, 1991, which you discussed yesterday with my
12 learned friends. Have you found it?
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Just one moment, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It helps the interpreters in particular, Mr. Vasic.
15 It may be 21. 31.
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes, that
17 comes at the exact moment. It's tab 31.
18 MR. SMITH: And I think it's a brief intervention, Your Honour,
19 it's resubordination order of Colonel Mrksic, not Mr. Trifunovic.
20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] There's a mistake in the
21 interpretation. Obviously I didn't say that.
22 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, yesterday you said in response to a question by my
23 learned friend that this order was probably signed by Chief of Staff who
24 was Lieutenant-Colonel Miodrag Panic at that time.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The order was issued at 6.00 in the morning on the 21st of
2 November, 1991; is that correct? Could you please confirm whether in the
3 rules of military service in the rules of brigades it states that the
4 commander signs orders, especially of this importance?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Does it not also state in the rules of service, the rules for
7 brigades says that -- say that the Chief of Staff would sign instead of
8 the commander only when the commander is not at the location, and because
9 of the urgency, they cannot wait for him to return. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could we then conclude that the Chief of Staff, Miodrag Panic,
12 signed this document because the commander was not at the command post at
13 the time?
14 A. This document, Mr. Vasic, could have been signed at 10.00 also.
15 It was drafted at 0600 hours, and in practice you do not go to see the
16 commander that very instant the man is perhaps doing something else. You
17 don't knock on the door and say, here, sign this.
18 Q. I understand that. But you didn't answer my question whether when
19 the Chief of Staff signed this document the commander was not at the
20 command post at the time. That's what I wanted to know. But what you
21 have just said of course is implied.
22 A. Perhaps he was. But if he had gone on the 21st, as I seem to
23 recollect on the bases of the entry in the war diary, perhaps he was in a
24 hurry and did not sign it at the moment that the document was prepared.
25 Q. But if we look at the rules of service, the Chief of Staff can
1 sign a document only if the commander is not at the location, if he's not
3 A. That is correct. Perhaps he signed it when the commander was
4 there, and perhaps he signed it after he had gone. Somebody, in that
5 case, violated the rules of service.
6 Q. Thank you. And now that we are looking at this document, I would
7 just like to ask you something about the contents of this document and the
8 terms that are used. Is this text of the document that you say you
9 drafted something that was actually copied from the text of the order of
10 the 1st Military District which you said you had received and on the basis
11 of which you said you drafted this order?
12 A. It states here on the basis of the newly arisen situation and the
13 order of the 1st Military District. Had it been exclusively ordered on
14 the basis of the order of the 1st Military District, it would have said on
15 the basis of the order of the 1st Military District. But it
16 says, "Further to the newly arisen situation and the order of the
17 1st Military District."
18 What the newly arisen situation was, I cannot really tell you at
19 this moment, but there is the order by the 1st Military District somewhere
20 here. But I think that I did write it quite precisely, and it wouldn't
21 have been signed if it wasn't quite precise.
22 Q. Did I understand you correctly that you drafted this order on the
23 basis of the contents of the order that you received? That was my
24 question. So are the terms that are used in the order that we're talking
25 about terms that were also in the order by the 1st Military District?
1 A. Some of them probably were. Some of them were used because of the
2 situation that was there at that particular time, and it was suggested to
3 me that I should insert that. I don't know whether this was done by the
4 chief or the commander.
5 Q. I'm thinking about the terms Seseljevci and Sumadinac [phoen]?
6 A. Yes. This term Seseljevci, Seselj's men, since the term for Leva
7 Supoderica was something that was known in the command that that
8 detachment was there, so perhaps the typist put the term there and we
9 didn't notice it. Perhaps I used that term because I was writing quickly.
10 So I just happened to use that term. But I explained which detachment
11 that actually was. It could be a technical mistake, a typo as a result
12 of -- everybody knows what that would be a result of. In the military, a
13 poor operations officer would receive poor grades.
14 Q. Another thing about this order, it refers to an order of the
15 1st Military District, strictly confidential No. 115-151, dated the 20th
16 of November, 1991. I'm not sure whether you ever saw this document of the
17 1st Military District, the one numbered 115-151?
18 A. I don't remember. I probably answered this while I was testifying
19 in chief these days. We've gone through all the documents. I'm not sure
20 if this was one of them. Do you want me to go back to it?
21 Q. I still haven't received the translation, unfortunately. I'm
22 referring to this 1st Military District document, and I have informed my
23 learned friends accordingly.
24 MR. SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honour. Just in relation to this
25 document, that's correct. We haven't received the translation for this
1 one. We've been provided a large number of documents and we've received
2 all of the others.
3 So that the Prosecution can follow this discussion, I'm wondering
4 whether either this discussion about this document be put off until we
5 receive the translation; or, alternatively, perhaps I can discuss it
6 further with the witness in re-examination. But it's -- we wouldn't be
7 able to agree to its admission until -- until we receive the translation
8 of the document.
9 JUDGE PARKER: I think the cross-examination is likely to be able
10 to be adequately dealt with at the moment without a translation. But if
11 it's important, re-examination on the document can be delayed until a
12 translation is available.
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think the actual
14 situation we end up with may be simpler. I want to know only about two
15 aspects of this document; the first being the date, and the second being
16 what it really shows. And I think we can stop right there as far as my
17 cross-examination is concerned. I just want to show the witness this
18 document, he can read the date for us, and the heading of the document.
19 If the usher could please hand the witness a copy. The document
20 is 0D00-0343. It's been scanned.
21 Q. I assume this may take a while. I mean for you to have a look
22 before we can continue.
23 A. Indeed.
24 Q. I will not be asking you about any details. All I want to know is
25 whether this is a 1st Military District document.
1 A. Yes, 115-151.
2 Q. The 20th of November, 1991?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you please just tell us what this document is about, the
6 A. It is a report or, rather, information.
7 Q. So this is no order?
8 A. No. It's no order.
9 Q. Would that imply that you could not possibly have drafted the
10 order on the resubordination of Operations Group South, Exhibit 422,
11 464-1, based on this?
12 A. This might be a technical error, when it reads order and not
13 informational report. I would need to go through this to see if any
14 resubordination issues are referred to or ordered. This may be about
15 certificates being issued, people signing off and payments being made.
16 Q. Can you please have a look, then? I wasn't going to go further
17 with this, since there is no English translation and my learned friends
18 don't have the privilege of insight into this particular document. But
19 please, can you just go through it briefly and see if you can answer my
21 A. That's it. This information or report contains no reference to
22 issues previously regulated by the brigade commander's order.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. Do you want me to explain what I think about this?
25 Q. Please, by all means, go ahead.
1 A. I assume that there was a different order that was issued on the
2 same day, and that arrived on the same day as this information report.
3 Probably as it was being processed the number of this information report
4 was copied instead of the order number. So it must be a mere technical
6 Q. Thank you very much. We'll no longer be consulting this report.
7 But let me ask you this: Do you remember that regular combat
8 report in relation to the 21st of November and signed by the Chief of
9 Staff, Miodrag Panic? Does it not state that resubordination was based on
10 the 1st Military District order 115-151? So it's the same mistake
11 recurring in all these reports being forwarded to the 1st Military
12 District, right?
13 A. Yes. This order was written at the same time, and the number of
14 this order, or of this information report to the superior command -- it
15 was probably right there on the table, and when the report was produced
16 the same number was used.
17 I suppose I don't need to explain what a mountain of paperwork the
18 officer who was drafting this document was facing on his table, so errors
19 were certainly possible. But I may as well ask the following question:
20 Why didn't the person reading this notice? However, such errors do
22 Q. There's something else I would like to ask you about this order,
23 something you were asked yesterday by my learned friend. You told him
24 that all these units mentioned in the order, I'm referring to Exhibit 422,
25 the order on the resubordination of Operations Group South, the one
1 produced by Operations Group South, all the units mentioned there remained
2 within the composition until the 21st of November.
3 My question is: Shouldn't a unit remain within the composition of
4 its superior unit until it is formally resubordinated to a different unit?
5 This could have been by midnight, between the 21st and 22nd of November,
7 A. In this case, resubordination of units from other larger units.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
9 MR. SMITH: Sorry, Your Honour, I don't wish to interrupt. But
10 Exhibit 422 is not an order, it's a report, and the witness may clarify
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Exhibit 422, isn't that the order on
14 the resubordination, 464-1?
15 MR. SMITH: Bear with me, Your Honour.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Smith, please.
17 MR. SMITH: Sorry. Exhibit 422 is tab number 31, and that relates
18 to a combat report. Sorry, and Your Honour, I've -- I believe we --
19 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry, Mr. Smith, it is a document that in its
20 own terms describes itself as an order.
21 MR. SMITH: I apologise for that, Your Honour.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, let us now go back to this previous issue. If
24 those units arrived earlier pursuant to the resubordination order, had
25 they not then by this time left Operations Group South in terms of being
1 part of their establishment or overall composition, their resubordination
2 means that they ceased to be part of that unit?
3 A. I'm sorry, I don't think I understand your question.
4 Q. I'll try to rephrase. While testifying in chief yesterday you
5 said that the units mentioned in Exhibit 422 in this order were under the
6 command of OG South until the end of the 21st of November, 1991, which
7 means until midnight.
8 What I'm asking you is: Based on this order, would it not seem
9 that they left Operations Group South earlier on, at the moment they were
10 originally resubordinated and sent to their new units based on this order,
11 the ones that they were now resubordinated to?
12 A. The superior commander had to specify the time when these units
13 were to leave and join someone else. A dead-line must also be provided
14 for any such steps to be taken within the order, so that resubordination
15 can be prepared and so that any units may reach their eventual
16 destination, the unit that they're being resubordinated to, so that may
17 account for the time-lag.
18 Q. I do understand that. The dead-line is the last dead-line set by
19 the commander, right? But if the units came earlier, they were
20 resubordinated earlier, right?
21 A. Yes, but that means nothing. They still have full responsibility
22 until the dead-lines set by the superior commander. They might as well
23 have dealt with the same caboodle in just two hours. But the
24 responsibility rests with the commander receiving these units, and his
25 responsibility starts at the time specified by the superior command.
1 These dead-lines are sometimes unrealistic. Sometimes things can't be
2 done fast enough, so there need to be other steps taken, and sometimes
3 they are realistic, but sometimes it can take up to two or three days.
4 Q. Let's try to look at the language and the phrasing of the order.
5 It says that resubordination should be carried out during the 21st of
6 November and not by the end of the 21st of November.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In the course of the day, right?
9 A. Day and night, by 2400 hours, that's what it says.
10 Q. If this means by 2400 hours, then it would probably say by the end
11 of that particular day, the 21st. And it says the 21st, until such time
12 as the unit was ready to join the unit to which it was subordinated?
13 A. In both civilian and military terminologies, you know what a
14 dead-line means when a dead-line is set for the same day. That means the
15 end of that particular day, which is midnight. And this is always
16 implied. It is not necessarily stated explicitly. Otherwise, it could
17 have said something like by 2200 hours, by way of an example.
18 Q. Thank you. Something else about the order and about the
19 signature, or the Chief of Staff, the person you've told us about.
20 Yesterday, while testifying in chief, you said this order may have been
21 signed by Miodrag Panic. What I want to know is: If the commander wasn't
22 there and the Chief of Staff, Miodrag Panic, was standing in for him, what
23 would his responsibility have been during that time?
24 A. Mr. Vasic, that largely depends on any assignments left by the
25 commander himself.
1 Q. He is standing in for the commander, so what sort of assignments
2 could the commander previously have given him?
3 A. Having been authorised by the commander, the only person who can
4 set assignments to the units is the Chief of Staff. A commander leaves
5 the area; before he leaves, he authorises the Chief of Staff. And in
6 terms of this authorisation, he could have given any sort of assignment at
7 all, conceivably. Unless there were no limitations imposed by the
8 commander, these could have been any assignments, in terms of their
9 potential nature. However, commanders do usually set certain limitations,
10 and for this reason it's very difficult for me to comment more incisively.
11 Q. If the range of assignments had been unlimited in terms of what
12 had been ordered by the commander, would he have had the same kind and
13 degree of responsibility as the commander then?
14 A. You remember looking at that set of instructions. Well, there is
15 a commander who fails to set down the assignments in writing for the
16 benefit of whoever is standing in for him. Then the commander must bear
17 responsibility for any situations that may arise. He may be on leave, he
18 may be on a leave of absence, whatever. But that changes nothing about
19 the principle. If indeed that is the case, then this should be the answer
20 to your question, shouldn't it.
21 Q. What about the Chief of Staff in terms of establishment, is he the
22 Deputy Commander regardless of any written orders that may or may not be
23 left behind?
24 A. Indeed he is.
25 Q. Under the rules in the commander's absence, unless ordered
1 otherwise, should he not stand in for the commander in all the different
2 segments of command?
3 A. That is true. As for the issue of responsibility, that is not
4 something that I can necessarily determine. Under the general principles,
5 the commander bears all responsibility. The principles say nothing about
6 him not being responsible when he is being temporarily replaced by the
7 Chief of Staff.
8 Q. Thank you. Perhaps if you can remember something pertaining to
9 the 20th of November, could you tell me whether you saw at the command
10 post someone from the cabinet of the federal secretary or Colonel Coric or
11 Colonel Loncar or Colonel Abramovic?
12 A. On the 20th Colonel Coric, I don't think he was there only on
13 the 20th, he came on several occasions. As for the others, I don't
14 remember them.
15 Q. Thank you for trying to remember.
16 Could we please have Exhibit 370 shown? And I wanted to ask you
17 something concerning that. It's not in the binder. It is an exhibit that
18 was introduced through another witness. Thank you.
19 Mr. Trifunovic, on the screen before you there is a document
20 entitled "Command of the 1st Military District, highly confidential
21 1614-162 dated the 16th of November, 1991." And it represents the
22 overview of the composition of the forces sent to the first directorate of
23 the General Staff by the Chief of Staff of the 1st Military District,
24 Lieutenant-General Stojanovic. Can you see that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 Could we see a page of this document, bearing the number
3 of 0345-0009, being the second page of the document? Thank you.
4 Since you were tasked with some specific tasks inside the staff,
5 could you tell us whether you remember the following: In column 3, the
6 units of OG South should be represented, including those that fell under
7 the OG South establishment, as well as the resubordinated units. This
8 overview of the units of OG South, is that a true reflection of the
9 situation until the 16th of November?
10 A. Until the 16th?
11 Q. Yes. Because it is dated the 16th.
12 A. Could you scroll down, please?
13 Q. Could we scroll down. A bit further down. That's good.
14 A. But now I can't see the whole thing, the whole page. Perhaps I
15 can read when I see the entire page. Well, maybe you could zoom in a
16 little, because I saw the top.
17 Q. In order to be of assistance, I could ask the usher to provide you
18 with a hard copy. It should make it easier for you.
19 A. I can see it well now. Thank you.
20 Yes. It is almost clear to me concerning the overview of the
21 units within Operations Group South, but I'm unclear as to the BGs, the
22 fighting or combat groups 1, 2 and 3. They must have been formed from
23 some of the above units. Therefore, what is below them shouldn't be
25 Q. As far as I can see, what you are talking about is the river navy
1 and we're not interested in it right now. It's the navy.
2 A. Yes. As for the Guards Motorised Brigade within OG South, the
3 2nd Armoured Battalion, the 2nd Military Police Battalion, the LSAD PVO,
4 HAD 155, it was never part of the guards brigade; that is not correct. If
5 we are talking about the establishment, this must have been attached at a
6 later point.
7 Q. This represents the composition put together by the Chief of Staff
8 of the 1st Military District reflecting the situation on the 16th of
9 November, 1991. I believe this includes the units that fell under
10 OG South and in -- under establishment and the attached units?
11 A. It says OG South, the guards brigade, and its units. That's what
12 I'm trying to explain. Then the 20th Partisan, with its units; then the
13 80th Motorised and its units; the armoured one with its units; the
14 sabotage detachment of the 93rd Protection Regiment and its units. As far
15 as the Guards Motorised Brigade, that is completely incorrect. It's got
16 going to do with anything.
17 It is correct that the 20th had three partisan battalions, the
18 80th Brigade, the 1st Engineering, the 1st MTB, then the LAD PVO, and I
19 believe they had a military police company. The armoured, just one
20 battalion, that's fine. The sabotage detachment, the 1st Sabotage
21 Detachment with a battalion of the military police minus one company. And
22 the river navy was never part of OG South. You can see the form for
24 Q. Yes, I can. You told us that as regards the other units,
25 everything is okay. But what's wrong with the Guards Motorised Brigade?
1 A. The following things: The second was within the armoured unit,
2 yes. The 2nd Battalion of the military police, that is okay. The
3 LSAD PVO, that's fine. The AJD 155, it was never part of the guards
4 brigade. HAD 105, the rear battalion, AJD 122, it says they came from the
5 453rd, but it states here that those were units of the guards brigade.
6 That is incorrect. And where can we find the 1st Guards Battalion? Where
7 is the 1st Battalion of the military police? This overview is incorrect.
8 Q. May I interrupt you? If we see the Guards Motorised Brigade and
9 what it says there, two motorised battalion, one armoured battalion, two
10 military police battalions?
11 A. These are fine. I didn't see the full stop.
12 Q. As for the units that didn't belong to the guards brigade, as you
13 say, it says here the 155th, then 105/80, meaning they came from the 80th
14 Brigade, and 122 out of the 453rd Brigade. Were those the reinforcements
15 attached to the Guards Motorised Brigade once it entered OG South?
16 A. Yes, those units were attached, but so was the 20th Partisan
18 Q. Therefore, you still believe that the part pertaining to the
19 guards brigade in this report is incorrect, whereas the other portions
21 A. Attached units defined from which formations they came.
22 Q. Perhaps I could ask you the following: The 20th Partisan Brigade
23 was within OG South, it wasn't attached to the guards brigade?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And the units we are discussing now, being attached to the guards
1 brigade, they were attached to it directly. Does it tell you anything?
2 A. Yes, perhaps. The artillery battalions were subordinated to the
3 guards brigade.
4 Q. Can we conclude that given the explanations, this would reflect
5 the situation on the 16th of November?
6 A. Yes, I guess so.
7 Q. In your testimony in chief yesterday you explained the objections
8 put by Major Tesic who was commander of the 1st Assault Detachment as
9 regarded combat actions carried out by his subordinate units when it came
10 to the local TO and volunteers, and he complained that because of their
11 failure to implement their tasks he was unable to develop his activities
12 according to the plan of OG South?
13 A. Yes. That's the way he usually justified the failures to carry
14 out fully the plans put forward by the commander.
15 Q. Therefore, there were discipline issues in carrying out military
16 tasks, but what my learned friend asked you yesterday, perhaps you will
17 remember, that whether he reported any lack of discipline as regarded the
18 maltreatment of civilians or prisoners, or whether the lack of discipline
19 pertained only to the failure to carry out combat tasks and protection --
20 the protection of property?
21 A. As -- when it comes to combat activities, as I explained to the
22 OTP, when it came to implementing the tasks assigned by the commander,
23 they reported they had difficulty because of the lack of motivation and in
24 discipline of the members of the TO. That's the way he reported. Whether
25 that was true or not, that can be explained by the commander. When it
1 comes to the maltreatment of civilians by members of the TO, he never
2 reported anything on that, because there was no need to. Later on he did
3 report something to that effect when the incidents began taking place.
4 Q. You mean the incidents mentioned on the 18th, 19th and the 20th,
5 the insults, the abuse?
6 A. Yes. But everyone came in and reported more or less the same
7 thing, and I've explained the flow of information. But since we're
8 discussing Tesic and the Assault Detachment No. 1 and the implementation
9 of tasks, that's when he spoke about the lack of motivation and all the
10 other elements we've mentioned, and his failure to comply with the
11 commander's orders.
12 Q. Thank you. Yesterday in chief you also stated that some sort of
13 revenge could be expected by the local population, but would we -- could
14 we agree that it all boiled down to verbal abuse and an occasional kick or
15 a slap, something that was insufficient to raise any suspicion that
16 killings may occur?
17 A. I link that up with the principle of foresight. A true commander
18 can foresee things. And I answered precisely to -- to the OTP attorney
19 that it should have been foreseen, and that judging by all the information
20 received, that should have sufficed to signal that even serious things
21 could take place.
22 Q. Yesterday you stated that all the information that came in boiled
23 down to verbal abuse or light physical contact, as you put it.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. All that information should have served as a basis for an
1 assessment of what may come in the future?
2 A. Yes, that's the way I put it.
3 Q. Thank you. Could we please have Exhibit 425 shown on the screen,
4 please? And I will have questions for the witness. And I think I have it
5 in the tab binder. That is tab 35. It is a regular combat report by the
6 command of OG South dated the 22nd November, 1991.
7 Mr. Trifunovic, do you have that before you?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Could you please read out the last two paragraphs of the report?
10 A. "During the day all measures have been taken related to the
11 80th Motorised Brigade taking over the organisational and commanding
12 functions of in the area of the responsibility of the Operations Group
13 South. The command of the 80th Motorised Brigade received instructions
14 and documents regarding the organisation of command and control in the
15 area of responsibility of OG South."
16 Q. Based on military regulation, this statement that the
17 80th Motorised Brigade was given all instructions and documents needed to
18 organise command and control in the area of responsibility of OG South,
19 does that actually mean that there was a handover of all the documents
20 pertaining to command and control?
21 A. The handing over of an area of responsibility or of the duties
22 comprises several segments, and there is a plan to be made. This
23 particular element of handing over the documents usually comes last, but
24 not necessarily. It could include the last tour of the area or of the
25 positions, and so on and so forth. That's what could come last; but
1 again, not necessarily. Usually does. We've seen everything and now we
2 hand over the documents. That was the practice. But this was combat, so
3 it could have been different.
4 Q. Thank you. Some other actions had to be taken in terms of the
5 handover before the documents were handed over?
6 A. Yes, that is correct.
7 Q. So the handover began before that?
8 A. Yes. It had to. This is the last task in the process of handover
9 of responsibility for a certain zone.
10 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Trifunovic. Could you please tell me
11 when did you find out in OG South, or in the Guards Motorised Brigade,
12 about what happened at Ovcara? Could you tell me? Can you remember that?
13 A. How could I tell you when you're asking me when did you from the
14 command? Are you asking me? I apologise, but you should ask me directly.
15 Q. All right. When did you find out?
16 A. I found out when the indictment was issued against Colonel Mrksic.
17 Q. And before that at the brigade command or for as long as you were
18 in Vukovar, or on your return to Belgrade, you didn't hear anything about
20 A. No, nothing.
21 Q. The OG South command did not receive any kind of written report
22 about an incident involving the 80th Motorised Brigade, about what had
23 happened at Ovcara?
24 A. No. At the level that I was involved or that I had knowledge of,
25 no, it did not.
1 Q. Had something like that arrived, it would have been recorded in
2 the war diary, wouldn't it?
3 A. Yes, definitely. The commander would have been informed and all
4 of the organs would have known. Everybody in the command would have
6 Q. My colleague asked you whether the Guards Motorised Brigade, when
7 it arrived in Belgrade carried out any kind of investigation about the
8 events at Ovcara. What I would like to ask is: Would you agree with me
9 that the guards brigade should not have carried out an investigation, but
10 the 80th Motorised Brigade, because it happened in its territory and it
11 stayed as the command in Vukovar after the guards brigade left for
12 Belgrade, as well as the unit which, according to the resubordination
13 order, was -- had TO Vukovar as its subordinate unit?
14 A. I don't know whether any actions were carried out while the guards
15 brigade was still in Vukovar. I answered yes, because investigative
16 organs were sent from the superior command in view of the fact that the
17 guards brigade did not have such personnel. That's what he asked me. He
18 didn't ask me whether any measures were taken on its return to Belgrade.
19 Now you can ask me the question.
20 Q. Did the 80th Motorised Brigade, which remained in Vukovar as the
21 local command, have the possibility of carrying out an investigation about
22 what had happened in its area of responsibility by units that were
23 subordinate to it or resubordinated to it?
24 A. As far as I can remember, in the document by commander of
25 OG South, it states that investigation organs from the 1st Military
1 District should be assisted by the 80th Motorised Brigade. As to which
2 sector, that was not specified. They came to OG South commander, and he
3 ordered the 80th Brigade to offer assistance, to receive them, accommodate
4 them, provide soldiers, provide security, and so on and so forth.
5 Q. Thank you. This group for clearing the terrain was headed by
6 Colonel Basic. Do you know that?
7 A. I heard something. At the time I did know that. Later I forgot.
8 The meeting with him was conducted by Colonel Panic and they said why they
9 had come. I think I recorded that also in the diary, although I did not
10 attend the meeting. Lieutenant-Colonel Panic.
11 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you mentioned in response to a question by
12 my learned friend that command -- the commander told you to prepare a
13 document on the 20th of November about the appointment of Vujovic as
14 commander of the Vukovar TO. Did the command -- can a commander of the
15 JNA appoint a TO commander, or is that in the jurisdiction of somebody
17 A. Well, I asked myself the same thing, but I did carry out the
19 Q. You also told my learned friend that you never saw whether this
20 order was signed, and you don't know what happened to it.
21 A. The order was signed. What I said was that I didn't know when it
22 was signed and what the dead-lines were for Miroljub Vujovic to assume
23 this duty.
24 Q. When was the order signed?
25 A. I think that it was signed. I was ordered, or the order was
1 issued to me on the 20th, so I don't know whether it was on the -- in the
2 evening of the 20th or in the morning of the 21st. I don't have that
3 order. All I know is that I was ordered to write, and I wrote what was
4 asked of me. I don't know if I took it for signature that evening or in
5 the morning. I really don't remember. The order was signed; that's what
6 I do know. I cannot recall any other details of the order other than that
7 Vujovic was assigned as commander of the TO.
8 Q. Did -- was the order registered in view of the fact that it is not
9 in accordance with the regulations?
10 A. Well, it could have been registered in the documents log.
11 Q. During the examination-in-chief, did you not tell my learned
12 friend that Miroljub Vujovic, once you had already arrived in Vukovar, was
13 already the commander of the TO?
14 A. No, that's not what I said. I said that he was the commander of
15 the TO detachment Petrova Gora. Detachment. The TO of Vukovar, well,
16 Vukovar is a large town. There were about 10 units at the level of a
17 detachment, they had their rear units. Who was the commander; I heard
18 that that was Jaksic. When the TO broke up, probably in the course of
19 1991 --
20 Q. You said that it had rear units. I don't think that that's in the
22 A. I was not talking about the defence of Vukovar, Mr. Vasic. I was
23 talking about the TO detachment Petrova Gora.
24 Q. I'm asking you what you said just now about the TO. You said that
25 they had rear organs, and that is not in the transcript. That was my
2 A. As far as I know, the structure of the Territorial Defence of a
3 town of the kind of Vukovar, as I said, at that time, when it was normal,
4 it had to have had about 10 units, the type of brigade detachments, the TO
5 of a town, the broader socio-political community, and a commander of a
6 fairly high rank, all the elements. This was just one section of it at
7 Petrova Gora, just one detachment.
8 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you talked about the visit by Vojislav
9 Seselj in the area of responsibility in the zone of operations of
10 OG South. What I would like to know is whether Vojislav Seselj could have
11 received permission to enter the zone from the 1st Military District or
12 from the federal secretary for national defence, was the permission issued
13 in Sid, and whether the command of OG South just needed to be informed
14 about who was actually entering its zone of operations.
15 Q. In practice what would happen with his visits is something that I
16 really don't know. Who authorised him or issued permission for him to do
17 that, I don't know that. But as far as the procedure is concerned, I'm
18 sure some people could explain how that went. All I heard was that he
19 came, that he was at Petrova Gora, that he was in the Assault
20 Detachment 1, that he was raising morale, working on the motivation, and I
21 think that Colonel Mrksic did not issue a permission for that either.
22 Perhaps when he found out he was just reconciled to the fact?
23 Q. Are you aware that permission to enter was issued at Sid, not only
24 for military officers, but also for journalists and all of those who
25 wanted to enter the area. This is something that we heard from
2 A. Yes, yes. It's not something that I really thought about, but I
3 remember that I was told when somebody came that it was necessary to
4 receive a permit, because the -- there was a check-point or an office of
5 the 1st Military District in Sid. But as I mentioned, such bases were
6 organised in different places for OG South. So you could not just enter
7 the area of OG South just like that, it had to be with the signed
8 permission of a commander of the 1st Military District. That was the way
9 that you could have access to the area.
10 Q. Yes, now it's quite clear how the whole thing functioned.
11 These documents now that you talked about, the war diary, the
12 log-book, the register of documents, orders and reports that were received
13 by telephone, the briefings book, where were these documents kept? Were
14 they kept in any particular place by the operations group, and the guards
15 brigade? Was there any particular place where these documents were being
17 A. It was -- they were all kept at the command in Negoslavci in the
18 operations room. They were kept in a -- in a casket under key, or a
20 Q. When you returned to Belgrade after the 24th of November, do you
21 know where the documents were kept?
22 A. Yes, I do know. They were kept at the premises of the brigade,
23 together with the combat plan, the plan for use of units.
24 Q. Thank you. I'd like to know if, as part of the documents that
25 were being maintained in Vukovar by the guards brigade, there was a log of
1 operations maintained as well, because there is a duty to keep such a
3 A. Yes, I think that we did keep such a document too, but I didn't
4 really check that document particularly, and I really cannot recall its
5 contents, but I do know that there was such a document that was being
7 Q. Do you know who maintained the operations log-book, and was that
8 also recorded in the operations room?
9 A. Yes, I think so. And it was done by some of the duty officers. I
10 don't know who it was though, because they were constantly out in the
12 Q. When you were on duty at the guards brigade, did you ever see this
13 operations diary or log-book?
14 A. On my return from Vukovar, when this -- these documents were
15 stored properly at the war room with the plan for use, I really never
16 showed any interest in these documents. I never wanted to see them. I
17 was not informed about the war plan for Vukovar. That was not in my
18 jurisdiction, that was in the jurisdiction of the Chief of Staff. I was
19 never Chief of Staff, therefor.
20 Q. If I understood you correctly, the Chief of Staff is the one who
21 deals with these documents, and he is the one who uses all the documents
22 that happened to be in the war room?
23 A. Yes. That is correct.
24 Q. The war room is locked and access to it is available only to the
25 Chief of Staff?
1 A. Yes. The specific conditions in the guards brigade were exactly
2 like that. The plan of mobilisation and a plan of utilisation were kept
3 in the war room. And the special units corps documents and the guards
4 brigade documents were all kept in the same room.
5 Q. But since Vukovar you didn't have the opportunity to see the
6 operations log-book?
7 A. No, not the operations log-book.
8 Q. Can you please tell us: This register of received and dispatched
9 orders, did you have an opportunity to see that from the time of Vukovar
10 until now?
11 A. Yes. When the Prosecutor's office asked the guards brigade to
12 provide documents from the archives, I was Deputy Commander then, and I
13 was in Vukovar, and I was also the president of that commission, so I did
14 find the log-book in the archives, and we sent it. All that we found in
15 the archives, we provided.
16 Q. Is this the archive meaning this war room that you talked about?
17 A. That's the archive from the war room where the Vukovar archives
18 were also kept. I don't want to go into the particular problems that we
19 had after the bombing. There was a hit on that part, so a part of the
20 archive was saved, and that was reported to the Ministry of Defence, so
21 they do have information about what else is in that archive, since it is
22 still being kept at the guards brigade, I was there a month ago, I was
23 always chairman of that commission, so I do know what's there.
24 Q. But the operations log is not there, right?
25 A. I don't think so, but I can't remember specifically. Maybe it is
1 there. Nobody ever asked about it, so ...
2 Q. There is just another thing that I would like to ask you. Do you
3 perhaps remember this: There was that order by the commander of the
4 1st Military District, 1614-82/81, the 18th of November, 1991, Exhibit 415
5 at tab 24. What about after this order? Was there not another order from
6 the commander of the 1st Military District to evacuate the Vukovar
7 Hospital, 1614-82/72?
8 A. You said 24, the 18th of November, right?
9 Q. Yes. We don't have the whole number, so I'll just repeat. We
10 discussed this order, you explained about it. But I want to know
11 something else. There's reference here to an order for OG South in
12 coordination with TG 7 to enter the Vukovar Hospital. What I want to know
13 is after this order, was there another order from the command of the
14 1st Military District on the evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital? And the
15 number is strictly confidential 1614-82/82, dated the 19th of November.
16 A. I don't remember. Unless it was actually produced by the security
17 organ who themselves arrived on the 19th.
18 Q. Thank you very much for all your answers, sir.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
20 questions for this witness.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
22 Mr. Borovic.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my apologies. I may
24 want to take another five seconds of your time. On page 55, line 14,
25 instead of TG 7, it should read TG north.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. I am Borivoje
3 Borovic on behalf of Miroslav Radic.
4 Before I begin, I would like to have the usher's assistance,
5 please. I have a hard copy of a document and I would like to have this
6 handed to the witness, just in case we use it or tender it. They will be
7 displayed on our screens, but I wish to hurry things along in terms of the
8 procedural aspects.
9 Secondly, there is another copy for the Prosecutor and three
10 copies for the benefit of the Chamber. The green markings only mean that
11 these documents have already been tendered and admitted. The red markings
12 or tabs mean that I will be tendering these. I think this will help us to
13 expedite this cross-examination.
14 Before we begin, I would like to have the Chamber's attention
15 briefly, please. We had a small matter of the English translation,
16 something to do with our terminology at the beginning. I'm afraid we
17 might encounter the same problem today, and we might deal with this in the
18 following way: This is about the distinction between "komandir" and
19 "komandant." A komandir is up to company level; and a komandant is up
20 from battalion level. We shall be using the original terms from B/C/S,
21 since there are no clear English equivalents. We shall be using komandir
22 for a company commander, and komandant for battalion commander. This will
23 prove of significance later on when a military expert starts analysing all
24 the military documents. We shall immediately realise that there is a huge
25 distinction between these two, komandir and komandant. Komandir referring
1 to a company level and down; and komandant referring to battalion level
2 and up. I'm sure the witness will help us clarify this matter further,
3 but I thought it might be a good idea to draw the Chamber's attention to
4 the issue right at the outset.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Borovic:
6 Q. My first question: During your testimony in chief, you talked
7 about the importance of a proper functioning of the system of command and
8 control in units and anywhere else in the armed forces, right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I would like to now immediately raise this issue that I told the
11 Chamber about. Can you please draw a basic distinction between the
12 concepts of komandir and komandant, so that the Chamber understands what
13 my question is about? If you have an officer who is in command of a
14 company, the title used is komandir. If you have an officer in charge of
15 a battalion, or any other higher level unit, the term used is komandant.
16 Can you please explain the distinction between these two, a company
17 commander and a battalion commander, or any other high-ranking unit. What
18 is the difference between these?
19 A. Detachment, squad and company belong to a tactical level, to
20 something that we refer to as lower tactical level. From battalion level
21 up to brigade level, we speak of a higher tactical level. It is only
22 logical that the term komandir should refer to lower level tactical units
23 and the term komandant refers to exercising command over these higher
24 level tactical units.
25 Q. Does that mean that komandant, the term komandant, is used only in
1 relation to higher level tactical units, but never in relation to a
2 company, for example?
3 A. Yes, that is true.
4 Q. Thank you very much. Would it be fair to say that in all combat
5 operations the komandants set up command posts and company commanders set
6 up observation posts?
7 A. Yes, that's true.
8 Q. Sorry, I didn't get your answer.
9 A. Yes, that's true.
10 Q. Thank you. We've heard a number of witnesses here saying that a
11 company commander has the staff within his combat disposition from which
12 allegedly he exercises command. Can you tell us what a staff is and what
13 is the first established -- establishment in terms of organisation that a
14 staff sets up during combat operations?
15 A. A staff is part of a brigade command. Unifying all the different
16 aspects of command at a particular level. The first next organizational
17 unit that a staff has attached to it is a brigade.
18 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that a company commander cannot set up
19 a staff at his observation post?
20 A. Well, that follows logically, doesn't it.
21 Q. Thank you. When a company commander issues a task to his
22 subordinates during an attack on a populated area, now this is a question
23 for you as a renowned military expert. What does he do? Does he issue an
24 order to attack on the spot, in purely practical terms, how does that
1 A. On the spot, yes.
2 Q. During what is usually referred to as command reconnaissance?
3 A. Yes. During command reconnaissance.
4 Q. Would you agree with the Defence when we say that there are no
5 meetings with the various units that the operations are -- that are
6 involved in the operation? The only thing that happens is he meets them
7 on the spot and issues his instructions, right?
8 A. Yes. Your introduction was somewhat extensive, and I didn't quite
9 understand. He goes straight to the area, and he issues assignments on
10 the spot based on the commander's order.
11 Q. Thank you. If a company is in a position of coordinated action,
12 if it is coordinating actions with a different unit, in preparation for
13 this coordinated or concerted action, does the company commander have to
14 agree with those units on the way in which the units are to be used in the
15 sense of coordination, right?
16 A. Yes, sorting out how coordinated action should be taken implies
17 that contact should be established at an equal level.
18 Q. With whom?
19 A. For example, if you have a platoon-level unit, a company commander
20 can even decide to contact the platoon commander who is positioned along
21 the same axis or in a neighbouring village, for example.
22 Q. Thank you. Can we then agree finally, and does it not follow
23 logically by way of a conclusion, that it is precisely this observation
24 post or wherever the company commander happens to be staying, or, rather,
25 can he use this position to meet and agree coordinated action with other
1 units such as we have just mentioned?
2 A. Yes, indeed, that's what it means.
3 Q. Thank you very much. Can we also agree, and what would your
4 answer be, a company commander has an order and a decision of the
5 battalion commander, detailing the axes of attack. Higher level units are
6 assigned so-called areas of responsibility or operations areas?
7 A. Operations areas or attack areas, whatever you like.
8 Q. Is that correct?
9 A. Let me just take a minute to think about this. When defending,
10 they are assigned a sector; and when attacking, they are assigned an axis.
11 Q. Thank you very much. In your capacity as a military expert, can
12 you please, to some extent, try to explain what this means, attack on a
13 settled area. What does that term mean, what does that imply, as an
14 aspect of combat operations?
15 A. An attack on a settled area is an attack. Just like an attack is
16 an attack whenever any building is attacked from the point of view of the
17 other side, of the enemy. There are some peculiarities, needless to say.
18 It is a settled area, we're talking about a populated area. It is
19 fortified by virtue of being populated. There are fortifications also in
20 the engineering sense of the word. You can have circular defence, that is
21 always an option. There can be close-range combat, there can be ambush,
22 that sort of thing. All these peculiarities must be familiar to the
23 commander. And then the commander takes care of this.
24 Under the rules, and on account of all these peculiarities, on
25 account of the degree of difficulty involved, on account of the fact that
1 large losses may be expected, the area is blocked or surrounded, and then
2 the operation continues. But in this specific case, Vukovar should have
3 been taken, and that is where the direct attack and direct involvement in
4 the town itself arose.
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness seems on
6 top form right now in terms of providing all these explanations, despite
7 which I notice it is now time for our break.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Well, I hope you don't lose your touch during the
10 We will resume at a quarter to.
11 --- Recess taken at 12.26 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
14 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 Q. Could we now discuss Captain Radic, please? Do you know what his
16 function was during the combat activities?
17 A. Captain Radic was a company commander. Komandir, within the
18 1st Motorised Battalion.
19 Q. Please go ahead.
20 A. And also within the composition of the Assault Detachment No. 1,
21 the 1st Battalion being part of that detachment. So he was within the
22 1st Battalion.
23 Q. Thank you. During your stay in Vukovar, did you ever come to the
24 axis of the attack of the 3rd Company in order to control the combat
1 A. No. I was only at the command post of the Assault
2 Detachment No. 1.
3 Q. Thank you. Since you said you were one of the staff at
4 Negoslavci, did you hear of Captain Radojvic [as interpreted], in the way
5 he commanded and controlled at his positions?
6 A. I didn't hear anything in particular, be it positive or negative.
7 Q. Some witnesses mentioned that at the very beginning that he was
8 left without his platoon commanders, which belonged to him by
9 establishment. As a person who understands the topic, what sort of a
10 person a company commander need be -- needs to be to be able to conduct
11 combat operations without your platoon leaders? Did he have to be
12 disciplined, decisive, or, rather, you can put it in your own words. What
13 would a commander need to be without his platoon commanders?
14 A. Such a situation is a very difficult one for a person to command a
15 company, and one needs exceptional ability to carry out the tasks assigned
16 to a company commander, including all the elements that fall within his
17 abilities, responsibility, taking initiative, discipline, continuous work,
18 and that entailed great difficulties.
19 Q. In the statement you provided to the OTP, there are some portions
20 of it that were addressed by our learned friend from the OTP. I believe
21 you have the statement before you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In paragraph 20 of the statement, inter alia, and I can read it
24 out. It states: "During the operations the Petrova Gora and
25 Leva Supoderica TO detachments were subordinated to the Guards Motorised
1 Brigade in the area where they were located."
2 That's the way it is stated here. Do you agree with me?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. In these proceedings, it is no secret that their axis coincided
5 with the axis of the 3rd Company commanded by Captain Radic. But within
6 the 1st JOD, as you said yourself, being the 1st Assault Platoon commanded
7 by Borivoje Tesic?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. By the principle of subordination, who at the time commanded the
10 units under the term -- the Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica TO units?
11 A. It was the commander of the Assault Detachment No. 1, this being
12 Borivoje Tesic.
13 Q. Thank you. On the 18th of November, perhaps we could agree that
14 that's when the combat activities in Vukovar ceased?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us whether, on that day, there was no
17 longer the need to have assault detachments and groups which were formed
18 to carry out specific tasks?
19 A. Yes, there was no need anymore, provided the combat activities
20 have been concluded, such as was the case. So their subordination could
21 be dealt with immediately. They, at that point, could have been returned
22 to their establishment units, but I don't think it was done.
23 Q. Mr. Borivoje Tesic, who was commander of a battalion and commander
24 of the 1st JOD, could he, based on his own decision, transfer TO units and
25 the Leva Supoderica unit to various axes of combat activities within his
1 area of responsibility?
2 A. Yes, he could.
3 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar whether he was doing that, based on
4 the decision by Colonel Mrksic as well, and Colonel Mrksic being the
5 commander of OG South?
6 A. I don't know what way he commanded in his part of the area. I
7 presume that he had formed assault groups using his establishment
8 companies and the detachments resubordinated to him within the area. I
9 didn't see any of the orders issued to him. Or I may have, but I don't
10 remember any one of them.
11 Q. We will go through some of those orders at a later stage, and I
12 believe you will be able to provide a precise answer to my question.
13 If we go back to the previous question as to whether a company
14 commander could make a decision concerning the use of TO units and the
15 Leva Supoderica unit the way Borivoje Tesic could do, who was the
16 commander of the 1st Assault Detachment?
17 A. No. The commander, company commander couldn't do that.
18 Q. Thank you. Could we also agree, perhaps, that the battalion
19 commander, that is the commander of the 1st JOD, Mr. Tesic, de jure and
20 de facto, had responsibility over the units of the TO and the
21 Leva Supoderica unit?
22 A. He did.
23 Q. Thank you. Could I please kindly ask the usher to show us
24 Exhibit 405 on the screen? It is tab 3. I've also distributed copies to
25 the OTP and the Chamber. It is an order by the commander of the guards
1 brigade to block and attack that was forwarded to the commanders of units
2 within the 80th Motorised Brigade on the 1st of October, 1991.
3 Could you be so kind as to read out something on page 2? That is
4 item 5, "tasks of the units"?
5 A. "The 1st Assault Detachment comprises the 1st Motorised Brigade
6 with the 3rd Company" -- no, "the 3rd Platoon of the 1st Company of the
7 armoured battalion, the 2nd Platoon of the 2nd Battery of the Light
8 Self-propelled Artillery Battalion of air defence, and the 3rd Platoon of
9 the 2nd Company of the military police, and pioneer squad, detachment
10 commander of the 1st Motorised Brigade commander. Task: Bring up the
11 infantry parts to the first sector to the achieved line during the night
12 before first light on 2nd October, 1991, with guides from Petrova Gora TO
14 Q. Thank you. I would kindly ask the usher to put Exhibit 408 on the
15 screen. This is tab 4.
16 Your Honours, this is another decision by the commander of
17 OG South dated the 15th of October, 1991. I would kindly ask the witness
18 to read out item 2, subparagraph (a) mentioning the 1st JOD.
19 A. "JOD-1 structure: The 1st Motorised Brigade, the 3rd Platoon of
20 the 1st Company" -- no, "the 3rd Squad of the 1st Company" -- no, "the
21 3rd Platoon of the 1st Company of the armoured battalion, the 1st Platoon
22 of the 2nd Company of the military police battalion and one volunteer
23 company from the current deployment continue the attack and in cooperation
24 with the Assault Detachment No. 2 and the 3rd Battalion of the 211th
25 Armoured Brigade and Petrova Gora units, crush the Ustasha units on the
1 directions of: Vladimira Gacese Street, the 6th Proleterske Divizije
2 settlement and Svetozara Markovica Street - 1 Maja Street, seize
3 Hercegovacko Naselji and continue the attack, seize the 6th Proleterske
4 Divizije and the 1 Maja Street, in that way create the conditions for the
5 main forces to emerge into the centre of Vukovar."
6 Q. Thank you. I would now ask the usher to put Exhibit 410 on the
7 screen, being tab 5. This is also a document of Operations Group South,
8 the date being the 29th of October, 1991. I would again kindly ask the
9 witness to read out item 2, "unit tasks," in particular of the 1st Assault
10 Detachment commanded by Borivoje Tesic?
11 A. "The Assault Detachment No. 1 comprises the 1st Motorised
12 Battalion, the 1st Platoon of the 3rd Company of the 2nd Battalion of the
13 military police, Leva Supoderica detachment, Petrova Gora detachment,
14 Novi Sad volunteers company, 1 M-84 tank, 1st Squad of the 1st Pioneers
15 Company, part of the Territorial Defence unit will continue the attack
16 from the current sector in cooperation with JOD-2 and by the introduction
17 of forces break up the Ustasha units in Cvetno and Pionirsko Naselje,
18 break out into 1 Maja Street, and then, in cooperation with the
19 3rd Battalion of the 211th Armoured Brigade, continue the attack with the
20 main forces in the area within reach of 1 Maja Street, and with auxiliary
21 forces, break up the Ustasha forces in the 6th Proleterske Divizije
22 housing estate."
23 Q. Thank you. Based on what you have read out and what you've said
24 so far, as regards the use of the 1st Assault Detachment, who was
25 responsible to the command of the 1st Military District for the use of TO
1 units and the Leva Supoderica unit?
2 A. The commander of the Assault Detachment No. 1.
3 Q. This being Borivoje Tesic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Based on what you know, are you able to confirm that in the rules
6 which exist and which you studied, and these are the rules for companies
7 and platoons, the following is regulated: In order to execute combat
8 assignment, a company can be reinforced up to platoon strength in weapons
9 using recoilless canon, mortars of 82 millimetres. Just one moment
10 please, so that we don't overlap.
11 So recoilless guns, mortars of 82 millimetres, exceptionally with
12 a battery of 120-millimetre mortars, an engineering platoon or pioneers
13 platoon, some tanks, and in certain conditions by a platoon of TO units.
14 The question is: Can you confirm that something like this exists in the
15 military rules for platoons and companies?
16 A. Yes, it does.
17 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us, and also compare for us, a
18 platoon of the TO and a detachment of the TO in terms of numbers and the
19 manner of use of either type of unit?
20 A. A TO detachment is at the level of a battalion of the Yugoslav
21 People's Army. It can be a smaller force, and the weaponry can differ.
22 It's mostly armed by light weapons. The establishment structure it has is
23 the same. It's made up of companies of the TOs, the companies are made up
24 of platoons, and there -- also have threefold formation there; three
25 platoons, three companies, three battalions. With these reinforcements
1 that you talked about, that's an option.
2 Q. Thank you very much.
3 A. And as for the strength, I've already said it wasn't up to the
4 strength of a battalion. At that time it was 700, it can number fewer
6 Q. Thank you. But can you agree with the assertion of the Defence
7 that the 3rd Company, which was under the command of Radic, according to
8 establishment, could not have had two detachments of the TO?
9 A. Two -- two order -- two detachments of the TO, it couldn't have
10 had a single one. According to the principle of resubordination, it was a
11 question if it could have had a company, never mind this.
12 Q. Thank you. So based on your answer, is it possible then to
13 conclude that the commander of the 1st JOD could not have resubordinated
14 these two TO detachments or as the friends from the Prosecution like to
15 say, incorporate them into the 3rd Company?
16 A. No, no. That is impossible. It's the first time that I'm hearing
17 of that.
18 Q. All right. Very well. Thank you. I would like to ask the usher
19 to place e-court document number 000-0079, and in the English that would
20 be number 0D00-0081.
21 Could you please look at tab 1 now? This refers to a decision by
22 the commander of OG South of the 14th of November, 1991. I would like to
23 ask you to read paragraph 4, but please do this slowly because this is
24 important, and then after that could you please read paragraph 5?
25 A. "Assault attachment 1, without the 1st Motorised Battalion, from
1 the current area of combat disposition relocate to the Dalmatinska
2 Street-Alija Alijagica Street water-tower axis."
3 Q. Thank you. Could you please now read item 5?
4 A. "1st Motorised Battalion from the current region of combat
5 disposition secure the reached line, establish full control over the
6 captured area, and engage in coordinated action with the attack forces
7 along the Sundariceva [phoen] Marsala Tita Street axis. Be on stand-by
8 for active combat along the Milovo Brdo - bridges on the Vuka River axis."
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to tender
11 this document as an exhibit.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document will be exhibit
14 number 430.
15 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Q. Could you be a little more exact, please. When you interpret for
17 us what it says, JOD-1 in the order without the 1st Motorised Battalion,
18 and could you please explain to the Trial Chamber, if possible, the idea
19 of the OG commander to assign this task to Major Tesic. So these are two
20 questions, actually.
21 A. At that time the commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion, Major
22 Tesic, was the commander of the Assault Detachment 1. We concluded
23 already what the composition of the detachment was. That included Leva
24 Supoderica and Petrova Gora. Two detachments. And the 1st Motorised
25 Battalion. The commander decided that these TO units should take up this
1 assignment, which we read in item 4, and that the first battalion of
2 complete establishment formation should be entrusted with this second
4 Q. Thank you. Sub-question: The 1st Motorised Battalion, which is
5 now on another task, does that mean that the entire battalion has three
6 companies, including the company of Captain Radic?
7 A. Yes. Its complete establishment composition.
8 Q. If I were to tell you that at that point in time Major Borivoje
9 Tesic was at the same time the commander of the 1st JOD and commander of
10 the 1st Motorised Battalion, regardless of the fact that these two parts
11 were on different axes of attack, would that be correct?
12 A. Yes. All he needed to do was to regulate from within how this was
13 supposed to function.
14 Q. Do you perhaps know as a witness that Major Tesic acted in
15 accordance with the decision by the commander of OG South and did he have
16 any particular reason not to adhere to the order?
17 A. No, I'm not aware of anything like that.
18 Q. Thank you. Had he had some problems, would Mr. Borivoje Tesic
19 have informed the OG South commander at the first briefing at the OG South
20 command briefing which he attended regularly, as you said?
21 A. I don't recall him informing about these particular difficulties,
22 that the assignment he had been given was unrealistic. He did report on
23 the difficulties that I talked about earlier.
24 Q. Thank you very much. I would now like to ask the usher to place
25 on the monitor document marked 0D02-442 [as interpreted], and the English
1 version, 0D00-0444. We have a decision of the commander of OG South dated
2 the 16th of November, 1991.
3 I would now like to ask the witness to read items 1 and item --
4 items 1 and 2, please. This is in tab 2 for the Trial Chamber and my
5 learned friends from the Prosecution.
6 A. "I have decided to continue the attack as per the previous
7 decision by the main forces on the axis Milovo Brdo - the bridges on the
8 Vuka River, and by auxiliary forces on the axis:
9 Graveyard-Slavija-Vucedol-Mitnica with the necessary regroupings and by
10 including newly arrived units in the combat operations for the purpose
11 of: During 17th of November, 1991, cut off the main Ustasha forces and
12 establish control over the central parts of town and narrow down the
13 defence front of the Ustasha forces in Mitnica as much as possible."
14 This is a combat disposition in accordance with the previous
15 decision by the commander.
16 Q. Now, would you read this more important part, tasks by the units,
17 and this was -- could you please read item 1?
18 A. Item 1: "1st Motorised Battalion, in line with the task of the
19 14th of November, 1991, with support of a part of the forces of the
20 armoured battalion of the Guards Motorised Brigade, continued the attack
21 on the axis of Sundariceva Street, Rade Koncara estate, bridges over the
22 Vuka River and by 1600 hours on the 17th of November seize the area
23 surrounding the bridges over the Vuka River, Marsala Tita Street, from
24 which location they should be ready to continue the attack over the
25 Republike square towards the Danube and Marsala Tita Street-Stjepana
1 Radica Street."
2 Q. Thank you. Question: Why did the commander of OG South specify
3 in this assignment of the 1st Motorised Brigade, and what does it mean,
4 this thing that you read in accordance with the task of the 14th of
5 November, 1991?
6 A. This relates to this concept by the commander which I read in
7 the -- in item 1, the reason is the need to regroup. Yes, I understand.
8 You made a slip of the tongue, but I understand.
9 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there is a slip of the
10 tongue. On the 17th it says motorised brigade, but it should state
11 motorised battalion. I probably made this mistake and even though this is
12 quite clear, I would like to still have that cleared up for the
13 transcript, that all the time we're talking about the motorised battalion.
14 May I continue, please? Thank you.
15 Q. Can you please tell us about this particular time that we're
16 talking about in accordance of all of these decisions? Who is in command
17 of the Territorial Defence or the detachments of Petrova Gora and
18 Leva Supoderica?
19 A. They are under the command of the commander of Assault
20 Detachment 1, Borivoje Tesic.
21 Q. Thank you. And you, as somebody who is familiar with these
22 things, do you know of any document, decision or order that you dealt with
23 at the command post of OG South after the 6th [as interpreted] of
24 November, 1991, which would considerably change the situation that we have
25 seen from these documents in terms of responsibility over units of the TO
1 Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica in the course of combat operations?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this document
5 as an exhibit, Your Honours, please.
6 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
7 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 431, Your Honours.
8 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Another intervention for the
9 transcript, in line 12 it says that it was the 6th of November, but I said
10 the 16th of November. Also in the exhibit that I am tendering it can be
11 seen that the date is the 16th of November, 1991. So please could you
12 consider that a correction.
13 Q. During the examination-in-chief, in relation to a document by the
14 Prosecution, the order on setting up the commands in the sectors, you read
15 out in one of the paragraphs that the local commanders in the town of
16 Vukovar were commanders of assault detachments, everyone in their own
17 zones of responsibility; is that correct?
18 A. Yes, that is correct.
19 Q. Now you would like to talk about the Petrova Gora local commander.
20 So this is tab 6 now. I would like to have Exhibit 418 placed on the
22 And would you kindly, because at the request of my learned friend
23 from the Prosecution you read about units of OG South, and you read three
24 items out. I would now like you to read item 4, which actually relates to
25 what I am asking you about. So this would be item 4, page 2, in tab 6.
1 A. Yes. "The following were appointed for the commanders of
2 liberated Vukovar: For Vucedol and Mitnica, Major Miroslav Stupar. For
3 Petrova Gora and the western part of the graveyard up to the Vuka River,
4 Major Borivoje Tesic. For the part of Vukovar from the Sajmiste Street
5 east to Mitnica, Major Adem Bajic."
6 Q. Thank you, there is no need to read anymore.
7 In the transcript of May 3rd, page 8.091, you spoke generally
8 about the assignments and duties of local commanders, also including
9 Borivoje Tesic, who was the commander of Petrova Gora, and we're talking
10 about the same order. So my question is: If Major Tesic had a platoon of
11 military police subordinated to him, could he have used that platoon in
12 order to set up military authority to introduce discipline, prevent
13 looting and prevent abuses of the civilian population?
14 A. Yes. That was exactly the means he should have used in order to
15 deal with those problems.
16 Q. Thank you. Ovcara was in the zone of responsibility of the
17 80th Motorised Brigade, and in your testimony here, and also in the
18 indictment in paragraph 60 --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Said in your statement, interpreter's
21 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. You said that on the 21st Mrksic issued an order underlining the
23 responsibility of all the commanders for the complete functioning of
24 authority in line with his previous order.
25 A. The 20th of November.
1 Q. Yes. Is that true? Is this accurate, what I have just suggested
2 to you?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Does this not mean that the local commander of Ovcara, Jakubovac
5 and Grabovo should have complete control over his area?
6 A. Yes. Both complete control and full responsibility.
7 Q. Thank you very much. What we really want to know is this: He was
8 supposed to have full and effective control over all units in that area,
9 the area under him, right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know that the military police of the 80th Kragujevac
12 Motorised Brigade withdrew on the 20th of November, at about 2230 hours.
13 They withdrew from Ovcara, from outside the hangar. Are you familiar with
14 that? I can tell you that this is something that is known to the Defence,
15 but it's not something that you testified about. I'm suggesting this to
16 you as a hypothesis, as a possibility. What would that mean? The
17 military police company of the 80th Kragujevac Motorised Brigade withdrew.
18 Would that still mean that Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic was still
19 responsible for Ovcara?
20 A. Yes, it would.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I only have two or three questions
23 left, Your Honour. Can I go on now? Very well. Thank you.
24 Q. We heard a witness at this trial, this witness made a statement
25 and gave evidence. He said that at these official meetings at Operations
1 Group South he used to see Miroslav Radic. He claims that Miroslav Radic
2 came to these meetings from time to time.
3 The reference, for the benefit of the Chamber and the OTP, is
4 witness number 70 on the 65 ter list. This witness has not been heard,
5 actually. I think there is an error in the transcript. I'm not
6 specifying the witness, but this is under the hypothesis that he will say
7 the same thing that he already said in his statement to the Prosecutor.
8 He also stated that Captain Radic was a commander of a military police
10 Can you please tell us, Witness, firstly, in his potential
11 capacity or alleged capacity as company commander would he have been
12 entitled to attend these staff meetings; and secondly, was he a
13 company -- was he commander of a military political company at all. Do
14 you know what this witness was trying to tell us, at all?
15 A. Radic only came once to the command post in Negoslavci, and he was
16 barred from entering the operations room.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 A. Well, it is clear whether he was an MP company commander or a
19 motorised company commander.
20 Q. And what would the answer to that one be?
21 A. He commanded a motorised company. That much is clear.
22 Q. Another witness stated that he returned his PM machine-gun at a
23 police-manned check-point at the entrance to Negoslavci. He also said
24 that he had received an certificate from the officer from the guards
25 brigade called R. Zunic, a major by rank.
1 Firstly, do you know a major by that name who belonged to the
2 motorised guards brigade. If so, was it possible for such a major at a
3 check-point to issue certificates for weapons that were being returned
4 with the following military post number, 4795-2.
5 The reference for the Prosecutor and the Chamber is Exhibit 197,
6 so that we're on the same page.
7 A. Zunic was not a major by rank. Captain First Class at best. He
8 was a member of the 1st Battalion of the military police. The
9 1st Battalion of the military police had two assignments, not to mention
10 the third when they got involved in combat operations, to inspect and
11 secure their area and to provide security for the command post. In terms
12 of securing the area, they set up check-points.
13 Now, as to whether Captain or Lieutenant Zunic was at this
14 check-point that this witness suggested, I don't know.
15 Q. And my second question: Was he in a position to rubber-stamp
16 certificates with a specific military post number right there, in case he
17 was there?
18 A. I don't know. This was down to the security bodies. They were
19 the ones who organised this. And this was an operative segment of their
20 work. They probably were authorised to endorse and rubber-stamp such
22 Q. I see you're not being specific, and to keep you from speculating
23 any further on this issue, I'll just move on to my next question.
24 P-021, Witness P-021, states -- P-022. It's an error in the
25 transcript. It says 021. P-022 states that Croats were ordered not to go
1 to Vukovar. Or, to be quite specific, on page 4949, line 24, the witness
2 stated that before they set out for Vukovar, and he means the guards
3 brigade, all the Croat soldiers were set aside, and when the alert was
4 given, the military police sent them to one side. I've heard what you had
5 to say about this. Would that mean that this is just not true, and that
6 no Croat soldiers were singled out from the rest and there was no order
7 like that?
8 A. That is just not true. I can explain if you would like me to.
9 Q. Please, go ahead.
10 A. The role of the security battalion had specific buildings that
11 they had to secure. Some elements had to be used to secure the barracks
12 and for regular military security jobs. This applied to all the various
13 structures in the barracks.
14 Some of the soldiers were left behind, and this had nothing to do
15 with ethnic criteria. Ethnic criteria were not regarded. What I told the
16 OTP, there were lots of Croatian soldiers, even officers, of course that's
17 what I mean, involved in combat in Vukovar.
18 Q. Thank you very much. This same witness, P-022, on page 5151,
19 line 16, stated this: Captain Dragan, and he means Bundzulic, had the
20 task of securing the house in which Captain Radic slept. First of all, do
21 you know who Captain Dragan Bundzulic was, and what was his role in
22 Vukovar, which were the units in his command? Can you help us with?
23 A. Bundzulic, as for our motorised battalions, we had 120-millimetre
24 mortars, we had a battery. He was a member of the crew of that particular
25 120-millimetre battery. I'm not sure if he was the commander of the
1 particular crew or battery or one of the platoon commanders.
2 Q. Thank you very much. That seems to be that what the witness
3 suggested is not true when he said that the commander of this unit could
4 have potentially provided security for Captain Radic's house there or not?
5 A. If you look at the principles, and if you look at the disposition
6 of the units, the combat disposition, not a chance in hell.
7 Q. Another question, I think my last question.
8 A. True enough, I'm talking about an artillery unit. So artillery
9 observers are normally closer to the position an attacking unit. They
10 observe fire, they send feedback to the firing positions so that
11 adjustments may be made. If this was the case, the battery commander, in
12 case he was also in charge of observing, could possibly have been
13 physically closer to Captain Radic's observation post.
14 Q. Yes. Thank you. But quite specifically, could that unit have
15 been used for securing the house in which Captain Radic was sleeping all
16 the time or not?
17 A. No. Because the firing position was far behind and the army was
18 right there, and what we're talking about here is something totally
19 different unless he was personally providing security around that house.
20 Q. Based on everything that you just told us, was Captain Radic able,
21 Captain Radic as a company commander within the Vukovar operation, could
22 he have his own headquarters conducting the liberation of Vukovar? Yes or
24 A. No.
25 Q. Thank you very much. This concludes my cross-examination.
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies Your Honours, I have
2 concluded, but this was in reference to evidence of a witness back in
3 1996, page 3, paragraph 4, it was a statement made to the OTP, that's the
4 English reference. And the witness is P-002 [as interpreted]. He will be
5 heard shortly by the Chamber, I believe. But he spoke a great deal about
6 this, and I believe for the sake of a fair trial I am entitled to point
7 this out to the Chamber, since I believe that to be erroneous.
8 Thank you very much.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Borovic.
10 Well, I think we've probably come to a convenient time. Just to
11 let Mr. Bulatovic off the hook.
12 We will adjourn for the weekend. We resume on Monday at 12.00.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Monday, the 8th day of May,
15 2006, at 12.00 p.m.