1 Monday, 8 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 12.03 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, or good afternoon already. Colonel,
7 if I could remind you of the affirmation you made at the beginning of your
8 evidence, which still applies.
9 Mr. Bulatovic.
10 WITNESS: RADOJE TRIFUNOVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good
13 afternoon to all.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Bulatovic:
15 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, good afternoon.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the witness, please.
17 Q. My name is Momcilo Bulatovic. I am one of the defence counsel for
18 Mr. Sljivancanin. I will be asking you questions on behalf of the Defence
19 team of Mr. Sljivancanin. Could you please make a pause after each of my
20 questions for the benefit of the record. I will try not to ask you any
21 questions already asked by my learned friends. If there is any
22 repetition, please don't hold it against me.
23 Mr. Trifunovic, you are a well-respected military expert covering
24 a number of different military areas. Do you know that -- or rather, do
25 you know how relationships were organised in terms of issuing orders
1 within the former JNA? Specifically are you familiar with Rule 33? Was
2 it a matter of subordinate superior or rather younger, older or
4 A. Yes, that's how it worked roughly at the time.
5 Q. Can you explain to the Chamber and to us what this means,
6 subordinate/superior, what sort of relationship is that? Or
7 junior/senior, what does that mean in terms of rank?
8 A. The subordinate/superior duality is about the chain of command.
9 It means that those subordinate unconditionally carry out any orders or
10 assignments given by their superior. That is in terms of subordination.
11 As for the junior/senior dichotomy, a junior officer is duty-bound
12 to carry out any order given by a senior commander. He must also inform
13 his own superior of this. On the condition that is, that by doing this,
14 he would not be committing a crime.
15 Q. Rule 33 talks about these relationships within the armed forces.
16 The superior officer is the officer who, under the law and other
17 regulations, has the authority to command a military unit, right?
18 A. Yes. That's what the law says, and that is what the rules of
19 service stipulate.
20 Q. A while ago we talked about these relationships based on rank.
21 The junior/senior principle. A senior officer would be an officer holding
22 a higher rank in relation to a junior officer, right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. If there are two officers holding the same rank on a given
25 assignment, who is the senior officer?
1 A. The one who has a higher-level position in terms of the
2 establishment, and who has a higher command position in terms of
4 Q. So the officer occupying a higher position, right?
5 A. Yes, in terms of the establishment, a higher position, a
6 higher-level position.
7 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, so we have this sort of situation, the one you
8 have just described, would you then agree that a subordinate receives
9 orders only from his own superior officer, right?
10 A. Yes. That is the only way.
11 Q. Can a superior officer pass these orders on orally or in writing?
12 A. He is perfectly entitled to do both.
13 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, can we agree on this: If an officer receives an
14 order from someone who is his senior in terms of rank but not necessarily
15 his superior, in this situation, in order to carry out this order, he must
16 request authorisation from his superior and he must inform his superior
17 about this?
18 A. Yes, he informs his superior and asks for authorisation to carry
19 out this order.
20 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, one thing I have to ask you again, is please make
21 a pause after my question.
22 A. He is duty-bound to inform his superior and to seek authorisation
23 to carry out this specific order.
24 Q. What we have discussed so far, wouldn't that imply something else
25 also, the principle of singleness of command, this is something you have
1 explained already. Does this not imply that higher-ranking officers,
2 officers of superior rank, must not interfere with the exercise of command
3 by asking that officers who are not their direct subordinates carry out
4 their orders?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. But rather, these orders must be issued through the directly
7 superior officer?
8 A. Yes, they must be issued through the directly superior officer in
9 the chain of subordination or the chain of command.
10 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, can a junior officer, in terms of position and
11 rank, issue an order to a senior officer in terms of position and rank?
12 A. No.
13 Q. In your capacity as military expert, do you remember any
14 situations where this could, in fact, be the case? Perhaps I can jog your
15 memory. Hold on a minute, please. If a superior officer was appointed
16 the commander of a barracks or a garrison by a written order.
17 A. Well, that's a more precise question. This is a whole new
18 situation then, and a different one. If you have a junior officer who is
19 at the aim time a superior officer, higher up in the chain of command,
20 then he can, of course. Although he is a junior officer and if there is a
21 written order, of course he could do that. Now that you have specified
22 what exactly you mean, I finally understand, and the answer is yes.
23 Q. So we have this situation: A junior officer in terms of rank is
24 appointed commander, for example, commander of the barracks or the
25 garrison, and then there are certain duties that are envisaged and he
1 would in terms these duties be the superior also of those who may be his
2 seniors in terms of rank?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now that we've raised this sort of situation; namely, a junior
5 officer being the superior of his seniors in terms of rank, we have this
6 situation, we have a number of similar situations. We've mentioned the
7 situation involving a garrison commander. The position of garrison
8 commander, could that be compared to the position of town commander?
9 A. That is most usually the case.
10 Q. In the briefest possible terms, Mr. Trifunovic, based on the rules
11 of service in the armed forces, can you please try to enumerate the most
12 important duties of a garrison commander?
13 A. The garrison commander is normally the most senior officer or
14 commander of the largest unit in a given town. This position entails a
15 wide range of duties and jobs related to organising the life of the
16 military in a given town. This has to do with order and discipline. It
17 also has to do with general security. It also entails logistics and a
18 number of other minor areas. Work, order and discipline, however, are the
19 three major issues involved. Logistics is important too. And these are
20 the responsibilities of a garrison commander. Powers are bestowed upon
21 him to command over all barracks commanders in the area of his garrison in
22 terms of these issues. There can be several different barracks within the
23 area of a single garrison. But the garrison commander is the person in
24 charge of all these various activities. There are other things, but these
25 are the ones that I remember right now, and these strike me as the two
1 essential issues. This is a matter of territorial competence or
3 Q. Would one of the duties of a garrison commander not be to
4 familiarise the commanders of institutions and units staying temporarily
5 within the garrison with the rules governing order, discipline and work
6 within the garrison?
7 A. Yes, by all means. These are precisely the issues which all
8 incoming commanders must be familiarised. A document is written up and it
9 is normally passed out to even the lowest level commanders.
10 Q. Is not one of the duties of a garrison commander to provide rules
11 for work, order and discipline in the garrison's detention unit or prison?
12 A. Yes, his duties would definitely entail that as well.
13 Q. You said that there can be several different barracks within a
14 garrison, right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Each barracks has its own commander, right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What are the duties of a barracks commander then? In relation to
19 whoever happens to be in the barracks?
20 A. The duties as related to the garrison are those prescribed by the
21 garrison commander in terms of work, order and discipline. As for duties
22 at the barracks level, there are a number of internal duties, so to speak,
23 in a given barracks. Work, discipline, order, barracks security and
24 logistics for the barracks.
25 Q. Is not one of the duties of a barracks commander to secure order
1 and discipline, self-protection, all sorts of internal activity, checking
2 people who come to the barracks and those who leave, receiving visitors,
3 and outside parties as well as arranging for places where these outside
4 parties will meet, whoever it is that they are meeting inside the
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can we then agree, Mr. Trifunovic, that these duties, which you
8 have explained to us as being the duties of a garrison commander and
9 barracks commander respectively, can be compared to the duties incumbent
10 upon a town commander or local commander?
11 A. Yes, the issues are the same, but here we're talking about a
12 combat operations zone. Whereas what we've been talking about so far
13 applies to peacetime conditions. However, the duties themselves are the
15 Q. Let's go back to the beginning of these questions that I've been
16 asking you about the superior/subordinate relationship. You explained
17 that for us.
18 My next question: If we have the guards brigade and the
19 80th Kragujevac Motorised Brigade, and these are entirely separate, can a
20 commander from the guards brigade issue an order to someone from the
21 80th Brigade?
22 A. If they're separate, the answer is no. They can only coordinate
23 certain types of activity. This is usually enshrined in combat orders or
24 any of the commander's written orders.
25 Q. If, for example, the 80th Motorised Brigade from Kragujevac was
1 attached to the guards brigade for coordination --
2 A. No, no, no. If it is attached, then it is commanded by the
3 commander of the guards brigade. That's it. If there is a matter of
4 coordination, which means that there is no attachment, formally speaking,
5 well, that's a different thing altogether. Coordination is then defined
6 by the superior commander only in terms of whatever the relevant issues
7 may be.
8 Q. So that's the only situation where this applies?
9 A. Yes, indeed.
10 Q. I'm sorry, I may have misunderstood one of the things you said
11 earlier on.
12 Mr. Trifunovic, could you please explain this, both to us and to
13 the Chamber: Is it true that if a superior officer issues an order to a
14 subordinate officer to do something which falls outside his remit and
15 duties in terms of the establishment, such an order falling outside the
16 normal remit of that soldier's duty must be given in writing specifying
17 precisely what the duties and powers in question are?
18 A. Yes, that is true.
19 Q. How about this: Do you know about the brigade command and
20 higher-level units? There are branch commanders, right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Who are these branch commanders, or rather let me give you a hand.
23 Are we talking about infantry, artillery, anti-aircraft defence and the
24 engineers, right?
25 A. Yes. As we have already concluded, a brigade is a joint higher
1 level tactical unit, which has within its composition the most varied
2 range of weapons and equipment. Branch commanders are in charge of a
3 specific type of weapons that a brigade has at its disposal. So you are
4 not likely to find an artillery commander unless the brigade actually has
5 an artillery unit and the same applies to an anti-aircraft defence
6 commander. The same applies to the engineers commander and so on and so
7 forth. These are all technical bodies within the command. They plan
8 operations and make proposals to the commander, the commander then tries
9 to make a decision based on these recommendations and proposals. Most of
10 the branches were represented in the brigades of the JNA at the time.
11 Q. Could you please tell me if you know who they were subordinated
13 A. They were subordinated directly to the Chief of Staff. In the
14 then establishment and as well as in later establishments.
15 Q. So in that situation when they were directly subordinated to the
16 Chief of Staff, can the chief of the infantry branch, for example, in the
17 brigade command the infantry battalion, or does the infantry battalion
18 have its own commander?
19 A. No chief can command a unit. Only the commander can do that.
20 We're speaking about the expert proposals to the commander in order for
21 him to make a good decision.
22 Q. Could you please tell me the status of the security organ senior
24 A. The chief of security is directly subordinate to the commander.
25 And the security organ is within the organisation of the brigade command,
1 so that organ is subordinated directly to the commander and not to the
2 Chief of Staff, and the chief of security reports to the commander on all
4 Q. The work of the security organs in the then armed forces of the
5 SFRY, was that regulated by the regulations for the work of security
7 A. Yes. By the regulations for the work of security organs.
8 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, do you know what the powers of the security organs
9 officers are, or if I may remind you of the rules of that service, maybe
10 you can confirm whether that is so, and that is as follows: Senior
11 officers of the security organs, the command units, institutions or the
12 armed forces staff controls, in the expert sense, units of the military
13 police. He suggests to the command senior officers units, institutions or
14 the staff the use of units of the military police and responsible for the
15 state and the activities of that unit. Is this correct?
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. Can we then agree that the security organs senior officer has no
18 command function over the military police units?
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. This is provided for by the rules, so I assume -- well, I don't
21 assume, I assert that that was how it was in the field, in practice?
22 A. Yes, that is correct.
23 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to now
24 look at Exhibit 431, so could that please be placed on the screen. That's
25 a decision of OG South commander dated of the 16th of November. In the
1 context of this question, I would just like to clarify something. Can we
2 look at this part that says "left boundary." This is item 3; maybe we can
3 zoom in on that part. Just the last section of that, please. Item 3,
5 Q. Or if you see well, Mr. Trifunovic, and see what this is about.
6 This is an order by the OG South command of the 16th of November, 1991,
7 where the first and second battalion of the military police are mentioned;
8 is that correct?
9 A. Yes. Well, I see 2A on the screen right now.
10 Q. Well, that's all right then. The 1st and the 2nd Battalion of the
11 military police. Who does a battalion of the military police receive its
12 orders from?
13 A. From the brigade commander. Here specifically it's a decision of
14 the commander and that's how it was given its tasks in the tasks of other
15 units as well.
16 Q. Who does the commander of the battalion issue orders to?
17 A. To commanders of companies of the military police.
18 Q. And the commanders of the companies?
19 A. To commanders of the platoons and the detachments or squads.
20 Q. Can we then agree, Mr. Trifunovic, that it is -- this is precisely
21 a confirmation of what we were talking about earlier, that command organs
22 or senior officers of the security organs have no command functions over
23 the units; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, that is correct.
25 Q. We mentioned here the 2nd Battalion of the military police, and
1 what I would like to ask you is if this means, or whether that refers also
2 to any other military police unit that specifically happened to be part of
3 OG South at that time?
4 A. Yes. This is something that pertains to any military police unit.
5 Q. Thank you. Mr. Trifunovic, you were at the post that you were at,
6 and you explained what your duties and assignments were there. You saw
7 many orders that arrived from the command of the 1st Military District,
8 they passed through your hands, and you registered them. So what I would
9 like to know is the following: Did you ever see an order of the superior
10 command on the formation of OG South and an order in which the superior
11 command appoints the command of OG South?
12 A. No. I never did.
13 Q. Doesn't it seem to you that such an order had to have been made in
14 writing for a matter of this kind? Just answer briefly, yes or no.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. As a military expert, Mr. Trifunovic, and you have been in the
17 army for a long time now, I would like to ask you to clarify some things
18 for me now, which perhaps for us, who hail from that region, are already
19 quite familiar.
20 Is it correct that the territory of the Socialist Federal Republic
21 of Yugoslavia was divided into strategic operational and tactical sectors
22 or axes?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could you please explain on what this division depended on, and
25 perhaps tell us whether the concept of the defence and the formation of
1 the armed forces and the concept of the country's defence boiled down to
2 foreseeing danger of an attack by the Warsaw Pact forces and the NATO pact
4 A. Yes, that is the answer. These were strategic directions based on
5 which operational and tactical directions were then derived. So it was a
6 question of an assessment of the threat on the territory of the SFRY as a
7 unified area, which was covered by the JNA and the TO as its armed
8 forces. The entire territory was divided into strategic axes or
9 directions depending on the location and the possible operations by the
10 enemy primarily of the Warsaw or the NATO pact.
11 Q. What I would like to ask you now is if we can agree that it was
12 precisely based on this that the armed forces were conceived, units of the
13 JNA and that's how the strategic units were formed, so that each one could
14 cover each particular direction?
15 A. Yes, that is how the strategic units were formed in order to cover
16 the strategic axes.
17 Q. The JNA and the TNO. You only mentioned the JNA, but it's
18 actually the armed forces as a whole. When I'm talking about the armed
19 forces I do mean the entire composition of the armed forces. Based on
20 this, can we agree, or can we conclude that there was a tactical axes, the
21 Sid-Vukovar axes, are you aware of that?
22 A. Well, I couldn't really be specific on that, because the strategic
23 axes were in the depth of the territory, and they were not only changing,
24 but after so much time has passed since I went to school, I really forgot
25 what all of them were, so if we're talking about the Sid-Vukovar axes,
1 well, it depends on who the aggressor was, and there of course -- it's
2 possible that it exists.
3 Q. And the capacities of the armed forces that were supposed to be
4 deployed in that axis, were they determined on the basis of the
5 significance of a particular axis?
6 A. Yes. As far as the variety and the quality of the units and
7 taking into account the nature of the terrain, you would use armoured or
8 mechanised units, perhaps the air force and so on and so forth.
9 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, you spoke about tactical groups, operations
10 tactical groups and so on, and here you see that it said operations group.
11 Can we agree that an operations group is a temporary force that would
12 cover an operations axis?
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. Do operations groups form commands at the strategic level, and is
15 that done by the military district or by the General Staff of the JNA?
16 A. The operations groups are formed by commands at the operations
17 level. So the command of the 1st Military District specifically would be
18 the one that is involved here.
19 Q. But that's the strategic level.
20 A. The 1st Military District, yes, that is the strategic level.
21 Q. Thank you. According to the rules of the armed forces, can
22 operations groups be made up of operations composition forces up to the
23 strength of one or two corps, and with the rest of the attached units from
24 the tactical composition at the rank of a brigade would be completed,
25 would that be the composition of an operations group?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we now look at
3 Exhibit 370? Mr. Trifunovic talked about that, but I would just like him
4 to clarify some things in his capacity as a military expert.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
6 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I did not turn my microphone on.
7 So we're talking about ERN number 0345-0009, and that is page 2 of
8 Exhibit 370. This is not the same page. This is page 010. We need one
9 page before that. Let me repeat. Ah, okay. Here we have it.
10 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, you see this list that you already had the
11 opportunity to see. Do you see it?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You already answered a question by my learned friend. Which units
14 were part of OG South, according to this chart? So we have two motorised
15 battalions there, two battalions of the military police, of the guards
16 brigade. Then there is a light artillery platoon, then three light
17 artillery batteries that were added, and then another brigade, which
18 according to the war diary entry on the 18th of November, left OG South
19 and was replaced by the 80th Kragujevac Brigade. A battalion of the
20 544th Brigade, with tanks, then we have the sabotage detachment of the
21 93rd Protection Regiment, and there are other units there.
22 Could you please tell me now, earlier you talked about how an
23 operations group must be comprised of operations composition groups up to
24 the strength of one or two corps, with attached units at the rank of
25 brigades. According to that composition, is that what the OG South was,
1 or not?
2 A. It didn't have that strength. We were talking about a lower
3 level. It could have been called an operations tactical group.
4 Q. A while ago I asked whether you had seen the decision on the
5 establishment of OG South and its command. You said you hadn't. Have you
6 ever seen the decision for OG South to join the Guards Motorised Brigade?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Had such a decision existed, would it have been recorded in the
9 war diary or in the register?
10 A. Yes, it would have. This is the most important document in this
11 entire situation. It should have been there, because this is the document
12 that applies to everything.
13 Q. Have you ever seen a decision or an order, because that's what I
14 think we should call it, saying that the command of the Guards Motorised
15 Brigade had become the command of Operations Group South, a written order?
16 Have you seen that?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, have you ever seen any order or report by
19 Mr. Veselin Sljivancanin signed by Mr. Veselin Sljivancanin as the Chief
20 of Security of Operations Group South?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Have you ever seen any decision, report, letter, telex or anything
23 at all in writing sent to Veselin Sljivancanin as Chief of Security of
24 Operations Group South?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You say that this name, Operations Group South, is maybe not
2 appropriate if we bear in mind the composition of that particular group.
3 Is it perhaps possible that for security-related or other reasons maybe
4 this name, operations group, was actually used to conceal something in
5 terms of the forces active in the area? Would you allow for such a
7 A. Yes, I would. To emphasise a strength that is maybe not realistic
8 or does not tally with the reality on the ground.
9 Q. Could this be done in order to conceal a unit which is actually
10 active in the area which may be some other people are not supposed to know
11 about in a given situation?
12 A. Yes, that might have been a reason too. These are assumptions.
13 You do know that.
14 Q. Having heard all of this, Mr. Trifunovic, and once you have
15 analysed all the documents shown by the OTP and by my learned friends from
16 the other Defence teams, having heard everything that you have told us
17 about the so-called Operations Group South, could we then conclude,
18 regardless of the rules and regulations, that these forces were unified at
19 an operative level merely to carry out a combat assignment, nothing more?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And yet, because of all the discrepancies that you have yourself
22 observed in the various orders, in terms of how it worked, in terms of how
23 it was organised and functioned, this was not under a single command, was
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. Having gone through these technical matters, I will now go back to
2 some questions regarding Mr. Sljivancanin.
3 Mr. Trifunovic, do you know where the security organ was
4 physically located in Negoslavci?
5 A. I can't say specifically. It was in the broader Negoslavci area.
6 The distance from the command post itself wasn't that great.
7 Q. But they were not in the same place as the command post, the
9 A. No, the chief of security was normally there, depending on how
10 combat activities were evolving. Usually he would have a position inside
11 a house, but on account of the difficult conditions the command post more
12 often than not could not be established according to the rules. One of
13 the security organs should be at the command post and one at the rear
14 command post. That's what the rules say. But they were in a house which
15 was some distance from the house where the command was; operations and
16 staff. We had to adapt to the circumstances in this settled area.
17 Q. We talked about the duties and the role of the chief of the
18 security organ. What about the activities of the security body when
19 relating to a military unit? Is there such a thing as a duty of the
20 security organ to want to know about the security situation in a given
21 unit, about security-related assessments? Would they not have to go
22 directly to unit commanders for their information, would they not have to
23 tour the units, the entire area all along the front line and the
24 confrontation line, would they not have to go there to get their
25 information in order to be able to do their work properly?
1 A. Yes. And in purely operative terms that was normally how they
2 went about their duties, in all sorts of situations, both peacetime and
4 Q. Can we then agree that this may have been one of the reasons why
5 you, as you said, often saw Mr. Sljivancanin along the front line?
6 A. Yes. Organising the operative presence in the units is the
7 responsibility of the chief of the security organ. This could have been
8 often, not so often, or more often, especially if you had previously
9 covered the ground, as it were, alongside with other operatives. This is
10 the principle of his exercising his control of the situation.
11 As far as I know, he did go and tour the units. He decided to do
12 so. In terms of the unit's most motivation, I considered this to be a
13 very good, very positive move. And this was the case also with the other
14 units that were covered, as it were, by his fellow commanders.
15 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, something about the
16 transcript, page 18, line 25. Without repeating the whole question, he
17 said that this kind of work by the security organ applied to both
18 peacetime and wartime, which is not reflected in the transcript. But
19 that's what the witness said. If there is any need to go any further into
20 that, we can ask the witness to clarify. But I think it's sufficiently
22 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, in Vukovar you witnessed on those days several
23 visits by both domestic and international delegations. You spoke about
24 the visit of Mr. Cyrus Vance; you remember that, right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When you have such an important person visiting the area, touring
2 the area of combat operations, what about his personal security? Would
3 that not, in some way, be the responsibility, I mean in terms of securing
4 the necessary conditions, security-wise, of the security organ?
5 A. Yes. Regardless of the importance of that person, this applies to
6 everybody entering the area of responsibility of that particular unit.
7 The security organ, or, rather, the chief of the security organ is
8 responsible for that person's security. End of story.
9 Q. But you didn't answer my second question. Does this apply to
10 everybody entering a given area of responsibility?
11 A. Yes, it does.
12 Q. You testified about Mr. Vance's visit, and you mentioned some
13 people who were there. Do you remember that meeting at the headquarters
14 attended by Mr. Vance, was Colonel Nebojsa Pavkovic present at that
15 meeting too? Is this something you remember?
16 A. I stand by my previous answer to the OTP, or to the Defence, I
17 can't quite remember. I had the opportunity to go back to my notebook and
18 to check who was there. And that's why I could be specific when I
19 mentioned the people who were there. Pavkovic is not one of the names
20 that appear. This may be an omission on my part, it's possible. But I
21 can't say.
22 Q. What about Dragoljub --
23 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the last name.
24 A. I don't remember.
25 Q. What do you know about Mr. Blagoje Adzic's visit to Vukovar?
1 A. I can't remember. The commander of the 1st Military District,
2 Zivota Panic, yes. I can't remember.
3 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, again about the
4 transcript, page 20, line 20, Dragoljub Dzukic, the last name is Dzukic.
5 From the cabinet of the federal secretary for national defence.
6 Q. Mr. Trifunovic --
7 A. There may have been two meetings. I only mentioned one, the one
8 which I attended with Cyrus Vance.
9 Q. You spoke about the arrival of the guards brigade. The assignment
10 was to lift the blockade of the barracks. You mentioned that the start of
11 the brigade's activity in the area was, to a certain extent, infamous
12 because you suffered a great deal of casualties, right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you remember that during that first operation 10 soldiers of
15 the JNA went missing who were members of the guards brigade?
16 A. Yes. I'm not sure if the figure of 10 you have mentioned is
17 precise, but I would say roughly speaking a dozen soldiers went missing.
18 Q. Was one of the duties of the security organ to gather intelligence
19 in the field from the locals and other sources in order to try and find
20 these JNA soldiers who had gone missing?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, do you know that on the 19th of October, 1991, a
23 convoy carrying wounded persons left for Croatia from the Vukovar
24 Hospital? Do you know anything about that convoy?
25 A. The 19th of October?
1 Q. Yes. And this convoy was organised by Medecins sans Frontieres?
2 A. What I do remember is the convoy organised by the humanitarian
3 organisation known as Medecins sans Frontieres carrying food and
4 medications, and this was supposed to be taken to the Croatian population
5 of Vukovar, but it got stuck at the barracks. This was an incoming
6 convoy. But I can't remember this other one; therefore, I can't answer
7 your question. You asked me whether I remembered a convoy leaving the
8 Vukovar Hospital on the 19th of October. The answer is I don't remember.
9 Q. I will tell you something about this convoy, which may jog your
10 memory, hopefully. Mr. Sljivancanin, a security officer, found a JNA
11 soldier on this convoy who, against his own will, was about to be sent to
12 Croatia. The soldier's name is Zivkovic. Does that jog your memory,
14 A. Yes, yes, it does. But I can't know for certain. It's been a
15 very long time. I remember this being mentioned, because I was privy to
16 most of the information then, but I can't be certain.
17 Q. Would it jog your memory, in relation to these missing soldiers,
18 those who went missing in the course of that first operation, information
19 was obtained from the local population, and Mr. Sljivancanin, a security
20 officer, on the 16th of November, found the remains of six burned bodies
21 belonging to soldiers in the fighter's street in Vukovar?
22 A. Yes, I do remember that.
23 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the question of --
24 the answer of the witness was not recorded correctly. I was talking about
25 the remains of six soldiers who were burned, six soldiers of the JNA, and
1 their remains were found in the street of Sremskih Boraca on the 16th of
2 November, 1991.
3 Q. And the witness responded that he knew about this.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. We heard from you, and this is also not in dispute, that on
6 the 19th of November Sasa Jovic was taken from the Vukovar Hospital,
7 together with another two soldiers. They were also in the group of these
8 10 soldiers. Are you aware of that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, you talked about the arrival of a group of senior
11 officers from the Security Service, three colonels, and I think you noted
12 that down in your war diary. And you said that they stayed at the command
13 post very briefly, and then they proceeded to their assignments. I
14 understood that they reported to the OG commander about their assignments,
15 they received escorts, and then they proceeded to carry out the
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. This was on the 19th of November in the evening?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. We heard one of those people. It's -- we're talking about three
21 colonels of the JNA. So can we conclude that this was an important, a
22 serious group that was sent out?
23 A. Yes. In my answer I emphasised that they were either from the
24 1st Military District or from the General Staff, which speaks for itself
25 about their importance. And I don't know whether they were colonels.
1 They were senior officers, but I really cannot recall their rank.
2 Q. Well, it is clear that they were colonels, three colonels. Would
3 the security administration send such a serious group out on some
4 administrative tasks in Vukovar, or would they send them out to carry out
5 a serious assignment relating to the events in Vukovar?
6 A. Yes, of course they would be doing something from the domain of
7 the security organs. It would be some serious assignment, yes.
8 Q. Since we have an organ that sent this group out, and I'm telling
9 you that that was the security administration, you said it was the
10 1st Military District or the General Staff, which is also a fairly high
11 level, sending them out?
12 A. Yes. When I said the General Staff, I would imply the
13 administration, security administration, which is within the
14 General Staff.
15 Q. Well, can we agree, then, that the leader of that group of
16 security officers from the security administration was duty-bound, as part
17 of the tasks that he was sent to execute, was duty-bound to coordinate the
18 work of the security organs during combat operations, because of his
19 highest rank and position there at that time?
20 A. Yes. That is what I concluded too.
21 Q. Can we then further agree on that basis that the leader of the
22 group of security officers from the security administration had to, once
23 he left the combat operations zone, submit a report, a written report,
24 about the situation he found in the combat operations zone to his superior
25 or to the organ that had sent him to this assignment in the first place?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. If anyone from that group of high-ranking officers of the security
3 administration, in the course of executing the assignments given to them,
4 had any kind of incident happen, had their lives happened to be in danger,
5 if they were attacked or anything like that, or if they had issued an
6 order to someone to do something in terms of security, their own personal
7 security and the security of other persons or property, would that be an
8 additional reason to be obliged to submit such a report?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I would like to ask you something that I actually skipped in my
11 order of questions. Before you said that at the command post there was a
12 signals or communications centre; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did any orders, decisions or information arrive perhaps there in
15 the form of telegrams?
16 A. Yes, yes, in the form of telegrams.
17 Q. Was anything sent in the form of coded telegrams?
18 A. Yes, it was.
19 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, can you explain to all of us, please, what the
20 procedure was in handling the telegrams, if you know. Was this registered
21 in some special book or log, was there a special log-book for these
22 telegrams precisely because of the specific way in which they were
23 received and sent?
24 A. Yes, the communications section had its own log-book, their own
25 separate one.
1 Q. On Friday during your testimony here, I heard that you had the
2 opportunity to see in the war room the documents from Vukovar. So I would
3 like to know if perhaps you had the opportunity to see that log-book for
4 telegrams. Does that still exist as part of the documentation in the --
5 in the war room?
6 A. No. The period from late 1991, and the documentation in the war
7 room, the room where the war plan is being kept, was something that was
8 not accessible to me for a long time. Only recently was I able to gain
9 access to the documents as part of the archives of the Vukovar
10 operations. That should have been handed over to the military archives,
11 but because of some objective difficulties that the minister talked about,
12 this was not done. It is still being kept at the guards brigade premises,
13 even though I'm retired now.
14 Most recently, at the request of the OTP and also the Defence
15 counsel, there were requests to review the documentation and to send some
16 documents, and we complied with that. I stated that I was the president
17 of the commission during the past two or three months, and that's when I
18 went to the archives and looked at what was there. Any requests for
19 documents were complied with. As far as this particular log-book, I
20 really don't remember seeing it.
21 Q. Very well. Do you remember Colonel Marko Maric?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Could you explain who Mr. Maric is, what did he do?
24 A. Mr. Maric was deputy commander for morale and information.
25 Q. And where was his base of operations?
1 A. He should have been at the rear command post, but I don't think
2 that he was there. He was somewhere between the rear command post and the
3 command post. But he was closer to the command post.
4 Q. Did you see him at the command post?
5 A. Yes, I used to see him there.
6 Q. What about the 20th? Did you see him there or was it possible
7 that he wasn't there?
8 A. It's possible. I don't remember seeing him on the 20th.
9 Q. You also said -- well, can we agree that you saw Mr. Sljivancanin
10 very rarely at the command post?
11 A. Yes, that is correct.
12 Q. Thank you. Now what I would like to ask you is the following: In
13 response to a question by the Prosecutor, you answered that you had an
14 entry in your war diary relating to firing corrections on the instruction
15 of Mr. Sljivancanin. Later you said that you could not remember why you
16 made that entry. And you talked about correcting the firing positions.
17 Q. I'm going to try to ask you some questions, and then I'm going to
18 tell you what the position of my client is in regard to that information
19 and that entry in the war diary. Is one of the tasks of the security
20 organs, when touring units, and in view of the security assignments that
21 we mentioned before, to check the security or the safety of the units at
22 any point, and to react in case they have information from the field that,
23 for example, the unit is in danger from artillery fire that perhaps can be
24 a result of imprecise firing from one's own forces. Is that possible?
25 A. Yes, that is also one of the tasks, but their assignment is to
1 appear in units in order to monitor and control.
2 Q. If the commander finds out about such information or receives such
3 information, is it part of the security assignment to inform his superior
4 that there is such-and-such a problem, and that the unit is exposed to
5 such-and-such a danger?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. If they inform the commander, would the commander then in turn
8 inform his superior that there was a security problem for a particular
9 unit of a particular nature?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So is the immediately superior officer, and specifically perhaps
12 we're talking about the commander of OG South, and would he inform the
13 commander of the 1st Military District in turn about this possibility?
14 Would the commander of the 1st Military District then be able to ask his
15 subordinate from whom he received that information, is it possible perhaps
16 to have a case where there was misinformation?
17 A. Yes, this is possible.
18 Q. In order to check this information, would the commander, in this
19 example of the 1st Military District, would send the chief of artillery to
20 make sure at the scene whether this was actually so or not?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, now I would like to state the position of my
23 client in relation to this war diary entry. The situation was that
24 information was received during the touring of units that the artillery at
25 positions of the 1st Military District was firing imprecisely, and that it
1 was firing at its own unit positions, and that Mr. Sljivancanin informed
2 the commander of OG South, and that the commander of OG South informed the
3 commander of the 1st Military District, Mr. Zivota Panic about this.
4 Mr. Panic received information that this information came from
5 Mr. Sljivancanin, that he sent the chief of artillery, Colonel Grce?
6 A. Milorad Grce.
7 Q. The chief of artillery of the 1st Military District, and that at
8 the scene they established that the artillery of the 1st Military District
9 was firing inaccurately, that it was underfiring, short -- the fire was
10 reaching -- not reaching the target, and that Colonel Milorad Grce then
11 established with Mr. Sljivancanin that the problem was in damp ammunition,
12 and this was established as the reason and that this was then used in
13 order to make adjustments. Would you allow for the possibility that this
14 was so?
15 A. Of course there are different reasons to make adjustments. One of
16 the reasons would be also ammunition, damp ammunition in this case. In
17 order to fire accurately, it was necessary to make adjustments and the --
18 it was not the duty of the chief of security to order such adjustments,
19 but it is his duty to inform about these circumstances, and if this was
20 done along the line that you just explained, then this is correct
21 procedure. So the chief of artillery, Milorad Grce, established the
22 problem at the scene, and the entry in the war diary that Major Veselin
23 Sljivancanin informed the Chief of Staff that an adjustment of artillery
24 fire was made could have referred to the situation that you described just
1 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have some seven
2 minutes to go before the break. I probably won't have any further
3 questions, but because of some technical issues that may still be open,
4 can we please have a break now so that I may consult my client, confer
5 with my client on a number of issues, please.
6 JUDGE PARKER: [Microphone not activated] We will adjourn now and
7 have a half-hour break and we will resume at five minutes to 1.00. Or
8 even five minutes to 2.00 if you like, Mr. Bulatovic.
9 --- Recess taken at 1.25 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 2.02 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
12 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Trifunovic, I will now need to go back to one particular
14 issue, just in order to have everything clarified.
15 We spoke about the branch commanders, infantry, artillery, that
16 sort of thing, and about their authority. I will now read to you from the
17 rules of service for the security organ, Article 23, in relation to the
18 chief of the security organ. I have read previously from the rules, but
19 now I want to read to you two paragraphs of that article, and there is a
20 single question that I want to ask you now.
21 Rule 23 reads that the chief of the security organ of the unit
22 command, the institution or the headquarters of the armed forces,
23 exercises control in terms of technical aspects over the military police.
24 He makes proposals to the commander of the unit, institution or
25 headquarters on how to use units of the military police and is responsible
1 for the condition of that unit.
2 Article 2, or paragraph 2 of Article 23 of the rule governing the
3 work of the security organ of the armed forces of the SFRY reads: "When
4 exercising control over a unit of the military police, the chief of the
5 security organ, from paragraph 1 of this Article, has the duties and
6 responsibilities that branch commanders in the commands units and
7 headquarters of the armed forces have in terms of exercising control over
8 the branches, units, as well as the service and commands of units,
9 institutions or headquarters."
10 Mr. Trifunovic, you said you were not an expert on
11 security-related issues. However, in your answer you explained the duties
12 of the branch commanders, services commanders, for the brigade command and
13 higher-level units in terms of guiding the units, from a purely technical
14 aspect. My question is: In relation to all the other chiefs that we have
15 mentioned, the powers of the chief of security, are they wider in scope or
16 not? Are they bigger or smaller?
17 A. Based on these two articles, in terms of the comparison between
18 the duties of the security organ in terms of control, its technical aspect
19 and their responsibility for the situation prevailing in their units and
20 in the branches, the powers would seem to be the same.
21 Q. I have shown you an exhibit about the use of military police units
22 showing who issues the decision. I have shown you the decision. The
23 decision envisages certain assignments in terms of the establishment for
24 units of the JNA. The same decisions also determine the tasks of TO units
25 within Operations Group South, right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Based on all of this, can we conclude that the security organ, or
3 rather the commander of the security organ had no powers whatsoever over
4 TO units in the sense of issuing orders, command and control or anything
6 A. Yes, that is an accurate conclusion.
7 Q. Thank you. You mentioned at some point in your testimony Bileca
8 and the reserve officer's college that is based in Bileca, right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you please explain to the Trial Chamber that sort of a college
11 that is. Is that an elite school training the best officers and reserve
13 A. Yes. That is a reserve officer's college for infantry. For
14 other branches you had schools of the same level in other places
15 throughout the former SFRY. Artillery in Zadar, the engineering units in
16 Karlovac and so on and so forth. This is the elite school for reserve
17 infantry officers, the one in Bileca.
18 Q. You also testified about Vesna Bosanac. Where did you see her?
19 A. I saw her in passing, I think, on the 19th, when she came to the
20 command post. We didn't speak, but she came to see the operations group
22 Q. Do you remember when this was? In the morning, in the afternoon,
23 in the evening?
24 A. In the afternoon, possibly in the evening. I can't be specific.
25 Once the hospital had been taken and security established, by units of the
1 operations group, she arrived. It was dark already. The month was
3 Q. Based on the description you provided to my learned friend,
4 Mr. Vasic, you drew a ground plan of the command post, the rooms and who
5 was where and that sort of thing. Mr. Sljivancanin -- if Mr. Sljivancanin
6 had talked to her there in that building, you certainly would have seen
7 it, wouldn't you?
8 A. I suppose I was in the operations room at that time. But Major
9 Sljivancanin, the commander, could have talked on that terrace, in the
10 corridor, maybe in the working room, maybe in the commander's room where
11 he would normally rest.
12 Q. So you didn't see Mr. Sljivancanin talk to Vesna Bosanac right
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 Q. You talked about the media exposure that Mr. Sljivancanin got.
16 You explained about quite a number of journalists surrounding him all the
17 time. Can we agree that this considerable presence of journalists around
18 Mr. Sljivancanin was caused by the fact that he was in Mr. Vance's
19 security detail, when Mr. Adzic came he provided security, when the EU or
20 EC, rather, observers came he was with them. He was with the ICRC people.
21 And it was precisely because of all of this that he was so much in the
22 public eye, and the media wanted to speak to him, right? That's what made
23 him interesting?
24 A. Yes, I share that conclusion.
25 Q. Can we then agree that perhaps this contributed to creating this
1 impression under the influence of the media, the impression that
2 Mr. Sljivancanin had more importance that in actual fact he was -- he had?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. So we have defined his importance on the basis of the rules and
5 regulations that applied. However, there was the presence of media and
6 the media's influence, which magnified his role and made it seem far more
7 important than it actually was, right?
8 A. Yes, this amplified his importance, exaggerated his importance, if
9 you like, the presence of the media. But his role certainly wasn't as
10 comprehensive as the media would have it. Or as perhaps was the
11 impression shared by some.
12 Q. You mentioned this group of officers, I said where they'd come
13 from. Does the name of Aleksandar Vasiljevic mean anything to you?
14 A. Yes, it does. I think he was the chief of security of the General
16 Q. What about Mr. Tumanov?
17 A. It rings a bell. I'm not really which position he held at the
19 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, page 34 of the
20 transcript, line 9. Tumanov -- or rather line 11, Tumanov is the name.
21 And the answer. T-u-m-a-n-o-v.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note, presumably.
23 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Based on some accounts, Mr. Vasiljevic was in Negoslavci on the
25 evening of the 19th. He and Mr. Tumanov. Do you remember that? Did you
1 see him?
2 A. At one point I arrived in the guards brigade. I wasn't really
3 particularly familiar with the structure of command from the guards
4 brigade up, from the guards brigade level up. So I only learned later
5 that Mr. Vasiljevic was the administration chief. I didn't know him
6 personally. Therefore, I didn't really focus on the fact that he was the
7 chief at the time. For an operative in terms of the security bodies of
8 that level, I wasn't really instructed on how to handle them, how to act.
9 I wasn't even responsible for their security detail. So before Vukovar I
10 had never paid attention to those, really.
11 Q. In your statement to the OTP you were asked whether you knew about
12 the SAO Krajina government meeting that was held on the 20th of November,
13 1991. You said you didn't know about that. It was later on that
14 Mr. Panic told you about such a session. What I want to know is whether
15 he told you anything more or anything else about this session. What
16 happened, who attended, what was debated, that sort of thing.
17 A. He did not provide any details about the session or about the
18 presence of any JNA officers, or indeed about any decisions that were or
19 were not taken. I later heard from some officers about the decision for
20 civilian prisoners from the Vukovar area to be handed over to TO units. I
21 can't remember how much later or who exactly told me.
22 Q. You said you talked to Mr. Pavkovic as well, right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did Mr. Pavkovic perhaps tell you about what had happened at the
25 hospital on the 20th, the 19th and the 20th?
1 A. Nothing specific.
2 Q. A couple of questions to wrap things up, Mr. Trifunovic.
3 You explained about the system of command, control, you explained
4 about the relationships, about the importance of rank, about the
5 importance of all the incoming groups, about the importance of the various
6 assignments that were carried out, and so on and so forth. You spoke
7 about the fact that the order to evacuate the hospital was not very
8 specific, that it was very general, so to speak. You also said that the
9 evacuation operation itself was a task of paramount importance.
10 Can you please do this for me, sir: Try in the briefest possible
11 terms to repeat and to clarify which were the units that would have been
12 expected to be involved in an operation like that?
13 A. As the order itself did not say anything specific about the body
14 which was responsible for this, or about how the task would be organised,
15 this would imply that the responsibility rested squarely on the shoulders
16 of those units who were in the area of the evacuation. Talking about the
17 hospital itself, the units were Assault Detachment 1, and the elements of
18 the military police battalion which took over hospital security after the
19 hospital had been taken. Evacuation was to proceed by taking people to
20 certain facilities and features, and then once there the commanders of
21 those facilities and features were responsible.
22 That is how it worked, since no detailed instructions were given.
23 Had detailed instructions been provided, we would have known all of these
24 things more specifically. Who was responsible, how the evacuation was to
25 unfold, and when exactly.
1 Q. Can we agree on this, sir: In terms of an operation like that,
2 the responsible person should have been the Chief of Staff, right?
3 A. Yes. That's what I said. The commander had sent him to the area
4 to deal with that. And that's what the war diary reflects. He was in the
5 area and he reported on all these problems.
6 Q. Just to wrap things up, let me ask you about the insignia worn by
7 the forces involved in the fighting in Vukovar. Was there only one kind,
8 or were there different kinds being worn by units?
9 A. There were different kinds of insignia in Operations Group South
10 and the units that it comprised. As far as the guards brigade was
11 concerned, they all had the same sort of insignia, depending on the type
12 of unit. Military police units had their own military police insignia.
13 The remaining units had the guards brigade insignia. All the other units
14 had different insignia. Different ones for the operations group level,
15 and for the brigade level, it depended on where the unit belonged, and
16 this was very much complied with.
17 Q. You mentioned Major Stupar from the 93rd Sabotage Detachment,
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know where he came from?
21 A. He came from Pancevo. As to who that sabotage detachment was
22 subordinated to, this is not something that I can say. I don't know who
23 he was subordinated to at the time in this particular situation. In
24 Vukovar, Operations Group South. Before being resubordinated, I think
25 sabotage detachments would have been subordinated directly to the General
2 Q. The General Staff?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So the sabotage detachment was not within the guards brigade,
5 within its composition?
6 A. No, it wasn't.
7 Q. Thank you. One last question. Do you know what
8 Mr. Sljivancanin's position is as far as the insignia worn on uniforms
9 were concerned, the significance of the five-pointed star, which stood for
10 Yugoslavia, the importance of Yugoslavia for him and so on and so forth?
11 A. He cared more about this than any of us did, although we were all
12 proud at the time, but he was prouder than any of us in this respect.
13 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
14 I have no other questions for this witness.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Bulatovic.
16 Mr. Smith.
17 MR. SMITH: Good morning, Your Honours.
18 The first matter I would like to raise is in relation to
19 Rule 90(H), and it's more specifically directed at the Defence counsel for
20 Mr. Mrksic, and it relates to an issue that was raised in the
21 cross-examination by Mr. Bulatovic in relation to command and control of
22 Operations Group South. A question was put by Mr. Bulatovic stating that
23 isn't it the case that Operational Group South was not under a single
24 command. And if that is the case for the defence for Mr. Mrksic, I would
25 suggest that that should be put to the witness on behalf of that accused.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Well, it hasn't been put. We have rehearsed the
2 Rule enough times for the Chamber to take the position now that if counsel
3 are not observing the rule, they will have to suffer the consequences of
4 it. And therefore, you've raised it now, and if it is a matter that
5 counsel for any accused feels that they need to ask some further question
6 about, that will certainly be allowed on this occasion. But I hope it has
7 become entirely clear to all counsel for the Defence that their observance
8 of the rule is a matter which is for themselves to be aware of and to
9 suffer the consequence of if they do not observe. Therefore, I think we
10 can dispense with what is developing into a practice of the Prosecution
11 trying to be sure about certain things at the end of cross-examination.
12 If the matter hasn't been clearly put, well, then, it hasn't been. And
13 that will be on the head of the counsel who has not put it clearly.
14 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour. I understand that that should
15 be the practice, but because it arose out of a different
16 cross-examination, I thought I might raise it.
17 Your Honour, I have about 15 minutes of re-examination. I will
18 just get the lectern.
19 Re-examination by Mr. Smith:
20 Q. Good afternoon, Colonel. I can safely inform you that this
21 process of the last week will not be repeated, it will only be for about
22 15 minutes.
23 A. Good afternoon.
24 Q. Colonel, there is a few issues I would like to clarify that have
25 arisen after the cross-examination of each of the three Defence counsel.
1 And the first issue I would like to clarify is the issue of komandir and
2 komandant. During the examination you discussed those principles, and I
3 was wondering whether these principles and functions of command and
4 control apply to both komandir and komandant. And with that I'm referring
5 to command and control of subordinate units. Do those general principles,
6 as you have outlined in the JNA manuals on command and control, do they
7 apply at both levels, the battalion level and the company level?
8 A. Yes. At both levels.
9 Q. You also testified in relation to Assault Detachment 1 that you
10 didn't know how Major Tesic commanded in his area. You presumed he formed
11 assault groups using established companies and the detachments
12 resubordinated to him within that area. That was a presumption on your
13 part; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, I assume that that was how he formed the combat disposition,
15 the assault groups.
16 Q. But you were not aware whether, in fact, he did form those assault
17 groups and how many; is that correct?
18 A. I don't know exactly. He could have done so in view of the
19 force's composition. He could have formed three to five assault groups.
20 Q. And in relation to the actual formation of an assault detachment,
21 attaching other or including other units with the battalion, would it be
22 logical -- would it have been logical in your view for assault groups to
23 have been formed with either -- with these other new included groups such
24 as the TO and the Leva Supoderica group?
25 A. It would have been logical for him to form assault groups from his
1 subordinate establishment formations. These would be companies, so that
2 would be those three assault groups and also to form two more from those
3 two detachments. That would make up the three to five. Without including
4 units belonging to the two detachments which were part of the assault
5 groups of the establishment companies. Because it was a question of
6 knowing the people and so on. He could have formed them from his two
7 companies. He could have formed his two companies and those three to five
8 assault groups. It would be logical not to include TO units.
9 Q. And why would it be logical not to include TO units?
10 A. Not only TO units, but also not to use men from one company to
11 another company. It's not a reliable thing to do to mix people from two
12 companies in one assault group. He's a commander. There would be one
13 commander, all the people in those units would know him, so it would be
14 natural for him to assume command. Splitting up and these other
15 subdivisions is something that would not be efficient in the execution of
16 a combat task.
17 Q. But in relation to smaller units, say smaller units than a
18 detachment, which you referred to in your testimony as being approximately
19 700 under the TO structure, would it be logical to attach or include
20 smaller units in assault groups with a company not familiar with the area?
21 A. Yes. In the beginning.
22 Q. In relation to --
23 A. From the aspect of not being familiar with the area.
24 Q. Does the battalion commander, and I'm referring to Major Tesic at
25 this stage, does he have the authority to regulate the number and
1 composition of the assault groups as an assault detachment commander,
2 based on the regulations, to carry out any particular tasks?
3 A. Based on the assignment from the decision of the commander, he
4 would receive his zone axis and objective. And on the basis of the rule
5 that you mention, everything else would be up to the commander. He would
6 be responsible for implementing the assignment efficiently.
7 So for the purposes of carrying out an assignment received from
8 the commander, he would be able to form his forces in accordance with the
9 principles, which I mentioned, and applying all the principles of command
10 and control that we also discussed. A commander would not permit any
11 major mistakes in this procedure.
12 Q. So in relation to the forming of assault groups, are you saying
13 that the assault detachment commander has a degree of independence in how
14 those groups are set up?
15 A. Yes. As far as forming groups in his own detachment is concerned,
16 there he has the initiative and can act independently. I think that
17 that's clear. There are three elements that he receives from the
18 commander; the objective, the zone, and the axis. Also the time by which
19 the task is to be completed. So in line with all of that, he would draft
20 the schedule or deployment.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. The best deployment, as far as I'm concerned as battalion
23 commander would be to have three assault groups from establishment
24 companies and two assault groups comprised of the assault detachments.
25 And in that case you could use the TO forces. I don't know what he did in
1 this specific case, however.
2 Q. And do you know whether Captain Radic was the commander of an
3 assault group? Or not.
4 A. As the komandir of a company, under the assumption that this was
5 how he formed the assault groups, which would be logical, Radic should
6 have been the commander of an assault group.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
8 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Excuse me, please. There has been a
9 mistake in the transcript. On page 42, line 19, the witness said that in
10 any -- that any assault group can include a guide of the TO, and in the
11 transcript it says forces of the TO. And this is a significant
13 So perhaps we could ask the witness again whether he said that
14 besides the company members the group could include a guide from the TO,
15 and not forces from the TO.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Borovic.
17 Mr. Smith, you might, I think, clarify what was the view expressed
18 by the witness.
19 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Witness, when you answered the question about assault groups and
21 who could -- what units could be within an assault group, are you saying
22 that TO -- a TO unit could be placed within an assault group, or a TO
23 guide, a Territorial Defence guide? What do you mean?
24 A. First, I said that I don't know how he set up the combat
25 disposition. But if I were a commander it would be logical for me to make
1 the following disposition: Three assault groups from establishment
2 companies and with guides from the TO detachments linked to certain axes
3 and then to form two more assault groups from the forces of the
4 Territorial Defence. I would not reinforce the assault groups by using
5 the personnel from TO forces. But I say again I don't know what he did.
6 Q. But nevertheless, there is nothing in the brigade battalion rules
7 or regulations relating to the prohibition of using TO members in assault
8 groups; is that correct?
9 A. No. But I was talking about the principle that units of the
10 Territorial Defence or units of the JNA would usually remain as an
11 establishment entity in order to carry out a combat task. So an
12 establishment entity should be issued an assignment in order to implement
13 a decision by the commander. It is never a good thing to transfer
14 personnel from a different establishment formation into another
15 establishment formation. So it's not logical to move men from company to
16 company, or from Territorial Defence to a company, with the exception of
17 guides, who would be from that area.
18 Q. Thank you. You also testified that as Tesic, Commander Tesic, as
19 the assault detachment commander, he had de jure and de facto control over
20 the Territorial Defence in the assault detachment and the Leva Supoderica
21 unit, which were subordinated to the Assault Detachment 1. Is that
23 A. And who was in the sector of operations of Assault Detachment 1,
24 yes, that is correct.
25 Q. Does that principle of command and control, having de jure command
1 and de facto command and control over units in the assault detachment,
2 would that also apply to the commander of an assault group if units were
3 placed within that assault group, that the assault group commander would
4 also have de jure and de facto control over units?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Witness, it was --
7 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
9 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I think that this question is not
10 articulated enough, because we did have the answers what it means in a
11 specific situation to replenish companies, assault groups, with other
12 military force members. If we ask the witness if the TO was in a company,
13 is the commander authorised de jure and de facto, this question then is
14 more than leading because we heard from the witness that by establishment
15 a whole TO unit cannot be placed in a company, and then use that as an
16 assault group. The witness said that on a number occasions. It seems to
17 me that this was perhaps a trick question, so I would like to have a more
18 specific question put so that the witness could provide a clear answer.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Borovic. But I think the witness
20 has demonstrated he is very well capable of not being fooled by such
21 questions, if there was any danger of it. And I think, can be left safely
22 to deal with the issue.
23 Yes, Mr. Smith.
24 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
25 Q. Witness, in this case, there is evidence that Captain Radic stated
1 that: "At one point there are about 500 people of different nationalities
2 and with different party affiliations in the company which I commanded.
3 They were active service men, volunteers, Chetniks and Serbian volunteers.
4 I had to unite them under within command to ensure success. That day 44
5 volunteers left my unit. A unit of 300 soldiers remained, and we
6 reorganised it. We formed an assault platoon, which was tasked with
7 raiding houses" --
8 There is an objection, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
10 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it seems to me that
11 nobody actually mentioned this so far, not in the examination-in-chief or
12 in the cross-examination. So I think that this might be exceeding the
13 bounds of what was discussed.
14 JUDGE PARKER: My recollection is the same as yours, Mr. Borovic,
15 that this hasn't been specifically raised. But the issue is very much
16 raised by the general course of some cross-examination. So I would allow
17 this passage of evidence to be put to the witness.
18 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour. And on that point, it hasn't
19 been provided as oral evidence, but it's an exhibit, and it's Exhibit 353,
20 which was tendered through a witness, that particular interview.
21 Q. Witness, the passage that I just read out to you relates to an
22 alleged admission by Captain Radic that he commanded 500 people at one
23 point in time, and then later 300 people, and those people included the
24 company, volunteers, reservists, et cetera. Assuming that these facts are
25 correct, what would you classify this unit of 500 and then 300 people in
1 military terms, what would you classify that unit as? What type of unit
2 would it be?
3 A. If we're talking about the level, it would be from the battalion
4 to the company level. It started out as a battalion and ended up at the
5 level of the strength of a company. So not going into this admission that
6 you just talked about, it should be clear that as commander of a company
7 Radic had an active strength of peacetime army, as well as the reserves,
8 and this was an establishment company of the 1st Battalion of the Guards
9 Motorised Brigade.
10 TO units, if the major part of them were not resubordinated to
11 Captain Radic by a decision of the commander, then the numbers would not
12 be very large. The volunteers that you mentioned could have, according to
13 the decision of Major Tesic, commander of assault group 1, been completely
14 attached to Captain Radic, or could have been distributed among the three
15 assault groups that existed in the area of operations of Assault
16 Detachment 1. So it's not clear to me, this reduction now, from a
17 battalion going down to 300, why was this reduction in numbers happening.
18 That's something that I don't have an answer to.
19 Q. Thank you. But in relation to terms such as assault groups and
20 assault detachments, this group of 500, then 300, would they be classified
21 as assault detachments or assault groups? Or something else?
22 A. The 500 strength would be classified as a -- an assault
23 detachment. It was not classified like that probably by decision of the
24 commander of the Assault Detachment 1. This deviates from the principles,
25 but this is possible in conditions that prevailed in Vukovar at that time.
1 It's possible that the strength was at the number of an assault
2 detachment, but that it was called an assault group. There was a period
3 when the numbers or the strength changed, but this is something that we
4 talked about.
5 Q. You testified that the Territorial Defence detachments, under the
6 normal rules, would have a manpower of about 700 people; is that correct?
7 A. Yes. That's correct.
8 Q. And on that basis, I think your evidence is that an assault
9 detachment of that size would not be included within an assault group,
10 because of the sheer size; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You also testified that the Petrova Gora TO, Territorial Defence,
13 had about up to 150 to 200 men in it, whilst in Vukovar; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, it's correct. At the beginning though. But the arrival of
15 volunteers, such as volunteers from Seselj's party who had joined, could
16 have been regulated in the sense that some of them would be in
17 Leva Supoderica, and others would be placed in the other assault groups.
18 So I'm not clear about the -- the effect the volunteers had on the overall
19 numerical strength because I don't know exactly how many volunteers joined
20 the assault detachment. Assault Detachment 1 was the strongest one,
21 because it also had another two TO units. The others were at the
22 establishment level of a battalion.
23 Q. Are you able to say what the size of the Leva Supoderica unit was
24 in terms of men?
25 A. I don't know the exact number because I assume that the detachment
1 did not comply exactly with the regulations like the Petrova Gora
2 detachment did in the beginning.
3 Q. And in relation to the -- the admission or the alleged admission
4 as to the size of the unit that Captain Radic commanded, and the fact that
5 the Petrova Gora TO detachment was a lot smaller than 700, would it be
6 fair to say that the normal principles that would apply in the manuals as
7 to the size of assault groups and size of assault detachments didn't
8 necessarily apply accurately to the situation in Vukovar?
9 A. Yes. The specific situation allowed for the possibility to accept
10 something like that regardless of the fact that it was not something that
11 complied with the principles or regulations. The decision of the
12 commander of OG South was not along the lines of forming two assault
13 detachments from that assault detachment, even though that was the
14 numerical strength of the assault detachment.
15 Q. Thank you. And in response to a question by Mr. Borovic, you
16 stated that companies don't have headquarters but they have observation
17 posts in combat operations; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And in relation to the situation where an assault group commander
20 would plan activities, that particular location, what type of -- what type
21 of place would you call that? An observation post or something other?
22 A. It's always an observation post by the company commander. The
23 planning level that he is involved at is such that he assigns tasks in the
24 field. From one to three points.
25 Q. And can you tell the Court what type of assistance a company
1 commander has or an assault detachment -- sorry, an assault group
2 commander has, in combat operations? You said that a headquarters,
3 command headquarters would have staff, but an observation post won't have
4 staff. Does a company commander have some assistance that would otherwise
5 be classified as staff?
6 A. A battalion command has several officers attached to the command.
7 The commander, his deputy, the assistant commander for morale guidance,
8 the assistant commander for logistics. These would be the battalion-level
9 officers. This is a sufficient number of officers for an assault
10 detachment commander to have at his disposal, and in order to send one to
11 each of the assault groups, while giving out assignments and carrying them
12 out. This is from the point of view of the battalion, and this is how
13 it's done. That's part of the principles of command.
14 From the point of view of a brigade or an assault detachment,
15 these teams are sent to the battalion command, their objective being to
16 monitor the situation in the battalion and to focus on those areas where a
17 problem is being dealt with in order to achieve a certain objective. One
18 from the brigade, up to two in the battalion, the assistance, the assault
19 detachment, one of these two could be in one of the assault groups, if
20 that's where the focus lies. And from the battalion another one or two
21 officers. So in practical terms, more officers from the brigade, the
22 battalion, or rather the assault detachment. There shouldn't be more.
23 Therefore, no chance of setting up a headquarters.
24 Q. Thank you. In relation to the assault group and assuming the
25 assault group was the size of 500 to 300 people, what type of assistance
1 would you expect an assault group commander of that size would be present,
2 or would there be any to assist in the functioning of that assault group?
3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Borovic.
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I think I might just prove right
6 this time around.
7 My learned friend has said a number of times we have Radic's
8 admission that so and so. We don't have any admissions whatsoever. But
9 the witness said that 500 men could not amount to anything else but an
10 assault detachment. We can't just conveniently forget about that and ask
11 what sort of support might an assault group comprising between 300 and 500
12 men be enjoying. My learned friend should follow closely what the witness
13 is saying in the interests of both the OTP, I believe, and the Defence.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith.
15 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour. I believe I have been
16 following it quite closely. The witness stated that in Vukovar the sizes
17 of assault detachments and assault groups were not as normally would be
18 regulated for, and I thought it was a reasonable question.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Not suggesting that you should not put it. Put in
20 that form whether or not it is of use to us depends then upon the findings
21 we make about disputed factual matters. But that's an ordinary feature of
23 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Witness, regardless of whether a group is called an assault group
25 or an assault detachment, if a man is placed in charge of a group of 500
1 to 300 people in combat operations, what type of assistance would you
2 expect that commander to have, what type of assistance in terms of people?
3 A. In terms of numerical strength, he should have some. But a
4 numerical strength of that order of magnitude is probably a result of the
5 area to be covered and the objective. If this was the same numerical
6 strength as prevailed in all the other assault groups of this assault
7 detachment, then the focus of any assistance should be on that particular
8 assault group.
9 What can be expected of this sort of assistance. Assistance can
10 be expected from the battalion command. One or two most senior officers,
11 perhaps even the battalion commander himself, or the assault detachment,
12 along that axis. That much and not more. Because there are no resources
13 at the battalion command level left to do anything else.
14 Q. Thank you. I would now like to turn to another topic, and it
15 relates to the strength of the Operational Group South's units in their
16 zone of responsibility, and earlier you were shown by my learned friend
17 Mr. Vasic an exhibit, and the exhibit Number was 370, and it related to
18 the composition of Operational Group South as of the 16th of November. In
19 that quite long list, you saw a number of battalions present in the
20 disposition of Operational Group South. Do you remember seeing that
21 document? It had quite a number of pages. Or the English did.
22 A. Yes. I've seen that.
23 Q. In that document it didn't include the Petrova Gora Territorial
24 Defence unit, or any Territorial Defence unit for that matter, nor did it
25 include the Leva Supoderica unit. Can you explain why those units didn't
1 appear in that disposition sheet and yet you stated earlier that they were
2 in the zone of responsibility of Operational Group South?
3 A. I assume that the overview that was sent to the superior command
4 was in relation to JNA units. The JNA units involved. I can't remember
5 if other commanders contributed their own reports about any TO units to
6 that overview. I should have a look perhaps, but my assumption is, if
7 they're missing from the overview, then probably an overview was requested
8 in relation to JNA units only. And then this is exactly what was
9 submitted to the General Staff.
10 Q. Thank you. I would now like to talk about the Vukovar Territorial
11 Defence. And you mentioned earlier in your testimony in cross-examination
12 that Miroljub Vujovic was appointed the Territorial Defence commander for
13 Vukovar on the 20th or the 21st of November, as you were asked to draft an
14 order to that effect by Colonel Mrksic. Is that correct?
15 A. Yes, correct.
16 Q. And in --
17 A. What I stated is correct. I was tasked with drafting this order.
18 The order was signed, whether on the 20th or the 21st, I really can't
19 remember. When did it take effect, likewise. Probably right away.
20 Q. Thank you. And you also stated that it was unusual that Colonel
21 Mrksic had the ability to appoint a Territorial Defence commander as
22 opposed to a civilian authority. Can you explain why it was unusual
23 for --
24 MR. SMITH: There is an objection, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe my learned
2 friend has either inaccurately remembered or misinterpreted what the
3 witness said. He said he had no legal option open to him to appoint a
4 Territorial Defence staff commander.
5 JUDGE PARKER: I can't say I remember the evidence, Mr. Smith.
6 MR. SMITH: On that particular point, I mean, in terms of the use
7 of the word "ability" I was using that in more of a general sense rather
8 than necessarily a legal ability. That's what the follow-up question was
9 about, as to why he thought Colonel Mrksic didn't have the ability or did
10 have the ability to do that.
11 JUDGE PARKER: You're talking practical ability or legal power.
12 MR. SMITH: Both. Initially practical ability, and then I was
13 going to discuss the matter of legal power, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE PARKER: In times of combat action, all sorts of actions and
15 steps must be taken. And often when the dust settles you then sort out
16 the technicalities.
17 MR. SMITH: That's correct.
18 JUDGE PARKER: If you're talking legal power, make that clear.
19 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Witness, at the time that Colonel Mrksic issued or asked you to
21 draft that order appointing Miroljub Vujovic as the Territorial Defence
22 commander, is it the case that you -- that you did not believe that he had
23 a legal power to do so or not?
24 A. I think he did not have the legal power to do so. I said when
25 Mr. Vasic asked me that I had been greatly surprised at the time, but I
1 had no opportunity to go any further into the essence of the relevant laws
2 and regulations. I had no time to warn him either. That was the order
3 that I received, and I assumed at the time that this was in keeping with
4 the relevant laws and regulations. Although it did occur to me at the
5 time that maybe it wasn't after all.
6 Q. In peacetime who would be the appropriate body that would appoint
7 a Territorial Defence commander?
8 A. We talked about who was in charge of the TO. This depended on the
9 level. The socio-political community, the socio-political organisation,
10 the municipality, the republic, and that was the highest level of command
11 over the TO. It was the TO HQs that normally had a commander, since, at
12 the time for a while there was an HQ and then it was disbanded, and then
13 the government of the SAO Krajina set up an HQ, and then the commander of
14 that HQ would have been responsible for appointing -- or, rather, the
15 government would have been responsible for appointing an HQ commander. In
16 case of the TO, this was Miroljub Vujovic. However, as far as I remember,
17 there was no agreement back then to appoint Vujovic TO headquarters
18 commander, but rather to appoint him commander of Vukovar's TO.
19 Q. The fact that Colonel Mrksic asked to you draft that order, would
20 that indicate that there was no proper functioning civilian authority at
21 that time and he did that as a result of exercising his military authority
22 to do so?
23 A. Yes, that's possible.
24 Q. In response to -- just moving to a different topic now, but in
25 response to a question by my learned friend, Mr. Bulatovic, he asked you
1 whether or not Operational Group South -- he stated that Operational Group
2 South didn't have a single command during these combat operations, and you
3 replied yes. In your examination-in-chief, you discussed on numerous
4 occasions through the documents, through the orders, that Colonel Mrksic
5 was the Operational Group South commander for that -- for that zone of
6 responsibility, and all units, JNA units and Territorial Defence units,
7 were included in his command. Can you explain what you meant by
8 Operational Group South not having a single command? It's a little bit
10 A. I think Mr. Bulatovic was the one who asked this question. He
11 asked was there an order appointing the command of the guards brigade as
12 the command of Operations Group South. My answer was I didn't remember
13 such an order. My answer was I hadn't seen any such order. Therefore,
14 there was nothing in writing appointing Colonel Mrksic commander of
15 OG South, or at least I didn't see anything like that. Unless he received
16 an oral appointment by the 1st Military District who was the superior of
17 the guards brigade and OG South, General Panic. This was not done
18 properly, because there had to be something in writing. If the command of
19 the guards brigade took over command of OG South, all I can say is that
20 both in terms of manpower, in terms of everything else, it was perfectly
21 able to command all other units within the operations area. And I think
22 that was precisely what it did, at least in as far as unity of command was
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Smith, I wonder whether your question there has
25 confused two different ideas and two different threads of evidence. I
1 thought the proposition you quoted from the evidence was related to the
2 fact that there was a forward command post and another, and there wasn't a
3 single command in that context.
4 MR. SMITH: I may have -- I may have misinterpreted that -- that
5 answer in that sense, but just on the basis that I didn't, I just wonder
6 if I could continue with one last question on the topic.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Indeed.
8 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
9 Q. Certainly, Colonel, for the period of time that you were in
10 Vukovar in the combat operations there, did you hear of anyone challenging
11 Colonel Mrksic's command as Operational Group South commander or challenge
12 its authenticity or legitimacy?
13 A. No. I didn't hear anything like that, nor did I myself wonder.
14 Q. Thank you. And just one last topic; it's in relation to Major
15 Sljivancanin. In relation to the evacuation of people from the Vukovar
16 Hospital on the 20th of November, 1991, were you aware what Major
17 Sljivancanin's role was?
18 A. I didn't know exactly. I did not know anything about the
19 communication between him and the commander. I was never present. In
20 that one answer I said it would have been logical for the Chief of Staff
21 to be the person responsible for that evacuation. It would have been
22 logical. However, there was no order to that effect. I said my
23 assumption was that Colonel Mrksic may have ordered this to the Chief of
24 Staff orally. There was an on-site report saying that the Chief of Staff
25 was there, and that there was a certain amount of difficulty that they
2 I had no clear idea of Mr. Sljivancanin's place in this whole
3 thing, but there was that visit by the three security officers and I sort
4 of thought that this had to do with the mission that they had. They were
5 there to check how the evacuation was going, whether it was all right,
6 whether it was proceeding in an organised manner, and that their remit was
7 to inform their superiors about this.
8 Q. Thank you, Colonel. And it is important that we are clear that
9 we're separating what you factually knew to some logical speculation that
10 you might have.
11 In relation to Major Sljivancanin's tasks throughout the Vukovar
12 operation, were you aware of what his particular tasks were?
13 A. No, I wasn't.
14 Q. Colonel --
15 A. I was aware of the security organs tasks in very general terms.
16 Operative and security activities covering the unit in terms of security,
17 in terms of inspections, in a very general sense. But I didn't know at
18 the time what its specific tasks were, nor was it really part of my
20 Q. Thank you. And, Colonel, the last question, the chain of the --
21 the reporting chain of command between Major Sljivancanin and Colonel
22 Mrksic, did that include anyone else, apart from those two people?
23 A. There was direct contact between the two. There was no one in
24 between, in terms of the chain of command. When I said that the chief of
25 security was directly subordinate to the commander, this means there are
1 no go-betweens, no middlemen in that chain of command. How the two of
2 them established communication, how they communicated, is not something
3 that I can talk about.
4 MR. SMITH: Thank you, Your Honour, I have finished the
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Smith.
7 Colonel, there is just one little thing which has come to the eye
8 of the Chamber.
9 Do you have the folder with you still? Tab 10, Exhibit 401. I
10 can only refer to the English version of it, but there are two entries
11 appearing on page 39 of the English translation of the war journal. One
12 for 2355 hours on the 17th of November, and the other just a couple of
13 hours later, 0140 hours on the 18th of November. They're successive
14 entries, so one is the last entry for the 17th of November, and the other
15 is the first entry for the 18th of November, if that helps you find it in
16 B/C/S. But I must say, I couldn't find it as I looked through the B/C/S.
17 One refers to: "The duty team (Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic),"
18 and that's the first entry at 2355 hours. The entry at 0140 hours on
19 the 18th refers to Lieutenant Lesanovic. And the question is whether they
20 are the same person with somebody omitting to put in colonel or putting in
21 a colonel too much, or were these two different people? One is described
22 as Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic; and the other as Lieutenant Lesanovic.
23 A. Your Honours, I have found that. I found the entry. 2355 hours,
24 the 17th of November. We are talking about Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic,
25 who was the chief of the rocket artillery units of the anti-aircraft
2 Could you please point me to the other entry that you have
3 mentioned, since I can't remember which one it was.
4 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... exactly the
5 one following at 0140 hours on the 18th. And it starts -- it's speaking
6 about Marin Vidic telephoning. But at the very end of it, it refers to
7 Lieutenant Lesanovic.
8 A. Your Honour, I have found it. The leader of the duty team,
9 Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic, scheduled the conversation for 0800 hours on
10 the 18th. So we are dealing with the same person in both these cases.
11 And the rank is lieutenant-colonel.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It seems in the English translation the
13 word "colonel" was left out of that second entry. It's no greater mystery
14 than that. And he was a commander of the -- you mentioned where he came
15 from. A battery, was he? He was from artillery? Lieutenant-Colonel
17 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Lesanovic was attached to the staff of the
18 guards brigade command. He was the chief of rocket artillery units of the
19 anti-aircraft defence.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Well, thank you for that. It seemed a
21 mystery if they were two different people, but they are the same person,
22 and he was then the leader of the duty team over that night. Yes. Thank
23 you very much.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE PARKER: Colonel, you will be pleased to know that's the end
1 of your evidence. The Chamber would like to thank you for your attendance
2 and thank you very much for the assistance that you have given. I know
3 it's been a long time in the witness box, but we are grateful for the
4 attention you paid to your evidence. You may now, of course, be free to
5 go back to your retirement occupations, whatever they are. Thank you very
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Looking at the clock, Mr. Smith/Mr. Moore, I think
10 it may be a convenient time now to have the break. And we will no doubt
11 resume with a new witness after the break.
12 We will resume at a quarter to 4.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 3.26 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 3.50 p.m.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I understand a matter is to be raised in the
16 absence of the next witness. Is it Mr. Lukic?
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour. Good
18 afternoon. I am representing all three Defence teams, and we asked the
19 witness not to be here, because we would like to inform you about one
20 thing that is of concern and interest to us.
21 While reading the transcript from the testimony of this witness
22 before the Belgrade court, he testified that he kept the work book which,
23 as an officer of the JNA he had with him at the time during the combat
24 operations in Vukovar. Previously we received parts of the notebook, of
25 which certain lists are a part of, but when we found out from the
1 Prosecution that he had kept the entire work book with him, in January, at
2 a meeting with the OTP, we asked our learned friends from the Prosecution
3 to allow us to look at the whole work book. We also informed the OTP
4 about that about 10 days ago when we found out this witness was coming to
5 testify, and we were informed by Mr. Moore that he had provided us with
6 relevant parts of the work book, that he had looked at the entire work
7 book and believes that we were given the relevant parts. We believe that
8 as the Defence we do have the right to have the whole book for our
9 purposes, and we believed that that was also what we had in mind when we
10 informed the Prosecution about that in January, before we learned that the
11 witness was coming to testify.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
13 MR. MOORE: Yes, I don't see any problem. We have given copies to
14 my learned friend of all material that we believe is relevant. I think
15 it's 17 pages from his notebook. It's 65 ter exhibit number 125. We
16 didn't have the original itself; we had only the photocopy. I have spoken
17 to the witness in relation to the document. It is his own private
18 document. I asked him whether there was any other material over and above
19 that which we have disclosed. Then I asked him whether it was relevant to
20 the matters. And as far as I can see from the dates, there are certain
21 entries, I think, in relation to the 21st, but not in relation to his
22 evidence in relation to this matter. It involves other inquiries. So we
23 have fulfilled our obligations, as we believe them to be, and it is a
24 matter for the individual concerned, namely the witness, whether he is
25 willing to disclose matters on other topics that are confidential and to
1 which he is privy.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, the Prosecution has had the full
4 MR. MOORE: No, we have not had the full document, but we have had
5 it for six days, and there is other material in it, but it does not relate
6 to the evidence that this witness is giving. He was a military policeman,
7 and it relates to other inquiries, as far as I am concerned. Because
8 clearly if a document is here and it's relevant, the Defence should see
9 it. I have no problems with that. But equally, I must balance his right
10 to privacy for other material.
11 JUDGE PARKER: I don't think it's a matter for the Prosecution to
12 determine that, Mr. Moore.
13 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It's a matter for the Chamber.
15 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
16 JUDGE PARKER: One standing at a time, Mr. Lukic. If would you
17 sit, please. Yes.
18 The issue will be for the Chamber to be satisfied whether there is
19 material elsewhere in the notebook that is relevant to the witness and the
20 evidence he gives in this case. That is something that it may be
21 necessary for the Chamber to take a little time over. Because undoubtedly
22 it will be in handwriting and undoubtedly not in English.
23 MR. MOORE: That is correct. It is not a large notebook. There
24 is not a large amount of material. It is dated, moving away from the
25 time-span of which this witness gives evidence, and then there is other
1 inquiries in relation it other matters.
2 JUDGE PARKER: That may make it quite a bit easier for the
4 MR. MOORE: Yes.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. Thank you, Mr. Moore.
6 Mr. Lukic, was there something more you wanted to say?
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have to note just one thing. These
8 are not private notes, and it's not the witness's private document. This
9 is a notebook that each JNA officer has with him, carries with him, the
10 pages are marked, and at the end of a task or service the officer is
11 obliged to present that document to the unit archives. He said at the
12 Belgrade hearing that he knew that but he did not do that. So we cannot
13 treat that as a personal document. It's an official document, and we
14 could not have requested it in any other way other than through the
15 Prosecution. And we did that back in January.
16 MR. MOORE: I don't know why my learned friend is making a great
17 fuss about it. I have told the witness to bring it to Court, it is
18 available for the Defence. If they asked to see the document, it is
19 available. There is no difficulty at all. So I do not know why my
20 learned friend is objecting in the way he is. The document is available.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Are you saying that the witness has no objection to
22 Defence counsel viewing the document?
23 MR. MOORE: The witness was slightly ambivalent in relation to the
24 document itself. I do not find him to be a difficult man in any way at
25 all. He takes the view that it if the Defence wants to see the document
1 and they ask questions in relation to it, I do not detect that he will try
2 and retain the document.
3 JUDGE PARKER: I would suggest not only was he perhaps a little
4 ambivalent, but your submissions to the Chamber earlier were equally.
5 Because I understood from them that the witness regarded it as something
6 that should not be disclosed to the Defence.
7 MR. MOORE: Only to the extent that he says it does not relate at
8 all to the matter at Vukovar and the incident at Ovcara.
9 JUDGE PARKER: It is for that reason that it seemed to me that
10 what you were posing was a problem that had to be resolved by the Chamber
11 viewing the document and deciding whether parts of it only should be
12 disclosed, or the whole. But from what you say, that is unnecessary
13 because the witness will allow the document to be made available overnight
14 to the Defence counsel.
15 MR. MOORE: And the other matter that I was going deal with, if it
16 is of any interest to my learned friends, the pages are numbered, and
17 there are certain numbers that I was going to deal on the ELMO with the
18 pages, as it were, following the relevant date, and my learned friend can
19 see it. So there is no difficulty as far as the Prosecution is
21 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
22 By the sound of it, the problem may be evaporating as we talk
23 about it, Mr. Lukic. But we will see. The witness will be called, will
24 give his evidence in chief. If it is pertinent, the document, it seems,
25 can be viewed by counsel overnight. But as it's dated and as it seems to
1 relate to a variety of different inquiries, it may be that it will not
2 take a great deal of time for counsel to examine it. We will see.
3 Mr. Moore.
4 MR. MOORE: May I call the witness, please.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir. Would you please read aloud
7 the affirmation on the card that's given to you now.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
11 Yes, Mr. Moore.
12 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
13 WITNESS: DRAGAN VEZMAROVIC
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Examination by Mr. Moore:
16 Q. What is your full name, please?
17 A. My name is Dragan Vezmarovic.
18 Q. And what is your date of birth?
19 A. 2nd of December, 1952.
20 Q. And what is your ethnicity, please?
21 A. I'm a Serb.
22 Q. I was going to lead the witness on the first two pages and then
23 move on to the third paragraph of the third page. I presume, as it only
24 relates to background, there will be no objection to that course.
25 Is it right that you were a reserve captain in the 80th Motorised
1 Brigade of the JNA?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And you described the function that you had as a commander of the
4 military police company of that brigade?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can we deal, please, with the various courses that you attended to
7 prepare you for being involved with the military police? Now, what
8 courses did you attend, please? Just in very general terms.
9 A. The first part of training was conducted in Bileca in 1977 and
10 1978, that is the school of non-commissioned officers. After that I spent
11 one month in Pancevo, and my last period in the army was in Podgorica.
12 After that I was trained as commander of a military police platoon. In
13 the following period, I went to Pancevo for additional training as a
14 commander of a military police company.
15 Q. And what sort of work do the military police actually do within a
16 brigade, please?
17 A. The military police basically secure the commander at location and
18 during movement, security for its own unit, and then for all other tasks
19 and assignments received from the commander, combat or fighting terrorist
20 groups, guarding prisoners of war, guarding problematic conscripts in
21 local units, and all the other assignments as ordered by the commander.
22 Q. If we deal with 1991, I think it's right to say that you were
23 called up on two occasions, between the 17th and 24th of September, 1991,
24 and between the 7th and 17th of October, 1991. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. In furtherance of that, I think it's equally correct to say you
2 were called to various locations in Serbia, where certain exercises were
3 carried out?
4 A. Yes. In that period, there were mobilisations on the territory of
5 the Republic of Serbia, and we were exercising in order to be prepared for
6 any eventual incidents, and we were receiving a kind of refresher training
7 covering things that we had already been trained in before.
8 Q. May we deal, please, with your commander of -- your commander of
9 the 80th Motorised Brigade at that time was Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic;
10 is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You described it as having very little direct contact, direct
13 contact or command link with him. Is that also right?
14 A. Yes, that is correct.
15 Q. And in actual fact, your direct command link was to
16 Lieutenant-Colonel Milan Jeftic, who was the security officer at that
17 brigade; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic. Excuse me a minute.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I agree that the witness can be led
22 through the biographical information, but I would like the Prosecutor not
23 to lead on questions pertaining to the direct chain of command.
24 MR. MOORE:
25 Q. Can I ask you the question then, please, who were you directly --
1 who did you directly communicate to at brigade level?
2 A. The security organ in Kragujevac, that was Lieutenant-Colonel
3 Jeftic, and later when we left Kragujevac, if he wasn't there, then it was
4 Dragi Vukosavljevic, Captain First Class, in the security organ. So the
5 security organ was the organ that I communicated with if there was no more
6 direct communication with the commander.
7 Q. And why did you communicate with the security organ, can you
8 explain to us why, please?
9 A. The security organ, according to the chain of command, is
10 responsible with work -- for work with the police company. So that
11 lieutenant-colonel was in charge of the military police company, when we
12 were in Kragujevac, and also for its engagement. When Lieutenant-Colonel
13 Jeftic wasn't there, then Captain First Class Dragi Vukosavljevic was in
14 charge. Simply speaking, according to the chain of command, the security
15 organ, was my direct or my immediate superior.
16 Q. Thank you, that's very clear. Can I deal, please, with the
17 theoretical and the actual. In theory, what was the numbering of
18 personnel within a reserve military police company?
19 A. Theoretically during mobilisation we were supposed to call up
20 between 80 and 90 conscripts according to the establishment. But in
21 practice, depending on the time the exercises were held, we never had a
22 fully staffed -- 100 per cent fully staffed unit.
23 Q. If one was trying to estimate from recollection the number that
24 you had within your military police company, how many men did you actually
1 A. If I understood the question properly, in 1991, when we set off
2 for Vukovar, if that's what the question refers to, there were about 70
3 soldiers engaged, 70 of them responded -- had responded to the call-up.
4 Q. And I think it's right to say that you described it in your
5 statement including officers, policemen, drivers, paramedic and other
6 support personnel; is that right?
7 A. Yes. A military police company does not only include recruits
8 trained as military police officers, it also comprises several platoons of
9 transport personnel, that is the part that goes with the command,
10 including drivers who are in charge of vehicles. So that was the number
11 of people who had responded to the call-up of various profiles. They were
12 recruits that had belonged to the atomic, chemical and biological
13 protection, the medical services and so on.
14 Q. And I think it's also right to say that you have described in your
15 witness statement that you had a deputy, that you had four officers, two
16 of whom were platoon commanders, and one was a traffic police commander,
17 and one was in charge of logistical supplies. Is that right?
18 A. Yes, that is correct.
19 Q. Again, in your witness statement you give a list of the sort of
20 tasks that you performed as military police. I just want to deal with one
21 in particular. You refer to securing military prisons. Now, can you
22 explain what you mean by that, please, in what I will call a combat
24 A. A military police company is obliged also to have a prison where
25 it can put a certain number of prisoners. If we're talking about a larger
1 group that cannot be accommodated in that facility, then it is obliged to
2 find a space where this larger group can be secured and guarded. We had a
3 small prison in Negoslavci, it was an improvised facility, but it did have
4 all the required conditions to be a prison. Military police also secures
5 and guards that kind of prison facility.
6 Q. In your witness statement you say the following: "In combat
7 situations the military police were also tasked to deal with prisoners of
9 Now, what was the general tasking in relation to dealing with
10 prisoner of war?
11 A. One of the assignments of military police is to guard prisoners of
12 war while they are at a location and also during movements. At a certain
13 period of time in Vukovar, it was our task to guard the prisoners at
14 certain locations. So my unit was in charge of guarding prisoners at a
15 camp, if I can call it that.
16 Q. And to what extent are the security organs involved in that
17 particular function?
18 A. If it is the security organs you have in mind, it works like this:
19 If I don't have a direct order from my commander, then it's the security
20 organ that tells me what to do or how I should act.
21 Q. I will come back to this topic in due course. I think it's right
22 to say on the 7th of November you were called up again. The 8th of
23 November you left your location I think at 9.00 in the morning, and you
24 were ordered to go to the village of Negoslavci. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And I think it's right to say that you believe you arrived at
2 1400 hours, and that you reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic, who was
3 already at that location. Is that right?
4 A. Yes. That's also right.
5 Q. Why did you report to Vojnovic?
6 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic was the commander of the unit. He was
7 the person I was supposed to report to, to tell him that we had arrived.
8 Q. And can you, in very brief order, please, tell us what happened
9 when you arrived at Negoslavci? Can you give us a picture of what
11 A. The moment I reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic he gave me
12 the task of putting a unit up in an unfinished house near the command
13 location. The next thing was to have the unit accommodated in that
14 building to park the vehicles to set up a security regime for the unit,
15 and other issues to do with the commander's security in that area, to
16 replace those people who had been with them for some time with new
17 military policemen.
18 I'm not sure if this is relevant, but the next thing that happened
19 was we had to secure some accommodation and some food. We needed
20 supplies, we needed to secure everything that was necessary for the unit
21 to go on functioning properly.
22 Q. I think it's right to say that you stayed at Negoslavci or in
23 Negoslavci for several days and carried out what you would perhaps
24 consider to be normal duties; is that right?
25 A. That's right.
1 Q. Now, can I deal, please, with what I will call areas of
2 responsibility. The time came, I think, that you were attached to a
3 particular group involving an area of responsibility. Can you assist us
4 with to whom that refers?
5 A. I'm afraid I don't understand your question.
6 Q. We know, for example, that there was OG South and there was
7 OG North. To whom were you attached?
8 A. I was attached to the 80th Motorised Brigade, and we were part of
9 OG South.
10 Q. Can I deal then, please, with the actual command post in
11 Negoslavci? Did you visit the command post at Negoslavci on a regular
12 basis or not?
13 A. The command post was two houses further down the street from our
14 own location. I would go there several times a day, for a variety of
15 reasons, normally. Sometimes they called me about something or I was just
16 passing by. So I would just drop in on them to check if everything was
17 okay with the soldiers securing the command post. To check if there
18 needed to be a better rotation system in terms of who was on duty. To see
19 if the commander was planning on leaving the command post, in which case I
20 had to secure a sufficient number of military policemen who would escort
21 him while he was moving around. That sort of thing.
22 Q. Are you able to assist the Court that whilst you were at the
23 command post did you see any of these defendants there?
24 A. Well, believe me, there were a lot of officers there for all sorts
25 of reasons, I assume. I can't be very specific as to whom exactly I saw
1 there, but people were saying that Captain Sljivancanin would come every
2 now and then. People were saying that he was there, around somewhere.
3 Q. I want to deal with the 18th of November, if I may, please.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, before you move on, could we be sure of
5 the unit of which this command post was the command post?
6 MR. MOORE:
7 Q. We referred to command post at Negoslavci. To which unit was it a
8 command post of?
9 A. It was the command post of the 80th Motorised Brigade. My unit.
10 That is the command post that I have been talking about. I have been
11 talking about the 80th Motorised Brigade and our command post.
12 Q. Did you ever go to the command post of OG South?
13 A. I think that I went on the 19th of November, the morning of
14 the 19th. If that was what the command post of OG South really was.
15 Q. I want to just slow down now, if I may. And I want to deal with
16 the 18th of November. I think it's correct to say that Colonel Vojnovic
17 called you and informed you that you were going to have to deal with
18 prisoners of war from Vukovar and secure them. I want to deal with that
19 day and that particular indication from Vojnovic. Do you follow?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. As a result of that information, what did you then do?
22 A. On the 18th Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic called me and told me that
23 it was expected that we would have to secure a large group of POWs from
24 Mitnica, people who had surrendered. He said we should look into the
25 possibilities of where to put them up and that we would be securing them
1 until they were evacuated eventually. That morning the two of us,
2 alongside with a group of other officers and soldiers, set out to inspect
3 the area to see if we could find any appropriate buildings that we could
4 use for this purpose, to secure those POWs.
5 Q. When you say "appropriate buildings," what do you mean by
6 appropriate buildings in that context?
7 A. In order to set up a security regime for a large group of people,
8 we had to find an appropriate building or an appropriate facility. Given
9 the weather conditions at the time - it was late November - there was a
10 lot of rain and snow. The temperatures were extremely low already. Also
11 in terms of the POWs trying to escape, and it was also about the number of
12 men that we needed in order to carry out an assignment like that.
13 Q. Now, did your travels take you to Ovcara, amongst other locations?
14 A. Yes. Ovcara is a facility that we passed very often. We didn't
15 know what its condition was precisely. I'm talking about the buildings
16 there. So we went to Ovcara to check the condition of those buildings,
17 whether the roofs were in place, whether you could actually get into the
18 buildings, whether the prisoners could be put up there in an appropriate
19 manner, and so on and so forth.
20 Q. And did you come to a conclusion about a suitable location for
21 those prisoners of war?
22 A. Yes. The hangar struck us as quite solid, at least half of the
23 building was in satisfactory condition. We decided to use that area to
24 get the commander to give us an order to clear a portion of the hangar.
25 There was a lot of hay all over, and we had to get the area ready for the
1 POWs so that they could get on with their lives there. We didn't know how
2 long they would be staying. An hour perhaps, perhaps even longer.
3 Q. Had you any indication at that time how many prisoners of war
4 would be coming under your control?
5 A. Not in terms of really knowing how many people we were to expect.
6 All we knew was there would be a large group of people arriving. The
7 hangar struck us as satisfactory, even for a group potentially larger than
8 the one you specified.
9 Q. How many doors or operational doors were working at Ovcara at that
10 time; can you remember?
11 A. If it is the hangar that we selected that you have in mind, there
12 were doors in the other section of the hangar that couldn't be used. The
13 first door we came across we immediately tried to mend so that they could
14 be open and should without difficulty. We needed to be able to shut the
15 door both because of the possibility of escape and also on account of the
16 weather conditions. It was bitterly cold.
17 Q. Again, you've said that you chose this location. Did
18 Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic agree with the choice of this location?
19 A. Yes. Completely. He ordered me to clear the room and to prepare
20 it for holding POWs.
21 Q. After the hangar had been chosen, did you then return to
23 A. Yes, we all returned to Negoslavci. I took along a group of
24 soldiers and some equipment, and we were off to clear the hangar. We took
25 all the hay from that section of the hangar across to the opposite end of
1 the building. We found quite a considerable amount of ammunition there
2 while clearing. We concluded that some soldiers had been sleeping there.
3 We cleared the area as best we could, and at least half the overall area
4 of the hangar was put into a satisfactory condition to hold POWs there.
5 Q. When you were at Negoslavci, were you informed when the group of
6 prisoners would be coming to Ovcara?
7 A. No. Once I had finished clearing the room, I went back to
8 Negoslavci. In a way, we prepared the building for their potential
9 arrival. We didn't really know for certain at the time whether they would
10 be arriving or not, but everything was ready for them.
11 The group's arrival was eventually announced at 1600 hours, or
12 thereabouts. It was about half an hour previously that I had left
13 Negoslavci again to go back to Ovcara.
14 Q. So can we deal now, please, with your evidence about when you
15 returned to Ovcara and the arrival of the prisoners of war? So can we
16 deal with that area, please? So did you see the -- the prisoners arrive?
17 A. Yes. I had already been at Ovcara for about 20 minutes by the
18 time the group arrived. They arrived on buses and were escorted by
19 military vehicles, Puch, P-u-c-h, and Pinzgauer. They stopped outside the
20 hangar, and the military vehicles disgorged a number of military officers.
21 I don't remember exactly who they were.
22 Q. I'd like to deal with the convoy itself. You've told us about
23 Puch vehicles and Pinzgauers. How many buses arrived with prisoners of
24 war inside? Can you remember, can you give us a clue, please?
25 A. It was a drawn-out convoy of vehicles, about three or four buses
1 possibly, the way I remember. The rest were military vehicles.
2 Q. You have told us three or four buses. How many military vehicles
3 do you think there was?
4 A. There were military vehicles escorting the buses. They didn't
5 park on the road itself, they parked by the roadside, and the only
6 vehicles left on the actual road were the buses. That's at least as far
7 as I'm able to remember the details.
8 Q. And if you have a convoy of prisoners of war, is it normal or
9 abnormal to have military vehicles accompanying the convoy?
10 A. Yes. Military vehicles are supposed to secure that sort of
11 convoy. Rather, the military police with their military vehicles.
12 Q. Why is that? Can you explain to us?
13 A. Well, this is the task of the military police. They have to
14 secure the person of the commander, both when mobile and when stationary,
15 but they also have the duty to protect prisoners, and these were prisoners
16 being moved from one location to another. And it was for that reason that
17 they were being escorted by military policemen.
18 Q. You are a military policeman. To what extent is the security
19 situation of prisoners of war paramount when you are considering
20 allocating military police vehicles and/or military policemen?
21 A. Well, I'm talking about my own unit. We had Pinzgauers.
22 Pinzgauers are vehicles that are relatively easy to manoeuvre. And they
23 can normally carry six or seven soldiers. These are useful for escorting
24 a convoy. There were Pinzgauers arriving, but Puch vehicles too, because
25 other units had those. Different units had different vehicles, and these
1 vehicles were used to secure the convoy. There may have been Campagnolas
2 as well, because those too were used.
3 Q. Let us deal with numbers. We know from your record that there 175
4 officers and men brought to Ovcara, and there is no secret, from Mitnica.
5 Now, we've got 175 prisoners of war. Can you remember in general terms
6 how many military police individuals were securing those 175 prisoners of
7 war? Can you give us an idea of the figures involved?
8 A. No. The reason is when the vehicles arrived and pulled over, I
9 was called by my commander, Vojnovic. I talked to him and to Captain
10 Karanfilov. We were some way from the scene. Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic
11 told me those were prisoners from Mitnica; Captain Karanfilov
12 was in charge of their transport. He said they would be spending the
13 night right there and that I would be receiving any further orders from
14 Captain Karanfilov. The number of people who arrived or the military
15 policemen escorting them, these were not something that I was able to
16 observe at the time or have a clear idea of.
17 Q. Let's deal, if we may, with your meeting with Captain Karanfilov.
18 How do you know that his name was Karanfilov?
19 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic called me to one side and introduced
20 me to Captain Karanfilov. He told me was his formal position was, but I
21 did not memorise that. I was told about what the entire procedure would
22 be, that those people had surrendered at Mitnica, that they had been
23 disarmed, that we needed to organise a security system under the Geneva
24 Conventions, that there was to be no mistreatment of these people, that no
25 force should be used against them, no violence, that those people should
1 not be insulted and so on and so forth.
2 I was also told there were a certain number of officers there,
3 military officers, who should be treated in keeping with the provisions of
4 the Geneva Conventions. I was told that Karanfilov would, from now on, be
5 in command of the entire operation for as long as security continued to be
7 Q. I would like to clarify, if I may, please, your answer at 79, 14,
8 to assist the Court. Your answer is as follows: "Lieutenant-Colonel
9 Vojnovic called me to one side and introduced me to Captain Karanfilov.
10 He told me what his formal position was, but I did not memorise that."
11 Now, who is the "he," is it Vojnovic or is it Karanfilov?
12 A. I knew Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic, and he was my superior. He
13 introduced me to Captain Karanfilov and the other way around too. He
14 introduced me to Captain Karanfilov. This was an introduction between two
15 military officers. And then Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic told me that I
16 would be taking any further orders and tasks from Captain Karanfilov. I
17 hope this is sufficient explanation for you.
18 Q. When Vojnovic told you that, was that in the presence of
20 A. Yes. When the convoy arrived we were called to one side. When I
21 say "we," I mean Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic, Captain Karanfilov and I.
22 There may have been another officer there, but I can't remember.
23 Essentially the conversation was between Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic,
24 Captain Karanfilov and myself. Captain Karanfilov was introduced to me, I
25 was introduced to him. Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic then said that I would
1 be taking any further orders and assignments from Captain Karanfilov.
2 Q. You've told us that you were told by Vojnovic that Karanfilov
3 would from now on be in command of the entire operation for as long as the
4 security continued to be provided. Did Karanfilov agree to that
5 particular statement?
6 A. Yes. The introductions over, Karanfilov said to me that he had
7 185 soldiers there who -- 175 soldiers there, most of them Croats, that
8 there were six officers among them, and that one of the officers was
9 carrying a small Stanley knife, that everybody else had been disarmed, but
10 it had been agreed that this officer would keep this small pocket knife.
11 And he said I shouldn't worry about this. He said I shouldn't check the
12 prisoners for weapons again. All I was to do was put them up in the
13 hangar and get on with the security regime. So that was the exchange
14 between the three of us. And we were standing some distance from the
15 actual scene.
16 Q. And how long did this conversation occur, in general terms? How
17 long did it last?
18 A. Believe me, I really can't remember. Couldn't have been under 10
19 minutes. Introductions were made, an order was given, another task were
20 assigned, was given, so it can't possibly have been under 10 minutes.
21 Q. And when you were speaking to Vojnovic and Karanfilov, was it
22 daylight or night-time?
23 A. They arrived at about 1600 hours. There was still natural light,
24 so to speak.
25 Q. And did you have a clear view of Karanfilov when you were speaking
1 to him?
2 A. Of course. We were a metre or two apart.
3 Q. And finally, before I go on to another topic, to which unit did
4 Karanfilov belong?
5 A. I didn't remember that point what unit he belonged to, even though
6 I was told exactly which unit he was from. The only thing that I remember
7 is that he was a security guy, as we say, in the army. So he belonged to
8 the security organ. In our jargon, we would just say that he was a
9 security man.
10 MR. MOORE: Would Your Honour forgive me one moment, please?
11 [Prosecution counsel confer]
12 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I would like to refer now to a document,
13 but before I do so, I just want to lay the groundwork for the compilation
14 of the document itself.
15 Q. Witness, I think it's right to say that you have what I will call
16 a mid-size red military notebook; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And do you have it with you in court?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Let us just deal with the military notebook itself. We can deal
21 with the specifics in a moment. But in general terms, was that a notebook
22 that you compiled throughout your period at Vukovar and indeed other
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I would like to deal, please, with page 48 of that notebook. And
1 it is 65 ter Exhibit 125. And the number should be 7205 going right
2 through to 7214, but the actual document or page that I wish to refer to
3 should be numbered page 48, and that is the natural numbering on the book
5 Well, it's certainly showing on my screen, but it's almost
6 illegible. Is it possible to be turned around so it can be read? Yes.
7 Can we just look, please? I think it's right to say that it is
8 page 48, top left-hand corner; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I have some sympathy, you having to get your glasses out to look
11 at it. Would you have your original document there? Could you produce
12 it, please?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Is it in your handbag?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. And to aid your reading, can you go to the top
17 left-hand corner of the page? It's page 48.
18 A. I see it.
19 Q. And can you just read out, please, what that actually says?
20 A. It says "OS" and then "Sremski front," "srem front" in quotations,
21 "Sid," and then beneath that it says "Captain Karanfilov."
22 Q. And why did you write that down, please?
23 A. When Captain Karanfilov was introduced to me and when I was
24 introduced to him, I was told, or Captain Karanfilov told me that if I
25 needed anything during the night, because he was not going to be at Ovcara
1 the whole time, if I needed anything, I could find him at the elementary
2 school Sremski front, in Sid, which I wrote down just as a reminder to me
3 where I could find him.
4 Q. And who gave you this name?
5 A. The elementary school Sremski front in Sid was something that
6 Captain Karanfilov told me as the place where I would be able to find him
7 if I needed anything.
8 Q. Just when we're on the topic, if we look at the page we can see
9 numbers on the right-hand page, it's page 49, top right-hand corner, we
10 can see numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and -- now, can we just deal with that
11 page, please? To what does that relate?
12 A. When the introductions were finished, and when we finished our
13 conversation, Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic, Captain Karanfilov and myself,
14 we went to the first bus. Six persons were taken out from the first bus,
15 and Captain Karanfilov, myself and these six people talked. And Captain
16 Karanfilov introduced me to them, and introduced them to me, one by one.
17 Again, in front of them he told me that I had to act in accordance with
18 the Geneva Conventions, that these were senior officers who had been at
19 Mitnica, and that one of them had a small pocket knife that they could
20 keep, and one of them confirmed that. I don't know which one that was.
21 Q. Can you --
22 A. And --
23 Q. Can we deal, please, with the actual names, the six names that
24 you've written down? Who is the first one, please?
25 A. Then they introduced themselves to me and I noted their names
1 down. First I wrote the last name, the name of the father, and then the
2 first name, and then below that I wrote the date of -- or the year of
3 birth. These six persons whose names I wrote down, next to their name it
4 wasn't their rank but the tasks that they had. So with the name Karaula I
5 put commander; with Komsic, I put commander of a company; Mandic,
6 commander of a company; Nujic, commander of a company; Osust, commander of
7 the escort platoon; and then on the next page where I wrote down the name
8 of Brajcic, I did not write down his function. These were the first six
9 people that I met and whose names I wrote down. Six officers.
10 Q. If we just deal with the generalities for a moment. Did
11 Karanfilov indicate if he would return to Ovcara to deal with this group
12 of prisoners of war?
13 A. When all the soldiers came out, now we're talking about a much
14 later period, when they were put up at the hangar, Captain Karanfilov
15 told me that he was going to go and deal with some other assignments, and
16 then if he managed to, we would see each other in the course of the night;
17 if not, then probably the next day at around 8.00 in the morning when some
18 international organisations were expected to arrive, such as the
19 Red Cross. And after that the further transport of these prisoners of war
20 had to be organised to get them to Sremska Mitrovica.
21 Q. You've told us about Karanfilov, you told us about Vojnovic,
22 obviously yourself. Were there any other officers present when these
23 prisoners of war were brought to Ovcara?
24 A. There were many officers there, but as I said, I wasn't really
25 paying much attention to the number of officers, to their ranks. They
1 were senior officers, lower ranking officers, but I didn't pay attention
2 to that, because none of them interfered in this whole thing. The
3 conversation proceeded only between Vojnovic, Karanfilov and myself, and
4 then later these six officers, the Croatian prisoners joined the
5 conversation. So throughout that time I was just talking and receiving
6 orders from Captain Karanfilov.
7 Q. Tell me, how long it take to offload the prisoners of war into the
8 hangar, in very general terms, please?
9 A. From half an hour to 45 minutes. When the first bus was empty, it
10 moved along, and then the next bus came, and so on and so forth.
11 Q. We are coming to the end of the day. I would like to just finish
12 this small area or topic. When all the prisoners were placed inside the
13 hangar, how many persons, how many soldiers were used to actually guard
14 them or control them? Can you give us a figure?
15 A. If we count just the military policemen, there were about 20 of
16 them. There was also a certain number of officers there who were obliged
17 to help in the security with other soldiers, not military policemen, but
18 other soldiers. Altogether approximately we had about 60 conscripts who,
19 at that time, were working on this security. Including the officers who
20 were present and who were entrusted with assisting in the whole operation.
21 Q. If we are talking about controlling these prisoners of war through
22 the evening, night, into the next morning, did that number of 60 remain
23 generally constant?
24 A. Yes. That was the number, more or less. The thing is that we
25 would also go to Negoslavci and come back for the simple reason that we
1 had to provide food and water for the group. Whatever we were able to get
2 we brought back and distributed to them. We would go back and return, but
3 more or less the group was compact. At any given time, one group of
4 people was on guard duty and another group was resting. So at any given
5 moment they were always 20 people on active duty. The others were
7 Q. But the ones who were resting, were they in a position to assist,
8 if trouble occurred?
9 A. Yes. The general idea was for them to be completely separate in a
10 different room, but it turned out that because of the cold it was not so
11 easy to provide another room that could more or less be warm enough. So
12 then I decided that we should all be in that one room. All of those who
13 were waiting were in that area where there was still some straw left.
14 There was a number of soldiers who were in front of the building, and they
15 were the ones that had to be replaced more often.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, just a short
18 intervention for the transcript. Page 86, line 24, the witness said that
19 there were always between 15 or 20 people on active guard duty while in
20 the transcript it says 20.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 Mr. Moore, is that a convenient time?
23 MR. MOORE: Yes, it is. Thank you very much.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Now, the notebook, I would ask the court officer to
25 take possession of that overnight, if you would. The court registry
1 officer. Thank you. And if counsel wish to view it, they may make
2 arrangements with the court officer, because it will remain in his
3 possession, and it will be able to be carried on, used again tomorrow
4 morning by the witness.
5 Now, we resume tomorrow morning at 9.30.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.02 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 9th day of May,
8 2006, at 9.30 a.m.