1 Thursday, 11 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.36 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. If I could remind you, the
7 affirmation you made at the beginning of your evidence still applies.
8 Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
10 WITNESS: DRAGAN VEZMAROVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Vezmarovic. I was going
14 through yesterday's transcript, and I realised that the interpreters had
15 to warn us a number of times. I do feel to some degree responsible,
16 because perhaps I wasn't focusing enough on that aspect. So I would like
17 to ask you to moderate your speed when testifying, please, sir.
18 On the first day of your testimony you described to the OTP -
19 we're talking about the 20th now, let there be no mistake about that -
20 noticing men among the prisoners who wore bandages, and you said there
21 were about 70 per cent of those that were, in fact, wearing bandages.
22 When the OTP asked you whether any medical assistance was provided to
23 those people, you said there wasn't. My question: Did either you or your
24 soldiers check during your time in the hangar if those injuries were faked
25 or real? Did any of those soldiers actually address you or your soldiers,
1 seeking some form of medical assistance at the time?
2 A. Between the time I first got there and the time I withdrew, nobody
3 asked anything. But that was something that happened at another time,
4 perhaps, but at that point in time I don't think anybody sought medical
5 assistance, nor did we check their injuries to see what their injuries
6 were like. I simply had them moved to one side, and tried to guard them
7 properly. Everything else that I was going to do at a later stage was
8 eventually not done.
9 Q. You further described that you gave approval for local, if I may
10 call them that, TO men, to enter in groups. You said there was bad
11 language being used. So I inferred that you were, in fact, able to hear
12 the comments they were making. While those locals were touring the inside
13 of the hangar, did you hear any of them make any remarks to that effect,
14 that the injuries were fake, that the bandages were just being used to
15 conceal the fact that there were no injuries? Did you hear anything like
16 that being said?
17 A. I don't remember in particular what people were saying. I didn't
18 talk to them directly. I wasn't eavesdropping or anything. I heard
19 things in passing. I would catch snippets of their conversation, but it
20 wasn't as if I was actually talking to any one of them.
21 Q. Fine. Thank you. Let me now return to the final part of your
22 testimony. But before I do that, I will ask you several questions about
23 something we already talked about yesterday to do with the regulations
24 that I asked you about. Please try to provide brief answers. Do you
25 agree with me that, based on the rules of service pertaining to the
1 military police, the ones that we went through yesterday, you, as a
2 commander of an independent military police company, would have and should
3 have been under the command of your brigade commander only and nobody
4 else? Do you agree with me?
5 A. If you're referring to what the rules of service actually say, in
6 that case you're correct.
7 Q. Well, that was precisely my question. Based on the same rules of
8 service, could you possibly have been under the command of a senior
9 officer - senior to you, I mean, in terms of position and rank - from your
10 own brigade, but only having received special authorisation from the
11 brigade commander himself?
12 A. As far as I remember the rules of service and what I was actually
13 taught and trained for, security organ could in theory have exercised
14 command over the military police, but again, as far as I remember, it
15 could not possibly have been a signals officer or an engineer, for
16 example. That's what I remember, which doesn't necessarily mean that my
17 recollection is accurate.
18 Q. Will you agree with me that any order that wasn't issued to you by
19 the brigade commander himself was not binding for you until such time as
20 you received approval or consent from your brigade commander, your
21 superior officer?
22 A. You've cast the net pretty wide there, I think. As a matter of
23 principle, I don't think you're right. Why am I saying this? There were
24 times people called me to step in regarding problems about certain
25 soldiers. That would be an example of a very general situation of that
2 Q. You mean problems with a soldier, that would be in the line of
3 your regular duties, right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You talked about receiving information from the duty officer in
6 your company at certain times. But you also talked about receiving orders
7 from the duty officer of the brigade. Will you agree with me that the
8 company duty officer and the brigade duty officer could, at the very most,
9 only have conveyed orders from your superior to you but not actually give
10 you orders?
11 A. I'm not sure how successful I was in explaining this yesterday,
12 but what you're asking me now is exactly what you can find in the rules of
13 service. This is how it should always be, and this is how we practiced it
14 at various drills. However, both the drills and the manual itself
15 containing the rules of service were drafted with the assumption of a
16 defensive war in mind. This time around we were facing a totally
17 different reality. The situation was quite different. And with all due
18 respect for the rules, we had to cope the best we could. However, at no
19 point in time did we stray from the rules altogether. If you keep in mind
20 all the principles that an officer must abide by, one of those is his
21 determination or decisiveness to act in a certain situation, as he sees
22 fit. If you want us to stick to the rules of service and not stray at
23 all, this wasn't something that you could always apply out there in the
24 field. At least, not all the elements.
25 Q. Did you submit reports to your superiors whenever there were
1 deviations or aberrations from those rules?
2 A. As I said yesterday, I did start writing reports, and I set out
3 with the best intention to comply with all the rules. There were,
4 however, as it turned out, it wasn't quite possible to keep up with that
5 on a daily basis because of all the tasks facing us, all the duties. The
6 reports at the outset were daily reports, and then I would submit them
7 every other day. Sometimes there would be two reports a day, with a
8 one-day delay. And later on they ceased for a while, and I think it was
9 towards the end of my time there when I was already at the barracks that
10 I resumed these reports. You keep confusing me by invoking the rules of
11 service. When Lieutenant Jeftic came, he was the officer that I talked
12 to, he was the officer directing me and in some way, if you like, giving
13 me orders, including an obligation, whenever I sent out a military police
14 patrol, to write down all the facts.
15 Q. Mr. Vezmarovic, I'm sorry I have to interrupt you. This is all
16 fine. You have said it before, but please can you give me a specific
17 answer. If you noticed any deviations from the rules, or whenever you
18 noticed deviations from the rules, did you produce and submit a written
19 report or even an oral one? Yes or no.
20 MR. MOORE: The witness should be allowed to answer the question
21 properly. Not always just be fettered by "yes" and "no."
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was going to say this: I don't
23 think I strayed from the rules at any point in time. There was this
24 period of time when I wasn't submitting any reports, but I was convinced
25 that I was doing the right thing.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Surely you must know that, under the rules of service, if a
3 decision of a superior -- if the decision of an officer is changed by a
4 superior officer, under Rule 41 of the rules of service in the armed
5 forces, the superior must inform the officer who originally issued the
6 order, right?
7 A. Yes, but there is such a thing as initiative. If there is a
8 particularly complex situation on the ground, an officer is entitled to
9 change the method by which an assignment is carried out, but not the
10 objective itself. As long as I complied with that, I think I was still on
11 the safe side, because that's what I had been taught.
12 Q. Yes, but for as long as you keep your superior informed of any
13 changes, right?
14 A. If you want to know if I made any mistakes and then informed my
15 superior, I did not make any mistakes. My superior officer never handed
16 me any assignments saying that I should take my first detachment on a
17 mission, or my second detachment, or setting out exactly how I should do
18 something. He would tell me what I was supposed to do, and once I got
19 this done, everything was fine. I'm not sure if you get my meaning.
20 Q. Captain Karanfilov had the same rank as you. He was not in any
21 way senior, he was a security clerk, and he was not from your own brigade
22 command, was he?
23 A. No [as interpreted].
24 Q. Under all the rules, we know -- The answer was misrecorded. On
25 page 6, line 23, the witness said "yes."
1 Tell me, am I wrong if I say that if we look at all the rules, he
2 had no authority to issue that order to withdraw on the 20th of November,
3 withdraw from the hangar at Ovcara? Would I be wrong in stating that?
4 A. You are far wrong, if I may put it that way.
5 Q. I put it to you that you should not have left the hangar, based on
6 Karanfilov's orders, before informing Vojnovic and asking and requesting
7 his approval because he was the officer who had issued the order on that
8 day for your company to be sent to Ovcara in the first place. Is that an
9 erroneous conclusion?
10 A. I know now, but I did not know at the time that Lieutenant-Colonel
11 Vojnovic was the one who had issued that particular assignment. If I
12 consider that Karanfilov was introduced to me as the person in charge of a
13 number of things there - I didn't know exactly what his position was at
14 the time - I was certainly bound to obey Karanfilov's orders, even if he
15 had had the rank of lieutenant-colonel, for example.
16 Q. Let me now go back to my learned friend Mr. Vasic's question. On
17 the 9th of May he asked you whether perhaps you informed Dragi
18 Vukosavljevic upon your return to Negoslavci about what had occurred.
19 Your answer literally was: "Dragi Vukosavljevic, as far as I know but I
20 don't remember exactly, was there." I didn't understand your answer.
21 What do you mean by "there"; Negoslavci or Ovcara?
22 A. I don't remember which soldiers and which officers exactly were at
23 Ovcara on the 20th. I said this: When I returned I passed by command.
24 I'm not sure exactly who I met there or who I spoke to. My answer
25 yesterday was in reference to the fact that I found out that Dragi, too,
1 had been at Ovcara. So he knew the same thing that I did. He knew as
2 much as I did. Some people even told me that he was the one who had told
3 me that I should withdraw with my military police unit, but I don't quite
4 remember that.
5 Q. I will base my questions on these facts precisely, something that
6 I read in your previous statements. What would you say if I told you that
7 the withdrawal order had been handed to you by Captain First Class Dragi
8 Vukosavljevic who was chief of security of the 80th Brigade? Do you think
9 that is possible?
10 A. It's not the first time that someone has suggested this to me.
11 This is not the first time I hear it. It wasn't only you who suggested
12 it, that's what I'm trying to say. This is not the first time I've heard
13 this assumption. Again, I don't remember that particular detail. I don't
14 remember him telling me this. I withdrew my company pursuant to Captain
15 Karanfilov's orders, which is not to say that Captain Dragi may not, in
16 fact, have said the same thing.
17 Q. What do you mean when you say "the same thing"?
18 A. What you just suggested, for the military police company to
19 withdraw. The simple fact is, I personally do not remember that.
20 Q. Can we now please go to a portion of your testimony in the
21 Belgrade trial, the 29th of October, 2004, page 66 of the transcript. The
22 English reference is page 65.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May the Chamber please instruct me on
24 this. I do not wish to go long on this one. Because the OTP may not like
25 it. I will confront the witness with an answer which includes the
1 question posed by a judge incorporating the words of another witness.
2 Under our rules here, the rules governing our work, this is perfectly
3 fine. I'm not sure if I should just read the answer or both the question
4 and answer. I have highlighted the relevant portions for the benefit of
5 the Chamber, I believe.
6 MR. MOORE: Before my learned friend does so, could I just locate
7 exactly what he's going to put to see if I do have any objections.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I have the page number again,
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Page 66 in the B/C/S and 65 in the English. The question is --
12 well, there is mention of a name there, I'm not supposed to utter it.
13 This is the Presiding Judge. At line 15 you see there is the mention of
14 someone else's evidence, the evidence of another witness. You realise
15 that, don't you?
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] So the question to the Chamber is, can
17 I read out to the witness both the question and the answer, just to set
18 things into the right kind of perspective?
19 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I would object to that particular
20 question being formulated the way my learned friend is intending. He's
21 perfectly entitled to ask the question in generality, but he would not, in
22 my submission, be entitled to rely upon apparent evidence of an individual
23 who has not given evidence before this Court. There are ways around it, I
24 would submit.
25 JUDGE PARKER: My problem at the moment is that I have a page
1 which has many questions and I don't know which one we're looking at.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] It's highlighted in your copy. This
3 is the second passage.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Highlighted in my copy is about two-thirds of the
5 page. Is that --
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Precisely.
7 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... question and
8 an answer.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Precisely, Your Honour. Before I read
10 to the witness the answer, can I read the question too? I was expecting
11 what Mr. Moore just said. There is someone else's evidence being --
12 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... I need to read
13 it for the first time.
14 It seems to me, Mr. Lukic, that there are a number of propositions
15 there that are put to this witness by, it appears, the Presiding Judge.
16 There's not just one issue. It would be proper for you, I would suggest,
17 to go through the ones you think are important, and at least in the first
18 place pose them to the witness yourself. You've done part of that, as I
19 recall your cross-examination in the last few minutes, but perhaps you've
20 not done all of it. And judging on those answers, if you get an answer,
21 for example, that he was told by Karanfilov to withdraw - I'm giving you
22 an illustration now, it is not necessarily reflected here - you can put to
23 him, Have you said at the court in so and so, that it wasn't Karanfilov,
24 right? Now I know that is not what is here. I'm searching for things to
25 try to assist you the way you go about it. And if he then says, No, I
1 didn't say that in the court, you can show him the particular answer here
2 where it's recorded that he did say it, rather than put the whole passage
3 to him.
4 Now, that process will need to be repeated for, I suspect, two or
5 three propositions at least, out of this full passage. Is that clear
6 enough? That, I take it, meets your concern as well, Mr. Moore.
7 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I hope Your Honour doesn't think me
8 awkward in any way, but --
9 JUDGE PARKER: What I think doesn't greatly matter, Mr. Moore.
10 MR. MOORE: Might I respectfully submit that my learned friend
11 Mr. Lukic can pose the question in a way that does not involve names and
12 with regard to a proposition what occurred. For example, "Is it not right
13 that you are aware that another witness has said X and Y?" And he can
14 give a reply to that. He doesn't have to give the name of the witness.
15 And if it is done that way, I would submit he can deal with the topic
16 absolutely on point, it expands the area, if need be, and I would submit
17 -- and I in no way criticise Your Honour, because Your Honour is the
18 ruling Judge, but it is -- almost concerns the whole page and it's being
19 taken in isolation and I'm sure my learned friend doesn't wish that to be
21 JUDGE PARKER: You are addressing a part of this process that I
22 was not specifically addressing. I'm first of all concerned to get the
23 basic propositions that are in here --
24 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
25 JUDGE PARKER: -- identified. If we then come to a question,
1 Well, are you aware that your evidence is quite different from evidence of
2 other witnesses, that can be dealt with as an issue as well.
3 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
4 JUDGE PARKER: By the end of it, it may become feasible and
5 practical and proper to put the whole passage to the witness, but not
6 until we see how these earlier stages go.
7 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
8 JUDGE PARKER: So, Mr. Lukic, you've had coaching from all sides.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm being coached all the time, and
10 that is good.
11 Q. Mr. Vezmarovic, you have been asked various questions in various
12 proceedings, and you claim that the order on withdrawal from the hangar
13 was given to you by Karanfilov. You were asked in various proceedings
14 whether it is possible that the same order was issued to you but by Dragi
15 Vukosavljevic. You said you didn't remember but that it was possible that
16 he said that. Would that be the gist of all the questions and all the
17 answers about that fact so far?
18 A. If I may answer just briefly, the order and my execution involving
19 Captain Karanfilov, that is the fact, and the second part is based on the
20 fact that I had learned that. I don't remember, but I did hear that
21 somebody else had heard that, or had seen it. But I don't remember. I
22 myself do not recall that detail.
23 Q. Somebody else heard and saw Dragi Vukosavljevic issuing that order
24 to you; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, it is.
1 Q. I am not going to confront you with the transcript that was the
2 question, but I have to ask you this: A few days ago in your testimony
3 you remembered some of the details when somebody prompted you. To be more
4 specific, you answered to the Prosecutor that Novica Trifunovic told you
5 that on that day you had gone to Nijemci and then in a conversation with
6 him you remembered all the details; that you went to Nijemci, that he went
7 with you, and that you carried money for the troops. Novica Trifunovic
8 refreshed your memory in that sense; is that correct?
9 A. I can't just give you a yes or a no. I have to say that the
10 details of that journey and the money that was taken there, only a couple
11 of us were privy to that, and if he was one of those few people, then of
12 course he remembers and I accepted that. I could not remember the exact
13 date when we did that. He remembered the date and I accepted that, so
14 this is all I agreed with.
15 Q. If Novica Trifunovic reminded you of that journey to Nijemci, did
16 he also remind you that he was standing in front of the hangar when Dragi
17 Vukosavljevic conveyed the order to you? Did you also remember that, that
18 is my question to you.
19 A. I believe that I have already answered that. I do not remember
20 that conversation between myself and Dragi.
21 Q. I am not going to confront you with a long transcript, in order to
22 avoid any objections by my learned friend. I'm just going to read to you
23 what you stated on page 69, and the English version page 68, and this is
24 towards the top of the page -- the bottom of the page, some 10 lines
25 before the end of the page:
1 "Witness Dragi Vezmarovic: When I received the order to withdraw
2 the troops, I withdrew the troops, and this was enough. And this was in
3 keeping what I had been told.
4 "The Presiding Judge: Very well then.
5 "Witness Dragan Vezmarovic: "From the person who could have
6 issued that order; i.e., the person who was in that position, and I'm not
7 excluding the possibility that this was said to me by Dragi, Karanfilov
8 that both of them told me this."
9 When you said "Dragi," you are referring to Dragi Vukosavljevic,
10 but this is not in the transcript. And I'm asking you again, based on
11 what you said then, a year and a half ago --
12 MR. MOORE: No, no, no. I'm sorry, this is a -- I'm afraid a
13 deliberate misshaping of the evidence given. I regret to have to say
14 that, but it is quite clearly that. My learned friend has not referred to
15 other answers given, in English, page 65, when in actual fact Vezmarovic
16 gives a very specific reply, saying, "That's right, that's right." He
17 refers to "the same thing." Again, that has not been done. My learned
18 friend, Mr. Lukic, has again, I regret to say, clearly deliberately not
19 continued with the reply given on page 69, because there is a question by
20 the judge: "What was Captain Karanfilov's exact order?" Answer: "To
21 withdraw." The witness in this transcript has said that there was the
22 possibility that Dragi gave the same order, but he has not deviated in any
23 way from the fact that it was Karanfilov who gave a specific order to him.
24 My learned friend is shaping his questions in a way to try and mislead
25 this witness. It is unfair and improper.
1 JUDGE PARKER: I would not, in the circumstances, agree,
2 Mr. Moore, that there was any such objective apparent. Mr. Lukic has been
3 trying to be careful to comply with the guidance he might receive from
4 this Chamber. And I think, if this issue is explored a little further,
5 the substance of the point will properly emerge. If it doesn't, the
6 Chamber will ensure it does. No need for that comment.
7 Carry on, Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, let me go back to my
10 Q. I have read out the transcript to you, what you stated before the
11 trial chamber in Belgrade. Do you still adhere by what you said in
12 Belgrade, and that is that you do not exclude the possibility that the
13 order was also conveyed to you by your chief of security and that this was
14 the order of the commander? In other words, that the order to withdraw
15 from the hangar was conveyed to you by Dragi Vukosavljevic?
16 A. Let me try and answer that. I heard a lot of things as being
17 facts, and I'm not escaping facts. If somebody claims that they were with
18 me, I will accept that, although I do not remember any such thing. If
19 somebody says that they told me that, or that they heard somebody else
20 telling me that, I will accept that as a fact, but this is not what I
21 recall and what I know. Within that context, I gave this answer. I
22 accepted the fact that somebody had heard something and that such a
23 possibility existed. But at the same time, I did not say that I remember
24 things and that I acted according to that. I don't know whether I have
25 managed to answer your question. Not for a single moment in Belgrade or
1 here have I remembered having received such an instruction. However, if a
2 number of people claim that they heard and that they are aware of that, I
3 cannot say that this is not a fact, that this is not true. I can't
4 remember, but if I accept that as being the truth, and they asked me the
5 same thing there, and the question was whether there is a possibility that
6 I had received such an order from Dragi, if five people say that that was
7 a fact, I cannot escape from that fact, but I myself do not remember that.
8 Q. Another question about the facts: Do you remember that in front
9 of the hangar on that day there was a soldier, Soldier Novica Trifunovic,
10 who returned with you to Negoslavci. Do you remember that?
11 A. If I'm not mistaken, you've asked me the same thing already, and
12 my answer was, I don't remember.
13 Q. Very well then.
14 A. But I'm repeating: If they claim that they were there and if
15 Trifunovic says that he was in front of the door, I know that there were
16 soldiers in front of the door, but I don't know whether he was among them.
17 I really can't remember.
18 Q. I have to draw a comparison with what you have already said and
19 that is if Trifunovic had reminded you that you were in the village of
20 Nijemci with him, did you accept that in the same way? If he claims that
21 that was the fact, then that must have been the fact, and you are now
22 doing the same thing. But you do not remember either of the two.
23 A. These are two different things. The fact that he reminded me of
24 the date when we were there is one thing. I do not remember all the
25 details of our journey to Nijemci, our return from there. I can't even
1 say that I took only the two of them from Negoslavci to Ovcara, or maybe
2 there was somebody else with us. If I can't remember things, I can't
3 remember them. However, the fact that we were in Nijemci is a fact, and I
4 accepted it because I know that I was there, I know why I went, but I
5 could not recall the date. Since he remembered the date, and he was aware
6 of all the facts involving Nijemci, I could also agree with the date that
7 he offered.
8 And as to whether that soldier was there, whether he was standing
9 on the left or on the right, I really can't remember.
10 Q. My following question is this: When Karanfilov arrived and said
11 what he said to you, at that moment you did not address your commander
12 Vojnovic, and you didn't ask him whether to Ovcara or not. Yes or no.
13 A. Again, I can't answer with either a yes or a no. On the 19th,
14 when I handed over to the Mitnica group, I did not address my commander.
15 I didn't address him on the 20th either. I believe that it sufficed for
16 me to have an officer, superior officer who is in charge of things, and I
17 communicated with him and after the events I could only inform the
18 commander what had happened, whether things were in order or not. And
19 this was my line of thinking, and under the conditions, I believe that it
20 was the correct thing to do.
21 Q. Before this Trial Chamber you testified that Karanfilov had
22 remained in Ovcara when you left, and you stated that on the 9th of May,
23 transcript page 35. Are you sure of that? Are you positive?
24 A. This is what I'm sure of: When my troops were ready to leave, the
25 last thing I did, I greeted everybody. I -- I'm sure of that. At that
1 moment, I was sitting in the car and I actually told them I was leaving.
2 Q. Let's look at the page 61 of the Belgrade trial transcript. And
3 in the English version I'd like to refer you to page 60.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This is the first paragraph, Your
5 Honour, that I have provided you with from the transcript that I am going
6 to confront the witness with.
7 Q. "Presiding Judge: You said before the investigating judge of the
8 military court that after you had handed over the prisoners -" and he
9 quotes you - "'Together with my troops in three Pinzgauers, I returned to
10 Negoslavci and Captain Karanfilov came with me.' This is what you said
11 before the investigating judge in the military court."
12 Your answer to that: "Witness Dragan Vezmarovic: Possibly, I
13 really cannot remember. That he returned with me?
14 "Presiding Judge: That he returned to Negoslavci with you.
15 'Captain Karanfilov came with me.'
16 "Witness Dragan Vezmarovic --" I shall repeat page 18, line 9:
17 Karanfilov -- "Captain Karanfilov came with me."
18 And before that, the Presiding Judge asked you whether he returned
19 to Negoslavci with you, your answer to that: "I cannot exclude this
20 possibility, but I don't really remember. It is possible."
21 "Presiding Judge: All right. Did ...?"
22 And now your answer: "If I said that he had returned in my
23 vehicle, this is certainly not the fact. He definitely didn't come in any
24 of my vehicles, but maybe he joined the column in his own vehicle."
25 This was your answer to the Presiding Judge, who confronted you
1 with your statement given before the investigating judge.
2 Since you said here that Karanfilov had stayed, and in 1999, in
3 the military court you said that he had left with you, I'm asking you now,
4 before this Trial Chamber, whether you still claim that Karanfilov had
5 remained in Ovcara or he might have left with you, or he certainly left
6 with you. What is your statement? What is your testimony?
7 A. I'm trying to find my bearings in the text that you have just read
8 out, but anyway let's try and answer. I don't think that I said anything
9 differently to what you have just said. And I repeat: We said our
10 good-byes and I departed. Whether Captain Karanfilov followed me or not,
11 in his own car or not, I can't remember. And I repeat what I've already
12 said: He did not ride in any of my vehicles because he had his own
13 vehicle. Whether he stayed behind or not, whether he came to the command
14 or not, I really can't remember. When I said he stayed behind, I meant to
15 say that I don't know whether he stayed for two, three, four, five hours
16 there. What I meant was that at the moment when I sat in the car and when
17 I departed, he stayed behind.
18 Q. And that's why you said before the military court that he left
19 with you?
20 A. I've tried to locate that. I don't know why I said that. At the
21 moment, he was getting ready to leave, but he didn't leave with me. I
22 really can't remember anything else.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, I don't see such a specific answer in
24 the evidence that you've read out. Merely a possibility that he might
25 have left in his own vehicle, and his own vehicle might have joined the
1 column, that this witness was not able to say that occurred. Isn't that
2 the effect of the evidence?
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This was stated before the Belgrade
4 trial chamber, however I'm going confront the witness with the statement
5 given to the military court, the oldest statement, dating from 1999, when
6 his recollection was the freshest. Let me just try and locate that
7 passage. Page 5.
8 Q. Mr. Vezmarovic, the first passage on the top of that page. I'm
9 sure that you have been able to locate it, Mr. Vezmarovic. "Captain
10 Karanfilov came with me." And you can read for yourself, however the gist
11 of the matter is that you stated very clearly -- this is the fifth passage
12 of the English version, page 5. Your sentence is very -- leaves no doubt
13 when you say, "Captain Karanfilov came with me."
14 My question to you is as follows: In 1999, was your recollection
15 somewhat better?
16 A. Recollection is recollection, and I'm repeating: At the moment
17 when I departed, he stayed behind. It says here he came with me. He did
18 not depart with me, if I'm reading the text well. This only means that
19 something else was said together with that sentence. Departed and came
20 are two different things, aren't they?
21 Q. Sir, I am drawing my cross-examination to an end. We have talked
22 quite a lot here, and I have two final questions for you. If you received
23 the withdrawal order from Captain Karanfilov, do you believe that you
24 acted in the same way as you acted two days ago when you handed the
25 prisoners over to another unit?
1 A. I believe that I have said that many times. From the moment I
2 arrived to the moment when I withdrew, I did everything by the book in
3 order to provide security for the prisoners and that, in my view and in my
4 estimate, they were safe, that I was given an order to withdraw, and that
5 I withdrew.
6 Q. Your question is -- your answer is clear. Do you believe that you
7 acted by the book as you did two days before that, and that you respected
8 all the rules?
9 A. I handed over the Mitnica group to Captain Karanfilov in that same
10 way, and the second time I handed the second group to Captain Karanfilov,
11 I did the same. The officer who was standing in front of me was the
12 officer that I was supposed to -- I can't put it in words, but this was an
13 officer whom I trusted, because the first job was followed through
14 properly and I did not have a single reason that 24 hours later things had
16 Q. My case, Mr. Vezmarovic, is that the order was issued to you by
17 Mr. Vukosavljevic, but since you said that it is possible that Dragi
18 Vukosavljevic also gave you that order, I will ask you something else. If
19 you say that it is possible that Dragi Vukosavljevic gave you that order,
20 do you believe that if Dragi Vukosavljevic conveyed an order to you given
21 to him by his superior, that you acted by the book, that you the respected
22 all the rules, if you did what you did?
23 A. I don't know if I understood you well. If Dragi Vukosavljevic
24 issued an order to me that he had been given by the commander, whether I
25 acted by the book. The security organ was the organ that was in the
1 position to issue an order to me at any moment.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vezmarovic. I have no further questions and
3 apologise for going at such a great length, but I think we have been able
4 to demonstrate quite a lot of things to the Trial Chamber.
5 A. If I have been of any assistance in clarifying certain facts, it
6 has been my pleasure.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
8 Now, Mr. Borovic, you have an issue that you need to take up.
9 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wanted to clarify
10 one particular issue remaining from yesterday, and you promised that I
11 would be given the time to deal with that, because one of the questions
12 and one of the answers provided by the witness hasn't been clarified
13 sufficiently, and if I may, I would like to do that now. Thank you.
14 First of all, I would like to ask the usher to hand over these
15 documents to the witness. And there are copies for the Chamber as well.
16 I've brought here the pages pertaining to those statements, so as to have
17 a clear picture of what I will be asking the witness.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Before we go through documents, Mr. Borovic, and I
19 would say this for the witness.
20 Captain. If you would stop reading the documents for a moment.
21 It would be important if you could simply clarify from the witness's own
22 recollection what his movements were, the basic movements on the night of
23 the 18th, 19th of November, 1991, the day of the 19th of November, and the
24 night of the 19th/20th of November, and his movements during the day of
25 the 20th. That appears to be the area of confusion, and it would be very
1 important in terms of credibility if the Chamber could hear his actual
2 recollection about his movements on those days before you come, if you
3 need or wish to, to test whether that recollection is correct.
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps you are now
5 giving me greater powers than I thought I would have today. I thought we
6 would only deal with one question that was denied by the witness when it
7 came to the math I did. Because there were a few hours missing that he
8 tried to explain in a different way. But if I may be permitted, I will
9 deal with the entire topic and things will be crystal clear. If we go and
10 read out three things, and we've heard the witness's answers to Mr. Lukic
11 today, should we go through such an exercise, everything would become very
12 clear. If I may do it that way, I will be very short.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, perhaps I might put some questions to
14 the witness, and then if you need, you may follow on the issue that
15 concerns you.
16 Questioned by the Court:
17 JUDGE PARKER: Can you tell the Chamber when it was that you first
18 went to Ovcara.
19 A. On the 18th, in the morning.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Why did you go there?
21 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic and myself were touring the area,
22 looking for a facility that could accommodate greater numbers of
23 detainees, and we found the hangar at Ovcara to be suitable for that.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I understand from your evidence that the decision
25 was made to use Ovcara, and that later that day you, with others, were
1 involved in preparing the hangar to receive prisoners. Is that correct?
2 A. The idea was to find a facility, a building. Had we gone through
3 Ovcara without finding such a building, we would have moved on elsewhere.
4 We didn't go to Ovcara specifically to find that one building. We were
5 just looking for a building. I hope this is sufficiently clear.
6 JUDGE PARKER: That was clear. My concern was moving on. I think
7 a decision was made to use Ovcara to hold prisoners, and later on the 18th
8 you were involved in preparations of the hangar at Ovcara to receive
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Can you tell us when prisoners first arrived at
13 A. As far as I can remember, sometime around 4.00 p.m.
14 JUDGE PARKER: And how did they -- you were there, I take it?
15 A. Yes. I had arrived a few moments before the prisoners.
16 JUDGE PARKER: How did prisoners arrive?
17 A. There was an organised convoy. The prisoners were on buses, and
18 in front of the column there were military vehicles. There was a Puch and
19 there were military vehicles at the back and at the front of the column.
20 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... trying to move
21 in summary, we're not asking for full details of all of this at the
22 moment. Were these prisoners from Mitnica?
23 A. Yes. I was explained that these were the prisoners who had
24 surrendered at Mitnica.
25 JUDGE PARKER: These were Croatian military prisoners, or some
1 other type?
2 A. Yes, that's what was said to me.
3 JUDGE PARKER: They were held at Ovcara in the hangar overnight?
4 A. Yes, they remained in the hangar throughout the night and the next
5 morning, when they were collected by the international organisations and
6 the Red Cross, as well as the JNA, and they were supposed to be
7 transferred to Sremska Mitrovica.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Were you at Ovcara throughout that night, which is
9 the 18th and 19th of November?
10 A. I went to Negoslavci occasionally in order to secure everything
11 that was needed for the security detail, the food and water. But I was in
12 the hangar most of the time. I may have left for Negoslavci on a couple
13 of occasions for short periods of time because there were problems with
15 JUDGE PARKER: Did only one group of prisoners arrive, or were
16 there others that arrived later over the night of the 18th and the morning
17 of the 19th?
18 A. No. That was the only group that arrived, around 4.00 p.m. on the
20 JUDGE PARKER: The next morning you have indicated that a
21 transport arrived to take these prisoners to Sremska Mitrovica; is that
22 correct? And Captain Karanfilov was there when you, in your effective
23 words, handed the prisoners over to him?
24 A. Yes. At the moment when the convoy arrived, that is the buses,
25 Captain Karanfilov and myself had that dialogue. I reported on the
1 previous night, he asked me about the list of prisoners. I told him that
2 I had that in my notebook. He said that I should go to Negoslavci to type
3 the list in order to have it with the transport with the prisoners, and I
4 did so. When I said that I told -- that I handed the prisoners over to
5 him, I meant to say that after that I was no longer at Ovcara.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Did you see the convoy leave with the prisoners
7 that morning of the 19th?
8 A. I had left before the prisoners were put on buses. I wasn't
9 present at that moment, and I wasn't within the escort of the convoy when
10 they departed for Sremska Mitrovica, because that was the time when I was
11 typing out the list. I don't know exactly what time they set out, who
12 escorted the convoy, how large was it, and how secure was it. At that
13 time, I was typing the list.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Your evidence is that the list was typed, the
15 convoy had already left by then, and you were ordered to follow the convoy
16 to Sremska Mitrovica with the list of the prisoners; is that correct?
17 A. Well, perhaps not to follow, but I attempted to reach Mitrovica or
18 to -- I failed to catch up with the convoy, and at the time when I
19 actually delivered the list was in the prison in Sremska Mitrovica.
20 JUDGE PARKER: The prisoners were there at that time?
21 A. I didn't see the prisoners in Mitrovica, but I was told that they
22 had arrived and were accommodated.
23 JUDGE PARKER: To whom did you hand the list?
24 A. I can't recall the exact name. Judging by what I wrote down in my
25 notebook, those must have been some officers that I gave the list to. It
1 must have been one of the officers at the prison. The list included the
2 number of people they received, and the number matched the number on the
3 list, and that was all right then.
4 JUDGE PARKER: That was 175 soldiers and six officers; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Can you estimate what time it was when you
8 delivered the list at Sremska Mitrovica?
9 A. According to my entries, I presume it was around 4.00 or 4.30
10 p.m., otherwise I can't be exact.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Now, what did you do after that?
12 A. After that I returned to Negoslavci.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Are you able to estimate what time you reached
15 A. It already got dark. I tried to do the calculation that was
16 attempted here as well, and I believe by the time I arrived there it was
17 already dark.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Nightfall is before 5.00 p.m., is it?
20 A. Yes, possibly. Depending on what the weather was that day. But
21 trying to remember, I was trying to pin-point the things that I did along
22 the way. So my assumption was that I reached Negoslavci at around 8.00
24 JUDGE PARKER: You say that's an assumption. The journey itself
25 would have taken a lot less time than that if you'd travelled directly; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Yes. But, as I said, as of the moment I concluded my business at
3 the prison, I didn't go to Negoslavci directly, but I stopped along the
4 way. That's why I presume it took me such a long time, judging by the
5 stops I made and the things I did there.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Can you outline quickly what these other things
7 were that you did between Sremska Mitrovica and Negoslavci.
8 A. We left the prison, but the driver and myself stayed for a while
9 in Mitrovica. I don't know how long, though, but we rented out a room, we
10 took showers, we had dinner there, and then we set off.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Did you make any stops on the way, once you'd left
12 Sremska Mitrovica?
13 A. Coming in any village or leaving the village, there were always
14 patrols, and that's why things took longer and it had already gotten dark
15 by that time. So the entire procedure lasted longer than it would have at
17 JUDGE PARKER: Apart from patrol stops, did you stop for any
18 purpose of your own on the way?
19 A. No, as far as I can remember.
20 JUDGE PARKER: You arrived at Negoslavci. Did you go to your
21 headquarters or any other headquarters on arrival?
22 A. I went to the command, I reported to someone, but I don't exactly
23 remember who. I told that person that I had delivered the list, that
24 things were fine, and then I went to my own headquarters.
25 JUDGE PARKER: What did you do after that?
1 A. I went about my routine tasks. During the night there was an
2 intervention concerning an incident in one of the neighbouring villages.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Are you saying you were on duty through that night?
4 A. Most of that night. Before morning I did have some time to take a
5 rest, though.
6 JUDGE PARKER: What was the particular incident that took you away
7 from Negoslavci on the night, now, of the 19th and 20th?
8 A. If I'm not mistaken, there was a murder of a soldier, and we were
9 called in to secure the site until the other bodies showed up.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Where was that?
11 A. As far as I can remember, near Sotin somewhere.
12 JUDGE PARKER: So you yourself were at Sotin for a time, were you?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE PARKER: When you left Sotin, are you able to say where you
16 A. To my headquarters.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Can you estimate when you arrived at your
19 A. Probably around midnight.
20 JUDGE PARKER: And after that, what did you do?
21 A. As far as I can remember, I was resting.
22 JUDGE PARKER: After you had rested, what did you do then? And I
23 take it we're now in the morning of the 20th.
24 A. Yes. Routine tasks on the 20th, up until the moment when we
25 needed to provide a car, a vehicle to take the people who were supposed to
1 distribute the salaries to pick up the money and distribute it. Then we
2 took a Pinzgauer, there was the driver, myself, and the people who were
3 supposed to distribute the money. There may have been both Novica and
4 Sapic as well. I can accept that proposition put to me here. I don't
5 remember what exactly had been said, but in any case, we set off.
6 JUDGE PARKER: When did you set off to escort the salaries?
7 A. Between 11.00 and 12.00 in the morning.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Did you return to your headquarters?
9 A. Did I understand that you asked me whether I returned to my
10 command, to my headquarters?
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
12 A. When we concluded with the task, I returned to my headquarters.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. And what time was that?
14 A. It was dark as well, but I can't guess at what time it was. I
15 don't remember the exact time, but it was dark.
16 JUDGE PARKER: And you returned directly to your headquarters
17 after completing the salaries escort duty; is that what you're saying?
18 A. The trip included a double task for me. First of all, we had to
19 secure the people who were supposed to distribute the salaries. The other
20 thing was that I tried to familiarise myself with the terrain there, in
21 case I would have to send out a patrol for any reason, to be able to
22 explain to the driver how to go there. It was a way for me to familiarise
23 myself with the area, as I had no map.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Which area was this?
25 A. As far as I recall, when we were going to Nijemci we had to go
1 through Sid, and then all the way almost up to the highway, and then on a
2 side road to reach Nijemci. In the end, we spent a lot of time waiting
3 for the minesweeper. They had to perform their task because that was the
4 only safe way to reach Nijemci at the moment. One of the officers who was
5 with us stayed behind in one of the villages where our soldiers were. He
6 distributed the salaries there, and at the same time the rest of us went
7 as far as Nijemci and the person distributed money there, and then we went
8 back. When we reached individual units, it didn't necessarily have to be
9 that they would get off the -- or out of the vehicle to distribute the
10 money, but they would simply give the money and then we would leave again.
11 We were all reservists, we knew each other, we had short discussions, and
12 we would stay a while at every place, a short while, and then we would
13 move on.
14 JUDGE PARKER: When you returned to your headquarters after dark
15 on the 20th of November, what occurred then at your headquarters?
16 A. The duty officer reported that the company was securing Ovcara and
17 that there was a new group of prisoners who had to be secured. Together
18 with the soldiers who were available and off duty, I took a vehicle and we
19 went to Ovcara. On our way we stopped by at the command, but I don't
20 remember whom I met there and what I was told as I wanted to get together
21 with my unit as soon as possible.
22 JUDGE PARKER: What time was it that you reached Ovcara?
23 A. I really don't remember. It was dark, in any case.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Now, at Ovcara you have described how you found a
25 considerable degree of disorder, and you set about, you have indicated,
1 establishing order, initially by ensuring that all left the hangar except
2 men of your military police unit and the prisoners. Is that a fair
4 A. Yes, absolutely so.
5 JUDGE PARKER: And did that include officers and soldiers who were
6 required to leave the hangar?
7 A. Not officers. Those who had rank did not pose problems. The
8 problem I had was to distinguish between the soldiers there. And I didn't
9 know whether the soldiers were from the 80th Brigade or not, that's why I
10 said that everyone except for those with the white belts had to leave.
11 Therefore, officers were no problem specifically. As to which of the
12 officers was there and whether they left, I don't know.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Did that include territorial officers as well as
14 JNA officers who remained in the hangar?
15 A. As for TO officers, I did my best to get in touch with them. I
16 asked them to come forward, to respond, but no one did. No one came
17 forward to say that they were TO officers. Therefore, I don't really know
18 whether any of them were there. But what I was able to infer at the time
19 later proved to have been true. There were two of them, but they didn't
20 speak up. They commanded with their eyes, in a manner of speaking, and
21 they all eventually left.
22 JUDGE PARKER: So there were no territorial officers left inside
23 the hangar once it was cleared of the soldiers?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE PARKER: You say all of this occurred after dark; your
1 return to Negoslavci, to your headquarters, and then your journey to
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Can you give any approximation of time, either for
5 your arrival at Negoslavci or for your arrival at Ovcara on the evening
6 of the 20th of November?
7 A. No. I can't specify the time of my arrival in Negoslavci or at
8 Ovcara. But my rough estimate would be that I stayed for between one and
9 a half and two hours at Ovcara.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much for that.
11 Now, Mr. Borovic, I have done that, unusually, to clear up a
12 number of matters, including setting the framework for you then to decide
13 what you need to explore or not. But in doing so I have used up the time
14 to the first break.
15 Your microphone, Mr. Borovic, could you turn it off? Thank you.
16 Then we won't get the feedback.
17 I've used up the time to the first break, which we must have now
18 for the tapes. But that will enable you then to set your sights on what
19 you need to do.
20 And we will then resume at 25 past 11.00 for the evidence to
22 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.29 a.m.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
25 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Further cross-examination by Mr. Borovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] What is the distance between Negoslavci and
3 Nijemci in terms of kilometres?
4 A. Between Negoslavci and Nijemci, I don't know.
5 Q. You will have to do your best to remember. You were the one who
6 travelled that road. Please be so kind. I think the distance is probably
7 the same now as it was back then. So what would that be?
8 A. I don't remember at all.
9 Q. What if I tell you that it is under 30 kilometres; would you
11 A. Well, if you say so.
12 Q. Is my estimate accurate, given the fact that you travelled the
13 road in a vehicle, the road between Negoslavci and Nijemci?
14 A. You mean in terms of kilometres? Well, yes.
15 Q. Thank you. How long did it take for you to cover those 30
16 kilometres? Taking into account all the difficulty that you encountered
17 along the way, as you told the Chamber today.
18 A. Again the answer is I don't know.
19 Q. Would it have been sufficient for you, say up to an hour, to cover
20 that distance, in a car? Or could it possibly have taken less time than
22 A. We did a bit of calculating the last time around, and when I gave
23 evidence I tried to do my own math, what the distance was and how long it
24 would have taken, but whatever further calculations we engage in will only
25 be speculation and no more than that. You have a distance of 30
1 kilometres. Driving and traffic conditions being what they were in the
2 area at the time, so these being the parameters, I would say under an
3 hour, yes, but --
4 Q. Thank you very much. Let us proceed. It would have taken you
5 roughly the same amount of time to drive back, wouldn't it?
6 A. If we want to just round it off, in that case, I accept.
7 Q. You said in answer to the Chamber's question today that you had
8 left a soldier behind in Negoslavci, and you yourself drove back to
9 Nijemci. My question: Does that mean you returned at about 2.00 p.m.?
10 Returned to Negoslavci, I mean. Because that is the math we're talking
11 about. This is your contribution to this Tribunal, this is what your
12 evidence is suppose to contribute, right?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Well, then, please show us the way. Let us in on this secret. We
15 did some math, and we arrived at a figure of two hours, whereas you
16 suggest nine hours. Between noon and half past 8.00 in the evening,
17 that's nearly nine hours. Did you take nine hours to cover those 30
18 kilometres? You were pretty particular when answering a question posed by
19 the Chamber. You left a soldier behind in Nijemci and you drove back to
20 Negoslavci. So is it two hours or nine hours to drive back?
21 A. Two hours is certainly not correct.
22 Q. Which is the maximum that you would allow for your return for the
23 30-kilometre distance on the way back?
24 Sir, let me explain why I'm pursuing this issue. You remember
25 those hotel rooms, you remember taking showers during wartime, you
1 remember all these tiny details that you would not have remembered before
2 the war. All these details are essential to us, and you keep telling us
3 you don't remember. Please be so kind as to at least try to specify this:
4 Could it have been a maximum of three hours, up to three hours for you to
5 cover that distance, the distance between Negoslavci and Nijemci, and then
7 A. Again, there are possibly two or three questions there. I will
8 tackle one at a time.
9 Q. No, there is no such thing as two or three questions there. There
10 is just one single question. Whenever you don't have an answer, you start
11 saying things like there are several questions in there. How much time
12 did it take you to drive from Negoslavci to Nijemci and back? A total of
13 how long, since I see that your memory is a bit fresher today.
14 A. It was at about noon, probably between 11.00 and 12.00 a.m.,
15 that's when I left. And by the time I arrived it was already dark. I
16 believe that's what I said a while ago.
17 Q. A total of how many hours? You remember you left between 11.00
18 and 12.00. That is pretty accurate, if you ask me. When you say it was
19 already dark, it could have been 4.30 in the afternoon, as the Presiding
20 Judge suggested. It was already dark. That might as well be a useful
21 excuse for you not to say. Please try to specify how long it took you to
22 cover that distance.
23 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry, I object to the tone of my learned friend's
24 questions. I don't mind questions being asked on the topic but it's
25 really not proper for him to put in comments, his views on what the
1 witness may or may not be saying by way of excuse.
2 JUDGE PARKER: That's a fair comment, Mr. Borovic. But please
3 press home your point, as you are. I meant the fair comment was
4 Mr. Moore's. Your comments are not fair.
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honour. I accept the
6 criticism. I will try to proceed more subtly with this witness.
7 Q. You said you left between 11.00 and 12.00, you left for Nijemci,
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You said you don't know when exactly it was that your company left
11 for Ovcara on that day; is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Does that mean you allow for the possibility that your company
14 left for Ovcara past 12.00, past noon, any time after 12.00?
15 A. That's true.
16 Q. Do you allow for the possibility that they arrived at Ovcara the
17 same time as the prisoners, when they arrived outside the hangar? Do you
18 allow for that possibility that at the time the prisoners arrived, your
19 company was there as well?
20 MR. MOORE: Again, if my learned friend is asking the question in
21 relation to this witness's personal knowledge, that question is perfectly
22 fair. If it's in relation to another aspect of his company, he is asking
23 the witness to speculate. Could he perhaps be clearer in relation to
25 JUDGE PARKER: I think the facts are clear, Mr. Borovic. The
1 witness says he was away from between 11.00 and 12.00. He doesn't know
2 what the men left behind did. When he got back to his headquarters, he
3 was told they were at Ovcara. So he can't really fill in what they did in
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Q. Does the witness know if there is a phone line between the village
7 of Negoslavci and the village of Nijemci?
8 A. I don't remember.
9 Q. Thank you. Does the witness perhaps remember this: Does the
10 witness remember being called by Commander Vojnovic to go back to
11 Negoslavci urgently because there was a job at Ovcara?
12 A. I don't remember.
13 Q. Does that mean that the possibility exists that Commander Vojnovic
14 called you to drive back from Negoslavci urgently because there was a job
15 to be done at Ovcara --
16 MR. MOORE: Again --
17 Q. -- since you don't remember?
18 MR. MOORE: The witness is being asked to speculate again. The
19 answer is quite simple.
20 JUDGE PARKER: I think it's enough for your --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the president, please.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Enough for your purposes simply to have the basic
23 facts. You want to get the witness to agree to an inference from those
24 facts, which is beyond his knowledge, and that's a matter for us to assess
25 at the end of all of this trial.
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. As always,
2 you are right yet again. I didn't mean to lead the witness. Had he said
3 in a determined manner he didn't call, that would have been fine. But he
4 said, "I don't remember." Well, I will just press on.
5 Q. The witness states that at the Ovcara trial in Belgrade on the
6 29th of October, 2004, he spoke to Novica Trifunovic after the session and
7 Novica Trifunovic jogged his memory about Nijemci.
8 A. During the trial.
9 Q. Back in 2004.
10 A. I have no idea when that was, but it was during the actual trial.
11 Q. Thank you. On that day you both gave evidence before the trial
12 chamber in Belgrade, right?
13 A. I don't remember the exact day, but you must have checked the
14 date, and that should be it, right.
15 Q. I gave you copies of those statements. They appear to have been
16 taken away from you.
17 A. Yes, but you must have checked the date yourself, haven't you?
18 Q. No, I think it is for you to have a look.
19 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] This is crucial, Your Honours. I
20 must show the witness this.
21 Q. Do you have your statement to the OTP in front of you, number 1?
22 Tab 1, it's marked as tab 1. Do you have that statement?
23 A. International Criminal Tribunal, witness statement, personal
25 Q. You do have the statement in front of you, don't you, the 2001
2 A. 2001, Belgrade, the 13th.
3 Q. Just tell me yes or no.
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Do you have in front of you the statement that you gave on the
6 29th of October, 2004, in the Belgrade Ovcara case?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was it that day -- so was it on that day that you talked to Novica
9 Trifunovic? Was this the trial you referred to, the 29th of October,
10 2004, right?
11 A. I don't remember the date. If Novica was there on the same day,
12 then that should be it, I guess.
13 Q. Please check the transcript and see if Novica Trifunovic was there
14 on the same day. If you just go through it quickly, you will see his name
15 being mentioned there.
16 A. Indeed.
17 Q. Thank you very much. Does that mean that you never spoke with
18 Novica Trifunovic about Nijemci after this?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my tab 3.
22 Q. Did you give a statement on the 17th of October, 2005? Yes or no.
23 Did you give a statement on that day?
24 A. Again, I don't seem to remember the date.
25 Q. You testified with Novica Trifunovic at the Belgrade trial on the
1 29th of October, 2004, which you have just confirmed. A year later did
2 you again give evidence before a court in Belgrade?
3 A. I did give evidence, but I don't remember the date.
4 Q. You have it right there in front of you, the transcript bears the
5 date the 17th of October, 2005.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So that was a year after the one you gave in 2004.
8 A. Yes, it appears to be right.
9 Q. I have an unofficial English translation. I'm not sure if the
10 Chamber has it, I think the OTP does. But without necessarily driving the
11 point home, you don't mention Nijemci at all. Again you talk about
12 Negoslavci, you talk about going to Ovcara in the afternoon. I won't be
13 quoting the statement now, but my general question is, is it now that
14 you've arrived in The Hague that you have suddenly remembered everything?
15 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry, before my learned friend asks the question,
16 we don't have any statement, we have not had anything served on us, we
17 don't have any translation of it. I'd be awfully grateful if my learned
18 friends could perhaps pass it to us. I'm sure it's our fault.
19 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Both the B/C/S and the English.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Can you help me, Mr. Borovic. This is a statement?
21 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is a transcript,
22 and then there is tab 3, what I had marked as tab 3, page 5.
23 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... transcript of
24 evidence given at a trial.
25 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] The 17th, the 17th. My apologies,
1 Your Honours. There's been an overlap. This is the transcript of this
2 witness's evidence on the 17th of October, 2005, which he just confirmed a
3 minute ago. This was a year after his conversation with Novica Trifunovic
4 back in 2004, who apparently jogged his memory about Nijemci. Here we
5 have the Presiding Judge asking a question, and there is a couple of
6 answers. I can read this and the witness can follow.
7 Q. "Dragan Vezmarovic: Yes. The morning of the day after I received
8 an assignment from Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic to catch up with the convoy
9 before Mitrovica or perhaps in Mitrovica, if I don't manage before, and to
10 hand over the list of prisoners, so I was on my way to Mitrovica. In
11 Mitrovica I handed over the list to the officers of the prison, who were
12 already there. I don't know their names. I then returned to Negoslavci
13 sometime in the afternoon or late in the afternoon or early in the
14 evening. We were in that house where the unit was billeted."
15 And this is what really matters, this part: "I learned from the
16 duty officer that we had another security group at that same place. And
17 it was then that I again drove to Ovcara."
18 Later on, the Presiding Judge asks him about the time-line and the
19 witness says he can't be specific about that, but that the relevant notes
20 should be somewhere in his notebook.
21 Mr. Vezmarovic, have you got that? This is page 5. Have you got
23 A. Number 33, right?
24 Q. Yes. Was my reading accurate?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What about the other one that you have in front of you? You
2 appear to be claiming there that you don't know what the time was when you
3 arrived at Ovcara, that sort of thing.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. We agree on that. My question is a very clear-cut one. A year
6 ago you say that you found out from a soldier about Nijemci, something
7 which you seem to go into a lot of detail about in your evidence to this
8 Tribunal. Why did you not mention that at the Ovcara trial in Belgrade
9 back in 2005? Is there any explanation that you can offer for that
11 A. You were reading and I was trying to keep track. Perhaps you can
12 give me a hand with this. If I'm not mistaken, at the end of the dialogue
13 between the Presiding Judge and myself, the judge told me that this was
14 about a single day.
15 Q. So what?
16 A. Can you find that for me?
17 Q. There is no reason.
18 A. Because at this point the Presiding Judge told me that there was a
19 one-day discrepancy, and then I tried to look into this matter to figure
20 it out. I'm sure you know what I mean. Both then and on earlier
21 occasions I always repeated the same thing: I don't remember the time, I
22 don't remember the date.
23 Q. Thank you very much. You're quite right there, you didn't know at
24 the time. But it is right here, right now, that you have talked about
25 Nijemci for the very first time. I have been following very closely.
1 Both on examination-in-chief and in cross-examination you were quite
2 specific. You found out from your own soldier at this trial in 2004,
3 October, 2004, about this. On the 17th of October, 2005, you say nothing
4 about it. How am I supposed to believe you when you say that your memory
5 was jogged by Novica Trifunovic, your own soldier, back in 2004?
6 A. Had you been listening to me, had you remembered exactly what I
7 had been saying, you would know. I'm telling you it was the Presiding
8 Judge who put this to me about this one-day discrepancy. I did say that a
9 couple of minutes ago, and then I tried to figure it out.
10 Q. So what did you do afterwards, what did you do about that?
11 A. I told you seconds ago that I didn't talk to Novica then, not
13 Q. Dear, sir, I'm about to finish my cross-examination with the
14 distinct impression that you are trying to dodge this particular issue.
15 Novica Trifunovic told you back in 2004, the Presiding Judge reminded you
16 again. You stand by your old story. My distinct impression is you got
17 this impression during your proofing sessions in preparation for your
18 testimony before this Chamber and this Tribunal. I can only state the
19 fact, but I do not wish to go any further or wreck anyone's nerves.
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] This completes my cross-examination,
21 Your Honours, and I have no further questions for this witness.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Borovic.
23 Now, Mr. Moore.
24 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
25 Re-examination by Mr. Moore:
1 Q. Mr. Vezmarovic, may we just deal with the transcript that was
2 placed before you, or certainly read to you for the hearing of the 17th of
3 October, 2005. Has that been provided to you? On the English version
4 that we now have, it's page 5 of 33. Now, do you have that document?
5 17th of October.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And on the English it's page 5/33, and it's really an exchange
8 between the Presiding Judge and yourself. And there is a series of three
9 questions. Now, it starts off, I hope: "So, in the morning the day
10 after?" Have you got that or not? And I would like you to be very
11 precise, please.
12 A. I have the text, but I'm not sure which passage you are referring
13 to on page 5. What exactly should I be looking at? I have the Serbian.
14 That's it, it's the same thing. All right. Just give me the passage,
16 Q. Okay. I will give you the two lead-in lines, if I may. The first
17 lead-in line is the Presiding Judge is asking the following question:
18 "So, in the morning the day after?" And then we've got your name as the
19 witness, and it starts: "Yes, in the morning the day after ..." Have you
20 got that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, I want you to listen very carefully, please, to what I'm
23 going to ask you to do. I want you to read out this question and answer,
24 slowly and accurately, please, so that we get the full context of the way
25 the question and answer proceeded. Now, can you do that, or shall I do it
1 for you?
2 A. I can, but my copy is in Serbian.
3 "Presiding Judge: So, the morning of the day after?
4 "Witness Dragan Vezmarovic: Yes, the morning of day after, it was
5 then that I received an assignment from Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic to
6 catch up with the convoy to Mitrovica, or perhaps in Mitrovica, and if I
7 didn't manage to catch up, I was supposed to hand over the list of
8 prisoners, - so I was off to Mitrovica with the driver. Once in
9 Mitrovica, I handed over the list to prison officers who were already
10 there, - I don't know their exact names, I then returned to Negoslavci,
11 sometime that afternoon or early evening. The place where we were
12 billeted, the house where the unit was, I learned from the duty officer
13 that we had another security group right there. I then again went to
14 Ovcara to see what this was all about. Should I proceed and tell you what
15 was going on?"
16 Q. The Presiding Judge says: "Yes, yes." Carry on, please.
17 A. Should I go on?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. "Witness Dragan Vezmarovic: All right. What I found there was
20 quite a mess. There were prisoners in the hangar itself, therefore, in
21 the same building as before, were not being guarded as they had been the
22 previous day, meaning they were not in one part of the hangar being
23 guarded by the military police, but rather they were assembled in groups
24 inside the hangar itself. I ordered everyone to leave. In addition to
25 military police company members, there were other people, all kinds of
1 people in all kinds of uniforms inside the hangar. I ordered everyone to
2 leave the hangar except the police and prisoners. After a while, everyone
3 had left the hangar and all prisoners were again sent to the same corner
4 of the building where they had been the day before. A rope was strung up
5 again in order to draw a line of separation and divide the prisoners from
6 the rest. The military police were on the job again, both inside and
7 outside the hangar. While I was ordering everyone to leave the hangar, I
8 promised everyone who was there that I would let them have a look later on
9 and perhaps identify some of the prisoners. So I allowed this later on.
10 They walked around the rope, identified or failed to identify people, and
11 made comments all the while, both inside and outside the hangar. About
12 the people they had seen in there and who it was that they had seen.
13 After a while, Captain Karanfilov ordered me to withdraw the company, to
14 withdraw the policemen who were there, since an agreement had been reached
15 that these would now be handed over to Vukovar's TO units. Therefore, I
16 assembled all of the policemen who were there, we got back into the
17 Pinzgauer, and went back to Negoslavci. That's about it.
18 "Presiding Judge: And when did you return?"
19 Q. Could you do it more slowly, please, because the interpreters have
20 to travel rather quickly.
21 A. "Presiding Judge: And when did you return?
22 "Witness Vezmarovic: "Well, I can only say that it was sometime in
23 the afternoon when I departed from Mitrovica. I arrived in Negoslavci at
24 a certain time, and from Negoslavci I went to Ovcara. I spent some time
25 there and I'm sure that it was dark. Now, what the time it was really, I
1 can't remember either the date or the time. Those meant nothing to me.
2 We were there on an assignment, we were there to do something, to
3 accomplish something, so I never cared about the time or the date. I even
4 didn't make a note of that in my notebook. This is my mistake, but that's
5 the way it was.
6 "Presiding Judge: Very well, then. Can we now --"
7 Q. I think we're going move on to another topic. I just want to deal
8 with that, can you just stop for a moment? It's been suggested to you by
9 my learned friend Mr. Borovic that really you are, putting it politely,
10 fabricating your evidence and changing your evidence here at court. Now,
11 can you explain why there is a difference with regard to the route, as has
12 been suggested to you by Mr. Borovic?
13 A. If you will allow me, while I was looking at the pages I found the
14 passage that can answer your question, and if you will allow me, I can
15 read it out to you.
16 Q. Well, I don't know what it is. I wish somebody would stop
17 switching off my mic. But I have no objection to you doing that.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
19 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have not interrupted
20 the witness who was reading the context that was not the subject of what I
21 tried to establish during my cross-examination. And now the entire
22 transcript can only refer to what the Prosecutor has to ask the witness
23 very specifically. If now the Prosecutor asks questions about things that
24 I never asked the witness, I believe that he hasn't the right to do that.
25 When I questioned the witness, I asked him whether he ever said to the
1 Presiding Judge in 2005 whether he ever mentioned Nijemci. If that is
2 what he wants to read out, if that is something he wants to answer, I
3 agree. If that is not the case, then I object to whatever the witness may
4 want to read.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, you put in too confined a way the
6 scope of re-examination that is open to Mr. Moore. If you have opened up
7 a topic in your cross-examination, or if you've put to the witness a
8 proposition, that may be explored by Mr. Moore in re-examination to get
9 another view of that matter. As I understand your cross-examination, one
10 of the propositions you put is that effectively the witness's evidence is
11 quite a fabrication about the dates and, as it were, the missing day. I
12 would see that as allowing to Mr. Moore proper scope to explore how it is
13 that there is, in part of his evidence, an unexplained day, and how it is
14 that that unexplained day came to be identified, if it was, in any of
15 these previous trials or hearings. So that explanation can be pursued,
16 and I think that's what Mr. Moore is doing, and he is, with his usual
17 fairness, allowing the witness to go to something that even Mr. Moore
18 doesn't know where it will lead, because the witness says this is where I
19 know I put this matter earlier. So that's open to Mr. Moore. And of
20 course in this re-examination Mr. Moore is exploring not only your
21 cross-examination, but also that of Mr. Lukic and Mr. Vasic. So we
22 mustn't see it just in the light of what you've looked at.
23 Now, Mr. Moore.
24 MR. MOORE:
25 Q. Mr. Vezmarovic, would you mind opening Pandora's box and telling
1 us what it is that is actually said.
2 A. I believe that the sentences that I exchanged with the Presiding
3 Judge might serve as an explanation. I had a dilemma even then as to what
4 the date was and when things happened. Not for a single moment was I
5 certain what happened when. I saw something on one of the pages and I
6 hope that this will help resolve the matter. The Presiding Judge
7 explained something that I confirmed, and then the Presiding Judge says,
8 as for the Mitnica group -- this is page 11. Page 11, somewhere in the
9 middle it starts. "As for the Mitnica group, Colonel Karaula was the one
10 who had a knife. This took place on the 18th, i.e., on the 17th, between
11 the 17th and the 18th. In the morning of the 18th, they departed for
13 I will proceed reading, with a comment, if I may. If I had
14 received information that this had happened between the 17th and the 18th,
15 and after that something else happened on a different date, I have to
16 repeat that if somebody tells me something, I will accept, but I do not
17 remember myself. I am proceeding with reading my own testimony: "I
18 believe that all this happened between the 18th and the 19th.
19 "The Presiding Judge: So this happened in the night between the
20 17th and the 18th, that's where -- when they spent the night there, and
21 what you're telling us today is one day later, on the 19th, between the
22 19th and the 20th, that is. If you had left on the 18th in the morning to
23 Mitrovica, you did not return on the 19th in the evening. But on the
24 18th, and there is a discrepancy, a one-day discrepancy there."
25 Again if I may comment on this, again there is confusion with the
2 The witness: "This means --
3 "Presiding Judge: According to the operative log --
4 "Witness Vezmarovic: It says that Vukovar fell on the 17th.
5 "Is that correct?" Answer -- Presiding Judge, yes.
6 "Vezmarovic: If Vukovar fell on the 17th, that means that
7 everything happened with the Mitnica group.
8 "The Presiding Judge: This is not important at the moment. At
9 the moment this is not important. It is not important whether this
10 happened on the 17th, the 18th, the 19th or the 20th. The only thing that
11 matters is the sequence of all these events.
12 "Witness Vezmarovic: What I am trying to say --
13 "Presiding Judge: In your today's testimony, there is one day
14 missing, i.e., there is a discrepancy between what we have based on the
15 tactical operative log.
16 "Witness Vezmarovic: At the moment when Vukovar fell, at that
17 moment the group from Mitnica arrived, they spent the night there, and on
18 the following day they went to Mitrovica."
19 I did not have the time --
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness please read the
21 following three sentences just for the fairness of this exercise.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Presiding Judge: In the evening it
23 was on the following day, based on the operative log, that that group --
24 in the log it says 1630, the commander issued an order to reinforce
25 security for the camp in Ovcara. So some of the members of the command
1 went up there, and at 2230 hours the commander issued an order for the
2 security to be withdrawn from Ovcara. And this is what is important, and
3 this is what Karanfilov conveyed to you, as you say."
4 Can I go on reading until the end?
5 "So there is a record of everything, and the times when things
6 happened but there is one day that is missing that is at stake here."
7 MR. MOORE:
8 Q. Thank you very much. Now, set aside dates, if you would kind
9 enough, please, and I'd like you to focus on events. Do you follow me?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You have told us that you went to Ovcara in relation to the
12 Mitnica group.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you have told us about handing the prisoners over to
15 Karanfilov. I want to deal, if I may, please, with the second time that
16 you went to Ovcara. The second day, whatever date. Do you follow me?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, if we deal with this second trip to Ovcara where you have
19 told us -- you used the word "mayhem." Do you have, as you would perceive
20 it, a good recollection of what occurred that afternoon and evening at the
21 Ovcara hangar?
22 A. I have already said many times there was mayhem there. I managed
23 to put security in order. Who was there and how long all this lasted, I
24 really can't remember. But I managed to establish --
25 Q. Sorry.
1 A. I managed to establish order, I managed to bring order to the
3 Q. That's not what I'm asking you. I'm asking you specifically about
4 your recollection of events. Do you follow?
5 A. Very well.
6 Q. Thank you very much. Now, I don't want to -- you to give any
7 evidence about what you've been told by anyone. I just want you to give
8 this Court of what you actually remember from that evening. Do you
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... want to ask any questions
12 about possibilities, I want you to deal specifically with your
14 A. Very well.
15 Q. Who gave you the order to withdraw from Ovcara that evening?
16 A. It was Captain Karanfilov's order for me to withdraw, and I
17 carried the order out.
18 Q. Again, please listen to the question very carefully. You have
19 been told about what other people have told you. Now, have you any
20 recollection or do you remember seeing Vukosavljevic that evening?
21 A. No, I don't remember that.
22 Q. And so, when it comes to the -- what has been described as the
23 possibility, you accepting the possibility of him giving you such an
24 order, is that because of what you have been told by others of what they
25 say they saw?
1 A. If I understand you correctly, what people told me and what fits
2 in the whole picture is something that I will gladly accept as the truth.
3 But this does not arise from my own recollection. This is based on what
4 other people told me.
5 Q. Thank you very much. I would like to deal with the
6 cross-examination of Mr. Lukic. You have been referred to passages in the
7 transcript when you gave evidence on the 29th of October. Now, I am
8 afraid I cannot give my learned friends the B/C/S page number because I
9 can't speak B/C/S, and I apologise for that, but the English version, it
10 is page 65, and it starts off with the Presiding Judge asking you a
11 question which commences in the following way --
12 A. Let me try and find that.
13 Q. Let me see if I can locate -- perhaps my learned friends who are
14 bilingual and perhaps even trilingual might be able to help. The question
15 is: "Mr. Vezmarovic, I know I asked you in which car Karanfilov had come.
16 It is because during the investigation at the military court you said
17 this: 'Captain Karanfilov arrived at Ovcara with his escorts in a Puch
18 and told me that Vukovar was now fully under the command of the organs of
19 the authority in Vukovar, the Vukovar Territorial Defence unit, and
20 consequently these prisoners as well who have been put in the hangar in
21 the meantime.'" .
22 That is the passage that I wish to deal with, please. Have you
23 got that passage or not? Or can my learned friends assist?
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] B/C/S version page 65, towards the end
25 of that page. This is what our learned friend has just read out.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I found it.
2 MR. MOORE:
3 Q. If we move down, we have got "Witness Dragan Vezmarovic," and you
4 see the phrase: "It's possible, it's possible." Have you got that or
5 not? It's important you tell us if you have or have not got that passage.
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. Good. Perhaps if I read it and we can deal with it that way.
8 "Presiding Judge: All right. Witness Novica Trifunovic said he
9 talked to you in front of the hangar, in front of it. He also said that
10 the two of them, he and Sapic, stood at the hangar door, by your orders,
11 following your order to stand at the door and make sure that nobody
12 entered the hangar, and that you and Captain Dragi were talking in front
13 of the hangar and Vukoslavljevic [sic], that is, that Captain Dragi, told
14 you to withdraw, to end the guarding, and that you were talking to him and
15 arguing about this."
16 Answer by yourself -- my learned friend Mr. Lukic objects.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] During the cross-examination,
19 according to your instruction, I did not want to read the paragraph
20 quoting, and the judge mentioning another witness, because my learned
21 friend Moore objected to that, and now my learned friend is doing just
22 that, quoting the judge mentioning another witness's name. I don't object
23 to that, but your initial instruction was different and I was prevented
24 from doing that.
25 MR. MOORE: The reason that I mentioned the name is because the
1 name Trifunovic was mentioned by my learned friend in -- I'm sorry, we can
2 find the transcript of it. The name has been mentioned in
3 cross-examination by the Defence during their cross-examination. So how
4 on earth can my learned friend object when in actual fact -- well, we can
5 check the transcript, it's very simple. How can my learned friend object
6 if in actual fact the name has been mentioned?
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic's recollection and position is quite
8 correct, Mr. Moore. Now, can you tell me what it is that you are
9 exploring with this witness?
10 MR. MOORE: Yes. I would submit that my learned friend Mr. Lukic
11 was cherry-picking. I use that word in a nice phrase.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Can we leave that aside. What is it that you are
14 MR. MOORE: I am submitting that the whole reply should go before
15 the Court so the Court can see the way this witness gave the evidence.
16 Not only here, dealing with the topic, but also at page 69.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Now, which is the whole reply that you have in
19 MR. MOORE: Your Honour has the copy. If one looks at the top, it
20 starts: "Presiding Judge: Mr. Vezmarovic." And then it's approximately
21 12 lines from the bottom, where it is: "Witness Dragan Vezmarovic:
22 That's right, that's right. But, as I was saying, I am not ruling out the
23 possibility that I also heard Dragi say the same thing."
24 So it's to that passage that I would submit is important, because
25 we would be submitting the way it was put to the witness is that really
1 there was inequivalence, whereas here what the witness is saying is that
2 Karanfilov ordered him, and he accepts the possibility because of what
3 others have said, that Dragi may have said the same thing. There is no
4 equivalence. One is a specific position and an agreement. When a
5 hypothetical position has been put to him, he says it's possible that he
6 may have said the same thing. And then in fairness, if one goes over to
7 page ---
8 JUDGE PARKER: Well, Mr. Moore, that emerges not from the whole
9 passage. It emerges from nearly two-thirds down the page. The Presiding
10 Judge putting to the witness: "Before the military court and later,
11 before during this court during the investigation and today --" Sorry:
12 "... before this court during the investigation and today, you said that
13 Captain Karanfilov had given you this order."
14 The witness replied: "That's right, that's right." And then the
15 witness adding: "But as I was saying, I'm not ruling out the possibility
16 that I also heard Dragi saying the same thing."
17 MR. MOORE: Yes.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Now, is there anything more than that?
19 MR. MOORE: Well, it's important, in my submission, that one
20 looks, when one refers to the possibility and an assessment of the way the
21 answer is given, that --
22 JUDGE PARKER: Well, the possibility was put to the witness by the
23 judge that it was said by Dragi.
24 MR. MOORE: No, the possibility -- what has been put by the judge
25 is, one, that there has been evidence given by another witness --
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, I am not excluding any of that. But this
2 witness's evidence was it was Captain Karanfilov.
3 MR. MOORE: Well, that's my submission, and that's what I would
4 submit is what he is saying, but the important word, in my submission and
5 I will submit in due course, is, having been given the possibility,
6 accepting the possibility, even if he has no recollection of it, he says,
7 "I am not ruling out the possibility, I also heard Dragi say the same
9 JUDGE PARKER: I would have thought that that has become very
10 clear in the course of cross-examination and what is apparent from this
11 transcript, and in the course of your re-examination so far. I'm not sure
12 why it is you think that you need to put the whole of this passage to the
13 witness to achieve that.
14 MR. MOORE: I am putting it to the witness because -- and as I
15 say, I am not trying to be unkind to my learned friend Mr. Lukic whom I
16 hold in both professional and personal high regard, but in my submission,
17 the way the cross-examination was done, it was done in a way to try and
18 suggest that this witness had said there was an equal likelihood that
19 Vukosavljevic had said it as well as Karanfilov. In my submission, he has
20 never said that in this transcript.
21 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber, as I have indicated earlier, doesn't
22 share that view, Mr. Moore. Mr. Lukic was cross-examining under some
23 restrictions imposed by the Chamber, and we -- as to how to handle this
24 passage, for obvious reasons. They are reasons which you, on the separate
25 topic, have been very careful to deal with in re-examination, that is
1 distinguishing this witness's actual recollection from what others have
2 put to him. Mr. Lukic was very careful in the way he dealt with it. The
3 point is that what has emerged from that was not, as I understood the
4 witness, an acceptance at all that these were equal possibilities. It was
5 an acceptance that his recollection was of an order from Karanfilov but,
6 as he explained, other things were possible. They included the presence
7 of the soldier Trifunovic at the door of the hangar, although he had no
8 recollection of it. They included that there may have also been a
9 conversation with Vukosavljevic, although he didn't recall it.
10 MR. MOORE: Yes, I agree with that.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Now, that's where the Chamber is, and you are
12 creating a bigger monster to try and destroy it, and the monster, perhaps,
13 is not there.
14 MR. MOORE: My apologies. Then I will move on to other topics, if
15 I may.
16 Q. Witness, you told us that when you were given the order by
17 Karanfilov, you said that you were bound to obey Karanfilov's orders,
18 namely to withdraw from the prisoners. The question I want to ask you is
19 this: Why were you bound to obey Karanfilov's orders?
20 A. I have to go back to the first group here. In the first group
21 from the very beginning to the very end, I was there, an order was issued
22 about these prisoners, who was below me, who was above me. On the
23 following day the same officer came, he issued an order to me on that
24 second day, and in my view it was only normal for me to carry out that
25 order. I did not see a single reason for which I should have not carried
1 out that order.
2 Q. Thank you very much. May I deal with cross-examination again. It
3 was during Mr. Lukic's cross-examination. You told us that within the
4 hangar they were pointing at a woman. Now, do you remember giving that
6 A. Yes, they drew my attention to the fact that there was indeed a
7 woman in the hangar.
8 Q. And who are "they"?
9 A. In simple terms, everybody there referred to me as "Captain,"
10 because of my rank, and every time I passed by, they wanted to talk to me,
11 they wanted to share with me the information they had. I told them to
12 wait until things settled down. Who it was exactly who told me that there
13 was a woman there, I really don't know. But this is what I remember. I
14 remember that somebody did tell me that there was a woman in the hangar,
15 amongst all these people.
16 Q. But the question is really quite specific. You have said "they"
17 were pointing at a woman, and I'm asking you who are "they"? Is it
18 civilians, is it military? Can you give us an indication of who it was
19 who was pointing at the woman?
20 A. One of the policemen who were there. They all wanted to talk to
21 me, they all addressed me as "Captain," but I really can't remember who it
22 was exactly who gave me that information.
23 Q. And when you use the phrase "policemen," is that military
24 policemen or civil policemen?
25 A. Only military policemen were there. So it was one of my
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, if you have finished that topic --
3 MR. MOORE: Would Your Honour just give me two minutes and I may
4 be able to finish completely.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It may be preferable to go over lunch.
6 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
7 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at 1.30.
8 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 1.37 p.m.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Moore.
11 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, my learned friends may be delighted to
12 hear that I have reflected over lunch-time and I have no further questions
13 for this witness.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 Further questioned by the Court:
17 JUDGE PARKER: There's one matter that the Chamber would like some
18 further assistance on. This concerns the evening of the 20th of November
19 when you were at Ovcara. That is the evening when you, on your evidence,
20 were ordered to withdraw your military policemen, and you did. Are you --
21 what are you able to tell us about the time that you left Ovcara in your
22 three vehicles with your men?
23 A. If you're asking me about the time of day, I really don't know.
24 If I knew when I came there, I would probably know when I went back.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Well, are you able, then, to indicate approximately
1 how long you were there that day? How many hours.
2 A. Trying to do my own math, I think it may have been between an hour
3 and a half and two.
4 JUDGE PARKER: So that is the -- in your estimate, the total time
5 you spent there; one and a half to two hours?
6 A. Yes, on that day.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Are you able to give any approximate indication,
8 either of when you arrived or when you left that day?
9 A. No, I really don't remember. Not even close.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. You will be pleased to know
12 that's the end of your evidence. The Chamber would like to thank you for
13 coming to The Hague and for the assistance that you have been able to
14 give, and you may now, of course, return to your home and your other
15 activities. The court officer will assist you out.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 JUDGE PARKER: Are we ready for the next witness, Mr. Moore?
19 MR. MOORE: May I call the next witness?
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
21 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
22 JUDGE PARKER: I was trying to get that in so that the court
23 officer could hear as he went, that it would speed things up if he brought
24 the next witness in when he returns.
25 MR. MOORE: Certainly.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour, and
4 good afternoon to everyone else in the courtroom.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please take the card that's given to you
6 and read aloud the affirmation.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Moore.
12 WITNESS: DRAGI VUKOSAVLJEVIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examination by Mr. Moore:
15 Q. Firstly, may I, with Court's leave, apologise to the witness
16 because he's been here since early this morning.
17 Secondly, what is your full name, please?
18 A. My name is Dragi Vukosavljevic. My father's name was Nastas, my
19 mother's name was Angelina, her maiden name was Tomic.
20 Q. Thank you very much. I believe that your date of birth is the
21 24th of September, 1947; is that correct?
22 A. That is correct.
23 Q. And your ethnic origin is Serbian. Is that also correct?
24 A. That is correct.
25 Q. May I ask, please, what your current employment is?
1 A. Currently I work as an engineer in a small company, but usually I
2 act as the general manager of the company.
3 Q. Thank you. I would like to deal, if I may, please, with what's
4 called the curriculum vitae of any witness. I think it's right to say
5 that you completed the infantry school for reserve military officers, you
6 were then a commander of a cadet section, and you subsequently became
7 appointed as a commander of a reserve platoon in the JNA of the 80th
8 Infantry, as you describe it, Regiment.
9 A. I have a slight correction to make. Before I became company
10 commander, I was also platoon commander for a year. But otherwise, it was
11 as you explained. I spent a year being platoon commander, and then
12 another year being company commander.
13 Q. Again, as -- I think as early as 1975 you held the rank of second
14 lieutenant, as you've already told us. You became a company commander,
15 and then I believe also in 1975 you appeared to have completed a course
16 for company commanders in Sarajevo; is that right?
17 A. That is right.
18 Q. In 1976, is it also correct to say that you were appointed chief
19 of the security organ in the 80th Infantry Regiment and at that time you
20 still had the rank of second lieutenant, although, I think it's right to
21 say that that --
22 A. That is correct.
23 Q. -- that position normally requires rank of captain first class or
25 A. That is correct, sir.
1 Q. And again also in 1976 is it right you completed a course for what
2 can be described as the security organs?
3 A. Yes. The course for head of security of regiment.
4 Q. I think it's right to say again that you attended Belgrade
5 University between 1985 and 1986 and you have a degree in -- I think it's
6 called organisation of production processes; is that right?
7 A. Yes. It was somewhat earlier, though. I graduated from the
8 Belgrade University in 1984, and my title is an engineer for organisation
9 of production processes, is my specialisation as well.
10 Q. Thank you. You have told us that you attended a course for
11 security organs. I want to deal with that, if I may, in fairly brief
12 outline. What exactly are the security organs? Can you inform the Court
13 what that means.
14 A. I can only speak about that in general terms. I have here a
15 certificate from my government concerning the things that I may address
16 here. Some of the things that we may be referring to would fall into the
17 domain of state security -- state secrets, but the security organs also
18 had to deal with the various issues pertaining to the functioning and
19 security of a given unit.
20 MR. MOORE: That being the case, I would make application that
21 this part of the witness's evidence - and it may become necessary again-
22 be given in closed session.
23 JUDGE PARKER: I didn't discern that your question would lead to
24 an answer that would infringe the problem. Did I miss something there,
25 Mr. Moore?
1 MR. MOORE: It's difficult to know exactly how far a witness can
2 be constrained if he believes that he is in open session. I do it out of
3 an abundance of caution.
4 JUDGE PARKER: I think I would press on in open session, but of
5 course if there is some matter you believe involves a state secret, if you
6 would identify that, and we can take special measures. Thank you.
7 MR. MOORE:
8 Q. What exactly is the function of the security organ or organs?
9 A. I will try to explain the security organ's work, but I cannot
10 address all the functions pertaining to state security. It is considered
11 a military secret, and is something that is highly confidential. This is
12 the document I received from my government. I haven't been given approval
13 to discuss the work of the State Security Service or its organs.
14 Q. Well, would we be able to deal with areas in general terms without
15 compromising you or state secrets? Could you try and do that, please?
16 A. Yes. The focus of the work of State Security Service is
17 counter-intelligence work, which also has implications in various units.
18 Q. I think it's right to say that in 1989, or perhaps 1990, the 80th
19 Infantry Regiment was reformed and it became known as the 80th Motorised
20 Brigade; is that correct?
21 A. That is correct, sir.
22 Q. And consequently you became then the chief of the security organ,
23 or perhaps in layman's language, the assistant commander for security; is
24 that correct?
25 A. Yes. The chief of security organs is the assistant commander for
1 security issues and counter-intelligence service, in principle.
2 Q. And I believe as a consequence of that you were promoted to the
3 rank of captain first class, and that was in 1990. Is that also right?
4 A. Yes. But it had nothing to do with my function or title. That
5 was an ordinary promotion.
6 Q. So if we can just look at the period prior to 1990, to what extent
7 and how long did you work in what I will call with the regular army as
8 opposed to being involved in any other capacity, for example, reserve?
9 A. Until 1989, since I joined the army in 1972, in late November or
10 early December, so I had spent some 17 years up until 1989 with the army.
11 Q. Thank you very much, indeed. I think if I just conclude this way,
12 that eventually the affairs were separated again, and this was transformed
13 into the VJ army, and you returned to your old post as chief of security
14 organ of the 80th Infantry Brigade, and that was until 2002 when the
15 brigade itself was disbanded and you were taken off wartime assignment.
16 Is that, in general terms, correct?
17 A. Perhaps an additional clarification. I was appointed chief of
18 security organ of the 80th Motorised Brigade in 1989 or 1990, and in 1984
19 or 1985 [as interpreted] there was a transformation unifying the
20 counter-intelligence State Security Service, and for a while I was the
21 head of the state security organ there up until 2002 when the 80th
22 Motorised Brigade was disbanded. Then I was taken off wartime assignment.
23 Q. I see in the translation -- or my attention has been drawn to the
24 fact that line 25, page 66, it seems to be and in 1984 or 1985. 1984,
25 '85. That seems to be out of sequence, whether it's a mistranslation or
1 a misstatement. Can I just read out for the witness's assistance, what
2 has been translated is: "I was appointed chief of the security organ of
3 the 80th Motorised Brigade in 1989 or 1990, and in 1984 or 1985 there was
4 a transformation unifying the counter-intelligence State Security
5 Service." Now, is it 1984, 1985 or '94, '95?
6 A. With Your Honour's leave, I can address that issue. The services
7 were unified in 1994 or 1995, so the interpretation must have been
9 Q. Thank you very much. Now, I just want to deal, if I may, please,
10 with the 80th Motorised Brigade. I'll try and deal with it, I hope
11 leading and not in any objectionable way. Is it right that there were two
12 mobilisations of the 80th Motorised Brigade before it was deployed on the
13 7th of November? The first attempt was in September, 1991, which
14 apparently, to use your phrase, more or less failed when the brigade
15 reached --
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. -- Sid without the 2nd and 3rd Infantry Battalions. And that the
18 second mobilisation was conducted in October or early November, and the
19 brigade was mobilised by battalion, artillery battalion, and independent
20 companies were dispatched in parts of the war zone. Is that right or not?
21 A. In principle, yes. But we could be more specific, since I
22 participated in all those events, if there is a need to be more specific.
23 Q. Yes, please, thank you very much.
24 A. The 80th Motorised Brigade, by end October, early November, was
25 mobilised. And smaller units that were within the composition of the
1 brigade, being artillery battalions, that was taking place successively.
2 The last part to be mobilised was the command of the 80th Motorised
3 Brigade with staff units. Perhaps I can clarify what those staff units
4 are. That was on the 7th of November. And on the 8th of November, after
5 a short preparation interval in Smederevo, we arrived at Negoslavci in
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to speak
8 directly into the microphone and perhaps move a bit closer. Thank you.
9 MR. MOORE:
10 Q. I don't know if you heard that. The translation booth are having
11 difficulty hearing you.
12 A. Is it better now?
13 Q. Yes, that's splendid. Thank you very much.
14 A. I apologise to the interpreters.
15 Q. I doubt if that's a problem. Now, can you tell us, please, what
16 happened to the battalions of the brigade. How were they deployed?
17 A. The 80th Motorised Brigade had four battalions within its
18 composition. If you'd like me to, later on I can tell you what else it
19 consisted of: One tank battalion and three infantry battalions. The 1st
20 Infantry Battalion was mobilised sometime early in the second half of
21 October and sent off to join the Novi Sad corps.
22 The 2nd Infantry Battalion was mobilised several days after the
23 first battalion. You should have the exact date in the brigade archive.
24 I don't know it off the top of my head right now. It was part of the
25 Guard's Division, and I think Major General Mica Delic was its commander
1 at the time.
2 The 3rd Infantry Battalion was sent to become part of the Guards
3 Motorised Brigade. And that's about it as far as the four battalions are
5 They were two further battalions, the engineer's battalion and the
6 rear battalion. Those two, the rear battalion was also mobilised on the
7 7th, the same time as the brigade command. And the engineer's battalion
8 several days earlier. That's all about the battalions; there were a total
9 of six.
10 Q. Is it right to say that with regard to the 2nd Infantry Battalion,
11 you referred to the Guard's Division, that should not be confused with the
12 Guards Motorised Brigade that was under the command of Colonel Mrksic?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. Thank you. May we deal with those particular battalions
15 themselves. If we look at the brigade, the 80th Brigade, what was
16 actually left after what I will call, in layman's language, this
17 redeployment or subordination?
18 A. To the best of my knowledge, the only thing that remained was the
19 rear battalion, some independent companies and the staff command. During
20 the night between the 7th and the 8th of November, a military police
21 platoon was taken out of the -- of its original composition and
22 resubordinated to a different unit that was within the brigade.
23 Q. So if we deal with all the officers of the 80th Motorised Brigade,
24 were they full-time officers, or were they reserve officers, prior to
1 A. Mobilisation took place in late October and early November. All
2 battalion commanders and artillery battalion commanders were full-time
3 military officers. The previous commanders, the reserve commanders, were
4 -- now became their deputies.
5 Q. I want to deal with -- and please don't answer this question just
6 yet -- the brigade's light anti-aircraft artillery battalion. I would
7 like to go into closed session for that, or private session, in relation
8 to the reply to that, if you know the name. Do you know the name?
9 A. Light anti-aircraft defence, artillery battery, or artillery
10 battalion is a part of the brigade, and it is used for the protection of
11 all of the brigade's units.
12 MR. MOORE: May I just go into private session in relation to the
13 reply to this question, please?
14 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
15 [Private session]
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
4 MR. MOORE:
5 Q. The 80th Motorised Brigade, I believe, had an independent military
6 police company; is that right?
7 A. Certainly.
8 Q. And who had command of that company? Do you know his name,
10 A. The commander of the military police company was Dragan
12 Q. And do you know how many platoons the company had in --
13 A. Yes. Again, the company comprised two military police platoons
14 and a traffic platoon, this special subunit. And Vezmarovic also had a
15 company assistant officer, so that's what the military police company
16 comprised, that would be its structure.
17 Q. And if one was assessing the percentage of capacity, would you be
18 able to give an assessment of how up-to-strength they actually were in
20 A. About 70 per cent, manning levels.
21 Q. I would like to move on to the topic, if I may, please, I've dealt
22 with it slightly at the beginning, but it's in relation to your duties as
23 a chief of the security organ of the 80th Motorised Brigade. Now, I think
24 it's right to say, and you've already told us that you were the chief
25 during the time, that you were in what I will call the Vukovar area.
1 A. Yes. Yes, I was chief of the security organ of the 80th Motorised
2 Brigade, that's quite right.
3 Q. And can you remember the date that you came to that particular
5 A. On the 8th, on the afternoon of the 8th. I had been mobilised on
6 the 7th, I left Kragujevac from the brigade's assembly place, and on the
7 8th, on the afternoon of the 8th, I arrived in Negoslavci.
8 Q. And when did you actually depart?
9 A. We set out from Kragujevac on the afternoon of the 7th, we spent
10 the night between the 7th and the 8th in Smederevo, and early in the
11 morning on the 8th we eventually left for Vukovar.
12 Q. And when you refer to the 7th and the 8th, which month?
13 A. November, November.
14 Q. And can you remember the month that you left?
15 A. You mean when I returned from the front line? Do you mean when
16 the brigade was pulled out?
17 Q. Yes, I do.
18 A. I think if you look at my personal military book, the date is the
19 14th of January. That is when the entire brigade was ordered to pull out.
20 I have this military document on me, I have it in my briefcase. I can
21 show it to you if you like. I may be wrong, give or take a day or two.
22 It's either the 14th or the 15th of January.
23 Q. And that, presumably, is 1992?
24 A. Yes. Yes, sir. I apologise for being slightly imprecise.
25 Q. I think I'm the one who's imprecise most of the time. Now, can we
1 deal, please, with the security department itself. Were there other
2 security officers who assisted you at that time in the 80th Motorised
4 A. Given the fact that I had my government's approval to discuss the
5 establishment of the 80th Brigade, I can tell you this: The 80th Brigade
6 comprised seven security officers, including me. Brigade-level security,
7 and that was me, the chief, we had a security officer, a junior officer at
8 that time, and in the 2nd and 3rd Battalion the security officers were
9 also acting as intelligence and security officers at the same time;
10 officers in charge of intelligence and security-related issues. In the
11 rear battalion there was another security officer. He was a security
12 officer and had no intelligence-related duties.
13 Q. So how many persons were actually subordinated to you within the
14 security organ at this time?
15 A. Within the security organ itself I had two officers who were
16 subordinate to me; a full-fledged officer and a non-commissioned officer.
17 In terms of the technical aspects of our work, the battalion security
18 officers were duty-bound to submit reports to me on anything that went on
19 in terms of security in their own units. They were directly linked to
20 battalion commanders. Professionally speaking, or as far as the more
21 technical aspects were concerned, they were linked to me.
22 Q. And can you give us the names of the two individuals who were
23 subordinated to you, please.
24 A. Zivko Vasic. He didn't know at the time, but he was already a 2nd
25 lieutenant. They told him later about the promotion. And Mile was a
1 sergeant, but I can't remember his surname. I can't tell you, but it's
2 right there in the brigade archive, the facts should be there, and all his
3 personal information. Should be easy to check.
4 Q. And who was your brigade commander?
5 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic. He was later promoted to the rank of
7 Q. And were you ever informed by Colonel Vojnovic to whom your
8 brigade was subordinated to?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And who was that, please?
11 A. I apologise, can you please repeat that for me?
12 Q. Yes. Were you ever informed by Colonel Vojnovic to whom your
13 brigade was subordinated to in early November, 1991?
14 A. In terms of our methodology, the methods we used and in terms of
15 the relationships between the security officers, and the brigade
16 commander, a security officer, as the junior officer, must report to the
17 brigade commander as soon as he arrives. That's what I did. I reported
18 to the brigade commander on the 8th, just upon my arrival in the village
19 of Negoslavci. I asked him to brief me on the brigade's situation, as it
20 was. He gave me whatever information he had but I don't think it was
21 before the 10th that he actually told me that the 80th Motorised Brigade
22 had been resubordinated to the command of the Guards Motorised Brigade,
23 which was also the command of Operations Group South.
24 Q. And to whom did you start sending your reports vis-a-vis the
25 security organ?
1 A. According to the rules of service, a security officer from a
2 subordinate command must report to a security officer from his superior
3 command. The chief of the security organ of the Guards Motorised Brigade
4 at the time was Major Sljivancanin. I think he has since been made into a
5 Colonel, Colonel Sljivancanin.
6 My first meeting with the security officers of the 80th Brigade
7 [as interpreted] occurred in the absence of the chief of the security
8 organ, Mr. Sljivancanin. I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning his name
9 without the rank. The first conversation I had was with Captain Karan,
10 who was with the security organ in Osijek, but he was now with the Guard's
11 Motorised Brigade in Negoslavci.
12 Q. The questions that I -- or the question that I asked you is to
13 whom did you start sending your reports vis-a-vis the security organ?
14 Sorry, I just want to deal with what might be a misinterpretation, because
15 I'm looking specifically at line 13 -- page 75, 13. So that is why I put
16 the question and the, answer to see whether it needs clarifying, whether
17 it is an error, or whether it's a mistranslation. I am entirely in the
18 Court's hands.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Please put the question.
20 MR. MOORE: Thank you.
21 Q. That is the question that I asked you, but the answer that we have
22 got -- part of it, if I may say, is: "My first meeting with the security
23 officers of the 80th Brigade occurred in the absence of the chief of the
24 security organ, Mr. Sljivancanin." Now, you say "officers of the 80th
25 Brigade." Is that a misinterpretation?
1 A. No. It must be either a misinterpretation -- As far as I
2 remember, I said security officers of the Guards Motorised Brigade. I was
3 an officer from a subordinate command, and my duty was to report to the
4 security officers of my superior command, which was precisely what I did.
5 Q. Exactly. Thank you for clarifying that. Now, did you actually
6 visit the security organ of the Guards Motorised Brigade by virtue of your
7 duty --
8 A. Yes, yes. Yes, yes.
9 Q. Thank you very much. And to whom did you report or to whom did
10 you see -- whom did you see?
11 A. As I have already said, I'm not sure if it's been interpreted, but
12 the first person I met was Captain First Class Karan, who was a clerk with
13 the security organ of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
14 Q. Did you at any time see Lieutenant Karanfilov in the execution of
15 your duties?
16 A. Yes. I did see him a number of times. But the first meeting I
17 had with any of them was the meeting I had with Mr. Captain First Class
19 Q. May I deal with Lieutenant Karanfilov. In relation to your
20 dealings with him, to whom was he subordinated? Are you able to say? Or
21 who did he report to?
22 A. As far as I knew, Lieutenant Karanfilov was a security officer of
23 the counter-intelligence group of the Guards Motorised Brigade, and was
24 subordinated to Mr. Sljivancanin, who was the chief of security.
25 Q. And how often did you visit the security organ of the Guards
1 Motorised Brigade at that time?
2 A. One could say almost on a daily basis.
3 Q. How important was it at that time for a close contact with the
4 security organ of the Guards Motorised Brigade vis-a-vis the cooperation
5 between the 80th Brigade and the Guards Motorised Brigade or OG South?
6 A. In principle, if there was a higher degree or extent of
7 cooperation, results were better. However, the same applies as I answered
8 to your previous question: The 80th Motorised Brigade did not have any
9 considerable forces at its disposal, so the degree of interest of the
10 security organ of the Guards Motorised Brigade, to me, as its chief, was
11 perfectly in keeping with what the brigade had in terms of its capacity or
12 the extent to which problems regarding security were current at all. You
13 might say not considerable.
14 Q. To what extent must a senior officer be appraised of what I will
15 call day to day security considerations within the security organ itself?
16 A. In practical terms, he must be appraised of all the important
17 details that may or may not occur in any of the subordinate units.
18 Q. If one deals with your experience as a soldier, what was the
19 overall impression that you had of the security organs of the Guards
20 Motorised Brigade with regard to their professionalism and the way they
21 approached their work?
22 A. It's a thankless task for me as a reserve officer to pass
23 judgement on these top-level professionals who worked as security officers
24 for the Guards Brigade. For the most part those were hand-picked
25 officers, as it were; the cream of the crop, top-level professionals,
1 top-notch men. That's at least what I believe. It is, however, a
2 thankless task for me to pass judgement on officers who have a much higher
3 degree of both education and training than I do myself.
4 Q. May I deal with reports, both in oral and written form. Was there
5 any obligation - perhaps I'll use the word "duty" - to submit written
6 reports on a regular basis? If there was, can you tell us to what extent
7 and to whom you would send those reports.
8 A. In principle the form the reporting took would be agreed on by the
9 security officers of the subordinate and the superior commands. For the
10 most parts, reports up the chain of command were oral. I think there were
11 a couple of written reports about security problems arising in the 80th
12 Brigade. They were low on manpower, and low on units in terms of what
13 they had under their command.
14 Q. I may come back to this topic in due course, but I would like to
15 deal, if I may, please, with what I will call the local Serb TO, or
16 sometimes known as volunteers or paramilitaries. Do you know, or can you
17 remember who was the commander of the local Serb TO in Vukovar at that
19 A. My first contact with any civilian bodies or TO units occurred
20 just after the 80th Motorised Brigade had entered Vukovar. All I can talk
21 about is the -- is that time period and from this point onwards, but if
22 you want me to tell you specifically, I think I could.
23 Q. Before we proceed --
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
25 MR. MOORE: There may be a problem on the translation.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I apologise to
3 my learned friend, but I would like to say something about the way he
4 phrased the previous question. I don't think it is something that arises
5 from what we have heard so far, but on page 78, line 20, he chose to speak
6 about "the local Serb TO, sometimes known as volunteers or
7 paramilitaries." I don't think those two terms should be set on an equal
8 footing, as it were, and this comes across as being suggested by my
9 learned friend's question, which may eventually lead to confusing the
10 witness, and we wish to avoid that, don't we.
11 MR. MOORE: We certainly do.
12 Q. Would you like to tell us the term that you believe is
14 A. Your Honours, I don't think I could possibly be confused by a
15 question like this. The TO, the volunteers and the paramilitaries, those
16 are three different categories. In the former Yugoslavia the Territorial
17 Defence was organised much as a military unit, at a territorial level.
18 Each region, each municipality had a TO staff. Depending on the size of
19 the respective socio-political community, and I mean the region or the
20 area, its TO would be set up. This applied to the republican level too.
21 Paramilitaries are paramilitaries. We all know what that means, don't we.
22 Volunteers are volunteers.
23 Under the principle of unity of command, all units happening to be
24 in an area where the JNA are carrying out their operations are expected to
25 submit themselves to the Supreme Command of the JNA and to the JNA units.
1 We have here the TO, which was set up along the same lines, basically, as
2 the JNA itself. They had the same sort of command structure: Squad,
3 detachment, battalion, that sort of thing. Sir, is that a satisfactory
4 explanation for you?
5 Q. Thank you very much. And did you know the names of the leaders of
6 the -- what I will call the local TO in Vukovar?
7 A. Yes. After the 23rd I had contacts with representatives of the
8 local Territorial Defence. The commander of the Territorial Defence,
9 which was not your question, but if you want me to, I can answer that.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
11 A. The commander of the Territorial Defence was Miroljub Vujovic, the
12 Chief of Staff of the Territorial Defence was Stanko Vujanovic, and those
13 were two key figures in the Territorial Defence of Vukovar.
14 Q. Did you ever know one person called Milan Lancuzanin within the
15 context of the Vukovar TO?
16 A. Yes, I knew him. He was the commander of the Leva Supoderica
17 detachment, and his nickname was Kameni. He was also known as Kameni.
18 Q. To whom were the local Vukovar TO subordinated to?
19 A. At the moment when the 80th Brigade entered Vukovar, which was on
20 the 23rd, 24th or on 25th - I can't be sure of the exact date, but there
21 are documents testifying to that. All the units that were present in the
22 territory of Vukovar had to be subordinated to the command of the 80th
23 Motorised Brigade.
24 Q. And if we deal with the period 8th, 9th, 10th of November, do you
25 know to whom they were subordinated at that time?
1 A. I can't be sure of that. At the time I was in the territory,
2 however not a single unit of the 80th Brigade was in contact with those
3 units. However, all those units had to be subordinated to one of the
4 commands of the JNA.
5 Q. And to which command of the JNA did you believe that they were
6 subordinated to at that time?
7 A. In my view, they should have been subordinated to the command of
8 the Guards Motorised Brigade, but I'm not positive about that. I can't be
9 sure whether that's correct or not.
10 Q. Thank you. I want to deal, then, with the individuals to whom you
11 have been referring. You have told us about Kameni. Were you aware, or
12 did you form any view, in respect of his political ideas or sympathies?
13 A. Truth be told, I did speak to this person several times, and I
14 believe that he was inclined towards the radicals, but at that time the
15 JNA did not attach too much importance to the -- to any ideology.
16 Patriotism was of more importance, and the fact that people were either
17 interested or not in becoming members of the JNA. That was what was
18 important at the time.
19 Q. May I deal with the Petrova Gora, the detachment or the TO
20 detachment, as it's sometimes called. Do you know if it continued to
21 exist after the 80th Motorised Brigade entered Vukovar?
22 A. As far as I know, the Petrova Gora detachment was [indiscernible],
23 Vukovar no longer existed. The only thing that existed was the Leva
24 Supoderica detachment, and its commander was Mr. Milan Lancuzanin.
25 Q. Thank you very much, indeed. I think there is a concern that
1 perhaps when we mentioned the days, the 23rd, 24th and 25th, I presume
2 we're talking about November; is that right?
3 A. That's right, sir. I apologise, I thought that this went without
4 saying. Can you please remind me when you want me to be specific about
5 any dates.
6 Q. I'm quite sure the dates now will be set in stone, at least for
7 the month.
8 Now, may I deal, please, with regard to the nature of the uniform
9 of the local TO. Are you able to assist us on that? What way did they
10 tend to dress?
11 A. As regards the uniforms of the TO, those uniforms differed. They
12 varied. They wore JNA uniforms as a matter of principle. There was the
13 M-77 uniform, but there were also camouflage uniforms; M-89 or M-90. As
14 for the type of uniform, it depended on the place in the hierarchy of the
15 TO. Those who were high-ranking had more complete uniforms than the mere
16 foot soldiers. In any case, they had JNA hats, coats, trousers, they also
17 wore sneakers and other types of blouses and trousers.
18 Q. Thank you very much. I just want to deal with the -- Major
19 Sljivancanin in very brief order. I think it's right to say that you
20 believe that you met him on two or three occasions, in Eastern Slavonia;
21 is that right?
22 A. That is correct.
23 Q. I think you met him socially. Is that also correct?
24 A. No. No, not socially. Just in my official capacity.
25 Q. Perhaps it's the way it was phrased. But is it correct to say
1 that he showed you an element of courtesy when it came to dealing with
2 you, that he was polite and courteous?
3 A. Very much so. Very polite, very courteous. A good colleague.
4 Q. When I meant socially - perhaps it was an imprecise question -
5 that if you had informal talks with him, he would, for example, always
6 offer you a drink?
7 A. The first time I met with Mr. -- Major Sljivancanin, he welcomed
8 me, he inquired after my health, my family, he offered me his telephone to
9 call home, he told me that they had a bathroom if I wanted to take a bath.
10 He did offer me a drink. In other words, he was a very polite, the
11 meeting was very cordial, and the cordiality was very much typical of the
12 people who hail from Serbia, from Sumadija.
13 Q. I suspect there will be a few people in this court who will be
14 glad to hear that. Let's move on, if I may. Can I deal, though, with
15 what I will call work-related issues. If you did ever speak to him about
16 a work-related issue, did he deal with it himself, or how did he deal with
17 it, if not?
18 A. In keeping with the training that I underwent as a security man, I
19 can say that when I arrived in the combat area I had to be briefed about
20 the security situation, and in that sense I asked Major Sljivancanin to
21 brief me. However, he mostly referred me to Captain Karan, who was the
22 security organ in the Guards Motorised Brigade.
23 Q. And if one was dealing with what I will call training for security
24 organs, is there a -- a belief where the security organ should be located
25 when one refers to a front line or a headquarters? Was there any
1 particular philosophy in relation to that?
2 A. As a matter of principle, a security organ, and not only security
3 organs, but all the organs of the command, have to be at the disposal of
4 the brigade commander at all times. They have to provide him with
5 proposals in order to help him in the decision-making process when it came
6 to the use of subordinated units. The chief of security is supposed to be
7 in the brigade command. However, the work of the security organ requires
8 a lot of field work as well. And since you have given me the green light
9 to talk about the organisation structure of the motorised brigade, I can
10 say that I had two officers to work in the divisions where there were no
11 security organs and I directly contacted the two of them and the four
12 security organs in the battalions that I have mentioned here; the 1st, the
13 2nd, the 3rd, and the rear battalion.
14 Q. May I just deal with Major Sljivancanin. You have said that he
15 was head of the security organ.
16 A. Yes. Yes, this is what I'm aware of.
17 Q. Within the confines of OG South, who was Major Sljivancanin's
18 commander? To whom did he advise?
19 A. According to the chain of command, the brigade commander is
20 superior to the security organs in any of the brigades and according to
21 the professional line, the security organs are linked to the security
22 organs of the superior command. And the superior command of the Guards
23 Motorised Brigade, I don't know which command it was, I can't be sure of
24 that. And that would be my answer to your question.
25 Q. And if one takes Colonel Mrksic, what relationship or what role
1 did Major Sljivancanin play in respect of him within what I will call a
2 professional capacity?
3 A. If we're talking about professional links, and you are obviously
4 referring to the counter-intelligence, that is something that the security
5 organ is in charge of, I can answer you that, but can you just please
6 confirm that this is what you're referring to in your question.
7 Q. It's part of what I'm referring to.
8 A. If you're referring to counter-intelligence, the security organ
9 reports to his commander, either me or Major Sljivancanin. The security
10 organ has to provide them with the most important thing that jeopardised
11 the work of the unit. I did that, and according to the command chain,
12 both him and I report to the brigade commander who gives us tasks, but we
13 also are given tasks by the security organ of our superior command at the
14 same time.
15 Q. If one takes Colonel Mrksic, one takes Major Sljivancanin, what
16 role does Major Sljivancanin play vis-a-vis his -- what role does Major
17 Sljivancanin play in respect of Colonel Mrksic's capacity as commander?
18 A. He had to inform him about the security situation in the unit.
19 Q. And when you say "security situation of the unit," when you refer
20 to "unit," what do you mean?
21 A. I mean the Guards Motorised Brigade and all the units subordinated
22 to the Guards Motorised Brigade, which was at the same time the command of
23 the OG South.
24 Q. And how important a task is that?
25 A. I don't want to exaggerate the role of the security organ, but at
1 some moments this role is crucial. The information that a security organ
2 can provide his commander with can help him resolve many things and
3 provide for the correct and appropriate use of his units.
4 Q. Let me give you a situation. If it became apparent that units
5 subordinated to eventually Colonel Mrksic was behaving in a way that
6 clearly was either threatening the security of the unit or was behaving in
7 a way that would create significant problems for the unit, and Major
8 Sljivancanin was aware of that, what obligation would he have to inform
9 Colonel Mrksic of that fact?
10 A. To inform him fully. The information that flows between the
11 security organ and the commander is specified: The chief of security
12 strives to inform the commander on any of the security issues as soon as
13 possible, in the briefest possible time. And commander in his turn can
14 ask for additional information and additional explanation, based on which
15 eventually he will make a decision.
16 Q. Thank you very much. Now, what I would like to do is I want to
17 deal with what I will use the generic head of evacuations. At the time
18 that you were in Vukovar, were you involved in any evacuations?
19 A. Not in the classical sense of the word. Not any evacuations from
20 the beginning to the end. However, I participated in providing security
21 for the prisoners of war who had been taken to the Mitnica sector. Any
22 evacuation starts at the moment when prisoners of war were received, and
23 it ends when the prisoners of war are taken to a certain destination or to
24 a sector where they are guarded and secured.
25 Q. Which units are deemed to be the most suitable for guarding or
1 securing prisoners of war?
2 A. The military police units, which were best equipped for guarding
3 prisoners of war.
4 Q. And why is it that the military police units are the most suitable
5 for guarding or securing prisoners of war? Can you explain why it is that
6 that is the case?
7 A. Because they have to undergo special training. They are trained
8 to prevent any riots, they are trained to provide security for facilities,
9 they know how to treat prisoners of war, that's why they are best suited
10 to provide security for prisoners of war.
11 Q. How normal, or is it a normal procedure for a security officer to
12 be in charge of an evacuation of prisoners?
13 A. As far as I know, this is not within the purview of a security
14 officer, as far as I know. A security officer can be consulted vis-a-vis
15 an evacuation. However, when it comes to the operations on the ground,
16 guarding and providing security, this is within the purview of the
17 security subject's commanders and units subordinated to them.
18 Q. And if one deals with Territorial Defence units, in your
19 professional judgement, at the end of a conflict, how prudent or wise is
20 it for a Territorial Defence unit to be involved in an evacuation
21 operation exclusively?
22 A. It all depends on the assessment of the commander. It is up to
23 the commander to decide on that. And the assessment is based on the
24 information provided to him by his subordinates. Any operation is based
25 on such information, any operation, including an evacuation.
1 Q. And again within your professional evaluation, if there was
2 information available to that commander that local TO units had been
3 committing atrocities or had been harming prisoners, would it be, in your
4 judgement, advisable or wise for local TO units to be subsequently
5 involved in an evacuation of similar prisoners?
6 A. Of course not. Of course not. And I have a request from you,
7 Mr. Moore. I am an engineer and when you ask me for my professional
8 opinion, you are actually asking for my opinion as a reserve security
9 officer, and my profession is somewhat different. And I apologise for
10 this slight correction.
11 Q. That is not a problem at all. We will deal with it in other ways
12 as well.
13 Let us move on, then, to evacuations that you were aware of in the
14 Vukovar area. Were you aware of -- what was the first evacuation that you
15 became aware of?
16 A. The first evacuation that I became aware of, i.e., that I saw, was
17 a convoy of buses that passed through Negoslavci from the direction of
18 Vukovar. When I asked what this was all about, I was told that those were
19 Croatian prisoners of war, members of various military formations, like
20 the Guards, and so on and so forth. They were taken in buses through
21 Negoslavci and, as far as I could understand, they were taken to the
22 detention unit in Sremska Mitrovica.
23 The second evacuation that I am aware of was the evacuation of the
24 Mitnica group. I apologise, yes.
25 Q. That's not a problem. We deal with the first evacuation. We use
1 the phrase in English members of various military formations like the
2 guards. Now, "guards," in English, can mean guards as in prison guards,
3 or security guards, or of course in this instance, it can mean the
4 military guards regiment. So we've got a translation, "various military
5 formations like the Guards." What do you mean by that? Can you be a
6 little more specific? It's just a question of language here.
7 A. As far as I understand, in Vukovar there were units of the ZNG,
8 the National Guards Corps, and they were referred to as Guards or ZNG
9 soldiers. They were members of the Croatian Defence Council, which was
10 the term used for the Croatian military. And they were also MUP members.
11 The buses that I mentioned that went from Borovo Naselje through
12 Negoslavci and further on to Sremska Mitrovica, carried members of those
13 formations that I have just mentioned.
14 Q. Well, that is your first evacuation. The second, you were going
15 to tell us, related to Mitnica.
16 MR. MOORE: But might I just respectfully inquire if the Court is
17 seeking an adjournment, as I think you normally do, within an hour and a
19 JUDGE PARKER: If it's convenient, then, Mr. Moore, we can break
21 MR. MOORE: It's just I was going to start Mitnica.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Well, there is only three minutes, so, yes.
23 We will have the first break now and resume at 20 minutes past
25 --- Recess taken at 2.59 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 3.27 p.m.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
3 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
4 Q. May we deal, please, then with Mitnica. You have said you were
5 going to tell us about the Mitnica evacuation. Now, how did you become
6 involved with that, please, or how did you see that?
7 A. I got involved with that pursuant to orders by my brigade
8 commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic. Some forces of the 80th Motorised
9 Brigade were sent with me, the assignment being to provide security for
10 the prisoners, but companies of the military police, brigade command
11 officers, and people from the staff units were charge of that.
12 Q. Did you actually arrive, or did you go to Ovcara on the 18th in
13 relation to the Mitnica evacuation?
14 A. Yes. You could put it that way.
15 Q. And in what capacity were you involved?
16 A. As a security officer. That was my basic assignment.
17 Q. And what specifically was your task or role?
18 A. The role of a security officer in providing security for and
19 guarding POWs should be none at all, in fact. I suppose the brigade
20 commander sent me there to monitor what was going on and to make sure that
21 the prisoners were being treated in keeping with the Geneva and Hague
22 conventions, whether the procedure being applied was proper. Otherwise,
23 he should not have got me involved at all.
24 Q. And the name of the brigade commander who sent you?
25 A. Milorad Vojnovic.
1 Q. We know from evidence that has given before the Court that the
2 Mitnica evacuation came to Ovcara on the 18th and departed on the 19th of
3 November. Did you remain at Ovcara through the night and early morning of
4 the 18th, 19th of November?
5 A. Yes, yes. Yes, I can provide a detailed description of the
6 security regime, if you want to know about that, if it is of any interest
7 to the Chamber or any other gentlemen present.
8 Q. That's exactly my next question. Would you be kind enough,
9 please, to tell us, using your words, what the security regime that
10 existed for those prisoners involved.
11 A. We set up two security systems. External security around the
12 hangar at Ovcara, where the captured members of what I will call the
13 Croatian armed forces were, the ZNG, the police, and all the rest that I
14 mentioned. We had two security systems, the external one and the internal
15 one. From the direction of the Bulgarian cemetery and the forest of
16 Djerga, there was still sporadic shooting. That was one of the reasons.
17 We provided external security by using members of the staff units. The
18 signals company, the ABHO, the staff command, the reconnaissance company
19 had been taken away, and had been sent to guard the observation post, the
20 artillery observation post. Internal security comprised members of the
21 military police and officers from the brigade command. We worked in two
22 shifts. One shift would relieve the other. Lieutenant-Colonel Danilovic,
23 the Chief of Staff, was in charge of the operation. He, myself, and
24 Captain Vezmarovic stayed until the next morning. I was so tired,
25 however, that just before the prisoners were put on buses I had been sent
1 back to the command to get some rest by the commander. And that was about
2 it. We offered the commander water, food, and he wanted to have some food
3 -- some water. We used jerry cans, 50-litre jerry cans, and we brought
4 water two or three times; there were 200 people there, after all. This
5 would be a detailed description, but if you want more on any of the
6 various aspects of the situation, I can provide that too.
7 Q. I wasn't intending to ask you any additional details. But how
8 many individuals, from your recollection, were actually used to guard the
9 Mitnica group of prisoners of war?
10 A. A single shift would normally comprise between 40 and 50, which
11 adds up to a total of about 100 soldiers for both shifts. But this is a
12 very liberal estimate, and this was, after all, 16 years ago.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please be
14 asked to speak up a little. Thank you.
15 MR. MOORE:
16 Q. I'm told by the interpreters if you could keep your voice up, as
17 you speak quite slowly and quietly.
18 Why is it necessary to work in shifts when you are providing
20 A. Because of the exhaustion. Under the rules, a shift should last
21 for two hours, and then the soldiers on guard should be relieved. But we
22 took six-hour shifts. Our soldiers had six-hour shifts.
23 Is it any better now, in terms of the audibility of my voice, and
24 the pace?
25 Q. It is, thank you very much. That's extremely helpful. Can you --
1 you've already told us about Vezmarovic. Do you know if Karanfilov was
2 present at any time during the Mitnica evacuation?
3 A. Yes. Yes, he was, and he was practically the one who brought the
4 command of the Mitnica group. We were there, Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic,
5 Lieutenant-Colonel Danilovic, I was there, perhaps there were other
6 officers there, but I don't remember. Captain Karanfilov practically
7 brought the group there, as well as the commander of the group, Filip
8 Karaula. We talked to him, we told him about the security regime, what it
9 would be inside the hangar, which steps would be taken, and his attention
10 was drawn to the fact that they were to -- expected to abide by this,
11 otherwise we might be compelled to take steps of our own.
12 Q. As far as you are aware, what was Karanfilov's role in the Mitnica
13 evacuation, either on the 18th or the 19th of November?
14 A. I'll put it this way: I was entirely unfamiliar with his role in
15 the evacuation of Mitnica, but we saw him that evening, and he handed the
16 group over. He kept mentioning The Hague conventions, he offered the
17 prisoners a separate room, all the conditions enshrined in The Hague
18 conventions for the treatment of military officers, but I didn't know his
19 role, I had not been aware of his role up to the moment we actually met at
21 Q. Can you remember if you saw him on the 19th in relation to
23 A. The Mitnica group?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. As far as I remember, I didn't see him. But I may have left a
1 little earlier, just before they started putting prisoners on the buses
2 there. Maybe someone else saw him. I know that my brigade came to visit
3 us that morning, and the commander sent me off to get some rest. He
4 realised that I was very tired.
5 Q. You have spoken about your fatigue level. Vezmarovic was clearly
6 there as well. In which capacity was he employed?
7 A. He is a captain, he was the military police company commander.
8 Q. And you describe your own fatigue level. Was that a consequence
9 of the guard duty that you had whilst at Ovcara?
10 A. You could put it that way. Although in those days I got very
11 little sleep, and I ate too little. I had a muscle inflammation as well,
12 I was suffering muscle inflammation in those days. I had not adapted
13 quickly enough to conditions of war. I used to work as a manager before
14 that, you see, so my physical fitness levels were not perhaps what you
15 would expect in a situation like that.
16 Q. Can we also deal, then, please, with whether you can recollect if
17 there were any incidents that caught your attention through the night and
18 early morning of 18th and 19th of November at Ovcara.
19 A. Objectively speaking, as for any incidents that could have
20 affected the security situation, there were none. There were some
21 marginal things happening. Some people came over from Vukovar to see who
22 was there. There was a lieutenant-colonel from the Guards Brigade
23 [Realtime transcript read in error "Brigade"]. He was probably the chief
24 from one or the other branches, and he wanted to get inside, but we sent
25 him away, we turned him away. But there were no incidents affecting the
1 prisoners' safety or the security regime around the hangar.
2 Q. I would like to deal with the matter or incident in respect of the
3 lieutenant-colonel from the -- I thought you had said the Guards Brigade.
4 I've only got on the translation, "Brigade." Is that correct or no?
5 A. The Guards Brigade, yes. I used to see that man whenever I went
6 to the command.
7 Q. Well, can we deal with the incident involving the
8 lieutenant-colonel of the Guards Brigade. What exactly did he do that
10 A. He wanted to get inside and see the POWs. Not sure what his
11 intention was. He was slightly under the influence, so I turned him away.
12 It was a risk I was not prepared to run. I used the assistance of some
13 military police officers there, so we just sent him packing in a Pinzgauer
14 -- or rather, I apologise, in a Puch, because that's how he came.
15 Q. And did he demonstrate a friendly attitude towards the prisoners
16 of war or not?
17 A. It's difficult to say. He was inebriated, you see. It's very
18 difficult to judge a man like that. And he was acting as someone who had
19 probably had a drop too many, as they say. He never got in touch
20 physically with any of the POWs, not enough for him to display clearly
21 what his attitude or intentions were.
22 Q. Let us deal, then, please, with -- you've told us about the
23 Mitnica evacuation. I think it's right to say that you did not take any
24 part in the hand-over and evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital. Is that
1 A. Absolutely.
2 Q. And I think it's right to say that you did not go to the Vukovar
3 Hospital on the 18th, 19th or 20th of November. Is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. But I would like to deal, if I may, please, with the 20th of
6 November, and I will start in the afternoon of that day. Did there come a
7 time when you were contacted by one of your -- or your commander, Colonel
9 A. Yes. But that was at dusk. I could hardly call that afternoon.
10 The Serbs usually considered the afternoon hours to be between noon and
12 Q. The Irish perhaps sometimes a little differently. But in any
13 event, what location was that, please?
14 A. Not that I can hold it against anyone, especially not against the
15 Irish. This was at the command of the 80th Brigade, in Negoslavci.
16 Q. And what did Vojnovic say to you, please?
17 A. Vojnovic gave me an order that was rather imprecise. He said
18 there's some sort of a mess going on at Ovcara, here is my vehicle, take
19 two officers from the brigade command, and see what's going on and what
20 can be done about it.
21 Q. As far as you are aware, was -- was Vojnovic, or had Vojnovic been
22 notified that there was going to be individuals or individuals at Ovcara
23 on that particular day?
24 A. I don't know exactly about that. It's not something that I can
25 speak about.
1 Q. So did you do as you were ordered?
2 A. Certainly. It was a commander's order, and one had to carry that
3 sort of thing out.
4 Q. And when you went to Ovcara, what did you find there?
5 A. When I arrived at Ovcara I found a rather large number of people
6 outside the hangar. Assembled, if you like, outside the hangar. They
7 stood in the way, keeping me from accessing the hangar. They wanted to
8 know what the JNA were doing there at all because these were POWs who had
9 surrendered to them, they said. They were their POWs, they said, not the
11 Q. When you refer to the phrase "rather a large number of people,"
12 can we estimate, or are you able to estimate the number of people?
13 A. Roughly speaking, and it has been a long time, after all, it's
14 been 16 years, I reckon 300 people, possibly more.
15 Q. Were you able to see if any of them were armed?
16 A. All were. All were. For the most part they were carrying rifles,
17 automatic rifles, Kalashnikovs, but there were a number of trophy weapons
18 too, Thompsons, semi-automatic rifles, but those were more up-to-date,
19 they weren't trophy weapons, and there were some M-53 machine-guns too.
20 Machine-guns, automatic rifles, that sort of thing.
21 Q. And again, are you able to say if any of them were wearing
22 uniforms or military dress?
23 A. Yes, yes. Yes, yes. They were wearing uniforms. And I think
24 when I spoke about the TO members earlier on I described that but I can go
25 through that again, I can cover that ground again if you'd like me to.
1 It's the same old story; it was a combination of different uniforms.
2 Q. No, you needn't go through it again, for me, anyway. And how
3 would you describe, painting a verbal picture, how would you describe the
4 atmosphere of that crowd outside the hangar?
5 A. Conditionally speaking, I only stayed there briefly. My take on
6 the situation was that the situation was a rather complex one. The
7 authority of the military police and the JNA was not being obeyed by those
8 people who were armed. They just wanted to get at the prisoners and take
9 them under their wing, as it were. So they were pushing and shoving,
10 trying to interpose themselves, as it were, between members of the 80th
11 Brigade, some of them police officers, some of them from the staff units,
12 with the obvious intention of taking charge of the prisoners themselves.
13 I asked Captain Vezmarovic what this was about. And he said, well, you
14 know, we're facing a great amount of problems there, I can't keep them out
15 of the hangar, they want to get at the prisoners of war. There were
16 threats being uttered. Threats along the lines of execution and so on and
17 so forth. So my assessment was the situation was getting out of control,
18 and the JNA people there were no longer able to safeguard order inside the
19 hangar. But there were no guards outside, as far as the JNA were
21 Q. And were you able to assess your own personal safety -- or how did
22 you assess your personal safety at that time?
23 A. It wasn't at a desirable level, but if one is involved in a war,
24 you have to have all possibilities in mind. All of us who were members of
25 the armed forces have given an oath stating that we would even put our own
1 lives at risk, if need be.
2 Q. And did you consider there was a -- that your life might have been
3 at risk if things turned for the worst?
4 A. In case the armed people who were there, in case they took over
5 control, I would have done my utmost to try and prevent that. Up to the
6 level of using my firearm, which would in turn result in my loss of life.
7 There were very few of us from the JNA there.
8 Q. Did you consider that a possibility at the time?
9 A. Yes, it was an option. But one tries to avoid that, and one tries
10 to adjust to the situation at the given moment.
11 Q. How long did you stay at Ovcara on this occasion?
12 A. For about 10 minutes. Maybe a couple of minutes more. The time I
13 needed to see what the situation was, and as I found it quite delicate, I
14 thought it better to go and see my superior commander to try and gain some
15 time and undertake measures in order to resolve the situation.
16 Q. Are you able to say whether Vezmarovic, who was there, or indeed
17 any others, whether they had radios available to them?
18 A. No. As for the 80th Brigade, the equipment communications were
19 almost non-existent. There was some sort of a radio communication, but
20 silence was being imposed, there was a ban, and they couldn't use their
21 radios. They used telephone links for as long as they could at wartime,
22 but there was no telephone connection between, say, Ovcara and the 80th
23 Brigade command.
24 Q. So where did you return to, please?
25 A. I returned to the 80th Brigade command.
1 Q. And where was that located?
2 A. In the village of Negoslavci. Those were three houses at the very
3 end of the village, and that's where the brigade command was. To be more
4 specific, it was the second house from the end where the command was.
5 Q. It may be my error, but did you leave any persons -- you say that
6 you travelled to Ovcara. Did you leave any of the people that you
7 travelled with at Ovcara whilst you were went back to Negoslavci?
8 A. Yes. There were two officers with me. Both captains first class,
9 Dacic and Vukic. One was head of engineers and one head of the ABHO
10 department. They were there, I left them there, thinking it was better
11 for me to do that, to increase the number of the JNA members there,
12 although I had to return on my own. I was alone with the driver, and I
13 wasn't happy about that. In any case, they remained behind, whereas I
14 returned to the brigade command.
15 Q. Can we deal, please, with your return to Negoslavci and the
16 brigade command. When you went to the actual brigade command location,
17 was Vojnovic there or not?
18 A. No. He wasn't at the brigade command.
19 Q. Did you inquire where he was?
20 A. Yes, at the brigade there was always a duty officer or a duty
21 group. And the commander has to tell where he was to be found. I was
22 told he was at the command of the Guards Motorised Brigade in Negoslavci.
23 I apologise again. Am I loud enough now?
24 JUDGE PARKER: Your voice all the time tends to be very quiet. I
25 think we need to get you back into the habit of some parade ground voice.
1 It would help if you could keep your voice pitched louder. Thank you.
2 MR. MOORE:
3 Q. So let us deal, then, please, you say that he was not at the
4 brigade command, and you were told he was at the command of the Guards
5 Motorised Brigade in Negoslavci. So did you go to the command of the
6 Guards Motorised Brigade?
7 A. Yes, I did go to the command of the Guards Motorised Brigade, to
8 try and find the brigade commander to inform him.
9 Q. And did you locate him?
10 A. In a way, yes. He was in a meeting with the commander of the
11 Guards Motorised Brigade. I was told that by the non-commissioned officer
12 who was there in front of the meeting room.
13 Q. And who was the commander of the Guards Motorised Brigade?
14 A. Lieutenant-General Mile Mrksic. At that time he was still
16 Q. And did you try and gain entrance to speak to Vojnovic?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to ask for instruction from
19 the Chamber. Perhaps I needn't speak more loudly, but volume could be put
21 JUDGE PARKER: By and large the volume is set at an automatic
22 pre-set level. You mean you can't hear yourself? That can be adjusted,
23 and the court officer will now adjust your own volume. Our problem is, we
24 can't --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On occasion I can't hear myself
2 JUDGE PARKER: I think that's got a lot to do with your voice
3 level rather than the system.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is louder now. I can hear
5 everything much better. This was the usher's proper reaction.
6 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
7 Q. May we just return, please, to your evidence. You were told that
8 Mrksic was in a meeting with -- with Vojnovic. And you were told that by
9 the non-commissioned officer who was there in front of the meeting room.
10 Now, did you ask to --
11 A. Precisely.
12 Q. And did you ask to speak to Vojnovic?
13 A. Yes, yes. Security organs have priority in approaching commanders
14 to report on something.
15 Q. And did you then gain access to Vojnovic?
16 A. Not for the first hour or an hour and a half.
17 Q. Did you inform the non-commissioned officer that you had important
18 information for Vojnovic or not?
19 A. Yes, absolutely so. I've also stated that I was from the security
20 organ, and that I had some urgent information for Lieutenant-Colonel
22 Q. Can you recollect if that non-commissioned officer interrupted or
23 went inside and interrupted the meeting with Mrksic and Vojnovic or not?
24 A. No, no. He told me he was ordered expressly not to interrupt the
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I apologise
4 to my learned friend. The way he put his last question, I don't think
5 that arises from some of the previous answers. There my learned friend
6 asked whether the non-commissioned officer interrupted or went inside to
7 interrupt the meeting with Mrksic and Vojnovic. I don't think the witness
8 ever said that the meeting included only Mrksic and Vojnovic. Perhaps my
9 learned friend could explore more on the nature of the meeting and then to
10 resort to such questions. Thank you.
11 JUDGE PARKER: The meeting hasn't been explored at all. We were
12 told of two people in there, so I don't think there is fault with the
13 question, Mr. Vasic. But if that matter isn't developed, you may do so,
14 of course, in your cross-examination.
15 Yes, Mr. Moore.
16 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
17 Q. Now, you have told us earlier on that you did not gain access to
18 Vojnovic, the phrase was "not for the first hour or an hour and a half."
19 So can we deal then, please, when you actually did manage to speak to
20 Vojnovic. When and where did you speak to him, please?
21 A. Well, that was in front of the meeting room. That was in the
22 duration of one or one and a half hours. It was quite a long time, and it
23 can cost you a battle. I'm not sure whether it was an hour or an hour and
24 a half, but that's when I finally managed to see Lieutenant-Colonel
25 Vojnovic and I reported on the situation the way I described here when
1 answering your questions. In principle a security organ or person from a
2 security organ shouldn't waste the commander's time. You have four or
3 five minutes to use to report on everything, and then you must wait for
4 the commander's decision.
5 Q. You have told us that you spoke or informed Vojnovic of the
6 situation that you have described here in court. Did Vojnovic react in
7 any way to the information that you gave him on this occasion?
8 A. Yes. He reacted -- well, I don't want to say he was afraid. He
9 is a soldier, still, but he was somewhat at a loss. He asked, well, what
10 are we to do?
11 Q. Did he indicate whether he had been speaking to Colonel Mrksic
12 about the -- what I will call the Ovcara situation, prior to speaking to
14 A. Yes. He said that during the briefing with Colonel Mrksic he
15 expressed -- explained the situation at Ovcara and that there were armed
16 people there, that the situation was on the verge of an incident, but he
17 also stated that he received no reply.
18 Q. Having informed -- Witness, could you just please keep your eyes
19 straight ahead with the learned judges. Thank you very much, indeed.
20 Now, in relation to the conversation that you have had with
21 Vojnovic, and you have said he looked not afraid but slightly perplexed or
22 surprised, what then happened between yourself and Vojnovic?
23 A. Perhaps you chose a far better word than I did. He was perplexed,
24 indeed. Well, he said -- well, at the time we addressed each other as
25 comrades, and he said, well, let's speak to Comrade Mrksic and see what we
1 are to do about that.
2 Q. And did you speak to Comrade Mrksic, as suggested by Vojnovic?
3 A. Yes, yes. Colonel Vojnovic asked me to report on the matter,
4 although it was not the usual practice. A junior officer is never to
5 submit a report in the presence of a senior one. But he asked me to do
6 so, and I have explained to Lieutenant-General Mrksic the way I did to
7 Colonel Vojnovic.
8 Q. And what did you tell Colonel Mrksic?
9 A. Well, the way a report of a security organ to the commander needs
10 to be short, brief, and to the point, as for the basic security issue at
11 hand. I expressed that as briefly as I could, but now 16 years later,
12 please don't ask me to repeat that word for word.
13 Q. I will not ask you to repeat it word for word, but I will ask you,
14 please, to summarise or recollect what you said.
15 A. Well, what I said, that there was a group of armed people there,
16 stating that those POWs belonged to them, that they were inebriated and
17 that they behaved threateningly towards the prisoners and that they showed
18 no respect whatsoever as regards the members of the JNA who were there; in
19 this case, those people were from the 80th Motorised Brigade.
20 Q. And did Mrksic reply?
21 A. No, not to me. After a short while, Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic
22 asked him, Colonel, sir, what are we to do?
23 Q. Well, can you carry on, please, with the account as you are giving
24 it to the Court.
25 A. I believe, as I have already told you, that in the presence of a
1 superior officer a younger officer should not say much. I submitted my
2 report, and then I kept quiet. And then lieutenant-colonel asked the
3 colonel what to do. The colonel was a bit angry, and he reacted rather
4 angrily. He asked why we were reporting to him on this, because he didn't
5 have the time to deal with that. Something along these lines. And since
6 the discussion between the two officers superior to me assumed a different
7 tone, I believed it appropriate for me to withdraw a little and give them
8 space to deal with the problem. They started walking away from me, and
9 some three or four minutes later Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic returned and
10 asked me to go and to convey an order to the members of the 80th Brigade
11 to withdraw from Ovcara. Since I didn't have a vehicle, he provided me
12 with his staff vehicle, Fiat Campagnola, and in that vehicle I returned to
14 Q. Thank you. I just want to deal with one or two matters, if I may.
15 You have told us that Colonel Mrksic was a bit angry and he reacted rather
16 angrily. Now, was there any reference or inquiry to why the 80th
17 Motorised Brigade was at Ovcara at all?
18 A. Yes. The lieutenant-colonel and the colonel did discuss that,
19 but, after a lapse of time, it's very difficult for me to remember what
20 they said. And also, I was at a certain distance from them and I didn't
21 hear the actual conversation.
22 Q. With regard to the conversation between Mrksic and Vojnovic, as
23 far as you could see, being in the same room, who dominated the
24 conversation? Are you able to say?
25 A. Well, the most superior is also the dominant one. That is always
1 the case.
2 Q. And was that the case here?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. When you were given the order or instruction by Vojnovic to return
5 to Ovcara and withdraw the protecting unit there, when that was said to
6 you, was that in the same room where the conversation had occurred between
7 Mrksic and Vojnovic?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And when Vojnovic spoke to you, in what tone of voice did he use?
10 Was it whisper, loud, shout? Can you give us an indication, please.
11 A. He used a normal tone of voice. His behaviour was normal.
12 Vojnovic is a very good officer, in my view. And his attitude towards the
13 security organ is the one of respect. That is always the case, because if
14 they don't respect each other, they cannot cooperate.
15 Q. Were there other members or individuals in the room when Vojnovic
16 and yourself were giving this report to Mrksic?
17 A. Yes, there was a non-commissioned officer that I have already
18 mentioned, and there were also two or three armed military policemen who
19 provided security for the meeting room. There must have been some other
20 officers who had left the room before.
21 Q. Did Mrksic remain in the room, or indeed at the headquarters at
22 that time, as far as you are aware?
23 A. I said that General Mrksic did start leaving, and that Vojnovic
24 escorted him. Vojnovic then returned to talk to me and the general
25 proceeded on his way. I can't tell you exactly where he went, but he went
1 towards the far corner of that room. Maybe there was a door there or
2 something, I can't remember.
3 Q. And you have told us that you then were allowed to use the
4 vehicle, I think it's a Campagnola, to go back to Ovcara. Now, may I
5 deal, please, with the trip back to Ovcara. It's 16 or 15 years now, but
6 how long did it take you to get back to Ovcara? Can you remember,
8 A. Well, the village of Negoslavci is rather long. I believe that
9 its length is between four and five kilometres altogether. And we had to
10 drive rather slowly, the roads could have been mined, and since there was
11 just me and my driver in the vehicle, the driver was in a state of panic.
12 He drove slowly, and I believe that we travelled the distance of four or
13 five kilometres as long as half an hour. It must have been half an hour.
14 Q. When you got back to Ovcara, did you see Vezmarovic there?
15 A. Yes, I saw Vezmarovic and I saw the two officers that had come to
16 me, they had already abandoned the hangar. There were also three
17 Pinzgauer vehicles there, and as I was leaving they returned towards
18 Ovcara, and when I returned, they returned towards the road leading to
19 Negoslavci, and the troops -- actually the military policemen and officers
20 were getting ready to leave, to get into the vehicles and leave.
21 Q. You had been told, or ordered, by Vojnovic to order Vezmarovic and
22 the soldiers there to withdraw. Now here is a situation where they seem
23 to be already in the process of withdrawing prior to your arrival. Did
24 you ever -- or did you inquire how it was they were getting ready to
25 leave, what had caused them to leave prior to your arrival?
1 A. Mr. Moore, you said that I was the one who ordered Vezmarovic,
2 that Vojnovic asked me to order Vezmarovic to withdraw. According to the
3 rules of service, the work of the security organ is such that they do not
4 have the right to issue orders to the military police. I could not issue
5 an order to Captain Vezmarovic, I could only convey a lieutenant-colonel's
6 order, and he was then supposed to carry that order out. In other words,
7 no security organ has an order-issuing role, and this is specified in the
8 rules of service.
9 Q. But the question was, did you inquire or did you find out why it
10 was that the military police and Vezmarovic were in the process of leaving
11 prior to your arrival?
12 A. I did not ask anybody anything. I can't even remember whether I
13 conveyed lieutenant-colonel's order to him, because he had already started
14 acting in the spirit of what I was supposed to convey to him. It is
15 possible that captain had been informed in some other way. As I said
16 here, I cannot provide you anything more precise about that, I cannot be
17 of any more assistance to the Trial Chamber with that regard.
18 Q. Why did you not ask Vezmarovic, Why are you leaving at this time?
19 Because when you had left, he was in charge.
20 A. Could you please be more specific when you ask me this. I said
21 that he already acted in the spirit of the order issued by
22 Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic that I was supposed to convey to him. And
23 there was no reason for me to ask him anything, because he had already
24 acted in accordance with the order that I was supposed to convey. We may
25 have spoken about that; you should ask him. But I really can't remember
1 that we ever discussed that. I can't remember any such conversation.
2 Q. We've already heard evidence on that and I can move on to other
4 Let us deal, then, please, with the situation at Ovcara. Did you
5 see, then, Vezmarovic and the military policemen leave?
6 A. Could you please repeat your question? I did not hear the last
7 part of your question.
8 Q. Did you see Vezmarovic and the military policemen leave Ovcara?
9 A. Yes, and I left together with them in the Fiat Campagnola vehicle,
10 together with the two officers, Vukic and Dacic, the two who had come with
12 Q. When you left, were there still armed men outside the hangar?
13 A. Even more of them were there than when I arrived there the first
15 Q. And again, were those individuals outside the hangar, were they
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And in relation to wearing uniforms, did you see uniforms of those
19 people outside the hangar?
20 A. I've already described their uniforms. You asked me the same
21 thing in relation to my first arrival there. If you want me to repeat, I
22 will. I'll gladly do that.
23 Q. No, you also replied to us that there were additional people who
24 had arrived and was a larger crowd than before. I just wish to clarify in
25 relation to the new situation.
1 A. Right. The situation was the same. There were all sorts of
2 uniforms, the uniforms varied.
3 Q. Can you remember if you entered the hangar on this second occasion
4 when you returned to Ovcara?
5 A. I don't think so. There was no need for me to do that.
6 Q. And how long did you remain at Ovcara prior to leaving?
7 A. 10 minutes or so. No longer than it took the two officers who had
8 come with me to get into the vehicle. Maybe even less time than that.
9 Q. And where did you return to, please?
10 A. I returned to the command of the 80th Motorised Brigade in
12 Q. And did you speak to Colonel Vojnovic upon your return?
13 A. I did. I briefed him, I told him that the task had been
14 accomplished in the spirit of his order. I believe that Vezmarovic had
15 told him the same thing.
16 Q. Thank you very much.
17 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I'm going to move on to new topics. I
18 know we are at four minutes before time, but it is a natural break for a
19 witness, and indeed myself, when giving evidence, and I would ask the
20 Court to adjourn now.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
22 We will adjourn now for the evening and resume tomorrow at 9.00
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.26 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Friday, the 12th day of May,
1 2006, at 9.00 a.m.