1 Tuesday, 16 May 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. May I remind the affirmation you
7 made at the beginning of your evidence still applies.
8 Mr. Vasic.
9 WITNESS: MILORAD VOJNOVIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
12 morning to everyone in the courtroom.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Vasic: [Continued]
14 Q. Good morning, sir.
15 A. Good morning.
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I would like the usher to give the
17 witness a set of the statement and documents that we will be using during
18 the cross-examination so that he can refer to the documents as needed.
19 Q. Sir, you can just leave the documents there; you don't need to
20 look at them now. When we come to a document, then I will ask you to look
21 at it. Yesterday in answer to my questions you said that at one point
22 after the liberation of Vukovar General Colonel --
23 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the name.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. -- came from Miladinovac to Vukovar?
1 A. Yes, that is correct. It was in the month of December.
2 Q. Yes, I saw the warning. It's Lieutenant General Vladimir
3 Stojanovic who came with a delegation from Miladinovac to the Vukovar
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now have document 0D00-0321
6 on the screen? This is the B/C/S version. The English is 0D00-0323. For
7 everyone's information, this is document number 2 in the set that we have
8 provided, so you can follow that more easily.
9 Q. Sir, do you see this document?
10 A. Can we please zoom in a little bit?
11 Q. This is an order from the command of the 1st Military District,
12 strictly confidential 234-2, dated the 19th of November, 1991. And it's
13 stated in the document that the command of the 1st Military District
14 forbids the exchange of SFRY OS prisoners for the prisoners of the armed
15 formations of the Republic of Croatia without the permission of the
16 below-signed Chief of Staff of the 1st Military District. Is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you know about this while you were on the territory of Vukovar
20 or during the briefings that you had?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to tender
24 this document into evidence, if there are no objections.
25 MR. MOORE: I have no objection.
1 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will be Exhibit Number 442.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Yesterday you were describing your assignments relating to the
5 evacuation and security of the members of the so-called Mitnica group at
6 Ovcara. You said that according to you that was on the 19th of November,
7 1991, at 10.00, the reference is the transcript 16 -- page 16 of the
8 unofficial transcript, line 19. You also said that you thought that the
9 same day they came to Ovcara and they were evacuated that same day. That
10 is in the transcript on page 17, line 8.
11 Could you please tell me if you don't remember dates well or
13 A. I remember the events better than I remember the dates.
14 Q. If I were to tell you that the Mitnica group was brought to the
15 Ovcara sector on the 18th of November, 1991, would you be able to confirm,
16 perhaps, that because so much time has passed, almost 15 years since then,
17 you don't remember all the details as well as you did before?
18 A. Well, of course. A person cannot remember everything that
19 happened at the time. It was 15 years ago. All I know is that we
20 properly received, guarded, and handed over the Mitnica group.
21 Q. In response to a question by my learned friend you also said that
22 these prisoners from Mitnica were taken over by you after they were
23 disembarked into the Ovcara hangar?
24 A. Yes, after they were brought to the Ovcara hangar, and that is
25 when we took over the security.
1 Q. Do you remember that in the statement that you provided to the OTP
2 investigators you said that Vezmarovic organised the evacuation of these
3 people to Sremska Mitrovica?
4 A. He was responsible for the transport and their evacuation.
5 Q. Do you know that Captain Vezmarovic, with his military policemen,
6 came to the Ovcara region before the prisoners of war from Mitnica were
7 brought there?
8 A. No.
9 Q. If I were to tell you that this is what he stated before this
10 Trial Chamber, would you agree with that or would you allow for the
11 possibility that you do not recall all the details relating to the
13 A. No, I don't recall all the details. I don't know that he was
14 there at that time. All I know is that afterwards he had the assignment
15 of transporting them in an organised manner to Sremska Mitrovica.
16 Q. But you allow for the possibility that he was there and that he
17 was waiting for the convoy of the prisoners of war from Mitnica at the
18 Ovcara farm on the 18th of November?
19 A. At this point, I cannot really remember whether he waited for the
20 convoy or not. I mean, if he said that, what can I say?
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we look at Exhibit 432 on the
22 monitors now? This is the notebook of Captain Vezmarovic, and if we can
23 please look at page 63.
24 MR. MOORE: With the utmost respect to my learned friend, this is
25 Vezmarovic's document. This witness, as far as I am aware, has no -- has
1 played no part in its compilation. How can a witness answer questions in
2 relation to a document which he does not compile and the groundwork has
3 not even been laid whether he knows what the content might be?
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I am not
6 going to ask the witness about the authenticity of the document. All I
7 wanted to do was to show him an entry which relates to one of my previous
8 questions and maybe that would refresh his recollection, because he said
9 that he didn't recall all the events all that well.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Well, it still has the problem posed by Mr. Moore,
11 doesn't it?
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that there is no
13 problem. It's an entry dealing with the war prisoners from Mitnica, when
14 they were received, who they were handed over to, when they were
15 transported. So I would just like to know if the witness recalls all
16 these details.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that I provided an
18 explanation to this question. I don't have any other explanation.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I would suggest, Mr. Vasic, that's about as far as
20 you can take it, isn't it? The witness says he simply doesn't remember.
21 Mr. Moore objects to you putting to him other people's documents, about
22 which this man says he has no recollection and no knowledge, to remind
23 him. You can remind him by his own documents and his own unit's
24 documents. Is there something more?
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the witness said that
1 Mr. Vezmarovic, I assume in compliance with his order, was involved in the
2 evacuation and transport of these prisoners of war to Sremska Mitrovica.
3 This entry that I am talking about was something that was on the basis of
4 an order of the 80th Brigade, and the company commander was
5 Mr. Vezmarovic. I don't need to read the document, perhaps, and I can ask
6 the witness if he recalls that.
7 Q. On the 18th of November --
8 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ...
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Sir, do you remember that on the 18th of November, around 1600
11 hours, at the Ovcara farm the military police of your unit took over
12 control of the prisoners of war from Mitnica?
13 A. I cannot say what time it was. All I know is that on the night of
14 the 18th and the 19th we were guarding prisoners of war at Ovcara until
15 they were evacuated and handed over at Sremska Mitrovica.
16 Q. Do you know that on the 19th of November, 1991, at about 1130
17 hours, Captain Vezmarovic handed over the prisoners to Captain Karanfilov?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Do you know that Captain Vezmarovic took the list of prisoners to
20 the Mitrovica KP Dom on the 19th of November, 1991, at 1530 hours and gave
21 them to Lieutenant-Colonel Zivanovic?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Do you know that the military police company of the 80th Motorised
24 Brigade was not involved in securing these POWs on their way from Ovcara
25 to Sremska Mitrovica and that Captain Vezmarovic was the only one who left
1 with those lists, and this actually occurred after the convoy had already
2 left Mitrovica?
3 A. No, I thought that Vezmarovic was there all along, that he went
4 with all the other soldiers, that he took the lists with him, and that was
5 all I knew.
6 Q. Does that mean that you did not see the members of the military
7 police company of the 80th Brigade on the 19th of November in the morning
8 hours or after 1200 hours at the command post of the 80th Brigade in
10 A. There were always some policemen there at the command post.
11 Q. Did you know anything to suggest that the military police company
12 of the 80th Motorised Brigade, once these prisoners had been handed over
13 to Captain Karanfilov, returned to its headquarters in Negoslavci?
14 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters did not get the witness's
16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Can you please repeat the answer?
18 A. Is Mitnica -- or rather, from Mitrovica, when the prisoners were
19 handed over, they returned to Negoslavci.
20 Q. Do you remember at what time the military police company of the
21 80th Brigade returned on the 19th of November, 1991, as you claim, from
22 Sremska Mitrovica to Negoslavci?
23 A. I can't remember exactly, but I think it was the fall of darkness
25 Q. What if I tell you that Mr. Vezmarovic, when facing this
1 honourable Chamber, said that he carried the lists to Mitrovica himself
2 following the convoy, trying to catch up with the convoy, that his
3 military policemen were not involved in the evacuation there? Would you
4 agree with that, sir? Would that jog your memory to any extent?
5 A. I can't say. I can't say exactly. Since Vezmarovic was going,
6 I'm sure he wasn't going on his own. He must have taken some police
7 officers with him or soldiers, but I'm not sure how many.
8 Q. Yes, that much is certain. Captain Vezmarovic had to enjoy some
9 degree of safety on his way. He was the commander of the military police
10 company. But tell me, how many policemen would that have required, for
11 example, such a task as to secure the Mitnica group convoy?
12 A. A platoon. Detachment to platoon.
13 MR. MOORE: I object to this. I don't want to interrupt my
14 learned friend, but the witness has repeatedly said that he doesn't know,
15 I can't say, I can't say exactly. And then he's being asked to guess
16 about what would be required.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I think it's more than a guess, Mr. Moore. This is
18 the commander of the unit in which Captain Vezmarovic served.
19 I would allow the question, but I do point out, Mr. Vasic, that
20 I'm not quite sure what significance you think we can attach to this. You
21 have the evidence of Captain Vezmarovic. You have this witness with a
22 different or incomplete recollection of the events. You have identified
23 that this witness has a different recollection, and he says he, apart from
24 a few basic things, he don't know the details anymore. Captain Vezmarovic
25 gave you detailed evidence about these matters. You are not going to
1 strengthen the evidence of Vezmarovic by pursuing questions like this with
2 the witness who doesn't remember. Unless you have some other purpose,
3 could I just point that out to you.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much for your guidance,
5 Your Honour. We have a witness here testifying about things that happened
6 15 years ago, and that's precisely what I want to know: How vivid are his
7 memories in relation to what happened on the 19th and 20th of November in
8 Vukovar. He happened to be the commander of a unit which was part of
9 these events, and that was what this particular set of questions was based
10 on: The evacuation and the events before the 20th of November. This is
11 something that the subject of the indictment.
12 That was the end of my set of questions in relation to
13 Mr. Vezmarovic. Now I'd like to ask the witness something else. He
14 should know who these POWs at the Ovcara farm had been taken over from.
15 Q. Who brought them to Ovcara before the military police company and
16 the command officers of your brigade took over?
17 A. I think they had been brought by the security organ of Operations
18 Group South. They were brought there, we took charge, and we provided
19 security until their eventual hand-over.
20 Q. Do you remember telling Captain Vezmarovic when they were brought
21 on the 18th of November, 1991, to -- from then on take orders from Captain
22 Karanfilov as far as anything to do with the POWs was concerned?
23 A. I don't remember Karanfilov [Realtime transcript read in error
24 missing word "Karanfilov"] or those events. I know there was a group of
25 people from Mitnica there. I know Vezmarovic was there, but my officers
1 were there, too. However, I don't remember any details. In actual fact,
2 I don't really think that matters. The important thing is they were
3 secured, they were escorted, and they were finally handed over.
4 Q. Could you please look at the set of statements, your own
5 statements, in front of you. There was the statement you gave to the
6 investigating judge of the special department of the Novi Sad court on the
7 21st of November, 2003. Page 3 -- page 6 in B/C/S, and the page in
8 English is 8.
9 JUDGE PARKER: While that's happening, Mr. Vasic, could I just
10 point out line 20. I think in the first sentence the answer was, "I don't
11 know remember Karanfilov or those events." The name was missed.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour. The witness said
13 he did not remember Karanfilov in those events, Captain Karanfilov in
14 those events. What I wanted to do was jog his memory about his 2003
15 statement. Maybe his memory was more vivid at the time than it is today.
16 Q. Do you have that, sir, page 6 in the B/C/S version of your
17 statement to the investigating magistrate? The thicker set with your
19 A. Yes, statement.
20 Q. The statement you gave to the investigating magistrate, Alimpic,
21 from the special department of the basic court. Have you got that, sir?
22 The statement is dated the 21st of November, 2003?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could you please turn -- first of all, did you, in fact, provide
25 this statement to the investigating magistrate, and you still remember
1 that; right?
2 A. Yes, yes.
3 Q. Can you please go to page 6 in the B/C/S of the that statement.
4 If you could please look at paragraph 2, there's just one sentence. It
5 reads: "It's possible that I gave Captain Vezmarovic -- that he was there
6 to receive orders from Captain or Major Karanfilov."
7 Did you state this?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. What about after this, do you perhaps now remember
10 seeing Captain Karanfilov at Ovcara on the 18th of November?
11 A. I can't actually remember seeing him from where I stand now. I
12 tried to picture the way he would have looked. Hair greying; perhaps
13 slightly smaller, shorter, that is, than I am; not of such strong build.
14 We didn't talk that much, actually, he and I.
15 Q. Thank you very much. What about your chief of security, Dragi
16 Vukosavljevic, did he perhaps tell you that Captain Karanfilov was perhaps
17 a member of some counter-intelligence group, something to do with Sid, a
18 group operating in the area of Ovcara, Jakubovac, and Grabovo?
19 A. Those counter-intelligence organs are always a bit secretive, they
20 always have their own principles of work. They report to their own
21 commanders to the extent that they believe is necessary. I heard about
22 this group - what exactly did you say? - counter-intelligence, yes, right,
23 in Vukovar, but I don't know that Karanfilov was part of that group. I
24 believed at the time and I still believe that Karanfilov was actually part
25 of the operations group, that he was a member of the operations group.
1 Q. Thank you. You testified in chief yesterday about your own
2 involvement with securing the transport of civilians, those who spent the
3 night at Ovcara between the 19th and the 20th of November, 1991; is that
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you know, perhaps, that this convoy was supposed to be taken to
7 Croatian territory near the village of Lipovac along the Zagreb-Belgrade
8 highway on the 19th of November, 1991, but the simple fact of the matter
9 was the Croatians refused to have it back and that was why it had to be
10 returned to the Vukovar area, sent back to the Vukovar area?
11 A. I didn't know at the time. I did hear later on about that, and I
12 saw this for myself. I got on to one of the buses and I greeted the
13 people there. I told them not to worry, that everything would eventually
14 be fine, and asked them where it was that they wanted to go. I thought
15 they should go to Sremska Mitrovica, but a group of people said they
16 wanted to go back to Croatia. I told them that at this point in time it
17 was impossible to cross over into Croatia for security reasons, which they
19 Q. Nonetheless, the convoy left for Nustar that morning - do you know
20 about this? - but the Croatian forces wouldn't have them and they had to
21 be sent back yet again?
22 A. Yes. Even this early they demanded to go back to Nustar, but they
23 weren't let through, at least that's what I heard at the time.
24 Q. At long last the convoy was forced to return to Croatia across
25 Sremska Mitrovica and Bosnia, the long way around. Did you know about
2 A. I didn't know about anything else.
3 Q. Do you remember who from your unit was providing security for this
4 convoy of civilians?
5 A. I know for sure that (redacted) was there and a group of other
6 officers, but I can't remember their names one by one. I spent the entire
7 night with them.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it wasn't deliberate,
9 but I think there will have to be a redaction.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Redaction in the answer commencing at 23 on our
11 screen. I mention "our" screen, because it's evident that different
12 circuits produce different line numbers in this courtroom.
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
14 Q. Do you remember who handed out the assignment to secure this group
15 and who was it you reported to once the operation had been completed?
16 A. I don't know who handed out the assignment, and according to our
17 military rules, Colonel Mrksic was the only person for me to report to at
18 the time.
19 Q. Do you remember whether the military police company and your
20 brigade's chief of security were part of this convoy's security?
21 A. I think they should have been. I know that there were soldiers,
22 military policemen, I'm not sure how many. I know that (redacted) was
23 there with his own group of soldiers, and we spent the entire night there,
24 because I toured the unit, too.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, unfortunately my
1 question was very specific and the answer was pretty broad.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't tell you one by one, I
3 can't give you everybody's names.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. No, this is about one particular name that seems to be at stake
7 JUDGE PARKER: I know it is a lot to ask you, (redacted)
9 (redacted); and
10 therefore, we have to delete it, if it's mentioned in this courtroom, from
11 the transcript. It would be a help if you could avoid mentioning that
12 name. Now, I know that you're having to think about questions and try and
13 remember events a long time ago, and it may be asking too much of you to
14 try and remember not to use that name. But if you could be aware of the
15 problem and, if possible, not actually mention that name. You could
16 mention, perhaps, just say, "a particular captain."
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand, Your Honour. I'm
18 not trying to deliberately avoid names. The simple truth of the matter
19 is: I didn't know people that well. I met most of those people for the
20 first time on the 7th. I got to know them to some extent. He was an
21 officer at the command, and I knew him to some extent. But I still don't
22 really know most of those people; they were reservists, that was another
23 reason. That's why I'm saying this. I can only use him as a point of
24 reference for other kinds of information.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. What if I tell you that the chief of security of your brigade and
2 the police chief says that they were not informed about this evacuation of
3 civilians, that they were not involved, can you confirm that? Can you
4 explain how it can possibly happen that the chief of security and the
5 commander of the military police are not informed about an assignment like
6 this? How is that possible?
7 A. I don't know that they were not informed, but what is certain is
8 that some soldiers from their units were there. I don't know if any of
9 these two gentlemen were actually present, but I know that I was there
10 with some soldiers from their units and the captain we referred to a while
11 ago, as well as some of their officers.
12 Q. Who was in charge of security assessments as far as the civilians
13 at Ovcara on the 19th were concerned?
14 A. I don't think there was any detailed security assessment being
15 made. People arrived in buses; guards were set up all around the place,
16 officers and soldiers, to protect those people. And the regime remained
17 in force until their departure.
18 Q. Who was in control of the security regime, the escort for the
19 civilian convoy that you were talking about?
20 A. I can't remember who exactly that was. I was there myself as
21 well. So if I was there, I was probably the most senior officer around.
22 I don't know if there was anyone more senior than me there, either in
23 terms of position or in terms of rank.
24 Q. I understand you were there and you were handling the security.
25 Could you please tell us who took over the convoy on the 20th of November
1 from you?
2 A. I don't know. A group of people came, I don't know who they were,
3 where they were from. They introduced themselves, they had vehicles, they
4 had escorted the convoy where they thought it should go, where they
5 intended it to go.
6 Q. Were these people that you are talking about, were they in
7 uniforms? Were they civilians? Who were they?
8 A. At the time it was hard to establish whether somebody was a
9 civilian or not. Everybody was wearing half uniforms, half civilian
10 clothes, so I can't remember. I don't recall asking them who they were.
11 We probably talked, and that's how we handed these people over.
12 Q. That's precisely what I'm asking you. Do you know to whom you
13 handed over the people who were then transported further?
14 A. No, I can't recall right now to whom I handed them over. Somebody
15 who came with that assignment, with some sort of authorisation, somebody
16 who introduced themselves as having come with that particular assignment.
17 We checked it properly, they were allowed to take the convoy, there were
18 no problems, you know, regarding this hand-over.
19 Q. What you're saying now, is that something that you recall, or are
20 you assuming that that's how it was?
21 A. That's how it should have been. Nobody could have come and taken
22 the convoy and just have left. I mean, we were there.
23 Q. Did you also provide logistics for the convoy that spent the night
24 at Ovcara?
25 A. Yes, we did.
1 Q. So there was a request for logistics supply for the convoy?
2 A. I think that in some conversation we came to the conclusion that
3 we needed to protect the women and children. In the immediate vicinity
4 there was an agricultural combine, a cattle farm. They had cows, other
5 livestock, and we went there. I think the name of the director was
6 Markovic or Petrovic, and we asked him to help us, to give warm milk to
7 the children, so we gave them what he gave us. In the morning, before
8 they left, we again offered them tea and milk.
9 Q. During the convoy's stay, did you make a list of the persons
10 there, and then did you hand these persons over using the lists to the
11 people who came to take over the convoy?
12 A. I don't recall anyone making a list of the persons. I don't
13 remember handing them over. In reference to the list I think that there
14 were eight or nine buses, and in the same way that they arrived in the
15 buses, they were driven away.
16 Q. Thank you. Do you remember when the convoy arrived at the Ovcara
17 farm on the 19th of November, whether your units were already there in the
18 hangar, and did they wait for the convoy or were they engaged later?
19 A. No, we came later to the buses and took over guarding them.
20 Q. As far as I understand, you only got to the buses only when you
21 found out that they had arrived?
22 A. I don't know exactly who brought them to us. I mean, the buses
23 couldn't have come by themselves.
24 Q. No, all I was asking is whether you came with your units to the
25 Ovcara farm once you found out that they were in your sector, that they
1 had arrived in your sector?
2 A. No units were there, other than those of this captain that we
3 talked about. He was there with a group of soldiers and his officers.
4 Q. And he informed you that the convoy had arrived at Ovcara and that
5 it needed to be guarded?
6 A. Well, I cannot really say who informed me, but I believe that we
7 needed to guard it. Someone must have told me that that is what we needed
8 to do, so that is what we did.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we move to private
12 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
13 [Private session]
11 Page 8922-8929 redacted. Private session.
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour, we are in open session.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we please zoom in on
13 the right portion of the map? The right part. Thank you.
14 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, please, with the usher's assistance, take the magic
15 pen - as my learned friend Mr. Moore likes to call it - and use it to mark
16 a few things on the map. With the number 1 could you please mark the
17 local command of Ovcara; and with the number 2, the local command
18 Jakubovac and Grabovo; with the number 3, the command post of Sotin, if
19 there was such a thing.
20 A. I believe the Sotin command was in the centre, in the very centre
21 of town. There was a school there. As for Jakubovac and Grabovo, I don't
22 see that.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps we could go further down. No,
24 we should scroll up, and then we may be able to see Grabovo.
25 Q. Am I mistaken in believing that Grabovo must be somewhere close to
1 the photograph, under Ovcara?
2 A. Grabovo should be around there somewhere. As for the Ovcara
3 command post, it was somewhere along the road from Sotin, next to this
4 house here.
6 In front of the house there was the hangar.
7 Q. Yes. Next to where it says "Ovcara," could you place a number 1
8 there. That was the command post of Ovcara.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. And circle that as well, please.
11 A. [Marks]
12 MR. MOORE: Before my learned friend proceeds, if he looks at map
13 5 of the bundle, that may assist him in some way because it mentions
14 Grabovo on it.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I believe my learned
16 friend is right. I would like to thank him for his assistance. But as
17 regards the layout, I believe this map is a better one and the scale is
18 more favourable as well. Perhaps we can mark this map and then we can
19 move on to the other one suggested by my learned friend.
20 Q. Could you please use the number 2 to mark the command post of
21 Jakubovac? Do you see where Jakubovac is?
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. We can't see Grabovo, it is just underneath the photograph, but
24 could you use the number 3 to mark the Sotin command place?
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. Command post. Thank you.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since the witness
3 confirmed that Grabovo is underneath the photograph, would it suffice for
4 the Chamber if the witness puts the number 4 right next to the photograph?
5 JUDGE PARKER: I think, as it's not shown, it's better not to be
6 marked. I think we know where it is by now; it's on more than one other
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for your
9 instruction. I agree fully.
10 I would like to tender this photograph, and we will not be using
11 it anymore.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 443.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Yesterday, at the beginning of this cross and today, you
16 reiterated that the tactical group of the 195th Motorised Brigade
17 commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Milan Jovic stayed within your
18 establishment for a relatively short time?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What was the exact period, do you remember?
21 A. They were not part of our establishment for more than three or
22 four days at the most. Because we didn't issue a single task to them,
23 they came there to the sector. He reported to me, he asked to be deployed
24 to be given time to rest, and to go through their equipment and materiel.
25 They did so, and after that they were no longer part of the establishment.
1 Q. On the 22nd of November, 1991, do you remember issuing an order,
2 strictly confidential number 34-2, changing the command post for Grabovo,
3 Jakubovac, and Ovcara, and you appointed the commander of the tactical
4 group of the 195th Motorised Brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Jovic, appointing
5 him the local commander of the places, effectively declaring the previous
6 orders null and void?
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters did not catch the witness's
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] My apologies.
10 Q. Could you please repeat this last answer?
11 A. Yes, I did appoint him, but I did not know that he would soon, one
12 or two days later, no longer be part of our establishment. I thought he
13 would be staying with us for some time, and that was the reason I
14 appointed him to that particular position.
15 Q. And that was why you gave him a specific assignment, right?
16 A. Yes, precisely.
17 Q. Can you confirm for me that under the rules governing the garrison
18 and barracks service, a local commander must establish and preserve order
19 and discipline, ensure the safety of persons and property, make sure any
20 prisons and detention units function properly, and there is always the
21 obligation for unit commanders who happen to be in the area covered by a
22 local command to be familiarised with the rules of behavior in such an
23 area, those imposed by the local commander. Do you know about these
25 A. Yes, that's perfectly in keeping with all the regulations that I
1 know about, that I'm familiar with.
2 Q. Can you confirm that your unit or, rather, you as the commander of
3 the 80th Motorised Brigade, was -- were appointed the local commander in
4 Jakubovac, Ovcara, and Grabovo on the 18th of November, 1991, by a
5 decision of OG South, and that was after the departure of the 20th
6 Partisan Brigade, which was the unit from which you took over your
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you tell me if you asked your brigade's chief of security to
10 make a security assessment covering the new area of responsibility and to
11 define the possible axis from which your unit might be attacked, having
12 deployed your men on the ground?
13 A. There's always a security assessment that is drawn up in relation
14 to all units. I'm certain that at one point and in some way one was made
15 I don't know when exactly or what it said, but each unit had its own axes
16 within its area. Maybe, once the fighting was over, everybody was
17 beginning to relax a little because people believed that there would no
18 longer be any danger to our commands or our manpower, so people felt more
19 comfortable and were more relaxed.
20 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, in this area and in keeping with your command's
21 order, did you organise, set-up, proper authorities under the rules of
22 service in the armed forces and under the rules governing the work of
23 garrisons and life in barracks? Did you take all the security measures
24 that were necessary?
25 A. You can't quite apply the garrison and barracks rules to this,
1 because those were peacetime rules, rules of service and all sets of rules
2 familiar to me. These were extraordinary conditions. This was just after
3 combat, just after the fighting had ended, but all the steps were taken to
4 ensure the safety of our units, of the civilians, and of the entire
5 environment. This applied to all the units in that area.
6 Q. So you took all the appropriate steps to protect the citizens, the
7 population, from mistreatment, from people entering their houses without
8 proper authorisation and searching them, and this was in keeping with the
9 order that at that time prevailed throughout the territory which you had
10 previously taken, right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you draft instructions for their work in order to ensure that
13 the population could get on with their lives?
14 A. I'm not sure if there was an order or a set of instructions that
15 was drafted and applied to all, or if that was just something that was
16 done based on some sort of a standard form and then was merely adapted to
17 our own conditions on the ground as we went along.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now please have Exhibit 418
20 shown? Thank you. For the benefit of my learned friends, this is
21 0467-2869; that is the ERN number. Thank you. Can we please have page 2
22 of this document shown? It's a report. And can we please try to zoom in
23 on the upper half of the page. Thank you very much.
24 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, you see this. This is the report indicating that
25 you took over the area of responsibility from Lieutenant-Colonel Misovic
1 from the 20th Partisan Brigade?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. If you could please look at paragraph 4.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We no longer have this on our
5 screens. If could you please zoom in on the upper half of the page.
6 Q. Item 4, the last bullet says, "In the course of the day the
7 tactical group of the 195 Motorised Brigade entered the composition of
8 OG South. It was 450 men strong and was resubordinated to the 80th
9 Motorised Brigade."
10 A. Which date was that?
11 Q. The report is dated the 19th of November.
12 A. Yes, it was resubordinated; I'm not sure about its numerical
14 Q. This is a regular combat report?
15 A. Yes, yes, I'm not saying anything about that.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have just finished a
18 set of questions, and this might be a convenient time to have a break.
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will have a break. A half hour is required
20 because of the redactions.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.58 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.36 a.m.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, are you ready to continue?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Before the break we spoke about the local commands. It is my
3 belief that you used the written and oral orders that we mentioned to
4 divide your area of responsibility up into the local commands, belonging
5 to your subordinate officers; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You answered one of my questions about the liberation of Vukovar,
8 about the 18th of November, 1991. Do you know that on this occasion, the
9 Yugoslav flag, the three-coloured flag, was hoisted on the so-called
10 water-tower in Vukovar, that this was done to mark the liberation of
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you tell me how you found about this, that Vukovar was
14 liberated and who from, if you remember?
15 A. I believe I heard this at the command of OG South. I believe --
16 or rather, I am sure that the three-coloured flag was hoisted to the top
17 of the water-tower by the Chief of Staff, Miodrag Panic. Some officers
18 came who were stationed across the Vuka River, they came to the Negoslavci
19 area. So several different people told me. There were several sources,
20 so to speak.
21 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you said that you had not been informed
22 about the hospital evacuation, right?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. You were not informed about the fact that the POWs from the
25 hospital would be taken to Ovcara, that is, to your area of
1 responsibility, right?
2 A. Right.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Exhibit 375
5 displayed now? The 19th of November at 1800 hours, that is the entry that
6 I'm interested in. For the benefit of my learned friends, this is page 10
7 of the English. If we could please just zoom in slightly on this
8 particular entry. That is the last page of the log, the date is the 19th
9 of November, 1800 hours. Thank you very much.
10 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, what you can see in front of you is the war log of
11 the 80th Motorised Brigade, right?
12 A. Very well.
13 Q. There is this entry for the 19th of November 1800 hours, and it
14 says: "The Ustashas were captured in the morning hours and were taken to
15 the prison in Sremska Mitrovica. There was combat in the hospital area
16 only, where the remaining ZNG and MUP members are expected to surrender
17 (about 200). An order came to be at the ready in order to organise a
18 security regime or the guarding of prisoners."
19 Do you see that entry, the 19th of November, 1800 hours?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Do you remember who you got this from, who told you about this, to
22 get ready?
23 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry for interrupting my learned friend. The
24 translation we have, we don't have any reference to an order. Clearly
25 that's important. I wonder, perhaps, if the witness could be shown the
1 actual handwritten document, and he can then confirm whether that is there
2 or not.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] That is no problem at all. If I could
4 have the usher's assistance, please.
5 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, can you see that on your screen; is that a clear
6 image for you?
7 A. If you're talking about the 19th of November, 1800 hours.
8 Q. Yes, indeed. That's what I'm talking about. Does it say
9 precisely as I read out?
10 A. Yes, it does. I can say for sure that I was not aware of this.
11 The war log is kept by an officer. It is with a very high degree of
12 certainty, and with full responsibility, that I can tell you I knew
13 nothing about this, although this entry was made to my war log. I don't
14 know how this came about or who heard about this, whether this was done by
15 some other people, the entries there. So I have nothing to add in that
16 respect. But one thing I do have to repeat is we were not involved in any
17 sort of security regime for the POWs from the hospital. I didn't even
18 know that they were there. I, as the commander, didn't know until the
19 moment they were brought to the area surrounding the hangar.
20 Q. Who could possibly have been familiar with these entries to the
21 war diary, I'm talking about the people from your command?
22 A. There's usually one person who is put in charge of this, working
23 under the supervision of the Chief of Staff of the commander. These are
24 serious issues being discussed. The security organ might have known about
25 this, perhaps somebody else, but one thing that can be said is not
1 everybody had access to the war log. I can see that this was being kept
2 by Jankovic, Major Jankovic.
3 Q. Yes, precisely. Major Jankovic was the person keeping this log.
4 But someone had to tell Major Jankovic about this for him to record this
5 in the war log, right?
6 A. Yes, someone certainly told him.
7 Q. You did say that the Chief of Staff was responsible for any
8 entries made to the war log. Is my understanding correct?
9 A. Yes, I think that was his responsibility.
10 Q. When an entry like this is made to the war log, certain steps
11 should be taken in order to get ready for this?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Nonetheless, you say you were not informed about this, so probably
14 if I ask you if anyone from the command, the chief of security or the
15 military police commander were familiar with this, you would probably say
16 no; right?
17 A. I don't know about the security organ, the security officer; he
18 might have been informed. I don't believe the military police company
19 commander was, though. One thing that is remarkable is that nobody
20 informed me at the time.
21 Q. On the ground in Vukovar, back in 1991, was there any other
22 command body or command structure in place that was outside of the regular
23 command structure? Was there anyone who could have led to something like
24 this being entered into the war log without the commander's knowledge,
25 unbeknownst to the commander?
1 A. No, there was no other structure, no other body. This is quite
2 obviously a document from my brigade, no one else could have made the
3 entry, save for Major Jankovic.
4 Q. Do you know if on the evening of the 19th or the morning of the
5 20th any preparations were, in fact, carried out in order to set up a
6 security regime for this?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Very well, thank you. What about your earlier statements, both to
9 the OTP and in Belgrade, did you ever say that during the hospital
10 evacuation on the 20th of November, 1991, a platoon of the traffic police
11 belonging to your brigade was used to escort the convoy on its way from
12 the hospital to Ovcara?
13 A. No, I was not aware of that. I did give a number of statements.
14 I thought -- or I believed that one of the traffic officers were there,
15 but not the traffic police. I later found out that none of the traffic
16 officers were involved either.
17 Q. Is my understanding correct of what you just said about the
18 traffic people being involved in 2003 and 2004 - that's when you said it -
19 but you checked later on and now you believe that they were not involved?
20 A. Yes, I do believe that they were not involved, although did I say
21 that there were a couple of traffic people there. But I have since
22 received new information to show that they had, in fact, never been
24 Q. Can you clarify for us how you got this information after 2004,
25 how did you do that?
1 A. The same as you did. I listened to reports from people, I
2 followed the testimonies in Novi Sad, in Belgrade. I think that the Novi
3 Sad Dnevnik newspaper wrote about that most extensively. I don't think
4 that any of the officers said that the traffic police were there.
5 Q. Did you have the opportunity to talk with any of the traffic
6 police people who were in that platoon at the time?
7 A. No -- perhaps I did, but I don't know that they were in the -- in
8 the traffic platoon.
9 Q. Could you please tell us, then, on -- how did you conclude earlier
10 that this unit was involved in the evacuation of the hospital?
11 A. The unit, well, I saw it when it came to the hangar. I saw
12 Vukasinovic and he said to me that these were soldiers from the hospital,
13 the prisoners.
14 Q. I asked you about the members of your own traffic police. How did
15 you earlier, when you gave the statements, conclude that they took part in
16 the evacuation? What were your sources for making this conclusion?
17 A. I cannot remember the sources exactly. It was probably based on
18 conversations with officers in the brigade after the fact. When we were
19 discussing the situation, what happened, how did it happen, probably
20 somebody told me then.
21 Q. Do you remember who was the platoon commander of the traffic
22 platoon in the military police company of the 80th Motorised Brigade?
23 A. I don't remember.
24 Q. During the evacuation of the hospital, did you discuss the use of
25 this platoon with Mr. Vezmarovic?
1 A. First of all, this is not a company. These are two traffic
2 detachments or two traffic squads. I don't remember discussing that with
3 Vezmarovic, though.
4 Q. What about Dragi Vukosavljevic, your chief of security?
5 A. I said before that I didn't really feel comfortable saying
6 something that I didn't remember. I don't recall speaking with Dragi.
7 Why would I talk to him when it was all over anyway? I was busy with
8 other duties in town, and when it was all over, when it was passed, I
9 wasn't really interested anymore in who was where.
10 Q. I asked you this because earlier you mentioned that you talked to
11 some people from your unit who participated, so I thought perhaps it was
12 Dragi Vukosavljevic amongst those people?
13 A. Well, I don't really know. Perhaps I did. I mean, I did speak
14 with some other people. I don't know.
15 Q. Thank you. If this platoon or these two squads of traffic police
16 were used during the evacuation of the hospital, who would have to be
17 informed about that in your command?
18 A. It would be the company commander, the security organ, the chief
19 of the transport section.
20 Q. Do you recall that you maybe talked about [as interpreted] the
21 chief of the transport sector about that?
22 A. I don't really remember. No, I was thinking about major who was
23 in Sotin, but he wasn't chief of the transport unit, he was a commander of
24 a battalion, but I can't remember the name.
25 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell me, would I be making a mistake if
1 I were to say that in all of your statements you said that you noticed the
2 prisoners of war at Ovcara for the first time on the 20th at around 1700
4 A. You are holding me to certain times and dates. I note -- I
5 remember certain events. When I saw the prisoners, I think it was
6 sometime before it got dark, at dusk. I don't really know what time it
7 was. I wasn't really thinking about seeing what time it was. There were
8 things that I had to do.
9 Q. If I were to tell you that we have a report here by the
10 hydrometeorological institute establishing that at that time it was
11 getting dark at approximately 1700 hours, what would you say?
12 A. Very well. I was coming back from Sotin. I didn't stay there for
13 very long, and when I got there, yeah, that would be that, it was getting
15 Q. Could you please answer cautiously my next question so that we
16 don't have to go into private session. And my question is: Didn't the
17 local commander of Ovcara before you arrived, which you just talked about,
18 if -- you came to the hangar, didn't he inform you that some soldiers and
19 other people were coming to his area of responsibility and was it his duty
20 to inform you about that?
21 A. I cannot really remember, again, whether he informed me or not. I
22 know that I was with him there. He informed me, as the superior
23 commander, according to the establishment, but at the time he really
24 wasn't under my command, even though we were there together.
25 Q. Were you informed, before you came at dusk, about that?
1 A. I think that I wasn't informed.
2 Q. In any case, you're sure that you saw the buses at dusk?
3 A. I was passing through that sector with -- where (redacted) command
4 was in the afternoon when I was going to Sotin. I didn't see anything
5 then. I don't know whether, after I went to Sotin in the meantime
6 something happened. All I know is that when I came back, I saw buses.
7 (redacted) came out to greet me as the -- me being the commander, so I
8 didnít stop where he was. I continued in front of the hangar to see who
9 it was, what is going on, and I explained all of these actions.
10 Q. Thank you. I did ask you to be cautious about the names.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. All right. Very well.
13 A. I apologise.
14 Q. You say that you stayed about 30 minutes at Ovcara and that after
15 that you were rushing to get to the regular briefing at the operations
17 A. I was there about 30 minutes for sure - it could be five minutes
18 more or less - but that's how long I was there. It was time; I was
19 supposed to go to the briefing, to the local command post in Negoslavci.
20 Q. In view of that, that would mean that you came to the OG command
21 in Negoslavci a little bit before 1800 hours when it was almost over?
22 A. It was between 16 and 1800 hours. I was late. I explained
23 already yesterday what the situation was, and I think that there is no
24 need for me to go into that again.
25 Q. Of course. Would I be correct if I said that for some reason you
1 are not giving us the correct time-line when you went to Ovcara on the
2 20th of November, 1991?
3 A. I'm sorry? Again, when I what?
4 Q. When you went to Ovcara on the 20th of November, you are not
5 giving us the correct time for some reason.
6 A. I'm not giving you the correct time? I didn't look at my watch to
7 see what time it was, but I went there to see what was happening there.
8 Q. I think that you came to Ovcara much earlier than you say here.
9 You said that this was at dusk, and a witness here said that he saw you at
10 around 1400 hours and that you were in front of the hangar at that time;
11 is that correct?
12 A. No. What could have happened was that I could have just passed by
13 the hangar, according to what I remember, and then continued on to Sotin.
14 Q. The witness said that at the time you were trying to protect the
15 prisoners from the gauntlet, at that time, and that he saw
16 Lieutenant-Colonel Panic there also at that point.
17 A. I was protecting the prisoners right from the moment when I saw
18 them, and I protected them with that man and his group of soldiers until
19 the time that they entered the hangar. We did everything to prevent the
20 abuse and harassment when they were going through the gauntlet. I didn't
21 see Panic. Later I read Panic's statement and that he saw me.
22 Q. Could you kindly tell us where you read this statement by
23 Lieutenant-Colonel Miodrag Panic?
24 A. It was in some newspaper reporting on the testimony; that's where
25 I read it. And secondly, Panic himself told me when we met at the
1 military court.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we now look at Exhibit 371,
3 please? This is the operations diary of the 80th Motorised Brigade. If
4 we can look at the entry of the 20th of November at 1600 hours, and that
5 would be on page 11.
6 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, we will have this on the screen shortly.
7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we please zoom in on the lower
8 part of the page, because that's the last entry on this page of the
9 operations diary. Thank you.
10 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, can you see the entry starting at 1600 hours?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And does it state there that: "The brigade commander requests
13 that shifts of officers be assigned" --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. -- "for guarding the captured ZNG and MUP members. The military
16 police company and brigade command officers were engaged for this."
17 A. This is what date? This is for the 20th?
18 Q. Yes, that's the 20th of November at 1600 hours, and we can check
19 that if we scroll the page down a little bit.
20 A. Yes, yes, I see it well.
21 Q. You see this entry, that's what it says?
22 A. I would like not to comment on this, but I would like to explain.
23 I did say that I wasn't stating the correct times because I cannot
24 remember everything. This was written arbitrarily by the person who was
25 recording entries, but that's not how it was. I was asking for assistance
1 in officers and soldiers to be sent to protect the prisoners who came from
2 the hospital to the hangar. This was written down, but it doesn't have to
3 be correct, and for sure it is not correct.
4 Q. First of all, are you claiming that the war documents of your
5 units are incorrect?
6 A. No, that's not what's in question. It's one entry that we are
7 dealing with here. The objective was the protection of the civilians, of
8 the people. It was formulated properly, this entry.
9 Q. Could you kindly tell me if the Chief of Staff of the command of
10 the 80th Motorised Brigade is the one who controls all the entries in the
11 war operations diary of that unit?
12 A. Yes, that is what he should do, and he should control that, but
13 this doesn't happen always. This is usually done by one person. An
14 operations officer is given the assignment of recording all the events.
15 But this was just an arbitrarily-written entry, but it's quite clear what
16 this is about. I sought assistance; I asked for officers and soldiers to
17 come to help with the protection of the prisoners as they were entering
18 the hangar. And of course it was logical to have this assistance from
19 officers and soldiers from a command that was nearby.
20 Q. So could you please tell us whether this person in your command
21 who maintains the war documents, does he write down what he is told?
22 A. He writes down things in the way he understands them. He's not a
23 fully-trained person. He is not told exactly what to say; he is not given
24 the specifics. He is just simply told: Such and such a thing is
25 happening. This is going on at Ovcara, so the commander is asking for
1 shifts of officers. So why would we need officers there, in view of the
2 assignment that we had?
3 Q. We're going to do this later.
4 A. This is not properly formulated.
5 Q. What I would like to ask you is whether this person who was not
6 fully trained happened to be the director of an enterprise in Kragujevac?
7 A. Yes, that is correct. But he was just superficially trained for
8 military duty.
9 Q. I am going to ask you whether your Chief of Staff,
10 Lieutenant-Colonel Danilovic, controlled these entries, these documents?
11 A. In principle, yes, he was supposed to do that, but he wasn't
12 checking up every single thing. In principle, this is just a duty given
13 to somebody to carry out.
14 Q. Did you just assert that the person who was the local commander
15 was threatened at his command post at 1600 hours in the afternoon?
16 A. Yes, for sure he was. A larger, armed group of people appeared in
17 his immediate vicinity, he don't know who they were, where they were from,
18 what they were doing there. They were all carrying weapons; they were
19 being quite aggressive, arrogant. He didn't know who their officers were;
20 he was only there with two or three soldiers.
21 Q. All right. We know how many soldiers he had; I'm not going to ask
22 you about that. But what I will ask you is if you are of the opinion that
23 a unit like this could use anti-aircraft guns in order to protect itself,
24 20-millimetre guns in order -- against live strength?
25 A. How could it use an anti-aircraft gun in order to protect itself
1 against men? They only had semi-automatic weapons. And how could they
2 use these weapons against a group of people they didn't know and they were
3 not under attack? A person would undertake measures in order to protect
4 themselves and was requesting protection.
5 Q. So in your words, there was no threat at this time?
6 A. He was worried about the safety of his command and his men. He is
7 not necessarily under threat, but he did think about taking steps to
8 protect himself.
9 Q. At this point in time is there a military police company of the
10 80th Motorised Brigade inside the hangar?
11 A. I don't think so.
12 Q. Can you tell us where it was?
13 A. Probably on their way -- on their way back from Sremska Mitrovica,
14 on the road back to Negoslavci, or even in Negoslavci.
15 Q. On their way back from Sremska Mitrovica. You're not saying that
16 the military police company from Sremska Mitrovica is taking a whole day
17 to reach Negoslavci, are you?
18 A. They handed over the prisoners, the Mitnica group. Of course it
19 might take a whole day, unless it was done in a timely manner.
20 Q. What if the group surrendered on the 19th of November at 1530
21 hours? This military police company of the 80th Brigade, weren't they
22 supposed to long have been in Negoslavci on the 19th of November, by 1600
24 A. Well, that's an open question. Should they have been there?
25 Shouldn't they have been there? Were they facing problems back there or
1 not? That's a different cup of tea.
2 Q. You, as brigade commander, did you know where your military police
3 company was?
4 A. When?
5 Q. On the 20th of November at 1600 hours.
6 A. I did see that -- I did see some of the soldiers, but I didn't see
7 the entire unit. I didn't see Vezmarovic or anybody. I know that some of
8 them did go to Sremska Mitrovica, and I did see some of them later at
9 Ovcara. There were certain indicators at the time that they were there.
10 Q. I am afraid I will have to clarify this. You knew that they were,
11 in fact, in Negoslavci, or did you believe that they were on their way
12 back from Sremska Mitrovica?
13 A. I didn't know.
14 Q. How, then, did you request that a unit be used of whose
15 whereabouts you knew nothing?
16 A. When did I make that request?
17 Q. Operations log, 20th of November, 1600 hours. You requested that
18 the military police company be used, and the brigade command officers, for
19 security, as this reads, or for protection, as you say. One thing that is
20 beyond doubt is that you requested that the military police company be
21 used. Is that right?
22 A. I told you that the phrasing of this entry at 1600 hours is just
23 not accurate. Maybe the officer who was keeping the log didn't do it
24 properly. I requested assistance from officers and soldiers in order to
25 help the prisoners without knowing where the military police company was
1 or the rest of it. I did not request the assistance of any other
2 officers. I requested that one or two officers be sent over with a group
3 of soldiers to protect the prisoners. I didn't know about the military
4 police company; I didn't know that it was there. I believed them to be
5 somewhere on their way back from Mitrovica to Negoslavci. Where they were
6 at this precise point in time is not something I knew.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, could I point out that at least in the
8 English version there are two sentences in the entry. The first records,
9 or purports to, the commander's request; the second seems to indicate what
10 was done about the request, rather than it being the request of the
11 commander that the military police and others be assigned to the task.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't believe this is
13 quite what it states in our language. In the first portion there is the
14 security assignment, you are quite right there. As for the other portion,
15 it reads: "Responsibility for this," so somebody is announced as the
16 person, "to carry out this assignment, the military police company and the
17 brigade officer."
18 That's the first part of the sentence, and in the second part of
19 the sentence you have: "The implementing agency," as it were, who is
20 supposed to carry this out. That's the second part of this sentence, and
21 this is one sentence comprising two different parts containing these two
22 different bits of information, or at least that is my reading of what it
24 JUDGE PARKER: Well, I just point out that, at least as it's
25 rendered in English, it's simply two statements. The first is a request,
1 the second is what was done about it. If it's something different in your
2 language, that translation needs to be ...
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I'm looking at the
4 English, and the translation comprises two sentences; the B/C/S contains
5 only one sentence. There is a comma.
6 JUDGE PARKER: As I understood you, it's still, even as you
7 translated it, wasn't saying that the brigade commander had requested the
8 military police and brigade command officers to undertake the task.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, right at the beginning
10 of this sentence it says that the brigade commander was the one who
11 requested this. In column number 4, which is right next to this entry,
12 side by side, it says Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic, as far as I understand,
13 he was the person who ordered this entry be made. And we can check with
14 the witness.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not order this entry to be
16 made. It was the person who was in charge of making the entries, and he
17 wrote down that I was requesting assistance. The wording of this report
18 is erroneous. I didn't know about the military police company, I didn't
19 even know its whereabouts, as you have suggested. I was asking for
20 officers -- I was asking for two officers, I know that for sure, and a
21 group of soldiers to be assigned to us; the reason being, Vezmarovic was
22 not there. And because of this, Captain Vukic came with a group of
23 soldiers from the staff command, from the signals company, and the rest of
24 them. And I sent him, as I said yesterday, to go and speak to
25 Major Vukasinovic, in case there was an assignment or in case any
1 assistance was needed. Vukasinovic turned him down, turned him away, by
2 saying that there was an assignment for him and told him that he should go
3 back to Negoslavci, which is what Vukic did, in due course.
4 Q. Can you tell us then: How did you forward this request to your
5 brigade command?
6 A. I don't know, as I have already said. I'm not sure if I phoned
7 them; I'm not sure if somebody actually went there. We did say that
8 someone from his command called and reported this. I don't know how it
9 happened, but the duty operations officer at the brigade command
10 eventually received this report.
11 Q. If this was done by phone, where from? Do you know that? Which
12 phone did you use?
13 A. Maybe it was from one of the brigade's cars. Some of them had
14 phones, actually. Not all of them by any means, but some did. I'm not
15 committing myself on this one, however. I did phone them from somewhere
16 or other.
17 Q. Which specific units did you contact by using this telephone that
18 you have now mentioned?
19 A. More or less all of them, the subordinate commands.
20 Q. If I tell you that Mr. Vezmarovic told us that his military police
21 unit was at Ovcara, even in his absence, and that he himself only arrived
22 later, what can you tell me about that, sir?
23 A. I did say that there were soldiers wearing white belts there and
24 other soldiers, too, from the staff command, the signalsmen, and so on and
25 so forth. I'm not saying that there was nobody else there; there were
1 soldiers wearing white belts, even in my vehicle. I'm not sure if anyone
2 else was there, but ultimately there were other soldiers there wearing
3 white belts. I have no idea who they were. I told you, I came to this
4 unit very late in the day, and this was the first time I met those
5 people. Despite my best intentions, I had no time to meet them all
6 individually, not even their officers.
7 Q. What was the assignment of this unit that you requested to be sent
8 to Ovcara?
9 A. To help Major Vukasinovic out protecting the prisoners.
10 Q. You were an officer of a higher rank than Major Vukasinovic. Did
11 you appeal to you for help?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Why did you then order a unit to come over from Negoslavci, from
14 the brigade command, to go over there and help you out?
15 A. Because I had not seen Vukasinovic there in the hangar up to this
17 Q. If you had not yet seen Vukasinovic in the hangar, how then could
18 you possibly have asked for assistance on his behalf?
19 A. I was requesting assistance in order to protect the command post
20 for my own protection, for the protection of prisoners. It was only once
21 I had entered the hangar that I realised Vukasinovic was there, and help
22 had not yet arrived by this time.
23 Q. So you were requesting assistance before you entered the hangar?
24 A. Yes, and as soon as I realised what the situation was outside the
25 hangar, all the things being done, this man came with me, with his own
1 group of soldiers and officers, and we started getting some work done.
2 And we stayed right there until all the prisoners were inside the hangar.
3 It was only this point in time that I entered. This went on for 25 or 30
4 minutes, and then I went inside and I was surprised to see Vukasinovic
5 right there in the middle.
6 In the meantime, Captain Vukic had arrived, and I told him to go
7 and speak to Vukasinovic, to ask him about help or about any assignments.
8 He went and spoke to him. He said there were no assignments, so he came
9 back and he said: Are we at ease? And he said: Yes, you are at ease.
10 After Negoslavci -- he gathered his soldiers and they all drove back to
12 Q. What about this group of soldiers from your command? Why did you
13 not send them to help the local commander, but rather Major Vukasinovic
15 A. Because Major Vukasinovic was the most senior officer there and he
16 was from our superior command. Also, he was in charge of the prisoners
17 because he was the one who had brought them there to begin with.
18 Q. Did you ask Major Vukasinovic if he needed any assistance?
19 A. No, I didn't.
20 Q. Why didn't you?
21 A. Because help had already arrived.
22 Q. Who was in the command of the unit that had just arrived?
23 A. Reserve Captain Vukic. I can't remember his first name.
24 Q. Were you there when the unit came?
25 A. I think I was still there, and I was the one who warned him about
1 everything and I was the one who told him to go and speak to Vukasinovic.
2 It was at this point in time that I left for the command post to see
3 Captain [as interpreted] Mrksic.
4 Q. Were you in command of the unit inside the hangar since you were
5 the highest-ranking officer there?
6 A. No. I left immediately, having spoken to this officer, having
7 told him to go and address Vukasinovic.
8 Q. Were you not supposed to act differently, given what the situation
10 A. No. I did everything that any professional soldier would have
11 been able to do in a situation like that. A group of armed people
12 emerged; we had no idea who they were or where they had come from. Their
13 intentions were not clear. Their assignments were unknown. I took steps
14 to protect myself, my subordinate command, and the prisoners. I think any
15 military officer would have done the same, facing the odds that I was
16 facing. Regardless of the fact that I didn't know for sure who it was
17 that was inside the hangar.
18 Q. Based on what you're telling me now, it looks to me as if you had
19 asked for this unit to come over and help you and the local commander and
20 not Major Vukasinovic - wait a minute, please, let me finish my question -
21 to protect you, to protect the local command, and the prisoners of war?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. You were the highest ranking officer there. Why didn't you take
24 charge in the hangar, why didn't you take over the command of the hangar?
25 A. I had no idea who those people were. I was the highest ranking
1 officer, in terms of rank; that's true. But there was an officer there
2 from my superior command, a security officer. I'm not sure why you are
3 refusing to see this, to understand what I'm saying. He was the one who
4 had brought those people there. That was his assignment, he had gone to
5 get them and he brought them over. He was given this assignment by his
6 own superior officer, not by me.
7 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, you say you reckoned at the time that your safety
8 was under threat as well as the safety of the command post within your
9 area of responsibility, your area of command. We've covered that. You,
10 being the local commander of the area, Ovcara, Grabovo, Jakubovac, you
11 were supposed to take charge, to take over the -- to take over command,
12 and you were supposed to protect all these elements who, in your opinion,
13 had come under threat; right?
14 A. I told you that people were under threat, were in peril, the
15 prisoners, my command, myself, in no particular order. We were all in
16 peril: The prisoners, myself, my command staff. Those prisoners had been
17 brought there by Major Vukasinovic, an officer from my superior command.
18 I don't know where he had brought them from or what the assignment had
19 been. How can I possibly order him about if I had no idea what these
20 prisoners were there for or what was supposed to be done with them?
21 Q. Did you ask him who these people were, these units, who they had
22 surrendered to and where they had come from?
23 A. Yes, I did ask who the prisoners were. I saw people there wearing
24 different kinds of clothes, some people were wearing white overcoats, some
25 were wearing combined uniforms, some were wearing caps. That was the
1 first time I laid eyes on those people, so I asked Vukasinovic:
2 Vukasinovic, who are these people? Where did you get them from? And he
3 said: These are people from the hospital, they are prisoners. That was
4 all he said.
5 Q. So it's not quite true that you don't know who the people were and
6 where they had been brought from?
7 A. It was once I was inside the hangar that he told me these people
8 were from the hospital. I hadn't realised up until that point; I didn't
10 Q. You, as the local commander there, did you have the powers to take
11 any steps that you were entitled to take under the law and as the local
13 A. I had no authority to take his prisoners away because this man was
14 carrying out an order previously given by a superior command. I just
15 reported to my superior commander.
16 Q. When did you report to your immediate [as interpreted] commander?
17 You say immediately, what exactly do you mean?
18 A. When the prisoners were inside the hangar, when I had done my best
19 to protect them to the extent that I could, when help had arrived from the
20 brigade command, led by Vukic. When I went inside the hangar, when I
21 realised Vukasinovic was there, he told me who these people were. And
22 then there was group of soldiers that was brought over, between 15 and 20
23 of them. I thought to myself: Here was a man from my superior command.
24 I supposed that he had been given an assignment, I offered him my help,
25 and he refused.
1 Q. Who was the commander he reported to immediately,
2 Major Vukasinovic?
3 A. No, Colonel Mrksic.
4 Q. When?
5 A. That evening after Vukic had arrived, I told Vukic to go and speak
6 to Vukasinovic; that was the assignment I gave him.
7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe it is time for
8 our midday break now.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. I left you running because I
10 realised you were at a point of some interest.
11 We will adjourn now and resume at 1.30.
12 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 1.35 p.m.
14 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Good afternoon. Judge Parker is unable
15 to sit this afternoon, so Judge Thelin and I will sit, according to the
17 Mr. Vasic.
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, before the break we were discussing the units which
20 arrived when you asked for them to go to the hangar at Ovcara. You told
21 us that you didn't know where the military police company of the
22 80th Brigade was at the time and that the entry in the war diary
23 pertaining to the 20th of November at 1400 hours is an erroneous one?
24 A. It is imprecise, incorrect.
25 Q. If I were to tell you that the aforementioned local commander in
1 his testimony on page 7707, line 11, stated that you were there with two
2 officers, two military policemen in the vehicle, that you came from Sotin,
3 and that you invited the military police to come from Negoslavci to secure
4 the prisoners, would you say that he was wrong as well?
5 A. I asked for assistance, and it is correct that I was with another
6 two policemen in the vehicle. Vukic was there and not Vezmarovic, and I
7 issued the assignment to Vukic.
8 Q. What I put to you contains two important factors. One is the use
9 of the military police, as you yourself mentioned, and that you told that
10 to Lukic [as interpreted] and that Vezmarovic was not there. The second
11 being was that the purpose of the unit was to secure the prisoners; is
12 that correct?
13 A. Which unit exactly? The one led by Captain Vukic?
14 Q. The unit you summoned, and by what you said, they were brought
15 there by Captain Vukic?
16 A. They were there to protect the command, myself, and the hangar,
17 and the prisoners when entering the hangar.
18 Q. If I understood properly, the unit arrived after the prisoners had
19 entered the hangar?
20 A. I don't remember that precisely, but the entry into the hangar was
21 coming to a close.
22 Q. Did you on that occasion ask for any other of your resubordinated
23 units, or did you only ask for the command of the 80th Brigade?
24 A. I believe the command of the brigade only.
25 Q. Could you tell us why Captain Vezmarovic didn't come. Wasn't that
1 the task to be executed by the commander of the military police and the
2 military police in general?
3 A. I presume Vezmarovic at that time wasn't there, and I decided to
4 call Vukic; that was the decision I made.
5 Q. Where was Captain Vezmarovic?
6 A. I don't know. Somewhere on the road between Mitrovica and
8 Q. If I were to tell you that Captain Vezmarovic, on the 19th of
9 November, 1991, was in Sremska Mitrovica rather than on the 20th of
10 November when these events were taking place, could we conclude then that
11 your statement is illogical?
12 A. The prisoners were taken away on the 20th in the morning.
13 Q. Could you tell me which prisoners were taken away on the 20th?
14 A. The Mitnica unit, I think.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have Exhibit 371 put
16 on the screen? Could we please have the entry pertaining to the 19th of
17 November at noon. For my learned friend from the OTP, that is page 9.
18 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, could you see the entry pertaining to the 19th of
19 November at 12.00?
20 A. I can't read it quite well.
21 Q. Let me do it for you.
22 "We were informed that a decision has been issued that captured
23 members of the ZNG be transferred to Sremska Mitrovica.
24 Lieutenant-Colonel Danilovic relieved of responsibility concerning the
25 guarding of captured MUP and ZNG members in the Ovcara sector."
1 Is this entry correct or not?
2 A. This is the 19th, pertaining to the Mitnica group, isn't it?
3 Q. This is the entry for 12.00 on the 19th concerning the prisoners
4 who were at that moment in the Ovcara sector, obviously secured by your
5 unit, as stated in your operations diary.
6 A. As far as I know, the hospital prisoners were there on the 20th.
7 Q. Yes, the hospital prisoners were there on the 20th, I agree.
8 A. Well, Rade Danilovic was there - this regards the Mitnica group -
9 he was there with them, and this is what he did.
10 Q. Can you see the date and the time when this group was transferred
11 to Sremska Mitrovica? The entry is for the 19th of November at noon.
12 A. Yes, to be transferred to Sremska Mitrovica. Is that what you
13 have in mind?
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. All right.
16 Q. Is this entry correct, and does it tally with your recollection?
17 A. I don't know. I know that the Mitnica unit prisoners were
18 transferred, handed over; I don't know the details. The time seems to be
19 all right. I don't know whether this entry is formulated in the proper
20 way, but I know that they were transferred and handed over on time.
21 Q. And the commander of the military police company, Captain
22 Vezmarovic, left together with them in the morning to deliver the list in
23 Sremska Mitrovica; isn't that so?
24 A. I don't know who went there to give the list, but in any case it
25 was in existence and it was taken there.
1 Q. Now you are stating that you don't know who compiled the list and
2 who delivered?
3 A. I don't. I know it was compiled, it was typed, I saw it, and it
4 was then taken away.
5 Q. Where did you see it being typed?
6 A. I saw it on my table at the command concerning the Mitnica group
7 members. Number 1 was their commander, Filip Karaula, and then all the
8 subsequent people in numbers up to the number 90 or so.
9 Q. Do you remember when is it that you saw this list on your desk at
10 the command?
11 A. In the evening.
12 Q. What date?
13 A. I believe when they had left on the 19th.
14 Q. Do you know who forwarded the list to you?
15 A. I can't be certain. I could guess, but the list was put together
16 in any case. I saw it and, out of curiosity, I went down the list to see
17 the names.
18 Q. Do you know who was tasked with compiling the list?
19 A. I just said I didn't know.
20 Q. You stated that the unit of your military police escorted the
21 convoy up to Sremska Mitrovica, handed over the prisoners to someone. And
22 now you're telling us who was tasked with compiling the list or who
23 delivered it?
24 A. I don't know. It wasn't important to me who made the list. It
25 was important that it was made and delivered, the same way the prisoners
1 were handed over, and that there were no incidents.
2 Q. Who was responsible to you as the brigade commander for the list
3 and the handing over of the prisoners from Mitnica?
4 A. I can't remember.
5 Q. Your chief of security, Dragi Vukosavljevic, was he present when
6 the Mitnica group departed on the 19th of November, around noon, as stated
7 in the operations diary?
8 A. I don't remember. He probably was engaged in some part of that
9 operation, but as to whether he was there when they departed, I don't
11 Q. Would you agree with me that Captain Vezmarovic couldn't have been
12 in Sremska Mitrovica on the 20th, as you stated?
13 A. I don't know. Then he must have been out in the field,
14 implementing another assignment.
15 Q. As the commander and the duty officer of your unit, he never
16 reported to you to -- that he was to go out in the field to complete a
18 A. No, not to me. I don't know whether he spoke with the security
20 Q. Could you explain this then: In case of emergency how would your
21 command be protected if you don't know where your military police
22 commander is, and he was supposed to secure the command post?
23 A. It isn't only the military police that secures the command post,
24 there were other units. There was a circular line of defence, and they
25 all had their axes and the tasks and things to secure, as well as the
1 military police. This all formed a single unit, a whole.
2 Q. Am I mistaken if I say that the military police were billeted
3 close to where your command post was?
4 A. No, you won't be. Perhaps two or three houses away from where we
5 were. They were close, in any case.
6 Q. Did Captain Vezmarovic come by the command daily, several times a
7 day, going to the house where he was billeted?
8 A. Captain Vezmarovic had most contact with the security organ, and
9 the tasks he was assigned were issued to him by the security organ or
10 perhaps another officer. He didn't have much contact with me. I did see
11 him occasionally, but I couldn't be there spending my time waiting for
12 someone to come by. He was there, he worked well, and he was out in the
13 field, there were communications, and he reported on the tasks. There was
14 no need for me to be interested in that. As the brigade commander, I
15 couldn't busy myself with every single unit.
16 Q. Your Chief of Staff claimed that you were the only one to command
17 the military police company?
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] A correction for the transcript, chief
19 of security.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, sometimes it can be so. But as
21 to any routine or other task, the military police company never received
22 it directly from me. Usually the tasks were issued via the security organ
23 or perhaps by the Chief of Staff.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. As regards this entry, pertaining to the 20th of November at
1 4.00 p.m., in which there is a request for some troops to come to Ovcara,
2 does that refer to when you asked for some troops to come to assist? Can
3 you explain why did you, as the local commander or the sector commander,
4 ask for some troops to come? I believe you could only command and not
6 A. I informed them, and I asked them to come, and me asking was
7 something along the line of me issuing an order to them.
8 Q. It seems to clear to me now, thank you.
9 When you entered the hangar, did you see a rope there?
10 A. Yes, I did. There was a rope from the entrance to the hangar all
11 the way until the far wall, and the prisoners were in that way more or
12 less divided -- or rather, they were on one side and the TO members were
13 on the other.
14 Q. When you saw that rope, did you see members of your military
15 police from your brigade in the hangar?
16 A. I saw some people with white belts, but I don't know who they
17 were, whether they were from that particular company.
18 Q. As regards Captain Vezmarovic, was he there?
19 A. I don't know.
20 Q. If I were told you that Captain Vezmarovic testified here that he
21 put that rope up and that he placed the prisoners in one part of the
22 hangar, does that mean that he must have been there where the rope was?
23 A. That doesn't necessarily entail the presence of both, but if he
24 said that he put it up, then it must be so.
25 Q. Would you agree with me if I said that it wasn't possible for you
1 to see the rope in the hangar without seeing Captain Vezmarovic?
2 A. I don't agree. There was commotion in the hangar; a large number
3 of people were there in constant motion. I didn't move about the hangar
5 Q. In terms of his function, Captain Vezmarovic was supposed to
6 command over the security detail there, because he was the commander of
7 the military police company, and he must have approached you as the local
8 commander and the brigade commander. Isn't that so?
9 A. First of all, the most senior person there was Major Vukasinovic.
10 If he was supposed to approach anyone, it was him. He knew he was the
11 security organ, and it would be quite ordinary that he addressed him. I
12 wasn't there, the local commander, and my unit wasn't there in full.
13 Q. And isn't this facility in the Jakubovac-Grabovo-Ovcara sector?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 Q. And didn't we read an order here appointing you as the commander
16 in this area?
17 A. Yes, that is correct, but I explained that my officer, the local
18 commander of Ovcara, was not there at that point in time.
19 Q. So you stand by your assertion that you did not see Captain
20 Vezmarovic at that time?
21 A. That's right. I don't remember seeing him there.
22 Q. You said that you saw members of the TO?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In front of and in the hangar?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you agree with my assertion that in your earlier testimonies
2 you repeated several times that there was a total of 30 of them, both in
3 front and inside the hangar?
4 A. That assertion is something that I cannot confirm or deny. Later,
5 perhaps, I saw some more. I don't know if there were more of them, how
6 many of them there were, whether there were 30 or 40. In any case, they
7 were all armed with automatic weapons, some of them also had pistols and
8 some other types of weapons.
9 Q. You said "armed with automatic weapons." You mean automatic
11 A. Automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles, different types of
12 rifles. They didn't all have the same kind of rifle. There was also
13 hunting weaponry.
14 Q. I would like to remind you about your earlier testimony as
15 regarding the number of these troops. In your statement to the security
16 organs on the 12th of January, 1998, and this is in the set that its first
17 page is 0218-8336. And it's the page number L009-6424. Have you found
18 it, sir?
19 A. No, I haven't found it. I have the question -- I have the
20 statement from Gojovic here in front of me. Is that the one you mean?
21 Q. Well, so that you don't trouble yourself, I'm going to give you my
22 copy. The first page Mr. Vojnovic, do you see at the end of the second
23 paragraph it says: "I recognised Stanko Vujanovic, Miroljub Vujovic, and
24 a man there dressed by the name of Djekic."
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And then you said: "As I recall, there were 20 to 30 of them in
3 A. Yes, I said that, but from what I recall there were more.
4 Q. How many more?
5 A. I think --
6 Q. How many more? Do you think it was up to 40?
7 A. Yes. That is correct. I cannot give you the exact number, but
8 there were more. Now that I have that image before me, I think that there
9 were more of them.
10 Q. Thank you very much. We're not going to be needing this statement
11 any more.
12 You told us that the local command and you personally were in
13 danger, as well as the prisoners?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Because of these 30 to 40 TO members; is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. A unit numbering 15 to 20 people, a unit of the military police or
18 any other unit, is that sufficient, together with the staff command unit
19 that happened to be there, enough to confront this other unit that was
20 there, numbering up to 40 people?
21 A. We had no intention of confronting them or entering into a
22 conflict with them. We were there; we offered to provide protection. As
23 far as the -- this aggressive stance of the TO members, I think it was
24 better to avoid any confrontation. I think, as far as their behaviour was
25 concerned, the behaviour of those TO members, that those soldiers would
1 not have been able to do anything.
2 Q. You told us today that Vukic came with 15 to 20 soldiers?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 Q. Beside that, we heard from Captain Vezmarovic that they were
5 members of a military police company. How many people of the 80th Brigade
6 were there during the course of that day after you called them to the
7 Ovcara farm?
8 A. Well, all right. You could say that there were about 40 people,
9 including the police, if that's what Vezmarovic says, and those who came.
10 But I would like you to keep in mind that Vukic's people returned to
11 Negoslavci quite quickly.
12 Q. We must also add the soldiers who were under the command of the
13 local commander to this number?
14 A. Yes, these were two or three soldiers; that was not a substantial
16 Q. Can I remind you that you, yourself, received three soldiers who
17 help out in establishing order in the hangar and that the local commander
18 had three more soldiers at least and there was certainly other soldiers
19 guarding the local command post?
20 A. I don't know how many there were with me, there were two for
21 sure. I don't know how many the local commander had exactly. I mentioned
22 we didn't go there to fight, I say that again. We came to protect those
24 Q. Did you ask the local commander for some soldiers from his unit at
25 Ovcara that day to help you to establish order in the hangar?
1 A. He didn't have any soldiers. The soldiers that he had, if any, I
2 think he did bring those soldiers, and they were there with us. And they
3 were working to establish order and to provide some protection to the
5 Q. Do you know the reserve officer named Jovan Novkovic?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. He was the commander's deputy for morale, commander's assistant
8 for morale?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. Did this officer lead a group of soldiers that was given to you to
11 help to establish order in the hangar?
12 A. I saw Novkovic and the soldiers who were with him, I don't know
13 how many there were. I know, and I said already, that there was a rope
14 already put from one to the other end of Ovcara, and I also said and
15 confirmed that I saw him. He was the assistant, as I said, of the said
17 Q. At the time did you see that any of the soldiers was making any
18 kind of list of the prisoners of war in the hangar, or did this person
19 himself do that?
20 A. I saw a desk, and there was a person in uniform without a cap
21 sitting at the desk. There were no ranks, no rank's insignia. I think
22 that the person was a soldier or a conscript or a reservist. I don't know
23 his name. He did start to make some sort of list. I didn't go up to him
24 or ask him anything. All I saw was that he was sitting there, writing
25 something down.
1 Q. Did you order for this list to be compiled?
2 A. No. This was already under way when I entered the hangar.
3 Q. Do you know who ordered the list to be compiled?
4 A. No, I don't. I could perhaps make the assumption that it was the
5 local commander who did that, but I'm not sure.
6 Q. From what you are telling me now, it transpires that the military
7 police was there in the hangar before you entered the hangar?
8 A. Yes, that is correct. You see, there were soldiers going in to
9 take a look out of curiosity, then they would come out, one soldier would
10 go in and then perhaps come out again. But in this case that's not
11 important. What's important is that somebody there began to write
12 something, and I saw that.
13 Q. I actually wanted to ask you the following: This person, this
14 soldier, was not there out of curiosity; they were doing something there?
15 A. Well, somebody must have told him. I don't know where they found
16 the paper and so on.
17 Q. What would you say if I were to tell you that some witnesses
18 assert that this list ended up on your desk, the desk that you mentioned
19 at the brigade command, in the morning on the 21st of November, 1991?
20 A. I would claim with certainty that that list never reached me.
21 It's possible that it was mixed up together with the list of the Mitnica
22 group, which was at -- on my desk.
23 Q. If I were to tell you that the commander, the local commander that
24 we mentioned here before the Trial Chamber, said that he personally
25 ordered that this list be placed on your desk, what would you say?
1 A. I wouldn't say anything. I would say that I don't know anything
2 about it. I know that the list of people from the Mitnica group was typed
3 and placed on my desk. I read it from number 1 to number 90.
4 Q. After the events at Ovcara, therefore after the 21st of November,
5 1991, did you ask the units or your brigade command to find and send this
6 list to you?
7 A. No, because we were not in charge of those people, not dealing
8 with their security. We didn't know how many of them came, how many were
9 released; I read about it later. So I didn't have the intention or the
10 desire to interfere in the work of the person who went and brought those
12 Q. I would be more likely to say that you knew how many there were,
13 because it was the soldiers from your unit who were drafting the list?
14 A. No, nobody knew how many people there were, there was some
15 guesses, some assumptions - they were incorrect - but it was in the range
16 of 150 people or something like that.
17 Q. Did you ever discuss with the local commander - and you know who
18 we're talking about - the list that you saw being drafted there?
19 A. Yes, I did. Because I also saw somewhere that he said that
20 somewhere, and I gave the same answer that I am giving you now.
21 Q. So you assert that the list never reached the -- your command, but
22 it ended up at the local command post?
23 A. No, I am not saying that it didn't reach the command, but it did
24 not reach me or my desk. I assert that I did not see it. Maybe somebody
25 placed it on the desk and then took it again. These are all possibilities
1 and guesses, and that's something that is really not material here.
2 Q. If I understood you correctly, sir, you said that Captain Vukic
3 came alone with soldiers to Ovcara, without other officers?
4 A. I think he came with Dacic -- actually, later I heard or read
5 Vukic's statement. Dacic was there, Vukic was the commander though.
6 Q. So the two of them were the only two officers who came with the
7 soldiers. Were there no other officers at the command?
8 A. They were given the assignment from someone, and they were sent.
9 From what I could see at the time, there was perhaps only Major Jankovic
10 at the command out of all the active senior officers.
11 Q. Thank you. Yesterday you were talking about the behaviour of the
12 TO members towards the prisoners when you saw them in front of the hangar.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You said that you intervened and you said -- described what was
15 happening. Could you agree with me that they, the members of the TO,
16 after your warning, did stop harassing the prisoners in the hangar?
17 A. Not entirely, no.
18 Q. What does that mean, "not entirely"?
19 A. There were insults hurled, cursing, they were taken away from the
20 ropes, there were threats.
21 Q. But there was no physical abuse, if I understand correctly?
22 A. Yes, I don't think that there was any physical abuse later.
23 Q. During the interview with OTP investigators, you said that you
24 heard that Captain Vezmarovic established order in the hangar; is that
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] For my learned friends, this is
3 paragraph 35 of the witness's statement.
4 Q. When did you hear this?
5 A. I think it was after the rope was set up and after a certain time
6 had passed, the time necessary to establish order.
7 Q. After the rope was placed and order was established, you left the
8 hangar in the belief that everything would be all right?
9 A. Yes, that is correct. I was convinced, I saw that there was a
10 sort of separation barrier put up. I don't want to keep mentioning him,
11 but Major Vukasinovic stayed with them, with a group. I really can't say
12 if they were officers or soldiers who were with him. In any event, they
13 were not our soldiers from my group. So I felt sure that everything would
14 proceed properly and that the same procedure would be repeated as with the
15 Mitnica group.
16 Q. Precisely the sort of situation that you have just described is
17 the reason why you were able to rescue a married couple, two Croats, and
18 to make it possible for that gentleman to go to the hospital?
19 A. I don't remember their names or if they were, in fact, married.
20 There was a man who was sick, and there was a woman with him. And we sent
21 them to our own medical station, which at the time was based in Sotin.
22 Q. And you left, right?
23 A. I don't know those two were actually driven by us to the medical
24 station. I realised that those two were exhausted or sick. I think I
25 acted not only in a fair manner, but in a just manner, if you like.
1 Q. After you left the hangar you went straight to the regular
2 briefing at the OG South headquarters in Negoslavci, right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You probably reached there before 1800 hours?
5 A. Probably between 1800 hours and 1900 hours, as I explained
7 Q. If we accept what you are saying and not what the operations log
8 seems to be suggesting, that you were there at 1700 hours, namely that you
9 spent 30 minutes there and not more, then you should have been in
10 Negoslavci by 1800 hours, right?
11 A. I was late to that meeting in Negoslavci; they started before I
12 arrived. Don't hold me to the time or the place, but I was late to that
13 meeting because of what had occurred at Ovcara.
14 Q. The Defence wishes to put it to you that the briefings at
15 Negoslavci always began at 1700 hours, because 1800 hours is the time for
16 the combat report to be drafted. We say that you did come to the meeting,
17 you were late at the meeting, you apologised, and you said there that you
18 were personally involved in establishing order inside the hangar, but this
19 was before 1800 hours, that's what we are saying.
20 A. It's very difficult to get all the dates and the time-line right.
21 I know that it was night by the time I arrived.
22 Q. But you spent 30 minutes inside the hangar. You will probably
23 agree with me when I say that it wouldn't have taken you half an hour to
24 get from Ovcara to Negoslavci?
25 A. I do agree with that, but I may have passed by the brigade command
1 on my way there to see if they were facing any difficulties.
2 Q. If, in fact, you did go back to the brigade command, did you by
3 any chance see Captain Vezmarovic there?
4 A. I don't know. He wasn't at the brigade command; he was two or
5 three houses further down the street, as it were.
6 Q. Why would you pass by the brigade command if you, in fact, had a
7 radio link to them?
8 A. To see if they knew anything about what else was going on, if they
9 had information to share with me.
10 Q. You were late to this meeting. Couldn't you have phoned them from
11 the car?
12 A. Why would I have? I was going straight there. This would have
13 been quite difficult to explain over the phone since they were right
14 there; it was easier to drop in on this them.
15 Q. But you did say you were late to this meeting and it was a meeting
16 at the superior command, right?
17 A. Yes, for the reasons I just mentioned.
18 Q. That was the reason you had run out of time to go to your own
19 command, you were just wasting time there?
20 A. I said maybe I passed by the headquarters.
21 Q. I'm asking you, would it be logical for you to pass by your
22 headquarters and waste more time, since you were late to this meeting
23 already, as you were?
24 A. No, the situation was critical, it was a serious situation. I
25 wanted to go straight there to see if there were any other orders or any
1 information on what was going on.
2 Q. You say the situation was serious or critical and you were in a
3 hurry to get to your superior command in order to see if there was
4 anything new about the situation. What are you actually telling me?
5 A. I don't know what your understanding is of what I told you. If I
6 went by the brigade command, if I passed by, I wanted to go by the
7 operations room to see if there was any new information, any low-down on
8 the situation and especially concerning the situation at Ovcara, if
9 anybody had heard anything. But there was no new information on that
10 particular development.
11 Q. Wouldn't you expect to get new information at a briefing at your
12 superior command? Wouldn't that be the first place you would go and look
13 for information?
14 A. No, I might have phoned as well, might have asked about the
15 commander's whereabouts. I still think it was justified for me to go to
16 both places, Ovcara and the command, before I drove on to the command
17 post. I still think I did the right thing.
18 Q. Who could possibly have phoned you asking for the commander?
19 A. Well, for example, the commander of the operations group; he could
20 have been on the phone.
21 Q. And you were late to your meeting with that person, of all people,
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. This may be a personal thing for you or a logical thing if you
25 like, but let's just move on.
1 Is it true that you said that you only stayed at the meeting very
2 briefly? This was a regular briefing at the OG command, and the meeting
3 was nearing its end, right?
4 A. Yes, the meeting was drawing to a close. I'm not sure how much
5 time was left exactly by the time I arrived. The meeting was drawing to a
6 close. I came into the meeting and I apologised. I told the commander
7 about the situation that I had encountered.
8 Q. I was just about to ask you how much time was left. Five
9 minutes? 10 minutes? 15 minutes? 20 minutes? What do you mean when you
10 say it was drawing to a close?
11 A. I can't say whether it was five minutes or 20 minutes. It did go
12 on for some time after I had arrived, that much is certain.
13 Q. For a short time though, you said?
14 A. Yes, for a short time only.
15 Q. At this point you walked into the operations room. You informed
16 Mrksic about the problems at Ovcara, right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You say Mrksic was angry and he told you, "Don't even tell me
19 about that."
20 A. Yes, "Don't even tell me about that."
21 Q. Your report to Mrksic was in relation to the situation such that
22 it was at the time you left the hangar at Ovcara, right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Just to make sure that I'm following, in answer to one of my
25 questions you said the situation settled down, and that's what you told
1 Mrksic, that there had been problems, that some prisoners had been beaten,
2 but that when the units arrived the situation was sorted out, right?
3 A. Yes, not sorted out altogether, those people were still around,
4 the TO people. They were still abusing people and making threats. Nobody
5 knew exactly what they might be liable for, but they were at this point
6 physically separated from the prisoners, the TO men. I did say that
7 yesterday; I'm not sure why you keep returning to this. The security
8 officer remained, the OG South security officer. He had an assignment -
9 I'm not sure what the assignment was - and that for me, was a sufficient
10 guarantee that the situation would remain under control and that no
11 further problems would be occurring.
12 Q. And that was what you told Colonel Mrksic, right?
13 A. About me seeing Vukasinovic, yes.
14 Q. That was what you just told us?
15 A. No, I didn't tell him that.
16 Q. What was it you didn't tell him?
17 A. What didn't I tell him? I told him what I was supposed to tell
19 Q. What about what you have just shared with us, don't you think you
20 should have told him that, too?
21 A. And after all, all the other officers were present. I told him
22 about the situation I had personally encountered at Ovcara, but that was
23 the extent of it.
24 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, I'm asking you whether you, at the time, shared with
25 Mr. Mrksic what you have just told us, that the prisoners of war were
1 separated from the TO men. Did you share that with Colonel Mrksic?
2 A. No, I didn't.
3 Q. And my question to you is: Why?
4 A. We may as well have talked about this later on, outside the
5 building. I'm not sure whether I told him or not. I don't wish to commit
6 on this, because I'm just not certain.
7 Q. But you personally saw to it that order was re-established, right,
8 and the fact that the POWs were finally apart from the TO men, that a rope
9 had been set up. This wasn't something that you could just afford to keep
10 silent about, right, you must have told him?
11 A. I may as well have told him, but the important thing for me was to
12 tell him, to brief him, on what exactly was going on at Ovcara.
13 Q. Precisely. You told him what had happened. You told him what was
14 going on, POWs had been attacked, you're leaving the hangar, you're on the
15 way to the command. Some degree of order is now established because these
16 people are now physically separated from the TO men, right?
17 A. Precisely.
18 Q. Could Colonel Mrksic have told you and other commanders perhaps no
19 more than the following words: "Don't even tell me about that," meaning:
20 Take any measures that you can with your units, the units at your
21 disposal. If that proves out to be insufficient, I hereby authorise that
22 you use units from the military company -- of the 1st Military Company and
23 the armoured vehicles through the Chief of Staff of the operations group?
24 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry. The way the question is framed is: "Could
25 Colonel Mrksic have told," suggests a possibility. If my learned friend
1 is actually saying that that is what Mrksic said to him, then it should be
2 put to him in clear terms or what actually Mrksic did say, not the
4 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Vasic.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I heard what the witness
6 said in answer to a question by my learned friend. I'm just checking
7 whether the witness perhaps heard something else in addition to that. I
8 will be clear enough in keeping with Rule 90(H) when the time comes, but
9 this is in reference to something that Mr. Moore raised in
10 examination-in-chief, and that's why I'm raising the matter now, whether
11 perhaps the witness heard anything like that. The phrasing was therefore
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I heard nothing like that.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Vojnovic, on that day you had under your command
16 units totalling more than 100 people, plus some armoured vehicles in the
17 Jakubovac-Grabovo-Ovcara area, right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Was it not logical for you that you get reprimanded by the
20 commander for not using everything that you had, since you came there and
21 told him that the situation in the hangar was not fully under control?
22 A. It's not quite like that, Mr. Vasic. I did have the means, I did
23 have the manpower, but there is something you seem to be refusing to
24 understand. We had nothing with this particular assignment. It should
25 have been done without us. It should have been done without our knowledge
1 even. I just happened to be there, but all those units were not supposed
2 to be used for anything like that. The fighting had stopped, there was no
3 combat. What do you want me to say? Should I have used tanks against
4 those people who were unarmed?
5 Q. Who is unarmed, Mr. Vojnovic?
6 A. The prisoners.
7 Q. When I suggested that you should have used tanks, I didn't mean
8 that you should have used the tanks against the prisoners; should have
9 used them against those threatening the safety of the command post and all
10 those around?
11 A. Well, there was an officer from Operations Group South who was
12 their commander and who had brought them there. It was his place to
13 establish order and to keep them at bay.
14 Q. Did you see him exercise command there actually?
15 A. Yes, I did. He was the most senior officer there. Wasn't us who
16 brought them there to begin with.
17 Q. That wasn't you, but your war log reflects precisely what your
18 assignment was, although you claim to have been unaware of that?
19 A. People were brought there; they didn't just come of their own
20 accord. An officer was placed in charge of those people, and he was the
21 responsible one.
22 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, would you agree with me if I told you this: Never
23 prior to your testimony before the special court did you ever mention that
24 your own chief of security, Dragi Vukosavljevic, came to the command post
25 of OG South with you, did you?
1 A. I said I didn't remember that Dragi Vukosavljevic was with me.
2 But I know Dragi to be a very good, very conscientious officer, and I lend
3 my full credence to whatever it was that he stated.
4 Q. I understand, you will take his word for it, but did you actually
5 hear him say anything and what was it?
6 A. You mean about the command -- the command post of OG South?
7 Q. No. I mean Dragi Vukosavljevic, you telling him that he was at
8 the OG South command post and you accepted this, but this obviously wasn't
9 prior to 2003, was it?
10 A. He came to the OG South command --
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the last part of the
12 witness's answer.
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, I'm asking you, you based this on something Dragi
15 Vukosavljevic had said. You found out about this and you believe him;
16 it's that simple.
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. I'm asking you about when, when did you find out what exactly it
19 was that Dragi Vukosavljevic had said and where? To whom did he state
21 A. I don't know the body or the court where he stated this, but I do
22 believe this; this was something that Dragi said and I believe him.
23 Q. I do understand that you believe him, but did you hear this from
24 the horse's mouth, as it were, or you read this on the internet, in one of
25 the daily newspapers or magazines, or perhaps you were given a statement
1 that he had made?
2 A. I don't know. I don't know if it was the internet or some report
3 or other.
4 Q. Knowing Dragi Vukosavljevic, you accepted his story in full, in
5 its entirety?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. But you don't remember the story yourself you have just told us,
8 haven't you?
9 A. The story when he came to Mitnica, but when the -- I mean OG
10 South, but when or how, I don't know.
11 Q. Thank you. In your statement to the investigative judge of the
12 special court, Judge Alimpic, did you tell him that Mrksic said that he
13 had other duties and that he didn't order anything else in relation to the
14 situation at Ovcara?
15 A. No, he didn't say that to me. He said that to Dragi
16 Vukosavljevic. To me he said, "Don't tell me anything about it," and he
17 didn't do anything else.
18 Q. So this part that I quoted is actually something that you heard
19 from Dragi Vukosavljevic; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And that is in his statement -- actually, that is in the
22 information that you had about his testimony; is that correct?
23 A. I don't know where I noticed that, but I did read about it, yes.
24 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, there is one matter that does concern me
25 is the way that a question has been framed. We have had to take time to
1 check it. My learned friend has suggested, I think, that this witness has
2 never mentioned about Dragi Vukosavljevic being with him at the meeting at
3 the headquarters of Mrksic. We have had a look at the Novi Sad
4 transcript, and that does not seem to accord with the way the question was
5 put. I don't know if my learned friend is aware of that. I'm having to
6 look at two documents, and it's not easy to follow. But if that's the
7 case, then there has been an unintentional misleading.
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I appreciate that. My learned friend
9 is reminding me, and correcting me, but in my question I actually said
10 that the witness before he gave statements before the special court never
11 mentioned this. The transcript in Novi Sad that my learned friend,
12 Mr. Moore, is talking about, is actually the transcript of the testimony
13 of this witness before the special court. So I don't think that I was
14 improper or incorrect when I put this question to the witness.
15 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Vasic, do we have the transcript in
16 the folder that you submitted to us?
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] There is a statement to the
18 investigative judge of the district court in Novi Sad in the folder, it's
19 a statement from the 21st of November, 2003. So what I showed the witness
20 were the statements he provided before 2003. This is what I was asking
21 him about.
22 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: May I just suggest that you proceed with
23 caution and take into account the observation by Mr. Moore. Thank you.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honour. Thank
25 you very much.
1 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, in the course of 2003 did you contact the other
2 protagonists of the events at Ovcara who were members of the
3 80th Motorised Brigade? Did you see them, speak with them over the phone,
4 meet them, speak with them before and after testifying before the organs
5 to whom you gave your statement?
6 A. I cannot really say with certainty whom I saw, whom I met, and who
7 I talked to by phone, but I did follow the testimonies they gave, either
8 at the district court, and I don't know where else. With some of them I
9 did speak, that's correct. And one time I think that I saw Vezmarovic in
10 Kragujevac; I went there. My daughter graduated at the law faculty there,
11 so we went for her graduation, her final exam, and that's when I saw him.
12 We didn't really talk about it. We didn't talk about it or -- and we
13 didn't think that it would ever happen that we would be called as
14 witnesses so much. Our part, we thought, was over, with the testimony at
15 the Novi Sad district court, but unfortunately it was not. But, yes, and
16 of course I also saw Dragi, but I don't know whether that was on that day.
17 Q. Did you meet in Kragujevac just like that? You didn't attend any
18 court hearings, you just met?
19 A. No -- yeah, I went with my daughter, she was attending the law
20 faculty. It wasn't my intention to go specially because of that. I went
21 because of my daughter, in the same way that I spoke with you in Belgrade.
22 Q. Of course. On that day when you met Mr. Vezmarovic and
23 Mr. Vukosavljevic, you talked about the Ovcara events, didn't you?
24 A. No. Dragi didn't want to talk about anything.
25 Q. Did you meet any of those people earlier in the presence of
1 General Aleksandar Vasiljevic?
2 A. No. I never actually saw General Aleksandar Vasiljevic, perhaps a
3 couple of times we shook hands. But I did hear that he talked with
4 Captain Vezmarovic.
5 Q. What about Vukosavljevic?
6 A. I don't know. Vezmarovic didn't tell me that, and I don't know
7 whether he talked to Vukosavljevic or not.
8 Q. How did you find out that he talked to Vezmarovic then?
9 A. I don't know. I think it was written somewhere that Vasiljevic
10 talked to Vezmarovic. I think it was immediately afterwards in 1992 or
11 1993. I don't know if that is true or not.
12 Q. From what we've heard from you today, we can conclude that you
13 actively followed all the Ovcara trials, including this trial here; is
14 that correct?
15 A. Yes, that's a normal thing to do.
16 Q. Did you do that just like other members of the 80th Brigade did in
17 order to find a way to lessen the degree of your participation in what
18 happened at Ovcara and to reconstruct the responsibility of the command
19 that was responsible for all those failings?
20 A. I was really interested to see how things were evolving because
21 many things were not known to us. Many things that are very hard for me
22 to understand, as well as for others, are things that I found out on
23 television or in the newspapers, things that were published. And it's
24 strange that I didn't know that, even though I was an officer of a unit
25 there. That was the only reason why I followed the events there and here,
1 and I learned much more than I knew while I was in Vukovar and after
2 Vukovar. I can say that in 1993 and 1994 my knowledge was very, very
3 slight of all the events there. All that I knew was something that
4 concerned Ovcara. I didn't think that that was all that important and
5 that nobody would call me because of that.
6 Q. And in that way, you augmented your testimony before the trials
7 because you said that what you knew about the Ovcara events was very
8 slight, very moderate, wasn't it?
9 A. Yes, it was slight.
10 Q. Can you confirm that yesterday, before this Trial Chamber you said
11 that for the very first time that Colonel Mrksic told you something along
12 the lines of, "What were you doing here?" Is that the first time that you
13 mention that?
14 A. Yes, yes. "What were you doing there? Why were you there?" I
15 didn't really pay attention to that. I thought that it would be quite
16 sufficient if I were to say what I saw there, how it was, and that
17 everything would turn out differently; and now I see that that is not so.
18 Q. So now you see that that is not so. What I asked you was whether
19 this was the first time that you said that before the -- this Trial
20 Chamber. In earlier hearings you never said that Mrksic said anything
21 like that to you.
22 A. Yes, Mrksic did say that to me, but I never mentioned it before.
23 Q. Did Mrksic tell you that in the operations room during the
25 A. The first thing he said, "Don't tell me about it," was in the
1 operations room, and the other thing is, "What were you doing there," this
2 was outside when we went in front of the building, when we were standing
3 in front of the building.
4 Q. If I were to tell you that Mrksic went to one side and you went to
5 the opposite side when you left the operations room, would you agree with
7 A. Yes, perhaps after that I went to my command, as usual.
8 Q. If I were to tell you that Mrksic did not leave with you, did not
9 leave the brigade command together with you, would you agree with me?
10 A. Perhaps we did not exit together, but we did talk together in
11 front of the command.
12 Q. Was anyone else around?
13 A. Officers were passing by.
14 Q. If I were tell you that my client asserts that he never said
15 anything to that effect and it's not in accordance with your entry into
16 the war diary of the 19th of November, 1991, at 1900 hours, what would you
17 say to me?
18 A. I have nothing to say to you like that. I just told you what I
19 heard and what happened.
20 Q. You assert that your superior officer said: "What were you doing
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And you know that your unit was ordered - at least we heard that
24 today - to take part in the security of the prisoners of war on the 19th
25 of November, what would you say?
1 A. Well, this was a completely different situation. Are you talking
2 about the 20th of the -- and the Mitnica group? My unit did not receive
3 an order to secure the prisoners from the hospital.
4 Q. We read the entries from your war diary of the 19th of November at
5 1800 hours. You say you don't know anything about it, but what I'm saying
6 is: Does it not seem illogical to you that somebody is asking you: "What
7 were you doing here," but an order was issued to your unit?
8 A. No order was issued to my unit.
9 Q. You are stating that on the basis of not having looked at the
10 documents of your units?
11 A. I am stating that practically because my unit was never issued an
12 order to that effect, either orally or in writing.
13 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry, I have mentioned this matter before, that
14 there never has been any reference to "order" on the 19th of November.
15 There is no word that I have seen in either translation that refers to an
16 order. There is an entry, but I don't see the word "order" anywhere. My
17 learned friend keeps referring to it. Now, if there's an error in the
18 translation, I accept that, but I have got two translations and "order" is
19 not there.
20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] My learned friend was present when we
21 were reading that entry together with the witness, so I don't see what is
22 in dispute here.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that what is there does not
24 necessarily have to be correct. One person was noting the entries down,
25 and that's he wrote it down. I did say that I was asking for assistance
1 to be sent to me from the brigade to help protect the prisoners. I think
2 everything is clear in that respect, and not only is it clear, but this
3 action actually happened. The officer came, he brought the men, reported
4 to Major Vukasinovic, so that he could issue an assignment to him, asked
5 him whether he needed assistance, and the other person said no, he didn't
6 need assistance. The man again addressed him and said, if there is no
7 assignment for him and no assistance is needed, then should he return to
8 the unit, and he was told: There is no assignment for you. You can go
9 and return to your unit. I don't know, perhaps something is written here,
10 but this is how things actually happened, and this is something that was
11 confirmed in practice.
12 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: [Previous translation continues] ...
13 confused now, because I thought the point Mr. Moore was making was
14 relating to the entry in the diary on page 10, the thing that we were
15 discussing this morning and this question whether the translation of, "So
16 it was arranged," as it appears in the English text, does not correspond
17 to what is in the original. Maybe we should have this clarified. Maybe
18 you should read from the original and have the interpreters interpret and
19 see what it comes out in English.
20 MR. MOORE: And the witness has been replying in relation to the
21 20th and not the 19th.
22 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Yes, that's right.
23 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we go on a break
25 early, because then I could make the outline of my questions and I could
1 find that relevant part? And then perhaps I can cut short my
2 cross-examination. I think now we have been working for a while.
3 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: [Previous translation continues] ...
4 break and we hope that you can sort this out during the break. Thank you.
5 --- Recess taken at 2.53 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 3.17 p.m.
7 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Vasic, has the break enlightened you?
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed, Your Honour. First, I
9 will try to meet my first promise, and that is the issue of the text
10 initiated by my learned friend, Mr. Moore. I wanted to read it out in
11 B/C/S, slowly. I believe that indeed the translation was erroneous. That
12 is the entry for the 19th of November at 1800 hours from the war diary of
13 the 80th Motorised Brigade.
14 "During the morning the captured Ustashas were taken to the
15 prison in Sremska Mitrovica. There is combat only in the hospital sector,
16 and it is expected that the remaining portion of the ZNG and MUP forces
17 will surrender (around 200). An order was issued to be prepared or to
18 stand by regarding the organisation of securing those prisoners."
19 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, is this what the text reads?
20 A. I don't have the text before me.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't read the text that is before
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Did you manage to read it?
1 A. No.
2 Q. You don't have it on your screen?
3 A. No.
4 Q. I don't have it either.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We need the entry for the 19th at
6 6.00 p.m. That is the last page, that is the one before last page of the
7 war diary, Exhibit 375.
8 Q. Can you see it now?
9 A. What was it that you said?
10 Q. I will read it out again, and perhaps you can follow.
11 "In the morning the captured Ustashas were taken to the Sremska
12 Mitrovica prison."
13 MR. MOORE: Could the witness perhaps follow this, because he's
14 not watching -- I believe he is, my apologies.
15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] May I continue?
16 Q. "There is combat only in the hospital sector, and the surrender of
17 the remaining portion of the ZNG and MUP forces (around 200) there is
18 expected. The order was issued to be prepared to organise the security of
20 Have I read it out correctly?
21 A. You have.
22 Q. Thank you. I would move on.
23 A. I wanted to clarify this somewhat. We were not familiar with any
24 combat activities in the hospital sector. This was new information for
25 us, we didn't participate there. As for the readiness mentioned to
1 organise security for the prisoners, that is correct, but we haven't
2 received any other task after this as to who was supposed to go where or
3 do something.
4 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, you told me you never heard of this assignment and
5 that this was the first time you saw it here?
6 A. This is the first time I heard of any combat around the hospital
7 and that there were any prisoners at the hospital. This is what is stated
8 here. And there is mention of being ready to be engaged, but we never
9 received any such assignment.
10 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, you were not familiar with this order, and you
11 stated that when I asked my question previously?
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. Thank you. Mr. Vojnovic, in your local command you had exclusive
14 powers in the territory of Ovcara, Jakubovac, and Grabovo, and you could
15 have undertaken any measures to prevent those events at Ovcara. And you
16 had those powers at your disposal provided you assessed that either your
17 units or the prisoners were in danger. Obviously you never made such an
18 assessment as to the POWs?
19 A. My units were never endangered. The area where the prisoners were
20 did not fall under my competence, it fell under the competence of the OG
21 staff officers, and I have in mind particularly those who were at the
23 Q. And you also didn't want to mention a particular name, because
24 that was a protected witness?
25 A. That is correct. At the time he was resubordinated to OG South.
1 Q. We've already discussed that topic, I believe. That is precisely
2 what I said, that the Ovcara local commander on one hand, and you on the
3 other hand as the local commander of Ovcara, Grabovo, and Jakubovac, that
4 the two of you actually bear the responsibility for the tragedy that
5 occurred in the hangar at Ovcara. That is why here you are trying to
6 shift that responsibility?
7 A. No, Mr. Vasic. That was the area of responsibility of OG South.
8 There were officers there, in particular the person who was there - not to
9 mention his name - and the organ of OG South who was in the hangar itself.
10 That area had been within my competence previously, but once those people
11 were brought there and the officer arrived at the scene -- and by his
12 appointment I held no authority over him, and I could issue in orders to
13 him. Therefore, I couldn't have been responsible for that area of
14 responsibility. I will clarify, if I may.
15 Q. That is your explanation, I believe.
16 A. Yes, and I have more. It is as if you were walking down the
17 street and you tossed a bomb across the wall into my front yard, and then
18 you say: It wasn't the blame of the person who threw that bomb, but the
19 courtyard's owner's responsibility because he didn't have the time to
20 throw the bomb back. That's the same situation here. Those officers
21 came, and I could no longer have controlled the situation. For anyone to
22 enter my AOR, they couldn't have done that without the permission of a
23 superior officer or commander. And the person who has entered the area of
24 responsibility, as you call it here, and if they wanted to abide by the
25 rules, they had to have stopped by the aforementioned officer, and to
1 inform him that he was under way with such and such group on such and such
2 person's orders to stay there. Otherwise that person must have come
3 directly from a superior command and then they could enter without our
4 knowledge or permission, but in such circumstances they have to undertake
5 all the risk and all the responsibility.
6 Q. As far as I can interpret the rules of service of the armed forces
7 and regarding what we've mentioned concerning the local commands, any
8 officer in the territory temporarily has to abide by the decisions of the
9 local commander. This is clearly stated. And the local commander is
10 obliged to inform him of the decisions in place in the area of
12 A. No. The person entering the AOR has to report that. He cannot
13 enter without approval and without our knowledge. That's the regulation.
14 Therefore, the person who headed the column or the team should have
15 stopped by and to let us know. Perhaps to tell me: Listen, we're going
16 in, regarding this and that. You've got nothing to do with it, but we
17 just wanted to let you know, so that there would be no friendly fire or
18 any such thing. And then the risk is all theirs.
19 Q. And when the local commander -- just a second, I want to finish my
20 question. When the local commander encounters an officer temporarily
21 within his location, he needs to warn him of the decisions in place put
22 there by the local commander in keeping with his powers?
23 A. I'm trying to explain that. The person who came in should have
24 stopped by.
25 Q. Just a moment, please. The officer you were mentioning, did you
1 specify the rules and decisions you put in place within your area of
2 responsibility as the local commander, yes or no?
3 A. No. He had his own assignment, and he was about to carry it out.
4 Q. As the local commander, were you duty-bound to inform him of that?
5 A. I wasn't the local commander.
6 Q. Are you trying to say that by written orders you were appointed
7 local commander, but as you are now stating, you ceased to be that by some
8 oral order?
9 A. I wasn't the local commander. If we are talking about the area, I
10 have just explained. It was defined, but then it -- another appointment
11 was made. As regards the officers there, I could no longer control that
12 part of the area, and I had no right to.
13 Q. That's precisely what I asked you. By a written order you were
14 appointed local commander for Ovcara, Jakubovac, and Grabovo. You are now
15 claiming that by a decision of an officer you ceased to be the Ovcara
16 local commander. Is that what you're trying to say?
17 A. First of all, I wasn't appointed local commander. Rather, it was
18 the person who was there with the agreement of the superior command. The
19 superior command -- or rather, an organ from the superior command, came
20 there and installed that person. He was there at Ovcara. He wasn't, at
21 the time, under my command.
22 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, so as not to go back to Exhibit 418, we've already
23 gone through it in detail today, but it clearly states there that you were
24 the local commander for Ovcara, Grabovo, Jakubovac, once the 20th Partisan
25 Brigade had withdrawn commanded by Lieutenant Misovic, but not the area of
2 Mr. Vojnovic, I won't go back to the orders by which you, as the
3 local commander of the three localities subdivided the area appointing
4 various commanders, one for Ovcara and the other one for Grabovo and
5 Jakubovac. Isn't that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 A. But it isn't so.
9 Q. Please explain.
10 A. (redacted) was not one of my officers at the time. Vukasinovic
11 was not my officer who was there.
12 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, did you sign the order appointing the aforementioned
13 gentleman, the local commander of Ovcara?
14 A. With the agreement of the operations group command.
15 Q. That's not what one can read in the order. I'm asking you whether
16 you've signed it?
17 A. Yes. But, as I said, with the consent of.
18 Q. I told you that you had some subordinated units in the sector that
19 had several hundred men and armoured vehicles. I believe you were able to
20 use those units in order to establish order and security for the prisoners
21 in the hangar, even when the officer whose name we don't want to mention
22 who was the local commander came to see you to warn you of the withdrawal
23 of your military policemen. Isn't that so?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. On that occasion the aforementioned local commander, did he tell
1 you that the situation at the hangar was calm, that order had been
2 established, and that the prisoners were safe?
3 A. I don't remember the exact details of what he said, but there was
4 order. Whether they were safe and what could potentially take place, that
5 was not something we could foresee.
6 Q. Would you be so kind as to pick up one of the statements before
7 you, in particular the one given to the investigative judge of the
8 district court in Novi Sad on the 21st of November, 2003.
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] For my learned friends, this is page 5
10 in the English.
11 Q. For you, Mr. Vojnovic, that's page 4.
12 A. 379?
13 Q. Your statement given to the investigative judge, Mr. Alimpic, in
14 Novi Sad.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Page 4 of that statement.
17 A. All right.
18 Q. Could you please tell me when you've found it.
19 A. 4.
20 Q. Passage number 3, and it starts, "What (redacted) says is
22 A. Yes, I see that.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.
24 Q. "That arrived at the command at my command in Negoslavci at around
25 2200 hours and asked for the command to be relocated. He had previously
1 told me that Captain Vezmarovic had told him that order had been
2 re-established in the hangar and that the prisoners were safe and that
3 Captain Karanfilov, a security officer with Operations Group South, had
4 told him to pull his soldiers out and that the Territorial Defence unit
5 would now assume control over the prisoners."
6 Did you state that, sir?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And as far as you remember, you were told this on the evening of
9 the 20th, right?
10 A. Yes. So what was I to do now? What you just suggested, summon
11 units for security, that sort of thing? Is that what you're saying?
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Exhibit 422 placed
13 on our screens? Thank you.
14 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, this is an order of the OG South command dated
15 the 21st of November, 1991, 464-1, signed by Chief of Staff Miodrag
16 Panic. In item 4 of this order the units of the Vukovar TO are
17 resubordinated to your 80th Motorised Brigade, the focus being to guard
18 and supervise the area taken and its most sensitive features.
19 Did you receive this order on the 21st of November?
20 A. I'm not sure if it reached us. It may have reached us. If indeed
21 it did, I must have been aware of it, but this is the 21st, right?
22 Q. Yes, it was produced at 6.00 in the morning on the 21st. Do you
23 remember seeing that?
24 A. I don't know. We never received documents in the morning, usually
25 later on in the day. This was produced at 6.00 in the morning, well,
2 Q. Thank you. On the 21st of November, 1991, you were still the
3 local commander at Grabovo, Ovcara, and Jakubovac. And after your unit
4 took over from OG South, you became the commander of Vukovar as well,
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. On the 21st of November, as local commander, were you not supposed
8 to secure the area, the crime scene at Ovcara, that was within your area
9 of responsibility, to secure the site until the military investigators
11 A. No, nobody told me to do that. I wasn't given an assignment like
12 that, nor did I know about the TO members, who they were, who they were
13 subordinated to. I know I received an oral order from the commander to
14 line up the volunteers, to surrender and hand back their weapons, but that
15 was never done. We did secure the hospital, and the SUP building later
17 Q. Yes, thank you.
18 A. After this was over, just to be clear about that.
19 Q. As the military investigators, and I suppose civilian
20 investigators too, were in Vukovar at a time when you were still local
21 commander there, did you ever tell them about this, about the information
22 you had concerning this?
23 A. There was an evening meeting with the commander of OG South. I'm
24 not sure when this was, it might have been on the 21st. He said that
25 investigators would be there.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, on the 22nd.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. But what I want to know is: When did they come? Was it late in
4 November? Late in December?
5 A. No, several days after this happened he said that the
6 investigators would arrive on the 20 something of November, 25th, perhaps,
7 perhaps not, and that the right conditions should be secured for their
8 work. I did not see any investigators there myself. I did see some. I
9 know Colonel Papic was there, he was the prosecutor at the time, I
10 suppose, with the military court or something. But I didn't know the rest
11 of them. They were in the area.
12 Q. Did you perhaps know investigating magistrate, Miodrag Salic?
13 A. Come again?
14 Q. Miodrag Salic, investigating magistrate of the military court?
15 A. No, I don't know. Not familiar.
16 Q. All right. On the 21st of November, Mr. Vojnovic, you said you
17 had held a meeting with your subordinate officers at which you cautioned
18 them about the fact that what had occurred at Ovcara should never happen
20 A. Yes. And that they should tell everybody that such things must
21 never occur again; that they should prevent acts of retaliation,
22 especially with people of different ethnicities involved; that orders
23 should be complied with, and that sort of thing.
24 Q. You said the commander told you that there should be no acts of
25 retaliation; that's not in the transcript.
1 A. Yes, that every and any act of retaliation must be prevented or
3 Q. At one point in time you took over the powers of OG South in the
4 area -- actually, you did this when you moved with your command post and
5 the staff units to the barracks in Vukovar, right?
6 A. No, I assumed the powers of OG South after OG South had left for
8 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We could please have document
9 0D00-0539 on our screens.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me just say this too:
11 Throughout my long military career, I never noticed a document being
12 produced at 6.00 in the morning; that is unheard of, in my experience.
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, this is your order dated the 22nd of November, 1991,
15 strictly confidential 37-3?
16 A. Very well.
17 Q. This is about the transfer of units to the Vukovar barracks, to
18 the brigade command, on the 22nd of November, 1991?
19 A. Yes, indeed.
20 Q. Thank you. So it was after this order that you moved with your
21 command and the units to the Vukovar barracks, right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you very much.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I seek that this be
25 admitted into evidence.
1 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: It will be admitted.
2 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit Number 444, Your Honours.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] If we could please have 425,
4 Exhibit 425 on our screens. Thank you.
5 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, we have got no copies of that particular
6 document, we have just checked. I don't know whether there's been some
7 error, but I've check with my case manager as well.
8 Would my learned friend happen to have a hard copy?
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Which document is my learned friend
10 talking about? I'll try to do my best.
11 MR. MOORE: It is the document that became the transfer of units
12 to Vukovar on the 22nd -- to the Vukovar barracks on the 22nd of November.
13 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] All folders should be identical. It
14 is certainly not deliberate if that document is not in your folder.
15 JUDGE THELIN: Mr. Moore, it seems to be under tab 11 in the
16 folder we have.
17 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
18 [Prosecution counsel confer]
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] If there is any problem, I will make
20 sure to have a copy made for my learned friend following this session.
21 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, this is a regular combat report, OG South command,
22 473-1, strictly confidential, 22nd of November, 1991, 1800 hours.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] If we could please zoom in on the last
24 two paragraphs of this document, and if we could just pull the document up
25 a little. Thank you.
1 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, you see the second last passage there. It says,
2 "During the day all the measures were taken for the 80th Motorised
3 Brigade" --
4 A. No, it -- yeah, I see that.
5 Q. So, let me try this again. "During the day all the measures were
6 taken for the 80th Motorised Brigade to assume all the organisational and
7 command functions in the area of responsibility of OG South."
8 Is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] My apologies to the interpreters. I
11 sped up a little and I lost track right there.
12 Q. I'll try to do this again.
13 "During the day all the necessary measures were taken for the
14 80th Motorised Brigade to assume the organisational and command functions
15 in the area of responsibility of OG South."
16 The next passage reads: "The command of the 80th Motorised
17 Brigade has received all the instructions and documents needed to set up
18 command and control in the area of responsibility of OG South."
19 Is this accurate, Mr. Vojnovic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. After you got the control and command -- the command and control
22 documents, is it not a fact that you assumed the responsibilities of
23 OG South? This is the last tact of a hand-over between two units, right?
24 A. Yes, this is the 22nd of November, everything was over. There was
25 certain equipment to be exchanged, certain plans, communications,
1 equipment -- yes, this strikes me as perfectly all right.
2 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Vojnovic.
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I have another document here. This is
4 0D00-0569. Can that be shown, please? We have a copy of the document for
5 my learned friend. I see that this is a problem, so we can provide it.
6 We will need to go into private session for this document.
7 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Private.
8 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Vasic.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my learned friend can
25 perhaps deal with this in the re-examination, but I thought that yesterday
1 during the examination-in-chief he thought that these were possibly crimes
2 and that, as a result of that, there was this remark that investigative
3 organs would come to investigate the possible atrocities in the area of
4 Vukovar. But if the Trial Chamber deems it necessary, I can put a
5 question to the witness.
6 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Moore, can you take this up in
8 MR. MOORE: In my submission, it's a matter for the Defence to put
9 their case to the witness. Clearly an ability or an order to commence
10 investigations is an element that has to be considered by the Court. It
11 may well be part of the defendant's case or may not. And in my
12 submission, the Rules are quite clear that the important elements of a
13 defendant's case should be put to the witness specifically so he has a
14 chance to reply one way or other and cannot be dealt by way of
16 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Vasic.
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, as part of the asanacija or cleansing of terrain
19 operations in relation to the victims, did your unit, in accordance with
20 the command of the 1st Military District and OG South, instructed to
21 provide the military forensic experts, crime technicians, investigators
22 and other experts who were in the Vukovar area in the period that you
23 mentioned here - and they were headed by Colonel Basic - and was your unit
24 supposed to provide services for them?
25 A. Yes, I said that at a meeting on the 21st or on the 22nd, the
1 commander said: The investigative organs are coming tomorrow. I don't
2 know how many exactly, 30 or 40 of them. They need to be billeted and be
3 provided with work space. I personally know that a part or a small number
4 of my soldiers were helping the -- the present minister of defence, Zoran
5 Stankovic, who was investigating the corpses at the Ciglana. I know that
6 some of them were also assisting Colonel Basic in moving the corpses, dead
7 bodies of humans and livestock. It's possible that there was some
8 other -- there were some assistance being provided, but this is all I know
10 Q. I'm going to tell you about my client's thesis, that on the
11 21st --
12 A. Well, I said it was either the 21st or the 22nd.
13 Q. If you're talking about the meeting of the 21st, the regular
14 briefing in the afternoon, my client was not in Negoslavci, so perhaps you
15 could have talked with the Chief of Staff, Miodrag Panic, possibly. If
16 we're talking about the 22nd in the afternoon, then Mr. Mrksic was at the
17 regular briefing.
18 A. No, it was not what Panic said. This was what Colonel Mrksic
19 said, and it was at the regular briefing.
20 Q. Are you aware that there is an order on this from the 1st Military
21 District and the OG South group on the cleansing of the terrain?
22 A. Well, I'm -- assume that such an order exists, if I received it.
23 [Defence counsel confer]
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Just one mistake in the transcript.
25 Q. It's page 107, line 23, I think you said that Lieutenant --
1 Colonel Mrksic told you that on the 22nd in the afternoon?
2 A. Well, I said it was either on the 21st or the 22nd, and since you
3 said that he wasn't there on the 21st, then it must have been on the 22nd.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm being warned about my
6 Now we're going to look at a 65 ter document on the screen, that
7 is document 103, and it's ERN number 0327-2263. The English version has
8 the same number. Thank you very much. Can we zoom in on the document a
9 little bit?
10 Q. Can you see it, Mr. Vojnovic?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. This is an order regulating the clearing of the
13 terrain, it's the command of the 1st Military District, confidential
14 number 8-180/31, dated 16th of November, 1991. Here it is assigned to the
15 Guards Motorised Brigade, which is crossed out, and it says "80th
16 Motorised Brigade." He says --
17 A. I don't know why it was crossed out. I cooperated directly with
18 the command of the 1st Military District. It states in item 1, to whom
19 the document is addressed to.
20 Q. I'm asking you: Did you get this document from OG South command?
21 A. Well, I really don't know. There were so many orders, but I know
22 that we did work to remove the corpses, waste material, carcasses,
24 Q. You don't remember?
25 A. No, I don't recall, but we did work on it.
1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this order as
2 an exhibit, if there are no objections.
3 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: It will be admitted.
4 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit Number 445, Your Honours.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, and now I would
6 like to complete my cross-examination.
7 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you very much, Mr. Vasic.
8 Mr. Borovic.
9 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Cross-examination by Mr. Borovic:
11 Q. Good afternoon, I am Borivoje Borovic, and I represent Miroslav
13 First question: We heard from one of your officers who testified
14 here that one of your battalions was in the area of Petrova Gora. Did you
15 hear of that, and which was -- which period was this?
16 A. I don't know that it was in the Petrova Gora sector. One of our
17 battalions was in the beginning when we came at the very entrance to
18 Vukovar. I don't know all the parts. I know of Petrova Gora, but I don't
19 know if it was there specifically.
20 Q. Thank you. Dragi Vukosavljevic, who testified here, was certain
21 that your 3rd Battalion was located in the Petrova Gora sector, that he
22 visited it, that it had its own security line at Petrova Gora, and that
23 that battalion had about 400 men. Would you accept as -- this as being
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the first part of
1 the answer.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know the exact sector we're
3 talking about; it could have been at the entrance to Vukovar or to the
4 left side or to the right side.
5 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. I apologise. The interpreters didn't hear the first part of
7 answer, so we will go again. So number one: Is it true what Dragi
8 Vukosavljevic said, that one of your battalions was in the area of Petrova
9 Gora and that he visited that battalion there on a number of occasions?
10 A. I think that if Dragi said that, then I can agree with that.
11 Q. Thank you. Second question: Do you know which period this could
12 have been in, which month?
13 A. When it was, is that right? I think it could have been in
14 November or December.
15 Q. Thank you. Who was the commander of the battalion?
16 A. The battalion was under the command of Captain First Class -- I
17 think his name was Lalovic. I can't recall his first name.
18 Q. Thank you very much. Did you not confirm earlier that that
19 battalion numbered about 400 men, approximately?
20 A. I think that the response to the call-up was weak. It didn't
21 number 400, somewhat fewer men, somewhere in the range of 300 to 350
23 Q. What did I hear, 300 to --
24 A. Yes, 300 to 400. I know.
25 Q. Yes, very well. Thank you. Did that battalion take part in
1 combat operations along the axis where it was located?
2 A. It did not participate directly in the operations. I don't know
3 exactly to whom it was resubordinated exactly.
4 Q. Was it resubordinated at all, or was it in coordinated action with
5 other units?
6 A. I think it was in coordinated action with other units.
7 Q. Thank you. Yesterday I followed your answer on the topic of the
8 participation of your units in the wartime events in Vukovar. Can we
9 conclude then that this battalion was a reserve battalion, and when it was
10 used it mostly was in defensive operations?
11 A. I think all of our units --
12 Q. I'm talking about this unit.
13 A. There -- every unit that was for itself was in defensive actions
15 Q. That means that that also includes the 3rd Battalion that was in
16 the Petrova Gora region?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you confirm that the OG South commander sent the 3rd Battalion
19 to the area of responsibility of the 1st Assault Detachment in order to go
20 into coordinated action to secure the front lines? Can we agree with
22 A. Yes, but I'm not sure where that was exactly.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at Exhibit 156 on
25 the monitors, please? Would you please be so kind and try to zoom in on
1 the middle portion of the picture by a factor of two, if possible, please.
2 Q. Can you see this on your screen, Mr. Vojnovic?
3 A. I do. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking at.
4 Q. Would you please be so kind, take that pen there and try to mark
5 with a number 1 the area of deployment of your 3rd Battalion, the first
6 time around?
7 A. I can't -- or rather, at the very entry to Vukovar?
8 Q. Number 1, please.
9 A. Well, is this the railroad track? I know that it was at the very
10 entry to Vukovar, there was a pub right there, and it was right there.
12 Q. Can you please circle that number 1?
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. Thank you.
15 Could you now do the next area where your 3rd Battalion was, can
16 you mark that with a number 2?
17 A. I don't see that.
18 Q. Can you spot Petrova Gora on this map or the neighbourhood known
19 as Leva Supoderica, do you know that? Can you show that to us?
20 A. I know about Suporderica, I know about Petrova Gora, but I can't
21 see either on that map. I can't mark them for you with any degree of
22 certainty or precision.
23 Q. The neighbourhood known as Leva Supoderica or the 6th Proletarian
24 Division and the neighbourhood known as Hollywood, you know about those
25 but you can't mark them for us, can you?
1 A. I've been to Hollywood, I remember that, but I can't see it on
2 this map.
3 Q. Fair enough. Then my question is: You've heard me mention all
4 these different areas. What about your battalion, the 3rd Battalion, did
5 they take any steps in any of those areas ever, Leva Supoderica, the
6 6th Proletarian Division, or Hollywood, which is on Ivana Gorana Kovacica
8 A. It was there in that neighbourhood, like you have -- as you have
10 Q. Thank you very much. There is no need to draw that or to mark
12 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe the witness
13 has described the area where his 3rd Battalion was, so I think that's
15 Q. My question: Do you know how the 3rd Battalion in Kragujevac was
16 set up, people were mobilised from which companies exactly?
17 A. The 3rd Battalion was not from Kragujevac to begin with; it was
18 either from Raca or Topola.
19 Q. Was it maybe set up by mobilising people from the red flag, Crvena
20 Zastava, car factory?
21 A. No, that was the 1st Battalion.
22 Q. Did you go to all these areas where your battalion was and your
24 A. Yes, I did go to see Captain Lalovic. I toured all of my units.
25 Q. Thank you. While touring all these areas, did you ever come
1 across Captain Radic? If so -- but you didn't?
2 A. No, I didn't. I didn't know Captain Radic, and I didn't see him
4 Q. Next question: Given that you didn't see him, if I tell you that
5 the 3rd Battalion, your battalion, was occupying positions along an axis
6 also taken by the 3rd company of the 1st Assault Detachment, you who had
7 the rank of lieutenant colonel at the time, do you believe that the
8 3rd Battalion of the 80th Motorised Brigade was under the command of
9 Captain Radic, who was a company commander, yes or no?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Thank you. Whose orders did its work and the use of their units
12 depend on?
13 A. You mean Captain Radic?
14 Q. The 3rd Battalion.
15 A. This depended on my orders, for as long as they were under my
17 Q. Thank you. Can a battalion commander assess a unit that has just
18 been resubordinated to him, or can he prefer this unit over the entire
19 composition as a company commander?
20 A. I didn't get that one, sorry. Can you repeat that?
21 Q. Can he resubordinate a unit that had just been resubordinated to
22 him, its entire composition, to his company commander or not?
23 A. I don't know. I'm not clear about that question. Can a battalion
24 commander --
25 Q. That's right.
1 A. -- resubordinate --
2 Q. -- a unit that has been resubordinated to him --
3 A. -- resubordinated to somebody else --
4 Q. -- to his own company commander?
5 A. From his own unit, from the composition of his own battalion, you
6 mean? The company commander cannot -- I mean -- well, the battalion
7 commander -- I don't know. What is this about now? I don't understand.
8 Q. Thank you very much.
9 A specific question: The decision to carry out combat activities,
10 what does that mean to a battalion commander? An order by a commander of
11 one of his superior units, can he change that?
12 A. The order of a superior commander can only be changed with
13 previous approval from whoever had ordered that.
14 Q. Does that not mean that this decision is the most important order
15 at this point in time, and there is no way he can change it?
16 A. Not without appropriate approval. If there is something that
17 needs changing, he can make a couple of changes but he must inform others
18 about any changes that he has made. A certain amount of initiative is
19 approved in certain situations, but this needs to be reported.
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Exhibit 401 on
22 our screens now; this is the war log of the Guards Motorised Brigade. The
23 entry is dated 15th of November, 1991, 1800 hours. The page reference is
24 43. The English is 38. Same log. Page 43. The 15th of November, 1800
25 hours. Could you please zoom in a little.
1 Q. Mr. Vojnovic, this entry here says that the OG South commander
2 carried out -- or amended his previous decision of the 14th of November,
3 1991, as follows. The first bullet says - excuse me, just don't interrupt
4 me. I'll read slowly - that: "The TO detachment of Stara Pazova is
5 hereby resubordinated to the 3rd Battalion of the 80th Motorised Brigade."
6 Next: "The 3rd Battalion of the 80th Motorised Brigade," so the
7 same battalion, "shall leave JOD-1," the assault detachment 1, "and be
8 placed under the command of the 80th Motorised Brigade."
9 And the last thing we have is that: "The 80th Motorised Brigade
10 in future operations should cease control of the area of the
11 6th Proletarian Division neighbourhood, Leva and the Desna Supoderica and
12 the area along the River Vuka."
13 Is that what it says?
14 A. Indeed it does.
15 Q. Do you agree that on the 15th of November, 1991, you received oral
16 amendments to this assignment by Colonel Mrksic to do with the future
17 deployment of your units? Is that right?
18 A. You mean this battalion?
19 Q. Elements of your units in general.
20 A. I can't remember specifically.
21 Q. But you do allow for the possibility, don't you?
22 A. Yes, I do. I leave the possibility open.
23 Q. Do you agree, based on this entry that we have just looked at,
24 that the 3rd Battalion of the 80th Motorised Brigade left the composition
25 of the 1st Assault Detachment and that, at least up until that date, it
1 had been involved along the axis of operations of the 1st Assault
2 Detachment, commanded by Major Borivoje Tesic. Do you agree with me?
3 A. I'm not sure who the commander was of that detachment, I don't
4 know about the dates and everything that you're suggest. I know that
5 Tesic was some commander there, the commander of a detachment.
6 Q. Can we please agree -- I've covered this ground slowly and
7 gradually because we're talking about the 1st JOD, the 1st Assault
8 Detachment, and your own 3rd Battalion. Captain Radic could not possibly
9 have been command of your own 3rd Battalion, it could only have been the
10 battalion commander, Major Tesic, right?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. Finally, can we conclude that your own 3rd Battalion of the
13 80th Motorised Brigade could, by no means, have been incorporated into the
14 3rd Company under the command of Captain Radic?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. My next question: Do you know who and when appointed Miroljub
17 Vujovic commander of Vukovar's TO defence? If you do, based on which
18 other document was that done?
19 A. I know that before our departure the commander of OG South said
20 something about an order arriving, I think. I know that Miroljub Vujovic
21 was appointed commander of Vukovar's TO; his deputy was Stanko Vujanovic.
22 The commander for the rear units was --
23 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the name.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- Darko Fot was in charge of
25 another section and so on and so forth.
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Does that mean, based on your own military expertise, that he
3 could not have been appointed commander of the Vukovar TO by a company
4 commander, and certainly not the commander of the 3rd Company of the
5 Guards Motorised Brigade, Miroslav Radic?
6 A. No, no way. First I hear of it.
7 Q. So he didn't appoint him, we do know that for a fact, but I want
8 your expertise. There are a number of documents that we've looked at
9 during this trial referring to Vujovic as commander of the Petrova Gora TO
10 detachment. Do you know who appointed him to that position?
11 A. I don't know what the name was of that unit, whether it was a
12 detachment or a company, but I did hear that he was the person in charge
13 over at over at Petrova Gora.
14 Q. Thank you. What if I told you that this was a detachment; in
15 terms of the establishment, how many people would that mean?
16 A. Not all detachments are the same size, but I would say between 350
17 and 400. It's just a little smaller than an infantry battalion normally
19 Q. Does that mean that he could have certainly been appointed to that
20 position by the commander of the 3rd Company, Captain Radic?
21 A. Yes, that's what it means [as interpreted].
22 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I see that it is time
23 to stop. Thank you.
24 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: I see that there is an error in the
1 JUDGE THELIN: There should be -- the -- too many mics going on at
2 the same time, I believe. I understood the last answer to be a negative.
3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that is clearly a
4 negative, yes.
5 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Mr. Moore.
6 MR. MOORE: May I deal with certain housekeeping matters? I don't
7 know how long my learned friends will be tomorrow. I will not be dealing
8 with the next witness. If there is any way they could indicate how long
9 they may be in cross-examination, then that would assist the Prosecution
10 for trying to work out the timetable. I don't know if my learned
11 friends -- I know Mr. Lukic is always succinct and very brief, to the
12 point, but if there's any way that Mr. Borovic and Mr. Lukic could assist
13 us, we would be very grateful.
14 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] We are trying to do the best we can
15 for the OTP; on the other hand, I don't believe we have ever been given
16 advance notice of their examination-in-chief in terms of how long it will
17 take. I do believe that a single session will do for the rest of my
18 cross-examination tomorrow, Your Honours.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to say something
20 different from Mr. Borovic. When we ask for the duration of Mr. Moore's
21 examination-in-chief, he's usually quite evasive. He said five hours in
22 relation to one particular witness and it was one and a half hours. As
23 for my cross-examination, I can't promise anything definitive, but I think
24 I might take up to two sessions. That is the best I can do at this point,
25 Your Honours.
1 JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT: Thank you, Mr. Lukic. I was looking at
2 the estimate for the whole of this testimony, which was four hours to
3 start with. We've gone much beyond it, but I am confident that counsel
4 will be succinct tomorrow and that we will respect those time-schedules.
5 So we are going to rise for today and we will resume tomorrow
6 morning at 9.30. Thank you very much.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.35 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 17th day of May,
9 2006, at 9.30 a.m.