1 Tuesday, 20 June 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.31 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. If I could remained you,
7 Mr. Theunens, of the affirmation you made at the beginning of your
8 evidence, which still applies.
9 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
11 WITNESS: REYNAUD THEUNENS [Resumed]
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Vasic: [Continued]
13 Q. Thank you. Good morning Your Honours, good morning everyone.
14 Good morning, Mr. Theunens. I would like to ask you something.
15 In view of the time limit, would you please, whenever possible, give me a
16 yes or no answers, and if you think there is a need to explain something,
17 then please do.
18 Yesterday we spoke about documents that are kept in war units, and
19 if I were to tell you that the operations diary or operations log that we
20 mentioned yesterday is a document where a daily recording is made of all
21 activities, reporting and everything that's going on in the unit, would
22 you agree with me?
23 A. Your Honours, the question mentions war units. Now, what I get
24 from the JNA regulations, and I refer to Exhibit 397, which is the JNA
25 battalion manual from 1988, it's actually the war diary that contains such
1 information. And an operations diary will contain information that is
2 related -- if it is important that is related to non-war, or
3 non-combat activities.
4 Q. Yesterday we -- or, rather, here we heard some other testimony,
5 but that's fine, we will accept this as your opinion.
6 When drafting your report, you asked that operations log and other
7 documents of the units that you were analysing be provided to you,
8 especially the log of the guards brigade; is that correct?
9 A. Your Honours, I want to come back to the first part of the
10 question because it says we will accept it as your opinion. I can read
11 out from the quotation of the battalion manual where it says that: "The
12 war log-book or war diary is kept every day throughout the war. All
13 events or other important information are entered into it
15 I will not read out from the rest of that paragraph, but it is,
16 for your information, paragraph 114 of Exhibit 397.
17 Now, we did request the operations log of the guards brigade from
18 Serbia and Montenegro, but we haven't received it yet, and if you wish so,
19 I can give you the references and the dates of that request.
20 Q. Mr. Theunens, we're really using up a lot of time in our answers.
21 Did I understand you well that you said that in the battalion manual it is
22 prescribed how a war log-book is kept? Did I understand you well?
23 A. In the battalion manual it is mentioned that -- it is mentioned
24 what a war log-book or what a war diary is, but there is no -- I haven't
25 seen a template for how the war diary should be arranged. I think I have
1 seen such a template in the brigade manual, the 1984 brigade manual, which
2 is Exhibit 395.
3 Q. Mr. Theunens, if I were to tell you that a war diary or war
4 log-book was never kept at the level of a battalion, but rather at the
5 level of larger units, such as corps and brigade -- or, rather, regiment
6 and brigade, what would you say to that?
7 A. Actually, I have the similar entry in my report that war
8 log-books are diaries. All diaries are kept at all units/command levels
9 above the battalion level, and this is on page 60 of the English version
10 of my report, part 1. But the quotation I made comes from the JNA
11 battalion manual from 1984, paragraph 114, and this is known in this trial
12 as Exhibit 394.
13 Q. Now let us go back to the documents that you sought in order to
14 write your expert report. These documents were not provided to you -- or,
15 rather, you did not receive a number of documents that you believed to be
16 relevant for your expert report, those pertaining to the Operations Group
18 A. Your Honours, we received a first batch of documents, I think at
19 the end of 2002 or early 2003, which consist of 47 documents. Most of
20 them were orders and reports by Operations Group South, as well as the
21 1st Military District. Those were very helpful documents. Among them
22 was, for example, the resubordination order from OG South. If I'm not
23 wrong, it's the order 446-1 from the 21st of November, 6.00 in the
24 morning, which is the Exhibit 420 in this case.
25 Now, it was obvious that some documents were lacking, and again
1 I've prepared an overview of RFAs, request for assistance, where the
2 replies are incomplete or non-existent, and only for the RFAs I drafted
3 between December 2002 and May 2006 we come to a number of 40, where no
4 replies were given, or the reply was given that the documents do not
5 exist, even though in some cases they have been used by the Defence with
6 military witnesses, or were mentioned by military witnesses during
7 interviews. And in some cases we received only partial replies.
8 Obviously there are, in addition to these 40 requests, there are other
9 requests where we did receive a satisfactory reply to -- yeah, to our
11 Q. Mr. Theunens, you explained that to us yesterday and you are
12 repeating that again today, and I think that we, on account of that, will
13 run into a problem with time.
14 My next question: Do you believe that your expert report is
15 actually incomplete, given that you did not receive these documents from
16 the Ministry of Defence, especially the portion pertaining to the
17 activities of the Operations Group South?
18 A. Your Honours, I believe that the documents I did have access to,
19 documents from OG South and the 1st Military District, allow me or have
20 allowed me to provide an accurate picture of the activities and in
21 particular the command and control situation within OG South during the
22 time period that is relevant for this case.
23 Q. On page 6 of your expert report, page 6 both in the B/C/S and
24 English version, paragraph 10, you say that operations and tactical groups
25 may be established during operations in order to facilitate command and
1 control. My question is: Are these groups established in circumstances
2 when establishment units are not fit to carry out certain tasks and
4 A. Your Honours, in part 2 of the report, section 2, on the pages 53
5 and until 55 for the English version, I give an overview for operational
6 groups and tactical groups that were established in other parts of Croatia
7 during the operations there. And my understanding, or my -- from these
8 orders is that operational groups and tactical groups, and in the case of
9 OG South, assault detachments and assault groups, were established to
10 maintain single command and control, or single authority, I should say, as
11 well as unified command and control. Because we see that these
12 operational groups consist of JNA units, units of the Territorial Defence
13 of Serbia, in a number of cases units which could be called local Serb TO
14 units as well as volunteers and even paramilitaries, and because of the
15 wide diversity in the origin of these units, some of them have never
16 worked together prior to these combat operations, a requirement was felt
17 by the commanders, and in most cases they're corps commanders or military
18 district commanders, to establish operational groups and lower-level
19 ad hoc units like tactical groups, assault detachments and assault groups.
20 And I just want to add when I use the expression "paramilitaries,"
21 I mean it in the sense of forces which are -- when reviewing the legal
22 framework could be considered illegal. So armed formations which are not
23 under the strict control from their origin by the authorities which are
24 allowed to operate and to carry weapons and to participate in military
1 Q. Mr. Theunens, you have explained that in your expert report.
2 Yesterday you gave a very brief, condensed answers to the questions put by
3 my learned friend. I ask that you do the same in relation to my
4 questions. We have very little time remaining.
5 Tell me, please, if I were to tell you that an operations group is
6 established by the military district command, and according to the rules
7 it should have under it at least a unit at the level of the land forces
8 corps, which means that it could be reinforced by one or more brigades.
9 Would you agree with me?
10 A. That could be -- that could be one of the possibilities, Your
11 Honour. The examples I have quoted from indeed show that operational
12 groups are established by military districts. And on page 54 I speak of
13 Operational Group 3, which was established by the 5th Military District.
14 Now, where the subordinate units are concerned that varies of the
15 operational group. I cannot give a categorical answer to that question.
16 Q. If an operations group is established, would there be a special
17 command for that operations group, would that be established as well, or
18 would the corps command be reinforced by a number of staff officers who
19 would then exercise command over that unit?
20 A. Your Honours, the examples I studied, and in particular OG South,
21 show that in relation to Operations Group South there was already an
22 Operations Group South prior to the arrival of the Guards Motorised
23 Brigade, but quite soon and according to the war diary, which is -- the
24 war diary of the Guards Motorised Brigade, it's the command, i.e., the
25 staff and the other officers in the command of the Guards Motorised
1 Brigade who take over the command of OG South, and the commander of the
2 Guards Motorised Brigade becomes the commander of OG South, replacing the
3 previous commander, Bajo Bojat.
4 Q. The previous Operations Group South, before the arrival of the
5 guards brigade, and after it arrived in the first eight days, did it have
6 a special command, a special command established by the military district
7 command, headed by Bajo Bojat?
8 A. Your Honours, indeed, like any other unit, Operational Group South
9 had a command. I -- based on the information I had access to, I'm not
10 able to establish who created that command of OG South and where these
11 officers who operated or were part of the command of OG South prior to the
12 arrival of the Guards Motorised Brigade in the Vukovar area originated
14 Q. If I were to tell you that based on the military rules it wasn't
15 possible to establish an operational group at the level of the brigade,
16 and especially that it wasn't possible for a brigade command to grow into
17 the command of the Operations Group South command because it simply didn't
18 have enough personnel and wasn't qualified enough to exercise command,
19 what would you say to that?
20 A. I think I can -- I can provide three elements of reply to that
21 question, Your Honours.
22 First of all, I think General Zivota Panic, who unfortunately died
23 I think two years ago, was the commander of the 1st Military District and
24 who, according to open-source material I reviewed, established Operational
25 Group South, while it was his judgement as a commander to -- and his
1 decision to establish Operations Group South and to have the Guards
2 Motorised Brigade take over the command of Operational Group South.
3 A second element is that based on my review of JNA documentation,
4 the Guards Motorised Brigade was not just a motorised brigade. It was a
5 very strong brigade. For example, it had two military police battalions,
6 it had the best manpower, it had the most modern equipment. I quote from
7 Narodna Armija article in my report, where mention is made of M-84 tanks
8 in the armoured battalion of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
9 Now, the third element or final element I would like to mention,
10 from the documents I reviewed, which are also included in my report, we
11 see that the command of the guards brigade and its staff was --
12 Q. Mr. Theunens, what do tanks have to do with the command? Please
13 focus on the question or else we will be wasting a lot of time. I asked
14 you about the command of the operational group and the rules regulating
15 how an operational group is established.
16 A. Your Honours, I think Mr. Vasic would understand that the
17 composition of a unit will be reflected in the command and vice versa. If
18 you have a large high-quality unit, I mean high-quality by its personnel
19 and by its equipment, then that will obviously also be reflected in the
20 nature of the command of that unit on whatever level we're talking about,
21 whether it's a brigade or a corps or another unit. So that's why I
22 thought it was useful to mention that.
23 The third element I wanted to provide was that additional officers
24 were sent to the command of the Guards Motorised Brigade already prior to
25 the command of the Guards Motorised Brigade taking over the role as
1 commander of OG South, and I think of Colonel Pavkovic, and there was also
2 I think Colonel Tesic, but I'm not hundred per cent sure of the last name.
3 It's mentioned in my report.
4 Q. Please tell me, would you agree with me that what you write in
5 your expert report and what you call an OG South in your report is
6 actually a temporary formations which has all the features of a tactical
7 unit, not an operational one.
8 A. Your Honours, I wish to emphasise it's not me who came up with the
9 name Operational Group South. I think from the documents that have
10 already been exhibited in this case prior to my testimony it is, for
11 example, visible that Colonel Mrksic signs the orders he issues as the
12 commander of OG South. He still does that on the 23rd of November in the
13 Exhibit 426, which is a report 500-1 to the 1st Military District.
14 Now, it could be discussed whether it's an operational level unit
15 or a tactical level unit or a tactical/operational, but based on my
16 understanding of JNA doctrine or SFRY armed forces doctrine that applies
17 to command and control, its functions and principles, that distinction it
18 not relevant. So distinction whether it's tactical, operational or
19 strategic is not relevant in this context.
20 Q. Would you agree with me that when an Operations Group South, its
21 commander only has temporary command of it, which was transferred to him
22 by the commander establishing an operations group [as interpreted]?
23 A. Indeed, Your Honours. But as I said, that doesn't change anything
24 to his -- his -- his duties or his role as a commander. Nor his command
25 and control functions.
1 Q. So the order of the superior command establishing an operations
2 group should give a certain scope of command competences and authorities
3 to the commander; is that correct?
4 A. That may be a possibility, Your Honours.
5 Now, I wish to mention that on the 5th of August, 2005 we
6 requested from Serbia and Montenegro all orders by the SSNO or the
7 1st Military District to appoint Colonel Mrksic as commander of the guards
8 brigade, to appoint him to the position of command of Operational Group
9 South, and obviously such an order would have included information on the
10 powers of Colonel Mrksic. Now, we have received a reply on the 15th of
11 November, 2005 whereby the competent authorities of Serbia and Montenegro
12 informed us that they still need to reply to the RFA. On the 3rd of
13 November, 2005, we received a similar reply, and on today we have not
14 received such an order.
15 Coming back now to the documentation that was available to me, and
16 I mean by this orders signed or issued by Colonel Mrksic between 8th of
17 October and the 23rd of November, as well as reports he sent to his
18 superiors, I don't have the impression that there were any --
19 Q. Mr. Theunens --
20 A. -- to his command powers during the time period he was commander
21 of OG South.
22 Q. Mr. Theunens, I kindly ask that you focus on my questions. My
23 question was what is contained in the order establishing an operations
24 group. I didn't ask you anything further than that.
25 A. Your Honours, I don't think it would be helpful to give a
1 hypothetical answer on what should be or could be included in such an
2 order. I tried to provide an answer that actually is related to the
3 issues we are discussing here.
4 Q. Can you tell us what were the objectives and tasks of the
5 Operations Group South as a temporary combat formation, and could that
6 only be learned from the order establishing it?
7 A. Your Honours, because we don't have the order for the
8 establishment of Operations Group South, I cannot testify as to what is
9 included in that order.
10 Now, in my report in the second part on page 61, on the top of the
11 page there is a description, the importance of Vukovar, which is based on
12 an interview with General Zivota Panic.
13 Q. The importance of Vukovar is just that; the importance of Vukovar.
14 I asked you about objectives and tasks. But, all right. Tell me, please,
15 based on the rules, is an operations group supposed to be disbanded after
16 a task is accomplished?
17 A. Your Honours, I forgot to add one element, and I will be short.
18 But obviously each order for operations of the operational group or
19 subunits of the operational group will include taskings, and from that it
20 will be obvious what the subordinate units have to do.
21 To answer this question, yes, indeed, an operational group should
22 be disbanded, but that's the prerogative of the commander who established
23 the Operational Group South. And from the documentation I reviewed, I
24 mentioned the exhibit from -- the document from the 23rd of November. The
25 Operational Group South still existed on the 23rd of November, 1991. And
1 it was Exhibit 426, I apologise.
2 Q. Did you see the order on disbanding of the OG South, and does it
4 A. I haven't seen it, Your Honours. But if the commander of
5 Operational Group South on the 23rd of November still sign as report
6 with -- under his name, his official assignment, i.e., the commander of
7 Operational Group South, it is obvious that the Operational Group South
8 still existed on the 23rd of November, 1991. Otherwise he would have
9 signed as commander, Guards Motorised Brigade, in this case, or with
10 another title.
11 Q. In your expert report you said that large combat operations are
12 very complex and require detailed planning and taking into account factors
13 at every level of command, and that this becomes ever more complex at
14 every level. Could it then be said that the decision of the commander of
15 the 1st Military District to include the guards brigade into the
16 Operations Group South without reinforcing it jeopardised the mission of
17 that brigade and brought it into situation where it was not fit to
18 effectively carry out the assignment?
19 A. Based on public statements General Panic made, for example, his
20 interview for the BBC series "Death of Yugoslavia" after the events, it
21 appears -- or the message he is sending is actually that the guards
22 brigade was sent because it was such a high-quality unit, whereas the
23 other units that had been sent to the area were incapable of accomplishing
24 the mission, which, according to Zivota Panic, consisted of, I
25 quote, "Liberating Vukovar."
1 Now, from the personal records of General Mrksic we discussed
2 briefly yesterday, there was an entry on the -- on the way how he
3 accomplished his duties as commander of OG South, and I think it was a
4 very positive assessment he received there.
5 I haven't come across any document where General Mrksic or
6 somebody else in OG South or in the 1st Military District indicates that
7 the Guards Motorised Brigade or -- I mean its units or the command or
8 General Mrksic is incapable of accomplishing the mission. Or has
9 difficulties to accomplish that mission.
10 Q. In your report you spoke about the TO. Will you agree with me
11 that TO staffs are never resubordinated, only TO units are. Upon
12 completing their mission, they're back under the command of TO staffs, as
13 rule, aren't they? I'm just asking your opinion on that. Resubordinating
14 TO staffs.
15 A. Your Honours, I mean the doctrine is discussed in part 1. In the
16 second part I talk about resubordination of TO units. But I think it's
17 very important to highlight, and I've tried to do that in the report, that
18 the units which are described as TO and which were operating under the
19 command of OG South, and I mean by this in particular Petrova Gora and
20 Leva Supoderica, are not the unit -- are not TO units as they were
21 initially conceived in the doctrine of All People's Defence.
22 Q. Mr. Theunens, I asked you about the resubordination of TO staffs.
23 Is it possible to have a TO staff resubordinated at all? Yes or no,
25 A. I cannot give a yes or no answer to that question.
1 Q. What sort of an answer could you possibly provide then?
2 A. I mean I would -- I would direct your attention to the first part
3 of the report, starting on page 92 where there is -- it's in the part
4 number 5, where I discuss the organisation of the TO as it actually was
5 prior to 1991, its structure. The command and control issues in relation
6 to TO are discussed on --
7 Q. My apologies, my sincere apologies, Mr. Theunens. I simply asked
8 you about TO staffs. I didn't ask you about command and control at the
9 republican level or at the local level or at any level at all. My only
10 question to you is: Can TO staffs be resubordinated? Do you know that,
11 do you not know that? Yes, no, can you answer? Can you not answer?
12 Let's try not to waste any more time, please.
13 A. No, but I mean I -- I would like to help you or to assist you, but
14 it would helpful for me if you would clarify whether we are talking about
15 the TO or the units known as TO that were operating in Vukovar in October,
16 November 1991, and even prior to that; or are we talking to the
17 Territorial Defence as it existed in each of the republics and the
18 autonomous provinces prior to the outbreak of the conflict in Croatia.
19 Q. That's fine, Mr. Theunens. I think we should move on, because our
20 time is slowly running out.
21 On page 119 of the B/C/S of your report, and I believe the English
22 page is 110, you quote an order by the commander of OG South ordering the
23 establishment of command posts pursuant to an order of the 1st Military
24 District. The exhibit number is 374. Were local commanders then ordered
25 to follow the relevant rules for garrisons and barracks in carrying out
1 this order?
2 A. Indeed. I just wish to make a correction to the -- to the
3 transcript. It says on the line 10:04:43, "ordering the establishment of
4 command posts." "Komanda mesta" in B/C/S in this context means -- I think
5 should be translated as "town commands" into English, which is a
6 significantly different thing from a command post. And the answer is yes
7 to the question of Mr. Vasic.
8 Q. Mr. Theunens, this is not about town commands. I'm talking about
9 local commands, local-level commands. In the B/C/S that is perfectly
10 clear. That is what I'm asking you about.
11 Sir, is not one of the duties of a local commander to ensure order
12 and discipline at that particular command and in those particular units,
13 as well as to inform the leaders or commanders of any units passing
14 through the area under his command?
15 A. Your Honours, ensuring order and discipline at a command is a task
16 for any commander. Ensuring order and discipline in units is actually one
17 of the duties of an operational commander. I mean by operational
18 commander a unit commander from the highest level to the lowest level.
19 And inform the leaders or commanders of any units passing through the area
20 under his command, I don't understand what you mean by this. Because how
21 can the town commander inform them? I would see it in a different way, in
22 the opposite way. Excuse me.
23 Q. Mr. Theunens, you are a military expert. I'm asking you about the
24 duties concerning the rules relating to the garrisons and barracks. This
25 is Article 83 of the rules. We're talking about an entire area of
1 activity of a command whereby the command tries to maintain discipline,
2 lay down the rules for -- for its area, and also tries to inform any units
3 that happen to be passing through its area of these rules that obtain.
4 How about that?
5 A. I mean, I have answered the question. Now, if we talk about this
6 Exhibit 374, it also mentions -- it talks about actually town commanders.
7 Because in the fourth paragraph, Mrksic says, "I appoint as commanders for
8 Vukovar town the commanders of the assault detachments for the part of the
9 town within their operation zone."
10 And I wish to add at the end it says: "Prevent any ill treatment
11 of the population and local inhabitants and unauthorised entry and
12 searches of apartments and houses."
13 That goes much further than the duties of a garrison commander.
14 Q. Thank you. Under the rules for garrison and barracks, does a
15 commander not also have the duty to ensure discipline and order also in
16 all detention units in his area? Isn't this something that Article 3 of
17 the rules on the armed -- 83 on the rules of the armed forces also
19 A. Your Honours, it's difficult for me to answer the question because
20 I don't have the rules of the armed forces or the document described here
21 as the rules of the armed forces in front of me.
22 Do you mean by this that the 1984 law on the service in the armed
23 forces or another document? 1985, sorry, 1985 law on the service in the
24 armed forces or another document?
25 Q. I mean the rules governing the work of the armed forces,
1 regulating what goes on in the garrisons and barracks and the service in
2 garrisons and barracks. That's what I had in mind. But we could as well
3 move on.
4 Would you agree with me that the commander of OG South, in his
5 regular combat report, highly confidential 431, the date is the 19th of
6 November, 1991, and the number is 419. In another confidential order, the
7 number is 349-1, appointed commanders of Grabovo, and then on the 17th of
8 November appointed another commander?
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: On account of the extreme
10 speed at which the names were read out, the interpreters did not catch the
11 names. Thank you.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 Q. I said that pursuant to this order Slobodan Misovic was appointed
14 local or town commander. When he left the area of responsibility on the
15 17th of November, 1991, the person appointed was Lieutenant-Colonel
16 Milorad Vojnovic?
17 A. Yes, Your Honours, I remember that order.
18 Q. Will you agree with me that Lieutenant-Colonel Milorad Vojnovic,
19 as the commander of Jakubovac, Ovcara and Grabovo had the same
20 responsibilities as all the other local commanders there?
21 A. Your Honours, he would have the same -- Vojnovic would have the
22 same responsibilities as all the other town commanders or locality
23 commanders, based on the order that Mrksic -- or that the person
24 appointing him had issued.
25 Q. Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic, in his order, highly
1 confidential 32-1 of the 19th of November, introduced his authority as --
2 or, rather, transferred his authority as the local commander of Ovcara to
3 a captain whose name we are now unable to mention, but you know who this
4 person is because there is a reference to this person in your own report.
5 A. Your Honours, I am familiar with this order by Colonel Vojnovic,
6 and I am also familiar with the fact that the unit of that captain was --
7 had been subordinated to the Guards Motorised Brigade at a much earlier
8 stage and it is actually referred in the war diary of the Guards Motorised
9 Brigade. But I am unable to -- I mean, without seeing the war diary to
10 mention -- to give you the exact date. I think it's on the 5th of
11 October -- or the 5th of November, I'm not sure.
12 Q. We may come back to this later on, if there is time. I will show
13 you a report dated the 16th of November, based on which you can see that
14 this unit is a member of the 80th Brigade at the time, but we will be back
15 to that in due time.
16 Can you agree with me that the commander of OG South in his order
17 439-1 dated the 20th of November, 1991, which is Exhibit number 419, again
18 warned the local commanders in the zone of operations of OG South to take
19 all measures necessary to ensure the proper functioning of military
20 authorities in keeping with his previous order dated the 9th of November,
21 1991, underlining the need to prevent any harassment or mistreatment of
22 civilians or anyone who happens to be in the area of that particular local
24 A. That is correct, Your Honours. Even without having the order in
25 front of me, it's -- it is discussed on the English page 112.
1 Now, as we mentioned yesterday, when discussing the functions of
2 command and control, issuing an order or giving an assignment which is the
3 same -- is one thing, verifying its implementation, i.e., control, is
4 another thing.
5 Q. What about this order, the order that we've referred to, 419-1,
6 dated the 20th of November? Did the commander of OG South not order an
7 evacuation of the sick and wounded from the Vukovar Hospital with no
8 reference to prisoners of war as a special category? The number is 439-1.
9 A. Yes, and it's Exhibit 419. And it says in the orders, so to the
10 subordinate units: "Simultaneously evacuate and transport civilians, the
11 wounded and the sick from the hospital in Vukovar."
12 And this is discussed on page 97 and 98 of the second part of the
13 report in English.
14 Q. Mr. Theunens, this is Exhibit 419, and Exhibit 419 says -- can one
15 conclude based on this that the commander of OG South ordered nothing in
16 relation to the prisoners of war who were in the Vukovar Hospital?
17 A. Is the question limited to this order or is it a general question?
18 Q. It's in relation to the order that we are talking about.
19 A. I just read out that Colonel Mrksic ordered to simultaneously
20 evacuate and transport civilians, wounded and sick from the hospital in
22 Q. Thank you. In your report you mention the order, strictly
23 confidential 464-1, signed on the 21st of November, 1991 by the Chief of
24 Staff, Miodrag Panic - this is Exhibit 422 - invoking the order of the
25 1st Military District, 115-51, dated the 20th of November. Have you seen
1 the substance -- or the substance of this order of the 1st Military
2 District mentioned here is about?
3 A. You mean the order 115-151 of the 1st Military District dated 20th
4 of November?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. I think it's among the orders we have requested earlier from
7 Serbia and Montenegro but didn't obtain. But it was in one of the
8 packages I think you prepared to cross-examine Prosecution witnesses,
9 military witnesses, who appeared here before me. I have read it, but I
10 don't recall what exactly is in it.
11 Q. Thank you. If I tell you that this is an information report and
12 not an order, would that jog your memory?
13 A. My understanding is that 115-151 is an order, and it's described
14 as such in Exhibit 422, i.e., the order 464-1 issued by Operational Group
15 South on the 20th -- on the 21st, excuse me, at 6.00 in the morning and
16 signed by Panic.
17 Q. Thank you. Will you agree with me that the Chief of Staff,
18 pursuant to instructions governing the work of commands and staffs signs
19 the order himself in the absence of the commander and that he then assumes
20 the role and position of the commander?
21 A. Your Honours, it is correct that the Chief of Staff is also the
22 Deputy Commander and can, for example, sign orders or order documents
23 during the absence of the commander. But I haven't been able to determine
24 whether the fact that a commander is absent removes his command
25 responsibility. Based on the -- on the JNA doctrinal documents that were
1 discussed yesterday --
2 Q. Mr. Theunens, I'm not talking about commander responsibility; I'm
3 talking about the function. When the commander is not there, does the
4 Chief of Staff not sign the orders, and does he, in fact, not in the
5 commander's absence stand in for that commander?
6 A. That is correct, Your Honours. But I just wanted to clarify
7 the -- whether the Deputy Commander or the Chief of Staff takes over all
8 the duties of the commander.
9 Q. Mr. Theunens, can we please have Exhibit 375 on our screens. This
10 is the war log of the 80th Brigade. Can we please show the entry dated
11 the 19th of November at 1800 hours.
12 Mr. Theunens, in this part of the war log of the 80th Brigade --
13 could we please zoom in a little on the lower part of the page. This is
14 the entry in relation to the 19th of November at 1800 hours.
15 Can we please show the English, since the witness is expected to
16 read what it says or agree with what I am about to read out to him.
17 Mr. Theunens, it says here that in the morning hours the Ustashas
18 who had been captured were taken to the Sremska Mitrovica prison. Combat
19 is underway in the hospital sector, where the remaining ZNG and MUP
20 members, about 200 of them, are expected to surrender.
21 The war log, the 19th of November, 1800 hours. An order has been
22 issued to be at the ready to organise the guarding of prisoners. Do you
23 believe that -- 19th of November, 1800 hours.
24 MR. WEINER: Excuse me, Your Honours. I don't know if there is a
25 technical problem. We're not receiving the document that they are
1 referring to. I don't know if the rest of the court is.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Nobody is yet receiving it. We are looking at the
3 wrong date. We've now moved to the 19th of November.
4 THE WITNESS: The screen shows the 10th of November.
5 JUDGE PARKER: We've now got the right date coming up.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We need the 19th, 1800 hours. That's
7 the entry we're after. That should be the one. Thank you.
8 Q. Do you perhaps believe that an order like this could have come
9 from the OG South command?
10 A. Your Honours, from this entry it's -- one can assume, one can make
11 an assumption that orders have been -- that an order has been issued, but
12 it is not necessarily the case. Because what I read here in English is
13 that -- I will not read the first one, but then: "And so it was arranged
14 to be prepared about the organising..." and then between slashes,
15 "security of the prisoners."
16 Now --
17 Q. Mr. Theunens, just a second. We've discussed this before this
18 Chamber already, and this is about an order. It's not about organising.
19 I think that much is clear, for the simple reason that the B/C/S version
20 happens to be the authoritative version of this particular text.
21 A. I mean, Mr. Vasic, yesterday yourself you raised the issue about
22 me being influenced by witness statements or other testimony, I try to
23 look at now this document based only on the document I have in front of me
24 and the other documents I have seen, I tried to be not influenced by what
25 other witness may have said or testified or not. I cannot draw from this
1 English translation which is in front of me --
2 Q. Mr. Theunens, I fully understand you, but you are looking at the
3 English. The English is a translation of the original B/C/S, and what it
4 reads is: "An order has been issued."
5 So this is not about evidence given by witnesses. The logic
6 inherent to the staff system of command, would it not point to the
7 conclusion that an order like this about future treatment of prisoners
8 issued by the command would indicate that the command has taken a
9 responsible attitude in terms of treating prisoners of war, a command that
10 issues an order like this, if indeed that was the command of OG South?
11 A. I mean, it would have been helpful to have a correct English
12 translation then. But in any event, if an order has been issued then such
13 an order had to be -- because of the principle of single authority had --
14 should have been issued by the commander of OG South to its subordinate
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, you have now overrun just on 10 minutes.
17 So we have to say that's the end.
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We have four questions left, Your
19 Honours, that's all.
20 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... so many hours
21 in the day, Mr. Vasic, and if you take extra time, it means that in the
22 end Mr. Lukic misses out again. I just have to be even between people,
23 you see. If there's one question you see as very important, have that
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honours.
1 It's something to do with the previous question, and I think that is very
2 important indeed.
3 Q. Do you believe that in keeping with this order dated the 19th of
4 November, 1800 hours, the one that we have now mentioned from the
5 log-book, Lieutenant-Colonel Vojnovic acted in the spirit of this, order.
6 This you mention on page 100 of the English and 108 of the B/C/S when
7 ordering that the shifts of guards be determined in order to guard the ZNG
8 and MUP members who had been captured and also enlisted the assistance of
9 the military police brigade and company of the 80th Brigade?
10 A. Your Honours, based on the entries that were read out now, it is
11 not possible for me to determine on which basis the brigade commander,
12 i.e., Vojnovic, requested rotation of officers.
13 Q. This is not rotation; these are guard shifts. But never mind.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have lots of questions
15 left for this witness, but unfortunately, in view of the constraints, I
16 will have to finish now. I hope that I can use the assistance of other
17 witnesses to clarify some issues which I have not been successful in
18 clarifying right now with this witness.
19 Thank you very much, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
21 Mr. Borovic.
22 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
23 Cross-examination by Mr. Borovic:
24 Q. Good morning, Witness. I am Borivoje Borovic, attorney-at-law,
25 Defence counsel for Miroslav Radic.
1 Yesterday in your evidence you said, or rather you quoted, among
2 other things, the book of General Kadijevic. You mentioned that he had
3 written that the goals of the JNA in Croatia were defined in a certain
4 way, namely, to protect and defend Serbs from Croats and to lift the siege
5 of barracks, for example, the one in Vukovar, right?
6 A. Your Honours, these -- the two objectives that Mr. Borovic just
7 read out are two of -- are only two of the objectives Kadijevic listed in
8 his book, and -- I mean, this is discussed on the pages 6 through 11 of my
9 report. Unless you want me to go in detail, I would just limit myself to
10 listing these pages, because Kadijevic also mentions other goals,
11 including the liberation of the Serbian territories.
12 Q. Thank you. My question is: Based on what did you conclude in
13 your report that the role of the army was reduced to reinforcing Serb or
14 Serbian control in the portions of areas in Croatia? Would you be so kind
15 and explain what you meant by that?
16 A. I based myself on what Kadijevic writes in his book, together with
17 contemporaneous, I mean by that statements from 1991, and documents from
18 1991 that were issued by Kadijevic and Adzic, which are discussed in that
19 particular section of the report. If you wish, I can quote from what
20 Kadijevic writes. He, for example, speaks about two phases in the
21 conflict, and maybe we can just limit ourselves to the second --
22 Q. Can I ask you something, Mr. Theunens. I accept this, but I'm
23 afraid that I will run out of time too.
24 My question is: Where did you find, in which interviews and
25 books, this claim, namely that the role of the army was reduced to
1 reinforcing Serbian control in Croatian territory? Do you differentiate
2 between "Serb" and "Serbian," these two terms in your report. First of
3 all, would you tell us that?
4 A. I mean, do you ask me a grammatical question to explain what is
5 the difference between "Serb" and "Serbian," or do you want me to mention
6 to you the quotation -- a quotation from Kadijevic's book that actually
7 supports this analysis?
8 Q. In your report you use both terms. So, no, I'm not referring to a
9 grammatical error. You say "Serb," and then in parentheses, you say
10 "Serbian control." In order to clarify to the Trial Chamber, would you
11 please explain what's the difference between "Serb control" and "Serbian
12 control." I'm taking this out of your report. Paragraph 18, page 9 of
13 the first part of your report.
14 A. The reference is actually different, but I understand your
15 question now, and I apologise for failing to do so initially.
16 "Serb" means or refers to Serb outside of Serbia; and "Serbian"
17 would refer to Serb within Serbia. And if I remember well, this is
18 something I found in a book by David Owen, where he makes an
19 introduction , it's called "Balkan Odyssey," when he complains about how
20 ignorant certain people were when they discussed the events in the former
22 Q. Thank you. Now tell us what kind of Serbian control was supposed
23 to be established in the Croatian territory, as you included in your
24 report? Or was that an error?
25 A. If it's an error, it has to be a translation error, Your Honours,
1 because in the first section of part 2, it starts -- which is dedicated to
2 the evolution of the mission and the objectives of the SFRY armed forces
3 during the conflict in Croatia. In the subparagraph d, I write -- and I
4 will only quote part of the paragraph: "The JNA's role has been
5 transformed from one of interposing among the conflicting parties to one
6 of creation and control of Serb-held areas in those parts of Croatia,"
7 those parts, I'm sorry, "that the Serb" -- and then between in brackets:
8 "(ian) leadership considers Serb."
9 And I based that on an entry in Kadijevic's book on the English
10 page 0036-2713 when Kadijevic discusses the second stage of the second
11 phase of the operations in Croatian where he says, among other
12 things: "In close coordination with the Serb insurgence, all Serb regions
13 in Croatia, except for a part in Western Slavonia, were liberated. This
14 comprises approximately one-third of the former republic of the Croatia's
16 And he gives more information. But, I mean, for the purposes now,
17 I think this should be sufficient.
18 Q. Thank you. I think that that is not sufficient at all. Neither
19 do I think that you explained what I asked you; namely, what was meant by
20 Serbian control in the context of liberating territories in Croatia. But
21 let us move on.
22 My second question: At the time of the conflict in Vukovar, you
23 said that the armed forces of the JNA were duty-bound to apply regulations
24 on the implementation of the international laws of war pursuant to the
25 rules of the service and armed forces of Yugoslavia from 1988. Is that
2 A. Your Honours, I would like to address firstly the comment by
3 Mr. Borovic that it was not sufficient. In my book -- in my -- excuse me,
4 in my report I also quote from the book by Borisav Jovic, "Last Days of
5 SFRY," where he also explains the evolution of the Supreme Command and the
6 impact that had on the missions of the JNA.
7 Now, to answer the second part of the question, yesterday I spoke
8 about what is mentioned in section 7 of part 1 of the report, where first
9 quoting from the 1982 All People's Defence law, Article 93, and this is
10 Exhibit 392, the Article says: "During combat activities, members of the
11 armed forces" -- so not just the JNA but also the TO and any other armed
12 people that are admitted into the armed forces -- "are obliged at all
13 times and in all circumstances to abide by the rules of the international
14 law of war on the humane treatment" -- I apologise for the transcript --
15 "of wounded and captured enemies on the protection of the civilian
16 population and other regulations in this law in compliance with the
17 constitution and the law."
18 We also discussed Article 53 yesterday of the 1985 law on the
19 Serbs in the armed forces. And we discussed the 1988 regulations on the
20 application of international laws of war in the armed forces of the SFRY,
21 which is Exhibit 396, and based on my review of the documents, it's my
22 understanding that all these laws and regulations applied to the situation
23 in Vukovar during October and November 1991.
24 Q. Thank you. Since you went back and quoted Jovic in reply to my
25 previous question, I didn't take it to mean that the transformation of the
1 JNA was such that it grew into a Serbian army. Would you please give us
2 that quotation, if you happen to have it here. If not, then would you
3 please answer my second question. That particular quotation, namely that
4 the JNA, in view of its role, transformed itself into a Serbian army,
5 where does it say that? Or do you not happen to have that quotation?
6 A. No, no, I mean the quotation actually is that at -- and I think I
7 will have to read out from the beginning of the paragraph. It's in --
8 Q. I apologise, I haven't got all day. Does it say anywhere in that
9 quotation that the JNA transformed itself into a Serb or Serbian army? Do
10 you have it or not? We're dealing with this one single question already
11 10 minutes now.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Because, Mr. Borovic, you're misunderstanding the
13 answers given by the witness. He hasn't said what you are now putting.
14 And that's why there is delay. You need to listen a little more carefully
15 to what he is saying.
16 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I am very attentive, Your Honours,
17 but I did not receive an answer. We shall move on, thank you.
18 Q. So the JNA was duty-bound to apply regulations that you quoted as
19 well as decrees and ratified humanitarian conventions such as The Hague
20 Convention and so on; correct?
21 A. That's correct, Your Honours. And I would just wish to add
22 briefly that on the pages of the -- 119 to 121 in the second part of the
23 English version, I also discuss a memorandum of understanding that was
24 signed between the parties involved in the conflict and the ICRC, and it's
25 27th of November, 1991. It was signed. And this is 65 ter number 607,
1 which again reminds --
2 Q. I apologise, you are deliberately wasting my time.
3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am sorry that I am
4 interrupting the witness.
5 Q. But the purpose of my question is not to have you quote all
6 regulations. I accept that portion of your report as an accurate one. I
7 wanted to move on, and my question was quite specific. Yes, all of these
8 conventions, regulations that you quoted applied in the JNA, and I fully
9 agree with you. My question is: Croatian armed and paramilitary
10 formations in the relevant period of time, what were the regulations
11 regulating their activities at the time? Weren't they the regulations
12 from 1988? That was my question.
13 A. Your Honours, yesterday it was explained that the aim of my report
14 is to analyse the role and the operations conducted by Operational Group
15 South in October and November 1991. And I also mentioned that my report
16 is not an analysis of the Croatian forces or the -- or the forces
17 operating on the Croatian side. So I'm not able to answer this question.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, something was not
20 recorded, that those were the regulations of the SFRY from 1988.
21 Q. Mr. Theunens, in your report you wrote that the -- that non-Serbs
22 left the TO of Croatia and that it was transformed into Serbian TO. So my
23 question to you is: If the non-Serbs left those institutions and if they
24 did not recognise the SFRY and did not want to be members of the JNA, what
25 would you call it? Would you call it an armed rebellion of non-Serbs at
1 that point in time? And was that a crime, pursuant to the laws in force
2 at the time?
3 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour. The question goes beyond the
4 scope of his expertise in military matters.
5 JUDGE PARKER: I think it's fair enough to allow it, Mr. Weiner.
6 Carry on, Mr. Borovic.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am aware of the time
8 constraints, but I think Mr. Borovic didn't quote my report what I wrote
9 in accurate way, because it's discussed on page 27, 28, second part in the
10 English version. I will not quote everything just to save time, but I am
11 right when I talk about local Serb TO. "The local Serb TO in Croatia
12 consists of units created by the local Serbs from the existing TO of the
13 Republic of Croatia in areas where they have a majority or significant
14 minority. In some areas, the existing units of the TO of the Republic of
15 Croatia, due to the conflict, have become de facto Serb," de facto, in
16 italics, "because the non-Serbs have left," and that was what Mr. Borovic
17 read out, "or the non-Serbs do not recognise the SFRY armed forces anymore
18 and cease their cooperation with the JNA."
19 And whether -- what these non-Serbs did is an armed rebellion or
20 not, I mean, that would warrant a separate study because again my report
21 focuses on OG South and the forces operating under the command and control
22 of OG South, and I did not discuss the creation --
23 Q. Serb armed forces. No, it's not written anywhere. They did not
24 exist at the time. The JNA existed, correct? Namely, that they did not
25 recognise the Yugoslav People's Army.
1 But at any rate, Mr. Theunens, I asked you what these non-Serbs
2 did, did it amount to an armed rebellion?
3 A. Your Honours, I mean, I can give you two elements of information.
4 As an analyst, I would want to see documents and -- that allow me to study
5 this creation of these forces which, according to Mr. Borovic, carried out
6 an armed rebellion, and based on my knowledge an armed rebellion is a
7 legal concept, so I'm -- I don't think I'm fully qualified to draw a
8 conclusion on that. I think I could analyse the creation of these forces
9 and their structure, organisation, but whether it amounted to an armed
10 rebellion, I think that would be up to somebody else.
11 Q. All right, thank you. Do you know, based on which regulations the
12 Croatian paramilitary formations known as ZNG, HOS and Home Guards were
13 established? There are documents confirming that they were established,
14 and also evidence in this trial. Are you aware of this or not?
15 A. Your Honours, to save time, I will be brief. This report does not
16 study the forces operating on the Croatian side, so therefore I cannot
17 answer that question.
18 Q. All right, thank you. Since in the Vukovar TO it was only Serbs
19 who remained, according to you, my question is: Who then violated the
20 then existing Croatian regulations? Was it contrary to the law, the fact
21 that the Serbs and only Serbs remained in the TO of Vukovar? Was that a
22 violation of the then existing laws in Croatia?
23 MR. WEINER: I would object to that again, Your Honour. They are
24 now asking him about violations of Croatian laws.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Technically Mr. Weiner is correct, Mr. Borovic. I
1 have tried to allow you as much scope as possible, but I think you've gone
2 over the edge now.
3 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
4 Q. My next question. In your report, Mr. Theunens, you give various
5 claims as to the reasons for establishing operations groups, tactical
6 groups, and assault detachments. In your view what are the basic reasons
7 for establishing these temporary formations, briefly, please? And let me
8 be even more specific. Could the reasons be that, for example,
9 establishment units are not fit to carry out an assignment, could that be
10 a reason rather than what you say, in order to implement subordination and
11 singleness of command? Which would you think takes priority?
12 A. Your Honours, Mr. Borovic speaks about claims or -- that I give
13 claims in my report. In the first part of the report, English pages 96
14 to 100, I speak -- I quote from several regulations, SFRY armed forces
15 regulations that define operational groups, tactical groups, assault
16 detachments and assault groups. And they -- these regulations also
17 explain why such ad hoc formations can be established.
18 And I'm just quoting now from a document, 1990 draft doctrine of
19 the Territorial Defence, which is 65 ter 400. It talks about unification
20 of actions of all forces at the battle-field or part of the theatre of war
21 is performed by command of strategic groupings. Strategic groupings are
22 at a higher level than operational groups, but it actually brings me to
23 the answer of the question. Based on my analysis, the operational groups,
24 tactical groups and so on were established to implement or to make sure,
25 excuse me, that the principles of command and control, single authority,
1 unified command and the obligation to implement decisions, are actually
2 applied, and that the function of command and control can be carried out
3 in a smooth manner.
4 Q. Thank you. Mr. Theunens, that's precisely what I asked you. Was
5 that the reason subordination and singleness of command, or was it, in
6 fact, that the establishment units were not fit, were not competent to
7 carry out these assignments. Do you think that it's the former or the
8 latter, or perhaps both of them? Since it is the position of Defence that
9 this other reason, subordination and singleness of command, is not the
10 proper reason, based on the army regulations. This is the position of the
11 Defence. So given that, would you abide by your previous position, or
12 would you accept what we claim; namely, that the establishment units were
13 not fit to carry out the assignment?
14 A. I answered the question already, Your Honours. Based on my review
15 of the documents available to me, both an extensive collection of SFRY
16 armed forces doctrinal regulations and instructions, as well as specific
17 orders and reports from the 1st Military District and Operational Group
18 South that applied to the October, November 1991 time period, the
19 Operational Group South, in this case, was established to apply the
20 principles of command and control; in particular, because there was such a
21 wide range of different forces participating on the side of the JNA in the
22 operations at the time. I mentioned them already, but we have JNA units,
23 units of the Territorial Defence of Serbia, volunteers, and then units I
24 describe as local Serb TO, which, in fact, were partly affiliated
25 volunteer units. And the Croatian operational group, together with
1 assault detachments and assault groups on the lower echelon, was the most
2 appropriate way to make sure that the principles of command and control
3 could be applied in such a situation.
4 Q. Thank you. That is your answer then. My next question: Do you
5 differentiate between the terms "in cooperation" and "in joint action"
6 when it comes to coordination? Would you please tell me whether you see a
7 difference between these two terms?
8 A. Coordination, Your Honours, is a function of command and control.
9 It is defined on page 42 in the English version of my report, the first
10 part. Cooperation has no command and control implications. And I quoted
11 from the Exhibit 394 on the pages -- at paragraph 111 to be complete.
12 Q. Thank you. My question was: Do you know what the term "in joint
13 action" meant within the JNA, and also the term "cooperation," and
14 does "in joint action" mean the organisation within the armed forces,
15 whereas "cooperation" means cooperation between commands and armed forces.
16 Do you see the difference there?
17 A. My understanding was that in the system of All People's Defence,
18 cooperation referred in first instance to the relations between the JNA
19 and other components or other elements that were involved in All People's
20 Defence, like civil defence or the local civil authorities; whereas, as I
21 explained, coordination is a function of command and control which applies
22 not only within a certain command, for example, within a brigade if two
23 battalions have to carry out an attack, the brigade commander can order
24 these battalions to coordinate in order to make sure that when they
25 advance that there is no gap.
1 Coordination applies certainly in the case when there is fire
2 close air support, from aircraft when there is artillery support and again
3 the coordination is imposed by the commander both within units under his
4 command and as with neighbouring units, for example, which are not under
5 his -- or what I want to say -- because it's unclear. If neighbouring
6 units --
7 Q. I apologise. It's -- it has taken too long. When you say
8 "coordination," do you actually mean "in joint action"? If so, then the
9 matter is closed. I didn't ask you about coordination and cooperation; I
10 asked you about joint action and cooperation. You explained the
11 cooperation properly, and what you are now referring to as coordination,
12 do you actually mean the same thing as joint action? If so, then it's
14 A. Based on my review of the doctrinal documentation, coordination
15 does not always imply joint action, but it's -- I would have to check for
16 it. I mean, I have seen joint action, but I haven't seen it always in the
17 context of coordination. I have also seen it in other contexts in JNA
19 Q. All right. Thank you. Let us move on.
20 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Or actually, it's time for our
21 break. Let us not move on, but rather move to the break. Thank you.
22 JUDGE PARKER: We will have a 20-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.59 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.22 a.m.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic.
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Q. Is a battalion a basic joint unit at the infantry level?
3 A. I -- Your Honours, it's a tactical -- it's yeah, indeed, it's a
4 basic joint unit at the -- no, sorry, I don't understand the question.
5 Because a battalion, a basic joint unit at the infantry level. I mean,
6 there can also be armoured battalions, logistical battalions. Maybe it's
7 a translation thing.
8 Q. My question was: Is a battalion a basic joint tactical unit of
9 the infantry.
10 A. I understand it. You mean an infantry battalion?
11 Q. For the third time, yes, indeed, I do mean an infantry battalion.
12 For the third time, I mean the same question that I asked the first time
14 A. Okay.
15 JUDGE PARKER: The question comes across quite differently in
16 English, Mr. Borovic. But we've got it clear now.
17 MR. BOROVIC: Okay. [Interpretation] Frankly, Your Honours, I can
18 hardly be expected to monitor everything, and we're in a bit of a hurry.
19 Q. To cut a long story short, is your answer yes?
20 A. Yes, Your Honours.
21 Q. Thank you. What does the battalion command comprise, or who does
22 it comprise? Do you know that?
23 A. It will comprise a commander, like any military unit, and it will
24 also comprise a staff whereby the battalion in the JNA is the first level,
25 when we start from the bottom, that there is a command [realtime
1 transcript read in error "commander"], i.e., a staff included -- I said
2 command, not commander. Where there is a command or a staff that assists
3 the commander.
4 Q. Thank you. Do you know what a staff comprises? Since you say
5 that a battalion has a staff, who does this staff comprise?
6 A. Your Honours, just to bring us back to my report, command
7 structure is discussed on page -- from page 48 of the English version
9 Q. Mr. Theunens, excuse me. If you go on answering my questions like
10 these, I won't have time to ask you a single question.
11 You said a battalion has a staff. My question is: At the time,
12 at the relevant time, who did the battalion staff comprise? Please don't
13 go back to your report for that. Do you know or do you not know? If you
14 don't know, we can move on.
15 A. Your Honours, my testimony here is based on my report, so I think
16 it's -- it's helpful for all of us that I refer to my report.
17 On page 49 of the English version I quote from Exhibit 394, which
18 is the JNA text-book on command and control from 1983, and I will read it
19 out. I say that -- I apologise: "All commands from battalions upwards,
20 are similarly structured. At the head of all commands staffs are
21 commanders who whom all units are directly responsible."
22 And then it continues: "Every command from a regiment upward has
23 its own staff led by a Chief of Staff with at the same time a Deputy
25 And then in -- I mean, there is more, but I can also refer to --
1 Q. Thank you, thank you. Excuse me, just a moment. Did you not just
2 read this, that the regiment is the first unit to have a staff and not the
3 battalion? I think part of your report is erroneous in its interpretation
4 of what exactly goes on. Thus I must try to clarify this. A battalion
5 does not have a staff. This starts at a higher level; at least that's our
6 interpretation of the same regulations that you have just referred to. If
7 this was an error that you made, it's not problem at all. We can try to
8 set it right now. Does a battalion have a staff at all, first of all?
9 A. From -- I mean, I didn't invent what I just said. I quote from
10 Exhibit 394. And it's on the English pages in --
11 Q. Fine. So it is your submission that a battalion has a staff. Is
12 that your answer?
13 A. Your Honours, I hadn't finished my answer.
14 Q. This might take seven months, seven years. I'm still asking you
15 the same question. Does a battalion have a staff or not? I think I'm in
16 charge of this cross-examination, not you, Mr. Theunens.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I'm in charge of this courtroom, Mr. Borovic.
18 THE WITNESS: Your Honours, the question has been answered. I
19 referred to this quotation from Exhibit 394.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 Yes, Mr. Borovic.
22 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Who does the battalion staff comprise then, if that's your answer?
24 Who is it made up of?
25 A. Your Honours, the battalion is -- the infantry battalion is -- I'm
1 trying to identify the exhibit in which we -- yeah, it's Exhibit 397, the
2 1988 JNA battalion manual for the infantry and motorised and so on,
4 I haven't discussed the battalion staff in detail in my report
5 because I believe that for the purposes of my report studying the brigade
6 staff was more relevant. But if required, I can identify within that
7 regulation how a battalion staff is organised.
8 Q. Thank you. My next question. Are assault detachments established
9 for particular operations at a particular time?
10 A. That's correct, Your Honours.
11 Q. Thank you. Do we agree that the fall of Vukovar occurred on the
12 18th of November, 1991?
13 A. That is correct, Your Honours.
14 Q. Thank you. What about after the fall of Vukovar? Was there not a
15 need to set up assault detachments?
16 A. I'm not sure whether the question is -- I mean, the transcript is
17 a correct reflection of the question. Assault detachments based on the
18 documents I reviewed existed prior to the fall of Vukovar. We have
19 requested from Serbia and Montenegro documentation as to -- in relation to
20 orders that were issued to disband assault detachments --
21 Q. That's -- that's fine, Mr. Theunens. You're right. Assault
22 detachments existed until the fall of Vukovar. That was my question. It
23 was very simple. Was there or was there not any need to set up assault
24 detachments after the fall of Vukovar on the 18th of November in a purely
25 military sense? Yes or no?
1 A. I read in the transcript assault detachments existed until the
2 fall of Vukovar. That is an assumption you make, Mr. Borovic, because the
3 documentation I reviewed does not allow to draw such a conclusion. I --
4 from the documentation I saw, and we have discussed --
5 Q. What is your answer to my question? What is your answer to my
6 question? Was there any need after the fall of Vukovar for the existence
7 of assault detachments? What is your answer as a military expert? Was
8 there any need? Did the need exist?
9 A. The answer is yes.
10 Q. Can you please be so kind as to explain that. Why?
11 A. There are several -- Your Honours, there are several elements in
12 my reply.
13 First of all, the fact that the operational group continued to
14 exist, Operational Group South continued to exist until at least the
15 21st -- the 23rd of November, 1991, indicates that the command level right
16 above the assault detachments still needed to exist i.e., that the
17 commander of the command level above the operational group considered it
18 essential to maintain the Operational Group South in its existence.
19 Now, when we look -- second element of reply is the situation. We
20 have discussed a few documents already this morning. Combat operations
21 did not end because of the fall of Vukovar --
22 Q. Sir, excuse me. Just a minute. If that is your continuation,
23 then it's fine. But I didn't ask you about operations groups or tactical
24 groups. All I asked about was assault detachments.
25 A. In --
1 Q. Perhaps I have interrupted you. Please accept my apologies. Go
3 A. It's fine. But, I mean, I started with the operational group,
4 why, because the Operational Group South was the command level above the
5 assault detachments. So it wouldn't make sense to have like assault
6 detachments without an operational group above of it.
7 Now, what I was explaining is that based on the documents also
8 that were raised by Mr. Vasic in his cross-examination, there are still
9 resistance pockets or other enemy -- enemies present in Vukovar. I think
10 the document -- the order we discussed on the evacuation of the hospital
11 says that the war is not over. There are also documents; for example,
12 the -- the order by the 1st Military District, Exhibit 415, by General
13 Zivota Panic, where he orders OG South and OG North to seize the hospital.
14 He also, Panic, expresses, his worries about the situation of the
15 Territorial Defence.
16 What I'm trying to say is - and I apologise for the length of the
17 answer - that because of this unstable situation, because of the fact that
18 there are undisciplined elements present, mainly within the TO, it is
19 essential to maintain command and control over these elements at the
20 lowest level possible. That means not only the operational group, but
21 also the levels, command levels below the operational group, and in the
22 context of Operational Group South, that means assault detachments and
23 assault groups.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, how long am I allowed
1 to go on for exactly? I'm sorry to be asking the question now, but I need
2 a reference point.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, the answer is in two parts. The first
4 is strictly 12.30. The more generous one is that you could have 10
5 further minutes after lunch if you needed them.
6 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honours.
7 This, I believe, is some sort of a compensation for that one day when I
8 could not. Thank you.
9 Q. Mr. Theunens, an assault detachment, is that a joint tactical unit
10 in attack? Just to complete this, so that you can provide one answer to
11 all my questions, during an attack on a populated area or certain
12 buildings, this is a provisional unit, its composition is provisional, it
13 has armoured vehicles, pioneers, artillery, and a signals component.
14 First of all, is that a correct assessment?
15 A. Yes, indeed, Your Honours, this comes from Exhibit --
16 Q. Thank you. If that's correct, why would there be a need for
17 assault detachments then? What is the populated area that was to be
18 attacked? Which is the joint tactical unit, and after the 18th of
19 November, apart from these pockets that you have referred to, what exactly
20 was going on to call for assault detachments to continue to exist? I would
21 not like to comment on what you said about operations groups or tactical
22 groups, I might perhaps even agree, but assault detachments, provisional
23 ones, used only for special missions, used in order to attack populated
24 areas or fortified facilities. Vukovar fell on the 18th of November; we
25 all know all about that. Why would there continue to be a need for
1 assault detachments, or were these simply disbanded?
2 A. Your Honours, my understanding of reviewing on one hand the
3 doctrinal documents, as has been discussed now, and on the other hand the
4 orders and reports by Operational Group South, indicate that actually
5 assault detachments and assault groups were established to maintain single
6 authority and unified command over all the forces involved, and I mean by
7 this JNA, TO, from the Republic of Serbia, local Serb TO, including
8 volunteers, paramilitaries. As I answered earlier, after the fall of
9 Vukovar this requirement to maintain single authority and unified command
10 of control, still existed. Now, as I mentioned before, I don't have an
11 order that indicates when or whether the assault detachments were
12 disbanded. It was requested from Serbia. If you want I can give the
14 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that the only need for resubordination
15 and singleness of command was the existence of assault detachment? Was
16 this the sole reason, in your opinion, after the 18th of November?
17 A. Yes, but, I mean, I want to clarify. Based on what I've seen in
18 other documents, this single authority and unity of command, could also be
19 established by just a subordination order, to say, well, X or Y
20 Territorial Defence is subordinated under that or this battalion. Now,
21 the structure with assault detachments and assault group existed in
22 Vukovar or within Operational Group South prior to the fall of Vukovar.
23 Based on documents I saw, there was no reason to change this structure.
24 If one wanted -- one, i.e. the commander of Operations Group South, wanted
25 to maintain the single authority and the subordination of all forces
1 involved under the JNA. And it should -- I apologise --
2 Q. Sir, Mr. Theunens, wouldn't it be simpler for you to simply say
3 yes? I answered [as interpreted] you about the basic reasons for
4 subordination and singleness of command, the basic reason. Why didn't you
5 just answer yes? You're just taking up time. Is your answer yes?
6 A. The answer was given, Your Honours.
7 Q. Thank you. Based on which documents, witness statements, have you
8 established the existence of assault groups in Vukovar, 1991?
9 A. I'm just trying to locate the order where -- I think it's from the
10 14th or the -- of November where the commander of OG South, if I remember
11 well, states that a military police battalion has to be -- has to
12 establish assault groups. Yes, this is the -- if I'm not wrong, it's 65
13 ter number 585. It's the order 403-1 dated the 16th of November, 1991.
14 And it says that the 2nd military police battalion -- battalion, excuse
15 me -- is to make use of assault groups.
16 Now, I think that was not your question. The only additional
17 information I have for assault groups is that I combined the public
18 statement Captain Radic made in an interview. If I remember well, that's
19 Exhibit 3 -- I think it's Exhibit 353, where he said that all -- that he
20 had 500 people in his group, and I linked that up with the doctrine. I
21 tried to find a doctrinal definition for the group of Radic, and assault
22 group would have been then the most logical choice.
23 And I apologise again for taking time, but we requested from
24 Serbia and Montenegro all orders issued by Radic or orders received by
25 Radic as well as orders issued by Tesic, so Borivoje Tesic, commander of
1 the 1st Assault Detachment, as well as orders received by Tesic during the
2 30 September to 23 of November time period that --
3 Q. Excuse me. Do you really have to quote all these documents ad
4 nauseam, if I may put it that way. You simply don't have these documents;
5 that is the simple truth of this matter. My question was based on what
6 did you establish these assault groups, and you say in Miroslav Radic's
7 interview. The long way around, as it were, when he was talking about
8 this group of volunteers, but you did not find a single direct reference
9 to the establishment of any assault groups purely in terms of their
10 establishment. Not in connection with the 1st Assault Detachment or in
11 connection with Miroslav Radic.
12 Yes or no? Do you have a document or a statement to indicate the
13 existence of an assault group?
14 A. Well, Your Honours, the statement is the one by Radic, and all I
15 can do from here is to ask Serbia and Montenegro, who is in, my view with
16 the best qualified to provide us with these documents, to provide these
17 documents. If they don't provide the documents or even if they don't do
18 the effort to say, "We don't have them," then it's difficult for me to
19 answer the question. But I think we did sufficient efforts on our side
20 but I think we made sufficient efforts on our side to obtain documents,
21 for example, on how the force in the 1st assault detachment was
23 Q. Mr. Theunens, thank you. Thank you. You didn't have the
24 documents; these are problems of cooperation. I think you are entirely
25 right to point these out, cooperation with the national council; but
1 that is not our topic right now.
2 My next question: Territorial Defence, the detachments, were
3 subordinated to OG South. This is something you said. My question is, do
4 you know how many men a Territorial Defence detachment would have been
5 made up of?
6 A. Based on the definition of detachment in the JNA regulations I
7 have seen, a detachment is a unit of variable composition. And that's
8 also something I wish to point out, that because these TO -- I mean Leva
9 Supoderica and Petrova Gora, these TO detachments, had no fixed
10 composition; the name "detachment" was used. Now, they were called TO
11 because according to the law everybody who joins the armed forces in
12 defence of the country, but who is not a member of the JNA, will be
13 consisted [sic] a member of the Territorial Defence. Now, whether there
14 is a legal background to this, that's another issue. And if you --
15 Q. Thank you. Thank you. The composition varies. In view of that,
16 from the point of view of military doctrine, what would be the numerical
17 strength for a TO detachment? Give us a range, please.
18 A. The only information I have on that comes from the testimony of
19 Witness Trifunovic, and I don't think it's helpful for me repeat it.
20 Again I wish to reiterate, that the TO, i.e. Leva Supoderica and Petrova
21 Gora, are only TO by name. Therefore it wouldn't be of assistance to
22 apply theoretical definitions of territorial -- TO -- of TO detachments on
23 formations of the nature of Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora.
24 Q. Thank you. Mr. Theunens, you are now drawing conclusions, but my
25 question was very specific. Let us leave Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora
1 for later. What about my previous answer [as interpreted], the numerical
2 strength. You are quoting Mr. Trifunovic. Let us trying to jog our
3 member. What number are we talking about, 400 men, 500 men?
4 A. Yes, indeed, I seem to recall that Trifunovic testified this,
5 could even be more, but what I'm trying to explain, and I will do it now,
6 I will repeat myself, is that the theoretical definition does not
7 necessarily apply to the situation as it was in Vukovar with Petrova Gora
8 and Leva Supoderica.
9 Q. Thank you. You said yesterday that you did not use any witness
10 statements. You are trying to draw an unbiased conclusion as a military
11 expert. Yet in your previous answer you are trying to draw yet another
12 conclusion. Perhaps we can leave that for the end of our
13 cross-examination. But please answer this question: What about a
14 company, how many men would a company be expected to normally comprise?
15 A. I don't understand the first part of your question.
16 Q. How many men can a company have in its composition.
17 A. I would -- I mean, an infantry company I would assume could be
18 like 150, depends, could be less. It depends of the nature of the
19 infantry company.
20 Q. Thank you. What about a detachment? Can a detachment be part of
21 a company in the purely military sense?
22 A. It can. Because a detachment, as I indicated earlier, is a unit
23 of variable composition. So you can have a detachment of 10 people, you
24 can have a detachment of 5.000 people, but it won't be wise to have --
25 obviously it wouldn't make sense to have a detachment of 5.000 people
1 included in a company, whereas a detachment of 10 or 100 people could be
2 included, if the commander of the battalion or the superior command of the
3 company decides to do so.
4 Q. That's what you suppose. What about specifically? A detachment
5 numbering 500 to 700 people, can it be part of a company numbering 150
6 people? That's a question for a military expert.
7 A. Yes, indeed, Your Honours. But, I mean, such a purely theoretical
8 question, whereby we come with numbers, I don't know what they're based
9 on. I don't think it's helpful for me to answer such a question, because
10 I think the reply may be misleading and highly incorrect. It's easy to
11 challenge a reply to such a question.
12 Q. Thank you. Did you ever hold in your hands the manual of the JNA
13 on infantry battalions from 1988?
14 A. I did, Your Honours. And if I remember well, it's Exhibit 397.
15 Q. Thank you. Did you find there that an assault group may have the
16 strength equivalent to a reinforced platoon and that it is not written
17 anywhere that an assault group may be a reinforced company? Would you
18 agree with me? This is a theoretical question.
19 A. Yes, indeed. And this is explained in paragraph 26 of Exhibit 397
20 on page 99 of my report.
21 Q. Thank you. Based on the rules in force in the JNA, does a company
22 have a staff or not? I think that you explained this in relation to a
23 battalion and regiment, but now I'd like to hear your explicit answer as
24 to whether a company has a staff or not. Or is it only at the levels
25 above that a staff is created?
1 A. According to the JNA regulations I reviewed, a company does not
2 have a staff, but the company commander will be assisted by certain people
3 who will do certain aspects of work that could be considered as staff
4 work. But it's not a staff.
5 Q. Thank you. On page 57 of the third section, you say that the
6 1st Assault Detachment had three assault groups: Leva Supoderica,
7 Petrova Gora, and another one, and Vukovar. According to the rules, what
8 is the strength of assault groups within a battalion? We heard just a
9 little bit ago that it was a reinforced platoon. Can you then explain to
10 us this claim of yours that the 1st Assault Detachment had three assault
11 groups: Petrova Gora, Leva Supoderica, and Vukovar. First of all, is
12 this written in your report or not?
13 A. Your Honours, there must be a translation error, because on
14 page 57 in the second part of the report in the paragraph g -- I will not
15 read out the whole paragraph but just the two relevant sentences which is
16 actually the summary of what follows in this section 3. It says: "The
17 1st Assault Detachment consists of three assaults groups, full stop. The
18 Petrova Gora, Leva Supoderica (commanded by Milan Lancuzanin, also known
19 as Kameni), and Vukovar (commanded by Miroljub Vujovic), (local Serb) TO
20 detachments are subordinated to OG South through the 1st Assault
22 So these are two different sentences, and there is no link
23 whatsoever in this text between the three assault groups and the names of
24 the local Serb TO units that follow. So maybe something went wrong with
25 the translation.
1 Q. All right. All right, Mr. Theunens. I think that you understood
2 properly my question. According to the rules of battalion of company and
3 of platoon, what is the main means of communication when attacking a
4 settlement? Is it, for example, radio communication?
5 A. Radio communication would be one of the means of communication
6 that can be used. However, there are also other means that can be used
7 like signs, a courier. Yes, and this is purely theoretical answer I give
8 because I don't have that regulation or that particular paragraph of the
9 regulation in front of me.
10 Q. What about when attacking a settlement? Is then a radio link the
11 main means of communication, and does it reduce the need to use couriers?
12 There are streets, we're talking of a settlement. The attack proceeds
13 street by street. Do you know this? It's not terribly important.
14 A. Your Honours, I don't have the regulation in front of me, but from
15 my own experience I know, and maybe it had to do with our radios, that in
16 built-up areas, because, for example, there are higher buildings and there
17 is metal that can be integrated in the concrete structures, that it's
18 sometimes difficult to use radios actually, and therefore, because of poor
19 communications, and therefore other means, like if you are at short
20 distance you use signs or a courier can be more effective. But I'm
21 willing to look at the regulation if you show it to me.
22 Q. In order not to waste time there are smaller houses, larger
23 houses, but it seems that we are now in the domain of imposation [as
24 interpreted], both you and me.
25 Let us move on. You quoted the interview given by Radic where he
1 said, "I am sickened by the war." It's page 83 in the third chapter of
2 your report. This is the text where he claims to have had about 500
3 people, 500 men. Is that the interview you had in mind?
4 A. That's correct, Your Honours, it's Exhibit 353.
5 Now, I mean, Radic -- you say Radic claims. I would assume that
6 an officer before he speaks to the media has received an authorisation to
7 do so and is also aware of the implication of the things he says to media.
8 That's the system and the situation in my military, and I assume it was
9 the same in the JNA.
10 Q. Thank you. At the moment when the combat operations were in the
11 final stage, were being concluded, I don't think that there was a need --
12 or I'm not sure that there was a need for anyone to ask for a special
13 authorisation, especially not in Vukovar. But that's not important. What
14 is important is just a minute ago you confirmed that Trifunovic testified
15 in the case and that when it comes to the composition of TO detachment, it
16 is in his evidence that you found support for your position.
17 My question is: If the 80th Kragujevac Motorised Brigade in that
18 axis had a battalion numbering 400 people, which is what Vukosavljevic,
19 Chief of Staff of security of the Kragujevac Brigade testified about, and
20 it pertains to the same period of time referred to by Radic when speaking
21 of assault groups, can we then agree that this is a case where a
22 journalist interprets what constituted this group, even if he conveyed
23 Radic's words, because in the military sense Radic could not have been the
24 commander of a battalion of the 80th Kragujevac Motorised Brigade, and it
25 was positioned in the same axis, in same location in Petrova Gora where
1 Radic was. So do you believe that a statement given to the papers and the
2 interpretation that was given could not be used by you as a military
3 expert in order to draw a conclusion that he had 500 people under his
5 A. Your Honours, there are several components in this question. As I
6 said earlier, this report is limited to -- I mean, the sources of the
7 report are limited to document -- to official documentation, SFRY
8 legislation, 1st Military District, OG South, and SSNO orders and reports,
9 as well as some open sources.
10 Now, I wish to comment on what Mr. Borovic said in relation to
11 Trifunovic. My understanding of the testimony of Trifunovic is that he
12 provided a theoretical answer to a theoretical question in relation to TO
14 I'm a bit confused by the reference that is made to
15 Vukosavljevic. I just wish to say that it's not me who concluded that
16 there was 500 people in Radic's unit. It is a quotation from the
17 interview. Now if the journalist misunderstood him, then I would have
18 expected Radic to complain with the newspaper and to ask for a
19 clarification. It happens every day. Now, I'm not aware of such a
20 clarification or a rectification. And when I say it happens every day,
21 everyday in the newspapers you see that there are rectifications to
22 certain articles.
23 And, again, I wish to emphasise that based on my understanding of
24 the JNA, interviews can only be given with the authorisation of superiors,
25 and I would assume that these superiors would also screen the nature of
1 the replies because there could be, for example, implications on security
2 aspect --
3 Q. I think you've already said that. Once again, you are taking too
4 much time.
5 My question is: A reinforced platoon of a company comprising an
6 assault group, can it number 500 people?
7 A. As I mentioned earlier when discussing the assault detachment,
8 Your Honours, based on my review of the documents, it is my -- my
9 conclusion that the terms "assault detachment" and "assault groups" were
10 used for formations which were, in fact, i.e., in practice, bigger than
11 the formations as they were envisaged in the doctrine. But the concept
12 behind it is the same, it's only the size that is different. And this is
13 reinforced by what Radic said in this media interview.
14 Q. I didn't understand in the end. How many people can a reinforced
15 platoon within an assault group have? And if that is the case, then how
16 many people can an assault detachment have, both from the point of view of
17 the military doctrine and practical matters? Can an assault group be
18 500-men strong? And if so, then how many men can an assault detachment
20 A. Your Honours, I think I answered the question. Based on the
21 documents I saw in relation --
22 Q. All right, thank you. Thank you. On page 86 of the English
23 version of your report, third part of it, here under paragraph 19 and 20
24 you mention orders dated 14th and 16th November, 1991; correct? First
25 let's clarify that.
1 A. That is correct, Your Honours.
2 Q. Thank you. My question is --
3 Could we put Exhibit 405 on our screens, please?
4 This is an order for blockade and attack dated the 1st of October,
5 1991. You're familiar with this, right? In paragraph 2 it says -- it
6 says: "Motorised guards brigade shall put under blockade and attack
7 Vukovar within the operative group by using assault detachment."
8 And then: "In joint action with Vukovar TO units (Petrova Gora
9 detachment) armoured battalion of the 544th Motorised Brigade, defeat
10 enemy forces in the area of operations, take control of that part of town
11 and establish control, law and order."
12 Is that what it says there?
13 A. Yes, Your Honours. But, I mean, if you want to see it on the
14 screen, you have to go to the paragraph 2.
15 Q. All right. Would you be so kind and look at paragraph 5 of this
16 same order? Does it say there: "Tasks of units." Paragraph 5
17 under 1. "The 1st Assault Detachment comprising 1st Motorised Brigade
18 with 3-1 armoured battalion, 2-2 LSARD," and then "1-3/2 military police
19 battalion, and pioneer squad, detachment commander of 1st Motorised
20 Brigade commander," and so on. They also use guides from Petrova Gora TO
22 Is that what it says here, Mr. Theunens, and is it clear to you?
23 A. This -- this is indeed what this order of 1st of October says.
24 Q. Thank you. The 1st Assault Detachment at that time, was it under
25 command of Major Borivoje Tesic? Have you come across such information?
1 Commander of the 1st Battalion and commander of the Assault Detachment 1.
2 A. In this order, Your Honours, the 1st of October order, it says in
3 this paragraph 5 that the detachment commander will be the commander of
4 the 1st Motorised Battalion. And I know from -- I think these were
5 articles that were published in Narodna Armija on the guards brigade that
6 Tesic was indeed the commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion. So I can
7 only assume that there was no change in -- in -- in that.
8 Q. Thank you. You're fully correct.
9 Now, could we please see Exhibit 408? This is the decision of the
10 commander of the OG South dated 15th of October, 1991. Do you see
11 paragraph 2, Mr. Theunens? I will read this out so as to spare
12 you. "Tasks for units." So this is the 15th of October, 1991: "(a)
13 Assault Detachment 1 comprising 1st Motorised Battalion. 3-1
14 company/armoured battalion. 1-2 company platoon of the military police
15 battalion, and one company of volunteers from the current deployment
16 continue the attack and in joint action with Assault Detachment 2 and
17 3/211 of the armoured brigade and Petrova Gora units, crush the Ustasha
18 units on the directions ..."
19 And then it lists the directions, right, or axis, right?
20 A. That's correct, Your Honours.
21 Q. Thank you. Could we now see Exhibit 410? Once again here,
22 Mr. Theunens, this is a decision of the commander of the OG South. 29th
23 October 1991 is the date. All right. We have tasks given to units, and
24 it says under 1: "1st Assault Detachment comprising 1st Motorised
25 Battalion, 1, 2, 3 battalion of the military police, detachment
1 Leva Supoderica, Petrova Gora detachment, company of volunteers from
2 Novi Sad, one tank M-84."
3 Is that what it says there?
4 A. Yes, Your Honour. So that means that Leva Supoderica and
5 Petrova Gora are subordinate units of the 1st Assault Detachment.
6 Q. At that time was Borivoje Tesic commander of the 1st Assault
8 A. Based on the documents I have seen, I cannot draw such a
9 conclusion, but I know from witness statements that Borivoje Tesic, and
10 also from testimony I know that Borivoje Tesic was then the commander of
11 the 1st Assault Detachment. Sorry?
12 Q. Thank you. Based on all the information available to you, all the
13 documents that you have read, who then was responsible to the OG South for
14 the use of TO detachments and Leva Supoderica detachment? Based on
15 everything we have read so far.
16 A. It is obvious -- I mean, these are orders from the brigade
17 level -- from the operational group level, I'm sorry. Operational group
18 issues orders to the assault detachments.
19 Now, it would not be coherent with the principles of command and
20 control that the operational group would order the assault detachment
21 commander how to organise his forces, i.e., whether he would set up
22 assault groups or not. Maybe it's real possible that the operational
23 group commander ordered the assault detachment commander to organise his
24 forces in assault groups, but it would be unusual for the operational
25 group level, or call it the brigade level, to tell the assault detachment,
1 or call it battalion level, how to organise its companies, if I could
2 compare the assault groups to companies. I'm just trying to explain how
3 the chain of command would work. So these documents do not allow to draw
4 a conclusion on that level.
5 We would the orders the commander of the assault detachment has
6 issued during October and November in order to be able to answer your
7 question, Mr. Borivoje -- Borovic.
8 Q. All right. Thank you. But we can agree, can't we, that talking
9 of these tasks it was within the 1st Assault Detachment that the TO
10 detachments were used as well as Leva Supoderica detachments, so does this
11 mean that the commander of the 1st Assault Detachment is responsible to
12 the OG South command for their use? That is my question.
13 A. That's correct, yeah, as long as they're subordinated to him, as
14 it is explained in this order. He is responsible for their use. To the
15 commander of OG South.
16 Q. Thank you. I apologise for overlapping, I thought that you
17 concluded your answer.
18 Could we see Exhibit 431 on our screens, please.
19 This is the decision of the commander of the OG South dated
20 16th November 1991. Let us now look at paragraph 2, item 1 within it.
21 Once again, these are tasks given to units. Does it say under
22 item 1: "1st Motorised Battalion in line with the task given on the 14th
23 of November 1991," Mr. Theunens, what we read previously, "with the
24 support of part of the forces of the armoured battalion of the Guards
25 Motorised Brigade ought to continue the attack on the axis Sundarciceva
1 Street-Rade Koncara settlement - bridges over the Vuka River ..." and so
2 on and so on.
3 Does it say here that the 1st Motorised Brigade has tasks which
4 are in line with the task given on the 14th of November, 1991? Is that
5 what it says there?
6 A. That is correct, Your Honours.
7 Q. Thank you. Now let us go back to Exhibit 430, which is the
8 decision on the 14th of November, 1991 that we didn't quote previously.
9 So it's Exhibit 430.
10 In that order, Exhibit 430, 14th of November, 1991, under item 2
11 we see "tasks for units," and then subitem 4, does it say there the
12 1st Assault Detachment (minus the 1 Motorised Battalion) from the current
13 sector of the combat disposition is to be moved to axis of Dalmatinska
14 Street-Alije Alijagica-another street, water-tower. So it's paragraph 2,
15 item 4, does it say that there?
16 Have you found that, Mr. Theunens? We have tasks for the units,
17 paragraph 2, and then underneath it we see item 4. That is to say, 1, 2,
18 3, 4.
19 A. Yes. In paragraph 4, it speaks about the 1st Assault Detachment
20 minus the 1st Motorised Battalion. And then later on in paragraph 5 the
21 mission or the task of the 1st Motorised Battalion is explained.
22 Q. Yes, thank you. Can we agree, then, that this order dated 14th of
23 November, 1991 states that the 1st Assault Detachment now functions
24 without the 1st Motorised Battalion but together with other units
25 comprising it, right? At least that was explained by General Trifunovic;
1 you were present then. Is that your position as well? Or rather, is that
2 what is stated here?
3 A. I don't think that Trifunovic made it to general, but that's
4 another thing, even though I appreciate him a lot. I think what this
5 order says, that it's up to the commander, i.e., the operational group
6 commander to decide how he organises his forces. In this order the
7 commander of Operational Group South decided, based on his planning for
8 the operations for the following day, which he in his term, based on
9 the -- the taskings or the assignment he had received from the commander
10 of the 1st Military District, he decided to rearrange his forces and to
11 take out -- take the 1st Motorised Battalion out of the 1st Assault
12 Detachment for at least that day, for this specific operation.
13 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Theunens. Would it then be a fair
14 conclusion on the part of the Defence that Major Tesic continues to be
15 commander of the 1st Motorised Battalion and the 1st Assault Detachment?
16 A. Unless there was another order that would specify or that would
17 give additional instructions on that level, it would be a correct
19 Q. Thank you. Let us go back to Exhibit 431, please. We had it on
20 our screens a while ago. This is the decision of the commander of
21 OG South dated the 16th of November, 1991. I showed you in all fairness
22 what the situation was on the 14th of November. Could we then agree that
23 what this exhibit demonstrates -- 431. The 1st Motorised Battalion --
24 just a minute, please. 431. This is what I read out to you a while ago.
25 It says: "Tasks. The 1st Motorised Battalion, in line with the task
1 given on the 14th of November, 1991," and then it describes the axis and
2 the tasks given or assigned. Isn't that what it says, the order dated the
3 14th of November? And there is another one dated the 16th of November.
4 The one dated the 16th of November is the one you've looked at and it's in
5 keeping with the one dated the 14th of November. Isn't that what it says?
6 A. Yes, Your Honours, that's referred -- that's the reference in the
7 first sentence of paragraph 2, "tasks by the units."
8 Q. So would you be so kind as to tell us right now at this precise
9 time when talking about the order dated the 16th of November, under whose
10 command were the Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora TO detachments?
11 A. This order does not allow to draw a conclusion on that. However,
12 there is a report, 407-1, which, if I'm correct, is the Exhibit 414,
13 lists, among the losses, members of the Petrova Gora and Vukovar TO. I
14 should have said report 407-1 of OG South, so --
15 Q. Sorry, Mr. Theunens, but that's not what I had in mind. My
16 question is about this: Three companies of the 1st Motorised Battalion
17 were taken to a different axis, whereas the 1st Assault Detachment
18 remained along a -- an altogether different axis, that it no longer has
19 the battalion within its compositions, then my question is very simple.
20 Members of the Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora detachments who stayed
21 with the 1st Assault Detachment at this point in time, under whose command
22 would they be? Would they be under the command of the commander of the
23 1st Assault Detachment? That's my question.
24 A. Your Honours, the two orders we have seen, the one for the 14th of
25 November and one for the 16th of November, do not mention Leva Supoderica
1 or Petrova Gora. So maybe it's an omission, maybe there is an operational
2 plan behind it.
3 From these two orders, I cannot draw any conclusion as to whether
4 Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora stayed within the 1st Assault Detachment
5 or were maybe fully incorporated in the 1st Motorised Battalion. So,
6 yeah, there would be a requirement for additional information reports or
7 orders from that time period in order to answer the question.
8 Q. Mr. Theunens, that is precisely why I was taking one step at a
9 time. All these orders from October were the first thing I showed you,
10 and then we talked about the composition of the 1st Assault Detachment,
11 and then I reached the 16th and the 14th. The assault detachment keeps
12 its previous composition with the exception of the 16 of November, the
13 date that I mentioned. This is when the 1st Motorised Battalion was taken
14 away from it, separated from it. That is why there is no reference to
15 them. Why, because they're part of the 1st Assault Detachment. Still
16 there is no change in the composition except on the 16th of November, the
17 1st Motorised Battalion being taken outside the 1st Assault Detachment,
18 the only change that occurs over this time, the composition remains the
19 same. There is this one staying behind, nothing changes.
20 More specifically, in addition to all these documents that I've
21 quoted to you now, have you ever found another document dealing with
22 orders given by Operations Group South after the 16th of November,
23 something that could have changed this situation, or have you found
25 Once again, because this is my last question for this session and
1 then just briefly after the break, I quoted October, the composition of
2 the 1st Assault Detachment. I specified who Leva Supoderica and
3 Petrova Gora belonged to, the TO detachments, what their assignments
4 were. I quoted the order dated the 14th, their composition. And then
5 finally the 16th with the 1st Motorised Battalion being taken outside its
6 unit and the two detachments remained within the 1st Assault Detachment.
7 There is not a single order or document to show that they left their
8 original composition, which would have been logical, after all, but they
9 stayed within the 1st Assault Detachment. Would I be right in saying
11 A. Your Honours, as I answer -- as I already mentioned to the
12 previous question, these orders show the situation as it is on the 14th
13 and the 16th of November, and they -- of November, 1991. And they
14 indeed -- they -- in the one for the 14th of November, they give different
15 assignments to the 1st Assault Detachment than to the 1st Motorised
16 Battalion. However, it would be helpful to have orders for the 17th and
17 the 18th of November in order to establish the composition not only of --
18 of the 1st Assault Detachment or the 1st Motorised Battalion, but also to
19 see what the mission or the task of the subordinate forces, including the
20 local Serb TO was.
21 You see, in my report that all I can conclude on that level is
22 that on the 21st of November at 6.00 in the morning, 21st of November,
23 1991, Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica are still subordinated to OG South.
24 Now, I will not repeat that we have requested these documents, but
25 indeed we have requested for missing documents, and it's easy to establish
1 the documents which are missing because they all have a number. And so
2 far Serbia and Montenegro has not provided these documents. So that is
3 one of the -- that's the main reason why I cannot answer the question.
4 Q. Mr. Theunens, the 21st, resubordination and everything else, my
5 learned friends will be asking you about that, I have no time.
6 But that's why I'm asking you if you have found any document
7 relating to after the 16th of November, something that you found that
8 would indicate a change in the situation in terms of respective
9 responsibilities, with the exception of the 21st of November in relation
10 to Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica TO detachments, or were they still
11 within the composition of the 1st Assault Detachment with the
12 1st Motorised Battalion with all its companies missing now? Have you
13 found any document to depict this situation differently? That is my
14 question, and not in a more general sense what became of the TO, as far as
15 the -- as far as OG South was concerned.
16 A. Whether I found or didn't find such a document is -- is of limited
17 relevance. I didn't find such a document, but it can partly be explained
18 by the fact that there are documents we have requested, we didn't obtain,
19 but didn't obtain. So maybe the documents that are still missing would
20 assist in answering your question.
21 Q. Thank you. Since there is no such document, needless to say,
22 since of course you haven't found it, could we then agree that on the 16th
23 of November, 1991 members of the Territorial Defence detachments,
24 Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora, were under the command of the
25 1st Assault Detachment whose commander at the time was Borivoje Tesic?
1 A. Your Honours, the two orders we have been discussing now, the 14th
2 of November one and the 16th of November one, do not allow to draw such a
4 Q. What conclusion then can you draw for us? Under whose control
5 could they possibly have been, if you look at these orders after the 16th
6 of November, 1991?
7 A. Well, we know -- what we know from these orders is as follows: We
8 know that the commander of the -- excuse me, the commander of Operational
9 Group South changes the composition of its subordinate units probably
10 based on the operational requirements which are as a result of the
11 assignment he has received from his commander, i.e., the commander of the
12 1st Military District.
13 As I said, we don't have any orders by the 1st Assault Detachment,
14 so it is difficult -- I mean, that's why I didn't draw any conclusions on
15 how the 1st Assault Detachment was organised. I can only say which forces
16 are included in the 1st Assault Detachment, but I don't know from the
17 documents how these forces are organised. Radic interview, Exhibit 353 is
18 the only documentary evidence of that.
19 Q. I don't think that has anything to do with my question. Nothing
20 to do with it the question. Thank you. Mr. Theunens, that's your answer.
21 That's fine. Your answer is fine.
22 Exhibit 374, it's an order dated the 9th of November, 1991.
23 Mr. Vasic told you about this one. This is about the appointment of local
24 commanders. You've looked at that one, I assume.
25 My question is about Exhibit 418. Can we please have that on our
2 Mr. Theunens, this is a regular combat report. In this regular
3 combat report it says that pursuant to order 349-1, and that's the order
4 from Exhibit 374, General Mrksic appointed the following men as local
5 commanders, and you confirmed this yesterday. In Negoslavci, Ljubisa
6 Vukasinovic. In Berak village, Glusevic. In Ovcara village, Jakubovac
7 and Grabovo, Lieutenant-Colonel Slobodan Misovic. When he left the
8 OG South area of responsibility, Lieutenant-Colonel Milorad Vojnovic was
10 Item 4, after Vukovar was liberated, the following men were
11 appointed commanders in Vukovar: For Vucedol and Mitnica, Major Stupar.
12 And what I wish to ask you about now, for Petrova Gora and the western
13 section between the graveyard and the Vuka River, Major Borivoje Tesic.
14 Isn't that what the report says? This report refers to the order that I
15 have just quoted. Isn't that what it says?
16 A. That's correct, Your Honours.
17 Q. Thank you. Does that not mean that the Petrova Gora local
18 commander on the 20th of November, at least as far as these documents seem
19 to suggest, Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica, these detachments, were in
20 his area of responsibility. Was this not, in fact, Major Borivoje Tesic?
21 Was he not, in fact, the local Petrova Gora commander at the time? Isn't
22 that what it means?
23 A. Your Honours, I have explained yesterday that town commanders, or
24 local commanders is one aspect. Operational commanders is another aspect.
25 A town commander has, as I explained, duties which relate to the
1 exercising of not civilian but military authority and administration;
2 whereas an operational commander has operational duties. Now, of course
3 from the point of view of the command of Operational Group South, to whom
4 all these town commanders are subordinated, it makes sense to appoint as
5 town commanders in the various zones of responsibility within his zone of
6 responsibility a commander who is also an operational commander in that
7 area. So because it would be confusing to appoint somebody else to be
8 responsible for certain aspects of -- of life, or in the zone of
9 responsibility where there is already an operational commander, it would
10 make more sense to install these two authorities in one person.
11 Q. Thank you. Would it be right, what I asked you a while ago, about
12 the 20th of November, Borivoje Tesic was the Petrova Gora local commander,
13 and as such the commander of the area where the Vukovar TO and
14 Leva Supoderica TO detachments were stationed? Is that right?
15 A. I don't want to be difficult, but it says that Tesic is appointed
16 town commander for Petrova Gora. Now, I have no document in front of me
17 which shows where Leva Supoderica or Petrova Gora are on the 20th of
18 November, 1991.
19 Q. Mr. Theunens, do you know how these two detachments got their
20 names, Petrova Gora and Leva Supoderica? What if I told you that these
21 were the names of their respective places, Leva Supoderica and Petrova
22 Gora? And the entire area is usually described as Petrova Gora. Would
23 that perhaps assist you in giving an affirmative answer to my question?
24 That's where their headquarters was too. That's what my information is
25 based on, and that's what my question is based on. My second but last
1 question. I have 20 seconds left. Please tell us yes or no, so that I
2 can ask you another final question.
3 A. Your Honours, I know how these detachments got their names, but
4 this document does not say what they were doing or where they were on
5 the 20th. It cannot be ruled out that they were ordered to operate
6 somewhere else in another part of Vukovar. Maybe it wouldn't make such
7 sense, I agree with you, but --
8 Q. Thank you, thank you. Fine, thank you. We'll leave it up to the
9 Chamber to draw all the conclusions.
10 Mr. Theunens, have you ever spoken to Witness Radoje Paunovic?
11 A. Yes, Your Honours. I was involved in --
12 Q. Have you ever spoken to a witness called Borivoje Tesic? Have you
13 ever spoken to Major Vukasinovic, Witness Major Vukasinovic? Are you
14 familiar with his evidence?
15 A. I have spoken to Major -- or at the time Borivoje Tesic. I was
16 not involved in the interview of Major Vukasinovic, but I read his -- the
17 statement -- the statement he provided to the OTP as well as his testimony
18 in the various trials in Belgrade.
19 Q. Mr. Theunens, you stated yesterday that you are interested in
20 justice being done, regardless of the fact that you are an employee of
21 the OTP. You say it was based on your suggestion that the OTP decided to
22 amend the indictment in the best interests of justice. Therefore, my last
23 question to you: Did you perhaps make any suggestions for these witnesses
24 or their evidence never to appear in court?
25 I would also like to thank the Trial Chamber for granting me so
1 much time.
2 This is my final question. Please answer, sir.
3 A. Yes, Your Honours. But, I mean, I want to -- I need to point out
4 that you are misquoting me. I didn't make any suggestions to amend
5 indictments. When Mr. Vasic asked his question yesterday to me, he was
6 asking whether I was involved in amending indictments, and indeed I was
7 involved because, why, the legal team asked me to review the military
8 terminology that was used. So I think if you want to quote my testimony,
9 you have to do it in accurate way, because otherwise we lose time, as we
10 do now.
11 Now, to answer the question, there have been discussions in the
12 trial team as to whether who should appear as a witness and who not. A
13 trial team consists of several people. It's an -- it's not a military
14 unit, I mean, even though there is one boss, or one leader, opinions are
15 being exchanged, and various constraints, including time constraints, are
16 also highlighted, and then a decision is taken as to whether person X or Y
17 will be called as a witness or not.
18 Q. I have concluded. This was my last question. All I would like to
19 say to you, sir, is I'm not even allowed to hint at what these witnesses
20 actually said, but if those witnesses had been allowed to appear, a lot of
21 the charges against my client would have to be dropped. It's as simple as
23 MR. WEINER: [Previous translation continues] ...
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, how can you put that as a question to
25 this witness? You know that's beyond his capacity. That was a purely
1 hypothetical suggestion on your part at this point. Whether you will have
2 evidence to support that proposition at the end of the trial remains a
3 different matter. Thank you, Mr. Borovic.
4 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] You're quite right, Your Honours.
5 Thank you.
6 JUDGE PARKER: We will now adjourn for the break. In view of the
7 fact that Mr. Borovic was allowed to run over to finish the theme of his
8 questioning, we will resume a little late, at five minutes to 2.00.
9 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.43 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 1.57 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Judge Thelin is not sitting at the moment. It may
12 be that he will be able to join us again later in the afternoon. We hope
13 so. We will continue to sit in accordance with the Rule in the meantime.
14 Mr. Lukic. Oh, Mr. Bulatovic.
15 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Good
16 afternoon to all.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Bulatovic:
18 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Theunens. I am Momcilo Bulatovic, one of
19 Mr. Sljivancanin's Defence counsel. I will be asking questions on behalf
20 of our team. You've been asked this before - we don't have much time, the
21 time constraints are quite great - whenever you can, please provide brief
22 answers. If there is any need for further clarifications, we will be
23 happy to accommodate you.
24 Today and yesterday you spoke about the operations group, and you
25 told us what an operations group is, or should be. What I want to know
1 is: An operations group as a provisional, temporary unit, does it have a
2 designated area?
3 A. Your Honours, based on my review of JNA doctrinal documentation,
4 an operational group, like any other unit, will have a zone of operations.
5 Q. We heard about the composition of an operations group. What I
6 want to know about is what about the unit which comprise an operations
7 groups, do these units have their own respective areas or zones?
8 A. Indeed. Each -- I mean, the operations group consists of other
9 units. These units have been discussed earlier, and each of these units
10 which have a zone of responsibility, and altogether these zones of
11 responsibility make up or make the -- or constitute the zone of
12 responsibility of the operational group.
13 Q. Would you agree with me that on the 20th of November, 1991, within
14 the composition of Operations Group South, one of the units was the
15 80th Motorised Brigade?
16 A. Based on the -- on documentation of Operations Group South, both
17 orders and reports, I would agree with that assumption.
18 Q. Can you tell me whether, while writing your report, you obtained
19 information perhaps -- or can you perhaps simply tell us which is exactly
20 the area that was covered by the 80th Motorised Brigade? Which specific
21 area was that at the time on the 20th of November, 1991?
22 A. Your Honours, we would have to look at the specific orders for
23 that day, and in these orders the zone of responsibility of the 80th
24 Motorised Brigade for that day would be -- will be specified.
25 Q. Does that mean that right now you -- you are unable to answer that
1 question, sir?
2 A. Your Honours, the report is based on documents, so I think it
3 would be logical if you ask a question about a specific zone of operations
4 on a specific day, that we look at the order and then see together what
5 the zone of responsibility was as it was specified in that order.
6 Q. We won't be going into that. That's a bit too comprehensive for
7 our purposes and we may end up losing a lot of time, of which we only have
8 a very little.
9 Who makes the decision to appoint someone commander of an
10 operations group? Whose call is that?
11 A. This is up to a superior commander. Now, as we discussed this
12 morning, there are examples where the commanders of operational -- of
13 operations groups elsewhere in Croatia were appointed by the commanders of
14 the military districts in that area, or military district in that area. I
15 do not have an order appointing Colonel Mrksic to the position of
16 commander of Operations Group South, so I do not know from the military
17 documentation who appointed Mrksic to that position.
18 Q. Let me ask you this, sir: This decision of the relevant command -
19 relevant for appointing an operations group commander, I mean - does this
20 decision have to be in writing?
21 A. In the first part of my report I discuss command documents, and
22 command documents can be divided in two categories, i.e., orders and
23 reports. And for the orders there are different levels. You have
24 directives, instructions, orders and commands, and according to the
25 definitions of these various categories of call it orders, important
1 matters have to be ordered via a written order. So I would assume, based
2 on those definitions, that it should be done through a written order.
3 Q. I'm led by your answer to assume that this was of paramount
4 importance, it would have called for a written order, wouldn't it?
5 A. Yes, Your Honours. And just to complete my previous answer, this
6 is explained in pages 57, 58 and 59 of my report in the English version,
7 first part.
8 Q. What about the decision to set up an operations group? What about
9 that sort of decision, does this have to be in writing?
10 A. As I mentioned earlier, I mean, important matters should be
11 ordered through a written order, so actually in this case, I mean for the
12 establishment of operations group, there should also be a written order.
13 And I can add, I mean, I have -- I'm repeating myself. We have
14 requested these orders as well as others from Serbia and Montenegro over
15 the past years, but we have not obtained a reply. So we don't even know
16 whether there is an order.
17 Q. Within the framework of the same set of questions we heard that an
18 operations group has a commander. What about the decision to appoint this
19 commander, which seems to be an important issue too, would that not have
20 to be in a written form as well?
21 A. I think you have asked this question before. This is the question
22 prior to your last question, so -- and I provide an answer.
23 Q. I think maybe it was a question of poor interpretation. I was
24 asking about the command of an operations group. And now I'm talking
25 about the commander as the top level of the command itself, in a manner of
2 A. Well, I would say it can be summarised when an operations group is
3 established a commander will be appointed as well as a command. And there
4 may be additional orders in case other officers have to be transferred to
5 that command, i.e., to become a member of the staff, if I can express it
6 that way. But the order to establish the operational group will also
7 include, at least based on what I have seen for other areas, the name of
8 the commander, as well as the unit on which the operation group is based,
9 as well as the other units that are included in the operational group.
10 Q. In your report, you mentioned a number of operations groups.
11 These operations groups that you mentioned in your report, did you ever
12 see any order to set up any of these?
13 A. Indeed, Your Honours. On page 54, English version, part 2, I talk
14 about the strictly confidential order number 09/75-1034, which is issued
15 by the 5th Military District command of the JNA to establish the 3rd
16 Operational Group, and we're talking now about the area south of Zagreb.
17 Q. What does this order to set up this operations group contain?
18 What are the elements? Is this something you're familiar with?
19 A. I haven't included this specific order in -- in full in my report,
20 but I have included the following information, page 54. So according to
21 this order of the 5th Military District command, OG 3 will be commanded by
22 Lieutenant-Colonel General Vladimir Banjanin and will operate under the
23 direct command of the 5th Military District.
24 Now, I mean, we could show the document, if you want. It should
25 be 65 ter 433, and I'm not sure whether it's in this document, but related
1 orders for the operations in western Croatia, orders for operational
2 groups and tactical groups also included an overview of the units that
3 were included in those operational groups or tactical groups. And I
4 refer, for example, to Tactical Group 2 in my report on the same page,
5 which was tasked with the attacks on the Saborsko area.
6 Q. You are a military analyst. You deal with these sorts of issues.
7 You mention this order, so let me ask you this: In your view, an order
8 establishing an operations group, what kind of elements must it contain?
9 A. I thought I mentioned it, but I -- if -- I mean, maybe I wasn't
10 clear. The order should -- based again on the other orders I have seen,
11 the orders I've seen for other operational groups should include the name
12 of the commander, the name of the superior, a description of the zone of
13 responsibility or at least the initial tasking of the operational group,
14 as well as the units that are included in the operational group.
15 In addition, I have seen also orders for the establishment of
16 operational groups where the -- I would call the most important unit of
17 the operational group is -- is defined in order to determine which command
18 will form the command of the operational group.
19 Now, I'm familiar also -- I mean, to be entirely complete, there
20 was an Operational Group 2 active in the Dubrovnik area in the latter half
21 of 1991 and early half of 1992. And there I think that, if I remember
22 well, for example, the commander was appointed from a different area or
23 from a different unit than the units that should have been or that were
24 initially involved originally in Dubrovnik. That's just a detail to
25 complete the answer.
1 Q. All right. Mr. Theunens, let me ask you this: This order on the
2 establishment of an operations group, I'm not talking about a specific
3 order, just an order, since we have beyond dispute that this was an ad hoc
4 formation, established in order to carry out an assignment, the order
5 establishing this operations group, should it also contain the description
6 of the assignment for the implementation of which an operations group is
8 A. Indeed, I mentioned that. Now, ad hoc doesn't mean it has to be
9 disbanded the day after. It could be, or it's well possible based on the
10 documents I've seen that an assignment is so large that it will take
11 several weeks or even several months to carry out that assignment. And as
12 long as the superior commander considers that it is necessary to maintain
13 the existence of the operational group, it will exist.
14 Q. I think that we can agree, you and I, that an operations group as
15 an ad hoc formation, is established for the purposes of a specific
16 assignment, right?
17 A. That would be correct in theory, but again from the documents I've
18 seen it is well possible that the authority or the commander that
19 established that order to establish the operational group changes the
20 assignment over time, or -- yeah, or amends it or maybe gives additional
22 What is important, I think, in this context, is that operational
23 structures, even if they're ad hoc, they should only be changed if they
24 are operational requirements to do so, because each time you change the
25 organisation, each time it's actually -- it becomes complicated during a
1 certain time period to implement command and control, or at least to have
2 that command, the operational group function.
3 Q. If we have a situation where a commander or the command of the
4 operations group amends the assignment that was initially given by those
5 establishing an operations group, do they have to inform the command, the
6 superior command, which established this operations group in writing about
7 these changes, and the reasons for them?
8 A. Maybe I wasn't a hundred per cent clear in my previous answer, but
9 if there is -- if there are any changes to the assignment it cannot be
10 done by the operational group commander on his own initiative. He
11 basically does what his superior tells him, so it's his superior that will
12 change if there is requirement to do so, that will change the assignment.
13 And in the cases I've seen it's actually the same authority, I mean if
14 there was a change in the assignment it was done by the same authority as
15 the one that had established, or that ordered to establish the operational
16 group. So somebody who is superior to the commander of the operational
18 Q. You analysed the documents that were available to you, that were
19 disclosed to you, documents relating to OG South. So please tell me: Did
20 you find anywhere anything indicating that the initial assignment of the
21 OG South was amended, and if so, who and when issued a decision on this?
22 A. Your Honours, as I've explained before, we don't have the order
23 that established Operational Group South, so it's difficult then to -- to
24 assume whether there were any changes to the initial assignment as it was
25 described or put in this initial order to establish Operational Group
1 South or not.
2 Q. You spoke of areas of responsibility of establishment unit, which
3 are within the operations group. Let me ask you this: Changes in the
4 area of responsibility of establishment units, or changes in the area of
5 responsibility of the operations group, do they mean an amendment of the
6 initial assignment?
7 A. I mean, it's difficult to answer this question, because it's -- it
8 all depends of the assignment. If the assignment is to capture or to
9 defend a certain zone of responsibility, then it's obvious that the change
10 in the zone of responsibility will probably be the result of the fact that
11 there has been a change in the assignment.
12 Now, I can imagine that there are other changes in assignment
13 which may not affect the zone of responsibility, and vice versa, but it's
14 a very theoretical question. But, I mean, the zone of responsibility is a
15 result of the assignment. It's not the opposite.
16 Q. Establishment units as a whole, do they fall within the operations
17 group comprising them?
18 A. I'm not sure whether I understand the question, Your Honours. But
19 the documentation I reviewed in relation to operational groups, both on
20 the doctrinal level as well as the orders for operational groups in the
21 various parts of Croatia, indicate that all units that are present in the
22 zone of responsibility of an operations group are subordinated to that
23 operations group.
24 Q. Mr. Theunens, I just asked you whether they are taken as a whole.
25 For example, if we have a battalion, does the battalion as a whole become
1 a part of the operations group, or only its component parts do? Or let me
2 give you a specific example. The 80th Motorised Brigade, did it in its
3 entirety become a component of the OG South or not?
4 A. Indeed, based on the documents I reviewed, the 80th Brigade in its
5 entirety became a component of OG South. But it could be imagined that --
6 and for whatever reason the commander thinks he needs to order such a
7 change, that when subordinating the 80th Brigade to OG South, the
8 commander who issued that order, he could also have taken elements of the
9 80th Brigade out of the composition of the 80th Brigade and subordinated
10 it to another command level; for example, Operational Group North. But
11 that would be done for specific operational requirements. And as I said,
12 all elements of the 80th Brigade that were present, that were deployed
13 within the zone of responsibility of OG South, were under the command of
14 the commander of OG South. Like any other unit within the zone of
15 responsibility of OG South.
16 Q. Mr. Theunens, when writing your report did you see any order,
17 written order, or did you find any evidence supporting that -- the claim
18 that Veselin Sljivancanin was appointing security commander of the
19 OG South?
20 A. Maybe it's a translation issue, but "security commander," I assume
21 you mean chief of the security organs or assistant commander for security.
22 Q. I meant he was appointed chief of the security organ of the
23 OG South.
24 A. Indeed. Now, it is correct that I don't have a document signed by
25 Sljivancanin as chief of the security organs of OG South. The one
1 document we obtained on the 18th of May, 2006 says Guards Motorised
2 Brigade, or chief of security organs, Guards Motorised Brigade.
3 Now, from all the documentation I reviewed for Operational Group
4 South, as well as the war diary of the Guards Motorised Brigade, it is
5 clear that the command of the Guards Motorised Brigade takes over the
6 command of OG South, which includes that Major Sljivancanin, as chief of
7 the security organs, or assistant commander for security of the Guards
8 Motorised Brigade, becomes chief of the security organs or assistant
9 commander for security for Operational Group South.
10 Q. All right. You suppose this. But you have no written document to
11 support this. Let me ask you this: Have you ever seen any document sent
12 by my client, Mr. Sljivancanin, to the relevant authorities, those he was
13 duty-bound to inform, where he signed his name as chief of security of the
14 OG South? Or have you ever seen a document or any kind of an order sent
15 to him in his capacity as chief of the security organ within the OG South?
16 A. Your Honours, I may have mentioned that before, but over the past
17 four -- no, over the past three and a half years at least four requests
18 were sent to Serbia and Montenegro to request documents that are related
19 to Major Sljivancanin, both in his position as command -- as chief of the
20 security organs of the Guards Motorised Brigade, as well as chief of
21 security organs of OG South. And the only document we obtained so far was
22 the one I just mentioned, i.e., the document obtained on 18th of May,
23 2006, which is even unsigned whereby Sljivancanin under his name has the
24 indication that he is chief of the security organs of the Guards Motorised
1 The reason why I mentioned this is that from the neighbouring unit
2 of Operations Group South, i.e., the units that were present in other
3 parts of Eastern Slavonia and Baranja, we have for the month of October at
4 least four reports that were drafted by security organs on the situation
5 with an individual under the nickname Arkan, and these reports are
6 included -- these documents are referred to in my report in the second
8 Q. Mr. Theunens, it doesn't matter to me at all. I saw those four
9 reports of yours about Arkan. I was just interested in this, you said you
10 never saw anything of the sort, so let us move on.
11 A unit which became a component of an operations group has a
12 security organ, and does this security organ continue to function as a
13 security organ of that establishment unit?
14 A. Indeed, Your Honours, unless there are orders to the contrary.
15 Q. Have you ever come across an order where the security organs of
16 units, within the OG South, were ordered otherwise?
17 A. No, I haven't, Your Honours.
18 Q. Mr. Theunens, can you tell me what are the counter-intelligence
19 tasks carried out by a security organ within an establishment unit, say
20 motorised guards brigade?
21 A. Your Honours, I will quote this from the regulation, which is
22 explained on page 78, first part of the English version of my report, and
23 this regulation corresponds with Exhibit 107. It's the rules of service
24 of the security organs in the armed forces of SFRY. And in paragraph 1:
25 "The counter-intelligence task is described as detecting and preventing
1 activities aimed at subverting or disrupting the social order established
2 by the constitution of the SFRY and threatening the country's security if
3 such an activity is carried out in the armed forces or against the armed
4 forces from within the country or from abroad."
5 So it has to do with discovering and counting the
6 internal/external enemy in SFRY, whereby this enemy is directed against
7 the armed forces.
8 Q. All right. Can we agree, Mr. Theunens, you and I, that the only
9 organs which are supposed to carry out these tasks, are the security
10 organs, and that no other organs can be substituted?
11 A. If we're talking about the military, yes, it's -- this is the task
12 of the military security organs.
13 Q. You spoke about the command and control and command functions.
14 Can you explain to us what does the term "command" in professional terms
16 A. There may be a translation issue, but are you talking about staff
18 Q. No, no.
19 [Defence counsel confer]
20 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Let me try to put this question slowly for the sake of
23 Can you explain to us what the term -- what the term "control" in
24 the technical, professional sense, means?
25 A. Are you talking about relationship that exists between security
1 organs within the JNA, between, for example, security organs of a higher
2 command and a lower command?
3 Q. All right. Why don't you explain that. Control in the technical,
4 professional sense precisely within the context you mentioned.
5 A. I don't think it's control, but it's probably has to do with the
6 translation, because control in the military means something else.
7 Control means the authority to verify the implementation of -- of
8 assignments, of orders. Control there is a function of command and
10 What I understand under the relations between security organs of a
11 higher command and those of a lower command is based on Exhibit 107,
12 paragraphs 18, as well as 57 and 58, where the relationship between, on
13 the one hand, the security administration, so UB, and security organs is
14 explained. And it states that the security administration provides
15 specialised management for security organs. And in addition to that,
16 security organs of a higher command will, in the same manner, provide
17 specialised management to security organs in a lower command. But, as
18 explained in paragraphs 16 and 17 of Exhibit 107, the security organs, or
19 the security organ is directly subordinated to the commanding officer of
20 the command unit, institution or staff of the armed forces in whose
21 strength it is placed in the establishment. And it is also responsible to
22 that officer for its work.
23 Q. Thank you. Let me ask you this: When drafting your report, did
24 you come across -- or did you research the book on formations of the
25 guards brigade? Are you aware of such a document? The establishment book
1 of the Guards Motorised Brigade?
2 A. In -- indeed, Your Honours, I'm familiar with this document, and
3 I'm just trying to locate now in which request of which we have requested
4 this from Serbia and Montenegro.
5 In -- on the 16th of June, 2005 we requested from Serbia and
6 Montenegro all documents relating to the organisation and subordination of
7 the Guards Motorised Brigade. We received reply on the 15th of November,
8 2005 that Serbia and Montenegro was aware they still need to provide an
9 answer to that RFA.
10 There is also the request, 868, from the 17th of June, 2005 where
11 we asked for the SFRY armed forces or JNA rules, regulations or military
12 manuals that were valid in 1991 in relation to the organisation, mission
13 operational concepts for offensive and defensive combat operations,
14 command and control, including responsibility of the commander and other
15 relevant aspects of the Guards Motorised Brigade. We sent in 2005 two
16 reminders. So far we haven't received a reply.
17 And then there is a more recent RFA --
18 Q. Mr. Theunens, I apologise for interrupting you, but I am not
19 interested at all in learning what you, as the Prosecution, did and how
20 you corresponded with the Council on Cooperation of Serbia and
21 Montenegro. I'm absolutely not interested in that. All I would like to
22 know is whether you saw this document or not. If yes, then say so; if
23 not, once again say so. You know that it exists, but you haven't seen it,
25 Q. That is correct. Now I'm not one hundred per cent familiar with
1 the specific document you indicate, but I know that for -- like for any
2 other unit in the military, there has to be a regulation that explains how
3 the unit is organised and how it operates. We have requested this
4 document, and we haven't received it. So I haven't seen it.
5 Q. Very well. Let me ask you this: Do you know that the motorised
6 guards brigade is quite peculiar in terms of its composition as compared
7 to other brigades that you analysed, infantry, mountain, and all other
8 kinds of brigades that exist. Is it different, and if so, do you know
10 A. Indeed, Your Honours, it is different by its composition.
11 Because -- for example, in the -- the personnel. Only the personnel that
12 matched the highest standards in relation to selection was admitted into
13 the Guards Motorised Brigade. It was also peculiar in its composition
14 because the Guards Motorised Brigade had two military police battalions,
15 including, in the first military police battalion, an anti-terrorist
16 company, which was actually a special military police company, as well as
17 overall the Guards Motorised Brigade was peculiar because of the level of
18 its equipment. And of course, last but not least, it was peculiar because
19 of its subordination. It was subordinated directly to the SSNO, so the
20 federal secretary for people's defence, through the chief of cabinet of
21 the secretariat for people's defence, whereas other motorised
22 battalions -- brigades, most of them were subordinated to corps or to
23 divisions and then to military districts.
24 And this information is included, for example, on page 74, 75
25 and 76 of the first part of my report, where I base myself on open-source
1 publications from the JNA, namely the Narodna Armija magazine, the article
2 which it can be found in 65 ter 391.
3 Q. All right. What about its purpose, the purpose of the motorised
4 guards brigade, did it have some distinctive features too?
5 A. Indeed, Your Honours. If you allow me, I can read from actually
6 information I found on the internet --
7 Q. Mr. Theunens, let us please not waste time. The time is very
8 tight, and there are many things I need to ask you. If I ask you to
9 describe its peculiar nature, then please do that.
10 A. Well, I mean, this comes from the VJ website, because in the
11 absence of documentation from Serbia and Montenegro I looked at the VJ
12 website. And there it says that the Serbian and Montenegrin armed forces
13 guards brigade has in its composition specially selected, trained and
14 equipped units and personal security force to safe-guard the top state and
15 military institutions and personalities. Although it has in its
16 composition combat units of all arms, as well as special units, it is best
17 known for one of its battalions, Honour Guard Battalion.
18 And other information can be found on page 75 in my report.
19 Q. Will you please tell me, in the command system, what is the
20 position of two military police battalions which are within the motorised
21 guards brigade?
22 A. Based on the information I reviewed, these battalions are on equal
23 level as the two motorised battalions that are included in the guards
24 brigade, as well as the armoured battalion and other units, support units,
25 that make up the guards brigade. So they are all subordinated to the
1 commander of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
2 Q. If there is such a situation where they are directly subordinated
3 to the commander, who then planned and devised the tasks of the military
4 police battalion?
5 A. The military police battalion, like any other battalion in the
6 Guards Motorised Brigade, receives its assignments or its taskings from
7 the commander. The commander, as I have explained in section 6 on
8 planning, has its staff to advise him on how to prepare operations.
9 Now, for the -- for the military police, we know from the security
10 organs regulations that the chief of the security organs is an -- is the
11 advisor to the commander, and in this case the commander of the Guards
12 Motorised Brigade, for the use of the military police.
13 Q. Mr. Theunens, are you familiar with the fact that the staff of the
14 Guards Motorised Brigade included two officers for the military police,
15 two military officers who had the qualifications to deal with the military
16 police forces, and in terms of their competence they were equal to
17 battalion commanders?
18 A. I don't understand the question because, I mean, there is an
19 advisor, the security -- chief security organs advises the commanders,
20 i.e., the commander of the guards brigade on how to use the military
21 police. Maybe if you give me names, so it would be easier to refresh my
23 [Defence counsel confer]
24 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation].
25 Q. We have some interpretation problems. I'll try to rephrase my
1 question. We have some other, perhaps, route to go.
2 What about the brigade staff? Does it not consider a plan for
3 military police activities much the same as when dealing with other
4 battalions within the composition of that brigade?
5 A. Indeed, Your Honours. It's like any other unit that is included
6 in the -- in the brigade. There will be plans on how to use these units,
7 as well as to regulate other aspects that are related to the activities of
8 these units.
9 Q. Mr. Theunens, would you agree with me that based on these
10 peculiarities of the guards brigade, such as we have just mentioned,
11 resulted in the use of military police in combat operations during the
12 happenings in Vukovar in 1991?
13 A. Based on my review of documents of Operational Group South, it's
14 actually the commander of Operations Group South who determined the use of
15 the military police, including, as you mentioned, the use of the military
16 police in combat operations.
17 Q. Is military police otherwise used for combat operations?
18 A. We would have to look at the manual or the regulation that
19 determined the use of the military police.
20 Now, without looking at the regulations, I can already mention
21 that military police will, for example, be used to assist in traffic
22 control, to escort people, to protect the command post or headquarters,
23 and these kind of tasks can be a component of combat operations.
24 And military -- to continue, military police is explained in
25 part 1 on the pages 84 to 90 of my report, and I mainly refer there to the
1 Exhibit 435.
2 [Defence counsel confer]
3 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. What I want to know is: Can military police under what conditions
5 join assault detachments?
6 A. Based on the orders issued by the commander of OG South, the
7 answer is yes.
8 Q. Do you know what it stands in the regulations concerning the use
9 of the military police?
10 A. I know -- I'm familiar with these regulations, Your Honour, and
11 it's described in the pages 84 to 90 of the first part of the English
12 version of my report, where the duties of the military police, as well as
13 their subordination and their relation with security organs are explained.
14 There's also an entry for the use of military police in providing security
15 for prisoners of war, in camps for prisoners, as well as their
16 participation in the arrest and escorting of prisoners, also the movements
17 of refugees. And this comes from paragraph 25 of Exhibit 435, the 1985
18 service regulations of the SFRY military police.
19 Q. Now, more about the Guards Motorised Brigade. Do you agree with
20 me when I bear in mind the purpose and the nature of the motorised guards
21 brigade, in terms of their character and their purpose, they were a
22 military police unit, because all its tasks were vintage military police
24 A. I -- Your Honours, I don't think that's a correct representation
25 of the capabilities of the guards brigade, but because it is correct that
1 the guards brigade had two military police battalions, and it was most
2 known for its duty to protect senior military authorities, but I wish to
3 underline that in addition to the two military police battalions the
4 Guards Motorised Brigade also has two motorised battalions, which are two
5 infantry units with wheeled armoured personnel carriers, as well as an
6 armoured battalion, and that was equipped with M-84 tanks. Military
7 police usually doesn't have tanks to carry out its mission.
8 Q. Yes. Mr. Theunens, do you know that from the security organ in
9 the Guards Motorised Brigade there was a military police unit with a
10 special purpose, including 12 officers?
11 A. Your Honours, I don't understand the question, because it says on
12 the transcript: "... from the security organ in the Guards Motorised
13 Brigade there was a military police unit with a special purpose ..."
14 Excuse me, do you mean by this that this military police unit --
15 Q. There, Mr. Theunens. My apologies for overlapping. The poor
16 interpretation is costing a lot of time. I'm trying to speak slowly and
17 to phrase my questions.
18 My question to you was: Are you familiar with the fact that in
19 the Guards Motorised Brigade there was a military police unit used for
20 special purposes made up of 12 officers? If indeed you know about this,
21 say yes. If not, please say no.
22 A. If you refer to the anti-terrorist unit in --
23 Q. No, no, no, no.
24 A. No, then I'm not familiar with the unit. But I mean from the
25 military point of view, why would you have a unit for special purposes
1 made up of 12 officers?
2 Q. Mr. Theunens, Mr. Theunens, Mr. Theunens. Have you had this book,
3 the establishment book of the guards brigade? If you had been given this
4 or if you had otherwise found it, you probably would have understood. I'm
5 not asking this question just because I have nothing better to do.
6 Can you please tell me this, sir: If we have several
7 establishment units within an operations group and each of these has a
8 security organ, what would their mutual relations be? I mean between
9 these security organs belonging to various establishment units, all part
10 of an operations group?
11 A. The relations between the security organs belonging to various
12 establishment units, do you mean the relation between the security organs
13 at the level of the command of the operations group on the one hand, and
14 on the other hand, security organs of the subordinate units? Or do you
15 mean the relations between the security organs of the subordinate units?
16 To answer the first question, based on what is written in the
17 regulations that determine the activities of the security organs, there
18 would be a management relationship, what is called special management
19 relation, between the security organs of the command and the security
20 organs of the subordinate units.
21 Q. Let me ask you this, specifically: The relations between the
22 security organ of the 80th Motorised Brigade, and the security organs of
23 the Guards Motorised Brigade?
24 A. I cannot answer the question specific for the situation in
25 Vukovar, because I don't have documents on that. I can only refer to what
1 I read out earlier in relation to the regulations whereby according to
2 Exhibit 107 there is a special management relationship between the
3 security organs at the higher level, and the security organ at the lower
5 Q. Fine. Would you agree with me that the relations between the
6 various security organs within the composition of the establishment units,
7 temporarily part of such an establishment as an operations group, is only
8 in reference to counter-intelligence activity?
9 A. Indeed. However, I wish also to draw your attention on the
10 relations that exist between the staffs and the commands of units. In
11 Exhibit 393, which is the 1983 manual for the work of commands and staffs,
12 there is a discussion of the concept of staff relationship whereby, and I
13 will read it out, "Staff relationship" --
14 Q. Mr. Theunens, that's a different issue. It's beside the point. I
15 asked you this, I believe we have agreed, under the rules there is no
16 dispute, this is counter-intelligence activity?
17 A. Indeed, Your Honours. But I wish to add, if you allow, this
18 definition of staff relationships between staffs at a higher level and
19 staffs at a lower level, because it also has an impact on the relationship
20 between security organs of a higher unit and security organs of a lower
22 And if you allow me, I will read out from paragraph 7 from
23 Exhibit 393: "Staff relationships between command organs and staffs at a
24 higher and lower organisational level, are, in fact, functional
25 relationships governed by the principle of obligatory action in accordance
1 with the requests of the staff organ of the superior command for the
2 purpose of implementing the decision made by the superior commander."
3 Q. You mentioned several times this rule of the security organs in
4 the armed forces of the SFRY. Let me ask you this: Would you agree that
5 a superior officer belonging to a security organ has the power to allow
6 the security organ to only carry out tasks from the purview of the
7 security organ, regardless of the fact whether these tasks are part of any
8 regular activities at the establishment post where he or it happened to
9 be? So tasks from within the purview of a security organ and nothing
11 Let me give you a hand. This is Article 48. Or item 48 of the
12 security organ rules.
13 A. Indeed, Your Honours. If this officer acts as a security organ,
14 and in the -- as part of the framework of his duty of a security organ, he
15 can issue orders or give instructions as has been described by
16 Mr. Bulatovic.
17 Q. Do you know who passed this regulation that we're talking about,
18 the security organ rules in the armed forces of the SFRY? The rules of
19 service governing the work of security organs in the armed forces of
20 the SFRY?
21 A. Your Honours, I don't know who passed it, but if we look at -- at
22 the second page of the document, or the first page of the document, it
23 will be explained who signed these rules of service.
24 [Defence counsel confer]
25 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there is an
1 intervention following consultations with my colleagues. I think on
2 page 90, line 10, 7 to 10, my question number 7 to 10, I asked about the
3 authorised officer, meaning the officer superior to the security organ.
4 The officer superior to the security organ, or to translate, the
5 commander. And I said this was item 48 of the rule. However, I believe
6 the interpretation was poor, so that the answer was in reference to
7 something altogether different.
8 THE WITNESS: Maybe the problem could be --
9 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Theunens, I'm trying to make a much shorter question in a bid
11 to keep it clear and save us from wasting time.
12 The officer superior to the security organ, can this officer to
13 this, his subordinate security organ, give assignments only from the
14 purview of the security organ pursuant to Article 48 of the rules of
15 service of the security organ in the armed forces of the SFRY?
16 A. Your Honours, I think it would be helpful if -- if the article of
17 the regulation would be shown, and then we could see it all together.
18 Because this is one -- this is an article I have not included in my report
19 when I discussed the security organs. It's Exhibit 107.
20 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is Exhibit 107.
21 So I would like to -- the B/C/S, page 31. The English, page 19 and 20. I
22 believe 19 is for item 48. For the B/C/S the ERN number is 0090-9832.
23 And the English reference is 0092-0117.
24 Q. The English, please. Mr. Theunens, this is page 19. That
25 means 48. Page 19, Article 48, that's where it begins. Can you see that,
1 Mr. Theunens? Do you have that in your screen?
2 A. I can see it, yes. Thank you. And it will continue on page 20.
3 But I'm not sure whether this really mentions what you just asked me.
4 [Defence counsel confer]
5 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Have you got that, Mr. Theunens?
7 A. I see it, Your Honours, but I'm not sure whether this is --
8 Q. Let's not waste time. In the sense of this legal regulation,
9 Article 48, the rules of service in the armed forces, can you tell me who
10 is the superior officer to the security organ?
11 A. Could we go back to the bottom of page 19, please?
12 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the counsel's remark.
13 We're sorry.
14 THE WITNESS: I mean, it talks about an authorised officer of a
15 security organ. In my view, it's not the same as the officer who is
16 superior to the security organ.
17 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Theunens, I think this must be a question of poor
19 interpretation. We agree on who is directly superior to the security
20 organ. We agree who has the power to issue assignments to the security
21 organ. My question was just one thing. Can this be the superior officer
22 to the security organ? Can he only issue assignments from the purview of
23 the security organ?
24 A. Your Honours, actually, the Article 16 and 17 in Exhibit 107, so
25 the same regulation, state that: "The security organ is directly
1 subordinate to the commanding officer of the command unit, institution or
2 staff of the armed forces in whose strength it is placed in the
3 establishment and it is responsible to that officer for its work."
4 So --
5 Q. Very well. I think we -- so that's the superior officer, right?
6 JUDGE PARKER: I'm not sure where this superior officer comes
7 from, Mr. Bulatovic. Article 48 in the English version speaks of an
8 authorised officer of a security organ. That indicates, as a matter of
9 language, somebody within the security organ, rather than the commanding
10 officer of the unit who is necessarily outside the security organ.
11 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, could we put the B/C/S version on the
12 ELMO, and maybe the translators could read it? It appears that there is a
13 mistake in translation, from what they're doing. From what they're
15 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honours, we can try to
16 do something to clarify this situation regarding the translation. The
17 exhibit number is 107, the B/C/S reference is number 31.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It's on the screen now.
19 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I will read it out. "In keeping
20 the with duties and obligations under the law and pursuant to regulations
21 based on the law, the authorised officer of the security organ is
22 duty-bound to carry out assignments from the purview of the security organ
23 assigned to him by the relevant officer, regardless of the fact whether
24 these tasks ..."
25 JUDGE PARKER: I think perhaps Mr. Bulatovic, if it helps you, you
1 might give some further thought to Article 48 during the break, which is
2 coming soon, and in the meantime you might like to move on to something
3 else so that you don't lose time.
4 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that is not the
5 problem. The problem is the interpretation, or it seems to be. However,
6 I can press on.
7 JUDGE PARKER: I think not. Even your interpretation didn't
8 really seem to get you where you wanted to go. So you might have to think
9 about it over the break.
10 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] We'll see about that.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Can I be clear. Is it your proposition that the
12 commanding officer of a unit, within which there is a security organ,
13 can't give to a security organ any tasks other than those that are within
14 the purview of a security organ?
15 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Absolutely.
16 JUDGE PARKER: That, I fear, might be a bit of news to some
17 commanding officers. But nevertheless, it doesn't seem to be borne out by
18 either the English translation or your own translation of Article 48. So
19 if you want to, press on now, but you may find it more useful to go on to
20 something else and think about this over the break.
21 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] We'll leave this for after the
22 break, but Your Honour, it's just the way it is.
23 Q. Mr. Theunens, I asked you about the --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Can counsel please speak closer to the
25 microphone or louder. The interpreters are having a lot of trouble
1 hearing him. Thank you.
2 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. This same organ adopted the rules of service governing the work of
4 military police. The question for Mr. Theunens now: Will you agree with
5 me -- Mr. Theunens, will you agree with me that the use of military police
6 outside the prescribed activities in the armed forces can or must be
7 approved by the federal secretary for All People's Defence alone?
8 A. Your Honours, I don't remember seeing such a regulation. But if
9 Mr. Bulatovic can show me the article within the regulations that
10 determine the work of the military police, I would be very willing to look
11 at it. It's possible, but I don't remember seeing it.
12 Q. I leave that for the break. And then we'll continue after the
14 Now let us turn, Mr. Theunens, to a section that has to do with
15 the Zagreb agreement. Do you know at which level the Zagreb agreement was
16 signed -- or, rather, who were the participants in the act of signing the
17 Zagreb agreement?
18 A. Your Honours, the people involved in signing the Zagreb agreement
19 for the evacuation of the wounded and the sick of Vukovar Hospital include
20 at least the following people: General Andrija Raseta, who I think was
21 before commander of the 5th Military District or at least a senior
22 military official of the 5th Military District and subsequently was
23 appointed chief negotiator for the JNA. Then there was the Croatian
24 minister of health, Andrija Hebrang. There were also representatives from
25 the ICRC, so the Red Cross. I believe Medecins sans Frontieres and also
1 the Maltezer Kreuz, so NGOs.
2 Q. Can we agree that that was a very high level at which it was
4 A. Yes, Your Honours.
5 Q. Given the importance of that agreement, and also the subject of
6 the agreement, what had to be done in order to prepare the evacuation of
7 the wounded and the sick, as envisaged by the agreement, given the level
8 at which the agreement was signed?
9 A. Giving a very general reply to this question, orders should have
10 been issued in order to task those people who were to carry out the
11 evacuation with the assignment of carrying out the evacuation in
12 accordance with what had been agreed in Zagreb.
13 Q. Does this mean that since the JNA was involved that there should
14 have been some kind of an order on the evacuation of the wounded and the
16 A. Indeed, Your Honours. The only -- actually, I came across two
17 documents that refer to the evacuation of the hospital. The first of all
18 we have Exhibit 415, which is a 1st Military District order, which
19 mentions the task of evacuating the hospital. It is dated the 18th of
20 November. And then there is also an order by OG South, it's 431-9, dated
21 20th of November, which is Exhibit 419.
22 Now, it is obvious that the 1st Military District, i.e., General
23 Zivota Panic, should have received an order from his superior, that is the
24 Ministry of Defence, the SSNO, in order to implement the agreement that
25 had been signed in Zagreb.
1 Q. When drafting your report and your analysis, did you come across a
2 written order on the evacuation of the wounded and the sick from the
3 Vukovar Hospital pursuant to the agreement which had been signed, which
4 has all the elements prescribed by the agreement?
5 A. Your Honours, the two exhibits I just mentioned, 415 and 419, only
6 mention the evacuation of the hospital in as such, so they only say
7 evacuate the hospital. The -- they do not include additional information
8 which would be required to carry out that evacuation in accordance with
9 the agreement signed in Zagreb.
10 Now, for your information, in November 2005 we asked Serbia and
11 Montenegro for all orders by General -- by Colonel Mrksic to ensure the
12 protection and safety of the people who were evacuated from Vukovar
13 Hospital, and the documents we received in January 2006 did not include
14 such an order.
15 Q. In your view, given the complexity of evacuation of the wounded
16 and the sick in accordance with the agreement, and bearing in mind the
17 level at which the agreement was signed, what should such an order on
18 evacuation contain?
19 A. The order issued by whom? The order issued by the command of the
20 1st Military District or Operational Group South or the commanding officer
21 who was put in charge of the evacuation?
22 Q. You said that you had two documents on evacuation. We also agreed
23 that none of them contained all of the elements prescribed by the
24 agreement of the 18th of November. I'm asking you: An order ordering an
25 evacuation should contain what elements? I'm asking you this as an
1 analyst, given the complexity of the issue.
2 A. An order to -- to carry out an evacuation, i.e., an order to
3 implement the Zagreb agreement would at least include the name of the
4 person who is in charge, i.e., who is in command, the units that would be
5 involved, the mission or task of each of these units, the start of the
6 operation, not only the time, but also the location, the route that would
7 have to be followed by the people -- by the evacuees and the people
8 escorting them, additional coordinating measures in order to ensure that
9 there would be a smooth transition, or at least transport of these people
10 through the zone of operations.
11 It would also have to include the names or the organisation to
12 whom these prisoners should be handed over. There would be an important
13 logistical chapter in order to determine who would provide the vehicles,
14 who would provide food, medical assistance, and so on. There would be a
15 security assessment in order to ascertain the threat of escape of these
16 people who had to be evacuated, as well as an assessment of the risks,
17 possible risks against these prisoners that could be -- that could
18 originate from the local population or any other party that would like to
19 interfere with the evacuation or threaten the physical security of the
21 Relating now to the Zagreb agreement, there should be information
22 on the attitude to adopt towards the ICRC and ECMM, if possible the names
23 of the officials of ICRC and ECMM who would be involved in monitoring the
24 evacuation and so on.
25 Q. All right. Now, tell me: Prior to the evacuation of the wounded
1 and the sick, given the combat and the armed conflict, was the security
2 organ duty-bound to check the security status at the hospital? You
3 mentioned this in passing just a bit ago.
4 A. Yes, and I would say it would not just be limited to the security
5 status at the hospital itself, but also along the route that would be
6 followed by the evacuees, as well as at the -- the end location of the
8 Q. Would you agree with me that when analysing the documents
9 available to you, among the people at the hospital there were also members
10 of the so-called Croatian army, who had used weapons and had not
11 surrendered like the group of people did on the 18th of November. These
12 people sought shelter in the hospital.
13 We also have information to the effect that they put on white
14 coats trying to disguise themselves as medical staff, that they put on
15 bandages on themselves in order to confuse the perception of their status,
16 and there was this agreement regulating the evacuation of the wounded and
17 the sick from the hospital. These people did this in order to mask the
18 fact that they were members of armed formations who had taken part in
19 combat against the armed forces of the SFRY?
20 A. Your Honours, I can only provide an answer to what I understand as
21 being the first part of the question. That is, that indeed according to
22 OG South reports and 1st Military District reports, there were members of
23 the Croatian forces among the people at the hospital.
24 Now, all the other aspects that are mentioned in Mr. Bulatovic's
25 question, I cannot substantiate by documents I came across.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic, is that a convenient time?
2 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yes. I also need
3 instructions on how much time I have left so that I can go over my
4 questions during the break.
5 JUDGE PARKER: We resume at a quarter to 4.00, and you have 25
7 --- Recess taken at 3.24 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 3.46 p.m.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Bulatovic.
10 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
11 Q. Mr. Theunens, let us go back to the matter that wasn't clear, that
12 suffered from poor interpretation and God knows what else. So I'll put
13 the question to you and we'll clarify it. In the Guards Motorised
14 Brigade, who was the immediate superior, or, rather, to whom was Veselin
15 Sljivancanin immediately subordinated?
16 A. Major Veselin Sljivancanin was immediately subordinated to the
17 commander of the guards brigade, i.e., Colonel Mile Mrksic in 1991.
18 Q. Does this mean that Mr. Mrksic was the commanding officer with
19 competencies over Veselin Sljivancanin?
20 A. That is correct. But I think "commander" would be a more
21 appropriate translation, but it's maybe a nuance in the English.
22 Q. All right. Now, let's clarify this. Does this mean that
23 Mr. Mrksic, as a superior commanding officer or commander to
24 Mr. Sljivancanin, was entitled to issue certain tasks to his subordinate,
25 Sljivancanin, but only from the domain of security organ's work in
1 accordance with Article 48 that we saw before the break?
2 A. I would have to see the Article, because I haven't referred to it
3 in my report, and I -- therefore, I'm -- I was not aware of the limitation
4 in the command authority Mrksic has, as commander of the Guards Motorised
5 Brigade has over the one of his assistant commanders.
6 Q. This rule of -- or, rather, Article 48 of the rules of service was
7 admitted into evidence. I see that all of us are giving a different
8 interpretation to it, so let us leave it aside. It will be analysed when
9 the time comes.
10 Now, let me ask you this: There is an evacuation of the wounded
11 and the sick from the Vukovar Hospital, and we have the description of the
12 conditions at the hospital. Evidence was introduced to support that. So
13 under those circumstances, what is the role and participation of the
14 military police in the evacuation of the wounded and the sick? What is
15 the military police supposed to do in that situation?
16 A. The military police of Operational Group South is supposed to do
17 what the commander of Operations Group South has ordered them to do. And
18 the same applies to military police units of other units that may be
19 involved. It is their commander who will assign a specific task to them,
20 also in relation to the evacuation.
21 Q. Let me ask you this: The evacuation of the wounded and the sick
22 from the Vukovar Hospital, in accordance with the Zagreb agreement, in
23 terms of its character and the nature of work that was supposed to be
24 done, does it come within the scope of work of the security organs, and is
25 it a task that falls within the scope of work of security organs?
1 A. The evacuation of the wounded and sick from the Vukovar Hospital,
2 in accordance with the Zagreb agreement, would be an operation which will
3 require the same kind of planning and preparation as any other military
4 operation. This means that the various staff organs, as well as other
5 departments within the command, and I mean by this, for example, logistics
6 organs and the security organs will assist the commander in preparing
7 orders to implement this evacuation.
8 Now, specifically for the security organs, in addition to what I
9 mentioned before where I spoke about the requirement for the security
10 organs to prepare security assessment which would deal both with the risk
11 of escape or the threat of escape of evacuees or attempts to liberate
12 them, as well as risks to the physical security of the people being
13 evacuated, security organs could also participate in selecting the
14 evacuees, because as you pointed out earlier, they could be civilians,
15 former combatants and other people, and there could be a requirement to
16 make such a selection, and therefore the security organs could assist in
17 this matter too.
18 Q. All right. Let me ask you this: Taking people out of the group
19 and frisking them, would that fall under the regular procedure conducted
20 by those escorting detained persons? Are these typical activities,
21 selecting people from a group, frisking them, would that all be part of a
22 regular procedure, conducted by military police when they take a person
23 into custody?
24 A. I apologise, I'm not a native English speaker, so the
25 word "frisking" poses some difficulties for me. Maybe there is an easier
2 THE INTERPRETER: Searching people.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Visual and physical searching of people.
4 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Yes, indeed. I mean, it should be -- it's part of the order for
6 the evacuation that before evacuating the people they should be searched
7 to prevent, for example, that weapons or other dangerous equipment are
8 taken with the people. Yes. But, again, this is a theoretical which is
9 based on my review of JNA regulations and my own experience or military
10 education. I haven't seen specific orders in relation to how this was
11 carried out during the evacuation of Vukovar Hospital on the 20th of
13 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Mr. Theunens, when asked by my learned friend, Mr. Vasic, about
15 the structure of an operations group command, you said that before the
16 command of the guards brigade took over the command of the OG South,
17 Colonel Pavkovic and Colonel Terzic came, that they were sent to the
18 command. I'd like to know whether I noted this down correctly and, if so,
19 would you please explain in what capacity these two senior officers came.
20 They held the rank of colonel. They were sent from the office of the
21 Federal Secretariat for All People's Defence, and they were sent to the
22 operations group.
23 A. Your Honours, what I mentioned to Mr. Vasic, and what is also
24 included in my report on page 65 in the English version, the second part,
25 I made reference to Exhibit 404, which talks about the assignment of
1 Colonel Nebojsa Pavkovic -- a temporary assignment, and Colonel Zlatoje
2 Terzic to the Guards Motorised Brigade. So not to OG South from the
3 [indiscernible], but to the Guards Motorised Brigade, and this order dates
4 from the 29th of September, 1991. My understanding is that these two
5 officers were sent to carry out liaison tasks which is not an unusual
6 occurrence in such a situation, based on my experience.
7 Now, maybe we should look at Exhibit 404 to know the -- to see the
8 exact phrasing of Colonel Vuk Obradovic's order to temporarily reassign
9 Pavkovic and Terzic to the command of the Guards Motorised Brigade.
10 Q. Mr. Theunens, when writing your report, did you take into
11 account -- rather, were documents made available to you, documents of the
12 ECMM monitors who followed the evacuation of the wounded and the sick, who
13 monitored it. I didn't find such reference in your report, so I'd like to
14 know this from you.
15 A. I did take these reports into my account -- into account, excuse
16 me, to prepare this report. But I thought it was -- as an analyst, I
17 thought it was more useful to confine myself to the reporting of
18 Operational Group South and the 1st Military District on how they
19 implemented the evacuation, not only the evacuation of the hospital, but
20 also other evacuation operations that were taking place during that time
21 period in Vukovar. And I confined myself because it were actually
22 1st Military District and OG South who carried out the operation who
23 should actually be best placed to know how the evacuations went.
24 Q. Did you find in those reports that Nebojsa Pavkovic played a
25 certain role in the evacuation of the wounded and the sick and the
1 implementation of the Zagreb agreement?
2 A. I know that he played a role based on video imagery I have seen,
3 including the famous Borsinger video, but I haven't used that for my
4 report. Otherwise, I would not be able to answer the -- otherwise, I
5 would not be able to answer the question, unless you would show me these
7 Q. Mr. Theunens, I didn't ask you about video footage. I asked you
8 about the reports of the EC monitors. Did you have them in your hands
9 when drafting your report or not?
10 A. I think I mentioned earlier that I did take these reports into
11 account. I read them. I also understood, but I'm not clear which
12 specific report it was, but that in one of the reports there was a
13 confusion or a mixing up of names between Pavkovic and Sljivancanin. But
14 again, if you wish me to comment on ECMM reports, I think it would be
15 useful for all of us if you would show that report to me.
16 Q. All right. I will.
17 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we put
18 Exhibit 316 on the screen, please.
19 Q. Do you have it, Mr. Theunens?
20 A. Indeed, Your Honours, I have it in front of me.
21 Q. Can you see what is written under the heading "Subject."
22 Negotiations of the evacuation of wounded people from the Vukovar
23 Hospital; correct?
24 A. Yes, that's correct, Your Honours.
25 Q. Would you like to look at the names of participants,, the last
1 four persons on -- are on behalf of the JNA. I will read out the names
2 and you can follow. I'm not going to mention the monitors of the EC. It
3 says here: Participants, Colonel Pavkovic, JNA commander for the
4 Operations Group South, Vukovar; Colonel Loncar, liaison officer of the
5 JNA within the 1st Military District; Colonel Memisevic, liaison officer
6 of the JNA within the 1st Military District; and Major Zaric -- it says
7 here Saric but it should be Zaric, liaison officer of the JNA within the
8 1st Military District. Correct?
9 A. I mean, you have read out the information as it is mentioned in
10 the document, but the definition of Colonel Pavkovic as JNA commander,
11 Operations Group South is in contradiction with the Operations Group South
12 documents we have for the time period. So there must be a
13 misunderstanding somewhere.
14 Q. Sir, Mr. Theunens, all I'm doing is reading what this gentleman,
15 Mr. Cunningham, a member of the ECMM, wrote. I don't want to waste any
16 more time on this.
17 Now, let's turn to page 2 of this report, I'd like to read
18 paragraph d to you, second page of this report. It says here in
19 paragraph d: "Paragraph 5 of the fax signed by Croats and the JNA evoked
20 much discussion. Colonel Pavkovic stated that prisoners of war would not
21 be allowed to depart as the POWs are under the JNA control. If he did,
22 Serb irregulars/local citizens would attack the convoy."
23 And (3): "At some future time the POWs would be exchanged for the
24 JNA POWs."
25 Is that what it says there?
1 A. That is correct, Your Honours. Now --
2 Q. Your Honours, can we pull up Exhibit 333?
3 A. Your Honours, if you allow me, I would still like to finish my
4 reply, actually, in relation to the questions on Pavkovic.
5 Colonel Pavkovic is obviously sent as the negotiator for
6 Operational Group South, i.e., he has been mandated, authorised by the
7 commander of OG South or somebody who is superior to the commander of
8 OG South, and the views Pavkovic expressed cannot be his personal views
9 but they are the views as they have been defined by the JNA, and also
10 reflected in the instructions the commander of OG South must have given to
11 Pavkovic before he started to negotiate with ECMM.
12 Q. Exhibit 333. See here, please look at item 1 of this report. I
13 will read this out, and you can follow to make sure I'm reading correctly.
14 You have the English version. It says there: "On arrival at the
15 headquarters Colonel Pavkovic, in Negoslavci, we discussed once again
16 contentious issues that we had discussed on the previous day. Colonel
17 Pavkovic remained firm that not all the wounded would be evacuated. As a
18 result of an order of General Raseta, Croatian paramilitaries who were
19 wounded would remain as POWs."
20 Have I read this out correctly?
21 A. Yes, indeed.
22 Q. A bit earlier when I asked you about the Zagreb agreement you
23 mentioned Mr. Raseta. You said who he was and what he was. Let me ask
24 you this: Mr. Mrksic, as the commander of the Operations Group South, was
25 he able to issue an order to General Raseta?
1 A. It all depends of the situation they're in. I mean, it would be
2 unusual that a colonel issues an order to a general, but it can be that
3 there is, for example -- I mean, I'm giving a theoretical scenario now,
4 that a general is visiting an -- the headquarters of the colonel, and the
5 colonel is in charge of the operation, and then the colonel could issue an
6 order to the general to -- to leave the area, for example. I mean, it's
7 not a good example. But if they're not the same chain of command -- if
8 they are in the same chain of command, excuse me, then a colonel cannot
9 issue an order to a general. But I'm not really sure what you're asking
10 in this context.
11 Q. Nothing more than I asked. If we know that Mr. Raseta is the
12 commander of the 5th District, can the commander of OG South issue an
13 order to him. But that's all right, we've discussed that already.
14 Something else in relation to this report. We have seen reports
15 produced by ECMM containing information highly relevant to the evacuation
16 of the sick and wounded. Did you believe them to be entirely irrelevant
17 to your report, since there is not a single word in your report about
18 these ECMM reports?
19 A. Your Honours, it's not a question of relevant or irrelevant, but
20 having access to what I would call the primary sources, i.e., the
21 documents prepared by the people that were directly involved in carrying
22 out the evacuation. And I mean by this the 1st Military District and
23 Operational Group South. I didn't really see a need to include reports
24 that were actually drafted by people who were only observers to the whole
25 process but not directly involved in its execution. Because I'm pretty
1 sure that if I had included only the ECMM documents, or also the ECMM
2 documents, you would have said, well, why do you include the ECMM
3 documents if you have already the JNA documents.
4 Q. These are relevant documents, Mr. Pringle [sic]. There are at
5 least the quality level of some articles from a newspaper called Greater
6 Serbia, which you found fit to mention in your analysis. Let me ask you
7 something else.
8 A. Is it a question or is it a comment? Because --
9 Q. My apologies, my apologies. I have overstepped the mark.
10 I would like to ask you something else. Speaking of the
11 interview, you mentioned in your report an interview with Zivota Panic, in
12 which you say that Zivota Panic, in this interview, said that Veselin
13 Sljivancanin was in charge of the evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital.
14 A. That's correct, Your Honours. But it's not me who says that.
15 It's actually according to the transcript at least of the interview, and
16 it's also available on videotape, it is Zivota Panic who makes that
17 statement. And it's on the page 92 in my report, and in the document it
18 should be on the page 04 -- 0460-7856 in the English transcript of the
19 interview that Zivota Panic provided to the BBC series "Death of
21 And if you allow me, the reason why I include this interview,
22 because we didn't obtain any documents on whether -- the role of
23 Sljivancanin in the evacuation, but I'm familiar with the statement
24 Veselin Sljivancanin gave to the Belgrade military prosecutor in 1998 in
25 which he mentioned that he was in charge of the evacuation of Vukovar
2 [Defence counsel confer]
3 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have to object to
4 this part of the expert's answer. Because he can't use a statement that
5 was given to the OTP that we don't have here and about which we still
6 haven't resolved the question of how that statement would be used. The
7 fact is Veselin Sljivancanin has not appeared in any role here except as
8 an accused, but these comments in this sort of preparation clearly point
9 to something else, and we would move that this part of the witness's
10 answer not be taken into account. The page is 0460-7856 and if that could
11 please be read out, and this is a relevant passage, just to see if the
12 interpretation here in this report is accurate.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Are you referring to an interview with the BBC, or
14 to what is said to be evidence or a statement given to the Belgrade
15 military prosecutor?
16 MS. DOKMANOVIC: Your Honours, this is a --
17 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] This is an interview with Zivota
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel switch the microphone on or
20 start speaking into the microphone. The interpreters can hear nothing at
22 JUDGE PARKER: Microphone.
23 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, there were two
24 microphones on at the same time.
25 Apparently in his interview for the "Death of Yugoslavia," the BBC
1 series, Zivota Panic stated that Major Veselin Sljivancanin had been in
2 charge of the evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital. It is the Defence
3 team's position that Zivota Panic made no such reference to the evacuation
4 in that interview. Can the relevant portion therefore please be read out
5 to see what lies at heart of the matter.
6 MS. DOKMANOVIC: "But we did not bomb the hospital, and the moment
7 our troops entered that compound Sljivancanin was in charge of that
8 operation. But after that, International Red Cross interfered and you
9 know what happened later. A part of the wounded was tran -- pull out by
10 then. Some were transported to our hospitals."
11 JUDGE PARKER: It's your contention, is it, Mr. Bulatovic, that
12 that interview does not support the proposition that your client was in
13 charge of the evacuation operation?
14 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] First of all, I can't accept that
15 my client was in charge of the evacuation of the Vukovar Hospital.
16 Secondly, I submit that there is no reference to an evacuation here in
17 this transcript. Not the way we have seen it here. Now -- or in
18 Mr. Theunens's report, for that matter.
19 I'll try to wrap this up quickly now.
20 JUDGE PARKER: That concern will be considered in due course,
21 Mr. Bulatovic.
22 Now, you are already overrun by five minutes, so your wrap-up will
23 need to be immediate.
24 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Just one question. I have plenty
25 left, unfortunately.
1 Q. You quote a piece from some newspaper or other, Daily Telegraph,
2 Branislav Vakic, a Chetnik Vojvoda. He said that Veselin Sljivancanin
3 gave them weapons and that they worked with him and so on and so forth.
4 Did you have the original piece? Did you ever see the original piece
5 published in the Telegraph newspaper? And did you consider Mr. Vakic's
6 diary or log-book when you included this in your report?
7 A. Your Honours, the article is indeed -- or extracts of the article
8 are included in my report. Why, because I considered them useful in the
9 context of this report.
10 Now, Vakic gives a long overview not only of his involvement in
11 Vukovar, but also in other areas, and I was able to corroborate large
12 sections of the interview Vakic provided with other military documents I
13 had come across in other cases. And I'm aware of the time constraints
14 but, for example, Vakic talks about his involvement in the Skelani area in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, in early 1993 and --
16 Q. Your Honours, all I asked was whether he had the original piece in
17 his possession, the one that he invokes, and why do we not have it, the
18 one from the Telegraph newspaper. We have transcripts of conversations
19 that cannot be attributed to anyone in particular, or timed at any
20 particular time.
21 A. This interview is 65 ter number 628, and it's my understanding
22 that it's -- I'm sorry, it's not -- it's -- I apologise, it's a
23 correction. The interview is 65 ter number 612, and we only have the
24 English version here at the ICTY. But I'm very willing to look at the
25 B/C/S version and to see whether there are any discrepancies.
1 MR. BULATOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, ideally I would have
2 lots of questions left. However, clearly you are in charge of this
3 courtroom, which means this concludes my cross-examination. Thank you.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Bulatovic.
5 Mr. Weiner.
6 MR. WEINER: I'll move fast.
7 Re-examination by Mr. Weiner:
8 Q. May the witness please be shown Exhibit 107 -- I'm sorry,
9 Exhibit 107, Article 48.
10 I'm going to read in part from a copy of that. "An authorised
11 officer of a security organ -- of a security organ is obliged to carry out
12 tasks within the competence of the security organ that a competent officer
13 assigns to him, regardless of whether or not these tasks are covered by
14 the work that is regularly conducted in their establishment position."
15 Is there anything in that quotation that would prevent a commander
16 of an operational group from ordering or assigning the head of a security
17 organ to command a military operation?
18 A. No, Your Honours. Based on -- on this article, there is not.
19 Because I would refer then actually to what we saw earlier about
20 delegation, that a commander can appoint or can delegate some of his
21 powers to any officer he deems competent to carry out these powers, and
22 security officers are also part of the -- or this also applies to security
24 Q. And if a commander of a operational group wanted to place a -- the
25 command -- the chief of a security organ in charge of an evacuation
1 operation, is that possible?
2 A. That is possible, and by this appointment the chief of the
3 security organ would become a commanding officer, i.e., an officer in
4 command of that evacuation operation, as any other officer who would have
5 been put in such a position, by the commander.
6 Q. Let's move on to a couple other issues. You were shown a few
7 minutes ago Exhibit 316, and it mentioned that the POWs are under the
8 control of the JNA and it also indicated that Serb irregulars/local
9 citizens would attack the convoy if these POWs are removed or placed on
10 the convoy.
11 Now, you previously discussed planning and the duty to predict and
12 forecasting yesterday. If the person in charge of an evacuation or the
13 commanding officer receives notice that some of the people to be evacuated
14 are in danger of Serb irregulars or the local citizens, what is his or her
16 A. Your Honours, his duty would be to prevent, in this case, the Serb
17 irregulars from endangering the evacuees. So in the preparation of the
18 operation he would make sure that he makes forces available and includes
19 taskings for these forces to be ready to counter any threat that is posed
20 to the physical security of the evacuees.
21 Q. And how much police units do the Guards Motorised Brigade have?
22 A. I mean -- I think you mean military police.
23 Q. Military police units.
24 A. The Guards Motorised Brigade had two military police battalions,
25 and in -- I think it was in October the Guards Motorised Brigade received
1 a company with an additional 100 men of military police. It is mentioned
2 in the report, but maybe because of time constraints I will not be able to
3 identify the correct page within reasonable limits.
4 Q. That's sufficient, as long as you've indicated it's mentioned in
5 the report, sir.
6 Now, let's just move on to another issue. There was some
7 discussion of Vukovar being taken on or about the 18th, or on the 18th.
8 And there was an issue of whether or not there was still a need for
9 assault detachments. When Vukovar was taken on the 18th, did that mean
10 that all resistance had ended in the area?
11 A. No, Your Honours, it didn't mean that. And this is, for example,
12 obvious from orders issued by the 1st -- by the commander of the
13 1st Military District on and after the 18th of November, where in one of
14 these orders he -- Panic mentions that the war is not over. Yes.
15 Q. So there was no need to immediately remove the assault detachments
16 or resubordinate the assault detachments?
17 A. No. I mean, from a purely theoretical point of view, maintaining
18 the assault detachments as well as the assault groups, made it easier to
19 maintain command and control over all the forces that were included in the
20 operational group. And we have discussed already earlier the orders of --
21 the particular order from the 18th of November of Zivota Panic,
22 Exhibit 415, where he warns for the risk of revenge and retribution by
23 elements of the local Serb Territorial Defence.
24 Q. Now, there was some discussion, or I think three or four times you
25 mentioned during the testimony that the TOs in Vukovar were not the TOs
1 envisioned in the rules. And you mentioned that in relation to their
2 numbers and their content. What do you mean by that? You never explained
4 A. In the first section of my report, Your Honours, I discussed
5 Territorial Defence in -- I mean, the first part of the report in the
6 sections [sic] 5, for example, page 92 and following pages, where also the
7 structure is defined, as well as the types of TO units.
8 Now, what we see in Vukovar, and I will limit myself to
9 Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora, which are discussed from page 79
10 onwards, second part, English version. We see from various documentation
11 both from OG South and the most obvious example is the resubordination
12 order from the 21st in the morning, where an order for the resubordination
13 of Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora is sent to, among others, the
14 commander of the Seseljevci.
15 I've also included, indeed as pointed out by Mr. Bulatovic,,
16 references to the newspaper of the Serbian Radical Party, Velika Srbija,
17 whereby -- in which the links between Leva Supoderica and the Serbian
18 Radical Party are highlighted, where -- calling Leva Supoderica a -- I
19 quote, "Chetnik detachment." So this all shows that actually these
20 Leva Supoderica and Petrova Gora detachments could only be considered TO
21 by their name but not by their nature, nor by their structure, nor by is
22 even more important, their motivation to participate in the operations.
23 Q. And the final area, you indicated that a operational group
24 commander would not usually tell an assault detachment commander how to
25 organise its companies. Does this mean that an assault detachment
1 commander would have some independence in the establishment of his
2 companies, the numbers, the units involved? Can you please explain that.
3 A. Within the military each unit commander is responsible for the use
4 of his unit towards his superior who has issued an assignment to him for
5 the use of that unit. So if the assault -- if the operational group
6 commander issues an order for a particular task to the assault detachment
7 commander, based on the documents I reviewed, it will be the assault
8 detachment commander who will determine how he will use his own forces,
9 i.e., his companies in this case, or his assault groups on how to
10 implement the tasking he has received from the operational group
12 Q. Thank you.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Weiner.
14 We have concluded the evidence of this witness.
15 May we thank you, Mr. Theunens, for the assistance you've given,
16 and for your report. And we now adjourn to resume tomorrow at 9.30.
17 The witness tomorrow, if we could catch up the theme of last week,
18 ought to be a witness that can be completed in less than a full day. And
19 if that is achieved, there will be more time for the evidence of the
20 remaining expert witness, who could commence evidence tomorrow afternoon.
21 So it's in the hands of -- Mr. Weiner.
22 MR. WEINER: Sorry to notify you, but apparently there is a bit of
23 a problem. General Pringle has to fly back tonight to Great Britain, but
24 will return tomorrow evening. He will not be available tomorrow
1 JUDGE PARKER: It's paid to that plan.
2 MR. WEINER: The best-laid plans of mice and men.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, all right. Two days, we can see how tight two
4 days is, and we will just have to be very disciplined in time. If there
5 are any other procedural matters that need to be dealt with, they can be
6 raised tomorrow afternoon when we finish the evidence of the one witness.
7 We will adjourn now until 9.30 tomorrow.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.33 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 21st day of
10 June, 2006, at 9.30 a.m.