1 Monday, 11 September 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Sljivancanin not present in Court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. I would
8 just like to inform you of something briefly, but for that purpose we
9 would need to go into private session, please.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
11 [Private session]
11 Page 11704 redacted. Private session.
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
8 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, there are two witnesses, Witness 5 and 6,
9 Puskar, Stankovic. For Puskar we have got four and a half lines of
10 summary, for Stankovic, we have three lines of summary. We would ask once
11 again, please, could we have appropriate summaries of reasonable duration
12 dealing with the factual issues to which they are to give evidence. If
13 that is not done, of course it is a matter for the Court. We will object
14 to any factual matters that are not disclosed within the summaries if my
15 learned friends wish to adduce that in chief.
16 That is the only matter that I wish to deal with.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
18 Mr. Vasic.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. The two
20 witnesses referenced by my learned friend Mr. Moore are peculiar witnesses
21 for us. We only talked to Mr. Puskar once briefly. One of our
22 investigators did, in fact. I expect that once he's here, we shall have
23 an opportunity to have a lengthier interview with him, after which my
24 learned friend will be duly informed and a proofing note will be submitted
25 to him.
1 My learned friend has referred to the summary, and I'm sure he has
2 realised that the summary is about one central fact, which is detailed in
3 that summary.
4 As for Witness Stankovic, we got in touch with him before the
5 start of the OTP case. After that we were here, whereas Mr. Stankovic is
6 now the Defence Minister, which I believe Mr. Moore is aware of. He has
7 many commitments. The Defence team is trying to get in touch with him,
8 but we are still not certain whether on account of his commitments he will
9 be able to appear. There is also the possibility that we shall have to
10 drop him or seek an alternative.
11 As for the subject matter of his evidence, I believe my learned
12 friend is well aware of that, too, although if Mr. Stankovic does appear,
13 we shall have a interview and produce a proofing note which shall be duly
14 submitted to the Prosecution.
15 He was the chief medical examiner in Vukovar performing most of
16 the autopsies. He performed the autopsies on most of the bodies that
17 found in Vukovar and its surroundings.
18 At any rate, as soon as we have more from these witnesses, as soon
19 as we have conducted lengthier interviews, the OTP will be duly informed,
20 including the relevant proofing notes possibly containing more information
21 than the summaries themselves contain.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, the position is less than satisfactory
23 for the efficient conduct of this trial. The Chamber has no idea, apart
24 from those few lines, what it is each of these witnesses is to deal with
25 or what you would intend that the witness would deal with. Under the
1 system which is in place under the rules, unless you have the leave of the
2 Chamber you will be confined in material facts to the matters on which
3 you've given notice.
4 I gather from what you have said it's your expectation, at least,
5 that I'm of these witnesses would give evidence about other matters, which
6 has certainly not been the subject of summary and notice. In the case of
7 Mr. Stankovic, one of the consequences of what is happening is that if he
8 should come here and you wish to speak about -- him to speak about other
9 matters and you're given leave, it could be that he would be required to
10 come at a later time for cross-examination, which is hardly the way Mr.
11 Stankovic, I'm sure, would hope that his evidence could be dealt with. He
12 would, I expect, want to be here once and once only and for as short a
13 time as possible.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, indeed. Thank you very much,
15 Your Honour. And you are entirely right. Mr. Stankovic is a pathologist.
16 He's a forensic expert, and he will only address the issue of autopsies.
17 He will not be addressing any other issues. He will be commenting on the
18 autopsies that he performed in the Vukovar area and the bodies that he
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, that we understand, but that is not an
21 adequate summary of the facts about which he will give evidence. What is
22 it that he wants to say about the autopsies? What are the results that
23 are material to your case? They're the facts that need to be briefly
24 identified in the summary.
25 If you give attention to that and bear that in mind as you make
1 the time for Mr. Stankovic's arrival, and also bear that in mind in the
2 summaries for all witnesses you wish to call, because it is those
3 summaries that enables the Trial Chamber to understand what is being
4 called, and the Prosecution and the other two Defences to prepare to know
5 what this is being to be talking about. So we need to get that
6 functioning properly, and notice needs to be given before the witness
7 comes so that all counsel and the Chamber can prepare.
8 As you know, if there's some particular difficulty, this Chamber
9 is prepared to be understanding and oblige other counsel to put up with
10 short notice, but it's not fair to them or to the Chamber for -- to have
11 this operating for all witnesses. It's got to be something special and
12 unusual. Your normal practice has to be to get this in order, and also to
13 get a clear future planning of the witnesses who are to be called in which
14 order. It's no good finding that the witness who is number 18 on your
15 list arrives tomorrow unless there has been adequate notice of that.
16 Thank you.
17 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, could I deal with two other small matters
18 now that we're dealing with administrative details? They will not take a
19 long period of time.
20 We know obviously that Coric is a witness today. I believe Minic
21 is a witness either today and tomorrow, but we are not aware of exactly
22 who the witnesses are after that. Perhaps my learned friend, perhaps it's
23 just misunderstanding, perhaps that can be clarified over the break.
24 As I say, I don't blame. It's perhaps just a misunderstanding.
25 That is the first point.
1 The second point relates to the case of Mr. Radic. In July, we
2 sought waivers in relation to four witnesses. My learned friends were
3 aware of that. I believe from memory, the 27th of July there was a reply
4 by the Radic team that waivers had been applied for and there we left it.
5 Our understanding is we should have had a mission going to Belgrade today.
6 We have had to cancel that, the reason being from what we understand from
7 Belgrade is that three of those waivers have not been granted and one
8 still has not been applied for.
9 I do not know if that is right or wrong, because there does seem
10 to be an area of confusion between Belgrade and perhaps my learned
11 friends, and I don't blame them in any way. But clearly if these
12 witnesses are to be called, we would wish to interview them and speak to
13 them. My learned friends are aware of that fact. And I would ask them if
14 perhaps they could make their own inquiries and clarify exactly what has
15 happened so that we can move expeditiously and no time will be wasted.
16 JUDGE PARKER: That second matter, Mr. Moore, we will leave for
17 your discussion with counsel.
18 MR. MOORE: Thank you.
19 JUDGE PARKER: And I would anticipate that the matter can be
20 resolved between you. If not, no doubt we will hear more.
21 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
22 JUDGE PARKER: The first matter, what was that? Would you remind
24 MR. MOORE: Yes. We understand that Minic, if that's his name,
25 will be the next witness after Coric.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Simply order. Yes, that's right. I've already
2 mentioned to Mr. Vasic that there is need for order to be clarified and
3 that system of advanced notice of order being maintained by the Defence.
4 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
5 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sure that that will resolve itself. We all
6 appreciate that for unfortunate reasons the start to the leading of the
7 evidence by the -- Mr. Vasic and Mr. Domazet has not been as smooth as it
8 ought to be, and we all look forward to that being resolved in the course
9 of this week so that the trial can proceed efficiently.
10 MR. MOORE: Thank you.
11 JUDGE PARKER: We'd better have the witness, please.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 WITNESS: VELIMIR CORIC
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read allowed the affirmation on
18 the card that's given to you now.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
22 Mr. Vasic.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
24 Examination by Mr. Vasic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. Can you please tell us your first name and last name.
3 A. My name is Velimir Milos Coric.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We can't hear the witness
5 properly. May he please be asked to move closer to the microphones.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. We seem to have some problems with the sound and the interpreters
8 hearing you. Therefore, I would ask you to move closer to the microphone
9 and repeat your name?
10 A. Velimir Milos Coric. Can you hear me now?
11 Q. Thank you very much. Given the fact we speak the same language,
12 and my questions are being interpreted as they must be, as well as your
13 answers, so that everybody can follow what we're talking about, please
14 make a short pause after each of my questions before you embark on your
15 answers, and please follow the cursor on the screen. When you see a
16 sentence end, please start your answer, sir.
17 Sir, can you please tell us about your educational background and
18 your rank in the JNA, and which rank did you hold at the time of your
20 A. I had completed primary school, a gymnasium, and a teacher
21 training college, which is the equivalent of secondary education. Then I
22 went to the military academy for the land forces military academy, and
23 after that I also attended and completed the higher military academy.
24 I served in a number of different places, but I spent the most
25 time in Sarajevo and Belgrade. My duties ranged from platoon commander to
1 brigade commander. When I retired, I worked as an administrative clerk in
2 the secretary under the federal -- in the secretariat under the federal
4 Q. And what was your rank at the time?
5 A. Colonel.
6 Q. What we are talking about here is in relation to 1991. I would
7 like to ask you this, sir: Back in 1991, did you ever go to the Vukovar
8 front? If so, how many times?
9 A. I was there once, the last time in 1991, in late 1991.
10 Q. You say late that year. Do you remember the circumstances that
11 brought you there? If you could please elaborate. When specifically in
12 late 1991?
13 A. Officially I arrived in Njemci -- or, rather, in Negoslavci, my
14 mission being to tour the units following the liberation of Vukovar. I
15 was also supposed to have a word with the units to see what the condition
16 was of the men there as well as their equipment.
17 Q. You say you arrived in Negoslavci after the liberation of Vukovar.
18 Can you please tell us how many days precisely, if you remember, how many
19 days after the liberation of Vukovar your visit occurred?
20 A. I wasn't assigned a vehicle straight away on the very day of
21 liberation. I was only assigned a vehicle two days later, and that was
22 when I left for Vukovar with an official driver assigned to me in an
23 official car pursuant to an order of the chef de cabinet of the federal
25 Q. You say you left pursuant to an order of the chef de cabinet. Can
1 you tell us which vehicle you used, and did you have anybody escorting
3 A. Yes. I did have escort. Part of my trip was dangerous. You
4 couldn't exactly just drive along as a tourist would have. I was escorted
5 by warrant officer second class from the same command. We were using a
6 combat vehicle -- a military vehicle with military insignia driven by a
7 civilian driver serving in the JNA, a professional driver.
8 Q. Thank you. Did you go on this official trip armed or unarmed?
9 A. As I said a while ago, the section of the road between Sid and
10 Negoslavci was risky, dangerous in terms of how safe it was. Whenever a
11 JNA officer leaves his barracks officially on business, they always carry
12 weapons, normally a pistol. In addition to a pistol, myself, the driver,
13 and the warrant officer also each had a long barrel on us, an automatic
14 rifle, to be more precise.
15 Q. Thank you very much. Do you remember what time of day it was when
16 you left for Negoslavci, when you left Belgrade for Negoslavci?
17 A. To the best of my recollection, I came to work that day. That
18 normally started at half past 8.00 in the morning. After that the driver
19 reported to me, so he was good to go and he was waiting for me in the
20 front yard of the General Staff building. It was about an hour later
21 after we had first reported to work the three of us were off, the driver,
22 myself, and the warrant officer.
23 Q. Do you recall which route you took to Negoslavci?
24 A. Yes, of course I do. The order said route, mission, and
25 approximately the hour at which we had to complete the mission on that
1 day. The route to be taken was Belgrade, along the motorway until the
2 forking off to Sid, from Sid to Negoslavci.
3 Q. Thank you. Did anybody intercept you on your way there or not?
4 A. Not just myself but at the point of exit from Sid there was a -- a
5 checkpoint, a swing gate where all the vehicles would be pulled over,
6 including mine. Since all the police officers knew me because we had
7 frequently gone on target practice in Sid, as soon as I approached the
8 checkpoint, the police officer there recognised me, greeted me, and I went
10 Q. On your arrival in Negoslavci, what did you do next? Did you come
11 in touch with anyone?
12 A. Yes. According to the standard military practice, I have to
13 report to the local commander, and so I did. I reported to Colonel
14 Mrksic. Since I did not know the disposition of his units and I wanted to
15 tour them, he assigned me with an escort, a major, who took me to see the
16 units, and I saw the artillery battalion, that's to say, the light rocket
17 artillery battalion.
18 Q. Did you stay at Colonel Mrksic's for a while or not on that
20 A. No. There was no need for that. He, on the other side, did not
21 have time to talk to me, but we agreed on one important matter. He asked
22 me when I was due back, and I told him that I would like to return early
23 in the afternoon before the -- before dusk, and he asked me not to hurry
24 on my way because he would like to come to Belgrade. And as far as
25 security concerns, he told me not to worry about that, that he would see
1 to that.
2 Q. Did he tell you at that point why he was heading to Belgrade or
3 did your conversation end there?
4 A. No, he didn't tell me at that point, but later on on our way back
5 to Belgrade we talked in the car and he told me that he had an important
6 meeting with the minister, the federal secretary at the General Staff. He
7 told me that this was the reason why he came along with me, the reason
8 also being that he would use this same vehicle, and that he would also
9 seize this opportunity to visit his family and spend the night there.
10 Q. You told us that you arrived in that sector with certain missions
11 and that you told Colonel Mrksic that you had to tour some units, and he
12 assigned you an officer for that purpose. Can you tell us which officer
13 that was and which units -- units was it that you saw?
14 A. I wanted to see the logistical battalion and the light artillery
15 battery. The officer assigned to me by Colonel Mrksic was Jovan Petrovic,
16 who was available at the time, and Mrksic assigned him to escort me and
17 see me through the area where his units were deployed.
18 Q. In -- since this officer escorted you to this area, do you recall
19 where the logistics unit that you saw was stationed?
20 A. Before I answer this question, let me first remind you of the
21 following: I was the commander of the unit, so that I knew this
22 particular major from before. The fact that he assisted me in touring
23 these units was just the result of the goodwill exhibited by his commander
24 and himself. I said that I wanted to tour these two points, that was the
25 logistics battalion of which I didn't know before. And major took me to
1 see the battalion that was stationed in the village of Brko [as
2 interpreted]. I was particularly interested in the medical element of the
3 logistics unit, to visit the wounded and to present them with modest gifts
4 that I had taken along on behalf of the Federal Secretariat, which
5 included juices that normally in peacetime the soldiers would receive as
6 part of their rations, several packages of cigarettes and two packages of
8 Q. Thank you. I only wish to make a correction of the transcript.
9 On page 14, line 5, the village mentioned was Berak.
10 Were you received by the commanding officer of the medical unit of
11 the logistics battalion? Do you recall?
12 A. Yes. Dr. Bratislav Jovanovic, an old acquaintance of mine also,
13 because he used to be the chief of medical corps in the brigade earlier
14 when I served there. He received me there and took me to see the rooms
15 where the wounded were put up. Later on we went to see the commanding
16 officers and the civilian personnel working for the logistics battalion.
17 We had a talk. I told them what I knew of the situation in the country at
18 the time. We discussed the current events. They put questions to me and
19 as far as I was able to I tried to explain to them the situation in which
20 we were at the time.
21 I can't tell you how long this took because I was not really
22 pressed that far for time. I only recall that we talked until the time
23 came when the army personnel had to go for lunch, and I joined them and
24 had lunch with they will. I can't tell you roughly when it was, but it
25 was during my visit to the area where the logistics battalion was
2 Q. Tell me, after visiting the logistics battalion, did you go to see
3 any other part of the Vukovar sector?
4 A. Yes. As I said a moment ago, I had this other place that I wanted
5 to visit. After we had our lunch, together with the major and the driver,
6 we went to see the light rocket artillery battalion where we were met by
7 Lesanovic, who has in charge of the unit. He could not stay with us for
8 long because he had another obligations at the headquarters, but I stayed
9 there with his subordinates and soldiers where we also discussed the
10 events of that day and of the previous day.
11 Specifically, in addition to Lesanovic, I was also received by
12 persons who were officers also at the time I served there but had in the
13 meantime been promoted, captain Savo Cvetanovic and Mijatovic whose first
14 name I can't recall but they were the same generation of officers. I said
15 Savo Cvetanovic.
16 Q. Thank you. Do you remember -- did you find out where the unit was
17 stationed? Did you see where it was stationed, in what part of town?
18 A. When I arrived there, I was able to see where it was. There was a
19 checkpoint at the gate to what was formerly a winery in Vukovar. The
20 hosts met me there, and they told me that the unit was stationed within
21 the compound of the winery.
22 Q. Thank you. Please tell us if you remember what you did there and
23 how long the visit to this unit lasted.
24 A. Again, I have to see about the time. I had the approval from
25 Colonel Mrksic that I need not move in haste. So that would be one time
1 reference. The other time reference would be that I had to talk to people
2 and inform them about the matters from my purview.
3 Just as with the other unit, I went for lunch with them here. I
4 spent the whole afternoon with the unit until it was time for supper,
5 which normally takes place at 7.00 p.m. That was when the soldiers
6 started preparing for line-up and for supper.
7 Q. Did you join them for supper?
8 A. Not this time. I did not have the appetite. I wasn't hungry.
9 Q. What did you do then?
10 A. We were waiting for a call from Mrksic from the headquarters in
11 order to proceed on to Belgrade.
12 Q. Did this call take place and, if so, when?
13 A. The call took place a bit before the army personnel started
14 preparing for supper. I was told that I should report to the headquarters
15 and that Mrksic would be there waiting for us. So it was that major and I
16 set off for the headquarters. Petrovic got out of the car, Mrksic got in
17 the car, and we proceeded along the following route: Negoslavci, Sid,
19 Q. Can you tell me what time of day it was? And I mean the point
20 when you set off along the route toward Sid.
21 A. If you followed what I was saying, we left Negoslavci at around
22 7.00 p.m., because that was when normally the supper in the army would
23 take place. Then we had to drive over to the headquarters, and we could
24 have reached the headquarters by 7.30 or 8.00 p.m.
25 Q. As you told us that it was roughly 7.30 or 8.00 p.m., can you tell
1 me whether this was already at night-time? Was it dusk or was it still
3 A. That bit I remember, because I said at the start of my evidence
4 that I told Mrksic that I would not want to head back by night. At this
5 point in time, it was -- it was dark because it was night-time already,
6 and this was something that I expressed my fears about. However, Mrksic
7 sought to that bit.
8 Q. You say Mrksic saw to that. Can you tell us in what way?
9 A. You know that the commander is entitled to an escort in peacetime
10 and in time of war, be it within the area where his units or deployed or
11 outside the area. He exercised this right, and we had his escort that
12 followed behind us on an APC. At any rate, it was a military police
13 vehicle that escorted us and drove behind us. It was a commander's
15 Q. Did Colonel Mrksic have personal security guards in the car when
16 you were with him together on that particular day?
17 A. If we do not take into account the vehicle that drove behind us,
18 then we can say that he did not have any, but there was no need for that
19 because in the car there was the driver, the major [as interpreted],
20 Mrksic and I.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Warrant officer,
22 Mrksic and I.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And there was no need for that.
24 There could have been another car but he decided that one car was enough.
25 And besides, the driver, warrant officer and I were also armed, and we
1 also in that sense amounted to a certain form of security.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. I just want to intervene into the transcript. Page 17, line 23.
4 The transcript reads "driver, the major, Mrksic and I." It should
5 read, "the driver, the warrant officer, Mrksic and I."
6 Sir, what about the military police vehicle? Did it follow you
7 all the way to Belgrade?
8 A. No. There was no need. It followed us as far as the swing gate
9 at Sid where we were again stopped by the police officers manning the
10 swing gate for a short check. Mrksic took the opportunity to leave the
11 vehicle and dismissed the escort vehicle. We had been outside the combat
12 area by now, and there were no longer any security reasons or any real
13 danger for the remaining part of the way from Sid to Belgrade.
14 Q. You've mentioned twice already the swing gate or the checkpoint at
15 Sid. Do you remember where exactly this checkpoint was? What was the
16 environment like? I'm talking about the place where you were stopped. If
17 you can remember, sir. If not, we can just press on.
18 A. It's easy for anybody to remember. It was easy to notice and to
19 remember. If you approach it from the direction of Negoslavci, the fact
20 is we were stopped there. This was the -- the far end of the settlement.
21 There used to be a market over there or something like that, but that was
22 the only military detail or element along that entire road as far as
23 Belgrade, the only such swing gate or checkpoint where we had to stop.
24 Q. Thank you very much. How long did you stay in Sid for on that
25 occasion at the swing gate?
1 A. Very briefly. Very briefly. There wasn't anything much that
2 needed doing. The policemen recognised us. They recognised Mrksic and
3 recognised me. They asked us if we had anything in the trunk, and we said
4 nothing at all. They said any weapons, and we showed them the weapons we
5 were carrying. There was no problem, really, because they knew who we
6 were, and they knew that we were ordered back. They just let us through.
7 Q. Were you stopped anywhere else before you reached Belgrade?
8 A. Yes. The way into Belgrade was guarded and monitored for civilian
9 and military vehicles alike. There was a swing gate across the entire
10 span of the motorway, the entire breadth of the motorway. There were the
11 usual toll booths, this time reinforced by blocks of concrete, and all the
12 trucks and civilian vehicles had to take the left lane, whereas the
13 military vehicles took the right lane on the hard shoulder, as it were,
14 near the fields, the meadows. There were the police men regulating
15 traffic and sending vehicles to the left or to the right depending on
16 whether the vehicles for civilian or military.
17 We reached this other checkpoint. There was a brief check, but we
18 never encountered any other policemen until we reached our final
20 Q. How long did you take at this checkpoint, roughly speaking?
21 A. I'm truly sorry, I can't pinpoint the time down to the last
22 minute. Only a few minutes. A brief stop, a very brief stop. As soon as
23 the policemen recognised us, the colonels, immediately their behaviour was
24 in line with that. They knew there was nothing that needed checking.
25 They knew the vehicle was roadworthy. They knew we were officers, not to
1 be thoroughly checked simply because there was no reason to.
2 Q. How long did it take you to get from Negoslavci across Sid to
3 Belgrade that evening when you drove with Colonel Mrksic?
4 A. I know what the distance is, and I can try to think back. We had
5 our dinner with the other soldiers first and drove from the battalion back
6 to the command. If you take that into account, I would say that we left
7 sometime between 7.30 and 8.00 that evening. And we could have taken up
8 to one and a half hours to reach Belgrade.
9 When I was back in the barracks, the reference point I used was I
10 realised it was late at night already. But the thing is, I didn't really
11 need to watch the time, nor was I told by anyone to watch the time and
12 mind the -- the entire time line. It was, after all, a long time ago, and
13 I'm not getting any younger myself. Therefore, I might be slightly wrong
14 about the timing of this entire situation. Don't hold me to it.
15 Q. You say you left Negoslavci at about 7.30 or 8.00 that evening.
16 You drove on for about one and a half hours. You arrived late at night.
17 But if I add the whole thing up, it would seem that you arrive at about
18 9.00, 9.30 that evening, wouldn't it?
19 A. Yes, roughly speaking. I think your calculation makes sense.
20 That's the way it was. When we arrived and I returned to my barracks, I
21 realised it was late at night. It was before midnight, but it certainly
22 was not early evening. And it's just as you have suggested. It may have
23 been about 9.30 or 10.00 that we reached our final destination, Mrksic's
25 Q. Did you first drive to Mrksic's flat or did you first drive to the
2 A. It was late. We had no business over at the command, the
3 headquarters. We drove straight to Mrksic's flat, because that was the
4 only way for Mrksic to get there, the only vehicle he had, the one that we
5 had arrived in from Negoslavci. So we took advantage of that and drove
6 into his flat, after which the driver and myself returned to our own jobs,
7 get a change of clothes, and we both drove back home once our mission had
8 been completed.
9 Q. Were you required to contact anybody at the federal ministry for
10 All People's Defence once back from the mission or not?
11 A. Indeed we were. The cabinet itself did not comprise too many
12 officers, mostly high-ranking ones, colonels and upwards. There were
13 shifts of duty all the time, and whoever was on duty was authorised to
14 give certain types of orders to authorise the use of vehicles, to receive
15 reports from units on the ground and those of us arriving from the front.
16 This duty officer would then submit this to the chef de cabinet.
17 Colonel Nedjo Copic was on duty that evening. I told him that we
18 were now back in Belgrade and that I drove Colonel Mrksic to Belgrade. I
19 told him he came with us. But he was the very person preparing that
20 briefing, and he knew that Mrksic was due for a briefing or a meeting with
21 the federal secretary, didn't need telling.
22 I went straight to my office and the warrant officer went straight
23 to his own. I had a change of clothes. I put on my civilian clothes that
24 I had worn to work that morning and I got into my car and drove back to my
1 Q. Bearing in mind the meeting at the federal secretary, the date for
2 that meeting was the 21st of November. In relation to that, can you
3 determine the date that you were in Negoslavci and that you drove Colonel
4 Mrksic back to Belgrade?
5 A. You mean a weekday or the date as in which date it was?
6 Q. Day of the month, I mean.
7 A. That's all right. As we were leaving Belgrade, I requested a
8 vehicle on the day of Vukovar's liberation, but I wasn't authorised a
9 vehicle the same day. I wasn't authorised one until two days later.
10 Vukovar had been liberated on the 18th. So I got my vehicle that I'd
11 requested on the 20th. It was on the 20th of November that I eventually
12 arrived in Negoslavci. So all of what I've told you so far took place on
13 the 20th of November.
14 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Coric. I have no further questions for
16 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I have no questions for this
17 witness, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No questions, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Mr. Moore.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Moore:
22 Q. Can I just try and clarify one or two reference points. You said
23 that you went to Negoslavci and what I'd call the general Vukovar area on
24 the 20th of November. I think that is correct, is not?
25 A. Indeed. That's correct. The 20th of November.
1 Q. And during that day you had various appointments and meetings with
2 individuals, some of which you remember reasonably precisely. Would that
3 be correct?
4 A. That's correct. As I've pointed out already, me and those people
5 go back some way, years back. It wasn't on that day that I met most of
6 them. First of all, I was happy to see them doing well, alive and well.
7 I was happy to meet them there. So this is an experience the likes of
8 which can only be gone through by someone whose associates were as great
9 as mine were.
10 Q. Yes. Thank you. And would it be right to say that you remember
11 the lunch with the officers and supper with the soldiers? Would that be
13 A. That is not right. I did not have dinner there. I did have
14 lunch, not with the officers though. I had military rations together with
15 the soldiers there, the foot soldiers.
16 Q. Sir, when you said that, "We had our dinners with the soldiers,"
17 you're not meaning to suggest the dinner at 7.00 in the evening? Is that
18 what you're saying?
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours. I
22 think the witness never said he had dinner with the soldiers.
23 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry, Mr. Vasic, he said he had -- firstly,
24 that he didn't, and then later, when calculating times, he said that he
25 did. So the matter needs to be clarified.
1 Yes, Mr. Moore.
2 MR. MOORE:
3 Q. You've heard the learned Judge's reply. When you say that you had
4 dinner with the soldiers, was that with the soldiers there on the ground
5 or with what I will call some of the soldiers or officers who were
6 travelling with you? Can you clarify that for us?
7 A. I was crystal clear. I said 1900 hours, military dinner, military
8 preparations for dinner. I used that as a reference point to calculate
9 the time from there on. That's why I mentioned the military dinner. The
10 soldiers were preparing to take dinner, but not me. I merely used that as
11 a reference point, but I did not include myself, and I think I was
12 perfectly clear.
13 Q. In any event, you were aware of dinner being taken that evening,
14 military time, 7.00 thereafter; is that right?
15 A. To be quite precise, it was at 1900 hours or 7.00 in the
16 afternoon. You can't have dinner at 7.00, can you?
17 Again, I use this time as a mere reference point to know when I
18 got there and when I left there, when I left the position of the light
19 artillery rocket battalion.
20 Q. Do you read English? Do you understand English?
21 A. No.
22 Q. So looking at the screen, is it in English or B/C/S?
23 A. English.
24 Q. Let's just deal then with what you've said. Do you accept that
25 you saw people having dinner at 1900 hours? Is that correct?
1 A. Sir, I didn't say they were having dinner. There is something in
2 the army called preparation. They wash their hands, they prepare the
3 rations, orders are read, soldiers are lined up. It is only after that
4 that military dinner is taken.
5 I didn't say I took dinner myself. I said they were about to.
6 They were preparing. And I used that as a reference point to determine
7 the time that evening to see if it was early or late, and then I arrived
8 at the conclusion that the time might have been at about 1900 hours.
9 Q. Well, I'm asking you as a civilian to tell me whether in actual
10 fact there is a set time for the serving of dinner within the JNA army in
11 1991. That's all I'm asking, just information.
12 A. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner always take place at a time that is
13 strictly determined. You can have different kinds of food, dry or cooked,
14 but always at the same time ordered by the commander. There is always an
15 order determining the exact time at which breakfast, lunch, and dinner are
16 to be taken.
17 Q. So I'm simply asking for information. What was happening at 1900
18 hours in the kitchens or whether they were going to be served. Can you
19 just tell us, are they preparing? Are they serving? Are they lining up?
20 I'd like to know, please, in more detail what you're saying is happening
21 at around about 1900 hours.
22 A. I've told you, haven't I. I wasn't in the kitchen myself. I did
23 not take dinner. All I said was the soldiers were preparing for dinner.
24 When I say "preparing," every soldier knows what that means and when
25 dinner is taken and when dinner is served.
1 Q. So the answer is you really don't know; is that right?
2 A. I don't understand your question.
3 Q. Well, I've asked you about four times, can you give us the
4 actual -- what people are doing at that time? Are they preparing food?
5 Are they serving food? Are they washing their hands? Because you seem to
6 be very precise about it. And I want to know why you were so precise.
7 What were they doing?
8 A. They were carrying out preparations for dinner at 1900 hours, sir.
9 After preparations, there's the line-up, there's the distribution of
10 dinner. It's the military custom. I used to do that myself years ago.
11 The schedule is ordered and very detailed. You know exactly when to do
13 Q. Did you speak to any of the people, who were queueing up for food,
14 as a former commanding officer?
15 A. No. I did not even go where the soldiers were being lined up. I
16 was sitting with those officers in one of the rooms and we were talking.
17 I couldn't see whether dinner was actually being served, nor did I have
18 any reason to go and check. There was nothing I could do about it. I
19 couldn't help it, and I could do nothing about it. I simply mentioned
20 that as a reference point for the time, I left the winery sector and was
21 off to the brigade headquarters.
22 Q. You have told us in your evidence that you think that you left
23 somewhere between 7.30 and 8.00. And secondly, you believe the journey
24 took about one and a half hours. That's what you've told us in evidence.
25 Do you remember saying that?
1 A. That's right. I did say that. I can only confirm that. That's
2 why I mentioned 1930 hours as some sort of a reference point, reference
3 point in time for us to proceed on the basis of.
4 Q. Later on you actually said when you arrived in Belgrade that it
5 was not early evening. You then said it may have been 9.30 to 10.00 p.m.
6 Do you remember saying that? Because you did.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And then you also said, "It was before midnight." Now, I want to
9 deal with that particular phrase, "It was before midnight." Would it be
10 fair to say that if you're talking about accuracy here that you are
11 satisfied that it was before midnight, but your estimate is somewhere
12 between 9.30 and 10.00? Would that be a fair way of putting it?
13 A. Yes. When I said before midnight, that was because we were there
14 before midnight. We all know what midnight means. It could have been by
15 midnight. But I also said that dusk was long gone by the time we got
16 there. We had already reached halfway between Sid and Belgrade by the
17 time dusk fell, and when we arrived it might have been 9.30 or 10.00 in
18 the evening.
19 Q. Can I just deal with the distance? From memory I seem to remember
20 it is about 130 or 140 kilometres between Negoslavci and Belgrade?
21 A. Yes, even more.
22 Q. A figure that rattles in my head is 157. Does that rattle
23 anything in your head at all?
24 A. 160, roughly speaking. I think you could round it off to your
1 Q. Well, let's just work on the 160, if I may. Armoured personnel
2 carriers, from having unfortunately dealt with armoured personnel
3 carriers, they tend to move rather slowly on occasion. Do you agree with
4 that, compared with an ordinary private vehicle?
5 A. That's right. But even civilian vehicles did not drive at full
6 throttle exactly. We knew we were being followed by a combat vehicle that
7 could only go as fast as 50 or 60 kilometres per hour. We stuck to that
8 sort of speed. Our own passenger vehicle drove at that speed, and so did
9 the combat vehicle.
10 Q. Can I just ask you about this combat vehicle? Armoured personnel
11 carriers tend to come in three forms from memory. One is it is only
12 tyres, one it is tyres and half track, and third is full track. What was
13 the armoured personnel carrier that was following your vehicle that
14 evening? Can you remember?
15 A. The Combat vehicle was behind us. I couldn't see its tyres or its
16 caterpillars. It was driving behind us at a distance of perhaps 50 or 60
17 metres. I was not able to identify the vehicle exactly but I know the
18 vehicles we have. They usually have wheels and sometimes they are as fast
19 as passenger vehicles or thereabouts. So there you have it. We were
20 probably being followed by a vehicle powerful enough to keep abreast.
21 Q. In relation to distance from Negoslavci to Sid, again I require
22 your assistance on that. What would that be, about 50 kilometres?
23 A. I think even less, but I never kept track of that. There was
24 never any need for me to. But we might as well get a map and have a look
25 if you like.
1 Q. Well, I'll try and ensure we'll get one. We're about to end this
2 section, I believe. Can we deal with it this way: There was always
3 concern on the Negoslavci to Sid road that there might have been some form
4 of military incident? Would that be correct? Would that be a fair way of
5 putting it?
6 A. Yes. Incidents did happen. They weren't that frequent, but some
7 did happen. There was no incident on our way there, and we just reached
8 our destination in the best possible way.
9 Q. When one is travelling at night in military vehicle or military
10 convoy, there are various ways of doing it. One can put the lights on, or
11 one can use dimmed lights, and sometimes if the moonlight is bright
12 enough, you don't use any lights to attract the attention of snipers.
13 Would you agree were that?
14 A. Snipers couldn't harm us at night. As for the rest, you're quite
15 right. If there's a convoy, lights are dimmed. We call those dimmed
16 lights military lights. But this was not a war zone, and we behaved just
17 as ordinary passengers would have.
18 Between Negoslavci and Sid was a different story altogether, but
19 from Sid to Belgrade we were just passengers in a passenger vehicle.
20 Q. I want to deal with the route from Negoslavci to Sid. Firstly, I
21 would submit -- sorry, wrong forum. I would suggest that you drove more
22 cautiously on that stretch of the road. Would you agree with that?
23 A. I don't know what you mean by more cautiously. The driver is a
24 professional who has long-standing experience in driving, because he
25 hasn't started driving at that point, and he does his job well. And I
1 myself did not pay attention to him. Had there been an incident, I would
2 have been aware of it. In the army, of course we always take measures to
3 avert any incidents.
4 In this case we did that, and there was no need for any special
5 security arrangements other than the ones we had.
6 Q. All I'm suggesting to you is this: On the trip from Negoslavci to
7 Sid, you travelled more cautiously. Yes or no?
8 A. Yes, of course, because this was the dangerous area, and of course
9 we were more cautious on that stretch of the road than afterwards. But
10 this does not mean to say that we drove at a slower pace, rather, that our
11 level of alert was higher.
12 Q. In any event, if it's 160 kilometres, bearing in mind you go
13 through 50 kilometres, if it be that, of difficult terrain and a hundred
14 kilometres towards Belgrade, would you assess that that journey would have
15 taken somewhere between two and a half and three hours? Would that be a
16 fair estimate? And that is why you think it was before midnight.
17 A. As far as the distance is concerned, I already said that I wasn't
18 sure about the exact number of kilometres. However, the stretch of road
19 between Sid and Belgrade could be covered more quickly than the earlier
20 stretch. At some sections of the road the driver may even have speeded,
21 although I had confidence himself because he was a professional driver.
22 In some cases the stretch of the road can be covered in less than hour.
23 Q. Yes. But all I'm suggesting is if you look at the two things,
24 one, that you feel certain that you got back before midnight; and two,
25 given the road difficulties between Negoslavci and Sid but not road
1 difficulties between Sid and Belgrade, the time estimate of between two
2 and a half to three hours would be fair.
3 A. Two hours would be fair, in my view. As I said, the stretch of
4 the motorway between Sid and Belgrade can be covered in about 40 minutes
5 if you drive at 140 to 150 kilometres per hour. So my estimate would be
6 closer to two hours than to three hours.
7 Q. Okay. Well, I'm not going to go into the minutiae of that. Let
8 us deal with one or two other areas.
9 Clearly you had as you knew him, Colonel Mrksic in your vehicle.
10 As you say. You have been to Vukovar and you have seen the general
11 well-being of some of the troops. Would that be correct?
12 A. I don't understand your question. I apologise. You have got
13 Colonel Mrksic in the vehicle. He is of equal rank to you. Sometimes
14 junior officers don't like to speak to senior officers and vice versa, but
15 both of you are of the same rank, basically. That's right, is it?
16 A. That's right. The two of us were of the same rank, but we were
17 also comrades, and not from the day before but back from mid-1970s.
18 Whenever we are in front of soldiers and when the soldiers are lined up,
19 we know how to behave. However, privately we are comrades, and we do not
20 pay attention to ranks or duties.
21 Q. But actually, you're more than a comrade, are you? You're
22 actually a good friend of Mr. Mrksic. Is that not correct?
23 A. I've known Mrksic when he was a young man, when he came to the
24 brigade. Then he was -- to the Guards Brigade. Then he was assigned to
25 other units and then was again assigned to my unit where he was the Chief
1 of Staff, and you can't get closer than that. In addition to the military
2 duties that we had, we developed a relationship, a friendship of comradery
3 which did not pay any particular attention to the ranks that each of us
4 held. We were friends.
5 Q. Thank you. And it's actually more than that, isn't it, within a
6 guards regiment, because it is the elite regiment, officers tend to be
7 very protective of one another. That's correct, isn't it?
8 A. Again, I apologise. I don't understand which way we protect and
10 Q. Well, let's set aside malfeasance for a moment. Let us set aside
11 bad dealings. We'll just deal with general dealings. Would you accept in
12 a guards regiment because its elite nature that the officers tend to
13 support one another as and when they can?
14 A. To support a different matter. In the times of war we lent
15 support to each other especially where one person is wounded and the other
16 isn't. We even risk our lives. In peacetime we support one another as
17 members of the Guards Brigade.
18 In our opinion, the relations between officers have to be human.
19 The situation may be different compared to some armies in the West.
20 You're right that the colonel can't go along with the lieutenant colonel
21 and so on and so forth. The superior/subordinate relationship is
22 difficult. However, in our case, we called ourself the Yugoslavia
23 People's Army and the situation was quite different. One has respect for
24 the other person regardless of the rank the person holds and the line of
25 profession the person comes from.
1 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, I'm -- I've nearly finished with this
2 topic, but it might be an appropriate moment just to deal with the break
3 now if that's acceptable to the Court.
4 JUDGE PARKER: It is just the right time, Mr. Moore.
5 We will have the first break, resuming at five minutes past 4.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.07 p.m.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Moore.
9 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
10 Q. Mr. Coric, when you arrived in Vukovar, did you actually go to the
11 Vukovar Hospital itself?
12 A. No, and I don't know where it is.
13 Q. Thank you. When you were travelling in the car on the way back to
14 Belgrade, I presume that you had some discussions with Mr. Mrksic. Would
15 that be correct?
16 A. That's correct. We talked, but we did not select specific topics
17 or think of the conversation in advance. It was just a chitchat as we'd
18 call it, without any particular order or any specific subject matter. We
19 inquired after each other's families and so on.
20 Q. Was he concerned about anything at all?
21 A. I don't know. You have to ask him. This wasn't something I was
22 able to notice. First of all, I wasn't interested, and second of all, it
23 was night-time. I couldn't really see his facial expressions.
24 Q. I can't ask him because he doesn't want to come out to play, as is
25 his right. So I'm asking you. So what were the topics that you were
2 A. I told you, sir, that I can neither remember nor were these topics
3 taken in any particular order. You know how it is when you chat with
4 someone. You don't touch upon anything specific.
5 I knew why he came along with me, because this was something he
6 told me at the outset, at the start of my journey, but we did not discuss
7 about anything else. There was no need for that. And besides, we were
8 not alone in the car. So it boiled down to chatting. All four of us took
9 part in the conversation, Colonel Mrksic, the warrant officer's driver and
11 Q. So in reality, you are remembering this trip 15 years ago from
12 memory; is that right? There is nothing else to refresh your memory, no
13 document, no reference document; is that correct?
14 A. The document pursuant to which I travelled and pursuant to which I
15 was supposed to come to Negoslavci must exist, although I don't know where
16 it is. I recall that I was able to be assigned a car, a driver, and I
17 must have had papers underpinning my trip to Negoslavci.
18 Q. Can I just say, I, in no way, am taking issue of whether in actual
19 fact you went to Vukovar. What I am taking issue with is that Colonel
20 Mrksic travelled with you back to Belgrade. Do you understand?
21 A. I don't understand.
22 Q. Well, I will tell you why if you don't understand the question.
23 Because Colonel Mrksic has on two occasions before courts indicated that
24 he travelled in the morning. One of those times he said he travelled by
25 helicopter. Would that surprise you, that he was going to Belgrade on
1 that occasion?
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Objection. Objection, Your Honour.
3 Thank you, Your Honour. The topic that my learned friend Moore is
4 currently dealing with has I believe been the subject of evidence toward
5 the end of the Prosecution case. At the time, it was said that such a
6 case would be put only to one of the three if -- accused if they decided
7 to testify.
8 The statement that are referred to here which were given before
9 judicial authorities in Belgrade at the time when he did not have a
10 Defence counsel to represent him is something that should -- should not be
11 referred in this case because I don't believe it is in accordance with the
12 Rules or the Statute of the Tribunal.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, I don't understand those last comments,
14 but I do understand, I believe, that you say that there was some
15 undertaking or statement by the Prosecution about the use that could be
16 made of these matters. That's your first point, isn't it?
17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will
18 clarify in two sentences. My learned friend referred to a statement made
19 by the accused Mrksic while addressing the witness here. The only such
20 statement by Mrksic could be the one that he gave to judicial bodies. I
21 don't think that my learned friend can refer to such a statement and put
22 it to the witness, because before this Tribunal we cannot put to witnesses
23 statements given in other cases on the same topic if they did not have a
24 Defence counsel at the time.
25 I believe that this has already been a matter of discussion before
1 the end of the Prosecution case. We have even filed a motion, and that
2 was a motion filed by all the three Defence teams on this subject.
3 The Prosecutor is here trying to use portions of the statement and
4 wants to put them to the witness. As this is an outstanding motion, I
5 don't think my learned friend should be using these earlier statements.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, I'm not aware of any motion from --
7 during the Prosecution case that is still current, that hasn't been dealt
9 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
10 JUDGE PARKER: Oh, this is a very new one. Yes. Very well.
11 Mr. Moore.
12 MR. MOORE: Three things. Firstly, from recollection, we had
13 submitted that they should be permitted for cross-examination.
14 Secondly, this witness gives evidence that is highly relevant to
15 an issue for the Court to determine. Clearly, the issue is notice and
16 goes to the very heart of the matter. This witness has said that Mr.
17 Mrksic travelled with him. In our submission, this witness and the
18 Prosecution should be entitled to put to this witness, to say quite simply
19 what Mrksic has said and to see what this witness's reply will be. It
20 might well be that he says "He is entirely wrong, my memory is correct,"
21 or he might say, for example, "I might be wrong. It might be a different
22 day." Therefore, in our submission, the Court would be entitled to assess
23 the reply of the witness on a salient point in relation to this issue.
24 Thirdly, it is hearsay. I accept that, but hearsay is admissible.
25 Those would be my submissions in respect of this matter.
1 JUDGE PARKER: In what respect is this hearsay? Could you remind
3 MR. MOORE: Technically it is not hearsay as such because hearsay
4 does not apply, and clearly it is in the hearing of the defendant. But I
5 suppose if one was to submit in relation to it, it is a statement made by
6 another person not in the presence of the defendant, but here of course it
7 is the defendant, and therefore it doesn't apply. Really, I think the
8 core issue of a person being reminded of a statement made by another
9 person when this witness was not present. Perhaps hearsay is an
10 inappropriate word for that.
11 JUDGE PARKER: As I understand what you want to put to the witness
12 are statements that you assert have been made by the accused
13 himself --
14 MR. MOORE: Correct.
15 JUDGE PARKER: -- in other proceedings.
16 MR. MOORE: Yes. Dealing with this issue specifically. And it's
17 not a case of extraction. It is a case of dealing with the issue that
18 this witness has brought before the Court and the Court seeks, and the
19 Defence of Mrksic seek to rely upon.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Is this the subject of the motion?
21 MR. MOORE: Yes.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Anything further, Mr. Vasic?
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you. I would
24 like to remind my learned friend of the fact that it was on the 12th of
25 June, 2006, on page 10291, lines 24 and 25, when he asked of the Trial
1 Chamber leave to put questions only -- to put questions concerning the
2 accused about the -- what they had stated in statements before other
3 courts of law. However, therein, he did not request that he be allowed to
4 put such statements to witnesses.
5 In addition to that, pursuant to the Trial Chamber's order, the
6 Defence responded to this motion, and my learned friend Moore should reply
7 to that within eight days. I don't think it's appropriate of him to try
8 and put portions of these statements to this witness. Thank you.
9 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, may I just deal with one -- two matters
10 that my learned friend has raised.
11 The first is we had no notice at all that this witness was being
12 called or that in actual fact witnesses dealing with this topic were
13 within the compass of the Defence case. We did not know that there would
14 be what I would call a quasi-alibi. What was being suggested by the
15 Prosecution was that Mrksic had gone by helicopter. The challenges that
16 had been put were slightly unusual. They were not always constant. So
17 that is the first thing. It is a slightly different issue. We were not
18 placed on the notice that we are now on.
19 The second is this. We only received a motion from the Defence, I
20 think, on Thursday and we have seven days to reply and we are doing that.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber, Mr. Vasic, will allow the questioning
23 to continue but allow it subject to the Chamber's consideration of the
24 written motion that has been put by Defence counsel, and actually allowing
25 this questioning now is not in any way to predetermine or pre-judge our
1 ruling on that motion, and it may be that all of this evidence will come
2 to be excluded once we've considered the motion in detail. It may not. I
3 don't know. But while the witness is here, in case the motion should be
4 dismissed, we think the evidence should be recorded, and we will then
5 decide what, if any, use may be made of the evidence in the context of the
7 Yes, Mr. Moore.
8 MR. MOORE:
9 Q. Mr. Mrksic appeared before what I will call courts on the 25th of
10 February, 1998, and 17th of December, 1998, eight years ago, and he said
11 to the court that he left at 8.15 in the morning. Now, he was actually
12 saying the 19th, but without going into the details, he was a day out for
13 various reasons. So he doesn't accept at all that he went by car with
15 JUDGE PARKER: On that statement, Mr. Moore.
16 MR. MOORE: On that statement, of course.
17 Q. Secondly, he gave evidence on the 17th of December, 1998, and
18 there he said that he left at 0800 hours and he went by helicopter. Not
19 by car, by helicopter, leaving in the morning. There's no reference
20 whatsoever to him travelling by car.
21 So I would suggest to you that your evidence is either mistaken or
22 untrue. Do you follow me?
23 A. I don't know what this is for, but I can tell you that he did
24 travel with me and that it was on the 20th. I don't know where you came
25 up with the other information, but I don't know how you can take the
1 liberty of offending me outright and telling me that I lie.
2 Q. That is not what I have said. The material that I rely upon has
3 been taken in a court in Serbia on two occasions, with Serbian judges. Do
4 you understand? It has got nothing to do with this Tribunal. It is to
5 them that he has given that explanation. Do you follow me? I rely on
6 that. What are you saying?
7 A. I wasn't present there when the statements were given before these
8 courts. I can tell you what I told you before, that Mrksic travelled with
9 me in the vehicle on the date that I mentioned. I cannot go into the
10 other information that you may have.
11 Q. Very well. Let me then ask you this: When was the first time
12 that you were spoken to by lawyers acting on behalf of Mr. Mrksic in
13 respect of this hearing?
14 A. Counsel Vasic spoke to me yesterday for the first and the only
16 Q. Whom have you spoken to in Belgrade prior to coming here in
17 respect of the defence of Mr. Mrksic?
18 A. I did not speak to anyone concerning the defence. I spoke to his
19 associate concerning my travel arrangements. I'm not sure what his last
20 name is. He phoned me and asked me when I could be ready for the trip,
21 and that was the gist of our conversation.
22 Q. Well, can you then explain the following to me: I have got two
23 summaries allegedly. The first relates to three lines, then there is an
24 amendment giving us details of what you were going to say. Now, where did
25 the Defence get this material from if you have only spoken to Mr. Vasic
1 and his colleague about your travel arrangements?
2 A. I don't understand. What is your question.
3 Q. Can you just look to me for a moment? Look to your right. I have
4 a document that is created by the Defence. We have your name. The first
5 part has got three lines of what you are going to say. Without wishing to
6 be discourteous in any way, it really says nothing.
7 The second summary, however, is in darker print, you can see it,
8 and it's probably 15 lines of what you are going to say when you came to
9 give evidence. Now, I want to know where that material came from, because
10 you said you only spoke to Mr. Vasic, that was yesterday, and this was
11 served on the Court beforehand, before that date. So where did that come
13 A. I don't know where the document is from. Can I take a look at it?
14 Is this a statement of mine? Do you have my signature? I don't know.
15 But I do claim that I didn't speak to anyone, and I don't know where you
16 came up with that.
17 Q. Well, let me just give you a flavour of what it says. It gives
18 your date and place of birth, 17th of the 7th, 1935. I won't go into
19 where you were born. And then it goes as follows: "This witness was a
20 commander of the Guard's Motorised Brigade before Mr. Mrksic took over
21 that position." Well, clearly that can be found from anyone. "In the
22 relevant period the witness worked at the cabinet of the secretary for
23 national defence in Belgrade." Let's assume for a moment that can be
24 obtained from someone. "On the 20th of November, 1991, this witness came
25 to Vukovar using a military vehicle. He there met Colonel Mrksic, and
1 they agreed that Colonel Mrksic will finish his duties on daily reporting
2 with his subordinate officers and they will leave back to Belgrade with
3 his car."
4 Now, there is a statement of what you are going to tell us in very
5 general terms. Are you saying that you have never told anyone what you
6 were going to say until you saw Mrksic yesterday? Not Mrksic, Mr. Vasic
8 A. That's right. I didn't share that with anyone, nor did anybody
9 ever ask me to. The personal details that you've read out a minute ago,
10 that's all correct. There are a variety of possible sources for that
11 information. If you go through my files with the secretariat, you'll find
12 that. So there's nothing there that isn't in the public domain. Where
13 you get it from, now, that's a different kettle of fish, and it's not for
14 me to ask I suppose.
15 Q. Well, I'm going to continue asking you. The following
16 continues: "In the evening hours, they left Vukovar and arrived to
17 Belgrade after hour and a half. They stopped in front of the building
18 which was Colonel Mrksic's flat. Colonel Mrksic went home and the witness
20 So "in the evening hours." That's not in the public domain, is
21 it? So did you tell someone you were travelling in the evening hours?
22 A. Well, who could I have possibly told that and when, if I'm telling
23 you I have never spoken to anyone with the exception of Mr. Vasic
24 yesterday? Who could I have told? Who could have produced this? Who
25 could have given it to you? That's what I'd be interested in finding out.
1 Q. That's what we'd be interested in finding out, how the Defence are
2 producing documents before you actually give evidence and speak to Mr.
3 Vasic telling what your evidence is going to be. Do you understand?
4 This came in one or two weeks ago and was given to us by the
5 Defence. Are you sure you haven't spoken to someone?
6 A. Again, I've never spoken to anyone about that, nor was there any
7 need for me to speak to anyone about that. The matters raised were do I
8 wish to testify, do I wish to travel, and when exactly would I be ready,
9 and that is what I spoke to his assistant about.
10 Q. I haven't quite finished. What about the hour and a half? Did
11 you tell anybody before yesterday that the trip took an hour and a half?
12 A. No. Yesterday, with you, a while ago, we just established that,
13 didn't we, how long it would take from Negoslavci. And again, we didn't
14 specify the mileage or the speed. It was all in the roughest possible
15 terms. But nobody kept track at the time, so these are all
16 approximations, the speed, the time it took, as well as the distance. I
17 did not speak to anyone else about that.
18 Q. Well, it doesn't quite finish there either. "They stopped in
19 front of the building in which Colonel Mrksic's flat is. Colonel Mrksic
20 went home and the witness left."
21 Where did that information come from? If in actual fact the first
22 time you spoke to Mr. Vasic or his team was yesterday.
23 A. Where I got this information or where someone else got this
24 information? What is it you're asking me? I was myself outside Mrksic's
25 flat. I drove him there, and that's why I know. How can anybody else
1 possibly know? Well, how on earth should I know how someone else got hold
2 of that information, how they wrote it down, and how they eventually got
3 it through to you.
4 Q. Well, it came to us from the Defence. Let us move on to one or
5 two other topics that you may be able to help me with.
6 What is the function of a Chief of Staff, please?
7 A. The function of a Chief of Staff is such that all the ideas and
8 assignments formulated by the commander in the headquarters are for him to
9 give shape to, to draw the relevant maps. In peacetime he runs the
10 training. He makes sure all the equipment is available. He is
11 responsible and stands in for the commander in all things.
12 Q. So would it be right to say that the function of a Chief of Staff
13 is to be aware of everything that is going around around him and his
14 commander? What I would call a second finger on the pulse.
15 A. That is true in part, but he is a commander's deputy and
16 assistant, but there are another five assistants who run their own sectors
17 for which they are responsible.
18 Q. Can you just listen, please, and see if you agree with this
19 analysis, that the Chief of Staff directs the work of the staff. He is
20 also the deputy commander of the brigade. The Chief of Staff in
21 accordance with the commander's decisions has the right to assign tasks to
22 subordinates. The staff consists of an operations and training organ, an
23 intelligence organ, a recruitment and personnel organ, organs for combat
24 arms and the office.
25 Would you agree that that is a good description of the Chief of
1 Staff's function?
2 A. For the most part you have just encompassed most of his work, at
3 least according to the rules.
4 Q. Because I am reading from the brigade command, JNA brigade rules
5 116, paragraph 116, Exhibit 395. So if that is the brigade command and
6 those are the rules, would it be right to say that the Chief of Staff is
7 really the commander in a lesser form?
8 A. You can't have two rules -- you cannot have two commanders
9 according to the rules. You can only have one, the other being his
10 deputy. So it's own logical for the Chief of Staff to -- to act as a
11 deputy. The commander may indeed confer some of his powers on him and
12 delegate responsibility in terms of giving orders and assignments, but the
13 commander's word is always the last, and he is supposed to sign all the
14 commands and all the orders.
15 Q. But when we deal with reality within a military hierarchy, it's
16 also true to say, is it not, that the relationship between a commander and
17 the Chief of Staff is almost a unique relationship. There is a close
18 relationship between those two officers.
19 A. The relationships are one thing, and real commitments and
20 obligations are a different thing altogether, but the one thing applies to
21 the commander, another to the Chief of Staff. They can work together.
22 They can complement each other, but everyone has their own commitments and
23 obligations within the headquarters or within the staff respectively.
24 Q. But wouldn't you accept from me that the Chief of Staff is one of
25 those few officers who can actually go to a commander and discreetly
1 question the commander's judgement on a topic? That's correct, isn't it?
2 A. I don't see why that should be done discreetly. The work is
3 public by its very nature. Everything that goes on in a headquarters is a
4 public matter. There is no need for any whispering, for any muttering
5 under one's breath, especially when the staff are all together and working
6 on something.
7 Q. May I deal, please, with the functioning of the security organ
8 within a brigade? Would it be fair to say that a security organ itself --
9 I will use the phrase, my own phrase -- that a security organ to some
10 extent is a unit that watches to see what is happening and assists if it
11 becomes necessary?
12 A. I would like to remind you of one thing. I would like to ask you
13 one thing, both you and the Chamber. We are straying from the subject
14 matter of my evidence here. We are talking now about the functioning of
15 the staff and the command. We're talking about rules that I had left in
16 my drawer along time ago and may have forgotten bits of them, if you
17 allow. What do I think about the security organ? What do I think about
18 its work? I don't know. When I retired or stopped doing that job 15
19 years ago, that was that. What do I think about all these things. I
20 don't quite understand your question. Therefore, I cannot provide an
21 appropriate answer.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours. My apologies.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] I think the topic's being foisted on
25 the witness, by my learned friend Mr. Moore, are outside the scope of the
1 examination-in-chief and they certainly do not go to the witness's
2 credibility. Therefore, I don't think all these matters should be raised.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, cross-examination is not confined to the
4 subject matter of the witness's evidence in chief and credibility.
5 Cross-examination can be at large as long as it is relevant and within the
6 competence of the witness. In view of the witness's rank and experience,
7 these questions are obviously within his potential knowledge. So the
8 questions are proper. Whether the witness is able to remember and answer
9 them is another matter.
10 Yes, Mr. Moore.
11 MR. MOORE:
12 Q. So what you're saying is because you left the army -- when,
14 A. Early 1992.
15 Q. And so as a result of leaving the army in 1992, it's difficult to
16 remember exactly the functions of the security organ; is that right?
17 A. Not that it's necessarily difficult, but I don't see the point.
18 Why are you asking me to think back to those times and to think about the
19 remit of the security organ? Should I speak about my own unit or organ?
20 Should I speak about everything that you're suggesting? It's just that I
21 fail to see the point or any purpose to it for that matter.
22 Q. Thank you for that. Can you answer the following then: Is the
23 function or was the function of the security organ to look for problems
24 and prevent those problems if they arose? Would that be one of its
1 A. Sir, I'm not sure which problems you have in mine. You tell me
2 the problems. Once you've made it clear, we can have a look. See if it's
3 down to him, see if that's down to the commander, see if it's down to
4 somebody different altogether. What is this problem that he should be
5 preventing and not anybody else within the command or headquarters for
6 that matter.
7 Q. What do you say was the function of the security organ in 1991?
8 You tell us what you believe its task, its function is.
9 A. For that I would need to go back to that organ's documents from
10 the relevant period. I should study the documents, and then I can answer.
11 The security organ protects its own unit from anything that may befall it.
12 It does not protect anyone outside that unit.
13 Q. Can I suggest to you that you are deliberately avoiding the
14 question because you have not been prepared by the Defence on this topic,
15 and you know perfectly well what the function and nature of the security
16 organ is? Do you follow my question?
17 A. Yes. Well, you're pinning all these things on me but I'm dodging
18 the question intentionally, deliberately. And I must tell you something
19 as well. You are deliberately asking me questions that have nothing
20 whatsoever to do with my evidence.
21 Q. What do you say about command and control in relation to a task
22 that is to be organised by that military unit?
23 A. Sir, I took an exam in that subject, the rules and regulations,
24 back in 1968 when I was about to complete military academy. It's been a
25 long time, you know. A lot of things have changed. Some of the
1 interpretations must be different now the way this issue is approached. I
2 don't see what good it could possibly be to you if I try to tackle the
3 subject without adequate preparation and how that would contribute to
4 resolving this issue.
5 Q. How long were you a professional soldier for?
6 A. In actual fact, I worked for 32 years, but then I remained for an
7 extra nine years as a special arrangement.
8 Q. And how long were you an officer for those 32 years?
9 A. Again, I don't see the point.
10 Q. Can you just answer the question, please? It's a simple question.
11 A. It's very complicated. Since the time I completed the academy, I
12 could only have continued being an officer. Since 1968, nearly half a
13 century ago. To this very day, I'm now retired. I've always been an
15 Q. And how long were you a brigade commander?
16 A. About four years.
17 Q. And how long were you a colonel?
18 A. Roughly the same, just over four years. If you really want to
19 know, you can have my personal file. It's all there. You can look at all
20 my promotions, the reasons for my promotions. I'm certainly not
21 duty-bound to remember all these specifics. I don't compartmentalise this
22 sort of information, simply because I have no use for it in my life
23 generally speaking. I try not to burden myself with that sort of thing.
24 Q. Well, can I deal then, please, with a situation which I suspect
25 you may not be able to help us with, and it is this: Let us assume for a
1 moment that you have, as a brigadier or as a colonel, that you have a task
2 to be performed which clearly would be a complex task. Would you accept
3 that under normal circumstances if you were to delegate that task it would
4 normally be accompanied with orders either by the commander or by the
5 person to whom the task was delegated?
6 A. If I understand you, an order received by a brigade commander, if
7 this order is in line with all the regulations that apply, then a brigade
8 commander can carry out this order directly or through his subordinates if
9 his subordinates are able to carry out the order. He tells them about the
10 idea behind the order, and they turn this idea, transform this idea into a
11 specific order which is then carried out. If there is no need for that,
12 the commander normally takes his own decisions and exercises command.
13 Q. And I would suggest in a complex operation you will find a written
14 order either appointing the subordinate to oversee the task or issuing an
15 order giving directives of what should happen so everybody knows where
16 they stand. Do you follow me?
17 A. We're creating a lot of confusion, but again I must say this: In
18 a headquarters or in a staff there must be a plan. What you mentioned a
19 while ago, the regulation, we know what everybody is doing. The
20 commander, the Chief of Staff, we know what their respective remits are.
21 It's not like a commander can just come up with something out of the blue.
22 Q. So if we were dealing with an evacuation being controlled by a
23 brigade, and now you know perfectly well what we're talking about, if
24 there was an evacuation of a large number of prisoners, wouldn't you
25 expect to see a plan and orders in relation to that evacuation, such
1 matters as the route, the number of vehicles, the anticipated danger or
2 threat, the number of guards, the beginning and the end of that particular
3 evacuation? Wouldn't you expect to see that?
4 A. Sir, throughout my career I've never been in a situation where I
5 had to organise and conduct an evacuation. I don't know if anybody else
6 has. The regulations are clear, the regulations as to how this is
7 organised and how this is done. I don't exactly have it at my fingertips
8 right now, but you have all the relevant regulations on how this is done.
9 Q. Very well. I will deal with one final topic, and it is quite
10 simply this: I think it's right to say that you had Sljivancanin, Mr.
11 Sljivancanin, under your authority, I think between 1980 and 1984. I only
12 deal with that period for the reporting period. Do you understand? I
13 will move on. But he was a captain first class at that time. Do you
14 remember? He was a company commander.
15 A. It's slightly difficult for me to remember everything. It has
16 been a long time after that. If you say so. I'm sure this sort of
17 information can be verified. I can go back, dig up that document, see if
18 he was a company commander and what exactly he did in his capacity as
19 company commander.
20 Q. Can I suggest one of the assessments that you made was that his
21 work was very precise, persistent and consistent, that he leaves nothing
22 to chance in order for tasks to be performed to the highest level? Would
23 that accord with your memory of the way he was?
24 A. For as long as I was active as an officer, we called that official
25 assessment. Each junior officer would be periodically assessed as a human
1 being, as a professional, as an officer. There was an official rating as
2 a result. As far as I remember, and please show some respect for my grey
3 hair, that was a long time ago. He was an excellent officer, outstanding
4 in all his marks, with top marks. That's as much as I can remember.
5 Q. And when it comes to your assessment between 1984 and 1987, again
6 extracting certain parts, you described him -- or he was described as
7 being: "He has exceptional capabilities, a natural inclination to
8 command. He is an extraordinary organiser."
9 Again, does that accord with your recollection of him?
10 A. As I said a while ago, if it's down to me to evaluate someone,
11 then I can normally remember. But he had his own superior at the time who
12 proposed an assessment, who proposed his marks. I'm not sure if that was
13 ever passed on to me. It certainly sounds plausible what you read out,
14 but then again I can't say. It should be easy enough to track this down,
15 this assessment and that would certainly be a much more fruitful exercise
16 than getting me to try to remember something that would just not be
18 Q. If may be such documents will come before the Court in due course,
19 but do you accept that that is -- accords with your recollection?
20 A. Well, sir, again, I must ask you, I must beg you if you like --
21 you're taking me back very far. I can hardly remember major things, let
22 alone something like this. Do you know how many subordinates I had such
23 as Sljivancanin? God forbid I should be made to remember about each and
24 every one of them, what assessments I drafted for them, or what
25 assessments somebody else wrote up for them for me to sign. It's totally
1 off the mark to try to think back now and see if I remember something or
2 if I don't.
3 Q. Might it be, God forbid, that you can't remember the 20th of
4 November, 1991?
5 I have no further questions?
6 A. Speaking of the 20th of November, 1991, please, I ask you and I
7 warn you for the last time, during this cross-examination you have
8 offended me at least twice or three times as a human being and a military
9 officer. Please don't do that again. That is just not appropriate. I
10 simply can't have you telling me that I'm a liar, telling me that I'm
11 supporting or not supporting a member of my brigade. The way we were
12 trained was to support justice, to support rule, to support work, and all
13 those who did just that enjoyed our support. All those who were doing the
14 wrong things, who were making mistakes, got no sympathy and no compassion
15 from anyone.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
17 Re-examination by Mr. Vasic:
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
19 I'll try to tackle this in a different way. I'll try to take a different
20 approach and to change tack slightly in comparison to what my learned
21 friend has just been doing.
22 Q. [Interpretation] I would first like to go back to something Mr.
23 Moore confronted you with as some sort of a summary but the Defence had
24 served on them with regard to your testimony.
25 I'll read something out to you and please listen carefully. I'll
1 ask you something about it as soon as I finish, but please pay close
3 "This witness was the commander of the Guards Motorised Brigade
4 before Mr. Mrksic took up that post. At the relevant time, the witness
5 worked in the cabinet of the Federal Secretariat for All Peoples Defence
6 in Belgrade. On the 20th of November, 1991, the present witness arrived
7 in Vukovar in a military vehicle. Having arrived, he met Colonel Mrksic,
8 and they agreed for Colonel Mrksic to complete his duties, specifically,
9 the daily briefing with his subordinates, and that after that he would be
10 off to Belgrade in his vehicle.
11 "That evening, they left Vukovar and arrived in Belgrade an hour
12 and a half later. They stopped outside the building in which Mr. Mrksic
13 owned a flat. Mr. Mrksic went home, and the witness left."
14 Tell me, sir, all these circumstances, could Mr. Mrksic possibly
15 be aware of all these circumstances? Could the Defence team not have
16 found out from him about all these circumstances?
17 A. Are you asking me?
18 MR. MOORE: That's pure speculation.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Tell me, did Mr. Mrksic know that you were employed at the office
22 of the federal secretary at the time?
23 A. Again, it was a long time ago, but all right. Mr. Mrksic saw me
24 off. There was a military ceremony. He saw me off from the post of the
25 commander, and he therefore was aware of the fact that I went to work for
1 the office. It was with his knowledge and organisation.
2 Q. On the 20th of November, did Mr. Mrksic see the car in which you
3 arrived in Negoslavci?
4 A. I don't know whether he saw it or not, but I told him how I had
5 arrived. Therefore, he must have known, because he asked whether he could
6 join me for the trip back.
7 Q. And did he get into that same car and arrive in Belgrade?
8 A. I said this once, and I will repeat. Yes, he did, in the presence
9 of a third persons -- person. That was Major Jovan Petrovic who went out
10 of the car in order for Colonel Mrksic to get into the car.
11 Q. Did you and Mr. Mrksic arrive in Belgrade in the evening hours and
12 stop outside the building where Mr. Mrksic had his flat? And was that
13 where Mr. Mrksic went out of the car?
14 A. I keep confirming that. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you. We are therefore discussing matters which Mr. Mrksic
16 eyewitnessed; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you. I wish to move on to a different topic which has to do
19 with the Chief of Staff. Mr. Moore asked you about the post of the Chief
20 of Staff and you said the Chief of Staff was in fact a deputy commander.
21 You also said that the commander is the one signing orders. I have a
22 follow-up question. In the absence of the commander from the command
23 post, are the orders signed by the Chief of Staff? Is that a rule in the
25 A. Mr. Vasic, that is not only a rule, but that is what is stated
1 within his duties, that the Chief of Staff can sign orders on the basis of
2 the authorisation given to him by the commander which details in what
3 situations this can be done. Therefore, it was the right of the commander
4 to delegate his duties to the persons he saw fit and where he saw fit.
5 Q. And where the commander is away from the command post, for
6 instance, he is in Belgrade, in that case, does the Chief of Staff assume
7 his duties and sign orders on his behalf?
8 A. I repeat, if there is the need for that, where the commander is
9 away for a longer period of time and he deems that there will be duties to
10 attend to, he will address the person standing in for him and explain to
11 him what his decisions are and what should be ordered and so on and so
12 forth. The Chief of Staff does not draft his own orders. He only does
13 what he was authorised to do by the commander.
14 Q. Let us go back for a moment to what my learned friend Mr. Moore
15 asked you concerning the length of your trip from Negoslavci to Belgrade.
16 My learned friend put to you that the distance of the trip to Vukovar was
17 160 kilometres. He said that the distance between Sid and Negoslavci was
18 50 kilometres and on the basis of the difference, he asked you how long
19 would the trip have lasted, the trip that you took on the 20th of November
20 to Belgrade. He then assessed the length at two to three hours.
21 In view of the reference points I just mentioned, you said that
22 you deem the trip to last two rather than three hours. If I were to tell
23 you now that the distance between Belgrade and Negoslavci, as verified on
24 an auto map is 136 kilometres and not 160, and in particular, the distance
25 between Sid and Negoslavci along the road that is not a multi-way is 29
1 kilometres and not 50 kilometres, as my learned friend put to you, would
2 you then agree with me that your trip certainly did not last two hours but
3 one and a half hours at most as you initially told us? Would you agree
4 now that you have the exact distances?
5 A. I know -- well, the figures, I know them roughly. I trust you in
6 saying that. Based on the fact that I didn't know the exact distances, I
7 was unable to specify the duration of the trip.
8 My aim was to arrive at the destination. I did not take interest
9 in the time that the journey I took. It was not in my interest to prolong
10 or shorten the journey. If we take into account the distances you told
11 me, then I would agree. I only told the Prosecutor I would not accept the
12 three hours as the required length of the journey. He also asked me about
13 the speed at which an APC can travel and so on and so forth.
14 Q. Let us deal with this in great detail. This will enable us to
15 arrive at the figures. If the difference -- if the distance between Sid
16 and Negoslavci is 29 kilometres and if a combat vehicle with tyres is
17 moving along and travels at 70 to 80 kilometres per hour. But let's say
18 it travelled at 60 kilometres per hour, it would take it less than half an
19 hour to cover 29 kilometres. Is that right? Therefore. It would take it
20 less than half an hour to arrive at Sid. If you spent two to three
21 minutes at the checkpoint in Sid, the entire journey would have taken
22 about half an hour.
23 I apologise. The answer to my previous question was not entered
24 into the transcript.
25 Would a vehicle travelling at 60 kilometres an hour cover 29
1 kilometres in less than half an hour?
2 A. Yes. I fully agree. Precisely as you say.
3 Q. Therefore, you would have reached Sid in less than half an hour.
4 There you would have spent two to three minutes at the swing gate or the
5 checkpoint, whereupon you would still have to cover 107 kilometres to
6 reach Belgrade. Out of 107 kilometres, almost 100 kilometres would be
7 covered along the motorway, which means that you would be able to cover
8 the distance in 45 minutes. Is that right?
9 A. I believe that it is, yes.
10 Q. Together with the initial half hour, the whole journey would last
11 one hour, 15 minutes. If we add to that the time you spent outside the
12 checkpoint at the entrance to Belgrade, and let's say you took five
13 minutes, it would take about one hour and 20 plus what it -- it took you
14 to reach the location in Belgrade. The whole trip would have lasted one
15 and a half hours?
16 A. Yes, yes. We're get back to the earlier estimate that it would
17 have lasted between one and a half hours and two hours. This is the time
18 that hasn't been recorded anywhere and we can't claim either way.
19 Q. If you said out from Negoslavci at 7.30 or 8.00 as you said, does
20 that mean that you would have been if Berak at about 9.30, 10.00 or,
21 rather, around 9.00 and 9.30?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. As you were driving on the 20th of November in the evening hours
24 on the route through Sid, you could not expect much traffic on the road.
25 A. Yes, that is correct. And in fact the motorway was cut off just
1 beyond Sid, and the traffic was not intense because whoever needed to
2 reach Sid, they travelled. One could rarely spot a vehicle with civilian
3 plates and with military plates even more rarely.
4 Q. At a certain point in response to my learned friend's question,
5 you stated that you reached Belgrade halfway between nightfall and
6 midnight. If we take into account that according to weather reports, it
7 is around 1700 hours, that there is nightfall, does it mean that between
8 9.00 and 9.30 in the evening that would be halfway between nightfall and
10 A. Yes, exactly. That was why I said that it wasn't early evening,
11 and it wasn't midnight. And that would be the appropriate assessment,
12 because otherwise if we take it after midnight, that would already be
13 close to the break of the day.
14 Q. Does it mean that you reached Belgrade with Colonel Mrksic at
15 9.00, 9.30, that you left him in front of his flat and that you then went
16 to the offices of the SSNO to change clothes?
17 A. Yes. That's what I said. I also said that before I left the
18 SSNO, I spoke to the duty officer, Mr. Copic, whereupon I changed out of
19 my military clothes and left.
20 Q. Are you certain that it was at that time on the 20th of November,
22 A. I tried to pinpoint the matters that I was certain of. I knew
23 when Vukovar fell. I knew that I did not receive the vehicle on the day I
24 asked for one but on the following day. So if I asked it on the 18th, I
25 could only leave on the 20th. If you really want to know, you can search
1 for the document in the offices of formerly the secretary for the All
2 Peoples' Defence where you must have the records of my travel order and
3 the record that I used the vehicle.
4 Q. Thank you very much.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no further
6 questions for this witness.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
8 Questioned by the Court:
9 JUDGE PARKER: There's one matter I'm not entirely clear on. You
10 spoke about the journey by car from Negoslavci and the command post of
11 Colonel Mrksic to Belgrade in the evening. Can you remember how many
12 people were in the vehicle?
13 A. I will repeat again. The passengers in the vehicle from
14 Negoslavci to Belgrade included the driver, a civilian employed for the
15 JNA; warrant officer, second class Caric; and Major Petrovic who took me
16 from the artillery battalion to the command. He left the car and Colonel
17 Mrksic got into the car as the fourth passenger.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. You'll be pleased to note
19 that completes the questions. The Chamber would like to thank you for
20 your attendance here in The Hague and the assistance you've been able to
21 give us. And you're now free, of course, to go back to your ordinary
22 life. So thank you very much indeed.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We have ten minutes left before the
3 break. Should it not be a convenient time to have the break now and then
4 continue working through to the end of the last session, if that is more
5 convenient for the Trial Chamber?
6 JUDGE PARKER: I think that can be managed, Mr. Vasic, if it will
7 help you.
8 We will resume at 20 minutes to 6.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 5.18 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 5.42 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read allowed the affirmation on
14 the card given to you now.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
16 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Sit down, please.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 WITNESS: IVAN MINIC
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Vasic.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
23 Examination by Mr. Vasic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. Could you please state your
25 full name for the record.
1 A. Ivan Minic. I was born back in 1956 in Krusevac.
2 Q. Mr. Minic, since we speak the same language and everything we say
3 must be interpreted for the benefit of all the parties, please make a
4 short pause after each my questions before you embark on an answer. The
5 best thing perhaps for you to do would be to follow the cursor on the
6 monitor in front of you. When you see a sentence end, feel free to go
7 ahead with your answer.
8 Could I have the usher's assistance please for a moment. Could
9 the documents be delivered to the Trial Chamber and to my friends from the
10 OTP. Thank you very much.
11 Mr. Minic, could you please tell us where you went to school,
12 about your education and about your career as a fighter plane pilot with
13 the JNA's air force.
14 A. I completed elementary school in Krusevac as well as secondary
15 school. I then went to the military academy which I completed for the air
16 force. I was a specialist for helicopters. Having graduated from the
17 academy, I served in Nis and Belgrade. In Belgrade, I was a helicopter
18 squad commander. My next job was as the deputy of a squadron commander.
19 I next served as a squadron commander, and I was an administrator in the
20 headquarters of the air force until my retirement.
21 Q. Thank you very much, sir. What we want to know about is 1991.
22 Can you tell us about 1991? Which unit were you a member of at the time?
23 A. I was a squad commander in the 138th transport brigade. Yes,
24 138th transport brigade. And the 890 helicopter transport unit,
25 helicopter transport squadron was a part of that unit.
1 Q. You said this was the 890 transport helicopter squadron. I don't
2 think that was recorded.
3 A. I was with the 890 transport helicopter squadron, and I was a
4 squad commander in that unit.
5 Q. Sir, which helicopters did that unit have, the 890 transport
6 helicopter squadron, back in 1991 specifically?
7 A. There were two types of helicopters. HO42, known as the Gazelle.
8 It's a light helicopter but used for general purposes. And another was
9 HD40. It's transport helicopter known as MI8.
10 Q. Can you please briefly describe the difference between these two
11 types of helicopters, the Gazelle on the one hand and the MI8 on the
13 A. The Gazelle is a light helicopter. It's a light craft, and it
14 holds up to five people, including the pilot.
15 Q. What about the MI8?
16 A. The MI8, which is a mid-range helicopter, can take up to 3.000
17 kilogrammes and up to 25 people, between 20 and 25 people.
18 Q. Is there a difference in the types of crew that man one and the
20 A. A Gazelle's crew comprises at least one person, the pilot.
21 Alternatively, the following maximum crew, the pilot and another member,
22 which is usually another pilot or a technician.
23 As for the MI8, there is the compulsory crew, two pilots plus a
25 Q. Sir, what sort of assignments during the clashes that broke out in
1 Croatia in 1990 did your helicopter squadron have? Do you remember that?
2 A. Of course I do. Most of the missions were missions where we had
3 to transport the wounded and the sick. Some of our missions were just to
4 carry manpower, soldiers, officers.
5 Q. Thank you. Did you receive any specific assignments or missions,
6 your squadron I mean, in relation to the needs of the Guards Motorised
7 Brigade when the brigade was in the general Vukovar area?
8 A. The very fact that a Guards Brigade requires a helicopter to be
9 used for their purposes, at the beginning there was a situation where a
10 helicopter was required, a Gazelle. Later, however, for the purposes of
11 the medical corps, another helicopter joined us, an HT40, a large one.
12 Q. Thank you. Do you know what sort of helicopter was used by the
13 then commander of the Guards Brigade, Mile Mrksic, for his purposes, in
14 his capacity as commander?
15 A. He was using a Gazelle.
16 Q. Does that mean that he never flew in a MI8, he almost used a
17 Gazelle for his purposes?
18 A. Throughout that period the answer is yes.
19 Q. Speaking of that period, that is the time the Guards Brigade spent
20 on the Vukovar front and the use of this Gazelle by the commander, can you
21 tell us if this helicopter was used for the commander's purposes only or
22 for other purposes too?
23 A. It wasn't only used for the commander's purposes, not for the
24 commander's purposes alone. You could even say it was the opposite. It
25 was use the least for the commander's purposes. By and large it was used
1 to ferry those who were seriously wounded.
2 Q. Can you please just explain how these wounded could be put into a
3 helicopter such as a Gazelle, given the fact that stretchers were needed
4 and their severe condition?
5 A. In terms of how this helicopter is built, the left front seat can
6 be removed or turned around. The open boot at the back, and there you can
7 fit two pairs of stretchers. To the right you still have some free room
8 for a medical person.
9 Q. This helicopter used by the commander, the Gazelle, did it
10 normally wait at the airport ready to take off with all its seats in place
11 while waiting for the commander, or was it kept ready for ferrying the
12 wounded as you've just indicated?
13 A. You mentioned an airport. It was a heliodrom if Negoslavci is the
14 location that you have in mind.
15 Q. Yes, I'm sorry.
16 A. Whenever we used Negoslavci as a heliport, it was always for
17 medical purposes. It normally required some arranging, some time would
18 normally be spent to get the helicopter ready for that purpose. On the
19 other hand, whenever the commander needed the helicopter, this would
20 always be announced well ahead of time and we would always be given
21 sufficient time to put the helicopter back into its original condition
22 used for travel.
23 Q. Can you tell us which pilots most often drove the commander?
24 A. I was the one who most often did that. There were other pilots
25 available, because I, in my capacity as a squad commander, had other
1 assignments but I made sure I was normally at his disposal.
2 Q. Was there a certain procedural that was followed in a helicopter
3 unit like this when a brigade commander and other high-ranking commanders
4 are being flown somewhere? Was there a procedure to be followed by the
5 helicopter's crew members?
6 A. Indeed, there was a procedure to be followed. It was pure
7 military procedure. The crew would meet the commander outside the
8 helicopter and would then report to the commander.
9 Q. During this reporting, would the Gazelle have its engine on or
11 A. No. The engine was off. The crew wasn't inside the helicopter,
12 and it still couldn't operate properly with the crew still outside.
13 Q. You told us that at the time the Guards Motorised Brigade used a
14 Gazelle and a MI8. Can you tell it us how the pilots' shifts worked at
15 the Negoslavci heliport at the time?
16 A. Generally speaking, you had a four-day shift and a three-day shift
17 within a week. The four-day shift would be workdays and the three-day
18 shift worked the weekends as well. Nonetheless, if a helicopter, the
19 small type or the large type, regardless, was being used to ferry the
20 wounded and to stop at Batajnica for fuel, shifts could have been reversed
21 in the sense of starting one day early.
22 Q. Was this to make sure that the flight is not used up by the change
23 of crew and refuelling?
24 A. Yes. In fact, it was done so as to avoid the flights of
25 helicopters merely for a change of the shift of a crew and refuelling.
1 The intention was to also have a mission, although there were such flights
3 Q. Can you tell me something of the night-time flights at the time of
4 the armed conflicts in Croatia? Were they permitted? Were they something
5 that was ordinary? And I mean such helicopter flights.
6 A. The equipment of a Gazelle and a MI8, helicopters of an old
7 generation back from 1960s and 1970s did not permit night flights or
8 flights when there was fog. In view of the fact that there was fighting
9 going on, the permitted flights included only those taken during daytime.
10 Q. Thank you. Please take a look at the document that was kept at
11 the time, and this is the flight diary, and this is 65 ter document 1D40.
12 The ERN number is ID040080. This is the third document in the bundle of
13 documents you have before you behind the third tabulator. Have you found
15 A. Yes, I have.
16 Q. Please be so kind as to tell us about the cover page where it says
17 the "Flight diary." What do those acronyms and numbers placed beneath it
18 stand for?
19 A. This is the flight diary of the 890th transport helicopter
20 squadron for the helicopter H42-45.
21 Q. Thank you. Therefore, this is the document which shows when
22 certain helicopters flew; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What else transpires from this document?
25 A. This refers to H42-45, which is the same type of helicopter. The
1 only difference is in the make of the engine and the engine power.
2 Q. Does this documentation show who the crew was made up of, what the
3 mission was, and the time of the completion of the mission?
4 A. Yes, it does, but this was not collated well because the numbers
5 show that you have one type of aircraft, then one, two, three, four, up to
6 34. This document is kept in the files of the air force for a period of
7 up to 100 years, and it contains the date of mission, the crew, the
8 mission itself, and the time of the completion of the mission.
9 It goes on to show the number of flights, passengers transported.
10 Therefore, the number of flights, 19, passengers transported, 20,
11 equipment and material.
12 Q. You've been mentioning figures, 19, 20. These are the numbers
13 denoting the various columns or rows?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. To make this clear, let's look at page 1D040081 which is basically
16 page 1, and 1D040082. These two pages should stand right next to each
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Let us look at the first row, and can you tell us who flew and at
20 what time?
21 A. The columns themselves are not important because we know that we
22 have the helicopter type, the Gazelle. So you have Minic as the first
23 pilot and the second pilot was Pavlovic. The task was BT Negoslavci. We
24 took off at 9.30. We landed at 10.00. And then you have the duration of
25 the flight. So you can basically piece together the entire task that was
1 being carried out.
2 Q. You said "BT Negoslavci". We don't know what BT stands for.
3 A. The Batajnica airport. That is our acronym for the location.
4 Q. Tell us one more thing. In this diary, what is the order in which
5 the dates are written here?
6 A. The dates follow the order in which these missions took place. In
7 order to save up space, on one page you have several dates. In this way
8 we would use up four to five such books over a period of one year.
9 Q. But at the end of the day, would there be a recapitulation of all
10 the flights taken that day?
11 A. Yes. Let us look at number 14 on the first page. There were four
12 missions in all, and at the end of the day we have the recapitulation
13 which is highlighted in a bold line, which isn't really visible here, and
14 you have the sum total of the flights regardless of who flew.
15 The squad made the total of 20 sorties that day.
16 Q. Thank you. We're interested in the period between -- or, rather,
17 the period including the 20th and the 21st of November, 1991. This is
18 found on 1D040083 and 1D040084.
19 Mr. Minic, were there any flights on the 20th of November, 1991,
20 from Negoslavci to any of the locations in Belgrade?
21 A. On the 20th of November there weren't any.
22 Q. Let me remind everyone that this is the log which applies to the
23 Gazelle helicopter.
24 A. Yes. And there were no flights by the Gazelle on that date.
25 Q. Please look at the entry for the 21st of November, 1991. What
1 does the log state? Were there any flights by the Gazelle on that day?
2 A. There were two flights on the 21st, or to be more precise, there
3 were two missions. The pilot, Pantovic, flew from Negoslavci across
4 Bajnica [as interpreted] to Batajnica - interpreter's correction:
5 Banjica - next, Novicevic from Batajnica to Negoslavci.
6 Q. That's correct. Can you tell us which route and at what time did
7 the crew led by pilot Pantovic fly on that day?
8 A. Pantovic took off at 11.30 and landed at the Batajnica airport at
10 Q. After the helicopter took off, was there a reserve helicopter crew
11 left at Negoslavci?
12 A. Yes, because one of them took off at 11.30, and Novicevic took off
13 from Batajnica at 8.00 and arrived at Negoslavci at 8.40.
14 Q. Can we therefore agree that Novicevic flew from Batajnica to
15 Negoslavci and he remained there as the reserve pilot?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. As an experienced pilot, based on this entry which relates to the
18 flight involving pilot Pantovic, could you comment on the following:
19 Could it have been the case that a commander or another important figure
20 was transported on that helicopter? Could you conclude that on the basis
21 of this entry alone?
22 A. No, I would not be able to conclude that.
23 Q. Was it the standard procedure for the commanders to be transported
24 to their commands if there is a helicopter, or are they simply dropped off
25 at Batajnica as it says here. The helicopter landed in Batajnica at
2 A. The commanders are taken to those heliports that are closest to
3 the place of their destination, be it Topcider --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the other name.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Had the commander of the Guards Brigade been on the helicopter it
7 would have been normal for the helicopter to land at Topcider?
8 A. Of course, rather than leaving him at Batajnica airport and then
9 landing him in a situation where he has to fend for himself in terms of
10 public transportation.
11 Q. Thank you. Please take a look at the entry for the 22nd of
12 November, 1991. Can you please explain for us what the entries stand for?
13 A. On the 22nd of November, pilot Milosevic took off from the
14 Batajnica airport and landed at the Dedinje heliodrom. There passengers
15 boarded the helicopter, most probably, whereupon the helicopter set off
16 for Negoslavci. Because of bad weather, the mission had to be aborted at
17 the Batajnica airport at 10.00 -- 10.40.
18 At around 1300 hours the weather conditions improved, and at 1300
19 hours the helicopter resumed its flight to Negoslavci and completed the
21 Q. By glancing at this log, at the entries for the 21st of November,
22 1991, can you tell us whether any helicopter of the Gazelle make took off
23 from Negoslavci for Belgrade in the period between 8.00 and 8.15?
24 A. No, none of them did.
25 Q. Can you tell it us who is tasked with keeping such logs? Is there
1 a special officer who is charged with such record-keeping?
2 A. Due to the specific nature of the unit, and I mean the 890th, the
3 squad commander was the person tasked with keeping this log the most.
4 Naturally, persons who have more legible handwriting are the ones to whom
5 the writing itself of the log is left over to, and this is often officers,
6 even captains.
7 Q. In this case, if others draft the log, does the commander check
8 what is written in the log?
9 A. Of course. The squad commander or his deputy would double-check
10 the entries in the log, and ultimately the squadron commander who signs
11 the log, and then the affixing of the seal closes off the entry.
12 Q. Is there precise information on flights in this log, and why is
13 that important for each of the helicopters?
14 A. This is a high-precision log in terms of the information it
15 contains. The information for this log is copied from daily flight plans.
16 This would probably require a lengthy explanation, but to all practical
17 purposes, this is the only document that is eventually kept. All of the
18 other documents that go into the making of this document have a shorter
19 lifespan and are sooner destroyed.
20 Q. But a document like this can be kept for up to a hundred years;
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I move that this
24 document number ID40, and the ERN being 1D0080 through 0085 in the B/C/S,
25 and ERN 1D0086 through 0091, be admitted into evidence.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
2 MR. MOORE: We would object to that course at this time and ask
3 the Court perhaps to defer such decision until the conclusion of
5 JUDGE PARKER: Is there any particular reason for that, Mr. Moore.
6 MR. MOORE: Yes, there is a reason, and I don't wish to disclose
7 it, if I may, at this time.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, as was done with a number of exhibits
9 that were tendered during the Prosecution case, we will at the moment mark
10 this document for identification pending cross-examination.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the reference number will be 764.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honours.
13 We've had situations like this before. One thing I find slightly strange
14 is that Mr. Moore chooses to keep us in suspense as to the nature of his
15 objection. Let's move on, however.
16 Q. Can we look at another document from the same set now, please.
17 The 65 ter number is 1D40. The ERN is 19040038 through 0053. The English
18 is 10 -- 19400054 through 10 -- 19069.
19 Have you got that, sir?
20 For the Trial Chamber's benefit and for my learned friend, this is
21 the first document in our set.
22 On the very first page, Mr. Minic, can you tell us what that says?
23 Can you explain what that means?
24 A. Very well. This is another logbook belonging to the 890th
25 Transport Helicopter Squadron for the HT40. Let me explain straight away
1 why there are two logs, because normally only one is kept. These are two
2 different types and makes of helicopter, and just for ease of reference,
3 for ease of keeping and for the pilots to have the information more
4 readily available for entering into their own personal books.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: Could the witness be asked
6 to speak up or move closer to the microphone.
7 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Thank you. HT40. My apologies. I have just received word from
9 the interpreters that you have been asked to move closer to the microphone
10 as they're having trouble hearing you. I hope it will be all right now.
11 The HT40, that is the MI8, isn't it? The large helicopter that we
12 spoke about?
13 A. Yes, the transport helicopter, HT40 or MI8. MI8 is a Russian
15 Q. What about the records on sorties and flights by these helicopters
16 in this particular log? It is not essentially different from the log we
17 looked at a while ago in relation to the other helicopter, the Gazelle.
18 A. There are no essential differences.
19 Q. This log indicates all the fundamental information, and perhaps
20 you can explain what that means.
21 A. It's the same type of information as in the previous log. It's
22 actually the same log. It's the same information. Pilots, mission, time,
23 and all the rest. Passengers, equipment, and materiel.
24 Q. What about the column that says "Mission"? I see that it is
25 not -- no longer the location where the helicopter took off and landed.
1 It says "Transport" instead. Can you explain why that is, why this
3 A. Because the very mission is about transport. So what the log
4 states is accurate. I was adamant, at least in my squad, to make this a
5 little more precise.
6 The MI8 holds a far greater number of passengers. It lands many
7 more times in certain cases. So these columns were relatively small, and
8 then all it said was "Transport." That's all that was recorded, simply
9 because there are a number of other documents, any number of other
10 documents, indicating the exact route and the exact times.
11 Q. Is this sort of document kept for a hundred years like the
12 previous one?
13 A. Indeed it is.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I move that this be
15 admitted into evidence in as far as that draws no objection from my
16 learned friend.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Do I understand no objection to this, Mr. Moore?
18 MR. MOORE: My apologies. No objection to this document.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. This will be received.
20 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 765, Your Honours.
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] We shall have appearing as a witness a
22 pilot who flew this type of helicopter. In view of that fact, Your
23 Honours, I have no questions for the present witness. Thank you.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
25 Mr. Borovic.
1 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, none.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No questions for this witness. Thank
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Moore:
7 Q. I'd like to deal if I may, please, with the first document you
8 referred to. It is 764. Now, it's at the very end. Have you got that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I'd just like to clarify one or two things about how it's
12 compiled. These helicopter logs, I presume they were treated as important
13 documents; is that right?
14 A. That's right.
15 Q. And the accuracy of the document clearly was important as much for
16 safety as anything else. Would that also be correct?
17 A. Safety was that paramount, but it's true that these documents have
18 their own importance.
19 Q. I just want to go through this document. We call it 764. And I
20 want to go through it, if I may, sequentially, and I want to start on the
21 14th of November. Have you got that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. If we deal with the 14th of November, which on the English
24 translation is 1D040087, I'll try and deal with this briefly.
25 The first flight is yourself and Pavlovic. It's at 9.30. Is that
1 correct? Have you got that there?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. The next flight is 10.00 in the morning, next flight 14.15, next
4 flight 14.20. Everything in sequence, marked down as it occurred; is that
6 A. Certainly.
7 Q. That's what you would expect, isn't it?
8 A. Not quite.
9 Q. Well, tell me why you wouldn't expect it to be in that format.
10 A. The helicopter, which is on a mission somewhere, does not know how
11 many parts a mission would entail and how long it would take. Once a day
12 of flying is over, or as soon as it is over regardless of the time of day,
13 a helicopter submits its report on what has been accomplished. Therefore,
14 for reasons of expedience, in the afternoon hours you can enter certain
15 flights disrupting the order indicated by the schedule.
16 Q. What I want to know is were these entries contemporaneously
17 entered. So for example, if a flight went off at 9.30 in the morning, was
18 it inserted at around 9.30 in the morning?
19 A. The flight going off at 9.30, it's recorded here because it took
20 off from the Batajnica airport. So that much is clear. The sortie, the
21 take off and the landing, is something that is done by the pilot.
22 Eventually, there is a summary of what has been accomplished that is
23 submitted. In this case, I took off at 9.30.
24 Q. Yes, but I want to know when this handwritten document was
25 created, because it deals with various flights, doesn't it, not just one
2 A. There is a flight plan or a flight schedule. It's like a form
3 which splits up into five-minute bits and hourly bits. That's where
4 everything is recorded, those things that are planned and those things
5 that are actually carried out.
6 How should I explain this. I took off at 9.30. I recorded the
7 time of my take-off. I landed at 10.00 sharp. As soon as I landed, I
8 wrote down the exact time. Next, I took off at 14.15 and returned to
9 Batajnica at 15.10. Next, I submit the time or, rather, I enter the time
10 into the flight plan or the flight schedule. The same day, you enter this
11 sort of information into a log like this.
12 So whenever a pilot is not able to report every time he takes off
13 or lands for whatever reason, he should see to it that he remembers the
14 time and then the technician enters this sort of information into his
15 maintenance book. So that that kind of sortie is recorded in two places,
16 by the pilot and then by the technician who submits this information later
17 on to the duty operations office, to the AKL.
18 Q. So what I want to know, if we can deal with it fairly briefly,
19 please, is who actually compiles this original log? Is it one person who
20 sees the flight plans of the various pilots? Does he collate all the
21 material? It's a relatively simple question.
22 A. This log is collated by the squad commander, by the assistant
23 commander for flights, and -- well, yes, the commander, but less
24 frequently. Whenever he is able to. Sometimes the pilots are out on
25 their missions, and if this is the case, sometimes the commander himself
1 enters this information.
2 Q. Thank you very much. So we've got the sequence of time on the
3 14th of November. The 15th of November we've got exactly the same
4 sequence, this 8.15, 10.30, 12.35, 14.20. Do you see that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. All running in sequence. 16th of November, 800 hours, 1300 hours.
7 Do you see that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. 17th, 05.45, 14.30. Yes? 18th of November, 07.30, 11.40.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. 19th of November, 15.35, 17.00. But on the 21st of November, the
12 day that this trial perhaps is looking at, 11.30, 08.00. Let's move on.
13 22nd of November, 08.00, 10.00, 13.00. In correct sequence, isn't that
14 right? 24th of November, 09.10, 14.30, 15.00. Can you explain to me why
15 it is on a day, that perhaps this Court is dealing with extensively, the
16 21st, it's in actual fact out of sequence and that the earlier flight
17 comes later?
18 A. Well, this doesn't strike me as particularly strange. This
19 helicopter that took off at 8.00 and left for Negoslavci, they reported
20 their sortie to pilot Pantovic who recorded his time, the fact that he
21 landed over there at 8.40. And when -- so when he was producing this
22 schedule, he probably put his name first. So by default, as it were, it
23 was one yesterday. Because the flight schedule, as I say, it's not so
24 much about the order, if you have the exact time lines. So the first
25 flight might be sometime late in the afternoon and the third flight might
1 be in the morning. The order of planning is in relation to your
2 assignments, your missions, what the missions dictate. There might be a
3 helicopter required for 1600 hours. The plan is then for 1600 hours.
4 Yet, two hours later a request comes in for 1200 hours. So the flight
5 that used to be described as number one is later and the flight that was
6 described as number two is actually the earlier flight. I'm not sure if I
7 get my point.
8 Q. I can't really comment on that, but would you accept from me that
9 in actual fact this, given the other entries, is entirely inconsistent
10 with the procedure that's been used on other occasions? That's correct,
11 isn't it? All the others are in sequence.
12 A. This is just one excerpt of the log. In other places in the log
13 I'm sure you'd be able to find at least another such instance.
14 Q. Well, on the extract that I have had provided to me, do you accept
15 that this is inconsistent with the entries that we have before us? That's
16 correct, isn't it?
17 A. Yes, in this case it is.
18 Q. Can I move on then, please, to your first document that you
19 referred to. I want to deal with the type of helicopter that was used on
20 the 21st of November.
21 We have got, and I'm not going to ask you any questions about it,
22 but 21st of November, it is a transport, under the generic head
23 of "Transport." What is the seating capacity for that helicopter that
24 took off at 8.00 hours and landed at 9.35?
25 A. I don't understand.
1 Q. Perhaps it's me. I've got a log, 21st of November. It's aircraft
2 record number 366, Babic, Sakota and another, exercise number 302, and
3 then it says 0 -- 0800 hours, landing at 9.35. Duration of flight, 135
4 minutes. Have you got that or am I wrong?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What, wrong or you've got it?
7 A. I've got it. You asked what the seating capacity of the
8 helicopter was.
9 Q. Yes. Could you tell us, please?
10 A. Well, surely Babic would be better -- or best placed to answer
11 that question. I don't know whether the seating was arranged for medical
12 purposes, but I'm sure the seating capacity was 10 to 15 people.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 15 to 20 people.
14 MR. MOORE:
15 Q. So the seating capacity, as far as you're aware, was 15 to 20
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you very much.
19 MR. MOORE: I've got no further questions for you.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
21 Mr. Vasic.
22 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will try to
23 be efficient.
24 Re-examination by Mr. Vasic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Minic, my learned friend Moore asked you
1 about the sequence of entries in the log, and we have the extracts for
2 November. Please take a look at the log for MI8 that was just presented
3 to you by my learned friend and look at the entry for the 16th of
4 November. That's ID04043-44. Do you have that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Please read out the name of the first pilot and the time of the
7 take-off on the 16th of November as it is written.
8 A. Bogdanovic, 1500 hours.
9 Q. Carry on.
10 A. Ristic, 1500 hours.
11 Q. Carry on.
12 A. Babic, 0900 hours; Stojanovci, 10.20. And the entries were closed
13 off for that day.
14 Q. Would you agree with me that the sequence of the flights as
15 contained there is not in the order?
16 A. Yes. That's what I said.
17 Q. Please look at the entries for the 18th of November, the last four
18 digits being 0045 and 0046. For the 18th of November. Please take a look
19 at the sequence of the two columns, pilots and time of take-off.
20 A. Jevtic, 11.55; Nikic, 15.10; Dragoljevic, 1200 hours.
21 Q. Would you agree with me that the times of flights are not in their
22 correct sequence?
23 A. Yes. I explained that this was due to the way in which the
24 requests were put down.
25 Q. Please look at 1D040045 and 46, the entries for the 20th of
1 November, 1991. Please read out the name of the pilot and time of takeoff
2 as contained in the diary, in the log.
3 A. Dragoljevic, 0900 hours.
4 Q. The continuation is on page 1D040047 and 48.
5 A. Jevtic, 1300 hours; Djurovic, 1000 hours. And the entry's closed
6 off for that day.
7 Q. I will not press you to read any further entries, although there
8 are more entries that do not take the chronological order or, rather, the
9 order in which the flights were carried out.
10 Now, can you tell us at what point the entry is made? Does it
11 that take place at the point in time when a certain sortie is completed or
12 at the end of the day after all the sorties have been completed?
13 A. After all the sorties have been completed.
14 Q. Does the flight schedule, which is contained in the squadron HQ
15 contain daily entries of the flights for a given day, and are these
16 entries made by the pilots themselves?
17 A. Could you please repeat the question? I don't understand the
19 Q. In what way is the daily flight schedule kept for an aircraft
21 A. The daily flight schedule is planned by the squadron commander,
22 and upon missions completed, every pilot enters the time of the completion
23 of the mission due to the specific features of aircraft.
24 Q. Therefore, the pilot enters his times of flights in the flight
25 schedule upon the completion of these flights; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. At the end of the day of flying, out of the flight schedule which
3 was entered into by the pilots the data are transcribed into the log; is
4 that correct?
5 A. Yes. They are transcribed, and if some of the executed flights do
6 not accord with the flights planned, they are nevertheless taken in the
7 order in which they were planned, because otherwise there would occur
8 errors. Perhaps two flight -- one flight would be entered twice and so on
9 and so forth.
10 Q. The person entering the data from the flight schedule into the
11 flight log, which elements must it take into account, and what criteria
12 does he draw upon, the actual time of flight or the time at which they
13 were requested a flight?
14 A. They are governed by the sequence of missions as received.
15 Q. Therefore, when the person enters the flights that were carried
16 out from the flight schedule into the flight log, they do not have to
17 necessarily take it in the chronological order as the flights took place.
18 Do I understand correctly?
19 A. Yes. They do not have to do that. It would be much clearer to
20 you if I were able to draw to you a diagram of how this is done.
21 Q. The person copying the data needs only to match the planned
22 flights with the flights that actually made.
23 A. The log only contains the flights that were actually carried out.
24 One does not take out the planned flights out of the flight schedule but
25 only the flights that were actually carried out. If a flight was
1 announced for 9.00 and its execution was actually put off and the flight
2 was carried out at 1500 hours, this flight should have taken place first,
3 but due to a coincidence, a combination of circumstances, it is carried
4 out later on, and in this way the sequence in the log is constructed.
5 Q. The -- such disruption of sequences could be found in any off the
6 logs kept by your squadron?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You still profess that on the basis of the entries of -- of the
9 entry for the 21st of November from Negoslavci none of the helicopters
10 took off between 8.00 and 8.15.
11 A. On the 21st of November, no, there were no flights.
12 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no more questions
13 for the witness, and I move that the flight log which was given an
14 identification number be entered into evidence.
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes that the last question
16 included the helicopter of the Gazelle make.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you Mr. Vasic.
18 You'll be pleased to know that that concludes your questioning,
19 which has been quicker than you might have anticipated, which means that
20 you will be free to return to your home when it's convenient. We would
21 like to thank you for your attendance and your assistance. The court
22 officer will show you out.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Moore, do you maintain your objection?
1 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, we will not maintain our objection. Let
2 the matter go forward.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. The log which is presently marked for
4 identification as 764 will now become Exhibit 764.
5 Is that a convenient time Mr. Vasic?
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We have
7 reached the end of our working day almost. I believe there's just one
8 minute left.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Well, we will adjourn now with a view to resuming
10 tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.57 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 12th day of
13 September, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.